Carl Jung: The Undiscovered Self

Categories: Carl Jung

The book of C.G Jung “The Undiscovered Self” was written during the cold war concerning communism. He saw during this time the trend toward collectivism as the utmost threat to the individual self. He expresses grief over the adoption of mass mindedness, and encourages its psychic depreciation. Witnessing the physical and psychological destruction of war, Jung provides the reader his analytic interpretation of the incomparable loss of self in the intrusion of secular religion and social collectivism. Jung shows that although science tries to impose order on the world, the unique thing about real facts, conversely, is their individuality.

However, the psyche remains irresolvable puzzle.

An individual have to understand not the humanity as a whole but rather than the self. Whenever individual is pressured by a group an effect will occur just like part of the individual self will be deprived in order to fit-in to the benchmark of the group. The individual stops thinking of itself as a result the group becomes the personality of the individual.

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The dilemma of a human being in the world he lives is losing his self in the process of balancing the factors that can affect him as an individual. We have to get ourselves in order before we can get the rest of the world in order. Yes, man as a social being cannot continue life in the long run without the link to the community.

But it doesn’t mean that the community will define us. We are necessitated to have always the sense of balance between the state, religions, and of course our individual psyche.

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Seeing in the model these three are demonstrated by the two forces, the conscious and unconscious. Later on this paper, it will be further discuss more. Going back, if we have a propensity to maintain the balance between the three, we can attain the self-knowledge that will characterize us, as a real individual.

The model shows that there are factors that can affect one’s self knowledge. In the book, Jung tries to point out that the self-knowledge of a human being is a very limited knowledge since it only depends on the social factors that can affect it. There are many blind spots in self-knowledge, and these blind spots can have negative consequences for the self and for others. For example, one who overestimates the positivity of his or her personality or status is often disliked by others, whereas having insight into how others perceive the self and acknowledging one’s flaws seems to attenuate the negativity of others’ impressions. Poor self-knowledge is also associated with negative intrapersonal consequences, such as weak academic achievement and emotional problems. Likewise, lack of insight into how one will feel or behave in the future tends to result in poor decision making, disappointment with unpredicted outcomes, and ultimately lower life satisfaction.

What we primarily know about our self is the conscious state. We are not acquainted that there is an inner state that is within us that can help to shape more our own self-knowledge. What I am talking about here is the unconscious psychic. We could have known that this unconscious psychic can outweigh the conscious psychic. In short, one cannot exist without the other. These two psychic forces should team up to promote a more apparent understanding of the self-knowledge. In reality there are conscious and unconscious agendas in the brain and both are important. It does not help to play the unconscious off against the conscious. In the brain at any time most of the agendas are unconscious, much of it is, however, consciousness-prone. The conscious and the unconscious always work together, not only in dreams but also in wakefulness. Our conscience for instance can admonish us out of the unconscious core from our memory, but by doing so it becomes conscious, and it is then the task of the reasoned will to draw the consequences out of it.

The unconscious is not the “bad something” Freud had conceived, a something that plays tricks on us. It is rather the ground worker for consciousness, the staff that supports the leader. And the leader is: The conscious, reasoned free will. Why the unconscious is termed as the “evil” inside us? As a normal individual whenever we don’t like something about ourselves, or whenever we refuse to admit something about ourselves, we push those energies deep within the recesses of our psyche, creating cut off versions of who we really are. And to make matters even more difficult, we give those energies, bad names like “shadows” “demons” and “negative vibes.” As stated on the book, “Since it universally believed that man is merely what his consciousness knows of itself, he regards himself as harmless and so adds stupidity to iniquity. He does not deny that terrible things have happened and still go on happening, but it is always “the others” who do them.”

Man has the fear of recognizing the shadow that is in the very first place was there. This fear of the unconscious psyche to be divulged slows down the understanding of self-knowledge. Since mentioned before, the conscious and unconscious must maintain equilibrium to achieve self-knowledge to the real extent. Human must not fear the shadow that dwells inside us. Where in reality, this shadow can help us to mold the individualism we want to resolve. If a general had no idea regarding what constitutes a favorable battle outcome, there would be no utility in simulating battle formations. Evaluating potential actions is challenging because it depends on taking diverse considerations into account (e.g., physical or social consequences).

Most knowledge regarding what is favorable is already embodied in the very agentic systems that, before the advent of suppression, controlled behavior directly. Unconscious conflict resolution processes thus furnish valuable information to conscious processes of planning for the future. Given sufficiently strong motivations and commitment to the planned course of action, specific plans such as “when X happens, I will do Y” themselves operate automatically when the future opportunity arises, as in the implementation intention research of Gollwitzer and colleagues (e.g., Gollwitzer, 1999). In this way, unconscious processes not only adapt us to the present situation, but they also influence the tracks we lay to guide our future behavior.

As mention earlier in this paper, the state and religion including the individual psyche should maintain a sense of stability in an individual. Man should not let neither the state nor religion, take away his individuality. One chapter of the book was entitled “Religion as the Counterbalance to Mass-mindedness”. Religion is defined as an, “organized belief system that includes shared and institutionalized moral values, beliefs about God, and involvement in religious community,” Individuals may be spiritual not religious, religious not spiritual, religious and spiritual, or neither spiritual nor religious. Often times the spiritual not religious individual is seeking meaning, connection with others, and completeness. The religious not spiritual person typically participates in religious institutions, holds theistic beliefs, and institutionalized moral values.

The spiritual and religious person holds characteristics of both while the neither spiritual nor religious person holds few if any of these characteristics. In the book, Jung distinguishes between religion and creed, labeling religion as the relationship of an individual to God and a creed as a confession of faith in a collective belief. Creeds have codified their views, customs and beliefs and externalized themselves to such an extent that the external point of reference has become of minor importance. Jung tries to point out that, religion like the state yearn for the individual to sacrifice himself. The state and the religion have the same objective towards an individual but they have different line of attack to grasp it. Neither the state nor the religion is unscrupulous. In fact, we do need them, but they must be at the same rank in one’s self. One should not override the other, for it must be keep upright. Examine the spirits that speak in you. Become critical. --Carl Jung

Carlson, E. N. (2013). Overcoming the Barriers to Self-Knowledge : Mindfulness as a Path to Seeing Yourself as You Really Are. Perspectives on Psychological Sciences , 2. Deecke, L. (2012). There Are Conscious and Unconscious Agendas in the Brain. 4. Morsella, J. A. (2008). The Unconscious Mind. 7-8.


Updated: Jul 06, 2022
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Carl Jung: The Undiscovered Self. (2016, Apr 16). Retrieved from

Carl Jung: The Undiscovered Self essay
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