The Echoes of the Mind (14-1) Carl Jung

Carl Jung

The distinction between mind and body is an artificial dichotomy, a discrimination which is unquestionably based far more on the peculiarity of intellectual understanding than on the nature of things. ~ Carl Jung

Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung (1875–1961) took Freud’s concepts into more holistic and mystical directions. Freud advanced the idea that libido was the basic motivator of human life. Jung thought less of sexual energy. He wanted to water down libido by broadening its context to include more than just sex.

Jung proposed psychic energy – holistic life force – as motivating. While psychic energy could be expressed sexually, it could also be a source of inspiration and personal growth.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung

Jung founded analytical psychology, the aim of which was integration of the unconscious forces within. But Jung’s lasting contributive legacy was his classification system of personality types. In the book Psychological Types (1921) Jung formulated the distinction between extroversion and introversion that is still in common use.

Extroversion is an outward turning, a transfer of interest from subject to object. Introversion means a turning inward, a transfer of interest from object to subject. ~ Carl Jung

Jung generally tended to view personality aspects along bipolar dimensions. He contrasted perception and judgment – an individual was inclined to specialize in one, leaving the other relatively undeveloped, Jung thought.

According to Jung, perception involved sensation and intuition, whereas judgment emanated from feeling and thinking. Here too Jung presumed that individuals were partial to one of the 2 aspects of perception and judgment.

Someone might favor thinking as the means to judgment. This could leave empathic ethics underdeveloped.

Alternately, a person may be intuitively inclined: good at grasping situations as a whole. In that instance, sensation, which deals with facts, may be underdeveloped. Perception tends to be either toward the proverbial forest or trees, this line of thinking goes.

The poles of the 4 functions – perception, intuition, thinking, feeling – may be considered from either an extroverted or introverted perspective. Numerous personality combinations are possible.

American academic Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed a personality test based upon this Jungian typology, first publishing it in 1944. The Briggs & Myers test remains quite popular among business and education managers as a way of representing individual differences. Academic psychologists have long been more skeptical about the test.

Jung viewed the psyche as the mind. But, he asserted, there was a larger, inner piece to being: the soul, which was the interface to the collective unconscious.

In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents. ~ Carl Jung

The collective unconscious holds the accumulated experiences of humans throughout their existence. Certain categories exist, which are inherited as personality predispositions.

Jung considered each category to be an archetype, a concept borrowed from Plato’s forms. Jung thought the emotional component of archetypes the most important facet.

To Jung, the mind was not a blank slate at birth. Instead, the psyche held deep within the experiences of previous generations. For example, an infant is born with an innate sense of what a mother is. (Jung cited this fact as supporting a collective unconscious, but it is instead precocious knowledge.) A child projects onto its mother the maternal archetype. This influences not only how a baby views its mother, but also how it responds to her emotionally.

According to Jung, archetypes provide frameworks for experience, both sensate and emotional. This predisposes a person to a certain worldview, emotional complexes, and behavioral tendencies.

It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves. ~ Carl Jung

Jung recognized many archetypes. The ones most discussed in Jungian literature are anima, animus, persona, shadow, and self.

Anima is the masculine image of femininity. Conversely, animus is the feminine template of masculinity.

Persona is the public self: the mask one puts on for others. Identifying with the persona cuts one off from those facets of oneself that are inconsistent with it. Someone with a strong masculine persona may be unaware of their feminine side.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~ Carl Jung

Shadow is a person’s dark side, a primordial archetype inherited from our ancestors, prone to aggression and immorality.

The self seeks a synthesis of the components that comprise personality. In Jungian psychology, the ego is the center of consciousness, whereas the self is the locus of the psyche. The self includes the ego, consciousness, and the unconscious.

Jung considered the goal of life to discover, understand, and then harmonize the disparate facets of one’s personality. The fruitful product of this process Jung termed self-actualization.

Enlightenment doesn’t occur from sitting around visualizing images of light, but from integrating the darker aspects of the Self into the conscious personality. ~ Carl Jung

Like Freud, Jung believed in determinism: that a person is propelled by their past. But Jung took this in a broader context than Freud.

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. ~ Carl Jung

Jung believed that motivation also included connection to the collective unconscious, and a person’s goals. Unlike Freud, Jung embraced teleology (purpose). Jung felt that people are pushed by the past and pulled by their desired future.

The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it. ~ Carl Jung

Jung considered meaningful coincidence – synchronicity – an important determinant of personality. Synchronicity happens when independent events come together in a meaningful way.

Whatever is not conscious will be experienced as fate. ~ Carl Jung

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American psychotherapist Ira Progoff tells a story of synchronicity in his book Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny (1973).

Early in life, Abraham Lincoln dreamed of making an impact in the world. But his frontier Illinois environment left him largely bereft of prospects for intellectual development. Lincoln despaired that his dreams would not come to pass.

One day a stranger appeared, wanting to sell a barrel of odds and ends for a dollar. The stranger told Lincoln that the contents were essentially worthless, but that he badly needed the dollar. With characteristic kindness, Lincoln bought the barrel for a dollar.

Sometime later, Lincoln discovered that the barrel held an almost complete edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries: an influential 18th century treatise on English common law. This furnished Lincoln with the intellectual fodder to fuel his drive to become a lawyer and enter politics.

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In embracing mysticism, Jung was criticized as being unscientific, even antiscientific. The concepts of collective unconscious and archetype are metaphysical and objectively unverifiable. Yet Jungian ideas have remained popular. His contrasting definition of extraversion and introversion was a major aspect of German psychologist Hans Eyesenck’s theory of personality, developed in the 1950s, and quite well-received in academia.

All the evidence to date suggests the overwhelming importance of genetic factors in producing the great variety of intellectual differences which we observe in our culture, and much of the difference observed between certain racial groups. ~ Hans Eyesenck

Jung introduced the Aristotelian notion of self-actualization into modern psychology, where it remains vibrant. For one, Abraham Maslow took this ball and ran with it.

 Archetypal Psychology

We can’t change anything until we begin to see things differently. ~ James Hillman

In the early 1970s American psychologist James Hillman developed archetypal psychology: heartily embracing Jungian archetypes, and considering the collective unconsciousness as woven into the fabric of existence as the basis for sentience. Under archetypal psychology, an individual psyche develops in accordance with archetypal patterns. Sense of self is one of “the fundamental fantasies that animate all life.” Archetypal psychology embraces idealism: that actuality is a fabrication of consciousness.