Carl Jung, Good, and Sense of Good

I could as well have hyphenated Sense of Good, but rather I have used the three words in the first Pause as a proper noun to shift the reader’s mind a bit. A friend and reader of this model sent me the following challenge by quoting a man I have always admired.

Here is a quote from Carl Jung:
“I’d rather be whole than be good”. 
What do you think about that? What if “good” is not the highest “good.”

In Response:

First, far be it for me to take on Carl Jung. In this narrow instance I am avoiding a direct conflict. Here is my response to this reader with a few enhancements for this post.

I believe Carl Jung’s use of the word good here is limited to the cerebral version of virtue defined as an overarching standard.  In The Good Decision (TGD) good is more like ‘the finger pointing at the moon’ to use a slightly overused Buddhist metaphor. That’s why I settled on the ‘Sense of Good’ rather than ‘good’.The process of the four Pauses is all about wholeness in one’s process of considerationrather than a specific standard or recipe for a pre-defined good.  In the context of TGD, ‘whole’ and ‘good’ are not dualistic or competing but rather aspects of the same thing. I believe the fact that good and wholeness have become separated in us is a major contributor to why this nation is split in half culturally and politically.

And the national split is a large part of my motivation for developing this model that strives for both wholeness and universality.

2 thoughts on “Carl Jung, Good, and Sense of Good

  1. Words are powerful and tricky. Words are symbolic expressions of inner ideas. When we read them, we need to be careful not to blithely ascribe our own definitions and assume that we know what is being said.

    For me, wholeness encompasses awareness and acceptance of who I am, completely and without selective editing to be whom I would prefer to be. Good is less adherence to a ready made simplistic answer which preempts real thought, and more an aspiration to consider, and strive for, values beyond personal or group selfishness.

    Listening to words, read or spoken, must be more than recognizing what word is being used, more than assuming we understand what is meant by its use. As a symbolic expression, words only offer an open door for an exploration of understanding what is being conveyed.


    • David: Thanks for this thoughtful response. I have nothing to add. I love this exchange. I suspect I am leaning toward the sense that words are a secondary response to something moving deeper within us.


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