In 1957, Jung published “The Undiscovered Self.” The first chapter, “The Plight of the Individual in Modern Society,” seems eerily prescient, and can shed some light on the situation in the West today:
What will the future bring? From time immemorial this question has occupied men’s minds, though not always to the same degree. Historically, it is chiefly in times of physical, political, economic, and spiritual distress that men’s eyes turn with anxious hope to the future, and when anticipations, utopias, and apocalyptic visions multiply. […] Today, as the end of the second millennium draws near, we are again living in an age filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction. What is the significance of that split, symbolized by the “Iron Curtain,” which divides humanity into two halves?
What will become of our civilization, and of man himself, if the hydrogen bombs begin to go off, or if the spiritual and moral darkness of the State absolutism should spread over Europe?
What is “State absolutism,” and have we arrived? Is it “too big to fail?” Is it the world government for which the pope is now openly calling? Is it a “strong cities networks” that brings in foreign troops when police finally wake up and join the people in the streets in protest of the overbearing state?
Yes, we have arrived. Jung next annunciates quite clearly that this state absolutism shall beget the very downfall of Western civilization, precipitated by the suicidal welcoming of an invasion of subversive agents:
We have no reason to take this threat lightly. Everywhere in the West there are subversive minorities who, sheltered by our humanitarianism and our sense of justice, hold the incendiary torches ready, with nothing to stop the spread of their ideas except the critical reason of a single, fairly intelligent, mentally stable stratum of the population.
He goes on to qualify that that single part of the population — the critical thinkers responsible for preserving the integrity of the West — is dwindling (partly due to the State’s education system):
It varies from country to country in accordance with national temperament. Also, it is regionally dependent on public education and is subject to the influence of acutely disturbing factors of a political and economic nature. Taking plebiscites as a criterion, one could on an optimistic estimate put its upper limit at about 40 per cent of the electorate. A rather more pessimistic view would not be unjustified either, since the gift of reason and critical reflection is not one of mans outstanding peculiarities, and even where it exists it proves to be wavering and inconstant, the more so, as a rule, the bigger the political groups are. The mass crushes out the insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily leads to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.
In Jung’s language, clearly, the Constitution succumbed to a fit of weakness following 9/11 — as did the psyches of those critical thinkers responsible for the very preservation of the West:
Rational argument can be conducted with some prospect of success only so long as the emotionality of a given situation does not exceed a certain critical degree. If the affective temperature rises above this level, the possibility of reason’s having any effect ceases and its place is taken by slogans and chimerical wish-fantasies.
Slogans like “Hope,” “Change,” and “Make America Great Again.”
Jung goes on to describe what’s only recently being called the crisis of the now: things are happening so quickly, people only have time to briefly react emotionally and move on. Critical thinking is entirely displaced.
Jung expounds on the “psychic epidemic:”
That is to say, a sort of collective possession results which rapidly develops into a psychic epidemic. In this state all those elements whose existence is merely tolerated as asocial under the rule of reason come to the top. […] Their mental state is that of a collectively excited group ruled by the affective judgments and wish-fantasies. In a state of “collective possession” they are the adapted ones and consequently they feel quite at home in it. They know from their own experience the language of these conditions and they know how to handle them. Their chimerical ideas, upborne by fanatical resentment, appeal to the collective irrationality and find fruitful soil there, for they express all those motives and resentments which lurk in more normal people under the cloak of reason and insight.
The psychic cancer eating away the West has been progressing since at least the second World War, and Jung identified it quite clearly. Significantly, he attributes this descent into collective madness on the very reductionist/materialist science upon which people base their world views, and emphasizes the importance of individuality.
The human experience is an individual one. Sovereignty lies intrinsically at that level. Statistics, and any science based thereupon, necessarily fails to capture the true spirit of any subject:
Under the influence of scientific assumptions, not only the psyche but the individual man and, indeed, all individual events whatsoever suffer a leveling down and a process of blurring that distorts the picture of reality into a conceptual average. We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world picture: it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations. Science supplies us with, instead of the concrete individual, the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality. The moral responsibility of the individual is then inevitably replaced by the policy of the State (raison d’état). Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside and consists in the execution of an abstract idea which ultimately tends to attract all life to itself. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses. The rulers, in their turn, are just as much social units as the ruled and are distinguished only by the fact that they are specialized mouthpieces of the State doctrine. They do not need to be personalities capable of judgment, but thoroughgoing specialists who are unusable outside their lane of business. State policy decides what shall be taught and studied.
We see this playing out as confused people continue to cry out for socialism.
Jung finishes strong, finally laying much of the responsibility at the feet of the scientific establishment, and suggesting that what’s playing out today is inevitable:
This development becomes logically unavoidable the moment the individual masses together with others and becomes obsolete. Apart from agglomerations of huge masses of people, in which the individual disappears anyway, one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance. Looked at rationally and from outside, that is exactly what he is, and from this point of view it seems positively absurd to go ton talking about the value or meaning of the individual. Indeed, one can hardly imagine how one ever came to endow individual human life with so much dignity when the truth to the contrary is as plain as the palm of your hand.
Seen from this standpoint, the individual really is of diminishing importance and anyone who wishes to dispute this would soon find himself at a loss for arguments. … For what are the few compared with ten thousand or a hundred thousand, let alone a million? …
The bigger the crowd the more negligible the individual becomes. But if the individual, overwhelmed by the sense of his own puniness and impotence, should feel that his life has lost its meaning–which, after all, is not identical with public welfare and higher standards of living–then he is already on the road to State slavery and, without knowing or wanting it, has become its proselyte. The man who looks only outside and quails before the big battalions has no resource with which to combat the evidence of his senses and his reason. But that is just what is happening today: we are all fascinated and overawed by statistical truths and large numbers and are daily apprised of the nullity and futility of the individual personality, since it is not represented and personified by any mass organization. …
Under these circumstances it is small wonder that individual judgment grows increasingly uncertain of itself and that responsibility is collectivized as much as possible, i.e., is shuffled off by the individual and delegated to a corporate body. In this way the individual becomes more and more a function of society, which in its turn usurps the function of the real life carrier, whereas, in actual fact, society is nothing more than an abstract idea like the State. Both are hypostatized, that is, have become autonomous. The State in particular is turned into a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected. In reality it is only a camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it. Thus the constitutional State drifts into the situation of a primitive form of society, namely the communism of a primitive tribe where everybody is subject to the autocratic rule of a chief or an oligarchy.
It is increasingly obvious that, as Drudge just put it, people are “sick.” There is a severe and very real mental illness in the psyche of the West. I’ve previously referred to it as wetiko, although you see symptoms of this described as pathological altruism or even cuckservativism.
Jung seems to have predicted what is now transpiring, but actually, it’s that he identified what has been taking place for some time now: a psychic illness has sufficiently whittled the intellectual core of the West that the “subversive minorities sheltered by our humanitarianism” are flooding in, as the West welcomes their downfall.
Just as individual self-mutilation is being called courageous, and the overton window is being shifted ever further towards acceptance of the depraved, so too is a self-destruction writ large across Europe, America, et al, highlighted by cheering, singing, and welcoming “migrants” irreversibly invade their nations.
An actionable solution isn’t immediately evident — if one even exists. Jung’s suggestion that the individual is primary, however, lights the path forward: to build one’s independence is to weaken the system.
Both critical thinking and self-knowledge are the weapons of choice, and the goal is simple: preserve what’s left of the West’s values, culture, traditions, and peoples.
Are you up to the challenge?