Carl Jung
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Carl Jung

The man who discovered the psychological archetypes

If William James is called the father of psychology, then Carl Jung is called the founder of psychology.

Carl Jung

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung claims one of the foremost positions in the world of psychology. He was the first to communicate to the world the psychological theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. Jung identifies the collective unconscious as the center of all psychic material that does not come from personal experience. Its contents and images appear to be shared with people of all time periods and all cultures.

‘If it be true that there can be no metaphysics transcending human reason, it is no less true that there can be no empirical knowledge that is not already caught and limited by the a priori structure of cognition’

‘If it be true that there can be no metaphysics transcending human reason, it is no less true that there can be no empirical knowledge that is not already caught and limited by the a priori structure of cognition’, said Jung in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Jung wanted to understand the human mind and for this he thought it significant to understand the scientific exploration of dreams, mythology, religion and art.

Born to Paul Achilles Jung and Emilie Preiswerk, Jung decided to study medicine. He was also inclined to spiritual phenomena; deeply influenced by Sigmund Freud, he however finally rejected Freud’s emphasis on sex as the sole source of behavioral motivation. Jung developed his own theory called Analytical Psychology or Jungian psychology. Analytical psychology gave a new direction to the study of the human mind. It views a person’s beliefs and behaviors as the result of conscious and unconscious impressions. This attitude towards the conscious-unconscious is why Jung is considered as the most noteworthy psychological theorists of all times. ‘Dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the psyche enriches the person, and Jung believed that without this dialogue, unconscious processes can weaken and even jeopardize the personality.’ He believed the collective unconscious was a reservoir of all the experience and knowledge of the human species. He therefore rejected the ‘tabula rasa’ of Locke. This collective unconscious is not individually acquired but is inherited. It comes to the surface through various symbols. These symbols are a central part of Jung’s thinking. It refers to a name, term, or picture that is familiar in daily life, yet has other connotations besides its conventional and obvious meaning. Dream symbols bring messages from the unconscious to the rational mind.

What the psyche inherits is the archetypes or pre-existent forms. They become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic content. Jung’s Psychological Types are also known as Meyers-Briggs personality types as they were derived from Jung’s work and discovered by Meyers and Briggs. The types are introvert / extrovert, sensing / intuiting, thinker / feeler and judging / perceiving. These Jung compares to the ancient archetypes, Apollo and Dionysus. Jung found that different people see, hear, feel, think, and experience the world in fundamentally different ways. The Meyers & Briggs personality Indicator is a powerful tool to help us understand how people function differently. Jung believes that without the unconscious the conscious might not have coherence just as The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

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