Jung proposed that the collective unconscious is common to all human beings and is responsible for a number of deep-seated beliefs and instincts involving spirituality, sexual behavior, and personality traits. Sometimes it is called the “objective psyche” because it is not in our control.
Whereas Freud believed that the unconscious was the product of personal experiences, Jung believed that the unconscious was the product of collective experiences inherited in the genes. It is composed of a collection of knowledge and mental pictures that every person is born with and is shared by all human beings because of ancestral experience.
As individuals, we really don’t know what thoughts and pictures are in our collective unconscious, but once in a while someone breaks through due to trauma, paying attention to our dreams, or psychoactive drugs.
Jung felt that the reason all the world religions share common characteristics is the deep-seated collective unconscious. He also thought that morals, ethics, and concepts of fairness or right and wrong could be explained, not as the product of reasoning, but at least the collective unconscious is partially responsible.
He also explained phobias, such as the fear of snakes and spiders in children who never had trauma from these creatures. It is genetic memory that is responsible for their fears. Even seeing a picture of a snake or spider can cause fear, though the child has never seen a spider or snake in real life. Other fears that Jung imputed to the collective unconscious are social anxieties, fear of the dark, fear of loud sounds, phobias about bridges, or horror of blood may all stem from in this collective unconscious.