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Carl Jung's Authentic And Introspective Look On The Human Mind

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Carl Jung had a more authentic and introspective look on the human mind. I feel that Jung was able to look at aspects of ourselves that make us innately human, Jung’s archetypes are key foundations in understanding our unconscious. Although I do not believe that Jung’s archetypes should be taken completely literally, I do believe the archetypes help us with baselines to the human experience. In this paper I will be focusing on the self, one of Carl Jung’s archetypes. I am especially interested in this archetype because of the ties to spiritualism, I believe all humans, religious or not form their identity and the journey on experiences brought together by individuation.

Carl Jung was born July 26, 1875 in Kesswil, Switzerland. He was born to a dysfunctional family as his father was a clergyman, who later turned to rage, and his mother suffered from psychosis. Carl Jung’s mother was unstable and reported to act strange around the house. Jung’s parents slept in separate rooms, and the behavior of his mother added to the overall family stress, especially with the failed expectations of having more children (Mattoon, 2005). Jung was understandably an introvert from an early age and proffered to study sciences, religion, and later medicine. Jung pursued his medical degree and obtained his medical degree at the University of Zurich with a specialization in psychiatry. After receiving his medical degree Jung went on to work at the Burghölzli psychiatric hospital in Zurich where he became a senior physician, previously being trained by Pierre Janet (Crowther, 1997). Jung was extremely influenced by Janet’s work, particularly Jung’s interest in hallucinations and mental disorders. While Jung was at the Burghölzli he was able to work under the direction of Eugen Bleuler, which allowed Jung to become more involved in psychotherapy and mental illness.

Jung was introduced to Freud in 1907. The men began exchanges of letters exploring ideologies and theories, and became fast, intense, friends. Freud regarded Jung as someone who would take on Freud’s ideologies and continue his practices in psychotherapy and even called Jung his “crown prince” (Crowther, 1997). However, due to differences in these views, Jung being more interested in the symbolism of the unconscious mind, the friendship ended causing Jung to experience a mental break- probably due to his predisposition to experience mental illness. Jung tilted to understanding the libido as psychic energy and focused on the persons quest to wholeness which founded his role in analytical psychology (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). During this time of mental break, Jung used his own illness to study his unconscious and to from his foundations of archetypes (Mattoon, 2005). Jung formed the base of his work on many different principles including philosophy, theology, and his own human experience- thus making his work extremely relatable from other fields.

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Carl Jung is notable for his work in the unconscious, particularly the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The personal unconscious, which is more accessible, contains our wishes, experiences, and memories. Then, the collective unconscious is a cumulative knowledge from previous generations including animal ancestors that guide us as a collective experience (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). In fact, a large contributor to Jung belief in the collective unconscious was when the first world war broke out- this was due to Jung believing he has visions and dreams of revolution. When the first world war broke out, Jung believed his dreams to be from the collective unconscious (Jung, 1958). Jung’s study of the unconscious indirectly guided him to his interest and development in archetypes which will be discussed in the majority of this paper. Archetypes are parts of the collective unconscious that can be recognized in common images or themes (Schultz & Schultz, 2016).

Jung had rooted himself in humanism with his work on the unconscious and the roles that archetypes play in our lives. Particularly humanistic was his archetype: The Self, which goes into that humans have a need for self-realization. As humans, we have an innate desire to integrate all parts of ourselves- even parts that we are not able to acknowledge. Along with the self, there is also individuation, which goes along with the principle that humans want to integrate themselves completely, individuation applies the process of humans becoming an individual- in a spiritual nature. Individuation separates self-knowledge and tries to go beyond that and involves connecting to humanity and being a part of the human collective (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). The purpose of this archetype is to strive for inner knowledge, and to be involved in this larger journey to become whole, and to be the best version of yourself (Pennachio, 1992). Jung believed there was a distinct link between an individual, and collectivism. He explained that in order to get through, at the time, the war or individuals limits of rationality you must be transformed. In order to be transformed and to know oneself, you must confront a “chaotic unconscious” (Jung, 1958).

The importance of the self is to transcend from our knowledge we already hold, and in order for us to grow as humans, and to grow in humanity understanding the self is key in unlocking that part of our unconscious. In our process of individuation, we must achieve our understanding of the self. Jung felt that our unconscious can be influenced by several different factors, and to survive the “psychic infection” it can cause, we need to have self-knowledge. Jung emphasized the self in our unconscious because without this archetype it is hard to build upon the others, so without having the self- we have nothing (Jung, 1958). Something that makes Jung’s work on archetypes, and specifically the self so applicable and eternal is that each of these archetypes and “The Self” as a whole are so interconnected with humanity. As humans we want to know ourselves and to transcend to that layer of knowing and self-knowledge, Jung believed this and used it as a basis of understanding the human experience (Bishop, 2014). Although we often see a larger frequency of archetypes emerging, like the shadow, but the importance of the self is the baseline of individuality, and the human attempt to explain themselves to the collective (Jung, 1958).

The work and ideologies of Carl Jung gave him eternal life in psychology. The study of the unconscious brought upon archetypes that describe our deepest parts of us, as humans and individuals urging ourselves to understand our part in the collective experience of humanity. Jung has an extremely influential legacy that lays the foundation for future psychological work, many times we forget there is some truth into his descriptions of the self and part of it isn’t where we are able to admit it right away. Now, we can look at these foundations as something to build upon, and although simplified, we are able to build upon it. Jung’s study of archetypes is so important to modern day theories and psychotherapy, and his roots in humanism show great progress to humans becoming their whole selves. Our work into the self, contribute to feelings of wellbeing- and part of our purpose is to understand ourselves and others. Jung felt there was an importance to that, he used his work to transform people who needed to shy away from “psychic infection”.

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Carl Jung’s Authentic And Introspective Look On The Human Mind. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/carl-jungs-authentic-and-introspective-look-on-the-human-mind/
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Carl Jung’s Authentic And Introspective Look On The Human Mind [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/carl-jungs-authentic-and-introspective-look-on-the-human-mind/
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