Essay: Carl Jung's Theory

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Jung

Cognitive science is a multidisciplinary field, comprising cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology. In recent years, cognitive science has become a predominant paradigm in studies of the mind. Cognitive science incorporates concepts and methods from philosophy, cognitive psychology etc., whereas behaviorism dominated the psychological sciences during the first part of this century. Cognitive scientists are interested in mental structures and processes of the mind.

Several individuals have attempted more rigorous definitions of Cognitive science. A computational view emphasizes that, cognitive science, sometimes explicitly, and sometimes implicitly, tries to elucidate the workings of the mind by treating them as computations, not necessarily of the sort that is carried out by the digital computer, but of a sort that lies within broader theory of computation (Johnson-Laird, 2009). Restrictive definitions of cognitive science however, include only one or other divergent models that cognitive scientists have developed.

Early cognitive scientists viewed the mind as a processor, similar to the early digital computer. The mind was seen as a passive recipient of information, which was registered in a short-term memory, and perhaps encoded in long-term memory. More recent cognitive scientists have pointed out that the mind is a parallel processor, and have emphasized that mental structures are active and that they occur within a particular context. Such work may be excluded by a definition of cognitive science that focuses on information processing and computation (Esgate, 2004).

Jung and Cognition- Cognitive science models typically specify cognitive architecture in one of two ways, symbolic and connectionist. The elements of symbolic systems are symbols, which are stored in associative constructs. A strong proponent of the symbolic theory of cognition was psychologist Carl Jung who described cognitive processes in greater detail -- yet still based on two unique rubrics: perception and judgment. Sensation and intuition are types of perception; thinking and feeling are two kinds of judgments. In the 1940s, Isabel Meyers developed an extension of these theories, developing a self-reporting questionnaire to help individuals work with their own semblance of Jung's theoretical construct (Eisner, et.al. In "Levels of Learning," 2009).

With the advent of the more advanced study of psychology, sociology and anthropology, the 20th century brought new theories regarding myths. Jung, for instance, argued that all humans share certain innate unconscious psychological forces -- archetypes, which express themselves as myths and are similar because the originate not through culture, but through the individual. Myths then reflect patterns in the mind, but those patters are more fixed (e.g. raw v. cooked, nature v. culture). While myth survived all these years to reflect societal organization, contemporary society can benefit by using myth to uncover deeper psychological truths about oneself (Segal, 2004).

Jung as practical psychotherapy- Psychology and psychoanalytical theory does not develop or evolve in a vacuum. Instead, it is more typical that it builds upon past theories that lead to more robust explanations of what a new scholar might interpret. For instance, the psychoanalytical (aka psychodynamic) approach was developed by Sigmund Freud and stresses the influence of unconscious fears, desires, and motivations on thoughts, behaviors, and the development of personality traits and psychological problems later in life. Freud believed there were three components of one's personality, an id, an ego, and a super ego. The id functions in the irrational and emotional part of the mind. At birth a baby's mind is " a bundle of id." It contains all the basic needs and feelings. It is the source for libido and it has only one rule, the "pleasure principle." The ego functions with the rational part of the mind. It realizes the need for compromise and negotiates between the Id and the Superego. The Ego's job is to get the Id's pleasures but to be reasonable and bear the long-term consequences in mind. The Ego denies both instant gratification and pious delaying of gratification. The Super Ego functions with the moral part of the mind. It stores and enforces rules. Its power to enforce rules comes from its ability to create anxiety. Jung embellished this typology by organizing it into ways personalities live in the world -- function/attitudes of extraversion and intraversion. In addition, there are four basic personality functions that provide a model for the manner in which the individual gathers data about the work: Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling (Sharp 1987).

Taking the Jungian approach, Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs took these indicators and formulated a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure the way individuals both perceive the world and make overall decisions about themselves and their environment. It has become one of the most widely used personality assessments, and while some academics feel that it does not provide convincing data others find that it has a great deal of consistence and reliability in predicting the manner in which an individual might approach a problem, colleagues, a task, or even how that individual might relate towards stressors in the environment (Capraro 2002). It is also quite interesting that many of these correspond to types identified in the Ancient world, specifically around 190 AD by Galen:

Issue

Jung/Myers

Galen

Updated Keirsey

Coping with stimuli

Sensing and Perceiving

Sanguine

Artisan -- Says what is, does what works

Coping with strong moral character

Sensing and Judging

Melancholic

Guardian -- Says what is, does what's right

Dreaming

Intuitive and Feeling

Choleric

Idealist -- Says what's possible, does what's right

Dreaming but grounded

Intuitive and Thinking

Phlegmatic

Rationalist -- Says what's possible, does what works

Source: (Chapman 2010).

In many ways, this stresses the validity of Jung's argument. First, that the types can stand up over time, regardless of culture, and remain meaningful in interpretation of the persona. Second, that the descriptors used must then have a more universal commonality within the human condition to be valid for over 2,000 years. Third, that the very nature of what it is to be human can often be defined by the way we approach the world.

Individuation and Dreams- According to Jung, it is necessary for the individual to integrate various levels of reality in order to become a health and whole person. This is called individuation, and is a way for humans to become distinct. Individuation requires a process of transformation in which personal and collective unconsciousness merges with consciousness through dreams or active imagination. Jung believed this was natural, and that it had an important and holistic healing effect on the person, both physically and mentally. The interpretation, interaction, and indeed functionality of a person's ability to work within the fluidity of conscious and unconscious being is, for Jung, not only a goal, but a basis for the harmonious workings of the human mind and body (Jung, 1968, 1-14). And how does the individual accomplish this -- again, for Jung, it is simple, something that happens to us daily, costs nothing, and is quite natural -- our dreams.

For humans, dreams are the brain's processing of information during sleep. Because this is the subconscious or unconscious mind, dreams take on a series of sounds, images, colors or emotions that may or may not have realistic compatibility. Rather, it is the way the brain organizes new information, strengthens memories, removes unnecessary stimuli, and allows for a more robust connection between neurochemicals and neurons (brain nerve cells). Physically, we must dream -- without the process the mind is never able to rest or reorganize and psychosis results (Zhang, 2004).

From the psychological point-of-view, dreams are an adaptive function that allows humans to amass more information by categorizing it and, at times, using dreamtime to reorgnize that information for later retreival. Dreams have been used as an interpretation into the psyche for centuries, even before Jung and Freud defined the states of altered consciousness. Jung sees dreaming as an physical and pscyhological act between the states of consciousness and unconsciousness. The unconscious state is the dominant force of the dream, and indeed, in the dream the uncounscious creates its own reality and perceptions. Dreams may appear bizzare to the waking mind, but for Jung they were a very efficient neuro-language, much like poetry of the mind that expressed itself not literally, but in symbology, color, and combining disparate things to make a new reality. Dreams are projects of parts of the self, or the inner being, that have been supressed, ignored, or rejected for societal or other reasons. If one had the wisdom and skill, one could consider every specific person, shape, color, or thin in a dream to represent some sub-aspect of the dreamer, defined as Jung's subjective approach to the dream world. For Jung, this world was just as real as the conscious world, albeit on another plane and time of existence. They may also be the way the mind compensates for rigid thinking, or being forced into thought and actions as a conscious person that we would not wish to in our subsconscious (Jung, Dreams, 1974, 23-66).

Despite their relative ambiguity, dreams for Jung, being the bridge between the conscious and subconscious, form a metaphysical connection from the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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