The Allegory of the Forest – Carl Jung’s Collective
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Gary L. Clark is an author. After a thirty year career he retired to write a novel. He then joined a counselor-in-training program at the local community mental health center and worked three years as a substance abuse counselor. He retired again and has written two more novels. He recently completed the annotation of a self-help book on faith-based self-help. Two published novels (available on address social justice. Mr. Clark is the Editor of He lives in St. Joseph, Missouri.

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The Allegory of the Forest – Carl Jung’s Collective

There are no more trees.  No more forested wildlife.  Humans no longer have terms for forest or wildlife.  The Earth was deforested many years ago.  Some older adults remember playing in the woods.  No pictures, photographs, exist.  There are many drawings by children.  Some drawings are done in pencil, others in water colors – some on paper, some on rock, some in caves.  Some drawings show animals and insects and reptiles.  Some show birds.  Some drawings are done in alpine forests, others in the tropics.  There are no drawings of the forest – only the trees.

A scientist, Carl Jung, is attempting to understand the woods that he himself only played in as a child.  Jung interviews many of the older adults about their childhood memories.  He studies the children’s drawings.  Jung understands these drawings were of different geographic areas.  He understands there are different climates.

After collecting all accounts, personal testimony and drawings, Jung is convinced he has enough data to draw a a collective picture.  Jung has to invent words like forest and wildlife.

Others scientists study Jung’s work.  Others study the drawings and interview more aging adults.  They affirm the idea of the great scientist.  Each adds their own understanding of the forest.  A coherent ecosystem is established.  It makes sense.  The new words, like forest and wildlife, are necessary components in articulating their shared vision.

Other scientists doubt these findings.  They claim there is no evidence of large masses of trees living together, no evidence of wildlife interacting with the foliage.  There were trees.  There were animals.  They scoff at the idea of any interaction.

What is reality?  Do not anthropologists reconstruct human culture from archaeological finds?  Must their findings be verified?  Yes – and they are.  More information is gathered – theories are tweaked, modified, rethought.  Consistently, with new information, previous constructs are verified as essentially sound.  Occasionally new information causes a profound shift in understanding.  Sigmund Freud was first to construct a model of the human psyche – Carl Jung searched further, found more evidence, and constructed another understanding.

Jung captured a generation of the most brilliant minds.  Men such as Joseph Campbell and Robert Johnson added value to the construct of Jung.

There is difficulty in understanding for we are standing in the forest, looking out.

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