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Online demonstration of Carl Jung’s “synchronicty”

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Embracing the Shadow – Inner Peace Tip by Catherine VanWetter

iconic void by Gisela Giardino via Flickr

by Catherine VanWetter

Debbie Ford, who wrote the book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, has finished a movie called “The Shadow’. It was released June 26, 2009 and is available for purchase. It is a movie well worth watching.

I have been following Debbie’s work for years and had the opportunity to meet her at the Chopra Center in LaJolla, California, and again at the Coronado Hotel in California.

Debbie’s workshops focuses on that part of ourselves that we push away and that we are ashamed of. It’s that part of our self that we don’t like and try to hide. The shadow is sneaky and can show up as a sarcastic remark, as judgment, or in criticism. When uncovered, it often laughs, as if to soften the edges of being dishonest, cruel or unfaithful.

Carl Jung, a psychoanalysis, coined the phrase shadow to describe those places in us that are often buried deep in our unconscious. The parts of our self that we try to forget about and hope that no one sees it. Everyone has a shadow. Whenever we are not in love, joy or light, we are in the shadow.

I work with individuals and groups who want to uncover their shadow thus shedding some light onto it. They have come to a place in their life where the shadow part of them brings them so much grief and pain, that they want to get to the core of it. It takes courage to do this depth of work because we often go into those places in us that we would just as soon ignore but that keep coming up, reminding us of their existence. It’s like having a thorn in our side. We’re aware that it is there and yet it is illusive and shows up as addictions, distractions, anxiety and depression, to name just a few.

Between Shadows by loquenoves / Pía

Between Shadows by loquenoves / Pía via Flickr

Throughout my years of training and self-healing, I have begun to come to a place of peace within myself, and my shadow. My sense is that the shadow’s initial intention was to protect us. One of the ways that the shadow did this was to help us feel that we were connected to those around us and that we had something in common with others. We could talk negatively of someone, gossip, and “puff” ourselves up because we thought that we were better than the one that was being ridiculed. Yet, that part that we didn’t like in someone else often was a part in us that we didn’t like. This is where the ego plays a huge part in the shadow. If we are proven wrong, the ego expands, and if we are successful in hiding our shadow it expands as well. Often people who begin to get in touch with their shadow may have the dark night of the soul or several, where the parts of them that are no longer working show up in the middle of the night as they are trying to sleep. It’s that anxiety attack that seemingly comes out of nowhere waking them from a deep peaceful slumber.

As one begins to notice the shadow and shed compassion light on it, then the true work of resolving that part can occur. Until we have compassion for that part of our self and become aware of it, as a witness, we will not be able to embrace it. The shadow shows us duality. With the dark is the light. There are saints and there are sinners. This duality allows us to see the contrast that we walk in everyday. It’s finding the balance and honoring all of our self, especially the shadow. By doing this we can heal that shadowy part that has kept us from our pure essence of light, love and joy.

St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow 00.jpg

St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The times that we are in are challenging and as a result are activating many people’s shadows. It’s showing up as road rage, pervasive anxiety, violence, corruption, and betrayal. The shadow is appearing in ways that is evasive and often sneaks up on us when we are not conscious, when we’re stressed out or tired. To become aware of our shadow and how it shows up our life is to begin noticing it. It’s in the noticing that we can begin to come to terms with it, and to begin to heal that part of our self that has been deeply wounded. Give yourself permission to begin this sacred healing through gentle noticing and deep awareness. You may be very surprised at the gems you find deep within your shadows.

About the Author:

Catherine VanWetter is a Holistic Family Healing Practitioner trained in a variety of healing techniques that help people find Inner Peace Through Generational Family Healing. She invites you to be gentle, compassionate, and courageous as you put down your weapon of choice and step into a field of Grace. Additional information on this and similar topics are available at Catherine’s website, blog and radio program “Inspirations of the Heart”. Catherine invites you to a complimentary copy of her Morning Meditation, Welcoming A New Day. All may be found at

Article Source: Embracing the Shadow – Inner Peace Tip by Catherine VanWetter

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A good, all-round book on the paranormal, parapsychology etc.

English: Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung ...

Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung in USA, published in 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how I missed this survey-style book while doing my doctorate on Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity. Looking through Daimonic Reality today, I was stuck by how it mirrors many of the ideas I’ve been interested in for almost three decades.

Harpur’s commentary may not be stunning but it’s above average.

The author seems a bit hard on Jung, especially in regard to synchronicity. Harpur says that Jung still adheres to an “inner” vs. “outer” worldview. And that his views about the acausality of synchronicity retain a “whiff” of mechanism because for Jung synchonicity is “organized” by an archetype (p. 155).

I picked up on this causality/acausality issue in my Ph.D. thesis on synchronicity (see Synchronicity and Poststructuralism pp. 162-163). But I cut Jung a bit more slack because I felt he had a difficult job to do, talking about synchronicity from 1928- 1961. Back then, Jung had to choose the right words and categories to be effective. So I think he was a bit of a postmodern, “selling” his concept to a largely skeptical audience. If we view it that way, Jung wasn’t so much limited or confused but rather, pioneering and shrewd. — MC


Archetype of the UFO – DVD review

Archetype of the UFO - Reality Films

Reality Films

Title: Archetype of the UFO
Genre: UFO, Paranormal, Metaphysics
Production Company: Reality Films

The depth psychologist Carl Jung once said that UFOs could be real but a good percentage of eyewitness accounts are likely projections from the collective unconscious.

Jung made this comment in the 1950s, a decade that saw a surge of UFO interest. Most UFOs at that time were portrayed as disc-shaped flying saucers. So Jung believed that the majority of UFO reports were projections of the mandala (a Sanskrit word for “circle”). In its own religious context, the mandala carries spiritual and cosmological meaning, but for Jung it is a basic psychological archetype.

Archetype of the UFO clearly borrows from Jung’s theories. For Jung, an archetypal image (like a flying saucer) points to physiological, cultural and spiritual aspects of the self. And as an archetype of wholeness, Jung describes the self as the center and circumference of a circle.

The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness (CW 12, par. 44).

Archetype of the UFO, however, doesn’t just summarize Jung’s ideas. It extends them to include current UFO theory and evidence.

This intelligent documentary explores diverse metaphysical issues often passed over by lesser lights within the realm of ET, UFO and paranormal research.

Emphasizing possible misinterpretations of so-called physical sightings, Archetype of the UFO concedes that in many cases there may be no difference between inner and outer ET/UFO encounters. So this DVD isn’t just about little green men and flying saucers. Our very beliefs about truth and reality are also questioned.

Most of the DVD features Nick Pope, a respected figure in UFO lore who’s appeared on CNN and other major networks. Pope and interviewer Philip Gardiner probe deep, compelling us to think about ETs, UFOs, mysticism, YouTube videos, disinformation, acclimatization, social power and the role of interpretation.

Some say we must make a course correction to save our planet in the 21st century. If so, Archetype of the UFO should be standard-issue for seekers on the brink of making unusual discoveries about the self, society and the beyond.



Perspectives on The Bhagavad Gita

As it Is by Jeremy

As it Is by Jeremy via Flickr

By Michael Clark

To kill or not to kill

Many say The Bhagavad Gita is the Hindu Bible. Among diverse Hindu scriptures, the Gita stands out as a unique gem, synthesizing several core aspects of Hinduism. At least, this is how enthusiasts talk about the Gita. Critics tend to see it as a misguided justification for violence.

The Gita belongs within the Mahabharata, an epic about two warring families. Because of its literary and philosophical sophistication, most scholars believe the Gita was added to the already existing Mahabharata around 450 BCE, approximately 500 years after the original epic was written (circa 1000 BCE).

When it comes to ancient texts, insertions like this are not unusual. Almost all contemporary biblical scholars say that diverse oral traditions and authors run though many Old Testament books formerly believed to be written by just one person.

The story of the Gita is pretty straighforward. The hero, Arjuna, of the virtuous Pandava family, is cheated out of his palace by the wicked Karauva family. As a result, the deity Krishna, seated at the back of Arjuna’s chariot, urges him to fight in a massive battle against the evil Karauvas. Because the Pandavas and Karauvas are kith and kin, the noble Arjuna hesitates when Krishna exhorts him to kill members of the Karauva side of the family.

In response to Arjuna’s hesitation, Krishna launches forth on a metaphysical discourse about sacred duty (dharma) and the immortality of the soul (atman). Krishna says Arjuna is justified in killing because it’s his sacred obligation as a member of the warrior caste (Kshatriya). As a Kshatriya he’s duty-bound to restore a moral balance perilously skewed by the Karauva’s evil ways.

On a metaphysical level, Krishna says that Arjuna would not really be killing because, at the deepest level, the soul is immortal. Arjuna’s spiritual ignorance makes him believe he’d be doing wrong by slaying the Karauvas. In fact, Krishna says physicality is an illusion spun by the web of maya (deception arising from ignorance). Krishna adds that Arjuna’s ignorance must be dispelled before he can attain the clear vision required to do the right thing–that is, to kill the Karauvas.

A psychological interpretation

Lord Krishna Speaks to Arjuna by His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada

Lord Krishna Speaks to Arjuna by His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada via Flickr

Don’t let this brief summary fool you. The Gita is not a mere outburst nor artistic representation of anger. Krishna forwards a detailed philosophical and religious argument advocating the physical killing of human beings. Taken literally, the Gita says killing human beings who disrupt the moral order is not just okay, it’s holy.

Some may agree with this stance, citing rough parallels like the Jewish Holy War, the Christian Just War and the Muslim jihad. Others find it deplorable.

Like any text, literary or not, the Gita must be interpreted. So forgetting the bellicose readings of the Gita, it seems more constructive to interpret the Gita on a psycho-spiritual level. This isn’t a novel approach. Several Indian thinkers have written about the psychological aspects of the Gita. In fact, the great champion of non-violence, Mohandas Gandhi, said the Gita was his favorite book, one that could untie any spiritual knot.

Gandhi’s notion of spiritual knots reminds us that the psyche can be complicated. Some psychologists say that the complexities of the psyche are genetically determined. Behaviorists, on the other hand, say the mind is conditioned by the environment. Most, however, take the middle way by highlighting nature and nurture.

But the analysis shouldn’t stop there. Many theologians from different religions believe that spiritual powers act on our personalities, a perspective often ignored within psychology.

Sri Ramakrishna and C. G. Jung

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa - Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore by Chetan Hegde M

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa – Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore by Chetan Hegde M via Flickr

The Indian holy man Sri Ramakrishna says that spiritual enlightenment entails a process of purification. This process is not always easy to endure. For Ramakrishna, the inferior aspects of the personality are purged through the mechanism of suffering.

Ramakrishna gives an analogy of rotten tomatoes. Old tomatoes rot faster, he says, when bashed up and thrown out the window. This might sound enigmatic but Ramakrishna’s analogy might be better understood if we compare it to Carl Jung’s work on psychological suffering within the context of alchemy.

Jung studied ancient and medieval alchemical practices and came to see alchemy as a process of inner transformation. He believed the alchemist’s desire to transform base metals into gold mirrored their psychological transformation. As metals are heated and transformed, the alchemist evolves psychologically.

Some alchemists, no doubt, were hucksters trying to scam zealous aristocrats searching for gold, but others were sincere. The true alchemist sought to create a mystical tonic to cure illness and ensure immortality. But this elixir came through prolonged boilings, just as psycho-spiritual purification entails suffering.

Jung’s view of alchemy parallels Ramakrishna’s take on the Gita because both point to a stormy and painful stage of personal growth.

As we journey through life, people and events tempt or irritate us. During moments of temptation or agitation our lesser qualities can arise. Some accept these personality aspects, leaving them unchanged. For these people it’s not degrading to express their animal – or perhaps evil – nature. It’s just natural, healthy and whole. By way of contrast, potential saints are consumed with the idea of eradicating lower personality traits. Some may even self-flagellate in an attempt to conquer sinful tendencies.

Most of us fall somewhere between those two extremes. Confronted with bad habits or irritating people, we can view that as an opportunity for reflection, knowledge and self-control.

Apostle Paul. Byzantine mosaic at the...

Apostle Paul. Byzantine mosaic at the cathedral of Monreale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A psychological interpretation of the Gita views much of life as a battlefield. We are often confronted with antagonistic influences, personalities and opinions. But life isn’t quite that simple. And a psychological interpretation of the Gita, while superior to a literal one, dwells on the abrasive side of human relationships.

However, disharmony is only half the story. Perhaps not even half. Conflicts will always arise. But other people can give us a lift and not just bring us down. And instead of hitting back when people hurt us, shouldn’t we try to overcome our pain and anger through understanding and compassion?

As Saint Paul says:

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2


The Balance of Male and Female Energy

Image via Tumblr

By Tony Fahkry

A Whole Mind Approach

In a recent discussion with a health professional, I was curious why a growing number of people seem to rationalise their health concerns via logic alone. Rather than examining the mental and emotional issues to their failing health, we both agreed that our teaching system educates us from an early age to rationalise the world through reason. Surely solving our problems at the level of the mind is the best approach – or is it?

In Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, the author argues that the future belongs to the artists and creatives among us, rather than the traditional left brain professionals like accountants, lawyers and computer programmers. He postulates that with the advent of the Information Age, left brain thinkers (logic) dominated the landscape for much of this period, as evident with the development of the internet.

What does this mean in the larger context? Pink suggests that left brain orientated jobs have moved off-shore in recent times to countries where labour rates are less expensive. Jobs that previously required analytical processing are now sourced to countries like India and China for far less than major countries. Creative jobs on the other hand have seen a rise in demand since they cannot be automated due to the specialisation of the creative process.

I find this discussion fascinating on a number of levels. Firstly, our society has been largely male dominated for a number of centuries. The heads of major countries continue to be led by men, although this is now beginning to change. We typically value the masculine energy, as evident by a recent documentary on television in view of the World Cup. It was revealed that in poorer areas of Brazil, parents have two wishes in life: that they be blessed with a boy as a child and that he can kick a soccer ball.

Having been raised in a Catholic Middle Eastern family, I still recall the voices of my parents and relatives filled with optimism when someone within the community gave birth to a baby boy. Even as a young male, the same relatives reinforced the image of a powerful archetypal male aligned with logic and reason.

The Balance of Energy

You might be interested to learn that in Eastern philosophy the body is considered to be balanced energetically in two halves, known as polarities – male (right side) and female (left side). This is also expressed as the Yin (female) and Yang (male) energy. The notable Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung wrote about the anima and the animus which are the two unconscious archetypes that each gender possess.

What are the distinct qualities of these respective energies? Well, the male energy is: protective, logical, analytical, and grounded in reason, action orientated and sets boundaries. This energy is depicted as air and fire elements. The female energy in contrast is: nurturing, listening, emotional, intuitive, perceptive, calm, empathetic and compassionate. This energy is depicted as earth and water elements. Note, I am not describing the differences between men and women. These qualities relate to the energetic relationship inherent in both sexes.

We all have male and female qualities, resulting in a harmonious union of balance. When we favour one energy over the other, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Nature therefore thrives on a sense of balance and equilibrium.

As stated earlier, our society values left brain thinking from an early age. Children are taught in school to examine and deduce the world through logic and reason. In contrast, the Steiner education model urges children to harness right brain thinking with a focus toward creative pursuits. Whilst criticism has been labelled at this method of teaching, Steiner children nonetheless mature with highly advanced emotional intelligence.

It was Daniel Siegel author of Emotional Intelligence who coined the term EQ (emotional intelligence) in the early nineties. His studies into EQ have shown that it is not one’s IQ which is the measure of success in life, rather their EQ. As an example, men are taught to disregard their feelings or alternatively ‘stuff them down’ since feelings are something women have. Therefore men have inadvertently associated strength and power with reason and logic much to the detriment of EQ.

Image via Tumblr

Integration over Separation

Similarly gender roles have been obscured in recent times, as evident through various movements which sought to liberate the sexes from periods of repression. These days, women find themselves competing with men for senior roles within the workforce, at a cost to their family life. Balancing career and family has become a challenge for working women.

One would have thought that the feminist movement liberated women from the need to play on the same level as men. Rather, women have felt compelled to compete with men by playing by their rules in order to get ahead in the corporate world. Albeit this is one minor example, yet it underscores the disconnect apparent when there is a separation of male and female energies.

In a similar context, men are encouraged to deny their intuition for fear that they’ll connect with their emotional self. Intuition and feelings are deemed irrational to men, since it is devoid of scientific evidence. Women on the other hand understand the importance of intuition. They know where intuition resides within their body and trust it well. It is no wonder that women make better leaders, since they have sought to develop both male and female qualities in their leadership roles.

My contention in this article is to highlight that the future lies in integration rather than separation i.e. uniting our male and female energies. The emphasis will be towards the union of our male and female energies in a holistic sense, much like the Eastern principle espouses.

Bruce Lipton PhD, author of Spontaneous Evolution notes that humanity is advancing forward into a new paradigm known as Holism; the union of spirit and matter. ‘The new science of holism emphasises that, in order for us to transcend the parts and see the whole, we must acquire an understanding of Nature and the human experience.’ I have purposely bolded the last sentence. If we are to seek happiness and fulfillment in our lives, we must be willing to work in harmony with nature or run the risk of being at her mercy.

Uniting with our male and female energies will allow us to seek balance in order to optimise our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Problems become apparent when we swing toward one direction over the other. When we favour our male energy, the female side is minimised causing a disruption in our life-force and resulting in physical and emotional ailments.

The key is to unite both male and female energies by regarding them as the wholeness of your being. In order to thrive mentally, emotionally and physically you will need to harness each energy force at respective times throughout your life.

Men and women can live together afterall – even under the one roof!

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If you enjoyed this article by Tony Fahkry, why not gain access to Tony’s full body of knowledge by getting a copy of his new book ‘The Power to Navigate Life’

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Ego, Archetype and Self: C. G. Jung and Modernity

The Temple of the Prim and a tribute to Carl Jung, who surely would have loved Second Life

The Temple of the Prim and a tribute to Carl Jung, who surely would have loved Second Life by Bettina Tizzy (aka Beverly Millson) via Flickr

This was written as a grad student at the University of Ottawa in 1993. Things have changed a lot since then. I tend to write simpler sentences and my beliefs have evolved. So I post this partly out of nostalgia, and partly for its sound presentation of Jung’s ideas.

When citing this essay please use one of the standard citation styles for online sources.


Elsewhere I have indicated that the work of C. G. Jung reveals his bent for constructing elaborate psychological theory on the basis of selective data. This charge was mingled with a somewhat reluctant admiration for the creation of a fictional system that seemed to surpass the usual, and I would add, artificial dictates of scientific rationalism. Like a political leader who after safely retiring exposes party corruption, Jung retrospectively concedes to being a myth maker in what was then, modern times.(1)

To continue from previous work, I will examine Jung’s concepts of ego, archetype and self to determine if the above charge of selectivity – not to preclude other potential difficulties – applies to these seminal components of his analytical model of the psyche.(2)

* * *

Jung speaks of ego as a highly continuous “complex of ideas which constitutes the centre of [one’s] field of consciousness”(3) Ego is also referred to as the “point of reference”(4) of the psyche; its partly biological inheritance is offset by unconsciously acquired material.(5) Ego is not the entire psyche, but, according to Jung, it has a monumental role in the regulation and maintenance of psychic balance.(6) To illustrate precisely what is balanced by the ego, we must examine Jung’s constructs of archetype and self.

Archetype. It sounds impressive: definite, timeless, metaphysical; Jung made an astute choice by modifying this essentially Platonic idea, providing a certain scholarly credibility to work that was quite avant-garde for the medical science of the time. While Jung had not fully developed a definition of archetype for entry into Psychological Types (where we find most of his terms described), a survey of various statements he makes about archetypes renders their character fairly clear.

Jung’s mature thought demarcates the archetypal image from the archetype proper. As a sort of crystal-lattice structure inherent in all nature,(7) and thus a bio-culturally transmitted content of humanity’s collective unconscious,(8 ) the essence of the archetype is not amenable to representation.(9) Of the numerous archetypal structures, their diversity is represented by so many archetypal images and ideas,(10) and is individually experienced with the evocation of corresponding feeling values, these sometimes taking the form of ‘magical’ heightened awareness.

This ‘luminous,’ ‘spiritual’ aspect of archetypal experience may be either healing or destructive for the overall psyche, depending on its relation to the ego.(11) When made conscious by the ego, the archetypal image is positive; if not encapsulated by ego consciousness, it may be regressive.(12) Yet we have seen that Jung stresses the archetype, itself, to not be accessible to representation. Elsewhere he says that it cannot reach ego consciousness.(13) Granted Jung introduces the archetypal images and ideas, we must still ask: if the extra feeling value of the archetypal image or idea originates from the archetype, how is ego unaware of that archetypal source which it ‘feels’?

An additional function of the archetype is to organize images and ideas.

Archetypes, so far as we can observe and experience them at all, manifest themselves only through their ability to organize images and ideas, and this will always be an unconscious process which cannot be detected until afterward.(14)

From this it seems that the archetypal images and ideas are productions of the hidden, secret aspect of the archetypes. Now according to Jung, the self – our final concept to be illustrated – is itself an archetype.(15) And here Jung seems to say that the self can be anything. If an archetype, then it has an unmanifest, invisible aspect that cannot be grasped. That is, part of our own self must be inaccessible to ourselves. But that is not all. The self is alternately described as the “sum total of conscious and unconscious contents,”(16) a “complexio oppositorium,”(17) and as the “psychic totality of the individual.”(18 ) I do not object to Jung describing the self as illimitable, I do object, however, to his use of the term individual. Individuals cannot all be infinite. There must be some mark of difference among them. And Jung seems to agree with me: he himself says that the unconscious part of the self “cannot be distinguished from that of another individual.”(19)

Lets untangle this mess, and in so doing, try to be fair to Jung. It seems the problem lies in his notion of self as a “psychic totality.” For Jung really offers a two-tiered model of the psyche. The conscious part is individual, the unconscious collective aspect is impersonal. Jung would have done better to dismiss the “totality” component of his definition of self. As he did not, however, “self” is ambiguous and indistinct from a strictly theoretical standpoint. Why call it self if indeed it is everyone?

As I am not one to admire muddled, confused systems, Jung’s primary mentor Freud might suggest that unduly punitive washroom socialization resulted in my fixation at the latter’s ‘anal stage’ of psychosexual development.(20) Such a psychoanalytic interpretation may not have been entirely dismissed by Jung. Part of his self includes the personal unconscious, yet for Jung and quite unlike Freud, the personal unconscious is “more or less superficial;”(21) and Jung would not necessarily have given a psychosexual etiology(22) to an obsession with order. In fact, Jung would most likely view the above paragraph as a temporary intrusion of the “trickster” archetype – a mildly evil, sometimes positive archetype – into my ego consciousness. Recall that as mediator that strives for psychic integrity (see top to endnote 12), ego must balance good and evil,(23) these polarities producing a tension that for Jung is a universal law.(24) So we see two differing analyses – Freudian and Jungian – which perhaps points more to the role of investigation and interpretation of a situation than to the supremacy of either model.(25) But perhaps not. It is possible that one system explains events better than another. And if in our uncertainty we choose to define theory as an approach to an ever-changing, relative ‘reality,’ as do anti-theorists Paul Feyerabend(26) and Jean Baudrillard,(see endnote 25) we cannot escape the fact that even anti-theory is a type of theory.

Jung calls all this intellectual diaphaneity ‘rationalistic twaddle’ and claims, as do his adherents, that the value of his system lies in its practical application. While academic analysis implicity and expressly states one should not dispense with critical reflection, Jung also does not advocate the abandonment of critique. As Naomi Goldenberg points out:

According to Jungian lore, Carl Jung once said he was glad to be Jung and not a “Jungian.” As Jung he could be a thinker who tested ideas and modified theories to fit maturing insights and experiences. As a Jungian he would be pressured into defending dogma and clutching to ideas which had outlived their utility.(27)

* * *

With the basic explication of ego, archetype and self complete, I will now offer a more intensive appraisal, recalling that to be critical is to assess the positive and negative aspects of a given truth-claim. For the last half of the paper I will reverse the order and first look at self, then archetype, and lastly, ego.

Jung says the self as archetype is represented by the mandala, a sanskrit term meaning ‘circle.'(28 ) Part of the self, as noted, cannot be represented. This “psychoid” aspect is “identical in all individuals.”(29) The act of representing the self, such as in the visual mandala, brings order to chaos(30) as the tension of opposites is, if not permanently, at least to some degree reconciled.(31) Because the mandala (self) may imprison or protect the individual (ego),(32) it is like the archetypal mother–it absorbs or nurtures. Thus the mandala is also said to parallel the mother archetype.(33)

But Jung takes the mandala out of context. For mandala is an eastern construct specifically designed to both represent and aid in the abolition of the ego. Mandala refers to that beyond ego; it does not include ego as suggested by Jung. For instance, Lama Anagarika Govinda notes that the Tibetan ‘Mandala of Highest Bliss’ is “a vehicle of an all-embracing, imperishable wholeness, in which the limits of individual egohood do not exist any more.”(34) Likewise, W. Y. Evans-Wentz says the ‘Mandala of Liberation’ entails a “gradual dispersion of the psychic or mental atoms of the…thought body.”(35) Prior to Buddhism, the Hindu mandala refers to each of the ten books of the Rig Veda, which collectively are designed to return one to an undifferentiated original state that apparently existed prior to such dualisms as life/death, real/unreal, good/evil and, I should add, self/ego.(36) As a symbol of self and its relation to ego, Jung could have equated mandala with the absorbing, yet not the nurturing aspect of his mother archetype. This self-mother-mandala triad provides an excellent example of unwarranted and selective cross-referencing within the exposition of Jung’s theory.

Previously I have argued that Jung confuses the asian atman with his definition of libido.(37) To complicate matters, Jung seems to equate atman with his concept of self.(38 ) Thus perhaps not in the way Jung constructs quaternities, we may draw from his work our own analogical foursome: self-mother-mandala-libido. What else will he add to the list?

Archetypes, as I have noted, have two faces. One face is forever turned away, essentially supramundane and inaccessible to women and men; the other expresses various healing and destructive images and ideas into mundane psychological reality. But archetypes need not take a human or animal form. For cohesiveness, we will look at Jung’s views on Ufos, specifically on flying saucers, for in their circular shape they may be likened to the mandala symbol. In this connection we should note that for Jung flying saucers were the quintessential Ufos(39) and something of a pop phenomenon in the 1950’s: the pre-Star Wars/Star Trek era of modernity in which Jung’s writings on the subject are located.(40)

In flying saucers, then, we have an archetype that Jung says, by virtue of its shape, is analogous to the mandala,(41) and by implication, the self.(42) Belief in, or dreams of the saucers, like any archetypal formation, represents a double-edged desire for individuation(43) in combination with a fear for personal destruction: Alien inhabitants of the saucer could be benevolent, benign or malicious. Likewise, the journey to mandalic totality (to use Jung’s selective interpretation) has potential danger in that immense and equally tumultuous psychic forces may be unleashed from the collective unconscious, which if not successfully integrated by consciousness, could lead to psychic ruin–recall the absorbing, also referred to as the ‘devouring’ mother archetype as the negative instance of the self.

If one, however, believed or dreamed of extraterrestrials as being neither helpful nor harmful, this for Jung would indicate a state of psychic stagnation–no loss nor advancement within the individuation process. And a belief or dream of pleasant aliens would suggest that one’s ‘yonder shore’ of the collective unconscious is about to guide the ego toward a new, more comprehensive ontology. I noted above that critique should be balanced, and here indeed we find a good example of Jung’s impressive ability to adapt his theoretical structures to the symbols and social imagination of his time. Not to imply that Jung is merely vying for popularity and personal recognition. His work is too thorough, thoughtful, and serious to be so summarily dismissed. But as suggested elsewhere, he also knew the professional legitimacy of his writing necessitated scrupulous selectivity; he thus displays great acumen for creating schematic ‘meaning’ out of a massive and diverse body of data, even if that data is liberally corralled into his analytic theory.(44)

This leads us to the problem of agency, identity and ego. Ego is said to emerge from the self; its relation to self is one of “moved to the mover.”(45) Although it may be subsumed by the archetypes, as in inflation, ego is also the real limit of the person.(46) Ego is not to be confused with the self; although Jung claims ‘ordinary’ persons, in ignorance, take ego as the entire psychological being. Not so for Jung. When ego is unaware of, or attempts to deny the self’s existence, the ‘sleeping giant’ of the unconscious(47) self may grumble mightily at any time. The result: psychic catastrophe.(48 ) That is, ego becomes assimilated by the self–a situation praised in eastern religious and cultural ideals, but not endorsed within the scientific materialism of western modernity.

Thus as mentioned at the outset, ego plays a tremendous role in Jung’s vision of the psyche. By balancing inner and outer realities, it serves to regulate both collective unconscious and collective conscious forces(49) (and implicitly, moral opposites of good and evil residing in the psyche and expressed in the sentiments and acts of external reality). Ego is, therefore, busy. So busy that Jung sees it as the high achievement of western humanity. Unlike the so-called ‘primitives,’ the egos of modern individuals are more differentiated and less luminous than those of their, as Jung would have it, cruder ancestors.(50)

Concerning luminosity and ego, two points should be made. First, Jung says even modern persons have egos surrounded by a “multitude of little luminosities.”(51) Their unconscious provides various shades and textures to ego consciousness. And considering everyone is variously configured as such, each possessing different ‘lights’ from the unconscious, we must ask how Jung is able to make sweeping statements regarding the ‘normal’ ego constitution of western women and men. To propose for the sake of argument two stereotypes, does an artist necessarily see and experience in the same manner as an astrophysicist? Jung would say no, of course.(52) While he humbly acknowledges being a lay-person and doctor who happens to be very well read, at times his lack of academic training (and rigour) shows. By analogy, Albert Einstein admits to being poor at math, and Jung’s achievement was perhaps made possible by the fact that he was not confined by corridors of acceptable thought. But in spite of this, certain unacceptable margins of vagueness and redundancy may be discerned in his writing.

Another issue to be raised concerning luminosity and ego is in their application to Jung’s so-called ‘primitives.’ Jung visited Africa and India, so unlike ethnocentrics such as Emile Durkheim – who never travelled to places written about – we would suspect him to be in a better position to understand the inhabitants of foreign societies. But right from the outset Jung envisions such ‘native cultures’ as possessing the stereotypical attributes of ‘primitive man,’ and while he shows some appreciation for indigenous cosmologies,(53) and even made some attempts to learn local languages prior to departures, he nevertheless seems to wear, as it were, his safari hat throughout his adventures into lands exotica. I mean to say, he never let his European side slip–perhaps because he truly showed tendencies towards racism.(54) Possibly Jung’s comments on the luminous primitive ego reflect in part his own fantasy world: a projection of Jung’s psychic contents to others.(55)

* * *

To conclude, in reviewing ego, archetype and self, it seems my suspicions have been further confirmed. Jung’s analogic method displays an almost artistic collage of seemingly related concepts; upon close and careful examination, however, we have seen that mandala is not taken in situ, but rather as Jung – consciously or unconsciously – chooses to portray it. Regarding Ufos, Jung provides a detailed psychological exposition after professing ignorance as to their actuality.(56) While he mentions (in passing) that exclusively psychological relationships to Ufos as archetypal images would not dismiss the possibility of genuine Ufos,(57) he nonetheless proceeds to systematically squelch any tinge of ambiguity as to the latter’s authenticity with an apparent certainty that makes us wonder: is Jung the open-minded investigator he claims to be, searching for knowledge on the basis of empirically demonstrable facts, or is he one of the truly great doctrinaires of modernity, holding fast to new dogma of his own design?

In all likelihood, he is probably both; and that, in Jung’s own fashion, would be consistent with the ‘unity of opposites’ motif postulated within his system. Whether such theoretical coherence arrived with or without ethical consequence remains open to various avenues of debate.(58 )


1) See my unpublished paper for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, “Plumbing the Depths: Carl Jung, Freud and Hinduism.”

2) Until the entirety of Jung’s work is studied, forwarded conclusions must be tentative. This critique is based mostly on C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vols. 1-11.

3) C. G. Jung, Psychological Types in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 6, 425.

4) C. G. Jung, Mandala Symbolism from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 717.

5) C. G. Jung, “Analytical Psychology and Education,” The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Vol. 17, par. 169, cited in Daryl Sharp, Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms and Concepts (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1991: 49).

6) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 563.

7) C. G. Jung, The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 8, 210.

8 ) C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 11, 50.

9) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 214. Jung seems to overlook the fact that the words he writes are a type of representation.

10) Ibid, 214.

11) Ibid, 205.

12) C. G. Jung, Civilization in Transition in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 10, 237.

13) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 213.

14) Ibid, 231.

15) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 156.

16) Ibid, 82.

17) Here Jung refers to dialectical opposites of, for instance, good and evil, masculine and feminine, hatred and love. Ibid, 443.

18 ) Ibid, 156.

19) Ibid, 277.

20) As in my previous paper, “Plumbing the Depths,” time restraints necessitate reference to Freud via secondary sources. In this case: Lectures on Psychoanalysis for undergraduate course conducted by Dr. Donald Carveth, 1981-1982, York University, Toronto.

21) C. G. Jung, Four Archetypes from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 3; Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 291.

22) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 349-350.

23) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 219.

24) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 197.

25) As an extreme anti-theorist, Jean Baudrillard comments that good theory should lose its own meaning when “pushed to its conclusion” at the “limits of the text.” Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault/Forget Baudrillard (New York: Semiotext( ), 1987: 38 ).

26) See, for example, Paul Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (London: Humanities Press, 1975).

27) Naomi R. Goldenberg, “Reply to Barbara Chesser’s Comment on ‘A Feminist Critique of Jung,'” Signs (Spring 1978): 724.

28 ) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 713.

29) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 436.

30) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 645.

31) Ibid, par. 637.

32) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 95-96.

33) Jung, Four Archetypes, par. 156.

34) Lama Anagarika Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism (New Delhi: B.I. Publications PVT Ltd., 1960: 166-171).

35) W. Y. Evans-Wentz ed., The Tibetan Book of the Dead, trans. Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960: 126, footnotes 1-3).

36) Troy Wilson Organ, Hinduism: Its Historical Development (London: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1974: 59, 76-77, 80).

37) Clark, “Plumbing the Depths,” 10.

38 ) C. G. Jung, Aion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/2, 144, 194, 222.

39) Jung briefly notes that he cannot determine the falsity or truthfulness of numerous Ufo accounts. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 309.

40) Star Wars and Star Trek introduced variously shaped interstellar crafts to the popular imagination.

41) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 325.

42) William McGuire & R. F. C. Hull eds., C. G. Jung Speaking, Bollingen Series XCVII (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977: 414).

43) Jung’s concept that refers to the goal of psychic totality, differentiation and socio-environmental confluence. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 258-259.

44) See Clark, “Plumbing the Depths,” 8-10.

45) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 259.

46) Ibid, 470.

47) Which is nonetheless conscious of itself.

48 ) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9, 24.

49) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 217-218.

50) Ibid, 189.

51) Ibid, 190.

52) In later work I will elaborate on Jung’s 4 by 2 model of the psyche, consisting of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, as well as introversion and extroversion.

53) Especially with the Pueblo Indians. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 211; and C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, revised, ed. Aniela Jaffé, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Vintage Books, 1961: 250).

54) For example, he believes individuals of all the colonies of England are “slightly inferior,” and that “there are facts to support this view” (in America, this being the psychological influence of the “lax, “childlike” and “inferior” blacks). Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 46-47, 121, 507-509).

55) We are indebted to Freud for the mechanism of projection; Jung also recognizes the primacy of projection and notes that archetypes are usually expressed through this process. Dr. Donald Carveth, Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 1981-1982, York University, Toronto; See also, C. G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 7, 95.

56) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 309.

57) He utilizes the concept of ‘synchronicity’ to account for this. Ibid, 313. Unfortunately it is beyond the scope of this paper to do justice to this pivotal component of Jung’s schema.

58 ) Jung’s theoretical extrapolations reveal not only racist, but strong sexist tendencies. While apparently progressive, saying women should be regarded on the basis of “merit not gender,” Jung also exemplifies the expected ‘men are men, women are “girls”‘ mentality of his day. Jung, The Collected Works, Vol.7, 25; and Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 286. Concerning his sexist views on rape, and for other examples of extreme sex-role stereotyping, see Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9/2, 15-17; and Jung, The Collected Works Vol. 10, 117-119. On marriage, he claims i) all women desire children and ii) are attracted only to one man while married men are naturally attracted to many women; at the same time, however, iii) women aim to “loosen” the marriage structure. Ibid, 101 (i), 42 (ii), 132 (iii). Jung also assumes all lesbians are interested and/or active in gender/political issues by categorizing lesbian love as a stimulus for women to organize for increased social empowerment. Ibid, 99. Lastly, Jung’s professional practice entailed having sex with at least two of his female clients. Naomi Goldenberg, “Looking at Jung Looking at Himself,” Soundings, 73/2-3 (Summer/Fall 1990): 395.

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


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