On Jungian Psychoanalysis

In terms of the Freudian structure or system of “conflict” between the conscious and subconscious levels of the human mind, Wilfred Trotter wrote: “Of the two parties in this conflict – the instinctive impulse and the repressive force – the first, according to Freud, is wholly the product of the sex instinct.” Because of the centrality of the ‘sex instinct’ in the Freudian structure and system, Freudian psychoanalysis is very much an analysis of “mass psychology” or the psychology of the masses. This does not exclude or preclude the elites from falling under the umbrella of “mass psychology” and the psychology of the masses. 

But there is also an aspect or dimension of the subconscious level of the human mind aside from the “sex instinct” of Sigmund Freud that Carl Jung sought to uncover and develop, which in turn led to a contentious rift between Freud and Jung. Freud was the founder of what we consider to be the “psychoanalytic movement” of the modern period, and Jung was a close disciple of Freud. For Jung to contend that there was a wholly different and more important aspect or dimension of the subconscious level of the mind aside from the “sex instinct” ultimately resulted in the contentious rift between teacher and disciple which in turn could never be mended. 

For certain individuals like myself, there is a possible balance which can be struck between the two different outlooks towards the question of what exactly it is that is central to the subconscious mind. But for the founders and pioneers of psychoanalysis themselves – namely, Freud and Jung – one had to be more important and preponderant relative to the other. As evinced by Jung’s “Psychology of the Unconscious,” it is clear that initially, Jung had fully subscribed to Freud’s argument or proposition that the “sex instinct” was central and preponderant to the subconscious mind. 

Nevertheless, Jung ultimately broke with this core argument or proposition of Freudian psychoanalysis and with Freud himself in order to argue that something wholly different than the ‘sex instinct’ was in fact central and preponderant to an individual’s psychic and mental activities. Jung’s philosophical break from Freud is most evident in “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious” as well as in “Modern Man in Search of a Soul” as well as in his later work on ‘paranormal activity’ and ‘synchronicity.’

In one of his essays which has been incorporated in “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious,” Jung explained his break from Freud by stating that 

“a purely personalistic psychology, by reducing everything to personal causes, tries its level best to deny the existence of archetypal motifs and even seeks to destroy them by personal analysis. I consider this a rather dangerous procedure which cannot be justified medically.” 

The contrast between Freud and Jung also manifests in a statement Jung made in “Modern Man in Search of a Soul” regarding the true nature of psychoanalytic treatment. Whereas Freud saw the treatment of neurosis as resting solely with the relief of sexual repression, Jung saw the roots of psychoanalytic treatment in something religious and spiritual:

“The first beginnings of all analytical treatment are to be found in its prototype, the confessional. Since, however, the two practices have no direct causal connection, but rather grow from a common psychic root, it is difficult for an outsider to see at once the relation between the groundwork of psychoanalysis and the religious institution of the confessional.”

The religious and spiritual roots of reality and science which Jung deciphered are evinced even further by the observations made by various philosophers and scientists in the modern period regarding “paranormal activity” and “synchronicity” which in turn will be the focus and subject of my next piece. 

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