Archive for the ‘politics’ tag
I felt that this is a perfect photo in which to engage in a bit of active imagination – looking at another possible universe through an opening that somehow emerges from our limited level of consciousness. It’s easy to imagine a paradise, a utopia of colour and shape that blends nature and man when we look outside of our daily worldview. Most of us take on a self-definition that sets limits on who we are and what we can do. With that box built, we become beleaguered by anything and everything that is different.
We shape ourselves as victims of the otherness, even when we dominate the otherness. Now, how does this make sense? Think of the abuser who batters his or her children, his or her spouse – their common complaint “you made me do it” is repeated over and over again suggesting that the abuser believes that they are the victims, not the perpetrators. On a less extreme scale, but infinitely worse are the collectives who operate as mobs, as collectives with one voice and one worldview, collectives such as religions and political groups. Our nastiest atrocities on each other has been through these collectives. The evidence of partisanship bent on destruction is seen in America, Europe, and Canada, as well as the major religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Accepting self identification with a group traps a person and blinds a person to other possibilities. The world ceases to be a colourful place and takes on a black and white aspect where each side is white with the other side being black – each side believes that God is on their side. And in the process of claiming these collective identities, one claims being a victim.
It is only through active imagination that we find an opportunity to see other plausibilities in a non-destructive, non-threatening manner. One steps aside from being victim and sees what one could be, what the world could be. What is rarely realised is the fact that these utopic worlds are not places of imagination, they are real places. Of course, one can also get there via a different route, that through reducing all to ashes and building anew out of the ashes. Personally, I would try the route of active imagination rather than pursue a path of denial and destruction.
This photo was taken a few days ago on campus. I enjoy going to work and interacting with my students at the university here in ChangZhou. It is easy to be positive with the energy that the students bring to class. Add the colour of spring, and a bit of spring warmth, it becomes easy to see life through rose-coloured glasses.
As you are likely aware, I have been almost obsessed with the world and the Canadian situations in terms of power and politics. I need to step back and look at this obsession and see what it is trying to tell me. I do trust my inner voices that tell me what is right and wrong for me. There is much to do in terms of sorting through the feelings, the reactions in order to locate triggers and re-approach the political world with more balance. I guess that in this, it is not yet spring.
With the media shouting at fever pitch about all possible topics as if each is heralding the end of the world. it is almost impossible to sort it all out. I know that there isn’t a right side or a wrong side, but there are right and wrong actions for a collective’s security and sanity. I know when respect is intended and received. I also know hubris and disdain and greed and every sin possible for the individual and collective soul. The problem is to sort out my darkness from the collective darkness and move to act more consciously is hopes of allowing others to feel more hope and to feel loved and respected.
This photo was taken recently while waiting for sunset to arrive on the Pacific coast. I have to admit that sunsets are special moments for me. I share these moments with my wife and often take her photo with the sunset. My desktop background photo is one of these special moments. It seems that regardless of how the day has gone, if we get to share a sunset, the level of contentment and even a promise of hope for more peace for us.
An intimation of the terrible law that governs blind contingency, which Heraclitus called the rule of enantiodromia (a running towards the opposite), now steals upon modern man through the byways of his mind, chilling him with fear and paralyzing his faith in the lasting effectiveness of social and political measures in the face of these monstrous forces. If he turns away from the terrifying prospect of a blind world in which building and destroying successfully tip the scales, and then gazes into the recesses of his own mind, he will discover a chaos and a darkness there which everyone would gladly ignore. Science has destroyed even this last refuge; what was once a sheltering haven has become a cesspool. (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
There is little doubt that there is truly less security in the modern world. Even though there are appearances of wealth easily obtained and the promise of it only becoming easier as the world shifts out of the current slip backwards, I sense that there is much worse to come within a short bit of time. False security. I find myself counselling my children to conservatism, don’t over-extend themselves, be ready when the next wave of recession hits.
Yet,it is within the dark and damp swamplands of the psyche that we find some hope, for there we find the evil we see outside, the roots of that evil. And in the process, we see how our personal unconscious somehow is a porous thing which is embedded in the collective unconscious.
. . . it is almost a relief to come upon so much evil in the depths of our own psyche. Here at least, we think, is the root of all the evil in mankind. Even though we are shocked and disillusioned at first, we still feel, just because these things are part of our psyche, that we have them more or less in hand and can correct them or at any rate effectively suppress them. We like to assume that, if we succeeded in this, we should at least have rooted out some fraction of the evil in the world. Given a widespread knowledge of the unconscious, everyone could see when a statesman was being led astray by his own bad motives, The very newspapers would pull him up: “Please have yourself analyzed; you are suffering from a repressed father-complex.” (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
It doesn’t take much to take a little bit of knowledge and think we have now become a master, ready to set the world straight. That is one huge problem of moving towards a state of more consciousness. One then again falls into the trap that with more consciousness it would be, by extension, much easier to regulate ourselves, others and the world as a whole. And so a few who have gained a bit of consciousness rush to the centre of the stage with New Age religiosity and expect the spotlights to shine on them as they become the new saviours of society. Are Jungian analysts any different? Do they see themselves as the new religion, the new hope of the present age of mankind? More than a few such analysts are in existence. These analysts see themselves as modern men and as the new priesthood. I think that it would be important for them to rethink and perhaps re-read at least this chapter in this book.
That said, there is hope to be found in approaching the darkness within, a personal hope that comes with the realization that one can survive one’s own evil, that one can find a balance that allows one to live more humbly and more in tune with the world around him,
Yesterday morning I got to take a few photos of a family of Crested Caracaras. I’m not too sure if this is the papa or the mama with one of the two juvenile birds. Just moments before, this parent had brought dinner to the youth. Life seems fairly simple for these birds with no worries about the economy or politics that seem to be continual front page news in the modern western world. Sometimes I wish that life could be so simple. But, of course, that option has long ago disappeared.
I have another WordPress blog site that is for expressing my political views with hopes of making a difference as my country shifts more and more to the right political spectrum. It has been quite a while since my last post there as I become more and more discouraged about the whole mess. I don’t think it really makes much difference which man becomes leader of the country or which party that man leads. The political system is vested in acquiring and maintaining power, not in vision and policy regardless of what anyone says on the sidelines or in opposition. I guess that this makes me a sceptic.
“The revolution in our conscious outlook, brought about by the catastrophic results of the World War, shows itself in our inner life by the shattering of our faith in ourselves and our own worth. We used to regard foreigners as political and moral reprobates, but the modern man is forced to recognize that he is politically and morally just like anyone else. Whereas formerly I believed it was my bounden duty to call others to order, I must admit that I need calling to order myself, and that I would do better to set my own house to rights first. I admit this the more readily because I realize only too well that my faith in the rational organization of the world – that old dream of the millennium when peace and harmony reign – has grown pale. Modern man’s scepticism in this respect has chilled his enthusiasm for politics and world-reform; more than that, it is the worst possible basis for a smooth flow of psychic energies into the outer world, just as doubt concerning the morality of a friend is bound to prejudice the relationship and hamper its development. Through his scepticism, modern man is thrown back on himself, his energies flow towards their source, and the collision washes to the surface those psychic contents which are at all times there, but lie hidden in the silt so long as the stream flows smoothly in its course.” (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
Jung’s description here is found to hold even today, almost eighty years later. In a liberal country such as Canada, we now require the Niqab to be removed for security reasons. So much for religious freedoms. Do I think that we can put it all together and fix the economies of the world, we who have been so focused on putting privilege for the wealthy into golden containers at the expense of the economic security of the middle class? It’s broken and those who already have more than enough have found a way to gather even more to their coffers. Even science is suspect if it threatens the deep pockets. Climate science is now denied and the most educated are ridiculed as being too intellectual and lacking common sense. And the common sense in question is that of expecting those with the economic deep pockets to actually take responsibility for the environmental damage they do.
This wasn’t supposed to be a political rant, but that is how it is turning out. Being fed up with the whole mess, I simply say “Fuck it!” and go back to work on trying to regulate the same monsters within me as are found in the economic and political spheres. I am not much better as I sit and whine about what our “leaders” are doing or not doing, rather than doing what needs to be done on a personal level. It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
This is the community Church in La Fortuna. In the background, mostly hidden by clouds, is the Arenal Volcano. I would have to say that I grew up with a religious world view. I grew up a Catholic and went to church when opportunity presented itself, opportunities that weren’t too numerous. Since my mother wasn’t a Catholic and my father wasn’t in the least interested in the church, it was only when grandparents from my father’s side were around that I learned about the Church. It was decided that since I was a quiet person and I wasn’t very mischievous, that I would make a good priest. I actually believed in that possibility for a few years while attending Catholic schools.
By the time I became a teenager, the attraction to a religious life drifted off. That said, the tendency to lean toward a spiritual life has remained, especially now that my children have grown and found homes of their own. However, I don’t find any attraction to any church embedded in this orientation toward spiritualism. The organization of churches seems to exclude true spiritualism for me.
I don’t identify with the church any more as I did in my youth. Growing up Catholic and going to Catholic schools gave me an identity, gave me a sense of belonging to something. For a while, this was important. Growing up a loner isn’t the easiest of childhoods. Growing up as a gypsy in seven different provinces and going to more than twenty different elementary schools only accentuates the loneliness. The church filled some of that hole. But as the years passed, the hole still gaped wide and I found that the church couldn’t fill that hole. I was left to my own efforts to find my own way through the years of life. Any identity I had with the church was overwhelmed by the constant disruptions of moving and leaving.
“Identification with the group is a simple and easy path to follow, but the group experience goes no deeper than the level of one’s own mind in that state. It does work a change in you, but the change does not last. On the contrary, you must have continual recourse to mass intoxication in order to consolidate the experience and your belief in it. But as soon as you are removed from the crowd, you are a different person again and unable to reproduce the previous state of mind. The mass is swayed by participation mystique, which is nothing other than unconscious identity.” (Jung, CW 9i, par 226)
Okay, that explains why Catholicism didn’t “take” with me. I simply didn’t have “continual recourse.” Too much time on my own with my own thoughts left me without identification with any group. Now, in the present time of my life, the lack of identification with an “ism.” And, this allows me to look at the power that “isms” have in the lives of many of those around me. I see “tea baggers” and other extreme groups upping the volume and rhetoric in attempts to gain control and impose their collective will upon others. This is a scary thing. Any look at history will show the horrors that come with societies and groups captured by the mindset of “participation mystique.” And so, I have a real worry about identifying with any group. For in the group, the “self” becomes secondary and often even in last place. So much for individual or collective consciousness.
This was taken in the back yard. It looks as though winter came early. However, the snow is already melting and we will likely have another spell of above freezing temperatures for the next week or so. I don’t mind making winter wait a bit longer.
There has been a shift in my life these past few days. I have finished all of my projects in the house and now find myself with time on my hands. I am taking that opportunity to get back to writing but not as much as I had thought I would. I seem to be procrastinating a bit more than a bit in terms of writing. Rather, I seem to be focusing more on politics and sports, stuff outside of my “self.” Or, perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps this focus is about more than being distracted, perhaps it is about knowing my “self” even better.
This “little stuff” is important. It fills in a lot of the empty spaces, true, but it also adds to the fullness of the response to the question “Who am I?”, a question that haunts all of us.
So, in my opinion, these too, become part of honouring the soul.
When you look closely at the image of soulfulness, you see that it is tied to life in all its particulars – good food, satisfying conversation, genuine friends, and experiences that stay in the memory and touch the heart. Soul is revealed in attachment, love, and community, as well as in retreat on behalf of inner communing and intimacy. (Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul, 1992, pp xi-xii)
Politics is about community, about values. Politics also reminds me of the collective unconscious and how it is playing out in community. I “need” to position myself in terms of values so that I honour my “self.” And, in doing so, I likely change the community.