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THE TRANSFORMED BERSERKER The Union of Psychic Opposites IN TIMES OF UPHEAVAL and social changes, people call for a leader who shows the way to either an inner change of attitude or an outer change of social reorganization. These two goals are opposed. The central problem of the relationship between individual transformation and social responsibility arises out of a psychic opposition. For as C. G. Jung explained, “There are always two standpoints and there always will be: namely, the standpoint of the social leader, who, insofar as he is an idealist, sees the general welfare in the more or less total suppression of the individual; and the spiritual leader, who looks for improvement only in the individual.” The two types constitute “a necessary pair of opposites . . . , which keeps the world in a state of balance.1 Examples of social leaders with or without a sense of responsibility for their people are found in plenty in the mass media. I will therefore attempt here to give a detailed presentation of an example of the other kind of leader. I have chosen for this our only Swiss saint, the spiritual leader Brother Niklaus von Flüe. He was a profoundly introverted, solitary hermit, who worked only on his own self-perfection; nonetheless, through this he became the political savior of Switzerland.2 Niklaus von Flüe was born on March 21, 1417, in the “Flüeli,” the hill country above the town of Sachseln in the canton of Unterwalden. He was the son of a respected local farmer, Heinrich von Flüe, and his wife, Emma Ruberta. In the fifteenth century, the Catholic Church was in a state of decay, corruption, and inner discord—a circumstance that brought many believers to reorient themselves toward an inner approach to religion. The political situation in Switzerland was also a difficult one at the time, because the original cantons, as a result of the pernicious custom of young men leaving their homes to join foreign armies (so-called Reislaufen), had been completely drained and were in a state of collapse. Though Saint Niklaus was not himself involved in such fortune-seeking activities, we nonetheless find his name in the lists of several groups that went on marauding expeditions. Though he evidently even rose to the rank of captain, he is said always to have attempted to prevent unnecessary massacres and senseless destruction.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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