Tag Archives: Jung

The person of Carl Gustav Jung and a classical interpretation of his theories.

Plebgate – a Clash of Mythologies

Plebgate Home Affairs Select Committee

Plebgate is a scandal that began with a politician (Andrew Mitchell) swearing at a police officer and having to resign.  It then turned into the police investigating the honesty and integrity of its own officers (“plodgate”).  On Wednesday (23/10/13), the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) showed that there is more confusion between fact and fiction in this story than in a good Dan Brown novel.  For example:

  • Three Chief Constables apologised for their officers’ actions – but the officers refused to do so.
  • The officers claimed they had been accurate, but most others agreed they had misled.
  • The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), and Chief Constables differed as to the charges that should be laid against the officers.
  • The SIO disagreed with his own report, which he had signed as author.
  • The way the SIO finalised the report’s conclusions was probably illegal.
  • The Chief Constables disagree as to whether the report’s conclusions need to be reviewed.

How does mythology help explain this fog of confusion?

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Are you attached to your preferences?


Myers Briggs theory is very popular.  Millions of people every year discover their personality type, using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® or one of a wide range of alternative questionnaires.  Often the argument goes that, if you can discover your preferences, you can play to your strengths and develop your individuality.

However, the creator of the theory (C.G. Jung) argued that knowing or using your preferences can lead you in one of two directions – one being cultured, the other barbaric.  His view receives support from a perhaps surprising source – the Buddha.

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Good enough leadership: a good enough example.

Archbishop an example of good enough leadership

Justin Welby hit the headlines by choosing, for his first Easter sermon as Archbishop of Canterbury, his failure as a leader.1  To some, this might seem a slightly odd topic, or perhaps a side-issue to the real message of Easter.  But, from a Jungian perspective, it can be seen as a brilliant choice, both from a leadership point of view and one of personal, spiritual development.

Jung was “absorbed by the question of leadership” (Samuels 1993, p. 287).    Much of Western leadership culture is concerned with aiming to be the perfect leader – doing things better, to a higher standard, or becoming more excellent.  In analytical psychology, however, this is one-sided and unrealistic, and a better leader is one who aspires to wholeness.

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The five functions of psychological type


Myers Briggs theory is based on four psychological functions – Sensing, iNtuition, Thinking, and Feeling.  They are used to perceive facts or possibilities, and make decisions using objective logic or subjective values. (The other letters of the Myers Briggs code – E, I, J and P – describe how those functions are used.)

Isabel Briggs Myers derived her theory from Psychological Types by C.G. Jung (Briggs Myers 1980, p. xvii).  However, Jung’s book describes five psychological functions.  The fifth, which he called the “transcendent function” (Jung 1921, p. 480), was the most important (Jung 1935).  He also produced a paper on the transcendent function five years before publishing Psychological Types (Jung 1916/1957).

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The power of symbols

Crosses at West Kirby Marine Lake

Why do dozens of people stand in near-freezing temperature for an hour, holding two planks of wood, saying very little, and for no reward?  In what has become an annual event at West Kirby, at 10:30am on Good Friday, local churches surrounded the Marine Lake – with the sole aim of holding up a cross for anyone in the vicinity to see.

The symbol of the cross unites more than two billion Christians across the globe.1  But – you might ask – what makes it different to other images that are also recognisable across the world – such as the McDonalds, Apple or BMW logos?

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