Jung: The more conscious, the more unique

Thursday, May 23, 2013

12:30 p.m. [After watching an interview with Carl Jung on YouTube.]

Dr, Jung, this “introverted intuitive” business – that’s my problem, isn’t it? Any my gift, I understand and value that – but that’s the problem.

The problem is not your situation but your expectations about your situation. An introverted intuitive who wishes to write truly about his own experiences and be a best-seller? It is impossible! It is only because you are on the line between introversion and extraversion that you can communicate at all! These things are not for everybody to understand or even to be able to hear, let alone overhear. But just as my interview talks to you, and to your grandchildren perhaps, so your written record of your explorations is able to talk to somebody else’s grandchildren, sometime later when these things are better understood.

Listen. People say to you, you should write your histories, you should recognize that you are ahead of your time, you should give people the benefit of your wisdom. Those things are wall well and good. Listen to profound and well-meaning advice. But first you must save yourself, you know? if an aircraft loses pressure, parents are told to fasten their own masks first before trying to fasten those of their children or of anyone else.

Save yourself first. Hold your own center. Preserve your own equilibrium. Do your own exploring. Anything you do sincerely has its own value for you. And anything you do for yourself means you do it for humanity, because you are a part of humanity. And anything you do for humanity is to do it for all life, all reality. There is no “other” in the universe, not really.

And yet.

You are also and necessarily unique. The more conscious, the more unique, and vice-versa, though you might think the word “unique” could not be qualified by words like “more” or “less.” You can do what only you can do, as well as what many people can do, as well. This is what it is to be an individual, yet a part of a species, of a community. Anyone human is part an animal, is it not so? And anyone human is part something else, as well, something confined to humans which is why humans are not merely animals.

So, by contributing your individual wisdom to the common cultural pool, as I did, you serve two portions of yourself. you honor by using your very specific set of differences, and you honor, by sharing, your membership in human life. But no one can dictate what you “should” or “shouldn’t,” “must” or “mustn’t” contribute.

I will tell you how to know. Hemingway wasn’t so far wrong in saying you feel good after a moral act and bad after an immoral act. But you could broaden that: You feel fulfilled and happy after an act that is according to your nature, and unfulfilled and unhappy after an act trying to be what you are not.

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