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Carl Jung: Religion and Archetypes
Transcript of Carl Jung: Religion and Archetypes
1. Both seek wholeness and unity of the Self.
2. Both require the acceptance of a transcendent realm or higher
power with which the individual must be recognized--a personal
3. Both are personal and inner experiences that refuse to accept
conformity, preset meanings, or codification in dogmas.
Carl Jung: Religion and Archetypes
Religion and Individuation = Synonyms
Why is Religion so helpful?
Example 1: Christianity: Father, Son, Spirit
"Individuation = process of uniting conscious and unconscious forces of one's Self.
Archetypes provide structure to different parts of the psyche and the psyche functions optimally when there exists a harmonious balance between these parts. Unfortunately, according to Jung, few people function in an optimal manner. Rather most suffer from imbalances where some parts of their personality suffer from inflation, or over-expression in consciousness, while other parts suffer from deflation or underdevelopment whereby they lack proper expression in consciousness. Imbalances, Jung believed, often lead to the development of neuroses and a lack of vitality in life."
"Working to bring about proper expression of the various archetypally structured elements of one’s personality by confronting contents of the unconscious and thus obtaining self-knowledge, is the purpose of the individuation process. It is important to note that this process occurs spontaneously if unimpeded as contents of the unconscious naturally strive for outward expression in the world, or as Jung put it “Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation”. (Academy of Ideas)
Individuation has an inherently "religious" quality because it involves accepting and becoming aware of archetypal forces. It is akin to surrender, trust, and obedience in religion (Forsyth 68).
Individuation begins with awareness of separation and the desire for unity with one's Self. Religious symbols offer powerful means for tapping into the unconscious in order to undertake this process.
Religion: Psychological over Metaphysical
Literature, Fairy Tales, and Myths provide great symbols for inner transformation.
Religion: for Jung, has a focus on unity and rebirth. It causes people to go on journeys of self-discovery and inner reflection that is unique.
Whereas movies and stories might illustrate certain archetypes to which one is drawn, religion causes one to have an "archetypal" experience wherein they personally experience affinity for and unity with a certain archetype.
SO, ACCORDING TO JUNG, WHY DO PEOPLE DO RELIGION?
For Jung, religion is always personal and subjective. It is a process
wherein the unique unconscious energies of the person are united with
its conscious Ego.
Thus, people do religion--or should do religion--in order to achieve
psychic balance and harmony.
In essence, he interprets religion as an individual journey to Selfhood.
"Religion has value to the extent that its dogmas, rituals, and symbols correlate with the archetypal motifs and energies of the unconscious and direct our growth toward assimilation of this archetypal material into our conscious life and, then toward greater psychic wholeness." (Forsyth 72)
Father: "represents God as one nad indivisible and, accordingly, reflects the first stage of human growth--infancy--which, because it is anterior to the growth of consciousness, is characterized as a state of unconscious unity." (Forsyth 77)
Son: "The growing child learns to differentiate himself from and become gradually independent of parents. With this development of individuality he or she begins to make conscious differentiations between self and others, masculine and feminine, good and evil." (Forsyth 78)
Spirit: "represents the higher state of consciousness brought about through uniting and reconciling those opposites which consciousness has differentiated."
Crucifixion: The death and rebirth of Christ is a death of the conflict of the opposites and its rebirth through unity with the unconscious. It is the crucifixion of the separate Ego and birth of the unified Self.
Example 2: The Buddhist Mandala
"The symbolism of meditation Mandalas has a rich tradition. The outer form of these so-called holy circles is a geometrical diagram, a Yantra, and each detail of its construction has symbolic meaning. The essence or purpose of the Mandala is concerned with the process of invocation, the calling in and realization of the spiritual force within the contemplator himself. All these different picture-tools have essentially the same inner meaning and purpose, but there are mandalas to suit all levels of consciousness: for the spiritually highly developed, for average people and for people not yet developed." (http://www.buddhanet.net/mandalas.htm)
Jungian interpretation of the Mandala: from Jung and Eastern Thought by J.J. Clarke
"The mandala image is not only a symbol of wholeness and healing, but can be actively employed as a means towards that end. Jung first discovered this in his own case and later confirmed this discovery through the spontaneous production of similar images by his patients. The mandalas drawn by his patients suggested to Jung, not just a representation of a state of psychic wholeness, but rather the striving to overcome inner chaos, and the search for some form of integration. Just as, for the yogi, the mandala offers a means of overcoming the opposites of spirit and matter, so, for his patients, the use of mandala drawings expressed a need to resolve psychological tensions, and acted as ‘an antidote for chaotic states of mind’ (CW9i.16)."
Jung: "The fact that images of this kind have under certain circumstances a considerable therapeutic effect on their authors is empirically proved and also readily understandable, in that they often represent very bold attempts to see and put together apparently irreconcilable opposites and bridge over apparently hopeless splits." (CW9i.718)
Look at your sheet: Write the name of the character next to the archetype you think they represent:
Great stories often include a main character trying to come to grips with aspects of themselves, confronting barriers and opponents in the process.
How does this happen in?
1. Harry Potter
2. Star Wars
3. Game of Thrones
What types of people might Jung's theory of religion appeal to?