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Hutchison, E. (1992). SAMUELS, A. (London). ‘Original morality in a depressed culture’. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 13, 1, 1990, pp. 23-52.. J. Anal. Psychol., 37(3):366-368.

(1992). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 37(3):366-368

SAMUELS, A. (London). ‘Original morality in a depressed culture’. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 13, 1, 1990, pp. 23-52.

Review by:
Eric Hutchison

There are two kinds of morality, 1) an original morality, fundamental, ineluctable, certain, and 2) moral imagination, easy to recognize, but hard to define accurately, which generates tolerance, forgiveness, openness, and an ingenious, less than clearcut approach to problems. Original morality is safe, goes ‘by the book’, but is potentially harsh, even vengeful, missing the nuances of the human situation. On its own it has a tragic outcome. Yet, without the certitude of original morality, moral imagination, although responsive to the uniqueness and conflicts of each situation, is in danger of being evasive, without any real grounding, conviction, or moral muscle. There is no hierarchy between them; they are equally archetypal. Each needs the other. Both have to become personal and find expression concurrently in human relationships at every stage, involving us in learning to live with the ever-deepening tension between certainty and improvisation. In the perennial problem of destructiveness, wickedness, and the shadow there is a clash of moralities rather than a simplistic struggle between morality and immorality. Morality itself contains a paradox, threatening a split in our moral perception, which calls for creative engagement rather than passive submission. By itself original morality is insufficient, because, filled with images of perfection, it oversimplifies with black and white certainty, with a fatal flaw of superior-inferior dynamic and the aggression and guilt this can evoke.

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