Posey and Carl Jung’s Theory of the Collective Unconscious

heartofdarknessMy senior year of high school, I had a truly awful English teacher who did not care for me very much whatsoever. Towards the end of the school year, she asked that we go around the classroom and announce where each of us was to attend college the following fall. It basically went down like this: “Harvard.” “Yale.” “Stanford.” “M.I.T.” “M.I.T.” “M.I.T.” and so on. I have no idea why so many engineer-minded kids were in an AP English class, but they were. Then she came to me. I shyly said, “The University of Iowa.”

She glared at me, curled her evil lip up just like the Grinch, and snarled– “You don’t want to be a WRITER, do you?” Gulp.

This post doesn’t have much to do with that story, I just wanted to tell it. The segue is that in this class, I read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and learned about Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious:

“My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited.”

So basically, we’re all born with inherited human experience collective knowledge. And you know what? I totally buy it. I’ve seen it in action. In the form of… THE TELEPHONE.

These days, the only phones Posey has really ever seen in action look like this:


So how the heck can I explain the fact that she totally instinctively knows what to do with THIS thing? Like, what do do with a handset? When she’s never seen one before???


But she gets it. And answers the phone. That Jung guy was on to something.