The Undiscovered Self

June 24, 2010

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Not nature, but the “genius of mankind,” has knotted the hangman’s noose with which it can execute itself at any moment.

by Carl G. Jung (1952)

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The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from there hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch.

by Carl G. Jung (1934)

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Another classic book from Dr Carl Gustav Jung. This is must read for anyone searching for a better understanding about who and what they really are… And how to better relate to others in the social sea of diverse personality types that are found here, and abound here, on Earth.

Most people confuse “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities. Anyone who has any ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. In this respect the psyche behaves like the body with psychological and anatomical structure, of which the average person knows very little too. Although he lives in it and with it, most of it is totally unknown to the layman, and specific knowledge is needed to acquaint consciousness with what is known of the body, not to speak of all that is not known, which also exists.

What is commonly called “self-knowledge” is therefore a very limited knowledge, most of it dependent on social factors, of what goes on in the human psyche. Hence one is always coming up against the prejudice that such and such a thing does happen “with us” or “in our family” or among friends and acquaintances, and on the other hand. one meets with equally illusory assumptions about the alleged presence of qualities which merely serve to cover up the true facts of the case.

In this broad belt of unconsciousness, which is immune to conscious criticism and control, we stand defenceless, one to all kinds of influences and psychic infections. As with all dangers, we can guard against the risk of psychic infection only when we know what is attacking us, and how, where and when the attack will come. Since self-knowledge is a matter of getting to know the individual facts, theories help very little in this respect. For the more a theory lays claim to universal validity, the less capable it is of doing justice to the individual facts. And theory based on experience is necessarily statistical; that is to say, it formulates an ideal average which abolishes all exceptions at either end of the scale and replaces them by an abstract mean. This mean is quite valid, though it need not necessarily occur in reality. Despite this it figures in the theory as an unassailable fundamental fact. The exceptions at either extreme, though equally factual, do not appear in the final result at all, since they cancel each other out. If, for instance, I determine the weight of each stone in a bed of pebbles and get an average weight of 145 grams, this tells me very little about the real nature of the pebbles. Anyone who thought, on the basis of these findings, that he could pick up a pebble of 145 grams at the first try would be in for a serious disappointment. Indeed, it might well happen that however long he searched he would not find a single pebble weighing exactly 145 grams.

The statistical method shows the facts in the light of the ideal average but does not give us a picture of their empirical reality. While reflecting an indisputable aspect of reality, it can falsify the actual truth in a most misleading way. This is particularly true of theories which are based on statistics. 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.

taken from “The Undiscovered Self” by Carl G. Jung

To learn more about Carl Gustav Jung, please click here for a BBC radio documentary about his life and work.

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AND… The first three people to send me an E-mail will receive a free copy of this book. All you have to do is click here and enter the address you’d like the book to be delivered to… And it should be with you in about two weeks time!

“Man And His Symbols”

January 5, 2010

It is not everyday that I get a chance to read a book that speaks volumes to my intuitive understanding of the world. To say the least, this work of Carl Gustav Jung’s fits like a sung, tailor-made velvet glove over the synaptic clefts of my hardwired, neural network of reasoning…

Man and His Symbols is the last psychological work undertaken by Carl Jung before his death in 1961. First published in 1964, it is divided into five parts, four of which are written by associates of Jung: Joseph L. Henderson, Marie-Louise von Franz, Aniela Jaffé, and Jolande Jacobi.

Anyone seeking to understand why mankind thinks and acts the way he does needs to read this book. No need to fret that you may not understand these writings. The book was put together as an introduction to Jung’s theories, which was intended for a general audience rather than psychology students.

Truly this is truly a book that all mankind should read at somepoint in their lives…

“The individual is the only reality. The further we move away from the individual toward abstract ideas about homo sapiens, the more likely we are to fall into error. In these times of social upheaval and rapid change, it is desirable to know much more than we do about the individual human being, for so much depends upon his mental and moral qualities. But if we are to see things in their right perspective, we need to understand the past of man as well as his present. That is why and understanding of myths and symbols is of essential importance.”

Carl. G. Jung

To get yourself a copy of Carl G. Jung’s final, and probably most important, work, please click here.

OR to find out more about Carl Gustav Jung, please click here.