Jung and Transpersonal Psychology

I have space to discuss two key similarities between Ken Wilbur’s descriptions of certain functionalities in Integral Psychology and C.G. Jung’s ideas. The first has to do with the archetypes, the second with the role of the ego.

Wilbur’s Great Nest theory with its basic structures and waves seem to me to be essentially archetypal psychology. The way Wilbur explains it, the structures and waves themselves have no outside identity, but must instead be filled in with content and effort by the traveling self. “What the Great Nest represents . . . is most basically a great morphogenetic field or developmental space—stretching from matter to mind to spirit—in which various potentials unfold into actuality” (Wilbur, 2000, p. 12). Wilbur takes pains to explain that the structures are of themselves amorphous potentials only, but that they “. . . become actualized . . . given more form and content . . .” so that they “. . . become everyday realities” (Wilbur, 2000, p. 12). This is precisely how Jung’s archetypes function.

Wilbur called the self the navigator of consciousness, explaining how “. . . as the locus of integration, the self is responsible for balancing and integrating all levels, lines, and states in the individual” (Wilbur, 2000, p. 37). This correlates vividly with the depth psychological view of the function of the ego as espoused by E.C. Whitmont in his 1969 book, The Symbolic Quest:

The optimal stance that the ego can strive for . . . could be described as a continual awareness of the conflicting polarities . . . of waiting and seeing, of living things out, weighing various aspects and bringing them into balance, ever ready to work with the materials at hand. (p. 258)

My “work" is so nebulous right now that I can only express a great interest in learning more in order to integrate Ken Wilbur’s perspectives into my overall academic life, in due course.