Thursday, May 16, 2013

Carl Jung: the Collective Unconsciousness and UFOs

I recently finished reading Gary Lachman's book, Jung the Mystic.  Lachman has an interesting take on Carl Jung's hidden side of psychology and takes his readers on a fascinating biographical journey that looks at Jung's struggles to self identify in the world of psychoanalysis, yet unconsciously attempting to define his place in an ultimate universe of knowledge, the collective unconscious.

Jung appeared to morph over time from Protestant, Psychiatrist, Gnostic, Guru, etc.  Lachman details Jung's struggles with these internal mental constructs as he attempted to hold on to the label of scientist while publicly denying the role of mystic.  It appears that Jung may have been an empiricist in the beginning, but slowly drifted away towards the mystic...paranormal.

 Lachman further explores Jung's concepts of the collective unconscious  archetypes, and synchronicity which like his mentor, Freud, appeared to center around the interpretations of dreams.  Freud's interpretation of the human psyche centered around sexual gratification and identity, Jung disputed the Freudian premise and focused on the psyche as a primordial identity defined by ones ancestral culture.  One wonders if Jung was attempting to describe the psychology of the human genome. 

Jung's movements outside the box of psychoanalytic thought would eventually drive a wedge between himself and Sigmund Freud.  Jung was seen as the future of Freudian thought and Freud's number one acolyte.  Jung's "outlandish" thoughts for that time period and his self-induced psychotic break would lead to Freud's public demand that Jung undergo extensive psychoanalysis, under Freud's guidance of course.  Jung ignored Freud thus securing the break and the rest is history.

Later in the 1950s, Jung would look into the UFO phenomena writing his book, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky, published in 1958.  According to Lachman:

"Jung argued that whatever their phyical reality, and Jung seemed to be of two minds on this, the strange circular flying shapes that had been reported for the last decade...were "projections" of the modern psyche's need for meaning, an expression of mass hunger for wholeness.  They were in short, mandalas from outer space."

By the time that Jung was looking into the UFO phenomena, the world was gripped in the Cold War which Jung described as "global schizophrenia." 

"...these mass sightings suggested that a collective shift in the human consciousness was on the way..."

Lachman goes on to state that most UFO researches at the time rejected that the UFO phenomena was a mere projection of the unconscious.

In past postings, I've been attempting to delve in the psychological aspects of UFOs.  What does it really mean?  One has to wonder if it's society's psychological push back against an ever changing world that is in conflict with our respective cultures and belief systems.  Can the UFO be a mental construct, or the symptom of a change in paradigms that's been in the making for the past 60 years?

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for those interested in Jung's "other" theories and for that matter, Jung's "other" side. 

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