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Jungs View of Religion Essay

I will be explaining Jung understands and his views of religion. Jung first starts with the key concept of the mind which is the three concepts of consciousness – consciousness, personal unconsciousness and the collective consciousness. Consciousness is where we actively make decisions and choices. The thoughts are based on a sensory experience e. g. the things we see, smell, hear, touch and taste. These are directly accessible. The personal conscious is out thoughts, feelings, urges which are difficult to bring to the consciousness and they are not directly accessible. They have been environmentally determined.

The collective unconsciousness is inherited and the thoughts are shared by everyone – archetypes (inherited ideas: first prints or partners that form the basic blue print for major dynamic counterparts of the human personality. ) Jung believes that the archetypes pre exist in the collective unconscious of humanity. They determine how we both perceive and behave. Archetypes are the source of the ideas or images that is inherited instead of the ideas themselves. The experiences you have construct/create uniform images. We inherit a functional disposition to produce the same or very similar ideas not inherit the idea.

This is the reason for a dream dictionary, for example a person could be dreaming that their friend is falling. So the falling is the image drawn from the archetype and the friend is from their experience. So the collective unconscious means that many of our ideas will be shared with people. There are different types of shared archetype examples are: the person – this is the mask that covers out true natures for the benefit of society. The mask could be good impressions of what is expected of us by others or the false impression to manipulate others behaviour and opinions.

In our dreams the may manifest itself in images of ourselves appearing at a party in disguise. The shadow – this is our darker sides of us. In dreams it might reveal itself in the form of personification of evil e. g. Satan or monster. It could be deeper of our personality identity beings to be lost and individuals experience the chaos of getting closer to the material structure of psychic life. This commonly is found in the woods. The animus – is the masculine side of a female. They may appear as an exotic, sensual, young man or as heroes. The anima – is the female side of a male.

They may appear as a dancing girl, seductresses or goddess. Jung believes that the way neuroses(mental illness is caused by being psychically imbalanced) occurs is that it arises from being psychically imbalanced (so we become mentally ill if the when the psychic energy – psychological energy by which the work of the personality is performed isn’t flowing as well as it could. To maintain mental health all of the features of the personality need to be balanced so the psychic flows properly. There needs to be a balance between conscious and unconscious and the different archetype. If you fail to do this according to Jung this causes a mental disorder.

Jung says through individuation (figuring out who you are and becoming your own self) you become psychically balanced personality through the addition of the range of archetypes into the conscious personality. There are two main process of individuation; the first part is when they come to terms with the outer environment with its challenges through work, friendship and relationship. The second part is from a middle age onwards is to come to terms with one’s own personality. For example a mid-life crisis, this is when someone is in the middle of their life they want what they never had in their youth age e.g. a sports car.

They want to become psychically balanced as they missed out when they was youths. The things that come from the archetype such as images or thoughts are considered to be religious. Jung redefines religious thought as the numinous. This relies on Rudolf Otto’s understanding of the religious or numinous experience. According to Otto’s a numinous experience affects our consciousness which is caused by something external to our consciousness. Any experience which is archetypal in origin can be stated as religious. All archetypal images are ineffable (indescribable) .

Our images of god are themselves archetypal. The concept of god is one of these primordial images (an archetype). Everyone is born with the tendency to generate religious images of god and angels . the actual image that we have of god are through our experiences in the world. An example of a case study is where Miss Miller had a dream about a moth’s desire for light. Jung said this parallel between god and light can be found in countless religious traditions e. g. the Aztec preoccupation with the sun and the Christian view of Jesus as ‘light of the world’. The role of religion is the process of individuation.

The two reasons he gave was the self archetype this guides and controlled the innate process of individuation. Individuation is a religious process. The second reason is the self archetype generates images of wholeness. For example the mandala – means circle and is perfectly balanced, the design is symmetrical which represents the balance and wholeness same with Islamic art instead the repetitive patterns to show his eternality. Jung argues that god images are beneficial to our health. The images are used by the mind to individuate the personality, the personality then achieve its goal of integration.

Religion now becomes clear, the ones that reject religion are therefore less likely to individuate successfully and is most likely to experience neurosis as a result. Jung concludes that the existence of an actual god is similar to Freud’s – there is no proof either way. We don’t know where the archetype actually comes from and we don’t know the origin of the-psyche because there are ineffable. As a psychic reality – god is real to those who experience the effect of archetypes. Jung always considered religious beliefs to be a natural expression of the collective unconscious.


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