Being Brave

I don't want to go and do 'Liar' again, because I can do it very well. I can probably sing it better now than when I wrote it. You're better at it when you get old, in a way. You get grey and then you get good. But what would that say about me?

The braver thing to do is that which makes me unsure ... It sounds corny, but I spend hours agonising over what is the bravest thing I can do.

I have to find reasons to get up in the morning. I have to keep finding new summits, new things to climb.

I'm continually looking at ways to stick it to the man. That sounds corny, but I love that term.

[Henry Rollins]

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Healthy Risks

Extravert / Introvert

Extravert                           -                      Introvert
Outwards                           -                      Inwards
Object                                -                      Subject
Poly                                   -                      Mono
Naive                                 -                      Sentimental
Close                                  -                      Distant
Surface                               -                      Depth
Concrete                             -                      Abstract 
Realist                                -                      Idealist
Dionysus                             -                      Apollo

The introverted impulse travels inwards, towards the internal world. It is a zooming-in, favouring parts over wholes.

The extraverted impulse travels outwards, towards the external world. It is a zooming-out, favouring wholes over parts.


Extraversion is characterized by interest in the external object, responsiveness, and a ready acceptance of external happenings, a desire to influence and be influenced by events, a need to join in and get "with it," the capacity to endure bustle and noise of every kind, and actually find them enjoyable, constant attention to the surrounding world, the cultivation of friends and acquaintances, none too carefully selected, and finally by the great importance attached to the figure one cuts, and hence a strong tendency to make a show of oneself.

The disinclination to submit his own motives to critical examination is very pronounced. He has no secrets he has not long since shared with others. Should something unmentionable befall him, he prefers to forget it. Anything that might tarnish the parade of optimism and positivism is avoided. Whatever he thinks, intends and does is displayed with conviction and warmth.

He lives in and through others; all self-communings give him the creeps. Dangers lurk there which are better drowned out by noise. If he should ever have a "complex," he finds refuge in the social whirl and allows himself to be assured several times a day that everything is in order.


[...] the introverted standpoint is one which sets the ego and the subjective psychological process above the object and the objective process, or at any rate seeks to hold its ground against the object.

This attitude, therefore, gives the subject a higher value than the object, and the object accordingly has a lower value. It is of secondary importance; indeed, sometimes the object represents no more than an outward token of subjective content, the embodiment of an idea, the idea being the essential thing.


[...] in one case an outward movement of interest towards the object, and in the other a movement of interest away from the object to the subject and his own psychological processes.

For the introvert the idea of the ego is the continuous and dominant note of consciousness, and its antithesis for him is relatedness or proneness to affect.

For the extravert, on the contrary, the accent lies more on the continuity of his relation to the object and less on the idea of the ego.

The extravert discovers himself in the fluctuating and changeable, the introvert in the constant.

The one sees everything in terms of his own situation, the other in terms of the objective event.

Everyone possesses both mechanisms, extraversion as well as introversion, and only the relative predominance of one or the other determines the type.

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.130, 140, 141, 142, 143
Psychological Types, p. 4, 5, 90,

It will be observed that the schizoid subject fears being overwhelmed, and so tends to become isolated; whereas the depressive subject fears being isolated and so may become overwhelmed.

[Anthony Storr]
The Integrity of the Personality, p.145

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Alone with my Self

Build it Up, or Tear it Down?

[...] all criticism [has] the power to do good when there is something to be destroyed, dissolved, or reduced, but capable only of harm when there is something to be built.

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.151

Rational / Non-rational

Rational                  -                    Non-rational
Conscious               -                    Unconscious
Outer                      -                      Inner
Objective                -                     Subjective
Phenomena             -                     Noumena
Order                       -                    Chaos
Perfect                     -                    Flawed
Precise                     -                    Vague
Machine                   -                    Human
Solid                        -                    Liquid
Stasis                       -                     Motion
Defined                    -                    Undefined
Known                     -                    Unknown
Procedural                -                    Creative
Conventional            -                    Novel
Unity                        -                    Plurality
Simple                      -                    Complex
Perfect                      -                    Imperfect
Thinking                   -                     Intuition
Masculine                 -                   Feminine

Pathological rationality - that is, rationality unbounded - believes it can account for everything on its own terms. Its quest to explain - to make sense of things - is necessarily unending: a search for the bedrock of a bottomless pit.

Rationality can fill in part of the picture, but to flesh it out further we must use alternative methods of explanation. Rational objects, therefore, are not 'full' objects; they are approximations, always lacking something.

The rational attitude is outward-looking, towards the object. It seeks to impose direction, logic, sense, and cohesion; to hold things still long enough so that they can be seen. Through reason we perceive things.

The irrational attitude is inwards-looking, towards the subject. It is destructive in relation to what is already known - of norms - in that it seeks alternatives, and looks for what has been overlooked, or left out, and so transcends borders and explodes categories - but creative in a broader sense. Through irrationality we perceive the world between things, outside of things: we perceive everything else.

Guénon suggests that the way out of rationality needn't always be down, towards those faculties that preceded it. For him, the best path out of rationality is to be found above, in the realm of the spirit. 

Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that the rational must be subordinated to the spiritual. Others, according to their religious traditions, use different words such as 'sacred' or 'the needs of society' or 'respect for nature'. 

[James Goldsmith]
The Trap, p. 186

It is a fundamental error to try to subject our own fate at all costs to our will. Our will is a function regulated by reflection; hence it is dependent on the quality of that reflection. This, if it really is reflection, is supposed to be rational, i.e., in accord with reason.

But has it ever been shown, or will it ever be, that life and fate are in accord with reason, that they too are rational?

The further we go in the direction selected by reason, the surer we may be that we are excluding the irrational possibilities of life which have just as much right to be lived.

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.155

In short, one may say anything about the history of the world - anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can't say is that it's rational. The very word sticks in one's throat.

And, indeed, this is the odd thing that is continually happening: there are continually turning up in life moral and rational persons, sages and lovers of humanity who make it their object to live all their lives as morally and rationally as possible, to be, so to speak, a light to their neighbours simply in order to show them that it is possible to live morally and rationally in this world. And yet we all know that those very people sooner or later have been false to themselves, playing some queer trick, often a most unseemly one.

Now I ask you: what can be expected of man since he is a being endowed with strange qualities? Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity, such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes and busy himself with the continuation of his species, and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick.

He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself--as though that were so necessary-- that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar.

And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point. And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point!

He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), may be by his curse alone he will attain his object--that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key!

If you say that all this, too, can be calculated and tabulated--chaos and darkness and curses, so that the mere possibility of calculating it all beforehand would stop it all, and reason would reassert itself, then man would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason and gain his point!

I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! 
[Fyodor Dostoevsky]
Notes From Underground

When Neo awakens to the 'real world', he does not realise that what is seeing is paradise.

The world of the machines may look horrifying to human eyes, but viewed objectively it is a paradise: a harmonious, perfectly balanced eco-system; the summit of technological progress.

In this sense Agent Smith is the real hero of the piece, seeking to eradicate those forces that threaten his utopia. Human beings are like a virus, and it is our irrationality - our inexplicable propensity towards chaos - that makes us virulent. The only way that this contagion can be made safe is to channel it into a place where it cannot do any harm: into the virtual world of the matrix. Meanwhile, in the absence of chaos order reigns supreme. The world of the machines is rationality taken to its reductio ad absurdum, the kind of totalitarian purgatory that inveitably results when you dispense with one half of a binary; when Yang beats Yin; when rationality conquers irrationality.

Neo looks out at paradise and is horrified.

He wants his games, his imbalance, his imperfection, his irrationality. He wants to be human. This is the unfortunate truth that lurks on the periphery of every utopian vision: that none of would really want paradise if we knew what it truly meant.


I use this term not as denoting something contrary to reason, but something beyond reason, something therefore, not grounded on reason.

The irrational is an existential factor which, though it may be pushed further out of sight by an increasingly elaborate rational explanation, finally makes the explanation so complicated that it passes our powers of comprehension, the limits of rational thought being reached long before the whole of the world could be encompassed by the laws of reason.

A completely rational explanation of an object that actually exists (not one that is merely posited) is a Utopian ideal. Only an object that is posited can be completely explained on rational grounds, since it does not contain anything beyond what has been posited by rational thinking. Empirical science, too, posits objects that are confined within rational bounds, because by deliberately excluding the accidental it does not consider the actual object as a whole, but only that part of it which has been singled out for rational observation.

Although the irrational as such can never become the object of science, it is of the greatest importance for a practical psychology that the irrational factor should be correctly appraised. Practical psychology stirs up many problems that are not susceptible of a rational solution, but can only be settled irrationally, in a way not in accord with the laws of reason. The expectation or exclusive conviction that there must be a rational way of settling every conflict can be an insurmountable obstacle to finding a solution of an irrational nature.

[C. G. Jung]
Psychological Types (1991), p. 454-5

 [...] all chains of definitions must start with undefined terms, whose meaning can be exemplified but not defined.

All definitions, so-called 'operational definitions' included, can only shift the problem of the meaning of the term in question to the definining term.

Thus the demand for definitions leads to an infinite regress unless we admit so-called primitive terms, that is undefined terms.

[Karl Popper]
The Open Society and its Enemies, p. 59, 276

Imagine trying to describe a brook. A running brook is never the same. New water flows past, working away, little by little, at the banks. From moment to moment it is a different brook. To talk about a brook we have to find a constant aspect of it.

To perform any rational operation concerning the brook we must consider it unchanging, treat it as if it were the same.

Language and rational processes both hold experience constant. 

To behave rationally, one uses categories formed in the past. "I'll meet you at the brook we went to yesterday." We can map its course as of today, measure its acidity at a certain point. Each time we treat it as the very same brook.

An artist or writer, however, might choose not to hold it but simply to experience the dynamic nature of the brook, to sit by it and become open to its "brookness."  

We call this approach mindful or intuitive; it bypasses old categories and rational thinking.

The dancer Isadora Duncan, whose art is by definition motion and change, said, "If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it."

Out of an intuitive experience of the world comes a continuous flow of novel distinctions. Purely rational understanding, on the other hand, serves to confirm old mindsets, rigid categories.

"It is by logic that we prove. It is by intuition that we discover," said the mathematician Henri Poincaré.  

In dealing with the world rationally, we hold it constant, by means of categories formed in the past. Through intuition, on the other hand, we grasp the world as a whole, in flux.

[Ellen Langer]
Mindfulness, p.116, 117

Even when faced with clearly complex problems that undergo fundamental changes while being solved (“diagnosis equals intervention”), these heirs of the Enlightenment insist on reductionist thoroughness in hope of full knowledge and perfect prediction.

But, as Evans & Reid note: “Reason imagines nothing. It cannot create and thus it cannot transform. [...] It is not made for opening up new worlds, but enabling us to survive present ones.”

[Rasmus Dahlberg]
'Resilience and Complexity: Conjoining the Discourses of Two Contested Concepts', Culture Unbound, Vol. 7, p. 554

Ernest Renan […] expressed the famous idea that logic excludes - by definition - nuances, and since truth resides exclusively in the nuances, it is “a useless instrument for finding Truth in the moral and political sciences.”

So the reader can see how the ancients saw naive rationalism: by impoverishing - rather than enhancing - thought, it introduces fragility. They knew that incompleteness - half-knowledge - is always dangerous.

[Nassim Nicholas Taleb]
Antifragile, p. 256-7

In Kant's terms, man could view himself under two different, even contradictory aspects - scientifically, as a “phenomenon," subject to the laws of nature; and morally, as a thing-in-itself, a "noumenon," which could be thought of (not known) as free, immortal, and subject to God. 

Here the Humean and Newtonian influences in Kant's philosophical development were countered by the universal humanitarian moral ideals of Rousseau, who had stressed the priority of feeling over reason in religious experience, and whose works had made a considerable impression on Kant, reinforcing the deeper roots of Kant's sense of moral duty coming from his strict Pietist childhood.

[Richard Tarnas]
The Passion of the Western Mind, p. 350

Like his fellows in the vanguard of the Enlightenment, Rousseau argued with the weapons of critical reason and reformist zeal. Yet the progress of civilization they celebrated seemed to him the source of much of the world's evil. 

Man suffered from civilization's corrupt sophistications, which alienated him from his natural condition of simplicity, sincerity, equality, kindness, and true understanding. Moreover, Rousseau believed religion was intrinsic to the human condition. He contended that the philosophes' exaltation of reason had neglected man's actual nature - his feelings, his depths of impulse and intuition and spiritual hunger that transcended all abstract formulae. 

[Richard Tarnas]
The Passion of the Western Mind, p. 312

It is no different with the faith with which so many materialistic natural scientists rest content nowadays, the faith in a world that is supposed to have its equivalent and its measure in human thought and human valuations - a "world of truth” that can be mastered completely and forever with the aid of our square little reason

What? Do we really want to permit existence to be degraded for us like this - reduced to a mere exercise for a calculator and an indoor diversion for mathematicians? Above all, one should not wish to divest existence of its rich ambiguity: that is a dictate of good taste, gentlemen, the taste of reverence for everything that lies beyond your horizon. 

That the only justifiable interpretation of the world should be one in which you are justified because one can continue to work and do research scientifically in your sense (you really mean, mechanistically?) - an interpretation that permits counting, calculating, weighing, seeing, and touching, and nothing more - that is a crudity and naiveté, assuming that it is not a mental illness, an idiocy.

Would it not be rather probable that, conversely, precisely the most superficial and external aspect of existence - what is most apparent, its skin and sensualization - would be grasped first - and might even be the only thing that allowed itself to be grasped? A "scientific" interpretation of the world, as you understand it, might therefore still be one of the most stupid of all possible interpretations of the world, meaning that it would be one of the poorest in meaning. 

This thought is intended for the ears and consciences of our mechanists who nowadays like to pass as philosophers and insist that mechanics is the doctrine of the first and last laws on which all existence must be based as on a ground floor. 

But an essentially mechanical world would be an essentially meaningless world. 

Assuming that one estimated the value of a piece of music according to how much of it could be counted, calculated, and expressed in formulas: how absurd would such a "scientific" estimation of music be! What would one have comprehended, understood, grasped of it? Nothing, really nothing of what is "music" in it!

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
The Gay Science, 373

According to Lévinas, ontology by its very nature attempts to create a totality in which what is different and “other” is necessarily reduced to sameness and identity. 

This desire for totality, according to Lévinas, is a basic manifestation of “instrumental” reason—the use of reason as an instrument for determining the best or most efficient means to achieve a given end. Through its embrace of instrumental reason, Western philosophy displays a destructive and objectifying “will to domination.” 

Lévinas claims that ontology also displays a bias toward cognition and theoretical reason—the use of reason in the formation of judgments or beliefs. In this respect ontology is philosophically inferior to ethics, a field that Lévinas construes as encompassing all the practical dealings of human beings with each other.

Lévinas holds that the primacy of ethics over ontology is justified by the “face of the Other.” The “alterity,” or otherness, of the Other, as signified by the “face,” is something that one acknowledges before using reason to form judgments or beliefs about him. Insofar as the moral debt one owes to the Other can never be satisfied—Lévinas claims that the Other is “infinitely transcendent, infinitely foreign”—one’s relation to him is that of infinity. 

In contrast, because ontology treats the Other as an object of judgments made by theoretical reason, it deals with him as a finite being. Its relationship to the Other is therefore one of totality.

'Emmanuel Lévinas', Britannica

The tyranny of the Reason – of which we are not conscious, for we are ourselves its apex - is in every Culture an epoch between man and old-man, and no more. 

Its most distinct expression is the cult of exact sciences, of dialectic, of demonstration, of causality. Of old the Ionic, and in our case the Baroque were its rising limb, and now the question is what form will the down-curve assume?

In this very century, I prophesy, the century of scientific-critical Alexandrianism, of the great harvests, of the final formulations, a new element of inwardness will arise to overthrow the will-to-victory of science. Exact science must presently fall upon its own keen sword. First, in the 18th Century, its methods were tried out, then, in the 19th, its powers, and now its historical role is critically reviewed. 

But from Skepsis there is a path to "second religiousness," which is the sequel and not the preface of the Culture. Men dispense with proof, desire only to believe and not to dissect.

But before the curtain falls, there is one more task for the historical Faustian spirit, a task not yet specified, hitherto not even imagined as possible. There has still to be written a morphology of the exact sciences, which shall discover how all laws, concepts and theories inwardly hang together as forms and what they have meant as such in the life-course of the Faustian Culture. 

The re-treatment of theoretical physics, of chemistry, of mathematics as a sum of symbols - this will be the definitive conquest of the mechanical world-aspect by an intuitive, once more religious, world-outlook, a last master-effort of physiognomic to break down even systematic and to absorb it, as expression and symbol, into its own domain. 

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, p. 424-5

The work of Bergson has been considered in an earlier chapter […] but the characteristic feature of what may be called (if the term be admissible) the 'positive' part of his philosophy is that, instead of seeking above reason for something that might remedy its insufficiencies, he takes the opposite course and seeks beneath it; thus, instead of turning toward true intellectual intuition, of which he is as completely ignorant as are the rationalists, he appeals to an imagined 'intuition’ of an exclusively sensitive and ‘vital’ order, and in the very confused notions that emerge the intuition of the senses properly so called is mingled with the most obscure forces of instinct and sentiment. 

So it is not as a result of a more or less ‘fortuitous' encounter that Bergson's 'intuitionism' has manifest affinities, particularly marked in what may be called its 'final state' (and this applies equally to the philosophy of William James), with 'neospiritualism', but it is as a result of the fact that both are expressions of the same tendencies: the attitude of the one in relation to rationalism is more or less parallel to that of the other in relation to materialism, the one leaning toward the 'sub-rational’ just as the other leans toward the 'sub-corporeal’ (doubtless no less unconsciously), so that the direction followed in both cases is undoubtedly toward the 'infra-human’.

[René Guénon] 
The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, p. 220-1

The femme fatale was a career woman manquée, her energies neurotically diverted into the boudoir.

By such techniques of demystification, feminism has painted itself into a corner. Sexuality is a murky realm of contradiction and ambivalence. It cannot always be understood by social models, which feminism, as an heir of nineteenth-century utilitarianism, insists on imposing on it.

Mystification will always remain the disorderly companion of love and art. Eroticism is mystique; that is, the aura of emotion and imagination around sex. It cannot be “fixed” by codes of social or moral convenience, whether from the political left or right. For nature’s fascism is greater than that of any society.

Profanation and violation are part of the perversity of sex, which never will conform to liberal theories of benevolence. Every model of morally or politically correct sexual behavior will be subverted, by nature’s daemonic law.

There is a daemonic instability in sexual relations that we may have to accept.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.13, 24

By the end of the century, man was frustrated and disillusioned with scientific method and materialism and with emphasis on the nonhuman world and was turning once again to the problems of man and society with a conviction that these problems could be handled only by nonrational methods and by the clash of contending forces, since the problems themselves were too complex, too dynamic, too irrational to be settled by science or even by human thought.

The result was a new period, the Age of Irrational Activism. It began with men, like Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud, who emphasized the nonrational nature of the universe and of man, quickly shifted Darwin’s doctrines of struggle and survival from nonhuman nature to human society, and rejected rationalism as slow, superficial, and an inhibition on both action and survival.

As Bergson said in his Creative Evolution (1907): “The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life. Instinct, on the contrary, is molded on the very form of life.”

This period felt that man, and nature, and human society were all basically irrational. Reason, regarded as a late and rather superficial accretion in the process of human evolution, was considered inadequate to plumb the real nature of man’s problems, and was regarded as an inhibitor on the full intensity of his actions, an obstacle to the survival of himself as an individual and of his group (the nation).

Any effort to apply reason or science, based on rational analysis and evaluation, would be a slow and frustrating effort: slow because the process of human rationality is always slow, frustrating because it cannot plumb into the real depths and nature of man’s experience, and because it can always turn up as many and as good reasons for any course of action as it can for the opposite course of action.

The effort to do this was dangerous, because as the thinker poised in indecision, the man of action struck, eliminated the thinker from the scene, and survived to determine the future on the basis of continued action. To the theorist of these views, the thinker would always be divided, hesitant, and weak, while the man of action would be unified, decisive, and strong.

[…] rationalism, by paralyzing man’s ability to act decisively, will expose him to destruction in a world whose chief features include struggle and conflict. Men came to believe that only violence had survival value. The resulting cult of violence permeated all human life. By mid-century, the popular press, literature, the cinema, sports, and all major human concerns had embraced this cult of violence. The books of Mickey Spillane or Raymond Chandler sold millions to satisfy this need.

On a somewhat more profound level, the Nazi Party mobilized popular sup- port with a program of “Blood and Soil” (Blut und Boden), while the Fascists in Italy covered every wall with their slogan, “Believe! Obey! Fight!” In neither was there any expectation that men should think or analyze.

[Carroll Quigley]
Tragedy and Hope, ‘The Future in Perspective,’ p.776

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The Middle Path
This, Not That
The Right Distance
Leading An Interesting Life
Creative Living
Entertaining Ideas
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Solid Ground
Escaping Uncertainty
Taking the Rough with the Smooth
Faith v Reason
Don't commit to it
Still Waters
Empty Container
Separations and Bridges
Apollo / Dionysus

Masked Hero

[...] the banal everyday makes banal demands upon our patience, our devotion, perseverance, self-sacrifice; and for us to fulfil these demands (as we must) humbly and without courting applause through heroic gestures, a heroism is needed that cannot be seen from the outside.

It does not glitter, is not belauded, and it always seeks concealment in everyday attire. These are the demands which, if not fulfilled, are the cause of neurosis.

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.154

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Naked or Famous?


Left hemisphere    -         Right hemisphere
Separate                -         Connected
Centrifugal            -         Centripetal
Rights                    -         Responsibilities
Morals                   -         Rules
Inner                      -         Outer
Individual              -         Collective
Masculine              -         Feminine
Father                    -         Mother
Symbolic               -         Real

1. Revealed Self

The self is uncovered by emancipating it from givens, e.g. parents, tradition, psychopathology, etc. Relates to the Orthodox Christian notion of the self being essentially good, and made bad by earthly influences.

2. Developed Self

The self is moulded to a desired pattern by outside influences. Relates to the Heretical notion that the self is essentially bad and in need of guidance to be good.

Personality: the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being.

Personality can never develop unless the individual chooses his own way, consciously and with moral deliberation.

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.

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 [the path of the inner voice] is replaced by collective necessities.

Conventions 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.

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.

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.195, 198, 202

'Has due recognition been given', Winnicott asks pointedly, 'to the need for everything to be discovered afresh by every individual analyst?'

It was a position reactive to a Society which had, in Winnicott's view, equated development within a tradition with an uncritical compliance to the tradition.

[Adam Phillips]
Winnicott, p.91

[...] we cannot expect him always to be the aristos. We are all sometimes of the Many. But he will avoid membership.

There can be no organization to which he fully belongs; no country, no class, no church, no political party. He needs no uniform, no symbols; his ideas are his uniform, his actions are his symbols, because above all he tries to be a free force in a world of tied forces.

[John Fowles]
The Aristos, p.212

[On 'modern-minded man']

His highest hope is to think first what is about to be thought, to say what is about to be said, and to feel what is about to be felt; he has no wish to think better thoughts than his neighbours, to say things showing more insight, or to have emotions which are not those of some fashionable group, but only to be slightly ahead of others in points of time.

Quite deliberately he suppresses what is individual in himself for the sake of the admiration of the herd.

To be pointed out, admired, mentioned constantly in the press, and offered easy ways of earning much money is highly agreeable; and when all this is open to a man, he finds it difficult to go on doing the work that he himself thinks best and is inclined to subordinate his judgement to general opinion.

[Bertrand Russell]
Unpopular Essays ('On Being Modern-minded'), p.78, 79

There is no such thing as an effective segment of a totality.

By that I mean that I personally do not believe in the word style.

Why? Because, unless there are human beings with three arms and four legs, unless we have another group of beings on earth that are structurally different from us, there can be no different style of fighting.

Why is that?

Because we have two hands and two legs. Now the unfortunate thing is that there's boxing, which uses hands, and judo which uses throwing.

I'm not putting them down, mind you - but because of styles, people are separated. They are not united together because styles become law.

The original founder of the style started out with a hypothesis. But now it has become the gospel truth, and people who go into that become the product of it. 

It doesn't matter how you are, who you are, how you are structured, how you are built, or how you are doesn't seem to matter. You just go in there and become that product. And that, to me, is not right.

So styles tend to not only separate man because they have their own doctrines, and the doctrines became the gospel internal truth, that you cannot change, you know?

But if you do not have style, if you just say, "Here i am, as a human being, how can i express myself totally and completely?" - that way, you won't create a style, because style is a crystallization, as opposed to a internal process of continuing growth.

Man, he is constantly growing and when he is bound by a set pattern of ideas or way of doing things, that's when he stops growing.

[Bruce Lee]

The YELLOW MEME thinks and acts from an inner-directed core. The individual gyroscopes that enable the person to keep balance in a paradoxical world spin within the principled, knowledgable self. Such people have strong ethical anchors of their own reasoned choosing, derived from many sources but are not entrapped by rigid rules based in external dogma or mandates of authority.

[...] one develops confidence in the self-generated messages and instructions that emanate from one's core beliefs.

[Don Edward Beck & Christopher C. Cowan]
Spiral Dynamics, p.278

So often in our lives, we act as though there were only one set of rules. For instance, in cooking we tend to follow recipes with dutiful precision. We add ingredients as though by official decree. If the recipe calls for a pinch of salt and four pinches fall in, panic strikes, as though the bowl might now explode.

Thinking of a recipe as a rule, we often do not consider how people's tastes vary, or what fun it might be to make up a new dish.

[Ellen Langer]
Mindfulness, p.16

When you’re stuck with a set of absolutes when you’re a kid - you know, you go to this kind of church, you do that kind of thing, and you think this way - if you have any sense of imagination I think that you fall out fairly quickly with absolutes; and you want to see as many avenues as are possible in life.

And I think, for my part, I got to a place where […] I could pick bits and pieces of each of those avenues. Its not essential to take one avenue as the gospel. No one man is right about anything - or even one group of people - are not right about everything.

I would pick and choose little bits of everything; a little bit of Buddhism maybe, a little bit of this, a little bit of that … to kind of give me some basis, some kind of explanatory platform for my life. And that in itself is an enjoyment.

[David Bowie]

I looked back on the past and recalled my people's old ways, but they were not living that way any more. They were traveling the black road, everybody for himself and with little rules of his own [...]

[Black Elk]
Black Elk Speaks, p.215

I could look up creativity in The Oxford English Dictionary, and I could do research on all that has been written on the subject in philosophy and psychology, and then I could serve it all up on a dish. Even this would be garnished in such a way that you would exclaim: 'How original!' Personally, I am unable to follow this plan.

I have this need to talk as though no one had ever examined the subject before, and of course this can make my words ridiculous.

But I think you can see in this my own need to make sure I am not buried by my theme. It would kill me to work out the concordance of creativity references.

Evidently I must always be fighting to feel creative, and this has the disadvantage that if I am describing a simple word like 'love', I must start from scratch. (Perhaps that's the right place to start from.)

[D.W. Winnicott]
Home Is Where We Start From: Essays By A Psychoanalyst ('Living Creatively'), p.41

The decisive point is not what is thought but how it is thought.

The thought that is the result of active thinking is always new and original; original, not necessarily in the sense that others have not thought it before, but always in the sense that the person who thinks, has used thinking as a tool to discover something new in the world outside or inside himself.

[Erich Fromm]
The Fear of Freedom, p.167

Since the "world of origins" is closed to us, we must accept the fact that we are dependent -- doomed, if you like, to being forever meta. There is no shame in this. We are all contingent, all referring to things which, themselves, refer to other things (parents descended from parents, phrases from phrases).

Humperson did, however, see the possibility of originality via errors, mishearings and misunderstandings. He enjoyed playing Chinese Whispers, especially in later life, when he grew rather deaf.


Parents, deliberately or unaware, teach their children from birth how to behave, think, feel and perceive.

Liberation from these influences is no easy matter, since they are deeply ingrained and are necessary during the first two or three decades for biological survival.

Indeed, such liberation is only possible at all because the individual starts off in an autonomous state, that is, capable of awareness, spontaneity and intimacy, and he has some discretion as to which of his parents' teachings he will accept.

At certain specific moments early in his life he decides how he is going to adapt to them. It is because his adaptation is in the nature of a series of decisions that it can be undone, since decisions are reversible under favourable circumstances.

First ... the weight of a whole tribal or family historical tradition has to be lifted ... then the influence of the individual parental, societal and cultural background has to be thrown off. The same must be done with the demands of contemporary society at large, and finally the advantages derived from one's immediate social circle have to be partly or wholly sacrificed.

In essence, this whole preparation consists of obtaining friendly divorce from one's parents (and from other Parental influences) so that they may be agreeably visited on occasion, but are no longer dominant.

[Eric Berne]
Games People Play, p.161

[...] even the individuals whose initiation into certain secrets has marked them out in some way are fundamentally obeying the laws of group identity, though in their case the group is a socially differentiated one.

The secret society is an intermediary stage on the way to individuation. The individual is still relying on a collective organisation to effect his differentiation for him; that is, he has not yet recognised that it is really the individual's task to differentiate himself from all the others and stand on his own feet.

All collective identities, such as membership in organisations, support of "isms," and so on, interfere with the fulfilment of this task. Such collective identities are crutches for the lame, shields for the timid, beds for the lazy, nurseries for the irresponsible; but they are equally shelters for the poor and weak, a home port for the shipwrecked, the bosom of a family for orphans, a land of promise for disillusioned vagrants and weary pilgrims, a herd and a safe fold for lost sheep, and a mother providing nourishment and growth.

[C.G. Jung]
Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p.375

[for] a lot of clinical psychologists [of a pronounced Western orientation] one of the fundamental presuppositions is that part of the hallmark of positive psychological development is the creation of an individual that’s capable of acting independently.

I would say that’s an implicit ideal that lurks at the bottom of the clinical presuppositions of […] classic psychologists […]

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'2017 Personality Lecture 01: Introduction to the Course' (30:55)

Kohlberg (1969), in his extension of the early work of Piaget, discovered six stages of moral judgment, which he claimed formed an invariant sequence, each successive stage representing a more adequate construction of the moral problem, which in turn provides the basis for its more just resolution. 

The stages divide into three levels, each of which denotes a significant expansion of the moral point of view from an egocentric through a societal to a universal ethical conception. 

With this expansion in perspective comes the capacity to free moral judgment from the individual needs and social conventions with which it had earlier been confused and anchor it instead in principles of justice that are universal in application. These principles provide criteria upon which both individual and societal claims can be impartially assessed. 

In Kohlberg's view, at the highest stages of development morality is freed from both psychological and historical constraints, and the individual can judge independently of his own particular needs and of the values of those around him.

When […] the sole precursor to the intimacy of adult relationships is the trust established in infancy and all intervening experience is marked only as steps toward greater independence, then separation itself becomes the model and the measure of growth. 

The infusion of feeling into their judgments keeps [women] from developing a more independent and abstract ethical conception in which concern for others derives from principles of justice rather than from compassion and care.

The observation that for women, identity has as much to do with connection as with separation led Erikson into trouble largely because of his failure to integrate this insight into the mainstream of his developmental theory.

[Carol Gilligan]
‘In a Different Voice’, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 47, No. 4, p.483-4, 509

Dupré (1993) is […] correct in proposing that we think of free will as human ability to project meaningful distinctions into behavior. To act top-down from the intentional level in which meaning is embodied is thus to exercise free will […] 

Because all self-organizing systems select the stimuli to which they respond, behavior constrained top-down is to that extent increasingly autonomous of forceful impacts from the environment. Self-organized systems act from their own point of view. 

The more structured the entity, the more complex its organization and its behavior, and the more decoupled from and independent of its environment: the more autonomous and authentic, in short. 

[Alicia Juarrero]
Dynamics in Action, p. 249

But even […] lordship of the few is far removed from the ancient freedom — witness Frederick the Great's saying: “I am the first servant of my state. 

Hence the desperate efforts of the 'exceptional’ man to keep himself inwardly free. Here, and only here, begins the individualism that is a reaction against the psychology of the mass. It is the last uprising of the carnivore soul against its captivity behind the bars of culture, the last attempt to shake off the spiritual and intellectual limitations that are produced by, and represented by, the fact of large numbers. 

Hence arise the types of life typified by the conqueror, the adventurer, the hermit, and even certain types of criminals and bohemians. The wished-for escape from absorption by the masses takes various forms - lordship over it, flight from it, contempt for it. 

The idea of personality, in its dark beginnings, is a protest against humanity in the mass, and the tension between these grows and grows to its tragic finale.

[Oswald Spengler]
Man and Technics, p. 59

Aristocracy, Tocqueville wrote, “links everybody, from peasant to king, in one long chain. Democracy breaks the chain and frees each link … Thus, not only does democracy make men forget their ancestors, but also clouds their view of their descendants and isolates them from their contemporaries. 

Each man is forever thrown back upon himself alone and there is a danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.”

Tocqueville perceived the way in which "fractured time" generates individualism, which in turn would have profound social, political, and economic consequences as the underlying logic of liberal democracy advances. He fretted especially about the inability of a liberal democratic people to see their own lives and actions as part of a continuum of time, and hence to consider long-term implications of their actions and deeds as part of a long-term human community.

[…] while cultures are many and varied, their common features almost always include a belief in the continuity between human nature and the natural world; the experience of the past and the future as embedded within the present; and assurance of the sacredness of one's place, along with depths of gratitude and responsibility to the care and preservation of one's places.

Liberalism was premised upon a rejection of each of these constitutive aspects of culture, since to recognize continuity with nature, the debts and obligations attending the flow of time and generations, or a strong identity with one's place was to limit one's experience and opportunity to become a self-making author.

[Patrick Deneen]
Why Liberalism Failed, p.74-5, 90

For any individual, the social universe is divided into two categories: those who are "kin," "relations," or "family" (walytja), and those who are not kin, who are often described as "not men" or "different men" (munuwati).

The term walytja specifies a sense of belonging together or shared identity. It is used to refer to (1) possessions, (2) "kin," (3) "one's own" (my own), (4) a wider sense of belonging, and (5) "oneself," as in the phrases "he did it himself" or "she is sitting by herself."

This reflexive use of walytja as "self" suggests that the critical notion of relatedness is rooted in the givenness of the individual, extending outward from a spirit whose identity derives from The Dreaming.

The concept asserts a relationship between oneself and persons, objects, or places; it recognizes as fundamental in Pintupi life the identity extended to persons and things beyond the physical individual.

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.109

The imaginary father empowers a new psychic space premised on the distinction between internal and external, self and other.

The breaking in of the signifier inaugurates individuation, the assumption of bodily form and corporeal unity, and thereby entails loss of the maternal body. In Kristeva's view, matricide, repression of the maternal body, is a necessary event on the way to subjectivity. The bodily exchange between mother and child can serve as a barrier to love, imprisoning the child in an overwhelming bond.

The loving mother provides the first approach to language and law by demonstrating love for an object who is not the child, a third outside this dyad who makes the dyadic relationship itself possible and releases the emotional pressure of it. The loving father proffers a kind of promise, even as he disrupts fusion with the mother, allowing and encouraging the child to represent itself.

Kristeva's thought here follows Lacan's idea that a mother whose only object of desire is her child will produce a child who cannot move beyond the psychosis of being the phallus for her.

The generation of the ego out of expulsion, the division of unity, is not simply a mournful moment, but also potentially a joyous one, in which the advent of language, the promise of the father, offers reparation and life with a world of others, so that words can provide the nourishment that the breast previously had. The father makes it possible to fill the void with language and the formation of signifying bonds.

[Emily Zakin]
‘Psychoanalytic Feminism’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Psychotherapists of different persuasions appear to share at least one basic hypothesis: the notion that the individual human being is of value, and that it is important that each individual should be able to develop his own personality in as unrestricted and complete a way as possible.

[Anthony Storr]
The Integrity of the Personality, p.22

The creation of self, however, must not be self-centred; it has to take place against the backdrop of a social horizon of meaning that gives the act of self-creation a relevance that transcends the self […]

Contrary to Taylor's assumptions, however, authenticity is in fact the enemy of community. The narcissism of authenticity undermines community. In terms of its content, what is crucial is not its reference to a community or some other higher order but its market value, which effaces all other values.

Thus, the form and content of authenticity coincide: both concern the self. The cult of authenticity shifts the question of identity from society to the individual person. Within the cult of authenticity, the production of self becomes a permanent activity. Authenticity thus atomizes society.

Taylor's moral justification of authenticity ignores that subtle process, within the neoliberal regime, by which the ideas of freedom and self-realization are transformed into vehicles for more efficient exploitation. The neoliberal regime exploits morality. Once it is able to present itself as freedom, domination becomes complete.

Authenticity is a neoliberal form of production. You exploit yourself voluntarily in the belief that you are realizing yourself.

In the cult of authenticity, the neoliberal regime appropriates the person himself and turns him into a highly efficient site of production. The whole person is incorporated into the production process.

When some one person is judged to be authentic, or when society as a whole is described as creating problems of human authenticity, the language reveals one way in which social action is being devalued in the process of placing more weight on psychological matters.

The compulsion of authenticity leads to narcissistic introspection, a permanent occupation with one's own psychology.

Communication is also organized psychologically. The society of authenticity is a society of intimacy and exposure. The nudism of the soul into which we are encouraged lends society a pornographic character. Social relations are more genuine and authentic the more intimate they are, the more they reveal what was private.

[Byung-Chul Han]
The Disappearance of Rituals, p.17-18

The empire of signs also dispenses with the moral signified. It is dominated not by law but by rules, by signifiers without the signified.

Ritual society is a society of rules. It is based not on virtues or conscience but on a passion for rules. Unlike the moral law, rules are not internalized. They are simply obeyed. Morality presupposes a soul, and a person who works on its perfection. The more a person advances on the path of morality, the more self-respect she is due. Such narcissistic inwardness is wholly absent from the ethics of politeness.

Rules rest on agreement. They are formed through immanent sequences of signs, and therefore do not possess deep truth or transcendence. Rules do not have a metaphysical or theological foundation. The law, by contrast, presupposes a transcendent authority, such as God, that compels and prohibits.

The pleasure derived from obeying a rule differs from the pleasure one takes in obeying or violating a law. The former is owed to a passion for play and for rules […]

There is no soul to infect the holy seriousness of ritual play. The place of psychology is taken by a passion for rules, a passion of form. This empire of signs is opposed to today's empire of souls who expose themselves and constantly produce themselves.

The ceremonial empire of signs makes it possible to conceive of another form of life, another society, which would be free of narcissism because, in it, the ego [das Ich] would immerse itself in the ritual play of signs. The passion for rules de-internalizes the self.

Contemporary society is characterized by constant and relentless moralizing. But at the same time society is becoming more and more brutal. Forms of politeness are disappearing, disregarded by the cult of authenticity. Beautiful forms of conduct are becoming ever rarer.

In this respect, too, we are becoming hostile towards form. Apparently, the ascendancy of morality is compatible with the barbarization of society. Morality is formless. Moral inwardness dispenses with form.

One might even say: the more moralizing a society, the more impolite it is. Against this formless morality, we must defend an ethics of beautiful forms.

[Byung-Chul Han]
The Disappearance of Rituals, p.65-8

The adolescent tells his group what he did, and they usually agree that this is the way he is, however surprising it is. Their whole attitude is pragmatic, almost experimental: “This is what happened. This is the way things are. This is the way I am.”

They are engaged in a search for themselves as individuals, something they were called upon to do in the early grades of school, thanks to the misconceptions of John Dewey, and they are quite alien to any theory that the self is a creature of trained patterns and is not a creature of discovered secrets.

Now, in the 1960’s, this opinion of man’s nature is changing and, as a consequence of George Orwell, mishmash conceptions of brainwashing, and the revival of Pavlovian psychology through the work of men like Professor B. F. Skinner of Harvard, the idea of personality as something trained under discipline to a desired pattern is being revived.

With this revival of a basically Puritanical idea of human nature reappears the usual Puritan errors on the nature of evil and acceptance of the theory of the evil of human nature (as preached in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies).

[Carroll Quigley]
Tragedy and Hope, ‘The Future in Perspective,’ p.803

Related posts:-
Abstract / Concrete
Silent Violence
Learn, to be mindless
Step toward madness
Be Yourself
Don't Commit to It
Construct it Differently
Open Source Approaches 
Silent Violence
Spontaneous, Intimate and Aware!
New Deeds for New People
Everything is Connected
Vessel & Cargo: 3. Fetishism and Commerce
Playing the Art Game: Art as In-between
The Oak and the Stream
Walk a Straight Line 
Passed On
Still Waters
The Dangers of Dogmatism
A Higher Power
Hear the Calling
Healthy Risks
Sell Out
Open Source Approaches
Escaping Uncertainty
Self preservation

Soul Possession

Wherever an impassioned, almost magical, relationship exists between the sexes, it is invariably a question of a projected soul-image.

If the soul-image is projected, the result is an absolute affective tie to the object. If it is not projected, a relatively unadapted state develops, which Freud has described as narcissism. The projection of the soul-image offers a release from preoccupation with one's inner processes so long as the behaviour of the object is in harmony with the soul-image. The subject is then in a position to live out his persona and develop it further.

In a normal man the soul-image is not distinguished by any particular clarity, purity, or depth, but is apt to be rather blurred. In men with a good-natured and unaggressive persona, the soul-image has a rather malevolent character.

For an idealistic woman, a depraved man is often the bearer of the soul-image; hence the "saviour-fantasy" so frequent in such cases. The same thing happens with men, when the prostitute is surrounded with the halo of a soul crying for succour.

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.104,105

Related posts:-
All ego?

Bright Spark

I wanna stay focused on expressing and creating, providing, amplifying that sensation, that mindset, that little spark in all of us that is geared towards good, that is geared towards what we consider fun, that’s geared towards doing what we think is nice. Being kind, being loving. Focusing on those really good feelings.

We all have that capacity and that awareness and that understanding of what that idea is, even if we haven’t always acted upon that idea. It’s always present within us.

So whatever I do, in any direction, I hope that it ultimately points towards that feeling. In the future, I kind of am excited that I don’t exactly know where it’s gonna go, what it’s gonna be, but I have a good sense that it’s gonna stay focused on that sensation of happiness.

[Andrew WK]

Related posts:-
Optimism (as cultural rebellion)

Devils in the Dark

All those allegedly accidental inhibitions, fancies, moods, vague feelings, and scraps of fantasy that hinder concentration and disturb the peace of mind even of the most normal man, and that are rationalized away as being due to bodily causes and suchlike, usually have their origin, not in the reasons consciously ascribed to them, but in perceptions of unconscious processes.

One man will not allow himself to be disturbed in the slightest by his inner processes - he can ignore them completely; another man is just as completely at their mercy - as soon as he wakes up some fantasy or other, or a disagreeable feeling, spoils his mood for the whole day; a vaguely unpleasant sensation puts the idea into his head that he is suffering from a secret disease, a dream fills him with gloomy forebodings ...

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.99, 100



[...] a conglomeration of psychic contents characterized by a peculiar or perhaps painful feeling-tone, something that is usually hidden from sight. It is as though a projectile struck through the thick layer of the persona into the dark layer. For instance, someone with a money complex will be hit when you say: "To buy," "to pay," or "money." That is a disturbance of reaction.

Complexes behave like Descartes' devils and seem to delight in playing impish tricks. They slip just the wrong word into one's mouth, they make one forget the name of the person one is about to introduce, they cause a tickle in the throat just when the softest passage is being played on the piano at a concert, they make the tiptoeing latecomer trip over a chair with a resounding crash. They bid us congratulate the mourners at a burial instead of condoling with them, they are the instigators of all those maddening things which F. T. Vischer attributed to the "mischievousness of the object."

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.34, 39


A great number of apparently insoluble problems disappear at once if we decide to give up the notion that the motives by which people believe themselves to be motivated are necessarily the ones which actually drive them to act, feel, and think as they do.

[Erich Fromm]
The Fear of Freedom, p.118


Related posts:-
All ego?

Casting a Shadow

Take a look in the mirror: do you like what you see?

Projection: seeing the Self in the Other.

Like all things projection has its positive and negative aspects. To see the self in others is to catch a glimpse of the bonds that connect us all. Our projections flow from us like a web, connecting us to all things. I am they, and they are I. Our differences mask our unity. Unity is the truth.

To see something in another is also a way to deny it within the self. It belongs to them, not me. I am not they, and they are not I. Difference is the truth.

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.
I am human, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.


All gaps in our actual knowledge are still filled out with projections. We are still so sure we know what other people think or what their true character is. We are convinced that certain people have all the bad qualities we do not know in ourselves or that they practice all those vices which could, of course, never be our own.

We must still be exceedingly careful not to project our own shadows too shamelessly; we are still swamped with projected illusions. If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all these projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a considerable shadow [...]

Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world ... How can anyone see straight when he does not even see himself and the darkness he unconsciously carries with him into all his dealings?

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.242, 243

During the process of treatment [psycho-analysis] the dialectical discussion leads logically to a meeting between the patient and his shadow, that dark half of the psyche which we invariably get rid of by means of projection: either by burdening our neighbours - in a wider or narrower sense - with all the faults we obviously have ourselves, or by casting our sins upon a divine mediator [through repentance].

[C.G. Jung]
The Essential Jung, p.279

... if one can conceive of a fully integrated person, then that person takes full responsibility for all feelings and ideas that belong to being alive. By contrast, it is a failure of integration when we need to find the things we disapprove of outside ourselves and do so at a price - this price being the loss of the destructiveness which really belongs to ourselves.

I am talking, therefore, about the development which has to take place in every individual of the capacity to take responsibility for the whole of that individual's feelings and ideas, the word 'health' being closely linked with the degree of integration which makes it possible for this to happen.

One thing about a healthy person is that he or she does not have to use in a big way the technique of projection in order to cope with his or her own destructive impulses and thoughts.

[D.W. Winnicott]
Home Is Where We Start From: Essays By A Psychoanalyst ('Aggression, Guilt and Reparation'), p.82

The person you hate the most and you're most angry at, understand every reason why you're angry at them. Understand every reason why they might be doing that.

[Andrew W.K.]

[...] our psyche in daily life tries to give us a hint of where our shadow lies by picking out people to hate in an irrational way.

Suppose there is a woman in the town who seems to her too loose and sexually active, and she finds herself thinking of this other woman a lot. In that case, the psyche is suggesting that part of her shadow, at least, lies in the sexual area.

She has to notice precisely who she hates.

[Robert Bly]
A Little Book on the Human Shadow, p.47

The personal shadow works destructively against ego-ideals; the collective shadow tries to demolish collective ideals. Both these shadows also have a very valuable function.

Both ego and collective ideals must be repeatedly subjected to attack, since they are false and one-sided. Were they not continually being eaten into from the depths of the human soul, there would be neither individual nor collective development.

[Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig]
Power In The Helping Professions, p.113

Schopenhauer's conception of moral awareness is consistent with his project of seeking more tranquil, transcendent states of mind. Within the moral realm specifically, this quest for transcendence leads him to maintain that once we recognize each human as being merely an instance and aspect of the single act of Will that is humanity itself, we will appreciate that the difference between the tormentor and the tormented is illusory, and that in fact, the very same eye of humanity looks out from each and every person.

For Schopenhauer, according to the true nature of things, each person has all the sufferings of the world as his or her own, for the same inner human nature ultimately bears all of the pain and all of the guilt.

Thus, with the consciousness of humanity in mind, a moral consciousness would realize that it has upon and within itself, the sins of the whole world

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 'Arthur Schopenhauer'

Tormentor and tormented are one. The former is mistaken in thinking he does not share the torment, the latter in thinking he does not share the guilt. If the eyes of both were opened, the inflicter of the suffering would recognize that he lives in everything that suffers pain in the whole wide world, and, if endowed with the faculty of reason, ponders in vain over why it was called into existence for such great suffering, whose cause and guilt it does not perceive.

On the other hand, the tormented person would see that all the wickedness that is or ever was perpetrated in the world proceeds from that will which constitutes also his own inner being, and appears also in him.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.354

[...] The offense is felt to be against the order and natural structure of the universe rather than against the actual person offended. The offender, even in such serious matters as incest (for which he may be extruded from the society) is not blamed for anything worse than stupidity and clumsiness.

Rather, he is "an unfortunate person" (anak latjoer), and misfortune may come to any of us "when it is our turn."

[Gregory Bateson]
Steps to an Ecology of Mind ('Bali: The Value System of a Steady State'), p.119

Projection is the act of attributing qualities to others that we deny within ourselves.

It is expressed in the way we label others and then build diagnostic categories and whole professions around the labeling.

The shift away from projection and labeling provides the basis for defining what we mean by authentic citizenship - which is to hold ourselves accountable for the well-being of the larger community and to choose to own and exercise the power rather than defer or delegate it to others.

One payoff for believing that problems and suffering in our cities are the inevitable products of modern life and culture is that it lets us off the hook. The payoff happens the moment we believe that problems reside in others and that they are the ones who need to change.

It is a welcome escape from our freedom. We project onto leaders the qualities or disappointments that we find too much to carry ourselves. We project onto the stranger, the wounded, the enemy those aspects of ourselves that are too much to own.

Projection denies the fact that my view of the "other" is my creation, and this is especially true with how we view our communities and the people in them. Most simply, how I view the other is an extension or template of how I view myself. This insight is the essence of being accountable.  

To be accountable is to act as an owner and creator of what exists in the world, including the light and dark corners of my existence.

It is the willingness to focus on what we can do in the face of whatever the world presents to us. Accountability does not project or deny; accountability is the willingness to see the whole picture that resides within, even what is not so pretty.

It is not that the people we project onto do not have some of the qualities we see; it is that the meaning we give to what we see - in this case, the label and categorization - is just projection.

If we saw others as another aspect of ourselves, we would welcome them into our midst.

It becomes the justification for the fear and fault conversation that in turn justifies the context of retribution. Which in turn drives all the programs, expertise, and policy that we thought were going to make a difference. When the projection is reclaimed and the labels abandoned, the justification disappears and space is created for a welcoming, gift oriented restoration.

Projection sustains itself in the absence of relatedness, in places where we have no sense of belonging. Communal transformation, taking back our collective projections, occurs when people get connected to those who were previously strangers, and when we invite people into conversations that ask them to act as creators or owners of community.

This allows us to focus on our connectedness rather than on our differences. We no longer need to take our identity from being right about "them" or from continuing to see "them" as individuals with needs or as people somehow less than us. It puts an end to our need to declare victory. The differences, instead of being problems to solve, become a source of vitality, a gift.

In the language of communal transformation, this is what it means to be accountable. At these moments, we become owners, with the free will capable of creating the world we want to inhabit.

We become citizens.

[Peter Block]
Community, p.55, 57-61

But projection is a wonderful thing too. Marie Louise von Franz remarked somewhere, "Why do we always assume projection is bad? 'You are projecting' becomes among Jungians an accusation. Sometimes projection is helpful and the right thing."

[She] reminds us that if we didn't project, we might never connect with the world at all.

[Robert Bly]
A Little Book on the Human Shadow, p. 23

Psychologically speaking, so long as conscious and unconscious are enemies, the ego experiences itself in constant danger of death.

Once they are in harmony the ego experiences itself open and supported by the maternal matrix of love.

[Marion Woodman]
Addiction to Perfection, p. 42

Life is “a never-ending sequence of polarities. When an individual [explicitly] recognizes one aspect of her self, the presence of the antithesis, or polar quality, is implicit.”

In other words, everyone carries within him or herself the latent and potential opposite of his or her external character.

[Herb Stevenson]
'Paradox: A Gestalt Theory of Change'

Self-righteousness and resentment, as Niebuhr understood the latter term, went hand in hand.

Victims of injustice, whose suffering entitled them to resent it, had all the more reason to renounce resentment, lest it confer the sense of moral superiority that allegedly excused them in retaliating against injustice with injustice of their own. In order to undermine their oppressors' claims to moral superiority, they had to avoid such claims on their own behalf.

They had to renounce the privileged status of victims. They needed "repentance" no less than their oppressors. They needed to recognize, in other words, that "the evil in the foe is also in the self."

"The discovery of elements of common human frailty in the foe,” Niebuhr argued, “…creates attitudes which transcend social conflict and thus mitigate its cruelties." The "profound and ultimate unities" Niebuhr hoped to awaken rested on a sense of sin, not on the assumption that all people ultimately had the same interests and that intelligent awareness of this harmony of interests would prevent social conflict.

He did not regard the prevention of conflict as possible or even desirable. The most that could be hoped for in politics was to "mitigate its cruelties.”

[Christopher Lasch]
The True and Only Heaven, p.378

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