It Takes a Village to Raise an Idiot


The following quote is one of the most profound paragraphs that I have ever read, perhaps in my entire life. It was published in 1928 and expresses the very thing that is wrong with our contemporary society, particularly with the millennial generations hyperbolized sense of entitlement and the over emphasis on the collective versus the individual, i.e., communism, socialism, and the so called “social justices” as well as “Common Core” and simply generic contemporary idealistic democratic liberalism.

To be fair it also explains why unchecked or unregulated (Laissez faire) capitalism is also inherently immoral. Any established collective social structure, be it communistic or capitalistic, essentially takes on the same mentality of a cornered animal when stressed, and, will therefore do whatever it takes, unethically or immorally, in order to grow or survive.  This is why some form of transparent and robust system of checks and balances, that can actively purge and expel corruption, needs to be maintained without impunity for the corruptors. This is exactly why the current political system in the United States is hanging on by a single thread, the corruption has gone uncontrollably wild. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Santa Clause entitlement big government policies of both democrats and established republicans are killing the USA! The most dangerous enemy is within.


Note that it is one very long continuous paragraph from a long lost time when the attention span of the average persons were much longer than that of the collective twits that we seem to have devolved into. This is opposed to the “skulls full of mush” coming out of today’s public education system; they, on the other hand, communicate in very short one or two line paragraphs. Doubt me? Then just travel the web, especially in the social media realm and you will be hard pressed to see anything but one or two line paragraphs. Twitter even restricts its content thus encouraging and catering to this devolution into an ADHD riddled (de)generation.

This one single paragraph brilliantly predicts the inevitable outcome and the absurdity of the notions that it takes a village to raise a child, instead, it more correctly exemplifies that indeed it takes a village to raise an idiot, which to those who buy into the former nonsense is perfectly acceptable and indistinguishable (and probably intentional) from the latter, thus the exceptionally brilliant and accurate coinage of the terms “skulls full of mush” and “low information voters” by Rush Limbaugh.

For those of you with ADHD who would rather listen than read here is a link to an audio mp3 file of the quote converted into speech:

For the development of personality, then, strict differentiation from the collective psyche is absolutely necessary, since partial or blurred differentiation leads to an immediate melting away of the individual in the collective. There is now a danger that in the analysis of the unconscious the collective and the personal psyche may be fused together, with, as I have intimated, highly unfortunate results. These results are injurious both to the patient’s life feeling and to his fellow men, if he has any influence at all in his environment. Through his identification with the collective psyche he will infallibly try to force the demands of his unconscious upon others, for identity with the collective psyche always brings with it a feeling of universal validity – “godlikeness” – which completely ignores all differences in the personal psyche of his fellows. (The feeling of universal validity comes, of course, from the universality of the collective psyche.) A collective attitude naturally presupposes the same collective psyche in others. But that means a ruthless disregard not only of individual differences but also of differences of a more general kind within the collective psyche itself, as for example differences of race. This disregard for individuality obviously means the suffocation of the single individual, as a consequence of which the element of differentiation is obliterated from the community. The element of differentiation is the individual. All the highest achievements of virtue, as well as the blackest villainies, are individual. The larger a community is, and the more the sum total of the collective factors peculiar to every large community rests on conservative prejudices detrimental to individuality, the more will the individual be morally and spiritually crushed, and, as a result, the one source of moral and spiritual progress for society is choked up. Naturally the only thing that can thrive in such an atmosphere is sociality and whatever is collective in the individual. Everything individual in him goes under, i.e., is doomed to repression. The individual elements lapse into the unconscious, where, by the law of necessity, they are transformed into something essentially baleful, destructive, and anarchical. Socially this evil principle shows itself in the spectacular crimes – regicide and the like – perpetrated by certain prophetically inclined individuals; but in the great mass of community it remains in the background, and only manifests itself indirectly in the inexorable moral degeneration of society. It is a notorious fact that the morality of society as a whole is in inverse ratio to its size; for the greater the aggregation of the individuals, the more the individual factors are blotted out, and with them morality, which rests entirely on the moral sense of the individual and the freedom necessary for this. Hence every man is, in a certain sense, unconsciously a worse man when he is in society than when he is acting alone for he is carried by society and to that extent relieved of his individual responsibility. Any large company composed of wholly admirable persons has the morality and intelligence of an unwieldy, stupid, and violent animal. The bigger the organization, the more unavoidable is its immorality and blind stupidity. (Senatus bestia, senatores boni viri). Society, by automatically stressing all the collective qualities in its individual representatives, puts a premium on mediocrity, on everything that settles down to vegetate in an easy, irresponsible way. Individuality will inevitably be driven to the wall. This process begins in school, continues at the university, and rules all departments in which the State has a hand. In a small social body, the individuality of its members is better safeguarded, and the greater is their relative freedom and the possibility of conscious responsibility. Without freedom there can be no morality. Our admiration for great organizations dwindles when once we become aware of the other side of the wonder: the tremendous piling up and accentuation of all that is primitive in man, and the unavoidable destruction of his individuality in the interests of the monstrosity that every great organization in fact is. The man of today, who resembles more or less the collective ideal, has made his heart into a den of murderers, as can easily be proved by the analysis of the unconscious, even though he himself is not in the least disturbed by it. And in so far as he is normally “adapted” to his environment, it is true that the greatest infamy on part of his group will not disturb him, so long as the majority of his fellows steadfastly believe in the exalted morality of their social organization. Now, all that I have said here about the influence of society upon the individual is identically true of the influence of the collective unconscious upon the individual psyche. But, as is apparent from my examples, the latter influence is as invisible as the former is visible. Hence it is not surprising that its inner effects are not understood, and that those whom such things happen are called pathological freaks and treated as crazy. If one of them happen to be a real genius, the fact would not be noted until the next generation or the one after. So obvious does it seem to us that a man should drown in his own dignity, so utterly incomprehensible that he should seek anything other than what the mob wants, and that he should vanish permanently from view in this other. One could wish both of them a sense of humor, that – according to Schopenhauer – truly “divine” attribute of man which alone benefits him to maintain his soul in freedom.

— C.G. Jung, Phenomena Resulting from the Assimilation of the Unconscious, Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious, Collected Works Vol. 7


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