Personality

My life has been permeated with and held together by one idea and one goal: namely, to penetrate into the secret of the personality.  Everything can be explained from this central point, and all my works relate to this one theme.  

Wholeness of the personality is achieved when the main pairs of opposites are relatively differentiated, that is, when both parts of the total psyche, consciousness and the unconscious, are linked together in a living relation.  But the dynamic gradient, the flow of psychic life, is not endangered, for the unconscious can never be made wholly conscious and always has the greater store of energy.  The wholeness is always relative and gives us something to work on as long as we live.  ‘Personality, as the complete realization of our whole being, is an unattainable ideal.  But unattainability is no argument against the ideal, for ideals are only signposts, never the goal.  

Jacobi             

The development of the personality is at once a blessing and a curse.  We must pay dearly for it and the price is isolation and loneliness.  ‘Its first fruit is the conscious and unavoidable segregation of the individual from the undifferentiated and unconscious herd’.  But to stand alone is not enough, above all one must be faithful to one’s own law: “Only the man who can consciously assent to the power of the inner voice becomes a personality.”  (IBID. pars. 294, 308).  And only a personality can find a proper place in the collectivity; only personalities have the power to create a community, that is, to become integral parts of a human group and not merely a number in the mass.  For the mass is only a sum of individuals and can never, like a community, become a living organism that receives and bestows life.” 

Jacobi             

Thus self-realization, both in the individual and in the extrapersonal, collective sense, becomes a moral decision, and it is this moral decision which lends force to the process of self-fulfillment that Jung calls Individuation.” 

Jacobi             

We overlook the essential fact that the social goal is attained only at the cost of a diminution of personality. 

One can only alter one’s attitude and thus save oneself from naively falling into an archetype and being forced to act a part at the expense of one’s humanity.  Possession by an archetype turns a man into a flat collective figure, a mask behind which he can no longer develop as a human being, but becomes increasingly stunted. 

The Highest bliss on earth shall be

The joys of personality!

As a conscious factor the ego could, theoretically at least, be described completely. But this would never amount to more than a picture of the conscious personality; all those features which are unknown or unconscious to the subject would be missing. A total picture would have to include these. But a total description of the personality is, even in theory, absolutely impossible, because the unconscious portion of it cannot be grasped cognitively. This unconscious portion, as experience has abundantly shown, is by no means unimportant. On the contrary, the most decisive qualities in a person are often unconscious and can be perceived only by others, or have to be laboriously discovered with outside help.

Clearly, then, the personality as a total phenomenon does not coincide with the ego, that is, with the conscious personality, but forms an entity that has to be distinguished from the ego.

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.     

I have suggested calling the total personality which, though present, cannot be fully known, the self. The ego is, by definition, subordinate to the self and is related to it like a part to the whole. Inside the field of consciousness it has, as we say, free will. By this I do not mean anything philosophical, only the well-known psychological fact of “free choice,” or rather the subjective feeling of freedom. But, just as our free will clashes with necessity in the outside world, so also it finds its limits outside the field of consciousness in the subjective inner world, where it comes into conflict with the facts of the self. And just as circumstances or outside events “happen” to us and limit our freedom, so the self acts upon the ego like an objective occurrence which free will can do very little to alter. It is, indeed, well known that the ego no only can do nothing against the self, but is sometimes actually assimilated by unconscious components of the personality that are in the process of development and is greatly altered by them.

The ego is part of the personality but not the whole of it. It is impossible to estimate how large or how small its share is …

A change from one milieu to another brings about a striking alteration of personality, and on each occasion a clearly defined character emerges that is noticeably different from the previous one. … The social character is oriented on the one hand by the expectations and demands of society, and on the other by the social aims and aspirations of the individual. The domestic character is, as a rule, moulded by emotional demands and an easy-going acquiescence for the sake of comfort and convenience; when it frequently happens that men who in public life are extremely energetic, spirited, obstinate, willful and ruthless appear good-natured, mild, compliant, even weak, when at home and in the bosom of the family. Which is the true character, the real personality? … In my view the answer to the above question should be that such a man has no real character at all: he is not individual but collective, the plaything of circumstance and general expectations. Were he individual, he would have the same character despite the variation of attitude. He would not be identical with the attitude of the moment, and he neither would nor could prevent his individuality from expressing itself just as clearly in one state as in another.

Personality, as the complete realization of our whole being, is an unattainable ideal.  But unattainability is no argument against the ideal, for ideals are only signposts, never the goal. 

Re: Children

The fact is that the high ideal of educating the personality is not for children: for what is usually meant by personality – a well-rounded psychic whole that is capable of resistance and abounding in energy – is an adult ideal.   TEJ 193

For in every adult there lurks a child – an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education.  That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole.  TEJ 194

… we cannot correct in a child a fault that we ourselves still commit.  Children are not half as stupid as we imagine.  They notice only too well what is genuine and what is not.  TEJ194

The smaller the personality, the dimmer and more unconscious it becomes, until finally it merges indistinguishably with the surrounding society, thus surrendering its own wholeness and dissolving into the wholeness of the group.  In the place of the inner voice there is the voice of the group with its conventions, and vocation is replaced by collective necessities. 

No one can train the personality unless he has it himself.  And it is not the child, but only the adult, who can achieve personality as the fruit of a full life directed to this end.   195

The achievement of personality means nothing less than the optimum development of the whole individual human being.  195

Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being.  It is an act of high courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for self-determination.  TEJ 195

… and it is only our deeds that reveal who we are.  TEJ 196

The words “many are called, but few are chosen” are singularly appropriate here, for the development of personality from the germ-state to full consciousness is at once a charisma and a curse, because its first fruit is the conscious and unavoidable segregation of the single individual from the undifferentiated and unconscious her.  This means isolation, and there is no more comforting word for it.  Neither family nor society nor position can save him from this fate, nor yet the most successful adaptation to his environment, however smoothly he fits in.  The development of personality is a favour that must be paid for dearly.  But the people who talk most loudly about developing their personalities are the very ones who are least mindful of the results, which are such as to frighten away all weaker spirits.    TEJ 197

… Yet the development of personality means more than just the fear of hatching forth monsters, or of isolation.  It also means fidelity to the law of one’s own being.  197

… Fidelity to the law of one’s own being is a trust in this law, a loyal perseverance and confident hope; in short, an attitude such as a religious man should have towards God.  197

… personality can never develop unless the individual chooses his own way, consciously and with moral deliberation.  Not only the causal motive – necessity – but conscious moral decision must lend its strength to the process of building the personality.  198

The way is not without danger.  Everything good is costly, and the development of the personality is one of the most costly of all things.  It is a question of yea-saying to one-self, of taking one's self as the most serious of tasks, of being conscious of everything one does, and keeping it constantly before one's eyes in all its dubious aspects - truly a task that taxes us to the utmost.  SoGF 95

 

A man cannot get rid of himself in favour of an artificial personality without punishment.  Even the attampt to do so brings on, in all ordinary cases, unconscious reactions in the form of bad moods, affects, phobias, obsessive ideas, backslidings, vices, etc.  The social "strong man" is in his private life often a mere child where his own states of feeling are concerned; his discipline in public (which he demands quite particularly of others) goes miserably to pieces in private.  His "happiness in his work" assumes a woeful countenance at home; his "spotless" public morality looks strange indeed behind the mask - we will not mention deeds, but only fantasies, and the wives of such men would have a pretty tale to tell.  As to his selfless altruism, his children have decided views about that.   BW 168

 

It is probably no accident that our modern notions of "personal" and "personality" derive from the word persona.  I can assert that my ego is personal or a personality, and in exactly the same sense I can say that my persona is a personality with which I identify myself more or less.  The fact that I then possess two personalities is not so remarkable, since every autonomous or even relatively autonomous complex has the peculiarity of appearing as a personality, .i.e., of being personified.  BW 170

Underdeveloped/Adequate/Overcompensated

             

One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.  In any case the temptation to be what one seems to be is great, because the persona is usually rewarded with cash. 

   You can see that Dorn … shifts to the idea that alchemy is really work that one has to do on one’s own personality and does not just consist of mixing things in the retort.  You do that too, but only if you transform your own personality into a magically potent one can you transform the outer materials as well.  AAI 37

The persona is just like clothes. Your body is here, hidden in clothes; in the same way your spirituality is here, hidden in certain clothes. These clothes are your personality. You can be naked just here and now, and in the same way you can be naked in your spirituality also. But you do not know what the clothes are. You do not know how you are hidden in them; you do not know how to be naked. You have been in clothes so long – for lives and lives and lives you have been in clothes – and you have been so identified with the clothes, that now you do not think that these are clothes. You think these clothes are you. That is the only barrier. O52

Real increase of personality means consciousness of an enlargement that flows from inner sources.  Without psychic depth we can never be adequately related to the magnitude of our object. 

It is not for nothing that our age calls for the redeemer personality, for the one who can emancipate himself from the inescapable grip of the collective and save at least his own soul, who lights a beacon of hope for others, proclaiming that here is at least one man who has succeeded in extricating himself from that fatal identity with the group psyche.   For the group, because of its unconsciousness, has no freedom of choice, and so psychic activity runs on in it like an uncontrolled law of nature.  There is thus set going a chain reaction that comes to a stop only in catastrophe.  The people always long for a hero, a slayer of dragons, when they feel the danger of psychic forces; hence the cry for personality.  TDoP 178

… a really individuated personality emanates a feeling-effect on other people by triggering within them the same process.  You could attribute this to the positive, contagious effect of a personality that has become more conscious than the average crowd:  involuntarily, that stimulates other people, and the less deliberate, the more effective it is.  In that way other people get pulled into the healing process.  AAI  55

Children – personality training

   The fact is that the high ideal of educating the personality is not for children: for what is usually meant by personality – a well-rounded psychic whole that is capable of resistance and abounding in energy – is an adult ideal.   It is only in an age like ours, when the individual is unconscious of the problems of adult life, or – what is worse – when he consciously shirks them, that people could with o foist this ideal on to childhood.  TDoP 168

 Mid-Point of the Personality

It may not be immediately apparent what is meant by a ‘mid-point of the personality.’ I will therefore try to outline this problem in a few words. If we picture the conscious mind, with the ego as its centre, as being opposed to the unconscious, and if we now add to our mental picture the process of assimilating the unconscious, we can think of this assimilation as a kind of approximation of conscious and unconscious, where the centre of the total personality no longer coincides with the ego, but with a point midway between the conscious and the unconscious. This would be the point of new equilibrium, a new centering of the total personality, a virtual centre which, on account of its focal position between conscious and unconscious, ensures for the personality a new and more solid foundation. I freely admit that visualizations of this kind are no more than the clumsy attempts of the unskilled mind to give expression to inexpressible, and well-nigh indescribably, psychological facts. I could say the same thing in the words of St. Paul: ‘Yet not I live, but Christ liveth in me.’ Or I might invoke Lao-tzu and appropriate his concept of Tao, the Middle Way and creative centre of all things. In all these the same thing is meant. Speaking as a psychologist with a scientific conscience, I must say at once that these things are psychic factors of undeniable power; they are not the inventions of an idle mind, but definite psychic events obeying definite laws and having their legitimate causes and effects, which can be found among most widely differing peoples and races today, as thousands of years ago. I have no theory as to what constitutes the nature of these processes. One would first have to know what constitutes the nature of the psyche. I am content simply to state the facts. 2EoAP Para365

Imaginary friend

(In) early youth lonely children tend to produce a double personality with whom they entertain themselves.  This double is the coming-alive of the unconscious personality, due to loneliness.  … There are children who invent such a double and personify it and play with it for hours.  Often this fantasy figure of early youth later reappears in dreams and really becomes a personification of the whole unconscious.  It is the shadow, the anima, and the Self, still in one.  It is the whole other side of the personality.  TPoPA 190