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The Unconscious World of Dream
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Dreams And Jung's Theory Of Personality

To pave the way for better understanding of Jung's approach to the interpretation of dreams, we need to look at what he calls 'the process of individuation'; and as a preliminary to understanding that, we need to know something about Jung's 'psychological types' and his view of the unconscious.

Jung divides these into 'attitudinal' and 'functional' types.


Everyone now is familiar with the terms 'extrovert' and 'introvert'. These words were first coined by Jung, to distinguish what he saw as two basic psychological types.
The introvert's first reaction to any stuation is back away from it - or, at least, to want to back away from it -'as if with an unspoken "No".' The introvert does not welcome new faces or new situations; rather, he or she is afraid of them, even though he or she may be in time learn to control and conceal this fear, for the sake of politeness or for the sake of 'getting on' with people. The introvert will tend to find his or her values or standards, and direction in life, not from other people - the outside world - butfrom an inner world of thoughts and feelings.
The extrovert, on the other hand, meets every new person, every new situation, with a 'Yes', moving towards them with open arms, welcoming and trusting. He or she finds his or her bearings and direction in life chiefly by reacting to the world outside - what othet people say or think or do. One consequence of this gregariousness is that the extrovert tends to be a conformist, eccepting without question tha values and standards of society at large or of his or her own particular socio-economic group.
Please note that, although it is possible - and useful - to distinguish these two types, and although most people fall unmistakably into one or the other category, there is probably no one who is 100% extrovert or 100% introvert.


Roughly speaking, to classify people according to 'function' means grouping them in accordance with their predominant way of making sense of things. Jung distinguishes four main functional types:

(1)The thinking type. If thinking - the use of reason - is where you function most strongly, confidently and successfully, then thinking is what Jung calls your 'superior' function, and you belong to the thinking type.

(2)The intuitive type. If you are the intuitive type, your strongest psychic faculty is intuition, which means you 'know' things in a direct, immediate way, without the need for reasoning.

(3)The feeling type. The word 'feeling' as used by Jung includes moral feelings, as well as al other kinds of sentiment (for example, love and tenderness). In this sense, 'feeling' must be clearly distinguished from sensation, which is a physical thing. If feeling is where you function best, you are of the feelng type.

(4)The sensational type. To belong to the sensational type does not mean that you cause a stir wherever you go! It simply means that your strongest - 'superior' - psychic function, your favoured way of relation to reality, is physical sensation.


Empirical thinking
Intuitive-speculative thinking
Sensory feeling
Intuitive feeling

In connection with what follows, you may want to consult the diagram above. This shows the way things are for the thinking type - with 'thinking' at the top. If you are the sensation type, you will have to turn the page round till 'sensation' is at the top, and so on.
If your superior function is thinking, then feeling will tend to be your 'inferior' function - which means that your feeling capacity will be undeveloped and unorganized and will function only inefficiently and ineffectively. Scientists will normally belong to the thinking type; and it is interesting to note that Jung was more than a little apprehensive about giving scientists too much say in political and social policy-making. The reason for his fears is that people who belong to the thinking type cannot be trusted to make wise judgements - that is, judgements that will be the right ones in terms of human happiness and well-being.
By turning the diagram round till your superior function is at the top, you will see which is your inferior function, the one that is the least reliable and in the most need of development.
You will see from the diagram that, in addition to your four main functional types, there are four more imtermediate or mixed types. If, for example, like Jung himself, you are strong in a kind of thinking which is not pure reasoning (rational thinking) but contains a large intuitive ingredient, you will belong to the intuitive-speculative thinking type. In that case, your inferior function will be that of sensory feeling, which might include such things as awareness and appreciation of beauty and the making of value judgements based on such awareness and appreciation - as distinct from more purely 'conscience'-based judgemenst.


'Persona' is another term coined by Jung that has now become part of our everyday language. It is a Greek word meaning 'mask'. In Greek theatre the actors wore masks to show which character they represented. Jung uses the word to mean the self-image with which we face the world.
A young person's main task is to identify and develop his or her superior function, the function that is most solidly rooted in his or her particular constitution and will therefore best serve him or her in meeting the world's demands - the need to make a living, for example, which involves the need to develop some kind of skill. It is in this connection that the persona is constructed. The persona is the self-image you create in your attempt to bring about as happya a marriage as possible between what society requires and the internal requirements of your own psyche.
The persona should ideally be based on your superior function. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case: your persona may have been forced on you by your parents, or by your education, or by the pressure of your peer group. For example, your parents may have pushed you into academic achievement, forcing you to build a thinking based persona, whereas your natural (God-given) superior function was, let's say, the feeling function.
If there is a misfit between your persona and your real superior function, you will soon know about it. Some sort of neurosis or complex will soon show itself: you may become a person who never seems to have any luck; or you may become a victim of the 'bull-in-the-china-shop' syndrome - always 'putting your foot into it' or blundering from one disaster to another.
Again, you will identify with what Jung calls 'inner figures' - the hero(ine), the saviour, the martyr, the outcast, the avenger, and others. This means that you suppose that it is your destiny to 'PLAY' the hero, the martyr, or whatever. There are great dangers in this. For instance, if you have too high an opinion of yourself and entertain grandiose ambitions out of all proportion to your capabilities, you may begin to have dreams of (flying and) falling. These dreams will be warnings from your unconscious, telling you that, unless you take a more realistic view of yourself and reformulate your ambitions in accordance with your real (and not your imagined) capabilities, you are heading for a fall - which might be an external disaster (e.g. losing your job) or an internal one (e.g. mental collapse), or indeed both.
Even if you successfully identify and develop your true superior function, you can still make trouble for yourself! Concentrating too much on developing your superior function produces a lopsided personality; and this lack of balance will tend to cause inner tensions or conflicts in the second half of life. The persona must not become an iron mask; it must always allow for growth. For example, you must not identify too exclusively with your occupation - like a sargent-major who is never off duty, even at home with his family, and even after retirement. If you are only a solicitor or accountant or whatever, you have discovered and developed only a very superficial part of the total psyche; and the extent to which you depend on your job for self-esteem is itself a measure of how little you have explored your psyche and consequently how undre-developed your personality is.
Moreover, neglected functions - the parts of your psyche that you have left in a crude undeveloped state - will sooner or later rise in revolt and express themselves in uncontrolled and unexceptable ways.


Jung took an altogether grander view of the unconscious than did Freud. Whereas for Freud the unconscious was principally a bin for receiving the conscious mind's rejects, for Jung the unconscious fulfilled a positive role, performing a therapeudic function by showing the conscious mind what needs to be done to get rid of unease and unhappiness and to achieve fuller satisfaction in life.
One very important feature of the unconscious, according to Jung, is that it compensates for the one-sidedness of the conscious mind. For example, if you are an extrovert at the conscious level, you will be introverted at the unconscious level, and vise versa. If at the conscious level you are the thinking type, at the unconscious level you will be strong in feeling; and so on.
What this means is that, in order to round out your personality, you must bring the unconscious part of your psyche into your consciousness. And this is precisely what happens in dreams. dreams are the channels for which the unconscious enters consciousness - if you let it in. Dreams carry messages from the instinctive to the rational part of the mind. Pay attention to your dreams, therefore, and you will increasingly find yourself acting in accord with your whole psyche, not just one bit of it.
The unconscious aims at personal wholeness, and wholeness means healing. To base your life on the dictates of the conscious mind alone is appropriate for the earlier half of adult life - until you have got yourself established in an occupation that suites you - but for unconditional ahppiness and wll-being you need to base your life on the inner necessities of your total psyche.
Do you think - the conscious ego - knows best? No, says Jung; the unconscious knows best. It knows what is good for you. It contains the wisdom and the faculties and the energy you require for a completely happy and self-fulfilling life.
That does not mean, however, that the conscious ego should let the unconscious take over the psyche and rule the roost. As well as containing deep wisdom and inexhaustable energy, the unconscious also may contain forces that, if unleashed, will destroy the psche - that is, produce maddness. Such forces Jung described as 'complexes'. Complexes are 'psychic entities that have escaped the controll of consciousness and split off from it, to lead a separate existence in the dark sphere of the psyche, whence they amy at any time hinder or help the conscious performance.' They correspond to the good and the bad spirits which, in religious mythology, may set up house in a person's soul. These complexes hinder the person (the spirits are bad) if they are not integrated with consciousness, not brought into the light of consciousness and not allowed appropreiate and creative expression under the controll of the conscious mind, the ego.
Neurosis or psychosis (severe neurosis) occurs when the contents of the unconscious mind flood the conscious mind - when, to use mythological language, spirits take possession of the person (as with the 'demoniacs' of the New Testament: people 'possessed' by demons).
The question of which knows better, conscious or unconscious, becomes clearer once we distinguish between consciousness and reason. Reason - rational thinking - has its uses: for making money as well as building brifges or making bombs. But mere reason will not reveal the truth about yourself and your 'destiny'. For that you need to explore the unconscious depths of the mind. The rational mind rejects the unconscious. It is consciousness - the conscious mind - that does the exploring, not in its rational mode, but in the mode of pure awareness, where the mind cuts through the absract reasoning to an immediate expperience of reality. Reason conceives - imagines and speculates; pure consciousnes preceives reality directly. Reason knows about things; pure awareness knows the things themselves, experiemtially.
In this connection it is interesting to note that some existentialist philosophers, notably Jean-Paul Sartre, rejected depth psychology out of hand. Depth psychology is any psychology that accepts that the human mind has an unconscious dimension. Sartre rejected this notion of an unconscious part or function of the mind becaused he believed that the individual human being must accept responsibility for himself or herself. To be responsible, however, is to be free: we cannot properly hold a person responsible for his or her action if we are convinced that he or she was not free to choose to act otherwise than he or she did. And lots of people - most people, in fact, argue Sartre - seek to shrug off their responsibility by pretending that they are not free agents: that society is responsible for what they are, or that heredity determines all that a person is or does, or that we are all in the grip of unconscious forces that are beyond our control.
The truth of the matter would seem to be that Sartre is both right and wrong. He is surely rightin insisting that each individual has the power to be other than he or she is. He is wrong, however, in assuming that that power resides in the reasoning faculty. Consciousness, not reason, is the key. And consciousness can open up possibilities for being other than one is only by entering the unconscious depths of the psyche, or by letting them enter consciousness.
What Jung is recommending is not that the conscious mind should become the slave of the unconscious, or vise versa. Neither the conscious mind nor the unconscious should be subjugated by the other. On the contrary, conscious and unconscious should come together in a marriage of equal partners. That is the way to salvation, or healing, or wholeness.


Jung distinguishes from more superficail and deeper layers of the unconscious mind and calls them respectively 'the personal unconscious' and the collective unconscious'. The personal unconscious consists of those things that have been repressed, rejected from consciousness; it is therefore something that is built up during the individual's lifetime. The collective unconscious, on the other hand, is older than the individual and indeed older than consciousness: it consists of the 'whole spiritual heritage of mankind's evolution born anew in the brain-structure of every individual'. (Do not be misled by the words 'brain-structure': the collective unconscious should not be thought of as situated in the head; it includes emotions and instincts and, although it cannot be pinned down to ant particular location in the body, it might be more helpful to think of it as in the solar plexus region rather than in the head.)


When looking at your dreams you will probably find that most of them are communications from your personal unconscious, especially - says Jung - if you are in th first half of life. If, however, your dreams contain what Jung calls 'archetypal images', they may well be coming from the collective unconscious.
Jung describes these archetypal images as 'self-portraits of the instincts'. To put it another way, 'archetypes' are the instinctive forces and instinctive strategies or ways of behaving'; 'archetypal images' are the symbols through which these instinctive things show themselves in dreams.
Archetyapal images includes symbols that occur in mythology: God, Earth Mother, death and resuurection/rebirth, and many more. They are older than you, the individual. They belong to the collective unconscious. On the other hand, an archetype may have numerous images, some of them stemming from the deep collective unconscious, others from the more superficial personal unconscious. The Feminine is such an archetype. Here are a few of its various images: your own mother; your grandmother; a cow; a cat; a witch; a fairy; a cave;the sea; night. Any one of these symbols appearing in your dreams might be either from the personal or the collective unconscious. As a general rule, says Jung, mother, cow, etc., as well as woman.)

From Eric Ackroyd

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