The Shadow

People only believe what they themselves experience. It's fruitless to think we can convince them to change with our words. Preachers have tried that for hundreds of years! Yet, we cannot help but try. Perhaps the experiences we as a nation have in the next four years will awaken enough people to make a lasting difference in our country.

 Image Credit: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh via The Huffington Post, November 29, 2016

“I understood you to say that it is a general psychological law that the attainment of a higher level of development is always at the cost of some apparently terrible mistake.   I take it for granted that the analytical experience enables one to avoid the mistake, but substitutes for it the principle of sacrifice. Is that correct?"  Question of Dr. Cary Fink de Angulo (later Baynes) put to Dr. C.G. Jung in Introduction to Jungian Psychology: Notes of the Seminar on Analytical Psychology Given in 1925, P. 12.

The human species must attain a higher level of psychological development.  If we cannot achieve that higher level, we will inevitably destroy ourselves.  At the time of his death, Dr. Carl G. Jung was pessimistic about the future of our species.  He died just before the “Cuban Missile Crisis,” which could have cost the lives of 30 million Americans or more.  

The point of Dr. de Angulo’s question was to define how these attainments are achieved.  The answer is often through pain.  We either experience the pain directly, or we make a sacrifice, a choice of one thing over another, which is often painful too.  If we experience the pain, we might in the end feel it was worth it, or perhaps not.

At the simplest level, one can think of the basic metaphor used to describe Adlerian Psychology.  You can tell a child that the stove is hot, but they won’t understand what “hot” means until they touch it.  

My fellow Jungian oriented writer, Dr. Jean Raffa, reminded me this morning:

People only believe what they themselves experience. It's fruitless to think we can convince them to change with our words. Preachers have tried that for hundreds of years! Yet, we cannot help but try. Perhaps the experiences we as a nation have in the next four years will awaken enough people to make a lasting difference in our country.

Like Dr. Jung at the end of his life, I have long been pessimistic about how the near term future will turn out, and after November 8, 2016 that pessimism has darkened.  I see the gathering of warmongers, and there is very little doubt in my mind that they will have us back in a worse than useless war, probably within 2017.  

I say “worse than useless” because the Muslim world can only change itself.  Far more Muslims have died in battle and terrorist incidents since 9/11 than have died at the hands of Americans.  Muslims have needed a psychological shift too, so that they can learn that they must put their own house in order.  Fortunately, this has been taking place, and it is the Iraqi Army now taking the lead against terrorists in Iraq.  

Still, many Muslims hope America will weigh in more heavily, and save them the trouble of killing off the terrorists themselves.  The trouble with that is that with over 100 million young men in the Muslim world between 18 and 23, we inevitably will create more new enemies than we kill.  If even 1% of them are further radicalized by whatever military interventionism our leaders concoct, we will have created 1 million new enemies.  This is not a very good way to win a war, nor is it effective in achieving a higher level of psychological development.  

The last 15 years are the proof of my point.  I exactly predicted ISIS in my book, Tsunami of Blood, but no one in power paid any attention whatsoever. 

Muslims must feel and respond to the pain they feel within their own culture, not blaming the New American Centurions for their pain.  We cannot change human nature with guns.  If they blame us, we will only continue the long disputes begun in the 8th Century, if not before.   If humanity will rise to a new level of consciousness and the accompanying peace, we cannot allow America to be the scapegoat.

Domestically, we do have hope for changed attitudes about race and Civil Rights, even among those who think of themselves as white supremacists, but unfortunately there will be blood before that attainment of higher consciousness is achieved. 

A collection of a hundred Great brains makes one big fathead.” Dr. Carl G. Jung

None of us who came of age in the 1960s feel comfortable about what is happening in our society today.  The people who elected our new leaders railed against “political correctness,” without understanding that it is the basis of our civilization.  As a result, we will again experience the consequences of unleashing our instincts.  Dr. Jung explained this issue in the following quote:

Too much of the animal distorts the civilized man, too much civilization makes sick animals.” C.G. Jung

At some point, all of us resented having to obey our parents or our school principals.  We accepted the strictures of civilization only grudgingly.  That is natural.  But in Election 2016 we have started to see the consequences of allowing those long held resentments break through and put our civilization in jeopardy.  

Perhaps it is a good thing.  At least we have now seen those long held resentments come to the surface, and we will now understand the consequences of allowing those grudges to be played out in our society once again.  When enough blood has been spilled on both sides, we can then look forward to a time of peace in our society once again.  Sadly, the way is only through.  There is no other way out.  

All I can do is urge those who read this article to do their best to avoid the confrontations in order to live and laugh in another day.   Sadly, there will be enough who neither understand nor are able to learn without blood, so let it be theirs not yours.

At the individual level, people can evolve largely from stories, movies, television shows, theatrical events, and simulations.  On a broad scale, this often works quite well, with sporting events siphoning off the negative psychic energies of daily life.  We can see an unfortunate scene on the screen, and know in our unconscious that we would not want that experience or be happy that it has not happened to us.  The new Netflix series The Crown provides a brilliant example of this.   We learn that while it seems very glamorous to be Queen Elizabeth II, accepting the role brings an equally large bevy of problems and heartache.  It’s nice to be able to visit, without having to live there.

In business, there can be a tendency toward arrogance, particularly among those whose maturity is not tempered by wise counsel.  The renowned Center for Creative Leadership provides a worthy antidote to that problem in their “Looking Glass Experience.” They provide a 6 hour simulation of a real business environment, followed by 10 hours of critiques by their faculty and your fellow students.  

I recall two students who attended from the same company, controlled by their family.  When they arrived they were among the most arrogant individuals I had ever met in business, but the “Looking Glass Experience” holds a mirror up to you and asks, “This is you, do you like what you see?”  The same two men 5 days later were sobered, to say the least.  Even I was sobered by the experience of seeing myself as others saw me. 

Contemplation on what makes America the unique country that it is has been a long time pastime of mine. At least 15 years ago, I realized that our “secret sauce” as a country is our Diversity.  We have representatives of every race, religion, culture and national origin among those we count as Americans.  We often debate, but that is the magic.  Every time a good idea comes from any of the groups, we all adopt it.  Every time bad ideas emerge, we quickly debate them out of the system.  Countries with less diversity and less public discourse lag far behind.

As we go forth with our new age of experience, let us all contemplate what truly does make America great, and what we really need to do to make it better still.  Shouting at the dark does nothing at all, as preachers have known for generations or sin would be gone. It is inevitable that we as a Nation are about to touch many hot stoves, but it is up to us to determine what is “hot” and what is not.  

What do we want to be as a country?  What kind of a country will we leave for our grandchildren and their progeny?  We cannot make the world in our image by force.  That was already tried in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, and it destroyed the country.  What can we do to make a country that will be respected and admired in the world we actually inhabit?

Image Credit: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh via The Huffington Post, November 29, 2016



Jung for Laymen

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