|Abstract||The revolution C. G. Jung unleashed was a theory of the Self and the archetypes, in part a way of understanding individuals and culture, their nature and destiny, but also a way to cure. His life?s work in many ways was to understand and describe the nature and dynamics of this transpersonal factor in the human psyche. Yet his theory of individuation, the process of the individuals differentiation from collective psychology, requires three related elements: a transpersonal factor ? the Self ? that drives individuation, mechanisms of individuation that are the basic dynamic forces in transformation, and the ego, as partner to the Self, that feels and acts as well as reacts.
Despite this key role in individuation, however, what is lacking in Jung's writings is a metapsychology of the ego. In other words, absent is a complete abstract conceptualization of this third element: the experienced, experiencing, structuring, and transforming psychological factor in mankind that is beyond the individual and the unconscious - the ego factor.
I would propose, however, that although on the manifest level Jung omitted this, latent in all his work is the essence of an ego psychology. There are two obstacles to organizing these constituents into a comprehensive theory. The first is a Historical perspective; the fact that Jung?s ideas evolved over time. Statements made about the ego early in his career cannot be equated with statements made later. There was a progression of his ideas from a scientific/empirical, or Energic, paradigm characteristic of his early work to a phenomenological/experiential, or Symbolic, paradigm typical of his more mature writings.
The second obstacle is the fact that Jung?s use of the term ego came to mean a number of different things. From this Conceptual perspective, one needs to know to which aspect of the ego Jung is referring in his writing. In this perspective, there are four main conceptual uses of the term ego. The first is a concept of the ego as the experiencing and experienced aspect of the individual, the Subjective ego. The second concept of the ego, the Structural ego, describes the executive functions of the ego that operate beyond conscious awareness: defense mechanisms (the mirror of the mechanisms of individuation), typology, and adaptation. Third, Jung describes a Developmental ego: the aspect of the ego that, through its relationship with the Self, expands and matures the individual consciousness. Lastly, there is also a movement toward consciousness that Jung described that was less concerned with the individual and more concerned with the growth of collective consciousness, the Cosmogonic ego.