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Carl Jung
 

 

 


Carl Jung


born July 26, 1875, Kesswil, Switz.
died June 6, 1961, Küsnacht

Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytic psychology, in some aspects a response to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, literature, and related fields.

Early life and career
Jung was the son of a philologist and pastor. His childhood was lonely, although enriched by a vivid imagination, and from an early age he observed the behaviour of his parents and teachers, which he tried to resolve. Especially concerned with his father’s failing belief in religion, he tried to communicate to him his own experience of God. In many ways, the elder Jung was a kind and tolerant man, but neither he nor his son succeeded in understanding each other. Jung seemed destined to become a minister, for there were a number of clergymen on both sides of his family. In his teens he discovered philosophy and read widely, and this, together with the disappointments of his boyhood, led him to forsake the strong family tradition and to study medicine and become a psychiatrist. He was a student at the universities of Basel (1895–1900) and Zürich (M.D., 1902).

He was fortunate in joining the staff of the Burghölzli Asylum of the University of Zürich at a time (1900) when it was under the direction of Eugen Bleuler, whose psychological interests had initiated what are now considered classical studies of mental illness. At Burghölzli, Jung began, with outstanding success, to apply association tests initiated by earlier researchers. He studied, especially, patients’ peculiar and illogical responses to stimulus words and found that they were caused by emotionally charged clusters of associations withheld from consciousness because of their disagreeable, immoral (to them), and frequently sexual content. He used the now famous term complex to describe such conditions.

Association with Freud
These researches, which established him as a psychiatrist of international repute, led him to understand Freud’s investigations; his findings confirmed many of Freud’s ideas, and, for a period of five years (between 1907 and 1912), he was Freud’s close collaborator. He held important positions in the psychoanalytic movement and was widely thought of as the most likely successor to the founder of psychoanalysis. But this was not to be the outcome of their relationship. Partly for temperamental reasons and partly because of differences of viewpoint, the collaboration ended. At this stage Jung differed with Freud largely over the latter’s insistence on the sexual bases of neurosis. A serious disagreement came in 1912, with the publication of Jung’s Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Psychology of the Unconscious, 1916), which ran counter to many of Freud’s ideas. Although Jung had been elected president of the International Psychoanalytic Society in 1911, he resigned from the society in 1914.

His first achievement was to differentiate two classes of people according to attitude types: extraverted (outward-looking) and introverted (inward-looking). Later he differentiated four functions of the mind—thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition—one or more of which predominate in any given person. Results of this study were embodied in Psychologische Typen (1921; Psychological Types, 1923). Jung’s wide scholarship was well manifested here, as it also had been in The Psychology of the Unconscious.

As a boy Jung had remarkably striking dreams and powerful fantasies that had developed with unusual intensity. After his break with Freud, he deliberately allowed this aspect of himself to function again and gave the irrational side of his nature free expression. At the same time, he studied it scientifically by keeping detailed notes of his strange experiences. He later developed the theory that these experiences came from an area of the mind that he called the collective unconscious, which he held was shared by everyone. This much-contested conception was combined with a theory of archetypes that Jung held as fundamental to the study of the psychology of religion. In Jung’s terms, archetypes are instinctive patterns, have a universal character, and are expressed in behaviour and images.

Character of his psychotherapy
Jung devoted the rest of his life to developing his ideas, especially those on the relation between psychology and religion. In his view, obscure and often neglected texts of writers in the past shed unexpected light not only on Jung’s own dreams and fantasies but also on those of his patients; he thought it necessary for the successful practice of their art that psychotherapists become familiar with writings of the old masters.

Besides the development of new psychotherapeutic methods that derived from his own experience and the theories developed from them, Jung gave fresh importance to the so-called Hermetic tradition. He conceived that the Christian religion was part of a historic process necessary for the development of consciousness, and he also thought that the heretical movements, starting with Gnosticism and ending in alchemy, were manifestations of unconscious archetypal elements not adequately expressed in the mainstream forms of Christianity. He was particularly impressed with his finding that alchemical-like symbols could be found frequently in modern dreams and fantasies, and he thought that alchemists had constructed a kind of textbook of the collective unconscious. He expounded on this in 4 out of the 18 volumes that make up his Collected Works.

His historical studies aided him in pioneering the psychotherapy of the middle-aged and elderly, especially those who felt their lives had lost meaning. He helped them to appreciate the place of their lives in the sequence of history. Most of these patients had lost their religious belief; Jung found that if they could discover their own myth as expressed in dream and imagination they would become more complete personalities. He called this process individuation.

In later years he became professor of psychology at the Federal Polytechnical University in Zürich (1933–41) and professor of medical psychology at the University of Basel (1943). His personal experience, his continued psychotherapeutic practice, and his wide knowledge of history placed him in a unique position to comment on current events. As early as 1918 he had begun to think that Germany held a special position in Europe; the Nazi revolution was, therefore, highly significant for him, and he delivered a number of hotly contested views that led to his being wrongly branded as a Nazi sympathizer. Jung lived to the age of 85.

The authoritative English collection of all Jung’s published writings is Herbert Read, Michael Fordham, and Gerhard Adler (eds.), The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, trans. by R.F.C. Hull, 20 vol., 2nd ed. (1966–79). Jung’s The Psychology of the Unconscious appears in revised form as Symbols of Transformation in the Collected Works. His other major individual publications include Über die Psychologie der Dementia Praecox (1907; The Psychology of Dementia Praecox); Versuch einer Darstellung der psychoanalytischen Theorie (1913; The Theory of Psychoanalysis); Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology (1916); Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (1928); Das Geheimnis der goldenen Blüte (1929; The Secret of the Golden Flower); Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933), a collection of essays covering topics from dream analysis and literature to the psychology of religion; Psychology and Religion (1938); Psychologie und Alchemie (1944; Psychology and Alchemy); and Aion: Untersuchungen zur Symbolgeschichte (1951; Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self). Jung’s Erinnerungen, Träume, Gedanken (1962; Memories, Dreams, Reflections) is fascinating semiautobiographical reading, partly written by Jung himself and partly recorded by his secretary.

Michael S.M. Fordham
Frieda Fordham

 


TWO ESSAYS ON ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY
 

Type of work: Psychological monographs
Author: Carl G. Jung (1875-1961)
First published: 1928

 

Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, now published in English as volume of the Collected Works, has often been called the best introduction to Carl G. Jung's work that the beginning student can find. Both "On the Psychology of the Unconscious" and "Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious" are 1928 revisions of essays that Jung wrote in 1912 and 1916. (Almost all of Jung's early work was revised extensively before its appearance in the collected edition to which he devoted his last years.)

"On the Psychology of the Unconscious" begins, as so many of Jung's monographs do, with a version of his famous criticism of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. Jung, who was Freud's most famous disciple from 1909 to 1914, held differences in ideas that led to personal differences which have been continued with more than enough rancor by their followers even today. One crucial difference was Jung's belief that the Freudian libido was too narrowly concerned with sexual energy and that Adler's definition of libido as a will to power was also too simplistic. Jung called this basic reservoir of human drives "psychic energy." Jung, however, endorsed the cornerstone of Freud's theory, the dream analysis, calling this technique "the royal road to the unconscious." But Jung would have us rise above too exclusive a concern with sexuality or the will to power. These drives are more important to the young man than they are to the complete man over a long lifetime. Jung saw them as partial truths, and he proposed a theory of the psyche that would transcend both and contain other aspects.
Undoubtedly there is much to be said for Jung's criticism of Freud and Adler as being concerned too reduc-tively with elective forces in the analysis of human motivation. But as time passed, Jung turned more to mythology and folklore for keys to understanding the unconscious of his patients. While Freud always stayed within the confines of the patient's personal experience from childhood on. More important, no matter how a person reacts to Jungian theory, he must acknowledge an unrelenting tendency in the Swiss psychologist to schematize. Again and again in Freud's productive career, his ideas about the unconscious and its significance changed because of the material presented him by his patients. In Jung's analysis, however, a few details from dreams led him to set up categories of psychological behavior and charac-terological type, drawn from his extensive research into primitive religions and the mysticism of Europe and the Near East. This tendency to formalize patterns of meaning from universal myths and legends has led many of Jung's critics to refuse him the name of scientist; they insist that he is another German philosopher, and a medieval one at that.

Like many makers of mystical systems, Jung insists that everything within the mind has a dual purpose. Conflict may be destructive to mental health, but it also is necessary to spiritual development. He believes that energy results from the tension of opposites. For the young, says Jung, the conflicts are outside—with parents, with society—and here, as noted, the analysis of Freud and Adler are most valuable. But the conflicts of mature man are within. Many are unable to form a significant self because they are unable or unwilling to come to satisfactory terms with the threatening or "shadow" aspects of the collective unconsciousness.
This last division of the mind is another great distinction between Jungian theory and Freudian. Jung postulates a racial or collective unconsciousness, containing what he (and Jacob Burkhardt) called "primordial images," figures containing those qualities dramatized in the great myths of past cultures. These images of daemonic power are not inherited in themselves but the thought patterns that produced them are. For Jung there is a personal unconsciousness such as Freud described, containing our repressed personal emotions. But the collective consciousness is, according to Jung, much more obscure and more powerful, charged with potential for good and evil. Jung also formulated a distinctive dream analysis. Every interpretation of a dream that equates a dream image with a real object he calls interpretation on the objective level. But he contrasted that view with his own subjective interpretation that brings the dreamer back to himself and is synthetic rather than analytic. This is the point at which the vast store of myth and legend material come in, as Jung examines dreams in terms of the struggle for mental health and significant life. The archetype of the hero is one of the most famous he describes, and he relates how both dreams and legends are parallel in their depiction of the lonely voyage of the hero, beneath or through the sea, to a cave or castle where he must battle a monster for the treasure. The hero image is the health-giving power of the unconscious, Jung says, and the monster is the shadow side—perhaps the dark mother, the feminine image in its nihilistic phase. The treasure or boon the hero can win is life itself, a process labeled by Jung as "individuation." For Jung, dreams are another form of the old legends; they are what they say and are not to be translated out of symbolism into psychological motivation, as they were by Freud. To analyze dreams we need to draw parallels from primitive material, because dreams come from the unconsciousness that contains remnants of man's experience in all preceding epochs of evolution. These images are the dominant powers of laws and principles. Prominent in this dark reservoir of the past, besides the hero, are figures Jung called the shadows—the wise old man, the mother, and child—and the anima and the animus, the images of the feminine and the masculine ideals respectively. Charged with power that is beyond good or evil, many of these images carry their own shadow or destructive charge. The wise old man in his malevolent role would appear as Satan or some other demon. The mother may be the generous, nurturing aspect of woman, or she may appear as dark chaos, the shape of devouring emotion into which the self can sink without a trace.

The all-important process of individuation is achieved, says Jung, by analyzing and compensating for these demonic powers that threaten psychic stability. The process, involving suffering and action, is often depicted in dreams by rectangles and circles—enclosures of perfection that Jung termed mandalas.
Much of this analysis is like philosophy, Jung admitted, but he added that it must be, for the psyche seeks expression that will involve its whole nature, not merely correct minor irritating obstacles that cause neurosis. One of the essential needs of man's irrational nature is the idea of God, Jung insisted. It is necessary for man's health that the image of the ideal be charged with power and projected outside himself into religious myth whose action he will imitate and whose standards he will uphold.

In "The Relation Between the Ego and the Unconscious," Jung sketches many of these concepts again. (Like the dreams of his patients, Jung's works seem endlessly moving back and forth over much the same ground.) Here, however, he also describes the function of the persona, the mask the psyche creates to mediate between the desire of the unconscious inner world and the conscious outer world. Individuation consists of the creation of an authentic self, living in dynamic but useful tension between those two forces. If the unconsciousness rides roughshod over the persona, psychosis results. If the unconsciousness is not expressed in some useful way, however, the power from the libido can never be harnessed and unending psychic paralysis, characterized by unceasing tension and anxiety, results. Man must use this dark power, which Jung calls mana, and not be used by it.
It is interesting to observe that although many literary people and humanists have become champions of Jung, few scientists have. Even though Jung seems so often in his analysis merely to substitute one system of metaphor for another, rather than bring us any basically new understanding of mental process, there can be no denying that, by joining comparative mythology to psychology, Jung has had extraordinary influence upon both the reading and the writing of literary works in this century.

 

 
 
 
 

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