The Undiscovered Self

Science, technology and globalism are commonly accepted prescriptions for dealing with modernity and progress. Yet the shadow of that progress tests our spiritual and moral integrity as we collectively face increasing social division, violent ideological fanaticism and environmental catastrophes.

Jung’s The Undiscovered Self is a little book for critical times. In it, Jung argues that our future depends on understanding the psychic foundations upon which we are built. Only by understanding our unconscious inner nature—the undiscovered self—can we regain our souls and resist the devastating effects of mass movements and divisive ideologies. We’ll examine ideas from assigned chapters to see how Jung’s insights are relevant to a deeper conversation about healing intrapsychic, interpersonal, cultural and political life.

A $60 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

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Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Describe Jung’s basic theory of the human psyche
  • Discuss the role of a split psyche in the fragmentation of socio-cultural and political life
  • Explain how greater individual psychological resilience can have a positive cumulative effect in the collective

Learning methods

You will learn through lecture with time for questions and answers (may vary from class to class). For Liberal Arts Certificate for 55+ students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Is collective intelligence really intelligent? (Chapters 1, 2, & 3)

We explore Jung’s idea that the dangerous phenomenon of mass-mindedness is the result of underdevelopment in the individuals that comprise it. We redefine the religious instinct as an archetypal push to connect with soul, yet may be diverted towards submission to ideological fanaticism and political or economic opportunism.

Week 2: Do we really know what we are? (Chapters 4 & 5)

We dive deeper into the seemingly insoluble puzzle of the human psyche and the dark shadow of consciousness; we discuss how building self-knowledge, and thus psychic resilience, in individuals morally and spiritually strengthens the collectives that we are part of.

Week 3: Reason alone does not suffice. (Chapters 6 & 7)

We wrap up by circumambulating back to the Western individual’s one-sided psychic condition: the development of logos at the expense of eros, and the resulting psychic split that manifests as a broadened and differentiated consciousness counterpoised against a lagging morality and spirituality. We’ll find hope for healing in Jung’s insights.

Books, materials and resources

There is required reading for this course.

  • The Undiscovered Self, C.G. Jung

This book will be available from the SFU Bookstore or at your local or online bookstore.

Academic integrity and student conduct

You are expected to comply with Simon Fraser University’s Academic Integrity and Student Conduct Policies. Please click here for more details. Simon Fraser University is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety, and freedom from harassment and discrimination.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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