Individuation of Ethics – Justice

Dream: I am watching myself from 1st base on the mound pitching a baseball game. I have lost previous games but now have discovered within myself a source of energy, a way that now gives me confidence that I am pitching a winning game. I just have to look deep within to sum-up the energy for the winning pitch.

Association: Recently, I read the “ND hero story”, a story about Herman Stern and then re-reading Murray Stein’s essay The ethics of individuation and the individuation of ethics I read this, seeing it is a description of Herman Stern: “There is a Jewish myth of thirty-six just men (Lamed-Tov) who are ‘the hearts of the world multiplied’ and who keep the World afloat because of their very existence. They often do not know who they are and are quite unaware that they are sustaining the human enterprise with their mostly invisible and internal efforts.” Remembering  that I had previously posted on this topic, I found that on April 29, 2013 I had posted this on Jung’s concept of IndividuationEthics of Individuation & Individuation of Ethics (DAMBlog). I now realize that I am being pulled back into this Blog entry after reading the “ND hero Story” to reflect anew on what still needs discovering, what is still unfolding. So, there is some overlap here.

I was surprised and enjoyed watching Herb Jonas (FCHS ‘62) talking about his ancestors being helped by Herman and saying “if not for his help, I would not be here.” Another classmate, Art H. said, “Seeing Herb Jonas is certainly a blast from the past. I lived at Earl’s house for several months (until Earl’s untimely death) and got to know Herb’s mother Hilda quite well. They were [a]cross the alley neighbors. I learned a lot about their escape but not this part. Quite impressed.” My response was “Art, interesting reading about Herman’s life experience….. After reading this web entry on a photograph of Herman, I wondered if he and my photographer grandfather, Arvid Scherling, had met. My family lived two houses south of the Edward Stern family on south 10th street and I had 4th grade crush on oldest daughter Decie. With only a few yards separating these grandfathers when both were visiting, I am going to guess they met – now to imagine what they might have discussed.

Adam Smith is called the father of modern economics had acquired this title with his 1776 publication of The Wealth of Nations. Smith’s 1759 publication The Theory of Moral Sentiments is regarded as his magnum opus but is considered a modifying companion to his Wealth of Nations. In Moral Sentiments (Wikipedia), Smith critically examines the moral thinking of his time, and suggests that conscience arises from social relationships. His goal in writing the work was to explain the source of mankind’s ability to form moral judgements, in spite of man’s natural inclinations towards self-interest. Smith proposes a theory of sympathy, in which the act of observing others makes people aware of themselves and the morality of their own behavior.

Taylor (2011) discusses Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments in the Giants of the Scottish Enlightenment Part 2: Adam Smith, and in summary we learn:

… that in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith advocates for a form of moral sentimentalism. We naturally link sympathy to either approval or disapproval of an action or reaction. For instance, if an individual insults another person, we attach sympathy to the reaction of the person who was insulted. If the person insulted under-reacts or overreacts, we will disapprove the response morally. If the reaction seems right, we will approve of the response morally. We will also sympathize with parties who are not sharing a similar sentiment. For instance, if a person loses their mental capacity or passes way, we will sympathize with that person even though they themselves are not feeling the same sentiment. Lastly, using Smith’s moral sentimentalism, we can judge our own actions. We can do this by looking at our own actions from a third person point of view” (Wikipedia)

An advancement on Smith’s Wealth & Moral Sentiments occurs with John Nash’s intuitive insight in this Beautiful Mind Bar Scene, which has Nash suggesting that Smith needs revision. Smith’s Wealth of Nations principle ruling the dominant institution of our time, the corporation, is that “In competition, individual ambition serves the common good” and “the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what is best for himself.” Nash’s insight suggests that a revision is needed, “The best result will come from everyone doing what is best for himself and for his group.” The governing dynamic “in game theory, known as the Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his own strategy unilaterally. If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing strategies while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium. Stated simply, Amy and Wili are in Nash equilibrium if Amy is making the best decision she can, taking into account Wili’s decision, and Wili is making the best decision he can, taking into account Amy’s decision. Likewise, a group of players are in Nash equilibrium if each one is making the best decision that he or she can, taking into account the decisions of the others.” We must make note that Nash’s game theory was the logic behind the US and USSR Cold War face off.

However, what occurs with Nash’s realization that Smith’s theory needs revision, is an individuation of ethics – Justice advancing.

Governing Dynamic

Okay, reading and watching this scene sets the stage to imagine a dialogue between Herman and Arvid. Both Smith’s and Nash’s views look outward for reference. So, let us develop another view on “The best results come from everyone doing what is best for himself and for this groups.” This view is inward and presented by Murray Stein (2007) in his essay The ethics individualization and the individualization of ethics. Stein begins his essay with the favorite rainmaker story Jung was fond of telling, which was told to him by Richard Wilhelm translator of  the Chinese Secret of the golden flower and  The I Ching at a Psychological Club of Zurich lecture in the 1920’s. Wilhelm actually witnessed this event when he was living in Qingdao, China.

   There was a long dry spell in the region. The land in the countryside was utterly parched, and the crops were failing. As a consequence, many people were facing the prospect of starvation. Desperate, they tried to produce rainfall by performing all the religious rites they knew: the “Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.
Finally the Chinese said, “We will fetch the rain-maker.” So they sent a message to another part of the country asking for the assistance of a well known rain-maker. Eventually a “dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.”
When asked, the old man replied: “I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be in the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered coun­try. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came” (Douglas, 1997: 333) cited in (Stein, 2007: 65).

The idea behind Wilhelm’s story is that an individuating person has “the capacity to affect society and the cosmos (for good or ill) because the individual, society, and the cosmos are intimately connected parts of a single reality.” Thus doing what is best for oneself is to walk the way of individuation, which eventually naturally flows into the collective. Erich Neumann’s 1945 book Depth psychology and a new ethic develops this new ethics, which is addressed in the Blog Deep Jesus, Us?. The new depth ethic is to walk the way of individuation – this is a transformational leader’s way, which I imagine both Herman and Arvid understood and, I suspect was part of their discussion, maybe on President Franklin Roosevelt’s leadership. Eventually we will address this leadership style.

Alan Watts Tribute to Carl Jung captures the essence of Jung’s individuation process and as I am now re-listening to it, I imagine around my table Herman and Arvid are looking over my shoulder participating in what is unfolding – I am listening Pops! Yes, at the center of this tribute, Watts re-visits the Nazi Holocaust and describes Jung’s personal experience and individuation, which I sense is in the lives of Herman and Arvid. This clip points us in the direction of the individuation of ethics – Justice, let me continue with an amplification.

Alan Watts -Tribute to Carl Jung

Amplification:  I have been reading and re-reading Robert Romanyshyn’s book The Wounded Researcher – Research with Soul in Mind (WR) for many years now. Each time it is read, I read it with the experiential learning model (CE – RO – AC – AE) that has accompanied me in my teaching career. This circular model begins with a concrete experience (ce) following into reflective observation (ro),  which takes place with abstract conceptualizations (working theories in mind) (ac), all brought together in an active experimentation (ae) writing about one’s unfolding experiences. One continues this experiential learning process by again generating new but related experiences and in this case re-reading WR and carrying this effort forward into a new writing experiment to comprehend and implement the idea of conducting research with “Soul” in mind. The central idea in conducting research with soul in mind is to include my wounded researcher’s complex psyche soul in the research project.

As we examine past Blog entries, we see that most are working to apply this model of experiential learning working with the WR method. For example, in blog entry Cyclops Trump Amor Fati, the last section of WR’s last Chapter 13, Towards an ethical epistemology, is titled Amor Fati, which is a one-page ending encapsulating Romanyshyn’s 386 page opus magnum.  Also consider the dream amplification in the Blog post, A Dream, Association, Amplification, as an effort to apply the unfolding processes presented in the WR. Both of these examples are efforts to understand and accept the Scherling Project as amor fati. And now I see in the Stern Project the uncovering of Herman’s acceptance of his amor fati. Herman and Arvid both lived their lives accepting and living their amor fati. My effort here is to bring my latest reading of the WR to bear on the individuation of ethics – Justice, which we might call the individuating World – an individuation that these two GrandPops participated in!

Murray’s essay The ethics of individuation and the individuation of ethics is a deep dive into what has always been challenging the World – Justice. We can read his essay linked here in full and you may want to in order to feel the rawness of what we are being challenged to understand. However, I will attempt to capture the essay’s central points and expand it with a few examples unfolding around us.

The point Stein addresses in the first half of his essay, the ethics of individuation, is to understand the “ethics” of an individual with intense focus on his or her personal individuation.  When a personal individuation focus is undertaken, it requires a person to pull back from collective involvement in order to undertake the intense individual efforts required. However, this self-imposed isolation eventually has to be balanced when he or she reaches the point of integration and needs, is required, to give back to the community. Stein writes that, “The severe ethics of individuation rises above the moral codex of the community, past adherence to the vox Dei, and beyond all other forms of identification with collective voices, politics, rules, images, or religious convictions, and reflectively ponders the situation under the protection and auspices of the archetypal and uncontaminated image of Dao (the Self)”.

The rainmaker when experiencing the drought, needed to retreat to his hut outside the village for 4 days in-order bring himself back into Dao, before re-emerging into the community, giving back, and then it naturally rains, even snows lifting the drought. Stein writes that, “This introduces the second great movement of individuation: The integration of (not identification with) a transcendent archetypal image following upon separation from all prior distorting and inflating identities and identifications. It is by this means that the rainmaker brings himself into order and harmony with Dao. He separates (goes into a hut at the edge of the village), and there he connects inwardly to the archetype of unity and order (Dao), not however by identifying himself with it and getting inflated with its numinous power. He brings himself into alignment with the Dao.”

Before citing further examples of the individuation of ethics, Stein concludes this section by setting a challenge to communities of collective consciousness needed to engage in complex ethical reflections. Stein writes, “In this double movement of individuation – separation and integration – one can discover also a potential for the further individuation of ethics itself. By individuation of ethics, I mean the further incarnation of the archetypal idea of Justice, a transcendent moral order. Since this requires the extension and elaboration of ethical reflection in territories and fields where it has not been considered before, especially with regard to individual situations and differences as well as to novel cultural movements, experience teaches that this work is best done within communities and by people skilled in this kind of reflection. The elaboration of ethics is a fully conscious undertaking, although its initial impetus and deepest grounding are usually unconscious and archetypal. Practically speaking, it is well nigh impossible for the involved individual to attain the necessary objectivity required for this type of complex ethical reflection. The moral archetype (Justice), raised to consciousness in community by individuals and brought into reflection by many people upon unique and new situations, can thereby reach further incarnation in new and specific areas of experience and application. This becomes a matter of urgent importance when individual and cultural/social developments critically outstrip collective consciousness and bring into view spheres of human activity where ethical considerations and viewpoints have not been elaborated yet.”

I suspect we are living in the end times when developments are critically outstripping collective consciousness and there is an urgent need for “an extension and elaboration of ethical reflection.” Zizek gives us a peak into how the complex ethical reflection is unfolding in these times and I for one would like Slavoj on the team.

After watching the above clip our thoughts and feelings on Justice really spread out!

We  have already looked at John Nash A Beautiful Mind movie’s bar scene as an experience, a Nash intuition of the individuation of ethics – the individuation of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” to a more Just position of “doing what is good for one’s self and for one’s group.” It is worth noting that Smith identifies the “wealth of a Nation” to be its workers – the labor class. Do our Republican, Democratic, Independent Parties, and all those now living below, at, or even well above the poverty-line know this? No, I doubt it. We ought no longer watch, idolize, the endless Hollywood Parade of conspicuous consumers of stuff as children starve and are gassed.

Stein’s illustrates the individuation of ethics with an example from the early years of psychoanalysis first pioneered by Sigmund Freud and then Carl Jung at the turn of the 20th Century. It took several decades to sort out the ethical codes addressing the transference and countertransference occurring between the analysand and the analyst. In this first scene from the movie A Dangerous Method we see Jung’s patient Sabina Spielrein saying to Jung that he can take the initiative to engage in a sexual affair, which he does leading to the ‘famous spanking scene’ now removed from Youtube.

Take the Initiative

Wikipedia has this entry on the transference and countertransference processes:

In a therapy context, transference refers to redirection of a patient’s feelings for a significant person to the therapist. Transference is often manifested as an erotic attraction towards a therapist, but can be seen in many other forms such as rage, hatred, mistrust, parentification, extreme dependence, or even placing the therapist in a god-like or guru status. When Freud initially encountered transference in his therapy with patients, he thought he was encountering patient resistance, as he recognized the phenomenon when a patient refused to participate in a session of free association. But what he learned was that the analysis of the transference was actually the work that needed to be done: “the transference, which, whether affectionate or hostile, seemed in every case to constitute the greatest threat to the treatment, becomes its best tool”.[9] The focus in psychodynamic psychotherapy is, in large part, the therapist and patient recognizing the transference relationship and exploring the relationship’s meaning. Since the transference between patient and therapist happens on an unconscious level, psychodynamic therapists who are largely concerned with a patient’s unconscious material use the transference to reveal unresolved conflicts patients have with childhood figures.

Countertransference is defined as redirection of a therapist’s feelings toward a patient, or more generally, as a therapist’s emotional entanglement with a patient. A therapist’s attunement to their own countertransference is nearly as critical as understanding the transference. Not only does this help therapists regulate their emotions in the therapeutic relationship, but it also gives therapists valuable insight into what patients are attempting to elicit in them. For example, a therapist who is sexually attracted to a patient must understand the countertransference aspect (if any) of the attraction, and look at how the patient might be eliciting this attraction. Once any countertransference aspect has been identified, the therapist can ask the patient what his or her feelings are toward the therapist, and can explore how those feelings relate to unconscious motivations, desires, or fears.

Discussion on this relationship were revealed in numerous letters between Jung, Sabian, Freud, Jung’s wife and Sabian’s mother, finally ending in Jung realizing the mistake being made and the individuation of a new ethical responsibility between analysand and analyst began to evolve. Stein describes this evolution taking “several decades until ethics caught up and elaborated detailed codes of conduct for therapists that took into the account the nuances and subtleties of transference and countertransference.” In just the past decade, the issues of feminism, homosexuality, medical advances, termination of life, genetic engineering, health-care as a right, livable income for all are pressing for further individuation of ethics.  Here Jung realizes that his ethical behavior needed to evolve:

A Dangerous Method – ‘Mistake’

We are examining the individuation of religion from polytheism, to monotheism, to atheism and within monotheism between Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism.  Žižek in Atheism and Christianity examines the ethical difference between Judaism and Christianity and proposes, “The only way really to be an atheist is through Christianity. Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism, which can claim there is no God and so on, but nonetheless it retains a certain trust in The Big Other. This Big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution, or whatever. We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within the harmonious whole of evolution, whatever, but the difficult thing to accept is again that there is No Big Other, no point of reference which guarantees meaning.”

Another example of the individuation of ethics, is the change occurring in the movement from polytheism, to monotheism, to atheism. And even within monotheism between Judaism and Christianity. In the Old Testament there exists a literal place, the Tabernacle, the Wailing Wall, where followers gathered to worship God. In the New Testament this evolves so that wherever two or more are gathered in Christ name there Am I, the Holy Spirit, with you. Zizek outlines the difference between Judaism and Christianity as that between anxiety and love – with the crucifixion of Christ there is no longer “A Big Other,” there will be no return of  The Christ. We only have each other – doing what is best for yourself and others. This is the challenge – how do we do this? Jung’s Answer to Job addresses this individuation of ethics clearly. The Wikipedia entry indicates that Jung considers the Book of Job to be

…. a landmark development in the “divine drama”, for the first time contemplating criticism of God (Gotteskritik). Jung described Answer to Job as “pure poison”, referring to the controversial nature of the book (Storr, 1973). He did, however, feel an urge to write the book. The basic thesis of the book is that as well as having a good side, God also has a fourth side – the evil face of God. This view is inevitably controversial, but Jung claimed it is backed up by references to the Hebrew Bible. Jung saw this evil side of God as the missing fourth element of the Trinity, which he believed should be supplanted by a Quaternity. However, he also discusses in the book whether the true missing fourth element is the feminine side of God. Indeed, he saw the dogmatic definition of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Pope Pius XII in 1950 as being the most significant religious event since the Reformation. Another theme in the book is the inversion of the myth that God sent his son Christ to die for the sins of humanity. Jung maintains that upon realizing his mistreatment of Job, God sends his son to humankind to be sacrificed in repentance for God’s sins. Jung sees this as a sign of God’s ongoing psychological development.

I am listening to you, Arvid, sitting around my table reminding us in your book, The dogma of a sinful constitution, you write to us about the ethics in the dogma of original sin.

Žižek on Atheism and Christianity

Recently posted at my Facebook was this essay on How nationalism and Socialism Arose from the French Revolution by Dan Sanchez. ( When I read what Steven W. had written, “that no matter what our political difference are, this needs reading,” I immediately read it, knowing something should come of our differences aired several months back. My answer to the statement, “that we are not free and want to believe in a free society” is yes. Sanchez’s historical essay is well written but I am disappointed in the details of his suggested solution that: “A non-state-centered revolution in minds and morals is what we need to truly shake the world and to finally shake off the chains of oppression, war, and poverty that bind us.” Sounds like we need someone who “walks on water”, know anyone doing this today. We need specifics! How to Dance…

Okay, I know we have watched “Zizek On Atheism and Christianity” with this message “whenever two or more are assembled there I Am”, the Holy Spirit. So, here WE are, what to discuss? Zizek continues his thesis making sure we understand “God Is Dead” and we best get on putting an end to all killing in His Names – just realizing this about religion should help! However, the big issue and maybe Sanchez addresses in another essay is “what is at the center of nationalism’s warring mentality?” I just finished watching “The Great War” PBS documentary on WWI, which puts film to Sanchez’s essay illustrating the “psychic frenzy” in the US in the World, the economic benefits of full-employment – the rise of the military-industrial-media complex, the rise of the creed for money. Then at the end of, Charlie Rose’s Zizek interview, Zizek identifies “private property,” as it exits in “The Corporation” as the root of our insanity. The Corporation is something real, concrete, that needs discussing – it is at the center of Sanchez’s “non-state-centered revolution in minds and morals.” It is the State that incorporates The Corporation!

I will end this blog entry noting that Wolfgang Giegerich’s further individuation of ethics, presented in his essay “The end of meaning and the birth of man,” echoes Jung’s Project but does introduce a paradigm shift in approaching the individuation of Justice, The Soul’s Logical Life that we will attempt to addresses in a future blog entry.

Herman’s and Arvid’s Family Projects are important elements in their respective families and I  imagine they began discussing this on South 10th Street Fargo. What next is unfolding in the individuation of ethics – Justice? We are still listening – Pops!

The winning pitch in my dream – a fastball, high & inside! Why this pitch? If I am looking deep within I need to to sum-up as much energy as I can. An idea behind psyche energy, E = MC2, was first presented in my very first blog entry, The Mathematics of Faith, where Bill Moyers interview of Anouar Majid on America’s orthodoxy  – global corporate capitalism. Steven Arvid

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1 Response to Individuation of Ethics – Justice

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