A biography of the life, work and doctrines of the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.
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 mannikin. 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. STRUCTURE – Jung said that there are three levels of mind. Conscious, Personal Subconscious, and Collective Subconscious. The conscious level serves four functions. The following are the functions of people (not types!):
A. Thinking: connecting ideas in ordered strings.
B. Feeling: evaluating ideas upon feelings about them.
C. Sensing: wanting to get experiences.
D. Intuiting: following unfounded ideas.
A & B are called rational, and C & D are called irrational. If they don’t make much sense, they will be explained in more detail after explaining Types.
There are also 2 classes of conscious behavior:
A. Introverted, which are people who are content to stay within their own psyche. They base their whole life on analyzing their mind.
B. Extroverted, which are people who seek out other people. They care about the outside world and adjust to it.
Also, one of the two classes usually dominates, and rarely does one see an individual with perfectly balanced classes of behavior. Jung said that an ego is a filter from the senses to the conscious mind. All ego rejections go to the personal subconscious. The ego is highly selective. 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 explan ation 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 experiences 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 deri sion. 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.
This taming is accomplished by suppressing manifestations of the shadow and by developing a strong persona which counteracts the power of the shadow. For example, if a person suppresses the animal side of his nature, he may become civilized, but he does so at the expense of decreasing the motive power for spontaneity, creativity, strong emotions, and deep insights. A shadowless life tends to become shallow and spiritless. The shadow is extremely persistent and does not yield easily to suppression. Say, a farmer was in spired to be a psychology teacher. Inspirations are always the work of the shadow. The farmer does not think this inspiration is feasible at the time, probable since his persona as a farmer is too strong, so he rejects it. But the idea keeps plaguing him, because of the persistent pressure exerted by the shadow. Finally, one day he gives in and turns from farming to teaching psychology.
When the ego and the shadow work in close harmony, the person feels full of life and vigor. The Self – The concept of the total personality or psyche is a central feature of Jung’s psychology. This wholeness, as pointed out in the discussion of the psyche, is not achieved by putting the parts together in a jigsaw fashion; it is there to begin with, although it takes time to mature. It is sometimes manifested in dreams, it leads to self realization, its the driving force to be a complete person! The self is the central archetype in the col lective unconscious, much as the sun us the center of the solar system. It unites the personality. When a person says he feels in harmony with himself and with the world, we can be sure that the self archetype is performing its work effectively. There are three ways how your psyche works together. One structure may compensate for the weakness of another structure, one component may oppose another component, and two or more structures may unite to form a synthesis.
Compensation may be illustrated by the contrasting attitudes of extraversion and introversion. If extraversion is the dominant or superior attitude of the conscious ego, then the unconscious will compensate by devel oping the repressed attitude of introversion. Compensation also occurs between function, which I briefly mentioned earlier. A person who stresses thinking or feeling in his conscious mind will be an intuitive, sensation type unconsciously. As we studied in class, this balance, which compensation provides us with, is healthy. It prevents our psyches from becoming neurotically unbalanced.
We need to have a little Peter and Jack in all of us. Opposition exists everywhere in the personality: between the persona and the shadow, between the persona and the anima, and between the shadow and the anima. The contest between the rational and irrational forces of the psyche never ceases either. One’s integrity of “self” can actually determine whether or not this opposition will cause a shattering of a personality. Must personality always by a house divided against itself, though? Jung thought not. There can always be a union of opposites, a theme that looms very large in Jung’s writings.
The psyche is a relatively closed system that has only a fixed amount of energy also called Values, which is the amount of energy devoted to a component of the mind. There are some channels into the psyche through which ene rgy can enter in form of experiences. If the psyche were a totally closed systems, it could reach a state of perfect balance, for it would not be subjected to interference from the outside. The slightest stimulus may have far-reaching consequences on one’s mental stability. This shows that it is not the amount of energy that is added, but the disruptive effects that the added energy produces within the psyche. These disruptive effects are caused by massive redistributions of energy within the system. It takes only the slightest pressure on the trigger of a loaded gun to cause a great disaster. Similarly, it may take only the slightest addition of energy to an unstable psyche to produce large effects in a person’s behavior.
Psychic energy is also called Libido. It is not to be confused with Freud’s definition of libido. Jung did not restrict libido to sexual energy as Freud did. In fact, this is one of the essential differences in the theories of the two men. It can be classified as actual or potential forces that perform psychological work. It is often expressed in desires and wants for objects. The values for things are hidden in complexes. The psyche is always active, yet it is still very difficult for people to accept this view of a continuously active psyche, because there is a strong tendency to equate psychic activity with conscious activity. Jung, as well as Freud, hammered away at this misconception, but it persists even today. The source of psychic energy is derived from one’s instincts and diverted into other uses. Like a waterfall is used to create energy, you have to use your instincts to turn into energy as well. Otherwise, just like the waterfall, your instincts are completely fruitless. For example, if you think that to get a beautiful wife, you have to be rich, so you direct your sexual drive into a business persona, which will bring you money. There are two principles of psychic dynamics.
What happens to all that energy?
1. Principle of Equivalence. Energy is not created nor destroyed. If it leaves something, it has to surface. For example, if a child devoted a lot of energy to reading comics, it might be redirected into a different persona, som ething like being Mr. Cool Dude! He then will loose interest in reading comics. Energy also has an inclination to carry tendencies of its source to its destination.
2. Principle of Entropy. Energy usually flows from high to low. If you have a highly developed structure (persona, for example), instead of equalizing, it may start drawing values from other systems to boost itself even higher. Such highly energized systems have a tendency to go BOOOOM! So, entropy can destroy those high energy systems if they get too big.
The operation of the entropy principle results in an equilibrium of forces. Just like two bodies of different temperatures touching each other would soon equalize temperatures. The hotter one will transfer heat to the cooler one. Once a balance is reached in your psyche, according to Jung, it will be then difficult to disturb. Tho se two principles influence the following: Progression and Regression. Progression is the advance of psychological adaptation. For example, if you need a shadow (creativity, perhaps), you will try to develop one. When conflicting traits loose power, your psyche enters regression. Say, your persona and shadow are in opposition and because they are in opposition, they both would be suppressed, because neither would get enough libido, or energy.
DEVELOPMENT – Jung stated that there are basically four stages of life. They are Childhood, Youth and Young Adulthood, Middle Age, and Old Age. In the beginning (childhood), a person’s psyche is undefferentiated and this person becomes a projection of the parents psyche. Children are not individuals in the beginning of their life, because their ir memories don’t have too much stored in them and they lack a sense of continuity because of that. As they gain experience, they realize that they are their own person and not their parents’ projection. The stage of youth and adulthood is announced by the physiological changes that occur during puberty. During this stage, an individual establishes his/her position in life. His vocation and marriage partner are determined. A person usually uses his Anima and Shadow to d ecide those things. Values are channeled into his establishment in the outside world.
Once one is independent, even a small experience can influence him greatly. The Middle Age is the one often neglected by psychiatrists. Lots of people have problems in this stage. They usually don’t know what to do with the energy left over that was devoted to establishing positions in society as youth. As the principle of entropy suggests, the energy is conserved, so once an adult put it to use, he must redirect it elsewhere. Jung stated that those left-over energies can be usefully diverted into spiritual contemplation and expansion. Nothing much happens in old age. People have so much energy of experiences in their psyche that even a major experience won’t upset their psychological balance. Often, society will force people to assume prefered types. Types are categories of classifications of psyches which are non-absolute and have no definite boundaries. There are eight “types.” Types are combinations of functions and attitudes (page 3).
The following are the eight main types:
1. Extraverted Thinking Type. This type of man elevates objective thinking into the ruling passion of his life. He is typified by the scientist who devotes his energy to learning as much as he can about the objective world. The most developed extraverted thinker is an Einstein.
2. Introverted Thinking Type. This type is inward-directed in his thinking. He is exemplified by the philosopher or existential psychologist who seeks to understand the reality of his own being. He may eventually break his ties with reality and become schizophrenic.
3. Extraverted Feeling Type. This type, which Jung observes is more frequently found in women, subordinates thinking to feeling.
4. Introverted Feeling Type. This type is also more commonly found among women. Unlike their extraverted sisters, introverted feeling persons keep their feelings hidden from the world.
5. Extraverted Sensation Type. People of this type, mainly men, take an interest in accumulating facts about the external world. They are realistic, practical, and hardheaded, but they are not particularly concerned about what things mean.
6. Introverted Sensation Type. Like all introverts, the introverted sensation type stands aloof from external objects, immersing himself in his own psychic sensations. He considers the world to be banal and uninteresting.
7. Extraverted Intuitive Type. People of this type, commonly women, are characterized by flightiness and instability. They jump from situation to situation to discover new possibilities in the external world. They are always looking for new worlds to conquer before they have conquered old ones.
8. Introverted Intuitive Type. The artist is a representative of this type, but it also contains dreamers, prophets, visionaries, and cranks. He usually thinks of himself as a misunderstood genius.
Variations in the degree to which each of the attitudes and functions are consciously developed or remain unconscious and undeveloped can produce a wide range of differences among individuals. This book is an extremely valuable source of thought provoking logic. Jung wrote with common sense, passion, and compassion, and the reader experiences a “shock of recognition”; he will recognize truths he has known, but which he has not been able to express in words.
This book made me think about myself, and people in general. How people’s minds work, including my own. I found a lot of “truth” or at least I though I did in Jung’s teachings. I could relate some of the reading material to elements studied in class. One will be astounded by the number of Jung’s ideas that anticipated those of later writers. Many of the new trends in psychology and related fields are indebted to Jung, who first gave them their direction. The book is also interesting, because of its challenging nature. I suppose that not all people would enjoy reading such type of literature, since many people in this world are sensational types. I certainly did enjoy it, and have found out some things about myself in the process. The book is very well written. Read middle school memories essay
It has many good analogies and explanations which even the most sensational type would understand. The collection of information is tremendous. There is so much information bundled in 130 pages, that it makes you think that 500 pages would not be enough to really explain deeply the subject matter. This book can be faultlessly us ed as a textbook, which could prove to be salutary in psychology classes. I strongly recommend reading this book to all audiences that want to. A person, content with the world around him, not wishing to challenge the puzzles of nature, should not. This book is a treasure for all who seek to explore the human mind.