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Jung, Carl Gustav (1875–1961)


Carl Gustav Jung, the originator of analytical psychology, was born in Kesswil, Switzerland, studied medicine in Basel, and then became an assistant in psychiatry at Zürich, interrupting his stay there to visit and study under Pierre Janet in Paris. He was a pupil of Eugen Bleuler, and he became Sigmund Freud's friend and collaborator for a few years, after having been influenced by his writings. He became the first president of the International Psychoanalytic Society in 1911. In 1914 he broke with Freud, founding his own school of analytical psychology. His earlier studies of association tests and of dementia praecox were followed by an attempt to classify types of personality and by the gradual development not only of a theory of the collective unconscious but also of the implications of that theory for the study of culture and especially for the study of mythology and religion.

Jung traveled widely in Africa, America, and India and collaborated with Richard Wilhelm in Chinese studies and with Kárly Kerényi in the study of mythology. In June 1933 the German Society for Psychotherapy came under Nazi control. Ernst Kretschmer at once resigned from the office of president, and it is regrettable and noteworthy that Jung took his place. Among many other distinctions, he received honorary degrees from Harvard (1936), Oxford (1938), and Geneva (1945).

Theory of Psychological Types

Jung, like Kretschmer, distinguished initially between the extraverted type of personalitysociable, outgoing, and optimisticand the introverted typemore apt to withdraw from external reality, less sociable, more absorbed in his own inner life. This initial distinction was accompanied by a distinction between four functions of personalitysensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition. By "sensation" Jung meant all that we acquire through sense perception. "Thinking" was used in its familiar meanings. "Feeling" was the capacity for making evaluations of oneself and of others. "Intuition" was the perception of realities that are not consciously perceived; it worked spontaneously for the solution of problems that cannot be grasped rationally.

Types of personality were discriminated in terms of which function is dominant and whether the person is extraverted or introverted. For example, the extravert in whom thinking is dominant will be fascinated by facts and concerned to order them rationally, will tend to underrate the emotions and thus be subject from time to time to uncontrolled and perhaps unrecognized bursts of emotion. The introverted thinking type is one in which facts are never of value for their own sake but only in relation to the creative inner theorizing of the thinker. Both types of thinking are accompanied by an undeveloped feeling function, for thinking and feeling are essentially opposite and even inimical. Sensation and intuition are paired in the same way.

On Jung's view one very rarely finds a person who is a pure example of one of these categories. Most often one function is dominant, although modified by the presence of one of the others. In more complex personalities two functions may coexist in dominance, and very occasionally three, but there will always be at least one function neglected and unacknowledged. Jung's classification into types is, of course, a classification in terms of types of conscious response to the world; however, the notion of parts of the self that are unacknowledged requires some reference to the unconscious.

Personal and Collective Unconscious

The personal unconscious consists of those associated webs of ideas and emotions that Jung named complexes, which have been repressed from consciousness because it found them too painful to acknowledge, and also of those perceptions of reality that have never forced their way into consciousness. Each individual's personal unconscious is thus to some extent explicable in terms of his own life history. Even the personal unconscious, however, has features that are common to every individual and do not derive from his personal history.

Consider the contrast between what Jung termed the "persona" and the "shadow." The persona is the socially accepted and socially imposed mask behind which dwells the true ego. The existence of such a mask is an unavoidable necessity, but the ego can fail to achieve self-realization either by identifying itself too strongly with its persona or by not developing an adequate persona at all. The counterpoint to this accepted and exposed part of the personality is the shadow, the rejected and usually imprisoned set of desires, emotions, and attitudes that we personify in dreams as an unpleasant or hostile figure. The shadow is essentially infantile, for it is untouched by the process of maturation or education. The inability to acknowledge one's shadow is always a potential danger to the personality, for the shadow unacknowledged and unrecognized is stronger and more wayward than the shadow recognized and accepted.

Although every individual has a shadow, since the shadow is the product of what his particular consciousness has repressed, it belongs to the personal unconscious. However, beside it in the personal unconscious is found another major force, the image, the image that constitutes the feminine in a man or the masculine in a woman, termed by Jung "anima" and "animus," respectively. The character of the anima is not determined by a man's private history in the way the character of the shadow is; rather, the anima determines how the opposite sex is perceived or misperceived. The anima is an inherited collective image of woman as such. Thus, what matters to the child is not merely how his mother treats him; his experience of the mother is produced both by the mother's actual behavior and by the way his anima determines his view of and feelings about her. Jung connected the anima especially with the function of feeling, the animus with that of thinking, supposing that thinking is more likely to be dominant in the man, feeling in the woman.

The animus and anima belong to the collective unconscious of humankind, along with persona and shadow. They are among the "archetypes," inherited tendencies of psychic functioning contained in the collective unconscious. Other key archetypes are those of the old wise man, the earth mother, and the self. An archetype plays a variety of roles: Not only does it condition the ways in which our conscious experience is formed but also it can appear directly in a number of guises in dreams and fantasies, and the individual may even unconsciously come to be so dominated by one of these images that he might be said to be possessed by it or to identify himself with it. When this happens the personality is itself in danger; it has been taken over and magnified into something that expresses not the individual person but the collective image. This Jung called inflation.

Jung contrasted the self with the ego. The ego is the actual center of consciousness; the self is spoken of by Jung as the center of the unconscious, but clearly it is potentially rather than actually so. Religious visions, dreams, and the magic diagram that Buddhists call the mandala are all images of a possible unity in which the self is at the center. The achievement of this unity by any given individual is a task that belongs especially to the second half of life. In the first half of life the individual is necessarily largely preoccupied with work, marriage, and the bringing up of children; it is when these tasks are mostly accomplished that the individual has to come to terms with himself. Hence the psychological crisis period that occurs in the late forties. At this point the nature of Jungian psychotherapy becomes important.


According to Jung a neurotic symptom is never to be explained solely in terms of the patient's past. It always represents something positive in the present, an attempt to solve the problems that confront the patient. Jung was prepared to accept that Freud was correct in ascribing many neuroses to the problems arising out of repressed sexuality and that Alfred Adler was correct in ascribing many others to an unrecognized will to power. However, he felt that behind sexuality and the will to power lie other more fundamental causes. Sexuality, for example, is important because it represents the chthonic element in man, an element represented in pre-Olympian Greek religion and in other mythologies. Moreover, the type of neurosis that can be understood correctly, within limits, in Freudian or Adlerian terms belongs characteristically to the earlier part of life. It arises from the inability to carry through the practical tasks of life.

In psychotherapy the patient comes to acknowledge hitherto unrecognized parts of his personality. Jung believed that free association, as practiced by Freudian analysts, leads not toward but away from the complexes of which we need to become aware. However, more is involved in the therapeutic process that ridding oneself of symptoms, as the patient discovers when he brings what was repressed into view, for example through a new awareness of the significance of his dreams, which function, according to Jung, as compensations for deficiencies in the dreamer's waking life. To rid oneself of symptoms, one has to become aware of the process of individuation, of the need for the creation of a harmonious synthesis of the functions in which the nature of the shadow and the power of the archetypes of the collective unconscious have been reconciled with the demands of the conscious personality.

Mythology and Religion

Jung used his central theoretical concept, that of the collective unconscious, to explain not only the occurrence in dreams and the awareness in analysis of contents of the unconscious that could not have been repressed into it by the individual psyche but also the widespread recurrence of the same symbols and themes in widely different times and places in mythologies and religions. Thus, Jung found in the dreams and paintings of patients material that closely resembles that in Eastern religious writings, and in literature and art the archetypal images continually recur. Modern man stands, however, in a peculiar relationship to the contents of the collective unconscious.

Jung held that the increase in scientific understanding has led to a dehumanization of the natural and social worlds. A former unconscious acceptance of natural phenomena, which involved endowing them with symbolic power, has disappeared. To treat thunder, for example, not as the voice of a god but as an explicable phenomenon is to have become alienated from external nature. A loss of belief in gods and demons has produced a lack of awareness of the powers within human nature. Modern man is thus specially a prey to psychological disorders.

It follows that men have a strong need for religious beliefs and experiences, since in religious form they are able to encounter and accept the contents of the collective unconscious. Religious beliefs, Jung conceded, cannot be shown to be true; but he held that they cannot be shown to be false, either. Whether to believe or not is thus a matter of choice, on purely pragmatic grounds. Jung regarded with deep suspicion, as essentially one-sided and distorting, the rationalist traditions of scientific thought. Indeed, he dated the disorientation of modern man partly from the original Christian break with paganism, but more importantly from the Enlightenment.


Of all Jung's work his classification of types of personality as extravert or introvert has won the widest acceptance. H. J. Eysenck has developed this distinction for use in experimental psychology, and it may well be that other Jungian concepts and theories can also be tested experimentally. However, the linchpin of Jung's theorizing, the concept of the collective unconscious, is so formed that it appears that whereas the existence of the collective unconscious was advanced as an explanatory hypothesis, the question of whether the collective unconscious exists cannot be answered by any possible observation or experiment. That the existence of the collective unconscious is intended as a hypothesis seems clear from the fact that it is avowedly introduced to explain why the same symbols keep recurring in dreams, mythologies, and works of art. However, there are no predictions that we can deduce from this hypothesis other than the vague generalization that such symbols do and will recurand this, after all, is what the hypothesis was originally intended to explain. Moreover, Jung is open to criticism for treating the collective unconscious not as a theoretical entity to which reference is made in an as yet untested hypothesis but as something whose existence is an established fact. Jung actually asserted that although the facts about personality and the unconscious are undeniable, they cannot, by their very nature, be formulated in such a way as to satisfy the demands of either science or logic.

At the root of the problem lies an ambiguous set of ontological claims. Jung insisted that the contents of the psyche are as real as what exists in the external world. He clearly meant by this more than the obvious, which nobody would be disposed to deny, for example, that there are recurrent patterns of symbolism. But what he meant beyond this remains unclear. Sometimes he seems to have treated the archetypal images as autonomous agents and the collective unconscious as a realm where they dwell. However, his insistence on the inapplicability of the ordinary canons of logic in these matters makes it difficult to press the questions that this seems to raise.

Finally, it is worth noting that we possess no statistical evidence of a worthwhile kind about the efficacy of Jungian psychotherapy. Lacking this evidence, we are forced to conclude that although Jung established a psychological system of some complexity, there are as yet no grounds for believing any of its propositions that go beyond recording empirical data, either as to the nature of personality or as to the process of cure.

See also Adler, Alfred; Freud, Sigmund; Myth; Psychoanalytic Theories, Logical Status of; Psychology; Religion, Psychological Explanations of; Unconscious.


Jung's collected works were published in an English edition, in 19 volumes (London and New York, 19531979). See also Psychological Types, translated by H. G. Baynes (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1923); Psychological Reflections, selected and edited by Jolande Jacobi (New York: Pantheon, 1953); Psyche and Symbol: A Selection from the Writings of C. G. Jung, edited by Violet S. de Laszlo (New York: Doubleday, 1958); and The Basic Writings of C. G. Jung, edited by Violet S. de Laszlo (New York: Random House, 1959).

More recently published editions of Jung's work include Portable Jung (Viking Portable Library), edited by Joseph Campbell (New York: Viking, 1971); Letters of C. G. Jung, edited by Gerhard Adler and Aniela Jaffé (Volume 1, 19061950, New York: Routledge, 1973; Volume I, 19511961, New York: Routledge, 1976); The Freud/Jung Letters: The Correspondence between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, edited by William McGuire, translated by R. F. C. Hull and Ralph Manheim (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974); Collected Works of C.G. Jung, 21-volume hardcover set, edited by Gerhard Adler, Michael Fordham, Herbert Read, and William McGuire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Atom and Archetype: The Pauli/Jung Letters, 19321958, edited by C. A. Meier, translated by David Roscoe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); The Earth Has a Soul: The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung, edited by Meredith Sabini (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2002).

For literature on Jung, see Frieda Fordham, An Introduction to Jung's Psychology (London, 1953); E. Glover, Freud or Jung (London: Allen and Unwin, 1950); and Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C. G. Jung (London, 1942; revised 6th ed., New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1962), and Complex/Archetype/Symbol in the Psychology of C. G. Jung (New York: Pantheon, 1959).

More recently published works on Jung include Deirdre Bair, Jung: A Biography (Boston: Little, Brown, 2003); Paul Bishop, editor, Jung in Contexts: A Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); Vincent Brome, Jung (London: Macmillan, 1978); Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Ronald Hayman, A Life of Jung (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001); Peter Homans, Jung in Context: Modernity and the Making of a Psychology, 2nd edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Frank McLynn, Carl Gustav Jung: A Biography (London: Bantam, 1996); Mary Ann Mattoon, Jungian Psychology in Perspective (New York: Free Press, 1985); Richard Noll, The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung (New York: Random House, 1997); Marian L. Pauson, ed., Jung the Philosopher: Essays in Jungian Thought (New Studies in Aesthetics, Vol 3) (New York: P. Lang, 1988); Andrew Samuels, Jung and the Post-Jungians (Boston: Routledge & K. Paul, 1985); Andrew Samuels, A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis (New York: Routledge & K. Paul, 1986); Sonu Shamdasani, Cult Fictions: C.G. Jung and the Founding of Analytical Psychology (New York: Routledge, 1998); Robert Steele, Freud and Jung: Conflicts of Interpretation (Boston: Routledge & K. Paul, 1982); Murray Stein, Jungian Analysis, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Open Court, 1995); Anthony Stevens, On Jung (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999); Richard Sugg, Jungian Literary Criticism (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1992); J. H. Van Der Hoop, Character and the Unconscious (International Library of Psychology), 2nd ed. (Routledge, 1999); Jos Van Meurs and John Kidd, eds., Jungian Literary Criticism, 19201980 (Rowman & Littlefield, 1988); Joseph F Vincie, C. G. Jung and Analytical Psychology: A Comprehensive Bibliography, Garland Reference Library of Social Science, v. 38 (New York: Garland, 1977); Steven F. Walker, Jung and the Jungians on Myth: An Introduction (Theorists of Myth) (New York: Garland, 1994).

On Jung's concept of extraversion-introversion, see H. J. Eysenck, Dimensions of Personality (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1947).

Alasdair MacIntyre (1967)

Bibliography updated by Alyssa Ney (2005)

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