Neoplato wrote:I had forgotten about the persona or the "mask" people put on to interact with society. This complicates things for me a bit; kind of like adding an extra layer. Jung implies that the ego is a victim of two separate forces acting upon it; the persona and the unconscious. The stronger the ego identifies with the persona, the stronger the unconscious will react against it (and he cites some good examples).
So in my terms "egothink" is confused by it's expected role and actions within society and the constant 'tugging" from the unconscious (the call?). So then this makes me wonder if inner peace actually results from the elimination of the ego, or a "fusing" of the "mask" with the unconscious?
Remember in the other thread my pointing out that it’s important to keep in mind the differing perspectives of East and West, and also the differences in terminology as used by Jung and Freud (and Campbell which I’ll clarify in a moment)?
I’m reminding you of this again since from the perspectives of Campbell and Jung, "the elimination of the ego" is not the aim when following one’s bliss or pursuing individuation. The ego is essential to the Western psyche’s development and expression as the center of consciousness, as the link between an individual’s outer and inner worlds and between the conscious and the unconscious. The Eastern psyche in its development and expression is a complementary way of being, with the ultimate aim of transcending the trappings of the world and ego rather than actively engaging with them; and please know that I’m not implying this way is somehow inferior to the West’s just different. The Westerner who finds value in Eastern ideas must keep in mind that Oriental beliefs, concepts, and practices, despite the occasional similarities to the Occidental, require a process of translation and flexibility to accommodate the Western mind set.
for related information in my MythNow Blog entry, A Bit of West Meets East, of Jung and Campbell, of Psychology
Now, again, a bit about terminology, and please note the use of capitalization or not:
* Campbell’s “hero or Hero” is the same as Jung’s “ego” and Freud’s “self.” Each is an essential conscious
factor in psychic functioning.
* Jung’s “Self” is the central archetype of the collective unconscious
from which the ego develops as a conscious extension. Jung conceptualized the Self as the archetype of wholeness and orchestrator of psychic functioning at all levels, and also as the unconscious factor that gives rise to instinctual spirituality. It’s the stirrings of Self that are at the root of individuation and following one’s bliss, the development of consciousness, and the generation of myth. Also, recall that I mentioned in the other thread that initially Jung did not capitalize the term “Self”; however, whenever you’re reading Jung and come across the lower case “self,” do think “Self-as-archetype” as he intended. (Freud had no concept similar to Self, nor did he posit a level of psychic functioning comparable to the collective unconscious.)
* Campbell frequently speaks of both Jung and Freud, of course, and while he certainly had a thorough understanding of both men’s theories, Campbell does not necessarily employ each’s terminology when referring to their ideas. Most importantly, sometimes Campbell uses the term “ego” and sometimes “self” when discussing Jung; and when generalizing about depth psychology or the development of personality, he commonly uses "self." So when reading Campbell, if the focus is on conscious functioning, think Jungian “ego” and Freudian “self.”
* At the heart of Campbell’s thinking, of course, is the notion of spirituality and its link to myth-making, whether collective or personal. He draws heavily on Jung’s notion of Self and its implications, but Campbell tends to use the term “self” in a general sense when addressing these ideas and the implications for a particular individual, that is, he uses the term in a layperson’s sense. So when reading Campbell, if the focus is on unconscious processes at the level of myth and the collective unconscious, keep in mind that the Self-as-archetype creates the story, so to speak, and motivates the main character who is the conscious “hero/ego/self."
The term "Self"* seems a suitable one for the unconscious substrate whose actual exponent in consciousness is the ego. The ego stands to the Self as the moved to the mover, or as object to subject, because the determining factors that radiate outward from the Self surround the ego on all sides and are therefore supraordinate to it. The Self, like the unconscious, is an a priori existent out of which the ego evolves. It is, so to speak, an unconscious prefiguration of the ego. It is not I who create myself; rather, I happen to myself.
(From Jung's "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass" in CW 11, par. 391.) (*
I capitalized "Self" since in this excerpt Jung had not.)
Do you, Neoplato, have a copy of Pathways to Bliss
? There Campbell also addresses much of what I've said so far.
I’d planned to go into the persona
for you, too, Neoplato, but I’ve run out of time. Sorry. So for now, keep in mind that the persona has both positive and negative characteristics and implications. As social beings in relationship who need to get along, we must learn to play certain roles in society to function and create meaningful and successful lives for ourselves and our families, and also to contribute to the well-being of society as a whole, and one way we do this is to adopt various personae to meet the demands of the social situations at hand. What is key is developing the insight to consciously choose among various personae with the recognition that we’re playing prescribed roles for specific purposes, and then being able to set aside those masks and their associated beliefs and behaviors until needed again or perhaps discarding them entirely when they no longer serve. More about this later if you’d like.