Author Topic: Individuation and transcendence  (Read 3066 times)

Matswin

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Individuation and transcendence
« on: July 20, 2012, 06:30:36 AM »
Jung says (my emphasis) :

"Individuation cuts one off from personal conformity and hence from collectivity. That is the guilt which the individuant leaves behind him for the world, that is the guilt he must endeavor to redeem. He must offer a ransom in place of himself, that is, he must bring forth values which are an equivalent substitute for his absence in the collective personal sphere. Without this production of values, final individuation is immoral and-more than that-suicidal. . . .
The individuant has no a priori claim to any kind of esteem. He has to be content with whatever esteem flows to him from outside by virtue of the values he creates. Not only has society a right, it also has a duty to condemn the individuant if he fails to create equivalent values." ('Adaptation, Individuation, Collectivity,' CW 18, pars. 1095f.)

"A real conflict with the collective norm arises only when an individual way is raised to a norm, which is the actual aim of extreme individualism. Naturally this aim is pathological and inimical to life. It has, accordingly, nothing to do with individuation, which, though it may strike out on an individual bypath, precisely on that account needs the norm for its orientation to society and for the vitally necessary relationship of the individual to society. Individuation, therefore, leads to a natural esteem for the collective norm." ('Definitions', CW 6, par. 761.)

What is this supposed to mean? Should a Jew in Nazi Germany chime in with ruling ideology? Jung's view of individuation seems to stand only on one leg, and it is missing the leg of the reclusive way of individuation. Jung took exception to the secluded and eremitic ideal of individuation as formulated in the Middle Ages, often denoted as 'imitatio Christi'. This is the reason why he keeps so devotedly to a this-wordly ideal of the self. But it has awkward consequences. The individual cannot sing in unison with the collective when the latter has become neurotic and follows evil and destructive ways. I have argued that the self must be viewed as complementary (here). There exists also a path of transcendency that complements the this-worldly path. Arguably, the rejection of the ways of the world is wholly consistent with individuation.

Mats Winther

Matswin

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Re: Individuation and transcendence
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 12:57:01 AM »
"I approbate Jung's view of individuation, whereas I also hold that it runs into difficulties. His definition, albeit correct, needs another correct definition as a complement. According to Jung, adaptation to the collective is essential to individuation. The problem is that all late manifestations of culture are neurotic. It is a notorious theme in fairytales interpreted by M-L von Franz. The consequence is that the individuant must needs contract the neurosis of the collective. Since he adapts to the the conflicted psyche, it is absorbed, to a degree. We also know that Jung, true to his view of individuation, made an effort to adapt to the Nazi collective. From what I have gleaned, he traveled to Germany and held speeches. He assumed overall responsibility for the Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie, a journal known to have published content with Nazi flavour. Until 1939, he maintained professional relations with psychotherapists in Germany who had declared their support for the Nazi regime.

Jung has been subjected to much critique for his standpoint of adaptation towards the Nazi regime. This does not mean that he believed in the Nazi system. His writings are essentially anti-fascist. But the attempt to adapt to an awfully pathological collective is doomed to failure. Arguably, he should have adopted the stance of the recluse who takes exception to the collective, thereby holding off its neurosis. The way in which Jung behaved is predicated on his morally ambivalent self-ideal, symbolized by sultan Akbar in his dream. He really believed in the validity of evil, and that archaic and vulgar Nazism, as an upheaval of the collective unconscious, could be harnessed and reformed in conscious light. He theorized that evil must be integrated and put to good use, thus divesting it of its autonomous energy. Arguably, that's why he dealt with the Nazis, up to the time that the war broke out. We know that he viewed the movement as a resurgence of the pagan deity Wotan. The pagan mentality had been repressed and was now coming to life again. It represented an unconscious reaction against the spiritual one-sidedness of Christianity. The only right thing to do was to consciously adapt to it.

This all comes out of his theory of the relation conscious-unconscious. But Jung was mistaken, because the Nazi worldview proved exclusively destructive. I don't mean to blame him. His standpoint was both well-meaning and theoretically compelling. I am merely trying to understand his standpoint from the perspective of his own theory."
http://home7.swipnet.se/~w-73784/compself.htm

Mats Winther