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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/15/15

Getting Our Bearings from Jung

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I should now discuss the bitterness versus wisdom opposition a bit further. In connection with all of the other opposites that Jung discusses in Mysterium Conjunctionis, he discusses the synthesis (or conjunction) of the particular pair of opposites. However, in his discussion of bitterness versus wisdom as opposites, he does not explicitly mention a synthesis. Instead, he says that "wisdom is the comforter of all psychic suffering" page 246). It strikes me that this does not necessarily mean that the self-healing that he mentions will somehow remove and/or correct all psychic deformations a person may have suffered in the past. To be sure, the person may be comforted regarding his or her sense of woundedness and his or her wounds. But certain tell-tale psychic deformations from the past may not be completely erased. But their debilitating limitations may be significantly reduced. In this way, a kind of synthesis may emerge.


Now, nowhere in his book Mysterium Conjunctionis does Jung discuss the possible emergence of the new age. However, elsewhere, he does famously discuss the possible emergence of the new age, which he refers to as the Age of Aquarius.

From what Jung says about the individuation process, it appears that a critical mass of adults in Western culture in the second half of life will have to undertake the unio mentalis successfully before the new age is likely to appear.

In short, a critical mass of adults in Western culture in the second half of life will have to advance to the unio mundus (a.k.a, the unio mystica) before there will be any likelihood of the new age emerging in Western culture.

The new age is not likely to emerge as the result of a top-down initiative from any already existing organizational structure in Western culture today.

Nevertheless, the emergence of the new age in Western culture will require the transformation and cooperation of certain already existing organizational structures in Western culture today, because for a critical mass of persons to emerge organizational structures will be needed.

Considered as a whole, Christianity in Western culture includes already existing organizational structures with grassroots reach.

Now, I should say that Christianity, or at least old-fashioned Christian sexual morality, will have to undergo a deep sea-change for the new age to emerge in Western culture.

Jung (page 196) rightly criticizes the spirit of being beyond good and evil that Friedrich Nietzsche articulated.

Jung correctly understands that people who have integrated their shadow contents into ego-consciousness will stop making unconscious projections of evil on to other people.

But people who have integrated their shadow contents into ego-consciousness should undertake to review and revise old-fashioned Christian sexual morality.

So the primary battle ground in which the battle for the emergence of the new age in Western culture will be fought, will be in the organizational structures of the Christian churches.

In recent years in the United States, we've seen a dramatic shift in public opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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