In an interview with Jungian psychoanalyst and scholar James
Hollis, WIE's Amy Edelstein explores the developmental
and spiritual role of the ego according to the father of
analytical psychology, C.G. Jung.
Carl Jung is perhaps best known for his exploration of the
human psyche through dreams, art, myth, religious experience,
and philosophy. His original conceptions of the collective
unconscious, archetypes, and synchronicity have become pillars
of modern, secular spirituality (not to mention the New Age).
But Jung was first and foremost a pioneering psychologist, and
his investigations and theories about the ego are no less
compelling than those of his famous mentor and colleague,
Sigmund Freud. But where Freud saw the ego as a repository of
repressed fears and negative feelings, Jung saw it as a well of
deep significance both positive and negative, a source of
incapacitating neuroses and also brilliant creativity—even
spirituality. Hollis defines these many faces of the ego,
delving into the ways ego can serve the spiritual quest or
hinder it, support the vertical development of the individual or
stymie profound personal evolution. Given that the ego is not
only an object of psychological fascination in the West but is
also the arch nemesis of enlightenment in the East, this
conversation is required listening for all sincere seekers on the spiritual path today.