Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jung and Fairy Tales


Oh Jung you smartie-pants! 
Your ideas have really helped when taking a closer look into fairy tales and folklore. Jung believed that fairytales gave us more insight into the collective unconscious that we all share. His concept of the ‘collective unconscious’ allows us to really dig deep into the understanding of fairy tales. As mentioned in class, fairy tales are “the purest and simplest expression of the collective unconscious psychic processes” (Dr. Esa and Dr. Mazeroff ). What does this mean?



Fairy tales allow us to look into the human psyche’s collective unconscious, which is the unconscious that is shared by all people all over the world and time. Jung believed that the ‘collective unconscious’ is universal memories that are built into all human beings (according to our guest speaker, Dr. Mazeroff). In other words, it is not a learned concept, but actually inherently within us before any other influences in an individual’s life.  To assist in uncovering the essence of the collective unconscious, fairy tales possess archetypes which are universal images or forms that are within fairy tales.

Archetypes within the tales are symbols that help us to reach the ‘collective unconscious’ concepts the tales represent. For example, the famous mirror in Snow White symbolizes vanity, and the primeval forest archetype found in stories such as Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood symbolizes the unconscious or the unknown of the ‘adult-world’ (Dr. Mazeroff). These symbols are universal and are used in fairy tales across cultures and time periods- which makes sense since it applies to the ‘collective unconscious which is also universal. (This was further explained in class by Dr. Esa when he explained that the concept of snow is not universal since it is not present across the world, however the concept of ‘bad weather’ or ‘potentially dangerous’ weather could be an archetype that is expressed in the use of ‘snow’.)

The Jungian psychoanalysis apply the concept and use of fairy tales to one’s psychological strive for individualism. They believe that fairy tales are the best way to understand the collective unconscious that helps one understand themselves and their personal unconscious’s struggles and difficult aspects of the self. Fairy tales, according to Jung’s ideas, help the individual basically reach a sound psychological state where they are able to adapt to the world around them properly deal with any psychological dilemmas that may occur.


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