Another week, another steaming heap of donkey dookie from Entropic.
Originally Posted by Entropic
And I know, I know... if you're true to form, you may well reply to this post by telling me I "misunderstood" what you said — maybe at least partly because my own thinking is "so fucking literal it HURTS" (as you once said).
Well, just in case any other reader might be misled, either because they made the mistake of taking your words "literally" or because they made the mistake of thinking you knew what you were talking about, pardon me while I "clarify" a few things for them.
First off, Jung wrote about our "collective unconscious," rather than our "collective unconsciousness."
And Jung didn't think there was anything "supernatural" (or "borderline supernatural") about the collective unconscious. You say that "Jungian cognition" involves a view that the functions "are at their root, not generated by our minds as they are generated by our connection to the collective unconsciousness, which affects our minds" — as if the "collective unconsciousness" was some kind of "borderline supernatural" thing outside of us whose cosmic influences we were somehow "connected to."
Well, FYI... or rather, for the information of anybody else who might have been misled by your post... Jung thought the collective unconscious was very much a part of our minds, and that it was part of our minds for the same reason fingernails were part of our fingers — namely, because of evolution. As he explained in Psychological Types:
The unconscious, considered as the historical background of the human psyche, contains in concentrated form the entire succession of engrams (imprints) which from time immemorial have determined the psychic structure as it now exists. These engrams are nothing other than function-traces that typify, on average, the most frequently and intensively used functions of the human psyche. They present themselves in the form of mythological motifs and images, appearing often in identical form and always with striking similarity among all races. ...
In so far as the subjective factor has, from the earliest times and among all peoples, remained in large measure constant, elementary perceptions and cognitions being almost universally the same, it is a reality that is just as firmly established as the external object. If this were not so, any sort of permanent and essentially unchanging reality would be simply inconceivable, and any understanding of the past would be impossible. In this sense, therefore, the subjective factor is as ineluctable a datum as the extent of the sea and the radius of the earth. By the same token, the subjective factor has all the value of a co-determinant of the world we live in, a factor that can on no account be left out of our calculations. It is another universal law, and whoever bases himself on it has a foundation as secure, as permanent, and as valid as the man who relies on the object. ...
The introverted attitude is normally oriented by the psychic structure, which is in principle hereditary and is inborn in the subject. ... The psychic structure is the same as what Semon calls "mneme" and what I call the "collective unconscious." The individual self is a portion or segment or representative of something present in all living creatures, an exponent of the specific mode of psychological behaviour, which varies from species to species and is inborn in each of its members. The inborn mode of acting has long been known as instinct, and for the inborn mode of psychic apprehension I have proposed the term archetype.
Fifteen years later, in The Concept of the Collective Unconscious (1936), Jung explained:
The collective unconscious is a part of the psyche which can be negatively distinguished from a personal unconscious by the fact that it does not, like the latter, owe its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition. While the personal unconscious is made up essentially of contents which have at one time been conscious but which have disappeared from consciousness through having been forgotten or repressed, the contents of the collective unconscious have never been in consciousness, but owe their existence exclusively to heredity. ...
The concept of the archetype, which is an indispensable correlate of the idea of the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere. Mythological research calls them "motifs"; ... and in the field of religion they have been defined ... as "categories of the imagination." ... From these references it should be clear enough that my idea of the archetype — literally a pre-existent form — does not stand alone but is something that is recognized and named in other fields of knowledge.
My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature, ... there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.
Medical psychology ... insists on the personal nature of the psyche. ... Nonetheless, even this psychology is based on certain general biological factors, for instance on the sexual instinct or on the urge for self-assertion, which are by no means merely personal peculiarities. ... Neither of these views would deny the existence of a priori instincts common to man and animals alike. ... Moreover, the instincts are not vague and indefinite by nature, but are specifically formed motive forces which, long before there is any consciousness, ... pursue their inherent goals. Consequently they form very close analogies to the archetypes, so close, in fact, that there is good reason for supposing that the archetypes are the unconscious images of the instincts themselves, in other words, that they are patterns of instinctual behavior.
The hypothesis of the collective unconscious is, therefore, no more daring than to assume there are instincts. ... So ... it seems to me that a normally functioning intelligence can discover in this idea just as much or just as little mysticism as in the theory of instincts. Although this reproach of mysticism has frequently been levelled at my concept, I must emphasize yet again that the concept of the collective unconscious is neither a speculative nor a philosophical but an empirical matter.
So... wheras your post said that "there is no way one can for example pragmatically prove the existence of the collective unconsciousness and his idea of archetypes because they are purely ideological in the philosophical sense"; and that "the functions are at their root, not generated by our minds as they are generated by our connection to the collective unconsciousness which affects our minds and while the former can be studied, the latter not so much" — Jung in fact explicitly rejected that "reproach of mysticism," and insisted that "the concept of the collective unconscious is neither a speculative nor a philosophical but an empirical matter," and that the archetypes, like an animal's instincts, were hereditary products of evolution that could be "empirically" studied.
You also said that Jung "derived a lot of his thinking based off alchemy and the esoteric and Jung thought of himself as an alchemist," but that's highly misleading, to say the least. Jung made extensive studies of historical belief systems of various kinds — from myths and religions to alchemy and astrology, and it was his view that there were lots of characters, structures and other elements that tended to be common to many of these belief systems. He studied alchemy extensively at one point, not because he thought it was literally going to teach him how to convert other metals to gold — or because, as you goofily asserted, he "thought of himself as an alchemist" — but because he thought the elaborate alchemical "mythology" was a rich source of material reflecting aspects of our collective unconscious.
He studied astrology largely for the same reason, and referred to it as "a naively projected psychology in which the different attitudes and temperaments of man are represented as gods and identified with planets and zodiacal constellations." He explained that "the starry vault of heaven is in truth the open book of cosmic projection, in which are reflected the mythologems, i.e., the archetypes. In this vision astrology and alchemy, the two classical functionaries of the psychology of the collective unconscious, join hands." And also: "Astrology has actually nothing to do with the stars but is the 5000-year-old psychology of antiquity and the Middle Ages."
It's true that Jung had a pretty strong mystical streak, and I'd agree that, over the course of his long career, he also made some statements that indicate that he was open to the idea that astrological forces might exert some kind of influence over human affairs — but he clearly didn't subscribe to any kind of established astrological personality typology, and the typology he presented in Psychological Types was very much not based on the idea of supernatural astrological (or alchemical) forces shaping our personalities.
You say that Jung "derived a lot of his thinking based off alchemy and the esoteric" and that Jung's functions were "based off the Greek elements and the four humors." But in a 1931 article included in the Collected Works edition of Psychological Types, Jung discussed those "age-old" typologies — and dismissed them as unacceptable as tools for modern psychological analysis. As Jung explained:
From earliest times attempts have been made to classify individuals according to types. ... The oldest attempts known to us were made by oriental astrologers who devised the so-called trigons of the four elements — air, water, earth, and fire. ... Closely connected with this ancient cosmological scheme is the physiological typology of antiquity, the division into four temperaments corresponding to the four humours. ... As is well known, this typology lasted at least seventeen hundred years. As for the astrological type theory, to the astonishment of the enlightened it still remains intact today, and is even enjoying a new vogue.
This historical retrospect may serve to assure us that our modern attempts to formulate a theory of types are by no means new and unprecedented, even though our scientific conscience does not permit us to revert to these old, intuitive ways of thinking. We must find our own answer to this problem, an answer which satisfies the need of science.