Do You Feel Jung?
Written: 14th Jun 2005 | Last Updated: 14th Jun 2005
“We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognise that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is cancelled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.”
These thoughts seem fresh in their observations - but they’re not from some TV guru on Oprah or an excerpt from “Psychology Today”. They’re the words of Carl Jung contemplating, fluidly yet complexly, the human condition in his famous book, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” (Random House, 1961).
Jung believed that “our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were already present in the ranks of our ancestors”. He felt that “the ‘newness’ in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components”.
This alignment of ancestral experience with unconscious self, and the concept that happiness and inner peace are dependent upon those inherent ancestral components harmonising with the existing conditions of the present, are Jungian theories that attract as many disciples as they do critics.
Is it possible that we channel our ancestors’ thoughts and experiences? Do we feel compelled in our own lives to answer the questions left hanging by dearly departed relatives? And, if we are tuned in, do we make decisions and act on them with the aid of that collective intelligence of previous generations? It’s an extraordinary premise when you think about it - and one that can only be fathomed by those who actually believe it possible.