A reason why the psychology of Carl Jung encounters such contrasting receptions is his holistic philosophy, his assumption that a connection between the individual and the whole of reality at various levels makes an essential systematic contribution to mental health and therapy.
This holistic approach led Jung to explore topics such as the spiritual analysis of symbols and the totality of the Self. His methods are widely seen as of little use within clinical psychology and broader scientific communities, but are respected by alternative traditions as having valuable ethical and psychological insights.
This clash of cultural perspectives over the scholarly and professional worth of Jung’s work reveals underlying differences in theory of knowledge and practical priorities, with ethical and moral implications. I will argue that Jung’s holistic spiritual ideas affirm and support cultural identity and diversity, and have important broader moral benefits, while rejection of these ideas can support a more narrow and exclusive way of thinking. Holism can affect views on a wide range of fields, including climate change, theology, cosmology and ecology, offering conceptual grounding for practical visions of reform and transformation.