Forever Jung: A Study Of Jungian Pyschology In Pinoy Pop Culture
In 1913, a young psychologist had vision of a “monstrous flood” that had overwhelmed half of Europe, with the waves bashing his country’s Swiss Alps. Millions of people were swept away – than the rampaging waters were transformed into a gigantic river of blood. The young man was frightened for his sanity, but the nightmares continued, bringing more images of death and desolation in its wake.
The August of the same year, however, signaled the advent of the first World War. And the young man, Carl Jung, instinctively felt a primordial link between man and mankind, that somehow, there exists a connection between one and everyone. It was then that he dedicated his life in finding it.
Painstakingly, he recorded his dreams, visions, even his fantasies. Later on, he even made drawings, paintings and sculptures. He then discovered that his experiences had a tendency to assume human shapes: an old man, a little girl, a brownish dwarf. Jung felt he was in the frontiers of an uncharted region of the mind – and resolutely pressed forward.
Carl Gustav Jung was born on July 26 1875 in Kessewil, Switzerland. His father, a highly educated country parson, taught him Latin when he was six, marking the beginning of his life-ling romance with literature and languages. From an early age, his sponge-like mind absorbed both European and ancient languages, including Sanskrit and Hebrew.
The boy’s incredible variety of reading materials was stunning: the Jewish Cabala, Gnostic Gospels, ancient scrolls on Alchemy, the Mahabharata and Panchatantra in their original texts and so many others. Jung was already a loner even during his teenage years while attending boarding school in Basel. Though preferring Archeology, he took up medicine at the University of Basel.
There he encountered the legendary neurologist Krafft-Ebbing, and made a decisive shift to Psychology.
Jung and Freud
After graduation, he worked at Zurich’s Burghoetzl Mental Hospital. Eugene Bleuler, who made the pioneering first steps in the study of (and coined the term) schizophrenia, became his mentor. 1903 was a productive year for Jung. He taught at the University of Zurich, established a private practice, married Emma Rauschenbach, and invented word association.
It was in 1907, in Vienna, that his met his idol, Sigmund Freud. The meeting of Jung and Freud was a momentous event in the annals of psychology. The two great minds immediately bonded as soul brothers, and Freud cancelled all his appointments and they talked non-stop for 13 straight hours. Freud regarded Jung as his heir apparent, the crown prince, of Psychoanalysis.
Jung however, had certain reservations about Freud’s theories. Their association cooled in the United States, when they were analyzing each other’s dreams. What started out as an evening entertainment escalated into a full-blown argument. That was in 1909.
Shortly after, the visions came.
Structure of the Psyche
Jung’s structure of the psyche has three divisions, interrelated at the same time in correlation with their own dynamics in response to both internal and external stimuli. There is the conscious mind, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.
The conscious mind, or ego, involves all the functions of the waking self, including the activities of both left (analytical) and the right (creative) hemispheres of the brain.
The personal unconscious, or subconscious, contains all subliminal dynamics including suppressed memories brought on by traumatic experiences. William James theorized that it acts as a barrier against a tremendous barrage of images, for the subconscious can bring to the surface any stimulus perceived by the senses. Jung however, disagreed with Freud that instinct is correlated with this level.
The collective unconscious is essentially a reservoir of humanity’s experiences and memories. This idea made Jung’s theory different from all the rest. One can only connect through implication, although it directly and indirectly influences one’s behavior. Certain manifestations include the phenomena of déjà vu and the instinctive empathy with certain symbols.
Jung believed that was the conjunction of the inner and outer reality of the collective unconscious. This is the ocean Aldous Huxley tried to navigate in his mind-altering experimentations. To use technological analogy, if the personal unconscious is the hard-disk, then the collective unconscious is the modem. This is where Jung’s (and Joseph and Daniel’s) prophetic dreams originated.
The inner dynamics of the collective unconscious are called archetypes. An archetype is the “unlearned tendency” that serves as the “organizing principle” of the psyche. This is the reason why Jung placed instinct on this level, and his illustration has become a template in the development of modern psychotherapy.
When an infant is hungry, it cries for sustenance. His mental capacity may not be able to distinguish between Carnation, Cerelac, Lactum or Yakult, but with this “indefinite yearning” comes the instinctive knowledge that it can be satisfied with certain stimuli and not with others. It is only when he grows a little older that becomes specific on his preference when feeling hunger – Gusto Meatloaf, Maggi Chicken Noodles, Purefoods Hotdogs.
The Mother Archetype
There are different kinds of archetypes although they have no specific form of their own. Let us start with the mother archetype. All human beings have mothers, and deeply ingrained in our racial evolution is the instinctive longing to connect with a source of comfort and security. This is projected on another person, usually one’s own mother, like Basilio to Sisa. In the absence of the biological mother, it is directed to the one who would most personify this maternal figure, like Maria Clara’s Aunt Isabel.
The mother archetype is also projected into symbols like nature, the church or a nation. Thus, La Madre Filipina is our collective mother for we are the sons and daughters of the ‘motherland’. Jesus’ mother had been adopted many times as an object of veneration, and each manifestation of the Virgin Mary is in resonance with the universal mother archetype.
Thus, the differences between Antipolo’s Our Lady of Good Voyage and Baclaran’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help with Mexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe, France’s Our Lady of Lourdes and Portugal’s Our Lady of Fatima are primarily cultural.
This idea is also implied in the Lucio San Pedro Levi Celerio classic Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan (In The Rocking of the Cradle), and Mama by Smokey Mountain.
The Shadow archetype is the Pandorian Box of our primitive past, and this is where genetic memories of self-preservation and reproduction are stored. The Shadow is morally inert – neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, but is driven primarily by deeply imbedded instincts.
Thus, a Dwende (elemental) may hex a sportive child but only self-defense and not out of pure malice. The same applies to the Tikbalang (humanoid horse), capable of both friendship and hideous slaughter.
The Shadow is the repository of the evil that men do, so to speak, including death wishes directed against a specific person. An example is Amtalan’s animosity towards his mortal enemy Pangawian in the Ifugao epic Hudhud hi Aliguyun.
This is the reason why symbolisms are predominantly dark and fearsome: the Aswang (vampire), the Tiyanak (leprechaun), the White Lady, and the snake people Zuma, Kamandag and Valentina.
The Persona is the representation of one’s image to the world. It is interesting to note that it was derived from the Latin word for mask. This is the aspect most in conflict with the collective unconscious for it symbolizes the idea of manipulated perception – spin doctoring the self, as it were.
An Engkanto (earth spirit) assuming a pleasing human form to seduce a mortal who had caught its fancy is one example.
Another is the social-climbing Miguel in Mateo Cruz Cornelio’s Tubig Sa Buslo (Water In The Jug) – a poor boy pretending to rich to impress a rich pretending to be poor.
The public projection is also the idea behind the songs Totoy Bibo and Mr. Suave.
Anima and Animus
The anima and animus are archetypes which are the fundamental links to the collective unconscious. Jung theorized that we are all looking for our ‘other half’, in the context of Greek mythology, the part the gods took from mortals.
The anima is the female archetype in the collective unconscious of men, and the animus is the male aspect in the collective unconscious of women. Thus, Florante is Laura’s animus, and vice versa.
The animus can symbolized by any male character. A wise man, for example, can be personified by the Philosopher Tacio, or Arsenio Torres, the heroic teacher in Courage by Bienvenido Santos.
Similarly, the anima can embrace a host of symbolisms, from the soap opera orphan Annaliza to the mysterious widow in The Witch by Edilberto Tiempo.
Examples of songs for an anima are My Girl My Woman My Friend by Jose Mari Chan and When I Met You by the Apo Hiking Society.
And for an animus, ‘Til I Met You by Kuh Ledesma and How Did You Know by Chiqui Pineda.
Varieties of Archetypes
According to Jung, archetypes have no fixed number that can be neatly indexed. Often, they overlap and combine with each other.
Varieties of archetypes include the family archetype, a representation of authority above a hierarchical order tied by a bloodline. Ideal families were used to be featured in the TV shows Hapi House and Munting Paraiso (Little Paradise). The song Only Selfless Love by Jamie Rivera is the musical representation of this idea.
The hero archetype represents the ego versus the Shadow. It is the empathy of the conscious mind with a protagonist in his fight against the forces of evil – which the mind identifies with the Shadow. Personafications include Flavio The Panday (Blacksmith), Crisostomo Ibarra, Bernardo Carpio, Pedro Penduko, Dalmacio Armas, Harabas, Agent X44, Leon Guerrero, Maskarado, Mr. Wong, Prinsipe Amante, Captain Barbell, Kapitan Kidlat and Lastikman. The Spirit Warriors and the Ninja Kids are collective symbolisms of this archetype.
The animal archetype represents man’s relationship with the animal world. This is symbolized by Dario and his rooster in Darmo Adarna from vintage Funny Comics, Alejo and the doomed horse in White Mare In The Corn by N.V.M. Gonzalez, and Prinsipe Juan and the enchanted bird in Ibong Adarna (Adarna Bird) by Francisco Balagtas.
There is also the child archetype, representing the future, salvation and rebirth. The Santo Niño and the Child Jesus in the Belen (Nativity scene) are such symbolisms, and it is also implied in the song Miracle, Martin Nievera’s ode to his new-born son.
Malakas symbolizes the original man archetype, and Bathala, the God archetype.
The Self is the most important archetype. It is the representation of transcendence, and our goal should be its realization in our lives.
An example is Crispin in The Sacrifice by Celso Al Carunungan. At first, the young boy’s focus is his ego, i.e., his carefree life and his friendship with his pet carabao Silver. When his father proposed selling Silver because of their dire straits, Crispin was outraged. In the end, when realized all the sacrifices his parents had done for him, he finally agreed.
Simply stated, selfishness and Self-realization can never exist together. Being the full integration of personhood, the Self can be symbolized by the cross, the circle, or the mandalas Jung have painted, a mandala being any image used as a central focus in meditation.
The ultimate personifications of Self, those who have gained perfection, are Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha.
Jung believed that perfection can only be achieved in death, so this would include St. Lorenzo Ruiz, St. Pedro Calungsod, Jose Rizal and Benigno Aquino Jr.
Principles of Operations
According to Jung, the psyche has three principles of operations.
The first is the Principle of Opposites, which means that any desire is automatically accompanied by an opposite desire. From this opposition comes the power, or libido, of the psyche. A strong contrast gives a strong energy (like the Darna-Narda paradigm), and the weaker the contrast, the weaker the energy.
The second is the Principle of Equivalence: the energy created from the opposition is distributed to both conflicting urges. If one follows the positive desire, the energy for the negative desire is channeled to further enhance psychological balance.
However denial of the existence of any negative desires leads to a complex, which is a cluster of suppressed thoughts and emotions constellating around the perceived meaning of a specific archetype. This has been established as the root cause of neuroses and multiple-personality disorders.
The Principle of Entropy is the tendency of the opposites to unite over a given period of time, hence, weakening the energy. Jung termed the conquest, or rising above the conflict, of opposites as transcendence.
Opposites tend be extreme in youth, and old age is characterized by less passion and gullibility. This was illustrated by the poignant exchanges between the idealistic Isagani and the jaded Señor Pasta in El Filibusterismo.
Synchronicity is the occurrence of two meaningfully related events neither linked causally (cause and effect) or teleologically (freewill).
For example, Ibarra was contemplating about Elias’ grim experiences when Elias himself suddenly appeared to warn him that his life was in danger.
Jung explained that what behaviorists call coincidence is actually an indication that we are all linked with our fellow human beings though the collective unconscious.
Within the perspective of Hindu philosophy, Jung likened our individual egos to isles in the sea which can be exemplified by the Hundred Islands of Alaminos. The waters give the maya (illusion) that we are all separated, but way deep below the surface, the earth provides us with a solid – though – unseen connection with each other.
Carl Jung photo courtesy of CrystalInks.com