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Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a son of a minister in Switzerland. He was born on July 26, in the small village of Kesswil on Lake Constance. He was named after his grandfather, a professor of medicine at the University of Basel. He was the oldest child and only surviving son of a Swiss Reform pastor. Two brothers died in infancy before Jung was born. Jung’s mother was a neurotic and often fought with his father. Father was usually lonely and very irritable. When the child could not take his mother’s depressions and his parents’ fights, he sought refuge in the attic, where he played with a wooden mannequin.

Carl was exposed to death early in life, since his father was a minister and attended many funerals, taking his son with him. Also, Jung saw many fishermen get killed in the waterfalls and also many pigs get slaughtered. When he was eleven, he went to a school in Basel, met many rich people and realized that he was poor, compared to them. He liked to read very much outside of class and detested math and physical education classes. Actually, gym class used to give him fainting spells (neurosis) and his father worried that Jung wouldn’t make a good living because of his spells.

After Carl found out about his father’s concern, the faints suddenly stopped, and Carl became much more studious. He had to decide his profession. His choices included archeology, history, medicine, and philosophy. He decided to go into medicine, partly because of his grandfather. Carl went to the University of Basel and had to decide then what field of medicine he was going to go into. After reading a book on psychiatry, he decided that this was the field for him, although psychiatry was not a respectable field at the time. Jung became an assistant at the Burgholzli Mental hospital in Zurich, a famous medical hospital.

He studied under Eugen Bleuler, who was a famous psychiatrist who defined schizophrenia. Jung was also influenced by Freud with whom he later became good friends. Freud called him his crown-prince. Their relationship ended when Jung wrote a book called “Symbols of Transformation. ” Jung disagreed with Freud’s fundamental idea that a symbol is a disguised representation of a repressed wish. I will go into that later. After splitting up with Freud, Jung had a 2 year period of non-productivity, but then he came out with his “Psychological Types,” a famous work.

He went on several trips to learn about primitive societies and archetypes to Africa, New Mexico to study Pueblo Indians, and to India and Ceylon to study eastern philosophy. He studied religious and occult beliefs like I Ching, a Chinese method of fortune telling. Alchemy was also one of his interests. His book, “Psychology and Alchemy,” published in 1944 is among his most important writings. He studied what all this told about the human mind. One of his methods was word association, which is when a person is given a series of words and asked to respond to them.

Abnormal response or hesitation can mean that the person has a complex about that word. His basic belief was in complex or analytical psychology. The goal is psychosynthesis, or the unification and differentiation of the psyche (mind). He believed that the mind started out as a whole and should stay that way. That answered structural, dynamic, developmental questions. I will attempt to restate the major ideas and terms in this book in a pseudo-outline. It will make the understanding a bit more clear. Jung said that there are three levels of mind.

Every day we are subjected to a vast number of experiences, most of which do not become conscious because the ego eliminates them before they reach consciousness. This differs from Freud’s definition of ego, which we studied in class. The personal subconscious acts like a filing cabinet for those ego rejections. Clusters of related thoughts in the personal subconscious form Complexes. One type of complex we have talked about in class is the Oedipus Complex. For example, if one has a mother complex, (s)he can not be independent of his/her mother or a similar figure.

Complexes are often highly visible to people, but unfelt by the individual who has the complex. As already mentioned, complexes can be revealed by word association, which will cause hang-ups, if mentioned. A strong or total complex will dominate the life of a person, and weak or partial complex will drive a person in a direction of it, but not too strongly. A complex, as Jung discovered, need not be a hindrance to a person’s adjustment. In fact, quite the contrary. They can be and often are sources of inspiration and drive which are essential for outstanding achievement.

Complexes are really suppressed feelings. Say you want to be a fireman, but your parents don’t let you, so you might have suppressed feelings about it and let it drive you, so you might think that firemen are heroes, because you never could be one. The Collective Subconscious is hereditary. It sets up the pattern of one’s psyche. A collection of so called primordial images which people inherit, also called archetypes are stored here. They are universal inclinations that all people have in common somewhere by means of heredity.

The four important archetypes that play very significant roles in everyone’s personality are Persona, Anima(us), Shadow, and the Self. Here is a brief explanation of each. Persona – from Latin word meaning “mask. ” Something actors wore to portray a certain personality. In Jungian psychology, the persona archetype serves a similar purpose; it enables one to portray a character that is not necessarily his own. The persona is the mask or facade one exhibits publicly, with the intention of presenting a favourable impression so that society will accept him.

This is necessary for survival, for the reason that it enables us to get along with people, even those we diskike, in an amicable manner. Say, you have to get a job, and what is expected of you is such personal characteristics such as grooming, clothing, and manners, so even if you don’t exhibit those at home, you have to demonstrate them at work, in order to get this job. A person may also have more than one persona. Anima, Animus – Jung called the persona the “outward face” of the psyche because it is that face which the world sees.

The “inward face” he called the anima in males and the animus in females. The anima archetype is the female side of the masculine psyche; the animus archetype is the masculine side of the female psyche. Man has developed his anima archetype by continous exposure to women over many generations, and woman has developed her animus arch etype by her exposure to men. Anima and animus archetype, like that of the persona have strong survival value. If a man exhibits only masculine traits, his feminine traits remain unconscious and therefore these traits remain undevel oped and primitive.

This, if you will remember, is like Jack, who was a macho guy, and was encouraged to discard all feminine traits. Jung said that since this image is unconscious, it is always unconsciously projected upon the person of the beloved, (i. e. girlfriend) and is one of the chief reasons for passionate attraction or aversion. So, for example, if I always thought that women were nagging, then I would project that notion onto my wife, and think that she is nagging, although she is perfectly customary.

If he experience a “passionate attraction,” then the woman undoubtedly has the same traits as his anima-image of woman. Western civilization seems to place a high value on conformity and to disparage femininity in men and masculinity in women. The disparagement beings in childhood when “sissies” and “tomboys” are ridiculed. Peter was expected to be kind and gentle, which would bring derision. Boys are simply expected to conform to a culturally specified masculine role and girls to a feminine role. Thus, the persona takes precedence over and stifles the anima or animus.

The Shadow – This is another archetype that represents one’s own gender and that influences a person’s relationships with his own sex. The shadow contains more of man’s basic animal nature than any other archetype does. Because of its extremely deep roots in evolutionary history, it is probably the most powerful and potentially the most dangerous of all the archetypes. It is the source of all that is best and worst in man, especially in his relations with others of the same sex. In order for a person to become an integral member of the community, it is necessary to tame his animal spirits contained in the shadow.

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