Primer of Jungian Psychology


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
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
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
mask or facade one exhibits publicly, with the intention of
presenting a favourable impression so that society will
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
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
job. A person may also have more than one persona. Anima,
Animus - Jung called the persona the "outward face" of the
because it is that face which the world sees. The "inward
he called the anima in males and the animus in females. The
archetype is the female side of the masculine psyche; the
archetype is the masculine side of the female psyche. Man
developed his anima archetype by continous exposure to
women over
many generations, and woman has developed her animus arch
by her exposure to men. Anima and animus archetype, like
that of
the persona, have strong survival value. If a man exhibits
masculine traits, his feminine traits remain unconscious and
therefore these traits remain undevel oped and primitive.
if you will remember, is like Jack, who was a macho guy,
and was
encouraged to discard all feminine traits. Jung said that
this image is unconscious, it is always unconsciously
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
nagging, although she is perfectly customary. If he
a "passionate attraction," then the woman undoubtedly has
same traits as his anima-image of woman. Western
seems to place a high value on conformity and to disparage
femininity in men and masculinity in women. The
beings in childhood when "sissies" and "tomboys" are
Peter was expected to be kind and gentle, which would bring
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.
shadow contains more of man's basic animal nature than any
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
source of all that is best and worst in man, especially in
relations with others of the same sex. In order for a
person to
become an integral member of the community, it is necessary
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
shadow. For example, if a person suppresses the animal side
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
Say, a farmer was in spired to be a psychology teacher.
Inspirations are always the work of the shadow. The farmer
not think this inspiration is feasible at the time, probable
since his persona as a farmer is too strong, so he rejects
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
shadow work in close harmony, the person feels full of life
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
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
lective unconscious, much as the sun us the center of the
system. It unites the personality. When a person says he
in harmony with himself and with the world, we can be sure
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.
DYNAMICS --------
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
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
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
2. Introverted Thinking Type. This type is inward-directed
in his
thinking. He is exemplified by the philosopher or
psychologist who seeks to understand the reality of his own
He may eventually break his ties with reality and become
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
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
concerned about what things mean.
6. Introverted Sensation Type. Like all introverts, the
sensation type stands aloof from external objects,
immersing himself
in his own psychic sensations. He considers the world to be
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
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,
cranks. He usually thinks of himself as a misunderstood
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. 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.

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