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Archetype

The late Nelson Mandela might become an archetypal image for “The Saint” or “The Wise Old Man”, much like Mahatma Gandhi has been idealized by those inspired by his larger than life example – Image via Tumblr

Archetype is a term used by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung to indicate the psychological contents of an alleged collective unconscious. For Jung the archetypes are inherited patterns encoded in the body, universally shared by mankind.¹

Jung often likens the archetypes to ancient deities, saying that the word “archetype” is a scientific-sounding update for a very old idea. Not unlike the gods and goddesses of ancient times, archetypes apparently have a psychic life of their own. And when ego consciousness encounters the archetype, the individual experiences a sense of the numinous.

According to Jung, the encounter with the numinous may be psychologically constructive or destructive, healing or disorienting. The effect of the numinous on the conscious ego depends on two things:

  1. The psychological stability and maturity of the individual
  2. The character and intensity of the numinosity, itself

The experience of the numinous is often facilitated by a meaningful visual symbol (e.g. a mandala) or ecstatic activity (e.g. chanting, music-listening or dancing). Jungian writers and literary critics, alike, often say that the symbol “mediates” archetypal energy. So when the archetype enters into consciousness, it takes the form of numinosity.

For Jung, the self is also an archetype, one of wholeness.

The Lutheran theologian Rudolf Otto also used the term numinous in 1923 – “Omen has given us ‘ominous’, and there is no reason why from numen we should not similarly form a word ‘numinous.’” But contrary to popular belief, Otto did not coin the term. Acc. to OED, “numinous” was used as far back as 1647 by Nathaniel Ward (Image via Wikipedia)

In contrast to experiencial manifestations of the archetype, which take the form of numinosity, visible manifestations of the archetypes appear as archetypal images. Jung distinguishes these recognizable images from the archetype proper, which Jung says can never be fully known. Jung calls the unknowable aspect of the archetype the pscyhoid aspect. This distinction between the unknowable archetype and its recognizable image is often overlooked in casual commentaries about Jung. Wikipedia notes:

These images and motifs are more precisely called archetypal images. However it is common for the term archetype to be used interchangeably to refer to both archetypes-as-such and archetypal images

The idea of the archetype has been championed by Jungians and some literary writers as “the answer” to all of the complexities and difference found in world religions. In fact, many Jungians tend to blur real differences by gelling everything into Jung’s handy model. But the idea of the archetype has also been roundly critiqued.³

Jung himself was a complex, confusing and honest thinker. At times he would say that archetypal energies differed. Other times he would lump different religions and symbols together as if they were the same. Jung also writes in his letters than not many people realize he had a Christian bias. He even admitted to being contradictory at times.

Despite the complexity and confusion within Jung’s work, some of his followers have simplified his work into something palatable for the masses. As always, dumbing things down has its pros and cons. On the one hand it can help everyday people to benefit from some of Jung’s more useful ideas. On the other hand, it can leave Jung open to a kind of unjust demonization by fundamentalists and rigid religious thinkers.4

 Related Posts » Hero, Mandala, Otto (Rudolf), Psychoid, Trickster

¹ Jung was a highly educated fellow and probably got the idea to use the word “archetype” from Plato » http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archetype

² http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_archetypes

³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_archetypes#Criticism

4 See for instance “Carl Gustav Jung: Enemy of the Church” by Dr Pravin Thevathasan » http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/churpsyc/cgjung.html. And a partially misinformed critique of Jung can be found in “CARL JUNG: PSYCHOLOGIST OR SORCERER?” by Marsha West » http://www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha5.htm. By way of contrast, Fr. Victor White entered into a respectful dialogue with Jung. The two agreed on some points while disagreeing on others. This seems the more sensible, mature and constructive way to go. See » http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_White_%28priest%29


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Archetypal Image

yoda and darth talk peace for xmas by MC – Tumblr

According to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the archetypal image is a representation of an underlying archetype. Archetypal images symbolize and mediate the psychological power of the collective unconscious to the ego (i.e everyday consciousness).

Through different types of expression (e.g. works of art and architecture), mankind translates these hidden archetypal forces into the observable world of human culture.

Some modern and ancient examples of archetypal images would be figures like Godzilla, the Klingons, The Cylons, Luke Skywalker, Spiderman, Superman, Superwoman, Batgirl, Marilyn Monroe, Spock, the Magician, the Witch, the Angel, Yahweh and the Devil.

Jung believes the ancients did not always see archetypal images as mere symbols, but often as actual things in themselves. The Indian sun god, Surya, for instance, was not a symbol but a real deity, diurnally traveling across and lighting up the sky in a splendid chariot. Likewise, many American Indian cultures firmly believe their myths tell of actual ancient events and heroic ancestors. And today, Catholics believe that the Eucharist is not just a symbol but the real presence – in essence but not form – of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.¹

how things look from the darth side by MC – Tumblr

On the topic of UFOs, Jung believed the rounded flying saucers of the 1950s were archetypal images of the human self, not unlike the mandala. By the same token, Jung didn’t rule out the possibility of actual UFOs.

However, Jung was not as open-minded with regard to Christian truth-claims, choosing to adapt them to his own theories. At times he speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus, for instance, as producing an upwardly skewed symbol of the self (i.e. the crucifix) instead of seeing Jesus’ death as a saving sacrifice and absolute victory over evil, as do most Christians. Some might argue that Jung’s and the Christian view do not really differ. Others do believe that they differ on important points—most notably, on the nature of and how to deal with evil

¹ Belief, alone, does not create truth out of falsehood. But as Plato pointed out, a true belief does relate to an actual truth, if not knowledge of that truth.

² An interesting follow-up to this point can be found in Jung’s relationship with the Dominican priest, Victor White. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_White_%28priest%29


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St. Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury was the first to attempt ...

Anselm of Canterbury was the first to attempt an ontological argument for God’s existence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Anselm (of Canterbury, 1033-1109) was the somewhat undisciplined son of a noble landowner in Aosta, Italy. He eventually took monastic vows and rose among the ranks to become the archbishop of Canterbury.

St. Anselm is one of the earliest and most important scholastics of the Middle Ages. He’s best known for defining the ontological argument, a theological proof for the existence of God that is still taught in philosophy and theology courses today.

Like most theological proofs, the ontological argument seems self-evident to many believers but usually fails to convince skeptics. In the Proslogion Anselm writes that God is “something than which nothing greater can be conceived.”

So what does this mean? Let’s try to unpack it.

To be the very greatest thing imaginable, that thing must also exist in reality and not just in the mind. Therefore, so the argument goes, the greatest thing – God – is not just a concept, fantasy or hallucination. Instead, God is the greatest conceivable being which exists by necessity.

This argument was rejected on purely rational grounds by St. Thomas Aquinas who nevertheless believed in God. Aquinas believed in God. He just thought that Anselm’s argument was no good.

Portrait of René Descartes, dubbed the "F...

Portrait of René Descartes, dubbed the “Father of Modern Philosophy”, after Frans Hals c. 1648 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

René Descartes used a strategy similar to Anselm’s when rescuing himself from difficulties that arose from his famous ontological argument. You’ve heard this argument, no doubt. It’s the old, “I think, therefore I am.”¹ Descartes knew that he, himself, existed, but he still wasn’t sure about the outside world. He could have lapsed into solipsism had he not further reasoned that God must be fundamentally good, so would not deceive him by presenting the mere illusion of an outer world. Instead, God created a real, outer world that is perceived by the senses—again, because God is fundamentally good and wouldn’t deceive his creatures.

But to return to St. Anselm, his view of faith and understanding is noteworthy and, one could say, reverses much of the worldly wisdom we’re continually bombarded with today. Instead of believing in something because it is comprehensible in the first place, Anselm takes another approach. He forwards these two important phrases:

  1. fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding)
  2. credo ut intelligam (I believe so that I can understand).

The second statement is based on St. Augustine’s teaching that one should believe in order to understand (crede, ut intelligas).

Taken together, these statements suggest that one must take a ‘leap of faith’ to better understand spiritual truths. For many this is an illogical or non-intellectual approach but it could be seen as logical in two related ways:

English: augustine at the school of tagaste

Augustine at the school of Tagaste (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, when we recognize the limits of worldly reason in understanding spiritual dynamics it arguably makes sense to, at least momentarily, cede logic to faith. This approach could possibly increase our knowledge—and we would never know otherwise unless we actually tried it.

Second, when one embraces a faith position, the inherent and greater logic of God’s ways – if actual and true – should become increasingly apparent to reason as time goes by (see, for example, Isaiah 55:6-9).

However, if the hypothesized greater logic of God’s ways does not make itself apparent after adopting a faith position, we then, after a reasonable amount of time, would have a logical, perhaps scientific, reason to reject the idea that greater intellectual understanding follows faith.

But, again, we would never know for sure and arguably would not be fully scientific unless we first tried this approach.²

¹ The British rock group The Moody Blues put an interesting twist on this argument in their 1969 lp, On the Threshold of a Dream. A voice-over at the beginning of the song “In the Beginning” says:

I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think… [last two words are slightly quizzical]

² The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the son of a Protestant clergyman who stressed that Carl should believe and not think. To his father’s dismay Jung replied, “Give me this belief” (C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, revised, ed. Aniela Jaffé, trans. Richard and Clara Winston, New York: Vintage Books, 1961, p. 43). And this spells out the difference in emphasis between the gnostic who believes they know vs. the believer who strives to know or, perhaps, know more.


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Animus

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (film)

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In C. G. Jung‘s analytical psychology, the animus is the unconscious contrasexual component of the female self—that is, the woman’s supposed “inner male.”

The animus presents itself to consciousness in a series of archetypal images. Usually a primitive, sexual figure emerges first. As a woman progresses, the initial primitive symbol is followed by a series of increasingly refined, “higher” images.

Jung says the animus may take either a dark or light form. Like all symbols, it mediates destructive or creative forces from the depths of the unconscious. The negative animus has been symbolized by figures like Frankenstein, the Werewolf, Faust and Dr. Jekyll‘s evil counterpart, Mr. Hyde. And it’s, perhaps, been historically embodied by maniacal types such as Jack the Ripper and Diocletian.

The positive animus is symbolized by the male heroes of world myth. It is incarnated in wrestling figures like The Rock (lower, more sensual form), the Romantic poet Shelly (higher level of eros), Winston Churchill (societal or cultural hero), and Mahatma Gandhi (spiritual exemplar).

Critics of Jung’s archetypal psychology tend to say his theories about gender are far too generalized, sexist and metaphysical.¹

¹ See for instance, Naomi R. Goldenberg, Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions.

Related Posts » Anima


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Anima

La vera anima del genio crudele by Shock2006 via Flickr

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was a clever guy. Whenever he created a new concept, he almost always adapted previously existing ideas. This gave his overall theory a kind of historical resonance and, one could say, mythic appeal.

The same strategy is often used by rock stars, film and TV producers, fiction writers and corporations (e.g. Alice in Chains, The Omega Man, Stargate Atlantis, East of Eden, Apple Records and Apple Inc).

Jung’s idea of the anima is no exception. Historically, the word anima may refer to:¹

  • the Latin term for the “animating principle”, see vitalism
  • the Latin translation of Greek psyche
  • Aristotle’s treatise on the soul, de anima
  • in Christian contexts, the soul
  • spirit

In Jung’s psychological theory the anima is the unconscious contrasexual component of the male Self—that is, the man’s supposed “inner woman.” The anima presents itself to consciousness in a series of archetypal images, with a primitive sexual figure usually emerging first. As a man develops, this primitive symbol is followed by increasingly refined, “higher” images.

English: The Wicked Witch of The West, melting...

The Wicked Witch of The West, melting after being doused by Dorothy. From the first edition of The Wizard of Oz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jung says the anima has dark and light forms. Like all symbols, it mediates both destructive and creative forces from the depths of the unconscious.

An example of the negative anima would be dreaming of a leather-clad Whipping Mistress who beats and binds male victims into submission. Some activists for contemporary sadomasochism movements claim that their behavior represents a socially safe redirection or “playing out” of the negative anima. However, many places where this kind of activity occurs are designated as “Common Bawdy Houses” and remain illegal. Another instance of the negative anima could be The Wicked Witch of the West or the blood-dripping Hindu goddess Kali, for whom horrific animal sacrifices regularly take place at Kali temples in India.

Jungian thought maintains that such images (and related practices) contain enormous potential for psychological growth, providing their energy is understood and positively redirected by the conscious ego.

Lady Di memorial

Lady Di memorial by osmotic_agent via Flickr

Positive anima symbols would be the archetypal image of the Fairy Godmother or the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin.

Historical embodiments of destructive anima-power arise in ruthless figures whose negative archetypal power dominates consciousness, such as Queen “Bloody” Mary of England. On the other hand, benevolent figures like Lady Diana Spencer and Mother Teresa each in their own way represent positive incarnations of the anima figure.

Jung also sees the Blessed Virgin Mary as a positive anima figure. For Jung, Jesus’ mother Mary is nothing more than an archetypal symbol of a vague “feminine principle.” Like other theories and belief systems claiming to embrace all religions within their own perspective, Jung’s rendering on this central aspect of Catholicism differs dramatically from the Catholic view, itself. And on this point Jung has been roundly criticized for simplifying complex religious and mythological data to suit his own purposes.

Related Posts » Animus, Great Mother

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anima See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anima_and_animus


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Active Imagination

Image via thegoodcandy at Tumblr

Active Imagination is a therapeutic technique developed by C. G. Jung that uses some form of self-expression, such as a fantasy-image, to represent and analyze the contents of the hypothesized collective unconscious

Active imagination may involve artistic representation but this is secondary to its essentially internal character.

Jung says imaginary changes within active imagination should be carefully observed and noted because they indicate underlying unconscious processes.

In advanced stages of active imagination, Jung suggests a more direct engagement with imaginary contents, where one places oneself on the stage, as it were, of the unconscious to become one of the players. By doing so, one explores unconscious attitudes toward a person or situation by running imaginary trials – fantasy dialogue or interactions – that Jung says contribute to an overall integration of the unconscious within consciousness.

Jung, himself, practiced active imagination deeply, going as far to say that he was guided by a “ghost guru” called Philemon.² When Jung became bored with Philemon, however, he cut him off.

We cannot know whether Jung was dealing with a spiritual being, a personification of an archetype, or a mere product of his imagination.

Due to a hypothesized interconnectedness of all things, some depth psychologists and New Age enthusiasts believe that the internal dialogue of active imagination has real effects on other people and the visible world. But this claim is hard to prove in the usual scientific sense.

Image via Tumblr

The American psychologist/philosopher William James similarly wrote in The Varieties of Religious Experience about ‘thought insertion,’ where the power of thought apparently influences another person at a distance. Today, the archaic idea of ‘thought insertion’ is sometimes called Remote Influence within parapsychological circles. Or in a negative sense, some believe that the mind can be psychically “hacked” like a computer on the internet.

Jung mentioned but didn’t emphasize the of Remote Influence in his published works, perhaps to avoid negative repercussions from skeptics and the “medical materialists,” as he put it, of his era.

However, Jung did speak of belonging to an alleged “inner circle” of notable, mystically inclined thinkers like the novelist Herman Hesse and the Chilean diplomat Miguel Serrano.

The idea of Active imagination is similar to Shakti Gawain’s notion of creative visualization but is more about developing psychological balance instead of achieving external goals.

¹ Antecedents to Jung’s therapy can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_imagination

² Jung’s father was a Protestant pastor and Jung, himself, had extensive knowledge of the Christian Bible. So a skeptic could point out that Philemon is a character in the New Testament. Would Jung have actively imagined Philemon had he not been steeped in the Gospels? In reply, one could ask, does it matter? Those sympathetic to Jung’s claims could say that God knew all about the preconditions leading up to Jung’s active imagination. The fact that his father was a pastor and that Jung knew the name Philemon from the Bible does not invalidate the idea that the collective unconscious (or possibly a spirit) spoke to Jung.

Related Posts » Channeling


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Abreaction

Conversación / Conversation by Heart Industry

Abreaction is a psychoanalytic term referring to a discharge of emotion that is attached to a repressed experience. In contemporary psychoanalysis, the analysand tries to not only feel but also intellectually understand the emotion—that is, the why and how of its repression. According to contemporary abreaction theories, the emotional experience coupled with an intellectual understanding bring about a therapeutic result.

In the early days of psychoanalysis, however, the intellectual component wasn’t deemed important for successful therapeutic progress. One just had to feel, it was thought. In fact, Freud, who introduced the concept in 1893, often tried get his patients to abreact under hypnosis.

Freud’s star pupil Carl Jung showed some interest in abreaction but also in its limitations. Jung believed that abreaction could bring about a positive, cathartic experience. But also he believed that abreaction of personal trauma wasn’t the only way to bring the psyche to health. Also, Jung argued that some patients fantasized or actively made up their early traumatic experiences.

Related Posts » Catharsis, Cathexis


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The Book of Job

job.jpg

William Blake’s illustration of Satan Smiting Job with Boils via Wikipedia

The Book of Job is part of the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its main character is Job, a suffering and blameless servant of God.

Christian apologists say that Job’s suffering points to the mysterious ways of God and highlights the need for faithful obedience in the absence of human understanding. Critics say that it depicts God as an immature, cruel tyrant. For instance, the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and some Jungians say that God “makes a bet” with Satan. In the story, Satan contends that Job will not remain faithful if God allows Satan to torment him.

In Jung’s Answer to Job, a short commentary about the Job’s plight,  Jung says the Biblical story reveals a dark, non-integrated aspect of God. Why would a perfect God, Jung argues, allow a blameless servant to be persecuted by the devil? When Job challenges God, asking why he suffers, God answers not on Job’s terms but by completely overwhelming him. God asks if Job is able to create the stars, the oceans and a sea monster.

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jung sees this as indicating God’s immaturity. For Jung, God projects his own dark side onto Job. While this dynamic may occur in many people, to Jewish and Christian believers it’s misguided to suggest that God would behave this way (See Isaiah 55:8-9). As God implies to Job, could an allegedly immature consciousness create all of creation?

Biblical scholars debate whether the story of Job refers to an actual person or if it’s just a folktale outlining the general human problem of why do bad things happen to good people? The author of the book is not mentioned. Some traditional rabbis and early Christian theologians believed the author was Moses. Today, some scholars believe that parts of Job were written by at least one additional author.

But to return to Jung, he seems to overlook the folktale aspect by treating Job as a real person. Jung’s writings about Job have also been criticized by Fr. Victor White. White says that Jung confuses a narrative image of God with the actual God. In Jungian terms, White says Jung confuses the God-image (archetypal image) with God (archetype).

Indeed, it seems that Jung analyzes God from the perspective of his own, man-made psychological theories. In reducing God to Jung’s all too human ideas, might Jung, himself, exhibit the psychological mechanism of projection? Theological critics of Jung would certainly say that his commentary on Job suffers from presumption—that is, intellectual arrogance.

William Blake’s illustration of Job’s Sons and Daughters Overwhelmed by Satan via Wikipedia

Regarding the problem of evil, many theologians would maintain that God’s ways are usually way over our heads. Along these lines, we could hypothesize that God permits evil to torment Job for a greater good which, Job, Satan and Jung couldn’t hope to understand.

Jung’s (questionable) analysis aside, the story of Job has parallels in other cultures, most notably the ancient Egyptian Protests of the Eloquent Peasant.


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The Beatles

Image via Tumblr

The Beatles were a British pop group founded in Liverpool in 1960. The original members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, replaced by Ringo Starr in 1962 (originally Richard Starkey).

“Love Me Do” was their first UK hit. This was followed by a string of hits, creating the international phenomenon of Beatlemania in 1964.

Most of the Beatles’ repertoire was officially penned by Lennon and McCartney, although their respective influence on individual songs varied considerably.

The band stopped giving public performances in 1966, turning its energy to the studio–specifically to the rock and roll classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Their producer at the time, George Martin, says he had a significant impact on the outcome of this record.

The group split, bitterly, around 1970. Their last studio album, Abbey Road, was recorded with separate sessions being held for each member of the band. This was unprecedented and, to fans, seemed to indicate growing tensions among band members. George Harrison once said that McCartney told him how to play his guitar, which the guitarist resented. And issues over the growing presence of Yoko Ono were splashed over the tabloids and rock media, as was Lennon and McCartney’s growing acrimony.

The Beatles were no doubt fantastic musicians. But was there more to their success? The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung developed a psychological classification system based on four main types. For Jung, the whole and healthy mind strove to integrate the four types of thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Could part of the Beatles’ unparalleled popularity be a result their collectively representing Jung’s four archetypal types? Following this idea, Lennon would be the thinking type, Paul McCartney the feeling type, George Harrison the intuition type and Ringo Starr the sensation type.

The Beatles’ contribution to music will be forever etched in the history of mankind. The so-called Fab Four combined Rock and Roll, simple blues and complex jazz, as well as ‘lounge lizard,’ orchestral and international music forms. Even begrudging or, perhaps, sarcastically tinged respect is implied, for instance, in “Afraid” from David Bowie’s record Heathen (2002):

I believe in Beatles
I believe my little soul has grown
And I’m still so afraid…

Image via Tumblr

After the Beatles’ breakup, Lennon released several records while residing in New York with his wife Yoko Ono. He continued to enjoy commercial success with songs like “Imagine,” “Mind Games,” “Whatever Gets you Through the Night,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “So this is Christmas,” and “Just Like Starting Over.” But Lennon became more than a mere rock star; he became an icon representing worldwide harmony and peace.

McCartney released a critically acclaimed solo album (where he played all the instruments) and formed the highly successful band Wings, continuing to be a prominent musical force in the 1970′s.

Harrison released the commercially successful All Things Must Pass in 1970 (including “My Sweet Lord” and “Isn’t it a Pity”) followed by several other albums. “Isn’t it a Pity” epitomizes the sense of loss over Beatles’ breakup and laments the end of an era. Sadly, pity turned into acrimony, as witnessed in Harrison’s 1973 tune, “Sue Me, Sue You Blues.” Starr has been in films and recorded singles and albums. His 1974 cover of the Sherman Brothers’ “You’re Sixteen” hit number one in the charts.

In 1995 the single “Free as a Bird” was released. This song was written and hastily recorded by Lennon in 1977. After Lennon’s passing McCartney asked Ono if the remaining Beatles could collectively add to any of Lennon’s unreleased material. Ono gave permission for this single but it arguably isn’t a true Beatles song because Lennon, himself, didn’t agree to its release.

More recently, many Beatles songs have been remixed and re-released, with debatable results. Myself, I prefer the original analog mixes sent to CD (AAD), although others might prefer the digital remixes (ADD).


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Compensation

Compensation is a psychological term that was first introduced by Alfred Adler in Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Physical Compensation (1907).

Adler understood compensation in terms of underlying feelings of inferiority. In order to cope with the pain of feeling inferior, the psyche develops beliefs at the opposite end of the psychological spectrum. That is, it ‘compensates’ by feeling superior to other people. Hence the now familiar idea of the inferiority-superiority complex.

By 1907, Adler was part of Sigmund Freud‘s inner circle. And so was C. G. Jung. In that year Jung also wrote about the idea of compensation:

In 1907 Carl Gustav Jung notes the pathogenic complex posses a quantum of libido which grants it a degree of autonomy that is opposed to conscious will. Though this dynamic has a pathological cast, it conveys the essence of what Jung termed compensation; namely, the capacity of the unconscious to influence consciousness.¹

However, Jung wouldn’t name compensation as such until 1914.

In “The Importance of the Unconscious in Psychopathology” (1914), he introduced the idea, saying, “the principal function of the unconscious is to effect a compensation and to produce a balance. All extreme conscious tendencies are softened and toned down through a counter-impulse in the unconscious.”²

We can see that Jung’s view of compensation, as compared to Adler’s, is geared more toward the idea that the psyche strives to achieve balance and integration.

In fact, Jung believed the psyche has a natural tendency toward balance and integration. If a particular attitude becomes extreme, Jung believed that therapy and close attention to dreams could help to amplify repressed or underdeveloped psychological contents.

On several occasions Jung says that his own particular brand of therapy is essential to this process. And he believed that he had successfully analyzed himself in this regard. But, at the same time, Jung didn’t try to sell potential clients on his views. If an ardent churchgoer, for example, was satisfied with what Jung may have taken as a skewed perspective, Jung would let the person be. Apparently Jung only intervened when clients’ old systems and attitudes lead to neurosis (or psychosis) and help was requested.

This latter claim might, however, be a bit exaggerated, in keeping with the tendency of some Jungians to elevate Jung as some kind of new prophet for modern times. There are also accounts where Jung was quite brash and bold, surprising and even shocking his clients. Perhaps they had asked for his help. But whether or not he was, at times, playing the the ‘wise guru’ and on a bit of a power trip remains open to debate.³

¹ See Peter Mudd » http://www.enotes.com/compensation-analytical-psychology-reference/compensation-analytical-psychology

² Ibid.

³ Although married to Emma Jung, it seems Carl had sex with at least two of his clients, Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff, which certainly wouldn’t wash in psychiatry today. See » http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung#Marriage

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