Individuation

“Everything living dreams of Individuation, for everything strives towards its own wholeness and the greatest possible actualization of the Self is the aim of life.”

The Individuation process happens in 2 stages:

    1.  Dissolution of the Persona

    2.  Dis-illusion of the Archetypes; specifically:

              Anima/Animus

              Shadow

              Self

Individuation means becoming an "in-dividual," and, in so far as "individuality" embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self.  We could therefore translate individuation as "coming to selfhood" or self-realization"

Abraham Maslow“The salvation of the human being is not to be found in either behaviorism or in psychoanalysis, (which deals with only the darker, meaner half of the individual).  We must deal with the questions of value, individuality, consciousness, purpose, ethics and the higher reaches of human nature.   

“This process is, in effect, the spontaneous realization of the whole man.”

This process of Individuation represents a development rather than a goal to achieve.  The person is in a constant state of movement, stability, movement and stability, whereby ultimately, movement represents a new kind of stability. 

It is the stage in which personal Mastery flourishes and where the Self comes to the centre of the circle, is rid of the accumulations of Persona & Archetypal influence, and where the individual truly is: individual. 

With all humans there are incremental stages that build on one another that one graduates to psychologically.  Different societies and cultures have also discovered their own paths of enlightenment, but this is a guide for Westerners in our own language, and fortunately for us, the stages have already been navigated and mapped-out, so they are both predictable and foreseeable, and there is no longer reason for the ‘unknown’ to cause fear or doubt. 

The Individuation drive is as powerful as any other natural urge and as the unconscious causes you to make mistakes on purpose for the sake of of balance – the individuation process can drive you down some strange paths in life in unexpected places and times in an attempt to force your progress via undesired challenges. 

“In the journey of Individuation, the first major obstacle is to differentiate the ego from the personal Unconscious, particularly the Persona, Shadow, & Anima/Animus”.[4] [5]

 The stages of psychological development[2] progress like this:

1.     Discovery of opposites - the conscious (& Ego?) is born

2.     Preference of opposites - the Shadow is born

3.     Out of opposites comes a distinction between I and not-I.  The qualities identified with at this stage are not uniquely individual, but identified with the collective - this is the beginning of the development of the Persona. 

4.     Persona development - copying others in order to ‘fit in’.

5.     Re-cognizing the Persona (become conscious of the MASK). 

6.     Dissolution of the Persona - strictly by ‘act of will’. 

7.     Persona complex gets replaced by Archetypes

8.     Re-cognizing the Archetypes

9.     Dissolution of the Archetypes:  (the Shadow, the Anima or Animus, and the Self)

10. Individuation

The driving force, so far as it is possible for us to grasp it, seems to be in essence only an urge towards self-realization.  If it were a matter of some general teleological plan, then all individuals who enjoy a surplus of unconsciousness would necessarily be driven towards higher consciousness by an irresistible urge

This process of individuation helps to maintain physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  Individuality allows for the process of centering, a deep understanding of self and a union with God.  Indeed, a hypothesis of the genesis of cancer is that the abnormality of the human cell is a mirror image of the pathology of the human soul.  Individuation represents a homeostatic equilibrium of the biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual dimensions of the individual.  If this process is thwarted or stagnates, the system itself overcompensates for this deficiency by presenting some pathology.  Illness is life's natural process of healing.  JewishViJP 26

The process of individuation is a process of inner growth to which one is attached; one cannot get away from it.  If one says no to it and does not accept it, then, since you are not in it, it grows against you.  Then it is your own inner growth which kills you.  If you refuse the growth, then it kills you, which means that if a person is completely infantile and has no other possibility, then not much will happen.  But if the person has a greater personality within – that is, a possibility of growth – then a psychological disturbance will occur.  That is why we always say that a neurosis is in a way a positive symptom.  It shows that something wants to grow; it shows that that person is not right in his or her present state and if the growth is not accepted then it grows against you, at your expense, and produces what might be called a negative individuation.  The process of individuation, of inner maturing and growth, goes on unconsciously and ruins the personality instead of healing it.  That is how the death-tree, the death-mother tree and the life-tree are essentially connected.  The inner possibility of growth in a person is a dangerous thing because either you say yes to it and go ahead, or you are killed by it.  There is no other choice.  It is a destiny which has to be accepted.  TPoPA 59

   (Dorn’s) medicine does not immediately cure the sick, but at first kills them, after which they get cured.  This means that a personality’s higher consciousness has at first a very disturbing if not destructive effect on people.  That is why the general public loathes psychology and tries to block it off with all sorts of “nothing but” reductive prejudices.  The underlying, not consciously realized thought is that if one gets deeper into psychology, one will have to give up all one’s present weltanschauung, thoughts, and occupations.  Thus people feel threatened – and in a way they are right, they are threatened, because if they get in touch with their own depth, their former frame of life will collapse.  Thus, in that form, medicine has a primarily destructive effect on the former framework of the personality’s rational consciousness.  AAI 56

… 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

Re: Dreams

The symbols of the process of individuation that appear in dreams are images of an archetypal nature which depict the centralizing process or the production of a new centre of personality





[1] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
[2] That we are interested in for this purpose
[3] “The danger, however, is that earning money becomes a means to inflate the ego: one seeks to amass as much as possible for oneself, and feels contempt for those who earn less.  Such an attitude harms others and also harms oneself, because the stronger the ego, the further one is from liberation.  S.N. Goenka – The Discourse Summaries – page 8
[4] Jung Lexicon page 48
[5] “The process of assimilating the unconscious leads to some very remarkable phenomena.  It produces in some patients an unmistakable and often unpleasant increase of self-confidence and conceit:  they are full of themselves, they know everything, they imagine themselves to be fully informed of everything concerning their unconscious, and are persuaded that they understand perfectly everything that comes out of it.  At every interview with the doctor they get more and more above themselves.  Others on the contrary feel themselves more and more crushed under the contents of the unconscious, they lose their self-confidence and abandon themselves with dull resignation to all the ordinary things that the unconscious produces.”  BW – PHENOMENA RESULTING FROM THE ASSIMILATION OF THE UNCONSCIOUS – page 123, par. 221
[6] Find
[9] Basic Writings – The function of the Unconscious, par. 269, page 14