Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jung: The Psyche, an Androgyny

“The most important aspect of the psyche is the “soul-image.”
--Inner Work by Robert A. Johnson

For psychologist Carl Jung, the understanding of dreams and making the unconscious conscious are at the heart of the individual. While there are, in his view, other significant factors influencing one’s behavior and thoughts, for Jung archetypes and dreams are a pathway. The concept of archetype comes up frequently in reference to dreams and what he calls “Active Imagination.”

Archetypes as described by Jung are a most provocative concept. While an ancient idea, Plato also held a like concept he called, “ideal forms,” or forms pre-determined to come into the world as the divine pattern. Jung took the idea and fused it with individuals.
In his view, individuals hold in common primordial symbols which express their deepest motives, the world over. Even if an individual has not personally experienced something, the mind, in a dream state, may still conjure the symbol.
In the dream state then, symbols appear to represent universal human themes and individuals appear to represent “energy forms,” or those distinct, inner personalities, the inner-self.

Dreams often aid in the resolution of conflict through symbolic means by bringing the unconscious and the conscious into harmony.
In his book about the subject, Inner Work, Jungian psychologist, Robert Johnson writes, “Most people can’t face inner conflict at all; they impose a kind of artificial unity on life by clinging to the prejudices of their ego and repressing the voices of the unconscious.
If there are parts of ourselves who have different values, or needs, most of us would rather not hear about it.”

Thus, the categories which we determine to be good or bad are mostly arbitrary and subjective. They are without absolute.
In Jung's view, we are actually all plural beings, possessing any number of conflicting and opposing, distinct personalities co-existing in one body.
This is familiar to most us; we like some things, love others, dislike, or are uncomfortable about still more.
Making the self conscious or transparent is a life long task. It is the move towards wholeness and wellness. The most important aspect of the psyche is the “soul-image.”

As part of the sense of plural being, Jung proposes the theory that the psyche is, as a result, an androgyny. It manifests itself as ‘containing both feminine and masculine energies.' While every man needs “to connect his masculine energy” to his feminine energies, women also need to connect their feminine energy to their “masculine” self.
Doing so creates balance within the individual. The psyche spontaneously divides masculine and feminine, appearing to the conscious mind as complementary opposites like yin and yang, dark and light. “They are destined to make a synthesis, one stream of energy.”

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