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Excerpt: Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious

Carl Jung

From Chapter 3 of An Introduction to Jung’s Psychology

Chapter 3

Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious

The development of an attitude, either extraverted or introverted, and a function, is part of the process of living, of adapting ourselves to our world and making our mark in it. Unless there is some strong interference, we develop along the lines that are easiest to us, but we also like to ‘put our best foot foremost’. This means that we usually develop our best function, be it thinking or intuition, feeling or sensation, and at the same time have a strong tendency to conform to what is expected of us, to respond to education and social pressure, to behave in an accepted way. In this process much that rightly belongs to the personality is lost, or rather it is not lost but has simply been pushed away into unconsciousness; in psychological terms it has been repressed. Small children left to behave naturally are often lustful, acquisitive, and aggressive, and show all the tendencies that the adult is supposed to have grown or been educated out of. But the mistake of most educators, parents, teachers, and others, is to believe that they have really changed the nature of the children in their care, while all that has happened is that the disagreeable or inferior tendencies have been pushed into the background and forgotten, yet live on in the adult. This forgetting is often so successful that we come to believe that we are exactly as we appear to be, sometimes with disastrous results. These repressed tendencies belong to what Jung calls the personal unconscious, and far from withering away, as one might hope, they seem to be like neglected weeds that flourish in any forgotten corner of the garden.

The process of civilizing the human being leads to a compromise between himself and society as to what he should appear to be, and to the formation of the mask behind which most people live. Jung calls this mask the persona, the name given to the masks once worn by the actors of antiquity to signify the role they played. But it is not only actors who fill a role; a man who takes up a business or a profession, a woman who marries or chooses a career, all adopt to some extent the characteristics expected of them in their chosen position; it is necessary to do so in order to succeed. A business man will try to appear (and even to be) forceful and energetic, a professional man intelligent, a civil servant correct; a professional woman nowadays needs not only to appear intelligent but also well dressed, and a wife is required to be a hostess, a mother, a partner, or whatever her husband’s position demands.

Society expects, and indeed must expect, every individual to play the part assigned to him as perfectly as possible, so that a man who is a parson … must at all times … play the role of parson in a flawless manner. Society demands this as a kind of surety: each must stand at his post, here a cobbler, there a poet. No man is expected to be both … that would be ‘odd’. Such a man would be ‘different’ from other people, not quite reliable. In the academic world he would be a dilettante, in politics an ‘unpredictable’ quantity, in religion a free-thinker — in short, he would always be suspected of unreliability and incompetence, because society is persuaded that only the cobbler who is not a poet can supply workmanlike shoes.1
The persona is a collective phenomenon, a facet of the personality that might equally well belong to somebody else, but it is often mistaken for individuality. The actor or artist with long hair and casual clothes is looked on as someone unique — a personality — while often in fact he has simply adopted the dress and habits of all the other artists of his group. The friendliness and hospitality of Mrs. So-and-So the vicar’s wife, seem to spring from her boundless good nature, but in reality she adopted these ways when she married her husband believing that ‘a vicar’s wife should be the friend of all who need her’. To some extent, it is true, people choose the roles for which they feel best fitted, and to this degree the persona is individual, but it is never the whole man or woman. Human nature is not consistent, yet in filling a role it must appear so, and is therefore inevitably falsified.

The persona, however, is a necessity; through it we relate to our world. It simplifies our contacts by indicating what we may expect from other people, and on the whole makes them pleasanter, as good clothes improve ugly bodies.

People who neglect the development of a persona tend to be gauche, to offend others, and to have difficulty in establishing themselves in the world. There is always the danger, however, of identifying oneself with the role one fills, a danger that is not obvious when the role is a good one and fits the person well. Yet we often say with some concern ‘he plays a part’ or ‘she is not really like that at all’, for we are at least partly aware of the danger of living in a way that is not true to our real natures. Perhaps some crisis will occur which calls for flexibility or a completely new way of reacting, or a human situation may be reached where the lack of a genuinely individual emotional response spells tragedy. Elizabeth Bowen describes such a situation in The Death of the Heart, where the adults in the story are so locked in their conventional roles that they fail completely to understand the needs of a sensitive adolescent girl. Another danger is that too rigid a persona means too complete a denial of the rest of the personality, and all those aspects which have been relegated to the personal or belong to the collective unconscious.

Jung calls that other side of ourselves, which is to be found in the personal unconscious, the shadow. The shadow is the inferior being in ourselves, the one who wants to do all the things that we do not allow ourselves to do, who is everything that we are not, the Mr. Hyde to our Dr. Jekyll. We have an inkling of this foreign personality when, after being possessed by an emotion or overcome with rage, we excuse ourselves by saying, ‘I was not myself’, or ‘I really don’t know what came over me’. What ‘came over’ was in fact the shadow, the primitive, uncontrolled, and animal part of ourselves. The shadow also personifies itself: when we particularly dislike someone, especially if it is an unreasonable dislike, we should suspect that we are actually disliking a quality of our own which we find in the other person.

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The Duality Game

The ancients said, “Clear in the essence, eating and drinking are all for the benefit and health of one’s being; ignorant in the mind, even Zen discourses and utterances are nothing than just meaningless manipulations of consciousness.”

Duality is a conflict of interest derived from our experience as ourselves (soul) and our experience of ourselves through our perception into physicality via the body and mind (ego).  We can perceive ourselves in physicality because we have bodies.  When we see us, we are then inclined to start defining who we are compared to everyone and everything else.  This gives the ego an identity that we use to define ourselves and all of our brothers and sisters.  If we chose not to do this, but instead looked outside of ourselves and put our attention on the experience of our interactions without noticing how we respond to the interaction because we are so immersed in the experience, then we would not be limited by definitions.  

This is a concept which is outside the context of our life experience in bodies because we are currently not remembering life without them.  If we had no body with which to interact with, we could not perceive ourselves and define ourselves.  For instance, if we were crying, we would not know it because we can’t perceive tears, but we would know we were not enjoying the interaction.  We would not be able to see the expression of ourselves, but we could still feel ourselves.  This difference between feeling ourselves and seeing ourselves creates the dichotomy of ego and soul.  The feeling ourselves applies to the sense of ourselves irregardless of what the body is feeling.  

The body is a suit worn to interact with the physical and interprets energy from you and the environment.  You can feel what the body feels, but you would need to train yourself to understand whether you are feeling feedback of yourself or feedback from the environment.  Another point to distinguish is the fact that people interact despite their bodies – our consciousness (energy) effects eachother with or without bodies.  This can apply to the energy of all things, all of which are made up of the energy of consciousness, and we can interact with that directly if we train ourselves.  Otherwise, we are only interacting with the physical portion, ie body to body, thing to thing, body to thing. 

For the reasons stated above, life in physicality is ruled by duality for those that are unaware of how things are.  A simple synopsis of how things are follows.

We exist outside of physicality.  We can connect with this portion of ourselves if we put attention on ourselves by listening to the thoughts that pass through our minds, maintaining awareness of our feeling sense and the interaction causing it (via thought or something else).  In a peacefully aware state, we should be able to enjoy our environment without any thought, just experience.  Thoughts are the building blocks of physicality.  Our minds are used to create via thought so we can have an experience.  For this reason, we are not our minds, we just use them as we would use our hands to pick something up.  

We are currently experiencing a physical universe defined by patterns of thought which manifest the physical – everything in it.  On earth, humans manifest with their thought.  Outside earth, all things are manifested via a mind and thought patterns.  Our bodies enable us to interact with physicality.  Our minds enable us to create in physicality,  ourselves, souls, experience physicality.

Physicality has become like a game.  We came here to experience and got lost in the experience, which has become like a dream.  If we become Lucile in the dream, we reconnect with ourselves and once again control our experience.  The game is to regain awareness of ourselves.  

There are many consciousnesses in this reality, all at differing levels of awareness.  What does awareness mean?  Our level of awareness is determined by how much of this reality we are aware of.  We can expand our awareness, becoming aware of the conscious energy behind all things, becoming aware of ourselves as we exist outside of physicality, seeing ourselves as beings creating an experience for ourselves.  If we look at physicality as a vast holographic projection of conscious energy, then expanded awareness can include perceiving any part of and all of physicality.  Because any small part of a hologram contains information of the entire hologram.  That is why you should be able to contemplate any object and perceive any part of physicality.

So ther are consciousnesses that have achieved this advanced state of awareness, which technically is where we all began.  When immersed in an experience, (in the zone) you can become unaware of what is happening around you, and somehow people get lost and forget.  You can remember, increase awareness and get lost again.  But thankfully, people look out for people and are always there, In an advanced aware state to help us remember.  This can be seen all over Earth right now, with the tremendous dump of information on understanding how we create our own reality right now.  Also throughout history with Jesus, Buddha, etc. coming down here with the challenge of regaining awareness in order to leave an instruction booklet behind.

Consciousness comes in all different kinds of personalities which is where the game part comes in.  Information is given showing us The Way Out and ther are plenty of people with a great desire to ‘awaken’.  These people probably came here to help create a momentum of regaining awareness and are on a path to remember.  Ther are opponents in this game.  Consciousnesses that like to watch and see if people can regain awareness while they are fed misleading information to go with the instruction booklets. Our challenge is to become aware of ourselves and the fact that there are others both benevolent and not so.  The not so like having unaware people around.

To the not so benevolent, unaware people provide them with a means of experiencing through us whatever they can get us to do or feel.  As currently unaware beings, other consciousnesses can perceive through our consciousness into our experience.  They can manipulate how we feel, put their thoughts into our awareness,  if we think our thoughts define us, then they can define us.  If we think our feelings i our bodies show us who we are, then they can define who we are.  We are interacting with conscious energy at all times.  We can be tweaked to their amusement if we do not take responsibility for our awareness.  Thankfully, many exists to knock us out of our stupor, but you have to want it.  Because you can be made to feel sexually excited when another consciousness wants to have sex through you – and that cange a pleasurable experience, but it is much more pleasurable when you are aware of it and consciously agree to it.  Otherwise you end up in relationships that weren’t right for you.  This is just one example.

But if you ever see conflicted people working against their own interest and being miserable because of it, they are letting themselves be swept up in energies that are not necessarily reflective of themselves.  Everything is still a belief, but we are supposed to consciously create beliefs for our own story, not someone else’s.  Otherwise we are being used to live out other consciousness’ fantasies.  Their thoughts ca argue with us in  our minds, their feelings, energy can effect how we feel and we can’t see them unless we expand our awareness to include the subtle energies around us.  

This dynamic is also played out in the physical Earth by humans, but at least we can perceive them and they maybe influenced.  The negative side of life on Earth goes against human nature and appears to be insane.  Let’s become aware of the reason for the insanity and have compassion for our fellow beings struggling in unawareness while people who want to help vie for our attention and people who want to use us hide.

This game of experience in physicality is a chess game.  If you are unaware, you are a pawn.  If you are aware, then you are free.  Some may even find out they like playing with pawns.

Exercise in Conscious Awareness of Attention

To contract awareness, practice focus of attention

Mindfulness requires conscious awareness of where your attention is at all times. Sometimes you may prefer to have concentrated focus on a task, whether reading a story or working on a project, which requires a contraction of your awareness. To concentrate, you need to become less aware of what is happening around you and more aware of what you want to focus on. All or most of your attention is placed on whatever you are working on in order to block out distractions. If you fully immerse yourself (your attention /conscious awareness) on anything, then you block out awareness of all but that thing, including awareness of yourself (if you are just watching and not interacting with that thing).  An example of this is the iconic image of Buddha staring at a flower and losing himself in the flower. In order to bring your attention back to yourself and your environment, you need a distraction significant enough to break your intense concentration. You can practice the skill of concentrating by reading and blocking out awareness of any sounds and sensory input outside of the words you are reading. Immerse yourself completely in the story. If you are working outside or on a project, put your attention completely on the objects you are working with, noticing every detail about them: sounds, texture, look, feel, smell, etc. Then move your attention to a distant sound and bring it back to your task. Keep bouncing back and forth and you improve your ability to focus your attention at will.

To expand awareness, practice movement of attention

By maharicsea at Superconscious blog

“There is a ‘linger effect’ of several seconds that takes place in the human brain when sensory input can be acknowledged or not acknowledged. For instance, when you speak to someone who is concentrating on a certain activity and doesn’t appear to have heard you, nudge them within 4 seconds and ask them if they heard you. Usually they’ll say, “Yes, I heard you” and they’ll be able to remember what you said. If you wait much longer and ask them whether they heard you, they’ll usually say, “No.” The lag time for recall was too long. Taking advantage of this lag time of recall and quickly flashing your conscious awareness to various tasks can enable you to perform simultaneous mental functions. When certain skills are learned thoroughly enough and the shift to other areas of the brain is made, this split second flashing of your conscious attention is not as necessary.

Like your body’s muscles, your mind must be exercised and used more if it is expected to grow. Improving your mindfulness allows you to savor each stage of your development far better than you normally would in a non-mindful state. As an exercise in expanding your conscious awareness, practice flashing it quickly from distant sounds TO the touch of your clothes against your skin TO the salivary taste in your mouth TO your breathing in and out TO your seeing with your peripheral vision TO the odors in the air TO a visualization of a giant number 3. Now flash your conscious awareness to the subtler sensory input you are receiving, the external temperature, the barometric pressure on your skin and nostrils, the beating of your heart, faint odors and sounds, the specific emotion you are feeling, etc. Finally, open yourself up to the total awareness picture and drink it all in simultaneously. Do this exercise frequently during the day, jumping from one sensory stimulus to another as
rapidly as you can, but get more conscious about your day. “

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