Quick summary: I have been reading a great book titled the ‘Tao of Psychology’ which spends a good deal of time explaining Jung’s theory of archetypes, the collective unconscious and synchronicity. My intention is to make these very abstract concepts more accessible so that more people can receive guidance by paying attention to the subjective meaning that they might assign to synchronistic events. In simple terms – life gives you signs… if you pay attention the signs can help you.
Basically Jung believed in a collective unconscious that had important information that anything could tap into to find insight, direction or suggestions as to how to arrive at your destiny (though I don’t believe he used the word destiny).
The collective unconscious is essentially a universal knowledge which connects us and is held innately by all… you do not learn the information from the collective unconscious through experience… the wisdom was always there.
- If there were to be a universal answer concerning the abstractions of right and wrong, good and bad, or this way or that way, such lessons are available in the collective unconscious.
Synchronicity – is a meaningful coincidence… it is when two events, instances or things have a relationships with one another that can not be explained using the linear methods of scientific investigation (cause and effect cannot be proved though the symbol might have a predictive ability).
- Example: you hear your brother’s favorite song on the radio and he calls you seconds later, or you are lost and come to a fork in the road and you see a fox on one of the paths.
- The second example with the fox more clearly illustrates the importance of subjectivity in relation to synchronicity… the meaning of the fox will differ from person to person and the differing meaning will call for different decisions.
An archetype is a universal symbol that appears across all cultures that represents a theme, characteristic or moral etc that we all have an innate understanding of (our innate understanding is the collective consciousness).
- Stories that depict themes such as the choice of compassion over greed, the triumph of the small and oppressed over the Oppressors, the growth from vengeance to acceptance to forgiveness etc are all archetypes…
- Other archetypes are a bit more subjective (which is why there is not one correct or ‘right’ way to interpret a dream) such a rock symbolizing strength, a dove symbolizing peace, a river symbolizing change etc.
- Paying attention to archetypes in your reality and in your dreams can be helpful according to Jung… the collective unconscious is trying to tell you something.
Generally information from the collective unconscious arrives without a person actively searching for it. Example: a mother will get a feeling that her child, who is nowhere near her current location, needs her attention though there are no measurable physical signals. A person will avoid going down a certain road or getting in a certain vehicle do to a latter validated premonition that he should be hesitant.
Jung spent a good deal of time with dream interpretation for the purpose of uncovering archetypes (universal symbols) which might offer useful information to the dreamer.
There are also messages that enter into our conscious awareness when we are attending to reality… there are events that are symbolically important for us to pay attention to for us to find our most authentic direction or for us to achieve a feeling of clarity concerning future, past or present happenings, emotions, or beliefs etc.
Why is any of this important to the average person just trying to live their life in reality?
To make your unconscious conscious benefits a person with the gift of self-awareness… this self-awareness is the very foundation of freewill… by understanding your figurative mechanics you gain emancipation from automaticity.
To gain consciousness of the collective unconsciousness gives people the gift of freedom from a singular and linear identity. You find yourself to not be alone on your search for purpose as your purpose is no longer yours alone… your purpose and the collective purpose are the same thing… you will experience love and direction greater than what is available within the confines of your ego.
I will now write separate blog to illustrate synchronistic events in my own life. I will not pretend that this information is digestible to all people… the concepts are rather metaphysically radical and can sound almost schizophrenic to the brain’s left hemisphere.
The Rattlesnake on Rabbit Mountain -