Jung Drops in for Tea

Sun_roomA sunny, frigid, late winter day. Later this week the temperatures will moderate and there will likely be a sap run.

I’ve taken to avoiding news feeds in the evening, and try to limit my intake of news during the day; I also spend too much time fact checking. Anyway, the sheer volume of hatred towards those who are vulnerable, and the environment, is simply overwhelming, a tsunami that threatens to devastate all I love in the world.

Of course, none of this craziness is new. I imagine Jung dropping by for a spot of tea. I can imagine him sitting there in the sun, drawing on his experiences leading up to World War Two, and expressing empathy for our situation. He would point out that we may easily become what we fear, and draw parallels between Islamic extremism and the behavior of extremists on the Christian right. Then he would wish us well, grab a cider doughnut for the road, and retreat to his hermitage.

I’m finding it difficult to take much solace in the knowledge that we humans fall off the cliff every now and then. These historical moments simply create way too much suffering, and I just can’t settle into any kind of detachment. If we learned anything from the events of the past hundred years, it is that any profound change requires acts of both personal and societal repentance and reparation.I understand there is only so much any one person or group can do to turn the tide, even as we must try.  In the meanwhile, history moves forward under the watchful eyes of angels, even as many of us dig our heels in and resist.


7 thoughts on “Jung Drops in for Tea

  1. Because I have lived a long time, I am able to recognize that our civilization has periodically careened into chaos. I also want to believe that good will eventually prevail – that younger, brave people with more energy than I will exert enough force to keep us from going over the edge into total blackness. I am weary and want to trust this enough to withdraw from the current chaos – but like you I feel panic for all those who are (and will be) hurt in the process. I feel overwhelming pain at the hatred, violence, crazy accusations, lying, and mean-spirited policies that are spreading through our country and the world. You seem to have found your voice, Michael, and I am so happy because of it. It seems like I am having to heal some more old wounds before I feel free enough to write publicly. Please wish me well on my journey.

    1. Oh, Pat. I suspect I have many voices. I oscillate between conflicting feelings and frames of reference. The entire world seems mad. Somehow, that this chaos is cyclic only helps a little. The sheer volume of hatred seems overwhelming.

    1. Andrea, I agree it is impossible to know where all this will lead. Yet, it is helpful to hold hope, even if that hope is scant. At the same time, it is crucial to allow grief. So there is much on our plates.

  2. Michael:
    Your thoughts have provided tremendous consolation these last years. One in particular, taking a longer view of our place in history.
    I’d like to offer, probably not a unique theory, that our digital life is assaulting our sense of reality. The world has been a more violent place than today but we are exposed to this the world-over and around-the-clock. The problems are overwhelming yet, at the same time on personal levels, we are processing this and confronting self and society – Jung would appreciate that.
    Take the long view. I like your council there.
    The ancestors have wisdom no less important as the latest headline. And I see many, many more young people expressing their compassionate response. My only prescription is to curtail media consumption until anxiety subsides to a tolerable cortisol level. Not trying to offer platitudes but, until then, there’s so, so much good around us. Leonard Cohen wrote There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

    It’ll get through.

    1. Steve, thank you for your kind and thoughtful words.
      There is an ancient Gnostic tale about the shattering of the world, and our task of collecting the shards of light. Some things, I guess, sty the same.
      I think believe one can learn much from who others attack. Te present government has little interest in, or compassion for, most people. That is, of course, not sustainable, nor is it sane. They particularly dislike wisdom and those who carry it. Perhaps we are doing the lemming thing, bit that is not very hopeful or appealing. Still, in the long term, things will be fine and the earth will carry on. I, try to take comfort in the cracks.

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