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The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 17: The Development of Personality
What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise out of unconscious identity with the
mass as out of a swathing mist?
Not necessity, for necessity comes to many, and they all take refuge in convention.
Not moral decision, for nine times out of ten we decide for convention likewise.
What is it, then, that inexorably tips the scales in favour of the extra-ordinary.
It is what is commonly called vocation: an irrational factor that destines a man to emancipate himself from
the herd and from its well-worn paths.
True personality is always a vocation and puts its trust in it as in God, despite its being, as the ordinary man
would say, only a personal feeling.
But vocation acts like a law of God from which there is no escape.
“The fact that a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing…
He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths…
There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set
apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing.
In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off
by impenetrable prejudices. “You are no different from anybody else,” they will chorus or, “there’s no such thing,”
and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as “morbid”…
He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. “His
own law!” everybody will cry.
But he knows better: it is the law…The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization–absolute and unconditional–of its own particular law…
To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being…he has failed to realize his own life’s meaning.
The undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche; classical Chinese philosophy names this interior way “Tao,” and likens it to a flow of water that moves irresistibly towards its goal.
To rest in Tao means fulfillment wholeness, one’s destination reached, one’s mission done; the beginning, end, and perfect realization of the meaning of existence innate in all things.” Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 299