From Chapter 3 of An Introduction to Jung’s Psychology
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.
The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something.
In a previous post I mentioned how the body is for communication and perception of the world and others. People use the body to communicate with eachother and to interact with everything around them. Because of this, it is easy to see why one might confuse their identity with the body. But the true person, the one you see when you look into their eyes, exists independently of the body. It’s the person who exists after the body dies.
The mind exists independently of the body. Meditation enables people to access the mind while letting go of the body for awhile. The mind thinks and the thought it thinks about are not necessarily ones that originate from the thinker. Thoughts are of energy and to some extent, people are telepathic, but at a level beyond conscious awareness. So thoughts can be received instead of originating within your own mind. This can be inspiration and if accepted, might as well be thought of as your own thought. The point of this is to illustrate how people are not the thoughts they think either. They are not their body, they are not their thoughts.
They are their conscious mind which processes thoughts plus their soul. The mind may even be considered as part of the soul. The identification with the body leads to the ego. The body mind is the ego mind. When you think, ‘I’, and put you attention on yourself, you feel your body. That is the ego. When you put your attention on someone else and think ‘I’, you feel a different resonance.
This leads to a very useful exercise. Make a statement beginning with I and see how you feel resonance with the body,
Put your full attention on someone else, whether in imagination or not, and restate the sentiment while looking at them.
Feel where the resonance is and how it changed. The body resonates with the ego (when you think I with attention on yourself), and the mind and soul (you) resonate when your attention is outside of yourself. Your essence is more truly expressed when you interact with your attention away from yourself and the ego, you are “in the zone” of yourself.
What connection do all of these share? This will emphasize the importance of getting to know your own mind and body (emotions).
Channelling presents direct evidence of communication with a different level of reality that is not visible to us. There are intelligent brings, human consciousnesses who can communicate with us via our minds. The better one knows their own mind, the more accurate the channelled information is. The communication happens via impressions sent which are interpreted by the channeller’s mind. The impressions are in the form of a feeling sense of something containing possibly some imagery and emotion. If you are not aware of your own impressions, you could confuse your impressions with those received from a non- physical consciousness communicating via channelling. Your interpretation of the impressions is determined by your beliefs. So the same impression sent to different people could be translated differently by each one. The more one is aware of their own thoughts and impressions, the more one can accurately receive impressions from an outside entity.
Spirit removal is a rare occupation filled by people trained to detect and remove some of these non-physical consciousnesses who are bothering people. This can be an unwelcome channelling entity, an entity who is sending impressions of negative emotion and/or negative thoughts. Dome entities can be felt physically as a slight force applied to the body. Most of the problems come from being plagued by tormented thoughts. The impact of interaction with a negative consciousness can be alleviated by knowing ones own mind – being familiar with your own thoughts, impressions and resulting emotions. Your own thoughts should resonate within your body because they resonate with your beliefs. If a thought produces a negative body response, then it is possibly being introduced by a negative entity or is your own which you haven’t yet dismissed. If it persists and seems out of your control, a negative entity may be involved. This is when a spirit removal expert is benefial. You can train yourself to be aware of your own thoughts and ignore the persistent negative ones. This can discourage the negative entity from interfering. Inexplicable waves of emotion can also be caused by the interaction with a non-physical entity. The conclusion here us that we are not alone one Earth, we live in a physicality that has many levels of existence, including less dense ones. This dense reality is perceived through or bodies. When we die and leave our bodies, we perceive differently because we no longer have the mechanism to interact with and perceive this dense reality. So the non-physical beings interacting with us are currently not incarnated in a human body.
Religion has been around as long as humans have existed. The persistent theme is good vs evil and the human trying to adhere to strict standards of goodness. Within much of the Christian religious texts are encouragements to get to know thyself. In this way, a person can withstand evil which originates in the mind with a negative thought. If you keep thinking a negative thought that resonates in your body with a negative emotion, you acclimate yourself to feeling bad. This becomes your comfort zone. Any feelings outside of this zone are rejected. You need the use if your conscious mind and self-discipline to overcome this slip into temptation. Religion references channelling and non-physical entities (dead people for instance). A negative entity is known as a demon and can influence your weaknesses (temptation) so that you are more likely to give in. They can also give you impressions similare to your own, but slightly different so that you are influenced to behave in a way you otherwise wouldn’t or to change a belief you otherwise wouldn’t.
I’d like to address more of these ideas in future entries. All of these ideas rely on mindfulness, or an awareness of one’s own mind and self discipline to become aligned with your true self regardless of outside influence. This includes influence from peers in society as well.