The Collective Unconscious


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The Collective Unconscious

The ego is the term given to the organisation of the conscious mind, being composed of conscious perceptions, memories, thoughts, and feelings [Calvin S. Nordby, A primer of Jungian Psychology , p. Those mental contents that the ego does not recognise fall into the Personal Unconscious. The Personal Unconscious is made up of suppressed and forgotten memories, traumas, etc. Thus far Jung is in agreement with his old teacher Freud, in supposing the existence of the Unconscious mind, which includes all that is not immediately accessible to everyday waking consciousness i.

Everyone has their own Personal Unconscious. The Collective Unconscious in contrast is universal. It cannot be built up like one's personal unconscious is; rather, it predates the individual. Actually, Jung's choice of the term "archetype" is in some senses misleading. But Jung interprets his archetypes in a biological sense. Yet even "remotest times" can still be located temporally. In this way, our memories are sifted and stored according to similarities along with the emotional weight of those memories.

The Complex Theory forms a theoretical foundation for the Collective Unconscious. Jung hypothesized that the central and most pivotal entry into the complex was through the visual system Jung, This was due to his extensive clinical experience and of the study, research, and collection of dream material. Jung found that dreams were, at their core, a series of emotion-laden images.

These images were structured in a dream sequence to symbolize a form, or type, of language of the unconscious. This in and of itself is a theoretical leap. Jung felt confident that he may be theoretically on the right track due to the ubiquitous and universal nature of the many dream images across time and cultures Jung, Jung would go on to piece together a correlation between the ancient images of mythology and religion with individual dream motifs he heard from patients. This correlation would strike Jung as impossible to account for through learning along.

Many of his patients had never been exposed to the images produced from dreams that matched images from mythology and world religions, so this phenomenon could not be accounted for simply based on suggestion or past exposure. The argument Jung makes here is a bit tenuous and that forms some of the criticisms as he further develops his theoretical argument.

In short, the Greek and other philosophical traditions had labeled the Archetype as a pre-existent thought-form that structured the world and undergirded reality as we know it.

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Using a crude modern metaphor, the Archetypes are the software running the hardware of a computer. The Archetypes, when applied to the human psyche, are analogous to the blueprint for an experience that a human being will likely encounter during a lifetime. This is very similar to the Fixed Action Patterns that are studied in animals by the field of ethology see Alcock, J.

Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, Massachusetts. University of Plymouth. The theory that archetypes could exist innately within the psyche requires the further development, that of a repository and transmission of their functions within the psyche of every human. Therefore, for Jung, under the personal unconscious of each individual there is a collective level of the unconscious. The image, as they appear in dreams, forms the common language for the unconscious.

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The complex aggregates memories and experiences around an archetypal core that is innate to the structure and function of the psyche. Anima: Jung gives as overview of his first archetype of the collective unconscious, the anima. Today, modern readers of Jungian thought have certain ideas about the anima and what it means. However, as Jung lays out his idea of the anima, it has a much different quality than the character we come across on the internet webpages. Jung takes us on a deeply scholarly overview of the concept of the anima across religions and the mythological from across eons and world cultures.

Again, we see that the Complex and Archetype go hand-in-hand. The archetypes cannot be grasped without the complex. In essence, the complex forms the flesh over the skeleton of each archetype. The point is made that inner relationships mirror outer relationships and that as the unconscious relationships are worked through, the outer relationships are altered.

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Concerning Rebirth: Here Jung shows us an example of the archetype as a common situation experienced in life. This type of situational example sometimes gets glossed over in writing about archetypes, but Jung gives us a good argument that common life struggles, not just relationships, are often archetypal. Philosophically, this is very interesting. Not for a moment dare we succumb to the illusion that an archetype can be finally explained and disposed of.

The Collective Unconscious – What is It, and Why Should You Care?

Even the best attempts at explanation are only more or less successful translations into another metaphorical language. Indeed, language itself is only an image. The most we can do is to dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress. And whatever explanation or interpretation does to it, we do to our own souls as well, with corresponding results for our own well-being. The archetype—let us never forget this—is a psychic organ present in all of us.

A bad explanation means a correspondingly bad attitude to this organ, which may thus be injured. But the ultimate sufferer is the bad interpreter himself. For the archetype is an element of our psychic structure and thus a vital and necessary component in our psychic economy. It represents or personifies certain instinctive data of the dark, primitive psyche, the real but invisible roots of consciousness.

The child is potential future. Hence the occurrence of the child motif in the psychology of the individual signifies as a rule an anticipation of future developments, even though at first sight it may seem like a retrospective configuration. Life is a flux, a flowing into the future, and not a stoppage or a backwash. It is therefore not surprising that so many of the mythological saviours are child gods. In the individuation process, it anticipates the figure that comes from the synthesis of conscious and unconscious elements in the personality.

It is therefore a symbol which unites the opposites; a mediator, bringer of healing, that is, one who makes whole.


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In particular, the Kore image can tell us something about the undeveloped part of the personality. If the maiden image is incapable of maturation, then we may be seeing a hindrance in the individuation process. The inability to grow and mature is commonly expressed in a mythological manner. If one is too attached to feminine innocence, then life is bound to push for transformation and change. In such cases we see the Kore being exposed to dangers.

An occasional variant is the nixie or water-sprite, who betrays her superhuman nature by her fishtail. Sometimes the Kore- and mother-figures slither down altogether to the animal kingdom, the favourite representatives then being the cat or the snake or the bear, or else some black monster of the underworld like the crocodile, or other salamander-like, saurian creatures. Often there are bloody, cruel, and even obscene orgies to which the innocent child falls victim.


  1. Collective Unconscious.
  2. Collective unconscious;
  3. Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious: by C. G. Jung.
  4. The Concept of Jung's Collective Unconscious Explained?
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  6. The myth of the collective unconscious.
  7. What was the beguiling spell of Jung’s ‘collective unconscious’? | Aeon Ideas.
  8. I remember a case, in fact, where a maiden-goddess appears clad all in purest white, but carrying a black monkey in her arms. The Earth Mother is always chthonic and is occasionally related to the moon, either through the blood-sacrifice already mentioned, or through a child-sacrifice, or else because she is adorned with a sickle moon. The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales: Jung here makes the case that spirit, as seen through dream material, is analogous with the archetype. Spirits and Gods are the personification of archetypes, psychologically speaking, as inhabitants of the unconscious that are then projected outward.

    We can see this projection clearly in an analysis of fairytales. This is a radical idea and one that squarely places the spiritual and religious within the domain of psychological study.

    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious The Collective Unconscious
    The Collective Unconscious

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