Was Carl Jung Influenced by Hegel?

A Short Video Biography of Hegel

A Short Video Biography of Carl Jung

Carl Jung was a Swish Psychiatrist who studied Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic techniques and subsequently developed his own school of Analytic Psychology. Jung found his inspiration in many diverse areas. However some of the concepts Jung espoused echoed those proposed in a simpler form by Hegel. I have provided a short video biography of Carl Jung and Georg Hegel which the interested reader can use as a starting point for further exploration of this area. To understand Hegel and Jung we need to delve back a little further in history.

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who lived in the eighteenth century. One of his most important works was ‘A Critique of Pure Reason‘. Essentially he challenged the benefits of using reasoning alone and instead championed the use of reasoning and experience together – synthetic reasoning. A counter movement against Kant’s ideas emerged – the school of German Idealism. In his works Kant had suggested that ‘unsolvable contradictions’ occurred in several specific areas. Hegel extended this concept by suggesting that contradictions occurred in all ideas. Hegel wrote about other important concepts such as the importance of historical reality and others in consciousness.

Hegel’s concept of speculation in the form of the dialectical describes the process in which the concrete or absolute must pass through a negative phase. Some people have interpreted this to mean that negative and positive elements are considered in the journey to the synthesis of the absolute (This is not quite the same as thesis + antithesis = synthesis which is considered to be a summary of work by other philosophers including Kant although there is similarity).

Turning to Jung, one obvious correlation is the concept of the shadow. Jung suggested that a person is the sum of their conscious selves and an unconsciousness which included the shadow. Through the process of individuation, through their life a person would learn to integrate these two parts – to become whole.

Jung’s concept of the Shadow

However there are other similarities. Jung and Hegel both concerned themselves with an exploration of what they considered the spirit. Perhaps Jung was the psychological manifestation of the school of German Idealism – a reaction against Kant’s ‘A Critique of Pure Reason’ over a century beforehand.

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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