Carl Jung, on the collective shadow and evil


Carl Jung speaks about the projection of evil


We are always, thanks to our human nature, potential criminals.

In reality we merely lacked a suitable opportunity to be drawn into the infernal melee. None of us stands outside humanity’s black collective shadow.

Whether the crime lies many generations back or happens today, it remains the symptom of a disposition that is always and everywhere present – and one would therefore do well to possess some “imagination in evil,” for only the fool can permanently neglect the conditions of his own nature.

In fact, this negligence is the best means of making him an instrument of evil.

Harmlessness and naïveté are as little helpful as it would be for a cholera patient and those in his vicinity to remain unconscious of the contagiousness of the disease.

On the contrary, they lead to projection of the unrecognized evil into the “other.”

This strengthens the opponent’s position in the most effective way, because the projection carries the fear which we involuntarily and secretly feel for our own evil over to the other side and considerably increases the formidableness of his threat.

The Undiscovered Self

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One Response to Carl Jung, on the collective shadow and evil

  1. The first thing i thought of, reading this, was Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet’s reply to the person who asked about Crime and Punishment. Basically, that we are all one and none rises higher than the highest in us, and none sinks lower than our lowest, and we all have some involvement in the crimes and responses, even when we consider ourselves victims.

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