In this email, we consider the centerpiece of Jung's work--the individuation of personality. The terms "psychological types" and "personality" have often been confused. The term psychological types refers to modes of ego consciousness. The term personality refers to . . . well, see if you can define it. Consider these quotes form Jung's remarkable essay on personality delivered to an Austrian audience just prior to Hitler's rise in Germany.
"But in the end, the hero, the leader, the saviour, is one who discovers a new way to greater certainty. Everything could be left undisturbed did not the new way demand to be discovered, and did it not visit humanity with all the plagues of Egypt until it finally is discovered. The undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche; classical Chinese philosophy names this interior way "Tao," and likens it to a flow of water that moves irresistibly towards its goal. To rest in Tao means fulfillment, wholeness, one's destination reached, one's mission done; the beginning, end, and perfect realization of the meaning of existence innate in all things. Personality is Tao" (CW 17, =C2=A7323).
"Just as the great personality acts upon society to liberate, to redeem, to transform, and to heal, so the birth of personality in oneself has a therapeutic effect. It is as if a river that had run to waste in sluggish side-streams and marshes suddenly found its way back to its proper bed, or as if a stone lying on a germinating seed were lifted away so that the shoot could begin its natural growth" (CW 17, =C2=A7317).
"The words "many are called, but few are chosen" are singularly appropriate here, for the development of personality from the germ-state to full consciousness is at once a charisma and a curse, because its first fruit is the conscious and unavoidable segregation of the single individual from the undifferentiated herd" (CW 17, =C2=A7294). "Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for self-determination" (CW 17, =C2=A7289).
How would you define the term "personality?" Perhaps it was no accident that Jung left the term out of the chapter on definitions in Psychological Types. Though hard to define, personality is at the very center of his model of Analytical Psychology.
We will take up the question of personality in future emails, but for now, it may be enough to say that personality, as Jung uses the term, ought not be, as it often has been, confused with his term psychological types.
With Best Regards,