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Carl G. Jung: Evolution Toward the Higher Self Carl G. Jung: Evolution Toward the Higher Self
by Rene Wadlow
2023-07-26 07:49:43
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Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 - 6 June 1961), the Swiss psychiatrist, was the founder of an important current of psychoanalysis which he called "analytical psychology".  Jung's contribution to a deeper understanding of Taoist thought is stressed in an earlier essay.  He provides means for deciphering individual behavior but also challenges facing the wider society.  His ideas have had an influence on other disciplines such as religious studies and literary analysis.

(For more about Carl G. Jung’s life read: Carl G. Jung: The Integration of Opposites by Rene Wadlow)

jung01_400Jung developed his insights at a particular time in history, a time of reconstruction and searching after the 1914-1918 war and the time that saw the rise of Hitler and the start of the 1939-1945 war.  After the Second World War, he largely revised some of his earlier writings and turned his attention to Chinese and Indian philosophy.  He recorded his life experiences which were then edited by his long-time secretary Amiela Jaffé as Memories, Dreams, Refections published after his 1961 death.  She later wrote her own appreciation Amiela Jaffé. From the Life and Work of C.G. Jung (1972)

Much of his writings were based on intuition.  He recognized the importance of gender issues, of nationalism, and the power of religious motivations in an apparently irreligious epoch.  Much of his influence is not so much his conclusions as his intuitions about directions to explore.  There are similarities between Jung and the more recent writings of Abraham Maslow whose psychology is based on the idea that there are "higher reaches of human nature." Both men were more interested in the sense of affirmation rather than neurosis.

Jung was concerned with the growth of each person to what we can call "the Higher Self".  In Jung's writings, the therm "self" (often capitalized in English) was used with the meaning of the psyche or the personality which was to evolve toward a state of purpose and order.  He called this process "individuation"- becoming a full individual.  I believe that the term "the Higher Self" is clearer - "individualism" having acquired some negative meanings.  For Jung, the work of individuation is a process of self-realization, a flow from the unconscious to the conscious.  There is a constant "dialogue" between the unconscious and the conscious.

Jung stresses that each individual contains immense depths of power of which he is normally unaware.  In his clinical practice, he took great pains to bring patients to full awareness of their present problems.  Gradually, the conscious ego will become aware that with the use of the unconscious his strength will grow as a transformation toward the Higher Self.  This awareness that there is a Higher Self releases an immense surge of optimism and purpose.  The Higher Self is a new balance between the ego and the unconscious.

In our time when there are again world-wide currents of nationalism and a narrow view of the person, the insights of C.G. Jung can help us in the evolution to the Higher Self.


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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