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Senate The collective unconscious

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by SuperWatto, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Since we're still here anyway...

    I have been working on a project about Carl Jung, revolving around his ideas about the 'collective unconscious'. A knowledge system shared by all people, unaware. Joseph Campbell's ideas about 'the hero's journey' were derived from this, as the collective unconsciousness is postulated to bring forth the archetypes that accompany the hero on its journey (the wise old man, the shadow, the anima).

    [IMG]
    The collective unconscious bra

    All very fascinating, but... is it true?
    Do we share unconscious archetypes, and have we been doing so since forever?
  2. beezel26 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 7
    Myths and legends are the prime example of archetypes. Why cause deep down heroes and villains are us. Plus we need something to entertain ourselves around the fire. You know before the JCC.
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  3. darth-calvin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2002
    star 1
    I would think that the collective unconscious is more likely based on the shared evolution of human instinct. Does Jung make a distinction between the two? I would not consider that "psychic" necessarily.

    After that, I believe there is a collective unconscious that is constantly being learned and adapted from birth through social interaction (things like gender roles and ethical behavior).My guess is that this would increase as a person is introduced to more people and more forms of media and they discover more common denominators for people like themselves.

    I find this topic interesting. We often hear people comment about inventions or stories that they claimed were "stolen" from them. (Not really that they were actually stolen necessarily, but that they had a similar idea before the invention came out.) Is there a way to actually tap into a collective unconscious, or is it just that as a society we have so many shared experiences that duplication is bound to happen? For example, if thousands of people found that eating the skin of apples was annoying then wouldn't just be a matter of time before someone invented a peeler? And perhaps many people thought of inventing something similar but just never acted on it.
  4. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I've read Synchronicity a few times(and listened to the album hundreds. :p)

    I've thought about Jung before while selling. I'm in retail and it amazes me how colors and other specific features of items go in buying waves. You can have no interest in a particular feature and then bam, a sudden wave of folks. Then nothing again.

    I've wondered if this is part of the collective unconscious Jung talked about or just simple circumstance and buying trends. Some of it is very specific though.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Jan 6, 2014
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  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    The concept of synchronicity is even weirder.

    But I think the shared impulses you both refer to belong to the notion of the Group Mind, which is not Jungian but a New Age or science fiction variation, in which ideas are just in the air, and you can pluck them. Not saying this is not true, it's just a different concept - the collective unconscious, as far as I understand, combines stuff that our ancestors have experienced. A repository of human reflections and emotions throughout time. This would be expressed in dream and delirium; the elements witnessed would be manifestations of age-old archetypes.
  6. darth-calvin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2002
    star 1
    I don't know, to me synchronicity seems more like the natural human compulsion to find meaning in chaos and a tendency toward superstition.

    I'm not sure how you could prove that archetypes aren't, in actuality, just learned from one's environment early on. From the very beginning of life people have a nurturer.

    In a way, human instinct developed through evolution meets this definition, or is close enough for me to think it is easily confusable. However, I have not really looked into the concept thoroughly.
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  7. Moviefan2k4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    Isn't the correct term "subconscious"? I keep hearing "unconscious" used in its place all the time, but I thought that word only described sleep and being knocked out.
  8. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    From a psychologist...

    Unconscious is the term usually used in Psychology to refer to the thoughts we have that are 'out of reach' of our consciousness. A traumatic childhood event that we repress is an example, but it doesn't have to be so serious as this. It could be something very distant like a memory that we can't 'pull out' at our choosing. It's there, but we can't remember it no matter how hard we try. Certain psychoanalytical methods can bring back these memories (such as hypnosis) and can also be triggered by an event (a scent, a familiar place etc).
    The important point to remember here, is that we cannot, by choice, remember anything in our unconscious without some special event or technique. This is the unconscious.

    The sub-conscious is almost the same, but the very major difference is, we *can* choose to remember. Sub-conscious is used far too often (erroneously) to mean unconscious. It's simply not the case, and you'll find that in Psychology the topic of the unconscious of *far* more prevalant (and important for study) than that of the sub-conscious. The sub-conscious is for example the part of your mind that let's you remember your phone number. Before reading this, you were not conscious (thinking right now) of your phone number, but should I ask you for it, you're able to bring it to the conscious level by pulling it from your sub-conscious. The person who told you your phone number for the first time has perhaps faded from memory. It may still be in there somewhere, but it's something you can't remember (maybe), and if so, this is in your unconscious mind. So there you have it.
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    It's either the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy or Spacetime. Or something inbetween.

    What Jung and Campbell consider proof is the similarities among rituals, stories and symbols among different cultures that have not been in contact with each other for millennia.
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    We have our inherited primate brain. The human brain is just a linearly scaled up version of a chimp brain, so any instinctive emotional traits such, as, say, a fear of spiders and snakes, would have come with the package. To me the similarity among rituals is a consequence of the durability traditions passed down through generations from a common ancestor or group, the leakage of tradition between groups which is likely as old as trade and commerce itself, as well as the plain old commonality of the human condition. Wherever we are, humans tend to have the same problems, the same needs, the same aspirations. There's no need for a collective unconscious to explain it.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 7, 2014
  11. darth-calvin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2002
    star 1
    I guess I would expect to see a lot of similarities for two reasons. First, there are two theories of population bottlenecks in humanity. The Toba volcanic eruption that occurred around 70,000 years ago is thought to have possibly reduced the human population to about 10,000. A more recent theory suggests that the human population may have hovered around 2000 or so in Africa for tens of thousands of years before the stone age in Africa. If either of these are true then it makes sense to me that concepts such as archetypes (which are powerful and enduring because of their very basic and easily relatable nature) are similar among all cultures because they are passed down from each generation to the next, from one small initial group. Variations are added over time as tribes split off and reinterpretations given, but they are based on something given to them from their ancestors.

    Edit: Or, what he said above in a more succinct manner. Just saw that :)

    Second, I think that there are environmental reasons why even completely separate cultures would develop many similarities. Early humans had to fear predators such as lions and alligators so I would expect monsters to be a common motif in rituals, stories and symbols. Snakes seem to be commonly represented in every early civilization I can think of. Is this because of a collective unconscious or because snakes bites can kill and they are found on every habitable continent? Similarly, I would expect every culture would have symbolic figures representing darkness because from our earliest times darkness was something to fear, due to predators (instinctual learning passed down through evolution). Figures of light would be revered for the opposite reason. How many sun gods are there? Finally, I believe that the limited capacity for clear communication early in our development required symbolic representations that would best be expressed in archetypes. In short, I think there is far more sociological evidence to explain similarities among cultures.


    fear of the dark or things associated with the dark would make sense too A meteor streaking across the sky History was passed down as folk lore or basic draw
    Last edited by darth-calvin, Jan 7, 2014
  12. darth-calvin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2002
    star 1
    Sorry for my mess above. I was posting super fast today as the plumber was visiting :)
  13. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6

    You are right. Jung is deeper and near metaphysical. I should have prefaced my observations by saying these trends I see might just be a small part of some collective decision-making surfacing instead of that it was synchronicity. It's just something Ive noticed over the years and could just be chalked up to people bombarded with ads, logos, jingles, etc. That could create buying "moods".

    It's all just something I'm fascinated by.

    It goes back to the dream-state. Jung did talk about that too. I've often wondered about dream-types. Falling, running in place away from something we can't get away from dreams are common(we've all had the dream of running away from Bigfoot on a bike chasing us and we can't run away right? right? [face_worried] )
    Last edited by ShaneP, Jan 8, 2014