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"The development of personality" (Jung)


Never-retiring Millenial
Mar 26, 2017
This text is interesting, it comes from the book "the development of personality", which the chapter is of the same name. Im still reading it, I stopped to share it. Although the first paragraphs are related to child´s development, the later one are for adults (the whole book seems to be focus on childhood development of personality). Its a long read.

[284] In somewhat free-handed fashion the last two lines of Goethe’s stanza
are often quoted:
The Highest bliss on earth shall be
The joys of personality!2
This gives expression to the view that the ultimate aim and strongest desire
of all mankind is to develop that fulness of life which is called personality.
Nowadays, “personality training” has become an educational ideal that turns
its back upon the standardized, mass-produced, “normal” human being
demanded by the machine age. It thus pays tribute to the historical fact that
the great liberating deeds of world history have sprung from leading
personalities and never from the inert mass, which is at all times secondary
and can only be prodded into activity by the demagogue. The huzzahs of the
Italian nation go forth to the personality of the Duce, and the dirges of other
nations lament the absence of strong leaders.3 The yearning for personality
has therefore become a real problem that occupies many minds today,
whereas in former times there was only one man who had a glimmering of
this question—Friedrich Schiller, whose letters on aesthetic education have
lain dormant, like a Sleeping Beauty of literature, for more than a century.
We may confidently assert that the “Holy Roman Empire of the German
Nation” has not taken much notice of Schiller as an educator. On the other
hand, the furor teutonicus has hurled itself upon pedagogics (in the strict
sense of the education of children), delved into child psychology, ferreted out
the infantilism of the adult, and made of childhood such a portentous
condition of life and human fate that it completely overshadows the creative
meaning and potentialities of adult existence. Our age has been extravagantly
praised as the “century of the child.” This boundless expansion of the
kindergarten amounts to complete forgetfulness of the problems of adult
education divined by the genius of Schiller. Nobody will deny or
underestimate the importance of childhood; the severe and often life-long
injuries caused by stupid upbringing at home or in school are too obvious,
and the need for more reasonable pedagogic methods is far too urgent. But if
this evil is to be attacked at the root, one must in all seriousness face the
question of how such idiotic and bigoted methods of education ever came to
be employed, and still are employed. Obviously, for the sole reason that there
are half-baked educators who are not human beings at all, but walking
personifications of method. Anyone who wants to educate must himself be
educated. But the parrot-like book-learning and mechanical use of methods
that is still practised today is no education either for the child or for educator.
People are everlastingly saying that the child’s personality must be trained.
While I admire this lofty ideal, I can’t help asking who it is that trains the
personality? In the first and foremost place we have the parents, ordinary,
incompetent folk who, more often than not, are half children themselves and
remain so all their lives. How could anyone expect all these ordinary parents
to be “personalities,” and who has ever given a thought to devising methods
for inculcating “personality” into them? Naturally, then, we expect great
things of the pedagogue, of the trained professional, who, heaven help us, has
been stuffed full of “psychology” and is bursting with ill-assorted views as to
how the child is supposed to be constituted and how he ought to be handled.
It is presumed that the youthful persons who have picked on education as a
career are themselves educated; but nobody, I daresay, will venture to assert
that they are all “personalities” as well. By and large, they suffer from the
same defective education as the hapless children they are supposed to
instruct, and as a rule are as little “personalities” as their charges. Our whole
educational problem suffers from a one-sided approach to the child who is to
be educated, and from an equally one-sided lack of emphasis on the
uneducatedness of the educator. Everyone who has finished his course of
studies feels himself to be fully educated; in a word, he feels grown up. He
must feel this, he must have this solid conviction of his own competence in
order to survive the struggle for existence. Any doubt or feeling of
uncertainty would hinder and cripple him, undermining the necessary faith in
his own authority and unfitting him for a professional career. People expect
him to be efficient and good at his job and not to have doubts about himself
and his capabilities. The professional man is irretrievably condemned to be
[285] Everyone knows that these conditions are not ideal. But, with
reservations, we can say that they are the best possible under the
circumstances. We cannot imagine how they could be different. We
cannot expect more from the average educator than from the average
parent. If he is good at his job, we have to be content with that, just as we
have to be content with parents bringing up their children as best they
[286] The fact is that the high ideal of educating the personality is not for
children: for what is usually meant by personality—a well-rounded
psychic whole that is capable of resistance and abounding in energy—is
an adult ideal. It is only in an age like ours, when the individual is
unconscious of the problems of adult life, or—what is worse—when he
consciously shirks them, that people could wish to foist this ideal on to
childhood. I suspect our contemporary pedagogical and psychological
enthusiasm for the child of dishonourable intentions: we talk about the
child, but we should mean the child in the adult. For in every adult there
lurks a child—an eternal child,4 something that is always becoming, is
never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education.
That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and
become whole. But the man of today is far indeed from this wholeness.
Dimly suspecting his own deficiencies, he seizes upon child education
and fervently devotes himself to child psychology, fondly supposing that
something must have gone wrong in his own upbringing and childhood
development that can be weeded out in the next generation. This intention
is highly commendable, but comes to grief on the psychological fact that
we cannot correct in a child a fault that we ourselves still commit.
Children are not half as stupid as we imagine. They notice only too well
what is genuine and what is not. Hans Andersen’s story of the emperor’s
clothes contains a perennial truth. How many parents have come to me
with the laudable intention of sparing their children the unhappy
experiences they had to go through in their own childhood! And when I
ask, “Are you quite sure you have overcome these mistakes yourself?”
they are firmly convinced that the damage has long since been repaired.
In actual fact it has not. If as children they were brought up too strictly,
then they spoil their own children with a tolerance bordering on bad taste;
if certain matters were painfully concealed from them in childhood, these
are revealed with a lack of reticence that is just as painful. They have
merely gone to the opposite extreme, the strongest evidence for the tragic
survival of the old sin—a fact which has altogether escaped them.
[287] If there is anything that we wish to change in our children, we should
first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be
changed in ourselves. Take our enthusiasm for pedagogics. It may be that
the boot is on the other leg. It may be that we misplace the pedagogical
need because it would be an uncomfortable reminder that we ourselves
are still children in many respects and still need a vast amount of
[288] At any rate this doubt seems to me to be extremely pertinent when we
set out to train our children’s “personalities.” Personality is a seed that
can only develop by slow stages throughout life. There is no personality
without definiteness, wholeness, and ripeness. These three qualities
cannot and should not be expected of the child, as they would rob it of
childhood. It would be nothing but an abortion, a premature pseudo-adult;
yet our modern education has already given birth to such monsters,
particularly in those cases where parents set themselves the fanatical task
of always “doing their best” for the children and “living only for them.”
This clamant ideal effectively prevents the parents from doing anything
about their own development and allows them to thrust their “best” down
their children’s throats. This so-called “best” turns out to be the very
things the parents have most badly neglected in themselves. In this way
the children are goaded on to achieve their parents’ most dismal failures,
and are loaded with ambitions that are never fulfilled. Such methods and
ideals only engender educational monstrosities.
[289] No one can train the personality unless he has it himself. And it is not
the child, but only the adult, who can achieve personality as the fruit of a
full life directed to this end. The achievement of personality means
nothing less than the optimum development of the whole individual
human being. It is impossible to foresee the endless variety of conditions
that have to be fulfilled. A whole lifetime, in all its biological, social, and
spiritual aspects, is needed. Personality is the supreme realization of the
innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high courage flung in
the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the
individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of
existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for selfdetermination.
To educate a man to this seems to me no light matter. It is
surely the hardest task the modern mind has set itself. And it is dangerous
too, dangerous to a degree that Schiller never imagined, though his
prophetic insight made him the first to venture upon these problems. It is
as dangerous as the bold and hazardous undertaking of nature to let
women bear children. Would it not be sacrilege, a Promethean or even
Luciferian act of presumption, if a superman ventured to grow an
homunculus in a bottle and then found it sprouting into a Golem? And yet
he would not be doing anything that nature does not do every day. There
is no human horror or fairground freak that has not lain in the womb of a
loving mother. As the sun shines upon the just and the unjust, and as
women who bear and give suck tend God’s children and the devil’s brood
with equal compassion, unconcerned about the possible consequences, so
we also are part and parcel of this amazing nature, and, like it, carry
within us the seeds of the unpredictable.
[290] Our personality develops in the course of our life from germs that are
hard or impossible to discern, and it is only our deeds that reveal who we
are. We are like the sun, which nourishes the life of the earth and brings
forth every kind of strange, wonderful, and evil thing; we are like the
mothers who bear in their wombs untold happiness and suffering. At first
we do not know what deeds or misdeeds, what destiny, what good and
evil we have in us, and only the autumn can show what the spring has
engendered, only in the evening will it be seen what the morning began.
[291] Personality, as the complete realization of our whole being, is an
unattainable ideal. But unattainability is no argument against the ideal,
for ideals are only signposts, never the goal.
[292] Just as the child must develop in order to be educated, so the
personality must begin to sprout before it can be trained. And this is
where the danger begins. For we are handling something unpredictable,
we do not know how and in what direction the budding personality will
develop, and we have learned enough of nature and the world to be
somewhat chary of both. On top of that, we were brought up in the
Christian belief that human nature is intrinsically evil. But even those
who no longer adhere to the Christian teaching are by nature mistrustful
and not a little frightened of the possibilities lurking in the subterranean
chambers of their being. Even enlightened psychologists like Freud give
us an extremely unpleasant picture of what lies slumbering in the depths
of the human psyche. So it is rather a bold venture to put in a good word
for the development of personality. Human nature, however, is full of the
strangest contradictions. We praise the “sanctity of motherhood,” yet
would never dream of holding it responsible for all the human monsters,
the homicidal maniacs, dangerous lunatics, epileptics, idiots and cripples
of every description who are born every day. At the same time we are
tortured with doubts when it comes to allowing the free development of
personality. “Anything might happen then,” people say. Or they dish up
the old, feebleminded objection to “individualism.” But individualism is
not and never has been a natural development; it is nothing but an
unnatural usurpation, a freakish, impertinent pose that proves its
hollowness by crumpling up before the least obstacle. What we have in
mind is something very different.
[293] Clearly, no one develops his personality because somebody tells him
that it would be useful or advisable to do so. Nature has never yet been
taken in by well-meaning advice. The only thing that moves nature is
causal necessity, and that goes for human nature too. Without necessity
nothing budges, the human personality least of all. It is tremendously
conservative, not to say torpid. Only acute necessity is able to rouse it.
The developing personality obeys no caprice, no command, no insight,
only brute necessity; it needs the motivating force of inner or outer
fatalities. Any other development would be no better than individualism.
That is why the cry of “individualism” is a cheap insult when flung at the
natural development of personality.
[294] The words “many are called, but few are chosen” are singularly
appropriate here, for the development of personality from the germ-state
to full consciousness is at once a charisma and a curse, because its first
fruit is the conscious and unavoidable segregation of the single individual
from the undifferentiated and unconscious herd. This means isolation,
and there is no more comforting word for it. Neither family nor society
nor position can save him from this fate, nor yet the most successful
adaptation to his environment, however smoothly he fits in. The
development of personality is a favour that must be paid for dearly. But
the people who talk most loudly about developing their personalities are
the very ones who are least mindful of the results, which are such as to
frighten away all weaker spirits.
[295] Yet the development of personality means more than just the fear of
hatching forth monsters, or of isolation. It also means fidelity to the law
of one’s own being.
[296] For the word “fidelity” I should prefer, in this context, the Greek word
used in the New Testament, which is erroneously translated
“faith.” It really means “trust,” “trustful loyalty.” Fidelity to the law of
one’s own being is a trust in this law, a loyal perseverance and confident
hope; in short, an attitude such as a religious man should have towards
God. It can now be seen how portentous is the dilemma that emerges
from behind our problem: personality can never develop unless the
individual chooses his own way, consciously and with moral deliberation.
Not only the causal motive—necessity—but conscious moral decision
must lend its strength to the process of building the personality. If the
first is lacking, then the alleged development is a mere acrobatics of the
will; if the second, it will get stuck in unconscious automatism. But a
man can make a moral decision to go his own way only if he holds that
way to be the best. If any other way were held to be better, then he would
live and develop that other personality instead of his own. The other ways
are conventionalities of a moral, social, political, philosophical, or
religious nature. The fact that the conventions always flourish in one
form or another only proves that the vast majority of mankind do not
choose their own way, but convention, and consequently develop not
themselves but a method and a collective mode of life at the cost of their
own wholeness.
[297] Just as the psychic and social life of mankind at the primitive level is
exclusively a group life with a high degree of unconsciousness among the
individuals composing it, so the historical process of development that
comes afterwards is in the main collective and will doubtless remain so.
That is why I believe convention to be a collective necessity. It is a
stopgap and not an ideal, either in the moral or in the religious sense, for
submission to it always means renouncing one’s wholeness and running
away from the final consequences of one’s own being.
[298] To develop one’s own personality is indeed an unpopular undertaking,
a deviation that is highly uncongenial to the herd, an eccentricity smelling
of the cenobite, as it seems to the outsider. Small wonder, then, that from
earliest times only the chosen few have embarked upon this strange
adventure. Had they all been fools, we could safely dismiss them as
mentally “private” persons who have no claim on our interest.
But, unfortunately, these personalities are as a rule the legendary heroes
of mankind, the very ones who are looked up to, loved, and worshipped,
the true sons of God whose names perish not. They are the flower and the
fruit, the ever fertile seeds of the tree of humanity. This allusion to
historical personalities makes it abundantly clear why the development of
personality is an ideal, and why the cry of individualism is an insult.
Their greatness has never lain in their abject submission to convention,
but, on the contrary, in their deliverance from convention. They towered
up like mountain peaks above the mass that still clung to its collective
fears, its beliefs, laws, and systems, and boldly chose their own way. To
the man in the street it has always seemed miraculous that anyone should
turn aside from the beaten track with its known destinations, and strike
out on the steep and narrow path leading into the unknown. Hence it was
always believed that such a man, if not actually crazy, was possessed by a
daemon or a god; for the miracle of a man being able to act otherwise
than as humanity has always acted could only be explained by the gift of
daemonic power or divine spirit. How could anyone but a god
counterbalance the dead weight of humanity in the mass, with its
everlasting convention and habit? From the beginning, therefore, the
heroes were endowed with godlike attributes. According to the Nordic
view they had snake’s eyes, and there was something peculiar about their
birth or descent; certain heroes of ancient Greece were snake-souled,
others had a personal daemon, were magicians or the elect of God. All
these attributes, which could be multiplied at will, show that for the
ordinary man the outstanding personality is something supernatural, a
phenomenon that can only be explained by the intervention of some
daemonic factor.
[299] What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise
out of unconscious identity with the mass as out of a swathing mist? Not
necessity, for necessity comes to many, and they all take refuge in
convention. Not moral decision, for nine times out of ten we decide for
convention likewise. What is it, then, that inexorably tips the scales in
favour of the extra-ordinary?
[300] It is what is commonly called vocation: an irrational factor that
destines a man to emancipate himself from the herd and from its wellworn
paths. True personality is always a vocation and puts its trust in it as
in God, despite its being, as the ordinary man would say, only a personal
feeling. But vocation acts like a law of God from which there is no
escape. The fact that many a man who goes his own way ends in ruin
means nothing to one who has a vocation. He must obey his own law, as
if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths.
Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of the inner man: he is called.
That is why the legends say that he possesses a private daemon who
counsels him and whose mandates he must obey. The best known
example of this is Faust, and an historical instance is provided by the
daemon of Socrates. Primitive medicine-men have their snake spirits, and
Aesculapius, the tutelary patron of physicians, has for his emblem the
Serpent of Epidaurus. He also had, as his private daemon, the Cabir
Telesphoros, who is said to have dictated or inspired his medical
[301] The original meaning of “to have a vocation” is “to be addressed by a
voice.” The clearest examples of this are to be found in the avowals of
the Old Testament prophets. That it is not just a quaint old-fashioned way
of speaking is proved by the confessions of historical personalities such
as Goethe and Napoleon, to mention only two familiar examples, who
made no secret of their feeling of vocation.
[302] Vocation, or the feeling of it, is not, however, the prerogative of great
personalities; it is also appropriate to the small ones all the way down to
the “midget” personalities, but as the size decreases the voice becomes
more and more muffled and unconscious. It is as if the voice of the
daemon within were moving further and further off, and spoke more
rarely and more indistinctly. The smaller the personality, the dimmer and
more unconscious it becomes, until finally it merges indistinguishably
with the surrounding society, thus surrendering its own wholeness and
dissolving into the wholeness of the group. In the place of the inner voice
there is the voice of the group with its conventions, and vocation is
replaced by collective necessities. But even in this unconscious social
condition there are not a few who are called awake by the summons of
the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling
themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know
nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has
happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable
prejudices. “You are no different from anybody else,” they will chorus,
or, “there’s no such thing,” and even if there is such a thing, it is
immediately branded as “morbid” and “most unseemly.” For it is “a
monstrous presumption to suppose anything of that sort could be of the
slightest significance”—it is “purely psychological.” This last objection
is extremely popular nowadays. It stems from a curious underestimation
of anything psychic, which people apparently regard as personal,
arbitrary, and therefore completely futile. And this, paradoxically enough,
despite their enthusiasm for psychology. The unconscious, after all, is
“nothing but fantasy.” We “merely imagined” so and so, etc. People think
themselves magicians who can conjure the psyche hither and thither and
fashion it to suit their moods. They deny what strikes them as
inconvenient, sublimate anything nasty, explain away their phobias,
correct their faults, and feel in the end that they have arranged everything
beautifully. In the meantime they have forgotten the essential point,
which is that only the tiniest fraction of the psyche is identical with the
conscious mind and its box of magic tricks, while for much the greater
part it is sheer unconscious fact, hard and immitigable as granite,
immovable, inaccessible, yet ready at any time to come crashing down
upon us at the behest of unseen powers. The gigantic catastrophes that
threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological
order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened
by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics.
At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a
new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating
revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes,
landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental
forces of his own psyche. This is the World Power that vastly exceeds all
other powers on earth. The Age of Enlightenment, which stripped nature
and human institutions of gods, overlooked the God of Terror who dwells
in the human soul. If anywhere, fear of God is justified in face of the
overwhelming supremacy of the psychic.
[303] But all this is so much abstraction. Everyone knows that the intellect,
that clever jackanapes, can put it this way or any other way he pleases. It
is a very different thing when the psyche, as an objective fact, hard as
granite and heavy as lead, confronts a man as an inner experience and
addresses him in an audible voice, saying, “This is what will and must
be.” Then he feels himself called, just as the group does when there’s a
war on, or a revolution, or any other madness. It is not for nothing that
our age calls for the redeemer personality, for the one who can
emancipate himself from the inescapable grip of the collective and save
at least his own soul, who lights a beacon of hope for others, proclaiming
that here is at least one man who has succeeded in extricating himself
from that fatal identity with the group psyche. For the group, because of
its unconsciousness, has no freedom of choice, and so psychic activity
runs on in it like an uncontrolled law of nature. There is thus set going a
chain reaction that comes to a stop only in catastrophe. The people
always long for a hero, a slayer of dragons, when they feel the danger of
psychic forces; hence the cry for personality.
[304] But what has the individual personality to do with the plight of the
many? In the first place he is part of the people as a whole, and is as
much at the mercy of the power that moves the whole as anybody else.
The only thing that distinguishes him from all the others is his vocation.
He has been called by that all-powerful, all-tyrannizing psychic necessity
that is his own and his people’s affliction. If he hearkens to the voice, he
is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that
commands him from within. “His own law!” everybody will cry. But he
knows better: it is the law, the vocation for which he is destined, no more
“his own” than the lion that fells him, although it is undoubtedly this
particular lion that kills him and not any other lion. Only in this sense is
he entitled to speak of “his” vocation, “his” law.
[305] With the decision to put his way above all other possible ways he has
already fulfilled the greater part of his vocation as a redeemer. He has
invalidated all other ways for himself, exalting his law above convention
and thus making a clean sweep of all those things that not only failed to
prevent the great danger but actually accelerated it. For conventions in
themselves are soulless mechanisms that can never understand more than
the mere routine of life. Creative life always stands outside convention.
That is why, when the mere routine of life predominates in the form of
convention and tradition, there is bound to be a destructive outbreak of
creative energy. This outbreak is a catastrophe only when it is a mass
phenomenon, but never in the individual who consciously submits to
these higher powers and serves them with all his strength. The
mechanism of convention keeps people unconscious, for in that state they
can follow their accustomed tracks like blind brutes, without the need for
conscious decision. This unintended result of even the best conventions is
unavoidable but is no less a terrible danger for that. For when new
conditions arise that are not provided for under the old conventions, then,
just as with animals, panic is liable to break out among human beings
kept unconscious by routine, and with equally unpredictable results.
[306] Personality, however, does not allow itself to be seized by the panic
terror of those who are just waking to consciousness, for it has put all its
terrors behind it. It is able to cope with the changing times, and has
unknowingly and involuntarily become a leader.
[307] All human beings are much alike, otherwise they could not succumb
to the same delusion, and the psychic substratum upon which the
individual consciousness is based is universally the same, otherwise
people could never reach a common understanding. So, in this sense,
personality and its peculiar psychic make-up are not something
absolutely unique. The uniqueness holds only for the individual nature of
the personality, as it does for each and every individual. To become a
personality is not the absolute prerogative of the genius, for a man may
be a genius without being a personality. In so far as every individual has
the law of his life inborn in him, it is theoretically possible for any man to
follow this law and so become a personality, that is, to achieve
wholeness. But since life only exists in the form of living units, i.e.,
individuals, the law of life always tends towards a life individually lived.
So although the objective psyche can only be conceived as a universal
and uniform datum, which means that all men share the same primary,
psychic condition, this objective psyche must nevertheless individuate
itself if it is to become actualized, for there is no other way in which it
could express itself except through the individual human being. The only
exception to this is when it seizes hold of a group, in which case it must,
of its own nature, precipitate a catastrophe, because it can only operate
unconsciously and is not assimilated by any consciousness or assigned its
place among the existing conditions of life.
[308] Only the man who can consciously assent to the power of the inner
voice becomes a personality; but if he succumbs to it he will be swept
away by the blind flux of psychic events and destroyed. That is the great
and liberating thing about any genuine personality: he voluntarily
sacrifices himself to his vocation, and consciously translates into his own
individual reality what would only lead to ruin if it were lived
unconsciously by the group.
[309] One of the most shining examples of the meaning of personality that
history has preserved for us is the life of Christ. In Christianity, which, be
it mentioned in passing, was the only religion really persecuted by the
Romans, there rose up a direct opponent of the Caesarean madness that
afflicted not only the emperor, but every Roman as well: civis Romanus
sum. The opposition showed itself wherever the worship of Caesar
clashed with Christianity. But, as we know from what the evangelists tell
us about the psychic development of Christ’s personality, this opposition
was fought out just as decisively in the soul of its founder. The story of
the Temptation clearly reveals the nature of the psychic power with
which Jesus came into collision: it was the power-intoxicated devil of the
prevailing Caesarean psychology that led him into dire temptation in the
wilderness. This devil was the objective psyche that held all the peoples
of the Roman Empire under its sway, and that is why it promised Jesus
all the kingdoms of the earth, as if it were trying to make a Caesar of him.
Obeying the inner call of his vocation, Jesus voluntarily exposed himself
to the assaults of the imperialistic madness that filled everyone,
conqueror and conquered alike. In this way he recognized the nature of
the objective psyche which had plunged the whole world into misery and
had begotten a yearning for salvation that found expression even in the
pagan poets. Far from suppressing or allowing himself to be suppressed
by this psychic onslaught, he let it act on him consciously, and
assimilated it. Thus was world-conquering Caesarism transformed into
spiritual kingship, and the Roman Empire into the universal kingdom of
God that was not of this world. While the whole Jewish nation was
expecting an imperialistically minded and politically active hero as a
Messiah, Jesus fulfilled the Messianic mission not so much for his own
nation as for the whole Roman world, and pointed out to humanity the
old truth that where force rules there is no love, and where love reigns
force does not count. The religion of love was the exact psychological
counterpart to the Roman devil-worship of power.
[310] The example of Christianity is perhaps the best illustration of my
previous abstract argument. This apparently unique life became a sacred
symbol because it is the psychological prototype of the only meaningful
life, that is, of a life that strives for the individual realization—absolute
and unconditional—of its own particular law. Well may we exclaim with
Tertullian; anima naturaliter christiana!
[311] The deification of Jesus, as also of the Buddha, is not surprising, for it
affords a striking example of the enormous valuation that humanity
places upon these hero figures and hence upon the ideal of personality.
Though it seems at present as if the blind and destructive dominance of
meaningless collective forces would thrust the ideal of personality into
the background, yet this is only a passing revolt against the dead weight
of history. Once the revolutionary, unhistorical, and therefore uneducated
inclinations of the rising generation have had their fill of tearing-down
tradition, new heroes will be sought and found. Even the Bolsheviks,
whose radicalism leaves nothing to be desired, have embalmed Lenin and
made a saviour of Karl Marx. The ideal of personality is one of the
ineradicable needs of the human soul, and the more unsuitable it is the
more fanatically it is defended. Indeed, the worship of Caesar was itself a
misconceived cult of personality, and modern Protestantism, whose
critical theology has reduced the divinity of Christ to vanishing point, has
found its last refuge in the personality of Jesus.
[312] Yes, this thing we call personality is a great and mysterious problem.
Everything that can be said about it is curiously unsatisfactory and
inadequate, and there is always a danger of the discussion losing itself in
pomposity and empty chatter. The very idea of personality is, in common
usage, so vague and ill-defined that one hardly ever finds two people who
take the word in the same sense. If I put forward a more definite
conception of it, I do not imagine that I have uttered the last word. I
should like to regard all I say here only as a tentative attempt to approach
the problem of personality without making any claim to solve it. Or
rather, I should like my attempt to be regarded as a description of the
psychological problems raised by personality. All the usual explanations
and nostrums of psychology are apt to fall short here, just as they do with
the man of genius or the creative artist. Inferences from heredity or from
environment do not quite come off; inventing fictions about childhood, so
popular today, ends—to put it mildly—in unreality; explanations from
necessity—“he had no money,” “he was a sick man,” etc.—remain
caught in externals. There is always something irrational to be added,
something that simply cannot be explained, a deus ex machina or an
asylum ignorantiae, that well-known sobriquet for God. The problem
thus seems to border on the extrahuman realm, which has always been
known by a divine name. As you can see, I too have had to refer to the
“inner voice,” the vocation, and define it as a powerful objective-psychic
factor in order to characterize the way in which it functions in the
developing personality and how it appears subjectively. Mephistopheles,
in Faust, is not personified merely because this creates a better dramatic
or theatrical effect, as though Faust were his own moralist and painted his
private devil on the wall. The opening words of the Dedication—“Once
more you hover near me, forms and faces”—are more than just an
aesthetic flourish. Like the concretism of the devil, they are an admission
of the objectivity of psychic experience, a whispered avowal that this was
what actually happened, not because of subjective wishes, or fears, or
personal opinions, but somehow quite of itself. Naturally only a numskull
thinks of ghosts, but something like a primitive numskull seems to lurk
beneath the surface of our reasonable daytime consciousness.
[313] Hence the eternal doubt whether what appears to be the objective
psyche is really objective, or whether it might not be imagination after
all. But then the question at once arises: have I imagined such and such a
thing on purpose, or has it been imagined by something in me? It is a
similar problem to that of the neurotic who suffers from an imaginary
carcinoma. He knows, and has been told a hundred times before, that it is
all imagination, and yet he asks me brokenly, “But why do I imagine
such a thing? I don’t want to do it!” To which the answer is: the idea of
the carcinoma has imagined itself in him without his knowledge and
without his consent. The reason is that a psychic growth, a
“proliferation,” is taking place in his unconscious without his being able
to make it conscious. In the face of this interior activity he feels afraid.
But since he is entirely persuaded that there can be nothing in his own
soul that he does not know about, he must relate his fear to a physical
carcinoma which he knows does not exist. And if he should still be afraid
of it, there are a hundred doctors to convince him that his fear is entirely
groundless. The neurosis is thus a defence against the objective, inner
activity of the psyche, or an attempt, somewhat dearly paid for, to escape
from the inner voice and hence from the vocation. For this “growth” is
the objective activity of the psyche, which, independently of conscious
volition, is trying to speak to the conscious mind through the inner voice
and lead him towards wholeness. Behind the neurotic perversion is
concealed his vocation, his destiny: the growth of personality, the full
realization of the life-will that is born with the individual. It is the man
without amor fati who is the neurotic; he, truly, has missed his vocation,
and never will he be able to say with Cromwell, “None climbeth so high
as he who knoweth not whither his destiny leadeth him.”5
[314] To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being and does not
rise to personality, he has failed to realize his life’s meaning. Fortunately,
in her kindness and patience, Nature never puts the fatal question as to
the meaning of their lives into the mouths of most people. And where no
one asks, no one need answer.
[315] The neurotic’s fear of carcinoma is therefore justified: it is not
imagination, but the consistent expression of a psychic fact that exists in
a sphere outside consciousness, beyond the reach of his will and
understanding. If he withdrew into the wilderness and listened to his
inner life in solitude, he might perhaps hear what the voice has to say.
But as a rule the miseducated, civilized human being is quite incapable of
perceiving the voice, which is something not guaranteed by the current
shibboleths. Primitive people have a far greater capacity in this respect; at
least the medicine-men are able, as part of their professional equipment,
to talk with spirits, trees, and animals, these being the forms in which
they encounter the objective psyche or psychic non-ego.
[316] Because neurosis is a developmental disturbance of the personality,
we physicians of the soul are compelled by professional necessity to
concern ourselves with the problem of personality and the inner voice,
however remote it may seem to be. In practical psychotherapy these
psychic facts, which are usually so vague and have so often degenerated
into empty phrases, emerge from obscurity and take visible shape.
Nevertheless, it is extremely rare for this to happen spontaneously as it
did with the Old Testament prophets; generally the psychic conditions
that have caused the disturbance have to be made conscious with
considerable effort. But the contents that then come to light are wholly in
accord with the inner voice and point to a predestined vocation, which, if
accepted and assimilated by the conscious mind, conduces to the
development of personality.
[317] Just as the great personality acts upon society to liberate, to redeem, to
transform, and to heal, so the birth of personality in oneself has a
therapeutic effect. It is as if a river that had run to waste in sluggish sidestreams
and marshes suddenly found its way back to its proper bed, or as
if a stone lying on a germinating seed were lifted away so that the shoot
could begin its natural growth.
[318] The inner voice is the voice of a fuller life, of a wider, more
comprehensive consciousness. That is why, in mythology, the birth of the
hero or the symbolic rebirth coincides with sunrise, for the growth of
personality is synonymous with an increase of self-consciousness. For the
same reason most heroes are characterized by solar attributes, and the
moment of birth of their greater personality is known as illumination.
[319] The fear that most people naturally have of the inner voice is not so
childish as might be supposed. The contents that rise up and confront a
limited consciousness are far from harmless, as is shown by the classic
example of the temptation of Christ, or the equally significant Mara
episode in the Buddha legend. As a rule, they signify the specific danger
to which the person concerned is liable to succumb. What the inner voice
whispers to us is generally something negative, if not actually evil. This
must be so, first of all because we are usually not as unconscious of our
virtues as of our vices, and then because we suffer less from the good
than from the bad in us. The inner voice, as I have explained above,
makes us conscious of the evil from which the whole community is
suffering, whether it be the nation or the whole human race. But it
presents this evil in an individual form, so that one might at first suppose
it to be only an individual characteristic. The inner voice brings the evil
before us in a very tempting and convincing way in order to make us
succumb. If we do not partially succumb, nothing of this apparent evil
enters into us, and no regeneration or healing can take place. (I say
“apparent,” though this may sound too optimistic.) If we succumb
completely, then the contents expressed by the inner voice act as so many
devils, and a catastrophe ensues. But if we can succumb only in part, and
if by self-assertion the ego can save itself from being completely
swallowed, then it can assimilate the voice, and we realize that the evil
was, after all, only a semblance of evil, but in reality a bringer of healing
and illumination. In fact, the inner voice is a “Lucifer” in the strictest and
most unequivocal sense of the word, and it faces people with ultimate
moral decisions without which they can never achieve full consciousness
and become personalities. The highest and the lowest, the best and the
vilest, the truest and the most deceptive things are often blended together
in the inner voice in the most baffling way, thus opening up in us an
abyss of confusion, falsehood, and despair.
[320] It is naturally absurd for people to accuse the voice of Nature, the allsustainer
and all-destroyer, of evil. If she appears inveterately evil to us,
this is mainly due to the old truth that the good is always the enemy of the
better. We would be foolish indeed if we did not cling to the traditional
good for as long as possible. But as Faust says:
Whenever in this world we reach the good
We call the better all a lie, a sham!
A good thing is unfortunately not a good forever, for otherwise there
would be nothing better. If better is to come, good must stand aside.
Therefore Meister Eckhart says, “God is not good, or else he could be
[321] There are times in the world’s history—and our own time may be one
of them—when good must stand aside, so that anything destined to be
better first appears in evil form. This shows how extremely dangerous it
is even to touch these problems, for evil can so easily slip in on the plea
that it is, potentially, the better The problems of the inner voice are full of
pitfalls and hidden snares. Treacherous, slippery ground, as dangerous
and pathless as life itself once one lets go of the railings. But he who
cannot lose his life, neither shall he save it. The hero’s birth and the
heroic life are always threatened. The serpents sent by Hera to destroy the
infant Hercules, the python that tries to strangle Apollo at birth, the
massacre of the innocents, all these tell the same story. To develop the
personality is a gamble, and the tragedy is that the daemon of the inner
voice is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help. It is tragic,
but logical, for it is the nature of things to be so.
[322] Can we, therefore, blame humanity, and all the well-meaning
shepherds of the flock and worried fathers of families, if they erect
protective barriers, hold up wonder-working images, and point out the
roads that wind safely past the abyss?
[323] But, in the end, the hero, the leader, the saviour, is one who discovers
a new way to greater certainty. Everything could be left undisturbed did
not the new way demand to be discovered, and did it not visit humanity
with all the plagues of Egypt until it finally is discovered. The
undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche; classical
Chinese philosophy names this interior way “Tao,” and likens it to a flow
of water that moves irresistibly towards its goal. To rest in Tao means
fulfilment, wholeness, one’s destination reached, one’s mission done; the
beginning, end, and perfect realization of the meaning of existence innate
in all things. Personality is Tao."



Jan 19, 2020
Long read indeed, but it was worth it.
Thanks [MENTION=32874]Vendrah[/MENTION]. Jung was wise beyond human comprehension. It is so sad that everything he tought felt and taught has been so diminished as to be reduced to a four letter code.
Vocation, inner voice, inner deamon, wholeness... This is what he really had in mind. Typology is just the beginning.
I've found it so inspiring. Thanks again for sharing!


Never-retiring Millenial
Mar 26, 2017
Long read indeed, but it was worth it.
Thanks [MENTION=32874]Vendrah[/MENTION]. Jung was wise beyond human comprehension. It is so sad that everything he tought felt and taught has been so diminished as to be reduced to a four letter code.
Vocation, inner voice, inner deamon, wholeness... This is what he really had in mind. Typology is just the beginning.
I've found it so inspiring. Thanks again for sharing!

Typology is one book in a list of more than 10.
I was pretty surprised that this chapter didnt involved much typology...
But in the end even Jung recognizes he didnt truly have an answer. Its a complicated "problem".
I think Jung just sees typology as a starting point.

And sorry for this difficult format to read, but fixing it would take way too much time.


Jan 19, 2020
No prob about the formatting. It was the meaning that required time and effort to really get it