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British philosopher, Alan Watts, once described an encounter with Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, who is best known for his studies on the human psyche and man’s quest for wholeness.

Watts described a cheeky twinkle in Carl Jung’s eye that suggested Jung knew himself to be just as much a villain as anybody else. Watts described that in this one twinkle it was clear what made Jung so good at helping others through darkness as a psychiatrist. It was the fact that he had explored and accepted his own darkness.

As Watts put it, “He was the sort of man who could feel anxious, and afraid, and guilty without feeling ashamed of feeling this way. He understood an integrated person is not a person who eliminates this sense of guilt, or this sense of anxiety from his life – who is fearless and wooden. He is a person who feels all these things but has no recrimination for feeling them”.

Watts described that without saying a word Jung showed him that behind all of us – behind the social roles we assume, behind our pretensions and labels, whether we call ourselves a scientist, a spiritualist, or a sheet metal worker – there is an unconstructed bum. Something disheveled and haphazard. “Not something to be condemned, but something to be contributed to one’s greatness the way manure can be attributed to the perfume scent of a rose”.