Biography of Carl Jung

Carl Jung is known to be one of the most famous psychological theorists of twentieth century. For sixty years, he developed him self with a singularity of purpose to analyzing the far flung and deep lying process of human personality. An exceptional and prominent approach of Jung in the field of psychology highlighted understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. The present paper focuses on Carl Jung’s biography and his major involvement in the area of psychology and art.

Jung, Carl Gustav, Swiss psychiatrist, initiator of analytical psychology, was born in Kesswil, Switzerland on 26 July 1875. Jung was the only son of the village pastor, the Reverend Paul Achilles Jung, and Emilie Jung, nee Preiswerk. His grandfather, Carl Gustav Jung (1794–1864), after whom he was christened, was a much-respected physician, who became Rector of Basel University and Grand Master of the Swiss Lodge of Freemasons. He was supposed to be the illegitimate son of Goethe. Though he bore a strong physical resemblance to the great poet, this is probably a legend and not fact.

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Childhood ritual prepared him for his later insights into the importance of projection in psychology. Jung’s adult delight in solitude, his alchemical studies, and his research into the dynamics of psychic transformation were also foreshadowed in an adolescent fantasy (Anthony Stevens, 2001). He discovered philosophy and read widely during his teens, and this, together with the disappointments of his boyhood, led him to renounce the strong family tradition and to study medicine and become a psychiatrist. During his youth time, he studied extensively in philosophy and theology.
After attaining his medical degree (1902), he worked in Zurich with Eugen Bleuler in the field of mental illness. At Burgholzli, Jung began, with outstanding success, to apply association tests initiated by earlier researchers. He studied, especially, patients’ peculiar and illogical responses to stimulus words and found that they were caused by emotionally charged clusters of associations withheld from consciousness because of their disagreeable, immoral (to them), and frequently sexual content. He used the now famous term complex to describe such conditions.
Jung was mainly interested in parapsychology during his career. He came in contact with Sigmund Freud as a close collaborator and most likely successor between 1907 and 1912, but he had disagreement with Freud over the issue of the sexual basis of neuroses. Jung theory of personality is usually identified as psychoanalytical theory because it emphasizes the unconscious processes. He gave more weight on people’s aim and plans and less to instincts (Morgan, 1981). Jung was listed president of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy in 1933.
This organization had Nazi connections. Jung was severely criticized for his activities with the organization and his writings about racial differences in the magazine Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie. Jung died on June 6, 1961. The most distinctive and prominent feature of Jung view of human is that human behavior is conditioned not only by individual and racial history but also by aims and aspiration. Both the past as actually and future as potentially guides one’s present behavior. Jung theory emphasizes the social and phylogenetic foundation of personality.
He explained that the foundations of personality are archaic, premature, innate, unconscious and probably universal. Jung emphasized the racial origin of personality. According to him, an individual personality is a resultant of inner forces acting upon and being acted upon by outer forces. The total personality or psyche consists of differentiated but interacting system. The principal feature of his theory of personality is ego, the personal unconscious and its complexes, the collective consciousness and its archetypes, the persona, the anima and animus and the shadow.
He explained ego is the conscious mind. It is made up of conscious perception, memories, thoughts and feeling. The ego is responsible for one’s feeling of identity. The personal unconscious is a region adjoining to ego. It consists of experiences that were one’s conscious but which have been repressed, suppressed, forgotten or ignored. A complex is an organized group of feeling, thoughts, perceptions and memories that exists in personal unconscious. Jung described the complexes may behave like an autonomous personality that has a mental life (Hall and Lindzey, 1978).
The concept, for which Jung is best known, is the collective unconscious. It has had a profound influence not only on psychology but also on philosophy and the arts. The collective consciousness is the storehouse of unconscious archetypes (primordial images), concept that represents the primitive and ancestral experiences of human race. One acquires these unconscious images automatically as a part of one’s genetic heritage. An archetype is a universal thought form that contains large elements of emotions.
This thought form creates images or vision that corresponds to normal waking life to some aspect of conscious situation. Examples of archetypes are God, rebirth, the wise old man and the devil. In the collective unconscious, one finds the sources of myth and memory of universal realities such as mothers and fathers, the sun and storms, masculinity and femininity (Morgan; 1981). The concept of collective unconscious is of the most original and controversial feature of Jung personality theory. It is most powerful and influential system of psyche and in pathological cases over shadow, the ego, and the personal unconscious.
Another principal feature of Jung‘s theory of personality is persona. It is mask adopted by the person in response to the demands of social convention and tradition and to his or her own archetype needs. If the ego identifies with persona, as it frequently does, the individual become more conscious of the part that he is playing (Hall and Lindzey; 1978). Jung intends synchronistic occurrences are neither provable nor disprovable in the hard, rigorous sense we traditionally associate with the natural sciences, and with mathematics.
Jung’s notion of synchronicity is associated inextricably with his notion of archetypes, those elusive, quasi- instinctual entities which Jung employs to explain just about everything that has to do with the dynamics of human psychology. So-called archetypes are the genetically based tendencies which steer or govern our behavior at the unconscious level, including the psychosomatic level, and which characteristically express themselves in powerful, timeless images usually connected to myths, religious rituals, and magic: the gods of antiquity, the pentagram, the mandala, the cross, the philosopher’s stone (M. D. Faber, 1998).
In addition to a balance of conscious and unconscious forces, Jung emphasized other balances in one’s nature. Some modes of experiencing and dealing with the world may be prominent in one’s conscious personality, while opposite modes may dominate the unconscious side. He theorized that human is essentially a bisexual animal on the psychological level. Sexuality is the basic driving urge for people was denied by Jung. Jung ascribed the feminine side of man’s personality (anima) and masculine side of women’s personality to archetypes (animus). These archetypes are product of the racial experiences of man with women and women with man.
In the view if Jung, shadow archetype consists of the animal instincts that humans invented in their evolution from their lower forms of life. Shadow is responsible for our conception of original sin. When it is projected outwards, it becomes devil or energy. Jung pioneered the notion of individuation. The process of individuating consists of a series of metamorphoses such as birth/infancy, puberty, adulthood, and midlife. If one can individuate at midlife, the ego is no longer at the center and the individual makes some sort of peace with her/his mortality (Ellenberger, 1970).
Before the self can emerge, it is necessary for the various components of the personality to become fully developed. Jung formulated the concept of introversion and extroversion that is turning inward toward contemplation or outward toward others (Morgan; 1981). Jung assumes that personality contains polar tendencies that may come into conflict with one another. He believes that the psychological theory of personality must be formed on the principal of opposition or conflict because the tension created by conflicting element is the essence of life itself. Without tension there would be no energy and consequently no personality.
All the creative art psychotherapies have their roots to C. G. Jung’s early work on active imagination. Jung learned to develop an ongoing affiliation with his lively creative spirit through the power of imagination and fantasies. He phrased this therapeutic method “active imagination. ” Jung started many expressive techniques to “dream the dream onward. ” Active imagination practice developed by Jung cheers patients to create fantasies, paint pictures, sculpt forms in clay, write poems and stories, dance or move the body expressively, and construct scenes in sand trays in order to foster a relationship with the unconscious.
Many of these forms of creative expression have engendered particular therapeutic practices such as art therapy, movement therapy, drama therapy and role-playing. Jung’s view of literature was undecided. He had a particular concern in trivial literature. Jung found a personification of the anima in H. Rider Haggard’s novel She. Jung was fascinated in the mythic and archaic elements in literature. His Symbols of Transformation (1912) contains a lengthy discussion of Longfellow’s Hiawatha, which is regarded as a poetic compilation of mythical motifs.
The old Chinese text, The Secret of the Golded Flower, awakened Jung’s interest in alchemy. In 1944, his major study in this field, Psychologie und Alchemie, was published in German. For Carl Jung, yoga is a general term indicating all of Eastern thought and psychological practice. In his writings yoga is used to designate Eastern traditions as diverse as Hinduism, Indian Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism and Chinese Taoism (J. Borelli, 1985). Jung was a fanatical, gifted thinker committed to knowledge and fearless in his pursuit of the truth.
Though the theory postulated by Jung is somewhat shrouded in mystism, Junganian psychology has a number of devoted admirers and proponents. Many of these are practicing Jung’s method of psychotherapy and have accepted his fundamental postulates regarding personality. References: 1) Hall, C. S. , and Lindzey G. 1978. Theories of personality (3rd ed. ). New York: Wiley. 2) Faber, M. D. 1998. Synchronicity: C. G. Jung, Psychoanalysis, and Religion; Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Page Number: 3. 3) Morgan Clifford T, King Richard A. , Robinson Nancy M. 1981.
Introduction to Psychology; Sixth Edition; Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited. 4) Ellenberger, Henri F (1970). “Carl Gustav Jung and Analytical Psychology”, a chapter in The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. BasicBooks, Perseus Books Group. 5) J. Borelli. 1985. Jung and Eastern Thought. Harold Coward – author. Publisher: State University of New York Press. Place of Publication: Albany, NY. 6) Anthony Stevens. 2001. Jung: A Very Short Introduction; Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of Publication: Oxford, England.. Page Number: 7.

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