new center of personality

At this point a healthful, compensatory operation comes into play which each time seems to me like a miracle:




Struggling against that dangerous trend towards disintegration, there arises out of this same collective unconscious a counteraction, characterized by symbols which point unmistakably to a process of centering. This process creates nothing less than a new center of personality, which the symbols show from the first to be superordinate to the ego and which later proves its superiority empirically. The center cannot therefore be classed with the ego, but must be accorded a higher value. Nor can we continue to give it the name of “ego,” for which reason I have called it the Self. To experience and realize this Self is the ultimate aim of Indian yoga, and in considering the psychology of the Self we would do well to have recourse to the treasures of Indian wisdom

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In India, as with us, the experience of the Self has nothing to do with intellectualism; it is a vital happening which brings about a fundamental transformation of personality. I have called the process that leads to this experience the “process of individuation.” If I recommend the study of classical yoga, it is not because I am one of those who roll up their eyes in ecstasy when they hear such magic words as dhyana or buddhi or mukti, but because psychologically we can learn a great deal from yoga philosophy and turn it to practical account. Furthermore, the material lies ready to hand, clearly formulated in the Eastern books and the translations made of them. Here again my reason is not that we have nothing equivalent in the West: I recommend yoga merely because the Western knowledge which is akin to it is more or less inaccessible except to specialists. It is esoteric, and it is distorted beyond recognition by being formulated as an arcane discipline and by all the rubbish that this draws in its wake

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In alchemy there lies concealed a Western system of yoga meditation, but it was kept a carefully guarded secret from fear of heresy and its painful consequences. For the practising psychologist, however, alchemy has one inestimable advantage over Indian yogaits ideas are expressed almost entirely in an extraordinarily rich symbolism, the very symbolism we still find in our patients today. The help which alchemy affords us in understanding the symbols of the individuation process is, in my opinion, of the utmost importance



Alchemy describes what I call the “Self” as incorruptible, that is, an indissoluble substance, a One and Indivisible that cannot be reduced to anything else and is at the same time a Universal, to which a sixteenth-century alchemist even gave the name of filius macrocosmi. Modern findings agree in principle with these formulations

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Against this conclusion it will undoubtedly be objected that man's ultimate destiny lies not in his existence as an individual but in the aspirations of human society, because without this the individual could not exist at all. This objection is a weighty one and cannot be lightly dismissed. It is an undoubted truth that the individual exists only by virtue of society and has always so existed. That is why among primitive tribes we find the custom of initiation into manhood, when, by means of a ritual death, the individual is detached from his family and indeed from his whole previous identity, and is reborn as a member of the tribe. Or we find early civilizations, such as the Egyptian and Babylonian, where all individuality is concentrated in the person of the king, while the ordinary person remains anonymous. Or again, we observe whole families in which for generations the individuality of the name has compensated for the nonentity of its bearers; or a long succession of Japanese artists who discard their own name and adopt the name of a master, simply adding after it a modest numeral

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Nevertheless, it was the great and imperishable achievement of Christianity that, in contrast to these archaic systems which are all based on the original projection of psychic contents, it gave to each individual man the divinity of an immortal soul, whereas in earlier times this prerogative was reserved to the sole person of the king. It would lead me too far to discuss here just how much this Christian innovation represents an advance of human consciousness and of culture in general, by putting an end to the projection of the highest values of the individual soul upon the king or other dignitaries




If, then, man cannot exist without society, neither can he exist without oxygen, water, albumen, fat, and so forth. Like these, society is one of the necessary conditions of his existence. It would be ludicrous to maintain that man lives in order to breathe air. It is equally ludicrous to say that the individual exists for society. “Society” is nothing more than a term, a concept for the symbiosis of a group of human beings. A concept is not a carrier of life. The sole and natural carrier of life is the individual, and that is so throughout nature. “Society” or “State” is an agglomeration of life-carriers and at the same time, as an organized form of these, an important condition of life. It is therefore not quite true to say that the individual can exist only as a particle in society. At all events man can live very much longer without the State than without air

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Although the conscious achievement of individuality is consistent with man's natural destiny, it is nevertheless not his whole aim. It cannot possibly be the object of human education to create an anarchic conglomeration of individual existences. That would be too much like the unavowed ideal of extreme individualism, which is essentially no more than a morbid reaction against an equally futile collectivism. In contrast to all this, the natural process of individuation brings to birth a consciousness of human community precisely because it makes us aware of the unconscious, which unites and is common to all mankind. Individuation is an at-one-ment with oneself and at the same time with humanity, since oneself is a part of humanity. Once the individual is thus secured in himself, there is some guarantee that the organized accumulation of individuals in the Stateeven in one wielding greater authoritywill result in the formation no longer of an anonymous mass but of a conscious community. The indispensable condition for this is conscious freedom of choice and individual decision. Without this freedom and self-determination there is no true community, and, it must be said, without such community even the free and self-secured individual cannot in the long run prosper

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