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Pietikainen, P. (2003). Soul Man Meets the Blind Watchmaker: C.G. Jung and Neo-Darwinism. Psychoanal. Hist., 5(2):195-212.

(2003). Psychoanalysis and History, 5(2):195-212

Soul Man Meets the Blind Watchmaker: C.G. Jung and Neo-Darwinism

Petteri Pietikainen, Ph.D.

Is there a relationship between C.G. Jung's Analytical Psychology and neo-Darwinism? Are Jungian depth psychology and modern evolutionary theories somehow related? Was Jung a Darwinian psychologist? A number of Jungian analysts and scholars would answer ‘yes’ to at least some of these questions. Inspired by the emerging neo-Darwinian discipline, evolutionary psychology, they seem to be inclined to transform Jungian doctrines into modern evolutionary theories, or at least ‘update’ Jung's theories with the help of neo-Darwinism.

There is indeed a discernible connection between neo-Darwinism and Jungian psychology, for both Jungians and contemporary evolutionary psychologists agree on the crucial point that there exists a universal structure of the mind that has its own evolutionary history. However, I will argue in this paper that, although Jungian psychology opposes the tabula rasa doctrine (for an examination of this doctrine, also known as the Blank Slate, see Pinker 2002), Jung cannot be regarded as the founding father of evolutionary psychology. His grand theory of the Collective Unconscious, of the interior archetypal cosmos, represents an imaginative combination of lofty psychospiritual messages and obsolete biological assertions. In his attempt to fuse biology, spirit and the unconscious, Jung ended in speculative flights of imagination that bear no resemblance to modern neo-Darwinian theories.

Nevertheless, at Texas A & M University, scholars friendly to Jung recently edited a collection of articles, Evolution of the Psyche, which included a previously published paper by evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss (Rosen & Luebbert 1999). Some contributors to that volume have discussed distinctly Jungian themes, such as creativity, dreams, the symbolic self and an innate evolutionary memory.

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