Without suffering, nothing changes, the least of all human nature.
C. G. Jung
What are all these old stories, Babylonian myths, or New Testament parables good for? What does the (post)modern era, especially economics, have to learn from these ancient symbols? What good can this thinking do for us, especially in a time of debt-crisis, when we have enough worries as it is?
The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung believed that human thinking and worldview moves in archetypes that remain valid over millennia. This is why it is worthwhile to study these archetypes and know about them. And it is simplest and best to study them in their raw early forms, in a sort of bareness, when our civilization was young(er) —and then to follow their transformations in the context of historical development.
What we have stored somewhere in our unconscious can be recognized best in times of crisis. “It is in the most unexpected, the most terrifying chaotic things that reveal a deeper meaning,” 1 Jung writes. For him, the breaking point was what he often built on.
An economy also tells us much more about itself when it expresses its weakness, not when it is at full strength. We can get to know it much better when it is bare and humble than when it overflows with pride and despises everything other than itself. Strength frequently hides the essence of things, while weakness reveals it.
1 Jung, “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious,” 33–34.