Jung’s Collective Unconscious

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If you’ve ever read into Carl Jung’s more popular work, you’ll see that some of theories are similar to Freud and other Psychoanalysts. You probably only need to know who Jung and Freud were to know that Jung was heavily influenced by him, however Jung’s work strayed down another path. One theory of his I find extremely interesting is the Collective Unconscious.

The 3 Main Components of Personality

Jung theorised that there were 3 main components of personality that each and every one of us possessed, the Ego, the Personal Unconscious and the Collective Unconscious.

JungThe Ego is at the centre of the self and represents the conscious side of the individual’s personality. The ego reacts to experiences, feelings and events that are in the present and still easily accessible in the mind.

The Personal Unconscious is the individual’s images and such that aren’t picked up by the Ego consciously, instead they enter to personal unconscious. Not only this, but repressed, forgotten and ignored memories are also stored here, they can usually be accessed by the individual with enough time and effort.

The Collective Unconscious is the main topic here, and personally what I find the be the most interesting of the three. Jung believed we all share an inherited reservoir of archetypes which we all universally recognise. These archetypes were generally pivotal figures from life and from mythology, such as The Self, The Sun, The Shadow and The Mother. This is why we see a Mother figure as nice and caring – according to Jung himself.

I talk about Archetypes a little more in another previous article, click here to open up said article.

What a Collective Unconscious Would Mean

If this actually exists then there is much to be learned about how this type of consciousness comes about and whether or not there are possible abilities to unlock with embracing the Collective Unconscious. Unfortunately though, there seems to be little we can do to find out more about it as the normal state of consciousness is still something we don’t fully understand ourselves. Supposing the Collective Unconscious did exist however, could we use it to our advantage?

Could it be used to transmit knowledge through subsequent generations? Being born with information already in our heads? It sounds crazier than it is, think about it. We’re born with implicit knowledge of how to breath, beat our heart and digest food among other things, well we might not call this knowledge, but our brain certainly knows what it should be doing. Why limit this capability to just bodily functions? Theoretically we could put any information we wanted in that pool of knowing we’re born with. True we aren’t so great at remembering things from our very early childhood so that might interfere, but we never forget how to do the things we’re born with. If however you do forget how to breath, then don’t argue and just let natural selection take its course.

If the Collective Unconscious does in fact exist, I think we could find some way of manipulating it in the vast future when we’ve achieved a much, much deeper understanding of the brain, human consciousness and more complex technology. I mean, imagine pregnant women someday having knowledge therapy so their child is born with a pre-set of skills and information, that’d be something. Then again, imagine the same women being forced into propaganda therapy so their child is born resembling a mash-up of Hitler, Stalin and Kim-Jong Un… In some ways I’m glad I’ll be long gone before we get anywhere near this sort of advancement.

– Jamie


Featured Image: © Kiah Ankoor