A summary of the Collective Unconscious

Essay by sd007High School, 12th gradeA-, January 2003

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A Collection Of Ideas About the Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious can be termed a psychic inheritance. It is a knowledge that we are all born with. It has to deal with certain symbols and their representation and interpretation. Sometimes part of the collective unconscious may surface and become recognizable. Love at first sight, déjà vu, and religion are all related to the collective unconscious. People cannot go directly into their minds and take a look at the collective unconscious. It is there, but we can only sense it at certain times, such as those aforementioned.

An example of the collective unconscious crossing cultural boundaries is the parallelism of the myths of different cultures. One example is the explanation of thunder to a child. All cultures have a simple, non frightening method to do this. We might use the fact that the Angels are bowling. Someone in Norway might say that it is Thor.

In ancient Greece it might have been Zeus. Still all cultures have a way to explain thunder.

A more biological example is the way a near death experience is reported. They usually talk about floating above their body, being filled with a sense of happiness and seeing everything clearly. Also, there is a bright light and a tunnel. Going back into the realm of the living is bad, because there is pain and suffering. According to Jung this is part of the collective unconscious.

Along with the collective unconscious there are Archetypes. These are defined as an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way. We cannot see Archetypes, we only know of their existence though theory and the way that they affect us and our collective understanding.

One Archetype, and the most recognizable and understandable is the mother. The mother...