Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Spirit of Our Times

In our country we are living through a frantic time in which there is an urgency to do something yet an ignorance of just what to do.  As ordinary citizens all we can do is vote, and a single vote seems inadequate to the challenges we face.  


The spirit of our times may come from a deeper place, from the spirit of the depths seeking expression.  At the end of his long life, C.G. Jung wrote that he merely sits at the stream and dips from it from time to time.  Something about study of Jungian Psychology helps put us in touch with and dip from the spirits of the depths.


The very thing that the depths seem to want to express and give voice to may be the "crippledness of the world."  No small wonder that many of us would rather seek a stream with only consummate beauty to offer, a nice desire but an idealism sure to alienate us from the depths.


In Jung's Redbook, he describes a fantasy of encountering the anchorite in the desert.  The anchorite is symbolic of his desire for a removed and remote contemplation of the world rather than intense encounter of his real self with the real world.  Jung found he could live out his real anchorite impulses at Bollingen, his retreat home, but had an obligation to live out other parts of himself by plunging into and encountering the real world.  


If Jung left us with an enduring message it is:  Be real, live an intensely felt life in a real but crippled world.  It is our human obligation, the payment we owe our ancestors.  How?  By meeting every moment with all the integrity, we can muster even though we fall short.  Of course, we cannot know how well we have succeeded or how it will turn out.  But then, neither did the Son of Man.



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