Carl Jung: Psychology and National Problems

The question of psychology and national problems with which I have been asked to deal is indeed of some topicality.

It is a question, however, that would not have been asked before the World War.

People in general were then not aware of any disturbance in the mental or psychic atmosphere of Europe, although the psychological critic or a philosopher of the antique style could have found enough to talk about.

It was a prosperous world then and one which believed in what the eye saw and the ear heard and in what rationalism and philosophical positivism had to say.

Even the rational possibility of a great war seemed, in spite of historical evidence, a far-fetched and artificial nightmare, nothing more than a theoretical scarecrow occasionally conjured up by politicians and newspapers when they had nothing else to say.

 

One was thoroughly convinced that international, financial, commercial, and industrial relations were so tightly knit together as to exclude the mere possibility of a war.

 

The Agadir incident and similar gestures seemed to be mere pranks of a psychopathic monarch, otherwise safely enmeshed in an international network of financial obligations, whose gigantic proportions were supposed to rule out any attempts of a serious military nature.

 

Moreover the fabulous development of science, the high standard of public education in most European countries, and a public opinion organized as never before in history, allowed European humanity to believe in man’s conscious achievements, in his reason, intelligence and will-power.

 

It almost appeared he had written the lecture during the voyage, according to his daughter Marianne Niehus- Jung. The text, based on a holograph MS, has not been previously published, though similar ideas are found in an interview with Jung in the Observer (London, date undetermined), reprinted in Time, 9 Nov. 1936, The Living Age (New York), Dec. 1936, and as “The Psychology of Dictatorship” in as if man and his ideals were going to possess the earth and rule it wisely for the welfare of all  peoples.

 

The World War has shattered this dream and has crushed most of the ideals of the preceding era. In this postwar mood originated the doubt: Is everything right with the human mind?

 

One began to question its sanity because thinking people grew more and more astonished at all the things humanity could do.

 

The benevolent god of science that had done such marvellous things for the benefit of man had uncovered his dark face.

 

He produced the most diabolical war machinery, including the abomination of poison gases, and human reason got more and more obscured by strange and absurd ideas.

 

International relations turned into the most exaggerated nationalism, and the very God of the earth, the ultima ratio of all things worldly—money—developed a more and more fictitious character never dreamt of before.

 

Not only the security of the gold standard but also that of treaties and other international arrangements, already badly shaken by the War, did not recover but became increasingly illusory.

 

Nearly all major attempts at reduction of armaments and at stabilization of international finances went wrong.

 

Slowly it dawned upon mankind that it was caught in one of the worst moral crises the world had ever known.

 

It is natural enough that in many quarters the doubt arose as to whether the human mind had not changed.

 

It did not appear preposterous any more to assume that possibly there were peculiar psychological reasons for all these disquieting developments which otherwise could hardly be explained.

 

Many people wondered what psychology would have to say about the world situation.

 

Such questions, as a matter of fact, have often been put to me, and I must confess I always felt not only definitely uncomfortable but singularly

incompetent to give a satisfactory answer.

 

The subject is really too complicated. The predominant and immediate reasons for the crisis are factors of an economic and political nature.

 

Inasmuch as these are activities of the human mind they should be subject to certain psychological laws.

 

But the economic factors especially are not wholly psychological in character; they depend to a great extent on conditions that can hardly be linked up with psychology.

 

In politics on the other hand psychology seems to prevail, but there is an ultimate factor of numbers, of sheer force and violence, that corresponds to a caveman’s or an animal’s psychology rather than to anything human.

 

There is no psychology yet of such infinitely complex matters as economics or politics.

 

It is still quite question able whether there is any hope at all that psychology can be applied to things due to non-psychological factors.

 

I don’t consider myself competent to deal with the ultimate meaning of our world crisis.

 

There are certain sides to it, however, that possess a definitely psychological aspect, offering an opportunity for comment.

 

It seems to be within the reach of contemporary psychology to produce a certain point of view at least.

 

Before entering upon this subject I want to say a few words about psychology in general.

 

Having given you a short account of what I understand psychology consists of, let me turn now to our subject.

 

First of all a negative statement: I exclude from psychological consideration the strictly economic and political aspect of present-day events.

 

I am doing this because they are, partly at least, non-psychological.

 

Whatever the psychological reasons for the Great War may have been, they transcend my psychological competence.

 

I shall concern myself chiefly with the psychological situation brought about by the War.

 

That there is a so-called psychological situation at all appears to be borne out by a great number of phenomena which we have to call symptoms.

 

You call a certain phenomenon a symptom when it is obvious that it does not function as a logical means to an end but rather stands out as a mere result of chiefly causal conditions without any obvious purposiveness.

 

Thus the yellow colour of the skin in a case of jaundice is a phenomenon with no purposiveness and we therefore call it a symptom, as contrasted with the war-paint of a Red Indian which is a purposive part of the war ceremonial.

 

Or a man drives a nail into the wall and we ask him why he is doing it; if he answers that it is to hang his coat there, then what he does is purposive because it makes sense.

 

But if he answers that it is because he happened to hold a hammer and a nail in his hands, then his action is a symptom, or at least he wants.

 

Likewise we could imagine mass organizations without the Roman salute, lictor bundles, swastikas, neo-paganism, and other paraphernalia because our political parties as well as Standard Oil or Dutch Shell can do without them.

 

Therefore it appears to us as if such peculiarities were chiefly symptoms of a particular causal condition of the mind.

 

On the other hand we know that symbols and ceremonies mainly occur in religious organizations where it is indeed a matter of a peculiar mental state.

 

Of course if you are in that frame of mind you would not talk of symptomatology.

 

On the contrary, you would call those peculiarities purposive and meaningful, because to you they appear to serve a definite end.

 

As long as one is within a certain phenomenology one is not astonished and nobody wonders what it is all about.

 

Such philosophical doubt only comes to the man who is outside the game.

 

The countries where the most remarkable symptoms occur are chiefly those that have been actually at war and have therefore found themselves afterwards in a state of appalling misery and disorder.

 

I mean particularly Russia, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

 

No matter what the cause, misery is a definite psychological condition characterized by definite emotions, such as depression, fear, despair, insecurity, unrest, and resentments of every description.

 

Since our empirical psychology is based entirely on the experience of individual cases, our argument must necessarily start from the individual. This leads us to the question : What will an individual do when under the strain of acute misery?

 

 

There is a positive and a negative reaction to such a condition

 

  1. Positive. A greater effort is called forth. The individual will show more strength and will-power and will try to overcome the obstacle or the cause of misery through physical, intellectual, and moral effort. It will be an entirely conscious and rational attempt supported by all the means at an individual’s disposal.

 

If the strength of one individual is not sufficient he will seek the help of others; perhaps a greater number of individuals will form some sort of organization in order to remove the cause of suffering.

 

If such an ultimate attempt fails, or if an individual is too weak from the start to show fight, then a negative reaction takes place.

 

  1. Negative. Instead of suitable measures of defence, and instead of a concentration of energy, of efforts of the will, and of all the rational ways and methods applicable to such a condition, an emotional reaction will take place.

 

Emotional reaction always denotes an inferior adjustment.

 

This does not necessarily mean that likewise we could imagine mass organizations without the Roman salute, lictor bundles, swastikas, neo-paganism, and other  paraphernalia because our political parties as well as Standard Oil or Dutch Shell can do without them.

 

Therefore it appears to us as if such peculiarities were chiefly symptoms of a particular causal condition of the mind.

 

On the other hand we know that symbols and ceremonies mainly occur in religious organizations where it is indeed a matter of a peculiar mental state.

 

Of course if you are in that frame of mind you would not talk of symptomatology.

 

On the contrary, you would call those peculiarities purposive and meaningful, because to you they appear to serve a definite end.

 

As long as one is within a certain phenomenology one is not astonished and nobody wonders what it is all about.

 

Such philosophical doubt only comes to the man who is outside the game.

 

The countries where the most remarkable symptoms occur are chiefly those that have been actually at war and have therefore found themselves afterwards in a state of appalling misery and disorder.

 

I mean particularly Russia, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

 

No matter what the cause, misery is a definite psychological condition characterized by definite emotions, such as depression, fear, despair, insecurity, unrest, and resentments of every description.

 

Since our empirical psychology is based entirely on the experience of individual cases, our argument must necessarily start from the individual.

 

This leads us to the question : What will an individual do when under the strain of acute misery? There is a positive and a negative reaction to such a condition

 

  1. Positive. A greater effort is called forth. The individual will show more strength and will-power and will try to overcome the obstacle  or the cause of misery through physical, intellectual, and moral effort.

 

It will be an entirely conscious and rational attempt supported by all the means at an individual’s disposal.

 

If the strength of one individual is not sufficient he will seek the help of others; perhaps a greater number of individuals will form some sort of organization in order to remove the cause of suffering.

 

If such an ultimate attempt fails, or if an individual is too weak from the start to show fight, then a negative reaction takes place.

 

  1. Negative. Instead of suitable measures of defence, and instead of a concentration of energy, of efforts of the will, and of all the rational ways and methods applicable to such a condition, an emotional reaction will take place.

 

Emotional reaction always denotes an inferior adjustment.

 

This does not necessarily mean that shows certain specific achievements which add to his relative uniqueness.

 

On the other hand each individual is partly similar to any other, a fact that produces the aspect of human equality.

 

Thus individuals are like each other inasmuch as they have qualities in no way different from those of others, but unlike each other inasmuch as they develop qualities and achievements that cannot be compared with those of other people.

 

Whatever people have in common can accumulate in a group formation, but their individual achievements never accumulate—rather they extinguish each other.

 

Thus a large group, considered as one being, exhibits merely the traits common to all people but none of their individual achievements.

 

The traits common to all people consist chiefly of instinctual qualities; these are of a relatively primitive character and indubitably inferior in comparison with the mental level of most of the members of the group.

 

Thus a hundred intelligent people together make one hydrocephalus.

 

The psychology of masses is always inferior, even in their most idealistic enterprises.

 

The whole of a nation never reacts like a normal modern individual, but always like a primitive group being.

 

Therefore masses are never properly adjusted except on very primitive levels.

 

Their reactions belong to our second category—the negative form.

 

Man in the group is always unreasonable, irresponsible, emotional, erratic, and unreliable.

 

Crimes the individual alone could never stand are freely committed by the group being.

 

A society woman would rather die than appear at a dinner in an obscene dress, but if it were the fashion in the group she would not hesitate for a second to put on the most shocking monstrosity.

 

Think for a moment of the famous cul de Paris that embellished the youth of our older generation.

 

And men are no better. The larger an organization the lower its morality.

 

The leader of a great religious movement, when caught out in a lie, said, “Oh ! for Christ you may even lie.”

 

Nations being the largest organized groups are from a psychological point of view clumsy, stupid, and amoral monsters like those huge saurians with an incredibly small brain.

 

They are inaccessible to reasonable argument, they are suggestible like hysterical patients, they are childish and moody, helpless victims of their emotions.

 

They are caught in every swindle, called slogans, they are stupid to an amazing degree, they are greedy, reckless, and blindly violent, like a rhino suddenly aroused from sleep.

 

They persevere in every nonsense, in every emotion and resentment, in every prejudice, far beyond the psychological moment, and they get ensnared by the cheapest of all obvious tricks.

 

Most of the time they live in dreams and primitive illusions usually rigged out as “isms.”

As long as they can feed on open ground in an undisturbed way they are sleepy and harmless.

But if their food gets scarce and they begin to migrate and to encroach upon neighbouring territory, they resort to violence.

They are not to be convinced that human beings have evolved much better methods in many thousands of years and that these individual men believe in reason and intelligence.

Monster groups have a natural leaning to leaders.

But a leader always means a group within the nation, and such a group is more greedy and eats more than the other groups it leads.

And as all greedy monsters are jealous they get rid of their leaders and call the new condition a democracy, in which nobody rules and nobody is ruled.

The logic of this procedure closely resembles the story of the man who got stranded on an uninhabited island.

The first thing he did was an act of statesmanship : he called himself a democracy and consequently felt extraordinarily free and in full possession of all political rights.

Even a group being can’t help noticing that in living in a democracy you run your head against remarkably unintelligent restrictions of freedom, imposed upon each free, self-ruling citizen by an invisible, wholly legendary being called the “State.”

When a monster group first called itself a “democracy” it surely did not think that its former ruler, now dethroned, would turn into a ghost.

Yet he did. He became the State.

The State is the psychological mirror-image of the democracy monster. As the nation always rises as one man, the State is just as good as one man.

As a matter of fact it is quite a person, of unlimited means, more exacting than any tyrant ever was, greedy to the limit and biologically dangerous.

It, the State, is not like a Roman Caesar, enslaving prisoners of war on the lower strata of the population; it squeezes its contributions out of the most vital and most gifted individuals of its domain, making slaves of them for its own wasteful devices.

It does not know that energy only works when accumulated. Its energy is money.

It taps all carefully prepared and studied accumulations of this energy and dissipates it so that it becomes ineffectual, thereby causing an artificial entropy.

It seems that “democracy” was a suitable name only in the very youth of the State-ghost.

In order to support its boundless ambitions two brand-new “isms” had to be invented: Socialism and Communism.

They enhance its ultra-democratic character to an extraordinary degree: the man on the lonely island is now the communistic social democracy.

Together with these illusions goes another helpful procedure, the hollowing out of money, which in the near future will make all savings illusory and, along with cultural continuity, guaranteed by individual responsibility.

The State takes over responsibility and enslaves every individual for its own ridiculous schemes.

All this is done by what one calls inflation, devaluation, and, most recently, “dilution,” which you should not mix up with the unpopular term “inflation.”

Dilution is now the right word and only idiots can’t see the striking difference between this concept and inflation.

Money value is fast becoming a fiction guaranteed by the State.

Money becomes paper and everybody convinces everybody else that the little scraps are worth something because the State says so.

I am by no means sure that what T am saying is not fictitious too.

I don’t know exactly what has gone wrong, but I have a strong and most uncomfortable feeling that something has gone wrong and that it is even getting worse.

 

I am also certain that I am not the only one to experience such a queer feeling.

There must be hundreds of people who have lost their confidence in the direction in which things are apparently moving.

As group beings we are all befogged in the same way, but as individuals we might just as well apply as much of our psychiatric knowledge as seems to befit the peculiar symptomatology of our bewildering epoch.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we find the symptoms chiefly in those nations that have been mangled the most by the war beast.

There is for instance the German case.

As far back as 1918 I published a paper in which I called the attention of my contemporaries to an astounding development in the German edition of the collective unconscious.

I had caught hold of certain collective dreams of Germans which convinced me that they portrayed the beginning of a national regression analogous to the regression of a frightened and helpless individual, becoming first infantile and then primitive or archaic.

I saw Nietzsche’s “blond beast” looming up, with all that it implies.

I felt sure that Christianity would be challenged and that the Jews would be taken to account.

I therefore tried to start the discussion in order to forestall the inevitable violence of the unconscious outburst of which I was afraid—though not

enough, as subsequent events have unfortunately shown only too clearly.

 

I don’t need to say that I was not heard at all.

The fog of war-psychology was just too dense.

Germany was the first country to experience the miracles worked by democracy’s ghost, the State.

She saw her money becoming elastic and expanding to astronomical proportions and then evaporating altogether.

She experienced all in one heap what the ghosts of other democracies are trying to do to us in a sort of slow motion picture, probably hoping that nobody understands the eyewash.

Germany got it right in the neck and there was no joke about it.

The whole educated middle class was utterly ruined, but the State was on top, putting on more and more of the “-istic” rouge as war-paint.

The country was in a condition of extreme misery and insecurity, and waves of panic swept over the population.

In an individual case these are the symptoms of an oncoming outburst.

Any such outburst would bring up archaic material, archetypes that join forces with the individual as well as with the people.

There is some teleology about this: it creates strength where there was weakness, conviction instead of doubt, courage instead of fear.

But the energy needed to bring about such a transformation is taken away from many old values and the success gained is paid for dearly.

 

Such an outburst is always a regression into history and it always means a lowering of the level of civilization.

Through Communism in Russia, through National Socialism in Germany, through Fascism in Italy, the State became all-powerful and claimed its slaves body and soul.

Democracy became its own mirror-image, its own ghost, while the ghost became appallingly real, an all-embracing mystical presence and personality that usurped the throne a pious theocratic Christianity had hoped God would take.

The old totalitarian claim of the Civitas Dei is now voiced by the State: one sheep as good as another and the whole herd crowded together, guarded by plain-clothed and uniformed wolf-dogs, utterly deprived of all the rights which the man on the island who called himself a democracy had dreamt of.

There are no rights left, only duties.

Every source of energy, industry, commerce, money, even private enterprise, is sucked up into the new slave-owner, the State.

And a new miracle happened. Out of nowhere certain men came, and each of them said like Louis XIV, “L’etat c’est moi.”

They are the new leaders.

The State has proved its personal reality by incarnating itself in men that came from Galilee, inconspicuous nobodies previously, but equipped with the great spirit voice that cowed the people into soundless obedience.

They are like Roman Caesars, usurpers of empires and kingdoms, and like those incarnations of a previously invisible deity devoutly invoked and believed in by everybody.

They are the State that has superseded the medieval theocracy.

This process of incarnation is particularly drastic in Hitler’s case.

Hitler himself as an ordinary person is a shy and friendly man with artistic tastes and gifts.

 

As a mere man he is inoffensive and modest, and has nice eyes.

But he comes from Braunau, a little town that has already produced two famous mediums—the Schneider brothers. (Harry Price has written a book about one of them.)

Hitler is presumably the third and the most efficient medium from Braunau.

When the State-spirit speaks through him, he sends forth a voice of thunder and his word is so powerful that it sweeps together crowds of millions like fallen autumn leaves.

There is obviously no power left in the world and particularly no State-loving “-ism” which is capable of resisting this incredible force.

Of course you will say, as everybody does, “One must be a German to understand such miracles.”

Yes, this is just as true as that you must be an Italian to understand the mythology of the Fascio, or a Russian to appreciate the charms of Stalin’s paternal regime.

Of course you can’t understand those funny foreigners, Sir Oswald Mosley and Colonel de la Rocque being still babes in arms.

But if you carefully study what President Roosevelt is up to and what the famous N.R.A. meant to the world of American commerce and industry, then you get a certain idea of how near the great State in America is to becoming Roosevelt’s incarnation.

 

Roosevelt is the stuff all right, only the circumstances are not bad enough.

 

Great Britain seems to be pretty conservative, yet you have a taxation which makes the great estates uninhabitable.

 

That is exactly how things began in Italy.

 

You have devalued your money, this is the second step.

 

You could not stop the boastful march of Roman legions through the bottleneck of Suez, and Sir Samuel meekly and wisely took all the air out of that magnificent gesture of a proud British fleet adorning the entrance to Italy’s triumph.

 

This was the third step.

 

England comes perhaps so late into the paradise of a new age that she arrives there with many old-world values well preserved by sheer lack of interest.

 

Being Swiss I heartily sympathize with this attitude.

 

Knowing of nothing that would be better, we hang on to the rear of events and muddle along as we have been used to do for six hundred years.

 

We can’t imagine our dictator yet, but already an unfortunate majority believes in the mighty ghost to whom we have sacrificed all our railways and the gold standard on top of that.

 

The incarnation of the State-ghost is no mean affair.

 

It competes with famous historical parallels; it even challenges them.

 

Just as Christianity had a cross to symbolize its essential teaching, so Hitler has a swastika, a symbol as old and widespread as the cross.

 

And just as it was a star over Bethlehem that announced the incarnation of God, so Russia has a red star, and instead of the Dove and the Lamb a hammer and sickle, and instead of the sacred body a place of pilgrimage with the mummy of the first witness.

 

Even as Christianity challenged the Roman Imperium, enthroned ambitious Roman bishops as Pontifices Romani, and perpetuated the great Empire in the theocracy of the Church and the Holy Roman Empire, so the Duce has produced once more all the stage scenery of the Imperium which will soon reach from Ethiopia to the Pillars of Hercules as of old.

 

Again it is Germany that gives us some notion of the underlying archetypal symbolism brought up by the eruption of the collective unconscious.

 

Hitler’s picture has been erected upon Christian altars.

 

There are people who confess on their tombstones that they died in peace since their eyes had beheld not the Lord but the Fuhrer.

 

The onslaught on Christianity is obvious; it would not even need corroboration through a neo-pagan movement incorporating three million people.

 

This movement can only be compared with the archetypal material exhibited by a case of paranoid schizophrenia.

 

You find in neo-paganism the most beautiful Wotanistic symbolism, Indo-germanic speculation, and so on.

 

In North Germany there is a sect that worships Christ in the form of a rider on a white horse.

 

It does not go as far as collective hallucinations, though the waves of enthusiasm and even ecstasy are running high.

 

Nations in a condition of collective misery behave like neurotic or even psychotic individuals.

 

First they get dissociated or disintegrated, then they pass into a state of confusion and disorientation.

 

As it is not a question of psychotic disintegration in an individual case, the confusion affects mainly the conscious and subconscious layers but does not touch the fundamental instinctual structure of the mind, the collective unconscious.

 

On the contrary, the confusion in the top layers produces a compensatory reaction in the collective unconscious, consisting of a peculiar personality surrogate, an archaic personality equipped with superior instinctive forces.

 

This new constellation is at first completely unconscious, but as it is activated it becomes perceptible in the form of a projection.

 

It is usually the doctor treating a patient who unwittingly assumes the role of the projected figure.

 

The mechanism of this projection is the transference.

 

By transference the doctor appears in the guise of the father, for instance, as that personality who symbolizes superior power and intelligence, a guarantee of security and a protection against overwhelming dangers.

 

So long as the disintegration has not reached the deeper layers, the transference will not produce more than the projection of the father-image.

 

But once the confusion has stirred up these unknown depths, the projection becomes more collective and takes on mythological forms.

 

In this case the doctor appears as a sort of sorcerer or saviour.

 

With actively religious persons the doctor would be superseded by an activated image of Christ or by that of an invisible divine presence.

 

Mystical literature abounds in descriptions of such experiences.

 

You also find detailed records in William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience.

 

But if you observe the dreams of such patients you will find peculiar symbolic images, often long before the patients themselves become conscious of any so-called mystical experiences.

 

These images always show a specific pattern: they are circular or square, or like a cross or a star, or are composites of such elements.

 

The technical term I use for such figures is the mandala, the Sanskrit word for “circle.”

 

The corresponding medieval Latin term is the circulus quadratus or rosa.

 

In Hindu literature you also find the terms padma (lotus) and chakra, meaning the flowerlikecentres of different localizations of consciousness.

 

Because of its circular form the mandala expresses roundness, that is, completeness or integration.

 

In Tantrism and Lamaism it is used as an instrument of concentration and as a means of uniting the individual consciousness, the human ego-personality, with the superior divine personality of the non-ego, i.e., of the unconscious.

 

Mandalas often have the character of rotating figures.

 

One such figure is the swastika.

 

We may therefore interpret it as a projection of an unconscious collective attempt at the formation of a compensatory unified personality.

 

This unconscious attempt plays a great role in the general personification of the State.

 

It gives it its ghostlike quality and bestows upon it the faculty of incarnating itself in a human personality.

 

The almost personal authority and apparent efficiency of the State are, in a sense, nothing else than the unconscious constellation of a superior instinctual personality which compensates the obvious inefficiency of the conscious ego-personality.

 

When Nietzsche wrote his prophetic masterpiece, Thus Spake Zarathustra, he certainly had not the faintest notion that the superman he had created out of his personal misery and inefficiency would become a prophetic anticipation of a Fuhrer or Duce.

 

Hitler and Mussolini are more or less ordinary human beings, but ones who, curiously enough, assume that they themselves know what to do in a situation which practically nobody understands.

 

They seem to have the superhuman courage or the equally superhuman recklessness to shoulder a responsibility which apparently nobody else is willing or able to carry.

 

Only a superman could be entrusted with faculties that are equal to the difficulties of the actual situation.

 

But we know that mystical experience as well as identification with an archetypal figure lend almost superhuman force to the ordinary man.

 

Not in vain do the Germans call their Fuhrer “our Joan of Arc.”

 

He is very much the character that is open to unconscious influences.

 

I am told that Hitler locked himself in his room for three days and nights when his whole staff beseeched him not to leave the League of Nations.

 

When he appeared again he said without any explantion, “Gentlemen, Germany must leave the League.”

 

This story sounds as if German politics were not made but revealed.

 

Hitler’s unconscious seems to be female. Mussolini’s Latin and very masculine temperament does not allow a comparison with Hitler.

 

As an Italian he is imbued with Roman history, and indeed

 

in every gesture he betrays his identity with the Caesar.

 

It is most characteristic what rumour has to say about him. I am told—I don’t know whether there is any truth in it or not—that not very long ago he appeared at a reception in the Roman toga and the golden laurel wreath of the Caesar, creating a panic that could only be hushed up by the most drastic measures.

 

Even if this is a mere legend it shows beautifully how rumour interprets the Duce’s role.

 

Gossip is surely a bad thing, but I confess I always find it interesting because it is often the only means of getting information about a public figure.

 

Gossip does not need to be true in order to be of value.

 

Then if it gives an entirely twisted picture of a man, it clearly shows the way in which his persona, that is his public appearance, functions.

 

The persona is never the true character; it is a composite of the individual’s behaviour and of the role attributed to him by the public.

 

Most of the biography of a public figure consists of the persona’s history and often of very little individual truth.

 

Well, this is the penalty the man in the limelight has to pay!

 

It seems as if in nearly all the countries of Europe the gulf between the right and left wing were widening, in so far as these countries are not already Fascist.

 

It is so in Spain and it soon might be as obvious in France.

 

Since Socialism and Communism merely enhance the attributes of democracy, i.e., of a Constitution where there is a ruler without subjects and subjects without a ruler, they only serve to hollow out the meaning of Parliament, of government, of money, and of the so-called rights of the free citizen.

 

The only possible synthesis seems to be the eventual incarnation of the State ghostin a superman with all his mythological paraphernalia.

 

Recently Ramsay MacDonald made a very clear statement.

 

Speaking of the Labour Party he literally said: “Its members are a flock without a shepherd and with a plethora of sheep-dogs in disagreement with one another about the fold in which the flock should be penned. Is it not time for Labour policy to be realistic?

 

By its fumbling with the cardinal issues of defence and peace, it is casting doubt on the competence of democracy and playing straight into the hands of Fascism.

 

The problems of modern life are too urgent to remain the playthings of shortsighted partisans.”

 

It is doubtful whether the European nations would remain for any length of time in the chaotic disorder of the childish Communistic doctrine.

 

They rather revert to type, to a state of enforced order which is nothing else than dictatorship and tyrannical oligarchy.

 

At least this form has come to light even in sluggish Russia, where 170 million people are kept in order by a few million members of the Communist Party.

 

In Italy it is the Fascio, and in Germany the S.S. is fast on the way to becoming something like a religious order of knights that is going to rule a colony of sixty million natives.

 

In the history of the world there has never been a case where order was established with sweet reasonableness in a chaos.

 

Chaos yields only to enforced order.

 

In the dictator and his oligarchical hierarchy the State-ghost appears in the flesh.

 

Yet such statesmen are human beings who assume power over their fellow beings, and instantly the latter feel suppressed, which they did not feel as long as they were called democrats.

 

Of course this State slavery is just as bad as before, but now they remember they might have to say something political and are told to shut up.

 

Then they feel as if something dreadful had happened to them.

 

They don’t realize that whatever they talked about in the democracy was just as futile as anything they might talk about now.

 

It is true that democrats talk and socialists talk more and communists beat them all at talk.

 

It is just that sort of thing that has led them to disintegration, and that’s why in a condition of enforced order talk comes abruptly to an end.

 

Disorder is destructive. Order is always a cage.

 

Freedom is the prerogative of a minority and it is always based on the disadvantage of others.

 

Switzerland, the oldest democracy in the world, calls herself a free country because no foreigner ever enjoyed a liberty to her disadvantage until America and Great Britain went off the gold standard. Since then we have felt like victims.

 

Now we play the same trick on the other countries. that hold Swiss bonds (mind you, Switzerland is the third biggest banker in Europe!) and we

probably feel better for it.

 

But are we really free?

 

We are weak and unimportant and we try to be so; our style of life is narrow and our outlook hampered not only by ordinary hills but by veritable

mountains of prejudice against anything and everybody that exceeds our size.

 

We are locked in the cage of order and we enjoy just enough air not to suffocate.

 

We have one virtue yet: we are modest and our ambitions are small.

 

That is why we can stick to order and why we don’t believe much in talk.

 

But our freedom is exceedingly limited—fortunately enough. It may save us from a dictator.

 

In continental Europe today, I am afraid it is hardly a question of whether we are going to enjoy more freedom or less.

 

As a matter of fact things have gone so far that soon even the problem of freedom will be obsolete.

 

The question is rather that of “to be or not to be.”

 

The dilemma is now between chaos and enforced order.

 

Will there be civil war or not? — that is what we anxiously ask  the dark Fates of Europe.

 

I would like to quote here Miguel de Unamuno, one of those Spanish liberals who undermined the traditional order in the hope of creating greater freedom.

 

Here is his most recent confession:

 

“Times have changed. It is not any more a question of Liberalism and Democracy, Republic or Monarchy, Socialism or Capitalism. It is a question of civilization and barbarity. Civilization is now represented in Spain by General Franco’s Army.”

 

Compulsory order seems to be preferable to the terrors of chaos, at all events the lesser of two great evils. Orders, I am afraid, have to be heard in silence.

 

But there is a majority of people to whom it seems the most serious matter in the world when they can’t talk any more.

 

This appears to be the reason why even the most  dictatorships are eventually talked out of existence, and why the senseless and lamentable gamble of politics is meandering its way through history a sad comedy to the thinking mind and to the feeling heart.

 

If we are stumbling into an era of dictators, Caesars, and incarnated States, we have accomplished a cycle of two thousand years and the serpent has again met with its own tail.

 

Then our era will be a near replica of the first centuries a.d., when Caesar was the State and a god, and divine sacrifices were made to Caesar while the temples of the gods crumbled away.

 

You know that thousands in those days turned their eyes away from this visible world, filled with horror and disgust, and adopted a philosophy which healed their souls.

 

Since history repeats itself and the spiral of evolution seemingly returns to the point where it took off, there is a possibility that mankind is approaching an epoch when enough will be said about things which are never what we wish them to be, and when the question will be raised why we were ever interested in a bad comedy. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 567-581

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