QotD: July 30th, 2007

From Clive Hamilton’s “Growth Fetish”:

“Despite his split with Freud, Carl Jung was in accord. For him, the purpose of life, and the role of psychotherapy, was to bring the conscious and unconscious minds into harmony and so find wholeness, a process he called ‘individuation’. The approach of Freud and Jung grew out of a much longer tradition, one stretching back to the Greeks. Aristotle discussed happiness using the term eudaimonia. As Carol Ryff observes, the Greeks used daimon to mean genius, and in its original use the word ‘genius’ referred to the spirit assigned to each person at birth to preside over their destiny. Eudaimonia thus means good fortune in life, but Ryff prefers to describe daimon as ‘an ideal in the sense of an excellence, a perfection towards which one strives, and which gives meaning and direction to one’s life’. Cast in this light, the pursuit of wellbeing becomes something associated less with day-to-day gratification and more with the evolution of a life, of the potential within each person, and of the ethical principles that underpin right behaviour, an idea that has as much resonance in Buddhist as in Christian thought.”