A people … presents only a somewhat more complex picture of psychic life than the individual …. the psyche is not individual, but is derived from the nation, from collectivity, or from humanity even … The upheaval of our world and the upheaval in consciousness is one and the same thing.

Carl Jung, M.D.

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In 1933 psychotherapist Carl Jung wrote a book entitled Modern Man in Search of a Soul.  It is a most perceptive book and read today it gives reason to wonder how he could see who we are today some 80 years ago.

In this book he has a chapter titled: The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man.  What he says in this chapter tells us of major impediments to one’s journey to self and to God.

Notably he points out that modern man (in 1933, mind you) is so encased in the immediate that he and she has no understanding of his or her unconscious state or psyche, inner life.  He or she has no access to self, is a stranger to one’s own existence and being.

Such a state, Jung says, make us “unhistorical,” without the wisdom of the ages, without a longer view, or access to the context of the human story, without wisdom.  Such a person stands before a void, an abyss – unable to engage in journey.  Sickness follows, confusion and disorder too.

In this state, Jung tells us even the full consciousness of the present moment eludes the modern man and woman.  In this, less and less is experienced and learned.

With such limited capacity to receive life in the present moment and lost to one’s past, Jung offers that we are more prone to illusion and, I add, increasingly unable to know truth from illusion.

Jung opines that in this modern man suffers a profound uncertainty; and I add: so gropes for “isms” and appearances that substitute for certainty and in time closes down discourse in favor of intolerance, censorship, mass delusion – anything outside the narrow stream of small thoughts, bias and prejudice with other views unwelcome and other voices silenced, its speakers excluded – lies favored over truth.

In this small fragment of Jung’s excellent short chapter we can say: a culture can denominate us in ways that make journey impossible for the narrowness and preoccupation its demands of us and the damage it does to us.  A culture’s psychic life is our psychic life.

We are in our present disposition unaware of how culture can shape us to our detriment.  Yes, there are impediments to our journey in the culture we occupy and the demands it makes on us.  Be so warned.

Is faith not important?  Critical?

Shalom.

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