Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Gustav Jung was one of the pioneering figures of the 20th Century. He was a radical and inspirational psychologist and thinker who developed a characteristic and unique way of understanding the human psyche and its functioning.

Certain of Jung’s concepts and terms have entered into everyday language, such as introversion and extroversion, complex and archetype. More significantly, he founded a system of thought which has directly helped very many people and indirectly influenced countless more, as well as having entered and influenced mainstream culture itself.

The core of his system was the belief that the whole of the individual’s experience should be respected and included, rather than aspects being pathologized or disavowed; this included the individual’s unwanted ‘shadow’ aspects – such as, for example, their aggressive, envious, destructive qualities, as well as their spiritual longings and experiences. Jung’s was a vision that embraced the heights and depths of human experience.

He is perhaps best known in wider culture for this recognition of the psychological value of spiritual experience, particularly in an era where traditional religious belief was waning and church attendance across Europe was declining. Jung recognised that these spiritual longings, beliefs and experiences stemmed from the psyche’s intrinsic striving toward wholeness, which required that the individual move beyond, and expand, their everyday view of themselves, opening themselves up to the functioning of the deeper psyche and the functioning of what he called ‘the self’.

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