Journal of ISSN: 2373-6445JPCPY

Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry
Research Article
Volume 3 Issue 3 - 2015
A Comparison of Keywords in the Dynamic Psychology of Jung, Swedenborg and Freud
Leon James*
Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii, USA
Received: July 15, 2015 | Published: August 08, 2015
*Corresponding author: Leon James, Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii, 2430 Campus Road Honolulu, HI 96822, USA, Email:
Citation: James L (2015) A Comparison of Keywords in the Dynamic Psychology of Jung, Swedenborg and Freud. J Psychol Clin Psychiatry 3(3): 00134. DOI: 10.15406/jpcpy.2015.03.00134

Abstract

This article provides some comparative data on the frequency of occurrence of key words that can be found in the complete set of collected works of Gustav Jung (1875-1961), Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). These three historically important writers have each made significant contributions to the formulation and development of dynamic and analytic psychology. These data provide a comparison of the intensity in topical focus in the works of these three writers. There is visible overlap between all three writers in the intensity of focus on certain key concepts. The overlap is greater between Jung and Swedenborg than between Freud and the other two. An interpretation of this finding is presented in terms of the attitude of each author regarding the existence of a psychic “world” that is distinct from the physical world. Freud’s individual unconscious is contrasted with Jung’s collective unconscious and Swedenborg’s collective conscious.

Keywords: Consciousness; Collective unconscious; Swedenborg; Freud; Jung; Psychic; Visions; Supernatural; Spiritual; Afterlife; Dualism; Content analysis

Introduction

This article provides some comparative data on the frequency of occurrence of key topics that can be found in the complete set of collected works of Gustav Jung (1875-1961), Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). These data provide a comparison of the intensity of conceptual focus in the works of these three writers. Although Freud and Jung collaborated together in the early phases of the development of psychoanalysis, it is known that Freud broke off the relationship when Jung began writing and lecturing about the “collective unconscious” as a supernatural realm distinct from the physical world [1]. Freud was a passionate reductionist who vigorously denied that “psychic” and “mental” are immaterial entities existing separate from the physics and chemistry of the brain and its neural action. Freud held himself up as a materialist scientist who treated psychic activity in human beings as brain activity.

Jung on the other hand was intensely focused on the inner process of individuation that was happening to him. This experience included visions and discussions with people from the psychic realm who themselves were once people on earth. Gradually over his long writing career Jung was able to present a coherent psychological theory of how mental health and disorder operate simultaneously in two distinct realms or worlds in which every patient lives. The ordinary everyday consciousness by which people do their work and maintain a social life, is a materialistic consciousness, such as Freud promoted throughout his life and career as a mental health practitioner. The work of Jung and Swedenborg develop the thesis that mental health disorders and dysfunctions plaguing people’s materialistic consciousness cannot be permanently eradicated using materialistic methods alone, as Freud was doing. The cause of the dysfunction is in the psychic world, and so is the solution. Jung spent more than half his career investigating the events that are going on in the separate and distinct world of the collective unconscious. He could have taken the other intellectual road, like Freud and many others, and define the psychic world as merely “mental”, containing thoughts, visions, fantasies, and imaginations. These ought not to be subjectified and developed into a delusion as being communications from people existing in a separate realm. Jung avoided this theoretical road, going on to develop a new understanding of self that contains far deeper elements than Freud was willing to allow.

Swedenborg wrote for decades about his protracted visions of the supernatural world. Jung was familiar with Swedenborg’s reports having read several of his books while he was a medical student prior to joining Freud. There is no doubt that Jung was deeply affected by Swedenborg’s theistic psychology:

"I admire Swedenborg as a great scientist and a great mystic at the same time. His life and work has always been of great interest to me and I read about seven fat volumes of his writings when I was a medical student." (Jaffe/Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1957)

"Swedenborg's message... has been my strongest incitement to overcome limitations." (Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933).

Swedenborg claimed that he was able to have visions of the contents of the psychic world, the same psychic world that Jung called the collective unconscious. Jung had visions of the collective unconscious only laboriously, intermittently, and with obscure symbolism. Swedenborg on the other hand claimed to have had visions of the psychic world of the afterlife as clearly as the natural world. He was able to amass a detailed compilation of his “spiritual experiences” over a span of 27 years. Using his dual consciousness, both natural in this world, and supernatural in the psychic world of the afterlife, Swedenborg was able to confirm by direct and repeated observations that our individual consciousness is indeed sourced in the collective unconscious of humanity. This confirmed his proposal that our cognitive operations, which are mental and therefore exist only in the psychic world, are spontaneously occasioned and suddenly present in our individual consciousness when a corresponding physical sensorimotor activity is produced.

The voices and visions experienced by Swedenborg remain a topic of much debate in psychiatric literature despite Swedenborg’s pioneering contributions to the understanding of brain function and neural anatomy [2-5]. Jones & Fernyhough [6] offer a reconsideration of Swedenborg’s experiences in relation to changes in psychiatric practice. They examine the varying conceptualizations of Swedenborg’s experiences that were suggested by his contemporaries, and by psychiatrists of later generations, arguing that Swedenborg’s condition cannot be considered the result of schizophrenia, epilepsy, or other typical types of mental illness. They propose that Swedenborg’s visionary experiences of the supernatural world can be understood as “hallucinations without mental disorder”, which is a view that can inform future research in the clinical significance of hallucinations.

A similar diagnosis was given about Jung by Storr [7] who called Jung “schizotypic”, a word signifying not full-blown schizophrenia, but showing some similar characteristics.

Jung stated that certain people that he called “mystics” have vivid experiences of the collective unconscious; hence, “mystical experience” is the clear awareness of archetypes. According to this definition, Jung and Swedenborg, unlike Freud, were “mystics” as well as scientists. Lachman points out that throughout his long life Jung presented two aspects of himself and his thinking, one as a scientist when he was being the psychiatrist in his public career, the other as a mystic, when he was pursuing, analyzing, and writing about his own experience of individuation manifested in his visions and their gnostic interpretations.

More of Swedenborg’s reports and explanations will be presented below as a context for interpreting the results of the comparison data.

Method

Frequency of occurrence of words, dreams, and imagery has been used by a number of researchers as a measure of intensity of focus in therapeutic practice and in marketing [8-13] Zheng et al. [14] and Samatatos et al. [15] have reviewed the literature on the use of frequency of occurrence as a measure in identifying authorship. The frequency of occurrence measure was used in this report to make some preliminary comparisons between the intensity of topic focus in the complete works of Jung, Swedenborg, and Freud. It was expected that analyzing the overlap in topics between the three writers would give a picture of the intensity of their interest in specific topics.

Digital versions of the complete works of Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg are available in various formats on the web. These may be located using a search engine. The online books of Freud [16,17] and Jung [18] were downloaded and each pasted in their own Microsoft Word file. This allowed a search through the file of selected words and the number of times the word or expression appears in the file. This was the method used for Freud and Jung. For Swedenborg a special search engine was used that is dedicated to the Writings of Swedenborg [19,20]. Since the search results sometimes include more than one translation of the same book, care was taken to adjust the totals on the basis of the number of translations being compiled in the search. This method does not yield exact comparisons because particular words are translated somewhat differently with respect to Swedenborg’s books. The occurrences associated with Freud and Jung may contain error due to some text being left out depending on the formats available. Number of occurrences had to be adjusted whenever the Find command included indexes at the end of some of the books. It is estimated that the error rate for single word occurrences using this procedure may be as high as ten percent. As a result the comparisons that involve small absolute differences between writers may not be valid. It was decided to exclude them from the analysis and to limit comparisons to differences that are very large, thus reliable within the error estimate. It is expected that other researchers who perform a similar analysis will confirm the findings reported here. Due to variable usage between writers and translators some of the entries consist of several words combined. The words are always identified in the entry involved.

Results

Table 1 shows the conceptual focus of the three writers measured by the number of occurrences of selected words in the Collected Works of Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg. In order to make it easier to assess the information, the most frequently occurring words in Table 1 that indicate intense interest by one of the authors are reproduced in Table 2. Reading each row identifies which of the three authors is most heavily focused on that topic in comparison to the other two (bolded number). By looking up and down within a column one can see the most frequent occurrences for that author and by looking across the rows one can compare the overlap between them on each topic given.

Freud

Jung

Swedenborg

Complete Works
(1856–1939)

Collected Works
(1875 -1961)

Theological Writings
(1688-1772)

Approximate size of corpus
in total number of words
and pages in print

2 million

3 million

5 million

2500

3,000

7,000

Frequency of Occurrence of Specific Words

Child

4,441

3,347

780

Consciousness

2,314

16,538

282

God(see note 1)

1,437

8,032

18,394

Unconscious

2,373

9,002

51

Symbol

791

6,244

707

The Word, Sacred Scripture, Bible

38

683

6,083

Synchronicity

0

283

0

Taboo

556

127

2

Archetype

0

1,982

0

Body

592

2,112

1,888

Charity

5

16

1,734

Conscience

215

281

906

Devil, Demon, Satan, Genii,
Evil spirits

552

1,697

1,324

Ego, Self

2,982

9,954

4,426

Energy

350

1,075

61

Father

2,474

1,908

4,824

Heaven

80

1,181

4,832

Hell

54

413

2,723

Immortality

56

337

44

Incest

190

483

362

Instinct

3,203

2,020

188

Love

2,062

1,890

4,581

Mind, Mental

4,189

5,345

2,261

Mother

1,701

3,284

1,367

Myth

273

2,035

36

Proprium

0

2

745

Psyche, Psychical

2,039

3,268

3

Religion

574

1,240

1,334

Sacred

108

284

1,149

Sex topics (see note 2)

3,557

4,268

11,761

Soul

184

1,055

1,254

Spirits/spiritual

345

4,763

3,598

Swedenborg

1

40

0

Table Footnotes

  • 1. Includes: God, Christ, Jesus, Lord, Divine, Jehovah, Yahweh.
  • 2. All the following words appear in Freud; some occur in Jung, and some in Swedenborg: Erotic/sexuality/sex/vagina/penis/ sexual intercourse / orgasm/coitus/clitoris/scortatory/deflowering/virgin/hymen/masturbation/whore/seduction/ prostitute/ harlot/genitals

Table 1: Keywords for Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg.

 

Freud

Jung

Swedenborg

Child(ren)

4,441

3,347

780

God

1,437

8,032

18,394

Conscious(ness)

2,314

16,538

282

Ego, Self

2,982

9,954

4,426

Father

2,474

1,908

4,824

Heaven

80

1,181

4,832

Hell

54

413

2,723

Libido

1010

1331

0

Love

2,062

1,890

4,581

Mind, Mental

4,189

5,345

2,261

Mother

1,701

3,284

1,367

Psyche, Psychical

2,039

3,268

3

Sex Topics

3,557

4,268

11,761

Spirits/Spiritual

345

4,763

3,598

Symbol

791

6,244

707

Sacred Scripture /The Word/ Bible

38

683

6,083

Unconscious

2,373

9,002

51

Table 2: Intense Topic Focus.

The data can be summarized as follows:

Freud kept his most intense focus on the topics of Child, Conscious, Ego/self, Father, Love, Mind/mental, Psyche, Unconscious, and Sex topics.

Jung kept his most intense focus on the topics of Child, God, Conscious, Ego or self, Mind or mental, Mother, Psyche, Spirits or spiritual, Unconscious, Symbol, and Sex topics.

Swedenborg kept his most intense focus on the topics of God, Self, Father, Heaven and Hell, Love, Mind or mental, Spirits or spiritual, Sacred Scripture, and Sex topics.

The two-way overlap between Freud and Jung includes a focus on Child, Consciousness, Ego/Self, Mind/mental, Psyche, Unconscious, and Sex topics.

The two-way overlap between Freud and Swedenborg includes a focus on Ego/self, Father, Love, Mind/mental, and Sex topics.

The two-way overlap between Jung and Swedenborg includes a focus on God, Ego/self, Mind/mental, Spirits/spiritual, and Sex topics.
The three-way overlap between Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg includes a focus on Ego/self, Mind/mental, and Sex topics.

Figure 1 is a visual representation of the relationship between the three writers as measured by these topics.

Figure 1: Contrasts and Overlap in Topic Focus for Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg.

It is significant that all three writers maintain an intense focus on sex topics but in quite different ways. Swedenborg frequently discusses the spiritual sense of such frequently mentioned words in the Bible as whore, harlot, adultery, whoredom, lusting, and fornication. Swedenborg argued that these references in Sacred Scripture to unlawful physical sexual activity refer by correspondence to mental fornication and spiritual whoredom, which he explained refer to the hypocritical and self-serving falsification of the truths that are given in Sacred Scripture. He argued that people falsify spiritual truths in their own mind in order to justify their spiritually unlawful psychological conduct, such as hating the neighbor and lusting after the neighbor’s spouse, honors, and possessions. “Lusting after” refers to the motivation of behaviorally performing these immoral and unjust acts when the opportunity presents itself and one can get away with it without being caught or punished. Falsifying Sacred Scripture in one’s mind is done by constructing biased interpretations of it that allow or excuse the spiritual guilt involved in thinking and doing the forbidden acts. Once these spiritual truths are falsified in an individual’s mind there is no avenue left for reformation of character and consequent salvation. Swedenborg’s focus on physical sex topics is almost exclusively limited to their psychic correspondences involving the self-serving “adulteration” of spiritual truths in one’s mind.

Freud’s focus on sex topics was physical, psychological, and biological. He never discusses spiritual or theistic topics because he declared himself to be an atheist and anti-religionist. Freud refers to religion as the “superstitious beliefs” of his patients. Sexuality for Freud was involved in biology and the individual unconscious psyche, in which repressed ideas resided, often clothed in hidden symbolism, and from time to time threatening to spring out into open consciousness, an event that his patients greatly feared on account of the threatening emotions and compulsive desires that these taboo thoughts and feelings would reveal about the individual. One of the best-known ideas in this respect is Freud’s description of the “Oedipus complex” in infantile and childhood sexuality (Totem and Taboo). Jung’s involvement with sex topics is shown by the conclusion he formed after examining the results he obtained from word association tests given to patients:

Finally, it may be permissible to point out once more that an overwhelming number of the complexes we have discovered in our subjects are erotic. In view of the great part played by love and sexuality in human life, this is not surprising. (Jung, Studies In Word Association: The Associations Of Normal Subjects, p. 381)

Discussion

Jung and the Collective Unconscious

The words “psychology” and “psychiatry” contain the Greek root “psyche” which is related to several words that fall in the same category and overlap in meaning. These concepts include: mind, psyche, soul, spirit, personality, self, ego, spiritual, supernatural, unconscious, and subconscious. Jung’s concept of “collective unconscious” is related to Swedenborg’s concept of the “spiritual world” or what has historically been called the “realm of the supernatural”.

Freud and Jung put exactly opposite pressures on the development of dynamic psychology as a science. Freud vigorously continued the trend in psychology of eliminating the “psychic world” as a dimension of reality in its own sphere or realm. Freud was a strict proponent of viewing the human mind as reducible to the activity of the physical and chemical brain. He intensely fought against introducing into psychology such concepts as the “spiritual” or the “supernatural”. He ridiculed religion as mere “superstition” and belittled his patients who put God into their lives, considering this as the childish need for a “father figure” (Freud, The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life, p. 1328).

It was the opposite with Jung who adopted a sympathetic view of the “other-worldly” and who fostered throughout his life a personal or experiential relationship with God (Jung, Memories in Jaffe [21]). Jung accepted the idea of “life after death”, and acknowledged that he had been a deeply religious child and adolescent, strongly tied to the symbols and commandments of spiritual Christianity, though not to its formal organization in society, which he strongly criticized as hypocritical. But when he became a medical “scientist” and practitioner as a young man, and subsequently closely allied to the intellectualism of Freud, Jung embarked with enthusiasm and intensity upon his self-chosen lifelong professional task of creating a scientific psychology of the spiritual and supernatural, with which he had been so intensely imbued since childhood [21].

Jung’s familiarity and involvement with the “spiritualistic” literature is clearly exhibited in his voluminous citations throughout his books and articles, and in the titles of some of his important works, such as, “On Spiritualistic Phenomena” (1905), “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious” (1981), and “Psychology of Alchemy” (1944), “The Spirit in Man” (1978), “A Psychological Approach To The Trinity” (Collected Works, V.11), “The Soul and Death” (1934), “The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits” (1920).

The collective unconscious - so far as we can say anything about it at all - appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious... We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual. (Jung, The Structure of the Psyche, CW 8, par. 325.)

Swedenborg’s psychology was explicitly dualist as he indicates in this statement:

People are so created as to live simultaneously in the natural world and in the spiritual world. Thus they have an internal and an external nature or mind; by the former living in the spiritual world, by the latter in the natural world. (Swedenborg, AC, n. 36)

Swedenborg identifies distinct levels of consciousness in which people are active in each world, namely, natural and spiritual. Natural consciousness operates within the limits of awareness that is provided by the sensory-motor input through the physical body. Cognitive operations at this level are restricted to concepts and ideas that imply the properties of the physical world, such as time, place, quantity, limits, measurement, gravity, etc. This self-imposed limitation may be observed to exist formally in scientific reasoning that defines the mind as a property of the physical brain [22]. Spiritual consciousness, according to Swedenborg, is not limited to materialistic concepts as is illustrated in religious discourse and pastoral counseling, which includes such spiritual concepts as God, sin, guilt, heaven, hell, spirits, repentance, forgiveness, regeneration, etc.

Jung was intensely interested in characterizing the movement of objects in the non-spatial psychic world that could be accessed by spiritual consciousness only, which many have referred to as “visions and voices” [6]. Jung discovered that traveling in the psychic world called the collective unconscious is distinctly different from ordinary thinking and memory. Jung formulated the concept of synchronicity in order to study the connection between the material ideas of natural consciousness in ordinary thinking, and the immaterial ideas of spiritual consciousness in supernatural thinking.

The word synchronicity appears 283 times in Jung’s Collected Works (Table 1)[23]. Jung constructed this concept in an attempt to formulate an “acausal” theory of how the psychic objects or meanings in the world of the collective unconscious cross over into the world of individual conscious awareness. This has remained a fundamental issue in dynamic and analytic psychology [24,25]. Freud also was involved in the issue of how unconscious ideas and desires cross into conscious awareness, but he was looking for a materialistic definition of the individual unconscious rather than Jung’s spiritual definition of the collective unconscious. For Freud the individual unconscious and the individual conscious were equally material as operations of the brain and its chemistry. Jung rejected Freud’s materialism as reductionist and took off on his own formulations of dualist systems. As is well known from his many publications Jung studied the variety of dualist systems in the literature and tradition of Eastern religions and philosophy.

In order to discuss the properties of the immaterial or non-physical psychic world, Jung had to construct non-material translations of material ideas involving psychic “energy”, psychic “space”, and the movement of psychic “objects” in immaterial or mental space. His theory of the “structure and dynamics of the psyche” connects his central concept of archetype with synchronicity:

As soon as a psychic content crosses the threshold of consciousness, the synchronistic marginal phenomena disappear, time and space resume their accustomed sway, and consciousness is once more isolated in its subjectivity. (Jung, The Structure And Dynamics Of The Psyche p. 231)

When an unconscious content passes over into consciousness its synchronistic manifestation ceases; conversely, synchronistic phenomena can be evoked by putting the subject into an unconscious state (trance). (Jung, The Structure And Dynamics Of The Psyche p. 232)

Here Jung asserts that the collective unconscious world of psyche is apart from time and physical space, which are properties of the physical world, not mental or psychic. Hence when an object in the psychic world, such as an emotionally charged idea or image, crosses the “threshold” from the psychic world of the collective unconscious to the psychological world of the individual conscious, the non-material nature of the collective idea is transformed or reduced into an ordinary conscious idea that is material in representation and meaning. The original non-material or supernatural idea of the collective unconscious is no longer visible in the material idea of the individual conscious mind. Jung saw this resultant conscious meaning as “once more isolated in its subjectivity” relative to the meaning it has while still in the collective unconscious. Jung attributed super-ordinary psychological power to the original collective idea that is unimaginable to knowledge and thinking in natural consciousness.

Jung was intensely interested in characterizing the movement of objects or meanings in the non-spatial psychic world of the collective unconscious. He discovered that traveling around in the world of the collective unconscious is very different from travel with the material mental content of the ordinary individual conscious through imagination and memory. It is shown below that this is precisely the relationship that Swedenborg intensely examined and called the “correspondences” between collective and individual consciousness. Jung formulated the concept of synchronicity in order to study the connection between the two worlds. The psychic world is immaterial and purely mental or spiritual, thus apart from the limits imposed by physical time and space. The natural world is material and thus leads to natural consciousness, which is based in sensory input from the physical world and in abstractions derived from these.

Cognitive processes in ordinary consciousness are built from past and current sensory input through the physical body. Ordinary consciousness embodies and represents the properties of physical time, space, and quantity. These material limits are duplicated or imaged in the semantic content of every idea in ordinary awareness. It is as if the mental is made to be the same as the physical even though it has none of the limits built into it. Jung discovered that whatever immaterial or psychic ideas enter into awareness from the collective unconscious are reduced and concretized in meaning and implication. The functional superiority of the human psyche is lost in this transfer process.

Jung like Swedenborg clearly saw the superiority of collective consciousness based in non-material ideas over individual consciousness based on material ideas. This is the fundamental reason that Jung and Swedenborg are important to the continued development of depth psychology. They both held that what lies in the depth of the human psyche is objective and collective, and far more sophisticated and psychologically powerful than what lies on the surface of socialized personality structures, which involve material ideas and limits. Jung’s primary interest as a mental health practitioner was to discover counseling techniques that empowered the patient to acquire some ability to function with non-material ideas snatched from the collective unconscious. Jung referred to this psychological growth process as “individuation”.

The goal of psychological, as of biological, development is self-realization, or individuation. … And because individuation is an heroic and often tragic task, the most difficult of all, it involves suffering, a passion of the ego: the ordinary, empirical man we once were is burdened with the fate of losing himself in a greater dimension and being robbed of his fancied freedom of will. He suffers, so to speak, from the violence done to him by the self. (Jung, A Psychological Approach To The Trinity, p. 233)

Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as 'individuality' embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self. We could therefore translate individuation as 'coming to selfhood' or 'self-realization" (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, CW 7,par. 266)

"…the self comprises infinitely more than a mere ego ... It is as much one's self, and all other selves, as the ego. Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself." (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, CW 8, p. 226)

Jung’s description of individuation was one of his most influential ideas in general psychology, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis. He viewed the process of self-realization as the very activity of individuation. Self-realization involves the recognition that the individual shares or has access to the same collective unconscious to which everyone else has access, and which contains all the possibilities and all the knowledge and dramatic themes of the human race.

Swedenborg and the Collective Conscious

The expression “collective conscious” is attributed to Durkheim [26] who used the French word “conscience” so that some have rendered it as the “collective conscience”. Durkheim used the concept to account for the cohesive forces that maintain a community and resist the forces of break-down and dissolution. The “collective conscience” in a society is actualized as each member’s support for the same set of moral injunctions in lifestyle, including maintaining shared meanings and understandings that are acquired in socialization and carried out in social interactions. Durkheim’s collectivity is therefore that of the sharing of lifestyle, of knowledge, and of social values. Each individual in the community replicates in the private self their version of the collective set that is shared by all. The individual conscious maintains an active and unique replica of the collective conscious. Swedenborg’s concept of the collective conscious goes beyond replicating individually what is shared by all.

All individuals in a psychic a society live in collective consciousness by which each has open access to the consciousness of any other society member. This mutual availability of each other’s knowledge and memory is so spontaneous that an individual does not necessarily know the origin of some thought, believing that it is from them rather from another. The sharing of affective states also goes on continuously. Enjoyments and happiness are constantly communicated from one to the many and the many to the one so that the individual’s life is constantly enriched by the lives of the others in a society. For the same reason, the misery and unhappiness in negative psychic societies are communicated to each other in a worsening spiral.

Swedenborg’s idea was that the experience of consciousness is always collective. Individual consciousness is merely an illusion of the private world of self. If the psychic interconnection between people were broken no individual would be able to think anything or be aware of anything in the surrounds or in memory. Freud would have rejected this idea given his attitude that everything about the psychic or mental must be based in physical or biophysical operations. Jung on the other hand could have assimilated this idea because he already saw that the unconscious is collective. This realization by Jung came from the experience of his visions during which he discovered that everything that is or ever was human exists and has its origins in the psychic world. This is a distinct world separate from the physical world and is inaccessible to individual consciousness that operates within the limits of everyday living. Swedenborg’s realization that the conscious is collective also came from his visions of the afterlife. He too discovered that the psychic world of the afterlife is the source of all that is human in the physical world. Like Jung he was able to interact with the “departed” who had been born on this earth or on some other earth in the universe.

Swedenborg proposed that all consciousness and meaning reside in the cognitive organs of the psychic-body, and none of it in the organs of the physical-body. He specifically rejects the usual psychological explanation that the incoming sensorimotor stimulus, such as the sight of a tree, flows into the cognitive system and produces there the consciousness of that tree. This would be impossible since what a physical stimulus belongs to the physical world, while a mental or cognitive operation belongs to the psychic world of the collective unconscious and conscious. Swedenborg’s psychological explanation is that the physical-body and the psychic-body are functionally interconnected by the laws of correspondence that synchronize the physical and psychic worlds. Cognitive activity in the psychic-body is activated by correspondence when the electro-chemical operations are active in the eyes and brain of the physical-body. When our physical sight detects a tree there is produced a particular neuro-chemical operation in the brain that becomes the synchronous occasion for the activation of a corresponding cognitive operation in the psychic-body. This dualist relationship between sensory input and cognitive activity defines all consciousness and the meanings that it is based on.

The consciousness of a tree must therefore be already available in the cognitive system. In fact all possible sensorimotor input from the physical organs must have a pre-existing corresponding meaning in order to account for the fact that we see and hear meaning everywhere we look or focus on. Where does this inexhaustible source of consciousness come from in our cognitive system? Swedenborg’s answer involves his proposal for a “collective conscious”. This idea proposed more than a century before Jung’s birth, is nevertheless closely related to Jung’s widely accepted proposal for the existence of a “collective unconscious”. According to Jung everything possible for humans to think and feel is already contained in the collective unconscious. Hence this could be considered as the inexhaustible source of cognitive operations to match anything in the physical world coming through our sensory-motor organs.

Swedenborg’s explanation may be called the “collective conscious” because, unlike Jung, Swedenborg defined individual consciousness as produced collectively by means of entire psychic societies of people all of whom live in psychic or spiritual consciousness. Swedenborg’s proposal involves the idea that when all the physical organs cease to function in the dying process, our consciousness is cut off from physical input and continues life in spiritual consciousness. In natural consciousness prior to death we are ignorant of our connection to the psychic societies of the afterlife. This individual consciousness defines the psychic world in terms of the “collective unconscious”, as did Jung. Very little of this collective consciousness and its spiritual meanings can be accessed in our natural individual consciousness. Jung attempted to do this for many years by analyzing the communality of symbolism across history and religions, and from this communality he deduced “archetypes” that serve as clusters of meanings that enter our cognitive operations in natural consciousness in the form of symbolic representations. Jung was explicit in designating the collective unconscious as endless or infinite and divine.

Swedenborg’s psycho-ethnographic reports of his extensive visions contain observations about the contents of the supernatural psychic world, which Swedenborg called the “spiritual world of eternity”. He had unlimited and direct observation in clear consciousness of what Jung by his own admission could only envision in snatches seen in shade. Jung dimly realized that the psychic world of the collective unconscious is the immortal world of the afterlife into which every human being enters upon death. Jung held that the collective unconscious is where all of humanity is congregated, unconsciously to us while we are on earth, but consciously in the afterlife. This is confirmed by Swedenborg’s ethnographic reports of his lifelong psychic visions of the afterlife. Both Jung and Swedenborg have reported that they were able to have conversations with the so-called “departed”. This is once more something Freud would have vigorously rejected since he declared himself anti-dualist, denying that there is an immortal afterlife and atheist, denying that there is a God and viewing religious convictions of his patients as delusions.

Swedenborg and Jung thus discovered that there is an ongoing dynamic psychological relationship between individuals prior to their death and those who have already “departed”, which some writers have called “spirits”. This important discovery in modern times by two influential writers in the science literature, potentially marks a new phase in the thinking of human depth psychology. Today, mental health practice in all its variety of contexts makes the assumption that cognitive disorders in an individual are single and private. No one else is present inside the patient’s mind. One thinks alone, except when speaking out loud. All avenues of help for the patient are then limited to externally induced factors such as instruction in cognitive reappraisal and in rational thinking, accompanied by behavioral practice in social context. But if the initiative by Jung and Swedenborg prevail in the future of mental health practice, new collective internal approaches may be developed and used.

Swedenborg observed that in the psychic world of the afterlife people form collective societies that are composed only of “similitudes”. This is a word Swedenborg frequently uses to refer to degree of overlap that exists between the principal loves and affections of individuals that are active in their personality structure as motives and intentions. All psychic societies are composed of individuals who share the same ruling loves and their derivative affections. A “ruling-love” is the chief love in a person’s personality structure, which is composed of numerous loves and needs arranged in a control hierarchy. The love with the most power of control in the individual’s motivational system is the ruling-love. It arranges the love-hierarchy in a rank order of affections that are agreeable to it. All loves that are not fully compatible with the ruling-love are “extinguished” and discarded to the circumference of the personality structure where they have no effect. Each psychic society or collectivity is affectively homogeneous, consisting of either pro-social loves and rational thought sequences, or else of anti-social loves and irrational thought sequences. A pro-social and altruistic ruling-love seeks and finds compatible cognitive content and style that promote virtues and compassionate values. An anti-social and egotistical ruling-love seeks and finds compatible cognitive content and style that promote self-indulgence and an aversion for virtues and compassionate values. Psychic societies in the afterlife are therefore either positive or negative in the personality structure of its members. Jung also experienced the collective unconscious as containing hostile and dark powers as well as supportive and friendly intelligences.

In one of his numerous psychic experiments Swedenborg in his dual consciousness monitored what he was thinking about a subject. He then noticed that members of a psychic society were present in his proximal vicinity. He spoke to them and asked what they were discussing. One of them reported their conversation, which was precisely on the topic that Swedenborg was thinking to himself earlier. This and similar repetitions confirmed for Swedenborg the origin of individual consciousness, placing it in the collective consciousness of a particular psychic society. Swedenborg was able to perform similar demonstrations involving what he was dreaming, then waking up and interrogating the psychic society members who were in the vicinity. The unified action of many psychic societies was compared by Swedenborg to the cells, fibers, and organs of the body, in which each unit or collectivity of cells acts together in synchrony with the collective action of all cell-groups and organs.

According to Swedenborg’s account, when the minds of people on earth are unconsciously connected with negative and hostile psychic societies, the result is the infusion into the person’s awareness of irrational and disorderly thinking, accompanied by hostile feelings that lead to negative and destructive behaviors. Swedenborg observed that these negative mental states could be changed by disconnecting from the current negative psychic society and reconnecting with a positive psychic society. Swedenborg describes the psychological stages involved in disconnecting and reconnecting to psychic societies. The first stage involves instruction of the individual regarding what it is to be a “good person” who thinks “positively” and is motivated to act with consideration and caring for others. This is the opposite attitude in which people are advised to love themselves and to compete against others in honors, wealth, and admiration. A sympathy-filled or compassionate view for other people joins itself consistently with cognitions that support and promote this positive affective intention.

Similarly, the self-centered lifestyle in which the welfare and comfort of others is secondary to one’s own, promotes the ruling-love with its cognitive principles that whatever is of benefit to self is “good”, and whatever is not of benefit to self is either bad or worthless. Numerous details of life in such mental states are then negative because others also act from such self-interest, and therefore no one can be comfortable or safe in such a hostile interpersonal atmosphere. For most people life in such a society becomes characterized by negativity, disorder, inequality, and suffering. This is what Swedenborg called living in hell. All negative psychic societies in the afterlife are each living in their own hell, i.e., a psychological hell of their own making. After much exploration of a variety of hell societies in the afterlife, Swedenborg shared his amazement that he could not locate any individuals who were willing to change their ruling-love from negative to positive, by which they may transfer themselves to a heavenly society. He concluded that the personality structure of people who enter a psychic society in the afterlife remains fixed forever. This is the principal reason that he advocated a process of lifelong personality restructuring to be completed prior to death.

The positive psychic societies live in a social and psychological atmosphere that Swedenborg called heaven, characterized by ruling-loves that consider the welfare of others in everything they do or think. Swedenborg’s discovery was that all positive psychic societies in the afterlife think rationally while the negative societies think irrationally. The method of transformation in an individual here on earth from a negative and dysfunctional personality structure to one that is orderly and rational, involves practicing being a good person all day. At first the change is only external so that patients feel like their niceness and caring is a pretense and fake. They don’t really feel that way. But if the patient continues to practice this “simulation” for a healthy purpose, the negative psychic societies are spontaneously disconnected because their ruling-love is now incompatible with the person. As a result of the departure of negative societies, positive psychic societies are attracted to the patient’s new (simulated) pro-social behaviors and they become connected to that person’s mind on earth. Once the connection is made, the patient no longer needs to simulate positivity and feel like a fake, but does and thinks what is pro-social and rational from inner feeling and choice. This marks the “liberation” or healing from the prior mental dysfunctions.

According to Swedenborg’s explanations, negative affective intentions and their enjoyments are maintained in one’s personality structure by self-attribution of the negativity, which then locks the obsessions and compulsions in place and solidifies the dysfunctional personality structure. The attribution of one’s negativity as something caused by self is an important factor in maintaining the negativity. All thoughts and impulses that one experiences originate from the psychic societies to which one is connected by one’s motivational system. The appearance that they originate in self is therefore a delusion. For example, a patient may think “These awful thoughts and fears are in me from me. They belong to me and I am their cause”.

By instructing the patient to inhibit this self-attribution there takes place dissociation from the negativity. This is experienced by the patient as a feeling of being liberated from the compulsions and obsessions. When this occurs there is an opportunity for installing positive intentions and their enjoyments. Dissociation from symptoms thus becomes the basis for therapy.

In Swedenborg’s collective system of the self and consciousness, every human being is born with inherited predispositions to selfishness and its consequent acquisition of self-serving biases in thinking and in attitude towards others. Every individual develops and reinforces lifestyle habits that favor the selfish and self-centered intentionality. The ordinary state of mind and consciousness for most people is therefore disorderly and dysfunctional affectively and cognitively, and consequently behaviorally. Patients and non-patients are essentially in the same psychic situation, even if the surface manifestations vary in intensity and dysfunctionality. Hence also, both “normal” and “dysfunctional” personalities can benefit from the same therapeutic technique. This technique will be taken up again in the Conclusion section.

Freud and the Individual Unconscious

Freud revolutionized people’s idea of the self and uncovered new motivational layers underneath the individual’s surface or visible personality. He wrote about the unconscious from what he could discern from his material consciousness, and as a result all of Freud’s concepts of the psyche consist exclusively of material cognitions. He never allowed himself to penetrate, as Jung and Swedenborg did, below the natural surface into another degree of depth, another realm of existence. As a result all his ideas and principles about human beings were flattened into a single mode of material existence known in the history of psychology as monism, to distinguish the attitude from dualism. Freud’s ideas of the psyche, the individual unconscious, or the libido were reduced into a material dimension, equating mind and its consciousness with the neuro-chemistry of the brain and the physics of mechanics.

Freud upheld the strict methodology of materialistic science as it appeared to him at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a historical irony that after Freud’s death psychology in the second half of the twentieth century turned towards behaviorism so that Freud’s work was often ridiculed as unscientific and filled with concepts that had no empirical measurement status. This rejection did not affect the loyalty of Freudians for the ideas and methods of psychoanalysis. Today Freud is still one of the most cited names in psychology and psychiatry.

Freud’s most enduring psychological concept was the dynamic he described between the individual conscious and its companion state of the individual unconscious:

The division of the psychical into what is conscious and what is unconscious is the fundamental premiss of psycho-analysis; and it alone makes it possible for psycho-analysis to understand the pathological processes in mental life, which are as common as they are important, and to find a place for them in the framework of science.(Freud, Collected Works, p. 3945)

Experience goes on to show that a psychical element (for instance, an idea) is not as a rule conscious for a protracted length of time. On the contrary, a state of consciousness is characteristically very transitory; an idea that is conscious now is no longer so a moment later, although it can become so again under certain conditions that are easily brought about. In the interval the idea was - we do not know what. We can say that it was latent, and by this we mean that it was capable of becoming conscious at any time. Or, if we say that is was unconscious, we shall also be giving a correct description of it. Here ‘unconscious’ coincides with ‘latent and capable of becoming conscious’. (Freud, Collected Works, p. 3947).

The interchange between the individual conscious and individual unconscious goes on both ways all the time. An idea that is unconscious can become conscious, and the reverse. Affectively threatening feelings are repressed into the unconscious where they are outside the awareness and hence provide no conscious threat. Yet they influence thoughts and behavior in a secret manner unseen by the conscious self. Examples of such cases are given in Studies on Hysteria (Collected Works p. 151). It is noted that along with repression of cognitive content, there often occurs a “conversion” of the mental or psychic into a physical symptom that functions as an involving distractor from the feared and repressed issue. Freud refers to this physical distractor as “a recurrent mnemonic symbol” (p. 156). In other words, the physical symptom (e.g, twitching of fingers) is an embodiment of the emotional threat that maintains the repressed cognitive content. Freud tried to deal with the laws of this mental-physical conversion process through representation by symbolism.

The movement of her fingers which I saw her make while she was reproducing this scene was one of twitching something away, in the way in which one literally and figuratively brushes something aside – tosses away a piece of paper or rejects a suggestion. (Freud, Collected Works, p. 156)

Mental-physical conversion in the production of hysterical symptoms occurs when the person (“organism”) can no longer tolerate in consciousness the intensifying “affective tension” that originates from “ideas whose affect has not been dealt with” (p. 158). Ideas therefore have physical consequences, or as Freud put it, when “psychical stimuli have been converted into somatic ones” and when “unconscious ideas cause pathological phenomena” and are “inadmissible to consciousness” (p. 200).

The existence of ideas of this kind that are inadmissible to consciousness is pathological. In normal people all ideas that can become current at all enter consciousness as well if they are sufficiently intense. In our patients we find a large complex of ideas that are admissible to consciousness existing side by side with a smaller complex of ideas that are not. Thus in them the field of ideational psychical activity does not coincide with potential consciousness. The latter is more restricted than the former. Their psychical ideational activity is divided into a conscious and an unconscious part, and their ideas are divided into some that are admissible and some that are inadmissible to consciousness. We cannot, therefore, speak of a splitting of consciousness, though we can of a splitting of the mind. (Freud, Collected Works, p. 202)

Freud referred to the “powerful mental dynamics” that is always ongoing in the individual unconscious. These intense psychic energies include repression and resistance to analysis in therapy. Psychoanalysis is a method by which this unconscious resistance can be counteracted and neutralized so that the idea that was repressed can now become conscious and dealt with practically in behavior.

Nevertheless Freud maintained that the conscious and unconscious are not in a continuous degree of less to more clearness of view, but in discrete degrees so that the two are dichotomous, either one, or the other (p. 3950). He warned that “we must beware of ignoring this [discrete] characteristic, for the property of being conscious or not is in the last resort our one beacon-light in the darkness of depth-psychology” (p. 3951).

The function of dreams is to fulfill unconscious wishes in a way that is psychologically safe because hidden in symbolism. The unconscious wish causes the symbolic dream which then becomes conscious upon awakening (p. 1425). The meaning of the dream and its wish-fulfilling function remains hidden to the conscious. However the therapeutic procedure of depth analysis, or psycho-analysis, gradually reveals the wish-fulfillment function of the dream under a symbolic cover.

Conclusion

Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg represent and form a developmental triad of the necessary stages in the evolution of an individual. We begin life in sensuous consciousness that gives us a perspective and philosophy of materialism, so visible and striking in Freud. Medicine, biology, neuroanatomy and physics are the fields of knowledge that Freud brought to the description of the human psyche and the individual unconscious. The level and forms of understanding in Freud‘s science consist of material analogies applied to mind, as for example the phrase “psychic energy”, or the phrase “pressure of the instinct” (Obsessive Actions And Religious Practices, p. 1906), or pressure of culture, of education, of circumstances, or “getting rid of one’s own emotions by ‘blowing off steam’” (Psychopathic Characters On The Stage, p. 1606).

During his lifetime Swedenborg published numerous scientifically respectable treatises on space, time, motion, magnetism, nebular formation, atomic theory, metallurgy, neuroanatomy, economics, poetry and algebra [27]. Most of these have been translated into modern English and are available in public libraries and on the Web. Swedenborg worked out a coherent scientific system that begins with the natural phenomena of the world and the body and ends with their connectivity to God and the soul.

In contrast to Freud’s monism, Jung’s dualism recognized in prayer and religion a psychic relationship that was real and powerful. Sometimes Jung talked as if it was the collective unconscious that should be considered God. He endowed the collective unconscious with creative powers. Jung’s dualist topics of “synchronicity” and “archetype” do not occur anywhere in Freud’s Collected Works! It was impossible for Freud to see dualism as other than superstition or useless idealism. Although the word God appears 837 times in the Collected Works of Freud (Table 1), the references were derogatory and hostile, as shown by these statements:

I have tried to show that religious ideas have arisen from the same need as have all the other achievements of civilization: from the necessity of defending oneself against the crushingly superior force of nature. To this a second motive was added - the urge to rectify the shortcomings of civilization which made themselves painfully felt. (Freud, Collected Works p. 4433)

I believe that a large part of the mythological view of the world, which extends a long way into the most modern religions, is nothing but psychology projected into the external world. The obscure recognition (the endopsychic perception, as it were) of psychical factors and relations in the unconscious is mirrored - it is difficult to express it in other terms, and here the analogy with paranoia must come to our aid - in the construction of a supernatural reality, which is destined to be changed back once more by science into the psychology of the unconscious. One could venture to explain in this way the myths of paradise and the fall of man, of God, of good and evil, of immortality, and so on, and to transform metaphysics into metapsychology. The gap between the paranoic’s displacement and that of the superstitious person is less wide than it appears at first sight. (Freud, The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life, p. 1328).

Given Freud’s materialism and atheism it was inevitable that he would come to think of God as a dependency pathology similar to that involved in a “paranoic’s displacement. God is nothing but “psychology projected outward”. It may be that Freud had the direction wrong, unlike Jung and Swedenborg who knew that God and the unconscious were inward of the person, hence reaching for God was to go inward, and not as Freud thought of projecting something outward from one’s personality or wishes.

It must be remembered, too, that the belief in spirits and ghosts and the return of the dead, which finds so much support in the religions to which we have all been attached, at least in our childhood, is far from having disappeared among educated people, and that many who are sensible in other respects find it possible to combine spiritualism with reason. A man who has grown rational and skeptical, even, may be ashamed to discover how easily he may for a moment return to a belief in spirits under the combined impact of strong emotion and perplexity. (Freud, Delusions And Dreams In Jensen's Gradiva, p. 1865)

To Freud a “belief in spirits” is abnormal and he wonders that “many who are sensible in other respects find it possible to combine spiritualism with reason”. We don’t know all that Freud means here when denigrating the idea of “spiritualism”, but if one considers the contributions to depth psychology of Jung and Swedenborg, we can see how Freud’s materialism flattens and weakens his own understanding of basic human behavior.

Table 3 gives a summary of the highlights of the previous discussion. Freud’s philosophy of science may be called “materialistic monism”. He was a passionate atheist, viewing religion and God as fabrications of people’s childish need for a “father figure”. Freud defined consciousness in reductionist terms using physics and biology to describe psychodynamic operations [22,28]. From that perspective it was impossible for him to see anything real in what was not part of the material structure of the body and world. Jung on the other hand was able to escape the material consciousness of the body senses. His focus on individuation and self-realization allowed Jung to become aware of the existence of a psychic or mental world that is distinct from the physical world. Jung’s philosophy may therefore be called psychic dualism, as exemplified by his concept of the “archetype”, a word that does not appear in all of Freud’s Collected Works.

Freud
(1856–1939)

Jung
(1875 -1961)

Swedenborg
(1688-1772)

Type of Explanations

Physical, neural, sensorimotor

Rational, symbolic, collective

Rational, correspondential, collective

Philosophy of Science

Materialistic monism

Psychic dualism

Anatomical substantive dualism

Intense Topic Focus

Child, mind, instinct, ego-self, father, sex

Consciousness, unconscious, ego-self, symbol, mind

Psychic societies, correspondences, spiritual love, evils of selfishness, spiritual adulteration

Discoveries

The individual unconscious

The collective unconscious

The collective
conscious

Idea of God

Atheistic

Personal theistic

Collective theistic

Use of Special Vocabulary

Taboo, fixation,

Archetype, collective unconscious, hidden symbol, complexes, individuation

Correspondences, spiritual societies, regeneration, vastation, discrete levels, proprium, conjugial love, scortatoryinsanities

conversion, libido, psychoanalysis,

repression

sublimation

Table 3: Comparing Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg on Selected Characteristics.

Jung admits that he had but an obscure and unclear idea of the collective unconscious, which could not be observed directly in ordinary consciousness. Jung tried to use indirect methods such as spontaneous word associations, active imagination, and the analysis of dreams and religious symbols [29]. With Swedenborg the situation was different because he had acquired dual consciousness at age 57 and remained daily and continuously in that state of double consciousness for 27 years before he passed on. He recorded his experiences in a collection of 30 thick volumes known historically as the Writings of Swedenborg. Swedenborg had direct observational access to the “afterlife of eternity” where he met those he knew in this life as acquaintances or as writers who had passed on centuries before Swedenborg and whose books he had read. Swedenborg was directly conscious of what Jung called the collective unconscious and that Jung could only dimly perceive.

The ideas of Freud, Jung, and Swedenborg, when put together, constitute a sequence of developmental steps in psychology’s understanding of the depth of human consciousness. By adding Swedenborg’s proposals to those of Jung and Freud we obtain four levels of depth in human consciousness, thinking, and awareness:

  1. Level 1: Individual consciousness (ordinary meaning)
  2. Level 2: Individual unconscious (Freud)
  3. Level 3: Collective unconscious (Jung)
  4. Level 4: Collective conscious (Swedenborg)

Freud’s psychodynamic theory provides many details about the movement of consciousness from level 1 to 2 and the reverse. His techniques involved the psychological analysis of daydreams, dreams, slips of the tongue, spontaneous associations, and other “psychopathological” manifestations in people’s daily habits. Through such therapeutic activity the individual’s unconscious motivational forces could become conscious, and this new awareness provided the person with reduced feelings of emotional threat through the resolution of complexes and fixations. For Freud the motivational forces of the individual unconscious and conscious were operations that were strictly physical or material forces in the brain. Hence going from conscious to unconscious did not involve crossing from the physical world into a distinct psychic world.

It was contrastively different with Jung who proposed that going from consciousness level 1 / 2 to level 3 involved crossing the barrier from the physical world to the psychic world. The objects of the psychic environment were powerful psychic units of meaning and consciousness. It was a collective mental world belonging to humanity to which every human individual had access in consciousness. Since Jung did not have full conscious and permanent access to the collective unconscious, he developed various psychological techniques to transfer information from level 3 to 1. This included the analysis of spontaneous word associations, the analysis of religious symbolism, the analysis of dreams, and the recall of psychic visions that he experienced throughout his life. Because these techniques were limited and slow, Jung never actually discovered level 4 consciousness.

Swedenborg’s daily visions, which he was able to later access with total recall, provided him with the observation point of direct synchronicity between the individual and the collective conscious, i.e., between levels 1/2 and 3/4. Swedenborg’s discovery and claims have not thus far been acknowledged in the contemporary literature on consciousness and psychotherapy [30]. However if this is done in the future, there may be useful theoretical and methodological implications that can be exploited in psychological or psychiatric applications. One empirical approach might involve Swedenborg’s proposal that there is a conceptual language of translation between the collective unconscious (level 3) and the individual conscious (level 1), which he called the language of body/mind correspondences. Examining ordinary discourse [31,32] and psychotherapeutic discourse [33] reveals that people use expressions that belong to the physical body when describing what they think or feel. For instance, “He shoots me down when I make a suggestion”, or “If this continues I’m going to blow my stack”. In both cases something physical (shooting, blowing) is used to describe something psychic (e.g. I feel rejected, or, I’m suffering with intense frustration). Through the psychic operation of correspondences, the physical is spontaneously transferred to the psychological. The laws of correspondences operate in collective consciousness.

It is interesting to note that despite their differences in conceptualization of self and the world, all three writers have based the process of therapy in the patient’s success in dissociating themselves from ownership of the symptoms of dysfunctions. Freud’s approach was to try to move information from the individual unconscious to the conscious so that patients could realize that they themselves are indirectly maintaining the dysfunctions that bother them, and therefore they can choose to stop maintaining them. This may seem like a straightforward approach but it is complicated by the fact that patients resist the process of getting rid of symptoms and dysfunctions they complain about. To account for this resistance Freud formulated involved explanations that contained new objects of self and intermediate mental phases that also needed to be managed in therapy.

Jung’s approach was to involve patients in discovering that they are in a lifelong process of stepping through phases of mental development and conflict that are universal to the human race and are affecting every individual with psychological symptoms, both productive and counterproductive to mental health. The better we can understand the meaning of the universal symbols or archetypes, the better we can understand how we are affected by them, and therefore how to manage our continued development. The process of individuation is the process of discovering our immortality and relationship to God or the spiritual dimensions of life. The collective unconscious is an inexhaustible source of knowledge, power, and vitality, but also of encountering incomprehensible psychological forces that appear threatening and hostile.

Swedenborg has proposed a promising and objective discovery method for depth psychology. He proposed that mental operations exist in a spiritual body with which we are equipped since birth and serves for our living in the afterlife. The physical body and the spiritual body are exact copies of each other and are connected by the universal laws of spiritual/natural correspondences. This law can be observed when we examine how people spontaneously use phrases describing activity in the physical body and world to apply to their mental operations or states (e.g. “I felt suffocated with indignation”). This approach can be done systematically in research so that by studying the properties of the physical body one can draw conclusions about the properties of the spiritual body, consequently of its mental operations.

Swedenborg identifies three corresponding mind/body systems:

  1. Consciousness of sensations in the sensorimotor system of the psychic-body corresponds with neural and muscular activity in the physical body.
  2. Consciousness of thoughts in the cognitive system of the psychic-body corresponds with respiratory or pulmonary activity in the physical-body.
  3. Consciousness of feelings in the affective system of the psychic-body corresponds with the heart and blood circulation in the physical-body.

Since the physical systems are observable and described in anatomy, their properties and interactions can be extended to corresponding psychological systems. In other words, the anatomical details of heart and blood circulation reveal by correspondence the details of the dynamics of feelings and emotions to which they correspond. Similarly, anatomical knowledge of the action of the lungs and trachea in relation to blood circulation give us details about how the cognitive operations and thought processes are influenced and interact with feelings and emotions. There remains much to be explored here in future research.

Swedenborg’s proposal of the “collective conscious” specifies the psychological relationship between the individual and the collective humanity. He defined the individual conscious as a model in small version of the collective conscious in society and humanity. Humanity is composed of numerous varieties of sub-groups called psychic societies or collectivities. There is a dynamic psychological connection between each unique individual consciousness and that of a corresponding society that specializes affectively in a particular variety of the collective conscious. Each individual conscious is connected and functions by correspondence to its particular area or variety of the collective conscious. The individual thinking of a patient is dynamically connected by correspondence to the thinking of the psychic society located in that mental zone of the collective conscious. Whatever the collective conscious contains in that zone is transmitted to the individual to whom it appears that the thoughts just come into the mind from who knows where.

The oft-asked question “Where do thoughts come from?” receives an answer in Swedenborg that fundamentally changes once more how modern psychology conceptualizes self and other. Given his dual consciousness for 27 years, Swedenborg collected numerous details of this ongoing process of correspondential psychic interchange in humanity. As modern psychology and psychiatry becomes more tolerant of the possibility of dualism, new powerful techniques will become available for practice and theory.

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