chapter  6
21 Pages

Epilogue

Germany has set the world a tremendous problem, a problem that has to be considered from many angles. The psychological aspect is only one of its many facets. As a psychologist, I am naturally inclined to think it an important facet, but I must leave it to my reader to form his own opinion on this point. My professional concern with the psychology of the unconscious often brings to light things which are still hidden from consciousness but exist in embryonic form; and these contents are ready to break through into consciousness long before the individual has any idea of what his psyche holds in store for him. I had an inkling of what was brewing in the unconscious nearly thirty years ago, for I had Germans among my patients. As early as 1918 I wrote:

It hardly requires an Oedipus to guess what is meant by the “blond beast.” I had an idea, however, that this “blond beast” was not restricted to Germany, but stood for the primitive European in general, who was gradually coming to the surface as a result of ever-increasing mass organization. In the same article I went on to say:

While the first World War was still in progress, I wrote an essay

that first appeared in French, which I enlarged and published as a book in Germany in 19283 Dealing among other things with the subject of mass psychology, I said:

In the same essay I uttered the almost banal truth: “The best, just because it is the best, holds the seed of evil, and there is nothing so bad but good can come of it.”5 I lay particular stress on this sentence, because it always put me in a mood of caution when I had to judge of any particular manifestation of the unconscious. The contents of the collective unconscious, the archetypes, with which we are concerned in any occurrence of psychic massphenomena, are always bipolar: they have both a positive and a negative side. Whenever an archetype appears things become critical, and it is impossible to foresee what turn they will take. As a rule this depends on the way consciousness reacts to the situation. During a collective manifestation of archetypes there is always a great danger of a mass movement, and a catastrophe can be avoided only if the effect of the archetype can be intercepted and assimilated by a sufficiently large majority of individuals. At the very least there must be a certain number of individuals who are still capable of making their influence felt.