This kind of speaks for itself.
As a rule…the individual is so unconscious that he altogether fails to see his own potentialities for decision. Instead he is constantly and anxiously looking around for external rules and regulations which can guide him in his perplexity. Aside from general human inadequacy, a good deal of the blame for this rests with education, which promulgates the old generalizations and says nothing about the secrets of private experience. Thus, every effort is made to teach idealistic beliefs or conduct which people know in their hearts they can never live up to, and such ideals are preached by officials who know that they themselves have never lived up to those high standards and never will. What is more, nobody ever questions the value of this kind of teaching.
Therefore the individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil, as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost, of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish — as he ought — to live without self-deception or self-delusion.
I just watched a great Colbert Report segment on Shepard Smith, who is Brian Williams’ only legitimate competition for world’s most entertaining “legitimate” newsman. In the course of it they had a clip of him saying the following – and I don’t know the context of this, I don’t want to know, I just want to sit back and enjoy it as the pure freaky word jazz it is:
Kitty cat meow
I wanted to make note of this passage from Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections for a couple of reasons. First off because it is such a deft and lucid treatment of one of the Big Questions. And also because it sums up my own views on the subject so neatly that now I needn’t bother writing them down. Thank you Carl!
What I have to tell about the hereafter, and about life after death, consists entirely of memories, of images in which I have lived and of thoughts which have buffeted me. These memories in a way also underlie my works; for the latter are fundamentally nothing but attempts, ever renewed, to give an answer to the question of the interplay between the “here” and the “hereafter.” You I have never written expressly about a life after death; for then I would have had to document my ideas, and I have no way of doing that. Be that as it may, I would like to state my ideas now.
Lately I have been reading Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, a strange hybrid autobiography that was partly dictated and partly written by its subject. Jung was, as my friend James would say, a stony critter; for someone nominally in a branch of the sciences, he was guided to a surprising degree by his dreams and visions. And these make up a large part of the book, going on sometimes for pages at a time; Jung dreamt on a large scale and in baroque detail.
But perhaps my favorite part of the book is the one that deals with Jung’s travels, which unsurprisingly often take on a dreamlike quality. I was particularly struck by this passage concerning a trip to Africa:
From Nairobi we used a small Ford to visit the Athi Plains, a great game preserve. From a low hill in this broad savanna a magnificent prospect opened out to us. To the very brink of the horizon we saw gigantic herds of animals: gazelle, antelope, gnu, zebra, warthog, and so on. Grazing, heads nodding, the herds moved forward like slow rivers. There was scarcely any sound save the melancholy cry of a bird of prey. This was the stillness of the eternal beginning, the world as it had always been, in a state of non-being; for until then no one had been present to know that it was this world. I walked away from my companions until I had put them out of sight, and savored the feeling of being entirely alone. There I was now, the first human being to recognize that this was the world, but who did not know that in this moment he had first really created it.
There the cosmic meaning of consciousness became overwhelmingly clear to me. “What nature leaves imperfect, the art perfects,” say the alchemists. Man, I, in an invisible act of creation put the stamp of perfection on the world by giving it objective existence. This act we usually ascribe to the Creator alone, without considering that in so doing we view life as a machine calculated down to the last detail, which, along with the human psyche, runs on senselessly, obeying foreknown and predetermined rules. In such a cheerless clockwork fantasy there is no drama of man, world, and God; there is no “new day” leading to “new shores,” but only the dreariness of calculated processes. My old Pueblo friend came to mind. He thought that the raison d’être of his pueblo had been to help his father, the sun, to cross the sky each day. I had envied him for the fullness of meaning in that belief, and had been looking about without hope for a myth of our own. Now I knew what it was, and knew even more: that man is indispensable for the completion of creation; that, in fact, he himself is the second creator of the world, who alone has given to the world its objective existence — without which, unheard, unseen, silently eating, giving birth, dying, heads nodding through hundreds of millions of years, it would have gone on in the profoundest night of non-being down to its unknown end. Human consciousness created objective existence and meaning, and man found his indispensable place in the great process of being.
I’m not 100% sure I agree…but it’s something to think about, isn’t it?
An interesting confluence of birthdays today: Robbie Robertson and the RZA. You could say that both have spent considerable time as musical masterminds presiding over groups of formidable talents; would that make the Wu-Tang Clan the Band of hip-hop? I guess it would.
Since I just downloaded a groovy new table-making plug-in for WordPress, let’s look at them in table form, shall we?
[table id=1 /]