The Metaphysical Psychology
The Story of Our Times
What follows is a story of secrets and deceit. Of lies and liars and the lonely “Don Quixotes” seeking to resurrect the Truth before it is too late. I am not sure if there remains a audience for this – the “post-modernists” will probably have none of it, sure of their perception of the reality they have shrunk to a size they can manage without consternation over too many ethical concerns, and the “anti-modernists” will find it unpalatable as well, seeing as it does not adhere to the party line unerringly. Yet it is the middle ground I seek. I propose to entreat a treaty and a joint session of both camps for a brief intermission in the war. And what I have to say, however ignored or disdained by both, is their only hope of survival…
The Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was the originator of most of the psychological interpretation that follows. Friedrich Nietzsche is the antagonist in the story –his philosophical writings have had untold influence in the world today, whether those that now hold to his tenets and positions know it, or not.
What I will try to convey is a synopsis of the background behind modern philosophical and political thought and practice, which, is leading to perdition for this world as we know it. A strong, controversial statement to be sure, but if we do not recognize the imminent perils we truly must face now, we, and the entire world, will suffer the consequences. Those consequences are physical and spiritual. The world we inhabit, so rare, if not unique, in the known universe, is not ours to do with what we will. We are the benefactors of its grace, not the lords of all we survey. We must begin to take responsibility for our actions and make corrective measures to prevent the collapse of the global ecosystem before we drown/ smother in our own excesses. The same goes for our souls.
Christ vs. The Anti-Christ:
The battle of the Ages
( or, “Armageddon”)
The battle rages. The fight is bitter, tooth and nail, without mercy. There can be but one victor. Who will stand in the end? We will see, for my contention is that Truth will decide. Nothing other than Truth will preside over the vanquished. We must choose the side we stand with and never falter, even unto death. “O death, where is thy sting…”
I choose Christ.
This is a story that begins in the mythology of many cultures. Man versus God or Gods. Gods versus Gods. Angels that want to be “like” God. In the Jewish version an angel named Lucifer sought to rebel against the authority of God- to be like God or as a God himself. He and other angels lost the war they brought against God and were cast out into the Outer Darkness. It is not said when this war was fought.
This is a story of envy and resentment and lust for power. It is the same story found throughout human history as well- of empire builders and those who wanted their own empire, or, ‘his empire’. Brother against brother, son against father, father against son. Lust for power and all that power can give you. Heady stuff…enticing…titillating…enraging when it is not yet yours…
‘Ressentiment’ is a French term that carries a little more content that simple English resentment.
Per Wikipedia, the wider implication is, “Currently of great import as a term widely used in psychology and existentialism, ressentiment is viewed as an effective force for the creation of identities, moral frameworks and value systems.”
This ‘envy as motivator’ notion was “first introduced as a philosophical/psychological term by the 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard" "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressentiment"]
"Friedrich Nietzsche later independently expanded the concept”(-Wikipedia again).
It is Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) that will be the subject of this thesis in relation to the “Anti-Christ”, his last self-published completed book (his caretaker / sister later edited and published “The Will to Power “).
The year was 1888. A year later he will have suffered a physical collapse (commonly conjectured to be the result of syphilis) and would never recover or write again, but by 1888 Friedrich Nietzsche had been planning his grand thesis, ’The Will to Power’ for years. He had, since the publication of his first book, ’The Birth of Tragedy’, been circling round his target: Christianity as decadent “Slave-morality” arising from Ressentiment. His latest book, ‘The AntiChrist’, published that year of 1888, had been planned to be part one of four parts to ‘The Will to Power’. To Nietzsche, the post-modern scientist, a few decades after the publishing of Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’, it was clear that the morality of “pity”, as he called Christian “empathy”, was a plot by the weak to usurp the power that rightfully belonged to the strong by way of the “survival of the fittest” notion. Nietzsche saw culture based on Christian morality as contrary to nature- power in the hands of the weak and “botched” who wanted to be the master despite the lack of “fitness” for such a role – instead of power in the hands of the Aristocrats, who, in their pursuit of all that was good for themselves, brought the “slaves” along with them on the common evolutionary journey of the species.
Nowhere in these arguments does the concept of love enter the picture- except for selfish “self-love”, as ’Darwinian’ -‘Naturalists’ believe is rightfully so as the result of ’natural selection’ and ‘natural law’. This is crucial.
A concept of a metaphysical dimension to love is absent from all considerations of an ‘enlightened’ scientist such as Nietzsche (one freed from so-called “superstitions”). There cannot be a spiritual aspect to love because there is no “god” to provide it. The idea of “metaphysics” itself was to be extinguished as nonsensical. Nietzsche had already famously proclaimed that, “God is dead.”
This was the beginning of a scientific world-view that denies any supportable evidence exists to corroborate personal experiences such as visions or dreams that come true, revelations, magic, or anything “supernatural”. Other terms that describe this philosophical position are, ’Empiricism’, ‘Materialism’, and ‘Logical Positivism’. In modern political philosophy such ideas are imbedded in the ideologies of ‘Libertarianism’, ‘Neo-liberalism’, and ‘neo-cons’ to varying degrees.
Nietzsche’s assault on Christianity in ‘The Anti-Christ’ has behind it his years of watching, as an ‘insider’, the foibles of the so-called Christians he was surrounded by since his birth into a family of which his father, uncle, and both grandfathers wereLutheran pastors. He was destined to become one too it seemed, but in early adulthood he broke with family tradition and set out to ‘find the truth’ for himself.
In the course of a study of the works he produced as a result of this decision one encounters scathing exposés of the unbecoming underbelly of Christianity in action in the 19th century. His critiques focus on his evaluation of the motives from which the morality of practicing Christians is derived. Although Nietzsche has grudgingly express some admiration for the man Jesus, he finds the basis of Christian practices rooted in a desire by those who are “weak” to overpower the “strong”. To Nietzsche this was the ultimate sin- as a man chronically in bad health he desired the ability to “affirm” life to the fullest-and as a philosophy of life anything that would seem to be against that fullest expression of “nature” he viewed as ”Decadent”. As such he harbored little respect for Christians, or the ideas of “democracy”, even though those ideas originated in the ancient Greeks he so admired.
Having combined this heretical disenchantment with the faith of his youth with the revolutionary scientific revelations of Darwin’s 1859 publishing of his, ‘Origin of the Species’, Nietzsche rightfully predicted that his own ideas were 100 years ahead of his time. It is to his credit that he saw the importance of his insights on ‘the genealogy of morals’ (Christian). Yet he was so enamored by his own discoveries about these deeply buried motives that he missed the effect his own motives had on his valuations and his perceptions of greater truths.
Nietzsche, like most modern scientists, simply decided there was nothing beyond what his brain and senses could naturally perceive. The possibility that his own ‘weltanschauung’ may have inadvertently prevented those senses from perceiving or recognizing ‘extra-natural’ phenomena did not occur to him/them. This self-imposed exile from the real fullness of life and reality is the crux of the problem as to why we are where we are today- which is not a good place to be; in fact,
Man has ‘cut off his (spirit) nose to spite his face’.
What I refer to as a ‘spirit-nose’- is, ‘the facility to perceive’ spiritual/supernatural (or as I prefer, “Extra-natural”) phenomena. There may be some apprehension in the reader of this statement as to what I could possibly be referring to. Or as likely, their response may be an emphatic rejection of the intelligible plausibility of such a preposterous notion.
Taken at face value, Nietzsche’s total “Scientific” rejection of all spiritual phenomena would indicate that he had not encountered any such phenomena in his life of sufficient import to force his capitulation to the empirical existence of such “superstitions”. That God was “dead” to him may have been the result of a form of self-blinder effect to his own ‘Ressentiment’ - the same motivation within himself that he denounced Christians as being motivated by. How could this be? Nietzsche used the idea of ‘Ressentiment’ as if it could only be found in the weak. But his perception of what is ‘weakness’ needs to be understood and passed over the fire of valuation no less than any other personal judgment. Here Nietzsche would protest that his was not a judgment- it was “science”. Again, This IS the reason we are where we are today. Science is just as full of preconceptions and prejudices as any other religion.
True, science has tried to eliminate such discrimination by use of its exalted “scientific method” of verifiable repeatable experimentation. True, in the fields of the physical sciences, such a standard of verification is valuable. But it is my contention that in the field of human relationship to the reality of the totality it (materialism/empiricism) fails the test. Why it does so is now beginning to be understood, even by many “Scientists”.
What is “weakness” to “nature” is strength to “meta-nature”. Can such a statement have any validity? Nietzsche thought of weakness in terms of natural selection/survival of the fittest. Most would probably agree. Yet what if there was another reality behind the physical, undetectable to our rudimentary scientific instruments? What if in fact it is this meta-reality that gives rise to our universe, and more importantly and pertinently, to consciousness?
Here is where Carl Gustav Jung enters the picture. Jung was born in 1875 in Switzerland, and at one time Freud proclaimed Jung to be his successor. Jung was involved with Freud in the years between 1907 and 1913. But by 1913 Jung and Freud parted ways in their understanding on the nature of the unconscious and its contents. Jung went on over the next nearly 50 years to formulate his own theories which became known as Analytical Psychology (also called ‘Depth Psychology’).
The greatest importance of Jung to our story is that his work was an attempt to establish a scientifically un-deniable foundation for the reintroduction of metaphysics back into the science paradigm and gestalt. In Oct. 2009 the most important work by Jung, known as the Red Book, was published nearly 50 years after his death, which occurred when Jung was in his 80s in 1961. In it is his account of self- induced and spontaneous visionary experiences he encountered in the years 1913 to 1918, but which, due to his position as a medical doctor/ psychiatrist and ‘scientist’ he withheld from publication during his lifetime and only allowed a few close associates to even view it during his life. Fortunately his grandson finally decided to have it published and Dr. Sonu Shamdasani spent 13 years editing and preparing it for its release in 2009. Within is a wonderful and frightening story of how Jung went on a dangerous and deliberate journey into his own sub-conscious to ‘find his lost soul’. The experiences, recounted careful, completely and beautifully (it is filled with his artwork depicting his experiences and written in a graceful calligraphy) were to guide and inform his later work in psychology for the remaining 50 years of his life. Truly both the Red Book and Jung’s psychological theories can now be understood more completely in the light they reflect on each other.
Informed by the visionary experiences Carl Jung had during the time of the “Red Book” and even latter, during World War II, Jung’s psychological theory was one of the first to introduces the ideas of the ”archetypes” and “complexes” existing within the subconscious working of each mind. His subsequent research into the history of such phenomena uncovered the fact that each of us has within them a subconscious connection to the collective content of what he called “the collective unconscious”. Jung did not make a definitive statement as to where the mythic content of the collective unconscious resides. Is it encoded in our genes? Or is it possible it exist as an “Akashic Record” in the ethereal expanse of numinous inner space?
And ultimately, what if it is provable that consciousness can and does exist outside the body? Outside the brain, in extra- non-ordinary dimensions of this meta-reality? This idea, expressed in religious terms, is what “meta-reality “ -sensitive (possessing a ‘spirit-nose’)men and women have been reporting experiences of for thousands of years. And in just a few measly centuries and a few brilliant writers we have decided all those people were ignorant victims of delusional psychotic episodes. Here we must turn again to Nietzsche.
Nietzsche spoke of man as something to be “overcome”. He was referring to his “Superman” in, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ . He believed that what was “strong” in man must be allowed to rule others regardless of how the weaker others felt about it, because that was nature. The strong were strong for a reason. For Nietzsche, that reason- nature- was preeminent. Man has to be what he was meant to be – to be “himself”. Nietzsche saw this as, “authentic” life. To him, the moral restrictions of the Christian ethic were binds upon the strong to make the weak able to subjugate what was the Strong’s rightful ability to exert that strength in a “authentic” “natural” manner- without regard for those he crushed or consumed in the course of “being himself” “authentically”. He believed that the strong, the, true “aristocrat”, was the bringer of culture and advancement and the plebian masses existed only to serve the needs of the aristocracy. Sound familiar? Does this explain the German mass-psychosis of the Third Reich and their belief in their “right” to enslave the “weaker” races, or murder them? AND if you have read any Ayn Rand or hear libertarians talking when they think no one else but the faithful are around, it should ring a loud bell. In a so-called “democracy” they will no longer use the word aristocracy in public but that is what they are trying to create and implement.
“The weak and the botched shall perish. First Principle of OUR charity. And one should help them to it.” – Nietzsche in The AntiChrist, Section 2
In his book, ‘Beyond Good and Evil’, chapter 1, sections 21-23, Nietzsche states an astounding assertion: He does not believe in “free will”. He also does not believe in, “non-free will”. Much like Freud’s later fixation with the basic instinctive desires and impulses of infancy being the cause of all neurosis in adulthood, Nietzsche has declared here that it is ONLY “the Will To Power” that ultimately exists in the hearts of man. He finds the idea of free will or its opposite to be mythological, and all human endeavor is really just, ”strong vs. weak”.
An animal, even a thinking animal like man, existing in nature as part of nature MUST act in accordance with the natural laws of nature or it is not being, “in itself, of itself”. That is the core of Nietzsche’s philosophy and he cannot or will not entertain any other explanation for the apparent altruism, self-sacrifice, and power of Love exhibited by (most, actually) humans as anything other than an un-natural aberration, a decadent misguided fool or worse- one in the grips and motivation of ressentiment. This “Slave-Morality”, brought on by the Christian myth and its adherents (he does also condemn the first ‘decadents’ of “democracy” – Socrates and Plato) have resulted in a world upside down, according to what ‘nature’ would rightfully create- with the weak subjugating the strong. Nietzsche entire ‘corpus’ was bent on correcting this great error, as he saw it.
That he made such his life’s work has not been in vain. Today his ideas have seeped in to post-modern ideologies such as classical liberalism, anarchism, existentialism, and libertarianism. He has laid the groundwork for many today to exert their right to their greed and selfishness and proudly denounce in the name of “freedom “and “liberty” those who would seek to better the plight of the common man.
That there could be a higher law than nature, than ‘natural law’ slips by his keen perceptions in his exhortations to be natural. That even his “Superman” was something to be “overcome” did not apply to his take on morality. There could not be a ‘right’ morality in his worldview. There was only “strong vs. weak”. Yet , even if Nietzsche’s exposé “On the Genealogy of Morals” is largely correct for the practice of Christianity, it does not hold that such is true for the meta-physical implications and agency behind the Teachings of Christ.
Can there be a higher reality than this one our senses normally perceive? In fact, this question has been answer as, “YES!” by scientists themselves, irrefutably, in the discoveries of physics in the last 100 years or so. What does that mean to a 20th century “naturalism” philosophy such as Nietzsche’s? Has God again returned from the dead?
I believe this needs further investigation…for if God has returned then the old rules still apply for a higher morality than just the instinctive demands of our animal nature- A higher aspiration, of a better, more spiritually evolved, higher nature, derived from the reality of higher dimensional experiences of men since the beginning of consciousness. These “mystical” experiences- if real- form a corpus all their own with as much or more validity than any “scientific” attempt to “ experiment” on them.
Nietzsche was right about many things. But his solution to nihilism was wrong. His” life-affirming” design to overcome nihilism has merit, but like that which he sought to revalue-the decadence of Christian morality as then practiced(and now) – in practice, his affirming of ‘Naturalism’ as a model for culture and human society has led to the decadence of “self-Idolatry” as preached by the libertarians and capitalists ( formerly known as “imperialists”) that diligently seek to re-create a world oligarchy of ‘elites’ who are literally going to destroy the ‘nature’ Nietzsche enthroned in his philosophy.
Nietzsche was prescient on the future and fate of man, to an extent, but he could not foresee the ascendancy of technology in warfare, both military and economic. A crisis of his own design (Nietzsche’s) has now overtaken and overwhelmed us. In hindsight one can see how it came about. Nietzsche’s brilliant insight into what lay behind the depravity in the practices of the Church (Catholic and Protestant) and the immoral hypocrisy of the everyday Christian (not all!) demanded a “revaluation”, using his term, and rightly so.
Yet he had backed himself into a corner from which there was no good way to escape…
With the inherent atheism and materialism of his scientific belief in Darwinian Naturalism he had no room for spirits in his ideas. God was out. No God meant no higher authority to base morality on. Yet man needs a Mythos to live by. Life without a working Mythos leads to the despair of isolation for most. For some this is conquerable, for most it is not. This is the origin of Nihilism. Could this be the cause of the suffering Nietzsche endured through the latter stage of his life? Karma is a bitch…
Nietzsche replaced God in his Mythos with his “Superman”, a higher evolution of humanity he predicted would not occur for a hundred years. Perhaps someday such a level of development will be obtained. But the problems we have faced since his ideas have spread must be addressed. Hitler took Nietzsche’s ideas and ideal of the “superman” and roused the German people to a frenzy of self- idolatry and hatred of those they blamed for their ‘diminution’ (Loss of WWI –yet still believing, ‘Are we not Gods? Do we not deserve the world at our feet?’). Fifty to one hundred million souls died because of this affect. Is this not madness? Today’s Hitlers are more discreet and nuanced. They spend their efforts on amassing billions of dollars and vast quantities of advanced killing machines. There is no end to wars. Every people and country seems unable to cope with ‘the other’ without resort to violence. If for no other reason, with the threat of nuclear holocaust hanging over our heads it remains critical and exigent we learn how to wage Peace.
Self-idolatry as a philosophy of life spreads like a disease today under the banner of Libertarianism. Its prophet is Ayn Rand, but Nietzsche is its unknown God. Its adherents also call themselves or are called by others, Neo-liberals and Neo-Cons. If this ‘movement’ continues to grow in popularity (“Greed is Good” has a lot of appeal to naturally selfish people) there will be little hope for the common man or the ‘common good’. Progressive ideas of people helping people, which in the middle of the last century helped millions to rise from poverty and enjoy a relatively high standard of living, will be lost in the mire of selfishness esteemed as ‘natural law’.
That there ever was ‘a way out’ of madness will be forgotten. That a vision of brotherhood and common good once flourished for a time will be deleted from the binary data bits of hard drives. Memories of this time will be ‘doublespeaked’ (-Orwell’s ‘1984’) into how sharing was evil and dissent was evil and against the good of the state (read: against the power of the elite to control the masses).
If there IS a way out of madness, it will be by ‘remembering ‘. I submit that the ‘Naturalism’ upon which this attempt at justifying selfishness is founded on is a mistake. Nature makes mistakes? Yes but I mean a mistake in judgment and ‘valuation’. ‘Naturalism as a philosophy could be wrong because of evolution. Nature as we know it is still evolving. ‘Nature’ evolved consciousness. Is it not possible that ‘Nature’ will evolve further, higher, forms of consciousness? The materialists will immediately deny that as possible, but is it really? Nature, it seems to me, given enough time, MUST lead to a higher ‘Nature’ (and Physics to Metaphysics?). This journey we have already taken so far will need to be remembered (or rediscovered). We did not start out here. We evolved. And will continue to do so.
In the process of evolving the level of consciousness we currently share we underwent a long history of dangerous and traumatic experiences when we were not the top of the food chain. As we developed primitive technologies we adapted to this environment of danger and succeeded in thriving, but not without ‘baggage’. We are all still suffering from evolutionary Post-Distress Syndrome. It shows up in our instinctive reactions to current dangers and in perceived dangers (whether real or not). To an unrecognized extent, the chronic level of neurosis and psychosis in the world of individuals and whole cultures is a vestigial memory of the “fear and trembling” of our ancestors, coupled to their instinctive lusts and desires. The power of these instinctive memories/ reactions/ “archetypes” and “complexes” over us is visible in every culture everywhere. Why else would men continue to kill their fellow man with such viciousness? This is madness. And we all are victims. But there is a way out of madness.
This ‘Nature’ that is instinctively, inherently, ‘natural’ in man is indeed a form of madness driving him to thoughts not entirely his own, and actions he is compelled to do beyond the control of his own willpower. This truth has been scientifically documented by Freud, Jung, and many others since. Yet such knowledge, even though it could be “paradigm-shifting”, remains largely ignored and unknown. What does not fit into the “world-view” you (and the Archetypes you are ’possessed’ by) desire will sub-consciously be denied validity. We each live to an extent (some much more than others) in our own little Mythos, however wrong or destructive to ourselves and/or others. Only a “paradigm- shift” event or events will free us from our “blindness” to truth.
Is there a way out of madness without apocalypse? One such way was shown to us. Long ago, thousands of years ago, in the mythic realms of time men walked this Earth in search of more than wealth and power. The wisdom they gathered was passed down through the generations to us. We are left to decide if it still matters, and how it matters.
Jung called the collective unconscious content of this body of wisdom, “the wise old man or sage” archetype”. He first became aware of it in the visions he encountered described in the “Red Book”, but found the same material in the mythology and iconography of all cultures. He spent the next fifty years tracking down, deciphering, cataloging, and incorporating that “wisdom tradition” into his written works. Is this relevant today when the average youth knows less of history than one in the dark ages? Can a world captivated in its own “selfie-reality” be awakened to a concern for the pressing issues of our time? Can the Truth matter when the videogame is more exciting? Perhaps only in a post-apocalyptic world- perhaps that is why so much of today’s entertainment is focused on vampires, zombies, and alien invasions. That is what we need.
These ‘monsters’ on our movie screens and televisions are telling something about us- more than that we like a lot of action and to be scared without being actually hurt or eaten. What does it mean to have these ‘creatures’ after us (virtually at least) so often when we escape to an imagined world? Dr. James Hillman, the late Psychologist who actually studied under Jung, credits Freud ( here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Uq_NOQtGWU ) with the lasting contribution of bringing the idea forward that Psychology is “rooted”, “not in the brain, or genetics, or blind evolution, but in the poetic basis of mind, whose imagination is structure by mythical configurations" of) ”these Archetypal presences.”
I will quote the above cited lecture again because Hillman was on to what is really happening in the gestalt of our modern world:
[ At 1minute and 55 seconds into this ‘part 2’ of his videotaped lecture he said the following-]
“The recognition of the intimate and subtlety differentiated connection between myths and pain, between the Gods and diseases and politics is the greatest of all achievements of the Greek mind, singling out that culture from all others, despite its flaws, its faults; that achievement- the Greek perfection of Tragedy, which demonstrates directly the mythic governance of human affairs, within states, within families, within individuals.”
[Nietzsche’s first published work, ‘The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music’ (1872) was on to this –
(From Wikipedia on this book: )
“(Nietzsche) introduces an intellectualdichotomy between the Dionysian and the Apollonian (very loosely: reality as disordered and undifferentiated by forms versus reality as ordered and differentiated by forms). Nietzsche claims life always involves a struggle between these two elements, each battling for control over the existence of humanity. In Nietzsche's words, "Wherever the Dionysian prevailed, the Apollonian was checked and destroyed.... wherever the first Dionysian onslaught was successfully withstood, the authority and majesty of the Delphic god Apollo exhibited itself as more rigid and menacing than ever." Yet neither side ever prevails due to each containing the other in an eternal, natural check, or balance.
Nietzsche argues that the tragedy of Ancient Greece was the highest form of art due to its mixture of both Apollonian and Dionysian elements into one seamless whole, allowing the spectator to experience the full spectrum of thehuman condition. The Dionysian element was to be found in the music of the chorus, while the Apollonian element was found in the dialogue which gave a concrete symbolism that balanced the Dionysian revelry. Basically, the Apollonian spirit was able to give form to the abstract Dionysian.”]
Returning now to Hillman,
[At 4:58 into this video Hillman says-]
“To uncover ancient myths and behavior in the phenomena we are unthinkingly absorbed as usual reality and utterly unmythical- that is the revelation an ‘Archetypal Psychology’ seeks. “
Hillman goes on the make the exigent connection between the loss of ‘context’ in our cultures today- without a sense of the living connection of our common history, especially our psychic history, man has lost his roots and floats aimlessly across the ocean of mind, or latches on to whatever image of reality and purpose from the unrecognized collective unconscious attracts and/or controls the thoughts that arise from the unknown depths. At its most tragic collectively he proclaims our terrible slavery to, “Aries- the God of War”.
Jung’s monumental work in deciphering this still living subconscious “mythos” inside us, along with Joseph Campbell, and others continuing this work, such as Hillman, could bring a strong revealing illumination onto the tragic world of hate and war and poverty and greed we live in, if it was recognized and understood by everyone. This could be accomplished by a retooling of “education” away from being how one prepares to serve the system, into learning how one prepares to know what is important, and how to see into the mythos. We must learn to see the ‘monsters’ for what they really are- within us. Jung proposed that to become a fully realized human being, a process he referred to as “individuation”, we must assimilate both the light and the dark within us, consciously, allowing us to be in control of the subconscious forces that assault our minds from below. By knowing what the ‘monsters’ are, and are, ‘up to’, we can keep from falling into the traps they set for us.
The “collective unconscious” of Jung’s theory of mind contains things not accessible to our conscious reality. This fact was illustrated by Jung in his work titled, “Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy”. In this he documents cases where his patients’ dreams contained symbols and iconic imagery that they had never encountered in their waking state. With his extensive studies and accumulated vast knowledge of such imagery he was able to direct the attention of those patients to the meaning of that content – and in those cases the patients were helped to reach an acceptance of that meaning into their life. Often this was all that the patient needed to be “cured” of the symptoms which manifested in their thinking/ behavior.
Likewise, our collective fixation with zombies, vampires, or aliens (the “other”) is calling subconsciously to a need we must meet to be “cured” of our symptoms- those same dis-eases of selfishness/greed, violence/war, hatred/racism, and so on. We must learn to see the evil within our “normal”, “Natural” (Nietzsche) thought processes, almost all of which are diseases of the mythic subconscious manifesting as, “Archetypes”, and “complexes”- subconscious instinctive patterns of reactionary responses in our thoughts and behaviors. Only by a conscious recognition of “being under the influence” of these powerful subconscious forces will we ever truly change our thinking and our relationship to the ‘beasts’ within.
None of this would sit well with the Nietzsche of 1888. This in my belief is what led to his final affliction. He was incapacitated within a year of publishing “the Antichrist”. He never wrote another word. A tragic consequence or purely coincidence? Only Nietzsche knows… or maybe God? If there is a God resurrected in Christ, then perhaps there could be a “purgatory” like in Dante’s ‘Devine Comedy’. Perhaps Jung may have gone, like Dante, down into purgatory, to find Nietzsche and help him complete his “revaluation”. Nietzsche, knowing then how there was more to the words of Christ than mere, “ressentiment”-perhaps has been thusly rehabilitated. If so, thank you, Jung.
I spoke at the start of this thesis of “lies and liars”. The truth hidden behind the lies is such that the liars cannot continue to live as they please by admitting it- something we call, ‘Reactionary’.
Reactionary instinctive responses to perceived threats (real or illusionary, physical or psychic) often demand one (whether an individual or a cultural group: such as family, clan, tribe, race, religion, or nation) to, “rally round the flag”. In that gestalt posture it is imperative to support the ‘mythos’ of the group or individual’s “weltanschauung”. This becomes the source of many of the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves and about, “the other”.
I wish to present as evidence for the above assertion the following from a series of essays made into a book during Nietzsche’s professional lifetime but which he was most probably unfamiliar. Yet it contains the same germ-seed of ideas found in the arguments of Nietzsche, but from a differing perspective. The essays were written by Matthew Arnold, an Englishman, about England at that time-the 1860s. The essays were published in book form around 1869, and the book was titled, ‘Culture and Anarchy’.
The “great Lie” of Lucifer, Satan, or The Antichrist, is that man is his own authority in all things- that there is no higher authority. Nietzsche said, “God is dead.” Thusly man is freed to “…do as he likes.”[- Arnold, Culture and Anarchy, chap. / section 2] Arnold wrote this before Nietzsche’s declaration about the passing of God. It turns out the strong vein of “American Individualism” is genetically rooted in our mother-country, for the same dis-ease is the theme of Arnold’s book. In fact Arnold proposes that it came to England by way of the “Barbarians”. He may have been referring to the Norman invaders of the tenth century. He may have been referring to the Celts. He does not delineate who were the original barbarians but he does link them to the prevalent dominate philosophical ideology in England of his day. “Liberty” was the supreme ideal of the Englishman of that day (and remains so, according to my wife, who is English). That ideal of liberty expressed in Arnold’s essays is the same as Nietzsche’s and the same as the Libertarians of the current American political spectrum. Arnold goes to great length to try to argue for the rightful important place of the State in promoting the common good of all (even when the needs of the “common good” be above the good of the few or the one). He makes an elegant statement of the purpose of “Culture” (within and without the institutions of a state), famous at that time and place:
“…culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world, and, through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of following them mechanically.”
“Culture, which is the study of perfection, leads us, as we in the following pages have shown, to conceive of true human perfection as a harmonious perfection, developing all sides of our humanity; and as a general perfection, developing all parts of our society. For if one member suffer, the other members must suffer with it; and the fewer there are that follow the true way of salvation the harder that way is to find.” [Both above quotes from the preface to ‘Culture and Anarchy’, by Arnold]
Arnold does not make a connection directly between culture and “evolution” but I make one here- The culture he defines is the metaphysical expression of evolution as I conceive it- as including ‘spiritual evolution’. Nietzsche had no place for anything ‘spiritual’. And in the pursuit of the espoused preeminence of “liberty”, neither do the proponents of Libertarianism. Before that cult of “freedom” was conceived there was the English version, in the nineteenth century as documented in Arnold’s book:
“Our prevalent notion is …that it is a most happy and important thing for a man merely to be able to do as he likes. On what he is to do when he is thus free to do as he likes, we do not lay so much stress.”
Arnold then quotes from a German contemporary:
“Wilhelm von Humboldt's book, The Sphere and Duties of Government. Humboldt's object in this book is to show that the operation of government ought to be severely limited to what directly and immediately relates to the security of person and property. Wilhelm von Humboldt, one of the  most beautiful and perfect souls that have ever existed, used to say that one's business in life was, first, to perfect oneself by all the means in one's power, and, secondly, to try and create in the world around one an aristocracy, the most numerous that one possibly could, of talents and characters. He saw, of course, that, in the end, everything comes to this,—that the individual must act for himself, and must be perfect in himself; and he lived in a country, Germany, where people were disposed to act too little for themselves, and to rely too much on the Government. “
So this Ideal of Liberty was also fashionable on the Continent at that time. And no one will object to the IDEAL as an ideal. But as any study of evolution will show – what is not a suitable “adaptation” to the current environment will lead to un-fitness for survival as much as not adapting to change in the environment.
“ … a kind of philosophical theory is widely spread among us to the effect that there is no such thing at all as a best self and a right reason having claim to paramount authority, or, at any rate, no such thing ascertainable and capable of being made use of; and that there is nothing but an infinite number of ideas and works of our ordinary selves, and suggestions of our natural taste for the bathos, pretty equal in value, which are doomed either to an irreconcileable conflict, or else to a  perpetual give and take; and that wisdom consists in choosing the give and take rather than the conflict, and in sticking to our choice with patience and good humour. And, on the other hand, we have another philosophical theory rife among us, to the effect that without the labour of perverting ourselves by custom or example to relish right reason, but by continuing all of us to follow freely our natural taste for the bathos, we shall, by the mercy of Providence, and by a kind of natural tendency of things, come in due time to relish and follow right reason. The great promoters of these philosophical theories are our newspapers, which, no less than our parliamentary representatives, may be said to act the part of guides and governors to us; and these favourite doctrines of theirs I call,—or should call, if the doctrines were not preached by authorities I so much respect,—the first, a peculiarly British form of Atheism, the second, a peculiarly British form of Quietism. The first-named melancholy doctrine is preached in The Times with great clearness and force of style; indeed, it is well known, from the example of the poet Lucretius and others, what great masters of style the atheistic  doctrine has always counted among its promulgators. "It is of no use," says The Times, "for us to attempt to force upon our neighbours our several likings and dislikings. We must take things as they are. Everybody has his own little vision of religious or civil perfection. Under the evident impossibility of satisfying everybody, we agree to take our stand on equal laws and on a system as open and liberal as is possible. The result is that everybody has more liberty of action and of speaking here than anywhere else in the Old World." We come again here upon Mr. Roebuck's celebrated definition of happiness, on which I have so often commented: "I look around me and ask what is the state of England? Is not every man able to say what he likes? I ask you whether the world over, or in past history, there is anything like it? Nothing. I pray that our unrivalled happiness may last." This is the old story of our system of checks and every Englishman doing as he likes, which we have already seen to have been convenient enough so long as there were only the Barbarians and the Philistines to do what they liked, but to be getting inconvenient, and productive of anarchy,  now that the Populace wants to do what it likes too. But for all that, I will not at once dismiss this famous doctrine, but will first quote another passage from The Times, applying the doctrine to a matter of which we have just been speaking,—education. "The difficulty here" (in providing a national system of education), says The Times, "does not reside in any removeable arrangements. It is inherent and native in the actual and inveterate state of things in this country. All these powers and personages, all these conflicting influences and varieties of character, exist, and have long existed among us; they are fighting it out, and will long continue to fight it out, without coming to that happy consummation when some one element of the British character is to destroy or to absorb all the rest." There it is; the various promptings of the natural taste for the bathos in this man and that amongst us are fighting it out; and the day will never come (and, indeed, why should we wish it to come?) when one man's particular sort of taste for the bathos shall tyrannize over another man's; nor when right reason (if that may be called an element of the British character) shall absorb and  rule them all. "The whole system of this country, like the constitution we boast to inherit, and are glad to uphold, is made up of established facts, prescriptive authorities, existing usages, powers that be, persons in possession, and communities or classes that have won dominion for themselves, and will hold it against all comers." Every force in the world, evidently, except the one reconciling force, right reason… Really, presented with the mastery of style of our leading journal, the sad picture, as one gazes upon it, assumes the iron and inexorable solemnity of tragic Destiny.”
“After this, the milder doctrine of our other philosophical teacher, the Daily News, has, at first, something very attractive and assuaging. The Daily News begins, indeed, in appearance, to weave the iron web of necessity round us like The Times. "The alternative is between a man's doing what he likes and his doing what someone else, probably not one whit wiser than himself, likes."
“ But then the Daily News suddenly lights up the gloom of necessitarianism with bright beams of hope. "No doubt," it says, "the common reason of society ought to check the aberrations of individual eccentricity." This common reason of society looks very like our best self or right reason, to which we want to give authority, by making the action of the State, or nation in its collective character, the expression of it. But of this project of ours, the Daily News, with its subtle dialectics, makes havoc. "Make the State the organ of the common reason?"—it says. "You may make it the organ of something or other, but how can you be certain that reason will be the quality which will be embodied in it?" You cannot be certain of it…”
But here Arnold makes an erudite statement:
“But the wise know that we often need to hear most of that to which we are least inclined, and even to learn to employ, in certain circumstances, that which is capable, if employed amiss, of being a danger to us.”
He then quotes a Frenchman: Monsieur Renan
"A liberal believes in liberty, and liberty signifies the non-intervention of the State. But such an ideal is still a long way off from us, and the very means to remove it to an indefinite distance would be precisely the State's withdrawing its action too soon." And this, he adds, is even truer of education than of any other department of public affairs.”
One last profound quote by Arnold:
Proverbs 28:26. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." -The King James Bible.
Arnold was perhaps too cautious in his estimation of the effect of this interpretation of “democracy” – laissez-faire liberalism is a lie from the heart of evil- the evil that resides in all men along with the good that resides in most men- and the perpetrators of the lie have voluntarily given themselves over to the evil side without a fight. Man is what he is- a beast that thinks-and a soul that can partake of the divine nature if so nurtured and guided. The lie of libertarianism is a profoundly attractive seduction, in it makes the truth of man’s higher nature seem to be “discarded” with the other superstitions of past ages. The lie relies on the natural selfishness of the animal-side of man’s duplicitous nature. To be free of constraints, of rules, of taboos and prohibitions- that is naturally the desire of most. Yet that fact of nature is not an edict of what is best, for a man or for a society, irrespective of the philosophical proclamations of the Nietzsches and Rands of the world.
Nietzsche later added a preface to ‘The Birth of Tragedy’:
“The Attempt at Self-Criticism” (August 1886)
“People may call this entire artistic metaphysic arbitrary, pointless, and fantastic, but the essential point about it is that it already betrays a spirit which will at some point establish itself on that dangerous ground and make a stand against the moralistic interpretation and moral meaningfulness of existence. Here is announced, perhaps for the first time, a pessimism "beyond good and evil." Here comes that "perversity in belief" in word and formula against which Schopenhauer never grew tired of hurling his angriest curses and thunderstones in advance, a philosophy which dared to place morality itself in the world of phenomena and so to subsume it, not under the "visions" (in the sense of some idealistic end point) but under "illusions," as an appearance, delusion, fallacy, interpretation, something made up, a work of art.”
“Perhaps we can best gauge the depth of this tendency hostile to morality from the careful and hostile silence with which Christianity is treated in the entire book, Christianity as the most excessive and thorough figuring out of a moralistic theme which humanity has ever had available to listen to. To tell the truth, there is nothing which stands more in opposition to the purely aesthetic interpretation and justification of the world, as it was set out in this book, than Christian teaching, which is and will remain merely moralistic and which, with its absolute moral standards (for example, with its truthfulness of God), relegates art to the realm of lies—in other words, which denies art, condemns it, and passes sentence on it”
And then in summation near the end of the Preface: “…some day or other perhaps you will ship all that metaphysical consolation to the devil—and then away with metaphysics!”
But Jung was the greater Psychologist, not by a lack in Nietzsche, but by a, “overabundance” of ‘anti-enthusiasm’ in Nietzsche- in Jungian terms- the subconscious process of, “Enantiodromia”, “is typically experienced in conjunction with symptoms associated with acuteneurosis, and often foreshadows a rebirth of the personality” ( –from Wikipedia page on Enantiodromia). Nietzsche’s breakdown perhaps?
“The grand plan on which the unconscious life of the psyche is constructed is so inaccessible to our understanding that we can never know what evil may not be necessary in order to produce good by enantiodromia, and what good may very possibly lead to evil.” (Jung in, “The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales", Collected Works 9i, par. 397)
And Jung might have diagnosed Nietzsche incapacitation as an unsuccessful inner attempt at “Metanoia” –“Jung considered that psychotic episodes in particular could be understood as anexistential crisis which might be an attempt at self-reparation: in such instances metanoia could represent a shift in the balance of the personality away from the persona towards the shadow and the self.” (From Wikipedia’s “Metanoia” page)
For as shown above in reference to Jung’s “Red Book”, Jung saw the Soul (= “the self”) as encompassing much more that the instinctive drives of our animal nature.
Ressentiment was Nietzsche’s downfall….. Ressentiment of God.
Also See:The Dionysian Self: C.G. Jung's Reception of Friedrich Nietzsche By Paul Bishop 1995
© 2015 Thomas Theodore Welborn
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