[260] 476 The second way leads to identification with the collective
psyche. This amounts to an acceptance of “godlikeness,” but now exalted into a system. That is to say, one is the fortunate possessor of the great truth which was only waiting to be discov¬ered, of the eschatological knowledge which spells the healing of the nations. This attitude is not necessarily megalomania in di¬rect form, but in the milder and more familiar form of pro¬phetic inspiration and desire for martyrdom. For weak-minded persons, who as often as not possess more than their fair share of ambition, vanity, and misplaced nai’vete, the danger of yielding to this temptation is very great. Access to the collective psyche means a renewal of life for the individual, no matter whether this renewal is felt as pleasant or unpleasant. Everybody would like to hold fast to this renewal: one man because it enhances his life-feeling, another because it promises a rich harvest of knowl¬edge. Therefore both of them, not wishing to deprive them¬selves of the great treasures that lie buried in the collective psyche, will strive by every means possible to maintain their newly won connection with the primal source of life.13 Identification would seem to be the shortest road to this, for the dissolu¬tion of the persona in the collective psyche positively invites one to plunge into that “ocean of divinity” and blot out all memory in its embrace. This piece of mysticism is innate in all better men as the “longing for the mother,” the nostalgia for the source from which we came.


12 Ibid., Part I, p. 67 (modified).
13 I would like to call attention here to an in teresting remark of Kant’s. In his lectures on psychology (Vorlesungen ilber Psychologie) he speaks of the “treasure lying within the field of dim representations, that deep abyss of human knowl¬edge forever beyond our reach.” This treasure, as I have demonstrated in my

[261] 477 As I have shown in my book on libido, there lie at the
root of the regressive longing, which Freud conceives as “infan¬tile fixation” or the “incest wish,” a specific value and a specific need which are made explicit in myths. It is precisely the strong¬est and best among men, the heroes, who give way to their re¬gressive longing and purposely expose themselves to the danger of being devoured by the monster of the maternal abyss. But if a man is a hero, he is a hero because, in the final reckoning, he did not let the monster devour him, but subdued it, not once but many times. Victory over the collective psyche alone yields the true value-the capture of the hoard, the invincible weapon, the magic talisman, or whatever it be that the myth deems most de¬sirable. Anyone who identifies with the collective psyche-or, in mythological terms, lets himself be devoured by the monster¬and vanishes in it, attains the treasure that the dragon guards, but he does so in spite of himself and to his own greatest harm.


478 [The danger, therefore, of falling victim to the collective
psyche by identification is not to be minimized. Identification is a retrograde step, one more stupidity has been committed, and on top of that the principle of individuation is denied and re¬pressed under the cloak of the individual deed and in the nebu¬lous conceit that one has discovered what is truly one’s own. In reality one has not discovered one’s own at all, but rather the eternal truths and errors of the collective psyche. In the collec¬tive psyche one’s true individuality is lost.]


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