Personal and Cultural Complexes

The cultural complex that I have encountered frequently here in Los Angeles was the value predicate “awesome” when everything seems to be good, lovely, or charming all of which serve either to cover up their total lack of interest or to hold the object at arm’s length (Jung, 1969, para. 198). Askew posited, I was stunned by how almost every casual conversation was peppered with the word awesome. It was inescapable, like verbal clematis choking out the variegated richness of the English language, so ubiquitous it seemed like an acceptable substitute for just about any word. The use of awesome bespeaks imprecision, inaccuracy, comfort with non-communication, and impoverishment of imagination.

On the personal level the misuse of the word awesome used to trigger an existential crisis that was lurking in my subconscious mind. It has been firmly established that complexes possess a remarkable degree of autonomy, that organically unfounded, so-called “imaginary” pains hurt just as much as legitimate ones (Jung, 1969, para. 205). There was a period that I lost my job due to surgery and long recovery that exhausted my energy, depleted our family’s resources. Hearing someone use the word awesome irresponsibly was considered blasphemous in my bible. You cannot say awesome to someone struggling with depression, lost their job, lost their home, destitute and in poor health because there was sensitivity in the feeling tone. Therapy helped me overcome this complex through active imagination and solve et coagula; “solve” referred to the dissolving of hardened positions, negative states of body and mind, thereby dissolving and vanishing negative energetic charge. “Coagula” referred to the coagulation of dispersed elements into an integrated whole, representing the new synthesis. Jacobi stressed that once we become consciously aware of a complex, it has a better chance of being “understood” and corrected, i.e., made to disappear, than if we have no suspicion of its existence. For as long as it remains totally unconscious and the attention of our consciousness is not attracted to it even by the symptoms it causes, it remains inaccessible to any possible understanding (Jacobi, 1959, p. 10).

Works Cited:

Askew, T. (2018). Why you need to stop saying awesome. Retrieved from

Jacobi, J. (1959). Complex, archetype, symbol in the psychology of C. G. Jung (R. Manheim, Trans.). Princeton, NJ: Bollingen Paperbacks. (pp. 6-30; 25 pages).

Jung, C. (1969). Structure & dynamics of the psyche. In G. Adler & R. Hull (Eds.), Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: