Susan Voss

The Collective Shift from Feeling to Thinking: Luther not Descartes; God-image not Philosophy

French philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, is identified as marking the key split in Western history from feeling to thinking typology when in 1637 he published the Discourse on the Method with the infamous line “Cogito ergo sum” differentiating philosophy and science from religious and superstitious belief.

I would argue that the more important differentiation in Western consciousness occurred in 1517 with the publication of Ninety-five Theses by German monk, and Professor, Martin Luther, challenging the ordering principles of the Roman Catholic Church. The split within the Catholic Church, and subsequent rise of Lutheranism, Calvinism, and the Protestant faith was a compensation to the one-sided cultural principles of the Roman Catholic Church.

Luther’s theses resulted in an enantiodromia of the underlying ordering principles of the collective Catholic god-image from feeling typology to thinking typology, and more importantly, the other underlying collectivistic cultural norms shifted from collectivism to individualism, hierarchical to nonhierarchical leadership, feminine to masculine imagery, and relational to achievement-oriented. This was the key point in history that the roots of rationalism took hold.

To focus on the shift from feeling to thinking, is to miss the larger collectivistic shift that is in effect within many Western cultures today.

The god-image, as manifested within a religion, is foundational for individual and collective shared ordering principles. As such, a nations cultural attributes are shaped by the underlying religious beliefs and sanctified through a shared image of god. This can be represented as:

Religion = Collective/National Ordering Principles + Inherent Desire of Individual’s “Self”

To understand culture and emotion, therefore we must look at the religious underpinning and the shared image of God as defined by Jung, and the sanctified ordering principles. One-sided values and projection create the source for conflict as seen in the Protestant-Catholic Wars and US-Russian conflict.


Dr. Susan Voss completed her PhD in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2017. Her focus was on understanding the relationship between the individual and collective psyche through a Jungian lens that resulted in research on the Self, religion, and the god-image. Much of what drove her passion for understanding these complex relations came about during the early 1990’s when her work as a nuclear engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) brought her to work with the Russian’s on space nuclear power and then nuclear proliferation. Once enemies, and then partners, it was clear during the interactions that the two nations viewed the world in significantly different ways. This could be seen in their engineering, perspective on nonproliferation, and in the stories that they shared. Dr. Voss chose to focus her work on understanding how the two nations each could justify and felt safer, with the buildup of nuclear weapons beyond a rational level. As in, both nations only felt safe if they were able to decimate the Earth. Establishing that the US and Russia are cultural opposites, and shadow projection, rooted in large part in the collective god-image referring back to Jung’s model of the Self, provided a model to better understanding this long-standing conflict. Susan is the President of Global Nuclear Network Analysis, LLC and currently resides in Taos, NM where she consults for the US government on space power, and continues her research on cultural patterns and the relationship to the shared god-image.

Recent Publications

  • Underlying Patterns in International Relations: Cross-Cultural Psychology through a Jungian Lens, 2016, Dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpentaria, CA.

Recent Non-Jungian Publications

  • US Policy on the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Space Nuclear Power, S. Voss, April 6-9, 2020, NETS 2020.
  • Operational Considerations for Space Fission Power and Propulsion-Platforms, Andrew C. Klein, Allen Camp, Patrick McClure, Susan Voss, Elan Borenstein and Paul VanDamme. ANS NETS 2020 Conference.


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