The Horror Of Utopia (With Insight From Dr. Carl Jung)
In the last edition of The Liberator 2, we continued exploring Dr. Carl Jung’s insights into the origins of the State and its effects on myriad aspects of society as found in his last great work, The Undiscovered Self. In the previous edition we explored Dr. Jung’s observation that “rivalry for power and exaggerated distrust pervade the entire organism [of the government] from top to bottom,” (pg. 9) because of the effects of the doctrine of the State on the minds of those who believed it; he then extended his observations there to society as a whole. The results were obvious. The State was the greatest source of conflict, hatred, chaos, and violence in society - and that is before we consider the mass insanity and incomprehensible slaughter caused by its warmongering. In this article, we will build on these insights by exploring the way that the government causes chaos, working to its benefit.
Furthermore, in order to compensate for its chaotic formlessness, a mass always produces a “Leader,” who almost infallibly becomes the victim of his own inflated ego-consciousness, as numerous examples in history show.
This development becomes logically unavoidable the moment the individual masses together with others and becomes obsolete. Apart from agglomerations of huge masses of people, in which the individual disappears anyway, one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance. Looked at rationally and from outside, that is exactly what he is, and from this point of view it seems positively absurd to go on talking about the value or meaning of the individual. Indeed, one can hardly imagine how one ever came to endow individual human life with so much dignity when the truth to the contrary is as plain as the palm of your hand. [pgs. 9-10]
Many modern biologists argue that hierarchy in human life is a natural product of our biology, that we naturally want to order society in a way where everyone knows and understands their place relative to everyone else and where we know who those in authority are and who they are not. Dr. Jung seems to be saying something similar here. Out of the chaos of human relationships, especially those organized by the State where our natural inclination towards competition and rivalry is exacerbated exponentially by the contradictory nature of living in a statist society (as discussed in our last article), humans naturally seek someone to take control, to tell them what to do, and to promise to fix everything.
We want a Leader. The problem is that in order to do this we must submit our individuality to the demands of the group, we must fit within the ideological and social confides of the group if we wish to belong. We must give up our individuality for the collective, the individual for the State and, by doing so, imbue the Leader with the power he or she needs to rule. The resulting abdication of individuality and responsibility caused by this Dr. Jung labels “mass mindedness” but it’s similar to the description of group-think. As people are consumed in the identity of the group, they reject information that would contradict what the group teaches and they suppress their own thoughts when those thoughts might challenge their belief in the doctrines and dogmas of the group.
Therefore, while claiming to be an individual, those who have given themselves to collectivist beliefs are actively working on obliterating their individuality; while claiming to champion liberty, they are in fact proposing slavery – especially when we begin to talk about the State and its power to use violent force to compel mass obedience. In this I am also reminded of George Orwell’s definition of doublethink as given in his seminal work 1984:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them …DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. [Pgs. 44, 270]
Political mass-mindedness or groupthink necessitates doublethink, otherwise one could not in good morality support the State as it is founded on violence, brutality, and control. With it, one can ignore all the horrors that results form their actions, believing then the results of some imaginary Other Enemy – Democrats, Republicans, terrorists, late-stage capitalists, etc.
Dr. Jung further explicates the dehumanizing effect of reducing individuals to scientifically defined and studied statistics that the State engages in to function. Having forfeited your individuality, or had being stolen through decades of indoctrination, the result is the loss of the individual’s dignity and worth. After all, as a collective you are not a person with thought and feelings, hopes and dreams, life and liberty. You’re a number. Not even enough to qualify as a rounding error.
Why should I care about a number, especially one so miniscule?
Why should we let numbers get in the way of Utopia?
Seen from this standpoint, the individual really is of diminishing importance and anyone who wished to dispute this would soon find himself at a loss for arguments. The fact that the individual feels himself or the members of his family or the esteemed friends in his circle to be important merely underlines the slightly comic subjectivity of his feeling. For what are the few compared with ten thousand or a hundred thousand, let alone a million? This recalls the argument of a thoughtful friend with whom I once got caught up in a huge crowd of people. Suddenly he exclaimed, “Here you have the most convincing reason for not believing in immortality: all those people want to be immortal!” [pg. 10]
In such dehumanizing conditions, is it any surprise that people are dehumanized? Is it any surprise that people can champion the murdering of children when each is merely thought of in a purely scientifically rationalist approach – as a clump of cells that is one among billions? Is it any surprise that people can champion the murdering of millions of people across the world as long as it doesn’t effect someone they know? Is it any surprise that people can see themselves as a champion of racial minorities in their country while supporting a government actively murdering millions of non-white people all over the world in the War on Terror?
Those abstract numbers being eliminated aren’t people with hopes and dreams, with a divine history and eternal promise within them. They’re just statistics to be shuffled from one category to another. Likewise, is it no surprise then that State power is increased, justified on the way it may affect the collective mass numbers, no matter how much it may destroy the individual? As Josef Stalin is reported to have said during the Holodomór, the Ukrainian genocide caused by Stalin’s Socialist agricultural policies:
“One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.”