I don't accept your standpoint of "the individual culture that we have all become"

Dear Peter,
I sent it in the context of what Liz Broderson wrote, about cultural trauma and uprooting – widespread in our world today.

So, in response to this last post, and your earlier reply to me, here goes:

First – I don’t accept your standpoint of “the individual culture that we have all become”.  To start with, we don’t “become” a culture. We can’t help but live within a culture, & we participate more or less critically, and more or less aware of its history, language, values, and so on. I agree, of course, that much of modern life in US and Europe is focussed on individuality, hence the emphasis on ‘choice’, the popularity of personal therapies of all sorts, including Jungian Individuation.  To use ethical language, it is the search for ‘authenticity’ (or Integrity, as with John Beebe). Also see Charles Taylor: “The Ethics of Authenticity” – an outstanding philosopher, highly attuned to a contemporary “alienation from the public sphere”, partlicularly in N. America – having also himself been active in politics  – while also valuing our modern need for individual authenticity.

Then – I think you are too sweeping in refering to what “we all” have become. We vary enormously in our ability to say “Yes” or “No” to the pressures of the Collective, and our willingness to contribute to Community.  Anyone who has lived as an immigrant (like myself), or inside another language (like myself), will have  found Belonging to be more important than Individuation as a life task – at least for some period. (Hence the quotation from Eva Hoffman).

HOWEVER …  I may be completely on the wrong track.  From what you write to David Barton, it may be that the culture you are criticising, & wanting to ‘commune’ better, refers ONLY to the Jungian arena, and ONLY to those with “legitimate lineage” to Jung?  “Each needs to trace some lineage to his writing to legitimize any claim to his legacy/intention.” I think I may have misunderstood you, and your paper and concerns are intended for a limited audience, and proposals & hopes are directed just towards a specifically Jungian Community? And your belief is, that through holding to a “psychological attitude”, these people at least, could / should be capable of concerted political action (in broad sense, though with a narrower politically Left direction too). You are already, you say, finding fellow travellers on this journey (London, Rome).

But now you find yourself up against a problem.  “However, because we are moderns, we face multiple issues linked to the grave difficulty we face learning how to bind ourselves to one another. This is where we need cohering research about groups; … ”
Well, yes indeed – we, and you, are moderns, no getting away from that! So, what about “cohering research about groups”? Well, there is already a huge amount out there, a little of which I have read in the course of a career in which ‘group work’ was an element.  On the other hand, as you yourself say more generally:  ” … this is not simply a matter of cognitively discerning what those critical questions are.”……

So – the issue still remains: How to find some, or sufficient, consensus, with the help of the insights of Jungian ‘lineage’? Perhaps this will illlustrate why my first response was: “What innocence!” It certainly doesn’t mean I feel dismissive of the project. Perhaps, even, I’m already part of it. I only hope you might find it supportive, and alleviating any heavy or unwarranted sense of responsibility, to know that neither you, nor Jungians, are alone in this broad human enterprise of a search for Justice, social or otherwise. Another ‘exclusive’ missionary venture wouldn’t seem a particularly good idea.?

With best wishes,
Judith Keyston

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