Carl Gustav Jung, Synchronicity & the Collective Unconscious
Carl Gustav Jung ( 1875 - 1961 ) was a Swiss psychiatrist and colleague of Freud's who broke away from Freudian psychoanalysis over the issue of the unconscious mind as a reservoir of repressed sexual trauma which causes all neuroses. Jung founded his own school of analytical psychology. Jung's approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in countercultural movements across the globe. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is "by nature religious" and to explore it in depth. He emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician, much of his life's work was spent exploring other areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. His most notable ideas include the concept of psychological archetypes, synchronicity and the collective unconscious.
Jung created the term synchronicity to describe the alignment of "universal forces" with the life experiences of an individual. Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidences were not merely due to chance, but instead reflected the creation of an event or circumstance by the "co-inciding" or alignment of such forces. The process of becoming intuitively aware and acting in harmony with these forces is what Jung labeled "individuation." Jung said that an individuated person would actually shape events around them through the communication of their consciousness with the collective unconscious.
Jung coined the term “collective unconscious” to refer to that part of a person's unconscious which is common to all human beings, as opposed to personal unconscious, which is unique to each individual. According to Jung the collective unconscious contains archetypes, which are forms or symbols that are manifested by all people in all cultures. The concept of collective unconscious relates to the Spiritual model of living beings consisting of individuated parts of Spirit encased in physical form. Like an island in the sea we appear as distinct individuals, but beneath the surface we are all connected.
According to Jung's interpretation, archetypes are innate prototypes for ideas, which may subsequently become involved in the interpretation of observed phenomena. A group of memories and interpretations closely associated with an archetype is called a complex, and may be named for its central archetype (e.g. "mother complex"). Jung often seemed to view the archetypes as sort of psychological organs, directly analogous to our physical, bodily organs: both being morphological givens for the species; both arising at least partially through evolutionary processes.
There are four famous forms of archetypes numbered by Jung:
The Shadow - every manifest part of ourselves has a repressed and opposite counterpart, represented by the shadow.
The Anima - a young lady, represents intuitive wisdom.
The Animus - a handsome young man, represents active, assertive energy.
The symbols of the unconscious abound in Jungian psychology, eg The Syzygy (Divine Couple), The Child, The Superman, The Hero, The Great Mother (manifested either as the Good Mother or the Terrible Mother), The Wise Old Man, The Trickster or Ape. Jung’s archetypes relate to the concept of occult symbols, ie ideas and images that have become charged with significance through aeons of reflection and veneration now standing ready to release their potential upon invocation. For example, Jung interpreted the Ouroboros or the snake biting its own tail, as having an archetypical significance to the human psyche. The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego "dawn state", depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.