“Usually in life one is either looking forward to the future or backward to the past, so that it is seldom that one says to oneself, ‘What a glorious time i am having”. But I can recall that very often this thought came to me as i walked past the old grey buildings.”
Referring to college:
“I was at this time a Conservative, but id not take any active part in politics. I never belonged to any political club. There were also a number of societies seeking support from undergraduates , especially in the religious field, but I was not attracted though a number of my closest friends belonged to them.”
“My elder brother, Tom, was an architect and a great reader of Ruskin and Morris. I too admired these great men and began to understand their social gospel. My brother was helping at the Maurice Hostel in the near-by Hoxton district of London. Our reading became more extensive. After looking into many social reform ideas – such as co-partnership-we both came to the conclusion that the economic and ethical basis of society was wrong. We became socialists. I recall how in October 1907, we went to Clements Inn to try to join the Fabian Society. Edward Pease, the Secretary, regarded us as if we were two beetles ho had crept under the door, and when we said we wanted to join the society he asked coldly, “why?” We said, humbly, that we were socialist and persuaded him that we were genuine.”
Referring to work at a boys club:
“It was astonishing how wide were the interests of the boys in all kinds of subjects. Sometimes they produced very good aphorisms. For instance, we were discussing friendship one evening. One boy summed it up by saying. ‘A pal is a bloke wot knows all about yer and yet loves yer.’ Another time we were discussing the qualities of a gentleman. One said, ‘A bloke what does no work.‘ Another said, ‘A rich bloke.’ Young Dicky, a bright lad said, ‘I reckon a gentleman is a bloke who’s the same to everybody’
Source: As It Happened – C R Attlee
Most people confess “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities. Anyone who has any ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only it own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. In this respect the psyche behaves like the body with its psychological and anatomical structure, of which the average person knows very little too.
Source: The Undiscovered Self – C G Jung
Many of Jung’s patients seemed to him to be stuck because their thinking was too one-sided. He was very interested in the idea that the personality contains opposite and conflicting aspects – finding a balance between these was very important for individual progress. Jung said it was essential for a person to understand their own psyche, and work with it in this way to achieve a sense of individuality, before they can achieve satisfactory relationships with others.
Conscious attitudes within the psyche are always balanced by unconscious attitudes – if a conscious attitude grows too strong then the unconscious will always seek to restore equilibrium. The unconscious will express its ideas by means of dreams, fantasies, spontaneous imagery, slips of the tongue and so on. If the unconscious message is ignored then neurosis of even physical disease may result
For Jung the psyche is a dynamic system, constantly changing and self regulating. Libido flows between two opposing poles, which Jung calls ‘the opposites’. There are many opposites in the psyche, for example conscious/unconscious; sleeping/waking; thinking/feeling; anger/peace. The greater the tension between two opposites, the greater the libido. The opposites have a regulating function in the psyche: when an extreme is reached the tendency is for the libido to flow to the opposite state, so that, for example, rage becomes calm or love becomes hate.
Jung stresses that the ego is not the same as the Self, which is the whole personality and includes both conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche. Like the unconscious, the Self already exists when we are born, and the ego emerges out of it in the course of childhood development. It seeks biological goals, but is also interested in the spiritual and the numinous because it has a transcendent quality. The overall goal of the Self it so me the individual complete and whole. It is often depicted symbolically in images such as mandalas. The health of the ego depends upon the health of the self.
We need to develop a strong and effective ego in order to function in the outer world. This the chief task that we have to accomplish in the first half of life, as we learn to grow away from out parents and do things for ourselves. A strong ego can exert a balancing influence, keeping the conscious and unconscious aspect of the personality in equilibrium. An over inflated ego, on the other hand, will form a dictatorial intolerant personality. Such an ego can become highly unpleasant, even dangerous, seeing itself as all-important, almost god-like.
During the second half of life the ego and the Self begin to confront one another and gradually we begin to understand that the Self is actually more important. At this stage, the personality can begin to integrate and eventually we may attain higher consciousness. Evidently most people never reach this stage in the individuation process!
The Principles of Opposites.
Everything in the psyche naturally has an opposite aspect, and in fact this principle is basic to all of nature. Think of up/down, light/dark and so on. Following this principle, every ‘good’ content I the psyche tend to be balanced by an equivalent ‘bad’ content. The flow of libido (psychic energy) between opposites is greater when there is greater contrast between the opposites. This flow of libido drives our behaviour.
The Principles of Entropy.
This is borrowed from physics and describes the tendency for all systems to ‘run down’ as energy is evenly distributed. In the psyche this means that opposites tend eventually to blend together – we can see this, for example, in the way people tend often to ‘mellow’ as they get older, losing the extreme energies of youth.
Jung applied another basic biological principle to the psychology of the psyche; the principle of homeostasis. This refers to the way living organisms always strive to keep themselves in a state of balance, no matter what goes on in the environment. So, for example, when we are hungry we eat food, when we are too hot we take of clothes or seek a patch of shade. Again, the principle applies throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, and even within non-living systems. Jung always stressed that the psyche has evolved as part of the world in which we live. Therefore he saw it as logical that the psyche too would seek to balance at all times, just as the body does.
Jung insisted that the development of the psyche extends well beyond childhood and adolescence, even continuing into old age: we never finish the process of self-examination and growth that charts our journey toward individuation.
Taking responsibility for our less favoured aspects is the first task of the Self in the individuation process. Throughout this process the psyche has to continually examine and confront what it produces. In terms of Jung’s own two conflicting personalities, we could say the analytical, conscious personality Number 1 is continually looking at and trying to understand unconscious personality Number 2, which is always sending messages to try and get Jungs attention. The work is not easy, as Jung himself admitted, but it can have great rewards as it helps us to become more peaceful humans, better able to relate to our fellow beings.
It is important to try not to repress anything and to accept things as they really are. This may not be comfortable at times, and Jung says that the ‘other’ that we discover lurking within us may often seem alien and unacceptable. But our task is to stay with it and let the feelings sink in, because we will be richer for every little bit of self knowledge. We have to accept the parts of ourselves that seem evil because they show us our areas of imbalance. Once we are able to take a good look at the conflicting opposites in our psyche it is possible to work towards reconciling position that lies somewhere between the two.
Problems often arise when parents try to force a child into a mould that goes against the natural type. This sort of pressure can result in neurosis and hampers development in later life. If the parents are more flexible they can help the child toward developing its natural type. Often the unconscious function is projected onto others as the child grows – perhaps onto parents, siblings, peer group members, actors or pop stars. The child will identify groups or fall in love with people who satisfy this function. Through a process of repeated projection and subsequent withdrawal, the whole psyche gradually becomes more integrated. This is why attachments of this sort are so important to the developing psyche.