Carl Jung Explains Sarah Palin

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"Sarah Palin, 'Mama Grizzlies,' Carl Jung, and the Power of Archetypes." And you thought The Huffington Post only used headlines with numbered lists. Arianna Huffington, in this piece, is reviewing Sarah Palin's "Mama Grizzlies" video:

The video's a bit short on policy, notes Huffington, calling that  "classic Palin." But perhaps "Palin's message operates on a level deeper than policy statements," she writes. "To really understand her appeal, we need less policy analysis and more psychology. Specifically, we need to hear from that under-appreciated political pundit Carl Jung." Come again?

It's not Palin's positions people respond to--it's her use of symbols. Mama grizzlies rearing up to protect their young? That's straight out of Jung's "collective unconscious"--the term Jung used to describe the part of the unconscious mind that, unlike the personal unconscious, is shared by all human beings, made up of archetypes, or, in Jung's words, "universal images that have existed since the remotest times." Unlike personal experiences, these archetypes are inherited, not acquired. They are "inborn forms... of perception and apprehension," the "deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity."

In short, Palin wins supporters by tapping into the Jungian archetypes present in the human unconscious. Huffington allows that this is probably unintentional.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.