A Persona is a fake personality that we display for others. It is a mask, a character we play in public in order to either fit in with the group, or to make ourselves “appear” different from the group, even though fundamentally we have not grasped true individualism at all. Jung despaired at the problems of Persona, because not only does it keep people from knowing their true selves, it also makes them incredibly susceptible to mass manipulation. In a sense, it is a form of self-hypnosis. People who are slaves to Persona are constantly fixed on the tides of mainstream thought, always changing their views to match the predominant ideas of the time. By default, whoever controls the predominant ideas of the time (mass media) also controls those who are dependent on Persona.
Even men who use Persona to make themselves appear different from the group are ruled by the mainstream, because often these men automatically choose the exact opposite position of whatever view the mainstream holds. To use as an example once again, Atheism was created as a direct and opposing reaction to the widely held views of Western Religion, which are based on faith. But at its foundation, Atheism is just another belief system based on faith, for how can one know for certain that there “is no god”. The wise man who has issues with the idea of faith would simply say, “I don’t know if there is a god”, but many Atheists make the mistake of choosing their beliefs out of Persona and projection, blindly reacting to the mainstream, instead of developing their perspective through self awareness and individualism. The only way to break a Persona is through the act of self awareness. Jung called the act of breaking a persona “Individuation”. He believed that a deep understanding of Archetypes; the inborn qualities of our own psyches, could help people to become individuated.The writer of this article has also made an interesting 30 minute documentary on the same subject matter called Sons of Darkness, Sons of Light: