Post by Auburn on Dec 28, 2015 1:21:15 GMT -5
This board is about C. G. Jung's analytical psychology, which is the theory from which ct typology also stems.
Growing from typology to Jungian psychology is a bit of a stretch for many, but from another perspective it may be unsurprising that the man who discovered the eight functions would also unearth many other elements of human nature. If the reader has found some truth and value in CT, then I'd invite you to at least consider what else might emerge from Jung.
Jung in modern terms
Jung was unafraid of describing his theories in the very language in which they demand to be written. By that I mean, the experience of the unconscious is so cryptically formatted that it eludes the cleanliness of academic scholarship. The psyche is, after all, very messy. In attempting to document this messiness, Jung dove into the occult, mystical, shamanic and irrational -- emerging later to write about what he found in a way that is clearest to those who have been to similar places, but which can be difficult to grasp for those unfamiliar with these first-hand encounters.
But his theories are really not as cryptic as they appear - they just need to be placed into modern context, which is what I hope to do below:
--- (o) The Collective Unconscious: In its most basic form, the collective unconscious is the proposition that the human psyche is not a blank slate. His theory was largely a counter to the object-oriented perspective that personality was contrived wholly by the events of a person's life and that the human mind starts out rather empty at birth and evolves via a clash with the environment.
He proposed that the environment itself couldn't generate a personality without a directive, psychic agenda or structure. The psyche comes with the software/architecture designed to flower into a personality the same way a seed does once it's presented with water. This hypothesis has been supported by more recent academics such as Noam Chomsky who has verified a similar preexisting architecture in newborns for the acquisition of language.
The reason this preexisting psychic scaffolding is called the collective unconscious is because the scaffolding is part of the human genetic code. It is an unavoidable and archaic structure that shares our evolutionary history from primitive reptiles to our current form.
The concept is that every species has a collective unconscious (or 'mental architecture') that is specific to them. Take for example the way that a bird knows where to migrate, or how a frog in the tropics knows what type of flower to hide its eggs in, or how penguins know how to stay huddled together during winter snows. In this sense the collective unconscious is really the locus of instinct of a species. Simple enough, right? Nobody argues the existence of instincts, but then where does Jung's theory diverge from the common wisdom?
--- (o) The Archetypes: Well, in short it's the archetypes. I've struggled to make sense of archetypes myself but the way I've come to understand them is as the result of primal instincts manifesting within the abstraction capacity of the neocortex.
First there's a misconception that needs to be addressed: "instincts are only physical". We all know what it's like to feel compelled toward food, toward warmth, shelter ("basic instincts") but we need to consider that mammalian instincts have gained a greater level of sophistication. A mammal will have a psychic instinct to remain by the mother, to form a sense of community and even collaborate (i.e. wolf packs) and these tendencies are passed down genetically. The reality that many animals such as wolves and penguins display complex social behaviors - and do so consistently across generations - points to instincts being capable of having a psychological attitude.
Humanity's ancestry has also had its own psychological scaffolding. And we can see what this scaffolding currently generates on its own if we just let humans 'be' and observe what they all independently create. In other words, the study of cultural anthropology - of all world cultures/religions/customs and the consistent themes that emerge - reveals to us what our human psychology is geared toward forming. We consistently create a religion, a deity (or deities) and legends with recurring themes (the 'hero', the 'shadow/dragon/devil', the 'pure maiden/virgin', etc) We'll get to why these specific ones manifest, in other threads.
These thematic creations are the results of the archetypes. They are once-instincts, now abstracted by our newfound level of imagination and felt less as instincts and more as amorphous yet penetrating psychic forces or desires. Our archaic impulses seep into our new-found thinking faculties and continue to influence our lives heavily (yet differently) as well as give a general vector to our human lives/stories. Evolution wasn't planning on us developing high-sentience, it was an accident that otherwise would have left our psychology governed by these impulses alone. In light of this, it would be irrational to assume that such impulses would somehow vanish with the introduction of the neocortex (especially when we see traces of all prior structures in our brain). It is far more conceivable to imagine that the neocortex would evolve alongside whatever primeval psychology was already there to begin with --- and for a merging to occur of these two centers (the lymbic brain and higher brain).
--- (o) The Individuation Process: Returning again to the metaphor of the psyche being designed to flower into a personality, we come across the individuation process. Think of the individuation process like a better version of child developmental psychology. The Freudian theory that divides the development of psychology into stages ("oral stage", "anal stage", "phallic stage", "latent stage", "genital stage" - diagram) is one that does not truly address the full range of the psyche. Freud's assertion that the sexual instinct lies as the core of human motivation causes many other dimensions of humanity to be ignored. Yet we know that after we reach the genital stage we continue to go through psychological evolution and hardship; we have unresolved desires and aspirations, but these are not accounted for by Freud.
Jung's theory of individuation is, to me, the most complete outline of what a human psyche is "trying to do" and why so many of us are in all these various processes of seeking. Jung's individuation theory accounts for how, in our attempts to bring all archaic human knowledge into our consciousness, we as a species develop fantasies, myths, gods, religions, ideologies and all of our creations.
The beautiful mess we are thrown into (i.e. the psyche) is in a constant state of self-contradiction due to the incidental structure our brain has developed throughout our evolutionary history. We have irrational urges mixed with rational capabilities and we have unconscious cravings which do serve our overall being, but which don't always go about it the most intelligently (i.e. archetypes want what they want but will pursue it animalistically and in a very black/white fashion that can be self-sabotaging). Individuation can be summed up as the human process of coming to know the entirety of their own nature; it's the addressing of all dimensions of one's psyche and the embracing of the original human.