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Jung’s Theoretical Position Part 3

Jung’s Theoretical Position Part 3

Principle of Polarity

This is also described by Jung as the principle of opposites. It is interesting to note that every concept in Jung’s theory has its polar opposite.  Jung suggested that individuals need to accept opposites within the personality and he claimed, moreover, that if individuals function at one polar extreme the opposite polarity in the personality is being neglected.

Causality/Determinism versus Acausality/Teleology

Jung did not discount causality altogether, but questioned the incompleteness of the cause-effect view of the universe.  He argued that the theory of cause-effect as applied to individuals’ generated hopelessness and despair. The cause-effect theory of Freud’s radical determinism, by definition, suggests that what a person will become is a function of past experience. This could also be described as the “if this, then that” scenario.  Jung’s view of the incompleteness of cause-effect theory was based on the universal potential for growth even in the face of adversity. He suggested that the concepts of teleology and acausality were required to give a complete picture. Teleology is a theological term that recognises the human potential for growth and purpose, the view that human behaviour is as much drawn by the future as it is pushed by the past.  For a more rounded view, Jung recognised Eastern modes of thinking and – in collaboration with the renowned physicist, Wolfgang Pauli – postulated that phenomena such as “synchronicity” represent the visible traces of untraceable acausal principles. The “lawful coincidences” of synchronicity encapsulate acausal confluences and connections on the basis of criteria like affinity and unity, essentially independent of causal space-time considerations.

Jung’s Position on Neurosis

Jung held the view that neurotic conditions were evidence of failure to integrate and harmonise aspects of the personality,  and  of loss of life meaning (directedness-purpose).  He did not view neuroses as negative, providing the individual responded to the self-regulating message from the psyche. The curious paradox in Jungian psychology is that neurosis is seen as positive and a direction towards enlightenment.


Normality and insanity are not absolutes

Carl Gustav Jung

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