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Carl Gustav Jung Homepage

Swiss doctor, scientist and metaphysician. Born at Kesswill (Canton of Thurgau), Switzerland, on the 26th of July 1875. Died in 1961.

You may find a table of the chronology of Jung's life in major traits at the very bottom of this page.

Jung was the child of a family, where the father Johann Paul Achille Jung was a Protestant pasteur (clergyman). His mother Emilie Jung (ne Preiswerk) issued from a well-established Basel family. His parents, however, may have been a kind of rather different natures, or even ill-matched in some ways, and this is probably one of the reasons why he was left alone a lot.

In these times of lonely childhood, he wondered and meditated over Life's big issues. He already then had an inherent inclination for dreaming and fantasy, which he consciously sought to develop. According to himself, these inner abilities largely influenced his adult work.

After graduation in medicine, in 1902, from the universities of Basel and Zürich, with a wide background in biology, zoology, and other subjects, Jung began his study of human psychology. He was employed as a doctor at the psychiatric hospital in Zurich, called Burghölzli, which then was directed by Eugen Bleuler. In February 1903, Jung maried Emma Rauschenbach, a psychoanalyst. Emma was an important support for Jung in his scientific activities, and they lived together until Emma's death in 1955. They got and raised five children.

Illustration: Map of Switzerland. The cities Basel and Zürich are situated at the northwest of the map.

The origins of psychology

As far back in Time as 400 years BC, Hellenic philosophers sought to understand how the human psyche ("soul", mind, mental processes) functions, for example Demokrit, Plato, and Socrates. Yet it was Aristotle who, among other remarkable things, introduced higher reflexions about word association. So even if Hellenic Age may have been thee beginning of a long list of Occidental academic contributions within this field, it seems that the first half of this century was specially apt to invite scientists and psychologists to reconsider the hitherto known findings and theories within this area.

After his graduation, Jung began his research in word association. When a patient speaks, language outfolds its own logic of continuity - linking thought impulses and remembrances of events together; hence a patient's responses to an analyst's stimulus words will inevitably reveal what Jung called complexes, a term which has since become universal...

Jung meets Freud

After working with Eugen Bleuler and Pierre Janet for quite some time, Jung met Sigmund Freud, with whom he cooperated the following years. The first move was made by Jung, when he, on the 23rd of Octobre in 1906, sent his book on word association to Freud. This initiated a somehow strange letter exchange between the two, which intensified during the year. When Jung became acquainted with Freud, the latter was quite a persona non grata in academic circles, and by his support of Freud, Jung is said to have contributed to making Freud been taken seriously in the scientific world.

Their acquaintance materialized in a first personal meeting on Sunday the 3rd of March 1907, when Jung came to Vienna. The meeting made a great impact on Jung, who did this entry about Freud in his diary, according to one of his many autobiographic writings:

"Nobody within my own area of experience was capable to measure with Freud. In his mind, there was no place for trivial things; I found him indeed intelligent, analytically penetrating and remarkable in every way".
Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in the Moravian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When he was four, he moved to Vienna, where he later founded his psychoanalytic school, after graduation as a neurologist (brain doctor so to speak). From his research, which mostly was limited to therapy sessions with Jewish upper class women and a deep interest in 1,500 years of Biblical and Occidental philosophical tradition, he came up with a classification of the psyche's topography as the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. Freud also organized, though not the first to do so, human life in different stages according to age, and - which was new and provoking then, in the so-called Victorian sexual-denying era - according to children's psychosexual development, whereby he also suggested that sexuality be the source of practically any human process.

Sigmund Freud

Some people claimed that psychoanalysis was not strictly "scientific", claims that hurt Freud's feelings, because he really tried to take his work seriously and to carry out his research in an academic manner; after all, he was a medical doctor. Freud's thought-provoking and at the same time audacious theories, however, met harsh criticism for inadequate methodology for identifying developmental processes and uncertain testability; for example, non-recognition of a psychoanalyst's interpretation of a patient (or an item) is not accepted as falsification or lack of verification, but rather referred to as a result of the patient's so-called defence mechanisms. Nevertheless, with time many scholars have come to sympathize with Freud's theories and hermeneutics. Also Jung, on his side, did recognize Freud's effort, like when he wrote this in "Man and his symbols" (1964, p. 25 - translated from Danish):

"It was Sigmund Freud who was the pioneer, who empirically tried to explore the unconscious background of consciousness. His thesis was that dreams are not a question of coincidences, but for they are deeply rooted in conscious thought and problems of a person. This view was not at all arbitrary. His view was sustained on the insights of eminent neurologists (like Pierre Janet) who had found out that some neurotic symptoms are linked to conscious experiences. They seem to be areas, isolated from consciousness, however, occasionally they can be made conscious again."


Jung had been well received by the dynamic group of psychoanalysts around Freud. For example Jung was chosen president of the International Psychoanalytical Association in the three years preceding World War One. Yet Jung's opposition to Freud's views became more and more outspoken. In 1912, by writing "New Ways of Psychology" (which later was reedited and published 1917 as "On the Psychology of the Unconscious"), Jung declared his independence from Freud's overemphasis on sexuality. Jung disliked Freud's severe reservations towards spirituality and art (whose products Freud called "mere sexual sublimations"). Freud wished to promote Jung as the crown prince (heir) of Freudianism, but as it happened, Jung was making his own renown.

Jung is said to have had quite a jolly nature, and Freud's reluctant and bitter personality, at that period, may have outnumbered other and more polite character traits. Maybe this difference in temper may have reduced the attraction or splendour of a real friendship between the two, when this added to differences in their life views and life conditions. So within the following year of 1913, it actually did come to a complete break between them, and Jung withdrew from all official tasks and positions that he exercised. Freud, on his side, abandoned his wish to make Zürich the world centre for psychoanalysis, since Switzerland at the time was the place for the strongest growth and activity within psychology.

During his remaining 50 years, Doctor Jung, in accordance with his acknowledgement of the existence of an individual human soul, continued to develop his theories, drawing on a wide knowledge stemming from his deep quest into mythology, history and a diversity of wisdom traditions; and Jung travelled a lot and visited diverse cultures in New Mexico, India, and Kenya. Hereby he founded his own school of analytical psychology, which allowed his spiritual leanings an excellent expression. Jung's continued scientific research granted him international renown.

Jung in his office

The renewal of psychology

Jung's analytical psychology - as well as psychoanalysis - is founded on the hypothesis that there exists an Unconsciousness which opposes itself dynamically to Consciousness.

In a major work "Psychological Types" (1921), Dr. Jung dealt with the relationship between the conscious and unconscious as well as divided personality types into extrovert and introvert. He later made a distinction between the personal unconscious (the repressed feelings and thoughts developed during an individual's life together with unfolded life possibilities and much more), and the collective unconscious (inherited feelings, thoughts, "instincts" and memories shared by all humanity); the collective unconscious made up of, what he called, archetypes.


Inspired by his own research as well as early European philosophers, among them Plato, Jung began to use the term archetype in 1919. This was fully in accordance with his view that the human soul-life and instinct-nature, in form of "unloaded images" may be traced back to humanity even on a common and archaic level.

However, an archetype is not the image in itself, but the unfilled pattern (or form) and the possibility to fill out a given pattern with an imagelike content. Yet the content in an archetype is loaded with energy and its own kind of initiative - but archetypes are more of a process than being statically loaded. Therefore it is possible to say that archetypes function entirely autonomously.

Archetypes are such inherent, instinctual and primordial images and symbols in all human beings, which often find an unconscious (or conscious) outer expression in religion, art, mythology, folk and fairy tales, astrology (Jung was very interested in astrology and made scientific studies in this field) etc. In "The Concept of the Collective Unconscious" (CW 9,1), Jung defined archetypes like this:

"There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life. Endless repetition has engraved these experiences into our psychic constitution, not in the form of images filled with content, but at first only as forms without content, representing merely the possibility of a certain type of perception and action. When a situation occurs which corresponds to a given archetype that archetype becomes activated and a compulsiveness appears, which, like an instinctual drive, gains its way against all reason and will, or else produces a conflict of pathological dimensions, that is to say, a neurosis."

Es gibt so viele Archetypen als es typische Situationen im Leben gibt. Endlose Wiederholung hat diese Erfahrungen in die psychische Konstitution eingeprgt, nicht in Form von Bildern, die von einem Inhalt erfllt wren, sondern zunchst beinahe nur als Formen ohne Inhalt, welche bloss die Mglichkeit eines bestimmten Typus der Auffassung und des Handelns darstellen (Jung, CW 9/1, S. 61).
Astrology as an ancient science is a fine example of that kind of varied symbol language, which has developed around archetypical motives. Doctor Jung said that astrology, per se, represents a (quote) summation of all the psychological knowledge of Antiquity. And astrology is, if well used, (quote) a splendid method that can lead to deeper self-knowledge and personal growth, Jung found. He possessed a profound astrological insight himself, and among other he wrote the book The Aion, which treats the Piscean Age, Christendom, and human evolution.

In "Religion og symbol" (Forlaget Borgen, Copenhagen 1988, p. 18; my own translation), psychoanalyst and co-founder of the Jung Institute in Copenhagen Pia Skogemann writes this:

"Jung uses the word symbol in opposition to the word sign. This is important to notice, since the two words often seem to be used as a description for the same thing. Moreover he distinguishes between 'natural' and 'cultural' symbols. The firste ones are of a kind that one may encounter in individual persons' dreams, fantasies etc. The latter ones belong, as the notion indicates, to a certain culture, but bear a personal and emotional connotation as well for many 'inhabitants' of a given culture."
Pia Skogemann also states that (quote) "in order to understand the theory of archetypes, which holds such a central position with Jung, it is necessary to notice that by his notion of archetypes he does not mean hereditary ideas, specific mental traits or racial memory" (Ibid., p. 36). Thus many Jung-interprets understand that the archetypes are collective by nature, and that these so-called potential psychological structures are conceived as belonging to the whole collective of mankind without consideration of ethnic or other differences.

Jung's Lebensanschauung

"We moderns are faced with the necessity
Of rediscovering the life of the spirit;
We must experience it anew for ourselves"

Thus Dr. Jung wrote in his essay "Freud and Psychoanalysis". Jung, who did not accept Freud's theory that human development is essentially complete after the first six years of life, claimed that personal development is a lifelong process. He underlined that conflicts established in infancy often are not resolved satisfactorily until adulthood or maturity. And trough such resolutions, around or even before one's midlife, some persons may begin to search for inner truths and achieve a state of self-assertion and identity integration - which Jung called individuation. Confrontation with and integration of one's own Shadow is an important and interesting task, and necessary to go through for the Individuation process to succeed. I would like to quote the American Ph.D. in religious studies, Charles T. Davis, because I find his explanation of the Shadow Archetype on his homepage ("The Biblical Scholar's Path") very consize and clear:

"This is the potential of experiencing the unconscious side of our unique personalities. As we move deeper into the dark side of our personality personal, identity begins to dissolve into "latent dispositions" common to all men (...) The Shadow is the easiest of the archetypes for most persons to experience. We tend to see it in "others." That is to say, we project our dark side onto others and thus interpret them as "enemies" or as "exotic" presences that fascinate. We see the Shadow everywhere in popular culture (...) The Shadow is the personification of that part of human, psychic possiblity that we deny in ourselves and project onto others. The goal of personality integration is to integrate the rejected, inferior side of our life into our total experience and to take responsibility for it."
Individuation means wholeness of Self or what I myself understand by the term integration of one's soul, so that the higher self (or the soul's consciousness) radiate from a person through his or her personality, for the approximation of the ego to the self "must be a never-ending process" that means that such a fulfilment is never really attained, since Jung regarded the ultimate perfection which the Self archetype stands for, as best symbolized by (symbols surrounding) Christ; whereas the symbolism of Satan often is attributed to the Shadow archetype.

Jung's emphasis on spiritual matters such as the Collective Unconsciousness as empirically immeasurable structures - withholding archetypes and disguised as symbols in myths, sagas and folklore - has met much criticism. Already at the turn of the century, the notion of soul had almost been excised from the minds and vocabularies of Western scientists, yet Jung insisted to do his research of the timeless and spaceless reality of human beings whereby he referred to the soul.

According to Jung, Individuation is an unavoidable part of Life's course. Individuation is realizing one's Self, when an individual embraces his or her innermost uniqueness. Self-realization has nothing to do with selfishness or egotism. Individuation is the opposite of Self-alienation. Jung viewed the psyche as generating a Life course of dynamics driven by opposites existing in an individual's psyche, whereby he or she unconsciously will strive for a greater amount of wholeness. Thus wrote Jung about Individuation in Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious (CW 9,1):

"In all cases of dissociation it is therefore necessary to integrate the unconscious into consciousness. This is a synthetic process, which I have termed the 'individuation process'. As a matter of fact, this process follows the natural course of life - a life in which the individual becomes what he always was. Because man has consciousness, a development of this kind does not run very smoothly; often it is varied and disturbed, because consciousness deviates again and again from its archetypal, instinctual foundation and finds itself in opposition to it. There then arises the need for a synthesis of the two positions".

"Knowledge is knowing the Self.
Additional knowledge is a way to
Make us more humble and modest.
The one, who makes himself the lowest,
Knows everything,
And he gets access to the Universal
Consciousness of Eternal Life"
- Proverb from India

Carl Gustav Jung even stated that he viewed his own Life as a long, unfolding myth, and he had no reluctance with using the material from the dreams and fantasies of his own child- and manhood.

Exactly because Jung's experience and collection of material stem from diverse fields of study, it seems difficult for the so-called established psychology to relate to. On the other hand Jung has gained high respect and esteem within neighbouring disciplines, such as religion, anthropology, theology, art history, astrology of course, and other humanist fields.

Jung's posthumous remains

Doctor Jung wrote voluminously, especially on his psychological theories, analytical methods and the relationships between psychotherapy and religious beliefs. He spoke Swiss-German, the local vernecular, and the totality of his written scientific oeuvre in German is translated into Danish, English, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese as well as into manifold other languages. The uniqueness of his Life's work probably lies in the fact that he himself witnessed an inner realization, whereof his profound psychological comprehension and the wholeness of his oeuvre mark the fecund fruits. Carl Gustav Jung died on the 6th of June 1961 in Küssnacht, Switzerland. His writings will, sine dubito, be honoured and studied for many years to come...

It shall not remain unspoken of that Jung has been CRITICIZED by some for being misogynist as well as Germano-centric or racialist. On top of that, Jung has been criticized for his presidency of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy (hq'ed in Berlin), from the year 1933 and onwards, because this organization resided in Berlin, even though the organization must be categorized as solely professional and had a range of international members.

During all that time, however, Jung himself lived and worked in Switzerland. He had several Jewish working partners, who actually remained loyal to him after World War II (e.g. Jolande Jacobi). Nevertheless, Jung's vagueness or lateness to dissociate himself from what went on in Germany and its occupied territories in the Naazi era has aroused debate about Jung's person as well as doubt about his sympathies. Only in 1945, Jung overtly and publicly dissociated himself from Nationael Socialsm in his work "After the Catastrophe". Conclusively, it seems that any doubts don't stand in the long run - for further investigation in this topis, please see Major Issues in the Life and Work of C.G. Jung by William Schoenl (University Press of America, 1996).

You may find a table of the chronology of Jung's life in major traits at the very bottom of this page.

THANKS to the following persons for help and info:

Myriam Ferdjioui (France), Dmirti Lytov (Russia), Stanley G. Rockson (USA),
Jean Etienne (Belgium), Françoise Frigola (USA/France), Debbie Blaz,
Françoise Demay (USA/France), Robert W. Fowler (USA).

External Links

  • Religion.VITEN.ORG
  • Literature.VITEN.ORG

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    Chronology of Jung's Life in Major Traits

    This chronological table has been worked out partially after Aniela Jaff's
    recordings, as rendered given by Robert C. Smith in his book "The Wounded Jung" (USA 1996).
    Year Personal Events Work Life Events
    1875 Jung is born in CH *
    1896 Jung's father dies *
    1900 * Jung graduates with a M.D. from the University of Basel
    1900-1909 * Jung works at the Burghoelzli Mental Hospital in Zurich
    1902 * Jung achieves his Ph.D. at the University of Zurich
    1903 Jung marries Ms. Emma *
    1905-1913 * Jung lectures in psychiatry at the University of Zurich
    1906 Jung initiates letter correspondance
    with Sigmund Freud and, the
    following year, visits him in Vienna
    1909 * Jung opens his private practice of psychoanalysis in Küssnacht
    which he runs with enthusiasm until his death
    1912 Jung declares his scientific
    independence from Freud
    Jung publishes "Neue Bahnen der Psychologie"
    1916 * Jung publishes "La structure de l'inconscient"
    1917 * Jung publishes "Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse"
    1919 *
    First use of the term archetype (in "Instinkt und Unbewusstes")
    1921 * Jung publishes "Psychologische Typen"
    1923 Jung begins the building of his
    scientific refuge, his "tower",
    in Bollingen
    1931 * Jung publishes "Seelenprobleme der Gegenwart"
    1932-1940 * Jung works as a professor of psychology at the Federal
    Polytechnical University in Zurich
    1934 * Jung publishes "Wirklichkeit der Seele"
    1941 * With Karl Kernyi, Jung publishes "Essays on a Science of Mythology"
    1944-1945 * Jung assumes the chair of professorship of medical psychology
    at the University of Basel
    1945 * Jung publishes "Nach der Katastrofe"
    1950 * Jung publishes "Aion - Fnomenologie des Selbsts"
    1952 * Jung publishes "Antwort fr Job"
    1957 * Jung publishes "Gegenwart und Zukunft"
    1961 Jung dies at the age of 85 *