Born in 1875, Carl Jung grew up to study human life and eventually developed several thoughts concerning human behavior. His concepts have received exponents and opponents of equal measure. Most people claim that his arguments are illogical with no or minimal stringent structures.
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Nonetheless, his exponents have utilized his thoughts and used them in conducting various psychological tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This paper analyses the theories of Jung concerning human life coupled with how they have contributed to the history and systems of psychology.
Born in 1875, Carl Jung has definitely played a significant role in the field of psychology even after his demise in 1961. His theories have received support and opposition in equal measure. However, despite his controversial nature, most psychologist and scholars still use his theories in making various decisions. His theories aimed at creating and promoting an association between the cognizant and oblivious (Thorne & Henley, 2005).
According to Jung, in the absence of the link between the two, the unconscious characteristics could abate and even destroy one’s personality. One of his popular theories was individuation, which refers to the individual growth that creates a link the ego to the ‘self’ (Pierce, 2005). This paper discusses the Jungian theories and their role in shaping the history and systems of psychology.
Contribution of Carl Jung’s Theories in the History and Systems of Psychology
Jung’s examination of human personality involved studies of faith, culture, and parapsychology. He primarily had a stronger impact on theorists and authors than psychologists did.
Nonetheless, over the years, the rising queries on the nature of human awareness and potential have triggered a sudden attention on Jung’s concepts such as those concerning attitude, functions, conscious, archetype, and psychological development (Carter, 2011).
In addressing the issue of attitude, Jung developed the theories of introversion and extraversion. These ideologies have indubitably earned recognition with most psychologists and counselors who use them to test their patients’ attitude.
For Jung, people can be broadly categorized into two groups, viz. those who view things from an outward perspective and those who judge things with an inward perception.
Those who are inward-oriented, popularly known as introverts, are contented with their individual thoughts and beliefs (Pierce, 2005). However, the extroverts are at ease with the views of others and their decisions are highly influenced with their external environment.
Interestingly, Jung states that no individual can have a mindset that is entirely introverted or extroverted. In his argument, Jung associates the two concepts to a heartbeat, which is only complete after contraction and expansion.
The contraction represents introversion whilst expansion typifies extraversion (Engler, 2008). The discrepancy comes into play when a person seems to prefer a particular concept and makes most of his or her decisions according to that given type of mindset.
Notably, these concepts also incorporate awareness and unconsciousness. For instance, if one analyzes an extrovert, it is likely that his or her unconscious will have an introverted approach because the individual’s unconsciousness is more extroverted whilst the conscious part is full of introverted values (Pierce, 2005).
Moreover, none of the concept can be perceived to be the most superior. In some cases, introversion is more pertinent than extroversion whilst in other scenarios the latter is more applicable than the former.
The qualities are also equally distinct, viz. one cannot apply them in tandem. One should ensure that s/he employs either of the qualities only on situations where s/he is most pertinent to avoid having a fixed and stringent method of reacting to issues and relating with others.
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Since introverts tend to be preoccupied with their personal thoughts, they may develop loneliness for they are engrossed in their own world and may end up having a poor relation with the external world (Carter, 2011).
Conversely, extroverts spend most of their time and energy to please others. The danger of such a quality is that they may fail to have time for their inner person and consequently make decisions that may endanger their lives.
Another outstanding contribution of Jung to the history and systems of psychology is the concept of type. According to Jung, the manner in which individuals feel, think, as well as experience is surprisingly disparate. This concept of type is essential in assisting both psychologists and even ordinary people to comprehend the nature in which people operate (Dolliver, 1994).
He divides the essential psychological functions into four categories, viz. impression, instinct, thinking, as well as feeling. All these functions can be felt in an introverted or extraverted manner.
However, every person has a particular function that seems to override the others even when it comes to their conscious. Out of the three remaining function, there is also a function that seems to be intensely rooted in the unconscious and can rarely be noticed, viz. inferior function.
People normally make decisions and verdicts using the thinking and feeling functions that surrogate each other. Thinking focuses on the sincerity, opinion, and uncongenial evaluation. It usually integrates uniformity and abstract standards.
People with highly developed thinking function can be good strategists and planners. Nevertheless, they may be reluctant in accepting clashing opinions even if such conflicting ideas seem to be more practical than their theories. Feeling is value-oriented as it weighs the option between good and bad or correct and false, which is in contrast with thinking that tends to focus on the logic or competence of a decision.
Jung classified perception and instinct in a solitary group, since they are both used as means of collecting information and not issuing verdicts. Perception or sensation is the exact sense experience, discernment of information, and tangible facts such as something that a person can smell, taste, or touch.
Concrete testament attracts more attention than the evaluation or investigation of experience. People whose dominant function is sensation, viz. sensation types, are quick in responding to the immediate issue and can effectively resolve the existing crises (Pierce, 2005).
The fourth category of function, viz. intuition, involves understanding views in a form of likelihood, past results, prospective ambitions, and the unconscious development. This function tries to focus on the impact or outcome of doing something in a particular way.
The predicted impact of making a decision is of much significance to intuitive characters than the actual impact. They rapidly relate new ideas to experience, expected results, and make the most appropriate decisions (Thorne & Henley, 2005).
The inferior function that Jung identifies is often the most primal for an evil force can drive it because some people can neither control nor comprehend it. For instance, a highly intuitive individual who cannot relate with his or her sensation function can consider his or her sexual desires as strange or perilous. Jung asserts that this function motivates people to have religious beliefs.
Integrating and balancing all these functions help a person to associate well with his or her environment. Every individual has an overriding function with one secondary dominant function (Engler, 2008). The remaining functions are often unconscious and less useful. This knowledge helps in understanding the flaws and strengths of others and can help in managing social relationships.
Jung admits that it is intricate to determine the unconscious, and thus it can only be defined by understanding its association with the conscious, which has no boundaries. Jung further classifies the unconscious into personal and collective. The personal unconscious is composed of past bitter events or petty thoughts that are no longer part of the conscious.
In the case of collective unconsciousness, it is the most debated theory of Jung. It postulates that although people are born and they develop incongruently, they have a common unconsciousness (Carter, 2011). The mental and biological heritage that everyone is born with determines the behavior as well as experience. For Jung, this unconsciousness helps people to invent constructive ideas and skills.
This theory is one of the most sophisticated theories of Jung. Archetypes are inborn tendencies that are used to react to various issues in the world. They are depictions of the natural energies espoused by a collective unconsciousness.
Jung describes the archetype as components that develop structures inside the unconscious. The key structures of personality such as persona, shadow, ego anima, animus, and self are also part of archetype (Merchant, 2009).
Persona refers to image a person discloses to the world. In a bid to receive good reception in public, there are certain behaviors one has to adopt. Those who refuse to adopt such characters are likely to face rejection. The effect of a persona may be good or bad.
Certain types of personas can asphyxiate an individual especially if they are phony. It can promote growth in individuals because as they adopt particular social roles, their ego slowly approves it (Engler, 2008).
Unfortunately, this approval may also have a negative effect for as the ego approves the new social roles, people begin to assume that the false faces are their actual personality. Sadly, Jung asserts that people are forced to depart from this false personality during individuation.
Ego is a sense that promotes steadiness in moving towards the conscious part of life. It attempts to resist any move to contravene consciousness and urges people to analyze their ideas before making an ultimate decision.
The ego has no unconscious elements, but conscious components only, which originate from one’s individual experience. Consequently, Jung compels people to assume that ego is a key structure of psyche, thus ignoring the other portion of psyche that is unconscious (Merchant, 2009).
The shadow comprises all the unconstructive values that one wishes to avoid because they are converse to his/her persona and social norms. The shadow puts emphasis on issues that are introverted by a person’s consciousness.
If an individual fails to identify it, shadow becomes dangerous for the person may display his or her rejected values in public, and consequently be abandoned. However, shadow is unavoidable because it is inherent. Anyone who ignores that shadows archetype exists is denying the fact that the society is made up of both good and bad.
Jung also developed the concept of anima and animus. These concepts exemplify the psychological issues that cannot relate with a person’s self-image (Dolliver, 1994). Hence, though a woman may refer to conscious terms that are feminine, the animus may incorporate some of unfamiliar behaviors that stand out as masculine.
The course of mental growth in the female counterparts requires that they integrate their ego with the animus. Although at the primary level, the anima or animus may appear as a distinct personality, it starts merging with the unconscious and conscious after identification and eventually becomes part of the self.
However, if the self is oblivious of the anima or the animus, an individual tends to portray it to the opposite sex. For example, all men have a character that is analogous to women although it is unconscious. This character is often portrayed to women whom men love and thus promote intimate relationships.
Moreover, the growth of the concept of anima and animus is largely espoused by relationship between a child and his or her opposite sex parent (Engler, 2008). These two concepts largely affect the relations that people have with the opposite sexes. Since they have the power to link a person with his or her unconscious forces, anima and animus are a good way of determining one’s ability.
Jung’s theories have occasionally received opponents who claim that his ideas are illogical and fail to portray an organized system of thoughts. His critics state that he uses disparate descriptions for a single term.
However, he intentionally created a flexible structure that can accept new ideas without necessarily altering them to merge into theoretical construction for he conceded to the thought that he could provide all the theoretical solutions to every issue.
Perhaps, this notion explains why his theories are currently still highly pertinent and can be used to analyze most problems in the modern culture. The popularity of his concepts is still consistently augmenting. Prominent psychological testing techniques such as Myers-Briggs type Indicator apply Jung’s theory. In essence, the role of Carl Jung in the history and systems of psychology is indisputable.
Carter, D. (2011). Carl Jung in the twenty-first century. Contemporary Review, 293(1703), 441-451.
Dolliver, R. (1994). Classifying the personality theories and personalities of Adler, Freud, and Jung with. Individual Psychology: The Journal of Adlerian Theory, Research & Practice, 50(2), 192-202.
Engler, B. (2008). Personality Theories: An Introduction. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Merchant, J. (2009). A reappraisal of classical archetype theory and its implications for theory and practice. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 54(3), 339-358.
Pierce, F. (2005). Personality types & injuries. Professional Safety, 50(3), 42-50.
Thorne, B., & Henley, T. (2005). Connections in the history and systems of psychology. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.