The achievements of Carl Jung
“I am an eighty –five year old ruining of a formerly capable man”. These are words Carl Jung once used to describe himself as quoted by Dunne (Dunne, 2003). Carl Jung was a psychiatrist from Switzerland and was born in July 26, 1875 in a place called Kesswil. In all of his life, he was always known for his clairvoyance and at one time he stated that many of his psychic experiences could be attributed to psychological disturbances (Cowles, 2009). Carl is regarded as a pioneer psychiatrist, who has influenced many areas of knowledge for example; medicine, art, psychology, religion, humanities and science. His work has been said to be a vital bridge that link east to west, north to south (Dunne,2003) and thus, this essay seeks to find out his accomplishments and how his work influenced the New thought movement.
At University in 1902, Carl managed to come up with a dissertation titled “On psychology and pathology of so called Occult Phenomena” (Cowgil, 1997). In 1903, he established a laboratory for psychological experiments (Tower, nd) where he conducted his first research in the year 1904 on ‘Word association in patients’. At this point, he invented the word ‘complex’ to describe psychic context that has been repressed and this research brought him closer to Sigmund Freud and they started to wok together. Some people thought that he would develop the works of Freud but it did not happen. In fact, he went on to contest analytical principles of Freud which he described as one sided, more personal and overly-concrete. Their newly found relationship came to an end when Carl published a book called “Psychology and the Unconscious” which contested some of Freud’s ideas. In 1912, he went on to publish another book called “Symbols and Transformations of the Libido” (Cowgil, 1997).
Carl also became the founder of analytical school of psychology. He wanted to understand the unconscious content and what they meant symbolically. Since he desired to differentiate psychology from psychoanalysis, he came up with this discipline called “analytical psychology” (Cowgil, 1997). He is regarded as the one who comprehensively dealt with human psyche thus giving it the broadest view. He thus came up with a theory that was fully developed in relation to the psyche’s dynamics and structures (Edinger, 2010).
Moreover, he is the one who came up and developed the introvert and extrovert concepts of personality, collective unconsciousness and archetypes. Most of the issues that he concentrated so much on came about as s a result of his personal experiences. From an early age, he felt that he had both introvert and extrovert personalities and this motivated him to carry out more studies on the two personalities, making him go further to study the concepts of integration and wholeness. His works related to these areas have really influenced the fields of psychology, literature and religion (Cowgil, 1997). Hence Carl introduced new terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ into language. He explained introvert as the state where a person tends to concentrate more on one’s mental life. He went further to give the characteristics of introverts which includes; quietness, deliberate and not engaging in social activities or situations. Introverts prefer solitude and activities that favor the same, for example; reading, watching movies, designing, inventing and writing (Mitchell, nd).They do not enjoy time spent in groups but they can enjoy one to one conversations or interactions. Extroverts on the other hand enjoy time spent with many people in groups. They do not concentrate much on self and most of the time they are talkative, gregarious and assertive. They enjoy partying a lot, interested in businesses and politics, community activities and demonstrations. These two words; extrovert and introverts have today become very common in our everyday speech and even in the psychology circles (Mitchell, nd).
When it comes to archetypes, Jung was the one who identified the five archetypes in psychology and these include; persona, ego, shadow, anima and self. He described persona as the identity people hold and show to the outside world, for example, political identity. Ego refers to sense of self of the conscious mind and thus it does not include the unconscious although it may be influenced by it. He descries the shadow as the unconscious part behind the ego. On other hand, Anima refers to the man’s beliefs and feelings in the unconscious in relation to the opposite sex. Animus is for women. Lastly, the self is described by Jung as everything in the entire psyche (Mitchell, nd).
After the end of World War I, he published another book called “Psychological Types” and this time, he was able to differentiate his position from Freud’s through the book. Through his interest in symbolism especially the mythological and religious ones, he traveled across the globe to study different cultures. All his work includes an estimated 200 papers that he authored (Cowgil, 1997).
In 1957, he wrote another book called “The Undiscovered Self” which reflected on his previous theories and works but this time in a nostalgic tone. The content of his book deals with the position of man in relation to himself, church, state and how those relations mean. It also deals with philosophical matters, putting them in psychological terms (Tower, 2002).
Moreover, one of is works that is regarded as more creative is his book titled “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry’ which was published in the year 1978. This book differentiates the simple art creation from its essence. He also relates art to religion since they are both psychic phenomena which occur differently to people at different levels. Carl explained what collective unconscious is through the book and he said that they are like a river of thoughts which are common to every one. They help to control people’s way of lives and inspire individuals. He concluded on art by saying that inspired art can motivate people from different cultures, gender, age and time to understand each other and thus everyone can relate to the essence of art (Tower, 2002).
Carl also came up with Jungian stages of development with the first one being childhood where there is ‘archaic stage’ characterized by consciousness, ‘monarchic stage’ where the child starts to think logically and also the child’s ego starts to develop at this stage. The next stage is called ‘the youth and the early years’ which starts from puberty stage up to 40 years. At this point, a person matures sexually and realizes that childhood days have passed and gone forever (Mitchell, nd). Moreover, the person grows consciously and at this point, one starts to look for independence and mate to raise a family. Middle life is another stage according to Carl where there is some kind of tension in people since they realize at this point that they are not going to live forever. At this point, many people experience change of mind and are more inclined to introvert kind of thinking and most of their thoughts will be related to philosophy (Mitchell, nd). The last stage is Old age where there is reduction of consciousness and people tend to acquire wisdom. According to Jung, the ultimate goal of life is death and when people realize this, they tend to take it in a positive way. Thus, Jung became among the first people who came up with descriptions of developmental positions in adults in psychology (Mitchell, nd).
In addition, Jung’s concept of individualism has played a major role in development of psychology. He describes the term as a process which starts at the age of 35 and is characterized by the individuals discovering the self and at the same time replacing the Ego (Edinger, 2010).
Another notable accomplishment of Jung is that he concentrated more on dream interpretations when it came to psychological analysis. Carl once said that dreams are paths to the unconscious and thus they have become very instrumental in the process of psychotherapy. Moreover, Jung coined another word ‘synchronicity’ in order to explain how meaningful coincidences occur. However; more studies need to be done on this since its full relevance has not been discovered (Edinger, 2010). In spite of this, the concept of synchronicity has played a major role in psychotherapy including other theories of collective unconscious and archetypes which all are attributed to Jung (Soylent Communications, 2010).
It can also be said that along the great psychologists such as Freud, he formed a foundation for modern theories about the relationships of the aspects of mind; the unconscious and the conscious. Although Freud explained human behavior from the psychosexual perspective, Jung saw that spiritual origin is the primary motivating factor behind behavior. Despite their differences, the two can be said to be the fathers of modern psychology (Soylent communications, 2010).
Many of his works have not been accepted fully into the mainstream psychology since they have been said not to be applicable in solving problems that characterize every day lives of individuals. Ironically, one day as Carl was trying to help an alcoholic, his conversation formed the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous and all the 12 steps related to it. He advised the alcoholic patient to place himself in an atmosphere, especially the religious one, which he chose and that would help him discover his hopelessness. This would be followed by believing in a God that the patient believes, is existing. This advice was later heard by the person who later formed the movement (Soylent Communications, 2010).
How Jung’s work influenced the new thought movement
Some of Jung’s concepts formed the foundation of the new age thought. For example, he said that religion is just an element of psychology. He also went ahead to claim that, every human being has self as the divine core and thus self knowledge is needed to unveil it (Richard & Linda, 2008). He also transformed psychoanalysis to a form of religion by viewing God as a form of collective unconscious and thus He is in every person’s unconscious (Psycho Heresy Awareness Ministries, nd). Carl Jung, through his works seems to perpetuate the beliefs of new age thought thus influencing them in a major way. Just like the new thought movement, Jung viewed religion from psychological point of view and thus, for one to experience the presence of God, one has to get in touch with the unconscious mind. He also emphasized on the healthy mind and its balance (Crystal Link, nd).
Just like the new age thought; Carl viewed “spiritual truth’ based on personal experiences but not according to what the Bible says or the facts. He mainly emphasized that for one to experience the ‘spiritual truth’, he or she needs to get into the unconscious. Through his concepts of archetype, he reduces God to be a form of archetype. These thoughts have appealed to many people in the west who insist on experience and introspection as a way of understanding the self and thus, the new age thought. (Kah, nd).
In conclusion, Carl Jung has been put into the category of the most influential psychologist just like Sigmund Freud. Just like the latter, he is regarded as the father of modern psychology and considered as one of the pioneers in the field of psychiatry, the founder of analytical school of Psychology, the proponent of the theories of collective unconsciousness, individualism and synchronicity. He wrote so many books and managed to author more than 200 papers. He also came up with his own idea of developmental stages, and lastly, his works influenced the new thought movements.
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