We Are All One in the Collective Unconscious

Large group of people crowding Rome's downtown streets in a sunny day. On a warm day the historic downtown of Rome, Italy, is flooded by people and tourists enjoying monuments and famous places. Horizontal composition.

It’s no secret to modern science that all humans share a set of instincts ingrained in our DNA, but is that all we have in common? Humanity is only given .1% of DNA to separate them from the pack, the other 99.9% is shared with every other human. The most shocking thing, however, is that scientists only know what a small percentage of DNA actually does, the unknown portion is referred to as “Junk DNA”. In the same way that DNA interconnects humanity through innate instincts, could junk DNA code for more intricate instincts?

When the term instinct is used it usually refers to a hard-wired response to specific stimuli that are shared by an entire species. The definition of instinct denotes a purely mechanical process, but even scientific minds view themselves separated from the mechanistic workings of nature. There’s a reason why killing a person doesn’t carry nearly the same charges as killing an animal, and even then, most only really care about killing domesticated animals. So if humans have a greater capacity (supposedly) for consciousness, could all this extra junk DNA actually connect humanity in aspects of consciousness higher than the material world?

Renowned psychologist Carl Jung coined the term “Collective Unconscious”, which describes how all of humanity has an underlying, shared consciousness populated with archetypes. Archetypes are the common ideas spread through all cultures throughout time (like the tree of life or mother nature). Jung attributed the universality of these symbols to be caused by a shared consciousness that all humans are born with. Ideas similar to the universal unconscious have been around since ancient Greece in the dialogues of Socrates, as transcribed by Plato. One theory proposed by Socrates is the theory of forms, in which humans view a world of imperfect things through the perfect forms of those things. One example given to explain the theory is the comparison of two logs of wood; Though two logs may share some similarities neither log will ever be perfect, yet when someone says the word log, the brain instantly pictures the perfect form of a log even though a perfect log doesn’t exist. Socrates proposed the theory of forms to explain how the soul exists before life, in a state where the soul is ingrained with perfect forms. Could all of the junk DNA house the collective unconscious, where all perfect forms and archetypes resonate?

Throughout history, there are periods of time with extreme scientific advancement where so many new discoveries are being made in such a small amount of time. Just consider the impact of the many great minds of the renaissance like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, or the impact of inventors of early America like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Even the early nineties had their geniuses like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (among many others) that shaped technology into what it is today. Whenever there’s a societal boom of innovation, it’s never the work of one person alone. Many minds seem to unknowingly converge at the same time at the same place and create world-changing innovations. A lot of these people also suggest that sometimes their greatest findings are ones that came to them with little to no effort, and sometimes even on accident. Could all the intense periods of innovation and change throughout human history point to the tapping into of a collective unconscious?

Even the idea of a collective unconscious has crept its way into the Rolodex of archetypes. Many stories both written in books and shown in tv and movies, revolve around the idea of a hive-mind or collective consciousness in which every member of the population is the exact same as one another almost like ants. The hive-mind archetype that pervades pop-culture is a subtle and unplanned reference to the collective unconscious; Humans may sometimes tap into a state of being where they feel as if they’re only a small part of collective humanity, which is then reflected through media in the literal sense (hive-mind). The problem with viewing the collective unconscious as a hive-mind is that it creates a sense of restraint, in the same way, instincts restrain animals from free will. Instead, the collective unconscious should be viewed from a perspective of interconnectedness, where every human can connect with one another and even society on a level that surpasses the material plane and allows humanity to change the world.



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