Carl Jung: The Collective Shadow — Living at the edge of a volcano

 

jung-volcano-shadow

Joseph Wright: Vesuvius in Eruption 

Jung: “The change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces is amazing.”

 

The change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces is amazing.

A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast.

One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there.

As a matter of fact, we are constantly living on the edge of a volcano, and there is, so far as we know, no way of protecting ourselves from a possible outburst that will destroy everybody within reach.

It is certainly a good thing to preach reason and common sense, but what if you have a lunatic asylum for an audience or a crowd in a collective frenzy?

There is not much difference between them because the madman and the mob are both moved by impersonal, overwhelming forces.

 

 Psychology and Religion  (1938)  

 Collected Works 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East

P.25

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