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Carl Gustav Jung and the Collective Unconscious

Carl Gustav Jung and the Collective Unconscious. A Bit of Background on Jung. Although Freud was Carl Jung’s mentor he is more sympathetic towards religion than Freud Jung was born in 1875 and grew up in the vicarage of a Swiss Reformed Church His father was a pastor

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Carl Gustav Jung and the Collective Unconscious

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  1. Carl Gustav Jung and the Collective Unconscious

  2. A Bit of Background on Jung • Although Freud was Carl Jung’s mentor he is more sympathetic towards religion than Freud • Jung was born in 1875 and grew up in the vicarage of a Swiss Reformed Church • His father was a pastor • After constantly hearing the term ‘taken by Jesus’ in his youth he became afraid of Jesus and the term Jesuit

  3. Jung was the founder of analytical psychology • Jung was Freud’s friend and collaborator for many years. The first conversation that the two had together is reported to have lasted for over 13hours • Freud often analysed Jung and his dreams • Although Jung was influenced by Freud, this did not prevent him from pursuing his own ideas • These ultimately led him to reject many of Freud’s conclusions, especially those concerning religion

  4. Jung Vs. Freud • Although he accepted that religion was a psychological phenomenon, he objected to Freud’s conclusions that: • Religion is a neurotic illness caused by sexual trauma • Religion is a dangerous entity, to be exposed and overthrown • Jung replaced Freud’s conclusions with the following observations: • Religion is a natural process that stems from archetypes within the unconscious mind • It performs the function of harmonising the psyche • As such it is a beneficial phenomenon • The removal of religion would lead to psychological problems

  5. Who’s Better? • Which of these assessments of religion do you think is best?

  6. Rejection of Freud • Jung’s work with patients suffering from schizophrenia led him to reject Freud’s view that neuroses were caused by a repressed sexuality – although schizophrenia was a neurosis it had no obvious sexual component • He was also unconvinced by Freud’s view that the suckling of a baby was a sexual act • From these observations he concluded that religion, as another neurosis, in no way depended on sexual trauma

  7. God and Light • Jung noted how people who were dreaming, or suffering from psychic disorders, were often preoccupied with similar ideas and images • For example, Miss Miller had a dream in which her desire for God was compared with a moth’s desire for light • Jung noted how this parallel between God and light can be found in countless religious traditions • Two examples are the Aztec preoccupation with the Sun and the Christian view of Jesus as ‘Light of the World’

  8. The Unconscious • To account for the similarities in mental images Jung suggested a further division of the unconscious mind into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious In pairs or small groups indentify any similarities in the types of thing you have dreamt about e.g. many people have dreamt that they are being chased by something. If there are any common features, how would you account for them? Task

  9. The Collective Unconscious

  10. The Collective Unconscious • Jung distinguished between the Collective Unconscious and the Personal Unconscious • He said that the Personal Unconscious is a personal reservoir of experience and is unique to each individual • The Collective Unconscious collects and organises those personal experiences in a similar way with each member of a particular species • The Collective Unconscious is the oldest part of the mind • It contains the blueprints for a whole range of ideas and images • This means each one of us is born with the tendency to conceive similar kinds of primordial images

  11. What Do You Think? • Can you think of any examples of shared ideas that seem to be innate within us? • Do you think we have a collective unconscious or just a personal one?

  12. The Collective Unconscious and God • Jung believed that the God concept is one of these primordial images • The Collective Unconscious means, therefore, that many of ideas about God will be shared with others • Jung gave the technical name archetype to the part of the psyche that creates these images

  13. Jung stated in his book ‘Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious’: My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents

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