Date of the last update: 04.08.2022
According to Theodor Roszak, the ecological unconscious is the core of human identity. How can we return to this state? How can we forget about the omnipresent consumerism and globalist actions of the world’s leaders, which translate into everyday life and decisions of individuals? A return to our roots and a change of thinking can make nature be treated equally to man. According to Jung’s concept, it is the collective unconscious that provides a link for humans with the natural world.
Table of Contents:
- Humans and their innate interdependence with nature
- What is the collective unconscious? Jung’s concept
- Ecological unconscious in relation to the collective unconscious
- The main targets of ecological unconsciousness
- How do you tap into the ecological unconscious?
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As humans, we are responsible for the environmental crisis. We belong to a species that is responsible for a number of destructive actions that target the ecosystem directly or indirectly. Humans have an advantage over the environment because they can create norms and define goals. Amidst all these daily actions of billions of people, the concepts of ecological unconscious and collective unconscious emerge. We are still learning to be sensitive, but only to ourselves and to other members of our species. Man has an innate interdependence with nature, but it has been “dormant” – replaced by false needs created by industrialization. Why can’t homo sapiens return to the roots that Roszak writes about?
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychologist, psychiatrist, and also a painter. He was one of the founders of depth psychology, which he later developed and created as his own concept regarding the perception of man’s relationship with nature. This theory states that there are two types of unconscious. The first is the individual unconscious, which directly affects each individual and involves the processing of information detached from the field of consciousness. The second type of unconscious is the collective unconscious, broadly defined. This concerned human behavior resulting from the unconscious, one that is the same for the entire human species.
Jung argued that every person on earth has innate collective patterns of experience. They are formed under the influence of various situations, which has a significant connection with the formation of human consciousness. According to the researcher, this whole process takes place in the subconscious, so most individuals do not have any influence on it. This knowledge is cleverly used by industrial corporations, which through subliminal messages shape the human worldview.
According to Jung, the collective unconscious is one of the many parts of the human psyche. The author’s concept assumes that the human brain is always built in the same way, therefore everyone has a similar pattern of thinking, behaving and reacting. Such a pattern of actions is a result of human evolution – repeated experiences over the centuries have made the above actions considered innate. According to Jung’s theory, the collective unconscious is undergoing evolution all the time. Following this line, an artificial barrier has been created in man through the development of the urban psyche. As consumers, with an instilled desire to possess, people have a distorted diagnosis of their own needs. Of course, this is the result of deliberate actions taken within the framework of the capitalist economic model.
The relentless development of urban agglomerations, infrastructure, and technological progress have caused humans as individuals and as a species to disconnect from the natural world. In the onslaught of information and relentless perpetuation of modern economic norms, the human brain continues to evolve, leading to changes in educated behavior. As time passes and technology advances, the ecological unconscious of the species becomes blurred. This invisible structure, which for centuries connected man with everything natural, ceases to exist. According to Jung’s conception, such disruption means that man as an individual will eventually cease to exist, because human life is dependent on the condition of the natural environment.
Man as an individual, as well as in the dimension of the entire species, can return to his roots. However, this is closely related to the rediscovery of and contact with the values that the ecological unconscious brings. This is available to everyone because the ecological unconscious is at the core of the human psyche.
- by reevaluating human life and understanding that the needs created by industrial corporations are falsified
- returning to local food production without the need to transport food from one end of the world to the other
- increasing funding for community-based environmental projects in schools and out-of-school facilities
- in the psyche, building an ethical responsibility for the environment on which human life is absolutely dependent
- putting pressure on politicians to introduce laws and restrictions that better protect the planet.
Both Jung’s theory and Roszak’s concept of ecopsychology and the ecological unconscious of modern society have many supporters. The fact is that global development is moving humans farther away from nature. And contrary to popular thinking, humans do not exercise power over what they define as the natural environment. Both man and nature can enjoy the benefits of the third planet in the solar system – Earth, but only with mutual respect.
- Jung C. G., On the psychology of eastern meditation. Edition 1. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Pusty Obłok, 1989, p.165.
- Roszak T., Ecopsychology: eight principles, published in monthly magazine “Wild Life” 4/154 2007 APRIL 2007.