Carl G. Jung and Stages of Life
Carl Gustav Jung is a Swiss psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and one of the most significant thinkers of the 20th century. In his life’s work, Jung laid the groundwork for a new understanding of the human being and his psyche, an understanding that extends beyond the confines of psychiatry and psychology. His findings have inspired thinkers and researchers of various fields, contributing to the overall progress of scientific thought. Jung spends his entire life rethinking, seeking connections between psychology, philosophy, religion, alchemy, dreams, archetypes and symbols, and deepening the path to his own individuation – one of the key concepts of Jung’s entire psychology. Individuation is the process of growth and development of personality through numerous experiences and dramas of life to the realization of maturity and completeness.
Body and appearance are then the key epithets of our personality. This has nothing to do with the usual ‘sport’ phase but with arrogance and vanity. Jung believed that ego was structured or shaped in childhood. The role of parents is to teach the child: the mother is in charge of eros (adaptation and attachment), while the father’s role is to help the child adapt to the outside world (rationality and the principle of reality). The child adopts certain symbols, starts playing (becoming aware of the rules) and fantasizing. This period is best understood by referring to the metaphor of the rising, early morning sun.
Having understood ourselves as a strong character hidden in the physical body – now we are comparing ourselves, we want to surpass the other, we want to overcome the surroundings and do the best we can as warriors. During adolescence and early adulthood, a person undergoes certain forms of initiation into the world of mature people, and from a state of dependence on one’s family to a state of independence, independent exploration and the ordeal of life. The individual begins to build his own world of principles, rules, moving away from the traditional values and cultural heritage that are part of his collective unconscious. This period is like the morning sun.
We have come to a time where we feel we have not done enough to feel fulfilled and happy, and we have finally realized that life is far more than material. This is the period of middle adulthood (35-40 years). One becomes prone to self-reflection and conscious choice between different alternatives to continuing life. Here he faces successes, failures, breaking up old ones and starting new friendships and romantic relationships. One is facing a crisis from which isolation, stagnation and a sense of hopelessness can be born, as well as insight into one’s ‘path’. Each of us has a unique life trajectory that needs to be discovered, found, and addressed so that the process of individuation can proceed smoothly and authentically. This is a turning point in human development, which can be described by the sun at its zenith, which is slowly setting.
The last phase of our lives is one in which we realize that none of the previous three stages have any connection with who we really are. We have become mere observers of our lives. During this period of mature, late adulthood, that is, old age and wisdom, one should prepare for accepting one’s own mortality. A sufficiently wise and ” rounded ” person will not complain about the injustice of life, or about the kind of deprivation she has experienced before. She will not allow different situations to disturb her inner peace and stability, but will accept them as something transient. This developmental period is, metaphorically speaking, a sunset period.
Today, there are different views on Jung’s contribution in explaining the essential psychic processes of man. Materialist-oriented scholars dispute his approach, while those with a more open mind still find inspiration. One of the ancient images that exists in everyday life, and at the same time can serve as a symbol, is the sun. Jung compares man to the sun. In the morning it is born from the night (from the sea of the unconscious) and gradually rises (broadens its influence, progresses) so that at midday it reaches a point of culmination after which it begins to decline. The sun then seems to collect its rays that have previously radiated, and the light and heat diminish until it is finally extinguished.
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Introduction Carl Gustav Jung is a Swiss psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and one of the most significant thinkers of the 20th century. In his life’s work, Jung laid the groundwork for […]