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FAQs about Jung

The year was 1982... and as I sat quietly in a graduate psychology class, "Theories of Personality," my favorite professor, a somewhat noted “cognitive behaviorist,” was methodically working his way through the various "cognitive" theories of personality as put forth by theorists such as Bandura, Epstein, Eysenck, and others.

Toward the end of his lecture, I made the egregious error of asking my much admired mentor where God and/or the direct experience of God might fit into these theories of the human psyche?

Nope! My naively asked question was not in any way meant to entrap or embarrass my professor. At the time, I was still relatively clueless about the ideas of Carl Jung (and even more clueless about astrology). However, in my own studies, I was still hip deep in looking for the possibility of there being a "legitimate" way to fit God into the equation of the human psyche.

I'd asked my much admired professor this question specifically because I knew him to be a religious man. However, as it was leaving my lips, I belatedly discovered that this question had thrown my professor a curve. Momentarily speechless, the room was suddenly filled with a strange awkward silence.

It was immediately apparent that my professor's "map of the psyche" had no place for God and/or the direct experience of God. I further believe, because the professor was personally rather fond of me as a student, he was bravely trying to resist making any disparaging comments about my naive question. As quickly as I could, I rattled off something obtuse so that he could go on with and complete his lecture in peace.

Looking back on it all… I have to smile a little. One of the primary researching psychiatrists my professor often sited was H. J. Eysenck. Dr. Eysenck was at the time attached to the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London. As a cognitive psychology researcher, Eysenck had begun publishing in noted psychiatric journals the rather "radical" idea that some personality traits might be "genetic" (inborn) in nature, rather than learned.

What I didn't know, at the time, was that Dr. Eysenck had also just finished the writing of two books: Exploring the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal and Astrology: Science or Superstition. I've often wondered what my professor thought if and/or when he discovered and then possibly read those two books...

It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today, I am frequently asked by university students why Jung's theories of the psyche still so often get "short sheeted" in their psychology class discussions. I only wish I had a satisfying answer.

Getting Started
There is no clean, simple, and systematic way to introduce someone to the psychological theories of Jung. Or, perhaps, if there is a clean, simple, and systematic way to go about doing it - I haven't figured it out, yet... and it's especially not going to be possible in a few short pages on the subject.

Regrettably, Jungian psychology is a messy, complicated, and complex "animal." Jung, himself, never sat down and wrote out a 1, 2, 3 systematic explanation of his theories. This was due, much in part, to the fact that Jung always meant for his theories of the psyche to be a continually living, growing "work in progress."

If Jung had somehow managed to live long enough to have his own personal web site, then he would have likely had one of those notorious "Site Still Under Construction" disclaimers.

If, however, Jung did have his own web site, then the questions I'm about to address would likely have been under his FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

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Home > Unus Mundus > FAQs Jung

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