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371 Enigma

Undiscovered Self

It is astounding that man, the instigator, inventor and vehicle of all these developments, the originator of all judgments and decisions and the planner of the future, must make himself such a quantité négligeable.

The contradiction, the paradoxical evaluation of humanity by man himself, is in truth a matter for wonder, and one can only explain it as springing from an extraordinary uncertainty of judgment – in other words, man is an enigma to himself.

This is understandable, seeing that he lacks the means of comparison necessary for self-knowledge.

He knows how to distinguish himself from the other animals in point of anatomy and physiology, but as a conscious, reflecting being, gifted with speech, he lacks all criteria for self-judgment.

He is on this planet a unique phenomenon which he cannot compare with anything else.

The possibility of comparison and hence of self-knowledge would arise only if he could establish relations with quasi-human mammals
inhabiting other stars.

Until then man must continue to resemble a hermit who knows that in respect of comparative anatomy he has affinities with the anthropoids but, to judge by appearances, is extraordinarily different from his cousins in respect of his psyche.

It is just in this most important characteristic of his species that he cannot know himself and therefore remains a mystery to himself.

The differences of degree within his own species are of little significance compared with the possibilities of self-knowledge which would be occasioned by an encounter with a creature of similar structure but different origin.

Our psyche, which is primarily responsible for all the historical changes wrought by the hand of man on the face of this planet, remains an insoluble puzzle and an incomprehensible wonder, an object of abiding perplexity – a feature it shares with all Nature’s secrets.

In regard to the latter we still have hope of making more discoveries and finding answers to the most difficult questions.

But in regard to the psyche and psychology there seems to be a curious hesitancy.

Not only is it the youngest of the empirical sciences, but it has great difficulty in getting anywhere near its proper object. ~Carl Jung, Undiscovered Self, Page 31-32