He alone is modern who is fully conscious of the present.

Carl Jung, M.D.

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These words appear in a chapter entitled “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man” in Jung’s book Modern Man in Search of a Soul.  At first blush it would appear that this is a complimentary observation.  But it is not and it is not intended by Jung to be.

In speaking of the spiritual problem of modern man, Jung sees one who stands on a peak unable to experience the story of mankind now disappeared to him in the “primeval mists.”

In speaking of the spiritual problem of modern man, he is saying the modern man is captured by the immediate present, one without access to his unconscious self and the wisdom derived from the history of man, the story of man – inside and out.

For Jung, this man is a solitary creature unable to enter the “participation mystique” with the mass of man. One might say modern man lacks intimacy, becomes anxious, neurotic, and psychotic in this form.  Likewise that he is lonely and alone, unable to build and sustain marriages, family, community, fraternity, relationships with others or his interior true self.

Further one might say such a man ushers in godless existence, for imagining God is unimaginable to him.

Jung notes that this modern man no longer has interest in the “values and strivings” of those who have come before him. He is, as Jung says, “unhistorical;” one might say estranged from humanity and himself in a very troubling way.

Jung sees those who deny the past and its lesson as “uprooted human beings, blood-sucking ghosts, whose emptiness is taken for unenviable loneliness …(which) casts discredit upon him.”

The spiritual problem of modern man, then?   He has “renounc(ed) the halo which history bestows as a mark of its sanction.” And he opines: “To be ‘unhistorical’ is the Promethean sin, and in this sense modern man lives in sin.”

Does this not provide a way of understanding those who claim to lead, only to hasten calamity and decline?  Does this not tell you the stakes that mount with every secular moment we live? With every secular pronouncement and policy we recieve?  Abide by?

Shalom.

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