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Demonstrating the Collective Unconscious

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,sci.skeptic,alt.psychology.jung
From: Seyfert-1 
Subject: Re: Demonstrating the Collective Unconscious
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 00:20:56 GMT

50020806 VII om

hmm?:
>>>How would we prove a collective unconscious?  ....

Seyfert-1 
>>proof is for ninnies. let's talk a demonstration.

theesage@azrmci.net (The_Sage):
>Number one, by definition the unconscious is something you cannot
>demonstrate, because if you could demonstrate it, it wouldn't be
>unconscious anymore.

thinking about the unconscious doesn't necessarily bring it itself
to consciousness. we merely speak of reflections or signs of it,
and try to point it out, or repercussions of it, and try to trace
these back to their origins (not necessarily bringing these origins
to consciousness either).

>Number two, past historical cases of behaviors that used to be
>unconscious (but obviously are now conscious, at least for some
>people) demonstrate the existence of the collective unconscious. 

in clear contradiction to your number one, but I didn't agree with
your first number anyway. :>  could you come up with some examples,
which illustrate your suggestion here, which you think "used to be
unconscious"?

>Number three, you see a demonstration of the existence of a 
>collective unconscious in action everytime you see mob mentality 
>take over a crowd.

does this crowd mentality ever express itself, or do more than mill
around and moo? :> there are lots who believe in these things called
"archetypes", but I'm unsure if they got the idea from Jung that
these are free-agents operating in the collective unconscious like
some kind of Gibsonian cyber-orisha from one of his Cyberpunk classics.

n
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@yronwode.com
Seyfert-1

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Subject: Re: Demonstrating the Collective Unconscious
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50020806 VII om

topic: determining the evidence in support of and against 
	the Collective Unconscious theory as presented by Jung and students.

hmm?:
>>>>>>>How would we prove a collective unconscious?  I can think of a couple
>>>>>>>of ways, maybe others can think of more.

Seyfert-1:
>>>>>>proof is for ninnies. let's talk a demonstration.


Sage's # 1 Point: demonstration interferes with itself in the case of unconsciousness

theesage@azrmci.net (The_Sage):
>>>>>Number one, by definition the unconscious is something you cannot
>>>>>demonstrate, because if you could demonstrate it, it wouldn't be
>>>>>unconscious anymore.

theesage@azrmci.net (The_Sage):
>...I am not saying here that "because the unconscious cannot be 
>demonstrated, therefore it must exist" 

sensible. we were attempting to come up with a means of ascertaining
the confirmative evidence behind presuming that Jung's Collective
Unconscious theory was accurate. perhaps you can help provide this.

"Tom" 
>>>>And if we demonstrated that some product of our imagination, it wouldn't
>>>>be imaginary anymore.

an applicable analogy in this case, Tom. agreed. the product of a thing need
not share the qualities of that thing in order to be considered as a product
and acknowledged as to its origination.

theesage@azrmci.net (The_Sage):
>>>Wrong. STAR WARS was a demonstration of a product of our imagination,
>>>yet it is still imagination.

"Tom" 
>>No, it's a movie.  You can rent it for yourself, if you doubt that.  It
>>used to be a part of someone's imagination, but now it's a movie.

precisely, though all of it didn't originate in some individual's 
mind, of course. maybe it never underwent any editing changes between
author and film, at best.

>You are confusing a movie with a story. The movie is not the story. A
>movie is just the medium through which stories can be portrayed.... 

whether a movie, a story, or a plot or whatever, it all seems to have once
been in the imagination and thereafter was expressed by or through the
imagination and is therefore a product of the imagination. its expression
solidifies imagination into the product, which extends beyond the imaginary.

>...the movie is still only just a demonstration of the product of
>someone's imagination....

seems rather convuted. we might as well say that the movie is a product
of many things inclusive of imagination. its character was especially
informed by films in the genre of Westerns, for example, and these being 
previous products of imagination, are likewise not imagination itself.


Sage's #2 Point: evidence can also be found in "behaviours becoming conscious"

>>>>>Number two, past historical cases of behaviors that used to be
>>>>>unconscious (but obviously are now conscious, at least for some
>>>>>people) demonstrate the existence of the collective unconscious.....

>They are meaningless squiggles to begin with since most people are
>unconscious of their meaning, but that still won't change the fact
>that those squiggles are the same universal squiggles everywhere you
>look, as if they shared a *collectively* common source.... 

right, so if one finds an exception to this the whole theory is shot down.
thanks for helping to illustrate the extremity of the claim, through
*heridity* means no less. 

>And since no
>one deliberately intended for those squiggles to be universal like
>that, the creators of those myths had to be *unconscious* of the fact
>that they were reproducing collectively universal squiggles.

what the intent was of the writers seems inconsequential to whether or 
not what they wrote was universal, but directly relevant to whether it 
was conscious. if someone *had* intended that their scribblings become 
universal, if they didn't understand the deeper significances (can you 
say "Lost the Keys"??), then they were still unconscious and it may still 
have been a product of the Collective Unconscious as they included some 
kind of communication of universals, even if they wanted it to be some
kind of universal. 

I am aware of what I understand to be cultural exceptions to this theory, 
so all of it is thrown into question unless there is some variable switch 
in the theory (e.g. collective is abandoned for the personal and local)
or supplemental evidence supporting the theory is provided (which I am
hoping to see in Sage's response regarding behaviours becoming conscious
in this #2 Point above, about which I asked in another post).

>If DNA templates could cause us to display the same unconscious
>behaviors, would that fit the definition for a collective unconscious
>as well as any other? 

it might limit its universality. you might have to reduce the size of
those who share that previously considered 'universal' and now thought
to be more local, shared by the species, or by terrans, or by some
subset of terran humans, etc.

>...No one is claiming that the collective UNconscious does any "directing", 
>it is simply an observation of the way different groups of people 
>collectively act,

and something about their imaginative expressions too (that they exhibit
some kind of formal similarity in content, across cultures), such that
the symbols instructed can presume a greater sense of authority and
imbue those speaking about them with a greater aura of authority than
merely some opinion (because they are "universal" rather than particular
to a specific subset of the species human, and because they are passed
on at a level beyond awareness, rather than through education and
indoctrination).

>without knowing they are collectively acting in the same generic ways,
>even when separated by vast expanses of space and time.

there are these. sometimes described as 'instincts'. typically they are
difficult to demonstrate as universal, however, though some seem to be
completely pervasive in human behaviour, yes.


Sage entertains a competing theory inferred obtained from Tom:
>...a DNA template passes on collective behaviors and experience. Bzzzt! 
>Wrong! Nobody has ever seen any physically real evidence of that....

nest-building? bee-dances? instinct?

>>>You cannot keep inventing the same spontaneously derived myths from
>>>your imagination in one part of the world, that shares the same
>>>imagination as all the others, without it being collective.

you keep making the claim. one exception will undermine you. :>

perhaps we should examine with particular attention the METHODS TO
DETERMINE THE 'SAMENESS' OF THESE 'DERIVED MYTHS'. you're claiming
that they are spreading with humans innately, quite apart from some
linguistic communication. you also seem to claiming all examples of 
these myths cohere in *some* aspect of their form or content. that 
seems a necessary factor in determining "universality".

I'm still not sure what you're claiming IS the same from one culture 
to another. surely you agree that the stories themselves vary. but 
you must be making some kind of claim about symbolism or significance 
or something. usually such suggestions are facile and exceptions are
easy to find (many have been suggested by people in this thread).

>...mythical thinking pretty much died out thousands of years ago.

wow, it did? so it is an artifact of primitive humans only? 
interesting. methinks that Jung considered dream symbols (modern)
to be related in some way. perhaps he thought that this 'barely
conscious interaction with the Collective Unconscious' gave some
kind of credence to his theory also (as the dream imagery reflects
supposed universals -- consult Dream Books!! :> check out "Man and
His Symbols", by Jung, the first book I looked at of his materials).

>...Tell us about all about the Mayans and Aztecs then. Tell us 
>what myths and legends they had as compared to the Greeks or 
>Romans....

if we present an exception using the cultures of your choice in
comparison of the differences of their mythical stories, will you 
admit Jung's theory is false? the problem becomes what criteria
of "sameness" you will require for the satisfaction of the test.

if you describe the method of determining "universality" then we
can come up with exceptions and confirmations of your claim that
Jung's Collective Unconscious theory is correct.

thanks! :> 

Seyfert-1

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Subject: Re: Evidence Supporting Collective Unconscious/Archetypes? Anybody? (was Demonstrating)
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50020810 VII om

theesage@azrmci.net (The_Sage):
> ...what we are knowing in this case is always the unconscious 
> of the *past* and not the present. Our present unconscious
> is unknown.

this is a very valuable distinction, Sage. by definitions of
the terms "unconscious" and "conscious" we are discussing
only material in the past (because the present experience
only includes conscious, rather than unconscious material).
inference and implication may thereafter be abstracted so
as to get a fix on what unconscious structures may exist.

you seem to agree about this, and that direct apprehension
of these structures is by definition subject to a different
category of experience than is covered by your language. 
as you present it this is doctrine, though we have no real
convincing argument from you that we should adopt your
language. it is possible, for example, that one may make
varying levels of successful *approaches to the experience
of these underlying structures*, very much like looking
with a flashlight where typically darkness lies. what we
may see when looking will not be that darkness without
our light, agreed. what will it be? will it show us some
reflection of what is there when there is no flashlight?
I'm unsure that you are addressing such questions.

Seyfert-1
 nagasiva@luckymojo.com

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