Carl Jung was born on July 26, 1875 in Kesswil, Switzerland. He was the only child of a Protestant clergyman. At the age of four, his family moved to Basel in which he grew up and attended the University of Basel from 1895-1900. Jung furthered his education at the University of Zurich where he obtained his M. D. He was a strong believer of the unconscious drives and innate characteristics shared by the human race. Jung and Freud shared the same idea of an unconscious nature, and worked together for a total of five years, 1907-1912.
However, the two men split due to their different views on the importance of sexuality on human nature. Jung was more interested in learning about the meaning of unconscious contents. In order to differentiate from Freud, Jung termed his discipline analytical psychology in comparison to Freud’s psychoanalysis. Jung died at the age of 86 on June 6, 1961 in Kusnacht, Switzerland (Cowgil). THEORY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS Jung believed that the human psyche (mind) is made up of separate systems consisting of the ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious (McLeod).
The ego is a representation of the conscious mind; it holds the thoughts, memories, and emotions that a person is consciously aware of. It also provides the individual with feelings of identity and continuity. The next system, according to Jung, is the personal unconscious which contains repressed memories and temporarily forgotten information. An important figure of the unconscious is the complex. Jung described the complex as a collection of thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and memories focusing on a single subject.
He believed that the more elements attached to a complex, the greater influence it had on the individual. For example, if a person had a leg amputation as a child and grew up thinking that they did not fit in or weren’t capable of performing certain tasks, Jung would say that the individual has a complex about the amputated leg. Jung’s personal unconscious differed from Freud’s because Jung believed it to be closer to the surface, making it more accessible to the individual. This led him to rely heavily on the present and future as means of analyzing and treating mental illnesses.
Jung also proposed the idea of a collective, or transpersonal, unconscious. He believed this to be a type of unconscious shared by all members of the human species, made up of ancestral and evolutionary memories. These memories come from human ancestors’ life experiences and are the basis of human behavior. The experiences of the ancestors led to the creation of innate characteristics as a result of evolution, such as fear of the dark, snakes, or spiders. ARCHETYPES Consequently, Jung also believed that certain ancestral memories and images were linked to separate personality subsystems.
These sub-systems are known as archetypes, or universal images and thoughts across cultures that may appear in dreams, art, religion, or literature (McLeod). Symbols from different cultures are similar because the human race shares an immense variety of archetypes in the collective unconscious. Although Jung studied many archetypes, he mainly focused on four. The first one is the persona, which is the face presented to society. Acting like a mask, the persona archetype conceals an individual’s true self and is coined as the conformity archetype.
Next is a set of two archetypes, the anima and animus, which portray the mirror image of an individual’s biological sex. Jung believed that in every man an unconscious feminine side, termed anima, existed. Likewise, he believed that every woman had an unconscious masculine side, known as animus. Due to the many years of the male and female communal living, unconscious drives of the opposite sex existed in each other. Every individual, according to Jung, has a source of creative and destructive energies known as the shadow.
This third archetype portrays the animal side and instinctual drives of an individual’s personality. Lastly, there is the archetype of the self, which is the actual representation of an individual. Jung believed that the expression of this archetype provided an individual with a sense of unity and experience, since the ultimate goal of every human is to reach a state of selfhood. Relating the archetypes to the theory of a collective unconscious, Jung considered the archetypes to be a reflection of predispositions that once had survival value amongst human ancestors.
He also argued that modern life alienated the individual from achieving selfhood. An example of this would be the suppression of the anima and animus in Western cultures. By not being able to express their entire personality, an individual hides behind the persona and remains masked forever. PSCYHOLOGICAL TYPES According to Jung, an individual alternates between receiving information and making decisions based on the information acquired on a day-to-day basis. The decisions that are made affect both an individual’s internal, or personal, world, and external world.
Jung identified 8 different patterns through which an individual could exert acquired information in order to make decisions, which he termed functions-in-attitudes (Golatz). There are two opposite ways in which individuals adapt and orient themselves in the world: extraversion and introversion. Extraverted individuals exert energy towards the outer world of people, places, and things. In contrast, introverted individuals exert energy towards the inner, more personal world of thoughts and ideas. Following the attitudes are an individual’s functions, which fall into two categories: perception and judgement.
Underneath the function of perception are two subcategories, sensing perception and intuitive perception. Sensing perception is the process of collecting data through the five senses -sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. An individual with intuitive perception, processes connections and infers meanings bevond the information given by the five senses. The subcategories of judgement are: thinking and feeling judgment. Thinking judgement uses objective and logical criteria when evaluating information.
Evaluating information considering what is important on a personal and intrapersonal level requires feeling judgement. For both, the attitudes and functions, Jung believed that humans have a predisposition for all, but have a preference for one. The combination of the two attitudes and the four functions create Jung’s eight personality types. Four of them deal with extraversion, while the other four relate to introversion. Each function-in-attitude is slightly different and contributes to an individual’s day to day lifestyle.
Extraverted sensing focuses on the objective world with the gathering of factual data and sensory experiences. In comparison, introverted sensing deals with subjective sensory experiences and the accumulation of factual historical data. An individual with extraverted intuition assesses new possibilities and patterns in the objective world, whereas someone with introverted intuition is reflective about the symbols, meanings, and patterns that arise from the unconscious, subjective world. An extraverted thinker applies logical order to the objective world by making structured and organized decisions.
Introverted thinkers seek understanding through the findings of logical principles behind certain phenomena in the subjective world. Individuals that display extraverted feelings bring harmony to the objective world by seeking harmony amongst people, and an alignment of openly expressed values. In contrast, people who display introverted feelings focus on the personal harmony and alignment of behavior and moral values. Jung states that individuals fluctuate between each of the eight personality types, but always revert back to one preferred function-in-attitude.
LEARNING STYLES Jung noted differences in the way people perceive, decide, and act. Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs took Jung’s work and applied it to the differences found in human learning. Myers and Briggs decided to focus on an individual’s learning process by putting an emphasis on personality, since learning is the result of a personal act of feeling and thinking. By combining Jung’s personality types and the aforementioned focuses, Myers and Briggs created four learning styles. The mastery style learner judges information according to its clarity and practicality.
A selfexpressive learner looks for images implied in learning and uses emotions to construct ideas and products. The understanding style learner focuses on ideas and abstractions in order to question, reason, and evaluate logical evidence. An interpersonal learner prefers learning in a social context and judges learning in terms of its potential use for others. Much like Jung’s personality types, these learning styles are not fixed throughout an individual’s life, but instead, develop as a person grows and learns.
Overall, Jung’s main contributions are the theory of the unconscious, the archetypes, the personality types, and his influence on modern day learning styles. By focusing on a collective unconscious and the use of present and future behavior as a means of analysis and treatment for mental illnesses, Jung paved the way for evolutionary psychology and modern day therapy as well. By providing a different psychological perspective, Jung demonstrated the unique difference in each human, but was also able to point out a vast majority of similarities. In doing so, Jung created a holistic view of the individual and the definition of human nature.