Psych, Libidinal Energy, the Unconscious

Psyche, Libidinal Energy, and
the Unconscious
Jung took the basic format of the
psyche from Freud and expanded on
what he believed was missing.
Range of Consciousness
• Awake & aware
• Automatic pilot
• Hypnotic trance
• Daydreaming
• Asleep
The Psyche
• All psychological processes, both conscious
& unconscious
• Freud first described the Unconscious,
which he likened to the iceberg- Levels of
• He also described Libidinal Energy- the
energy that drives expression of the
Icebergs are
• Freud believed the
Unconscious was
primarily sexual
• Jung believed it
included any desire
unchecked by
moral authority
We operate from instinct to a level
driven by the Spirit
Pierre Janet investigated
unconscious states through trances
• The question was,
How much influence
does the unconscious
have on our behavior?
• Janet called these
unconscious states
• Jung even attended
séances to better
understand the nature
of the unconscious
Jung discovered aspects of
• During trances, subjects give voice to the
unconscious- without editing
• Split-off aspects of the unconscious could
appear as distinct personalities
• Psychic energy has a teleological functiongoal direction, seeking wholeness, growth
• The unconscious could compensate for
conscious attitudes- a balancing effect
Manifestations of the unconscious
• Trance states due to repetitive experiences
• Intense emotional reactions unjustified by
present circumstances
• Behaving in such a way we feel we aren’t
• Daydreaming
• Imagination
The Nature of the Psyche
• Self-regulating system- compensating
• Libido has intentionality- it knows where it
should go for the health of the entire psyche
• The challenge for modern man is listening
to this voice, which is often in conflict with
the loud voices of the world
• Lack of libido = depression
• Resistance to unconscious forces
The psyche moves from most
conscious & aware to unconscious
The unconscious holds the
instinctual forces of the psyche
• Instincts are impulses that carry out actions
from necessity- having a biological quality
• Instincts determine actions, even though
they act unconsciously
• Archetypes are inborn forms of intuitionmeans of perceiving the world
• How we apprehend the world determines
the direction of our instinct- fluid
Unconscious holds the psychoid functionsrelationship between matter and Spirit
• If the unconscious becomes overactive, it
can come out in symptoms that can
paralyze conscious action, especially if
unconscious factors are repressed. They
come out in 2 ways:
• The subject no longer knows what s/he really
wants & nothing interests him/her.
• He wants too much at once, has too many
interests in impossible things.
Compensation- maintaining psychic
• Dreams can give quiet
voice to things the
person cannot
consciously own,
allowing him/her to
continue functioning
• They also voice our
repressed personality
• Creativity
A compensating dream
Language of the psyche
• The unconscious requires the conscious
mind to interpret its language
• This allows for balance in the psyche
• Language of symbols
• Dream interpretation requires learning the
symbolic language of the unconscious
• Imagination, daydreaming, planning
• Mental illness
Jung took the concept farther
• He described the necessity of conscious and unconscious
remaining balanced
• Out of balance, neurosis develops
• The unconscious is source of all conscious thought, all
creativity, rationality, feeling
• The unconscious is the Original Mind of humankind,
from which our conscious developed
• Consciousness arises from primal material of the
unconscious- Nature
• The process is ongoing- more material will arise as we
• Each person is a microcosm of the universal processes of
our species- There is a universality to the discoveries
across the world
Concepts of the Unconscious
• Iceberg- Freud
• Blueprint for our lives- invisible pattern
• Huge field of energy- the ocean
• Broader and more dangerous than the
conscious- also more potentially creative
Ego is a cork bobbing on top, driven by the
forces below
Ego- “I”
• The conscious mind
• All our conscious awareness of self
• We tend to see the unconscious as apart from our
self- recognized especially when we do things out
of character
• Ego thinks of itself as an island unto itself
• Other worlds exist that are worth exploring, but
they represent risk (and potential wisdom)
• The quest to know the unconscious (the other
worlds) is fraught with fear & excitement
How do we embark on the journey
of self-knowledge?
• Jung says we should open ourselves to our
inner life- and allow a flow of energy &
information between the 2 levels of psyche
• The problem for modern man is how we
have been cut off from access to the inner
world: rituals, religious experiences, visions
• We take pride in rationality & independence
from needing anything outside ourselves.
Focus on the things of the world
keeps us from doing inner work
• The world says: Money, Prestige, Partner
is the secret to happiness
• Jung: Most neurosis today is due to the
vacuum of meaning, a sense that we are
missing a part of ourselves.
• Jung: Only in our unconscious can we meet
our individual understanding of God and
fully experience a rich inner life of the spirit
If we don’t go to the Spirit, the Spirit
will come to us through neurosis
• How do we “Go to the Spirit?”
• Inner Work:
• Prayer
• Meditation
• Dream work
• Rituals and ceremonies
• Active imagination
• This produces Individuation- process of
becoming the complete person we were meant to
be- actualizing the blueprint.
What happens when
we individuate?
• We uncover our unique structure
• Recognize our special traits and
consciously incorporate them
• Face our darker side without judgment
• Find commonality with others and no
longer judge them either
• Let go of the fiction that we are better
(or worse) than others and we must hide
our true selves
• Ideas and images our unconscious displays
• “Instinctual images”- the forms that instincts
• Instincts are physiological- symptoms
• Archetypes are psychological- perceptions
revealed in fantasies, dreams, imagery
• Archetypes manifest:
• Personally- complexes
• Collectively- characteristics of a culture (to be
healthy a culture must understand its archetypes
and adjust them as necessary to continue
Archetypes burst the bubble of ego
and separation
• They are universal, present in the
unconscious of each person
• They combine in a unique way in each
person, like our bodies
• Recognizing our connection to the greater
population, as well as our unique makeup
allows us to fully develop our best nature,
not imitate anyone else.
• Images from the collective unconscious are
seen in mythology, literature, metaphor,
The process of inner work
• Direct ways of approaching the inner world
of your unconscious
• It is done experientially, not through
cognition, to really access subtle meaning
• You gain insight into inner conflicts or
challenges that your particular life offers
• The process allows you to access your
special strengths
Inner Work
Religious ceremonies
Interpretation of dreams
Spirit quests
Aboriginal walkabouts
Fasting and prayer
Active imagination
All these represent a dialogue between equal
parties- conscious and unconscious
Active Imagination as Jung used it
Dream Journal
• Begin keeping a journal by your bed to write your
dream images down as soon as you awaken.
• Also write down the experiences of the daycontext is everything to interpretation
• Write down your thoughts for the day, daydreams,
and feelings
• Realize this is a powerful emotional experience
and you will only be expected to share what you
are comfortable sharing. Respect the process.