Do you know who you are?

BOOK REVIEW • THE UNDISCOVERED SELF


Written three years before his death, Carl Jung offers inspiring insights into individualism, modern society and self-knowledge.

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Jung begins with an intriguing question to his book: What will the future bring? His argument brings us to the conclusion that since a nation is formed of individuals, an individual's psychology is affecting the nation and as a result, what happens in the future. As a result, he highlights the importance of 'self-knowledge'. 

"Most people confuse "self-knowledge" with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities. Anyone who has ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. 

In this respect, the psyche behaves like the body with its physiological and anatomical structure, of which the average person knows very little too. Although he lives in it and with it, most of it is totally unknown to the layman, and special scientific knowledge is needed to acquaint consciousness with what is known of the body, not to speak of all that is not known, which also exists.

What commonly called self-knowledge" is, therefore, a very limited knowledge, most of it dependent on social factors, of what goes on in human psyche."

- An excerpt from the 'The Undiscovered Self', written by Carl Jung