Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Jungian Self

  • J. Pittman McGeheeEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_368

The Self for Jung was the archetype of wholeness and the organizing principle of the psyche. In volume 12, paragraph 44 of his Collected Works, he writes: “The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness” (1953/1970).

This paradoxical concept is both the essence and the totality of one’s personality. The Self initiates life and it is life’s goal. Jung’s concept of individuation depends on one becoming one’s true, autonomous, and authentic self. The ego is the organ of consciousness. The goal of the second half of life is for the ego to subordinate itself to the supraordinate Self. In his autobiography, Jung writes: “In those years… I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the self. There is no linear evolution; there is only the circumambulation of the self.”

The Self is a transcendent or divine quality. Jung referred to...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research CenterSaybrook Graduate SchoolSan FranciscoUSA