I love that Jung quote. I’ve used it generously in conversation, seminars and writings throughout the years.
Initially, I assumed that the “unconscious” he referred to the place in our brains where our experiences, beliefs and memories are undetectably stored. You know, psychology stuff: ego, subconscious, id. Old memories from childhood lurking beneath the conscious frame of reference, directing thoughts and coloring our current experiences.
In other words, post-birth experiences that came from nurture; the environment in which we were raised. As if we’re born as blank slates written upon by our parents, friends and the larger culture we grow up in.
Perhaps given the state of science at the time, that’s all that Jung did mean.
But now we have a lot more science to expand that quote out into some truly mind-boggling territory. In my mind, it’s now a case of including both nature and nurture into the equation.
More and more scientific research is revealing that our slates are only partially blank at birth, ready to accept whatever chalk lines might get drawn by life. But the majority of the remaining territory is already marked at conception with engraved instructions.