I first wrote this essay, for myself, on April 4, 2009. I had become fixated on Carl Jung, once again. I think it was partly due to the dreams I was having at the time, and the fact that The Dream Book, by Betty Bethards, which I often consult, is based on Jungian psychology. He was a spiritual person who delved deeply into personality typing, and how our temperaments affect our dealings in the world. So for those of you who haven’t met Jung in your travels, allow me to introduce him to you.
According to Wikipedia.com:
Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist whose ideas helped shaped the field of psychology alongside his colleague and predecessor Sigmund Freud. The two eventually parted ways, both theoretically and otherwise, after about 6 year’s time. Jung is called the father of Analytical Psychology (now called Jungian Psychology). Some of Jung’s major contributions were the notions of psychological archetypes, the collective unconscious, individuation (becoming a whole person through integration of the conscious and unconscious while maintaining autonomy) and synchronicity (things that would be unlikely to occur by chance, but that happen in a supposedly meaningful manner). His ideas evolved as a result of a difficult childhood, an only child of a preacher and a mother who was “mentally unstable”. And later, by his travels around the world and his fascination with Western, as well as Eastern, culture and spiritual philosophies. Even back then, he cautioned “modern” people not to rely so heavily on science and logic, but to turn to their unconscious and the realm of spirit to gain inspiration and understanding.
I was also one of those people fascinated by Jung. I first encountered him, without even knowing it, when I was encouraged to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator as a pre-teen. (Amazingly, I took the test recently, and not much has changed, except now I am considered an Intuitive, rather than a Sensate). Ten years later I was introduced formally to Jung’s writings as I was studying to be a cultural anthropologist, and now as an older person and an Energy Practitioner, I am revisiting him again, especially in terms of “individuation” and “synchronicity.” Back then, for obvious reasons, the idea of a “collective unconscious,” replete with archetypes, resonated with me so much and I was hooked.
Here is a quote from the website on such:
“Archetypes are, according to Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge. Being universal and innate, their influence can be detected in the form of myths, symbols, rituals, and instincts of human beings. Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct, and inform human thought and behavior. According to Jung, archetypes heavily influence the human life cycle, propelling a neurologically hardwired sequence which he called the stages of life. Each stage is mediated through a new set of archetypal imperatives which seek fulfillment in action. These may include being parented, initiation, courtship, marriage, and preparation for death”… “All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes. This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics, are no exception to this rule. In their present form they are variants of archetypal ideas created by consciously applying and adapting there ideals to reality. For it is the function of consciousness not only to recognize and assimilate the actual world through the external gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us (Jung’s Collected Works 8, 342)”.
Jung’s ideas were deeply felt, and piqued the curiosity and following of many. The influence of his legacy is widespread even today, in academia as well as popular culture. Decades ago, Isabel Myers-Briggs (1897-1979) and her mother Katharine Cook Briggs were one such duo of interested followers, so much so that together, studying Jung’s ideas, they created what is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test based on his teachings.
According to Skepdic.com:
“The [MBTI] is an instrument for measuring a person’s preferences using four basic scales of opposite polesVarious combinations of preferences result in 16 personality types, says the Consulting Psychologists’ Press, Inc. (CCP), which owns the rights to the instrument”. According to the CCP, the MBTI is the “most widely used personality indicator in history”. Two million people per year take the MBTI. “Types are typically denoted by four letters…to represent one’s tendencies to the four scales.” (i.e., ESTJ or INFP):
Extraversion vs. Introversion
Sensing vs. Intuition
Thinking vs. Feeling
Judging vs. Perceiving
According to HumanMetrics.com (a website which offers a Jungian Marriage Test called a “Match Index”):
[The Jung-Myers-Brigg’s classification] regards personality as an information system which is based on these criteria. The classification interprets compatibility of partners as a match of their information systems by the [below] mentioned criteria which correlate with the MBTI:
Expression Index = the source & direction of information expression = (Sociable) vs. (Self-Sufficient)
Perception Index = the method of information perception = (Pragmatic) vs.(Idealistic)
Processing Index = the method of processing information = (Objective) vs.(Empathetic)
Implementation Index = the form of information implementation = (Scheduled) vs. (Improvisational)
According to Keirsey.com:
The Keirsey Temperament Sorter categorizes the Jungian archetypes into four Temperaments (with four types each):
Artisans (Composer / Crafter / Performer / Promoter)
Guardians (Inspector / Protector / Provider / Supervisor)
Idealists (Champion / Counselor / Teacher / Healer)
Rationals (Architect / Field marshal / Inventor / Mastermind)
So as you can see, Carl Jung’s influence is very far-reaching, and I am grateful to him for it.