Jung on the shadow: The iron curtain

“It is the face of our own shadow that glowers at us across the Iron Curtain.”

The exploration of one’s conscience is not a popular pastime, however, is not a popular pastime, although it would be most necessary, particularly in our time when man is threatened with self-created and deadly dangers that are growing beyond his control.  If, for a moment, we look at mankind as one individual, we see that it is like a man carried away by his unconscious powers.  He is dissociated like a neurotic,  with the Iron Curtain marking the line of division.    Western man, representing the kind of consciousness hitherto regarded as valid, has become increasingly aware of the aggressive will to power of the East, and he sees himself forced to take extraordinary measures of defense. What he fails to see is his own vices, publicly repudiated and covered up by good international manners, that are thrown back in his face through their shamelss and methodical application by the East.  What the West has tolerated but only secretly, and indulged in a bit shamefacedly (the diplomatic lie, the double-cross, veiled threats), comes back openly and in full measure and gets us tied up in knots — exactly the case of the neurotic!  It the face of our shadow that glowers at us across the Iron Curtain.

In Collected Works 18


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