Monday, September 23, 2002

". . . the psyche is the most tremendous fact of human life. Indeed, it is the mother of all human facts, of civilization and of its destroyer, war." [C.G. Jung COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 9i., Para 206]

Never in modern life has an understanding of psyche and of one's relationship to psyche been more important. It is a hubris of ego-consciousness that it believes it is self-made. All evidence indicates that ego-consciousness arises from psyche to which it owes its existence and on-going life. An ego that ignores the fact of its psychic roots is in peril. Like the individual, a world too unconsciously under the sway of psychic processes can easily succumb to barbaric behaviors, untempered by conscious understanding and correction.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

One of C.G. Jung's fundamental contributions to the fields of psychology and epistemology is his concept of archetypes. For Jung, an archetype is a pattern of behavior. You can liken this concept to that of the structure of a crystal. While the crystalline structure predetermines the architecture of the actual crystal, until the crystal is given real form in matter, the pattern exists only as a concept. The archetype, then, is an abstract concept that has real lived meaning only when filled in with actual human experience. Like Kant's categories, an archetype is an a priori structure of cognition.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability
And that it may take a very long time.
[PierreTeilhard de Chardin]

Jung believed that the individual has to adapt to some degree to external realities, but he also believed that adaptation to the realities of one's own inner life is just as essential. About his therapeutic goals, he says: "My aim is to bring about a psychic state in which my patient begins to experiment with his own nature--a state of fluidity, change, and growth where nothing is eternally fixed and hopelessly petrified." [COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 7, P. 46]

Paraphrasing Ignatius Loyola, Jung describes the role and function of consciousness: "Man's (sic) consciousness was created to the end that it may (1) recognize (laudet its descent from a higher unity (Deum); (2) pay due and careful regard to this source (reverentiam exhibeat); (3) execute its commands intelligently and responsibly (serviat); and (4) thereby afford the psyche as a whole the optimum degree of life and development (salvet animan suam). [COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 9ii, p. 165]


Unconscious contents, especially those that belong to the personal unconscious, make themselves felt through symptoms, actions, affects, opinions, fantasies, and dreams. The general relationship that exists between ego consciousness and the unconscious is compensatory. When the relationship works, i.e., when there is a balance and harmony between them, there is self-regulation of the psyche. When the relationship goes awry, when there is too great a deviation between the ego attitude and an unconscious process, then an imbalance sets in.

An example of this compensatory mechanism occurs when, for example, we hold a low opinion of someone--too low and not reality based. We might have a dream of that person in an exalted position. Or perhaps we work too hard, are too ego-driven, overly-ambitious and too goal-oriented. The unconscious may compensate such an ego state by withdrawing psychic libido. Depression or lethargy sets in. We might dream our car is stalled, or we are trying to run and our legs won't move, we can't get to the airport on time, etc. The unconscious has withdrawn its cooperation.

A solid working alliance with the unconscious is of great importance to the well-being and functioning of an individual. Complexes interfere with our everydfay functioning, a clear sign that unconscious material is pressing for admission to ego consciousness. When unconscious material is placing pressure on our ego consciousness, we may have dreams of unwelcome intruders or upsetting and troublesome visitors.

Friday, September 13, 2002

No one has any obligations to a concept; that is what is so agreeable about conceptuality--it promises protection from experience. The spirit does not dwell in concepts, but in deeds and in facts. [MDR, p. 144]
Certainly the ego and its will have a great part to play in life; but what the ego wills is subject in the highest degree to the interference, in ways of which the ego is usually unaware, of the autonomy and numinosity of archetypal processes. Practical consideration of these processes is the essence of religion, insofar as religion can be approached from a psychological point of view. [C.G. Jung, MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS, p. 353]
This (the unification of the divided components of the personality within the psyche of the individual) would form a counterbalance to the progressive dichotomy and psychic dissociation of collective man.

It is of supreme importance that this (unification) process should take place consciously, otherwise the psychic consequences of mass-mindedness will harden and become permanent. For, if the inner consolidation of the individual is not a conscious achievement, it will occur spontaneously and will then take the well-known form of that incredible hard-heartedness which collective man displays towards his fellow men. He becomes a soulless herd animal governed only by panic and lust: his soul, which can live only in and from human relationships, is irretrievably lost. But the conscious achievement of inner unity clings to human relationships as to an indispensable condition, for without the conscious acknowledgment and acceptance of our fellowship with those around us there can be no synthesis of personality. [COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 16, Para. 443-44]