In the aftermath of the Newtown horror I searched for some quotes from Carl Jung that offer some insight into the existential darkness of this tragedy. Depth psychology offers us an important perspective rarely considered in our mainstream discourse—which is that our collective life is a reflection of unconscious dynamics. What is not tended to in our inner world is projected outward as fate, tragedy, and catastrophe. Forensic psychologists will offer us a retrospective analysis of Adam Lanza’s mental health; government will consider policies regulating the ownership of assault weapons; and educators will revisit school safety. These are critical elements of social engagement, and they may offer some short-term solace. However, if we do not heed the wisdom offered by Jung and Jungians (and other depth psychological traditions) such tragedies will repeat themselves. Is not the Freudian notion of “repetition compulsion” at play here?
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”
“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.”
“Projection [of our own shadow] makes the whole world a replica of our own unknown face.”
“That I feed the hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy…. these are great virtues.
But what if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved? What then?”