(Note: I’m going to cut my minimum quota per post down from two pages to two paragraphs.)
When a brutal dictator suppresses dissent in his country, he must crush the people’s will to the point where they find it either useless or at least undesirable to resist. At the ground level this results over time in a dull hypnosis. Since the country is now controlled entirely by one person, it is understandable that he must not only crush open dissent, but also crush any part of the openness of the culture which may lead to dissent. It’s not good enough just to cut the weeds above ground if the root system is still alive.
Just as insidious as those roots are to the dictator, one’s own desires can be to oneself. I find I’m not just one desire, but an almost incomprehensible tangle of desires. The brutal king is my sense of who I am and what I’m here on this earth for. The desires come from the roots and express themselves in ways which I find contradictory – the brutal king finds contradictory, I should say, because I often don’t know what drives him. Who am I and why am I here? There is something in me which knows the answer, and it tyrannizes over most of my impulses in a way I can hardly find comparison to among modern writers. The Jungians and traditional Christians I have found more able to address the point.
So I’ve suggested that in order to truly serve my purpose in life, a part of myself I’m calling a brutal king – am I or am I not one and the same king? – must oppress the individual activity of all of my smaller desires to the point where they do not resist his will. Even the ego center which writes this article cannot claim full identity with the king in question. That is, even the activity of writing represents at least in part an expression of one of my “upstart” desires. In a brutal kingdom, the people generally are allowed to express themselves so long as they don’t violate certain behaviors of which they can never be entirely aware. People’s sense of justice is dependent on how completely the rules of play are disclosed. If the king were perfectly fair he would disclose all the rules and it would seem like a just government. However, this presupposes that there is no essential difference between the natures of the king’s desire and the people’s desires.
The little people generally, are not thought to be the king, and vice versa. If the king takes action which the little person doesn’t understand, the little person, if he is a compliant subject, assumes that the king is operating according to mysterious factors which are beyond the little person’s understanding. If nothing more is expected of the little person, the little person will not feel bad that he doesn’t understand all the complexities of the operations of the greater kingdom. In many cases, however, more is expected of the little person than that he should simply observe passively. Indeed, to be honest, the little person rarely knows whether the king’s action is derived from such truly surpassing wisdom.
All these “little people” are the parts of me which might want to take actions different from the restricted possibilities allowed by the king. As mentioned above, even parts of this writing may be acts of rebellion. The first way in which I experience the brutal rule of the king is by sinking into a heavy depression. The king, which is at least sometimes acting entirely out of my unconscious self, makes me feel dreadful shame. The little person must either suppress himself or find a way around the king’s decree. The primary characteristic of the little person is whether he has faith or no faith in the king’s rule. If he has no faith, his inclination will be to act subversively, to divide himself into a phony compliant personality and a secret rebellious one, which rebellion can go on indefinitely so long as he is not caught by the king’s guard while the king rules.
But the more ordinary subject will feel ashamed that he has made a mistake, and conscientiously attempt to find ways to express his desires which don’t violate the will of the king. He believes in the king, in other words.
If I am unhappy, but I believe in the king’s wise rule, then I must reinterpret said unhappiness. Because the king needs and hopes for the compliance of all his citizens, I must interpret my unhappiness as a process of growth in which harmonious actions are promoted by the strict discipline of all inharmonious actions. What feels like dictatorship is a wiser self teaching me to conform to patterns which benefit, or at least do not harm, the greater organism. Our society pretends to be full of adults, which is why growing up can be so embarrassing – learning from your own self things which you might want to learn from someone else, but which in fact almost no one knows. We have a lot of adults, but almost no grown-ups.
Finally, Carl Jung has a very important and very difficult to understand concept called individuation. I’m toying around with definitions:
Individuation – The notion that there is something inside a person which can solve problems which conventional wisdom cannot solve, and the process by which such problems are solved.