Discipline

by Tom Swift

For more than fifty years we have known, or could have known, that there is an unconscious counterbalance to consciousness. Medical psychology has furnished all the necessary empirical and experimental proofs of this. There is an unconscious psychic reality which demonstrably influences consciousness and its contents. All this is known, but no practical conclusions have been drawn from this fact. We still go on thinking and acting as before, as if we were simplex and not duplex. Accordingly, we imagine ourselves to be innocuous, reasonable, and humane. We do not think of distrusting our motives or of asking ourselves how the inner man feels about the things we do in the outside world. But actually it is frivolous, superficial, and the unreasonable of us, as well as psychically unhygienic, to overlook the reaction and standpoint of the unconscious. One can regard one’s stomach or heart as unimportant and worthy of contempt, but that does not prevent overeating or overexertion from having consequences that affect the whole man. Yet we think that psychic mistakes and their consequences can be got rid of with mere words, for “psychic” means less than air to most people. All the same, nobody can deny that without the psyche there would be no world at all, and still less a human world. Virtually everything depends on the human psyche and its functions. It should be worthy of all the attention we can give it.

-C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self (1957)