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Snippet – Do insane people use religion as a “cover”?

I think some do. But the idea of a cover, as found in espionage, policing, and organized crime, is always quite conscious. Mad people doing their thing in religion would not be conscious of using religion as a cover because the madperson does not know they are mad. That’s part of a definition of madness. The normal range of logic, common sense and humility is eclipsed by powerful psychological forces and, I would suggest, strange spiritual influences.

Freud room at the Sigmund Freud Museum in the Berggasse. Vienna. 2013. Photograph by Gerhard Trumler.

Here’s a snippet of an entry at earthpages.ca about Sigmund Freud’s book, The Future of an Illusion. It’s part of a discussion on Freud’s claim that religion is illusory.


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The myth of the happy, healthy and normal

A red flag usually comes up when I see stories like this. True, most of us enjoy being social and human beings are, so the sociologists tell us, social by definition. But to reduce love to a hormone and happiness to social interaction is, in my view, inadequate. This isn’t just an American thing, although the article does refer to the APA and the APA does exert a strange kind of hegemonic power throughout many countries. Instead, I think it reflects a bias to overlook the spiritual in favor of the social and the material.

Back in graduate school I wrote a short paper about the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung. I critiqued his view of the so-called “normal” self. For Jung, the ideal was to integrate four functions of thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition, along with two orientations of introversion and extraversion.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While writing my critique, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche came to mind. If Nietzsche was perfectly “integrated,” would he have given such tremendous insights to humanity? I personally doubt it. But really, it’s a moot point. Nietzsche was who he was. And that’s what made him write the often brilliant and, yes, skewed and unfortunately sexist stuff that he wrote.

Jung’s psychology is more open-minded and nuanced than the current state of psychiatry. But even so, I find it lacking. So again, when I see stories like this, I feel that I have to say something to help prevent this kind of lame thinking from becoming further legitimized and reproduced as “truth” in society.

They say that sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. But that’s not true. Ideas influence how people act toward one another. And when ideas become institutionalized, they gain even more power to help or harm.—MC


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Online demonstration of Carl Jung’s “synchronicty”


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Embracing the Shadow – Inner Peace Tip by Catherine VanWetter

iconic void by Gisela Giardino via Flickr

by Catherine VanWetter

Debbie Ford, who wrote the book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, has finished a movie called “The Shadow’. It was released June 26, 2009 and is available for purchase. It is a movie well worth watching.

I have been following Debbie’s work for years and had the opportunity to meet her at the Chopra Center in LaJolla, California, and again at the Coronado Hotel in California.

Debbie’s workshops focuses on that part of ourselves that we push away and that we are ashamed of. It’s that part of our self that we don’t like and try to hide. The shadow is sneaky and can show up as a sarcastic remark, as judgment, or in criticism. When uncovered, it often laughs, as if to soften the edges of being dishonest, cruel or unfaithful.

Carl Jung, a psychoanalysis, coined the phrase shadow to describe those places in us that are often buried deep in our unconscious. The parts of our self that we try to forget about and hope that no one sees it. Everyone has a shadow. Whenever we are not in love, joy or light, we are in the shadow.

I work with individuals and groups who want to uncover their shadow thus shedding some light onto it. They have come to a place in their life where the shadow part of them brings them so much grief and pain, that they want to get to the core of it. It takes courage to do this depth of work because we often go into those places in us that we would just as soon ignore but that keep coming up, reminding us of their existence. It’s like having a thorn in our side. We’re aware that it is there and yet it is illusive and shows up as addictions, distractions, anxiety and depression, to name just a few.

Between Shadows by loquenoves / Pía

Between Shadows by loquenoves / Pía via Flickr

Throughout my years of training and self-healing, I have begun to come to a place of peace within myself, and my shadow. My sense is that the shadow’s initial intention was to protect us. One of the ways that the shadow did this was to help us feel that we were connected to those around us and that we had something in common with others. We could talk negatively of someone, gossip, and “puff” ourselves up because we thought that we were better than the one that was being ridiculed. Yet, that part that we didn’t like in someone else often was a part in us that we didn’t like. This is where the ego plays a huge part in the shadow. If we are proven wrong, the ego expands, and if we are successful in hiding our shadow it expands as well. Often people who begin to get in touch with their shadow may have the dark night of the soul or several, where the parts of them that are no longer working show up in the middle of the night as they are trying to sleep. It’s that anxiety attack that seemingly comes out of nowhere waking them from a deep peaceful slumber.

As one begins to notice the shadow and shed compassion light on it, then the true work of resolving that part can occur. Until we have compassion for that part of our self and become aware of it, as a witness, we will not be able to embrace it. The shadow shows us duality. With the dark is the light. There are saints and there are sinners. This duality allows us to see the contrast that we walk in everyday. It’s finding the balance and honoring all of our self, especially the shadow. By doing this we can heal that shadowy part that has kept us from our pure essence of light, love and joy.

St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow 00.jpg

St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The times that we are in are challenging and as a result are activating many people’s shadows. It’s showing up as road rage, pervasive anxiety, violence, corruption, and betrayal. The shadow is appearing in ways that is evasive and often sneaks up on us when we are not conscious, when we’re stressed out or tired. To become aware of our shadow and how it shows up our life is to begin noticing it. It’s in the noticing that we can begin to come to terms with it, and to begin to heal that part of our self that has been deeply wounded. Give yourself permission to begin this sacred healing through gentle noticing and deep awareness. You may be very surprised at the gems you find deep within your shadows.

About the Author:

Catherine VanWetter is a Holistic Family Healing Practitioner trained in a variety of healing techniques that help people find Inner Peace Through Generational Family Healing. She invites you to be gentle, compassionate, and courageous as you put down your weapon of choice and step into a field of Grace. Additional information on this and similar topics are available at Catherine’s website, blog and radio program “Inspirations of the Heart”. Catherine invites you to a complimentary copy of her Morning Meditation, Welcoming A New Day. All may be found at http://www.ToTheHeartOfTheMatter.com.

Article Source: Embracing the Shadow – Inner Peace Tip by Catherine VanWetter


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A good, all-round book on the paranormal, parapsychology etc.

English: Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung ...

Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung in USA, published in 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how I missed this survey-style book while doing my doctorate on Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity. Looking through Daimonic Reality today, I was stuck by how it mirrors many of the ideas I’ve been interested in for almost three decades.

Harpur’s commentary may not be stunning but it’s above average.

The author seems a bit hard on Jung, especially in regard to synchronicity. Harpur says that Jung still adheres to an “inner” vs. “outer” worldview. And that his views about the acausality of synchronicity retain a “whiff” of mechanism because for Jung synchonicity is “organized” by an archetype (p. 155).

I picked up on this causality/acausality issue in my Ph.D. thesis on synchronicity (see Synchronicity and Poststructuralism pp. 162-163). But I cut Jung a bit more slack because I felt he had a difficult job to do, talking about synchronicity from 1928- 1961. Back then, Jung had to choose the right words and categories to be effective. So I think he was a bit of a postmodern, “selling” his concept to a largely skeptical audience. If we view it that way, Jung wasn’t so much limited or confused but rather, pioneering and shrewd. — MC


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Archetype of the UFO – DVD review

Archetype of the UFO - Reality Films

Reality Films

Title: Archetype of the UFO
Genre: UFO, Paranormal, Metaphysics
Production Company: Reality Films

The depth psychologist Carl Jung once said that UFOs could be real but a good percentage of eyewitness accounts are likely projections from the collective unconscious.

Jung made this comment in the 1950s, a decade that saw a surge of UFO interest. Most UFOs at that time were portrayed as disc-shaped flying saucers. So Jung believed that the majority of UFO reports were projections of the mandala (a Sanskrit word for “circle”). In its own religious context, the mandala carries spiritual and cosmological meaning, but for Jung it is a basic psychological archetype.

Archetype of the UFO clearly borrows from Jung’s theories. For Jung, an archetypal image (like a flying saucer) points to physiological, cultural and spiritual aspects of the self. And as an archetype of wholeness, Jung describes the self as the center and circumference of a circle.

The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness (CW 12, par. 44).

Archetype of the UFO, however, doesn’t just summarize Jung’s ideas. It extends them to include current UFO theory and evidence.

This intelligent documentary explores diverse metaphysical issues often passed over by lesser lights within the realm of ET, UFO and paranormal research.

Emphasizing possible misinterpretations of so-called physical sightings, Archetype of the UFO concedes that in many cases there may be no difference between inner and outer ET/UFO encounters. So this DVD isn’t just about little green men and flying saucers. Our very beliefs about truth and reality are also questioned.

Most of the DVD features Nick Pope, a respected figure in UFO lore who’s appeared on CNN and other major networks. Pope and interviewer Philip Gardiner probe deep, compelling us to think about ETs, UFOs, mysticism, YouTube videos, disinformation, acclimatization, social power and the role of interpretation.

Some say we must make a course correction to save our planet in the 21st century. If so, Archetype of the UFO should be standard-issue for seekers on the brink of making unusual discoveries about the self, society and the beyond.

—MC


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Perspectives on The Bhagavad Gita

As it Is by Jeremy

As it Is by Jeremy via Flickr

By Michael Clark

To kill or not to kill

Many say The Bhagavad Gita is the Hindu Bible. Among diverse Hindu scriptures, the Gita stands out as a unique gem, synthesizing several core aspects of Hinduism. At least, this is how enthusiasts talk about the Gita. Critics tend to see it as a misguided justification for violence.

The Gita belongs within the Mahabharata, an epic about two warring families. Because of its literary and philosophical sophistication, most scholars believe the Gita was added to the already existing Mahabharata around 450 BCE, approximately 500 years after the original epic was written (circa 1000 BCE).

When it comes to ancient texts, insertions like this are not unusual. Almost all contemporary biblical scholars say that diverse oral traditions and authors run though many Old Testament books formerly believed to be written by just one person.

The story of the Gita is pretty straighforward. The hero, Arjuna, of the virtuous Pandava family, is cheated out of his palace by the wicked Karauva family. As a result, the deity Krishna, seated at the back of Arjuna’s chariot, urges him to fight in a massive battle against the evil Karauvas. Because the Pandavas and Karauvas are kith and kin, the noble Arjuna hesitates when Krishna exhorts him to kill members of the Karauva side of the family.

In response to Arjuna’s hesitation, Krishna launches forth on a metaphysical discourse about sacred duty (dharma) and the immortality of the soul (atman). Krishna says Arjuna is justified in killing because it’s his sacred obligation as a member of the warrior caste (Kshatriya). As a Kshatriya he’s duty-bound to restore a moral balance perilously skewed by the Karauva’s evil ways.

On a metaphysical level, Krishna says that Arjuna would not really be killing because, at the deepest level, the soul is immortal. Arjuna’s spiritual ignorance makes him believe he’d be doing wrong by slaying the Karauvas. In fact, Krishna says physicality is an illusion spun by the web of maya (deception arising from ignorance). Krishna adds that Arjuna’s ignorance must be dispelled before he can attain the clear vision required to do the right thing–that is, to kill the Karauvas.

A psychological interpretation

Lord Krishna Speaks to Arjuna by His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada

Lord Krishna Speaks to Arjuna by His Holiness Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada via Flickr

Don’t let this brief summary fool you. The Gita is not a mere outburst nor artistic representation of anger. Krishna forwards a detailed philosophical and religious argument advocating the physical killing of human beings. Taken literally, the Gita says killing human beings who disrupt the moral order is not just okay, it’s holy.

Some may agree with this stance, citing rough parallels like the Jewish Holy War, the Christian Just War and the Muslim jihad. Others find it deplorable.

Like any text, literary or not, the Gita must be interpreted. So forgetting the bellicose readings of the Gita, it seems more constructive to interpret the Gita on a psycho-spiritual level. This isn’t a novel approach. Several Indian thinkers have written about the psychological aspects of the Gita. In fact, the great champion of non-violence, Mohandas Gandhi, said the Gita was his favorite book, one that could untie any spiritual knot.

Gandhi’s notion of spiritual knots reminds us that the psyche can be complicated. Some psychologists say that the complexities of the psyche are genetically determined. Behaviorists, on the other hand, say the mind is conditioned by the environment. Most, however, take the middle way by highlighting nature and nurture.

But the analysis shouldn’t stop there. Many theologians from different religions believe that spiritual powers act on our personalities, a perspective often ignored within psychology.

Sri Ramakrishna and C. G. Jung

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa - Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore by Chetan Hegde M

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa – Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore by Chetan Hegde M via Flickr

The Indian holy man Sri Ramakrishna says that spiritual enlightenment entails a process of purification. This process is not always easy to endure. For Ramakrishna, the inferior aspects of the personality are purged through the mechanism of suffering.

Ramakrishna gives an analogy of rotten tomatoes. Old tomatoes rot faster, he says, when bashed up and thrown out the window. This might sound enigmatic but Ramakrishna’s analogy might be better understood if we compare it to Carl Jung’s work on psychological suffering within the context of alchemy.

Jung studied ancient and medieval alchemical practices and came to see alchemy as a process of inner transformation. He believed the alchemist’s desire to transform base metals into gold mirrored their psychological transformation. As metals are heated and transformed, the alchemist evolves psychologically.

Some alchemists, no doubt, were hucksters trying to scam zealous aristocrats searching for gold, but others were sincere. The true alchemist sought to create a mystical tonic to cure illness and ensure immortality. But this elixir came through prolonged boilings, just as psycho-spiritual purification entails suffering.

Jung’s view of alchemy parallels Ramakrishna’s take on the Gita because both point to a stormy and painful stage of personal growth.

As we journey through life, people and events tempt or irritate us. During moments of temptation or agitation our lesser qualities can arise. Some accept these personality aspects, leaving them unchanged. For these people it’s not degrading to express their animal – or perhaps evil – nature. It’s just natural, healthy and whole. By way of contrast, potential saints are consumed with the idea of eradicating lower personality traits. Some may even self-flagellate in an attempt to conquer sinful tendencies.

Most of us fall somewhere between those two extremes. Confronted with bad habits or irritating people, we can view that as an opportunity for reflection, knowledge and self-control.

Apostle Paul. Byzantine mosaic at the...

Apostle Paul. Byzantine mosaic at the cathedral of Monreale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A psychological interpretation of the Gita views much of life as a battlefield. We are often confronted with antagonistic influences, personalities and opinions. But life isn’t quite that simple. And a psychological interpretation of the Gita, while superior to a literal one, dwells on the abrasive side of human relationships.

However, disharmony is only half the story. Perhaps not even half. Conflicts will always arise. But other people can give us a lift and not just bring us down. And instead of hitting back when people hurt us, shouldn’t we try to overcome our pain and anger through understanding and compassion?

As Saint Paul says:

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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