No one can deny the influence Carl Jung had on psychology nor the extent he inspired much in the way of the arts. When we talk about the theories of Carl Jung, we can really touch on some of the main ideas he presented that “stuck.”
Perhaps his first notable concept was the idea of introversion and extroversion. Carl Jung’s take on this was that introversion and extraversion dealt with the flow of psychic energy and the disposition of a person to flow inward or outward. An extroverts energy tends to flow outward, whereas conversely, the introverts energy flows inward. Extroverts get energized when they interact with a large group of people but feel lethargic when they are alone. Introverts get inspired when they are alone but withdraw when in a large group of people.
Modern psychologists don’t tend to like working with concepts like “psychic energy” because it can’t be measured or tested and certainly much pioneering has been done since Jung on the functions of the brain as well as more in depth explanations of extroversion. Still, Jung was the first to make the reference to this aspect of personality using the two terms.
The concept of a “complex” was another theory Carl Jung did much to pioneer. A “complex” is like a knot of unconscious feelings and beliefs that you have to illicit indirectly by observation of behaviour over time. Jung developed this idea while he was still working closely with Sigmund Frued.
Jung’s concept of the Archetypes has influenced countless artists and academics. The concept of the archetype basically relays that there is a primal and common subconscious structure in the mind, which he referred to as the Collective Unconscious. From this emerge particular patterns of behaviour we could identify in terms of mythological role casting.
Finally, Jung’s concept of synchronicity, which was inspired by his relationship with physicist Wolfgang Pauli, as well as his experiences with mysticism and study of several religions, states that there are occurences of “meaningful coincidence.” These are differentiated from common coincidences in that they cannot be related, have an rational explanation and must be deeply significant to the observer.
If you take a look at the word “synchronous” it means events that occur at the same time. Synchronicity narrows this meaning down by 2 rules. The first is that one event cannot cause the other one. The second is that it must be meaningful in some way to the observer of the event. Jung coined the term synchronicity, and its challenge to the science of the day was that up until the 20’s or 30’s physics dealt almost entirely with things that occurred within the principle of causality. Basically speaking, it focused on what happens in a Universe where everything occurs in relation to forces acting on objects or action/reaction.
What opens the door for the concept of synchronicity to be possible in modern science is the advent of quantum mechanics where non-causal events appear frequently, particularly on the atomic level. This new pioneer replaced determinism with probability.
Jung gave us three psychological principles to help us better understand the mind.
His first, was the principle of opposites. Every thought we have produces its opposite. If you think something good you will also think somewhere inside of you the opposite bad thought. This comes about because of the dualistic nature of the world we live in. You can have no concept of good without a concept of bad, no light without dark, no day without night.
The more polarized something is the more energy it has. Saint to Serial Killer has a lot of intensity on both ends, a high charge. White lie to slightly withholding the truth is much weaker.
We use this contrast in deepening a subject in hypnosis frequently, such as when we say, your eyes are so heavy the lids have closed shut, you cannot open them, you can try, but the more that you try, the tighter they become.
Jung’s second principle is the principle of equivalence. This elaborates on what I’ve just said. The harder we push to go in one way or the other, the harder the temptation on the other side of the duality haunts us. This tension that is created by tipping the scale heavily in one direction doesn’t just dissipate if you ignore it. You must acknowledge it, and allow it to be without taking action, and therefore grow stronger.
Denying the shadow side of yourself causes it to become a complex. These complexes are nothing more than collections or clusters of suppressed thoughts and feelings. These complexes can then become activated to life by archetypal energies. This can cause you to have persistent nightmares or in some cases cause a person to snap.
The last principle is the principle of entropy.
This simply means that as we age, the facets of our character don’t take the wild swings they did when we were adolescent. We become more aware and comfortable with who we are and the pendulum doesn’t swing as far. This causes us to be less apt to go from being a hedonistic drunkard one moment and a saved and devout reformer the next. We fight less with our sense of identity and find it increasingly less necessary to prove ourselves. As we begin to reconcile the dualities within us, we find an inner sense of transcendence.