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What is the Collective Unconscious exactly?

I read about 3/4's of Jungs collective works on this subject. I had to put it down. I was left baffled. While reading the book I got the impression the Collective Unconscious was some sort of reservoir of ancient myths and memories we all carry in our deep subconscious, which historically repeat themselves, in the forms of stories, and people. I understand the bare bones interpretation and applicable theory: that all our psyches are molded from a sort of blueprint, a psychological structure if you will, which everyone is born with. This blueprint being separate from our personal psyches which develop with experience, but just as pervasive in our everyday experience. Am I getting close to the mark here?

I would also like to discuss Jung's beliefs and interpretations, as well as anyone elses.

- Individuation.
- Archetypes.
- Synchronicity.
- The unconscious. Is it something we all have in common or something we all share? As in one collective unconscious, as opposed to many of the same unconsciouses.


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  • Aug 1 2013: Well here's my 2 cents.. It seems Jung's collective unconscious is one of those "not even false" things, as we can't prove it directly by current means, but at the same time can't disprove it as there is no method allowing it's testability in its theory. So I guess it comes down to something completely related to it: the nature of consciousness.

    Philosophy of mind has been debated by scientists and philosophers alike for centuries. Due to the nature of consciousness, it has no definite physical blueprint yet. We can only link some some mental processes to physical processes; we have yet to come even close to mapping the whole spectrum of mental states and processes to physical states/processes. It seems that the complexity of consciousness will be out of reach for many years, if not indefinitely, as some speculate it can never be known by science due to its subjective nature.

    It can't be denied that all our conscious experiences are unique. We all feel and see things differently, this is very true, but what we can't prove yet is a physical cause to this mental state. It is a very difficult thing to measure: how pain feels to one person from another, how we see color, etc. So this current state of affairs certainly does leave enough room for speculation as to the nature of consciousness and its relation to physical states.

    So in light of what I've seen, here and there, It really does come down to personal philosophy. A lot of scientists think consciousness is just like many things in history that for years were thought to be untouchable by science, like aether being the material which makes up the space above our atmosphere until we figured out how light travels in space (as it was presumed light needed a substance to travel through), and the shift from Ptolemaic to Copernican models of the universe. Others propose the true nature of consciousness can never be known to man, so it becomes a semantic matter of understanding.

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