3/9/2012 0 Comments
On Jung's "Self"
The following quote from Jung is easily misunderstood. So I have inserted some explanation within the text (shown in brackets):
"The possibilities of development [often demands] ... alienations [from] the self, ways of divesting the self of its reality in favor of an external role or in favor of an imagined meaning.
In the former case the self retires into the background and gives place to social recognition [persona]. In the latter, to the auto-suggestive meaning of a primordial image [the autonomous drive-state associated with an activated archetype as seen in all numinous behavior has a meaning that becomes associated with a doctrine / dogma of an "ism" or a religion or an institution, such as the "alma mater" of a university or college]. In both cases the collective [Here, Jung means that there is a unconscious collective aspect of both persona and "isms"] has the upper hand.
Self-alienation in favor of the collective corresponds to a social ideal; it even passes for social duty and virtue, although it can also be misused for egotistical purposes"
From: para. 267, Jung, C.G. (1966). “The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious.” In R.F.C. Hull (Trans.), The Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 7, pp. 123-241). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published in 1934.)
RIW: It is best to understand the first sentence's "alienations of the self" in the framework of the normal development of the ego. Jung understands that all human beings separate from their original unconscious wholeness. This occurs as a child begins to develop language, which is a process in which an exclusively visual language becomes auditory. Jung also understands this as a process that reaches a climax when the infant / childhood psyche develops the continuity of consciousness which we call the "ego." Though this facilitates adaptive social development, it has a cost: access to the storehouse of creative images is barred to facilitate psychic individualism. If the development process continues on in later life, the barrier to these primordial images becomes porous once again and the individuation process may continue into later life.
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