With the advance towards the psychological a great change sets in, for self-knowledge has certain ethical consequences which are not just impassively recognized but demand to be carried out in practice.
This depends of course on one’s moral endowment, on which as we know one should not place too much reliance.
The self, in its efforts at self-realization, reaches out beyond the ego-personality on all sides; because of its all-encompassing nature it is brighter and darker than the ego, and accordingly confronts it with problems which it would like to avoid.
Either one’s moral courage fails, or one’s insight, or both, until in the end fate decides.
The ego never lacks moral and rational counterarguments, which one cannot and should not set aside so long as it is possible to hold on to them.
For you only feel yourself on the right road when the conflicts of duty seem to have resolved themselves, and you have become the victim of a decision made over your head or in defiance of the heart.
From this we can see the numinous power of the self, which can hardly be experienced in any other way.
For this reason the experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.
The extraordinary difficulty in this experience is that the self can be distinguished only conceptually from what has always been referred to as “God,” but not practically. Both concepts apparently rest on an identical numinous factor which is a condition of reality.
The ego enters into the picture only so far as it can offer resistance, defend itself, and in the event of defeat still affirm its existence.
The prototype of this situation is Job’s encounter with Yahweh.
This hint is intended only to give some indication of the nature of the problems involved.
From this general statement one should not draw the overhasty conclusion that in every case there is a hybris of ego-consciousness which fully deserves to be overpowered by the unconscious.
That is not so at all, because it very often happens that ego-consciousness and the ego’s sense of responsibility are too weak and need, if anything, strengthening.
But these are questions of practical psychotherapy, and I mention them here only because I have been accused of underestimating the importance of the ego and giving undue prominence to the unconscious.
This strange insinuation emanates from a theological quarter.
Obviously my critic has failed to realize that the mystical experiences of the saints are no different from other effects of the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, Page 545, Para 778.
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