Fundamental Things, from C.G. Jung

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Currently reading Gary Lachman’s “Jung the Mystic” and nodding my head over the pages describing Jung’s secret mission, partially aided by the CIA, to diagnose Hitler as mentally ill and remove him from power. (Spoiler: He failed.)

It takes me over to his (Jung’s) “Civilization in Transition,” published in 1964*, which reads as though written today, proving that despite our so-called progress, our nature and our pressing developmental tasks continue to remain unchanged.

One relevant fragment (though it’s really hard to choose), pp. 242-243:

“The struggle between light and darkness has broken out everywhere. The rift runs through the whole globe, and the fire that set Germany ablaze is smouldering and glowing wherever we look. The conflagration that broke out in Germany was the outcome of psychic conditions that are universal. The real danger signal is not the fiery sign that hung over Germany, but the unleashing of atomic energy, which has given the human race the power to annihilate itself completely. The situation is about the same as if a small boy of six had been given a bag of dynamite for a birthday present. We are not one hundred percent convinced by his assurances that no calamity will happen. Will man be able to give up toying with the idea of another war? Can we at last get it into our heads that any government of impassioned patriots which signs the order for mobilization should immediately be executed en bloc?

How can we save the child from the dynamite which no one can take away from him? The good spirit of humanity is challenged as never before. The facts can no longer be hushed up or painted in rosy colours. Will this knowledge inspire us to a great inner transformation of mind, to a higher, maturer consciousness and sense of responsibility?

It is time, high time, that civilized man turned his mind to fundamental things. It is now a question of existence or nonexistence, and surely this should be subjected to the most searching investigation and discussion. For the danger that threatens us now is of such dimensions as to make this last European catastrophe like a curtain-raiser.”

*The original article, “Epilogue to ‘Essays on Contemporary Events,” was first published in 1946. This explains “the fire that set Germany ablaze is smouldering and glowing.”

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