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