Author Topic: Jung and Consciousness  (Read 3869 times)


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Jung and Consciousness
« on: August 20, 2008, 02:31:25 PM »
Psyche = mind, although Jung would, of course, want to emphasize that mind is largely not available directly to consciousness.

Psyche = the unconscious and the conscious

The metaphor of these being regions of the psyche is often used, but this is a metaphor and one that, I think, causes a lot of weak constructs of Jungian thought. 

The mind is not a blank slate but memory is not genetically inherited.  Rather it is probably a system of cultural, instinctual (inclinations to response preferentially, built in evolutionary response mechanisms) and brain architectural predispositions that produce subtle universal patterns even while these patterns are clothed in an endless array of subjective forms.

If you are wanting to relate the term energy to Jung's ideas then you must read his "On Psychic Energy" (in On the Nature of the Psyche).  Here he pretty much states, with a kind of intuitive insight found in The Tao of Physics, that it is very useful in a scientific way to consider the psyche as an energic system.  But he does not say that there is a physical energy that is "psyche".  So the idea of its span in space and time is a metaphoric, not a literal, notion.

For the most part, Jung seems to have avoided a metaphysics of psyche in favor of a more scientific description based on human vision, dream and myth.  The more metaphysical the concepts that the mind addressed, however, (like God, Being, Universe, etc.) the more metaphoric was his response. 

Jung believed in the reality of the psyche and, without trying to setup a separate metaphysical system, he wanted to give the upmost value to the reality of the mind's phenomenology.  With the scope of epistemology, the reality of the psyche reaches down into the depths of our sense of knowing and truth.  In this light it is co-equal with our sense of knowing objective truth via science, religion...anything.  An honest epistemology must recognize its grounding and limitations in the knower's biological and individual typological (Psychological Types) character.  To me Jung's Psychological Types is an earth-shattering analysis of philosophy and religion that has yet to be truly appreciated philsophically and in Jungian circles for its profound epistemological consequences.  But the value of its root metaphor of separate. biased, equal modes of knowledge construction is seen in the various Typological personality tests and also, analogously in Gardner's "Theory of Multiple Intelligences".

Another good reference I think is Edinger's study of Jung's notion of consciousness in Creation of Consciousness.