It is no pleasant thing to spend an entire lifetime watching one’s beloved country descend into insanity, but this has been my fate, and of the fate of any who have come into consciousness within the past half century. I say “who have come into consciousness,” because it is not enough to live; it is necessary to understand what you are living, if only after the fact.
So many people around me are giving in to fear — nameless fear, formless fear, often enough the product of mistaking television for reality. Many others continue to believe in political or ideological panaceas that are, and must be, nothing but illusion.
Obviously these two phenomena are connected, and connected in an unsuspected way — they stem from the loss of meaning which in turn stems from loss of sure spiritual connection. For 150 years at least, and gathering momentum as it proceeds, the descent of our culture into materialist superstition has cut cord after cord that used to tie us to sanity. So now we are in the position of being spiritually rootless, incapable of perceiving what is reality and what is illusion, fearing shadows and continually sowing the dragon’s teeth that spring up as armed men, and wondering why we have no peace.
Why is it that people will follow every sort of leader but the ones who offer wisdom? The following quotations are from an interview that Carl Jung gave in April, 1934. He could be talking about us today:
I say: Go slow. Go slow. With every good there comes a corresponding evil, and with every evil a corresponding good. Don’t run too fast into one unless you are prepared to encounter the other.
I am not concerned about the world. I am concerned about the people with whom I live. The other world is all in the newspapers. My family and my neighbors are my life — the only life that I can experience. What lies beyond is newspaper mythology. It is not of vast importance that I make a career or achieve great things for myself. What is important and meaningful to my life is that I shall live as fully as possible to fulfill the divine will within me.
This task gives me so much to do that I have no time for any other. Let me point out that if we were all to live in that way we would need no armies, no police, no diplomacy, no politics, no banks. We would have a meaningful life and not what we have now — madness.
What nature asks of the apple tree is that it shall bring forth apples, and of the pear tree that it shall bring forth pears. Nature wants me to be simply man. But a man conscious of what I am, and of what I am doing. God seeks consciousness in man. This is the truth of the birth and the resurrection of Christ within. As more and more thinking men come to it, this is the spiritual rebirth of the world. Christ, the Logos — that is to say, the mind, the understanding, shining into the darkness. Christ was a new truth about man.
Mankind has no existence. I exist, you exist. But mankind is only a word. Be what God means you to be; don’t worry about mankind. In worrying about mankind, which doesn’t exist, you are avoiding looking at what does exist — the self. You are like a man who leans over his neighbor’s fence and says to him: “Look, there is a weed. And over there is another one. And why don’t you hoe the rows deeper? And why don’t you tie up your vines?” And all the while, his own garden, behind him, is full of weeds.