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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Carl Jung on “Motivational Concepts”




Dr. Evans: One question which is quite important as we attempt to understand the individual centers around the problem of motivation, why
the person does what he does. To some degree you have already talked about this when you discussed archetypes. However, to go further into
this problem, earlier when we discussed the libido, that which Freud considered a psychic, sexual energy, you may recall your suggestion that
it was more than just sexual energy. You suggested that it could be something much broader. You have certain principles concerning psychic
energy which are very provocative, and one of these principles, I believe you refer to as the principle of entropy.

Dr. Jung: Well, I alluded to it.

The main point is to take the standpoint of energetics as applied to psychical phenomena.

Now with psychical phenomena you have no possibility to measure exactly, so it always remains a sort of analogy.

Freud uses the term "libido" in the sense of sexual energy, and that is not quite correct.

If it is sexual, then it is a power, like electricity or any other form or manifestation of energy.

Now energy is a concept by which you try to express the analogies of all power manifestations; namely, that they have a
certain quality, a certain intensity, and there is a flow in one direction, viz., to the ultimate suspension of the
opposites. Low-high-height —a lake on a mountain flows down until all the water is down, you know, then it is finished.

And you see something similar in the case in psychology.

We get tired from intellectual work or from consciously living, and then we must sleep to restore our powers.

Then by sleeping through the night, it is as if the water were pumped from a lower level to a higher level, and we can work again the next day.

Of course, that simile is limping too, so it is only in an analogous way that we use the term "energy."

I used it because I wanted to express the fact that the power manifestation of sexuality is not the only power manifestation.

You have a number of drives, say the drive to conquer or the drive to be aggressive, or any number of others.

There are many forms.

For instance, you take animals, the way they are building their nests, or the urge of the traveling birds that migrate.

They all are driven by a sort of energy manifestation, and the meaning of the word "sexuality" would be entirely gone if all these different
urges and drives were included in its definition. Freud himself says that this is not applicable everywhere, and later on he corrected himself
by assuming that there are also ego drives.

That is something else, another manifestation.

Now in order not to presume or to prejudice things, I speak simply of energy, and energy is a quantity of energy that
can manifest itself via sexuality or via any other instinct.

That is the main feature, not the existence of one single power.

Dr. Evans: Many approaches to motivation in our academic psychology today emphasize what is sometimes referred
to as a biocentric theory. It suggests that the individual is bom with certain inborn physiological, self-preserving types
of drives, such as the ‐ drive for hunger, thirst, etc. Sex is just one of them. In the case of all these drives, however, their satisfaction i
s necessary to the maintenance of the organism. Then as the individual is influenced by reality and the culture in which he lives, these
primary drives are modified in terms of the society in which he functions. For example, as a result of specific cultural influences,
the general hunger drive is supplemented by a specific urge for certain kinds of food. Later, if this is important in the culture in which he lives,
he may develop needs for social approval, influencing further his food preferences, and so on. Would this general approach to the understanding
of the development of motivations be consistent with your ideas? Would you say that basic, innate, instinctual patterns are modified by the
environment or culture to which they are subjected?

Dr. Jung: Yes, certainly.

Dr. Evans: Also, concerning motivation, or the condition which arouses, directs, and sustains the individual, there appear to be two views
found in much of our psychology in America today. One might be called an historical view, as illustrated by the biocentric theory just
discussed, where we try to look at the history and development of the individual for answers as to why he is doing a certain thing at the
moment. Then we have another view, postulated and discussed by Dr. Kurt Lewin, which is a field theory. He did not believe that the history—the past
—was the most important element in motivation. Instead he suggested that all the conditions which affect the individual at a given moment help
us to best understand the individual and predict his behavior. Do you think that the "present field" idea of Dr. Lewin has any virtue?

Dr. Jung: Well, obviously I always insist that even a chronic neurosis has its true cause in the moment now.

You see, the neurosis is made every day by the wrong attitude the individual has.

On the other hand, however, that wrong attitude is a sort of fact that needs to be explained historically, by things that have happened in the past.

But that is one-sided too, because all psychological facts are oriented, not only to course, but also to a certain goal.

They are, in a way, physiological; namely, they serve as a purpose, so the wrong attitude can have originated in a certain way long ago.

It is equally true, however, that it wouldn't exist today any more if there were not immediate causes and immediate purposes to keep it alive today.

Because of this, a neurosis can be finished suddenly on a certain day, despite all causes.

One has observed in the beginning of the war cases of compulsion neuroses which had lasted for many years and suddenly were
cured, because they got into an entirely new condition.

It is like a shock, you see.

Even the schizophrenic can be vastly improved by a shock because that's a new condition; it is a very shocking thing, so it shocks them out of their habitual attitude.

Once they are no more in it, the whole thing collapses, the whole system that has been built up for years.

Dr. Evans: You have brought up many interesting and provocative ideas here. Another concept related to motivational development is the
process of individuation, a process to which you frequently refer in your writing. Would you like to comment about this process of
individuation, how all these factors move toward a whole— a totality?

Dr. Jung: Well, you know, that's something quite simple.

Take an acorn, put it into the ground, and watch it grow and become an oak.

That is man.

Man develops from an egg, and develops into the whole man; that is the law that is in him.

Dr. Evans: So you think the psychic development is in many ways like the biological development.

Dr. Jung: The psychic development is out of the world; it is something else, or maybe an opinion.

It is a fact that people develop in their psychical development on the same principle as they develop in the body.

Why should we assume that it is a different principle?

It is really the same kind of evolutionary behavior as the body shows.

Consider for instance, those animals that have specially differentiated anatomical characteristics, those of the teeth or something like that.
Well, they have a mental behavior which is in accordance with those organs.

Dr. Evans: So as you see it, there is no need to bring in other types of ideas, other types of theories to explain development. The basic
biological law is still—

Dr. Jung: The psyche is nothing different from the living being. It is the psychical aspect of the living being. It is even the psychical aspect of
matter. It is a quality. ~Carl Jung, Evans Conversations, Pages 26-27