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- A process of differentiating the ego from both other persons and contents of the unconscious. (See also active imagination.)
Its goal is to detach consciousness from the object so that the individual no longer places the guarantee of his happiness, or of his life even, in factors outside himself, whether they be persons, ideas, or circumstances, but comes to realize that everything depends on whether he holds the treasure or not. If the possession of that gold is realized, then the centre of gravity is in the individual and no longer in an object on which he depends.["The Tavistock Lectures," CW 18, par. 377.]
Jung pointed out that the “treasure” has traditionally been projected onto sacred figures, but that many modern individuals no longer find satisfaction in such historical symbols. They therefore need to find an individual method to “give shape” to the personal complexes and archetypal images.
For they have to take on form, they have to live their characteristic life, otherwise the individual is severed from the basic function of the psyche [compensation], and then he is neurotic, he is disorientated and in conflict with himself. But if he is able to objectify the impersonal images and relate to them, he is in touch with that vital psychological function which from the dawn of consciousness has been taken care of by religion.[Ibid., par. 378.]
- Objective level
- An approach to understanding the meaning of images in dreams and fantasies by reference to persons or situations in the outside world. (See also reductive; compare constructive and subjective level.)
Freud’s interpretation of dreams is almost entirely on the objective level, since the dream wishes refer to real objects, or to sexual processes which fall within the physiological, extra-psychological sphere. ["Definitions," CW 6, par. 779.]
Although Jung pioneered the teaching of dream interpretation on the subjective level, where symbolic meaning is paramount, he also recognized the value of the objective approach.
Enlightening as interpretation on the subjective level may be . . . it may be entirely worthless when a vitally important relationship is the content and cause of the conflict [behind the dream]. Here the dream-figure must be related to the real object. The criterion can always be discovered from the conscious material. ["General Aspects of Dream Psychology," CW 8, par. 515.]
- Objective psyche
- See collective unconscious.
- Psychologically, the ego and the unconscious. (See also compensation, conflict, progression and transcendent function.)
There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites.["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 178.]
There is no form of human tragedy that does not in some measure proceed from [the] conflict between the ego and the unconscious.["Analytical Psychology and Weltanschauung," CW 8, par. 706.]
Whatever attitude exists in the conscious mind, and whichever psychological function is dominant, the opposite is in the unconscious. This situation seldom precipitates a crisis in the first half of life. But for older people who reach an impasse, characterized by a one-sided conscious attitude and the blockage of energy, it is necessary to bring to light psychic contents that have been repressed.
The repressed content must be made conscious so as to produce a tension of opposites, without which no forward movement is possible. The conscious mind is on top, the shadow underneath, and just as high always longs for low and hot for cold, so all consciousness, perhaps without being aware of it, seeks its unconscious opposite, lacking which it is doomed to stagnation, congestion, and ossification. Life is born only of the spark of opposites.["The Problem of the Attitude-Type," CW 7, par. 78.]
This in turn activates the process of compensation, which leads to an irrational “third,” the transcendent function.
Out of [the] collision of opposites the unconscious psyche always creates a third thing of an irrational nature, which the conscious mind neither expects nor understands. It presents itself in a form that is neither a straight “yes” nor a straight “no.”["The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 285."The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 285.]
Jung explained the potential renewal of the personality in terms of the principle of entropy in physics, according to which transformations of energy in a relatively closed system take place, and are only possible, as a result of differences in intensity.
Psychologically, we can see this process at work in the development of a lasting and relatively unchanging attitude. After violent oscillations at the beginning the opposites equalize one another, and gradually a new attitude develops, the final stability of which is the greater in proportion to the magnitude of the initial differences. The greater the tension between the pairs of opposites, the greater will be the energy that comes from them . . . [and] the less chance is there of subsequent disturbances which might arise from friction with material not previously constellated.["On Psychic Energy," CW 8, par. 49.]
Some degree of tension between consciousness and the unconsciousness is both unavoidable and necessary. The aim of analysis is therefore not to eliminate the tension but rather to understand the role it plays in the self-regulation of the psyche. Moreover, the assimilation of unconscious contents results in the ego becoming responsible for what was previously unconscious. There is thus no question of anyone ever being completely at peace.
The united personality will never quite lose the painful sense of innate discord. Complete redemption from the sufferings of this world is and must remain an illusion. Christ’s earthly life likewise ended, not in complacent bliss, but on the cross.["The Psychology of the Transference," CW 16, par. 400.]
Jung further believed that anyone who attempts to deal with the problem of the opposites on a personal level is making a significant contribution toward world peace.
The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.["Christ, A Symbol of the Self," CW 9ii, par. 126.]
- A term used to indicate the general principle governing a personal attitude or viewpoint.
One’s psychological orientation determines how one sees and interprets reality. In Jung’s model of typology, a thinking attitude is oriented by the principle of logic; a sensation attitude is oriented by the direct perception of concrete facts; intuition orients itself to future possibilities; and feeling is governed by subjective worth. Each of these attitudes may operate in an introverted or extraverted way.