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Why I switched my major from Sociology to Religious Studies (not that that was the be all and end all…)

This morning I came across a tweeted story (below) that at first glance I liked. It reminded me of my sociology days at Trent university where many of the professors in that department were above average. Especially in sociological theory. John Hillman covered the classical thinkers with an admirable depth for an undergrad course. Frank Nutch was the fun, alternative professor; a real gem of a guy who introduced me to the sociology of science. Andrew Werknick covered contemporary sociological theory, mostly European. Coming from the UK, Wernick seemed to have a close connection to the European scene. And the late Alexander Wilson was one of the coolest guys you could ever hope to meet. Up from California, he talked about Disneyland as a microcosm for all the imagery and spin we see in the greater North American media. These guys and a few other professors, male and female, really opened my mind. And I thank them.

But it wasn’t enough and I had to move on to something more comprehensive. Hence my switch to comparative religion and then religious studies. Not surprisingly, I used a sociological method (the postmodern work of Michel Foucault) in my doctoral thesis on Carl Jung. I was happy to graduate but, to be honest, that work was the outcome of so many strange and unsettling political forces that I don’t see it as a pinnacle of personal achievement. In retrospect, I see my graduate studies as another bridge I had to cross.

Anyhow, here’s a quote from this morning’s tweeted story:

For Bahro, a peaceful eco-communist alternative to capitalism is both possible and essential, but the belief that capitalism offers a life that is desirable must first be overturned if this alternative is to flourish. Through a variety of psychological strategies subsumed under the rubric of ‘retail therapy’, capitalism promotes pseudo-individualistic lifestyles, drives the desires of the self-absorbed, and promises fulfillment from the menu of all-you-can-eat. Retail therapy locates meaning in life through clothes, cars, homes, holidays and furniture. (view in context).

So what’s wrong with this view?

Well, the overall piece talks about spirituality but it sets up a false conflict between capitalism and spirituality. For me, going out to shop can be a spiritual exercise. We don’t need to compartmentalize “spirituality” and “the world” as so many hack thinkers do. It’s not as if God closes his or her eyes the moment we decide to enter a Pizza Hut or Tim Hortons. Far from it. If we do not objectify other people, interacting with employees can be quite spiritual and an important part of one’s overall journey.

So why the sharp division between “capitalism” and “spirituality?”

A person with any spiritual depth understands that God is everywhere. He or She is not just locked up in monasteries or in the Green movement. Everywhere is everywhere. Period.

All we really have to do is open our eyes and see what’s already there. And I think this perspective, if anything, would help to make the world a better, fairer place. If we see other people as our human brothers and sisters, there is far less chance of wanting to exploit, lie, cheat or rob.

Sadly, the biggest joke is that religion often bolsters people into doing bad things. These people believe the end justifies the means. But in most cases that’s ass backwards. As the good book teaches:

A good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matt. 7-17).

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Today’s Top Tweet – Every nation has a shadow, says Quartz author

Quartz just posted a Jungian article about how every nation has a shadow (or shadows), a topic I talked about here.

The tweeted article probably uses the singular “shadow” in the header because this reads better and is more attention grabbing than the plural, “shadows.” This usage seems simplistic but if we read on, the plural form arises:

Just as individuals have shadows, so do societies and nations. And, according to Jung’s theory, it’s important to be aware of your shadow in order to manage it. “If you’re aware of it, you can have more control over it instead of it controlling you,” says Bennet. “The more things are being repressed, hidden and denied, [the more likely] they will emerge in other ways.”

Not to imply that I am a die-hard Jungian. Far from it.

The shadow is an archetype in Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. But feminist scholars like Naomi Goldenberg have been questioning the Jungian idea of the archetype for decades.

Goldenberg says that ideas about an “Eternal Woman” can lead to and reinforce unfair sex role stereotypes. And I, myself, have questioned the idea of the archetype when New Age enthusiasts say that The Virgin Mary, Kali, Kwan Yin, and Isis (the goddess) are all the same.

Still, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that different nations respectively have something in common which comes out as national identity. On the other hand, with increased globalization we have to wonder if this is an idea subject to change.


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Some ‘peace loving’ liberals get violent and attack private property

Sometimes I wonder if people who get so angry about things are just projecting their own unconscious shadow. Not  all, mind you. But when some liberal protesters take to random, unfocused acts of violence in protest of a supposedly potentially violent man, one has to wonder.

Maybe old Carl Jung, the guy I did my PhD thesis on, was on to something. Actually, no. It was Freud who first formulated the idea of projection. Jung followed and expanded it.


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Psychic Spies – If true, they’d have a real edge because most people would think it’s crazy

English: Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld ex...

Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld experiment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russell Targ is quite well known throughout the parapsychology world. He’s a physicist who does experiments concerning psi phenomena. Targ has observed that results were more significant while conducting research with a pure heart, instead of just trying to make money. This is hardly surprising because, I would argue, any genuine psi (or insight) comes from God.

But there is another possibility. And that is of dark psi.

Could knaves and thieves possess a kind of twisted psi and use that to the detriment of the free world?

I’ve written about this possibility throughout earthpages.org and earthpages.ca. I still cannot say for sure. Psi is a tricky business. And if a hostile spy from a crummy regime were to try to infiltrate a good country, one of his or her advantages would be that most unsuspecting civilians would think the idea preposterous. And a truly cagey spy would try to make anyone who could blow their cover look crazy. They’d use psychiatric terms or anything else they had at their disposal to try to marginalize those in the know.

Why?

Because a hostile psi-spy, if you will, would be desperate and paranoid, like most people under the influence of evil.


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Another (questionable) side of Carl Jung… and Freud too

Jung…was physically large, selfish, bullying and loud of voice; he cheated at games, had a vile temper and appalling table manners; he thought men should be polygamous but that Emma [his wife] should be his alone. He was also narcissistic and unbalanced, coming from a family with severe mental health problems.¹

English: Group photo in front of Clark Univers...

Group photo in front of Clark University Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung; Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi. Photo taken for Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts publication. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Whew! That’s what my father would have called a “hatchet job.”

Q: Is this a fair assessment of Carl Jung, the psychologist who has inspired many by trying to bridge the gap between psychology and spirituality?

A: I think the tweeted article is important to read, even if definitely slanted. Always good to hear both sides. And, come to think of it, I recall Carl Jung’s son saying much the same thing—that Jung Sr. wasn’t the greatest dad in the world. Also, having studied Jung for several years, I knew about his polygamy. But I hadn’t fully considered – nor heard – that he demanded monogamy from his wife.

While reading the tweeted story I began to think about something I’ve been considering for a while now: Are insights, theories or moral teachings invalidated by the less than admirable behavior of those advancing them?

In the Bible story, if I remember right, Jesus tells others to do what corrupt preachers say but not what they actually do. Jesus is not condemning their good teaching but rather their bad example. I think this is an important distinction to keep in mind. It doesn’t get someone off the hook for being creepy. But it does suggest that, since we’re all ethically imperfect, a realistic and arguably effective approach to life demands a nuanced understanding of how most human beings actually work.

¹ http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/emma-jung-and-her-impossible-husband/


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I wouldn’t call this a synchronicity but it was convenient…

The day after I did my spoken piece about Carl Jung, it just so happened that “synchronicity” was the next topic for updating at earthpages.ca. I wouldn’t call that a synchronicity because the podcast also dealt with Jung’s views on UFOs. But heck, it was convenient. I was totally primed to update the entry because I’d been talking about it the day before, browsing through my PhD thesis, and so on.

I like the way the written entry came out (tweeted above). The podcast, however, sounded a bit rambly the next day. However, I won’t let that stop me. Practice makes perfect and I’ll keep extemporizing until I get good at it. One thing’s for certain, talking into a mic live has given me a whole new appreciation for people like Don Lemon, Nancy Grace, and many others. We don’t realize how good they are until we try it ourselves!


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Carl Jung – A Complicated Guy in a Complicated World

This morning I came across two tweets that demanded commentary. This is my second podcast. I feel the actual delivery is a bit better than the first but technically, the sound quality is a tiny bit over-driven. If I were an electric guitar that would be okay. But next time I’ll bring the levels down a touch. For years I recorded using analog tape decks, and with those it’s desirable to have the meters go in the red a bit. The sound gets nicely saturated. But with digital recording, it gets clipped. Luckily, the clipping in this recording is acceptable. And one can hear what I’m saying just fine.🙂

For references about Jung in the podcast, follow this link:

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk3/ftp04/nq21958.pdf

  • Synchronicity is “not sought at all but found” – Footote 2, pp. 94-95
  • Jung doesn’t know if UFO acounts are true or false – Footnote 2, p. 87