Jung, the father of transpersonal psychology
Sun, 06 Jan 2008 16:21:59
By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran
'It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet
remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and
how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.'
- Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) is one of the founding fathers of modern depth psychology. His
most famous concept, the collective unconscious, has had a deep influence not only on
psychology but also on philosophy and the arts.
Jung was born in 1875, in the small Swiss village of Kessewil to Emilie Preiswerk and
Johannes Paul Achilles Jung.
Carl showed interest in language and literature at an early age when he began learning Latin
at the age of six. Aside from modern western European languages, Jung was fluent in several
ancient ones like Sanskrit.
Despite his passion for archeology he started studying medicine at the University of Baselw
where he worked under the famous neurologist Krafft-Ebing, and later selected psychiatry as
In 1900 Jung graduated with a medical degree and began his career as a schizophrenia
expert at the Burgholtzi, the Zürich insane asylum and psychiatric clinic.
The experience Jung gathered during his nine years in Burgholtzi greatly influenced his future
He published his first paper titled 'On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult
Phenomena' in 1902. Thereafter, focusing his studies on parapsychology.
In 1903 Jung married Emma Rauschenbach and they had five children.
Jung's study on schizophrenia, The Psychology of Dementia Praecox, led him into
collaboration with Sigmund Freud; they first met in 1907. Jung believed Freud to be
extremely intelligent, shrewd, and altogether remarkable.
Jung's disagreement with Freud started over his emphasis on sexuality as the dominant factor
in unconscious motivation.
The end of this relationship deeply disturbed Jung after which he went through a rather
painful self-exploration process that formed the basis of all of his later theories.
He recorded his inner experiences in the 'Red Book', illustrated with his own art nouveau style
works. He carefully recorded his dreams, fantasies, and visions, and drew, painted, and
sculpted them as well.
He was especially well-versed in complex mystical traditions such as Gnosticism, Alchemy,
Kabala, and similar traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism.
His interest in the mythic and archaic elements of literature, led to the publication of several
books such as Symbols of Transformaton (1912) and Psychologie und Alchemie (1944).
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In 1933 Jung was nominated president of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, an
organization which had Nazi connections. His writings about racial differences in the magazine
were heavily criticized later on.
Among his later publications are Aion (1951), Answer to Job (1952), and Mysterium
Jung's Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections which was based on his interviews with Aniela Jaffé
appeared in English in 1962.
Jung died on June 6th, 1961.
Jung dreamt a lot about the dead, the land of the dead, and the rising of the dead. These
represented the unconscious itself, not the 'little' personal unconscious of Freud, but a new
collective unconscious of humanity itself, an unconscious that could contain all the dead, not
just personal ghosts.
The experiences of love at first sight, deja vu and the immediate recognition of certain
symbols and the meanings of certain myths could all be understood as the sudden
conjunction of ones outer reality and the inner reality of the collective unconscious.
For Jung, the structures of the psyche were organized by unseen archetypal forces. He used
many Freudian terms like 'ego' and 'unconscious' however, they held a different meaning
consistent with Jung's theory.
Jung's outer world is called maya (illusion) which is created by God but has no reality of its
own. Individual egos, jivatman (individual souls) are also something of an illusion.
During a dream or in meditation, one sinks into his/her personal unconscious, comes closer
the collective unconscious. Synchronicity makes Jung's theory compatible with para
psychological phenomena and tries to explain them.
Synchronicity is the occurrence of two meaningfully related events that are neither linked
causally nor teleologically. People often dream about something like the death of a loved one
and find out the next day that their loved one did in fact die like in their dream.
Most psychologists would call these things coincidences, or try to show how they are more
likely to occur than one thinks. Jung believed there were indications of how one is connected,
with his/her fellow humans and with nature in general, through the collective unconscious.
Jung's theory divides the psyche into three parts.
The major structure of the psyche for Jung is the ego, the personal unconscious, which
includes anything, which is not presently conscious, but can be.
The ego is comprised of the persona and the shadow. The persona is the 'mask' which the
person presents to the world, while the shadow holds the parts of the self which the person
feels ashamed and guilty about.
In men, the anima represents the feminine aspects of the psyche, while the animus
represents the masculine aspects of the psyche in women.
The whole of the archetypal organization of the person, for Jung, is called the self, the unity
of the whole toward which the individuation process strives for balance and harmony.
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The collective unconscious is the part of the psyche which makes Jung's theory stand out
from all other theories. It is a kind of knowledge everyone is born with.
The theory shows Jung is still attached to his Freudian roots. He emphasizes the unconscious
even more than Freudians do. In fact, he might be seen as the logical extension of Freud's
tendency to put the causes of things into the past.
On the other hand, Jung has a lot in common with the neo-Freudians, humanists, and
existentialists. He believes that humans are meant to progress, to move in a positive
direction, and not just to adapt, as the Freudians and behaviorists would have it. His idea of
self-realization is clearly similar to self-actualization.
The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes, also called as dominants,
images, mythological or primordial images.
An archetype is an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way.
Archetypes refer to the deep structures of the human mind. From the physiological
perspective, they show that everyone has come to the world with a certain structure, they
see in a certain way, hear in a certain way, 'process information' in a certain way, and behave
in a certain way, because their neurons and glands and muscles are structured in a certain
Jung said there was no fixed number of archetypes. They overlap and easily melt into each
other as needed, and their logic is not the usual kind.
The mother archetype
The mother archetype is symbolized by the primordial mother or 'earth mother' of mythology,
by Eve and Mary in western traditions, and by less personal symbols such as the church, the
nation, a forest, or the ocean.
According to Jung, a person whose mother failed to satisfy the demands of the archetype may
well be one that spends his or her life seeking comfort in the church, or in identification with
'the motherland', or in meditating upon the figure of Mary, or in a life at sea.
It refers to the belief that no one would survive without a connection with a nurturing-one
during the times of being a helpless infants.
Contrary to Freud's instincts, these archetypes are not really biological things. They are more
In Jung's system, sex and the life instincts in general are represented as an archetype called
the shadow. It derives from the prehuman, animal past, when ones concerns were limited to
survival and reproduction. It is the 'dark side' of the ego, where the evil is often stored.
The persona represents ones public image. So the persona is the mask one puts on before
showing oneself to the outside world. At its best, it is just the 'good impression' one wishes to
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It can also be the 'false impression' when one tries to manipulate people's opinion. And at its
worst it can be mistaken even by the individual as his/her true nature.
Anima and animus
Jung, like Freud and Adler and others, felt that all individuals are bisexual in nature. The
anima is the female aspect present in the collective unconscious of men, and the animus is
the male aspect present in the collective unconscious of women. Together, they are referred
to as syzygy and are responsible for the love life.
The anima may be personified as a young girl, very spontaneous and intuitive, or as a witch
or as the earth mother. It is likely to be associated with deep emotionality and the force of life
itself. The animus may be personified as a wise old man, a sorcerer, or often a number of
males, and tends to be logical, often rationalistic, and even argumentative.
Many archetypes are story characters. The hero plays a major as the mana personality and
the defeater of evil dragons. Basically, he represents the ego and is often engaged in fighting
the shadow. The hero is often out to rescue the maiden who represents purity, innocence and
The hero is guided by the wise old man. He is a form of the animus and reveals to the hero
the nature of the collective unconscious. There is also an animal archetype representing
humanity's relationships with the animal world.
The most important archetype of all is the self. It is an archetype that represents the
transcendence of all opposites so that every aspect of the personality is expressed equally. As
a result, every one is neither and at the same time both male and female, ego and shadow,
good and bad, conscious and unconscious, an individual and the whole of creation.
The self is the ultimate unity of the personality and is symbolized by the circle, the cross, and
the mandala figures. Jung felt that perfection of the personality is truly achieved in death.
'From the living fountain of instinct flows everything that is creative; hence the unconscious is
not merely conditioned by history, but is the very source of the creative impulse. It is like
Nature herself - prodigiously conservative, and yet transcending her own historical conditions
in her acts of creation.'
Jung believed in three principles, beginning with the principle of opposites. Every wish
immediately suggests it's opposite. According to Jung, it is the opposition that creates the
power (or libido) of the psyche; it is the contrast that gives energy.
The second principle is the principle of equivalence. The energy created from the opposition is
'given' to both sides equally and depends on ones attitude toward the wish that he/she has
not fulfilled. If one faces it or keeps it available to the conscious mind, then the energy goes
towards a general improvement of the psyche.
While when one denies or suppresses it by pretending he/she has never had that evil wish,
the energy will go toward the development of a complex which is a pattern of suppressed
thoughts and feelings that cluster around a theme provided by some archetype.
The final principle is the principle of entropy. This is the tendency for oppositions to come
together and for energy to decrease over a person's lifetime.
Personality in Jung's point of view
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