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Life Arts    H1'ed 4/23/14

The Theocons Are Coming! The Theocons Are Coming!

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We can liken our living in the waste land today to the ancient story of Moses and the Israelites living in the wilderness. Just as the Moses and the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt, so too we Americans have escaped from the slavish traditions of the Old World. Thus we Americans live in the waste land, or wilderness, of the New World as we wait to experience the sacred in our psyches today.


Around the globe today, all people wait to experience the sacred in their psyches. When you have experienced the sacred in your psyche, then wherever you are, you have reached the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey.


In any event, Jung makes a valuable distinction about the totality of the human psyche. It includes both (1) ego-consciousness and (2) non-ego consciousness (also known as the unconscious).


By definition, all mental breakdowns involve breakdowns in ego-consciousness due to a welling up and intrusive breathrough of non-ego-consciousness.


Inasmuch as we live in an anxious age, as Bottum suggests, this anxiety involves the experience of ego-consciousness. To deal with this experience effectively, each of us needs to deal with our own personal shadow, as Jung suggests. But Bottum does not propose this remedy. Nor does he recommend the experience of the sacred as a remedy.


Disclosure: I come from a Roman Catholic background. However, for many years now, I have not been a practicing Catholic. I would describe myself as a theistic humanist, as distinct from a secular humanist.


But secular humanists today tend to be anti-religion. For understandable reasons, religionists tend to regard secular humanists as their enemies, or at least as their political opponents in today's hot-button culture wars.


Now, conservative Roman Catholics of all stripes today are concerned about secular humanists -- and so are many conservative Protestants evangelicals today. By definition, Protestants are not Catholics. As a matter of fact, over the centuries in American culture, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants dominated the prestigious culture in American culture. WASPs typically discriminated against Roman Catholics and Jews and African Americans and others. For example, many Protestant preachers routinely inveighed against the pope as the supposed Antichrist and/or the supposed prostitute of Babylon. However, for conservative Christians today, secular humanists collectively represent, in effect, the Antichrist.


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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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