Thursday, October 1, 2009

Notes From The President and Editor

Dear Friends of The C.G. Jung Society of Vermont,

Exciting news in the Jungian world recently broke into the collective with the publication of an article on Jung’s soon to be published Red Book. Entitled The Holy Grail of the Unconscious, it was featured as the cover story for the September 20th edition of the New York Times Sunday Magazine Section. Adding to the excitement was follow-up coverage the next day on OnPoint, the NPR live interview show featuring the journalist, Sarah Corbett, author of the Times essay and David Oswald, a Training Analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute – Boston (who, I am pleased to say, just happens to be one of my instructors).

Over the years there has been much speculation about the Red Book, the mysterious journal hidden away by Jung’s heirs in a Swiss bank vault far below the Zurich streets. Begun in 1913 following his split with Freud, and developed over a twenty or so year period, the Red Book chronicles Jung’s journeys into the depths of the unconscious. The psychic material he retrieved, in Jung’s words, “psychic material which is the stuff of psychosis... but is also the matrix of a mythopoeic imagination which has vanished from our rational age” (MDR, 188) - amazing and wild imaginings and powerful and potent images of a fantastical nature - became the foundation of an “entirely new and radically different orientation” (Jaffe, 66) in psychoanalysis.

Jung’s psychology, which he named Analytical Psychology to differentiate it from Freudian psychoanalysis, is an approach based on the recognition that the unconscious psyche is something more than a repository for repressed personal material as Freud would have it. Jung’s approach recognizes and works with the understanding that the unconscious is far greater than the personal, that it is a structural layer of the human psyche, and contains inherited wisdom stretching back to the primordial beginnings and in which all humanity shares. Jung named this greater shared psychic sphere the Collective Unconscious and over almost a half century attempted to describe and understand its workings as the guiding force in human behavior and individual development. It is his greatest contribution to science and, unfortunately, so misunderstood by most scientists and non-Jungians.

A thorough reading of Jung’s writing collected in over twenty volumes, numerous essays, his autobiography, and radio and film interviews shows that Jung understood the enormity of his discovery and the responsibility he carried in bringing it to light. No wonder he kept his Red Book private, as did his heirs, at least until now. As a scientist who attempted to build a sturdy and durable bridge between science and religion, Jung was consistently devalued by both, as was his work. To scientists he was alternately a mystic and a madman; to religionists, a scientist psychologising the divine. The folio-size Red Book is not “the holy grail of the unconscious” as the NYT’s sensationalistic title cheaply pronounces. It is Jung’s scientific self-experiment into the darkness of the unconscious. His courageous journey brought him to the edge of madness--not beyond it, as some, ignorant of Jung’s method and approach, are so fond of pronouncing. The images and imaginings that Jung consigned to the Red Book carry his central message about psyche and psychic process: value your inner life, attend to your dreams and nurture your creative self. Dreams, active imagination, drawing, painting, clay, play and other creative activities are the varied avenues to dialogue with the unconscious. Why would we want to do this, you ask? We do this because the ego is only a tiny light shining in the immense darkness of the unconscious. When we open ourselves to the products of psyche - to dreams, for instance - we enlarge our personality and become more of who we are meant to be.

Always sensitive to his critics and wanting to reach the broadest audience possible, Jung wrote about the “widening of consciousness” in different ways. Below are two such examples; very different in style, they are complementary explanations of the same phenomenon. You be the judge which rings most true for you:

There arises a consciousness which is no longer imprisoned in the petty, oversensitive, personal world of the ego, but participates freely in the wider world of objective interests. This widened consciousness is no longer that touchy, egotistical bundle of personal wishes, fears, hopes, and ambitions which always has to be compensated or corrected by unconscious counter-tendencies; instead, it is a function of relationship to the world of objects, bringing the individual into absolute, binding, and indissoluble communion with the world at large (CW 7, 178).

“But why on earth,” you may ask, “should it be necessary for man to achieve, by hook or by crook, a higher level of consciousness?” This is truly the crucial question, and I do not find the answer easy. Instead of a real answer I can only make a confession of faith: I believe that, after thousands and millions of years, someone had to realize that this wonderful world of mountains and oceans, suns and moons, galaxies and nebulae, plants and animals, exists. From a low hill in the Athi plains of East Africa I once watched the vast herds of wild animals grazing in soundless stillness, as they had done from time immemorial, touched only by the breath of a primeval world. I felt then as if I were the first man, the first creature, to know that all this is. The entire world round me was still in its primeval state; it did not know that it was. And then, in that one moment in which I came to know, the world sprang into being; without that moment it would never have been. All Nature seeks this goal and finds it fulfilled in man, but only in the most highly developed and most fully conscious man (CW 9i, 95).

I asked Chessie Stevenson, a Jungian Analyst with a practice in Waitsfield, and a board member of JSVT, to share her thoughts about the Red Book and she graciously complied with the following:

It is to Jung’s great credit as a scientist that he dared personally to explore the liminal space between genius and madness as even a cursory look at The Red Book will illustrate. The artwork is meticulous and compelling. A prolific writer, navigator of a new psychology and philosophy, ever curious about the human condition, Jung and the Jung family have given the world a true present.

We will keep you informed about happenings associated with the publication of the Red Book. For a current list of Jungian-sponsored lectures and events, go to the This Month section. We will be running submissions regarding Jung’s journal once it is published. Until then, you can read the NYT article, The Holy Grail of the Unconscious, and listen to the OnPoint interview by clicking on the links below. Also listed is the link to the Philemon Foundation, the publishers of the Red Book.

Also in this October edition of the e-journal we offer you in the Essay section a another scholarly work by Sue Mehrtens which continues her exploration of the archetype of the apocalypse (we still are experiencing formatting problems as will be evident when you read the essay, our apologies). In News From… Luanne Sberna, wearing her Membership Coordinator hat, pens a gentle reminder to members regarding membership renewal. In Profile, Luanne changes hats and shares with us her interview with David Joy, a man long associated with Burlington College and noted not only for developing that school’s Transpersonal Psychology Program, but for keeping Jungian courses in the curriculum (we are also experiencing formatting problems with this interview and will attempt to correct them shortly). Emily Murphey has submitted two poems, to be found in The Arts section and, in This Month we list both the fall semester schedule of The Jungian Center in Waterbury as well as a list of events associated with the publication of the Red Book. Although these events are not Vermont-based, we thought they were of enough interest to our readership to publish them.

This is a full issue this month. We hope you enjoy it. As always, your comments are welcome and you are invited to post them in the Post Comment box at the end of each feature. Other comments or questions can be sent to me using the contact information listed below. Enjoy!

With best regards,

Stephanie Buck


(802) 860-4921

Referenced Works

Aniela Jaffe, ed., C.G. Jung: Word and Image (1979). Princeton: Bollingen Series.

C. G. Jung, (Aniela Jaffe, ed.), Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1965). NY: Vintage.

________. The Function of the Unconscious. In Two Essays in Analytical Psychology (CW 7. Princeton, NJ: Bollingen.

________. Psychological Aspects of the Mother Complex. In The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious (CW 9i).


The Apocatastasis of Global Civilization:

Seizing the Opportunity in the Archetype of the Apocalypse

Apocatastasis.”[1] It’s a five-dollar Greek word that Jung used repeatedly in his writings,[2] drawing on earlier usage in the New Testament[3] and the Gnostic gospels.[4] It means a “re-establishment,” “restoration” or “reconstitution,” and, as we noted in the previous essay,[5] it is part of the intentionality of the archetype of the apocalypse. No person goes through the apocalyptic process simply to experience the destruction of what he or she holds dear: the whole point is to clear away the detritus of a life that he or she has outgrown. In a similar way our collective global society is now being challenged to open up to radically new ways of thinking, so as to replace a civilization that has grown stale and inappropriate with a world that works for everyone.[6]

The initial reaction of most people to this challenge is “Duh? Radically new ways of thinking? Replacing a civilization? A stale civilization? A Rip Van Winkle act sounds appealing right about now; let’s go to sleep for the next 40 years and wake up when all this is over!” Jung would not be amused; he would also not be surprised.

Jung recognized that most people will take the Rip Van Winkle approach, only they won’t need to go to sleep: they already are asleep, and they won’t want to hear any of the following. Jung was a realist: only a “leading minority”[7] will have the maturity, the consciousness and the courage to transform the world. Fortunately, since Jung’s time, as the world has gotten more and more “stale,” more and more people have been taking up his challenge and have responded to the apocalypse archetype to restore and revitalize their own lives. As they have done so they have also taken up the task of envisioning a similar restoration for the collective. They have shared their insights and suggestions in a wealth of books and articles that inform the portrait of a civilization more supportive of the fullness of our human potential.[8]

In this essay we consider what such a civilization would look like, its features, activities and paradigms (basic patterns that structure underlying beliefs and assumptions). Because this new “restored” civilization is growing out of the old, we must begin with a review of the basic features of the world we know. Then we can examine how that world is no longer appropriate, what might replace it and the form a global restoration might take.

Some Basic Features of Western Civilization

When we speak of “civilization” these days invariably we mean the life ways of the peoples of Europe, America and other “progressive” countries. Superficially this “Western” civilization means “high technologies” like television, cell phones and computers, and cultural artifacts like movies, pop stars, video games and the Internet.[9] This civilization offers to the people of the world sophisticated forms of medical care—hospitals with their CAT scans and MRIs; germ theory, vaccines and the promise of the eradication of disease; “spare-parts” medicine, the evolution of super-bugs, and the prospect of global pandemics--pandemics made more likely because of growing urbanization, as more and more people flock to cities, turning them into megalopolises.[10] It also has enmeshed the entire planet in corporate capitalism, with its credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations and other types of derivatives, etherealized money and massive economic inequality.[11] Some other features of our current civilization include literacy, numeracy,[12] digeracy,[13] indoor plumbing, electricity, cars, trains, planes and supertankers.

All these are “superficial” because they are consequences of much deeper aspects of our Western civilization. These deeper aspects are so deep as to touch into what German-speaking societies mean when they speak of “culture” as distinct from “civilization.” The German tradition recognizes a difference between the artificial constructs of city living (“civilization” deriving from the Latin civitas, “city”) and the more organic growth of collective ways of living.[14] The archetype of the apocalypse is asking us to address themes that have evolved organically over millennia—paradigms that are much deeper than our technological gadgets and ways of running our economic and political systems. To deal with such deep themes we must get to unconscious levels, to address and change things so basic that they seem “normal” or inevitable.

What are some of these deep themes that have grown organically over the last 6,000 years in the development of Western civilization? We will consider 6 of them, all closely interrelated, and we will do so by drawing on the insights of contemporary authors but also on the ideas of an enlightened human being who was 2,000 years ahead of his time.

How Our Current World is No Longer Appropriate

The six themes we will examine are: power relations, social relations, gender relations, racial and ethnic prejudice, economic injustice and our beliefs and attitudes around violence.[15]

Power Relations. For many millennia the world has operated with a flawed notion of power. We think of power as “domination,”[16] the ability to control, to force other people to do our will. The lust for control is very strong in our Western mindset, leading us to develop our left brain’s logic, reasoning ability and objectivity. Over many centuries this has grown into what we now term “science.” Francis Bacon (one of the fathers of modern science) was explicit about the desirability of gaining control over Nature, so we can bend her to our will.[17]

Another feature of this power-driven mindset is dualistic thinking, which perceives reality in “either/or” terms. In this system power is a “zero-sum game:” If I have power then you don’t. This then creates competition and fear. Politically this evolved over many thousands of years into monarchies and tyrannies and, in our own day, into totalitarian regimes and “imperial Presidencies.”[18] Power-as-domination also gave rise to colonialism and imperialism, in which collectives employ force and military might to control weaker groups for their own advantage.

Legally the power relations of Western civilization have led to the law being subverted to maintain the perquisites of the privileged few. This has been blatant in various monarchical regimes, more subtle in modern democracies. Certainly we have seen this recently in America, in the spectacle of Bernie Madoff[19] enjoying his penthouse apartment rather than a jail cell.

In social terms, power-as-domination has given rise to an array of artificial distinctions among people, from slavery (in the ancient world and currently in parts of Africa and even the United States)[20] to the rigid caste system in India.[21] While most Americans like to think of our society as being class free, we too have privileged classes.[22] Consider, for example, the corporate CEOs flying to Washington in their private jets, seeking handouts from Congress. Little was said about their having these jets; the complaints in the media spoke more to the inappropriate use of the jets at the very time they were crying poverty.

Such tone deafness on the part of these businessmen reflects another implication of the power-as-domination theme: egotism and narcissism. “Looking out for #1” has become a mantra in our modern world. “What’s in it for me?” is a common question people ask. Power as a zero-sum game comes accompanied by an overweaning sense of entitlement and other forms of narcissism, like lack of consideration for the needs and feelings of others, lack of compassion and empathy, and insatiable greed.[23]

The lust for control early on tainted the spiritual expression of “civilized” people,[24] leading to the rise of organized religions with their dogma about “original sin,” Hell, the Day of Judgment etc.[25]—all concepts very effective in making people feel guilty, fearful and then disempowered.

Yet it was a figure connected with a Western religion, a figure deeply revered—and also profoundly misunderstood and misinterpreted—who saw through the power system of our culture, sought to upend its processes and called on his followers to do likewise. Here is what he said:

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:8-12)

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.” (Luke 9:46-48)

Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27)

Jesus’ vision of the “servant leader” has inspired more recent commentators and businesspeople[26] to apply his sense of power—power as “dominion,”[27] power that is shared with others, power that empowers others—in modern life and work situations. Jesus understood that true power is like love: the more we give it away, the more power there is for everyone.

Social Relations. Our civilization has existed for thousands of years conceiving of relations between people in hierarchical ways.[28] The most obvious form of this is that most masculine of environments, the military, with all its ranks and privileges, but all societies have differences in status and elaborate rules governing social etiquette and family obligations. Even in America, which purports to have a society where anyone can rise to the top, there are certain socially accepted behaviors, and Americans certainly celebrate one aspect of hierarchical social relations: competition. We live in a world with “winners” and “losers,” with “one-upmanship” and all sorts of “perks” that go along with “getting ahead.”

These “perks” are most likely material things, because we define “success” in material terms: money, status symbols like the corner office, the private jet, the membership in the country club etc. While “sumptuary laws” tried to regulate the display of status symbols in past centuries,[29] today these laws have been replaced with “pay to play:” If you are rich enough, you can buy your way into the inner sanctum, get the cushy job, bribe your local politician to gain access to the “corridors of power.”[30]

Ours is a civilization deeply sunk in materialism. Critics of Western culture decry our “conspicuous consumption,”[31] with its excess and waste (with the United States being one of most wasteful of all modern societies). Ask anyone today what they think of when they hear the phrase “That man is very successful.” and they are likely to speak of his being rich, having a big salary, a powerful job, fame or celebrity and lots of stuff—all the “toys” that go along with the notion of “success.” What gets ignored in all this is the wealth that lies in things of the spirit.

Such materialistic preoccupations and social hierarchies Jesus castigated:

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:9-13)

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-30)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21)

Jesus understood that the only form of true security is spiritual, intangible, rooted within us, impossible for others to remove or destroy. Equally, he saw all our social and religious traditions as man-made, rather than rooted in the ways of the Divine. And he knew that those who put themselves first, who focus on social prominence, ranks and success ultimately wind up last.

Gender Relations. As many contemporary scholars have shown,[32] with civilization came patriarchy. Agricultural surplus led to the rise of labor specialization and cities, and along with it came the notion of private property.[33] There was more to this notion than just control over food: It also extended to control over women. Gender relations for the last c. 6,000 years have been patriarchal. Family training and example have perpetuated oppressive sex roles for hundreds of generations all over the world.[34] We think we in the West are more liberal and progressive than cultures in, say, the Middle East[35] or China, but even in America we have a host of cultural features that reflect our patriarchal bias.

For example, one deep assumption in our culture is “male is normal.”[36] For years medical researchers developed protocols for drug studies using men, never thinking that perhaps this might reflect a certain bias. For years schools ran athletic programs for boys, never thinking that girls might also benefit from varsity teams and equal opportunity. Now this is changing, but some aspects of patriarchy have not changed: women are still objectified (think cosmetic ads, Victoria Secret ads, the Miss America pageant etc.); women still buy into being labeled “Mrs. John Smith;” women are still acculturated to feel incomplete without a husband.

More seriously we still see “sexploitation” (e.g. on cable TV stations like Spike); child abuse, domestic violence, rape and the rape of Mother Earth in activities like mining and oil drilling.[37] There is still sex slavery and it is far more widespread around the globe than most Americans would like to think (including being found even in the U.S.A.). There are still repeated demands to control female sexuality, in public demonstrations against abortion, pornography and “vice.” The business world is not yet free of sexual harassment and “machismo” is still rampant in “action” flicks and many cultures.[38]

As with other themes Jesus offered a new model for gender relations. He welcomed women into his circle of followers. Women were some of the greatest supporters of his work, housing him and his disciples, and supplying him with food and other essentials.[39] Jesus defied both custom and social prejudice to talk with the Samaritan woman at the well.[40] The first people Jesus appeared to after his resurrection were women.[41] And it seems that Jesus inspired even the misogynistic Paul to admit that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”[42] The deeply-rooted paradigm that maintains gender inequality is another aspect of civilization that has become inappropriate.

Racial and Ethnic Prejudice is a fourth feature of our current civilization that is inappropriate. This feature is built on the dualistic thinking mentioned earlier—the “us/them” tendency we have to see things in divisive ways. Prejudice has produced tribalism, ethnocentricism, stereotyping and racial profiling—all of these undergirded by the unconscious belief that “difference is dangerous.” People that look different, act differently, believe differently pose a threat. The result? Pogroms, genocides, “ethnic cleansings” and holocausts. Less grave, but no less divisive are the nationalism and patriotism that are still very much features of our world.

It is long past time for us to put aside such nonsense, to recognize that nations are atavisms, that race is a canard, that ethnic differences are to be celebrated, not made the basis for purges and persecutions. Patriotism serves only to separate people and to emphasize superficial differences. We need now to focus on unity, how all the peoples of the planet are one. Jesus’ follower Peter came to recognize this:

“You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right….” (Acts 10:23-35)

As a recent television ad reminds us, “We are all in this together.”[43] “Us/them” thinking, and the prejudice that it sparks are no longer things we can afford. If we continue to feel and act from an “us/them” mindset, the world might experience the most dire manifestation of the archetype of the apocalypse!

Economic Injustice.[44] Underlying the economic injustice that is endemic globally is the “scarcity model.” Embedded in this paradigm is another set of unconscious beliefs, some of which are: “There is not enough.” “I need to protect what’s mine.” “I have to get mine while the getting is good.” It leads to behaviors like hoarding, competition for global resources and war. It sparks feelings of fear and a host of insecurities that ripple through our culture now, as we experience an economic “slump.” What is never mentioned in the media is the why behind our current economic malaise. We hear lots of talk of reckless trading, too much risk-taking by the big banks, the misuse of computer models and sophisticated trading instruments like derivatives, but are these the real cause for our economic meltdown? No.

It never seems to occur to the pundits and commentators that our basic economic model is untenable. Capitalism must fail, because it is destroying the planet, with its extractive economies and “consumeritis.”[45] It must fail, because it fosters extremes of wealth and poverty, with its reification of money. It must fail, because it warps our legal system, with its false values and assumptions.

Jesus was quite explicit about the dangers of misplaced values. He reminds us that

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt 6:24)

and he alerted us to the spiritual danger that lies in attachment to material “stuff:” Jesus answered, “If you want to achieve spiritual completeness, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt. 19:21-24)

Capitalism feeds on the fear, greed and materialism mentioned earlier and so is completely inappropriate for the new world that is aborning. Fortunately, while our economic models run deep in our unconscious worldview, Nature is helping us toward more viable systems through a variety of warnings, e.g. the wealth of storms, fires, floods, earthquakes and forms of pollution we are seeing around us now. The message we are meant to hear? We cannot go on living, working and running our planet as we have been.

Beliefs and Attitudes Around Violence. The final element buried deep in our Western consciousness is what underpins all the above: violence and the “myth of redemptive violence.”[46] For millennia we have lived believing that violence can solve our problems. “Might makes right.” Peace is defined as “the absence of war”[47]—a definition that implies war is the norm, peace something of an aberration. Once upon a time nations felt powerful if they had big armies; these days nations feel powerful if they have “the bomb.” Such madness could realize Jung’s worst nightmare: many parts of the planet devastated and uninhabitable.[48]

Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. recognized the truth Jesus taught long ago: that only non-violent actions create genuine solutions to our problems. There is no virtue in fighting, no solace in conflict. Repeatedly Jesus provided examples of his commitment to peace:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. ...” (Matt. 5:43-44)

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword….” (Matt.26:52)

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51)

For all 6 facets of our civilization—power relations, social relations, gender relations, racial and ethnic prejudice, economic injustice and the use of violence—Jesus advocated another way, a way that for 2,000 years has been ignored as millions of people chose to worship Jesus (something he never asked his disciples to do) rather than to follow him (something he repeatedly asked people to do).[49] As we approach 2012 and the “end time” draws near, we can see that Jesus’ vision for the world closely parallels the Hopis’ description of the coming Fifth World[50] with its universal peace, spirit of unity, love and joy.

Jesus and the Hopi give us a sense of what is meant to come into being to replace our stale, outmoded Fourth World. We are left to wonder about the how: How can we get from here to there? Fortunately we have the archetype of the apocalypse to assist us.

The Restoration Process on the Collective Level

In the previous essay[51] I noted how all archetypes have intentionality: They want something to happen. They also have a certain autonomy: they call up behaviors and provoke responses in us. Thanks to Jung, we are able to recognize the archetype of the apocalypse with more conscious awareness than earlier generations had. So we don’t have to stumble through the restoration process in complete ignorance or solely under our own power.[52] We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and we don’t have to jettison all of the old “wheels” that have carried the old Fourth World this far. Nature and its processes are working with us, and, besides Jung, a variety of visionary thinkers can be our guides.[53]

For example, in dealing with the shift in power relations we have the image of the “partnership model” of Riane Eisler to inspire us.[54] Rather than people dominating and controlling others, Eisler notes how more people these days are waking up to the benefits of collaboration, cooperation and “mutual aid.”[55] We are also seeing more people waking up to the fact that control is an illusion. Buckminster Fuller reminded us years ago that “We are not in control here.”[56] Nature is also helping us, through events like Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires.

Progressive business leaders like Tom Chappell, Paul Hawken and James Autry[57] advocate the virtues of the “flat organization,” more egalitarian than old-style businesses and far more productive and effective. Such leaders remind us that the game of life is beginning to be played with a whole new set of guidelines and assumptions, replacing the old rules and regulations of the Fourth World).[58] These guidelines are born out of trust, love and compassion and fidelity to our inner guidance. Along with these comes a new concept of “success,” a non-material definition based on alignment with one’s destiny and unique vocation.

Eisler’s “partnership model” envisions a partnership between men and women with full equality of the sexes.[59] In the Fifth World, when all people recognize their unity, inequalities of any kind will be impossible (Does it make any sense to think of your hand as worth less than your foot?). Eisler joins the growing ranks of feminist thinkers calling for the elimination of all stereotypes and limited sex roles that truncate the full humanity of both men and women.[60] As we work our way through the albedo phase of alchemy—holding the tension of opposites—we are slowly integrating the masculine in women and the feminine in men.

Closely linked with the integration of the feminine is environmental protection. Mother and Mother Earth are closely linked in our unconsciousness. How we treat women is paralleled by how we treat the Earth. Just as feminism is helping us toward a restoration of a more appropriate world so environmentalism and Nature’s signs in the form of pollution and species extinction are helping us toward lifestyles more in tune with natural laws and principles.

People seem to be voting with their feet on the issue of overcoming prejudice. There is not much written about this trend (beyond all the hyperbole around the “historic” election of America’s first black president) but we see it in survey results that speak of the growing numbers of people with no affiliation to an organized religion.[61] More people are describing themselves as “spiritual,” rather than religious. Nation states, exclusive clubs, tribes and organized religions are the most divisive forces on the planet,[62] and they will disappear as we work through the apocatastasis in the years ahead.

The scarcity model in our economic thinking will be replaced with an abundance model. Gandhi’s words—“There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed”[63]—will be recognized as true: Everyone’s need will be met in the Fifth World. The deep drivers of greed—fear, competition and lust for control—will disappear as the current “leading minority”[64] becomes more of a majority in the coming decades.

Lynn Twist reminds us of the “soul of money”[65]—something all too often forgotten in our contemporary world. The spiritual essence of economic activity will inform our future, as more people recognize their role as co-creators with the Cosmos and put the full range of their talents into service to others. Everyone will do work that they love, and such work will occur within what Herman Daly has called “the steady state model.”[66]

Whereas our current economy is built on a model of constant material growth, the new economic model will encourage constant spiritual, intangible growth. Material growth must be carefully controlled and limited, given that the material resources of the planet are finite. But growth in things like love, peace, joy and creative pursuits (music-making, the arts, poetry etc.) make few demands on the physical systems of Mother Earth and so will be encouraged.

In the steady state model, the mantra is “minimize flow-through, maximize utility.” So we can anticipate that the “4 R’s”—reuse, recycle, recondition and repair[67]—will be keys to our future industrial processes. Even now, in the more progressive areas of the world like Europe, these are becoming more common. Manufacturing will occur with minimal environmental impact and all industrial processes will operate according to the laws of Nature. People will live by “right livelihood”[68] and business organizations will be local and small in scale.[69]

Perhaps the most significant change—one that subsumes all the others—will be the elimination of violence. As more people wake up, there is a growing worldwide movement toward peace. Will enough people come to this pacificist viewpoint in time to avert a global disaster? I don’t know, and Jung’s deathbed vision coupled with the Hopis’ prediction about the end of the United States government[70] make me wonder if we citizens of planet Earth will have to experience some sort of major bellicose disaster before there is a widespread realization that war is just plain stupid, solving nothing and only begetting more violence.

The jury’s out on this question. What we can see going on now that gives me hope is the transformation of the military into a humanitarian organization. When the National Guard is mobilized to help disaster victims, when the United Nations sends in an army of peacekeepers, we are seeing the potential future usefulness of organized, readily mobilized teams of people to offer aid and comfort to others. This is the future face of the military in a pacific world.

As Edward Edinger said in his study of the archetype of the apocalypse, we are already seeing the archetype at work on the collective level.[71] I think it is sparking the visions noted above that many people are offering up to help us have hope and inspiration, and in this way, to ease us into the Fifth World. Jung feared that a global catastrophe would result in “the end of civilization.”[72] Even without a global catastrophe I think we are seeing signs of the end of our old civilization. Forty-eight years of global evolution since Jung’s death in 1961 have seen the rise of feminism, the growth of the global environmental movement, the expansion of the peace movement, more awareness of things like racial profiling, ethnic cleansing and the destructive futility of war—all of these harbingers of the better world to come, all of them indicators of how the archetype is working a transformation.

Growing numbers of indigenous peoples are speaking up and protesting the intrusion of Western civilization.[73] Growing numbers of Western people are waking up to the limitations and negative aspects of our Western “civilized” world. Together native and Western peoples, in their different ways, are calling for a change—a change on a scale and to a degree more massive, deep and pervasive than anything seen in the last 6,000 years. Jung sensed this, when he spoke of our living in a kairos time.[74] He would remind us that it is up to us as to how easily, safely and deliberately we move through this transition time.

We can do better than our current civilization. What we’ve got now is not suited to the reality that is evolving. Nature doesn’t like it. Native peoples see its destructiveness. Jesus points us toward a more viable form of civilization. It is now up to each of us to grow into the challenge of manifesting the new civilization, by taking up our own personal version of the archetype of the apocalypse and experiencing in our individual lives the revivifying impact of the apocatastasis.[75]


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-Submitted by Sue Mehrtens

[1] This is a compound of 3 Greek roots—“apo” (from) + kata (down) + stasis (standing), meaning literally “to remove from a condition of collapse or breakdown,” which is what happens when something is “restored” or “reconstituted.”

[2] Jung, Collected Works, 6, ¶444,459; CW 9i, ¶316; CW 9ii, ¶73,260,410; CW 11, ¶279,401,814; CW 12, ¶415; CW 13, ¶372; CW 14, ¶474; CW 16, ¶455; CW 18, ¶527,528. As has been the convention throughout these blog essays, CW will hereafter be the abbreviation for Jung’s Collected Works.

[3] E.g. Acts 3:21.

[4] E.g. in the “Epistle to Rheginus,” the “Heracleon” and in Irenaeus (Rudolph [1984], 161,196) and in “The Gospel according to Philip,” (Layton [1987], 341).

[5] “Jung and the Archetype of the Apocalypse,” posted to the Jungian Center blog last month.

[6] Edinger (1999), 12-14.

[7] CW 18, ¶1393.

[8] Cf. Allen (1980), Dorf & Hunter (1978), Berman (1981), Berry (1988), Berry (1977), Bezold (1978), Bookchin (1978), Borsodi (1948), Boulding (1980), Carroll (1973), Collard (1978), Daly (1977), Daly (1980), Deming (1984), Devall & Sessions (1985), Eisler (1987), Eisler (2007), Ekins (1986), Elgin (1981), Ferguson (1984), Fox (1979), Harman (1979), Harman (1988), Hay (1984), Henderson (1981), Johnson (1985), Johnson (1979), Kaplan (1978), Krippner (1980), Leopold (1966), Lovelock (1979), Lovins (1977), Lutz & Lux (1979), Mander (1991), Maslow (1971), Muller (1982), Naess (1972), Nearing (1970), Needleman (1985), Nichols (1975), Pitt (1988), Rifkin (1980), Roszak (1979), Russell (1983), Sale (1980), Satin (1979), Schaef (1985), Schumacher (1973), Shames & Stern (1978), Singer (1975), Sorokin (1950), Stone (1975), Vasconcellos (1979), and Waring (1988).

[9] On the implications of modern technology see Mander (1991).

[10] For assessments of our contemporary health care system, cf. Smith (1992), Cousins (1979) and Needleman (1985).

[11] For critiques of our economic system, cf. Henderson (1981), Chappell (1993), Hawken (1993) and Korten (2009).

[12] Training in arithmetic and computational activities.

[13] Training in working with computers and other digital devices.

[14] CW 16, ¶227, note 10.

[15] I did not create these 6 themes: I took them from a series of books by theologian Walter Wink in his seminal series on “the Powers.” See Wink (1984) (1986) (1992) (1997) (1998) and (2002). The “Powers” are the dynameis repeatedly mentioned in the New Testament (e.g. Romans 8:38; Romans 13:1; Ephesians 6:12; Colosians 1:16; Titus 3:1; Hebrews 6:5).

[16] Wink discusses power-as-domination in detail; Wink (1997), 1-12; cf. Eisler (1987), 28.

[17] For Bacon’s ideas, misogyny and influence on the rise of modern science, see Merchant (1980, 164-191.

[18] Bacevich (2008), 68-69,71,77,131.

[19] Madoff defrauded thousands of people of billions of dollars in the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history; he pled guilty in March 2009. Before doing so, he was allowed to remain in his luxurious New York apartment.

[20] The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution outlawed slavery legally, but de facto slavery can still be found where illegal immigrants are kept under lock and key and forced to do sweatshop labor in many of our largest cities. Slavery also exists in the U.S. in the illicit practice of “human trafficking,” aka “sex slavery.”

[21] Also formally illegal, but still found, especially in rural areas.

[22] For analyses of class in America, cf. Aldrich (1988), Baltzell (1964), Birmingham (1968), Fussell (1983), Mills (1959) and Warner (1960).

[23] Certainly we have seen lack of compassion and incredible greed on the part of business moguls involved in scandals over the last 20 years, e.g. Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia etc.

[24] Eisler (1987), 130-134.

[25] The spirituality of native peoples—Native Americans, Australian aborigines etc.—lacks these concepts.

[26] On taking “servant leadership” into the realm of business, see Greenleaf & Spears (2002).

[27] Power-as-dominion is power as manifested by the Divine; see Genesis 1:26 and Gen. 27:40.

[28] Anne Wilson Schaef sees hierarchies as a core feature of the “white male system,” while women tend to focus on “being peer;” Schaef (1985), 104-107.

[29] Mountfield (1978), 62.

[30] The most egregious example of an attempt at “pay to play” was Governor Ron Blagojevich’s attempt to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama in November 2008.

[31] This phrase was coined by Thorstein Veblen in The Theory of the Leisure Class, published in 1899 (i.e. during America’s first “Gilded Age”).

[32] Cf. Eisler (1987), Marija Gimbutas (1977) and Merlin Stone (1976).

[33] On the development and rise of civilization from hunter-gatherer bands to established cities, see Diamond (1999), 85-92, 193-291.

[34] Eisler (1987), 78-103.

[35] Most Middle East countries are predominantly Muslim. The Koran states explicitly that “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other,...” (Surah 4).

[36] Marine (1972), 1.

[37] On the connection between misogyny and ecological destruction, see Griffin (1978).

[38] E.g. Italian, Spanish and Latin American.

[39] Cf. Luke 7:36-50; Luke 8:1-3; Luke 10:38-42; Mark 15:41.

[40] John 4:4-30.

[41] Matt. 28:8-10; John 20:1-18

[42] Galatians 3:28

[43] E.g. March 2009 TV ads for the United Way (which fits well with its work) and also for Hyundai automobiles (which is less obviously linked).

[44] Twist (2003), 43-66.

[45] This term was coined by Canadian conservationist John Moelaert; see Moelaert (1974), 219.

[46] Wink (1998), 42-62.

[47] World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, II, 1426.

[48] Cf. Hannah (1976), 347; and Wagner (1998-1999), 24.

[49] E.g. Matt. 4:18; Matt. 8:22; Matt. 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27; Luke 9: 59; Luke 16:24; Luke 19:21; John 1:43; John 21:22.

[50] This is discussed in “Jung’s Prophetic Visions and the Alchemy of Our Time,” the Jungian Center blog essay for Jan-March 2009).

[51] “Jung and the Archetype of the Apocalypse.”

[52] Edinger (1999), 13-14,182.

[53] See footnote 8 above.

[54] Cf. Eisler (1987) and Eisler (2007).

[55] This is the title of one of the books by the 19th century pacificist/anarchist Peter Kropotkin, republished in 1972.

[56] Years ago someone told me this was a quote by Buckminster Fuller, but I am not able now to verify this in any sources I have, including Google. If any reader should know the source, I would appreciate knowing it.

[57] Cf. Chappell (1993), Hawken (1993) and Autry (1991).

[58] See Korten (2009) for a vivid explication of the new guidelines and assumptions.

[59] Eisler (1987), 185-203, and Eisler (2007), 139-164.

[60] E.g. Daly (1978), Friedan (1976), Ryan (1998), and Faludi (1991).

[61] Surveys reported by the media in March 2009 noted more Americans than ever before have no formal religious affiliation.

[62] This is because these established entities are built on and foster the “us/them” mindset.

[63] “Gandhi quotes” on Google will provide this quote.

[64] Jung’s phrase, referring to those who have had analysis and thus can, by their consciousness, serve as leaders for others; CW 18, ¶1393.

[65] This is the title of her book; Twist (2003).

[66] Cf. Daly (1973) (1977) (1980) and (1988).

[67] Elkington (1986), 258.

[68] This is a Buddhist concept, one component of the Eightfold Path.

[69] For a vision of a viable economy, see Korten (2009), 157-187.

[70] Waters (1963), 323. The demise of the U.S. government is the subject of the June 2009 blog essay “The Law of Cause and Effect and America’s Future.”

[71] Edinger (1999), 5.

[72] Quoted in Hannah (1976), 129.

[73] E.g. Mayan elders, the Aschuar in Ecuador, the Hopi in the United States; cf. Barrios (2009), Perkins (1994) and Mails (1997), respectively.

[74] CW 10, ¶585.

[75] Edinger (1999), 13-14. In doing this, we become able to transform suffering into an experience full of meaning.