About Carl Jung's Aion

Douglas Honors College 

February 13, 2008

Warren R. Street

Department of Psychology


The Neo-Freudians: Jung, Adler, Horney, and many others.

Alfred Adler (1870‑1937) Viennese medical doctor, became associated with Freud in 1902.  Disagreements with Freud over the primacy of sexual motives led to split in 1911. Adler saw power and superiority as the primary psychological motive and sex was just one way of expressing power.   Because children are dependent on others, we all have deep‑rooted feelings of inferiority.  We are weaker in some ways than in others.  We can compensate for weaknesses by strengthening other areas, or we can overcompensate by trying to defeat our weakness, making it a strength.  When one uses weakness as an excuse to stop compensating, mental illness results and the person is said to have an "inferiority complex."  The pattern of ways we try to overcome weakness and exert power over others is our "lifestyle."  One can exert personal choice over mental health.   Adler influenced humanistic psychologists more than he influenced psychoanalysis.


Karen Horney (1885 - 1952) German medical doctor. Representative of a group of neo-Freudians who emphasized social sources of motivation.  Includes Erik Erikson, Harry Stack Sullivan, Erich Fromm.  Rejected Freud's focus on sexual motivation, Oedipal conflict, penis envy, and id-ego-superego divisions.   Believed that feminine psychology was based on lack of confidence and overemphasis on love relationship.

Causes of mental illness were to be found in the conflict between individual and social demands.  In child, an early event is the formation of basic trust vs mistrust (Erikson's terms), which can lead to basic evil or mistrust of the world.  This can lead to "basic hostility" towards one's parents and, later, toward others.  One can cope with the resulting basic anxiety by moving toward, against, or away from people, becoming a compliant, hostile, or detached type.   Varieties of these kinds of neurotic solutions to anxiety: Neurotic need for affection and approval; need for a caretaking "partner;" need to restrict one's life; need for power, need to exploit others; need for prestige; need for personal admiration; need for personal achievement; need for self-sufficiency and independence; need for perfection.  Difference between normal and neurotic is one of degree.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss medical doctor.  Born July 26, 1875 in the Swiss village of Kesswil. Youngest and only surviving child. Parents were a poor Swiss parson and daughter of a wealthy Swiss family. Mother was eccentric, depressed, visited by "spirits." Early accident taught him that he could escape stress by fainting. Overcame these urges when he overheard his parents discussing his epilepsy. Became an excellent student. Wanted to become an archaeologist. Related to later work. Family finances directed him to a nearby university for a mendical degree.

 Earned his MD degree in 1900. Married Emma Rauschenbach, of a wealthy family, on Valentine's Day in 1903. worked at Burghölzi, a psychiatric hospital in Zürich. Published Studies in Word Association in 1906, sent a copy to Freud.

Met Freud in 1907, joined his group. Intense association. Travel to Clark University with Freud in 1909. Theoretical divergence from Freud with the publication of The Psychology of the Unconscious in 1912. May 26, 1912, "Kreuzlingen gesture." By 1913, Jung had broken with Freud over the issue of the primacy of sexual motivation

Very ambitious.  "Jung had no intention of being the number two Freudian, he was going to be the number one Jungian." For Jung, driving forces of personality were much more broad, spiritual, and humanistic than simple sexual expression.  And conflict, causing maladjustment, extended beyond the id-ego-superego triad of Freud. 

Personality types are combinations of introverted v. extraverted type, masculine v. feminine type, rational (thinking and evaluating) v. irrational (sensing and intuiting) type. Largely conscious. Theory is the basis of the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.

Unconscious matter consists of one's own personal experiences, the personal unconscious, and a more primitive, inherited unconscious, the collective unconscious of evolutionary memories, primitive images called archetypes.  The archetypes are examples of complexes. The mind comes already furnished with these archetypes at birth. Some archetypes:

Self-actualization is achieved when all the parts of the personality are in harmony with each other. Usually will not happen until middle age, if then.

Much cross-cultural travel and research, finding presence of these themes in folk tales, art, symbols.  Believed that symbols expressed each archetype, looked for symbols in dreams, influenced artistic expression.

Reasonably credible evidence that Jung was a Nazi sympathizer. Defenders propose that his actions were intended to blunt the worst Nazi anti-Semitic impulses.
Advocated spirituality as a cure for alcoholism. Eventually affected the Alcoholics Anonymous movement in the U.S.
American painter Jackson Pollock underwent Jungian analysis. Archetypical images in his work.
Niles Crane was a Jungian analyst!
Jung is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Sting is reading a copy of Jung on the cover of their album Synchronicity. The band Tool makes allusions to Jung in their songs.

Jung as a child Jung young man
Jung at Clark University 1909 Freud, G Stanley Hall, Jung at Clark Univ. 1909

Further reading:

Web sites of interest: