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Monthly Archives: January 2016

8. Removal of the shackles is thus not genuine emancipation, for it remains external and fails to penetrate to man in his ownmost self. The circumstances of the prisoner change, but his inner condition, his willing [WolIen], does not. The released prisoner does indeed will, but he wills to return to his shackles. Thus willing, he wills not-willing: he does not want to be involved himself. He avoids and shrinks back from the demand to fully give up his previous situation. He is also a long way from understanding that man truly is only in so far as he demands this of himself.

The second stage ends with this thwarted emancipation. The emancipation fails because the one to be freed does not understand it.

Liberation is only genuine when he who is liberated thereby becomes free for himself, i.e. comes to stand in the ground of his essence.

-Heidegger (The Essence of Truth: Plato’s Cave Allegory and Theaetetus, p. 31-32)


The disillusioning effect of the encounter with one’s own shadow, the unconscious negative part of the personality, is always to be found in cases where the ego has lived in identification with the persona and the collective values of the period. That is why this encounter is, as a rule, particularly severe and difficult for the extravert, since by nature he has less insight into his subjectivity than the introvert. The naive self- illusion of the ego, which has more or less identified itself with everything good and fine, receives a severe shock, and the undermining of this position forms the essential content of the first phase of the analysis.

-Erich Neumann (Depth Psychology and a new Ethic, p.78)


Responsibility for the group presupposes a personality which has become conscious of its shadow problem, and which has come to grips with this problem with all the forces at its disposal. The individual must work through his own basic moral problem before he is in a position to play a responsible part in the collective. The realisation of one’s own imperfection which is involved in the acceptance of the shadow is a hard task in which the individual is required to free himself from the absolutism of his pleromatic fixation as well as from his identification with collective values.

-Erich Neumann (Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p.93-4)



“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”
―Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Making good”, as understood by the old ethic, with the attendant repression of evil and obedience to convention, is often enough no more than an easy way out, which shirks peril and clings to established security. Yet “where peril lies, grows the remedy too”, and the voice of the new ethic, or so it seems, is determined to accept both peril and remedy at the same time- since the one is not to be had without the other.

This in itself makes it perfectly clear that the way of the new ethic is anything rather than a “way of making one’s own life easier”. Quite the contrary. To surrender the moral certainty about good and evil provided by the old ethic, stamped as it was with the approval of the collective, and to accept the ambiguity of the inner experience is always a difficult undertaking for the individual, since in every case it involves a venture into the unknown, with all the danger which the acceptance of evil brings with it for every responsible ego.

-Erich Neumann (Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p. 108)