Jung’s Collective Subconsciousness

Carl Jung was the most celebrated psychologist ever lived if not Sigmund Freud. Both of them actually worked together at one time and then branched out to have theories of one’s own.

One of Jung’s key ideas that has always caught my attention is the concept of collective subconsciousness.

According to this hypothesis, human mind has consciousness as well as unconsciousness. The latter has two components i.e. personal and collective.

Jung argued the our unconsciousness consists of personal part which is unique to each individual and collective part that is common to everyone. Our ancestors had experience the world and passed down their experience to their offspring through DNA and so we all share this same experience in our collective unconsciousness.

For example, babies have tendency to find spiders and reptiles disgusting. These are not learned but have been built into our collective unconsciousness.

Every culture also has some common characteristics called archetypes that are not a result of cross-culture exchanges but rather a result of humankind sharing the same collective unconsciousness. For instance, the sun is a symbol of power or prosperity to most cultures in the world.

The significance of collective unconsciousness is twofold. First, it might explain the source of human creativity and intuition. Secondly, it might explain why every human culture has something in common, for example, superstitiousness, mass politics, etc.

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