Carl Gustav Jung
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was the son of a pastor and his paternal grandfather and great grandfather
were physicians. He took a degree in medicine and then specialised in psychiatry. Early in his career he
pioneered the use of word-association and greatly influenced research into schizophrenia. He was Freud's
protégé but, unlike Freud, he believed the actual form of a dream was more important than the trail of free
associations that the patient was encouraged by Freud to pursue. Like the dream interpreters of old, Jung
recognised powers in dreams well beyond the personal neurotic traits that Freud saw. Jung held a
completely different view of human life. His interest in alchemy, myths and legends added to the wealth of
ideas he brought to his concept of the collective unconscious. The subject of symbols fascinated him and he
devoted more work to this than any other psychologist. Freud believed that dream symbols were the result of
our unconscious attempt to veil or hide our inner most thoughts and desires. Jung, on the other hand, saw
them as an attempt to elucidate and express our inner concerns. In this way he believed that dreams show us
the "unvarnished natural truth" and are messages from ourselves to ourselves designed to help us adjust to,
and understand, the issues that are affecting us. He believed that by paying attention to our dreams, we will
throw light on who and what we really are - not just us as a personality but also the "us" who participates in
cosmic interactions. Jung firmly believed in the spiritual nature of mankind and believed that this was the
main driving force in our lives. He researched ancient beliefs and dreams extensively.

He was aware that both sexes produce male and female hormones and he observed that both sexes often
display character traits of the opposite sex. To this he gave the names anima and animus - the anima being
the female element in the male character, and the animus the male element in the female character. Jung
believed that these two aspects of "the self" are constantly striving to unite into a complete "self" by a
process he called individuation. Dreams, he believed, are the process by which this mystical marriage is
accomplished or at least attempted. It was this belief that prompted his interest in alchemy. Jung is also
famous for his Archetypes, which he saw as archaic remnants or primordial images that we all have access
to and use even though we may have no prior knowledge of their existence. These are universal symbols
that span the whole history of humankind regardless of culture or time, a sort of inherited ancestral memory
or collective psyche. Archetypal characters include such things as "the wise old man", "the nurturing mother",
heroes, heroines and magicians. Archetypal situations include death and rebirth, hidden treasure, people
changing shape or turning into animals, the battle between good and evil. Most of the best-loved fairy tales
are based on archetypal characters and situations and it may be that they have stood the test of time
because they touch us on a very deep level.
Jung is also well remembered for his little understood concept of synchronicity, which proposes that what we
term coincidence is actually meaningful and may not be coincidence at all. He believed that synchronistic
events often occur when archetypal powers or patterns are activated in the dreamer's life. At these times the
inner energy of the dream may manifest in the outer reality in all sorts of unusual ways, including
coincidental meetings. It is now a matter of record that synchronistic events occur with ever increasing
frequency when one starts to seriously record one's dreams!
Jung divided the human psyche into three main components as Freud had done but his categorisations were
rather different. His view of the conscious mind was the same as the Freudian view of consciousness but,
although he viewed the Unconscious as having a similar level of awareness as Freud described, i.e. the
sub-region of the mind, unlike Freud's
Id he did not see it as being a repository bulging with ungratified
sexual desires and unfulfilled wishes. Instead, he saw the unconscious as containing different aspects of the
whole personality; for instance the anima and the animus. He also saw this region as containing the
shadow(s); aspects of our personality or consciousness that we have not accepted and integrated, i.e.
feelings or ideas we have repressed through disdain or fear. These shadows often appear in dreams as
monsters, pursuers or generally unpleasant characters.

Jung also believed the mind contained a sub-region shared by all human beings regardless of race or
cultural background. This region, accessible to everyone, he called the collective unconscious and believed
that it is in this area that the archetypes are found.
Despite the polarity of their opinions, Jung and Freud were at least in agreement on the importance of
dreams. Saying that Freud believed man was a body with a mind and Jung believed man was a soul with a
body would perhaps summarize their polarity. Fortunately, the usefulness of dream analysis is not
diminished by these different views. Perhaps with a Jungian perspective, dreams have the potential to
enrich our life by raising our consciousness beyond the ego, enabling us to capture the sparks of true
spiritual enlightenment.
Copyright J.C.Harthan (2002)