Critique of Jung

Carl Jung's writings continue to fascmate students of humanity. Despite its subjective and philosophical quality, Jimgian psychology has attracted a wide audience of both professional and lay people. His study of religion and mythology may resonate with some readers but repel others. Jung, however, regarded himself as a scientist and msisted that his scientific study of religion, mythology, folklore, and philosophical fantasies did not make him a mystic any more than Freud's study of sex made Freud a sexual pervert (Jung, 1975).

Nevertheless, analytical psychology, like any theory, must be evaluated agamst the six criteria of a useful theory established hi Chapter 1. First, a useful theory must generate testable hypotheses and descriptive research, and second it must have the capacity for either verification or falsification. Unfortunately, Jung's theory, like Freud's, is nearly impossible to either verify or falsify. The collective unconscious, the core of Jung's theory, remains a difficult concept to test empirically.

Chapter 4 Jung: Analytical Psychology 131

Much of the evidence for the concepts of archetype and the collective unconscious has come from Jungs own hmer experiences, which he admittedly found difficult to communicate to others, so that acceptance of these concepts rests more on faith than on empirical evidence. Jung (1961) clahned that "archetypal statements are based upon instinctive preconditions and have nothing to do with reason; they are neither rationally grounded nor can they be banished by rational argument" (p. 353). Such a statement may be acceptable to the artist or the theologian, but it is not likely to win adherents among scientific researchers faced with the problems of designing studies and formulating hypotheses.

On the other hand, that part of Jungs theory concerned with classification and typology, that is, the functions and attitudes, can be studied and tested and have generated a moderate amount of research. Because the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has yielded a great number of investigations, we give Jungs theory a moderate ratmg on its ability to generate research.

Third, a useful theory should organize observations into a meaningful framework. Analytical psychology is unique because it adds a new dimension to personality theory, namely, the collective unconscious. Those aspects of human personality dealing with the occult, the mysterious, and the parapsychological are not touched on by most other personality theories. Even though the collective unconscious is not the only possible explanation for these phenomena, and other concepts could be postulated to account for them, Jung is the only modern personality theorist to make a serious attempt to include such a broad scope of human activity within a single theoretical framework. For these reasons, we have given Jungs theory a moderate rating on its ability to organize knowledge.

A fourth criterion of a useful theory is its practicality. Does the theory aid therapists, teachers, parents, or others hi solving everyday problems? The theory of psychological types or attitudes and the MBTI are used by many clinicians, but the usefulness of most analytical psychology is lhnited to those therapists who subscribe to basic Jungian tenets. The concept of a collective unconscious does not easily lend itself to empirical research, but it may have some usefuhiess in helping people understand cultural myths and adjust to life's traumas. Overall, however, we can give Jung's theory only a low rating hi practicality.

Is Jung's theory of personality internally consistent? Does it possess a set of operationally defined terms? The first question receives a qualified affirmative answer; the second, a definite negative one. Jung generally used the same terms consistently, but he often employed several terms to describe the same concept. The words regression and introverted are so closely related that they can be said to describe the same process. This is also true of progression and extroverted, and the list could be expanded to include several other terms such as individuation and self-realization, which also are not clearly differentiated. Jung's language is often arcane, and many of his terms are not adequately defined. As for operational definitions, Jung, like other early personality theorists, did not define terms operationally. Therefore, we rate his theory as low on internal consistency.

The final criterion of a useful theory is parsimony Jung's psychology is not simple, but neither is human personality. However, because it is more cumbersome than necessary, we can give it only a low rathig on parsimony. Jung's proclivity for searching for data from a variety of disciplines and his willingness to explore his

132 Part II Psychodynamic Theories own unconscious, even beneath the personal level, contribute to the great complexities and the broad scope of his theory. The law of parsimony states, "When two theories are equally useful, the simpler one is preferred." In fact, of course, no two are ever equal, but Jungs theory, while adding a dimension to human personality not greatly dealt with by others, is probably more complex than necessary.

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