Carl Jung

Who is Carl Jung?

Carl Jung is the father of analytical psychology (Wikipedia, 2017).  Analytical psychology is concerned with the importance of the individual psyche and the personal quest for wholeness.  As a Swiss psychologist and psychoanalyst, Jung influenced “psychiatry, anthropology, archeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies”.  He considered ‘individuation’ (the lifelong psychological process of differentiation of the self out of each individual’s conscious and unconscious elements) to be the main task of human development.  In addition, Jung founded many of the most popular psychological concepts such as: synchronicity, the collective unconscious, archetypal phenomena, the psychological complex, as well as extroversion and introversion.

What was Carl Jung’s childhood like?

Jung was born on the 26th of July in 1875 to Paul Jung and Emilie Preiswerk in the village of Kesswill in Switzerland. He was the second, but first surviving son of the couple as his older brother had died a couple days after birth.  Jung’s father was a pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church and his maternal grandfather, Samuel Preiswerk, was his father’s professor in Hebrew studies at Basel University.  Jung’s mother exhibited a lot of unreliable behavior while he was a young child.  Eccentric and depressed, she often spoke of spirits visiting her and she seldom left her bedroom.  Jung often stated that she was normal during the day but became very strange and mysterious during the night; reporting that “one night he saw a faintly luminous and indefinite figure coming from her room with a head detached from the neck and floating in the air in front of the body” (Wikipedia, 2017).  His mother was often absent while being hospitalized or depressed.  His relationship with his mother improved in later childhood, when she was in better mental health; however, Jung noted later on that his experiences with his mother caused him to have an attitude of ‘innate unreliability’ towards women.  According to Wikipedia (2017) Jung was disappointed by the fact that his father approached faith from an academic stance.

As a child, Jung has stated that he felt that he possessed two personalities: that of a typical schoolboy of the time and a “dignified, authoritative and influential man from the past” (Wikipedia, 2017).  As a young boy, Jung developed, what he would later term as a neurosis [a class of functional mental disorders involving distress] following an experience with a boy at school who pushed him so hard that he fell unconscious.  Subsequently, Jung began to faint anytime he had to go to school or do schoolwork until a realization about his family’s poverty and; therefore, his need for academic excellence snapped it out of him.  Jung’s theories regarding symbols, archetypes, and the collective unconscious were inspired by childhood experiences.  According to Wikipedia (2017), Jung described another childhood experience which also influenced his future thoughts:

“As a boy, he carved a tiny mannequin into the end of the wooden ruler from his pencil case and placed it inside the case. He added a stone, which he had painted into upper and lower halves, and hid the case in the attic. Periodically, he would return to the mannequin, often bringing tiny sheets of paper with messages inscribed on them in his own secret language.  He later reflected that this ceremonial act brought him a feeling of inner peace and security. Years later, he discovered similarities between his personal experience and the practices associated with totems in indigenous cultures, such as the collection of soul-stones near Arlesheim or the tjurungas of Australia. He concluded that his intuitive ceremonial act was an unconscious ritual, which he had practiced in a way that was strikingly similar to those in distant locations which he, as a young boy, knew nothing about” (Wikipedia, 2017).

How did Carl Jung’s career progress?

Although Jung did not intend to study psychiatry due to its unpopularity at the time, he fell in love with it via a book he was reading about psychoses.  It is noted by Wikipedia (2017) that this combination of biology and spirituality is what intrigued him.  After studying medicine at the University of Basel in Switzerland, Jung began employment at the Burghölzli psychiatric hospital of Zürich in Germany with Eugen Bleuler, who was associated with the Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud.  While at Burghölzli, Jung sent a copy of a book he had written in 1906, Studies in Word Association, to Freud.  This began what would be an intense yet hot and cold friendship, cooperating professionally for a number of years until Jung wrote a book, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Psychology of the Unconscious), which Freud apparently disagreed with due to differences in opinion regarding libido and religion.  The breakup of this intense friendship (1912), complicated by World War I (1914), caused Jung to go through a pivotal psychological transformation.  During this transformation (1913), Jung kept notes in a book that he referred to as Liber Novus (aka the Red Book).  In this book, Jung referred to this transformation as a “confrontation with the unconscious”, during which he experienced both visual as well as auditory hallucinations.  He describes his concerns of having possibly been “menaced by a psychosis” or “doing a schizophrenia” but posited that it was a valuable experience and continued writing notes in the Red Book for the next 16 years while inducing the “active imaginations” he had been experiencing.

Jung was drafted as an army doctor during WWI, eventually taking over commandment of an internment camp for British soldiers and officers, encouraging them to attend university classes.  In 1903 Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, the heir of IWC Schaffhausen, which her father, Johannes Rauschenbach-Schenck, owned.  When Johannes died in 1905, Jung and his wife became part owners of the company, sharing the other half with his sister in law and her husband.  Jung’s wife, Emma was incredibly interested in Jung’s research, which inspired her to commence her own studies, while also becoming Jung’s assistant during his time at Burghölzli, and ultimately establishing herself as a noted psychoanalyst in her own right.  Jung and his wife borne five children: Agathe, Gret, Franz, Marianne, and Helene and their marriage persisted until her death in 1955.  According to Wikipedia (2017), Jung had affairs during his marriage with at least one of his patients (Sabina Spielrein) and his assistant (Toni Wolff), both of whom influenced his research considerably.

Emerging from a period of isolation in 1920, Jung published numerous journal articles and a book entitled, Psychological Types, in 1921.  Jung began traveling extensively during the next decade and delivered what was known as the Terry Lectures in 1937 in the US (later published in his book, Psychology and Religion at Yale University).  Jung went on an expedition in East Africa in 1925 known as, the Bugishu Psychological Expedition, in which he gained insights regarding “primitive psychology” via natives of the area.  Later in 1937, Jung went on another expedition throughout India in which, “Hindu philosophy became an important element in his understanding of the role of symbolism and the life of the unconscious” (Wikipedia, 2017).  It is said that Jung avoided meeting Ramana Maharshi due to Jung’s perception that Maharshi was absorbed in ‘the self’; however, later acknowledged that “his field of psychology is not competent in understanding the eastern insight of the Atman ‘the self’“.  This was Jung’s final adventure outside of Europe as he continued publishing books until his death, which was due to illness, in 1961 at Küsnacht of Switzterland.  One of his final books, which took into consideration the possible archetypal meaning and psychological significance of UFO observations, was entitled Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies (1959).

Jung developed  the following major concepts within analytical psychology:

  • Synchronicity
  • Archetype
  • Archetypal images
  • Complex
  • Extraversion and introversion
  • Shadow
  • Collective unconscious
  • Anima
  • Animus
  • Self
  • Individuation

 

References

Adamski, A. (2011, September). Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious of Carl G. Jung in the Light of Quantum Psychology. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.921.5519&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Boeree, G. (2006). Personality Theories. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.social-psychology.de/do/pt_jung.pdf

Dictionary.com. (2017). Archetype. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/archetype

Jung, C. (1936). The Concept of the Collective Unconscious. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://bahaistudies.net/asma/The-Concept-of-the-Collective-Unconscious.pdf

Wikipedia. (2017). Carl Jung. Retrieved February 09, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung

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