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Is there a moral issue involved in individuation?

999 typology

Jung’s Typology

Question: Is there a moral issue involved in individuation? Is it a question of perfection in a strictly moral sense?

Von Franz: The process of individuation is an ethical problem, and someone without any morality would get stuck right at the beginning. But the word “perfection” is not appropriate.

That is a Christian ideal that does not quite coincide with our experience of the process of individuation. Jung says that the process seems not to tend towards perfection but towards completeness.

This means, I think, that you cannot get the thing up to the upper level (of the diagram), but you have to come down, and that means a relative lowering of the level of the personality.

If you are in the middle, the one side is not as dark and the other not quite as bright, and there is more a tendency to constitute a kind of completeness that is neither too light nor too dark.

But one has to sacrifice a certain amount of striving for moral perfection in order to avoid building up too black a counter-position. It is ethical, but not idealistic.

One has to give up the illusion that one can produce something perfect in the human realm.  ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Jung’s Typology, Page 124-124

Question: How does the inferior function connect with the collective evil?

Von Franz: As long as you do not really get into this stage there remains what I call the devil in the corner.

This is only the personal devil, the personal inferiority of an individual, but with it collective evil comes in as well.

The little open door of each individual’s inferior function is what contributes to the sum of collective evil in the world. You could observe that very easily in Germany when the devil slowly took over the situation in the Nazi movement.

Every German I knew at that time who fell for Nazism did so on account of his inferior function.

The feeling type got caught by the stupid arguments of the party doctrine; the intuitive type got caught by his dependence on money.

He could not give up his job and did not see how he could deal with the money problem, so he had to stay in it despite the fact that he did not agree, and so on.

The inferior function was in each personal realm the door where some of this collective evil could accumulate.

Or, you could say that each one who had not worked on his inferior function contributed to this general disaster – in a small way – but the sum of millions of inferior functions constitutes an enormous devil!

Propaganda against the Jews was very cleverly made up in that respect. For example, the Jews were insulted as being destructive intellectuals, which completely convinced all the feeling types – a projection of inferior thinking.

Or they were accused of being reckless moneymakers; that completely convinced the intuitive, for they were his inferior sensation, and now one knew where the devil was.

The propaganda used the ordinary  suspicions that people had against others on account of their inferior function.

So you can say that behind each individual the fourth function is not just a little kind of deficiency; the sum of these is really responsible for a tremendous amount of trouble. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Jung’s Typology, Page 122-123


Question: Would you say that propaganda is mainly a field for the inferior function?


Von Franz: Yes, if it is the type of propaganda that is built up with the object of engendering emotion. Someone practicing such a low type of propaganda would know that it is not by reasonable talk that one gets the masses but by arousing emotion. Emotion can be aroused in everyone at the same time if you bring up the inferior function, because as I said before, that is the emotional function. Therefore, if you speak to intellectuals you must arouse primitive feelings! If you speak to university professors, you must not use scientific language because in that field their minds are clear and they will see through all the snares in your speech. If you want to get a lie across, you must substantiate your lie with a lot of feeling and emotion. Since university professors will on the average have inferior feeling, they will fall for that at once. Hitler had the art of doing this. His speeches show that he talked quite differently to different groups, and he knew very well how to wake up the inferior function. A man who had been present at several of his speeches told me that he did it through his intuition, by feeling his way into the situation. At times, Hitler would at first be quite uncertain. He would try out his themes like a pianist, mentioning a little of this and a little of that. He would be pale and nervous, and his SS men would get all worked up because the Führer did not seem to be in form. But he was just trying out the ground. Then he would notice that if he brought up a particular subject, it would arouse emotion, so then he would just go full tilt for that! That’s the demagogue. When he feels that inferior side, he knows where the complexes are, and that is what he goes for. One must argue in a primitive, emotional way, the way in which the inferior function would argue. Hitler did not think that out. It was the fact that he was caught in his own inferiority, which gave him that talent. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Jung’s Typology, Page 124-125