The podcast reviewed here is the 26th in Bett’s series on Jungian Analytic Psychology and is freely available here. This is the first in a series in which Betts focuses on individuation. Betts presents this episode with his usual clarity both in terms of narration and the content of the episode. He looks at collective values and their relation to those of the individual. Betts interpets some of Jung’s writings on the subject. Jung wrote that the individual must first understand the collective before they can successfully individuate. He also writes that the process of individuation requires considerable reflection and is consequently very difficult. I like the following sentence by Betts which captures some of what Jung has written.
‘we have to be in the world but not necessarily of it’
The collective values form part of the persona. Betts elaborates on this further by giving the example of the work persona and the related financial associations of keeping up mortgage repayments all of which form part of the persona which represents the meeting of the individual and the collective. He also discusses the difficulties associated with a rapid change in persona.
After listening to this, I began to interpret this process of individuation as simply the process of someone becoming an individual. I had previously wondered about the individuation process continuing through a person’s life and that person moving towards fulfilling their potential through the individuation process. This made a lot more sense to me after thinking of the process of becoming an individual. It is not too difficult to imagine that Jung spent his life developing and focusing on his individuality. Perhaps Jung held the value of individuality very strongly and brought the mind of a psychiatrist (and philosopher) to bear on how individuality interacts with the need to integrate and become a member of wider society.
Betts has produced a very nice episode which accessibly conveys Jung’s ideas on this subject.
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