Jung and The Grecian world view


C.G. Jung and the Grecian World View.


C.G. Jung¶s approach to psychology is a striking representation of the dualistic nature that is so readily apparent in the Grecian worldview of the Hellenic era. Questing for knowledge, great thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates dug deep, synthesized available data to ³penetrate the uncertain flux of phenomena and grasp a deeper truth.´ ( Tarnas, 1991, p.69 ). The resulting was a polarized network ³ between two radically different kinds of worldview: on the one hand a sovereignty ordered cosmos; on the other, to an unpredictably open universe.´ ( Tarnas, 1991, p. 72). The dual philosophy of secular humanism and numinous idealism moved in distinctly different patterns and yet they danced, pushing and pulling with enough grace to steady one another through 2 ½ millennia and influence modern western traditions. The integration of opposing viewpoints is a tie binding the history of Hellenic Greek thought to a multitude of themes in Jungian Psychology. The Jungian worldview seems to be a microcosmic representation of the push and pull force found in the larger Hellenic worldview. Jung sought to meld the conscious and unconscious through external logical methods as well as internal exploration of the numinous. Aristotle remarked ³ every substance seeks to actualize what it already is potentiality.´ ( Tarnas, 1991, p.58). Richard Tarnas ( 1991) adds that ³ The sophists meditated the transition from an age of myth to an age of practical wisdom´ ( p.29). This meditation brought a lasting legacy of empirical investigation readily available in the development of psychiatry. The rise of rationalist thought only served to highlight the mystical qualities of the archetypical traditions assimilated into the incongruent yet accommodating idealist worldview.

2 C.G. Jung¶s psychiatric training also ³developed during a time of fundamental changes´ ( Ellenberger,1970, p. 731). and perhaps his discovery within the turnstile of transformation aided in the rise of a psychology that unified via mystical and logical avenues .

The ³preoccupation with symbols, myths, and archetypes is the main feature of Jungian psychology´, (Ellenberger, 1970 , p . 733), yet empirical knowledge and methodology also sought to ³bring a patient back to reality, particularity the awareness of his present situation´ in order to initiate the journey that would unify conscious and unconscious data and lead to individuation. ( Ellenberger, 1970, p. 716). One of the primary Hellenic tenants of rationalism notes ³ the ground of truth must be sought in the present world of human experience«´ as well as ³ genuine human knowledge can only be acquired through the rigorous employment of human reason´. ( Tarnas, 1991, p. 70). The Jungian patient is therefore guided by both parallels found Hellenism, the logical creates the safe space for individuation to occur while the investigation of the unconscious ³irrational¶ realm fleshes out the journy towards unification within the self. According to Jung, we dream our ancestors, the analysis of the unconscious via dreams and active imagination harkens the present to past and also unifies the rationalist with the mystical . Jung states ³ Dreams cannot be interpreted if the interpreter is not well acquainted with the the symbols and therefore of mythology and the history or religions´. (Ellenberger, 1970 p. 716). The archetypes of the ancient world are thus recognized,

active and incorporated into modern era via synthetic -hermeneutic therapy. Religion is a storehouse of the numinous, existing as a meeting ground for the individual as well as 3 collective mythological structure. The examination of unconscious mythology alongside rational application seems to be a direct extension of the bifurcated philosophies that developed during the Hellenic era and remain, amazingly applicable in the modern era Jung speaks of archetypes of the quaternary being an important and I find myself wondering if my recognition of the union at four points: the unconscious, the conscious the rational and the mystical may be guided by this archetypical structure.


Tarnas, R. (1991). The passion of the western mind: understanding the ideas that have shaped our world view. New York: Harmony Books.