Sunday, May 3, 2009

Notes From The President and Editor

Dear Friends of The C. G. Jung Society of Vermont,

This month’s edition of Jung in Vermont is somewhat lighter in the amount of material we are posting, but it is certainly not “light” in content. We lead off with the essay, What is America’s Shadow, which continues Sue Mehrtens’ discussion of the American cultural complex addressed last month in her essay on American exceptionalism. This month, she examines America's dark side via the link between the collective shadow and the typological functions.

In our other essay for this month, The Religious Function of Psyche: Individuation, The Lifelong Path To Wholeness, we move from a discussion of psychic illness operative in the American collective psyche today, to a discussion of individuation, the on-going process of psychic development in the individual. Appropriately enough, the society’s May event offering by Luanne Sberna, a Burlington practitioner of Dance Movement Therapy, focuses on individuation in her presentation entitled, Psyche & Soma: Healing The Mind-Body Split. For details on this May 27th presentation in Burlington, click This Month in this edition of Jung in Vermont. Presentation information can also be accessed on The Calendar of Events/Society Offerings page of our website:

In closing, we make mention of Teresa Arendell’s presentation, Psyche and Wilderness, Journeying into the Depths, which she gave at Burlington College this past April. Teresa’s presentation, a wonderful story and myth filled journey into the interior wilderness of psyche by way of the outer journey through the wilderness of the natural world, will be reviewed in the June edition of Jung in Vermont.

With best regards,

Stephanie Buck, President and Editor

What is America's Shadow?

The subject of this essay comes from a question posed to me in the Q&A after my presentation at the International Association for the Study of Dreams conference in July 2008. A member of the audience asked me to describe America’s shadow. I responded off the cuff, knowing this was a rich question worthy of a more thoughtful, in-depth reply. As with many essays on this blog, it has a Jungian component, and it relates closely to both the essay of last month and to the essay that will appear next month.

As I have done with other essays I will begin by defining the “shadow,” in Jungians terms; then I will consider the link between the shadow and the typological functions. After that I will consider the specific elements of America’s shadow and how our collective shadow manifests pathologically. Finally I will examine how it relates to American exceptionalism.

What does “shadow” mean?

As used in Jungian thought, the term “shadow” refers to the “hidden or unconscious aspects of oneself,”[1] which the ego has either repressed or simply not recognized. It is “shadow” because we are “in the dark” about these parts of ourselves.

While we will focus primarily in this essay on the negative aspects of the shadow (which are more problematic than the positive) we should note that the shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we don’t recognize as “us.” That is, there can be positive or good qualities, like creative impulses, realistic insights, and qualities that are not developed in our consciousness:[2] things or activities we are not good at, or aspects of living where we are awkward or unadapted. So, for example, gross motor coordination (fine athleticism) is part of my shadow (I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time!). Athleticism is a good thing, to be sure, but it is not something I do well and it would be very difficult for me to develop my gross motor skills to a high degree. So we might say that athleticism is part of my shadow.

More difficult—what Jung called “a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality”[3]—is to work with the negative forms of the shadow. We will focus on this form in the rest of this essay.

In its dark guise, the negative guise, the shadow includes all the things we are not proud of or would not want to see as part of us: repressed desires, uncivilized impulses, resentments, childish fantasies, morally inferior motives, behaviors that are anti-social or illegal.[4] Because we don’t want to think poorly of ourselves, we very rarely actively seek to discover our shadow. Jung felt the shadow showed up, or confronted a person, at the outbreak of a neurosis.[5] At such a time, we are confronted with both embarrassing insights into ourselves and also new possibilities (because the shadow offers the opportunity to enlarge our sense of self).

At this point we face a choice: We can take up the task of working with the shadow material OR we can willfully repress the shadow. But note this: repression does not make the shadow go away. It continues to exist in the unconscious and begins to express itself indirectly (e.g. in outer life) in situations that are not pleasant.[6] Often in these situations we “project” the shadow out (unconsciously, of course) and then find ourselves having to deal with people who carry the projection.[7] Life gets more difficult. Jung even uses the word “dangerous” at this point.[8] The shadow wants to be reckoned with. Doing so produces change.

If we take the more prudent (but less palatable) course and confront the shadow, what happens next? Jung describes the process: We come to feel stuck. Many of the certainties in life come to seem doubtful. We find it hard to make moral decisions. We may feel ineffective or begin to question our convictions.[9] In short, life does not get better immediately because the process of assimilating the shadow takes time.

Much as we might wish for a guaranteed “cookbook” approach to resolving the shadow problem, there isn’t any. Each person grapples with it in his/her unique way. It is always an individual process.[10] But certain steps have been identified by Jungian analysts.

First, we must accept the shadow as part of us and take it seriously. Second, we must become aware of the shadow’s qualities and intentions. How to do this? By paying conscious attention to our moods, fantasies, impulses and dreams.[11] Dreamwork is one of the most effective ways to get to know and monitor the shadow. Third, we hunker down for a long “process of negotiation,” what Jungians call (using the technical term in the German original) “Auseinandersetzung,” or “having it out with oneself.”[12] In this process we metaphorically “wrestle” with ourselves inwardly, engaging the shadow material, then backing off, coming in again, withdrawing again and again. This phase of inner work can take months, but there is no set timetable and, as I remind my dream students, this is not a race: the work will take as long as it takes.

In discussing the shadow, we must mention a key point which relates to the quality of the shadow. By “quality” I refer to how dark or light the shadow is. This degree of darkness “depends on how much we consciously identify with a bright persona.”[13] By this Jungians mean how highly we think of ourselves. If we think we are wonderful, superior to others, special, or gifted, our shadow is likely to be very dark and full of all sorts of stuff we are not likely to want to see or face. Why is this? Because the shadow stands in a compensatory relationship to our conscious sense of ourselves.[14] This is important to remember when we examine America’s shadow in a later section of this essay. In the next section, we consider the link between the shadow and the type functions.

The link between the shadow and type functions

By “function” Jungians mean the 4 elements—Intuition (N)/Sensation (S), Thinking (T)/Feeling (F)—that Jung identified as the elements of personality type. This is not the place to get into a long disquisition on typology,[15] so we will briefly describe the functions and then indicate how type relates to the shadow. Then we will relate all this to our collective American shadow.

Early on in his career Jung explored possible causes for his split with Freud and came to conclude that, to a degree, their falling out was due to a fundamental difference in personality.[16] Jung realized that certain personality features are innate and he termed these “functions,” two being “rational” (i.e. able to be explained)[17]—Thinking and Feeling—and two being “irrational” (i.e. not able to be explained through the use of reason)[18]—Intuition and Sensation.

The rational functions, Thinking and Feeling, refer to how we make decisions, Thinking types preferring logic and reason and stressing objectivity, Feeling types preferring to use their feelings and values, with more of a subjective or personal focus. The irrational functions, Intuition and Sensation, relate to how we gain awareness or information about the world. Sensates use their senses, while Intuitives use something that circumvents the senses, their intuition.

In addition to the 4 functions, Jung recognized 2 personality attitudes, Extraversion and Introversion.[19] These relate to the flow of psychic energy. In Extraverts, psychic energy tends to flow out to the external world providing the Extravert with more interest in outer reality than an Introvert usually has. In Introverts, psychic energy flows inward, giving the Introvert more awareness of his/her inner life than an Extravert usually has.

A final component of Jungian typology is the J/P distinction. “J” stands for “Judging” (not “judgmental”) and “P” for “Perceiving.” These terms refer to a person’s style of decision-making. Judgers prefer closure; they like to get things settled and agreed upon. They plan ahead and work well with deadlines and timeframes. Perceivers prefer to keep things loose and often find it a challenge to meet deadlines. They tend to resist closure and like to keep gathering information.[20]

In Jungian convention, the types are described in a 4-letter system. So we speak of the ESTJ type,[21] the INFP type[22] and so on. If you are interested in pursuing the subject of Jungian types further, see the Bibliography. For our purposes, we must consider next the question of what the types have to do with the shadow, and, more specifically, what all this has to do with America’s shadow.

As we live our lives there often is a correlation between one’s type opposite and the shadow, especially if a person has a strong preference for an orientation and function.[23] If, for example, a person is a strong ESTJ—highly oriented to the external world (E), operating strongly through the 5 senses (S), with a marked preference for objective, logical reasoning (T) and being decisive (J)—an encounter with a strong INFP (the type opposite) will be a confrontation with someone who carries some of his/her shadow qualities. Both parties might find it hard to work with, understand or resonate with the other (or, as often is the case with couples, both might find the other fascinating, albeit also mystifying, hard to fathom and, at times, exasperating).[24]

My use of the ESTJ as an example is not haphazard: I chose it because the ESTJ is the type preference of nearly 75% of Americans.[25] Given this marked preference in the American population, what sort of typological portrait can we paint of the typical American?

As an Extravert, the typical American is:
· sociable and friendly
· focused on outer circumstances
· keenly aware of trends, fads and fashions
· civic-minded
· outgoing
· a “joiner,” seeking to belong to groups around him/her
· venturing easily into unknown situations
· identifying the causes of things outside him/herself, e.g. “I’m moody because of the weather”
· not given to much introspection or reflection[26]
· in Jung’s own experience of Americans (both his students in Zurich and on his multiple trips to America) he found the typical American to be talkative, business-like, unself-conscious, a “jolly fellow” in an “eager and excited collectivity.”[27]

As a Sensate, the typical American is:
· practical
· sensible
· down to earth
· realistic
· concerned with things
· materialistic
· concrete, with little patience for abstractions and theories
· mechanical, with a gift for technical matters
· the master of detail
· security-seeking
· the preserver of the status quo
· distrusting of intangibles
· loving new gadgets, with a creativity that is practical and technological[28]

Jung found Americans had lots of physical endurance, and were efficient and very much focused on the “yellow god.”[29]

As a Thinker, the typical American is:
· objective
· analytical
· concerned about laws, principles and policies
· “oriented to objective reality”[30]
· a poor listener
· well-suited for business, industry, production, the sciences and law[31]

Jung felt the typical American invested words with power and his thinking was simple and straightforward; with his feeling less adapted, Americans were inclined toward sentimentality and unrestrained emotions.[32]

As a Judger, the typical American is:
· punctual
· decisive
· good at planning and scheduling
· comfortable with deadlines and timeframes
· moralistic
· likely to see the world in black-and-white terms
· likely to jump to conclusions or to decide too quickly
· likely to judge others according to his own rules and principles
· likely to judge others without looking within, at his own actions[33]

Jung regarded the American on this score as efficient, righteous, sectarian, promiscuous, impetuous and concerned with “conspicuous respectability.”[34]

Given this description of the typical ESTJ American, what might we expect the American shadow to look like? Type theory would suggest that some of our collective shadow would be drawn from qualities found in the INFP type. Specifically, we might expect to find our collective shadow[35] shows up in our:
· giving little time to introspection
· disinclination to do much inner reflection
· preference for the superficial, with a tendency to project inner “stuff” on to others, leading to a poor or inaccurate assessment of reality
· mistrust of intuition, with a denigration of right-brained activities (e.g. “Oh, that’s just your imagination!”)
· falling into gross hedonism
· putting a premium on things (“He who dies with the most toys, wins!”)
· becoming susceptible to dark fantasies and suspicions
· exploiting people and animals
· failing to listen well; poor listening ability
· projecting feelings, leading to jealousies, anxieties and suspiciousness
· tough-mindedness, the flip side of which is denigration of caring and caretaking
· fondness for talking of Truth, leading to a moralizing style full of “oughts” and “musts”
· trying to force others into our mold or ways of doing things
· having poor access to our feelings, producing poor relationships and crude tastes
· believing that “the end justifies the means”
· becoming hypersensitive, leading to pettiness, aggression and mistrust of others
· becoming rigid and dogmatic
· becoming fearful of doubt, which can lead to fanaticism
· creativity becoming stagnant and regressive
· falling into what Jung called “mental passivity”[36]
· having difficulties in handling moral ambiguity
· jumping to conclusions
· having naive attachments to religious movements
· “grotesquely punctilious morality”[37]
· falling into “blatant Pharisiasm, religious supersitition and meddlesome officiousness”[38]

Our ESTJ character well suits the businessman, entrepreneur, lawyer, scientist, academic, athlete and engineer.[39] Shadow occupations, in our culture—those that require more of an INFP temperament—include child care worker, social worker, minister, psychotherapist, artist and counselor. Given the bias toward the ESTJ it is no wonder that the caring professions get short shrift and less pay.

What is America’s shadow?

We’ll consider this question from several angles: historical (how our national shadow has appeared in our past) and topical (how our collective shadow has affected our foreign and domestic policies, our personal lives and lifestyle choices, and our attitudes and habits of thinking).

We see one of the first examples of our shadow in history in the very earliest days of the Puritan settlement of New England. Our Puritan ancestors claimed to be chosen by God as moral exemplars to the world, and then went out and massacred the Pequot Indians.[40] We Americans then spent the next 200 years systematically decimating millions of other native peoples and wiping out their cultures.[41]

We waxed eloquently about human beings’ inalienable rights while we enslaved millions of Africans for the economic advantage slavery meant to us.[42] We even went so far as to write slavery into our Constitution.

We fought a Civil War to settle the debate about slavery and after that war we enfranchised all men, but left one-half of our population out of the political process. It took women another 55 years to gain the right to vote and we are still waiting to see full equality.[43]

We exult in our honor and moral probity, yet the United States government broke over 400 treaties made with its native populations.[44] Clearly “keeping our word” counts only in some contexts.

We claimed we had a “manifest destiny”—called by God to “liberate” the people of the Philippines from Spain—and, in the process of doing so, we killed 600,000 Filipinos in 1899.[45]

The Vietnam War was rife with examples of America’s shadow side, from the twisted logic of destroying villages to “save” them, to the massacre of civilians at places like My Lai.

Most recently, the Bush Administration determined it had a mission to free the Iraqi people from the yoke of the dictator Saddam Hussein, and in doing so we caused the death of tens of thousands of people, the looting of the antiquities of the country, and the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Our wars afford numerous examples of our shadow. In other ways our foreign policy is also replete with shadow. In the previous essay on American exceptionalism we noted the principle of “exemptionalism,” in which the United States exempts itself from treaties, like the Kyoto protocol on climate change.[46] We demand special treatment by other countries, even as our own court system disregards the legal decisions of other nations. In foreign policy, the United States plays by its own rules and the result is that the world sees us as “an exceptionally arrogant bully.”[47] For our part, we are blind to how other countries perceive us.[48] Our rhetoric in foreign affairs is high-minded, hiding our ulterior pursuits or actions. This causes other countries to charge us with hypocrisy. For example: we champion human rights and then produce an Abu Ghraib; we capture prisoners in Iraq and hide them from the International Red Cross; we deny Afghan prisoners the protections of the Geneva Conventions by classifying them as “enemy combatants,” but raise all sorts of objections if other nations fail to treat U.S. soldiers according to the rules.[49] We force our system on other countries while undermining individual liberties at home. In trying to remake the world in our own image we run a foreign policy full of “imperial delusions,”[50] but, in our unconsciousness, we fail to see what we are really doing. And finally, we rely on military power to conceal the problems caused by our domestic profligacy.[51]

Our domestic policies provide numerous examples of our American shadow. Take health care. We run it under a business model,[52] which reflects the failure (typical of the ESTJ type) to value caring and caregiving. So we put the health of the pocketbook before the health of people, and produce a disease-care system in which the human being is defined as “an income-generating biological structure,”[53] or as a source for “spare parts” (kidneys, lungs etc.). We create a class and political system that favors the wealthy and powerful, resulting in a venal government that is more a plutocracy than a democracy.[54] We maintain a host of civic myths—like the viability of the two-party system—at a time when our society is getting more and more multi-cultural and diverse and in need of multiple parties and a variety of forms of political expression.[55] In our Extraverted tendency toward “group think” we suppress dissent.[56] We regard violence as an appropriate way to solve problems and our culture (e.g. television, movies, video games) promotes violence.[57] We incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in the developed world.[58] When faced with an assault to our high-minded rhetoric (like Abu Ghraib) we refuse to engage difficult ethical issues, refusing to ask ourselves why such tragedies happen.[59] We also refuse to recognize the fundamentally amoral nature of capitalism and the consequences this has on our body politic.[60] We continue to use the death penalty, when the rest of the Western world recognizes its barbarity.[61] Our Sensate nature promotes materialism, and this materialistic ethos has led to our living far beyond our means, on both the individual and collective levels. Our huge national debt is causing crises economic, political and military, thanks to “our national self-indulgence.”[62] We fail to see how our political system is held hostage to corporate lobbyists, and we turn a blind eye to how “we are squandering our wealth and power now,”[63] as we compromise our freedom. We fail to see how our federal government has become warped, with the rise of the “imperial Presidency.”[64] Despite 9/ll and the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we are unable to recognize how our national security system is broken: it cannot provide us with accurate, reliable intelligence. We cannot see how we are now contracting out the business of national security, and how the Pentagon has consistently lied about its capabilities.[65] Our democracy now is “hollow” and “false:”[66] we believe the two parties—Democrats and Republicans—are substantially different and that changing the party in power will really result in substantive change, but in reality the “elements of continuity far outweigh the elements of change.”[67] This means stasis in our political system. The Sensation Judging type does not like change. Change is part of our American shadow. But change is also a central part of life and we Americans, with our ESTJ bias, resist change at our peril.

Our collective shadow also shows up in our lifestyle choices. Look at our poor dietary practices: the popularity of “fast foods” and junk foods, and the epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases like heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. “Consumeritis,”[68] “omnivorous consumerism,”[69] leads us to “shop til we drop.” We are told by the media and powers-that-be that consuming is our civic duty. The materialism of the Sensate leads us to compulsive acquisition of stuff and this “getting and spending” that Wordsworth so decried[70] has produced an unsustainable economic system and a soul-deadening focus on continuous material growth. Not that we have much time to enjoy all our gadgets and gizmos: “24/7, 365” is the emerging standard in the workplace, leading to widespread workaholism and lack of balance in our daily lives. Other forms of addiction are common too: abuse of alcohol and illicit drug use are growing problems. Our cultural definition of success is “the good life,” interpreted in strictly material terms: “status objects,” accumulated wealth and the “newest, new thing.” We ignore completely the truism that the best things in life are not things. Our refusal to live within our means has produced a national way of life that is both unsustainable and spiritually destructive.[71]

Finally we see examples of our national shadow in our attitudes and habits of thinking. We claim to be the “land of opportunity” open to immigrants, but we have demonstrated prejudice against immigrants from the time of the “Know Nothings” up to our present resentment of Hispanics and illegal aliens.[72] With our attitude of superiority we claim to have the best system, but refuse to recognize our flaws and foibles. The recent election saw numerous instances of racist rhetoric and racial slurs. Another example of a shadow attitude is our arrogance in thinking we are capable of operating a global war on terror.[73] And we see shadow in our attitude of denial.
As I noted in the essay on Denial in the Wake Up/Leap Frog set of essays elsewhere on this Web site, denial is not that river in Egypt! Denial is a dangerous psychological defense mechanism that warps our perception, prevents healthy change and contributes to the growing pathology of our culture. Our national shadow has become pathological. Why pathological? Because it is producing suffering.

We are suffering, as a culture, from high rates of child mortality, child poverty, and failure in our schools. Poor single mothers and their families are suffering as we eliminate welfare for them, while fat-cat corporations get all sorts of bailouts and handouts from Washington. We suffer from high rates of crime, incarceration and gun ownership. We suffer from high levels of repression, causing a large percentage of our population to experience addictions, neuroses and psychoses. We suffer as we denigrate and devalue caring, compassion, vulnerability, feelings and weakness.[74] Because denial blocks change we are not likely to shift our system any time soon. Stasis is even more likely due to the effect of American exceptionalism, which was the subject of the previous essay.

How American exceptionalism relates to our collective shadow?

We mentioned earlier how the quality of the shadow is keyed to how much one identifies with a bright persona. If we think very highly of ourselves, if we see our public image in a very positive light, then our shadow will be the opposite: very dark. The brighter the conscious self-image, the darker the shadow.

As we noted in the essay on American exceptionalism,[75] there is a tradition in the United States, especially among conservatives and Republicans, of regarding America as exceptional, in the sense of being more moral, a moral exemplar, superior, having the best system of government in the world. In short, our national persona is very bright. So our national shadow is very dark.

More than this, Jung regarded us as “one-sided.”[76] In being willing to look only at our bright side, in our reluctance to examine our faults, even when, as in 9/ll and Abu Ghraib, they are thrown in our face, we are in denial. And this can have dire consequences.

Jung warned that such one-sidedness leads to the build-up, in the collective unconscious, of a huge enantiodromia.[77] The term Jung took from the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus. It means “a running to the opposite,” and it refers to the compensatory nature of the unconscious. If our conscious orientation is very one-sided, the unconscious “compensates” by building up energy on the other side. Eventually this situation becomes unstable and there is a dramatic shift. In a collective, this has very severe consequences.

Jung recognized that Americans historically have projected our collective shadow on to our black and “Red Indian” populations,[78] as well as on to Communists (during the Cold War). Were Jung alive, he would see we are doing the same thing now with jihadists and terrorists. To what end?

Jung was quite explicit on this score and we disregard his warning at our collective peril: In America, he said, “there seems to be an astonishingly feeble resistance to collective influences...”[79] and collective action “... makes people unaware of themselves and heedless of risks.”[80]

Heedless of risks. We are failing to heed Jung’s warning. The size, cause, nature and deep background of the coming American catastrophe is the subject of the next essay in this series.


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[1] Sharp (1991), 123.
[2] CW, 11, ¶134 and CW, 9ii, ¶ 423.
[3] CW, 9ii, ¶14.
[4] Sharp (1991), 123.
[5] Ibid., 124.
[6] CW, 14, ¶514.
[7] Sharp (1991), 123.
[8] CW, 14, ¶514.
[9] Ibid., ¶708.
[10] Sharp (1991), 124.
[11] Ibid.
[12] For descriptions and elaboration of this concept, cf. Hollis (1993), 108-109, and Kluger (1995), 74-75.
[13] Sharp (1991), 124.
[14] Ibid.
[15] For in-depth discussions of Jungian type theory, cf. CW, 6 (especially “General Description of the Types, ¶556-671; “Definitions,” ¶672-844; and the Appendix: “Four Papers on Psychological Typology,” ¶858-987; Sharp (1987); Keirsey & Bates (1984); Myers (1980); Keirsey (1998); von Franz & Hillman (1971); and Kroeger & Thuesen (1988).
[16] Hannah (1976), 132-133.
[17] I.e. “...based on a reflective, linear process...” Sharp (1987), 16.
[18] “...beyond or outside of reason;...” ibid., 17.
[19] Ibid., 12.
[20] Keirsey & Bates (1984), 22-24.
[21] I.e. Extraverted Sensate Thinking Judging
[22] I.e. Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving; note the use of “N” for “Intuitive.” Since “I” was used for “Introvert” another letter had to be used for “Intuition.”
[23] If a person has a weak preference, i.e. is not strongly one-sided, the shadow may not be so pronounced in terms of the person encountering people who would carry it.
[24] See Kroeger & Thuesen (1994) for insights into how type theory is applied in love, marriage and intimate relationships.
[25] Keirsey & Bates (1984), 25. For Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceiving, the rate is 50%.
[26] Keirsey (1998), 104-107; Sharp (1991), 141; Sharp (1987), 56.
[27] CW, 10, ¶95, 954, 957.
[28] Keirsey & Bates (1984), 25; Keirsey (1998), 104-107.
[29] CW, 10, ¶102, 946.
[30] Sharp (1987), 54.
[31] Keirsey & Bates (1984), 25; Myers (1980), 88; Sharp (1987), 45.
[32] CW, 10, ¶100, 946, 957, 958.
[33] Keirsey & Bates (1984), 25-26; Keirsey (1998), 104-107; Myers (1980), 86.
[34] CW, 10, ¶946, 958, 962.
[35] This composite portrait of the American shadow is drawn from Sharp (1987), 44-58.
[36] CW, 10, ¶929.
[37] CW, 6, ¶608.
[38] Ibid.
[39] Sharp (1987), 45.
[40] Zinn (1993-2006), 1.
[41] For a detailed account of our systematic extermination of native peoples, cf. Jackson (1881/1965); Vogel (1972); Nichols (2003); Washburn (1975); and Waldman (2000).
[42] On the history of our enslavement of African peoples, cf. Stamp (1956); Nash (1979); Washington (1965); DuBois (1965); and Johnson (1965).
[43] On the campaign for women’s equality, cf. Hymowitz & Weissman (1978); Rossi (1973); Friedan (1963); and Flexner (1975).
[44] Deloria (1988), 28.
[45] Zinn (1993-2006), 3-4.
[46] Ignatieff (2005), 1.
[47] Monkerud (2008), 2.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Eland (2004), 1.
[50] Bacevich (2008), 7.
[51] Ibid.
[52] Monkerud (2008), 2.
[53] I read this phrase some years ago, in an article by the Princeton healthcare economist Uwe Reinhardt, but the exact citation is now lost.
[54] Monkerud (2008), 2.
[55] Bacevich feels it is a myth that the Democrats and Republicans are really different; Bacevich (2008), 10; cf. Monkerud (2008), 2. Another civic myth claims that we are a classless society. See Aldrich (1988), Baltzell (1964), Birmingham (1968), Fussell (1983), and Warner (1960) for studies that debunk this myth.
[56] Seis (2003), 2.
[57] Ibid.
[58] As of February 2008 the United States had over 2.3 million persons in federal, state and local prisons; this works out to 1 in 100 Americans; see Liptak (2008).
[59] Seis (2003), 2.
[60] Jacobs (2004), 2.
[61] Spiro (2000), 3.
[62] Moyers & Bacevich (2008), 6. For an incisive critique of contemporary America, see Bacevich (2008).
[63] Moyers & Bacevich (2008), 7.
[64] Ibid.
[65] Ibid.
[66] Ibid., 10.
[67] Ibid., 9.
[68] This term was coined by John Moelaert, a Canadian conservationist; see Moelaert (1974), 219.
[69] Seis (2003), 2.
[70] In “The World Is Too Much With Us,” line 1 (1806).
[71] Moyers & Bacevich (2008), 10.
[72] Carman, Syrett & Wishy (1964), 512-513.
[73] Moyers & Bacevich (2008), 9.
[74] For an in-depth analysis of the pathology of the ESTJ personality, in its collective form, see Giannini (2004), 509-558.
[75] Posted on the Jungian Center blog in April 2009.
[76] CW, 7, ¶75.
[77] Ibid., ¶111.
[78] “Red Indians” is how Jung referred to the native indigenous peoples of North America; CW, 5, ¶267.
[79] CW, 10, ¶957.
[80] Ibid.

The Religious Function of Psyche: Individuation, The Lifelong Path to Wholeness

This essay concerns the religious dimension of psyche which, under the direction of the central archetype of Self, fosters individual psychic development in a process which Jung named individuation. Relevant literature from both classical and contemporary analytical psychology is reviewed. The traditional analytical psychology view of this “widening of consciousness” is discussed, along with more recent contributions from the developmental school of analytical psychology.

Esther Harding, a first generation Jungian analyst (cited, Heisig, 1979), states that “most of Jung’s works deal with problems raised by his first book” (p. 151), a viewpoint supported by von Franz (1975) as well as by Jung himself (Jaffe, 1971; Jung, 1965). These ‘problems’ concern, among other things, the differentiation of consciousness - the paradoxical process of psyche’s movement toward wholeness known as individuation.

Consciousness is a process unique to human beings. Its expansion is the central task of human existence. The task of expanding consciousness by owning and integrating formerly disowned psychic contents (one’s dark side or shadow) is the critical issue confronting the individual today (Guggenbuhl-Craig, 1971; Jung, 1969; Neumann, 1990). Jung called this process of psychic growth through integration of the opposites contained within us, individuation. The individual’s journey to ever-increasing consciousness and psychic wholeness can be thought of as a “hero’s journey” in that it is taken alone and at great peril, demanding as it does the sacrifice of ego-centeredness for connection with Self. In other words, its aim requires “a suspension of the will” (Jung cited, Fordham, 1994, 8) or a giving over of ego directedness to the archetypal influence of the Self so that, one’s “aptitudes can develop unhindered” (Hostie, 1957, p. 71). Although the aim of individuation, which Jung conceived of as being a process active from mid-life on, is opposite that of the formative years of life i.e., ego-strengthening and consolidation, social-relatedness and adaptation, it can be thought of as a lifelong process. At first glance, the idea of individuation as a life long process conflicts with the empirically-derived data which suggest that individuation requires conscious collaboration, in other words, that in order to suspend one’s will or ego one must have an ego. Infants and children, of course, do not have the psychic structure in place to permit this and so haven’t the necessary consciousness. Developmentally, individuation is not even possible until at the very least early adulthood, and even at this time the developmental tasks involved - ego-relatedness and active social engagement and adaptation – are distinct from those of mid-life which involve an inward-turning in anticipation of life’s end. For these reasons, mid-life is normally thought of as the period when archetypal activity directs a shift from an external to internal focus or ego-centeredness to Self-centeredness (Jung, 1954). However, based on Fordham’s (1994; 1995) developmental work as well as contemporary fetal research and infant studies (Boodman, 2000; Hrdy, 2000; Jacoby, 1999; Lowry, 1999; van Heteren, Boekkooi, Jongsma, & Nijhuis, 2000) the case can be made for individuation being a continuous archetypal process actively promoting development and growth towards consciousness from the very beginnings of life in the womb to birth and through the various stages of psychological-physical development that finally ends at death. Thus where once the infant and young child were thought to be alternately a psychic blank slate or totally immersed in the mother (and the unconscious), and so without any sense of identity, Fordham’s (1994) clinical research suggests that the infant exists in what could be said to be a state of semi-unconsciousness or an integrated state of psychic unity, a state which he calls the “primal self.” It is a state of “psychosomatic unity containing all potentialities” (Sidoli, 1996) and not dependent on mother or others for its psychic wholeness (Fordham, 1994). This primary unity, or “primal self,” is the basis on which the child’s sense of personal identity rests and from which psychic development – individuation - proceeds through a dynamic process of psychic unfolding and enfolding (deintegration-reintegration) (Fordham, 1994; Sidoli, 1989). Although the infant (and fetus) possesses a form of nascent ego (ego in a germinal stage) apart from mother’s, it is the quality of the mother’s relationship with it that will help determine the health or pathology of its development – a fact also borne out by contemporary medical studies into the connection between the womb environment and adult health (Ross, 2002).

What is especially significant is that Fordham’s (1994; Sidoli, 1989) speculations about fetal development within the womb – that prior to birth the fetus is a whole psychic entity – is now seemingly being corroborated by medical research. A study on learning and memory conducted on full-term human fetuses indicates that fetuses are able to learn and that they possess short-term memory of at least ten minutes, and long-term memory of at least 25 hours (van Heteren, Boekkooi, Jongsma, & Nijhuis, 2000; Boodman, 2000). The results of another study on newborn infants’ recognition of mother supports these results (Hrdy, 1999). Far from being a passive recipient of another’s care, the infant from birth and before is a relational being actively engaging with its environment (Elson, 1989; Hrdy, 1999). All of this suggests that the fetus-infant-child is the carrier of its genetic and archetypal development and that individuation, the process to integration and wholeness is, in fact, a lifelong process and not only that of middle age.

Individuation, when consciously undertaken, is an extraordinarily difficult process to realize since its ongoing achievement exacts the highest price possible - moral and ethical responsibility for all that one thinks and does, as well as for all that one fails to do (Jung, 1970). Regarding this, Jung (1968) writes:

the right way to wholeness is made up, unfortunately, of fateful detours and wrong turnings. It is a longissima via, not straight but snake-like, a path that unites the opposites in the manner of the guiding caduceus, a path whose labyrinthine twists and turns are not lacking in terrors. It is on this longissima via that we meet with those experiences which are said to be ‘inaccessible.’ Their inaccessibility really consists in the fact that they cost us an enormous amount of effort: they demand the very thing we most fear, namely…‘wholeness’ ” (p. 6).

There are different roads to wholeness. Jung’s psychology provides one route to greater consciousness and connected-ness with life - to a fuller humanity, aligned with the transcendent dimension of human existence. This is the religious function of Jung's work with the psyche, since it is only through consciousness that we come to know the world as it gives itself to us, and are able in the process to participate in its co-creation (Jung, 1965). This participation and co-creation with the world in which we are embedded is made possible only through an ongoing process of discovery of meaning or purpose in each individual’s life. Connection with the sacred, the religious dimension of psyche that is within as well as without, is essential to a life of wholeness and of meaning. Because the medium through which we experience life and come to know ourselves and the world is psyche (the ground of consciousness), Jung (1969) saw the problems of the world as “psychological problems” (p. 79), a detaching of meaning from one’s roots and from the earth.

Individuation is the teleological function of psyche, a purposefulness directing us throughout our life to greater degrees of self-realization, achieved through an expansion of consciousness (Jung, 1969). The sine qua non in the development of personality and human existence itself, individuation is the inevitable movement to wholeness - to meaning and to life lived consciously (Jung, 1965; 1969). It is the “hero’s journey,” the archetypal template that patterns the life course of each individual, differing from person to person only in how each fills out the archetypal pattern; this is dependent on subjective factors such as personality type and family environment. The mythic figures Gilgamesh, Odysseus, Inanna and Persephone, for example, exemplify this inward journey to Self, similarly personified by the historical figures of Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. Each symbolizes in a particular way the costly psychological process of individuation whereby redemption of one kind or another is made possible only through a Nekyia or journey into the underworld, and a sacrifice. This inward “quest for the ‘treasure hard to attain’ ” (Jung, 1969a, p. 184) - the wholeness that is a potential for all of us - is open to anyone who seeks it.

Down through the centuries, mystics such as Lao-Tsu, Plotinus, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, and countless others trod the arduous inner path to Self for union with all things at psyche’s core. Those less able to travel the solitary inner road to wholeness became pilgrims walking the many divinely inspired man-made external roads to connection with self. The pilgrim routes to holy shrines that exist in all the great religions are explicit examples of the spiraling path to self (inner-outer-inner) as are these religions’ sacred places of worship, which physically mirror the transformative journey to psyche in every element of their architectural design (Barrie, 1996). Today mystically-based religions still provide one path to unity, but for those who choose to walk either outside or alongside an organized faith or philosophical tradition, analytical psychotherapy provides another.

Individuation is the most important of Jung’s discoveries, with everything else that he conceptualized about psyche being a way in which to talk about, and therefore understand to a limited degree, this most fundamental of life processes. Individuation is a seemingly contradictory process, since the journey to wholeness or unification of personality is made possible only through conflict and separation – psychic conflict such as the integration of one’s shadow (disowned aspects of personality) with a consequent separation of consciousness from the unconscious psyche (expansion of consciousness). Jung (cited, Zukav, 1979) writes:

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 perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves (p. 31).

Jung’s statement embodies a paradox concerning wholeness; that is, to live wholistically or in harmony with our inner world and the outer world, we must individuate and leave behind paradise, the uroboric state of oneness with the unconscious (Neumann, 1954). Thus the development of increasing levels of consciousness and subsequent differentiation from collective norms and the collective unconscious is a necessary process of separation from the unconscious psyche. It could be that the dualistic worldview, with its origins in early Greek natural philosophy, developed gradually to meet the evolutionary mandate for this differentiation of consciousness from the unconscious - the division of mind and matter being thus a consequence of the developmental need to resolve the dilemma inherent in man’s quest for knowledge, since discernment is not possible without separation.

Throughout his life, Jung worked to understand psyche and the lifelong process of individuation, while also recognizing that psyche and its processes are ultimately unfathomable, beyond the limits of our comprehension (Jung, 1965;1969; 1976; von Franz, 1975) due in part to the paradoxical nature of individuation. Jung (1965) was well aware of this paradoxical nature of individuation, which produces the growth of consciousness yet does not originate in consciousness, and he understood that it is an innate process ultimately beyond both our control and comprehension. Heisig (1979) reports that Jung had “carved in stone over the fireplace of [his] retreat at Bollingen … the words Quaero quod impossible” [sic] (p. 103). The translation advises, “Seek that which is not possible.” Similar to the inscription carved on the entrance door lintel of his Kusnacht home, (“Summoned or not the god will be there,” mentioned earlier), the one over the fireplace is a koan or teaching riddle whose “solution” is a paradox, grasped intuitively at the meeting place between the opposites, rather than accessed directly by the intellect. Both inscriptions have multiple interconnected meanings and refer to the same phenomenon - the irreducible nature or unfathomability of psyche. What is especially interesting here is the placement of the inscription over the fireplace. It refers to the psychic process of individuation which is always active but never finished as such; from birth and until death, and some speculate even prior to birth while the fetus is in its mother’s womb, the process to individuation is in potentia (Fordham, 1994; Jacoby, 1999; Sidoli, 1989). The placement of the inscription over the fireplace highlights the alchemical analogy between the psychological transformation of the individual and the conversion power of the fireplace (container) to change wood (matter) to heat (energy) by fire (transformation process). This transformation is, of course, the aim of psychotherapy for those who seek it.

Consciousness is inherently subjective. This is its strength and its weakness. We can never go beyond it. Only with the change in the sense of self brought about through a shift in consciousness (from identity with the collective to identity as an individual), and through concomitant developments in technology were we humans able to discern with ever greater accuracy the reality of the physical world and the individual’s role as a shaper of his or her own destiny. Consciousness does not spring ready-made in one easily recognized form; it “does not create itself” (Jung, 1969, p. 569). Consciousness, Jung (1969) continues,

…wells up from unknown depths. In childhood it awakens gradually, and all through life it wakes each morning out of the depths of sleep from an unconscious condition. It is like a child that is born daily out of the primordial womb of the unconscious. …it is not influenced by the unconscious but continually emerges out of it in the form of numberless spontaneous ideas and sudden flashes of thought (pp. 569, 570).

For this reason, the awakening to consciousness each morning is akin to a rebirth and is a process parallel to the hero’s journey of individuation (Giannini, 2002). Consciousness is not or not only an epiphenomenon of the brain. To the contrary, it is a process of unfolding and expansion, of differentiation and discrimination, springing from the greater psychic background of the unconscious which informs it (Fordham, 1994; Jung, 1970; Sidoli, 1989; 1996). Consciousness can be thought of as the road that one walks during a lifetime. In the sense that “consciousness is a precondition of being” (Jung, 1970, p. 271), it is the same road for everyone; but the way in which one travels it, and for how far and for how long, is dependent on the individual. That said, psyche or whatever else is being investigated can be known at least in part by consciousness because it exists for consciousness in some form. To be conscious means to be conscious of some thing.

Analytical psychology was shaped very directly by Jung's commitment to study this subjective phenomenon. Jung considered himself first and foremost a scientist who pursued knowledge of psyche through the observation of phenomena, to which he then applied the methodical process of assembling his material, sifting through it, comparing data, and formulating provisional hypotheses, even though he was known to deny any conscious intent at methodology (Fordham, 1995; Jaffe, 1971; Jung, 1968a; von Franz, 1975). Jung was also a scholar interested in other fields of learning. Thus Fordham (1995) notes,

after the early periods, he gradually ceased to be a [medical] specialist, becoming a centre round which not only medical but a number of other specialities could revolve. His extensive research into mythology convinced him that it was necessary to distinguish a spiritual principle which could not be reducible to anything else (p. 85).

Jung attempted a synthesized understanding of psyche and looked to other disciplines such as philosophy, religion, and the sciences for what they could add. Jung’s synthesis of material from other disciplines was not always smooth (something also noted about his relationship to phenomenology) (Brooke, 1991) and at times there is a discernable blurring of boundaries between disciplines in his work, although he is always grounded in the psychological approach to psyche. The reason for this, I believe, rests in his process toward understanding; as Jung came to understand psychic phenomena through the use of a certain theoretical lens, so to speak, he would shift to a different theoretical lens to view his data from a different perspective, thus developing a fuller picture of it. This shifting of theoretical perspectives over the course of his professional life, rather than being arbitrary, evolved naturally, from one way of understanding phenomena to another and then another, in his effort to understand psyche as fully as possible.

Jung's application of scientific method to the study of individuation is based on a methodology – phenomenology - which requires a bit of explanation. Phenomenology, a method of knowing, is a science of consciousness. It is related to epistemology in that it is concerned with the limits of knowledge, that is, what can be known as fact. Phenomenology is a tool for investigating the essential nature of phenomena, material or immaterial, based on the immediate experience. Phenomenology seeks the essence of a phenomenon, that which makes a thing that thing - not the particular thing, however, such as the desk with the crooked top at which one sits at, but desk as idea, that is, desk as universal desk. Phenomenology seeks to understand the particular through knowledge of the universal which is its template. Jung observed phenomena phenomenologically for their essence or archetypal dominant and analyzed his data hermeneutically. Hermeneutics is an interpretive method used to understand data, rather than to explain it. It is a dialectical process of subject (researcher) and object (data) relatedness made possible through the reflective process. An ultimate answer is never sought in hermeneutics. Each encounter of the researcher with his or her subject is new, providing a different perspective and further opportunities for understanding.

Metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology, and hermeneutics - all are, in varying degrees, integral to Jungian psychology: metaphysics because it is the [back]ground of all theory; epistemology because it deals with the limits of knowledge; phenomenology because it is a method and an attitude concerned with the intentionality or directedness of consciousness toward some thing and that thing’s description; and hermeneutics because it is a reflective dialectical process of engagement which seeks to understand phenomena and the meaning they contain.

Jung was an empiricist, a scientist who used direct observation and careful description of phenomena as his tools in constructing his theory of psyche (von Franz, 1975). Jung was also a phenomenologist to the extent that he used his subjective experience to describe the phenomena with which he was in relationship, rather than imagining himself an observer who stood apart and separate from the phenomena he was studying. As noted earlier, however, Jung went beyond phenomenology’s mandate of the description of essences to metaphysics with his postulates about psyche and its functioning. Thus his starting point is phenomenology, but his end point is metaphysics. That said, Jung avoided preconceptions and formulas, in which both systematized theories and methods of treatment are rooted. He understood that psyche is a living reality which must be experienced anew with each engagement. Any attempt to fit the facts of psychic phenomena into a ready-made formula, or to reduce them to causal factors, subverts and changes the encounter with the unconscious psyche (Jung, 1965).
Jung understood psyche to be a “totality,” a unified system composed of consciousness and the unconscious. Consciousness and the unconscious exist within a compensatory relationship, balancing each other out. Equilibrium is maintained by psyche, which acts as a thermostat to monitor and adjust conditions between the two, echoing the homeostatic process by which the physical self functions. Although this may suggest that consciousness and the unconscious are two equal halves of psyche, they are not. Consciousness and its expansion is made possible because of the unconscious; consciousness is “birthed” by the unconscious, which is the womb out of which it arises (Jung, 1965; von Franz, 1986; 1993).

Jung did not discover the unconscious, but he did develop the concept. He formulated a theory of the human psyche that reached far beyond the personal sphere of an individual’s consciousness to encompass the transcendent and a unitary reality. Within his model of the psyche, Jung conceived of three layers: consciousness, wherein the “little light” of ego-consciousness shines (von Franz, 1975); the subjective or personal unconscious, closest to consciousness; and the objective or collective unconscious, the deepest layer of psyche where the archetypes originate. At the center of this tripartite psychic structure, or paradoxically encompassing the whole as the universe embraces the earth and the solar system, is the unus mundus, the unity where all are one (von Franz, 1980). This transcendent reality presents as the Self, the archetype of wholeness and the stable center of psyche.

Jung understood psyche as encompassing all psychic processes, everything that makes the individual who he or she is, as well as all that is potential but not as yet realized within the personality. These psychic processes include: shadow, one’s dark or unknown side; persona, the face(s) presented to the world that hide one’s true self; the anima or animus, the contrasexual aspect (for man it is Eros, the inner feminine principle of creativity and relatedness, while for woman it is Logos, the inner masculine principle of discernment and discrimination); introvert/extrovert, the way in which one experiences the world, that is, either inward focused or outward looking, and, finally, the methods of processing information which he labeled as the functions of thinking-feeling and sensation-intuition.

Jung's data are psychic phenomena - the contents of psyche or mind made accessible to consciousness through symbols, and manifested in thought, word, image, form, and action. One way to understand Jung’s theory of psyche is to think of it as a sort of map which charts the psychic ocean of the unconscious, a territory of limitless depth and breadth. Although limitless, the sea of the unconscious does meet land; it washes up against (and, at times, over) the shore of consciousness. The shore of awareness that bounds these two spheres of consciousness and the unconscious is not hard and fast, but like the sand, is continually reshaped by the interaction of consciousness and the unconscious. Just as the land does not in normal circumstances encroach upon the sea, consciousness does not reach into the unconscious. It is always the action of the ocean that reaches up and over into the conscious mind. Whatever is observable in human behavior through its presence (or absence) is therefore regarded as a psychic reality, whether a material fact or not, because it is a fact of the patient’s psychology and thus real for him or her. Unlike most other psychologies such as Freudian psychoanalysis, medically based psychology, and cognitive and/or behavioral psychologies, Jungian psychology does not attempt to explain psychic phenomena by reducing them to initial primary causes (Fordham, 1995). Nor does it attempt to effect change through the external manipulation or control of behavior. Jungian psychology fosters change by supporting the innate growth process inherent to psyche. Rather than asking “why” as in “why does the patient have this symptom?", Jung asked “what” as in “what is showing itself, and what does it point to (mean)?" - two very different and far more complex questions. The influence of the past upon the present is not irrelevant - as long as the past is still alive for the patient, it will continue to be replicated in some highly specific form - but its explication is not the aim of treatment. What is being sought is understanding and a way for the patient to make meaning of the symptom, thus leading to an internal process of psychic consolidation so that life can go on. In comparison, anything else seems just a quick fix. The goal towards which Jung and those who practice his approach pursue therapeutically is the expansion of consciousness through integration of personality, and ultimately, the furtherance of individuation.

Theory and method are inter-related; in order to understand method, one must first understand theory. This somewhat arbitrary division of components – arbitrary in the sense that to discuss one inevitably means discussing the others – gives a clue not only to the scope and depth of Jung’s work, but also to its core, the wholism or the union of opposites essential to individuation. Wholism in turn suggests the underlying aim of Jung’s psychology, a life work spanning well over half a century, but reveals very little other than the paradox inherent in his work, complexity and simplicity. This is, I believe, what makes Jung’s work so difficult to understand and why it has been so misunderstood and misrepresented during his lifetime and into today.

Jung’s approach is synthetic in that, as a psychology, it digs deeply into the rich soil of universal human endeavor and integrates its findings into a metaphysic of the human psyche. Religion, the humanities, and the human sciences all contribute to analytical psychology’s system of thought and methodology. For this reason, analytical psychology is inherently interdisciplinary. As the only discipline concerned with both psychical phenomena and their physical manifestation, analytical psychology can be thought of as the stable bridge connecting two disparate though complementary fields, religion and science.

Jung was not interested in promulgating new doctrines, political, religious or otherwise, as has often been suggested by those who continue to misunderstand his psychology (Jung, 1973; 1976; McLynn, 1996; Noll, 1994). He observed phenomena in therapy with patients, and based on this direct experience made certain hypotheses concerning the psyche. Because Jung approached his subject first and foremost as a scientist (Fordham, 1995), he based his findings on empirical data – observable data – and deliberately chose not to conjecture about psyche’s origins, a topic he believed best left to philosophy and religion (Adler, 1968; Jung, 1976). This is not to say that Jung’s psychology is not a metaphysic; as has already been pointed out, it is, as are all theories which postulate things which can never be actually known in their fullness, including scientific theories. A close reading of Jung’s oeuvre reveals that it was only late in his life that he allowed himself the privilege of a conscious subjectivity in his writing (Jung, 1969b; 1973).

“Each new case” writes Jung (1968a) “is almost a new theory to me” (p. 5) because of the phenomenological approach of his therapeutic method as well as the youth of psychology itself. As such, Jung’s “own theories were for him never more than ‘suggestions and attempts at the formulation of a new scientific psychology’” (Jung cited, von Franz, 1975, p. 9). By “new scientific psychology,” Jung (1968a) meant a psychology not based on the reductive medical model of psychopathology or mental illness as disease, although this was a constituent part, but meant instead a general psychology concerned with the human being as a whole. In this wholistic psychology, psyche is comprised of both consciousness and the unconscious, both of which exist in polar relationship to each other; an imbalance in one sphere effects the other and is discernable through highly specific behavior. Thus within this homeostatic system where every psychic aspect contains its opposite, psychic conflict manifests itself in some psycho-somatic form or other behavioral expression. Psychopathology, in whatever manner it presents itself – physical or psychological – is thus psychic dis-ease or imbalance in the person, that is, “disturbed normal processes and not entia per se with a psychology exclusively their own (Jung, 1968a, p. 4).

Jung’s psychology, then, is a psychology of wholeness since it deals with the entire human being (soma and psyche - consciousness and the unconscious, its matrix) and the teleological function of psyche, a function which, in its drive to wholeness and connection with the transcendent, identifies the religious nature of psyche. For this reason, Jung (1969c) referred to his psychology as a “psychology of religion” (p. 205). His theories were (and are) provisional and of use only as long as they serve their purpose in providing a means to thinking about and communicating about psychic phenomena, about which nothing definite in a scientific sense can be said.

Analytical psychology, although it began with Jung, does not end with him. In other words, because it is based on the understanding that all scientific knowledge is relative due to the limits of consciousness (Jung, 1965; 1970; von Franz, 1975; 1988), there can be no absolutely valid truth; each new discovery changes the already existing body of knowledge, confirming, disconfirming or adding to it. Analytical psychology is an ever-evolving science in the same way that its subject, the psyche, is ever-evolving (Jung, 1965; von Franz, 1986; 1988; 1993). The one mirrors the other (von Franz, 1986). The expansion and deepening of analytical psychology based on the explorations and discoveries and influences of other disciplines will be discussed in other essays.


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-Submitted by Stephanie Buck