For the past few years, I have been pursuing some PhD research into the relationship between personality and mythology. The overall aim is to find ways of promoting religious tolerance. It is based on Jung’s analytical psychology and is now in the final stretch.
I would appreciate your help by completing four online questionnaires, which will take about 30 minutes in total. When you have finished, there will be a report in the form of a PDF file, or Ebook, or you can read the results online. There is more information about the research on the page that introduces the questionnaires, at https://research.myers.co. Thank you, in advance.
If you have any questions or comments, please use my contact page (above).
In Jung’s last work on the theory of psychological types, published posthumously, he introduced the topic by writing:
“A sane and normal society is one in which people habitually disagree” (Jung 1964, p. 46).
Jung didn’t say (here) why individual disagreements are important to society, but the reasons are evident from many of his writings from 1914 onwards, when he started formulating his theories about “the process of becoming” (Jung 1914, p. 183).
Constructive disagreement is a vital part of Jung’s process of individual and cultural development and it reduces conflict in societal or international relations. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is a natural corollary of Jung’s theories of individuation and collective compensation. I’ll start by explaining these aspects of Jung’s theories, and then conclude with some practical guidelines on what it means to disagree constructively.
This video is an academic, masters-level presentation that I was invited to make at a university conference. The full paper has been published in the Journal for Behavioural Sciences. On the page below, I provide a non-academic overview and discuss one of its practical implications.
Jung’s theories are sometimes criticised for being based on his experiences with mentally ill people. Whilst that is true to some extent, only 1/3rd of his Collected Works are concerned with mental illness. He was able to spend much of his life studying ‘normal’ applications of psychology, which interested him, because he was financially independent (having married a very rich woman). And one of the books that Jung published, Psychological Types, became the basis for the most popular personality questionnaire in use today – the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.
In TheGod Delusion, Richard Dawkins argues that God (probably) does not exist, and he associates belief in God with the childhood practice of having an “imaginary friend” (Dawkins 2006, p. 88). He advocates, as an alternative to belief in God, using science and evidence to develop useful models that replicate how the world works.
Although his argument has some validity, it is underpinned by a Western cultural premise that something is either real/exists or imaginary/unreal. This is a false dichotomy, created by the tendency in the modern Western mind to think in terms of simple opposites (Corbin 1972, p. 1). Imagination and reality are not alternatives, but imagination helps to create reality. This can be illustrated with three practical examples.
Illustration 1: Optical Illusion
In the picture above/right (published by Edward Adelson on a Wikipedia page), squares A and B are opposite colours – one is black the other is white. Can you see how this reality is created by your imagination?
In 1948, C.G. Jung wrote to UNESCO describing how analytical psychology could help promote world peace (Jung 1948). He made some practical suggestions that they did not take up.
The nature of international conflict has changed significantly since then. There has been a shift in the balance from war towards terrorism, a shift that was predicted before the fall of the Berlin Wall by a Jungian Analyst (Bernstein 1989). Nevertheless, Jung’s proposals remain relevant today as they provide practical ways in which every citizen can play their part in developing world peace.