I recently came across the book ‘The Undiscovered Self,’ by Carl Jung and I thought it so relevant to these times that I would draw attention to it.
Of course, really one should read the book in full — it’s available here.
It’s not a long book — around 80 pages — but in an age where 10 minutes is considered a ‘long read,’ many people may not have the patience to read it in full.
There’s another issue that makes reading it difficult, which is that was written in the 1950s in a style that people nowadays largley aren’t familiar with. Most non-fiction writing today consists of informational facts, often bullet-pointed, ‘evidence’ or some justification for conveying the information, and maybe some words of explanation. This book is not like that. Carl Jung explores themes from many different angles and brings up similar ideas throughout the book in order to explain them in a different context. To the modern reader, it can seem repetitive and may leave the uninitiated reader wondering when he is going to get to the point.
The book was written in 1957 around the time of the Cold War and the threat of global destruction and Communism. This isn’t an analysis of each component of the book. Such an article would probably be longer than the book itself, but so much of what Jung writes about, such as the threat of Communism, is true at this time, albeit in a different form, that I think it important that more people become aware of this.
The Communist revolution has debased man far lower than democratic collective psychology has done, because it robs him of his freedom not only in the social but in the moral and spiritual sense.
The reason why Carl Jung saw communism as such a threat was that it devalues the inner self and subjugates it to the state. But this subjugation is not limited to Communism and he attributes a similar force in the West from the scientific view.
We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world picture: it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations. Science supplies us with, instead of the concrete individual, the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality.
The scientific world view says that if science says that X is true then it is true. Both factually (for example, humans evolved from ape-like creatures), and morally (science has proved that homosexuality is an innate characteristic and so the view of marriage as being between a man and a woman is an anachronism). Your own conscience is simply prejudice or homophobia¹.
Jung points out the folly of the scientific, statistical view. For example, if one was to weigh a number of pebbles the average weight may be 145grams but there is probably not one single pebble that weighs 145grams.
The distinctive thing about real facts, however, is their individuality. Not to put too fine a point on it, one could say that the real picture consists of nothing but exceptions to the rule, and that, in consequence, absolute reality has predominantly the character of irregularity.
The fundamental dichotomy that Jung pulls out is this:
- You follow the state, under the guise of science and statistics, and you cut yourself off from your subconscious feelings. What is right, wrong, good or bad is simply what the state tells you it is. Your moral responsibility is doing what the state tells you to do. When you become cut-off from your own subconscious you cut yourself off from the Divine.
- Or you work on self-understanding to get to the reality of your own feelings and motivations. These are individual and can’t be counted in a statistical or scientific study. Your moral responsibility is ultimately to God, as manifested in your own subconscious.
I can only point to the fact that the psychological opposition between these two realms of experience is not only vouched for in the New Testament but is still exemplified very plainly today in the negative attitude of the dictator States to religion, and of the Church to atheism and materialism.
Ironically, science (or what passes for science) in the West has given rise to a force that is similar to Communism, in that it pressures people to conform to the state. Jung points out that most modern Christianity has succumbed to the same process and has lost the essence of the real teaching in the process.
The relevance of this to situation at the moment should be apparent:
We are told to socially isolate and wear masks, a way of muzzling people and preventing people bonding.
The mass State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa.
Science has become the new religion and scientists its priests. Most of the blind adherents to Christianity in the past often knew very little of their religion and were easily manipulated by people in power. Similarly, most of the people who talk about ‘The Science’ know nothing of the philosophy of science and succumb to people who manipulate them in the name of science.
We are told to accept moral principles that go against our inner-morality. We are told that we are ‘homophobic’ or simply old fashioned. It’s not even a question of whether you agree or disagree with these beliefs, it’s that such beliefs are ridiculed and mocked. On the other hand some people will believe utter garbage if it is disseminated by ‘scientists’.
In this book Jung doesn’t mention the way that language has been manipulated in order to help facilitate this conformity. George Orwell’s ‘1984’ does this and what we call political correctness is it’s manifestation.
To the mystic the purpose of life is an inner exploration of the subconscious. God is within us and the journey to God lies through understanding yourself. Know Thyself was inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and this is the essence of mystic teaching.
The Western, ‘scientific’ way is the opposite. Ignore your inner conscience and subliminal thoughts and think what we tell you to think. Belief in God, we are told, is based on faith not science and therefore should be rejected.
Whereas the man of today can easily think about and understand all the “truths” dished out to him by the State, his understanding of religion is made considerably more difficult owing to the lack of explanations. (“Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless some one guides me?” Acts 8:30.) If, despite this, he has still not discarded all his religious convictions, this is because the religious impulse rests on an instinctive basis and is therefore a specifically human function. You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others in return.
All quotes are from the book.
¹Many people stop reading at this point. It seems they are the people who feel that homophobics should confront their prejudices but are unable to that themselves.
By Philip Braham on .