Life & Death series, post 1: Life

The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me. Or, conversely, I myself am a question which is addressed to the world, and I must communicate my answer, for otherwise I am dependent upon the world’s answer. That is a supra-personal life task, which I accomplish only by effort and with difficulty. Perhaps it is a question which preoccupied my ancestors, and which they could not answer.” C.G. Jung’s Dreams, Memories, Reflections  

Theme of this year will relate in some way to life and death, inspired or posts from the works of C.G. Jung. Featured image is the Tarot death card. The number 13 is a transforming number, symbol of tenacious change.

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“A man should be able to say he has done his best to form a conception of life and death, or to create some image of it – even if he must confess his failure. Not to have done so is a vital loss. For the question that is posed to him is the age-old heritage of humanity: an archetype, rich in secret life, which seeks to add itself to our own individual life in order to make it whole. Reason sets the boundaries far too narrowly for us and would have us accept only the known – and that too with limitations – and live in a known framework, just as if we were sure how far life extends. As a matter of fact, day after day we live far beyond the bounds of our consciousness; without our knowledge, the life of the unconscious is also going on within us. The more the critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes; but the more of the unconscious, and the more of the myth we can make conscious, the more of life we integrate. Overvalued reason has this in common with political absolutism: under its dominion the individual is pauperized.” [C.G. Jung, the Undiscovered self]. 

“The maximum awareness which has been attained anywhere forms the upper limit of knowledge to which the dead can attain. That is probably why earthly life is of such great significance, and why it is that what a human being “brings over” at the time of his death is so important. Only here, in life on earth, where the opposites clash together, can the general level of consciousness be raised. That seems to be man’s metaphysical task – which he cannot accomplish without “mythologizing.” Myth is the natural and indispensable intermediate stage between unconscious and conscious cognition.   

“Death is an important interest, especially to an aging person. A categorical question is being put to him, and he is under an obligation to answer it. To this end he ought to have a myth about death, for reason shows him nothing but the dark pit into which he is descending. Myth, however, can conjure up other images for him, helpful and enriching pictures of life in the land of the dead. If he believes in them, or greets them with some measure of credence, he is being just as right or just as wrong as someone who does not believe in them. But while the man who despairs marches toward nothingness, the one who has placed his faith in the archetype follows the tracks of life and lives right into his death. Both, to be sure, remain in uncertainty, but the one lives against his instincts, the other with them.”  

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