"American life is, in a subtle way, so déraciné, uprooted, that you must have something to compensate the earth. You have to pacify your unconscious all along the line because it is in an absolute uproar . . . . Look at the rebellion of modern youth . . . . The real natural man is just in open rebellion against the utterly inhuman form of life. You are absolutely divorced, you know, from nature in a way, and that accounts for the drug abuse."

~C.G. Jung, Interviews and Encounters, 1993. (p. 335)

Wonder if this also accounts for more than addiction?--for example, the appeal of joining causes that promise to provide meaning for life that many in western culture are so severely lacking in daily life due to our disconnect from nature and the sense of being part of something larger....

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  • "You have to pacify your unconscious all along the line because it is in an absolute uproar."

    Should one read "collective unconscious" as being meant in that statement? Might it also be proper to speak of an American collective unconscious, a German collective unconscious, etc. rather than an identical collective unconscious that is hardwired into all humans? 

    • I’m not sure, William- but I think it is included. According to Jung, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious form the “unconscious”. What I meant in the context of my comment was that my own unconscious has always been in an uproar, or has seemed to be. 

      In my own life, it has seemed that recognizing the message I get from dreams and active imagination has helped me to solve major issues once and for all. It is my experience that the literature is telling the truth: the psyche is trying to show the conscious attitude an answer, a message, or a different way of looking at a real situation. One doesn’t even have to follow the advice but just acknowledge the message. The messages slow down or stop for a while.

      I agree about speaking of the American collective unconscious and other types.

  • déraciné |dāˌräsiˈnā| adjective

    uprooted or displaced from one's geographical or social environment; the self-consciousness of déraciné Americans.


    a person who has been or feels displaced.

    ORIGIN early 20th cent.: French, literally ‘uprooted.’

    I had to look up that word.

    “You have to pacify your unconscious all along the line because it is in an absolute uproar . . . .”

    This explains a lot. Americans of European descent were ‘uprooted’, as Jung said, not exactly programmed for their new environment and trying to apply their physical, cultural and spiritual expression while all others of alternative descent (and in the same boat) joined them in the great American experiment. This uprooting goes a long way to explain why history turned out the way it did.

    Bonnie’s quote: “our disconnect from nature and the sense of being part of something larger….”

    Aligning with Schopenhauer’s Law of Sufficient Reason, I think there is no human being without an earth, just as there is no psyche without a body for it to inhabit. This can be extended to include the environment of space, in which the earth lives and is a part.

    Americans, for the most part, live in this disconnection from their environment but there is still hope. Many people do get this and these ideas can go viral like anything else. Jung said that we transmit more by the way we live our life than anything we say, especially to our children. When the two are in conflict, the behavior is more influential than the words.

  • This is also his way of protesting against the automation or 'robot-like' way of life. For example, take a look at factory assembly jobs or office jobs where we are required to sit and work from 9 to 5 and do a certain task that does not provide much meaning other than making money, which for some is a very low form of meaning. 

    • Making money has meaning, especially at a time when employers and corporations are expecting more and more of our labor to be free. To receive fair compensation for your time, work, and talent is significant.
  • I've never understood what "life having meaning" means. And when someone asks me whether I feel like I'm "part" of something "larger" my first thought is always "Larger than...what?"

    Maybe that makes me quintessentially American, but since my ancestors are European I'm blaming them. :P
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