Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung on Human Personality in Rare BBC Interview
“Man cannot stand a meaningless life.”
Legendary Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875–June 6, 1961), along with his frenemy Freud, is considered the founding father of modern analytical psychology. He coined the concepts of collective consciousness and introverted vs. extroverted personality, providing the foundation for the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Though famously accused of having lost his soul, Jung had a much more heartening view of human nature than Freud and memorably wrote that “the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” On October 22 of 1959, BBC’s Face to Face — an unusual series of pointed, almost interrogative interviews seeking to “unmask public figures” — aired a segment on Jung, included in the 1977 anthology C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters (public library).
Eighty-four at the time and still working, he talks to New Statesman editor John Freeman about education, religion, consciousness, human nature, and his temperamental differences with Freud, which sparked his study of personality types. Transcript highlights below.
Echoing Anaïs Nin’s meditation on the fluid self from a decade earlier, Jung confirms that fixed personality is a myth:
Psychological type is nothing static — it changes in the course of life.
He advocates for psychology as the most potent tool for understanding human nature and thus saving humanity from itself:
We need more understanding of human nature, because the only danger that exists is man himself — he is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man — far too little.
But perhaps most timeless and timely of all is the interview’s concluding question, the answer to which arrives at the same conclusion that Viktor Frankl famously did:
FREEMAN: As the world becomes more technically efficient, it seems increasingly necessary for people to behave communally and collectively, now do you think it’s possible that the highest development of man may be to submerge his own individuality in a kind of collective consciousness?
JUNG: That’s hardly possible. I think there will be a reaction — a reaction will set in against this communal dissociation. You know, man doesn’t stand forever, his nullification. Once, there will be a reaction, and I see it setting in, you know, when I think of my patients, they all seek their own existence and to assure their existence against that complete atomization into nothingness or into meaninglessness. Man cannot stand a meaningless life.
This interview, writes editor R. F. C. Hull in C.G. Jung Speaking, “undoubtedly brought Jung to more people than any other piece of journalism and any of Jung’s own writings.” Complement it with Jung’s fantastic catalog of the unconscious, The Book of Symbols, and his timelessly captivating Memories, Dreams, Reflection.
Source: Brain Pickings
- Carl Jung’s 4 Stages of Life
- The 10 Most Famous Personalities Of The Last 6,000 Years
- Top 14 Greatest Philosophers And Their Books
- 30 Precious Life Lessons By 10 Ancient Greek Philosophers
- The Key To Happiness, According To 3 Greek Philosophers
- Socrates Was One Of The Smartest People Ever Lived. Here Are 24 Out Of His Most Important Quotes That Everyone Needs To Read
- Socrates: The Test Of Three
- MOTIVATION: 15 Best Socrates Picture Quotes
- 17 Of Plato's Most Famous Quotes That Can Help Us Improve Our Lives
- This Animation Will Explain To You Plato's Philosophy In Almost 3 Minutes
- 40 Aristotle's Quotes That Will Make You Think And Can Change Your Life
- 40 Golden Words By Epictetus, The Ancient Greek Philosopher Who Was Born A Slave
- 12 Life Lessons from Jesus That Everyone Should Read Before They Die
- 170 Intriguing and Thought Provoking African Proverbs & Quotes
- 35 Inspiring & Philosophical Quotes By Lao Tzu (Laozi)
- 37 Confucius' Quotes That Will Help You Understand The Chinese Philosophy
- Leonardo Da Vinci: 30 Quotes by a Talented Genius Personality
- You Need To Read These 25 Truths By Galileo Galilei
- 30 Words Of Wisdom By The Great Scientist, Nikola Tesla
- 25 Life Lessons from Albert Einstein
- Albert Einstein - How I See the World
- 23 Quotes About Our Cosmos By The Astronomer Carl Sagan
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 20 Quotes You Need To Read
- 22 Sigmund Freud's Quotes Will Make You Rethink Life
- 38 Most Memorable Quotes By Voltaire
- 39 Philosophical & Thought-Provoking Quotes By Albert Camus
- 42 Victor Hugo's Lessons to Make You Think
- 46 Mind-Blowing Quotes By Friedrich Nietzsche
- 30 Humanitarian Inspiring Quotes By Martin Luther King Jr.
- 30 Political and Philosophical Quotes By Noam Chomsky
- 18 Pictures of Shaolin Monks Training
- Ten Tips From A Shaolin Monk On How To Stay Young
- One Buddha Teaching That Will Tell You More About Yourself Than Anything Else
- 25 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Buddha
- Gandhi’s 10 Fundamentals: How To Change The World
- 28 Thought-Provoking Photo Quotes By Charles Bukowski
- 25 Life Changing Lessons To Learn From Rumi
- 25 Lessons From Khalil Gibran That Can Totally Transform Your Life
- 30 Native American Wisdom Quotes To Upgrade Your Mind
- 10 Pieces Of Wisdom & Quotes From Native American Elders
- 10 Quotes From a Sioux Indian Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung on Human Personality in Rare BBC Interview Reviewed by Katerina Pap on 10:33 AM Rating: