Social Psychology, Dreams and the Question of Consciousness: A Jungian Perspective

In this paper I discuss Erich Fromm’s social psychology and his dream theory, with a critical perspective informed by C. G. Jung.  Inasmuch as social psychology assumes that consciousness is determined by social and historical conditioning, I take Fromm as representative. In contrast to this position, Jung’s approach is grounded on the fact that consciousness itself is primordial and involved in all modes of being.

With this view, the unconscious and dreams are taken as intelligent and purposive, as well as consisting of effective force for personality transformation.  Whereas Jung seeks counsel from the inherent wisdom in the dream and the unconscious, Fromm looks for insight that is interpreted through the lens of humanistic values and reason.  Although Fromm’s approach to psychology may have relevance for many people, it ultimately falls short as it does not encourage the full expression of consciousness-life.

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