Theories of Personality 9th Edition

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Chapter 4 Jung: Analytical Psychology 121

Dynamics of Personality

In this section on the dynamics of personality, we look at Jung’s ideas on causal-
ity and teleology and on progression and regression.

Causality and Teleology

Does motivation spring from past causes or from teleological goals? Jung insisted that
it comes from both. Causality holds that present events have their origin in previous
experiences. Freud relied heavily on a causal viewpoint in his explanations of adult
behavior in terms of early childhood experiences (see Chapter 2). Jung criticized Freud
for being one-sided in his emphasis on causality and insisted that a causal view could
not explain all motivation. Conversely, teleology holds that present events are moti-
vated by goals and aspirations for the future that direct a person’s destiny. Adler held
this position, insisting that people are motivated by conscious and unconscious percep-
tions of fictional final goals (see Chapter 3). Jung was less critical of Adler than of
Freud, but he insisted that human behavior is shaped by both causal and teleological
forces and that causal explanations must be balanced with teleological ones.
Jung’s insistence on balance is seen in his conception of dreams. He agreed
with Freud that many dreams spring from past events; that is, they are caused by
earlier experiences. On the other hand, Jung claimed that some dreams can help a
person make decisions about the future, just as dreams of making important dis-
coveries in the natural sciences eventually led to his own career choice.

Progression and Regression

To achieve self-realization, people must adapt not only to their outside environment
but to their inner world as well. Adaptation to the outside world involves the for-
ward flow of psychic energy and is called progression, whereas adaptation to the
inner world relies on a backward flow of psychic energy and is called regression.
Both progression and regression are essential if people are to achieve individual
growth or self-realization.
Progression inclines a person to react consistently to a given set of environ-
mental conditions, whereas regression is a necessary backward step in the success-
ful attainment of a goal. Regression activates the unconscious psyche, an essential
aid in the solution of most problems. Alone, neither progression nor regression
leads to development. Either can bring about too much one-sidedness and failure
in adaptation; but the two, working together, can activate the process of healthy
personality development (Jung, 1928/1960).
Regression is exemplified in Jung’s midlife crisis, during which time his
psychic life was turned inward toward the unconscious and away from any sig-
nificant outward accomplishments. He spent most of his energy becoming
acquainted with his unconscious psyche and did little in the way of writing or
lecturing. Regression dominated his life while progression nearly ceased. Subse-
quently, he emerged from this period with a greater balance of the psyche and once
again became interested in the extraverted world. However, his regressive experi-
ences with the introverted world had left him permanently and profoundly changed.

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