K.G. Jung – The Self

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When we bring what we are in the present moment into harmony with all the things we could be, then life’s purpose is fulfilled. We become the highest version of ourselves. We become synonymous with the Imago Dei or the God image.

The self is another archetype of the unconscious, like the shadow, the anima, the animus, and many others like those aforementioned archetypes.
The self also can possess the ego and bend it to its will. In this chapter, Jung outlines two potential scenarios where the relationship between ego and self can turn sour.

The first scenario is the Crime and Punishment scenario.

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The story is about Raskolnikov, who commits murder and gets away with it. However, he suffers a lot of psychological consequences for having committed the murder. What seems to happen to Raskolnikov is he has offended the part of his psyche that strives toward a higher ideal. There is some unconscious force within him that tortures him constantly, reminding him that what he did was a crime against nature. That force might as well be the Jungian Self.

The self, in this case, can also be referred to as one’s conscience.

The second scenario is the ego-inflation scenario because that is literally what it is in this case. The self doesn’t subsume the ego, but the ego subsumes the self. The ego sees the image of the self from within and assumes that the self is them.

The person will assume that they are the totality of the self and act out arrogant, holier than thou ways. We see this in celebrity culture. For example, when a famous person is lauded as the second coming of Jesus, they might let it go to their head. They might begin to believe that they are this great person already when in many cases, they have just as great a need for personal development as anyone else. To prevent these two scenarios from happening, the ego must not be overcome by the self’s dictates, nor can they assume that they already are the self.

Instead, one must grant the image of the self its autonomy. We already do this in a sense because moral people grant their conscience. Autonomy both mean the same thing by being obedient to the self’s image and how the self works through one’s conscience, unconscious contents can be integrated properly.

At the end of this process, one’s conscious side will align with one’s unconscious side and thus become the union self. Now, what I just laid out is sufficient enough to understand the archetype of the self. However, to understand the archetype’s relation to the rest of the book, Jung lays out a new problem.

Jung understands that this abstraction, known as the self, does not necessarily work in the realm of science. The purely biological or scientific standpoint falls short in psychology because it is in the main intellectual only. He says that while science is useful and, by extension, our intellect, both are not entirely sufficient for psychic phenomena. When we describe psychic phenomena to others or in psychology textbooks, we describe feelings and emotions that the intellect or measurement cannot wholly grasp.

Here’s an excellent way to think about it. What makes a good piece of art? Can one determine the quality of art through measurement and rationality? No, because art is subjective. By extension, what is also subjective are the feelings and emotions that art produces because science doesn’t tend to dabble in the subjective realm but seeks to define objective reality. Concepts like the self are incompatible, yet, as we have elucidated with scenario two, the self’s image has its utility despite its unscientific basis.

If one doesn’t recognize the self and the inner psychic processes, it symbolizes as autonomous. One might mistake those processes as the rational will. In that case, the ego becomes inflated.

Even though Jung acknowledges that his concept of self is incompatible with science, it seems nonetheless to be describing a psychological truth. It is an abstract representation of one’s inner psychic processes that cannot be grasped by science and measure.

Sometimes you can feel the shadow intertwined with the whole movie.

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One acknowledges the syzygy presence whenever they see a union of a perfect divine couple.

The self is no different. The self has been symbolized in many ways by images that denote completeness in the form of mandalas eternities.

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The concept of the self is what all people strive for, the best version of themselves, godlike version. Billions of people have struggled for millennia to determine what the best representation of the self is. Colossal religious systems have been built around this concept, and the best ones have lasted for thousands of years now.

As for what the best representation of the self is, in Jung’s mind, that would probably be Jesus Christ, a figure that has held sway over billions of people for being supposedly the ideal man.

There is a conflict between science and religion. This conflict has intensified for the last few centuries, with science turning many people away from the faith. As a result, the religious symbols and images that many people once worshipped have begun to lose their meaning. They forgot that what these things were trying to represent was that higher ideal to strive to. But what does one do when that image of the self breaks down and loses its meaning?
What does one do when God is dead?

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K.G. Jung – Anima and Animus

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To best explain what the anima and animus are, I will quickly reference two basic concepts we have learned about in the past articles: number one, the necessity of integration.

To grow as a person, you must integrate unconscious content by bringing it into the conscious territory. This integration of the unconscious happens through what Carl Jung calls the confrontation with the shadow.

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To survive in a constantly threatening world, it is necessary to confront the hostile, threatening parts of life so one can analyze them and bring them under some form of control.

These negative things’ confrontation extends throughout one’s life from basic moral lessons to seemingly life-threatening tasks. These confrontations of the worst evils and terrors are necessary and unavoidable.

The reason why this is the case is explained with concept number two, the necessity of opposites. For one’s inner light, one’s consciousness to grow in size is necessary for there to be greater darkness.

After all, there can be no light without darkness, and a light can only shine its brightest when there is greater darkness to define it. This psychological fact implies that all human beings have a negative side, a side full of dark traits that we desperately try to keep unconscious.

After all, if we don’t keep them unconscious, they might contradict the image we collectively tried to project to others that of a moral, hard-working member of society. Nonetheless, that side is there, just as there is a negative side to everything. It is only by coming to terms with this negative unconscious side that our positive, conscious side can grow.

After we have re-established these two basic concepts, an adequate explanation of what the anima and animus are can be provided.

When Jung says that there is a negative side to a human being, this is a general observation. What we haven’t discussed are some of the specific contents one can find in their shadow. One of these opposite contents that you can find internally inside your own shadow is the opposite of your gender. If you are a man, there are feminine tendencies inside your unconscious mind. If you are a woman, there are masculine tendencies inside your unconscious mind.

These opposite tendencies are unconscious contents that one must integrate and bring under control. For a man, these unconscious tendencies can be referred to as the anima. For a woman, they are referred to as the animus. These archetypes of anima and animists are often kept unconscious because they are difficult to reconcile with our conscious existence as a man or woman.

If one is a stereotypically masculine brute, it will take a long time for that man to recognize his capacity for empathy and meekness. Suppose you’re a woman and are a stereotypically feminine damsel. In that case, it will take a while for that woman to develop assertiveness and reflection when a man recognizes that he has an inner anima and vice versa. It is necessary for females to bring these classically feminine and masculine traits under control to use the positive, feminine, and masculine characteristics and rein in the negative ones. This will take a while, though often, before one recognizes their inner anima or animus.

Two things can potentially happen projection and possession.

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Let’s start with projection. Earlier has been mentioned that a person might project their shadow onto the world around them if it isn’t properly integrated. When this happens, the world will take on an evil, malevolent character. The same thing can happen with the anima and animus, but instead of it being projected onto the world, it’s projected onto members of the opposite sex.

For example, let’s say a man encounters a beautiful woman. This woman might be attractive for her looks, brains, interests, or many other things. The man sees these qualities as positive because they reflect all his inner anima’s positive attributes. After a certain period, the man becomes obsessed with this woman. She’s perfect for him. Unfortunately, as humans are wont to do, he will project only the positive aspects of his inner ornament onto her and ignore all the negative ones.

Let’s say this man gets into a long term relationship with this woman. After a while, he realizes that even though she has all these positive qualities, she has a lot of negative ones. She’s messy; she’s rude, she does drugs, whatever. Eventually, this hypothetical couple breaks up when this happens.

A man might say to himself, wow, she is not who I thought she was. Well, who said she was what you thought she was? You only thought she was this angelic figure because you projected this archetype of the feminine spirit onto her.

You didn’t love her for who she was, faults and all. You loved her because you thought she was the physical manifestation of your inner ornament for the most part.

The reverse is valid for a woman. If you want to see some severe examples of animus projection, look at some old videos of women fainting in the aisles while watching Michael Jackson or the Beatles back in the day.

The men are handsome, rich, talented, and sensitive. They are projecting their inner animus onto these men. However, as we all know, a decent number of famous people are complicated and troubled behind the scenes, moving on to possession. This is where things can get potentially ugly, like how the shadow can subsume a person’s ego and turn them into a monster.

The anima and animus can subsume a person’s ego and turn them into an avatar. Possession is usually instigated after the man or woman has a negative experience with somebody of the opposite sex, be they a father, mother, brother, sister, lover, etc. When a man is possessed, he becomes prone to irrational moods to use Jung’s words. When a woman is animus possessed, she becomes prone to irrational opinions.

If you’re having a hard time conceptualizing this, allow me to cite you a couple of examples regarding animus possession. All mention something related to Jordan Peterson. One of the pivotal moments in Peterson’s career was his interview with Cathy Newman of Channel four.

This was a pivotal moment, not just because of the amount of attention he received after this, but because of all the Internet memes. This interview generated the focus of these memes centered around Cathy Newman’s combativeness with Peterson. Generally speaking, she either argued against everything he said, or she tried to turn what Peterson said into something fitting her ideological worldview vis a vis. So the purpose of this was to make Peterson out to be some evil, underhanded trickster. Soon after this Newman interview, Peterson had another interview. During this interview, Peterson commented on the Newman interaction and said that she was animus possessed. \She had irrational opinions.

Now, as for a man being anima possessed, the best example I can think of comes from a video game called Silent Hil. The protagonist of Silent Hill is a man named James Sunderland. During the game, he encounters the physical manifestation of his inner anima in the form of Maria. You can tell by Maria’s choice of clothing and her flirtatious behavior that she is a form of wish fulfillment for James. The only problem is she isn’t real because James has made bad choices in his life and finds himself in a dangerous place like Silent Hill. Maria represents everything he wishes he could escape to. Use Jung’s words. The imperfections of real-life with its laborious adaptations and manifold disappointments naturally cannot compete with such a state of indescribable fulfillment.

Possession by the animus or anima is usually instigated by negative experiences with the opposite sex. They can be instigated by positive experiences, like if a man has been overly protected by his mother for all of his life and develops Semin edible complex.
Nonetheless, it seems like negative experiences tend to spur the possession once one becomes possessed. One successful way of counteracting this possession, according to Jung, is to recognize other variations of male and female. Now, what does that mean? Well, suppose you’re a man, and you have a terrible experience with a woman. In that case, if someone tells you that not all women are like that, it’s in your best interest to recognize that by continuing to surround yourself with other women that are more mature, wise, and integrated, the possession tends to lose its grasp. This won’t be easy because possession can give people a sense of righteousness. For instance, Cathy Newman must have felt powerful taking on this man who she must have perceived as a purveyor of the patriarchy. James must have felt justified in conjuring his anima in physical form after dealing with his wife’s death due to illness.

Nonetheless, these benefits are illusory, temporary. If this fact is recognized, one will suffer the consequences. Jung has also mentioned tendencies to become a homosexual might be related to anima or animus projection.

K. G. Jung – The Shadow

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An archetype is a universal pattern of human existence. For example, every human being has a biological mother and father that is a versatile pattern, an archetype for human beings. When it comes to caring for a child, depending on how successful the mother and father are, the closer they come to represent the archetypal or ideal mother and father.
These archetypes are ones that occur externally. What about the archetypes that appear internally?

The most accessible of the inner archetypes is the Shadow. It is easy to access once one accepts that human beings are imperfect and can have negative qualities. All of those contents about oneself that one doesn’t like to fall into the Shadow.

The Shadow occupies our psyche’s unconscious realm, while not all unconscious contents are shadow contents like positive memories. One might recall most remain unconscious because they are challenging to integrate into one’s conscious being. It’s relevant to bring up again for the ego to grow in consciousness. It needs to integrate unconscious contents and bring them under its control. This integration is called the confrontation with the Shadow. in successful cases, a human being will recognize a certain negative quality about themselves and either destroy that quality or control it so that the quality doesn’t negatively impact their lives in unsuccessful cases.

Two things might happen. The Shadow can subsume the ego and bring it under its control. The person then becomes an avatar of the Shadow and will do its evil bidding.

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An excellent example of the Shadow possessing the ego occurs in the film Apocalypse Now. The character of Colonel Kurtz, the main antagonist of the film, goes from being a decorated officer in the U.S. Army to a man that will decapitate those who displease him. The assimilation of the ego to the Shadow is one thing that can happen during the confrontation with the Shadow.

If the ego isn’t assimilated right away or only partially, the outside world will mirror one’s Shadow. Now, what does this mean? Imagine a person that doesn’t succeed well in social situations. That inability to socialize would be a negative quality that the person tries to suppress inside their Shadow.

This suppression’s natural consequences will be its projection onto one’s environment every time that socially awkward person sees people engaged in conversation. They will become resentful and bitter. They will wonder why the world is so hateful why people are so terrible and unaccepting of them.

If they were to overcome this pitiful state, they might ask how they might be contributing to the problem of how their lack of personality or empathy might cause people to shy away. Until this happens, however, the Shadow will continue its projections indefinitely.

The Shadow is a sort of general term that encompasses a large number of unconscious contents. There are specific sections of the Shadow that belong to particular archetypes. Two of those unconscious archetypes are the anima and the animus.

K. G. Jung – The Ego

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Primary aspects of Carl Jung’s model:
The Ego.
The Shadow.
The Syzygy is also known as the Animus.
The Anima.
The Self.
The Persona.

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In order to understand the latter components properly, one must start with the ego. In the simplest terms, the ego is you, or rather it is your consciousness.

The ego comprises everything about yourself and the world around you that is conscious, knowable, representable. This is the most fundamental piece of information that you need to know about the ego. The ego has two components. One is the somatic factor or body. The other is the psychic factor or mind. In order for the ego to develop, one must first become conscious of themselves, and this happens through an intermingling of the somatic and psychic factors. The process of developing consciousness begins in early life when one is an infant or a toddler.

One is not necessarily conscious of themselves right away. This is because one is under the care of one’s parents or other guardians. Instead of it being one, one interacting with and acting upon the world. By one’s own will, the world happens to one. One only becomes conscious when one’s body interacts with its environment.

Say when you are a baby, and you’re crawling around, you come across a rattle. You become conscious of the rattle and its function by picking it up and shaking it around. The more time the child interacts with its environment, the more it realizes that it has its own ego, that they are a subject acting upon objects.

This is a process that continues throughout one’s life. The more one analyzes unknown or unconscious objects the more conscious one becomes and the more one’s ego develops.
The more unconscious contents that one integrates into their consciousness, the more the ego grows.

The whole point of life is to continuously integrate the contents of one’s unconscious mind into one’s conscious mind until both consciousness and unconsciousness are brought into balance.

In Jung’s mind, at the end of this process, the ego becomes the self. Let us just assume that the ego has free will or has the illusion of it for a second.

It seems that the ego only has free will in the realm of consciousness. This free will, however, finds its limits when it comes across unknown or unconscious contents.

When the ego comes into contact with unconscious parts of its psyche, those unconscious parts have autonomy. They tend to act upon the ego. For example, when one gets angry, it is the unconscious force of anger that takes over one’s conscious ego. In extreme cases, it can be almost impossible to prevent one’s self from feeling angry.

Only by willfully confronting the unconscious contents of our mind or the unknown contents of the outside world we can become conscious of them, understand them, and thus limit their effect on us.

If one cannot confront these unconscious/unknown contents properly, they might completely subsume and manipulate the ego. These forces that threaten our ego come in many forms. Two of which that Jung discusses are complexes and archetypes.

Often you will not be speaking to the person. You will be speaking to the complex that has subsumed their ego. It is only when one becomes conscious of the complex that unconscious content produces it can be alleviated.