Archetypes, Synchronicity and the Collective Unconsciousness: A Short Introduction

Many of the notions of modern psychology go back to the eminent Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. This physician invented many of the concepts of modern psychology.
Jung studied medicine as did Sigmund Freund and became a prominent psychiatrist in 1909.The words synchronicity or archetypes are familiar to most people today, but in fact, they are an invention of Dr. Jung. The latter is not well known. Jung introduced the concepts of the collective unconsciousness and along with that, both nouns – synchronicity and archetypes, among others, became public domain at the beginning of the 20th century.Jung was one of the first scholars of Sigmund Freud, but other than his teacher, he did not focus on pure psychoanalysis. When Freud saw most – if not all – mental diseases related to suppression of sexuality, Jung himself soon did not support that notion anymore. Later that led to a deep conflict between both psychiatrists.Jung introduced an approach which better suited his experience with the patients he treated. Freud seemed to be more familiar with neuroses related to suppression of sexual wishes than with real madness. In the 19th century, sexuality was not something one could talk about publicly and not even in the family. As a result, many people suffered from mental diseases named as “hysteria”. This naming goes back to Freud who saw this as a problem of women mostly. That “hysteria” was a common behavior of men did this paternalistic doctor not see.Jung had his first encounters with mentally ill people when he started working as a doctor in a psychiatric clinic in Switzerland. His patients were truly crazy. They did not only suffer from simple hysteria, but all sorts of severe mental diseases like psychoses.Instead of despising those patients, as many of his colleagues did, he listened and tried to categorize their hallucinations. Jung was also an avid reader of literature in the areas of anthropology, history and other sciences. He traveled a lot and during his voyages he visited foreign countries where western civilization had not yet left a footprint.It was then when he understood that all men and women in this world alike share dreams, mysteries and figures in tales that peoples had conveyed over thousands of years.
From this experience, he was able to establish the term “archetype” into the psychology of that time. He established a link between all these archetypes, and this is from where the notion of the collective unconsciousness derives. The “collective unconsciousness” is what all people in this world share in their subconscious mind. Most of that becomes visible only through dreams or fairy tales.The collective unconsciousness is where the mind meets the matter. Scientists say that archetypes are a hypothetical part of the collective unconsciousness, which appears in mental pictures and does not reflect biological instincts (such as sexuality), but which are autonomous and the same for all people. The most existential human experiences like birth, death, marriage, motherhood, power and others are anchored in human souls. In all times and all cultures, those existential experiences built the foundation of cultures, of the tales and pictures and telling of people.Jung was the one who found out that these pictures, tales and stereotypes were all the same for any culture, whether it was African, European, Asian or American by nature.
There are no differences all existential human experiences.In the 1920s and 1930s, racism was still prevalent in most cultures around the world. Jung’s findings were revolutionary at the time he published them because they proved that all people are of the same nature. There is no difference between us.Ironically, Jung himself did not understand the consequences of his investigations before the Second World War ended. It is said that he fell prey to some racist theories in the 1930s. That is something I’m not able to judge as I could not find any literature which proves that allegation. What’s for sure is that Jung became an enemy of all racist theories later in the 1940s.Jung is one of the great scientists in the last century who contributed not only to the progress of psychology, but also other sciences.The latter is not well known, but Jung was also a close friend to another paramount scientist named Wolfgang Pauli. Pauli is – together with Albert Einstein or Werner Heisenberg – one of the founders of modern physics. Other than Einstein, Pauli is not well known beyond the community of physicists.In psychology, we see both Freud and Jung best as inventors of the science we use today. Later Alfred Adler joined this group.What happened in physics at the same time: Jung would have named it synchronicity. Einstein, Pauli, and Heisenberg invented the theory of relativity and the theory of quantum mechanics. Einstein later became adverse to quantum physics as Freud became an enemy of Jung’s idea of the collective unconsciousness.In fact, upcoming science historians like Arthur I. Miller or Ernst P. Fischer drew straight lines between the leading protagonists of these sciences. Both physics and psychology seem to be sciences which have no connection at all. Diving deeper into the findings of all the fabulous fathers and mothers (e.g. Marie Curie or Melanie Klein) of the modern versions of these sciences, one can find lots of similarities. That is something Jung would have named as synchronicity. And he was right.