Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

13.6: A Final Note on Carl Jung

  • Page ID
    12262
  • It can be something of a challenge to view Jung’s work as psychological. It lends itself more readily to, perhaps, the study of the humanities, with elements of medieval pseudo-science, Asian culture, and native religions (an odd combination, to be sure). With titles such as Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self (Jung, 1959c) and Mysterium Conjunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy (Jung, 1970), Jung is not exactly accessible without a wide range of knowledge in areas other than psychology. Alchemy was of particular interest to Jung, but not in terms of turning base metals into gold (alchemy is a strange mixture of spirituality and chemistry). Rather, Jung believed that psychology could find its base in alchemy, and that it was the collective unconscious that came forth in the ongoing human effort to understand the nature of matter (Jaffe, 1979; Jung, 1961; Wehr, 1989). He even went so far as to write about flying saucers, the astrological seasons of time, and the prophesies of Nostradamus (Jung, 1959c; Storr, 1983).

    And yet, Jung addressed some very important and interesting topics in psychology. His theory of psychological types is reflected in trait descriptions of personality and corresponding trait tests, such as Cattell’s 16-PF and the MMPI. The value Jung placed on mid-life and beyond, based largely on the ancient Vedic stages of life, suggests that one is not doomed to the negative alternative in Erikson’s final psychosocial crises. So Jung’s personal interests, and his career as a whole, straddled the fence between surreal and practical. He may always be best-known for his personal relationship with Freud, brief as it was, but the blending of Eastern and Western thought is becoming more common in psychology. So perhaps Jung himself will become more accessible to the field of psychology, and we may find a great deal to be excited about in his curious approach to psychodynamic theory.