This information provided by: Robert L. Johnson, Ph.D., M.Div., L.M.H.C. (FL lic # MHC 0001426), Specializing in Jungian Process (Holistic Approaches to Personal Development & Psychotherapy) Telephone: 850-948-7926
Overview of the Jungian Theoretical Structure
The Jungian theoretical model breaks down into six entwined aspects that in many instances must be simultaneously considered in addressing situations that challenge the development of ego as it moves through the process of life. These aspects are listed below. Although they are listed in a specific order, there is not necessarily any particular order to them when one is in the process of life.
The Structure of the Psyche
The Structure of the psyche is an important consideration as it gives us hints as to how functional aspects of us fit together and interplay with each other. The major components to consider here are the Self (the director of the whole show), the ego/shadow synergy (the director of consciousness and its implicit opposite), the persona (the many masks we wear to fool ourselves and others), the anima and animus (our contra-sexual side), the conscious and the unconscious, and the multiple layers of the collective unconscious. A key to a healthy psyche is when the ego and Self are aligned and spinning on the same axis.
The archetypes and complexes are a major consideration. Technically archetypes are beyond our conscious grasp. They are like demiurges that act quite independently of our conscious will. Complexes are slices of the plethora of archetypal pies that are available and are combined in the incarnate nature of human beings. Basically, complexes are the heart of the human personality. Everything else exists for the purpose of processing complexes. In a computer, this is much like the hard drive. It is where everything you really want the computer for is stored. The entire conscious psyche is basically run by complexes. Most of them are benign and need little or no consideration. Others are problematic to the individual for one reason or another. These are the complexes that are addressed in any type of personality exploration.
Attitude Types and Function Types
Attitude types and function types are the main way we process information and coordinate our complexes with the external world. The two attitude types are introversion and extroversion. These terms, which were coined by Jung, are commonly misunderstood in their true form due what has become their social meanings. In Jungian thought, introverts tend to empower themselves by taking power from the external situation. Extroverts tend to empower the external situation by giving it power from themselves. When push comes to shove, introverts tend to trust the singular sound of their inner voice where as extroverts tend to listen to the collective sound of the universal choir. The function types are fourfold: intuition, thinking, feeling, and sensate. We all have our favorite function type that we prefer to use to deal with life. Intuition is our future orientation , and assists us in understanding the potentials of what could be. Feeling is what is important to us. It allows us to prioritize and make judgements as to the relative importance of life events. Thinking is our ability to determine what something is or how to go about doing something. Sensate is grounded in the present here and now and determines that something is. It is also the function that allows us to accomplish things in the here and now. Feeling and intuition are feminine in nature. Thinking and sensate are masculine in nature. Feeling and thinking are rational functions, that is there is a logic to them. Intuition and sensate are irrational in that they have no logic, they simply are. The feeling and sensate functions tend to live in the body. The thinking and intuitive functions tend to live in the head.
Dreams are significant as they are the communication link between the Self and the ego. Dreams are not magical, they are language. The language is the original language of the unconscious which is images within scenarios. Dreams basically act out what they are trying to say to you. They are not a literal enactment, but rather a symbolic one. To know your dreams, you must learn the language.
Synchronicity and Divination
Synchronicity and Divination are based on the idea that everything is connected in some way or another much like the concept of the Force in the movie Star Wars, or the dance of quantum particles in physics. The idea is that the very energy we generate can draw to us particular types of external energy which can manifest in a way that allows us to recognize them and understand that the external manifestation is actually about us. Synchronicity is the passive form of this, while divination is the active form.
God Image is a term that is used a lot by Jung. This is not to be confused with an actual belief in an external god. It is more a term which refers to a philosophy of life that one serves, and, of course, if one wishes to, one may associate this philosophy of life with an external or internal belief in a deity. However, more important to understand is that this philosophic view is the belief system that one actually serves (acts out) in everyday reality. The acting out of this material may be referred to as one’s personal philosophy or theology. This is quite different from one’s religious beliefs, which is rather a collection of ideas and ritualized events that attempt to explain dynamics which seem contradictory. One of the ideas in the individuation process, is to get our claimed religious beliefs lined up with our philosophical beliefs and then get our philosophical beliefs aligned along the ego/Self axis. This is really a process outlined by philosophic existentialist such as Nietzsche. Jung may have been better off if he had used a term that is less religiously loaded than the term "God Image". It may be more accurate to describe this whole process as developing one’s own Existential Nature.
Then there is Alchemy. Alchemy itself does not have to be addressed by most people in their initial pursuit of individuation. Alchemy is rather symbolic of the process or understanding of Gnosis, the search for the Opus or the personal internal encounter. Generally the alchemists did not intend for their formulas to be taken literally, although chemistry as a science did emerge from these efforts. Rather philosophic alchemists understood their efforts to be spiritual in nature and interpreted symbolically. This twist was necessary in order to protect the wisdom of the gnostics from the persecution of the Christian church in the 17th - 19th centuries. Rather than alchemy, I find the study of quantum physics and the on-going understanding of the development of the universe more appropriate scientific comparatives to Jung’s archetypal understanding of the human being and our struggle to become conscious in the 21st century.