Bringing out which is within

As I continue to explore the different aspects of psychology as well as Jung’s work, I find that the concepts are creating an overview of what is happening internally to not only those around myself but also what is inside of me. Each page I read is a series of hard truths which I have to face alone, that I am a series of complexes expressing themselves in a unified voice of me, and that though I may find myself knowing things or truths, that the depths to who I am in endless and can never be turned into pure gold. What is turned into gold is then turned into lead and the process starts all over again. It is why the ouroboros has always been a powerful symbol to myself and others to represent the soul, as it is a constant process of renewal. Bring awareness to these processes creates stress which is how we can identify pieces of these archetypes which act out through us, and in this way, we can view an aspect of ourself which is unseen. 

The importance of tension in the individuation process?

Why is the ability to hold the tension of opposites so critical to the individuation process? How does a symbol manage to dissolve or disarm a neurotic conflict?

Holding tension of opposites allows us to identify those opposing forces inside ourselves. In the individuation process, we are intentionally diving within ourselves, leaving out those things which we typically rely on, such as our social status, or job title, etc. Moving away from those things which provide a foundation to our egos and diving into the waters of the unconscious can result in us becoming vulnerable. We may, in turn, encounter opposing forces interacting with each other in ways not typical to our conscious attention. The threshold between the unconscious and conscious become weak. This mixing of the waters provides tension between forces which allows us to shed new light to those forces which are typically not seen and allows us to identify their differences.

Symbols are expressed due to the amount of tension held between the opposing forces. The symbol is a message of a desire of one of the opposites that are not being adhered to and can result in a neurotic conflict expressing itself through our actions. Through hearing the message of the symbol expressed by an unconscious force and implementing change, the tension is lessened and the neurotic conflict may reside.

Tension and their resulting symbols are essential to identify and to learn about the source of the symbol inside of the unconscious. Through understanding the messages that the source produces in the unconscious as a result of the tension, we can learn more about the source. In learning more about the source, we can identify with who we are. The function that the unconscious provides to convey the messages of our complexes and archetypes is the transcendental function.  

“Since life cannot tolerate a standstill, a damming up of vital energy results, and this would lead to an insupportable condition did not the tension of opposites produce a new, uniting function that transcends them. This function arises quite naturally from the regression of libido caused by the blockage” -Jung, C., G.

Readings Reviewed

  • Jung, C. G. (1969). “The Transcendent Function.” In R. F. C. Hull (Trans.), The Collected Works of C. G. Jung (Vol. 8), pp. 67-91 (24 pages) 
  • Von Franz, M. L. in Jung, C. G. (1964). Man and His Symbols, pp. 159-254 (95 pages) 


The primal images of Jung and Freud.

What primal or collective fantasy images do you suppose lurk behind Freud’s and Jung’s fantasies of psychic energy?

The most significant differences between Jung and Freud are apparent in their definition of libido which implies that their collective fantasy of psychic energy is also vastly different.

As indicated by our reading, Jung was brought up in a religious family which others suggested had an impact on his views of psychic energy, a more monotheistic view. His relationship to spiritual practices in his upbringing most likely played a role in how he viewed the unconscious and its role in expressing itself in our lives. The unconscious does take on some similar features which I noticed in Jung’s work to that of God described by the Christian church. Jung’s religious upbringing may have geared him to see specific aspects of the unconscious in a more spiritual context. From this, I would think that Jung viewed the primal man in the fantasy of the garden of Eden, where man, God, and animals all spoke the same language and communicated freely.

Unlike Jung, Freud went to the more machine-like view of psychic power, terming libido to mean sexual energy. Sex and the drive to procreate was at the bases of the evolution theory which was becoming popular during the debate of how psychologists define libido. Freud reduced man to be an uncontrollable beast which hungered for sex to spread his genetic profile. The view that I get from Freud is that his idea of the primal forces which drive us are aggressively masculine and brutal without concern for others. Only in repressing those forces through ego are we able to survive as a species. A collective fantasy in Freud’s work is the relationship between God and the Devil. They fight for control over the hearts of men where God has more power over the devil and wishes to exhaust him at any moment.