7. The Undiscovered Self

by Carl Jung

All of Jung's concerns are with individual liberty. Reading this little book was somewhat of a spiritual and intellectual revival for me. That always happens with this guy's work.

Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but the fatally shortsighted habit of our age is to think only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hands of a single madman. Unfortunately, this realization does not seem to have penetrated very far--and our blindness is this respect is extremely dangerous. People go on blithely organizing and believing in the sovereign remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest slogans...

...Curiously enough, the churches too want to avail themselves of mass action in order to cast out the devil with Beelzebub--the very churches whose care is the salvation of the individual soul. They too do not appear to have heard anything of the elementary axiom of mass psychology, that the individual becomes morally and spiritually inferior in the mass, and for this reason they do not burden themselves overmuch with their real task of helping the individual to achieve metanoia, or re-birth of the spirit. It is, unfortunately, only too clear that if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either, for society is the sum total of individuals in need of redemption. I can therefore see it only as a delusion when the churches try--as they apparently do--to rope the individual into a social organization and reduce him to a condition of diminished responsibility, instead of raising him out of torpid, mindless mass and making clear to him that he is the one important factor...

Oh, fun. He goes on to remind the reader of what happened to Jesus and Paul, prototypes of individuality, when they went their own individual ways, disregarding public opinion.

Here's a challenge:Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself. Or, to put it more simply: drive or drift. Drive or drift. I like that problem.

Finally: To this question there is a positive answer only when the individual is willing to fulfill the demands of rigorous self-examination and self-knowledge. If he follows through his intention, he will not only discover some important truths about himself, but will also have gained a psychological advantage: he will have succeeded in deeming himself worthy of serious attention and sympathetic interest.

Anyway, it was 125 pages of Jungian challenge. Loved it.

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