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Carl Jung and his ideas on



Freud/Jung dreams ebookCarl Jung's entire work could be said to rest on two questions, "Who am I?" and "Who are we?" The depth of his work and his investigation into these questions is I think, unsurpassed in the Western World. Had he been born at a different time we would I believe now have the religion of Jung, and yet that would probably go against his own thinking. He recognised the danger of dogmas, the limitations on how far we can rationally answer some questions and he fiercely defended truth, knowing that truth is what you and I discover from our hearts and experience to be the truth, not merely some dry rationalisation that comes from our "head".

 Carl Jung found early inspiration from Freud and his discoveries about the unconscious and for some years both were close friends. However, he found Freud's belief that sexual motivations were the root of all that was in the unconscious hard to take. He recognised Freud as a person who had opened up new ground but as time went by he also became more aware of the limitations to Freud's work. Freud saw Jung as his likely successor but when Jung discovered Freud had a need to present his work as dogma, as a "truth" which should not be questioned, he began to draw away. The truth to Jung was far more important than any dogma and dogma's he recognised were a way of silencing free thought and experience. In the early part of his relationship with Freud, Jung did not feel he was sufficiently developed to properly confront him but as he grew older and continued his study of himself and his patients, he came to understand Freud more and more and to see where Freud himself had unresolved issues. The parting of the ways came when Jung asked Freud to give him more details in order that he might be able to interpret one of Freud's dreams. Freud's reply that if he was to give this information he might lose his authority saw the parting of the ways. Truth to Jung, was far more important than authority.

Carl Jung and Who Am I?

Jung's work came from personal investigation into his own psyche and that of his patients, coupled with an extensive study of civilisation, religion, myths, alchemy and astrology. He believed that by analysing himself and his patients and studying the history of human thought and experience, he could come to some understanding of who we are. He noticed that the time he lived in was a time where the rational was given almost total precedence over that of myth and he recognised, perhaps somewhat uniquely for his time and especially his sex, that what was rational was not always what was the truth. He fearlessly sought the truth,

Carl Jung, from the beginning found himself not agreeing with Freud's belief that the basis of all motivation was sex. He believed that the unconscious held far more than purely personal and repressed base instincts. As with Freud, he worked tirelessly on understanding dreams, both his own and that of his patients. Like Freud, he believed that we have an Ego, which is the central agent for understanding all that is conscious, everything which has ever been experienced by us and which has been integrated into our understanding of ourselves. What people tend to believe is who they are. Like Freud he also believed we have an unconscious which consists of impulses we have repressed.

Jung's view of the unconscious however went a great deal further. He believed we had a collective unconscious as well as our own personal one. His concept of the collective unconscious came from the premise that as we are all human, there must be some concept of ourselves which is universally human. From his investigations into alchemy, myths, legends and people of other religions, he was able to see with great clarity the extent to which the culture in which we are born, conditions our view of who we are. In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, he describes his meeting with Pueblo Indians and their discussion of the white man. "They say they think with their heads", said the Indian, having just told Jung that they thought the white man was "mad". Jung inquired what else could one think with and the Indian said. "We think Here" indicating his heart. Jung said that in that moment he saw Western Civilisation anew.

To Jung our Self was not our ego. Our Self was not who we thought we were. Our Self rather was who we really are, all of us, both the known and the unknown, the integrated and that which is yet to be integrated. Our perception of ourselves is hence our ego, but our true Self is a great deal more.

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