Archive for August 6th, 2010
It looks as though this is a dead tree, but appearances are often deceiving. What is visible in this photo are simply some of the wounds the tree has received as part of “living” a full life as a tree. Nature teaches me a lot. For example, I see wounds such as this, leaves eaten off of smaller plants, road kill of animals small and big – life is not “fair” in any sense of the word. Life simply happens. And along the way as one goes through life catching diseases, suffering falls, scrapes and broken bones, life has a way of coming to an end. The who cycle of birth and death repeated over and over again in plant, animal and even at a larger level is simple a process that has no moral or ethical “good” or “evil” side.
I wonder why we humans have a tendency to ascribe the pains and joys of living to good and evil and to the gods. Life is life. In saying this, I don’t want to discount good and evil, for they are there. But as I said in my last post, they are both faces of gods, of the One God when it comes down to final definitions. I mentioned in one of my responses to comments made here about the story of Job as found in the Bible. I want to follow up on that reference with some words of Jung’s.
“Without wishing it, we humans are placed in situations in which the great “principles” entangle us in something, and God leaves it to us to find a way out. Sometimes a clear path is opened with his help, but when it really comes to the point one has the feeling of having been abandoned by every good spirit. In critical situations the hero always mislays his weapon, and at such moment, as before death, we are confronted with the nakedness of this fact. And one does not know how one got there. A thousand twists of fate all of a sudden land you in such a situation. This is symbolically represented by Jacob’s fight with the angel at the ford. Here a man can do nothing but stand his ground. It is a situation that challenges him to react as a whole man. Then it may turn out that he can no longer keep to the letter of the moral law. That is where his most personal ethics begin: in grim confrontation with the Absolute, in striking out on a path condemned by current morality and the guardians of the law. And yet he may feel that he has never been truer to his innermost nature and vocation, and hence never nearer to the Absolute, because he alone and the Omniscient have seen the actual situation as it were from inside . . . (Jung, CW 10, par 869)
So who can judge us as we wrestle with good and evil, for we do wrestle with both? Who can know the intention, the situation, the purpose of such encounters with good and evil? It becomes a difficult enough, if not often impossible, to judge. It is enough o simply bear one’s wounds and continue being present in the situation called life.