K. G. Jung – The Ego

Русская версия поста

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.

Image result for jung anima animus self shadow

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.

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