Tag Archive: Carl Jung


“Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul” is a spiritual biography of one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, a man whose ideas revolutionized modern psychology. Through over 150 full-color and black and white illustrations, including rare photographs and never-before-seen artwork by Jung himself, his life and work comes vividly to life.

By combining Jung’s voice with the impressions of his contemporaries, author Claire Dunne gives the reader a multi-dimensional view of this complex genius. A book that will deepen and expand the understanding of both novice and expert. “Claire Dunne’s sensitivity of feeling for her subject allows us to meet Jung in all his diverse complexity — his contradictions and paradox, human failings and strength, his greatness and creativity. We meet a man at once transparent to transcendence but also earthy, practical, a craftsman of wood and stone as well as souls.” — From the introduction by Jean Houston.

This beautifully illustrated biography tells the story of one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. Carl Jung continues to be revered today as a true revolutionary who changed our views of psychology, introduced the West to Eastern spirituality and brought into general awareness such important concepts as archetypes, the collective unconscious and synchronicity.

In this book lecturer, author and broadcaster Claire Dunne chronicles Jung’s journey of self-discovery from his childhood, filled with visions both terrifying and profound, through to his early adulthood when he pursued more material goals, to his rediscovery of spirituality at mid-life. Special attention is paid to the tumultuous relationship between Jung and his one-time mentor Sigmund Freud, the unconventional yet vital role performed by his student Toni Wolff, and the revelatory visions Jung experienced following a close brush with death.

The words of Jung himself and those who shared his work and private life are presented verbatim, interspersed with Claire Dunne’s lively and accessible commentary and an evocative array of illustrations including photos of Jung, his associates and the environments in which he lived and worked, as well as art images both ancient and contemporary that reflect Jung’s teachings. Jung emerges as a healer whose skills arose from having first attended to the wounds in his own soul. This is an essential book for everyone interested in psychology, spirituality and personal development.

Claire Dunne is an author, broadcaster and producer who has lectured around the world on Carl Jung and many other subjects. Born in Ireland and a resident of Australia for many years, she founded two Australian multicultural radio stations and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her contributions to multicultural education and broadcasting.
Claire Dunne: Carl Jung–Wounded Healer of the Soul

Claire Dunne is an author, broadcaster and producer who has lectured around the world on Carl Jung and many other subjects. Her diverse career in radio, television and film ranges from documentaries on Sigmund Freud to the history of the harp. Born in Ireland and resident in Sydney for many years, she was awarded an OAM honour by the Australian Government for her work in multiculturalism, Celtic culture and ethnic broadcasting.

Claire Dunne’s acclaimed illustrated biography “Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul” was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and is being translated into a number of languages. Originally published in 2000 to great acclaim, this new edition has a specially written introduction from the author and a foreword by Olivier Bernier, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Claire Dunne reads from ‘Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul’

Advertisements

This bold, compact new biography of Carl Jung fills a gap in our understanding of the pioneering psychiatrist by focusing on the occult and mystical dimension of Jung’s life and work, a critical but frequently misunderstood facet of his career.

Although he is often called the “founding father of the New Age,” Carl Jung, the legendary Swiss psychiatrist best known for his groundbreaking concepts like the collective unconscious, archetype theory, and synchronicity, often took pains to avoid any explicit association with mysticism or the occult. Yet Jung lived a life rich in paranormal experiences-arguing for the existence of poltergeists in a debate with Sigmund Freud, participating in séances, incorporating astrology into his therapeutic work, reporting a near death experience, and collaborating with the pioneering ESP researcher J. B. Rhine.

It is these critical experiences-often fleetingly touched on in other biographies or critical studies, and just as frequently used to make a case against Jung and his philosophies-that form the core of this exciting new biography, Jung the Mystic.

While Jung’s ghostwritten memoirs, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, touch on the role his mystical and occult experiences played in his life, Gary Lachman’s Jung the Mystic completes the circle: Lachman assesses Jung’s life and work from the viewpoint of Western esoteric tradition and helpfully places Jung in the context of other major esoteric thinkers, such as Rudolf Steiner, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Emanuel Swedenborg. In that respect, this new biography appeals directly to the sensibility of spiritual readers who rightly see Jung as a pioneer of today’s contemporary metaphysical culture.


Gary Lachman (1955- ) was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, but has lived in London, England since 1996. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, he is now a full time writer with more than a dozen books to his name, on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness and the western esoteric tradition, to literature and suicide, and the history of popular culture. Lachman writes frequently for many journals in the US and UK, and lectures on his work in the US, UK, and Europe.His work has been translated into several languages. His website is http://garylachman.co.uk/

Click Here to browse inside.

Gary Lachman – ‘My Journey – From Blondie to Jung’ – Interview by Iain McNay

Gary Lachman – ‘My Journey – From Blondie to Jung’ – Interview by Iain McNay

Former Blondie bass player (then known as Gary Valentine) and author of several books including “New York Rocker”, “A Secret History Of Consciousness”, “Turn Off Your Mind” and “Jung The Mystic”.

Carl Jung – Legacy and Influence

Philosopher and author Robert Rowland Smith, philosopher Mark Vernon, and Jung biographer Gary Lachman reflect on Carl Jung’s legacy, 50 years after his death.

The most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. When Carl Jung embarked on an extended self-exploration he called his “confrontation with the unconscious,” the heart of it was The Red Book, a large, illuminated volume he created between 1914 and 1930. Here he developed his principle theories—of the archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the process of individuation—that transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with treatment of the sick into a means for higher development of the personality.

While Jung considered The Red Book to be his most important work, only a handful of people have ever seen it. Now, in a complete facsimile and translation, it is available to scholars and the general public. It is an astonishing example of calligraphy and art on a par with The Book of Kells and the illuminated manuscripts of William Blake. This publication of The Red Book is a watershed that will cast new light on the making of modern psychology.

The Red Book by C G Jung

After Three years of negotiation with Jung’s decendants, the red book is finally being published.

A Journey into the Red Book

“The Years, of Which I have Spoken To You,

–when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is derived from this. It began at that time, and later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.”

-Carl Jung, 1957

Music by Sphongle, song “Divine Moments of Truth.”

What Is Synchronicity?

http://www.whatissynchronicitythemovie.com “What Is Synchronicity?” is a feature documentary being made to explore experiences of meaningful coincidence. Psychiatrist C.G. Jung invented the word synchronicity many years ago, but it is often misunderstood. Jung said synchronicities occur more often during changing times, which could make this film more relevant during today’s transitional times. Interviews so far feature Dean Radin, Michael Meade, Allan Combs, Robert Hopcke, J. Gary Sparks and other authors, scientists and artists. First-time director David Strabala has 30 years’ experience as a journalist and psychotherapist. To keep updated with the film’s progress, see whatissynchronicity.com

Dr. Deepak Chopra – recognizing the power of coincidence

Mind-body guru Dr. Deepak Chopra, has written a new book, “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”. According to Dr. Chopra, coincidences are not merely coincidental. Coincidences helped form the universe and when recognized, can help humans to achieve their personal destiny.

Man and His Symbols is the last psychological work undertaken by Carl Jung before his death in 1961. First published in 1964, it is divided into five parts, four of which are written by associates of Jung: Joseph L. Henderson, Marie-Louise von Franz, Anelia Jaffé, and Jolande Jacobi. The book is meant to be an introduction to Jung’s theories and was originally written for a general audience rather than psychology students.

In “Man and His Symbols“, Jung examines the full world of the unconscious mind, whose language he believed to be the symbols which are continually revealed to us in our dreams. Jung believed that in the act of dreaming the unconscious mind sent practical advice to the conscious self and he believed that self-understanding could lead to a fuller, more productive life. Click Here To Browse Inside

Carl Jung – Synchronicity

A Scientific Look at Synchronicity – Robert Perry, Bernard Beitman & Paul DeBell A Scientific Look at Synchronicity:
The Search for Meaning in Coincidence

Synchronicity, as defined by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, entails the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychological state with one or more external events that appear as meaningful parallels; in other words, synchronicity references the notion of meaningful coincidence.

Whether or not we choose to attribute meaning to such coincidences, they tend to constitute a common occurrence in our daily lives, often providing us with some degree of affirmation, support, or guidance depending on the situation at hand. Investigators label these coincidences as instances of synchronicity and seek to study them scientifically.

Join us for a fascinating look at the experiences of four researchers whose lives have been shaped by synchronistic events that some might dismiss as chance, luck, or serendipity. Using their scientific backgrounds and training rather than their personal beliefs, they explain how such meaningful coincidences have impacted their outlooks and in the process changed the course of their lives.

A Scientific Look at Synchronicity: The Search for Meaning in Coincidence
The Harvard Club, NYC
Robert Perry is best known for his work with “A Course in Miracles.” He has been working with CMPEs (Conjunctions of Meaningfully Parallel Events) for over thirty years, during which time he has slowly developed a model for identifying and understanding them. He is the author of “Signs: A New Approach to Coincidence, Synchronicity, Guidance, and Life Purpo

Interviewer: I know that you say death is psychologically just as important as birth and like it is an integral part of life, but surely, it can’t be like birth if it is an end. Can it?

Jung: Yes. If it is an end and there we are not quite certain about this end because we know that there are these pecular faculties of the psyche- that it isn’t entirely confined to space and time. You can have dreams or visions of the future. You can see around corners and such things. Only igonrants deny these facst (ja – german). Its quite evident that they do exist and have existed always. Now these facts show that the psyche- in part, at least- is not dependent on these confinements. And then what? When the psyche is not under that obligation to….live in time and space alone- and obviously, it doesn’t. Then, in .. to that extent, they psyche is not submitted to those laws and that means a..a practical continuation of life of a sort of psychical existence beyond time and space.

Interviewer: Do you- yourself believe that death is probably the end or do you believe….

Jung: Well, I can’t say – wissen Sie ? (german translated wold be: you see ?)- the word “believe” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t “believe”; I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing; and when I KNOW it, I don’t need to believe it. If I- I don’t allow myself, for instance, to believe a thing just for sake of believing it. I can’t believe it! But when there are sufficient reasons for a certain hypothesis, I shall accept these reasons naturally. And to say “We have to recon with the possibility of [so and so].” You know?

Interviewer: Well…now you told us that we should regard death as being a goal and to stray away from it is to evade life and life’s purpose. What advice would you give to people in their later life to enable them to do this when most of them must, in fact, believe that death is the end of everything?

Jung: Well…you see I have treated many old people and its quite interesting to watch what their conscious doing with the fact that it is apparantly threatened with the complete end. It disregards it. Life behaves as if it were going on and so I think it is better for old people to live on…to look forward to the next day; as if he had to spend centuries and then he lives happily, but when he is afraid and he doesn’t looks forward; he looks back. He petrifies. He gets stiff and he dies before his time, but when hes living on, looking forward to the great adventture that is ahead, then he lives.

And that is about what your concious is intending to do. Of course it is quite obvious that we’re all going to die and this is the sad finale of everything, but never-the-less, there is something in us that doesn’t believe it, apparently, but this is merely a fact, a psychological fact. Doesn’t mean to me that it proves something. It is simply so. For instance, I may not know why we need salt, but we prefer to eat salt too because we feel better. And so when you think in a certain way, you may feel considerably better. And I think if you think along the lines of nature, then you think properly

Biography of Carl Jung

CARL JUNG 1875 – 1961

Biography

Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26, 1875, in the small Swiss village of Kessewil. His father was Paul Jung, a country parson, and his mother was Emilie Preiswerk Jung. He was surrounded by a fairly well educated extended family, including quite a few clergymen and some eccentrics as well.

The elder Jung started Carl on Latin when he was six years old, beginning a long interest in language and literature — especially ancient literature. Besides most modern western European languages, Jung could read several ancient ones, including Sanskrit, the language of the original Hindu holy books.

Carl was a rather solitary adolescent, who didn’t care much for school, and especially couldn’t take competition. He went to boarding school in Basel, Switzerland, where he found himself the object of a lot of jealous harassment. He began to use sickness as an excuse, developing an embarrassing tendency to faint under pressure.

Although his first career choice was archeology, he went on to study medicine at the University of Basel. While working under the famous neurologist Krafft-Ebing, he settled on psychiatry as his career.

After graduating, he took a position at the Burghoeltzli Mental Hospital in Zurich under Eugene Bleuler, an expert on (and the namer of) schizophrenia. In 1903, he married Emma Rauschenbach. He also taught classes at the University of Zurich, had a private practice, and invented word association at this time!

Long an admirer of Freud, he met him in Vienna in 1907. The story goes that after they met, Freud canceled all his appointments for the day, and they talked for 13 hours straight, such was the impact of the meeting of these two great minds! Freud eventually came to see Jung as the crown prince of psychoanalysis and his heir apparent.

But Jung had never been entirely sold on Freud’s theory. Their relationship began to cool in 1909, during a trip to America. They were entertaining themselves by analyzing each others’ dreams (more fun, apparently, than shuffleboard), when Freud seemed to show an excess of resistance to Jung’s efforts at analysis. Freud finally said that they’d have to stop because he was afraid he would lose his authority! Jung felt rather insulted.

World War I was a painful period of self-examination for Jung. It was, however, also the beginning of one of the most interesting theories of personality the world has ever seen.

After the war, Jung traveled widely, visiting, for example, tribal people in Africa, America, and India. He retired in 1946, and began to retreat from public attention after his wife died in 1955. He died on June 6, 1961, in Zurich.

Theory

Jung’s theory divides the psyche into three parts. The first is the ego,which Jung identifies with the conscious mind. Closely related is the personal unconscious, which includes anything which is not presently conscious, but can be. The personal unconscious is like most people’s understanding of the unconscious in that it includes both memories that are easily brought to mind and those that have been suppressed for some reason. But it does not include the instincts that Freud would have it include.

But then Jung adds the part of the psyche that makes his theory stand out from all others: the collective unconscious. You could call it your “psychic inheritance.” It is the reservoir of our experiences as a species, a kind of knowledge we are all born with. And yet we can never be directly conscious of it. It influences all of our experiences and behaviors, most especially the emotional ones, but we only know about it indirectly, by looking at those influences.

There are some experiences that show the effects of the collective unconscious more clearly than others: The experiences of love at first sight, of deja vu (the feeling that you’ve been here before), and the immediate recognition of certain symbols and the meanings of certain myths, could all be understood as the sudden conjunction of our outer reality and the inner reality of the collective unconscious. Grander examples are the creative experiences shared by artists and musicians all over the world and in all times, or the spiritual experiences of mystics of all religions, or the parallels in dreams, fantasies, mythologies, fairy tales, and literature.

A nice example that has been greatly discussed recently is the near-death experience. It seems that many people, of many different cultural backgrounds, find that they have very similar recollections when they are brought back from a close encounter with death. They speak of leaving their bodies, seeing their bodies and the events surrounding them clearly, of being pulled through a long tunnel towards a bright light, of seeing deceased relatives or religious figures waiting for them, and of their disappointment at having to leave this happy scene to return to their bodies. Perhaps we are all “built” to experience death in this fashion.

Archetypes

The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes. Jung also called them dominants, imagos, mythological or primordial images, and a few other names, but archetypes seems to have won out over these. An archetype is an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way.

The archetype has no form of its own, but it acts as an “organizing principle” on the things we see or do. It works the way that instincts work in Freud’s theory: At first, the baby just wants something to eat, without knowing what it wants. It has a rather indefinite yearning which, nevertheless, can be satisfied by some things and not by others. Later, with experience, the child begins to yearn for something more specific when it is hungry — a bottle, a cookie, a broiled lobster, a slice of New York style pizza.

The archetype is like a black hole in space: You only know its there by how it draws matter and light to itself.

The mother archetype

The mother archetype is a particularly good example. All of our ancestors had mothers. We have evolved in an environment that included a mother or mother-substitute. We would never have survived without our connection with a nurturing-one during our times as helpless infants. It stands to reason that we are “built” in a way that reflects that evolutionary environment: We come into this world ready to want mother, to seek her, to recognize her, to deal with her.

So the mother archetype is our built-in ability to recognize a certain relationship, that of “mothering.” Jung says that this is rather abstract, and we are likely to project the archetype out into the world and onto a particular person, usually our own mothers. Even when an archetype doesn’t have a particular real person available, we tend to personify the archetype, that is, turn it into a mythological “story-book” character. This character symbolizes the 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, someone whose own 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.

Mana

You must understand that these archetypes are not really biological things, like Freud’s instincts. They are more spiritual demands. For example, if you dreamt about long things, Freud might suggest these things represent the phallus and ultimately sex. But Jung might have a very different interpretation. Even dreaming quite specifically about a penis might not have much to do with some unfulfilled need for sex.

It is curious that in primitive societies, phallic symbols do not usually refer to sex at all. They usually symbolize mana, or spiritual power. These symbols would be displayed on occasions when the spirits are being called upon to increase the yield of corn, or fish, or to heal someone. The connection between the penis and strength, between semen and seed, between fertilization and fertility are understood by most cultures.

The shadow

Sex and the life instincts in general are, of course, represented somewhere in Jung’s system. They are a part of an archetype called the shadow. It derives from our prehuman, animal past, when our concerns were limited to survival and reproduction, and when we weren’t self-conscious.

It is the “dark side” of the ego, and the evil that we are capable of is often stored there. Actually, the shadow is amoral — neither good nor bad, just like animals. An animal is capable of tender care for its young and vicious killing for food, but it doesn’t choose to do either. It just does what it does. It is “innocent.” But from our human perspective, the animal world looks rather brutal, inhuman, so the shadow becomes something of a garbage can for the parts of ourselves that we can’t quite admit to.

Symbols of the shadow include the snake (as in the garden of Eden), the dragon, monsters, and demons. It often guards the entrance to a cave or a pool of water, which is the collective unconscious. Next time you dream about wrestling with the devil, it may only be yourself you are wrestling with!

The persona

The persona represents your public image. The word is, obviously, related to the word person and personality, and comes from a Latin word for mask. So the persona is the mask you put on before you show yourself to the outside world. Although it begins as an archetype, by the time we are finished realizing it, it is the part of us most distant from the collective unconscious.

At its best, it is just the “good impression” we all wish to present as we fill the roles society requires of us. But, of course, it can also be the “false impression” we use to manipulate people’s opinions and behaviors. And, at its worst, it can be mistaken, even by ourselves, for our true nature: Sometimes we believe we really are what we pretend to be!

Anima and animus

A part of our persona is the role of male or female we must play. For most people that role is determined by their physical gender. But Jung, like Freud and Adler and others, felt that we are all really bisexual in nature. When we begin our lives as fetuses, we have undifferentiated sex organs that only gradually, under the influence of hormones, become male or female. Likewise, when we begin our social lives as infants, we are neither male nor female in the social sense. Almost immediately — as soon as those pink or blue booties go on — we come under the influence of society, which gradually molds us into men and women.

In all societies, the expectations placed on men and women differ, usually based on our different roles in reproduction, but often involving many details that are purely traditional. In our society today, we still have many remnants of these traditional expectations. Women are still expected to be more nurturant and less aggressive; men are still expected to be strong and to ignore the emotional side of life. But Jung felt these expectations meant that we had developed only half of our potential.

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 refered to as syzygy. 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, even argumentative.

The anima or animus is the archetype through which you communicate with the collective unconscious generally, and it is important to get into touch with it. It is also the archetype that is responsible for much of our love life: We are, as an ancient Greek myth suggests, always looking for our other half, the half that the Gods took from us, in members of the opposite sex. When we fall in love at first sight, then we have found someone that “fills” our anima or animus archetype particularly well!

Other archetypes

Jung said that there is no fixed number of archetypes which we could simply list and memorize. They overlap and easily melt into each other as needed, and their logic is not the usual kind. But here are some he mentions:

Besides mother, their are other family archetypes. Obviously, there is father, who is often symbolized by a guide or an authority figure. There is also the archetype family, which represents the idea of blood relationship and ties that run deeper than those based on conscious reasons.

There is also the child, represented in mythology and art by children, infants most especially, as well as other small creatures. The Christ child celebrated at Christmas is a manifestation of the child archetype, and represents the future, becoming, rebirth, and salvation. Curiously, Christmas falls during the winter solstice, which in northern primitive cultures also represents the future and rebirth. People used to light bonfires and perform ceremonies to encourage the sun’s return to them. The child archetype often blends with other archetypes to form the child-god, or the child-hero.

Many archetypes are story characters. The hero is one of the main ones. He is the mana personality and the defeater of evil dragons. Basically, he represents the ego — we do tend to identify with the hero of the story — and is often engaged in fighting the shadow, in the form of dragons and other monsters. The hero is, however, often dumb as a post. He is, after all, ignorant of the ways of the collective unconscious. Luke Skywalker, in the Star Wars films, is the perfect example of a hero.

The hero is often out to rescue the maiden. She represents purity, innocence, and, in all likelihood, naivete. In the beginning of the Star Wars story, Princess Leia is the maiden. But, as the story progresses, she becomes the anima, discovering the powers of the force — the collective unconscious — and becoming an equal partner with Luke, who turns out to be her brother.

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. In Star Wars, he is played by Obi Wan Kenobi and, later, Yoda. Notice that they teach Luke about the force and, as Luke matures, they die and become a part of him.

You might be curious as to the archetype represented by Darth Vader, the “dark father.” He is the shadow and the master of the dark side of the force. He also turns out to be Luke and Leia’s father. When he dies, he becomes one of the wise old men.

There is also an animal archetype, representing humanity’s relationships with the animal world. The hero’s faithful horse would be an example. Snakes are often symbolic of the animal archetype, and are thought to be particularly wise. Animals, after all, are more in touch with their natures than we are. Perhaps loyal little robots and reliable old spaceships — the Falcon– are also symbols of animal.

And there is the trickster, often represented by a clown or a magician. The trickster’s role is to hamper the hero’s progress and to generally make trouble. In Norse mythology, many of the gods’ adventures originate in some trick or another played on their majesties by the half-god Loki.

There are other archetypes that are a little more difficult to talk about. One is the original man, represented in western religion by Adam. Another is the God archetype, representing our need to comprehend the universe, to give a meaning to all that happens, to see it all as having some purpose and direction.

The hermaphrodite, both male and female, represents the union of opposites, an important idea in Jung’s theory. In some religious art, Jesus is presented as a rather feminine man. Likewise, in China, the character Kuan Yin began as a male saint (the bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara), but was portrayed in such a feminine manner that he is more often thought of as the female goddess of compassion!

The most important archetype of all is the self. The self is the ultimate unity of the personality and issymbolized by the circle, the cross, and the mandala figures that Jung was fond of painting. A mandala is a drawing that is used in meditation because it tends to draw your focus back to the center, and it can be as simple as a geometric figure or as complicated as a stained glass window. The personifications that best represent self are Christ and Buddha, two people who many believe achieved perfection. But Jung felt that perfection of the personality is only truly achieved in death.

The dynamics of the psyche

So much for the content of the psyche. Now let’s turn to the principles of its operation. Jung gives us three principles, beginning with the principle of opposites. Every wish immediately suggests its opposite. If I have a good thought, for example, I cannot help but have in me somewhere the opposite bad thought. In fact, it is a very basic point: In order to have a concept of good, you must have a concept of bad, just like you can’t have up without down or black without white.

This idea came home to me when I was about eleven. I occasionally tried to help poor innocent woodland creatures who had been hurt in some way — often, I’m afraid, killing them in the process. Once I tried to nurse a baby robin back to health. But when I picked it up, I was so struck by how light it was that the thought came to me that I could easily crush it in my hand. Mind you, I didn’t like the idea, but it was undeniably there.

According to Jung, it is the opposition that creates the power (or libido) of the psyche. It is like the two poles of a battery, or the splitting of an atom. It is the contrast that gives energy, so that a strong contrast gives strong energy, and a weak contrast gives weak energy.

The second principle is the principle of equivalence. The energy created from the opposition is “given” to both sides equally. So, when I held that baby bird in my hand, there was energy to go ahead and try to help it. But there is an equal amount of energy to go ahead and crush it. I tried to help the bird, so that energy went into the various behaviors involved in helping it. But what happens to the other energy?

Well, that depends on your attitude towards the wish that you didn’t fulfill. If you acknowledge it, face it, keep it available to the conscious mind, then the energy goes towards a general improvement of your psyche. You grow, in other words.

But if you pretend that you never had that evil wish, if you deny and suppress it, the energy will go towards the development of a complex. A complex is a pattern of suppressed thoughts and feelings that cluster — constellate — around a theme provided by some archetype. If you deny ever having thought about crushing the little bird, you might put that idea into the form offered by the shadow (your “dark side”). Or if a man denies his emotional side, his emotionality might find its way into the anima archetype. And so on.

Here’s where the problem comes: If you pretend all your life that you are only good, that you don’t even have the capacity to lie and cheat and steal and kill, then all the times when you do good, that other side of you goes into a complex around the shadow. That complex will begin to develop a life of its own, and it will haunt you. You might find yourself having nightmares in which you go around stomping on little baby birds!

If it goes on long enough, the complex may take over, may “possess” you, and you might wind up with a multiple personality. In the movie The Three Faces of Eve, Joanne Woodward portrayed a meek, mild woman who eventually discovered that she went out and partied like crazy on Saturday nights. She didn’t smoke, but found cigarettes in her purse, didn’t drink, but woke up with hangovers, didn’t fool around, but found herself in sexy outfits. Although multiple personality is rare, it does tend to involve these kinds of black-and-white extremes.

The final principle is the principle of entropy. This is the tendency for oppositions to come together, and so for energy to decrease, over a person’s lifetime. Jung borrowed the idea from physics, where entropy refers to the tendency of all physical systems to “run down,” that is, for all energy to become evenly distributed. If you have, for example, a heat source in one corner of the room, the whole room will eventually be heated.

When we are young, the opposites will tend to be extreme, and so we tend to have lots of energy. For example, adolescents tend to exaggerate male-female differences, with boys trying hard to be macho and girls trying equally hard to be feminine. And so their sexual activity is invested with great amounts of energy! Plus, adolescents often swing from one extreme to another, being wild and crazy one minute and finding religion the next.

As we get older, most of us come to be more comfortable with our different facets. We are a bit less naively idealistic and recognize that we are all mixtures of good and bad. We are less threatened by the opposite sex within us and become more androgynous. Even physically, in old age, men and women become more alike. This process of rising above our opposites, of seeing both sides of who we are, is called transcendence.

The self

The goal of life is to realize the self. The self is an archetype that represents the transcendence of all opposites, so that every aspect of your personality is expressed equally. You are then neither and both male and female, neither and both ego and shadow, neither and both good and bad, neither and both conscious and unconscious, neither and both an individual and the whole of creation. And yet, with no oppositions, there is no energy, and you cease to act. Of course, you no longer need to act.

To keep it from getting too mystical, think of it as a new center, a more balanced position, for your psyche. When you are young, you focus on the ego and worry about the trivialities of the persona. When you are older (assuming you have been developing as you should), you focus a little deeper, on the self, and become closer to all people, all life, even the universe itself. The self-realized person is actually less selfish.

Synchronicity

Personality theorists have argued for many years about whether psychological processes function in terms of mechanism or teleology. Mechanism is the idea that things work in through cause and effect: One thing leads to another which leads to another, and so on, so that the past determines the present. Teleology is the idea that we are lead on by our ideas about a future state, by things like purposes, meanings, values, and so on. Mechanism is linked with determinism and with the natural sciences. Teleology is linked with free will and has become rather rare. It is still common among moral, legal, and religious philosophers, and, of course, among personality theorists.

Among the people discussed in this book, Freudians and behaviorists tend to be mechanists, while the neo-Freudians, humanists, and existentialists tend to be teleologists. Jung believes that both play a part. But he adds a third alternative called synchronicity.

Synchronicity is the occurrence of two events that are not linked causally, nor linked teleologically, yet are meaningfully related. Once, a client was describing a dream involving a scarab beetle when, at that very instant, a very similar beetle flew into the window. Often, people dream about something, like the death of a loved one, and find the next morning that their loved one did, in fact, die at about that time. Sometimes people pick up he phone to call a friend, only to find that their friend is already on the line. Most psychologists would call these things coincidences, or try to show how they are more likely to occur than we think. Jung believed the were indications of how we are connected, with our fellow humans and with nature in general, through the collective unconscious.

Jung was never clear about his own religious beliefs. But this unusual idea of synchronicity is easily explained by the Hindu view of reality. In the Hindu view, our individual egos are like islands in a sea: We look out at the world and each other and think we are separate entities. What we don’t see is that we are connected to each other by means of the ocean floor beneath the waters.

The outer world is called maya, meaning illusion, and is thought of as God’s dream or God’s dance. That is, God creates it, but it has no reality of its own. Our individual egos they call jivatman, which means individual souls. But they, too, are something of an illusion. We are all actually extensions of the one and only Atman, or God, who allows bits of himself to forget his identity, to become apparently separate and independent, to become us. But we never truly are separate. When we die, we wake up and realize who we were from the beginning: God.

When we dream or meditate, we sink into our personal unconscious, coming closer and closer to our true selves, the collective unconscious. It is in states like this that we are especially open to “communications” from other egos. Synchronicity makes Jung’s theory one of the rare ones that is not only compatible with parapsychological phenomena, but actually tries to explain them!

Reference /Sources: C. George Boeree
-The Collected Works of Carl G. Jung
-Memories, Dreams, Reflections
-The Basic Writings of C. C. Jung.

A rare interview with Dr. Carl Jung – pioneer of modern psychology

Part 2. A rare interview with Dr. Carl Jung – pioneer of modern psychology

Face to face with Carl Jung – Part 3 of 4

Face to face with Carl Jung – Part 4 of 4

%d bloggers like this: