Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Journeying with Jung 43

Chapter 35:  Jesus and Satan are Brothers:

Carl Gustave Jung was nothing if not unorthodox.  I have mentioned already that his father and some eight other close relatives were pastors in the Swiss Reformed Church.  I have also mentioned that as a young man he had little time for the Church per se, for its rituals and dogmas as is evidenced by his attitude to his father especially when the latter was trying to catechise him in preparation for his confirmation.  However, he had loads of time for the spiritual world or the world of parapsychology.  Indeed his doctoral thesis had centred on analysis of séances he had partaken in with his cousins with the approval and sometimes even with the participation of his mother.  Also Jung was especially close to his mother who was very much in tune with the occult.  To a great extent, then, Jung, like all of us, found it hard to leave his past behind.  The religious or spiritual impulses in humanity fascinated him all his life.  If religion as an orthodox, that is as a church-led and dogma-rooted, phenomenon interested him little, its spiritual thrust virtually  captivated his very soul. It would seem to this reader at least that religion as a psycho-social phenomenon was high on his agenda.  For the masses of people who had neither the time nor the money nor even the depth of character to be spiritually awake or aware, for them the church as an orthodox and institutional symbol or outward sign of their inner spiritual desires would perform a much needed role in their lives.

Jesus and Satan are Brothers:

I have already adverted to the utter heterodoxy or sheer heresy of this above statement.  However, it is a statement that reflects Jung's deep views and his appreciation of the depths of the human psyche.  Remember that the ultimate reality for him was the inner psychic life made up of the conscious and the unconscious, both personal and collective.  I have mentioned several times in these posts that as he grew older he grew ever less interested in the personal concerns of his patients and more and more interested in the reality of their collective unconscious and how this was reflected in their dreams.  Somehow or other God could just as well be the Collective Unconscious for our man Jung.   The inner psychic life was nothing if not a very complex reality comprising a sense of the whole, a sense of the integrated, a sense of the complete, and in so being it must, of necessity, incorporate both good and bad, both black and white and all the shades of gray in between.  Then, if we are to take Jesus and Satan as outward personifications of the Good and the Bad, the Black and the White, these two personages in their symbolic nature must necessarily be brothers of the one FatherJung's highly unorthodox religious views are, then, religious equivalents of his understanding of depth psychology.  Obviously, any believer who takes his beliefs literally, will see these views as heresy.  However, psychologically they are clearly understandable consequences or implications coming from Jung's point of view.

Hayman on Jung's understanding of Jesus and Satan as Brothers:

Here, I beg the reader's patience as I quote in length the words of Ronald Hayman with respect to this thorny subject:

Jung took it that evil was something that had come into existence at a specific moment..  Could man be held responsible for it, or had it been created by God?  The answer, he believed, could be found in the Scriptures.  ' "The Evil One" existed before man did as one of the "Sons of God." '  Jung took this to be a historical fact, and to be crucial.  Ignoring all the references to Jesus as God's only son, he insists that he had an elder brother, Satan, who was a trickster.  It may have been his idea to put a serpent into the Garden of Eden.

The are references in the Old Testament to the Messiah, but the name Jesus is of course never mentioned, and Answer to Job does not explain where Jung found this story about the brothers.  But in 1955, three years after his book came out, he wrote a 'Prefatory note' in a periodical, Pastoral Psychology, published in Great Neck, New York.  he he refers briefly to Clement of Rome, who 'taught that God rules the world with a right hand and a left hand, the right being Christ and the left Satan.'  For a fuller explanation we must turn to the foreword Jung had written in March 1951 for R.J. Zwi Werblowsky's book Lucifer and Prometheus (London, 1952).  In Clement, says Jung, 'we meet with the conception of Christ as the right hand and the devil as the left hand of God, not to speak of the Judaeo-Christian view which recognises two sons of God, Satan the older and Christ the younger.'

...The idea never found its way into the main tradition of Judaeo-Christian dogma... The Hebrew word Satan could refer to any human adversary or accuser, as it does in the books of Samuel and Kings.  In Numbers it is used for the divine messenger sent to stop Balaam from cursing Israel...

... Job confronts Yahweh's contradictory nature, and in this way gains the upper hand.  As described in Answer to Job, his enlightenment resembles that of the young Jung, who understood that a God who shits on his own cathedral is not altogether benevolent.

But He is not immoral.  All; this is 'the behaviour of an unconscious being who cannot be judged morally.'  It is naive, says Jung, to assume that the creator of the world knew what he was doing.  He was not a conscious being.  The 'nonsensical doctrine of the privatio boni' would never have been necessary if we had admitted that evil can emerge from 'divine unconsciousness and lack of reflection.'

... God cannot be a paragon of goodness... 'Man is the mirror God holds up to himself, or the sense organ with which he apprehends his being.'...  (Hayman, 411 - 414)

A Note on Synchronicity:

Lecturing on synchronicity at Eranos in August 1951 Jung defined synchronicity as 'a meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.'  A little alter he defined it as 'an acausal connecting principle' designating 'the parallelism of time and meaning between psychic and psychophysical events.'  (Ibid., 415)

A Note on Consciousness:

At the beginning of the 1930s Jung had written: 'There is no reason why one shouldn't suppose that consciousness could not exist detached from the brain.'  In the early 1950s Jung positively affirmed and even proclaimed that it most definitely could.  (See ibid., 418).

Above I have uploaded yet another picture of Jung in old age.

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