Carl Jung (World’s First Spiritual Psychologist—- 1875-1961)

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There are many aspects of Jung’s personality, out of which I am fascinated by the spiritual side and here I shall confine this blog to that aspect, which connects him to eastern philosophy, and he was very much impressed and influenced by spiritual east and openly admitted this in his writings.

The Nature Of The Psyche-
(From The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, The Collected Works)

Jung discusses his soul-centred psychology against a historical background of scientific-materialism. Jung’s psychology is a reaction to the bleak psychology of his time. which he calls ‘psychology without soul’. But Jung refused to adopt a romantic or idealistic concept of the soul. For him it is a subject of scientific scrutiny and only a sober attitude can do justice to its complexities, functions and pathologies. Soul for Jung is not a theological abstraction, such as we find in western religion, but an empirical reality. He derives the term soul from the Greek word ‘psyche’ and thus ‘psycho-logy’ literally means ‘the logos or study of the soul’. Jung wants the discipline of psychology to return to this original foundation. He sees no reason, apart from modern prejudice and assumptions, as to why psychology has taken a turn to reductive materialism. The study of psyche ought be given back its mystery and philosophical depth. Since soul is primarily unconscious for us today, Jung’s psychology begins with the idea of the unconscious, and this marks it off from mainstream psychologies which are psychologies of consciousness.

Jung admits that in some ways his psychology is not modern, for to derive a psychology from spiritual principles is to move counter to the reductive bias that is found in everything modern. His psychology represents, in part, a return to ‘the teachings of our forefathers. He despises the fact that materialism has become fused with scientific enquiry, thus generating scientism. Jung was arguing that scientific materialism is an ideology and not a science. Materialism is destroying the thinking of our era, and hardly anyone dares to contradict it because;

To think otherwise than our contemporaries think is somehow illegitimate and disturbing; it is even indecent, morbid or blasphemous, and therefore socially dangerous for the individual. He is stupidly swimming against the social current.

Jung was aware of the dangers of swimming against the tide, and he practised it on a daily basis. We have to appreciate the personal resolve and professional difficulty that this involved. As we might say today, he must have had enormous resilience and self-belief to withstand the barrage of criticisms that he constantly received.

Jung is not content to assert an opposite position to mainstream psychology; he also turns the tables on this scientific-materialism, arguing that it is inherently irrational in its obsession with material causation. We do not even know what ‘matter’ is, so how can we pretend to be so certain about it? Matter remains, to this day, mysterious to physicists, chemists and biologists, but the popular worldview asserts a ‘materialism’ which pure science can not support.

In reality we are flying blind into the future, with a recklessness that Jung finds alarming. We have left unattended the invisibles of the psyche, and Jung’s intuition is that this is landing us in social chaos and personal despair. The invisibles require study and attention, and their needs have to be taken seriously, otherwise we face a continued downward course into violence and destruction. After the experience of the first world war, Jung adopts a social dimension in everything he writes, and he does not write as if there is no world crisis outside the clinic. He thinks it is our unsubstantiated worldview that is responsible for the rise of social, political and psychological disorder.

Jung’s Analytical psychology-

The intellect, and along with it science, is now placed at the service of a creative power and purpose. Yet this is still ‘psychology’ although no longer science; it is psychology in the wider meaning of the world.
C. G. Jung

Sigmund Freud, his mentor and collaborator from 1906 to 1913, had ruled spirituality a taboo area for scientific enquiry. Freud tolerated Jung while he was a ‘follower’ but Jung’s own interests were derided by Freud as ‘mysticism’ or ‘occultism’. In his youth, Jung had clashed with his own father, a clergyman. He was interested in his father’s profession(preaching Christianity) and expected good things to come from it, but as he approached adolescence Jung was disappointed by what he saw as the emptiness of his father’s religion. He felt his father had little faith and no experience to base it on. All he seemed to possess was a set of beliefs. To Jung, his father’s sermons were displays of religiosity without spirituality.

Thus Jung felt equally unsupported by his intellectual father, Freud, and his biological father, Paul Jung. In the language of psychoanalysis, he suffered from a father-complex, and in his life and career he had to struggle to discover a fatherly source of authenticating strength within himself. However, even in this context we can not speak of his complex as purely personal. One might say that in the modern period, there is a spirituality ‘complex’ in civilization. Scientific materialism has refused to support spirit, since it has, until recently, been obsessed with demonstrable fact and material causation. Religion has also dispensed with the experiential life of spirit, preferring to focus on the historical sources of revelation and the worship of charismatic leaders. In archetypal terms, ‘spirit’ is ‘unfathered’ by either tradition, and Jung’s life is a testimony to this problem.

Jung’s mother outwardly conformed to her husband’s religion, but in her personal life she seemed to be an advocate of popular or ‘folk’ religion. She was interested in ghosts, spirits of the dead and poltergeists. This interest seemed to be passed on to her son, and for his doctorate Jung wrote a thesis on the psychology of mediumistic or occult phenomena. But Jung’s interest in the occult was quickly outgrown, as is often the case in the intellectual development of enquiring minds. Instead of focusing on his mother’s ‘spirits’, Jung developed an interest in, and passion for, spirit as an archetypal force. Whereas spirits are conceived as literal and local metaphysical agencies, spirit is a universal force found in all things. Spirit is not just a spooky element in occult elements, but an enlivening principle that imbues culture, religion, and society. We can say that Jung’s interest in the invisible world progressed from naïve spiritualism to mature spirituality.

In eighteenth century science operated under the influence of enlightenment, in which reason was advocated as the primary source of authority. But in nineteenth century an overenthusiastic section of scientists and crusaders degenerated it into scientific-materialism, a view which denies the validity of any phenomenon not susceptible to scientific investigation. Religion was construed as the ‘enemy’ of science. Jung was highly critical of this scientific materialism, and he was intent on exploring the depths of nature as well as human nature.

Although Freud used the word ‘mysticism’ as a term of abuse for Jung, but mystics in east are revered as spiritual masters who have communion with god, and who have achieved higher consciousness. Even in west, today there is a change in perception and mysticism will not be tolerated as an abuse. Public and scholarly attitudes to mysticism changed in the 1940s and 1950s. Phenomenal interest in the writings of the poets and mystics of the east, like Rumi, Buddhism, Vivekanand confirmed that the world’s hunger for mysticism is at a high level and sustained. In this sense Freud was out of step with contemporary life and was sort of speaking from a late-nineteenth century worldview which can be said outdated now.

As a science of mind, psychoanalysis could not remain faithful to Freud’s iron-clad rationality. Freudians(word used for followers of Freud) have ignored their founder’s jaundiced attitudes towards spirituality and religion. The spiritual pole of the libido, as theorised by Jung, has surfaced in the work of post-Freudians, giving the lie to the mechanistic view they inherited. The gap between Jungians and Freudians is closing.

In our time medicine is becoming more holistic. The general practitioner is not only knowledgeable in western medicine, but often he or she has an interest in Chinese, Indian or Japanese medicine. A great many doctors practise acupuncture, herbal medicine, naturopathy, and other so-called ‘complementary’ modalities. In mental health, there is increased suspicion among professionals and patients that medication can treat complex mental illnesses. The mental health industry is moving towards a more holistic paradigm, in which Jung’s theories and methods, including his interpretation of dreams, fantasies, and visions, and his amplification of images in light of myths and cosmological systems, no longer seem out of place. In this open environment, discourse about soul or spirit no longer grates on the nerves of the medical practitioners. On the contrary, all accounts suggest that such practitioners are eager to be re-educated in a larger model in which soul and spirit are no longer seen as obsolete.

Writing of the new turn in the direction of knowledge and science in recent decades, Diarmuid O’Murchu said;

The twenty-first century will, in all probability, experience a momentum towards another view of life, namely, the holistic or systems view, which seeks to interpret all life forms, including the universe as a whole, as a process of mutual interdependence, whereby individual parts do not act independently but in relationship with each other for the good of the whole. Ironically the momentum is arising not from within Christianity but from the combined insights of biology, physics, anthropology, psychology, and mysticism.

In ‘Psychology and Literature’ Jung suggested that the psychologist has an obligation to go beyond conventional boundaries:

Since it is a characteristic of the psyche not only to be the source of all productivity but, to express itself in all the activities and achievements of the human mind, we can nowhere grasp the nature of the psyche per se but can meet it only in its various manifestations. The psychologist is therefore obliged to make himself familiar with a wide range of subjects, not out of presumption and inquisitiveness but rather from love of knowledge, and for this purpose he must abandon his thickly walled specialist fortress and set out on the quest for truth.

There is another issue that we have to deal with today : the environmental crisis and its ‘inconvenient truths’. An ecological emergency is upon us and this has placed the function of knowledge in a different light. Knowledge which continues to fragment the world, to separate the humanity from nature, to split spirit from earth and mind from body, is being viewed with a new kind of suspicion, the like of which we have not seen before. The dualistic model of knowledge , which was unrivalled until recently, is being attacked from many quarters, and Jung is coming in to favour at this point in time. Today we are in need of large theories that can comprehend the relationships between humanity and nature, and the connection between matter, physics, psyche, mind and behaviour.

One might say that at last Jungian thought has found acknowledgement and respect in a scholarly field. Eco-psychology has brought together natural scientists, philosophers, poets, environmental activists, sociologists, and educationists. This important new discourse is searching for a spiritual orientation and a philosophical foundation for the environmental movement, and is finding Jung attractive. Jung proposed unifying principles of the world which are now seen to have ecological consequences. There is a great deal of intellectual excitement about eco-psychology, because it seems to suggest a way out of our dualism, towards a holistic approach which can heal the earth as well as the mind.

The Spiritual Problem Of Modern man-
(From Civilization in Transition, The Collected Works by C.G.Jung )

The spiritual ‘problem’ of western humanity consists, for Jung, of a cluster of problems. First, the modern person has been educated to believe in reason and the evidence of the senses. This means that the truly modern person has become alienated from religion and from all forms of non-rational activity. He or she engages in logical thinking, thus preventing the psyche from expressing itself. This has created a divided personality, with the conscious part identified with society and its values, and the unconscious part unattended, unsupported and lacking in direction. The unconscious is liable to become unruly, dangerous or monstrous in this split-off condition, thus creating the social climate for conflict, war, and a general discontent that is liable to lead to addictions, compulsions, fanaticisms, and revolutionary movements. When spirit is neglected it becomes the source of many pathologies.

Second, the non-rational life of the Soul has changed. It is no longer adequately expressed by the values of Christianity, nor by any other religion that is concerned primarily with the good, the light and the holy. There has been such a piling-up of evil and darkness in the psyche that the soul can no longer identify itself with images of goodness. The soul requires a different kind of expression, one which can acknowledge- and transform- the dark forces that have gathered in the inner world. This means there can be no going back to the religious forms of the past, and the ‘spiritual problem’ is not solved by returning to religious life in the old way. Religions now appear somewhat alien to the soul: ‘For modern man …the various forms of religion no longer appear to come from within, from the psyche; they seem more like items from the inventory of the outside world.

Third, the new religious expressions, which are yet to be realized, will need to emerge from within the conditions of the modern soul and need to be experiential. The new religious life of humanity can’t be based on external belief, tradition, or moral instruction. Jung suggests that the imitation of Christ or any other messianic figures is no longer possible; instead, we have to allow the spirit within to guide and direct us. This points to a religion based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jung seems to follow the tripartite view of history; an old testament world governed by God the Father, a Christian world governed by God the Son, and a future, third world governed by the Spirit. Jung’s work points to a new era as Father and Son’s completion in a higher spiritual order. The Holy Spirit- (although well known in the East as Spirituality) the least known member of the Trinity- is on Jung’s mind as a clue to the landscape of the future.

We are only at the threshold of a new spiritual epoch, writes Jung and as such, we do not have the cultural forms to direct this new spiritual life. We can’t expect religious tradition, society or governments to do the work for us; these are old world expressions which are opposed to radical change. Society wants to remain humanist and secular, religion wants to remain true to the past, and education wants to remain true to the reason. Consequently, humanity is left stranded and without resources. If change is going to come it is going to be from our own efforts; ‘Great innovations never come from above, they come invariably from below, just as trees never grow from the sky downward, but upward from the earth.’ We have to motivate ourselves to meet the spiritual challenges of our time; ‘The modern man must be proficient in the highest degree, for unless he can atone by creative ability for his break with tradition, he is merely disloyal to the past’. Jung is scathing towards the ‘pseudo-moderns’ who do not meet the challenges of the age, but who merely enjoy their freedom from the past. If spiritual life is not attended to, or we do not contribute to rebuilding it in some way, our lives are empty and we drag civilization to the edge of ruin.

Rebuilding is essential, but Jung admits that at first we do not know how to rebuild or where to start. He criticizes Theosophy(a new spiritual movement started in the west) as ‘an amateurish, indeed barbarous imitation of the East’.

Jung seems touchy about the East, and is only too aware of how much he has borrowed from it. Jung wants to arrive at its own East, by finding an equivalent introverted and experiential attitude in itself.

Jung stated ‘ It seems to be true that the East is at the bottom of the spiritual change, we are passing through today. Only, this East is not a Tibetan monastery full of Mahatmas, but lies essentially within us. It is our own psyche, constantly at work creating new spiritual forms and spiritual forces which may help us to subdue the boundless lust for prey of Aryan man.

For Jung the East is a symbol of the unexplored potential of the western psyche, and he wants to make contact with that psychic reality- and not project our interiority upon the Oriental world. Western world is empty, burnt out, needs renewal, that’s what Jung thought.

Religion and Psychology-

What does Jung mean by religious? He does not mean ‘religion’ in the conventional sense. Jung was not keen on organized religion, and rebelled against his father’s dedication to what he saw as ‘dead’ or moribund tradition. Jung’s main interest was in religious experience, namely, the fact of having been encountered by , or brought into contact with, the ‘numinosum’. This term refers to a God or Spirit as a power that can impact our experience and turn our lives around. The ‘numinosum’ he writes, is’ an experience of the subject independent of his will’. This is the hallmark of Jung’s work. He is not interested in our personal intentions, our independent actions or choices. He is riveted by something that comes to greet us which is outside our will and contrary to our intention. There is something outside consciousness which eclipses us on all sides. Those with an interest and experience in the sources of mystery from which our lives emerge will be intrigued by what Jung calls his ‘unusual argument’. ( Sahara bekason ka hai yehi insaf ka ghar hai,..yahan se maangney wala kabhi khali nahin jaata…. jahan bigdi huee taqdeer banti hai yeh woh dar hai…..taqdeer ke kab tak zulm sahen, tum se na kahen toh kissey kahen…..), (koi chaara nahin duaa ke siva, koi suntaa nahin khuda ke siva…….kaun ubhraa hai nakhuda ke siva…), (sookhi rut mein bhigi badariya, chamki bijuria saath ; doobo tum bhi sang mere, ya thamo mera haath ; maula salim chishti.. aaka salim chishti…jayega kaun pyasa aakey tumharey dar se, kuchh jaam se piyengey kuchh mehrban nazar se…yeh sang-e-dar tumhara todengey apne sar se…yeh dil agar dubara toota salim chishti….maula salim chishti..aaka salim chishti….)

‘The numinosum,’ he says, ‘is the influence of an invisible presence that causes a peculiar alteration of consciousness’.

Jung tells us how we are bound, and at the same time how we can achieve freedom. Although urging us to become aware of the invisible presence in our lives, Jung has a humanistic side, and is concerned that we find our relation to this presence, so that we discover freedom and maintain dignity. So Jung is showing the path (that is spiritual path we can say) to achieve freedom from suffering and pain (this is actually not different from what Gautam Buddha showed us through ‘nirvana’ and eight fold path to achieve it and this is the eternal truth believed in East ).

This embeddedness connects us to forces beyond the ego. The ego might feel alone, even alienated from the world, history and cosmos, but this alienation is an illusion of its own making. It is a ‘myth’ that majority lives by, and it’s a myth that Jung’s work challenges. In a way Jung’s work can be compared with that of Karl Marx (it’s so ironical because Jung was a believer and Marx was an atheist, but both of them wanted to free humanity from alienation in their own ways with pure intentions ). Both saw alienation as the modern condition, both sought to overcome alienation and achieve an authentic existence. But whereas for Marx the work of transformation was to be achieved by social rebellion against capitalism, for Jung the transformation was psychological and achieved by rebellion against the hegemony of the ego. Both are against the organized religion, but the similarity ends there. The vast difference is that whereas the doctrine of Marx leads to division of humanity and wars, the Jung doctrine is to heal the wounds of humanity through esoteric side of religion, which is so well known in the East as Spirituality. Marx’s revolution has been tried and found wanting; Jung’s revolution is a task for future, and has to succeed for the very survival of the humanity.

Literalism In Western Religion-

Jung believes that the churches have been involved in a self-deceiving falsehood. They have tended to read their images, miracles and wonders as literal events or physical facts, whereas it is obvious that such important moments in the Christian story as the virgin birth of Jesus, his physical resurrection and the second coming are not events on the stage of history but images of myth. They are myths which have been woven around the ‘bare’ facts of the historical figure of Jesus, his ministry of love and forgiveness and his crucifixion.

Today we tend to dismiss the myths as false but Jung insisted that they are true, not literally true, but they are spiritually true. That is, they express age-old truths of the spirit and timeless patterns of the soul. Jesus became a symbol of the spirit, and it can be said that spirit does not have a ‘normal’ birth, that is, it is not dependent on sexual processes or biological facts for its existence. It precedes sexuality, biology and the body, and it can be said to be ‘virginal’ in a metaphorical sense. The spirit can not be destroyed by death of the body, and thus it can be said to be immortal, to rise again after death. Jung’s theory of the metaphorical nature of the Christian mysteries does not please Christian readers, who insist on the ‘truth’ of such mysteries. Jung is saying that simple minded believers lack imagination and do not understand the nature of truth. Truth is not that one can see or touch, or an event which can be beheld by eyewitnesses. The resurrection can not be captured by photography. The outward body dies and the spirit lives on. Truth is internal, hidden from the common eye, and revealed only to the poet, the prophet or the philosopher.

Christians tend not to believe in hidden level of truth in the Bible and think of God’s word as matter of fact or non-metaphorical. That’s why Jung’s reading of these mysteries is considered heretical. Jung thinks that literalism is killing the church and destroying an otherwise good religion. So long as these events are literalised , they remain ‘out there’, lost in the past. If they are transformed into symbols of spirit, we can reclaim this heritage even in a technological age. They can come alive again in the soul.

Jung made it clear from the beginning that he was not a believer in miracles or wonders. He felt a mixture of poor judgement and bad taste on the part of churches, conspiring to read them literally.

Religious statements are not literally true, but nor are they lies, as atheists contend. Western person protests that if they are not true as facts, they can’t be true in any way. Such thinking lands them in the spiritual field, where many flounder. The mysteries of religions are truths of the spirit, but this is not self-evident to most of us today. Not even those who are professionally involved in religious life understand this. Very often, those who devote their life to religion do not perceive that religion is a call to personal transformation.

The traditions demand that people return to belief in miracles, but Jung points out that this is impossible for the modern intellect; nor does it connect us to the meaning of miracles;

Miracles appeal only to the understanding of those who can not perceive the meaning. Miracles are mere substitutes for the not understood reality of the spirit.

Literalism satisfies the religious institutions and their requirements, but not the soul or spirit, which hungers for the meaning in and behind miracles. We can no longer be fed miracles and wonders, because we are no longer satisfied by superstitious tales and need to know the meaning of transformations of spirit. Miracles are for those without faith and imagination. One does not need miracles if there is true faith. To confuse the sacred narrative of the mystical body with facts about the physical body is not a work of divine inspiration, but of cultural manipulation.

Jung felt that unless western religion could overcome its obsession with literalism, there was little hope for its revival. He wanted to bring the myths of religion to life by bringing them into contact with the soul, so they could be experienced as truths within the individual. In the current dogmatic climate, myths were dying for want of being understood as living organs of the soul.

The Difference between Eastern and Western thinking-
(From Psychology and Religion; West and East, The Collected Works by C.G.Jung )

The difference between East and West is that the West sees mind originating in the human being, and the East sees mind as a quality or dimension of the cosmos.The East can conceive of mind without a human presence. Its concept of mind is universal whereas the West’s is anthropocentric. The West asserts that there is no evidence for the existence of a universal mind, and science does not regard this as a sensible hypothesis. Jung is not including his own psychology in this generalization, as his vision allows for a universal mind, a thesis which he develops in his theory of ‘Synchronicity’. Jung is in the West but not of the West.(nineteenth century was the century of scientific-materialism and there was no place for spirituality in the West during this period, but lately some scientists had worked on mind and brain and established that mind is our true self and has access to the soul, and these developments proved that Jung’s vision was correct although scientifically it was not tested due to general reluctance to verify it by contemporary western scientists.)

Jung wrote- The development of western philosophy during the last two centuries ( he is referring to eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ) has succeeded in isolating the mind in its own sphere and in severing it from its primordial oneness with the universe. Man himself has ceased to be the microcosm and image of the cosmos, and his ‘anima’ is no longer the spark of the world-soul.

But we have to read Jung closely; he is not being as categorical as it might appear. He says the West has lost the universal mind, but he does not think we have lost it forever. Our anthropocentricism may be an illusion, a failure to see beyond certain facts. The truth may be more shocking than any thing western science has imagined. Our human mind and psyche may be part of a continuum of mind that we do not see. We have habitually and systematically blocked out the universal dimension failing to realize that our souls are ‘sparks’ of the soul of the world. It is just possible that our mind is nothing but a perceptible manifestation of a universal mind. The lost or forgotten ‘universal mind’, he supposes is to be found in our unconscious. It is the psychology of the unconscious that opens a potential bridge between Eastern and Western concepts of mind.

Jung assumed that the East has become attractive to the West, and the West is desirous of what the East possesses. He is worried about this desirous attitude because he thinks West has a consumerist hunger, which may blind westerns to see universal mind as a treasure of the East, and to go in search of that treasure with the intention of grabbing it literally. But even if West does it, the western psyche is still locked in its personalism and confinement. It has merely added universal mind as an exotic possession. The original dualism between personal and universal remains, and has merely been submerged by our acquisitive hunger. Jung is urging West to find universal mind as a buried treasure in the field.

Jung discusses a number of different, contrary points of view between East and West-‘The East bases itself upon psychic reality, that is, upon the psyche, as the main and unique condition of existence’, whereas ‘ we in the West believe that a truth is satisfactory only if it can be verified by external facts.’ ‘The West has developed its relationship with the world- the study of nature, science, technology, medicine, whereas the East has developed its relationship with the inner world and perfected the art of spirituality; Each civilization developed its strength and neglected its weaknesses and blind spots. Jung emphasises the disproportionate developments of each.’ ‘What West has to show in the way of spiritual insight and psychological technique must seem, when compared to East (Meditation, Yoga techniques originated from East, which now West is incorporating in medical science and in the treatment of chronic ailments) just as backward as Eastern astrology and medicine when compared with Western engineering and medical science.

But despite these vast differences,’ the two contradictory worlds have met’. ‘The East is becoming rapidly westernized and the West is borrowing and adapting from the East. Each side is exploring the other for what it lacks in itself.

Jung is excited about the possibilities of what he calls’ the spiritual adventure of our age’.

Jung says that ‘it is certainly more than an amusing freak of history that just at the time of French revolution a Frenchman, Anquetil du perron, should be living in India and, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, brought back with him a translation of the ‘Oupnek hat’ a collection of fifty Upanishads, which gave the West its first deep insight into the baffling mind of the East.

About Jung –

Carl Jung has been called the first new age Psychologist. His entire work has been described as,’ a psycho-religious statement, a progressive interpretation of the numinous by which man is consciously or unconsciously filled, surrounded, and led.’

Jung repeatedly defined himself as, ‘an empiricist who moved within the limits of a natural empirical science.’

He said, ‘ It is the truth, a force of nature that expresses itself through me – I can imagine in my instances where I would become sinister to you. For instance, if life had led you to take up an artificial attitude, then you would not be able to stand me, because I am a natural being. By my very presence I crystalize; I am a ferment. The unconscious of people who live in an artificial manner senses me as a danger. Everything about me irritates them, my way of speaking, my way of laughing. They sense nature.’

When Carl Gustav Jung spoke of himself as a “natural being”, he was sixty-six years old. By then he was world-famous and controversial, the first modern psychiatrist to recognize that the human psyche is “by nature religious”, and to explore it in-depth, a self described ’empiricist’ and ‘healer of the soul’, he penetrated the inner reaches of himself and his patients, linked his experience to ancient writings and cultures worldwide and offered his discoveries to an uncomprehending world.

In a letter he wrote,
” The main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neurosis but rather with the approach to the numinous….(which) is the real therapy.”

Jung’s work explains-

* Man needs to become his complete self to live whole.

* God needs man to mirror his creation and help it evolve.

* The whole human being is open to God as co-creator.

Central to his analytical psychology is the individuation process. It might also be called ” coming to selfhood ” or “self realization” .

” The individual is all-important as he is the carrier of life, and his development and fulfilment are of paramount significance. It is vital for each living being to become its own entelechy (accomplishment/actuality) and to grow into that which it was from the very beginning.”

Individuation is the experience of a natural law, an inner self-regulating process by which man becomes a whole human being acknowledging and living the total range of himself. In the process the ego is ultimately faced with something larger than itself, a force that it yields to and serves. The human being thus recognizes himself as both material and spiritual, conscious and unconscious.

Individuation does not only mean that man has become truly human as distinct from animal, but he is to become partially divine as well. That means practically that he becomes adult responsible for his existence, knowing that he does not only depend on God , but that God also depends on human being.

Jung was at pains to point out that the wholeness he spoke of meant completion, not perfection. Perfection he saw as a masculine concept, completion as feminine one-

To get integrated or completed is such a formidable task that one does not dare to set people further goals, like perfection. As for instance the ordinary physician neither imagines nor hopes to make of his patient an ideal athlete, so the psychological doctor does not dream of being able to produce saints. He is highly content if he brings forth in himself as well as in others a fairly balanced and more or less sound individual, no matter how far from the state of perfection. Before we strive for perfection, we ought to be able to live the ordinary human being without self-mutilation. If anybody should find himself or herself after this humble completion, still left with a sufficient amount of energy, then he or she may begin his or her career as a saint.

Jung studied the symbolic language of alchemy, a European tradition( there is some dispute here since alchemy like algebra is an Arabic word originated from middle eastern Arabian culture) of transformative process that unites opposites to bring forth living knowledge-

Jung wrote- Only after I had familiarized myself with alchemy did I realize that the unconscious is a process, and that the psyche is transformed or developed by the relationship of the ego to the contents of the unconscious. In individual cases that transformation can be read from dreams and fantasies. In collective life it has left its deposit principally in the various religious systems and their changing symbols. Through the study of these collective transformation processes and through understanding of alchemical symbolism I arrived at the central concept of my psychology; ” the process of individuation.”

For Jung reaching to the ‘spiritual East’ was not a replacement of western culture but rather a filling of gaps in both east and west, ” a symbolic expression of the fact that we are entering into connection with the elements in ourselves which are strange to us.”

He further explains- It is not due to my intention or activity of mine that the spiritual and historical analogy with the east gets into my way of looking at things…..It is not however, the actual east we are dealing with but the collective unconscious, which is omnipresent…….I have landed in eastern sphere through the waters of the unconscious, for the truths of the unconscious can never be thought up, they can be reached only by following a path which all cultures right down to the most primitive level have called the way of initiation.

The first layer we encounter in the unconscious is what Jung called the ‘shadow’, usually those parts of ourselves we don’t like, don’t know, or don’t want to know. The shadow can be repressed in us like a cancer or projected outward onto others as qualities we dislike in a person or group. The negative shadow can present us with a shortcoming to be overcome. the positive can show us a meaningful part of ourselves we should recognize and live out.

Jung about himself- My shadow is indeed so huge that I could not possibly overlook it in the plan of my life. In fact I had to see it as an essential part of my personality, accept the consequences of this realization, and take responsibility for them. Many bitter circumstances have forced me to see that though the sin one has committed can be regretted, it is not cancelled out. I don’t believe in the tiger who was finally converted to vegetarianism and ate only apples. My solace was always Paul who did not deem it beneath his dignity to admit he bore a thorn in the flesh.

Active imagination, dreams, anima/animus, the shadow- they are all stations along the way to an acceptance of ourselves as we are, to letting life be –

Out of evil, much good has come to me. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality- taking things as they are and not as I wanted them to be- by doing all this unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before. I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life being receptive to whatever comes to me, good or bad, sun or shadow that are forever alternating in this way, also accepting my own nature with its negative and positive sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was. How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to.

Jung called this attitude ” religious in the highest sense”, adding that ” only on the basis of such an attitude will a higher level of consciousness and culture be possible.”

By hearing the opposites we can expose ourselves to life in our humanity…..We have to realize the evil is in us. We have to risk life to get into life, then it takes on colour, otherwise we might as well read a book–

The Opus consists of three parts– insight, endurance, and action–It is conflict of duty that makes endurance and action so difficult. The one must exist and so must the other. There can be no resolution, only patient endurance of the opposites, which ultimately spring from your own nature. you yourself are a conflict that rages in and against itself in order to melt its incompatible substances, the male and the female, in the fire of suffering, and thus create that fixed and unalterable form which is the goal of life. We are crucified between the opposites and delivered up to the torture until the reconciling third takes shape.

The ‘reconciling third’ that appears is the innermost nucleus of the psyche, the organizing centre that includes the ego but is not defined by it, a transpersonal, transcendent reality that Jung named the Self. The encounter with the Self is a centering which brings about a completion of the individuation process.

In a woman’s dream the self can be personified in female form as a priestess, earth mother, or goddess of love; in a man’s it appears as a male guru, wise old man, or spirit of nature. This psychic image of the transcendent can also be cosmic man, a divine or royal couple, a person that is both male and female, young and old, or an animal, crystal round stone, or mandala. Whatever the symbol, its meaning is wholeness, totality.

“People live on only one or two floors of a large apartment building which is our Mind, forgetting the rest.” The individuation process puts us in touch with the ‘rest’. Our conscious “I” is not the total psyche. There is an unconscious background that operates subliminally whether we realize it or not. Plugging into those undertones and making them conscious enlarges and deepens our experience of ourselves and life. The unconscious can be guide, friend, and adviser to the conscious. It speaks to us in the language of symbols, usually in the form of dreams.

Going inward means looking for the signs and symbols the unconscious dreams up for us naturally and spontaneously. Analysing, interpreting, and synthesizing them into our being is the work of our conscious selves. The world of unconscious is essentially an ambivalent one with both negative and positive aspects at all its levels which does not make it easy to understand. Often it begins to make itself felt out of negative state, such as boredom or stagnation, or a blow to the ego, a wounding of the personality.

Accused as Nazi Sympathiser—

In early 1930s Jung was accused of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathies. Jung stated his position as followed-

I found myself faced with a moral conflict….should I as a prudent neutral withdraw on this side of the frontier, live and wash my hands in innocence or should I- as I was well aware – lay myself open to attack and the unavoidable misunderstanding which no one can escape who, out of a higher necessity, has to come to terms with the political powers that be in Germany ? Should I sacrifice the interests of science, of loyalty to my colleagues, of the friendship which binds me to many German physicians, and the living community of German language and intellectual culture, to my egoistic comfort and different political outlook ?….So I had no alternative but to land the weight of my name and my independent position for the benefit of my friends—-

The main point is to get a young and insecure Science into a position of safety during an earthquake. Medicine has nothing to do with politics….and therefore it can and should be practised for the good of suffering humanity under all governments…Man after all still has a soul and is not just an ox fatted for political slaughter. If I am called into the arena for the sake of the soul I shall follow the call wherever it may be…The doctor who, in wartime, gives his help to the wounded of the other side will surely not be held a traitor to his country…

In a letter he further writes about the allegation—

Dear Dr . Cohen,

Your criticism of my lack of things Jewish is quite justified. I don’t understand Hebrew. But you seem to impute a political attitude to me which, in reality I do not possess. I am absolutely not an opponent of the Jews, even though I am an opponent of Freud’s. I criticize Freud because of his materialistic and intellectualistic, and last but not the least- irreligious attitude and not because he is a Jew….

my relation with Germany is very recent and due to idiotic altruism and not at all due to political sentiment.

Freud, Mysticism, Libido, and Incest–

Jung was effectively dismissed in 1913 from the Freudian Psycho analytic movement, which was dogmatically atheist. It was also primarily Jewish, and according to Freud, Jung’s ‘mysticism’ was due to his Germanic Aryan descent, which had left its mark on Jung’s character and inclined him to a spiritual disposition. Freud had suppressed his own spiritual instinct and tended to pathologise it in others, as well as to stigmatise it as a racial trace. The highly secular Freud was suspicious of what he called the ” fairy tale forest feeling” in Jung’s work, and boasted to Karl Abraham; ‘We Jews have an easier time, having no mystical element.’ This was an error on Freud’s part. There are long-standing, highly respected and on-going traditions of mystical thought in Jewish culture, about which Freud was ignorant. Freud was talking about himself and projecting his disposition upon the Jewish people, as a whole. Moreover, it is wrong to ascribe a mystical element to a particular racial group. History shows that this element is found in all people at all times. The mystical element, however, can be suppressed or ignored in the service of a triumphant rationalism.

The intellectual argument broke out between these two giants of modern thought, when Jung attempted to expand the Freudian theory of libido. Freud defined the libido as purely sexual, and saw the problems of neurosis, as caused by sexual difficulties. To Jung, the libido was a life-force, which could include spiritual, symbolic, and archetypal as well as sexual dynamisms. Jung believed that sex was the most apparent energy-laden aspect of the spectrum of libido, and in its more subtle and elevated aspect, which he called the ‘ psychic ultra-violet’, it was synonymous with Spirit.

Jung thought Freudian theory was rubbing our noses, into our animal nature at the cost of our spiritual lives. Just as the Victorian repression of sexuality made us sick, so Freud’s remedy, in which everything lofty and noble is reduced to a construct of sexual repression, is a different kind of distortion.

Jung wrote’ It is a widespread error to imagine that I do not see the value of sexuality. I can see the importance of sexuality but did not consider it to be the only dynamic factor in the psyche. His adopted father, Freud, was concentrating too much on the biological drives and losing the elevated life of spirit.’ This was the opposite of his biological father’s position. Jung’s task was to hold the tension between these two points of view and not to succumb to an elevated or reductive view of human nature.

Jung published his ‘alternative’ theory of incest in “Symbols of Transformation” in 1912, and this brought about the final break-up between him and Freud.

Freud dismissed Jung’s theory of incest as mumbo-jumbo and as evidence of Jung’s ‘mysticism’. He thought Jung was finding the sexual theory too hot to handle, and his swiss prudishness was preventing him from accepting the strictly sexual interpretation. Freud’s habit of reducing everything to the lowest common denominator (sex) was a stumbling block not only in his response to incest but in his relation with Jung. If Jung disagreed with his emphasis on sexuality, this was attributed to sexual inhibitions in Jung -an old accusation – given the biological evidence which supports the notion that Jung had full and uninhibited sexual life. Intellectual disagreements were attributed to an oedipal complex that Freud believed Jung harboured against him. This reductive and circular strategy of Freud’s drove Jung to distraction.

The remarkable thing was not that Freud and Jung split, but that they got together in the first place. They were so different from the outset; Freud was a cheerful pessimist, explaining everything in terms of mechanistic causes and personal impulses, while Jung was the idealistic and romantic explorer of the mind, always looking for the traces of the sacred.

Divine Presence—

In his scientific writing, Jung always spoke of the ‘God-image’, pointing to its universal manifestation. In correspondence and conversations he made more direct and personal statements-

The divine presence is more than anything else. There is more than one way to the discovery of the genus-divinum in us. This is the only thing that matters….I wanted the proof of a living spirit and I got it. Don’t ask me at what price…..I don’t want to prescribe a way to other people, because I know that my way has been prescribed to me by a hand far above my reach. I know it all sounds so damned grand. I am sorry that it does, but I don’t mean it. It is grand and I am only trying to be a decent tool and don’t feel grand at all.

Regardless of what he tried to do in remaining scientific in his writing, when he talked, he left no doubt that when he spoke of God he was speaking of more than the archetype of God. This is sharply emphasized in a statement he made after he had been talking most movingly about the use and need of prayer. “why do I have to talk about God ? Because He is everywhere ! I am only a spoon in his kitchen.”

In a letter, Jung declares-

I can’t define for you what God is. I can only say that my work has proved empirically that the pattern of God exists in every man and this pattern has at its disposal the greatest of all his energies for transformation and transfiguration of his natural being. Not only the meaning of his life but his renewal and his institutions depend on his conscious relationship with this pattern of his collective unconscious.

In the last years of his life, with world events like Soviet suppression of Hungary, The Suez crisis, and Chinese invasion of Tibet as daily dramas, Jung’s communication shows repeated concern for the earth, its future, and the Individual’s role.

The world today hangs by a thin thread and that is the psyche of man…It is not the reality of the hydrogen bomb that we need to fear, but what man will do with it.

A change in the attitude of the individual can bring about a renewal in the spirit of the nations.

The whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers, we make our epoch.

We are living in what the Greeks called the right moment for a “metamorphosis of the Gods “, of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing , is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing….

As at the beginning of the Christian era, so again today we are faced with the problem of the general moral backwardness which has failed to keep pace with our scientific, technical, and social progress….

Happiness and contentment, equability of mind and meaningfulness of life- these can be experienced only by the individual and not by a state, which, on one hand, is nothing but a convention agreed to by independent individuals and, on the other, continually threatens to paralyze and suppress the individual….

The social and political circumstances of the time are certainly of considerable significance, but their importance for the weal or woe of the individual has been boundlessly overestimated in so far as they are taken for the sole deciding factors. In this respect, all our social goals commit the error of overlooking the psychology of the person, for whom they are intended- and very often- of promoting only his illusions.

Everything now depends on man ; immense power of destruction is given into his hands, and the question is whether he can resist the will to use it, and can temper his will with the spirit of love and wisdom. He will hardly be able to do so on his own resources. He needs the help of an “advocate” in heaven.

Just as man, as a social being, can’t in the long run exist without a tie to the community, so the individual will never find the real justification for his existence and his own spiritual and moral autonomy anywhere except in an extra mundane principle capable of relativizing the overpowering influence of external factors. The individual who is not anchored in God, can offer no resistance on his own resources, to the physical and moral blandishments of the world. For this he needs the evidence of inner, transcendent experience, which alone can protect him from the otherwise inevitable submission in the mass.

We have become participants of the divine life, and we have to assume a new responsibility….Man’s relationship to God probably has to undergo a certain important change; Instead of the propitiating praise to an unpredictable king, or the child’s prayer to a loving father, the responsible living and fulfilling of the divine love in us, will be our form of worship of, and commerce with God. His goodness means grace and light and his dark side the terrible temptation of power. Man has already received so much knowledge that he can destroy his own planet. Let’s hope that God’s good spirit will guide him in his decisions, because it will depend on man’s decision, whether God’s creation will continue. Nothing shows more drastically than this possibility, how much of divine power has come within reach of man.

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