The idea that man has become the master of his own destiny is an illusion. Human beings are not very good at understanding themselves psychologically, and to do so — they must understand their subconscious selves. And the comfort given to man by organized religion will not provide him with the ability to change from within.
Men who ground their moral foundations in science are guilty of confusing scientific questions with metaphysical or moral ones. So at least it seems to the man of today, who has received hundred-fold enlightenment concerning the backwardness and darkness of past ages and their superstitions. That his teachers have themselves gone seriously astray by making false comparisons between incommensurable factors never enters his head.
If man meditates on the premises underlying Christianity, he will either choose to implicitly believe or accept that he does not understand. While State truths, and scientific truths are easy to understand — religious truths are not. But even if he rejects religious truths, he will still have a religious instinct, and it will be filled by other kinds of gods.
The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung
It is misleading to dismiss instincts as blind and irrational — they are the most fundamental parts of who we are. Because of their ancient roots, they are a more real part of us — in a sense — than our organs. This latter circumstance gives it its specific and irreducible form. Just as instinct is original and hereditary, so, too, its form is age-old, that is to say, archetypal.
We need to create a better context within which our instincts can better operate — through the formulation of more suitable ideas for our new environment. These need certain modifications, because, in their original form, they are suited to an archaic mode of life but not to the demands of a specifically differentiated environment. If the flow of instinctive dynamism into our life is to be maintained, as is absolutely necessary for our existence, then it is imperative that we remold these archetypal forms into ideas which are adequate to the challenge of the present. The original purpose of philosophy was to provide a framework for us to live our lives — not to exist as a detached, dry, dead, academic discipline.
Our philosophy is no longer a way of life, as it was in antiquity; it has turned into an exclusively intellectual and academic affair. Society is elevated to the rank of a supreme ethical principle; indeed, it is credited with positively creative capacities. The moment the word, as a result of centuries of education, attains universal validity, it severs its original link with the divine person.
There is then a personified Church, a personified State; belief in the word becomes credulity, and the word itself an infernal slogan capable of any deception. With credulity come propaganda and advertising to dupe the citizen with political jobbery and compromises, and the lie reaches proportions never known before in the history of the world. Man has identified with his conscious knowledge of himself — at the expense of the unconscious. He has estranged himself from his instincts through his capacity to learn. This task is so exacting, and its fulfilment so advantageous, that he forgets himself in the process, losing sight of his instinctual nature and putting his own conception of himself in place of his real being.
In this way he slips imperceptibly into a purely conceptual world where the products of his conscious activity progressively replace reality. This sanctimoniousness cannot be kept up, in the long run, because the evil, as experience shows, lies in man — unless, in accordance with the Christian view, one is willing to postulate a metaphysical principle of evil.
Jung leaves us with some important questions to ponder about the perils brought about by the age of scientific rationalism. Is he capable of resisting the temptation to use his power for the purpose of staging a world conflagration? Is he conscious of the path he is treading, and what the conclusions are that must be drawn from the present world situation and his own psychic situation? Foreword by Shamdasani, Sonu. Add to Cart.
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The Undiscovered Self – book review
Free shipping for non-business customers when ordering books at De Gruyter Online. Please find details to our shipping fees here. Print Flyer Recommend to Librarian. Overview Aims and Scope These two essays, written late in Jung's life, reflect his responses to the shattering experience of World War II and the dawn of mass society. Comments 0 Please log in or register to comment.
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