Myself. Because I live the character. It is not an abstraction.
I wish to select Carl Gustav Jung.
Jung was a person of amazing intelligence, which he applied to matters of the human psyche, giving us the concepts of introversion/extroversion/thinking/feeling as ways of recognising different personality types, and the concept of archetypes as ways of understanding the subpersonalities within us. His writings on the animus and anima are revelatory for an understanding of male/female relationships.
Jung's genius recognised the importance of what he called the "collective unconsciousness", namely the matrix from which our commanility as human beings emerges. This insight drove Jung to explore the meaning and significance of symbols, mythology and fairy tales.
At the same time, Jung believed each individual is unique. Many systems of psychology try to impose a rigid conformity on people. To them, all things must have the same meanings to all people. Those who do not "fit in" are considered to be ill and insane. Jung, however, emphasized uniqueness. After the massive work he put into analysing symbols, he nevertheless insisted that each person has to explore whether any particular symbol has a personal meaning for them, even if this is quite different from the collective meaning. Personal meaning must always take priority.
While Jung applied his ideas to help treat people with obvious and severe psychological problems, which prevented them from functioning properly, he also considered that his system of analytical psychology was a useful tool for "healthy" people. He described a process he called "individuation", by which we integrate the sometimes conflicting aspects of our personality. Individuation is something that tends to start in the later phases of life and tends to arise in people who are fairly complex personality-wise and deep thinkers. It can cause a measure of pain and sadness, which are not however "mental illness". Jung's writings provide signpoints to help us with this process.
Although Jung writes in a very dense and complex way, which puts off a lot of people, I have found a lot of satisfaction in persisting with his works. His compassion and humanity shines through the complex words and his ideas have stayed with me for many years.
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