Oct 202017
 

It should have begun to dawn on our cultural optimists that the forces of good are not sufficient to produce either a rational world-order or the faultless ethical behaviour of the individual, whereas the forces of evil are so strong that they imperil any order at all and can imprison the individual in a devilish system that commits the most fearful crimes, so that even if he is ethically minded he must finally forget his moral responsibility in order to go on living.

The malignity of collective man has shown itself in more terrifying forms today than ever before in history, and it is by this objective standard that the greater and the lesser sins should be measured. We need more casuistic subtlety, because it is no longer a question of extirpating evil but of the difficult art of putting a lesser evil in place of a greater one.

The time for the sweeping statements so dear to the evangelising moralist, which lighten his task in the most agreeable way, is long past. Nor can the conflict be escaped by a denial of moral values. The very idea of this is foreign to our instincts and contrary to nature. Every human group that is not actually sitting in prison will follow its accustomed paths according to the measure of its freedom. Whatever the intellectual definition and evaluation of good and evil may be, the conflict between them can never be eradicated, for no one can ever forget it.

Even the Christian who feels himself delivered from evil will, when the first rapture is over, remember the thorn in the flesh, which even St Paul could not remove.

These hints suffice to make clear what kind of spirit it is that the daughter needs. They are the truths which speak to the soul, which are not too loud and do not insist too much, but reach the individual in stillness – the individual who constitutes the meaning of the world. It is this knowledge that the daughter needs, in order to pass it to her son.

Carl Jung, Mysterium Conjunctionis, The Moon Nature