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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/15/15

Getting Our Bearings from Jung

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(2) The divided self is divided into ego-consciousness and the unconscious. The unconscious includes one's own personal shadow and the collective unconscious, including the archetypes.

(3) The unconscious contains certain forces that are powerful enough to overpower ego-consciousness, resulting in a person having a psychotic episode (a temporary break with reality -- pages 498, 530) or in a person becoming insane (permanently losing contact with reality -- pages 531, 549).

(4) At times, the unconscious may overpower ego-consciousness because of the hubris of ego-consciousness (page 546).

(5) At times, the unconscious may overpower ego-consciousness because of the weakness of ego-consciousness (page 546).

(6) Implicitly this means that ego-consciousness needs to have certain ego strengths.

(7) At times, the unconscious may overpower ego-consciousness in such a way as not to cause a break with reality, but to flood the person in a profound mystical experience (i.e., experiences that have a numinous quality).

(8) According to Jung, ego-consciousness up to a certain point is characterized by structuring opposites.

(9) According to Jung, ego-consciousness up to a certain point is also characterized by the personal shadow.

(10) According to Jung, at a certain juncture in the second half of life, ego-consciousness may begin the process of assimilating and digesting and integrating shadow contents into ego-consciousness.

(11) From the successful assimilation and integration of shadow contents into ego-consciousness, the person emerges with a certain sense of wholeness. This process is part of the unio mentalis mentioned above. But this process does not yet complete the overall individuation process, because the transformation of the person into psychological gold, so to speak, has not yet emerged.

(12) In working toward the assimilation and integration of the shadow contents into ego-consciousness, a new pair of opposites emerges, according to Jung: bitterness versus wisdom (pages 246, 248, 495, 496). Evidently, the emergence of this new pair of opposites is still part of the unio mentalis. I should point out that Jung's bitterness versus wisdom is equivalent to Erikson's despair versus ego-integrity.

(13) Jung sees bitterness as characterized by emotionality (i.e., affect) and resentment as an expression of that emotionality (pages 248, 295, 297, 495). In his view, wisdom must prevail over bitterness for the unio mundus (a.k.a. the unio mystica) to emerge.

(14) Jung sees the successful resolution of bitterness as involving wisdom. He says, "wisdom is the comforter in all psychic suffering" (page 246; also see 90, 192, 248-249, 432, 497).

(15) Jung sees the emergence of wisdom as involving "the transformation of the feminine element [in a man's psyche -- all the alchemists that Jung studied were men] from a serpent into a queen" followed by the inner psychic marriage [of the Queen archetype with the renewed King archetype] signal[ling] the equal status of [ego-]consciousness and unconscious" (page 380). This inner psychic marriage process marks the emergence of the unio mundus (a.k.a. the unio mystica).

(16) Without denigrating the possible importance of psychotherapy and psychotherapists, Jung stresses that each person needs to work through the inner psychological work (figuratively speaking, the opus) toward inner psychological wholeness, because nobody else can do the work for him or her (page 520).

(17) As a result of communing with oneself, one experiences healing self-knowledge (pages 90, 432, 497).

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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