Jung Sends an Email to Suburbanites!
Well… okay, not exactly. It’s true that the following quotation doesn’t have suburbia directly in mind. But Jung does manage to touch on some of the biggest psychological issues for the outer- and other- oriented suburb dweller of the present day.
At least, I certainly think he does.
Here’s what he says:
“The externalization of culture may do away with a great many evils whose removal seems most desirable and beneficial, yet this step forward, as experience shows, is all too dearly paid for with a loss of spiritual culture. It is undeniably much more comfortable to live in a well-planned and hygienically equipped house, but this still does not answer the question of who is the dweller in this house and whether his soul rejoices in the same order and cleanliness as the house which ministers to his outer life.
“The man whose interests are all outside is never satisfied with what is necessary, but is perpetually hankering after something more and better which, true to his bias, he always seeks outside himself. He forgets completely that, for all his outward successes, he himself remains the same inwardly, and he therefore laments his poverty if he possesses only one automobile when the majority have two. Obviously the outward lives of men could do with a lot more bettering and beautifying, but these things lose their meaning when the inner man does not keep pace with them.
“To be satiated with “necessities” is no doubt an inestimable source of happiness yet the inner man continues to raise his claim, and this can be satisfied by no outward possessions. And the less this voice is heard in the chase after the brilliant things of this world, the more the inner man becomes the source of inexplicable misfortune and uncomprehended unhappiness in the midst of living conditions whose outcome was expected to be entirely different. The externalization of life turns to incurable suffering, because no one can understand why he should suffer from himself. No one wonders at his insatiability but regards it as his lawful right…. That is the sickness of Western man….”
Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, East and West, Collected Works, volume 11, para. 962, Princeton: University Press
“No one can understand why he should suffer from himself.” Yet we do suffer from our neglect of our inner life and our uniqueness. Sometimes we can be acutely aware of our own inner sense of being unfulfilled, the inner man or woman “staking his or her claim”. Yet that is the very point at which our own true individuality is calling to us, and beckoning to us to be explored.
If you have any comments on this blog post, I’d really like to hear them. Also, if you have any topics or subjects that you would like me to discuss, I’m more than open. I really value the input of those who take the time to read this blog!
Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca
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© 2009 Brian Collinson