Our existence is shaped by the existence of consciousness–both our own and others. There is an important difference, though, between these two types of consciousness.
Thought waves determine and shape our individual consciousness. Such waves emerge from our brains throughout the day and night. These thoughts are constantly oscillating in what we call a “stream” or “current”.
Collective unconscious mind: Is it different from the consciousness of each individual?
The collective unconscious, on the other hand, has no specific source but emanates outwards through a number of people’s minds simultaneously at all times.
There is no stream but rather a constant diffusion and reflection of all the previous thoughts. Humans have experienced thoughts collectively throughout history.
One example of such a collective thought is Andre Rieu’s song “Ode to Joy” played at high volume at the end of each Olympic Games.
As such, it is impossible to know or even think about our collective unconscious without simultaneously knowing what everyone else is thinking (which no one can do).
A person’s individual consciousness (the existing thought stream) and the collective consciousness have almost entire disconnection from each other.
Although both have an influence on our lives, we should not conflate these two types of consciousness with each other as they have very different characteristics.
The collective unconscious influences our lives to a much greater degree than we realize. This unconscious thought stream has the power to influence us subconsciously and directly.
In what way is collective unconscious accessible?
As a rule of thumb, the collective unconscious is only accessible through dreams and similar means (i.e. access through meditation).
The individual consciousness, however, does not exist in dreams or meditation. But we can only access it during waking hours.
This also leads to a significant difference between the effects of the two types of consciousness on our lives: we can subconsciously induce changes in the collective unconscious just by dreaming and detecting patterns in our thoughts without any requirements of overt action on our part (We call this “automatization“).
While it is true that previous thought patterns create the collective unconscious, it is equally as important to understand that it can also change and dissolve such thoughts. This is possible because the collective unconscious is created through a number of people’s minds simultaneously at all times.
We can thus cause changes in the collective unconscious by learning, thinking, and experiencing new things all at the same time. The effects of our individual consciousness are therefore largely dependent on all of us simultaneously becoming more conscious or less conscious. One of the greatest dangers in our lives is mixing up the phenomenon of collective consciousness with that of individual consciousness when making generalizations about what each entails.