Archive for August 5th, 2010
While at the family reunion taking photos to be part of the official record of the event, I took time for a few extra photos such as this one and the one from the last post. As usual, a sunset scene fills a spiritual need for me and reminds me that I am but a small part of something so much larger. And for me, this spiritual resonance alerts me to something beyond what I can hold within my limited consciousness, something I can only approach and often only obliquely.
It must be my age, but I think often of good and evil. The problem is that I only think I know what good and evil are. I am hearing a lot of frantic voices foretelling the end of the world and of rewards and or punishments for those who have either lived good lives or else lived lives filled with sin. Some people I know believe in a Rapture in which they feel the chosen good people will be taken directly to heaven while the rest of the world will have one final chance to choose goodness over evil. Others are adamant that on December 21st the world is coming to an end as predicted by the Mayan calendar (actually not predicted, but that is another story). Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, wars, famine and flood – all these things are waved as proofs of the coming end when and where good shall triumph while evil perishes. But what is this good and evil?
“When someone speaks of good or evil, it is of what he calls good or evil, or what he feels as good or evil.” (Jung, CW 10, par 858)
This jumps out at me as I hear about American and Canadians fighting for good with God on their (our) side as they fight the evil Taliban. I also see how problematical all of this is when I hear of the radical Islamic groups fighting for Allah against the evil American empire. Good and evil are held as different things by different people. What I might see as evil, another might see as an act of bravery and holiness, an act that will gain immediate entrance into some version of heaven.
“Principles, when reduced to their ultimates, are simply aspects of God. Good and evil are principles of our ethical judgments, but, reduced to their ontological roots, they are “beginnings,” aspects of God, names for God. Wherever, therefore, in an excess of affect, in an emotionally excessive situation, I come up against a paradoxical fact or happening, I am in the last resort encountering an aspect of God, which I cannot judge logically and cannot conquer because it is stronger than me – because, in other words, it has a numinous quality . . .” (Jung, CW 10, par 864)