Side and top views of the unconscious


     Turning to basic concepts, Jung once defined the unconscious as being all that is unknown to the individual. As he put it: "I call 'unconscious', in the widest sense, everything that is not represented in consciousness, whether momentarily or permanently" (Jung, CW 1, note to par. 166). Later, he wrote, "The unconscious contains all those psychic events which do not possess sufficient intensity of functioning to cross the threshold dividing the conscious from the unconscious. They remain, in effect, below the surface of consciousness, and flit by in subliminal form. Some is potentially knowable, while probably most will never become conscious in any person's lifetime (Jung, CW 3, par. 439).

     I hope it is clear that the word "subconscious", as one often encounters in Freud-influenced literature, is not acceptable since it seems to imply an inferior, subservient role to consciousness. While the unconscious does contain much that is unpleasant and downright distasteful, there is also a lot that is encouraging and positive. Our whole future and our creativity originate from our unconscious selves.

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