Re-envisioning Carl Jung from “The Red Book”

Neuroscience

Many modern-day therapists and psychologists – particularly those who work with dreams as a means of exploring a patient’s unconscious – owe a great debt to the Swiss analyst Carl Jung. While he lived, Jung significantly broadened the scope of psychoanalysis from the model established by Sigmund Freud. Whereas Freud largely viewed the Unconscious as a repository of unsavory memories and repressed impulses, Jung believed that it was in many ways aware and responsive, and an untapped reservoir of wisdom, knowledge, and even spiritual revelation. Read More →

Keeping Idealism Alive in a Cynical World

Overcoming Cynicism

Thanks in large part to our modern technology and media, we are constantly bombarded with dire messages concerning our world situation. It’s true that adversity has always plagued humanity in one form or another throughout its history. With our modern systems of communication, however, we are made much more aware of all the great tragedies that occur. Read More →

Are Dolphins More Intelligent than Humans?

Dolphins

Years ago when I was in the Navy, whenever we pulled out of port I’d watch dolphins glide along in front of our ship jumping out of the water in spectacular fashion. Their sheer power and beauty are difficult to describe unless you’ve witnessed them first-hand. As I’d watch them swim along in such a graceful manner, I’d find myself wondering what they thought of our ship and if they were self-aware or could communicate with one another. At the time I knew little about dolphins (I’m still learning today) but I couldn’t help thinking to myself that these beautiful creatures are probably much more intelligent than we are. Read More →

Theories & Techniques of Dream Analysis

Dream Interpretation

A castle in the sky, a monster taller than any man-made structure, and public escapades in your underwear are just a few of the scenarios you could encounter in your dreams. Nobody quite knows why every night we drift off to distant lands and encounter bizarre scenarios, but in seeking to understand this great mystery researchers have contributed vast amounts of information to the area of dream interpretation. Thanks to the work of scientists and laymen alike, now anyone can take part in the rewarding experience of decoding your own dreams. Read More →

Study Finds Brain System for Emotional Self-Control

Human Brain

Different brain areas are activated when we choose to suppress an emotion, compared to when we are instructed to inhibit an emotion, according a new study from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Ghent University. Read More →

Awake While Asleep: Lucid Dreaming

Image Credit: webneel.com

Image Credit: webneel.com

For the typical dreamer, a dream is usually a phenomenon that’s only experienced in hindsight. We may be moved to wonderment by the memory of it, but oftentimes we’ve missed out on the actual moment of participation. What’s more, we may already have begun to alter many of the details due to foggy recollection. We’re thus already experiencing a translation of our dream by the time we awaken. Read More →

Carl Jung’s Archetypes

Carl Jung (1875–1961)

One of Carl Jung’s most compelling and unique contributions to the understanding of human psychology was his idea of the collective unconscious and the archetypes within it. It was through this insight that Jung made the ancient and archaic relevant to the world of today. The collective psychological experiences of humanity were suddenly seen as impacting and shaping the way every human being saw the world.

In order to understand archetypes we must understand the nature and function of the collective unconscious. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is not like the personal unconscious as first introduced by psychoanalysis. It is detached from the personal unconscious because it belongs to the human species as a whole. It is inherited, just as physical aspects of our bodies are inherited. Because of this, a human being does not enter the world as a blank slate but rather with the innate and inherited tendencies of the collective unconscious. These tendencies are what Jung termed “archetypes.”

The word “archetype” can be defined as a model, a prototype, something which serves as a pattern for other things. Jung’s usage of the term meant much the same thing. He envisioned archetypes as enduring patterns and models within the collective unconscious which act as a matrix through which the world is experienced. It is helpful to liken archetypes to instincts. Instincts result in the “fight or flight” reaction in response to startling stimuli just as archetypes of the feminine and masculine help us to organize and divide the world. Both of these processes happen at an unconscious level, the difference being that Jung saw instincts as physical and archetypes as psychological/psychical.

There are many archetypes, perhaps even in infinite number of them. However, there are a few that seem to stand out for encompassing much of our experience and for their presence in almost all cultures throughout the world. Two of these are the already mentioned masculine and feminine images. The archetype of the hero is also one that is common to almost all people. Though everyone might have slightly different image of what makes a hero, it is generally embodied in the person who struggles, fights, and wins against adversity.

The most important archetype in Jung’s psychology was what he termed “the self.” The self is the ideal form of a person. It is the whole and complete personality, the integration of a person’s conscious and unconscious life. Jung thought that most people could not properly relate to the self because their weak and fragmented egos could not handle it. For this reason, the archetype of the self is usually seen as something other than oneself. It is projected into the world in the forms of gods and saviors. These god and savior figures represent the whole, complete, and perfect image of the self.

There are many forms which archetypes can take. Close friends, warriors, politicians, or brilliant scientists can all be images of the hero to different people. The self is not necessarily only projected onto gods and saviors, but onto anyone who is perceived to be a whole and integrated person, such as a strong leader. Though the images of archetypes may vary in the real world, what they have in common is that they are all influenced, shaped, and filtered by the dynamic, archetypal patterns found in the collective unconscious of humanity.

The Relationship Between Freud and Jung

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were colleagues and leading figures in the field of psychiatry in their day. This naturally led to a strong relationship filled with many meetings and numerous correspondences. In total they sent over 350 letters to each other. However, the story of their relationship is more the story of a relationship gone awry. Their close friendship only flourished for a few years before they decided to go their separate ways.

The first known correspondence between Freud and Jung took place in the year 1906, when Jung sent Freud a copy of his book, “Studies in Word Association.” When the two were finally able to meet in 1907 in Vienna, they sat and talked for thirteen hours straight. It seemed that they got along wonderfully. From that day until 1909, their letters were filled with father-son references. Freud took an obviously paternal role to Jung, writing in one letter, “I formally adopt you as eldest son and anoint you . . . as my successor and crown prince.”

Freud, because of the part of his Oedipal theory that said all sons harbored a death wish onto their father, was under the impression that Jung had an unconscious death wish towards him. He blamed Jung’s eventual dissent on this unresolved oedipal problem. On a few occasions this thought seemed to have worried Freud so much that it caused him to faint.

Another source of tension between the two was that Jung viewed Freud’s psychoanalysis as sexually repressive, and wanted to advocate for greater sexual freedom. This was in direct confrontation to Freud, who wanted Jung to promise never to abandon the sexual theory. In fact, he insisted that Jung make it unquestionable dogma. Jung was of the opinion that Freud was no longer using scientific judgement, and wondered why he placed such an importance on sexuality.

Jung was also heading in a direction that Freud did not like with his research as he began looking at mysticism and occultism. He became interested in gods, archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the shadow side of man. He wanted Freud to join in to the crusade to conquer occultism. Freud, though he said that he did not wish to hold Jung back, also wanted nothing to do with it. By May of 1912, Freud had begun to distance himself from Jung’s ideas. Finally on January 3, 1913 he wrote, “I propose we abandon our personal relations entirely.”

Though intense as the relationship between Freud and Jung initially was, it only managed to last roughly six years due to diverting interests and oedipal worries. However, those six years contributed greatly to the future work of both men and left an undeniably important mark in their psychoanalytic field. The ideas and theories that they worked on both together and apart are still discussed by psychologists, psychiatrists, philosophers, and various scholars today.

Sociology in Action – The Breaching Experiment

The breaching experiment is a simple yet ingenious social psychology technique that explores people’s adherence to the unwritten social norms of society. The experiment was developed by sociologist Harold Garfinkel and has become a favorite tool in teaching sociology and psychology students about the strength of social norms and social conformity.

Breaching experiments are planned and deliberate breaks of a commonly accepted social norm. The researcher or the student, after performing the break, observes and records the reactions of the people who witnessed the break. The reaction to the breach is the crucial point of the experiment. If a breach is done correctly and the social norm is compromised, the reaction that people exhibit is the mechanism by which they try to make sense of the odd behavior or how they combat the behavior. Lighthearted breaches can induce laughter, confusion, and curiosity. More serious breaches can actually cause anxiety and anger.

In order to demonstrate the concept of the breaching experiment, Garfinkel famously instructed his sociology students to act as lodgers when they went home to their parents. Students were excessively polite to their parents, asked permission to use the restroom, and pretended to be ignorant of the comings and goings of the household. Parents were reported to be distraught and generally bewildered, some were even angry at their children’s behavior.

Although breaching experiments essentially break the rules of society, they do not make a traumatic mark on the witnesses. The reactions that they exhibit are part of a repairing process. Unconsciously, the witnesses rationalize the breach in order to maintain the sense of a stable social order. As easily as the social norm is broken, it is repairable. It is this precariousness and maintainability of social reality that Garfinkel highlights. The breaching experiment also tests what behavior is accepted as a social norm. Since social norms are culturally dependent a breach done successfully in one country may not have any effect in another.

Breaching experiments can be easily conducted by anyone with a healthy curiosity in the social psychological workings of society. Breaches are characteristically low budget and do not require much time and planning to carry out. Popular examples of breaching experiments have been to stand backwards in the elevator, negotiating the price of food at the grocery store, starting a conversation at a public bathroom, and ordering something not on the menu of a restaurant. The first step in conducting a breaching experiment is to identify a social norm to break.

It is important to not confuse breaching experiments with crimes. Although they both work under the concept of breaking social norms, proper breaches are harmless and generally good-natured. They are commonly aimed at etiquette norms concerning how one should act in public.

Breaching experiments are an appropriate and fun way for teachers and professors to get their students involved with social and psychological theories and concepts. The methodology of the breaching experiment may be simple and basic, but it teaches a rich lesson about social norms, social order, and the unwritten rules of society that people take for granted.

Where Has Our Capitalist Spirit Gone?

The Source of Consumption and Commodity

Max Weber was concerned, sociologically, on the effects of class, status, party, and the bureaucratic nature of the struggling lower classes in everyday life. He, too, spent much time contemplating religion (since it has been known to shape party), status, and the daily life of citizens, as well as effecting attitudes about work and the free market. Everything that Weber studied revolved around rational works done by meaningful Read More →