Current Position:Index-The Ethics of Individuation, the Individuation of Ethics

The Ethics of Individuation, the Individuation of Ethics

Author:Murray Stein       2014-04-11 Font:S M L


The Ethics of Individuation, the Individuation of Ethics

Murray Stein, Ph.D.


    Jungwas fond, as we know from many reports of his students, of the rain-maker storytold by Richard Wilhelm in a lecture at the Psychological Club of Zurich in theearly 1920’s. The story, as retold by Jung in a seminar, has it that inWilhelm’s city, Qingdao, on the northern coast of China, there had been a longdry spell and all the crops were failing for lack of rain. The people werefacing starvation. In desperation, they performed the religious rites theyknew: the “Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and theChinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of thedrought, but with no result. Finally the Chinese said, ‘We will fetch therain-maker.’” So they sent a message to another part of the country asking forhis services. Eventually a “dried up old man appeared. The only thing he askedfor was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in forthree days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a greatsnow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusualamount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker thatWilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.” When asked, the old man said: “Icome from another country where things are in order. Here they are out oforder, they are not as they should be in the ordinance of heaven. Therefore thewhole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of thingsbecause I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I wasback in Tao and then naturally the rain came.”[1] Itwas quite simple. He put himself in order, and this put his surrounding worldin order. And this brought into play what the community needed to thrive. Junguses this story to illustrate the phenomenon of synchronicity.

    Underscoring the magical (i.e., synchronistic) element in Confucianphilosophy, Herbert Fingarette, in his work Confucius – The Secular asSacred, quotes from the Analects of Confucius the following: “Shun,the great sage-ruler, ‘merely placed himself gravely and reverently with hisface due South (the ruler’s ritual posture); that was all’ (i.e., and the affairsof his reign proceeded without flaw). (15:4).” The ritual gesture, in otherwords, resolves issues at the personal, social, and cosmic levels. When theruler is personally in good balance and order, the kingdom will prosper.Fingarette goes on to say: “The magical element always involves great effectsproduced effortlessly, marvelously, with an irresistible power that is itselfintangible, invisible, unmanifest. ‘With correct comportment, no commands arenecessary, yet affairs proceed.’ (13:6) ‘The character of a noble man is likewind, that of ordinary men like grass; when the wind blows the grass must bend’(12:19) ‘To govern by te is to be like the North Polar Star; it remainsin place while all the other stars revolve in homage about it.’ (2:1)”[2]

     The idea here is that the individual(especially the extraordinary individual, for there is a strong element ofelitism in these messages from Confucius) has the capacity to affect societyand the cosmos (for good or ill) because the individual, society, and thecosmos are intimately connected parts of a single unified overarching reality.[3]This implies that personal individuation has a profoundly ethical dimension anddoes not exist in isolation and apart from the greater whole. If an individualachieves harmony at a personal level – that is, finds a way to reconcile thepsyche’s warring opposites within and thereby approaches the goal ofindividuation – this brings order and harmony (Tao) as well to the surroundingsocial and natural worlds. Conversely, if an individual promotes splitting,disorder, and chaos at a personal level, this will have a deleterious effect onthe surrounding world. John Donne’s famous words, “No man is an island,” mustbe kept in mind in any discussion of individuation. Individuation impliesethical behavior in the highest sense, in that it fosters general well-beingfor the community and the natural world, not only for the individual. Withoutthis connection to community and cosmos, individuation could be seen as simplythe pursuit of individual self-interest and fulfillment at the expense of therest of society. It would be a narcissistic self-indulgence and could be thuscalled seriously into question on ethical grounds. In this other understanding,there is no inherent conflict between individuation and ethics. They are twostrands woven tightly around a single central axis, the Self, personal andcollective.

   From teachings and stories such as these we could conclude that theindividuation process, which means in its most general sense living inconscious relation to the dynamics of the Self, coincides by happy coincidencewith proper conduct (moral and ethical behavior) in the deepest sense, and thisharmonization of individual and collective needs has beneficial synchronisticeffects in the surrounding world of society and nature. This view places greatresponsibility, as well as awesome power, in the hands of the individual.

   At a more immediate level of experience, however, people who strugglewith individuation issues concretely in daily life generally do not see soclearly that there exists such a smooth harmony between their individuationchoices and the moral order. Quite often, in fact, these two areas of concernseem to diverge radically, the one asking for individual choice andresponsibility and the other demanding conformity to social rules and customs.Generally speaking, no individuation process proceeds very far without steppingon or beyond the mores and customs of the collective one lives in. The conformistis not an individuating personality. So does individuation not, then, defymoral standards at certain points? Is there not an inherent conflict betweenthem?

    I wish to consider two questions that have to do with the relationbetween individuation and ethics. First, does ethics play a vital and crucialrole in the individuation process as depicted in Analytical Psychology andencountered in analysis? And second, does individuation play a role in theelaboration of ethics? I am assuming that both individuation and ethics areopen and dynamic processes, not static and fixed programs. Individuationunfolds over the course of a person’s lifetime and is full of ambiguities,false pathways, and contradictory tendencies. Ethics is not primarily aboutfollowing concrete rules and codes but rather about reflection on action from amoral perspective. Both involve an ongoing human endeavor to incarnate morefully the archetypal Self as it presents itself in a particular time and place,individual or cultural. The interesting thing is to see how they intersect,challenge each other, and ultimately enhance each other.

    For psychology, individuation means in the first instance becomingconscious of who and what one is - and is not. It means recognizing one’sdistinctiveness and uniqueness on the one hand (the “I” as center ofconsciousness) and one’s deep embeddedness and participation in the universal,archetypal, and generally human order on the other. This is one’s selfhood or,said another way, one’s “whatness” or “thatness,” that is, one’s individual“truth.” As we know, consciousness of this does not come about as aonce-and-for-all “aha,” but rather unfolds unevenly throughout life.Individuation is not a matter of settling on a discrete identity and staying withthat for life. In fact, conscious identity is fluid and changes profoundly asone ages. Individuation attempts to embrace as much as possible of the wholepersonality (the Self), in all of its complexity, and its lived manifestations.One continues to discover new facets of the psyche, personal and collective, aslong as one exists.

    This project of making conscious who and what one is as an individual isimpossible without living through a wide and varied range of life experiences.Individuation is not approached, much less arrived at, simply by introspectionand reflection on life-in-general. It comes about through living a specificlife that draws forth many, if not all, of one’s potentials as a human being,including shadow potentials, and then reflecting on these experiences anddiscovering in them the features that we name as persona, shadow, anima andanimus, complex, archetypal patterns and images, and so forth.

    At every important step of the way along this path of individuationethical questions comes into play. Individuation calls for many decisions, andwhat decision of any importance is free of ethical problems? Questions offairness, justice, adequate object relations, duty to self and others playacross and through every major decision one takes. Sometimes the answers tothese questions are quite straightforward and easily discovered by checking amoral code or by considering conventional rules governing behavior in aspecific society or cultural setting. Since many people have trodden thesepaths before, a body of reflection and conscious deliberation is available. Onecan ask the pastor or the rabbi for advice. In some cases, however, the ruleeither does not apply or does not satisfy the need of individuation.Individuation irrationally (it seems) demands going beyond or outside of theconventional.  In order to live one’sauthentic life, one must occasionally strike out on one’s own and take personalresponsibility for one’s unconventional actions. The pressure for individuationcomes from within, and this movement can and often does come into conflict withwhat the surrounding social milieu advocates or condones. One reaches thispoint typically when one has more or less satisfied social expectations andfound them falling short, unsatisfying, or detrimental to one’s fulfillment ofimportant needs and desires. The fit between individual and collective isimperfect at best, and often social norms are too restricting, beside thepoint, or detrimental to health. Here individuation requires breaking suchpatterns and customs and violating cultural or religious proscriptions. Thismay be due to a realization that the culture is out of order and that its rulesand customs seem, if anything, unethical and immoral from another, more individualstandpoint.[4] At any rate, there com3esa moment when an inner demand is not satisfied by conventional patterns ofattitude and behavior. Individuation demands something that society does notoffer freely and without a price.[5]

    Individuals typically reach a critical perspective on social custom andmores long before society at large does, and community values lag behindsometimes by decades and generations. Racism and sexism, for example, were (andare still) condoned in many areas of the world, and the individual whoquestions these or forms relationships outside of these norms must be preparedto take a great deal of abusive reaction that is collectively approved andsometimes violently enforced. The upholders of moral standards are notgenerally known for their mercy and understanding.

    At this stage of individuation, the moral compass is not an externalone. One cannot consult a book or another person and take their advice.Society, culture, and religion may join forces to oppose a specific movement ina person’s individuation process. The problem of orientation and decision nowfalls squarely upon the individual. It is the individual who must takeresponsibility for an answer to the question, “yes or no,” without support fromcultural or religious tradition, collective consensus, or generally agreed uponnorms. Even if one agrees with Jung when he writes, “morality as such is auniversal attribute of the human psyche,”[6]this does not mean that the details are covered or that an appeal to moralitywill keep the police at bay. Only the general principle underlying morality –justice – is archetypal, but what to do in concrete cases and how to apply thearchetypal sense of morality are not givens. The case for social justice can beargued in many directions and with many different outcomes. The individual mustdecide on a particular interpretation in a specific case.

    Perhaps in moments of crisis like this, one intuits or senses theguidance of a “higher law” or a “daimon” – an archetypal presence based on animage of justice or balance – that offers some perspective or suggestions. Eventhis, however, is often of little assistance in specific cases. One maytherefore easily shrink back and refuse to take a decision indefinitely,sinking into a state of confusion and uncertainty. The moral imperative behindconscience may cry out for an answer, but one cannot reconcile the warringopposites within. One voice says “Yea,” the other “Nay,” and the result is astalemate.

    This is the critical moment that Jung alludes to several times in hislate essay, “A Psychological View of Conscience.” He speaks there of “conflictsof duties,” when one option cancels out the other and both sides claim thefavor of Kant’s Categorical Imperative.[7]While one result may be stalemate and stagnation, a more dangerous possibilitycan emerge instead, that of “possession” by an archetypal power, which promisesa way forward, a “higher road,” a “destiny” and absolute certainty. At firstthis looks like a God-given answer to the problem of insoluble conflict: the voxDei[8],an elevated kind of individual conscience, it seems has intervened and offersguidance. One begins to feel that a “higher power” is leading the way, that oneis being directed by an irrational numinous presence that knows the wayforward. Generally this conviction induces radical inflation and leads to blinddisregard for others’ views and interests. Other people get treated as meansand their interests are not considered as valuable in and of themselves. Thisis a type of conscience that Jung aptly calls a “wrong” conscience: “besidesthe ‘right’ kind of conscience there is a ‘wrong’ one, which exaggerates,perverts, and twists evil into good and good into evil … and it does so withthe same compulsiveness and with the same emotional consequences as the ‘right’kind of conscience.”[9]Many of the most destructive individuals are firmly convinced in the rightnessof their actions because they are in a state of possession by an archetypalimage or idea that inflates them and draws them and others behind themunwittingly and blindly into the deepest realms of shadowy politics in the nameof a “higher vision”. And their destructiveness is backed by “conscience,” thatis, by a firm inner conviction of correctness, rightness, and mission[10].One thinks of the dedicated Nazis who believed completely and sincerely in the“ideals” of the Third Reich and in the justice of their racist cause, or of thereligious fundamentalist terrorists in our own time.[11]

    This type of “wrong conscience” can easily come into play in the livesof individuals as they endeavor to take seriously their deepest psychologicaltrends and tendencies and seek to individuate. It colludes with the ego’s needto defend itself from criticism. When individuation steps out of the collectiveparadigms of convention, it runs the risk of falling into a state of possessionby an archetypal figure that enlists the vox Dei on its behalf. Thisoffers a marvelous rationale against feeling the guilt that inevitably occurswhen one violates social mores and the conventional values of society.Conscience becomes inverted and then arrogantly dismisses the mores andcustoms of society as inferior to one’s much “higher” viewpoint.[12]Taken in by this inflation, one feels freed of all external rules and moralcodes, superior to them, beyond their reach, like a Nietzschean superman whohas risen “beyond good and evil.” Here a degraded kind of ethical reflection,sponsored by “wrong conscience,” is engendered within consciousness and beginsto speak, in the name of the daemonic vision, for an “ethical view” thatsupports the inflated ego.

    At this point, ethics has lost its relation to Tao and leads itsadherents on a twisted path into a moral desert. In fact, at this point ethicshas been taken hostage by archetypal possession and becomes a voice for thedemonic god in charge. Now it seems to be one’s ethical duty to follow thisgod’s injunctions to the bitter end and at any cost. Whether instilled by ademonic social order or by individual identification with an archetypal imageor idea, this amounts to a state of corruption and bondage in which the ego hasno access to the Self. This is a profound state of moral confusion depicted bythe great Gnostic text, The Gospel of Truth, as a nightmare.[13]

    The psychological answer to this state of inflation and confusion isfurther individuation. Individuation in its first and decisive movement –separation - demands taking distance from all identities and identifications,be they ever so numinous and convincing. The inflated “mana personality” is notthe individuated human being, even though he usually will pose as such.[14]At such a juncture, the individuation imperative calls for resistance to theidentification that is responsible for inflation and its consequent “wrongconscience”; instead it reaches for more decisive separation, distance, andindependent reflection. Here I can see the rain-maker wisely stepping apartfrom the collective and going into his hut where in solitude he may take stock,achieve some distance, reflect, and reconnect to Tao.

    One can say that individuation here speaks for a “higher ethics,” for anethical reflection that does not submit to distracting and inflating archetypalpatterns, images, values or ideas, but stands apart and retains the capacity tojudge the gods. Rising above them and beyond them, the Self, as represented inthe idea of Tao and also by mythic figures of supreme detachment and balancelike the Egyptian Goddess Maat and the Greek Goddess Themis, backs this notionof a higher ethics[15].The severe ethics of individuation rises above the moral codex of thecommunity, past adherence to the vox Dei, and beyond all other forms ofidentification with collective voices, politics, rules, images, or religiousconvictions, and reflectively ponders the situation under the protection andauspices of the archetypal and uncontaminated image of Tao (the Self).[16]

    This introduces the second great movement of individuation[17]:  The integration of (not identification with)a transcendent archetypal image following upon separation from all priordistorting and inflating identities and identifications. It is by this meansthat the rain-maker brings himself into order and harmony with Tao. He separates(goes into a hut at the edge of the village), and there he connects inwardly tothe archetype of unity and order (Tao), not however by identifying himself withit and getting inflated with its numinous power. He brings himself intoalignment with the Tao.

    In this double movement of individuation – separation and integration -one can discover also a potential for the further individuation of ethicsitself. By individuation of ethics, I mean the further incarnation of thearchetypal idea of Justice, a transcendent moral order.[18]Since this requires the extension and elaboration of ethical reflection interritories and fields where it has not been considered before, especially withregard to individual situations and differences as well as to novel culturalmovements, experience teaches that this work is best done within communitiesand by people skilled in this kind of reflection. The elaboration of ethics isa fully conscious undertaking, although its initial impetus and deepestgrounding are usually unconscious and archetypal. Practically speaking, it iswell nigh impossible for the involved individual to attain the necessaryobjectivity required for this type of complex ethical reflection. The moralarchetype (Justice), raised to consciousness in community by individuals andbrought into reflection by many people upon unique and new situations, canthereby reach further incarnation in new and specific areas of experience andapplication. This becomes a matter of urgent importance when individual and cultural/socialdevelopments critically outstrip collective consciousness and bring into viewspheres of human activity where ethical considerations and viewpoints have notbeen elaborated yet.

    This was the case, for example, with respect to psychoanalysis andpsychotherapy in the early years of the 20th Century, when the kindsof relationship developed within these contexts were new and unfamiliar. Ittook several decades until ethics caught up and elaborated detailed codes ofconduct for therapists that took into the account the nuances and subtleties oftransference and countertransference, areas of psychological sensitivity andvulnerability that had not been considered before. Dual and multiplerelationships had to be noticed and reflected upon from the viewpoint ofanalytic understandings of transference. In recent decades, ethical codes andguidelines have emerged to cover these novel situations, to insure fairtreatment of patients in the sensitive positions they experience duringpsychotherapy.[19]

    On a broader social scale in our time, at least in Western cultures, therise and advancement of feminism, consensual and long-term homosexualrelationships, and medical advances (such as those having to do with extensionof life under dire circumstances, assisted pregnancy, genetic engineering,etc.) have engendered profound reflections and debates on ethical issuesinvolved and implied. These reflections are on-going and far from complete. Allrevolve around questions of individuation and responsibility to self andothers, the focal issue being Justice (sometimes stated as Human Rights).Cultural values also play a role, but in the long run they are less decisivethan the archetypal Idea of Justice and the pressure to incarnate it more fullyinto cultural life.

    Finally, I will say a few words about synchronicity in relation toindividuation and the phenomenon of conscience, to pick up on the magicalelement mentioned earlier in relation to the rain-maker story. Jung noted, ordiscovered, that a strongly constellated archetypal pattern is oftenaccompanied by synchronistic events. Since the process of individuationtypically brings archetypal energies powerfully into play as it passes throughimportant phases – the stages of transformation – synchronicity accompanies it.When individuation passes beyond the boundaries of social and collective norms,the archetypal factor of conscience is constellated. This may, however, notmake a mark on consciousness. If the voice of conscience (the so-called voxDei) is repressed or simply remains unconscious for some defensive reason,it affects a person unconsciously – dreams, compulsive symptoms, etc.[20] –and can also touch upon psychoid levels and thereby engender psychosomatic andother synchronistic phenomena.[21]On the other hand, if the voice of conscience is registered and deeply feltwithin, conscious reflection can bring Justice to bear in the form of guilt ona psychological level, and this may decrease the probability of synchronicity.In any event, restitution must be made in order for Justice to be satisfied,otherwise psychosomatic and other synchronistic phenomena remain strongcandidates for bringing Justice to bear on the guilty individual.

    For people who individuate to an important extent and move out beyondthe fringes of the collective moral code, the penalty is inevitably an amountof guilt on this account. In the end, they may feel compelled to repay societyand the collective an equal benefit for the freedom they have seized to gobeyond its boundaries. They recognize an obligation to give back to others andto the community. Many great charities and foundations have come about throughthis motivation. The people whose individuation have brought them excessivewealth, whether on account of their greed, their brilliant gifts, or theirsimple good fortune, often feel a responsibility to put money back into theservice of humanity. Intimations of Justice demand it.[22]As Jung expresses in a lecture titled “Adaptation, Individuation,Collectivity,” the individuating person “must bring forth values which are anequivalent substitute for his absence in the collective personal sphere.Without this production of values, final individuation is immoral.”[23]Contributing something of equal value back to the human community serves toresolve the feeling of immorality that often attaches to individuation.

    Put in a more positive light, individuation may also contribute to awider state of well-being synchronisitically. By entering consciously into a relation with the archetypal energies ofbalance and order in the Self, like the Chinese rain-maker apparently did,individuals may also touch upon psychoid levels that produce healingpsychosomatic and objective results. Synchronistically, they may engender aprocess that instills order and harmony in the surrounding world. To avoid theenormous power problem and the potential for inflation in this, they arecompelled to say, like the Chinese rain-maker, that they are not responsible.They are doing nothing. The energy just appears and does its own work.

    In summary, at many points and stages of individual and collectiveindividuation, the moral codex suffices to guide choices and decisions becausemany people have been in the same territory before and have brought ethicalreflection to bear on the issues involved in individuation. One can learn fromtheir experience and follow suit without harm or damage to individuation. Herethe internalization of moral rules and ethics codes and guidelines suffices tosupport the decisions needed. The specific directives within what Freud calledthe super-ego[24] and Jung wrote of as themoral aspect of conscience (as distinct from the ethical) suffice until onereaches a decision point that produces a “conflict of duties” or demands achoice that contradicts the conventions and rules as stated by society. It iswhen individuation demands going beyond or outside of the received moral codesand ethical wisdom that conscience intervenes and brings about the need forconscious reflection on where the individuation impulse is tending. Thequestion then is: is Justice being served in another sense? Will this violationset things right in another direction and serve a more valuable purpose thansheer conformity would? Often, too, this is precisely where ethics needs toevolve, develop, and take new steps on the way to its own furtherindividuation. In these cases, the ethics of individuation and theindividuation of ethics move forward in tandem, although the lived experienceis difficult, often packed with guilt and anxiety, and fraught with the dangerof inflation. The elaboration of the archetype of Justice, an expression of theSelf, continues as human individuals and cultures evolve, change, and enterinto new and unfamiliar areas.



Fingarette, H. 1972. Confucius – TheSecular as Sacred. New York: Harper Torchbooks.

Jung, C.G. 1918. “Adaptation,Individuation, Collectivity,” in Collected Works 18, pars.

       1084– 1106. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.

________. 1930 – 1934. Visions. Notes ofthe Seminar give in 1930-1934. (Edited by

Claire Douglas,in Two Volumes. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

________. 1958. “A Psychological View ofConscience,“ in CW 10, pars. 825-857.

Kenny, A. 1994. “Decartes to Kant,” in TheOxford History of Western Philosophy

(edited byAnthony Kenny). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lear, J. 2005. Freud. New York &London: Routledge.

Neumann, E. 1949. Depth Psychology and aNew Ethic. (tr. By Eugene Rolfe). With a

Foreword by C.G.Jung. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1969.

Solomon, H. 2004. “The ethical attitude inanalytic training and practice,” in Analytical

Psychology:Contemporary Perspectives in Jungian Analysis(edited by Joseph

Cambray andLinda Carter). Hove and new York: Routledge.

Stein, M. 1993. Solar Conscience/LunarConscience. Wilmette,IL.: Chiron Publications.

______. 1995. ”The Gnostic Critique, Pastand Present,” in The Allure of Gnosticism

(edited by RobertSegal). Chicago: Open Court.

______. 2006. The Principle ofIndividuation. Wilmette,IL.: Chiron Publications.






[1] Visions, Vol. 1, p. 333. This paragraph is repeated in CW14, par. 604, n. 211.

[2] Fingarette, Confucius – The Secular as Sacred, p. 4.

[3] Plato also portrayed such a state of harmony pertaining amongindividual, society, and cosmos : “An ancient ethical theory like Plato’s Republicargued that a just person in a just society should be understood as a personwith a harmoniously structured psyche located in a harmoniously ordered societywhich itself was located in a harmoniously ordered cosmos. The idea thatharmony went all the way down and all the way up gave a sense of purpose – andthus comfort – to human life.” (Lear, Freud, p.197)


[4] For an historical instance of this, I refer the reader to ErikErikson’s Gandhi’s Truth.

[5] Tolstoy masterfully depicts such a situation in his great novel, AnnaKarinina.

[6] “A Psychological View of Conscience,” in CW 10, par. 833.

[7] “I must never act except in such a way that I can also will that mymaxim should become a universal law” (Kenny, p. 191)

[8] This is Jung’s favored term for conscience.

[9] Ibid., par. 835.

[10] The great political revolutions of the 18th, 19th,  and 20th Centuries offer vividexamples of this sort of excess.

[11] Jung illustrates this point in his essay as follows: “… theprimitive form of conscience is paradoxical: to burn a heretic is on the onehand a pious and meritorious act – as Juhn Hus himself ironically recognizedwhen, bound to the stake, he espied an old woman hobbling towards him with abundle of faggots, and exclaimed, ‘O sanct simplicitas!’ – and on the otherhand a brutal manifestation of ruthless and savage lust for revenge” (CW10, par. 845).

[12] Jung discusses this in CW 7 under the heading of the “manapersonality.”

[13] See my commentary on this text, “The Gnostic Critique, Past andPresent.”

[14] See CW 7, para. 378-79.

[15] For a discussion of these figures in relation to conscience, see mybook Solar Conscience/Lunar Conscience.

[16] This is what, I believe, Erich Neumann was seeking to describe inhis brilliant work, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic. He was trying toresolve the problem of Evil by including a reflection on its inner realitywithin the context of individuation, instead of splitting off the shadow,rejecting it, and then projecting it on to others and attacking them.

[17] See Chapter One of my book, The Principle of Individuationfor an account of this double movement.

[18] This is not the place to go into a discussion of the ground ofethics. From a psychological viewpoint, however, it is sufficient to say thatethics is grounded in an archetypal aspect of the psyche. Ethics is not simplya set of rules made up at random by communities for the purpose of producingconformity and securing social structures. Social customs and mores are oftenchallenged by ethical reflection, which bases itself on the intuitions andimages initially offered by the transcendent archetypal Idea of Justice andlater spelled out in more specific rules and norms.

[19] See Hester Solomon’s paper, “The ethical attitude in analytictraining and practice,” for the best contemporary Jungian statement on thispoint.

[20] Jung opens his essay on conscience with a similar case of repressedconscience and resulting dreams. I once had a patient whose husband wascompelled to make a deathbed confession of his various adulteries because ofnightmares he was having of going to hell and being tortured there for hissins. He was a completely non-religious Jew who nevertheless experienced aCatholic Hell in his nightmares. After his confession, the nightmares stopped.Jung opens his essay on conscience with a similar case of repressed conscienceand resulting dreams.

[21] As an aside, it can be assumed that criminals who are unconsciousof their guilt are likely to constellate the archetype of Justice, which willbring the justice system synchronistically (and aggressively) into their world.The Greeks called this avenging angel Nemesis.

[22] One thinks of the Americans like John D. Rockefeller, AndrewCarnegie, and more recently Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

[23] CW 18, par. 1095.

[24] In Freud’s theory, the super-ego is energized by aggressiondirected toward the self and made of contents derived from social rules andcustoms. Its function is to restrict the freedom of the ego and to control therelease of impulses from the id. See Jonathan Lear’s Freud, chapterseven (“Morality and religion”) for an excellent critical account.