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Jung's version of the double.

This entry comes from "Jung for Beginners", Maggie Hyde and Michael Guinness. Icon Books Cambridge 1992. I have taken from pages 1 to 13 and 86 to 89.

I've taken only a few pages of this profusely illustrated book and slightly rearranged the material so that it is easier to read. I know little of Jung, I have read a few of his books and have found it difficult to give to him the general acclaim that seems to be associated with his name. But that's just my experience to date.

It strikes me that Jung's Number One personably (which he later called the Ego) and Number Two personality (which he later called the shadow) fit into the following schemata...

Personality Number Two is the Double, the part of us which links to Jung's concept of instincts and has the possession of our body. While, personality Number One is the soul - the equilibrium focal area between our higher self (which is cosmic in scope) and the Double (which Jung addresses as Number Two, or the Shadow). In my suggested schemata Jung's Number One (Jung's Ego ... or my soul) is our daily personality. To this Jung attached the "Persona" a special personality we create to facilitate our daily social interactions.

It is note worthy that Jung never did formulate a Higher Self, a spiritual aspect that is part of the total cosmos. I suspect there are two reasons for this. One he trained as medical doctor with a 19th century scientific orientation, and he lived and functioned in that world. And two, having a spiritualist church rather than an esoteric upbringing he would have had difficulty in conceiving a higher self as part of the human personality.

Jung's boyhood soul - searching.

Carl Jung was born in 1875 in Switzerland, the only son of a Evangelical minister. His family was steeped in religion Jung had 8 uncles in the clergy as well as his maternal grandfather, Samuel Preiswerk who was a pastor in Basel. Every week the respected pastor had contact with a different world - the spirit world. He conversed with deceased first wife, while his second wife (Jung's grandmother) and his daughter (Jung's mother) listened in.

Jung experienced his mother as dark and unpredictable, " rooted in deep, invisible ground". She knew the world of the uncanny and she could be frightening and erratic. She used to stand behind her father to keep the bad spirits away while he wrote his sermons.

Jung was a strange melancholic child who had no brothers or sisters until he was nine, so he played his own imaginary games.

He used to sit an a rock and ask, "Am I the one sitting on the stone? Or am I the stone on which he {Carl Jung} is sitting?"

"But, I have a secret, none of you know anything about it! You don't know that God wants to force me to do wrong - to think abominations - in order to experience his grace!"

Jung brooded on his secret, in vain he searched in his father's library for more information.

At other times Jung would sit on his rock and it would free him from his turmoils. Jung had a strong suspicion there was something eternal in himself, some "other" in him which was like the stone ... "It knows my secret, it is the secret, because it's thousands of years old."

Jung came to believe that he had two different personalities, which he named Number 1 and Number 2.

Number one was involved in the ordinary, everyday world. He could burst into emotions and seemed childish and undisciplined. Yet he was also ambitious for academic success, studying science and aiming to achieve a civilized, prestigious life style.

Number two personality was much more troublesome, the "Other", identified with the stone and the secret of Gods grace. Number Two carried meaning and seemed to stretch back into history in a mysterious manner.

Jung associated his Number Two dimension with the uncanny world of his mother. He carved a little man wearing a black frock-coat and boots and placed him with a stone, in a pencil case that he stashed way in a forbidden place in the attic. In this simple, primitive way, he felt in touch with his Number Two.

Jung's struggle to reconcile his Number One and Number Two worlds persisted throughout his adolescence. He recalls his twelfth year when "he learned what a neurosis is". He shirked school with mysterious fainting spells, a "whole bag of tricks" that worried his father who was told by doctor that perhaps his son suffered from epilepsy. He conquered his dizzy spells with an effort of will.

Jung identified more and more with Number One personality and his newly discovered sense of self. The Number Two world began to slip away. He grew into a tall, handsome, athletic and physically strong young man. Throughout his life these qualities, along side his loud booming laugh and infectious hearty love of life, gave him tremendous physical presence and enormous charisma, especially with women.

One of Jung's four archetypal figures ... the ego and the shadow.

During his student days Jung had a dream ...

On a dark and foggy night, when there was a high wind blowing and he struggled to protect his Light from the wind Jung perceived a black shadow following him - he recognized it as his own shadow cast by his light.

"Light" and "Shadow" where Jung's Number One and Number Two personalities which he later recast as the archetypal figures of Ego and Shadow.

He saw the Ego as fragile, the precious light of consciousness that had to be guarded, protected and cultivated.

The Ego is a person's sense of purpose and identity. A healthy Ego {ie, a well functioning 'Soul'} balances the conscious and unconscious elements of the psyche. A weakened Ego leaves an individual "in the dark", in danger of being swamped by chaotic unconscious images.

The Shadow, the dark side, is not wholly bad, but it is primitive and unadapted. It vitalizes life. We must face it honestly. Infact one of the first steps in counseling is to make the patient aware of the "Ego-Shadow" relationship.

The Ego and Shadow are personified by Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the classic "good and bad" split in all of us. Mr Hyde becomes a real danger to the psychic health when the Ego itself screws up.





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original content by Steven Guth,
page uploaded 14 September 2003