Collective Unconscious

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Collective Unconscious

Postby Sevens » Sat Jul 19, 2003 6:27 pm

One of the many pioneering theories Carl Jung unraveled was that of a collective unconscious: a unifying sub-atomic field in our psyche. His discovery was prompted by numerous psyche patients with little or no education producing profoundly complex visions while in the dream state, visions which corresponded all-too-well with different world mythologies. Jung draws a simple conclusion to explain the phenomena: if our bodies have endured the evolutionary process, why not our minds as well? Stored deep within our psyche is a remarkable myth making tool that finds it spontaneous outlet in dreams, dreams that all-too-often go completely unnoticed. This phenomenon poses the question, "Could new scientific discoveries be achieved by studying the psyche with the collective unconscious in mind?" What if the key to discovering the origin of our universe lies deeply embedded in each one of us? Could science tap into the dream producing region of our brain and extract new mythologies for examination?
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Postby Skeptic » Sat Jul 19, 2003 10:28 pm

One of the many pioneering theories Carl Jung unraveled was that of a collective unconscious: a unifying sub-atomic field in our psyche.

I don't know that I would agree with your definition of the collective unconsious.
Collective Unconscious - In Jungian psychology, a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people, or all humankind, that is the product of ancestral experience and contains such concepts as science, religion, and morality.

Personally, I see the Collective Unconsious as more anthropological (external social input) than innate(internally accessed). I'm not sure exactly whether Jung was suggesting a innate or anthroplogical link between mankind, but it is obvious that we all have very similar DNA, biological and neurophysiological similarities that unite us in our journey throughout life. This, in turn, lead us to similar desires, experiences, and beliefs. Returning to your theory conscerning mythologies, take for instance the many similarities between religions. Why is this so? It seems to me that you are suggesting these similarities as evidence that we are coming closer and closer to understanding the ultimate truth buried deep with in our unconscious. But what if it were really just the many anthropological factors and basic human desire for an ultimate truth that creates this phenomena?

Sevens wrote:Jung draws a simple conclusion to explain the phenomena: if our bodies have endured the evolutionary process, why not our minds as well?

I agree, but the explanation is not as complex as you make it out to be. We inherit our personal perspectives, from our societies, our current scientific paradigms, and our personal upbringing. The collective unconsious is entirely explained by anthropological factors.

So to your final question,
Sevens wrote:Could new scientific discoveries be achieved by studying the psyche with the collective unconscious in mind?

Again, I would disagree. There is nothing new to discover in the collective unconsious, as it is no more than a compilation of our cultural and social histories.
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself,
"Where the heck is the ceiling?!"

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:24 am

--- If the phenomena of the collective unconscious exists, and it is primarily anthropological, how does one further account for the same visions throughout different world mythologies as alluded to by Sevens?
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Skeptic » Mon Jul 21, 2003 6:05 am

Good point Marshall! I kind of avoided the main question. :D

Sevens wrote:His discovery was prompted by numerous psyche patients with little or no education producing profoundly complex visions while in the dream state, visions which corresponded all-too-well with different world mythologies.


Yes, in this case, I can not really imply an anthropological influence. Similarly, Hellen Keller as a test subject would provide similar findings. When finally able to communicate with the outside world, she was told of the abstract concept of God. Immediately she understood what they were talking about and said she had her own encounters with God prior to her breakthrough into the outside world. So this brings up the question, where did she develop such a concept if she had not learned it from society? Does this mean that there truly is a God? Many religious people took this to heart as undeniable evidence; however, I can only see this as the psychological need for a higher purpose in this crazy mixed up reality that we all must endure. The three big questions that we have seen throughout history in every culture: Where did I come from? What am I doing here? and Where am I going?

For some reason, our brains are wired to ask these questions and, in turn, mythologies have been manifested to satisfy this horribly frustrating thirst for purposeful existence. It is the plague of the homo-sapien life form, and sometimes makes me wish that I could regress to the life of my dog, who asks no questions and needs no more to be satisfied than the bare necessities of life.

So the question of whether there is anything of significant value buried deep with in our unconscious, seems a dead end road from my perspective. Nothing there but the cobwebs of our previous experiences.
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself,
"Where the heck is the ceiling?!"

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:23 am

--- If we regressed to the dogs perhaps we would live in a barrel like diogenes as cynic goes back to the Greek for dog!
--- I recently heard a preacher on TV talk about how scientists had discovered the God portion of the brain. I agree with you. The hankering after a deity may have some biological basis and as evidenced by Jung, Joseph Campbell and others, very similiar mythologies have arisen in differing parts of the globe, in some cases there was communication between two civilizations, in some cases not. So much of this goes back to that nature vs. nurture thing...
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Spontaneous Mandala

Postby Sevens » Mon Jul 21, 2003 4:26 pm

Skeptic wrote:So the question of whether there is anything of significant value buried deep with in our unconscious, seems a dead end road from my perspective. Nothing there but the cobwebs of our previous experiences.


This perspective would hold definite value for the personal strata of our unconscious mind, but what about the more universal sector? An illustration: Many of Jung's patients would spontaneously produce intricate designs in the form of circular patterns with no a priori knowledge of there existance. After examining various paintings completed by his patients, Jung was mystified by the depth of similarity. So, Jung grabs a trusty religious resource text and begins searching for any occurance of the mysterous design. What Jung finds is remarkable: The circular patterns have their historical and religious origin in Buddhist India circa 1500 B.C. From what Jung could decipher, the patterns were known as "mandalas" and represented the unification of the universe from within. How does a farmer from Ireland produce mandalas?

Farmers from Ireland is beside my current point, but still pretains somewhat to my previous post. What really intrigues me personally is the fact that the concept of a mandala had to have its origin somewhere, well, every scientific discovery for that matter. Interestingly enough, most scientific discoveries occur in a flash of intution. Newton is hit on the head with an apple (true or not, it makes a pretty graphic illustration) and up pops another piece of the cosmic puzzle. Newton's intution must have risen up from his unconscious mind. Or did it rise up from within the collective unconscious mind, like the intensely complex geometric mandala figure?

True, Newton had the genetic disposition to be able to comprehend his findings. But maybe genetics plays a role in the picture. What if genetic creative intelligence was really just the ability of the scientist/philosopher/artist to access generally untapped resources of his and our collective mind? Another curious phemonenon is the fact that whenever a major scientific breakthrough occurs, it is generally found to have occured at two different locations in the world at roughly the same time. Hmm. A collective occurance, indeed. So, to answer directly Skeptic's ponderings, I and Jung believe that the mysterious resources of the unconscious mind are as infinite as the universe. For if the cosmic mind houses all of the universe, it would have to be infinite.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Tue Jul 22, 2003 5:48 am

--- Now scientists are starting to realize the power of the subconscious mind. That athletes go into a Zen trance while competing for example. The subconscious is much older and more silent.
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Qzxtvbzr » Thu Jul 24, 2003 5:36 pm

Collective Unconscious is a fun concept... I partially believe in it yet I'm hesitant to latch on. In a Lincoln-Douglas debate last year someone threw it at me and I tore it apart, but then I used it to my advantage quite effectivly the next round... I really don't know much about psychology, though.

In the kuji kiri, meditations involved in the art of ninjuitsu, it claims what certain "majical insigns" compounded with knitting the hands triggers and unconscious reaction resulting in changes in blood pressure, acidity or alkalinity in the blood, heartbeat, perception and sensory functions, and well as violent reactions others if used upon them (paralysis, or unconsciousness among them). I don't know how true that is. The kuji kiri is very interesting reading, however for anyone who is interested. Someone pointed out that it seems to parallel raja yoga. I drew a parellel to merkaba meditations as well. I don't know if that's very on topic but I figured I'd throw it in, it seems to be in the ballpark at least.
No paragraph breaks in your post? tl;dr.
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