Author: johnnyquest (page 1 of 9)

The Deep Wake-Up is Here

As I have been exploring and writing, my major theme has been the evolution of human consciousness that I see, that is fundamental to our existence. I have termed this “deep evolution” to differentiate it from the standard and scientific notion of evolution that began largely with Darwin. My notion of “deep evolution” is much broader and much deeper (naturally) than this conventional view of evolution that is used to help to maintain the hegemony – the dominance of the materialism view of existence. The other view of the basic starting point of existence is idealism.

I have discussed these ideas from the beginning,  because everything starts with this basic view of our existence. Materialism holds that physical stuff is the first substance of and in existence and that somehow consciousness comes from that stuff. The contrasting view of idealism is that consciousness or mind is the primary stuff of the universe and that physical stuff arises from that. I’ll be talking more about these ideas because they are so central and seldom discussed by many people beyond philosophers and those found before nice bottles of wine. Most people of a scientific bent scoff at the idea that there is any debate. They deny metaphysics as a valid line of inquiry because “how could we ever know?” But of course metaphysics is the basis of all knowledge and cannot be avoided. You have to start somewhere and science would like to deny that there is a step before science. There is. What came first? Stuff or consciousness?

This idea has stayed with me for years and I was listening to Stephen Colbert on the current Facebook scandal that is helping to layout before us what is happening in our world and in each of us. Evolution is happening and that evolution is deep – very deep. It is best understood as a change in consciousness that humans periodically experience in a fundamental shift. This change indicates a shift that is epochal. Humanity has likely been in this shift for at least a hundred years, but it is impossible to characterize and demarcate a change that is continuous. When does a person become an adult?

But we are in this period of what I am now calling the “Deep Wake-Up”. It is both personal, within each one of us, and it is cultural and social, ultimately involving the entire human species. Watching Colbert in these two comedy monologues stakes out much of the territory of this wake-up in a wonderful explanation of what we seem to be facing.

Very briefly, personal data from tens of millions of people, gathered via Facebook, was used by a company, Cambridge Analytica, to help shape public opinion to elect Donald Trump. An investigative news team approached Cambridge Analytica posing as a wealthy political candidate to find out what could be done to help deliver votes and success for this pretend candidate.

We have entered a new phase of the information age that now includes big data.  Essentially, many companies are constantly  collecting personal data on all of us by any means they can – credit card purchases, computer and phone search histories, loyalty programs, Facebook and all forms of social media and a thousand other sources. Personal assistants we have in our home are listening into our conversations and keeping that data for future reference and cross-referencing to build bigger and more sophisticated profiles on all of us. (I have no intention of having one of those listening devices in my home.) Big data is also used in many other fields to discover correlations and relationships that can make our lives healthier, safer and more productive. Big data is simply a tool, but a very powerful one that is available for misuse as much as any tool. And science, modeling and data analysis can be wrong and mistaken – horribly wrong, as well as used for nefarious purposes.

Computers and digital storage is so cheap now that all this data can be maintained and companies are constantly mining it to help sell stuff to us. And that includes selling us on ideas and political candidates. A relatively simple personality test that you take for fun (and free) on the internet can be cross referenced with your age, guesses at your income level, political interests and they can get a pretty good idea whether it is worth trying to persuade you to vote for a political candidate, and what kind of message you are most likely to respond to. This is using modern psychology based on materialism – figure out the sophisticated biological robots and use that to make them feel better, feel worse or buy stuff.

Here is what one of these guys from Cambridge Analytical has to say on this – as videoed in this segment:

“Its no good fighting an election campaign based on the facts, because actually it’s all about emotions. The two fundamental human drivers are hopes and fears, and many of those are unspoken and even unconscious. You didn’t know that was a fear until you just saw something that invoked that reaction from you.”

This is hardly news. Freud and later Jung explored the unconscious and now we take it for granted. But now, big data is providing the tools, and social media is providing the path, to push our buttons and prey on our shadows and our unconscious, if and only if ,we remain asleep – largely unconscious. This is where the deep wake-up is so important. But this deep wake-up is not a moment of enlightenment, revelation, or awakening. This deep wake-up requires a fundamental and ongoing shift in our consciousness, our awareness of our Self. This does not last a moment or a limited  period of time, but is to last for the rest of one’s life in an ongoing process of expansion, growth and evolution. This requires our individuation as Jung set out in his work.

Individuation is a  process that each of us can and should go through, but many resist the call of that part of us that seeks to know our Self. It is a process of becoming that which we intend to be, deep down in our soul. It is a complex and arduous task as I am discovering myself, but one that cannot be ignored without serious consequences and this Facebook scandal shows how open to manipulation people can be when they remain largely asleep to so much of their psyche – their unconscious, as these political strategists know and use.

I again see that all roads in this lead to Jung – the most important thinker in the last five hundred years, I believe. We have before us the fork in the road that each of us has before us now. Do we choose to live in a world dominated by materialism, in the philosophical sense, where humans are little more than biological robots that can be manipulated by relatively simple psychological mechanisms, based on highly sophisticated computer algorithms sifting through mountains of data? Do we remain unconscious of most of the content our psyches so that we remain strangers to our self, and better known by faceless corporations? Or do we recognize that consciousness is fundamental and begin the arduous, but infinitely rewarding task of individuation, as we make conscious so much of our selves that lies below the surface of our awareness? It is work to be sure, but to ignore this challenge is to allow our personal destinies to be determined by forces outside of us, beyond our truest intentions, our true feelings, and the deepest core of our being and our becoming.

The people Stephen Colbert are mocking in these two videos have embraced the materialist worldview to their core. For them, life is essentially a meaningless game played out in a cold universe where life is just the result of an incredibly unlikely dance of impersonal molecules. You may as well have as much fun and pleasure in this life before it ends in a cloud of dust. People are biological robots and only fools would see otherwise, according to the materialists. Jung saw otherwise and recognized that this materialist worldview was really an aberration in the history of humanity. I see this materialist worldview as a necessary and functional stage of human evolution that is now burning itself out. It is based on fundamentally flawed premises and metaphysics. It is useful in a narrow sense, but without the broader context that Jung explored, it is completely inadequate to allow humanity to thrive. It cannot last, but as the materialist view loses it’s domination. we will go through a very messy time of it. Waking up through individuation is the best and essentially the only strategy to navigate these troubled waters. Trying to play the materialist game, which requires one to remain largely unconscious (and essentially asleep) cannot succeed in any way apart from in that very narrow materialist game that is ultimately only as satisfying as the ephemeral joy of the diversions of modern culture – having a thousand “friends” on Facebook etc.

As I wrote earlier, I believe Jung was summoned to help in this process of the transition to a new epoch in human consciousness – what I am now calling the “deep wake-up” – for individuals and humanity as a whole. I think it is clear that Jung is the single most important person in this evolutionary jump we are undergoing. It is now up to each one of us to take up the cause of our own deep wake-up and help to wake up the rest of humanity, through our own individuation and consciousness – not by protests and direct political action, except insofar as they help to nudge people to examine their own lives, leading to their individuation. We are all individuals, in this together.




It is vital not to become discouraged by these events – well okay – a little. But the materialists are doomed to fail – they cannot remain dominant in our culture because very simply they are wrong about the nature of reality and the nature of human consciousness. I have absolutely no doubt that Jung and millions of people are correct and those big data miners and manipulators are wrong because they are missing the most important data point. Reality starts with consciousness and stuff is derived from that – not the other way around, upon which their entire worldview is based. Deep evolution is proceeding. The deep wake-up is proceeding, within us and without. And if I am wrong, it doesn’t matter anyway. In the materialist worldview, existence ultimately has no deep meaning. Personally, I find that inconceivable. Either way, the materialists cannot sustain their worldview.

I will leave you with another Arcade Fire song. I referenced another one, Creature Comfort, to underline the importance of Jung to heal our pain.

Wake up – deeply.



Jordan Peterson: The Philosopher King?

Jordan Peterson is a controversial and polarizing figure. Two of my brothers are fans of his, and this post is prompted by a conversation I had with one of them, not long ago.  I just wrote a short piece on Peterson and that encouraged me to complete this – When Jordan Peterson was More Fun and Balanced

Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, but he has become a potent social and cultural critic. He gives every indication that he relishes this new role.

New Yorker magazine has a good article on Peterson – it is less than sympathetic, but a good overview nevertheless. It concentrates on the political and cultural battles that Peterson is best known for, but it gives a good picture of Peterson the philosophical media star. The piece is precipitated by the recent publication of his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. I suspect that Peterson believes that the world can and should be less messy and less complex than it already is. Hence we require an antidote to chaos. I think he is wrong in that basic assumption.  Chaos is the mother of existence and it can never be tamed or treated with an antidote no matter how well intentioned. I prefer Carl Jung’s formulation:

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

Peterson is a provocateur That can be a useful function in society, but I think he is wasting a lot of his thinking and his good ideas, by making them less accessible to those he could inform or influence. Like so much of the internet, and the present world of ideas generally, he is preaching to the choir – his choir. He is certainly deepening the understanding of some people, and perhaps many people, but I question how much influence he really has beyond producing a rallying cry and a body of thinking that resonates with his group of supporters who are numerous and not afraid to engage others to the point of acting like jerks – at least on line. Isn’t the purpose of communication informing and perhaps influencing? And that requires acting with respect and civility.

Peterson has a huge amount of respect for Carl Jung, and is certainly influenced by Jung and his writing. He’s interested in a broad range of writing and ideas and he can bring together a wandering, yet coherent story.


I have two issues with Peterson that makes him a less interesting intellectual figure for me.

Firstly, he plunges into the political arena. As a former eager political follower myself, and a highly opinionated one at that, I now find that nothing turns me off a thinker more now, than a highly political commentator. As a student of Jung’s ideas, I find that politics is so full of the shadow and projections, leading to virulent tribalism, and combat, that it becomes a swamp that I have no interest in visiting. I can discuss politics with a friend or two over wine, but I value the wine much more than the politics and I am now content simply to give my opinions, while listening to others. I no longer attempt to change anyone’s mind or opinion – exchanging insights and opinions is my goal in these conversations. Politics involves too much of our unconscious to be a useful public exercise for me.

Ultimately politics is about power, making it a complex subject that, for me, can only be discussed intelligently in small groups and even then one must be respectful and willing to listen at least as much as speaking. No shouting permitted. For me, any psychological discussion or any psychologist in the media who spends a lot of time in politics is much less interested in real psychology that is useful to the individual, which ultimately leads to the social changes they seek, and more interested in polemics. They are usually preaching to their tribe and more interested in validation than adding to the world of wisdom. But to each his own. I respect other people’s passion for politics and debate, but I now actively avoid it.

Secondly, Peterson is speaking very much to a masculine audience in his content and in his style. I have no particular problem with that, although it again speaks to his aiming at his audience and tribe, and being less interested in spreading his ideas where they can achieve more. I don’t suggest that women can’t or won’t appreciate what he has to say, or that it cannot also apply to women, but his style is very masculine and I think that is a conscious decision on his part.

As a man I find it easy to relate to his style, but I prefer a more balanced approach. Peterson is appealing more to the mind and less to the heart. He is full of ideas and “logos” – order and knowledge rather than “eros” – mysticism and the imagination. Jung himself stressed the importance of opposites and few are as fundamental as logos and eros. So for Peterson, who so admires Jung, to be so centered in logos is a disappointment for me. I’m also concerned that Peterson does not adequately explain or present Jungian ideas because of this masculine centered style and content. I am speaking here not so much of gender, but the masculine approach and perspective, which is more dominated by logos. Of course women contain the masculine as well and men contain the feminine. A woman can be just as “logical” as any man and any man can be infused with eros or emotion as much as any woman, but there is a certain style that is masculine and one that is feminine. The goal of each of us is to become more integrated, using each when appropriate for our goals and the expression of our Selves.

Peterson, himself, says that the majority of the people who watch his many YouTube videos are men. Peterson can speak with passion, but largely within the field of logos. He is not attempting to broaden the reach of his ideas. That does not mean that I would expect nor want him to water down his ideas – only to expand the range.

It is not as easy to speak to eros in our culture. Most people in our culture are more interested in ideas than imagination and mythology – the world of eros. But I am disappointed that Peterson seldom moves beyond the world of ideas even to inform and remind his audience of the great importance of the world beyond logos. Art is seldom discussed, which is an enormous oversight given his respect for Jung ,and Peterson’s apparent desire to be considered a broad and deep thinker.

This leads to my discussion with my brother. Listening to Peterson can be very entertaining and interesting, but my brother is looking for inspiration and guidance and in talking with him I came to some important conclusions about myself and Peterson. My brother is looking to make changes in his life and that has been my own goal for decades and in the last few years in particular. As a person drawn to science and the world of ideas – logos – I have spent much of my time collecting, pondering and exploring ideas. I have certainly grown and changed over the years, but less than I would have liked and I am more eager to grow and change now than ever before.

As I have absorbed more Jungian thinking, as well as others’, I have come to realize just how sterile logos is without eros. And logos is not enough to change – to evolve. Most people’s problems are not centered in the world of ideas, but in the expression of those ideas and to change that, you have to enter the world of eros and do the work, beyond thinking and even beyond simply acting. Mythology, emotions, spirit can change a person and lead to valuable ideas being put into service, but simple knowledge of an idea, even an extensive knowledge, is not enough. At least it hasn’t been for me. I am now doing the emotional and soul work that allows ideas to flow and have an effect, but it is not easy. It is not nearly as easy as absorbing or learning a new idea.

Very few people don’t have a pretty good idea of what they need to do for a better and more fulfilling life – at least in material terms. The challenge, even for the material things in life, is to put those ideas into practice and that’s the hard part. Reading another self-help book of ideas or listening to another YouTube video seldom leads to real change that makes a difference or lasts, unless you’ve also addressed the emotional and spiritual content, within yourself, attached to those ideas. I haven’t found any button to push, or lever to pull, to accomplish those changes so many of us seek. I haven’t found any book or video that has led to enlightenment and change through ideas appealing to my logical mind, except to the extent that they inspire me to go deeper into myself to address the real issues beyond the ideas and knowledge of logos – into the land of eros.

This leads to what I think is most indicative of Peterson’s oversights and limited views. Carl Jung’s most personal and most important book is The Red Book. Peterson does not seem to speak of it at all – certainly he has no significant references to it that I have found and he has many Youtube Videos and nothing of it on his book lists – one and two. The Red Book is in neither list. There are total of eleven books by Carl Jung on the lists. This is not meant to be a criticism necessarily of Peterson as a thinker, but I do intend it as a major criticism of Peterson as a Jungian thinker and as an honest advocate of Jung and his ideas. In the first list Peterson is revealing the most important books that shaped his own first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and one of Jung’s book is in that short list – Modern Man in Search of a Soul. For that short first list Peterson warns people that: “Trigger warning: These are the most terrifying books I have encountered.” So he is not afraid of challenging books and The Red Book is certainly all that and more. Yet he says nothing of this, the most significant book of Carl Jung.

From what I have found so far, you cannot be a serious student of Jung without seriously considering The Red Book. I’m not suggesting that Peterson is not such a serious student – he may be in private. But if he is really an advocate for an improved human condition and if Jung is central to that, then I think he has to be an advocate for The Red Book in some way. He has to at least point to it – help to direct people to it. He should discuss it in a way that introduces it to people. If he really wants people to understand and know Jung and his perspective, then The Red Book cannot be ignored.

I am not saying that The Red Book is some sort of intellectual or moral litmus test for a Jungian – there can and should be no such thing. But if you are seriously interested in Jung then you cannot avoid the Red Book. For someone trying to teach and bring people to a greater understanding of their lives through Jung, confronting and opening people to The Red Book is imperative.

For Jung it marked his journey in crisis and in confrontation with the major elements that make up his body of work – the soul, the Self, the unconscious, archetypes, active imagination etc . There is a belief in Jungian circles that all of Jung’s later work really arose out of his confrontation with, and exploration of these elements that he documented in word and paintings in the Red Book. As I explore the Red Book on my own, I am coming to the same conclusion. Without the Red Book, Jung can turn into another logos-centered teacher, but he is much more than that, which is what the world needs.


I am like Peterson in that I think in words as well – logos. I’m working to expand my consciousness to embrace eros. Logos is not enough and that is my major problem with Peterson. He has part of Jung down and teaches that, but I find that part of Jung is not Jung. Jung is a whole body of a perspective that is so broad and deep that one must honor that breadth and depth. And The Red Book is central to that. Jung deserves a better introduction and advocate than Jordan Peterson.

Everyone finds their own path and Jung stressed that above all. The Red Book showed us Jung’s path and we cannot ignore that, as we make our own way if we are use that path to help to guide us in a general direction, but not to follow in Jung’s or anyone else’s footsteps. I would love to see and hear Peterson embrace that and spread Jungian ideas. The tension and polarity of logos and eros is not optional. I think that Jung discovered fundamental aspects of what it is to be a human, navigating in this physical reality. You certainly don’t have to be a student of Jung to successfully be on the path of evolution and fulfillment. But I do think that Jung discovered, or rediscovered aspects of our reality that cannot be ignored. Eros and logos are among the most important of those discoveries. We are drowning in this ocean of logos in our modern culture. Eros rises.

Aldous Huxley – Science is not Enough

“Science is not enough, religion is not enough, art is not enough, politics and economics is not enough, nor is love, nor is duty, nor is action however disinterested, nor, however sublime, is contemplation. Nothing short of everything will really do.”

 – Aldous Huxley


As I read and write more, this is becoming central to my thinking (and feeling).

I would distill it down to:

Logos is not enough. Eros is not enough. Nothing short of everything is enough.”

Western civilization, which is expanding to becoming embraced by the entire world, is in transition. The domination of logos – the domination of materialism and science has run its course. Logos remains dominant, but that dominance cannot and will not be allowed to continue.

It is not a case of human survival – it is a case of human evolution, which is now largely psychological and cultural. I am not complacent about human survival, but I must admit that I am not really concerned about the survival of the human species. I am confident of that. We have been surviving for better than half a century with the possibility of a nuclear Armageddon. But survival is not enough – it has never been enough.

I’m more concerned about reaching a healthy state of life that embraces Eros as well as logos, the feminine principal as well as the masculine. The problems of the world reside within each of us – as psychological, spiritual and soul problems.

We face enormous challenges as a species, but our problems largely arise at the personal level – the level of the psyche and the soul.


Cyrano and Individuation

Cyrano De Bergerac is a play by Edmond Rostand, with a number of movie adaptations. It is the story of Cyrano, a great wit, poet, swordsman and lover of life, but with a tragic flaw – an enormous nose. He considers himself too ugly to find love, yet he loves his distant cousin Roxanne. She considers him a great friend and confidante, while she falls in love with a very ordinary, yet handsome soldier, Christian. She asks Cyrano to protect the young soldier, which he reluctantly does. But first, Cyrano’s ode to his individualism and strength pointing to individuation. This is Eros in the sense that Jung wrote of it. Eros in this sense is much more than just love or sex. I’ll be writing of Eros vs logos a great deal since it is central in our lives and in our culture.

This speech stirs my soul. It expresses a great belief in following that soul one finds inside.

“Shall I use the fire God gave me to burn incense all day long?

No thank you!”

So Christian falls for the beautiful Roxnne, but she craves Eros – poetry, and Christian can only bring simple logos. He cannot connect with Roxanne and she spurns him until Cyrano reveals his heart to Roxanne, feeding Christian the lines as if they are his own. Roxanne falls in love with Cyrano, thinking he is Christian, by his poetry and Eros, expressed from the heart.

Go to 56:30 in the following video of the full movie, to find Christian determined to proclaim his love for Roxanne, stopped by Cyrano, who knows that his prosaic prose will reveal his shallowness to Roxanne. Christian stubbornly continues and fails as Cyrano knew he would. Christian pleads with Cyrano to help him and he reluctantly becomes involved, to infuse Christian’s words with the Eros of his own soul and goes on to speak to Roxanne in the darkness beneath her balcony so that she is unaware she is hearing Cyrano, and not Christian as she believes.

When Christian is floundering in expressing himself as Roxanne requires, she asks him to:

“Gather your dreams together into words.”

He cannot. Cyrano can and does. So should we all – as well as words can perform that task. Dreams are like art – they defy the attempts at logos, yet try we must. In an evolutionary romantic relationship, the woman coaxes and encourages the Eros lying within the man. Roxanne inspired Cyrano to bring his Eros to flower. Men crave that even if they are unaware.

The language is a treat throughout the play even though we are not hearing it in it’s native French.

Cyrano De Bergerac is one of the great characters of the stage, and the play or the movie is well worth seeing. The character of Roxanne is not that well developed, and in this version of the movie as well. One wonders what a man like Cyrano is attracted to in Roxanne. For me this is a minor detail since the play is about Cyrano and his internal struggles and passions. Roxanne is more a foil or simply a vital part of the plot rather than a fully formed character in her own right. True romantic relationships require two strong characters. The play is part of the long line of romantic tales that are so central to Western culture – the desire to transcend this earthly reality by finding “the one”. Romantic folly in some respects, but the Eros and passion are wonderful to behold. It’s a fun and exhilarating, yet tragic story.


When Jordan Peterson Was More Fun and More Balanced

Jordan Peterson is a star on YouTube and in popular culture. I’ve been writing a longer piece on him, but have been distracted so it sits unfinished. This will help to get me going as I post this teaser.

Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and a clinical psychologist. He has morphed into a social critic with a very large and sympathetic following. I find him interesting to a degree, and he does have important things to say, He considers Carl Jung to be a significant inspiration and source of his thinking, which is true, up to a point. From this video, that is apparently a number of years old  comparing it to Peterson’s current appearance, Peterson was more in touch with the complete Jung in the past than he is now.

The story is intended for kids, but obviously there is more going on than a simple story intended for kids, which is almost certainly why Peterson is reading it to a class of adults.

Interestingly the author has another book with a Jungian flavor – The Biggest Shadow in the Zoo

Peterson is a complex character and I am finding that he is not alone in his using Jung as a springboard to launch into other ideas, while leaving behind much of Jung’s value. I’m not sure if this is good or bad – broadening people’s exposure to Jung, but misrepresenting him in the process. I came upon a book just this past weekend that seemed of great value and very Jungian, but for me it went off the rails and Jung’s essential nature was lost.

I don’t want anyone to think that I consider there to be an official “Jungian” doctrine, because there isn’t, and Jung would be absolutely the last person to support such a thing. But Jung does bring some essential and basic ideas to the culture that cannot be ignored without changing the essential nature of his body of work. The more I read beyond Jung, the more I keep circling back to return to Jung – not because Jung espoused a particular doctrine, but because he went out of his way not to do that, yet he gave a structure and approach to psychology and to life that I intend to explore for the rest of my life.

Jung was never a polemic. There are some who are inspired by Jung who revel in their arguments and confrontations. I think that loses an essential part of Jungian thought.



D. H. Lawrence on Healing and Individuation


by D. H. Lawrence

“I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
and it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self,
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time, only time can help
and patience, and a certain difficult repentance
long difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake, and the freeing oneself
from the endless repetition of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.”

The poem was quoted in full in the opening page to a book I received just this morning:

Dark Hearts – The Unconscious Forces That Shape Men’s Lives by Loren E. Pederson

We are all in need of healing.

Hence my interest and fascination with all things, and Jung in particular, because above all, he knew this, lived this and explored this.

Archetypal Blast from the Past

It’s really interesting to see how much archetypal material there is in modern culture, and as a music fan, I find it everywhere in song.

This song, O Superman, written and performed by Laurie Anderson, is a haunting song that sticks with you – it certainly it does for me. I loved it at the time and it has aged well I think. Anderson is considered an “avante-garde” artist. Wikipedia defines it thus: The avant-garde from French, “advance guard” or “vanguard”, literally “fore-guard”, are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society.

O Superman

O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
Hi. I’m not home right now. But if you want to leave a
message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.
Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you
coming home?
Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don’t know me,
but I know you.
And I’ve got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready. Ready to go. You can come
as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go.

And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the
hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They’re American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.

‘Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice.
And when justive is gone, there’s always force.
And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me,
Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms.

In the song, the mother, with all her arms, carrying potential destruction, reminds me of Kali. Kali is a major Hindu godess who can represent the Divine Mother. She is a destroyer as well as a divine protector and liberator. Gods and goddesses are complicated and powerful forces in mythology. But that complicated nature applies to technology as well, so the comparison to Kali is apt. We are confronted by this new god or goddess every day of our lives now as its power grows.

And “when force is gone, there’s always Mom” – return to the Great Mother – the force and power of last resort?

Technology, communication and the Great Mother – potent realities and a potent symbol.

The title – O Superman – Nietzsche? Nietzsche explored his idea of a superman or “beyond man” in his writing. Nietzsche spoke of the “death of God” but not in a literal sense, but of the death of the God concept within humans and he saw the superman as being the new source of values after the end of religion as the source of values.

I would not attempt to discuss Nietzsche more fully here. He is perhaps one of the greatest, yet misunderstood thinkers, and everyone owes it to their understanding of the world to get to know Nietzsche and his thinking better.

The song suggests a good deal to think about or feel into. The rhythmic background staccato sighing sound is almost like rapid shallow breathing, although more conscious than it would be if a person was in a panic. That panic would be the normal cause of such breathing, but it does suggest a level of anxiety.

For your archetypal consideration, I present this piece of art. Viva la avant-garde. We need more such art to push the boundaries.

Carl Jung – Our Age and Our Path

In the age of angst and exhortations to think positively, Carl Jung is a source of reassurance that, while our emotions and our bodily reactions are often inconvenient, they are the source of great inner wisdom that is calling us to the path of healing. That path requires work and awareness, but Jung gives us the tools to find and explore our own path, without suggesting that our path is anything but extremely personal, and that we share our journey with everyone on the planet. The only mistake you can make on your path is to stop.

Carl Jung, and those he inspires, are simply an endless source of challenge and wisdom in our journeys. Jung was a brilliant explorer who discovered much that was new, but he rediscovered much that had been forgotten or marginalized. He did not claim that all of his ideas were his own. He was generous in citing and crediting others. But he wove his own ideas and those of many others into a tapestry of the psyche and of life that we are still uncovering, understanding, integrating, and adding to. Jung was very much a man of the present, who spent an enormous amount of time mining the wisdom of the past and of many other cultures, yet he was always looking forward to what was coming for each one of us and humanity, and how we all have to work to both prepare ourselves for, and make that future.

Jung saw that we were all in this together for some great adventure that calls us to meaning in our lives. And the adventure continues, as it always will.

Jung’s Red Book

From Carl Jung’s Red Book, in which I have merely dipped into. It requires preparation, which is where I am now.

The Red Book is an absolutely remarkable account in both words and paintings that Jung produced to document his ascent and descent into his soul and Self.

“I am weary, my soul, my wandering has lasted too long, my search for myself outside of myself. Now I have gone through events and find you behind all of them. For I made discoveries on my erring through events, humanity, and the world. I found men. And you, my soul, I found again, first in images within men and then you yourself. I found you where I least expected you. You climbed out of a dark shaft. You announced yourself to me in advance in dreams. They burned in my heart and drove me to all the boldest acts of daring, and forced me to rise above myself. You let me see truths of which I had no previous inkling. You let me undertake journeys, whose endless length would have scared me, if the knowledge of them had not been secure in you.

I wandered for many years, so long that I forgot that I possessed a soul. Where were you all this time? Which Beyond sheltered you and gave you sanctuary? Oh, that you must speak through me, that my speech and I are your symbol and expression! How should I decipher you?”

Jung, C. G.. The Red Book: A Reader’s Edition: (Philemon). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

I think that the weariness that Jung speaks of here is the alienation, boredom and fatigue that affect so many of us, to varying degrees and at different times. We’re not sure what’s wrong, but something must be.

I found reference to this passage, which I had read and noted before while reading the Red Book, in a wonderful book that sets out the individuation process in a very personal and accessible way. I will be commenting on this book further, since it is an invaluable aid and entrance into individuation – the ultimate process of psychological development. The book is: Wisdom Walking: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life by Gil Stafford and comes highly recommended by me, although I am relatively early into it.

We Need Another Jung

We need another Jung, not because Carl Gustav was inadequate, but because he opened up such a vast field, that we need to develop it further. And the times demand it.

“We are living in what the Greeks called the right time for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” i.e. of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science.”

From The Undiscovered Self by C. G. Jung, Page 110

One of the major themes of my blog and my thinking is the primary importance of Carl Gustav Jung – his thinking and his scholarship.

For me, there is no doubt that he is one of the greatest thinkers of the last five hundred years, and one who has integrated a tremendous amount of thinking from the last few thousand years, as he developed his own ideas.

Many brilliant students of his, and of his ideas, have followed in his footsteps to expand and extend his ideas. Jung wrote so much, that mining that material, explaining it further, and extending it, is of enormous value.

But for anyone passionately in love with Jung and his ideas, you can’t help but be disappointed that his ideas are not more widely known and respected. Jung is critically important as a historical figure and he has fueled great advances in psychology, but psychology is still dominated by a materialist and “soulless” orthodoxy. Psychology wants to be respected as a science and that’s very important, but unfortunately contemporary science is animated (or not) by the materialist orthodoxy – physical matter came first and somehow the spark of consciousness arose, and there are some who even doubt that consciousness is real. For these scientists, we are essentially clever machines designed by self-replicating molecules acting randomly over time.

The New Age is another attempt (after the apparent failure of institutional religions) to move beyond this narrow perspective of existence and Jung is considered one of the fathers of the New Age. But the New Age is often simplistic and seen to be anti-science and more about “feeling good” in a flaky and self-indulgent way. Many serious intellectuals lump Jung in with that sensibility, so it’s hard for his ideas, that are much more serious and rigorous, to get traction in the broader culture.

I see the Jungian community as a vital and dynamic  one that is performing critical work for both individuals and society in general. New people are coming to Jungian thought and scholarship, but I am not sure how many younger people are entering Jungian scholarship. I have no doubt that Jungian thought and scholarship will continue to be a strong force in the world. There is too much of value for that ever to be lost.

But. I think the time has come for Jungian thought to take center stage in the world – or at least become a major part of the discussion. The world has entered a period of unprecedented disruption. We are building the future of the human race, while older structures are being dismantled, or simply collapse. This has been happening for over one hundred years and Jung has been both a witness and a participant in these fractured times. This evolution and revolution in humanity is bigger than any one person – even an intellectual giant such as Jung. He was summoned by the times, and I believe the current times will summon a new Jung – the next Jung.

I do not know where this woman or man will come from. And to be clear, I have no illusions that I have any direct connection to this person who may arrive any day or year now, or she may be many years away. I am hopeful that this person will arrive soon, and I want to contribute to this renaissance in Jungian thinking in any way I can. I come to this as a relative outsider with no formal education in psychology or Jungian thought. I am simply a passionate student of Jung and his ideas. I am convinced that his ideas will be fundamental in building this future of the human race.

I see that the next phase in the development of these ideas of Jung will require greater integration with scientific thought. This will come about not from a change in Jungian ideas but in a sea change in the notion of consciousness held by science. The seed of this change has been planted by a scientist you have almost certainly never heard of, or one whose importance has not yet been recognized by many people. I have no doubt that he has developed and is continuing to develop the beginning of a revolution that will remake our understanding of human consciousness and allow for Jung’s ideas to be understood and taken much more seriously by many more people. That will lead to astounding developments in psychology as well as many other fields, since human consciousness and psychology, along with philosophy and art, are really the underpinnings and bedrock of our lives.

This is a bold claim, but one that has percolated within me for some time. Everyone will have to judge all this on their own with their personal experience and discernment to guide them. The scientist who developed this theory is a credentialed scholar who works rigorously in a university setting. He is no crank, but a thoughtful and cautious scholar. He is a psychologist and a cognitive scientist who has arrived at his conclusions, which are really just a jumping off point, by studying evolution. I don’t think it is irony or simple coincidence that evolution, which I consider to be the central meaning and purpose of life, will be the engine of this revolution that I see in our future. It is also no irony or coincidence that evolution is, for some people, the central source of animosity and hostility between advocates of science and those of religion. The resolution of this hostility and the greater integration of religion and science will be both a symptom and a cause of this revolution.

Jung himself was profoundly interested in both a religious and a scientific approach to psychology and to life.

“My interests drew me in different directions. On the one hand I was powerfully attracted by science, with its truths based on facts; on the other hand I was fascinated by everything to do with comparative religion. […] In science I missed the factor of meaning; and in religion, that of empiricism.”

From Memories Dreams and Reflections by C. G. Jung Page 72

I believe that this new hypothesis will give us a revolution in our understanding of our lives and of our consciousness, as Jung explored so deeply.

I believe that human consciousness is much more important and fundamental to our lives as Jung set out in all his writing . This new hypothesis will make this clear and will pave the way for a much broader and deeper respect for the ideas of Carl Jung. Many of us do not require Jung’s ideas to be defended by science per se. Our own experiences and our view of reality are enough – we see the great sense that Jung makes and has made for our own lives. But many more people require a greater level of proof that has been offered so far. This new hypothesis will pave the way for many more people to take Jung much more seriously. This hypothesis will help to make sense of some of Jung’s most important ideas such as archetypes, the collective unconscious, individuation and the transcendent function. I have no doubt that it will lead to a renaissance in Jungian scholarship and ultimately in every field, including every field in science.

I will be taking this hypothesis much farther than the original author would dare to, because he has to be cautious in maintaining a scientific approach freer of the speculation that others can indulge. I have no evidence that this scientist is a Jungian or ready to speculate on all the possibilities that could flow from his hypothesis, but he is certainly aware of how significant his discovery could be and does speak of that. Ultimately his theory will be the beginning of a revolution, but one that will flow in many directions. I am excited about the possibilities for the Jungian approach to human psychology. It will allow us to make much greater sense of human consciousness, its history and its future, and for any student of Jung’s, that is an elixir that will be as intoxicating as it is enlightening. There will be much work to be done.

Jung wrote in the preface for Erich Neumann’s The Origins And History Of Consciousness:

(This book) “begins just where I, too, if I were granted a second lease of life, would start to gather up the disjecta membra of my own writings, to sift out all those “beginnings without continuations” and knead them into a whole. As I read through the manuscript of this book it became clear to me how great are the disadvantages of pioneer work: one stumbles through unknown regions; one is led astray by analogies, forever losing the Ariadne thread; one is overwhelmed by new impressions and new possibilities, and the worst disadvantage of all is that the pioneer only knows afterwards what he should have known before. The second generation has the advantage of a clearer, if still incomplete, picture; certain landmarks that at least lie on the frontiers of the essential have grown familiar, and one now knows what must be known if one is to explore the newly discovered territory.”

Neumann, Erich. The Origins And History Of Consciousness: Volume 118 (International Library of Psychology) . Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Jung himself recognized that there was much more work to be done in the fields he had planted. I think the time has come for the next Jung.

Consciousness is the fundamental “stuff” of the universe, and I have no doubt that science will have to acknowledge this fact sooner or later. This new hypothesis will lead to this revolution, as it becomes clear that it is proven by an evolutionary theory that almost everyone can agree upon as operating in the material world. Human consciousness and our experience of our consciousness, and everything that goes and comes along with it, is in for the exciting, yet challenging ride that Jung anticipated and studied more than any other human so far. I look forward to the next stage of this revolution – the seeds have been planted and now is the time for watering and fertilizing.


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