Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Carl Jung's "Collective Unconscious"
Carl Jung's "Collective Unconscious": Grappling with the collective unconscious is particularly difficult for the white man. In effect, the collective unconscious is an idea put forth by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (pictured above c.1910) and it constitutes a memory bank of all human experiences. As a result, every rational being has access to this unconscious storage place. Unfortunately for the white European, certain dark areas of his history have left indelible scars within the collective human psyche. Slavery serves as one dark area with which the white man must deal. Today, whenever a white man encounters a black man with an ostensibly Anglicized last name like "Smith" or "Bond," an eerie feeling creeps down the white man's neck for this is a tell-tale sign of a lineage of slavery. And although the white man did not personally participate in the forced bondage of the black man, he cannot help but feel the guilt that is inevitably thrust upon him by the collective unconscious. In many respects, the collective unconscious acts as a constant reminder of all past human experiences, and for the most part, it works through a series of what Jung called "archetypal images." An image, such as a black man hanging from a tree by a noose, triggers a visceral reaction to the atrocities of the past, and thus, a process of reconciliation between whites and blacks ought to ensue as a result.