Carl Gustav Jung

Archetypes and Their Influence on the Personality: Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was born on July 26, in the small village of Kesswil on Lake Constance. He was named after his grandfather, a professor of medicine at the University of Basel. He was the oldest child and only surviving son of a Swiss Reform pastor. Carl attended the University of Basel and decided to go into the field of psychiatry after reading a book that caught his interest.

Jung became an assistant at the Burgholzli Mental hospital, a famous medical hospital in Zurich. He studied under, and was influenced by Eugen Bleuler, a famous psychiatrist who defined schizophrenia. Jung was also influenced by Freud, with whom he later became good friends. Their relationship ended when Jung wrote a book called "Symbols of Transformation." Jung disagreed with Freud's fundamental idea that a symbol is a disguised representation of a repressed wish (Heaney, 1994). After splitting up with Freud, Jung had a 2 year period of non-productivity, but then he came out with his "Psychological Types," a famous work. He went on several trips to learn about primitive societies and archetypes. His explorations included trips to Africa, New Mexico to study Pueblo Indians, and to India and Ceylon to study eastern philosophy. He studied religious and occult beliefs like I Ching, a Chinese method of fortune telling. Alchemy became one of his interests during his journeys. His book, "Psychology and Alchemy," published in 1944, is among his most important writings. In this study, he told about the human mind. One of his methods was word association. This is when a person is given a series of words and asked to respond to them. Abnormal response or hesitation can mean that the person has a complex about that word. His basic belief was in complex or analytical psychology. The goal is psychosynthesis, or the unification and differentiation of the psyche (mind). He believed that the mind started out as a whole and should stay that way. That answered structural, dynamic, developmental questions. Jung is best known for his theory of "The three levels of the mind" (Aurelio, 1995).

The three levels of the mind theory includes the ego (conscious), personal unconscious, and collective unconscious. The conscious level serves four functions. It is the part of the personality that carries out normal daily activities: thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting. The personal unconscious contains an individual's memories, and the collective unconscious is an inaccessible layer that contains universal experiences. Usually, one of the two classes usually dominates, and rarely does one see an individual with perfectly balanced classes of behavior (Nehr, 1996).

Jung said that an ego is a filter from the senses to the conscious mind. All ego rejections go to the personal unconscious. The ego is highly selective. Every day we are subjected to a vast number of experiences, most of which do not become conscious because the ego eliminates them before they reach consciousness. "The personal unconscious acts like a filing cabinet for those ego rejections" (Jurkevich, 1991,p. 58). Clusters of related thoughts in the personal subconscious form complexes. Complexes are really suppressed feelings. Complexes are often highly visible to people, but unfelt by the individual who has the complex. Complexes can be revealed by word association, which will cause hang-ups if a certain word is mentioned. A strong or total complex will dominate the life of a person, and a weak or partial complex will drive a person in a direction of it, but not too strongly. A complex, as Jung discovered, need not be a hindrance to a person's adjustment. "They can be and often are sources of inspiration and drive that are essential for outstanding achievement" (Aurelio, 1995, p.351).

"The collective unconscious is hereditary. It sets up the pattern of one's psyche"(Kremer, 1990, p.2). An inherited collection of primordial images are stored here. They are universal inclinations that all people have in common somewhere by means of heredity. The four important archetypes that play very significant roles in everyone's personality are Persona, Anima(us), Shadow, and the Self.

Persona is derived from the Latin word meaning "mask". In Jungian psychology, the persona archetype serves a similar purpose; it enables one to portray a character that is not necessarily his or her own. The persona is the mask or facade one exhibits publicly, with the intention of presenting a favorable