Jung was the most spiritual of the great psychologists. For him, the unconscious was like a deep, vast sea upon which we are all afloat in our separate boats of consciousness. This sea, the collective unconscious, was populated near its surface by characters who we catch glimpses of in stories and tales that span the world. These characters, or archetypes, are thus universal. I have been fortunate enough to bump into them in my own practice. Below are two pictures, created by consumers in an Art-from-Within session that represent on the left the Magician and to the right, the Trickster. The customers are suggesting that both sides of the Magician are present. Unsurprisingly, these came from a study on credit cards.
I kid you not, these were drawn by customers!
These kinds of ideas, and his liking for guided fantasy, (which we have adapted and use as creative visualisation in groups), have made Jung very popular with marketing types. Who would not want to capture the Heroic, Explorer or Innocent aspects of brands to give them more appeal to higher selves in us all? At a deeper level, this framework allows everyone to contact less mechanical or banal sentiments to restore some of the significance of our hopes and dreams. When you read Jung you cannot but be moved by his sense of a lost world of Gods and great figures which have perished or retreated to the forest and wild places in our scientific age. It is as if we have gained a technological tool-kit but lost our sense of the magical and profound in life. There cannot be many of us who do not share this sense of loss from time to time, as we click away on our smartphones!
In our conscious lives, another of Jung’s great models has found a home in modern organisational psychology. Many managers or team members have used Myers Briggs (MBTI) to get a reading of their preferences in perception based on Jung’s ideas: I reproduce a simple version of the model here:
For Jung, daily life was a question of seeking balance between the four functions: Thinking, Feeling, Intuition and Sensation. No one function can be allowed too much dominance in any of us without its opposite number seeking expression, if only in a roundabout and sometimes destructive manner. We are all given all of these ‘cards’ in our deck – and we must play (use) them or they will play us!