The real cause

October 3, 2011

The quotation below is from Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, which was copyrighted 1959. I don’t know when the specific paper “A Study in the Process of Individuation” was published., but the original paper from which it was developed goes back at least to 1933. It might as well have been written this morning.

“These psychic evolutions do not as a rule keep pace with the tempo of intellectual developments. Indeed, their very first goal is to bring a consciousness that has hurried too far ahead into contact again with the unconscious background with which it should be connected…. It is a task that today faces not only individuals but whole civilizations. What else is the meaning of the frightful regressions of our time? The tempo of the development of consciousness through science and technology was too rapid and left the unconscious, which could no longer keep up with it, far behind, thereby forcing it into a defensive position which expresses itself in a universal will to destruction. The political and social isms of our day preached every conceivable ideal, but, under this mask, they pursue the goal of lowering the level of our culture by restricting or altogether inhibiting the possibilities of individual development. They do this partly by creating a chaos controlled by terrorism ….

“The problem cannot be solved collectively, because the masses are not changed unless the individual changes. At the same time, even the best-looking solution cannot be forced upon him, since it is a good solution only when it is combined with the natural process of development. It is therefore a hopeless undertaking to stake everything on collective recipes and procedures. The bettering of a general ill begins with the individual, and then only when he makes himself and not others responsible. This is naturally only possible in freedom, but not under a rule of force, whether this be exercised by a self-elected tyrant or by one thrown up by the mob.”

Let me repeat what Jung said: “It is therefore a hopeless undertaking to stake everything on collective recipes and procedures. ” If this is not a description of politics in our time, I don’t know what it is. You see it on all sides: Only if “our” side can overcome “their” side, can we reverse this dread slide into [insert nightmare here] and bring about [insert panacea here].

You think it’s possible Jung may have something to say to our time?????

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