Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. His work has been influential in many fields, most notably psychiatry. In this article, I’ll be giving you my top 5 takeaways from Modern Man In Search Of A Soul By Carl Gustav Jung.
Modern man in search of a soul is a must-read for anyone seeking meaning in today’s complex world.
Here are my top 7 takeaways:
1. ” It is probable that one form of neurosis is conditioned by the predominance of secrets, and another by the predominance of restrained emotions. “
Carl Jung thought that neurosis which is essentially anxiety is caused by having secrets and restraining our emotions.
Anecdotally we know it’s bad to lie or keep secrets. If we feel ashamed to hide or say something isn’t that a good indicator that the secret shouldn’t be kept or the lie made in the first place?
I know from personal experience that it’s better to be honest and not keep secrets.
Benjamin Franklin once said, ” Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead “.
The best way to be is an open book. Honesty is a virtue worthy of respect. Honesty makes our life easier and it helps us become ourselves, and people know us for who we are, not who we try to be.
Emotions shouldn’t be restrained either, I believe that we should always have an objective view of the emotions we feel. What are they trying to tell us?
Don’t dismiss them. If say a relative has recently passed away. Should you try to act tough and strong? Yes, probably but initially it’s only normal to feel sad and grieve, so express the emotion and don’t restrain it. Otherwise, it will bubble up inside you. And make the situation worse.
This is one of the many reasons people have therapy.
Our emotions can also tell us about situations in our daily lives. If some people or a situation is giving rise to emotions such as anger, sadness, and frustration then it might be best to remove yourself from instances that make you feel these unhelpful and undesirable emotions.
2. ” A man who suffers from a running abscess is not fit to perform a surgical operation. “
Whatever we seek to achieve in life we need to make sure that whoever we look to for help, support, and guidance has been there and done what we want to achieve, or has a proven track record of the result we wish to obtain.
The number of personal trainers I see who are trying to help people become healthier and fitter but can’t get fit themselves is a prime example of what I’m talking about.
Keep this in mind: How can someone truly help us solve our problems if they can’t even solve their own.
Remember this when someone gives you unsolicited advice.
3. ” As a rule , the life of a young person is characterised by a general unfolding and a striving toward concrete ends ; his neurosis , if he develops one , can be traced to his hesitation or his shrinking back from this necessity. “
I believe that our main job as individuals is to help others and become better, more effective individuals by doing so.
If we aren’t spending our time on meaningful things and activities that not only improve our lives but the lives of others, life can get pretty grim and seem meaningless.
For example, some things that we can do to improve our lives every day are:
- Workout 3-5 times per week.
- Eat a nutritious diet.
- Read for 30 minutes to an hour per day.
- Have a good sleeping routine.
Some things that we can do to help improve the lives of others but are not limited to:
- Any job were your helping others or serving the community.
- A business that creates products/ services that help others and have a net positive effect on humanity.
- Writing content, that provides clear and practical advice so that people can use it to improve their lives.
I personally feel bad if I’m not writing for at least an hour per day, working, learning, and keeping healthy by eating well and going to the gym 3-4 times per week.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t have leisure/ downtime after you’ve spent your time on meaningful things. Because you absolutely should have leisure time, it’s good for relaxing, and winding down which makes you more productive the next day.
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of wasting time. Time is the only commodity we can never get back. So what helps me is getting the meaningful things in my day done as soon as possible and then I can have some well-deserved downtime.
4. ” The shoe that fits one person pinches another ; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
We all have different talents, traits and characteristics. There isn’t one cookie-cutter way to live life to derive the maximum benefits. It would be good if there was but life isn’t like that.
It’s okay to have different interests and enjoy different things. In fact, it’s the way life is meant to be. We’re all different.
Just because someone loves/ hates something doesn’t mean you or I will. We need to try things and experience things for ourselves.
Think of your favourite colour. You probably don’t know why it’s your favourite colour, you just like it. Instinctually we’re all going to be drawn to different things.
The most important thing to remember is to capitalise on your strengths.
If the proverbial shoe doesn’t fit, change it for one that does, figuratively speaking. Apply this to relationships, hobbies, careers and even your fitness regimen.
This is another reason why we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. We all have different lives and paradigms. Just because one way works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for you and me.
” Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own”.
5. ” We have come to understand that pshychic suffering is not a definitely localised , sharply delimited phenomenon, but rather the symptom of a wrong attitude assumed by the total personality . “
Marcus Aurelius said in his book meditations ” The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the colour of your thoughts. “
If we live our lives in an optimistic way, and colour our thoughts with the positive aspects of our lives we’ll feel happier, and more positive in general.
But if we colour our thoughts with a pessimistic, cynical and nihilistic attitude, life instantly becomes much harder and less joyful.
Some More Of My Favourite Takeaways From Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
” About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senseless and emptiness of their lives. It seems to me, however, that this can well be described as the general neurosis of our time. Fully two thirds of my patients have passed middle age.”
” The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it. “
” Man is completely human only when he is playing “
” It is just mans turning away from instinict -his opposing himself to instinct – that creates consciousness. “
” It cannot be denied that primitive people are capable of concentrating on things that interest them. If we try to give our attention to uninteresting matters , we ourselves , like them , are dependent upon emotional undercurrents. “
” The artists life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts for two forces are at war within him – on one hand the common human longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life , and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire. The lives of artists as a rule are highly unsatisfactory- not to say tragic. “
” If we are pessimists, we shall call it a sign of decadence; optimistically inclined, we shall see in it the far-reaching spiritual change in the western world. “
” Neurosis is an inner cleavage -the state of being at war with one’s self. “
” Man is never helped in his suffering by what he thinks himself, but only revelations of wisdom greater than his own. It is this what lifts him out of the distress. “
The Bottom Line On Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
Carl Jung has been one of the most influential thinkers in the realm of psychology. He was influenced by other greats such as Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche and he inspires many still today. Most notably Jordan Peterson. Jordan recommends this book on his website.
Have you read Modern man in search of a soul by Carl Gustav Jung, if you have let me know what you think. And if you haven’t I highly recommend that you read it.