Individual. Unique and unlike anyone else, distinguished from what is collective. (See also individuality.)
A distinction must be made between individuality and the individual. The individual is determined on the one hand by the principle of uniqueness and distinctiveness, and on the other by the society to which he belongs. He is an indispensable link in the social structure. [“The Structure of the Unconscious,” CW 7, par. 519.]
The individual is precisely that which can never be merged with the collective and is never identical with it. [Ibid., par. 485.]
The larger a community is, and the more the sum total of collective factors peculiar to every large community rests on conservative prejudices detrimental to individuality, the more will the individual be morally and spiritually crushed, and, as a result, the one source of moral and spiritual progress for society is choked up. [“The Assimilation of the Unconscious,” ibid., par. 240.]
The individual standpoint is not antagonistic to collective norms, only differently oriented.
The individual way can never be directly opposed to the collective norm, because the opposite of the collective norm could only be another, but contrary, norm. But this way can, by definition, never be a norm. [“Definitions,” CW 6, par. 761.]
Jung believed that the survival of the individual within a group depended not only on psychological self-understanding, but also on the personal experience of a higher truth.
The individual will never find the real justification for his existence and his own spiritual and moral autonomy anywhere except in an extramundane principle capable of relativizing the overpowering influence of external factors. … For this he needs the evidence of inner, transcendent experience which alone can protect him from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass. [“The Undiscovered Self,” CW 10, par. 511.]
Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself. [Ibid., par. 540 (italics in original).]
© from Daryl Sharp’s Jung Lexicon, reproduced with kind permission of the author.
Photo: Frith at the temple at Naxos, Greece.