Jung, Carl Gustav (1875–1961)
Swiss psychologist who made the study of various occult
ideas valid within the framework of psychology. Jung was born
on July 26, 1875, at Kesswil, Thurgau, Switzerland. He studied
medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland, (1895–1900)
and completed his M.D. at the University of Zürich (1902).
While still a student he became fascinated with the occult, on
which he read a number of books. He also attended several
Spiritualist séances. Jung’s first publication was an essay on the
psychology and pathology of occult phenomena.
Jung became a physician and assisted Eugene Bleuler at the
Burghölzi Mental Hospital in Zürich. In 1905 he joined the faculty
at the University of Zürich; about the same time he became
interested in the new psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud. He became
a leading student of Freud and in 1911 served as president
of the International Psychoanalytic Society. In 1913, however,
he went his own way as a result of what he regarded as
Freud’s overemphasis on sexual theories and opposition to occult
ideas.
Jung’s break with Freudian theory was marked by his paper
‘‘Symbols of the Libido,’’ written in 1913. He resigned from the
university that year, and for the next twenty years engaged in
private practice, which allowed him to develop the approach he
termed ‘‘analytic psychology.’’ In his 1921 text Psychological
Types he introduced his understanding of personality based on
a set of polarities—introvertextrovert, feelingthinking, and
sensationintuition. Jung saw individual personality as determined
by the balance or imbalance of these polarities.
Jung developed a view of the individual as consisting of a set
of personality aspects he termed the ego (self-awareness), the
persona (the expected social role played by each person), the
shadow (a dark side), the animus (in a female) or anima (in a
male) (the unconscious attitude toward the opposite sex), the
self (soul or spirit), and the unconscious. He believed the development
of a healthy personality, a process called ‘‘individuation,’’
occurs as the various opposites in the personality are differentiated
and then balanced.
Out of this basic understanding of the self several concepts
of particular relevance to the modern occult community
emerged. For example, Jung saw the unconscious as consisting
of two layers—the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious.
The collective unconscious, he said, is a deposit of
archetypes or fundamental modes of apprehension that are
common to all humanity because of the universality of certain
underlying experiences. Archetypes manifest themselves in ancient
(and not so ancient) myths, dreams, symbols, and artistic
productions. One important appearance of archetypes is in the
god forms of the ancient polytheistic religions. Thus one can
speak of the archetype of the sky god or the mother goddess.
Also from his concept of archetype, Jung speculated on the nature
of flying saucers, about which he wrote a short book.
He also introduced the concept of synchronicity, the connecting
principle between events, as distinct from conventional
cause and effect, an important idea in modern astrology, which
has attempted to break out of its deterministic mode of conceptualizing
the relationship between humans and the zodiac.
Jung returned to teaching in 1933 as a professor of psychology
at the Federal Polytechnical University, Zürich (1933–41)
and professor of medical psychology at the University of Basel
(1943–44). He spent his last years as a consultant and lecturer
at the C. G. Jung Institute (1948–61). His many writings wore
compiled in Collected Works (1953).
Jung’s perception covered every major area of human experience.
His occult experiences are indicated in his book VII Sermones
ad Mortuoso, published anonymously, which dramatizes
Jung’s journey into the unconscious. Some of his reminiscences
are recorded in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963). He died
June 6, 1961, at Kuessnacht, Zürich.
Sources
Charet, F. X. Spiritualism and the Foundations of C. G. Jung’s
Psychology. Albany State University of New York Press, 1993.
Franz, Marie-Louise von. On Divination and Synchronicity
The Psychology of Meaningful Chance. Toronto Inner City Books,
1980.
Merkur, Daniel. Gnosis An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions
and Unions. Albany State University of New York Press,
1993.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.

SHARE
Previous articleJersey Devil
Next articleJames, William (1842–1910)