Jung: The individual is a vessel of life


From an interview of CG Jung by Georg Gerster conducted on June 7, 1960, for broadcast on the Swiss radio network, as found in the book CG Jung speaking.

G: “When I asked you earlier about a critique of our civilization I… was thinking of the problem of our time, as they say. There must have been periods when man’s relations with the unconscious through various other channels of communication were infinitely more alive than they are today.”

J: “Yes, there is no doubt that it was only the 19th century that broke with this tradition and became increasingly intellectual, with the result that a lot of vitally necessary things have become obsolete. Just think of the crisis of Christianity we are passing through today — it simply means that we have lost all sense of its necessity. We no longer know what it is good for. In earlier times people knew, in a way. Naturally they had faith, but this faith was rooted in the feeling that the Christian tradition was ‘satisfactory,’ it was something self-evident, part of the picture. Even with scientific books, you need only think of old Scheuchzer, of Zürich who began his scientific works with the story of Creation!”

“Do you see any chance for psychology to do something here? I mean you can’t put the clock back.”

“No, that’s impossible.”

“On the other hand, as a psychologist with these insights, you can’t let the world go its own sweet way!”

“Yes, but what is the voice of a single individual? These things are evidently so difficult to understand that you just can’t talk to people about them. It is amazing how little people understand of such matters. They don’t think about them at all. Naturally, a very great deal could be said in this respect. But, you see, it concerns the individual so very much that it is far too boring for people! Of course, if I knew a remedy that could be injected into 10,000 people at one go, that would be popular, especially if one didn’t have to do anything about it oneself. But the very idea that you should begin with yourself, that is totally out of the question! One must always have something that is good for 100,000, for a million people, but not for the individual, he is far too uninteresting.

“We have been so convinced by science how nugatory a human life is, and contemporary history has indeed demonstrated before our eyes how human lives count for nothing. And the individual is so utterly convinced of his nothingness that he makes no effort to get anywhere with himself, to develop himself inwardly in any way. It is too hopeless, the individual is nothing, and is naturally a false view that the individual is nothing. The individual is a vessel of life. Every individual is the bearer of life, and life is worn only by individuals. It does not exist in itself, there is no life of the millions. That is nonsense, but millions of individuals are vessels of life and for each of them the problem of the individual is the whole problem. And then they say: ‘Yes, but look at So-and-so, that’s no vessel of life!’ The individual is banalized, you see. Most people get discouraged.

“The theologians surely ought to be convinced that the individual soul is the vessel of life, and the thing of greatest importance. Yet a theologian told me himself: ‘We must get through to the masses. If we tried to treat every single individual we would never get anywhere!’ I said: ‘Well, how did Christianity conquer the world in the first place? It always went from individual to individual.’

“…. But taking yourself seriously is considered improper, you’re an eccentric, putting on self-important airs, etc. Everywhere you come up against this depreciation of the human psyche. Of course when you say ‘the human psyche’ everyone thinks it’s fine, it is someone else’s affair, but I myself and what I do are not considered at all. If nobody bothers about his own psyche, then there is nothing you can do from the psychological angle, you can only say how things are and make yourself unpopular!”


Three books that will make a difference in your life


About a decade ago, by way of an email from Colin Wilson, I got to know a remarkable Englishman, about my age, named Robert Clarke. Robert was a quiet man who had been led through the individuation process by the works of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and, remarkably, by some 30,000 dreams. These dreams, and that process, changed a relatively uneducated man into an independent scholar and mystic. Delving deeply into the realms of philosophy, religion, and psychology, he discovered unsuspected connections between the world of the unconscious and the world of our history, tradition, and scriptures, because the things that scripture and mythology describe, he had experienced as spontaneous productions from his own dream world. In other words, he had experienced just the process that Carl Jung’s work described.

Robert and I met only twice (when I visited England in 2003 and 2007 specifically to see him) but via email he and I became friends, or perhaps I should say we discovered that we were already friends and just hadn’t yet discoverer each other. Hampton Roads published his first two books, which sold modestly and not nearly as well as they deserved to do.

Then last spring he emailed me to say that he had only a few months to live, because the cancer that had been found was pretty far advanced. He was fine with dying – we owe God a death, and he who dies this year is quit for the next, after all, and Robert had long since lost any doubts he had ever had about immortality – but he had three unpublished manuscripts, and he hated to think that the work he had put into them might have been for nothing.

As he had no better prospects, I told him I would publish them. Robert died last fall, but not before he had a chance to review and approve my content-editing.

Today, nearly a year after his death, the books are produced and in house, ready for sale. I think they’re pretty important.

The Royal Line of Christ the Logos shows how the West lost its way when it began to regard the Christian mystery as an outdated superstition. This, in turn, happened because Christian orthodoxy ceased to realize that the Christ phenomenon was not a matter of someone’s biography but was a as a concrete, explicit expression of the psychological process of individuation. Gnostic Christians retained this understanding. (Robert explains that the Gnostics’ teachings sprang from direct experience, and that “these sects, largely Christian in esoteric ways, existed side-by-side with the orthodox Christians. Their teachings were based upon direct inner experience. Like Jung, the Gnostics had no need to merely believe, they knew.”) But the hierarchy did not, and the exoteric view they taught people ultimately failed, which is where we are now. In The Royal Line of Christ the Logos, Robert shows the path not taken.

Books such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail assert that Jesus was the originator of an actual physical bloodline. In The Grail, the Stone and the Mystics, Robert shows why he believed that this is a materialist misunderstanding. The Grail legends refer to psychological processes — the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as the sacred marriage through the unconscious, and the child is the divine child in the inner processes, ultimately what the Greek mysteries called the Logos. Using insights from the work of Carrion and from his own individuation processes, he investigates the related subjects of the Grail, the philosopher’s stone, alchemy, and the visions of saints such as St. Teresa of Avila.

The Sacred Journey is in two parts. Part one presents a remarkable treatise on Jung and his discoveries and what they mean to the world—particularly the West. Part two is divided among several elements: Mme. Blavatsky, Frederick Nietzsche, Marian visions, UFOs, and aliens. What holds the book together is that all of these elements in their own way further develop the theme of the interconnection of history (culture, civilization, etc.) and the processes and manifestations of the unconscious as experienced by individuals. The result is a stimulating re-visioning of what has been going on around us for the past hundred years—and an equally stimulating suggestion as to what lies ahead.

Thanks to the behind-the-scenes wizardry of my friend Rich Spees, webmaster extraordinaire, all three books are now available on my website, www.hologrambooks.com, and can be ordered separately or at a combined price that will save you a few dollars.

Trust me, this is important work, worthy of your time.

Jung: “We must begin to learn about man”

It is precisely my objection to politics and ideology, that they encourage people to look outside themselves for the source of life’s problems. But, as Jung in his wisdom told this reporter, each of us has within us Mr. Hyde. Our job is to learn what we are

From an interview with the English journalist Frederick Sands in 1955.

“It seems to me we have reached the limit of our evolution — the point from which we can advance no further. Man started from an unconscious state and has ever striven for greater consciousness. The development of consciousness is the burden, the suffering, and the blessing of mankind. Each new discovery leads to greater consciousness, and the path along which we are going is merely an extension of it. This inevitably calls for greater responsibility and enforces a great change in ourselves. We must draw conclusions from what we know and discover, and not take everything for granted.

“Man has come to be man’s worst enemy. It is a clash between man and God, in which man’s Luciferan genius has produced in the H-bomb the power to destroy more effectively than any ancient God could. We must begin to learn about man until every Jekyll can see his Hyde.”

“As if I’m some sort of hopeless dimwit”

We never know when we may be serving the purposes of something well beyond ourself. I have a thoughtful friend, a professor of philosophy. I thought he’d be interested in a blog post I found about attempting to comprehend man, so I forwarded the URL, which is http://pavellas.wordpress.com/

In due course I received my friend’s reply:

Continue reading “As if I’m some sort of hopeless dimwit”

Taming our inner fundamentalist

Henry Reed is an author, lecturer, psychologist, and teacher. This book review appeared in the January 2010 issue of Venture Inward, the magazine of Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. (www.EdgarCayce.org) It’s a good reminder that it’s always easier to see the mote in the other person’s eye than the beam in one’s own.

Continue reading Taming our inner fundamentalist

Science and ‘Survival of the Kindest’

Those who know me, know that I am not a worshipper at the altar of science. It has its place as an interpreter of reality, as an extender of our mental boundaries, but for at least the past 200 years it has functioned as if it could tell us the most important things: who we are, what we are here for, what the purpose of life and the universe is.

It can’t do those things, but the atrophy of religions in our day and the failure (finally!)  of beliefs in social, economic, and/or political utopias (ideologies, in a word) left a vacuum, which  scientists were as eager to fill as they were unqualified to fill it.

Nonetheless, when I find a report from scientists that confirms what I already believe, I’m happy to pass it along, with the caveat that the results of a study are no more than the results of a study. If another study tomorrow disproves this one, are we supposed to jump hoops to re-form our beliefs to meet the newer study? Apparently many scientists think so. I wish them well, but I’d rather anchor my beliefs in something a little more permanent, a little more solid, than this new variant of “the latest thing.”

This is from Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091208155309.htm

Continue reading Science and ‘Survival of the Kindest’