Carl Jung: Illuminating The Mystery of The Subconscious Mind
Who Is Carl Jung?
Carl Jung, born in 1875 in Switzerland, was a psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. In 1895, Jung began to study psychiatry and medicine at the University of Basel, inspired by its combination of the biological and spiritual.
He eventually left academia and began a clinical practice out of his own home. It was around that time that Sigmund Freud got wind of some of Jung’s publications, and their professional relationship bloomed for about six years.
Jung learned from Freud, and helped propagate Freud’s psychology, psychoanalysis. That is, until Jung published Psychology of The Unconscious: A Study of The Transformations and Symbolisms of The Libido, where he clearly defined the differences between their psychological beliefs.
Freud thought psychology centered around the sexual urge, which could make sense from one evolutionary perspective. Jung, however, recognized libido as important, but thought psychology was much deeper, choosing instead to focus his writings on the “collective unconscious,” the parts of our mind we inherit from our ancestors.
For the rest of this article, we will explore Jung’s work and ideas regarding the collective unconscious and how it relates to our psychological well being and meaning in life.
The Collective Unconscious
“The collective unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution born anew in the brain structure of every individual.”
— Carl Jung, Structure and Dynamics of The Psyche
Although we have individual bodies, separate from others, we still inherit the basic structure and functions that we share with all other humans. We inherit the pattern of having stomachs, bones, brains. Likewise, we inherit psychological “organs,” patterns of mental structure and function, too.
That overarching similarity, the cloth that our individual consciousness and personal unconscious are cut from, Jung calls the collective unconscious. It is eons old, having evolved with us over time, and is the sum of our instincts…