Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 2): Aion

Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self

I. The Ego

Jung distinguishes the self as a supraordinate concept in the ego. He views the ego as a requisite of consciousness—the subject which psychic content impresses upon—and describes it as the “centre of the field of consciousness” and the “subject of all personal acts of consciousness.”

Empirically, the scope of consciousness ends at the unknown which falls into two categories of objects:

  1. external objects (experienced by the senses)
  2. internal objects (experienced immediately)

Jung calls the territory of the inner unknown the unconscious.

The ego, as content of consciousness, rests on two bases:

  1. the somatic
  2. the psychic

Both bases consist of conscious and unconscious factors. Unconscious psychic contents fall into three groups:

  1. temporarily subliminal contents that can be reproduced voluntarily
  2. unconscious contents that cannot be reproduced voluntarily
  3. contents that are not capable of becoming conscious at all

Jung views the ego as being acquired during the individual’s lifetime and develops continually through contact with the individual’s outer and inner world. A complete picture of the ego is inherently difficult as it must include all conscious and unconscious features.

…the most decisive qualities in a person are often the unconscious and can be perceived only by others, or have to be laboriously discovered with outside help. C. G. Jung, Aion (para. 7)

IV. The Self

Once metaphysical ideas have lost their capacity to recall and evoke the original experience they have not only become useless but prove to be actual impediments on the road to wider development. C. G. Jung, Aion (para. 65)

Jung says of the post-Christian spirit:

…symbols no longer express what is now welling up from the unconscious as the end-result of the development of Christian consciousness through the centuries. This end-result is a true antimimon pneuma, a false spirit of arrogance, hysteria, woolly-mindedness, criminal amorality, and doctrine fanaticism, a purveyor of shoddy spiritual goods, spurious art, philosophical stuttering, and Utopian humbug, fit only to be fed wholesale to the mass man of today. C. G. Jung, Aion (para. 67)