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- Parental complex
- A group of emotionally charged images and ideas associated with the parents. (See also incest.)
Jung believed that the numinosity surrounding the personal parents, apparent in their more or less magical influence, was to a large extent due to an archetypal image of the primordial parents resident in every psyche.
The importance that modern psychology attaches to the “parental complex” is a direct continuation of primitive man’s experience of the dangerous power of the ancestral spirits. Even the error of judgment which leads him unthinkingly to assume that the spirits are realities of the external world is carried on in our assumption (which is only partially correct) that the real parents are responsible for the parental complex. In the old trauma theory of Freudian psychoanalysis, and in other quarters as well, this assumption even passed for a scientific explanation. (It was in order to avoid this confusion that I advocated the term “parental imago.”)["The Function of the Unconscious," CW 7, par. 293.]
The imago of the parents is composed of both the image created in the individual psyche from the experience of the personal parents and collective elements already present.
The image is unconsciously projected, and when the parents die, the projected image goes on working as though it were a spirit existing on its own. The primitive then speaks of parental spirits who return by night (revenants), while the modern man calls it a father or mother complex.[Ibid., par. 294.]
So long as a positive or negative resemblance to the parents is the deciding factor in a love choice, the release from the parental imago, and hence from childhood, is not complete.["Mind and Earth," CW 10, par. 74].
- Participation mystique
- A term derived from anthropology and the study of primitive psychology, denoting a mystical connection, or identity, between subject and object. (See also archaic, identification and projection.)
[Participation mystique] consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity. . . . Among civilized peoples it usually occurs between persons, seldom between a person and a thing. In the first case it is a transference relationship . . . . In the second case there is a similar influence on the part of the thing, or else an identification with a thing or the idea of a thing.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 781.]
[Identity] is a characteristic of the primitive mentality and the real foundation of participation mystique, which is nothing but a relic of the original non-differentiation of subject and object, and hence of the primordial unconscious state. It is also a characteristic of the mental state of early infancy, and, finally, of the unconscious of the civilized adult.[Ibid., par. 741.]
- The “I,” usually ideal aspects of ourselves, that we present to the outside world.
The persona is . . . a functional complex that comes into existence for reasons of adaptation or personal convenience.[Ibid., par. 801.]
The persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.["Concerning Rebirth," CW 9i, par. 221.]
Originally the word persona meant a mask worn by actors to indicate the role they played. On this level, it is both a protective covering and an asset in mixing with other people. Civilized society depends on interactions between people through the persona.
There are indeed people who lack a developed persona . . . blundering from one social solecism to the next, perfectly harmless and innocent, soulful bores or appealing children, or, if they are women, spectral Cassandras dreaded for their tactlessness, eternally misunderstood, never knowing what they are about, always taking forgiveness for granted, blind to the world, hopeless dreamers. From them we can see how a neglected persona works.["Anima and Animus," CW 7, par. 318.]
Before the persona has been differentiated from the ego, the persona is experienced as individuality. In fact, as a social identity on the one hand and an ideal image on the other, there is little individual about it.
It is, as its name implies, only a mask of the collective psyche, a mask that feigns individuality, making others and oneself believe that one is individual, whereas one is simply acting a role through which the collective psyche speaks.
When we analyse the persona we strip off the mask, and discover that what seemed to be individual is at bottom collective; in other words, that the persona was only a mask of the collective psyche. Fundamentally the persona is nothing real: it is a compromise between individual and society as to what a man should appear to be. He takes a name, earns a title, exercises a function, he is this or that. In a certain sense all this is real, yet in relation to the essential individuality of the person concerned it is only a secondary reality, a compromise formation, in making which others often have a greater share than he. ["The Persona as a Segment of the Collective Psyche," ibid., pars. 245f.]
A psychological understanding of the persona as a function of relationship to the outside world makes it possible to assume and drop one at will. But by rewarding a particular persona, the outside world invites identification with it. Money, respect and power come to those who can perform single-mindedly and well in a social role. From being a useful convenience, therefore, the persona may become a trap and a source of neurosis.
A man cannot get rid of himself in favour of an artificial personality without punishment. Even the attempt to do so brings on, in all ordinary cases, unconscious reactions in the form of bad moods, affects, phobias, obsessive ideas, backsliding vices, etc. The social “strong man” is in his private life often a mere child where his own states of feeling are concerned.["Anima and Animus," ibid., par. 307.]
The demands of propriety and good manners are an added inducement to assume a becoming mask. What goes on behind the mask is then called “private life.” This painfully familiar division of consciousness into two figures, often preposterously different, is an incisive psychological operation that is bound to have repercussions on the unconscious.[Ibid., par. 305.]
Among the consequences of identifying with a persona are: we lose sight of who we are without a protective covering; our reactions are predetermined by collective expectations (we do and think and feel what our persona “should” do, think and feel); those close to us complain of our emotional distance; and we cannot imagine life without it.
To the extent that ego-consciousness is identified with the persona, the neglected inner life (personified in the shadow and anima or animus) is activated in compensation. The consequences, experienced in symptoms characteristic of neurosis, can stimulate the process of individuation.
There is, after all, something individual in the peculiar choice and delineation of the persona, and . . . despite the exclusive identity of the ego-consciousness with the persona the unconscious self, one’s real individuality, is always present and makes itself felt indirectly if not directly. Although the ego-consciousness is at first identical with the persona-that compromise role in which we parade before the community-yet the unconscious self can never be repressed to the point of extinction. Its influence is chiefly manifest in the special nature of the contrasting and compensating contents of the unconscious. The purely personal attitude of the conscious mind evokes reactions on the part of the unconscious, and these, together with personal repressions, contain the seeds of individual development.["The Persona as a Segment of the Collective Psyche," ibid., par. 247.]
- Personal unconscious
- The personal layer of the unconscious, distinct from the collective unconscious.
The personal unconscious contains lost memories, painful ideas that are repressed (i.e., forgotten on purpose), subliminal perceptions, by which are meant sense-perceptions that were not strong enough to reach consciousness, and finally, contents that are not yet ripe for consciousness.["The Personal and the Collective Unconscious," ibid., par. 103.]
- Aspects of the soul as it functions in the world. (See also individuality.)
For the development of personality, differentiation from collective values, particularly those embodied in and adhered to by the persona, is essential.
A change from one milieu to another brings about a striking alteration of personality, and on each occasion a clearly defined character emerges that is noticeably different from the previous one. . . . The social character is oriented on the one hand by the expectations and demands of society, and on the other by the social aims and aspirations of the individual. The domestic character is, as a rule, moulded by emotional demands and an easy-going acquiescence for the sake of comfort and convenience; when it frequently happens that men who in public life are extremely energetic, spirited, obstinate, wilful and ruthless appear good-natured, mild, compliant, even weak, when at home and in the bosom of the family. Which is the true character, the real personality? . . .
. . . . In my view the answer to the above question should be that such a man has no real character at all: he is not individual but collective, the plaything of circumstance and general expectations. Were he individual, he would have the same character despite the variation of attitude. He would not be identical with the attitude of the moment, and he neither would nor could prevent his individuality from expressing itself just as clearly in one state as in another.["Definitions," CW 6, pars. 798f.]
- The tendency of psychic contents or complexes to take on a distinct personality, separate from the ego.
Every autonomous or even relatively autonomous complex has the peculiarity of appearing as a personality, i.e., of being personified. This can be observed most readily in the so-called spiritualistic manifestations of automatic writing and the like. The sentences produced are always personal statements and are propounded in the first person singular, as though behind every utterance there stood an actual personality. A naïve intelligence at once thinks of spirits.["Anima and Animus," CW 7, par. 312.]
The ego may also deliberately personify unconscious contents or the affects that arise from them, using the method of active imagination, in order to facilitate communication between consciousness and the unconscious.
- Philosophers’ stone
- In alchemy, a metaphor for the successful transmutation of base metal into gold; psychologically, an archetypal image of wholeness. (See also coniunctio.)
Jung quoted from the Rosarium philosophorum:
Make a round circle of man and woman, extract therefrom a quadrangle and from it a triangle. Make the circle round, and you will have the Philosophers’ Stone.["Psychology and Religion," CW 11, par. 92.]
- A term used to describe the identification of consciousness with an unconscious content or complex. The most common forms of possession are by the shadow and the contrasexual complexes, anima/animus.
A man who is possessed by his shadow is always standing in his own light and falling into his own traps. Whenever possible, he prefers to make an unfavorable impression on others. . . .
Possession caused by the anima or animus presents a different picture. . . . In the state of possession both figures lose their charm and their values; they retain them only when they are turned away from the world, in the introverted state, when they serve as bridges to the unconscious. Turned towards the world, the anima is fickle, capricious, moody, uncontrolled and emotional, sometimes gifted with daemonic intuitions, ruthless, malicious, untruthful, bitchy, double-faced, and mystical. The animus is obstinate, harping on principles, laying down the law, dogmatic, world-reforming, theoretic, word-mongering, argumentative, and domineering. Both alike have bad taste: the anima surrounds herself with inferior people, and the animus lets himself be taken in by second-rate thinking.["Concerning Rebirth," CW 9i, pars. 222f.]
- Power complex
- A group of emotionally toned ideas associated with an attitude that seeks to subordinate all influences and experience to the supremacy of the personal ego.
- Prima materia
- An alchemical term meaning “original matter,” used psychologically to denote both the instinctual foundation of life and the raw material one works with in analysis-dreams, emotions, conflicts, etc.
- Primary function
- The psychological function that is most differentiated. (Compare inferior function.)
In Jung’s model of typology, the primary or superior function is the one we automatically use because it comes most naturally.
Experience shows that it is practically impossible, owing to adverse circumstances in general, for anyone to develop all his psychological functions simultaneously. The demands of society compel a man to apply himself first and foremost to the differentiation of the function with which he is best equipped by nature, or which will secure him the greatest social success. Very frequently, indeed as a general rule, a man identifies more or less completely with the most favoured and hence the most developed function. It is this that gives rise to the various psychological types.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 763.]
In deciding which of the four functions-thinking, feeling, sensation or intuition-is primary, one must closely observe which function is more or less completely under conscious control, and which functions have a haphazard or random character. The superior function (which can manifest in either an introverted or an extraverted way) is always more highly developed than the others, which possess infantile and primitive traits.
The superior function is always an expression of the conscious personality, of its aims, will, and general performance, whereas the less differentiated functions fall into the category of things that simply “happen” to one.["General Description of the Types," ibid., par. 575.]
- Descriptive of the original, or undifferentiated, human psyche. (See also archaic.)
I use the term “primitive” in the sense of “primordial,” and . . . do not imply any kind of value judgment. Also, when I speak of a “vestige” of a primitive state, I no not necessarily mean that this state will sooner or later come to an end. On the contrary, I see no reason why it should not endure as long as humanity lasts.["A Review of the Complex Theory," CW 8, par. 218.]
- Primordial image
- See archetypal image.
- The daily advance of the process of psychological adaptation, the opposite of regression. (See also neurosis.)
Progression is a forwards movement of life in the same sense that time moves forwards. This movement can occur in two different forms: either extraverted, when the progression is predominantly influenced by objects and environmental conditions, or introverted, when it has to adapt itself to the conditions of the ego (or, more accurately, of the “subjective factor”). Similarly, regression can proceed along two lines: either as a retreat from the outside world (introversion), or as a flight into extravagant experience of the outside world (extraversion). Failure in the first case drives a man into a state of dull brooding, and in the second case into leading the life of a wastrel. ["On Psychic Energy," ibid., par. 77.]
In the normal course of life, there is a relatively easy progression of libido; energy may be directed more or less at will. This is not the same as psychological development or individuation. Progression refers simply to the continuous flow or current of life. It is commonly interrupted by a conflict or the inability to adapt to changing circumstances.
During the progression of libido the pairs of opposites are united in the co-ordinated flow of psychic processes. . . . But in the stoppage of libido that occurs when progression has become impossible, positive and negative can no longer unite in co-ordinated action, because both have attained an equal value which keeps the scales balanced.[Ibid., par. 61.]
The struggle between the opposites would continue unabated if the process of regression, the backward movement of libido, did not set in, its purpose being to compensate the conscious attitude.
Through their collision the opposites are gradually deprived of value and depotentiated. . . . In proportion to the decrease in value of the conscious opposites there is an increase in value of all those psychic processes which are not concerned with outward adaptation and therefore are seldom or never employed consciously.["On Psychic Energy," ibid., par. 62.]
As the energic value of these previously unconscious psychic processes increases, they manifest indirectly as disturbances of conscious behavior and symptoms characteristic of neurosis. Prominent aspects of the psyche one then needs to become aware of are the persona, the contrasexual complex (anima/animus) and the shadow.
- An automatic process whereby contents of one’s own unconscious are perceived to be in others. (See also archaic, identification and participation mystique.)
Just as we tend to assume that the world is as we see it, we naïvely suppose that people are as we imagine them to be. . . . All the contents of our unconscious are constantly being projected into our surroundings, and it is only by recognizing certain properties of the objects as projections or imagos that we are able to distinguish them from the real properties of the objects. . . . Cum grano salis, we always see our own unavowed mistakes in our opponent. Excellent examples of this are to be found in all personal quarrels. Unless we are possessed of an unusual degree of self-awareness we shall never see through our projections but must always succumb to them, because the mind in its natural state presupposes the existence of such projections. It is the natural and given thing for unconscious contents to be projected.["General Aspects of Dream Psychology," ibid., par. 507.]
Projection means the expulsion of a subjective content into an object; it is the opposite of introjection. Accordingly, it is a process of dissimilation, by which a subjective content becomes alienated from the subject and is, so to speak, embodied in the object. The subject gets rid of painful, incompatible contents by projecting them.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 783.]
Projection is not a conscious process. One meets with projections, one does not make them.
The general psychological reason for projection is always an activated unconscious that seeks expression.["The Tavistock Lectures," CW 18, par. 352.]
It is possible to project certain characteristics onto another person who does not possess them at all, but the one being projected upon may unconsciously encourage it.
It frequently happens that the object offers a hook to the projection, and even lures it out. This is generally the case when the object himself (or herself) is not conscious of the quality in question: in that way it works directly upon the unconscious of the projicient. For all projections provoke counter-projections when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject.["General Aspects of Dream Psychology," CW 8, par. 519.]
Through projection one can create a series of imaginary relationships that often have little or nothing to do with the outside world.
The effect of projection is to isolate the subject from his environment, since instead of a real relation to it there is now only an illusory one. Projections change the world into the replica of one’s own unknown face. In the last analysis, therefore, they lead to an autoerotic or autistic condition in which one dreams a world whose reality remains forever unattainable.["The Shadow," CW 9ii, par. 17.]
Projection also has positive effects. In everyday life it facilitates interpersonal relations. In addition, when we assume that some quality or characteristic is present in another, and then, through experience, find that this is not so, we can learn something about ourselves. This involves withdrawing or dissolving projections.
So long as the libido can use these projections as agreeable and convenient bridges to the world, they will alleviate life in a positive way. But as soon as the libido wants to strike out on another path, and for this purpose begins running back along the previous bridges of projection, they will work as the greatest hindrances it is possible to imagine, for they effectively prevent any real detachment from the former object.["General Aspects of Dream Psychology," CW 8, par. 507.]
The need to withdraw projections is generally signaled by frustrated expectations in relationships, accompanied by strong affect. But Jung believed that until there is an obvious discordance between what we imagine to be true and the reality we are presented with, there is no need to speak of projections, let alone withdraw them.
Projection . . . is properly so called only when the need to dissolve the identity with the object has already arisen. This need arises when the identity becomes a disturbing factor, i.e., when the absence of the projected content is a hindrance to adaptation and its withdrawal into the subject has become desirable. From this moment the previous partial identity acquires the character of projection. The term projection therefore signifies a state of identity that has become noticeable.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 783.]
Jung distinguished between passive projection and active projection. Passive projection is completely automatic and unintentional, like falling in love. The less we know about another person, the easier it is to passively project unconscious aspects of ourselves onto them.
Active projection is better known as empathy-we feel ourselves into the other’s shoes. Empathy that extends to the point where we lose our own standpoint becomes identification.
The projection of the personal shadow generally falls on persons of the same sex. On a collective level, it gives rise to war, scapegoating and confrontations between political parties. Projection that takes place in the context of a therapeutic relationship is called transference or countertransference, depending on whether the analysand or the analyst is the one projecting.
In terms of the contrasexual complexes, anima and animus, projection is both a common cause of animosity and a singular source of vitality.
When animus and anima meet, the animus draws his sword of power and the anima ejects her poison of illusion and seduction. The outcome need not always be negative, since the two are equally likely to fall in love.["The Syzygy: Anima and Animus," CW 9ii, par. 30.]
- Provisional life
- A term used to describe an attitude toward life that is more or less imaginary, not rooted in the here and now, commonly associated with puer psychology.
- The totality of all psychological processes, both conscious and unconscious.
The psyche is far from being a homogenous unit–on the contrary, it is a boiling cauldron of contradictory impulses, inhibitions, and affects, and for many people the conflict between them is so insupportable that they even wish for the deliverance preached by theologians.["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 190.]
The way in which the psyche manifests is a complicated interplay of many factors, including an individual’s age, sex, hereditary disposition, psychological type and attitude, and degree of conscious control over the instincts.
Psychic processes . . . behave like a scale along which consciousness “slides.” At one moment it finds itself in the vicinity of instinct, and falls under its influence; at another, it slides along to the other end where spirit predominates and even assimilates the instinctual processes most opposed to it. ["On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 408.]
The tremendous complexity of psychic phenomena led Jung to the belief that attempts to formulate a comprehensive theory of the psyche were doomed to failure.
The premises are always far too simple. The psyche is the starting-point of all human experience, and all the knowledge we have gained eventually leads back to it. The psyche is the beginning and end of all cognition. It is not only the object of its science, but the subject also. This gives psychology a unique place among all the other sciences: on the one hand there is a constant doubt as to the possibility of its being a science at all, while on the other hand psychology acquires the right to state a theoretical problem the solution of which will be one of the most difficult tasks for a future philosophy.["Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour," ibid., par. 261.]
- Psychic energy
- See libido.
- The process of reflection whereby an instinct or unconscious content is made conscious.
- Descriptive of mental disturbances having a psychological rather than physiological origin.
Nobody doubts that the neuroses are psychogenic. “Psychogenesis” means that the essential cause of a neurosis, or the condition under which it arises, is of a psychic nature. It may, for instance, be a psychic shock, a gruelling conflict, a wrong kind of psychic adaptation, a fatal illusion, and so on.["Mental disease and the Psyche," CW 3, par. 496.]
- A concept applicable to virtually any archetype, expressing the essentially unknown but experienceable connection between psyche and matter.
Psyche is essentially conflict between blind instinct and will (freedom of choice). Where instinct predominates, psychoid processes set in which pertain to the sphere of the unconscious as elements incapable of consciousness. The psychoid process is not the unconscious as such, for this has a far greater extension.["On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 380.]
It seems to me probable that the real nature of the archetype is not capable of being made conscious, that it is transcendent, on which account I call it psychoid.[Ibid., par. 417.]
- Psychological types
- See type and typology.
- A psychic factor that mediates unconscious contents to consciousness, often personified in the image of a wise old man or woman, and sometimes as a helpful animal.
- An extreme dissociation of the personality. Like neurosis, a psychotic condition is due to the activity of unconscious complexes and the phenomenon of splitting. In neurosis, the complexes are only relatively autonomous. In psychosis, they are completely disconnected from consciousness.
To have complexes is in itself normal; but if the complexes are incompatible, that part of the personality which is too contrary to the conscious part becomes split off. If the split reaches the organic structure, the dissociation is a psychosis, a schizophrenic condition, as the term denotes. Each complex then lives an existence of its own, with no personality left to tie them together.["The Tavistock Lectures," CW 18, par. 382.]
[In schizophrenia] the split-off figures assume banal, grotesque, or highly exaggerated names and characters, and are often objectionable in many other ways. They do not, moreover, co-operate with the patient’s consciousness. They are not tactful and they have no respect for sentimental values. On the contrary, they break in and make a disturbance at any time, they torment the ego in a hundred ways; all are objectionable and shocking, either in their noisy and impertinent behaviour or in their grotesque cruelty and obscenity. There is an apparent chaos of incoherent visions, voices, and characters, all of an overwhelmingly strange and incomprehensible nature.["On the Psychogenesis of Schizophrenia," CW 3, par. 508.]
Jung believed that many psychoses, and particularly schizophrenia, were psychogenic, resulting from an abaissement du niveau mental and an ego too weak to resist the onslaught of unconscious contents. He reserved judgment on whether biological factors were a contributing cause.
- Puer aeternus
- Latin for “eternal child,” used in mythology to designate a child-god who is forever young; psychologically it refers to an older man whose emotional life has remained at an adolescent level, usually coupled with too great a dependence on the mother.[The term puella is used when referring to a woman, though one might also speak of a puer animus-or a puella anima.]
The puer typically leads a provisional life, due to the fear of being caught in a situation from which it might not be possible to escape. His lot is seldom what he really wants and one day he will do something about it-but not just yet. Plans for the future slip away in fantasies of what will be, what could be, while no decisive action is taken to change. He covets independence and freedom, chafes at boundaries and limits, and tends to find any restriction intolerable.
[The world] makes demands on the masculinity of a man, on his ardour, above all on his courage and resolution when it comes to throwing his whole being into the scales. For this he would need a faithless Eros, one capable of forgetting his mother and undergoing the pain of relinquishing the first love of his life.["The Syzygy: Anima and Animus," CW 9ii, par. 22.]
Common symptoms of puer psychology are dreams of imprisonment and similar imagery: chains, bars, cages, entrapment, bondage. Life itself, existential reality, is experienced as a prison. The bars are unconscious ties to the unfettered world of early life.
The puer’s shadow is the senex (Latin for “old man”), associated with the god Apollo-disciplined, controlled, responsible, rational, ordered. Conversely, the shadow of the senex is the puer, related to Dionysus-unbounded instinct, disorder, intoxication, whimsy.
Whoever lives out one pattern to the exclusion of the other risks constellating the opposite. Hence individuation quite as often involves the need for a well-controlled person to get closer to the spontaneous, instinctual life as it does the puer’s need to grow up.
The “eternal child” in man is an indescribable experience, an incongruity, a handicap, and a divine prerogative; an imponderable that determines the ultimate worth or worthlessness of a personality.["The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 300.]