Self as the dialectical relationship between conscious and unconscious

One Carl Jung’s ideas most relevant to Self-realization is the transcendent function. The transcendent function is a psychic process, occurring as a dialectical relationship between the conscious and unconscious.

With the transcendence function, the conscious mind (or ego) enters into a dynamic relationship with the unconscious (as Self). This relationship takes place through working with the Self (in the form of unconscious content) as it presents itself as in dreams and imagination. The unconscious presents symbolic material in the form of images, and it is up to the conscious mind (and ego) to integrate and grow from the material which the Self presents. Jung says:

“once the unconscious content has been given form, and the meaning of the formulation is understood, the question arises as to how the ego will relate to this position, and how the ego and the unconscious are to come to terms”.

The conscious mind (ego) holds the capacity for language and reason, while the Self presents itself in archetypal forms. These forms appear in imagination and dreams. By opening to the Self (as unconscious), the conscious mind can begin to give form and meaning to the subtle truths that the Self presents. These truths are archetypal in nature. They are known, but unknown: intuited, but unspoken.They take disguise in art and protective relations equally.


4 thoughts on “Self as the dialectical relationship between conscious and unconscious

  1. Jenna, you have a talent to put very simply very complex notions. I’ve been interested with this dynamics for years under different terms, through different theories (starting with Ricoeur’s hermeneutics and other ‘phenomenologists’; also a bit of Assagioli’s psychosynthesis). Your post, somewhat, shows for me that whatever the area of research pushed far enough, here Jungian theories (dialectic of theory and practice), one can find some points of convergence (dialectic of the universal and the particular) in other areas of knowledge…and maybe ‘originality’ of thought is more in the form than in ideas(dialectic of form and content)? In what way does this dialectic (and others) relate and “dynamize” (not an English word, I know) the dialectic of the immanent and the transcendent ( is one fascinating (and mind boggling) venue of research (both practical and theoretical) that greatly occupies me, especially as regards the field of holistic health, in general, and coaching, in particular. What’s the result of the dynamic, the ‘dynamite’ point, the in-between of a very special experience( ecstasy/ peak experience, perceptude), beyond mere insight and away from enlightenment as only an end, fascinates me.I cite your article in my new post


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