Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: Carl Jung's Theory and Literature

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Carl Jung's Theory and Literature



                                                 Wizards of Collective Unconsciousness

Collective Unconsciousness, Vipin Behari Goyal

All fiction is but a dream, all dreams are but a reality. No other stream has contributed towards enrichment of Literature as compared to Psychology. They are inseparable in a way, and one was always confused for another. Sigmund Freud was nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature for his psychoanalysis.

Jung is lesser known than Freud. The magnitude of his work is still unexplored. Due to Eastern influence on his work of Collective Unconscious, he was not well appreciated by his contemporaries. West had a tendency to evaluate anything related to East as inferior. Only Arthur Schopenhauer could draw the attention of West towards rich philosophy of Buddhism. Siddhartha  by Hermann Hesse  also contributed in exploring rich Buddhist Philosophy. Romain Rolland  a Nobel Laureate in Literature was inspired by Sigmund Freud. Rolland studied Eastern Philosophy which is labeled as Eastern Mysticism  since it is not easily comprehensible. He had an "oceanic feeling" which prompted Freud to raise this issue in his further work. Mysticism does not aim at 'human transformation' but its object is self-actualisation. It is the transformation of human concepts from the Unreal to Real.

It requires a great deal of courage to admit that 'primitiveness' of eastern tribes is a sort of 'advancement' since it uses collective unconsciousness which is deeper, stronger and unique. Modern man has become so isolated that he finds it impossible to connect his personal unconsciousness with any other individual, so the wonders of collective unconsciousness are a distant dream for him.

Haggard in "She" and "King Solomon's Mines" and Mary Shelley in "Frankenstein" have made use of Jung's wonderful concept of three layered selfhood of personality -present consciousness, past and prehistoric or racial. All mythology  is also work of collective unconsciousness. Recently, some authors temper with mythology in order to create sensation. They are  playing with negative energies of the cosmos which always try to conquer positive energy.  Proceeding in one direction would create equal and opposite force and both would survive together.

The archetypes discovered by Jung have opened a treasure box for historians, anthropologist, scientist and authors to discover and base their work on different models of archetypes and their social and Psychological significance.

 If human civilization is endless and there is no imminent catastrophe, after a few centuries, today's man will be called primitive and would be despised for its greed by future generations. The word desire for Fire in the poem by Robert Frost is a soft version of greed.The fuss of Dream Analysis would never be over. Work of Freud and Jung would always be a landmark, but many new theories and interpretations are needed to understand the symbolism and  enrich the theme. A combined group of Social Scientist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Philosopher tuned with collective unconsciousness  can do miracle.
There is no Tabula rasa in the realm of collective unconsciousness. 

In“Emperor Jones” a modern play by Eugene O’Neill the personal and collective unconscious of Brutus Jones is revealed when his ‘conscious ego’ breaks gradually. He is trapped in the dark forest which is symbol of his psyche where the sound effect, hallucination and illusions have been used by O’Neill to depict the transformation of Jones. Mary T. David says “The gradual disintegration of his conscious ego,the revelation of his personal and collective unconsciousness and his flight from himself (the fundamental self from which the blind pride and its self image have so long separated him and which inevitably comes into its own) constitutes the dramatic movement.”Brutus Jones’s mind contain ideas of human race in general  and inherited traits peculiar to his own race, tribe and family.Theses all archetypal symbols and patterns are thus collective unconscious which remain latent in a man. It is projected in Jones when he hallucinates the racial memory of being sold as slave and faces Congo witch doctor.The collective unconscious is projected under the influence of fear.
Readers are requested to post comments.


Advocate,Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur




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