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Reply To: Truth or Consequences,” with Gabrielle Basha, MFA”


    Also, another aspect of the Shadow that Stephen mentioned that might tie or connect the individual and the community together concerning the theme of this topic, which to me sounds like the “Collective Unconscious or Objective Psyche” that Jung emphasized.

    Stephen said:

    “I’ll use that as a segue to the theme of your essay – community.

    Adolf Hitler and the countrymen who bought into his Aryan fantasy shared an aberrant, warped view of community – “just Aryans, just us” – an extremist view experiencing a resurgence today. Much as I appreciate your focus on communities that “lean into” the work required to build upon our shared experience, these extremist visions are not only still out there, but they are proliferating.

    No doubt those of us here prefer the vision you share. At some point, though, we need to take account of these shadow communities. How, apart from reliving the Civil War and/or World War II, do we engage that mindset and invite those who hold it into a more nurturing, nourishing, vibrant community?

    I wish I knew the answer to that . . .”

    After reading through Gabrielle’s article and Stephen’s setup again this morning this idea of Jung’s seems to be a connecting link of what we would call or refer to as the “Collective Unconscious” even though many are not aware of what that is.

    Analyst James Hall on pages 9-10, (Chapter 1: ” Basic Concepts of Jungian Psychology”), in his book: “Jungian Dream Interpretation” describes it this way:

    It is useful to consider basic Jungian concepts in several categories, although one must remember that the divisions are more or less arbitrary and for convenience of description and discussion; in the living psyche, different levels and various structures function as an organized whole. There are two basic topographical divisions: consciousness and the unconscious. The unconscious is further divided into the personal unconscious and the objective psyche. Jung’s earlier term for the objective psyche was “collective unconscious,” and is still the term most widely used in discussing Jungian theory. The term objective psyche was introduced to avoid confusion with various collective groups of mankind, since Jung particularly wanted to emphasize that the depths of the human psyche are as objectively real as the outer, “real” world of collective conscious experience.

    These are thus four levels of the psyche:

    1) personal consciousness, or ordinary awareness;

    2)  the personal unconscious, that which is unique to an individual psyche but not conscious.

    3) the objective psyche, or collective unconscious, which has an apparently universal structure in mankind; and

    4) the outer world of collective consciousness, the cultural world of shared values and forms.

    Within these basic topographical divisions there exist general and specialized structures. The general structures are of two types: archetypal images and complexes. The special structures of the personal parts of the psyche, both conscious and unconscious, are four: the ego, the persona, the shadow, and the syzygy (paired grouping) of animus/anima. Within the objective psyche there are archetypes and archetypal images, whose number cannot be precisely stated, although there is one notable archetype: the Self, which may also be referred to as the central archetype of order.”


    Now I’m certainly no Jungian analyst, but it would seem to me that within this realm of human interaction in the larger scope of things here would be your connecting link of continuing human interplay. Jung’s greatest concern was that man could not control his inner nature, especially concerning the “shadow”. And that what man is continually seeking and searching for throughout human history is a sense of community and purpose.

    At any rate the idea of the “collective unconscious” really struck me after going through all the material again, and I find it strange no one ever brings this up. Maybe it’s because there some that even refuse to acknowledge it exists outside the Jungian community, because from what I gather it’s a strong point of contention in psychology circles. (Another log on the fire to throw in.)

    Incidentally, I used this smaller more concise description of the “Objective Psyche” because it is such a huge topic, and I just wanted to provide something that gave a basic understanding for anyone not familiar with the term. (Like I said, I’m not an analyst.)