“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.” ~ Carl Jung
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This is a guest post from LaDonna Remy ~ http://perspectiveontrauma.com~
From the writings of Carl Gustav Jung.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ~ Carl G. Jung
Knowing and accepting oneself, fully, is a life’s work. One in which making the unconscious conscious, as Jung so eloquently states, in the above quote, is the real work in understanding and having direction in our lives.
This is not an easy journey. For Jung this meant finding one’s individual purpose in life. This individuation comes through gaining an understanding of one’s life story (that which lives in our personal unconscious) and further understanding that we are interconnected, as a people, and driven by forces held within our collective unconscious or collective conscience.
If you’re on a journey to know your own self (as Jung theorized is the purpose of this life) reading his sometimes mind bending and always thought-provoking work is a good companion in this process. Jung’s work and philosophies are deeply fascinating as they appear to merge the mystical and analytical to support one’s journey toward both understanding the self and contributing to a better world.
Carl Jung is one of the most influential and well-respected voices in analytic psychology. In reading his memoir (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) his courage and belief in doing (and living) what he believed was right, even in the face of incredible adversity, is evident.
Jung spoke of the soul (in part) as our center and the holder of unconscious material. The material found in the collective unconscious, that we are each born to our lifetime with. (Our ancestral and societal experiences). He believed that we receive messages from our unconscious that directs us in the process of individuation or finding our purpose. (In essence our higher calling.)
He recognized in his work and his writings (almost to the demise of his reputation and career) that there are larger internal and external forces at work in our lives. Further that these forces contain polarity. (Good and evil, difference and sameness, effectiveness and ineffectiveness’, beauty, and ugliness, etc.) It is this polarity that we must wrestle with, often unbeknownst to us, as we ideally find and live our purpose. This in turn, through outward manifestation, creates a better society for all.
He saw this process as identifying and accepting the polarity (good/evil) within us (through both our personal and collective history) as our work. An integration of our shadow, so to speak. It is in understanding the conflict between the poles, found here, and consciously wrestling with and choosing (for example) good over evil that we come to know and live our purpose or higher calling.
We could easily succumb to the less difficult path by not questioning or by going along with the larger masses or status quo. Within this process we unwittingly lend ourselves to further individual and collective pain. Believing this is fated. We simply accept and never struggle with the questions of our part in creating our own inner turmoil and the collective outward effects this has on the larger world.
In his memoir, Jung wrote of this process (the process of wrestling with and integrating our personal and collective shadow) stating “Such a conflict always presupposes a higher sense of responsibility”.
Jung, born in 1875, was exploring and beginning to share his theories in the early 1900’s. A time when psychiatry and psychology were in their infancy. His exploration over time (of this internal world) engaged and incorporated the work of theology, mythology, alchemy, dream analysis, symbolism, synchronicity, individuation, archetypes, paradoxical dilemma, world cultures and practices, thoughts on life after death, intuition/mediumship, and depths of the individual human psyche and collective consciousness.
It would have been easy for him to have gone along with the influential thinking of his time (where asylums were a predominate form of treatment) thankfully he did not. He explored the vast world of his clients and his own internal and ancestral self, incorporating the above ideologies, against considerable backlash. His work and personal journey gave us a much deeper and broader understanding of the human journey.
His contribution has been profound, much more detailed than what can be written here, and when understood lends much to individual and societal growth.
In one of his last writings (in 1959 prior to his passing in 1961) he summed his thinking on this matter very clearly in stating the following. “Today humanity as never before, is split into two apparently irreconcilable halves. The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say; when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must per force act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves”.
As written about, in previous posts, the current state of our world could be understood within Jungian concepts as could answers to many of the struggles we face individually and collectively. One would believe a considerable change might occur if we each struggled with our part, looking deeply into the eye of our own and our society’s history, and worked diligently to hold our self (through conscious thought and action) and in turn our society to the highest standard of accountability for the collective good of all citizens.
As always, I will add resources at the end of this article.
Deepest care and highest respect,
Copyright Protected Material: © 2014 ~ 2021 LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW. All rights reserved. Written content on this blog (Perspective on Trauma) is the property of the author LaDonna Remy, MSW, LICSW. Any unauthorized use or duplication without written permission of the author/ owner of this web log is prohibited. Excerpts or quotes may be shared in the event the author is fully cited with reference and direction to this blog.
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Treatment Referral Helpline: (1-877-726-4727)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-825
Jung Carl G. and Jaffe’ Aneila: Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
Jung Carl G: The Red Book.
Jung Carl G: Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
Whitney, Mark. Matter of Heart.
To see more of this writer’s work ~ http://perspectiveontrauma.com
And suddenly to your shivering horror it becomes clear to you that you have fallen into the boundless, the abyss, the inanity of eternal chaos. It rushes toward you as if carried by the roaring wings of a storm, the hurtling waves of the sea. ~ Carl Jung
If he does it from love or in the spirit of love, then he serves a god. ~ Carl Jung
The psychodynamic theory is a psychological theory Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his later followers applied to explain the origins of human behavior. The psychodynamic approach includes all the theories in psychology that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within the person, particularly unconscious, and between the different structures of the personality.
Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory, but the psychodynamic approach as a whole includes all theories that were based on his ideas, e.g., Carl Jung (1912), Melanie Klein (1921), Alfred Adler (1927), Anna Freud (1936), and Erik Erikson (1950).
The words psychodynamic and psychoanalytic are often confused. Remember that Freud’s theories were psychoanalytic, whereas the term ‘psychodynamic’ refers to both his theories and those of his followers.
Freud’s psychoanalysis is both a theory and therapy. Sigmund Freud (writing between the 1890s and the 1930s) developed a collection of theories which have formed the basis of the psychodynamic approach to psychology.
His theories are clinically derived – i.e., based on what his patients told him during therapy. The psychodynamic therapist would usually be treating the patient for depression or anxiety related disorders.
Our behavior and feelings are powerfully affected by unconscious motives:
The unconscious mind comprises mental processes that are inaccessible to consciousness but that influence judgments, feelings, or behavior (Wilson, 2002).
According to Freud (1915), the unconscious mind is the primary source of human behavior. Like an iceberg, the most important part of the mind is the part you cannot see.
Our feelings, motives, and decisions are actually powerfully influenced by our past experiences, and stored in the unconscious.
Our behavior and feelings as adults (including psychological problems) are rooted in our childhood experiences:
Psychodynamic theory states that events in our childhood have a great influence on our adult lives, shaping our personality. Events that occur in childhood can remain in the unconscious, and cause problems as adults.
Personality is shaped as the drives are modified by different conflicts at different times in childhood (during psychosexual development).
All behavior has a cause (usually unconscious), even slips of the tongue. Therefore all behavior is determined.
Psychodynamic theory is strongly determinist as it views our behavior as caused entirely by unconscious factors over which we have no control.
Unconscious thoughts and feelings can transfer to the conscious mind in the form of parapraxes, popularly known as Freudian slips or slips of the tongue. We reveal what is really on our mind by saying something we didn’t mean to. Freud believed that slips of the tongue provided an insight into the unconscious mind and that there were no accidents, every behavior (including slips of the tongue) was significant (i.e., all behavior is determined).
Personality is made up of three parts (i.e., tripartite): the id, ego, and super-ego:
~The id is the primitive and instinctive component of personality. It consists of all the inherited (i.e., biological) components of personality present at birth, including the sex (life) instinct – Eros (which contains the libido), and the aggressive (death) instinct – Thanatos.
~The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. It is the decision making component of personality.
~The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one’s parents and others. Parts of the unconscious mind (the id and superego) are in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind (the ego). This conflict creates anxiety, which could be dealt with by the ego’s use of defense mechanisms.
The four main goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict and change the behavior and mental processes of others.
Describing a behavior or cognition is the first goal of psychology. This can enable researchers to develop general laws of human behavior.
For example, through describing the response of dogs to various stimuli, Ivan Pavlov helped develop laws of learning known as classical conditioning theory.
Once researchers have described general laws behavior, the next step is to explain how or why this trend occurs. Psychologists will propose theories which can explain a behavior.
Psychology aims to be able to predict future behavior from the findings of empirical research. If a prediction is not confirmed, then the explanation it is based on might need to be revised.
For example, classical conditioning predicts that if a person associates a negative outcome with a stimuli they may develop a phobia or aversion of the stimuli.
Once psychology has described, explained and made predictions about behavior, changing or controlling a behavior can be attempted.
For example, interventions based on classical conditioning, such as systematic desensitization, have been used to treat people with anxiety disorders including phobias.
Structuralism and functionalism have since been replaced by several dominant and influential approaches to psychology, each one underpinned by a shared set of assumptions of what people are like, what is important to study and how to study it.
Psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was the dominant paradigm in psychology during the early twentieth century. Freud believed that people could be cured by making conscious their unconscious thoughts and motivations, thus gaining insight.
Freud’s psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory, but the psychodynamic approach as a whole includes all theories that were based on his ideas, e.g., Jung (1964), Adler (1927) and Erikson (1950).
The classic contemporary perspectives in psychology to adopt scientific strategies were the behaviorists, who were renowned for their reliance on controlled laboratory experiments and rejection of any unseen or unconscious forces as causes of behavior.
Later, the humanistic approach became the ‘third force’ in psychology and proposed the importance of subjective experience and personal growth.
During the 1960s and 1970s, psychology began a cognitive revolution, adopting a rigorous, scientific, lab-based scientific approach with application to memory, perception, cognitive development, mental illness, and much more.
For if he is familiar, then it is a possession which he can put in his pocket, no longer a thing greater than himself. He becomes it. Prof. Jung: That would be practically what Mrs. Adler said: it would be assimilating it to the ego. If one can call it by a name and put it in one’s pocket, the ego would be on top-! have a virtue. Giving a name to a thing generally has the peculiar effect of familiarizing it. It is as if it were depotentiated. ~ Carl Jung
We may long have known the meaning, effects, and characteristics of unconscious contents without ever having fathomed their depths and potentialities, for they are capable of infinite variation and can never be depotentiated. ~ Carl Jung