Jung and the Restless
name Jung seldom leaves people cold. When one mentions this man
and his work in academic circles, one almost always encounters emotionally
charged rejection or enthusiasm. Rarely does one encounter an objective
judgment regarding Jung.
even more closely, one realizes that this charged reaction is
really aimed at the 'unconscious' (that god or demon whose very
existence so many people today do not wish to admit). And this
is why they raise such petty objections to depth psychology, not
realizing that they are acting out of fear. Thus
Jung's work lies like a stumbling block in the midst of contemporary
works of the mind - in a certain way, far too essential and fundamental
to be modern." Marie-Louise von Franz
and the Unconscious...
credit for laying the initial basic foundation and building blocks of
depth psychology goes to Sigmund Freud. Freud
virtually pulled the plug on a one-sided, idealistic view of humanity
that was so much in vogue with the academic minds of his era (and now
idealistic view (that Freud blew out of the water) envisioned humans
as beings or entities whose actions/behaviors are primarily controlled
by their conscious, rational minds and thoughts. However...
in Freud's psychiatric practice, he rediscovered, explored, and studied
the long forgotten and neglected realm of the "unconscious."
Death, Taboo and Childhood
In his practice, Freud explored the "personal unconscious."
The personal unconscious is comprised of irrational behaviors that are
due much in part to experiences from one's early childhood and past.
These are often
traumatic childhood experiences - that in one way or another - we've
managed to repress, bury away and/or defend against in order to keep
memories of these experiences from resurfacing into our conscious minds
(and thoughts). To
this day, most of us choose to naively believe these past traumatic
experiences of childhood have little or no effect on our present day
lives, relationships and actions.
The sad fact is our choosing to believe that these past traumatic
experiences have little or no effect on the "current us" ultimately
ends up giving these traumatic experiences free reign in our regular,
Freud Got Stuck
Freud (for many reasons) appeared to get stuck at the outer edge
of the unconscious and never chose to dig much deeper... this
outer edge was a region of the unconscious that Carl Jung was later
to dub as being the "the personal shadow."
Freud attributed virtually everything to what he called the Oedipal
complex - that involved death, sex, taboo, and traumatic childhood experiences...
Freud saw the
unconscious as being little but a forbidden wasteland and trash heap
of psychic content...
tunnel vision may have been due in part to his theories being based
on the extensive case studies of his private practice. Freud's practice
consisted of wealthy, highly neurotic, members of Vienna, Austria's
"upper crust." And
so the anxiety disorders that Freud routinely encountered and treated
might typically have been found within the province of the unconscious
"personal shadow" lying just below the surface.
(once a young protégé of Freud) attributed Freud's obsession
of identifying sexual instinct as being the primary driving force of
the human psyche to Freud having his own personal and ongoing obsession
Then There Was Jung...
On the other hand - Carl Jung's earlier formative years (as a young
psychiatrist in Switzerland) had been spent working with severely delusional,
psychotic patients in the mental institutions of Switzerland.
Freud, Jung's early patients were people who'd lost contact with time
and space reality - and they'd subsequently been committed (or rather
condemned) to live out the rest of their lives in "insane asylums" or
Jung's day and time, a "commitment" to an asylum was tantamount to a
"life sentence" of being safely tucked away in a padded room. It meant
being kept hidden far, far away from the eyes and conscience of "normal"
armed with a powerful desire to bring much needed emotional healing
and relief for his patients, Jung made the decision to go far beyond
Freud's initial diggings and spade work into the unconscious.
Jung continued (built on, expanded and greatly improved upon) what Freud
had begun in his tentative diggings just below the surface. Jung's
studies and research took him much deeper and into the realm of the
and into the "far side of madness."
ground-breaking studies opened up entirely new (to modern thought) dimensions
and layers of psychic reality that were lying buried within the unconscious
of each and every one of us.
most important of all, Jung discovered that just as our physical bodies
display natural biological processes actively garnering energies in
the attempt to fight off the ravages of disease and to promote natural
healing and health - the human psyche shows a similar propensity and
purposefulness toward the natural healing of itself.
short, Jung discovered that there was indeed, hidden in the depths of
the psyche, "method to our madness."
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