You Cannot Have Both Church and Freedom...

C.G. Jung wrote "You cannot have both, Church and freedom, and if you want both undiminished, no Solomon will be found to pronounce judgement." (C.G. Jung to Pastor H. Wegmann, November 20, 1945) Patients often struggle with the issue of feeling bound to church. They crave a freedom of spirituality. Dogmas bind them to one way of seeing and experiencing the spiritual world.

A patient recently told me of how they came to grips with this during the holiday season: "Christmas for me isn't about religion. It's about goodwill. I take stock of my life and the reality that I do wish well being for all individuals and that I do my part to help to make this happen in the small ways that I can." When I think of religion, I'm immediately bogged down. With Christmas, the holidays, about well being I can relax and replenish. I feel free."

Psychological consciousness offers us the potential for increased spiritual freedom throughout life. The end of the year signals a time to be grateful and, in the words of my patient, offer well being to others. I noticed, as I meditated on this insight, a freedom within that was brought to light and nurtured. We cannot have both church and freedom, but we can have both goodwill toward others and a free soul!

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Comment by Paul DeBlassie III on January 8, 2015 at 5:59am

 A final word from the father  of American depth psychology, William James,... "Every bit of us at every moment is part and parcel of a wider self, it quivers along various radii like the wind-rose on a compass, and the actual in it is continuously one with possibles not yet in our present sight."


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Comment by klemens swib on January 7, 2015 at 4:42pm

Charles, Dostoevsky would have loved and endorsed your Christian response to this issue. He experienced his own spiritual crises and landed/returned firmly back in the camp of the Christian faith. Your system however [i only glanced at the excerpt you posted on your web page] presupposes that all modern men actually have the capacity to implement a faith based solution and are fully capable of rediscovering  and reigniting their faith. Jung on the other hand was paternally shaped by a pastor who had lost his own connection to his faith and dogma. Through his father the son inherited a spiritual instability instead of a sturdy paternal foundation in which to root his character. That inheritance left him in the position of the modern man in search of his own soul. A large part of his lifeworks is dedicated to restoring his living connection to his own inner spiritual realm. Not from a position of faith but from the position of reason. Of course he discovered a lot more about the Unconscious during his quest. In one of his recorded video conversations he as much as eschewed faith as the basis for the belief in God in favor of his rationally rooted statement to the effect that he knew there was God. I know there is a God is not the exactly the same as my faith tells me there is a God. Christ and the symbol thereof is not only the bedrock upon which our civilization was founded but the symbol of Christ is still transforming our civilization and consciousness today. I firmly believe that God has died and the ego has become God letting the possessed or devils loose in our civilization emanates from the mysterious transformative symbol of Christ himself. Out consciousness is being altered by Christ. As to evidence which religion or culture has not accepted the inherently christian doctrine that the kingdom of heaven can be built on earth. This one sided admittedly fundamental element of this christian belief/idealism has almost become universal one even as everyone is wondering why God is dead and christ is irrelevant in the modern age. You are on the side that is winning as long as the possessed/egos run amok don't self destruct and  life on earth because they couldn't handle the freedom that our christian heritage demands. Say even the meek are inheriting the material bounty from our christian legacy... Obviously this is a much deeper topic and my thoughts condensed and incomplete but...this is where I'll end my discussion of this subject. My thanks to Paul again for igniting my interest in this issue. you made me read Wheeler cover to cover and i thank you especially for that..

Comment by Charles Zeiders on January 7, 2015 at 9:30am

I read all of your comments with interest...I agree that religion can constrain and even strangle the psyche, but religion can also provide a a container and a technical vocabulary that guides the individuation process. For many, what begins in dogma concludes in liberating mysticism and an encounter with a living, loving God. As a practicing Anglo-Catholic and Depth Psychologist, I find that my Christian patients are interested in a therapeutic process that opens their psyche to the living reality of a God whose Love they can subjectively experience. The experience of this Love very often shatters longstanding complexes and enables patients of enjoy levels of joy and creativity that are clinically uncanny. I have explored the matter at length in my book The Clinical Christ. Also, the experience of divine Love has ramifications for critiquing the postmodern Western collective unconscious and healing the individual soul that is overwhelmed by the demands of the Corporate Totalitarian State.  I've explored this phenomenon in my book Wall Street Revolution and Other Poems. At its best religion provides a pre-modern technical vocabulary that guides the individuation process to the liberating experience of numinous Love loving and liberating the psyche. I have plenty of publications in the public domain about the matter at www.drzeiders.com

Comment by J.D.Stephen Flynn on December 28, 2014 at 3:48pm
No nazi stuff here on my part nor any extremism thank you! But as Jung restated..prejudice is universal. So.... I ain't prejudice I just hate people who are! ...etc...so I embrace the Universe of mankind too. We are a sad lot collectively. My task is so simple it is to change ME. And after some 50 odd years in the attempt I humbly conclude I ain't very good at it, but I also have concluded to depend upon another or some system to bring about that change in me doesn't work either. In fact, such intervention from without is at best conformist.
Comment by Bonnie Bright on December 28, 2014 at 2:24pm

Since my name has been invoked, I'll just briefly check in here. I believe depth psychology is about inclusiveness; ecumenical (a great word, Klemens) in a broad sense of not just welcoming an objective exploration (and questioning) of all religions but also of all cultures, backgrounds, and theoretical tenets. I typically tend to refrain from censoring posts or individuals here in the Alliance community with the exception of the occasional personal note to someone when I feel a comment is blatantly false, offensive, or inflammatory without (depth psychological) context. I want to make sure the marginalized (or silenced) voices have a chance to emerge here.

Having said that, I appreciate the conversation (and debate) that has gone on in this thread. Kudos to Paul for having introduced it in the first place because there surely must not be any other topics that can become controversial so much as politics and religion, and also to those of you who have expressed your opinions. 

I think, in the long run, the theme that emerges most for me in this situation is that of consciousness. I understand the collective frustration with our world leaders (virtually ALL of them) for their failures, and I think this forum can be valuable in generating conversations about what that means for all of us when we use a depth psychological lens. However, in some ways, the trouble begins when a post comes across as a rant or an attack without reference to the depth psychological theory that can help us all contain the material. Simply pointing out the problems going on in our world (political and otherwise) is a bit like preaching to the choir in church (to bring back the reference to religion here :). I would hazard to guess the vast majority of members here do possess the consciousness that things are awry, the system is broken, world leaders are serving a system that is self-serving, and ALL of us are so inherently conditioned by the culture we grew up in that we ALL can't help but fail to see why what we believe is right and therefore "others" must be wrong. No one culture—nor particularly generalizing the individuals in that culture—some of whom obviously disagree with the way things are happening politically and globally—can be held completely responsible.

I personally (my opinion only) don't necessarily agree that the link in question was divisive (if you actually read the content on that page, it's not derogatory per se) and it does serve the view that depth psychology must have the capacity to be inclusive of all  if it is to exist at all, else the shadow arises. We need to shine the light into those dark places and illuminate them. Somehow I think both Aleksandar and Klemens are also getting at exactly that in different ways, but I do see Klemens's point that the link may be interpreted as inflammatory because there was no introduction to the link explaining what it means from a depth perspective or why exactly is was included alongside a post that was rather aggressive.

I would just advocate that everyone here do their best to anchor your statements in theory or at least in offering your opinion with love (invoking Eros, the great relationship builder) every time you post, and reserve the more general criticisms for a mainstream audience in a different forum (OR develop a depth context and take them to the mainstream audience!--imagine the power of that to bring consciousness to a crowd that is living more in a culturally conditioned state, whatever it may be...)


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Comment by klemens swib on December 28, 2014 at 12:34pm

I am not the board moderator here Alek and Bonnie, but I am going to express my own personal opinion.  The depth psychology insights pages should be ecumenical in the widest definition possible. Bhuddists Christians Germans Jews Astrologists and god knows who else Jung's writings constellated and attracted to these environs should feel free to grow, learn and participate in a safe civilized environment. Your nazi link was inappropriate and inevitably divisive in the context of depth psychology. This doesn't mean ideas and concepts which arise in the course of discussions should go unchallenged, but throwing gasoline on the fire of hatred incivility and intolerance is divisive and not conducive to a format such as this one.  My apologies to all for my rant 

Comment by J.D.Stephen Flynn on December 28, 2014 at 3:29am
Alek,
Lovely concerns but the shot gun approach dissipates what you are able to achieve. At the same time I agree with your sentiments utterly. I remain, confined by my personal talent and apply it to its to capacity albeit such a limited response in relation to what you outline. These sentiments also apply to Paul's outline of Jung worship that seems to prevail. Happy New Year you Guys.

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Comment by klemens swib on December 27, 2014 at 7:50pm

hmmm  you got me there... 

Comment by Paul DeBlassie III on December 27, 2014 at 5:40pm
Klemens...if every Jungian trainee presented a thorough exploration of Jung to the high church of Jungian Institutes then they might not graduate, the hierarchical priesthood withheld from she/he who proclaims freedom of psyche independent of all isms and their required kiss on the rump;)
Comment by J.D.Stephen Flynn on December 27, 2014 at 4:44pm
Yes Paul,
A fair comment on a man who offers much understanding of our lot within, unique to each and common to all.
Having read all his works (minus the Red Book!) I have been helped in many parts of my life due to Jung's exploration.
I continue to prevent needless death (see Deadhuit.ie)
And use Jung's theories via Moreno's psychodrama as a vehicle of exploration. (I use his techniques in mono dramatic form in the context of suicide prevention.)
The major point I want to make is not one of negating Jung's work whatsoever, but to see his work in a balanced light/manner as it were.
To address the dilemma you propose assumes Jung leaders one along a spiritual path...what he gave me over the 22 years of study, is that his path leads to an ultimate level of crucified between the conscious and the unconscious, between the Ego and the Shadow, between all that is good and all that is evil both within and without.
I conclude we are ALL caught subject to a pattern predetermined by an Archetype, albeit strands of choice within the one you are able to identify you are subject to.
So to conclude a further dilemmas between Religion and spirituality is symptomatic of the human condition, or one facet of it.
Each individual needs must seek their own salvation with diligence..as Buda stated (along with othe Prophets)
I personally have come to realise I am not able to go beyond the dilemmas posed via understanding/consciousness/dogma etc,.


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