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This Jungian Life

Apr 9, 2020

In the Chinese language, the two characters representing crisis are danger and opportunity. Can that possibly be true of these days of pandemic crisis, with physical, economic, and psychological destabilization? Voices of experience and wisdom speak to us about finding potential in desperate situations.

Victor Frankl, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, discovered he had the power to choose his attitude toward brutal circumstances. Erich Fromm felt that isolation and fear could lead either to experiencing or forfeiting personal freedom.

Carl Jung valued the human capacity for consciousness: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” We can be heartened in hard times by those who have gone before, turned inward, and found treasure. 


I’m walking into my high school dressed in school uniform for the first time in years. I walk through the cafeteria and people are all looking at me and whispering. I sit at some seats by myself. I see some classmates I recognize and ask why they’re all still here when we left high school 5 years ago. They tell me it’s because of the coronavirus outbreak. I ask, “Why would it be the coronavirus outbreak when that has only just started?” They don’t give me a proper answer. I am not aware of why I am here either but I have just rejoined after some time away whereas the others have been here for a long time.

References (Books available on Amazon):

Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom