This paper was presented at the Jung Society of Monterey in 2019 (video below, unfortunately with poor audio):
Uncovering the Unconscious: Towards an Integral Psychology
7 responses to “Uncovering the Unconscious: Towards an Integral Psychology”
Interesting post. Years ago I put myself through some five years of dream work, mainly leaning on Jungian psychology and symbolism. Very helpful, bringing the depths of my personal unconsciousness into a more conscious state. And from my experience with this, I am pretty much in agreement with you about the “integrative” aspect of this.
On the other hand, there are loads of other psychological perspectives. One that I intend to pursue, especially when it comes to perhaps comparing our little inner universe with the greater outer universe is that of Gestalt. I have found intriguing the ideas of “patterns,” if you will.
Probably you have read Fred Alan Wolf’s book THE DREAMING UNIVERSE, published back in 1994. It’s actually a serious effort, coving a huge amount of territory when it comes to dreams. Indeed the bibliography in this book is worth its weight.
Anyway, for one so young, you really seem far along down the track,
so to speak. Keep at it. 🙂
That was a great effort, except that I think that the very first paragraph is a little awkward and wobbly, in contrast to the consistent strength of the remaining prose, which I admire very much.
As to the content, I remember reading Carl Jung’s (or, rather, Aniela Jaffe’s) _Memories, Dreams, Reflections_, which proved to be a life-changing book. It prompted me to pick up a third degree in college–in psychology. But what I came to learn in the process of getting that degree compared to what I thought I would learn turned out to be very different.
I started off thinking that I’d learn about the logical structure and dynamics of the mind, and I did. I learned about Freud’s psychodynamic theory, a great deal about behaviorism and learning theory, and a very great deal about neuroscience. By the time that I was finished, I was talking about amygdalae, neurons, ion channels, and fear-potentiated startle responses, not dreams and the “unconscious.” Those three years represented a sequence of disillusionments. These days, I never touch the many volumes of Carl’s Collected Works that I own; I don’t even think about them.
Have you considered that we are, essentially, biological robots, and that our consciousness will cease permanently at biological death? I don’t mean to pose this question so starkly, but I want to cut to the chase. Your delightful and sparkling prose overflows with the magnificence of what a linguistically able brain can produce, but what would happen to that ability if you suffered from prefrontal dementia or had a transorbital lobotomy?
Not only would you not be able to write as you can now, but this very question begs us to ask, “What is identity?” If identity somehow transcends biology (and thus, some form of metaphysical dualism is valid), then whatever travails we experience in this life, the dispersion of our molecules somehow won’t annihilate our identities–i.e. us, in the deepest sense.
By identity, I roughly mean memory, perception, sensation, encapsulation (a sense of self as distinct from other entities), computation, emotion, drives, values, aversions, “will,” locomotion, goals, high-level patterns that we might call “personality,” and an environment containing other recognizable entities to which we can relate. Is identity a high-level (literally, sociolinguistic, brain-produced) construct that applies only to a human being, or can identity exist without “matter,” and specifically, the structure that matter takes and the dynamics that that structure undergoes through the workings of its constituent parts (molecules, organs, organ systems, and so on)?
I think that you believe that consciousness is a process. I concur. But I also think that you believe that consciousness and identity are not necessarily dependent upon matter–that, most crucially, “we” “survive” “death.” (It’s necessary to quote all three words for obvious reasons.)
Do you believe that we survive, Matt, and if so, why?
If I may, re whether we “survive” bodily death, etc., when I was in my early 20s I experienced an out-of-body event (OBE). I was fully conscious of my personal identity and I *knew* that if I didn’t get back into my body that I would die. Really odd, there I was flailing around, with no limbs, and suddenly I was back in my body!
This was long before all those books about the NDE and OBE became popular. I literally was scared silly by this experience and went to a doctor. He said that somehow I must have stopped breathing for a moment, and not to worry. No doubt he put a little black question mark on my medical record.
Doesn’t matter, since I know that I had this experience–and now have come to read that it is not necessarily an unique experience. What I took away from this OBE was that I was fully conscious, albeit scared, and I was definitely intuitively aware, knowing that death was imminent if I didn’t return to my body.
As for “proof,” well perhaps some day–until then, we can only report such incidents. The reporting is compiling, however.
[…] of Jung’s), who completely transformed the way I conceive of the relationship between rational and religious consciousness. Eventually, like Whitehead, I came back to religion and theology (I feel most at home in the […]
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What do you think?