Collective Unconsciousness: Exploring the Deepest Layer of our Psyche (Jungian Philosophy)

“The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the “sin qua non” [indispensable ingredient] of the world as an object. It is in the highest degree odd that western man, with but very few- and ever fewer- exceptions, apparently pays so little regard to this fact.

Swamped by the knowledge of external objects, the subject of all knowledge [the psyche] has been temporarily eclipsed to the point of seeming non-existence.” ~ Carl Jung

The psyche plays an important role in the creation of our universe, the seemingly outer world is not separate from the psyche that is experiencing it, but is in fact a reflection of the psyche itself.

According to Jung, psyche is a self-regulating system, that seeks to maintain a balance between opposing qualities while constantly striving for growth.

Jung saw the human psyche being made up of 3 layers – the conscious mind (ego) where our sense of identity or conscious awareness resides, the personal unconscious, Jung’s term for the Freudian unconscious, that includes contents in the consciousness which have been forgotten or repressed.

The third layer is the collective unconscious which represent a form of the unconscious (that part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which the individual is not aware) common to mankind as a whole and originating in the inherited structure of the brain.


Jung in The Archetypes and the collective Unconscioussaid, “The collective unconscious is a part of the psyche, which can be negatively distinguished from a personal unconscious by the fact that it does not, like the latter, owe its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition….the contents of the collective unconscious have never been in consciousness, and therefore have never been individually acquired, but owe their existence exclusively to heredity.

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