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Collective Unconscious

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Synonyms

Archetypes; Autonomous psyche; Objective psyche

Definition

The “collective unconscious” is a distinct, central, and unique conception in Jung’s psychology for it is that part of the unconscious with which humanity is born and which contains “the totality of all archetypes” (Jung 1931/1991: 157).

Introduction

In extending his conception of the unconscious from that which had been gained through his initial collaboration with Freud, Jung in his early career began to see that a “rationally explicable unconscious” is only a top layer, the material in which has been made unconscious artificially (e.g., through repression). He went on to call this the “personal unconscious,” beneath which he says is an “absolute unconscious which has nothing to do with our personal experience.” This is what Jung called the “collective unconscious” which can operate independently of the conscious mind “untouched – and perhaps untouchable – by personal experience” (Jung 1931/1991: 148).

The objective...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1367
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References

  • Jung, C. G. (1921/1989). Psychological types, CW (Vol. 6). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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  • Jung, C. G. (1929/1993). Freud and psychoanalysis, CW (Vol. 4). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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  • Jung, C. G. (1931/1991). The structure and dynamics of the psyche, CW (Vol. 8). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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  • Jung, C. G. (1940/1990). The psychology of the child archetype. In The archetypes and the collective unconscious, CW (Vol. 9i, pp. 149–181). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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  • Jung, C. G. (1963/1990). Memories, dreams and reflections. London: Flamingo.

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Correspondence to John Merchant .

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Merchant, J. (2020). Collective Unconscious. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1367

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