Defining Humaness

Essay by canadian_kuriHigh School, 11th gradeA-, December 2003

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Defining Humanness

Throughout hundreds of years mankind has come across many ideas and thoughts about the question of humanness. Although the question is still not completely answered, many have become renown because of their interpretation of humanness. Such people include Carl Jung who worked closely with Sigmund Freud and his analysis. Another popular social scientist is Claude Levi Strauss. He concentrated on the structural study of myths. Furthermore, Alfred Adler is admired for his theory on "individual psychology".

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and began his studies of human motivation in the early 1900s. He created the school of psychoanalysis known as analytical psychology. Jung's theories were mostly a modernized version of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. At first Jung collaborated closely with Freud but eventually moved on to pursue his own theories, including the exploration of personality types. According to Jung, there are two basic personality types, extroverted and introverted, which alternate equally in the completely normal individual.

Jung also believed that the unconscious mind is formed by the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The personal unconscious is the repressed feelings and thoughts developed during an individual's life. The collective unconscious is the inherited feelings, thoughts, and memories shared by all humanity. (Jung Carl, Encarta) Jung developed his theories based on a wide knowledge of mythology and history. Jung's approach to the question of humanness was interpreting mental and emotional disturbances as an attempt to find personal and spiritual wholeness. (Jung Carl, MSN Encarta)

Claude Levi-Strauss was a popular French anthropologist who was most well-known for his development of structural anthropology. Some reasons for his popularity are identified in his rejection of history and humanism, in his refusal to see Western civilization as unique, in his emphasis on form rather than content and in his insistence that...