Saturday, December 18, 2004

Reflections on Jung

I call Jung a true prophet. Unlike most religionists he had an open mind and took God where he found him.

Descended from a long line of ministers he had an interesting theological dream at a very early age: he saw a gigantic turd come down from heaven and drop on the local cathedral. He also witnessed his father losing his faith late in life.

Jung was really a poet, but he maintained the pose of scientist throughout his life. Only in a posthumous book, Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, did he reveal the honest feelings and confessions of his life.

William Blake had postulated 'Four Zoas', the four living creatures who pulled God's chariot. Jung came up with the four functions, which closely resemble Blake's creatures.

Jung denied any experience with a metaphysical God, but when asked if he believed in God, he replied that he didn't believe, he knew God, as a psychic fact. He believed that everyone carries a God image in his psyche.

Jung's psychiatric patients belonged largely to an intellectual elite, among whom God was in eclipse. He stated that he had never had a patient over 35 whose problem was not centered in the loss of his spiritual orientation.

In mid century Jung was the darling of many professional religionists who had more or less been relieved of their basic faith in seminary. He provided an alternative faith not under attack by the teachers and scholars. It was a faith informed by modern psychological understanding.

Jung has much to offer to the person perplexed by the obscurantist faith of conventional Christianity.


david said...

I don't mind Jung -- from what little I have seen of him. I find the bits that most attract folk of a spiritual bent overly arcane.

All in all I prefer Viktor Frankl. Who also sees most troubles as psycho-spiritual.

Larry said...

Thanks, David. I read Frankl, but it was many years ago, and I can't recall much, except that he was good.

Marjorie said...

I'm very interested in the psychological perspective of religion. I haven't read Jung, but I've read about him through John Sanford, whom I enjoy -- I'm very slowly working my way through Kingdom Within but I find it a very useful way of looking at the Bible. At the least, its given me a sense of blessings and curses -- I don't know if I read this or just extrapolated from what I'd read, but blessings and curses could easily be understood as psychological issues that tend to pass from one generation to the next, while 'those who love God' might, to some degree, be able to avoid or resolve their issues, thus NOT passing them to the next generation. Of course, this looks dangerously close to judging those who suffer as deserving their afflictions, which they do not. Dunno, for me, its one way of understanding a passage in the Bible which otherwise makes no sense to me.