By James Burden


Spirit of the Times:

War Against the Self

Have you taken notice of it? The battle raging in, and around, each of us. Something deep within is seeking it’s ascension, striving for recognition. Yet, we seem to be chiefly at odds with its intention. We would rather choose a long blood thirsty war to insure our own ignorance, and against what? Ourselves.

“But the conscious, modern man can no longer refrain from acknowledging the might of the psyche, despite the most strenuous and dogged efforts at self~defense. This distinguishes our time from all others. We can no longer deny that the dark stirrings of the unconscious are active powers, that psychic forces exist which, for the present at least, cannot be fitted into our rational world order.”

~C.G. Jung

Look around. We are in no shortage of diversions. Choose your poison: medication, exercise, television, social engagements, career, video games, drugs, ‘romances’, or even the occasional manifested episode of, seemingly, elaborately constructed, self indulgent, drama.

We will go to great lengths to distract ourselves from ourselves.

You may be thinking “hey, all that stuff, that’s my life!” and in a certain sense it is your life. All that ‘stuff’ is the less then 5% of your life that is getting in the way of 95% of the rest of your life. What does that mean, when we focus so much attention on, and spend so much time filling up, that little 5%? It’s like we are all in a frenzied mad dash, desperately scrambling to plaster up the cracks, slap on a new coat of paint, and plant a few more rose bushes, when, in reality, it is the foundation itself that is crumbling. It’s the same dynamic that leads many of us to get unnecessary cosmetic surgery, when, perhaps, what would really do us the most good would be to invest our time and resources in psychotherapy.

Jung had a great line somewhere, that “when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.” It’s almost as if that thing inside of us that is begging for recognition, but is consistently being ignored, is also a very skilled trickster. Somehow, without our knowing it, that force outwits us into playing out the process out here, in the external world. Or at least, it seems to place us in situations where the potential is there for assimilation; for it appears that, even when face to face with oneself, we can always turn away. If this is the case, we have options: look up (the quest for spirituality, transcending all problems, which is another form of repression, a bypass), look down (like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand, out of sight~out of mind), or turn all the way around and run away (in which case we turn our problems, the unconscious, into monsters out to hunt us down. Have you ever turned and faced your demons before? You ask “hey! what’s the big deal? why are you bothering me? stop chasing me!” and they typically reply “chasing you? why are you running away? I’ve got this stuff to talk to you about that might actually help. I’m really sure you could use the help so I never stopped trying to find you. I cant figure out why you keep running). Yet, verily enough, as intuition whispers into my ear, this is not merely the singular process of the individual mind, but the workings of the collective unconscious, whose reach is all inclusive, whose artisans outshine DaVinci, and whose mechanics are tireless as they are precise. Ergo, ignore and repress your problems all day long; the world will make sure you get as many chances as you need. At least, for all our sakes, I should hope so.

…Time Jesum Transeumtum Et Non Rivertentum

Praise the Lord, that our demons may never cease hunting us…

So here we are, I would presume, in a loosing battle where repression and distraction are our prime weapons. In other words, we are fighting the unconscious with sticks and stones. Though we know it or not, whether we like to admit it or not, our opponent isn’t equipped with such armaments, but has a massive supply of thermo~nuclear war heads. It is only through divine mercy that the collective unconscious hasn’t crushed us with it’s incredible might—yet.

Oh, haven’t you felt it? Indeed, for many of us have already been blown away by its enormity. Had a mid life crisis of late? Have you fallen in love in the not too distant past? Has your physical health been dramatically assaulted recently? All of these are but a few examples of the great unconscious wielding it’s power.

I recall a time in my life when I had just moved out of the house, got myself a job working at a, to remain nameless, major apparel retail chain (screw it, it was the Gap) and I suddenly began to develop all sorts of health problems. After a long struggle with my physical issues, doctor visits, medication, yoga, herbal supplements, and God knows what else, I quit my job. Over night, it all vanished. Literally, my job was killing me. Day by day, that job I hated, that provided me no creativity, that was so un~fulfilling, was killing me. No amount of alcohol would deaden that kind of pain, no video game could distract me long enough, no form of recreation seemed to balance out the situation. As a result, I couldn’t make art anymore, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t dream and my dreams about life—they died. It was as if my unconscious was telling me “hey, this isn’t what you are here for! If you don’t quit this job, I will make you.”

At any given time in our life we have a microcosmic versions of the Bay of Pigs going on in our own heads. Only, in this inner world scenario one side (ours) didn’t show up with more than a bad attitude to defend itself with; the result of which is Armageddon for the psyche. The good news is that after we recover from the cataclysm, we have the chance to finally, actually take part in this, quite awesome, life! With a new healthy respect for the inner world, we may establish a wholesome, friendly, and erotically charged relationship with the unconscious; out of which commonly flows a boundless surge of creativity.

…we just have to survive doomsday first

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Comment by Sue Stevenson on December 5, 2011 at 2:51am

Great stuff!!!  :)

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