Carl Jung and Religion

Report
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Carl Jung and Psychology
James A. Van Slyke
+ Carl Jung (1875-1961)
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Swiss Psychiatrist
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Father – Protestant Minister
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Mother – Interested in Spirituality
Part of Freud’s original analytic group
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Later parted ways with Freud over
differences
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Freud did not like Jung’s preoccupation
with Religion
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Caused a psychotic breakdown for Jung
+ Carl Jung (1875-1961)
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Analysis of dreams, practicing
psychoanalytic psychologist
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Also studied the unconscious, but
suggested a different personality
structure
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Strongly influenced by Christianity,
but also Eastern religions
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Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism
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Interested in integrating
opposing forces
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Yin and Yang
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Jung’s Psychology
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Ego – Conscious aspect of the person
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Unconscious
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Similar to Freud’s
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Unconscious is primary force in thought and behavior
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Libido – psychic instinctual energy
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Not necessarily sexual or aggressive
Principle of the opposites
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Structures of the psyche are antithetical pairs
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Light vs. Dark
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Principle of entropy - Psyche seeks out balance
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Jung’s Psychology
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Personal Unconscious
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Each person has an individualized unconscious
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Suppressed, forgotten memories, traumas, etc.
Collective Unconscious
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Predates individual unconscious
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Repository of religious, spiritual, and mythological symbols and
experiences
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Universal structure across different cultures
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Cultural and Religious stories and narratives return to common
themes
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Jung’s Psychology
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Archetypes
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Primary structures of the collective unconscious
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Similar to platonic forms
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Jung’s description
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“conceptual matrixes or patterns behind all our religious and
mythological concepts, and indeed, our thinking processes in
general.”
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Jung’s Psychology
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Archetypes
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“Patterns of instinctual behavior” that are manifested according to
the current cultural context, yet “a priori”
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Can only be partially known and grasped
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“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall
see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even
as I am fully known.” 1 Cor 13:11-13
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Jung’s psychology
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Archetypes
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Paired opposites that must be integrated into the personality
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Anima – feminine part of the self
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Animus – masculine part of the self
Light vs. Dark
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Shadow – Dark side of the personality
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Negative aspects of the self must be integrated into the whole
Religious symbols and rituals allow us to deal with the
unconscious
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Jung and Religion
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Concerned about secularization and scientism
(reductionism)
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Religion is an important aspect of being human (Religious Self)
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Helps to harmonize conscious and unconscious states
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Secularization leads to a “rootless” existence
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Religion is the best avenue to the unconscious
Individuation
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Primary means for spiritual growth
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Reuniting unconscious material with consciousness to achieve
wholeness
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Jung and Religion
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Religious Symbols
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Allow us to look at the unconscious
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Shield us from direct contact
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Offer new knowledge
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Compensate for what is missing
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Empower the transformation
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Bridge conscious and unconscious to lead toward wholeness
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Must be experienced rather than understood
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Jung and Religion
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Mandala
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Art piece
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Draws one toward the center
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Spirituality should draw one
toward the center
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Self and God archetype
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Religion and psychology cannot be
separated; intrinsic to each other
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Transcendent function of
personality
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Acceptance of shadow and other
unconscious material
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Leads to inner healing
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Archetypes & Star Wars
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Characters, Situations and Symbols in stories
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Hero – Luke Skywalker
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Reflects youthfulness
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Usually called to a quest or mission
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Represents the ego
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Tries to overcome tensions in the unconscious
Wise Old man (Mentor) – Obi Wan and Yoda
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Teaches the hero the nature of the psyche
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Helps them toward maturity
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Joseph Campbell
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The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)
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The Masks of God (1969)
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Myths and stories continually return to common themes
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Myths (religious or otherwise) ways in which cultures transmit
values and mores
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Religions are the “masks” that reflect the same fundamental
transcendent truths
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Joseph Campbell
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Monomyth
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Departure
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Call to Adventure
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Refusal
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Supernatural Aid
Initiation
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The Road of many Trials
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Temptation
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Confront the evil inside (Shadow or Father)
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Reach the goal
Return to share what you have learned
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Archetypes & Star Wars
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Symbols
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The Force
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Dark Side – The Shadow
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Luke must overcome and learn to control the shadow
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Integrate into his own conscious
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Movement from Denial to Acceptance
Religions often have similar structure
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Struggle with dark side
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Sin
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Evil
Religious heroes overcome evil with the help of God
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Jung & Christianity
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How do we understand the relationship between, religion,
mythology and Christ?
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Exclusivist – there is no truth outside of the Christian faith
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Inclusivist
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C.S. Lewis – Christianity is the only true myth
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Different religions mirror the transcendent in different ways, but
Christ is the closest to God
Universalism
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All religions approximate the transcendent to a different degree

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