Religion #6: Cultural Diversion

This is another chapter in the Religion series, influenced by the works of C.G. Jung. Below, he expresses the importance of the self in nature and mythology, and how the modern world has separated us from our inner truth of the unconsciousness, to which this truth can still be found in primitive cultures.

“The emotional nature of these unreflective people (Arabs/Eastern world) who are so much closer to life than we are exerts a strong suggestive influence upon those historical layers in ourselves which we have just overcome and left behind, or which we think we have overcome. It is like the paradise of childhood from which we imagine we have emerged, but which at the slightest provocation imposes fresh defeats upon us. Indeed, our cult of progress is in danger of imposing on us even more childish dreams of the future, the harder it presses us to escape from the past.” 

“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man… The modern ones strive for unity; they represent a compensation of the psychic cleavage, or anticipation that the cleavage will be surmounted. Since the process takes place in the collective unconscious, it manifests itself everywhere. The worldwide stories of the UFOs are evidence of that; they are the symptom of a universally present psychic disposition.” 

“ Primitive man is not interested in objective explanations of the obvious, but he has an imperative need [unconscious urge] to assimilate all [external] sense experiences to inner, psychic events. E.G. it is not enough for the primitive to see the sunrise and set; the external observation must at the same time be a psychic happening: the sun in its course must represent the fate of a god or hero who dwells nowhere except in the soul of man. All the mythologized processes of nature, such as summer and winter, the phases of the moon, the rainy seasons, and so on, are in no sense allegories of these objective occurrences; rather they are symbolic expressions of the inner, unconscious drama of the psyche which becomes accessible to mans consciousness by way of projection, i.e. mirrored in the events of nature. 

“The “dignity,” the tranquil composure of the individual Indian, was founded. It springs from his being a son of the sun; his life is cosmologically meaningful, for he helps the father and preserver of all life in his daily rise and decent. If we set against this our own self-justifications, the meaning of our own lives as it is formulated by our reason, we cannot help but see our poverty. Out of sheer envy we are obliged to smile at the Indians’ naïveté and to plume ourselves on our cleverness; for otherwise we would discover how impoverished and down at the heels we are. Knowledge does not enrich us; it removes us more and more from the mythic world in which we were once at home by right of birth.” – C.G. Jung

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