Collective unconsciousness is quite different from individual unconsciousness. It is that layer of reality which cannot be derived from personal experiences. In fact, it is considered as an inborn or universal psyche which is present in every individual.
Carl Gustav Jung pioneered the concept of collective unconscious in the year 1961, while he was talking to the Zurich School of Analytical Psychology. Until 1961, the manuscript of this talk was not available. The first German manuscript of his talk appeared after Jung’s death. The collective unconsciousness according to Carl Jung ranges from a warehouse that consists of records of human reactions to the world to an active reality out of which the actions emerge. He initially believed that the components that make up the collective unconsciousness are prehistoric and are mostly related to ancient images. However, he later modified this version stating that the clear images of the conscious mind have strong effects over collective unconsciousness. When the entire energy from the collective unconsciousness emerges and enters into consciousness, the conscious mind changes leading to insanity and major alterations in the regular temperament.
In 1925, Jung further conceived an idea that put collective unconsciousness and external world at opposite directions. The observing ego was considered to be lying in between the two, accessing the collective unconscious through anima and external world through persona. Jung regarded his idea of collective unconscious as an experimental fact endorsed by experiences of the human race since ages. While reviewing Jung’s autobiography, Winnicot disagreed and criticized Jung’s efforts. He termed collective unconsciousness as Jung’s split psyche.
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