Carl Gustav Jung was born on 25 July 1875 in a small village near Lake Constance in Switzerland. His father was a minister in the church and a son of a professor of medicine at the University of Basel. Jung is said to be founder of analytic psychology, though he had initially started out as medical physician since after graduating with a doctorate in medicine at Basel. Jung was lucky to be born into an educated family. The paternal side had several physicist and great theologians. This had a great influence on young Jung who looked to study further into psychiatry also known as ‘philosophy of the mind’.
Philosophy of the mind is a branch of philosophy that explores the nature of the mind, mental functions and properties and its impacts to the body. While other scholars argue that the mind and the brain are extremely separate entities (dualism), others argue that the brain develops from the mind and that the two are ontologically conjoined and hence coexist (monism) (Jung and McGuire, 24). Jung looked to study and conforms to the thoughts of scholars in support of monism. He performs several experiments to prove that the individual is a product of mind.
His study into philosophy of the mind provided him with deep understanding of the “complex”. This a term used in psychology to refer to the important collection of unconscious association that exist behind an individual’s state. He describes the complex to be the point that controls the conscious part of the brain and acts unconsciously. Evidence of such a control are exhibited in behavior and character, which he viewed this to be collection unconscious feeling beliefs that eventually control the mind (Jung, 14).
In the experiment, the subject is connected to the device via electrodes that measure resistance of the skin. A list of words is handed to the subject and reads them aloud. In his findings, Jung asserts that the resistance readings of the device changed when the subject read a word that had emotional connection (18). He concluded that this was a result of the complex acting in the unconscious part of the brain. In cases where the deflection in the resistance was abnormally larger, Jung concluded that it referred area of great conflict to the subject.
Later studies into this concept of skin resistance confirmed Jung’s theories of emotional effects on skin resistance. The conclusion was that cortical arousal at low levels is ideal for relaxation that allows that manifestation of unconscious state of the mind. On the other hand, cortical arousal at high levels increases reflex abilities and concentration and capability to recall easily.
Jung had successfully analyzed the impacts of the brain on human nature using the meter analysis. He however felt that the meter analysis did not go far enough to determine aspects regarding personality. He found that he could not reduce all aspect if an individual into simple childhood instinctuality. Jung argued that much was happening when an individual took a representation during the second half of life. People tend to change who they are as they move away from childhood and youth into middle age. He describes this process as individuation. But even though the adult form takes shape, some unchanged aspects controlled such transformation. And thus he found other archetypes that function of the mind.
One of the main archetypes is the persona. Persona can be defined as identity an individual holds and presents to the outside world. This persona manifests itself in many ways such as our role in the family, the careers we do and other identities such as political affiliation.
The other archetype identified by Jung was the Ego. He describes ego to be the center of consciousness and excludes all that is in the unconscious part of our being. Jung asserts that there cannot be an ego definition without consciously separating oneself from the rest. In his assertion, Jung defines that the ego is a collection of our main inseparable aspects of the person. These are thinking, sensation, feeling and intuition. However, our unconscious state always seeks to reveal itself through our weakest aspect of the four (Hergenhahn, 20).
The third archetype identified by Jung is ‘the shadow’. This is defined as the unconscious part of ego. The shadow, Jung describes it to be part of our being, that for one reason or the other, we do not want to associate ourselves with and wish that it remains out of sight. The fourth archetype that Jung describes is the anima. This is the collection of unconscious belief and feeling towards the other gender. Such unconsciously held feelings can be brought to the fold under appropriate circumstances.
The final archetype that Jung uses in individuation is ‘the self’. He defines the self as the totality of entire mind. It is the resultant collections of the feelings and beliefs held either consciously or unconsciously.
Jung also appreciated the impact of sexuality on the development of the individual. He asserts that matters such a dreams and fantasies played a major role in individuation. The result of the individuation was a psychological move towards integration, self awareness and wholeness.
Introverts and Extroverts
Jung is accredited as being the father of the two concepts of introversion and extroversion. In his writings, Jung concluded there were two fundamental kinds of personality. The introverts were persons who exhibited predominant concern about their mental lives. These kinds of individual tend to be quiet, non-engaged and comparably low key in their affairs. They take so much delight in solitary activities such as inventing, writing, watching movies and much reading. Thus they are not enthusiastic about group activity or thought for actions as a group
Conversely, extrovert is a personality that acts or behaves in a manner that seeks satisfaction from external persons other than self. The take much delight in social interaction and are talkative, enthusiastic and expressive. Introverts obtain much pleasure form activities such as activities such as public demonstration, community activity and political groupings.
Jung asserts that the flow of energy in the mind of the person will determine whether that person will be introverted or extroverted. If the person psychic energy flows outwards, then such a person will exhibit extrovert tendencies and the opposite also applies.
In his assertion, Jung describes that all these idea and thoughts result energy converge to map the personality of an individual (42). Philosophy of the mind would consider the premise put forward by Jung as valid argument in describing the link between personality and the mind. He refined this assertion by suggesting that the mind perform four main functions, that is, thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation.
Jung explains in every individual one or two of these functions is always trying to dominate the others. And therefore our personalities are defined by the manner in which we represent the dominant actions of the mind. Each function of the brain is control by the different hemispheres of the brain. Determining the most stimulated part of the brain would to discern the kind of person represented either an introvert or extrovert .
In the end, Jung described himself as a personality in continual realization of the unconscious. He described his entire growth as individuation, a continual long time process, in which a development of an individual is not defined by the childhood; rather by the understanding the individual gains as he get old. Such understanding is dependent upon a continual realization of the unconscious part of our being.
He continues to explain that human mental development can be divided into four main stages. The first stage is Childhood which he referred to a stage of sporadic consciousness in which an individual begins logical thinking and abstractions. The second stage is youth and early life which is the state of sexual maturity and realization of gone childhood. The third stage in the middle life in which persons seeks meaning to life and finally old age where one acquires reason and wisdoms for life.
Hergenhahn, B. R. An Introduction to the History of Psychology. New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print
Jung, Carl Gustav. Man and his symbols. London: Dell Pub, 1968.
Jung, Carl Gustav. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Boston: Routledge, 2001.
Jung, Carl Gustav. and William McGuire. Analytical psychology: notes of the seminar given in 1925. Baltimore: Princeton University Press, 1989. Print
Lawson, Thomas. Carl Jung, Darwin of the mind. New York: Karnac Books, 2008. print