Archetypes And Their Influence On The Personality: Essay

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Archetypes And Their Influence On The Personality: Carl Gustav Jung

Archetypes and Their Influence on the Personality: Carl Gustav Jung

Introduction
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was born on July 26, in the small village of Kesswil on Lake
Constance. He was named after his grandfather, a professor of medicine at the University
of Basel. He was the oldest child and only surviving son of a Swiss Reform pastor. Carl
attended the University of Basel and decided to go into the field of psychiatry after
reading a book that caught his interest.


Jung became an assistant at the Burgholzli Mental hospital, a famous medical hospital in
Zurich. He studied under, and was influenced by Eugen Bleuler, a famous psychiatrist who
defined schizophrenia. Jung was also influenced by Freud, with whom he later became good
friends. Their relationship ended when Jung wrote a book called "Symbols of
Transformation." Jung disagreed with Freud's fundamental idea that a symbol is a disguised
representation of a repressed wish (Heaney, 1994). After splitting up with Freud, Jung had
a 2 year period of non-productivity, but then he came out with his "Psychological Types,"
a famous work. He went on several trips to learn about primitive societies and archetypes.
His explorations included trips to Africa, New Mexico to study Pueblo Indians, and to
India and Ceylon to study eastern philosophy. He studied religious and occult beliefs like
I Ching, a Chinese method of fortune telling. Alchemy became one of his interests during
his journeys. His book, "Psychology and Alchemy," published in 1944, is among his most
important writings. In this study, he told about the human mind. One of his methods was
word association. This is when a person is given a series of words and asked to respond to
them. Abnormal response or hesitation can mean that the person has a complex about that
word. His basic belief was in complex or analytical psychology. The goal is
psychosynthesis, or the unification and differentiation of the psyche (mind). He believed
that the mind started out as a whole and should stay that way. That answered structural,
dynamic, developmental questions. Jung is best known for his theory of "The three levels
of the mind" (Aurelio, 1995).


Discussion
The three levels of the mind theory includes the ego (conscious), personal unconscious,
and collective unconscious. The conscious level serves four functions. It is the part of
the personality that carries out normal daily activities: thinking, feeling, sensing, and
intuiting. The personal unconscious contains an individual's memories, and the collective
unconscious is an inaccessible layer that contains universal experiences. Usually, one of
the two classes usually dominates, and rarely does one see an individual with perfectly
balanced classes of behavior (Nehr, 1996).


Jung said that an ego is a filter from the senses to the conscious mind. All ego
rejections go to the personal unconscious. The ego is highly selective. Every day we are
subjected to a vast number of experiences, most of which do not become conscious because
the ego eliminates them before they reach consciousness. "The personal unconscious acts
like a filing cabinet for those ego rejections" (Jurkevich, 1991,p. 58). Clusters of
related thoughts in the personal subconscious form complexes. Complexes are really
suppressed feelings. Complexes are often highly visible to people, but unfelt by the
individual who has the complex. Complexes can be revealed by word association, which will
cause hang-ups if a certain word is mentioned. A strong or total complex will dominate the
life of a person, and a weak or partial complex will drive a person in a direction of it,
but not too strongly. A complex, as Jung discovered, need not be a hindrance to a person's
adjustment. "They can be and often are sources of inspiration and drive that are essential
for outstanding achievement" (Aurelio, 1995, p.351).


"The collective unconscious is hereditary. It sets up the pattern of one's psyche"(Kremer,
1990, p.2). An inherited collection of primordial images are stored here. They are
universal inclinations that all people have in common somewhere by means of heredity. The
four important archetypes that play very significant roles in everyone's personality are
Persona, Anima(us), Shadow, and the Self.


Persona is derived from the Latin word meaning "mask". In Jungian psychology, the persona
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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