Carl Jung
Date: Monday, October 02 @ 04:49:35 UTC
Topic: Great Sages


Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology.

Jung's unique and broadly influential approach to psychology emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician for most of his life, much of his life's work was spent exploring other realms: Eastern vs. Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. Jung also emphasized the importance of balance. He cautioned that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious realm. Interestingly, Jungian ideas are not typically included in curriculum of most major universities' psychology departments, but are occasionally explored in humanities departments.

Many pioneering psychological concepts were originally proposed by Jung, including:

  • The Archetype
  • The Collective Unconscious
  • The Complex
  • Synchronicity
In addition, the popular career test currently offered by high school and college career centers, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is strongly influenced by Jung's theories.

Jungian psychology

Main articles: Jungian psychology and Analytical psychology
Jung developed a distinctive approach to the study of the human psyche. Through his early years working in a Swiss hospital with psychotic patients and collaborating with Sigmund Freud and the burgeoning psychoanalytic community, he gained a closer look at the mysterious depths of the human unconscious. Fascinated by what he saw (and spurred on with even more passion by the experiences and questions of his personal life) he devoted his life to the exploration of the unconscious. However, Jung did not feel that experimental natural science was the best means to understand the human soul. For him, an empirical investigation of the world of dream, myth, and soul represented the most promising road to deeper understanding.

The overarching goal of Jung's work was the reconciliation of the life of the individual with the world of the supra-personal archetypes. He came to see the individual's encounter with the unconscious as central to this process. The human experiences the unconscious through symbols encountered in all aspects of life: in dreams, art, religion, and the symbolic dramas we enact in our relationships and life pursuits. Essential to the encounter with the unconscious, and the reconciliation of the individual's consciousness with this broader world, is learning this symbolic language. Only through attention and openness to this world (which is quite foreign to the modern Western mind) are individuals able to harmonize their lives with these suprapersonal archetypal forces.

"Neurosis"(A term not commonly used in contemporary Psychology) results from a disharmony between the individual's consciousness and the greater archetypal world. The aim of psychotherapy is to assist the individual in reestablishing a healthy relationship to the unconscious (neither being swamped by it — a state characteristic of psychosis — nor completely shut off from it — a state that results in malaise, empty consumerism, narcissism, and a life cut off from deeper meaning). The encounter between consciousness and the symbols arising from the unconscious enriches life and promotes psychological development. Jung considered this process of psychological growth and maturation (which is known as individuation) to be of critical importance to the human being, and ultimately to modern society.

In order to undergo the individuation process, the individual must be open to the parts of oneself beyond one's own ego. In order to do this, the modern individual must pay attention to dreams, explore the world of religion and spirituality, and question the assumptions of the operant societal worldview (rather than just blindly living life in accordance with dominant norms and assumptions).

The collective unconscious

Jung's concept of the collective unconscious has often been misunderstood. In order to understand this concept, it is essential to understand his idea of the archetype, something foreign to the highly rational, scientifically-oriented Western mind.

The collective unconscious could be thought of as the DNA of the human psyche. Just as all humans share a common physical heritage and predisposition towards specific physical forms (like having two legs, a heart, etc.) so do all humans have a common psychological predisposition. However, unlike the quantifiable information that composes DNA (in the form of coded sequences of nucleotides), the collective unconscious is composed of archetypes.

In contrast to the objective material world, the subjective realm of archetypes can not be fully plumbed through quantitative modes of research. Instead it can be revealed more fully through an examination of the symbolic communications of the human psyche — in art, dreams, religion, myth, and the themes of human relational/behavioral patterns. Devoting his life to the task of exploring and understanding the collective unconscious, Jung theorized that certain symbolic themes exist across all cultures, all epochs, and in every individual.

The shadow

The shadow is an unconscious complex that is defined as the diametrical opposite of the conscious self, the ego. The shadow represents unknown attributes and qualities of the ego.

There are constructive and destructive types of shadow.

On the destructive side, it often represents everything that the conscious person does not wish to acknowledge within themselves. For instance, someone who identifies as being kind has a shadow that is harsh or unkind. Conversely, an individual who is brutal has a kind shadow. The shadow of persons who are convinced that they are ugly appears to be beautiful.

On the constructive side, the shadow may represent hidden positive influences. Jung points to the story of Moses and Al-Khidr in the 18th Book of the Koran as an example.

Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness, lest one project these attributes on others.

The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.

According to Jung the human being deals with the reality of the Shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation.

Anima and Animus

Jung identified the anima as being the unconscious feminine component of men and the animus as the unconscious masculine component in women. However, this is rarely taken as a literal definition: many modern day Jungian practitioners believe that every person has both an anima and an animus. Jung stated that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth. Jung reported that he identified his anima as she spoke to him, as an inner voice, unexpectedly one day.

Oftentimes, when people ignore the anima or animus complexes, the anima or animus vies for attention by projecting itself on others. This explains, according to Jung, why we are sometimes immediately attracted to certain strangers: we see our anima or animus in them. Love at first sight is an example of anima and animus projection. Moreover, people who strongly identify with their gender role (e.g. a man who acts aggressively and never cries) have not actively recognized or engaged their anima or animus.

Jung attributes human rational thought to be the male nature, while the irrational aspect is considered to be natural female. Consequently, irrationality is the male anima shadow and rationality is the female animus shadow.

Psychological types

The often misunderstood terms extrovert and introvert derive from this work. In Jung's original usage, the extrovert orientation finds meaning outside the self, in the surrounding world, whereas the introvert is introspective and finds it within.

There are four primary modes of experiencing the world in Jung’s model: two rational functions (thinking and feeling), and two perceptive functions (sensation and intuition). Sensation is the perception of facts. Intuition is the perception of the unseen. Thinking is analytical, deductive cognition. Feeling is synthetic, all-inclusive cognition. In any person, the degree of introversion/extroversion of one function can be quite different to that of another function.

Broadly speaking, we tend to work from our most developed function, while we need to widen our personality by developing the others. Related to this, Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person's least developed function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped function(s) thus tend to progress together.

Jung's life

Jung was born in Kesswil, in the Swiss canton of Thurgau on July 26, 1875. A very solitary introverted child, Jung was convinced from childhood that he had two personalities—a modern Swiss citizen, and a personality more at home in the eighteenth century. His father was a parson, but, although Jung was close to both parents, he was rather disappointed in his father's academic approach to faith. Jung wanted to study archaeology at university, but his family was too poor to send him further afield than Basel, where they did not teach this subject, so instead Jung studied medicine at the University of Basel from 1894–1900. The formerly introverted student became much more lively here. Towards the end of studies here, his reading of Krafft-Ebbing persuaded him to specialise in psychiatric medicine. He later worked in the Burghölzli, a psychiatric hospital in Zurich. In 1906, he published The Psychology of Dementia Praecox, and later sent a copy of this book to Freud, after which a close friendship between these two men followed for some 6 years (see section on Jung and Freud). Dementia praecox was the name of a chronic psychotic disorder which was renamed schizophrenia by Jung's colleague at the Burgholzli, Eugen Bleuler, in an article published in 1908.

By 1913, however, especially after Jung had published Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (known in English as The Psychology of the Unconscious) their theoretical ideas had diverged so sharply that the two men fell out, each suggesting that the other was unable to admit he could possibly be wrong. After this falling-out, Jung had some form of psychological transformative experience, exacerbated by news of the First World War, which had a dire effect on Jung even in his own neutral Switzerland. Henri Ellenberger called Jung's experience a "creative illness" and compared it to Freud's period of what he called neurasthenia and hysteria.

Following World War I, Jung became a worldwide traveler, facilitated by his wife's inherited fortune as well as the funds he realized through psychiatric fees, book sales, and honoraria. He visited Northern Africa shortly after, and New Mexico and Kenya in the mid-1920s. In 1938, he delivered the Terry Lectures, Psychology and Religion, at Yale University. It was at about this stage in his life that Jung visited India, and while there, had dreams related to King Arthur. This convinced him that his agenda should be to pay more attention to Western spirituality, and his later writings do show deep interests in Western mystery tradition and esoteric Christianity, and especially alchemy.

In 1903 Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, from one of the richest families in Switzerland, and together they had five children. Their marriage lasted until Emma's death in 1955, but she certainly experienced emotional torments, brought about by Jung's relationships with women other than herself. The most well-known women with whom Jung is believed to have had extramarital affairs are Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff. Jung continued to publish books until the end of his life, including a work showing his late interest in flying saucers. He also enjoyed a friendship with an English Catholic priest, Father Victor White, who corresponded with Jung after he had published his controversial study of the Book of Job.

Jung died in 1961 in Zürich, Switzerland.

Jung and Freud

Jung was thirty when he sent Sigmund Freud in Vienna his work Studies in Word Association. Half a year later, the then 50 year old Freud reciprocated by sending a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Zurich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration lasting more than six years and ending shortly before World War I in May 1914, when Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Today Jung and Freud rule two very different empires of the mind, so to speak, which the respective proponents of these empires like to stress, downplaying the influence these men had on each other in the formative years of their lives. But in 1906 psychoanalysis as an institution was still in its early developmental stages. Jung, who had become interested in psychiatry as a student by reading Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard Krafft-Ebing, professor in Vienna, now worked as a doctor under the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in the Burghölzli and became familiar with Freud's idea of the unconscious through Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and a proponent of the new "psycho-analysis". Freud at that time needed collaborators and followers to validate and spread his ideas. The Burghölzli was a renowned psychiatric clinic in Zurich and Jung an aspiring young doctor there on the rise. Another problem Freud had was that his slowly growing followership in Vienna was almost exclusively Jewish, and Eugen Bleuler and Carl Jung were not.

In 1908 Jung became editor of the newly founded Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research, the following year Jung traveled with Freud and Sandor Ferenczi to the U.S.A. to spread the news of psychoanalysis and in 1910 Jung became chairman for life of the International Psychoanalytical Association. While Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Symbols of Transformation), the tensions between him and Freud were rising, the nature of libido and religion playing an important role. In 1912 these tensions came to a peak, when Jung felt severely slighted by Freud visiting his colleague Ludwig Binswanger in Kreuzlingen without paying him a visit in nearby Zurich, an incident Jung at the time and in his autobiography referred to as the Kreuzlingen gesture. Shortly thereafter Jung again traveled to the U.S.A. and gave the Fordham lectures, which were published as The Theory of Psychoanalysis and while they contain some remarks on the dissenting view of Jung about the nature of libido, if you read them today you'll be surprised to find largely a "psychoanalytical Jung" and not the Jung we've become used to in the following decades.

Jung and Freud personally met for the last time in September 1913 for the Fourth International Psychoanalytical Congress in Munich. Jung gave a talk on psychological types, the introverted and the extroverted type, in analytical psychology. This constituted the introduction of some of the key concepts which came to distinguish Jung's work from Freud's in the next half century.

The year before a strange incident had happened in the same city, when Jung and Freud met there with others in November 1912: At lunch there was a talk about a new psychoanalytic essay on Amenhotep IV, who introduced monotheism in ancient Egypt and who apparently had his father's name erased on all documents after his death. Relating this to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytic movement, Jung explicated his view on this, when Freud suddenly fainted and Jung carried him to a couch.

In the following years Jung experienced considerable isolation in his professional life, exacerbated through World War I. His Seven Sermons to the Dead (1917) reprinted in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections can also be read as expression of the psychological conflicts which beset Jung around the age of forty after the break with Freud.

Jung's primary disagreement with Freud stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung (though not according to Freud), Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung believed that the unconscious also had a creative capacity. The collective unconscious of archetypes and images which made up the human psyche was processed and renewed within the unconscious. In effect, Jung's unconscious, as opposed to Freud's, serves a very positive role: the engine of the collective unconscious essential to human society and culture.

Spirituality as a cure for alcoholism

Jung's influence can sometimes be found in more unexpected quarters. For example, Jung once treated an American patient - one Rowland H. - suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time, and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.

Rowland took Jung's advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a Christian evangelical church. He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience. One of the alcoholics he told was Ebby Thatcher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) Thatcher told Wilson about Jung's ideas. Wilson, who was finding it impossible to maintain sobriety, was impressed and sought out his own spiritual experience. The influence of Jung ultimately found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12-step program, and from there into the whole 12-step recovery movement.

Above claims are documented in the letters of Carl Jung and Bill W., excerpts of which can be found in Pass It On published by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Influences on culture

  • Dr. Niles Crane on the popular television sitcom Frasier is a devoted Jungian psychiatrist, while his brother Dr. Frasier Crane is a Freudian psychiatrist. This is mentioned a number of times in the series, and from time to time forms a point of argument between the two brothers. One memorable scene had Niles filling in for Frasier on Frasier's call-in radio program, in which Niles introduces himself as the temporary substitute saying, "...and while my brother is a Freudian, I am a Jungian, so there'll be no blaming Mother today."
  • Episode 16: Urgo of Season 3 of sci-fi TV series Stargate SG-1 explores the Jungian theory of the duality and the shadow.
  • Jung had a 16-year long friendship with author Laurens van der Post from which a number of books and a film were created about Jung's life.
  • The concept of the collective unconscious is one of the main topics in the Dune novel series.
  • The various Jungian ideals and archetypes heavily influenced the modern philosophical, surreal roleplaying game Persona and are one of the reasons cited for its strong, intriguing plot.
  • Jung's influence on noted Canadian novelist Robertson Davies is apparent in many of Davies's fictional works. In particular, The Cornish Trilogy and his novel The Manticore each base their design on Jungian concepts.
  • Jung influenced much of Joseph Campbell's thought.
  • Ted Hughes's 1970 collection 'Crow' shows Hughes' interest in Jungian theory.
  • The progressive metal band, Tool, have incorporated ideas from Jung's work into their albums, especially Ænima. Songs such as "Forty Six & 2" and "Ænema" (the title of this song and the title of the album both being derived from Jung's anima) are particularly fraught with references. Additionally, The Police made references to Carl Jung in their album Synchronicity.
  • J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5 television series used many of Jung's concepts throughout the series.
  • The video games Xenogears and Xenosaga utilize many of the ideas proposed by Carl Jung as major storyline components of the game, and even create physical manifestations of his notions within actual characters, Albedo, Nigredo, Rubedo, etc.
  • Jung's writing was introduced to Italian film maker Federico Fellini in the 1950s and had an effect on the way Fellini incorporated dreams into films after La Dolce Vita.
  • Jungian ideas make up a large part of the intellectual foundations of the Earthsea stories, the classic fantasy series written by Ursula le Guin.
  • Blue Man Group's "Rock Concert Movement #237" is "Taking the audience on a Jungian journey into the collective unconscious by using the shadow as a metaphor for the primal self that gets repressed by the modern persona and also by using an underground setting and labyrinth office design to represent both the depths of the psyche and the dungeon-like isolation of our increasingly mechanistic society which prevents people from finding satisfying work or meaningful connections with others."
  • In the movie Batman Begins, the character of Jonathan Crane, aka "The Scarecrow", is a Jungian psychiatrist and at the same time personifies one of man's primal archetypes (the Scarecrow).
  • Jung's theory of the shadow is of central importance in the modern horror roleplaying game Kult, in which reality as humanity knows it is merely an illusion, built to deprive us of our natural divinity. The act of merging with one's shadow is the ultimate step on the path to transcending this spiritual prison.
  • In The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe describes the classic experiment in which Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, under the influence of LSD, explore manifestations of synchronicity by listening to a recording of a drug-induced monologue while watching the Ed Sullivan Show. Also, the central goal of the psychedelic movement, opening the doors of perception, is repeatedly associated with Jungian concepts throughout the book.
  • Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket features an underlying theme about the duality of man throughout the action and dialogue of the film. One scene plays out this way: A Colonel asks a soldier, "You write 'Born to Kill' on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What's that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?" To which the soldier replies, "I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir... The Jungian thing, sir."
  • The plot of James Kerwin's scifi noir film Yesterday Was a Lie is said to contain multiple Jungian references, and press interviews with the cast and crew confirm that Jung's work in alchemy and dream analysis played a pivotal role in the development of the screenplay.
  • Jung is one of the main characters in Timothy Findley's novel, Pilgrim.
  • In the Emmy award winning television show Northern Exposure the radio D.J. Chris Stevens made continual references to Jung's ideas. The show often let the audience into the characters' unconscious by weaving their dreams into the plot.
  • Jung appears as a major character as a ghost in the novel Between the Bridge and the River by Scottish TV personality Craig Ferguson. He appears as an hallucination to one of the main characters in various parts of the novel.
  • Jung's theories about the collective unconscious are a tool used by the character Peter Wilmot to get to know Misty in the Chuck Palahniuk novel Diary.
  • Jung appears in the last row of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cover, on Edgar Allen Poe's right. Portrayed in this modern pantheon of the collective unconscious, Jung's presence is a tribute to his thought about mass-communication and mass-desire.
  • Herman Hesse, author of works such as Siddhartha and Steppenwolf, was treated by a student of Jung, Dr. Joseph Lang. This began for Hesse a long preoccupation with psychoanalysis, through which he came to know Carl Jung personally, and was challenged to new creative heights: During a three-week period during September and October 1917, Hesse penned his novel Demian.
  • In the video game, Eternal Darkness, Jung is mentioned by Edward Roivas, one of the playable characters in the game. Edward tries to compare Jung's collective unconscious to the machinations of Ulyoth (one of the three ancients).


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