A Brief History of the Holidays

Can you believe it? Black Friday is here again (be careful out there!), Christmas jingles fill the airways, and our flagging economy gears up for another festive orgasm of high sales figures and disappointing profit-margins to honor material fixations in the cellophane guise of spiritual devotion.

Lest we forget the humbler origins of religious reverence amid the frenetic frenzy of instant need-gratification, here are some little-known facts about the history of the holiday season:

Did you know?

That our traditional Thanksgiving dinner actually dates back to Julius Caesar? Shakespeare immortalized his famous plea to Brutus, “Et tu…?”, though this is an historical inaccuracy. It was actually Brutus’ query to his slave, Wimpy, who not having et all day upon entering the senate cafeteria, responded: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Many historians believe this to be the basis of the modern pay-by-installment system whereby one signs one’s life over to the one percent for the privilege of sharing and maintaining its bounty.

At the time, hamburgers were a symbol of wealth and prosperity enjoyed only by a powerful minority; but they soon became so plentiful during the Pax Romana that rotting surfeits accrued. The putrid meat was tossed to crowds of starving citizens in annual celebrations in which they gave thanks to a violent and self-serving elite which allowed many of them to survive.

Did You Know?

That in an epicurean gala of “all the hamburgers you can eat”, Roman senators purged their spirits on specially reserved stone couches in great stadiums (the prototype of today’s luxury sky-boxes) to watch Lions eat Christians amid the dull, half-dozing revelry of inflated stomachs, mead-guzzling, and rude, noisome bodily emissions? The Lions still symbolize the old tradition, though somewhat less competitively today, and soda pop now eases the dispepsia of over-ingestion.

According to primary sources, as a result of crude meat preservation, bacteria-laden overages, and the unrestrained excesses of the senators: “There were not a bare spote of grounde in the near propinquity of the spirit-purge the size of a denarius wherein the Senators had not expunged some foule and variouse forme of excretium.

Did you know?

That the tradition later re-emerged in the New World in more civilized form as Christian compensation spread its new gospel of love to a primitive, animal-like heathenry? Annual banquets were held — but this time, in accordance with the selfless creed devoted to the service of religious life. The copious bounties were shared freely with the rude race of primitives (once a year) in joyful anticipation of converting/exterminating them to relieve them of their natural dignity along with whatever else the emissaries deemed proper return for the divine sacrifice of having to depend on savages in the name of God.

Did you know?

That our modern Christmas began as a pagan ritual marking the winter solstice? The shortest day and the longest night of the year translated to the ancient mind as a symbol of bitter hardship and deep depression, and this primitive heritage underlies the high suicide rates which, for many, only add to the festivities of the holiday season (compensation for the fantastic history of a divine ego which is yet subject to natural law).

Outbursts of consumerism now replace the orgiastic sexual excesses of old; boozy office parties and the suggestive lure of kisses under the mistletoe stand today only as fading silhouettes of the naked debauchery of our ancestors and convince us that the lowest forms of sensual greed have been magically transformed into lofty intellectual pursuits through repression and the pretense of belief.

Did you know?

That the jolly old St. Nick our children dream so wistfully of on Christmas Eve evolved from the ancient Norse god, Nikolai of the Twelve Engorgements? The terrible gifts he proffered were enslavement, abuse, and exploitation in return for only the barest physical sustenance. He presided over the fate of humanity’s forgotten children whose self-serving progenitors’ nurturing instincts had been overcome by the blind pursuit of immediate personal gain. Fortunately, they only ever comprised about one percent of the population.

His tragic, innocent victims were later euphemized as cute helper “dwarfs” by a wise ruling elite determined to improve humanity’s condition whatever the cost to itself; though a small handful of backward-oriented, bitter, and disgruntled naysayers of contemporary culture propose that unconscious aspects of the original image have now morphed into the modern form of “managed mass deception” for the purposes of maintaining the run-away avarice of a wealthy, dissociated, and unregulated one percent.

Did You Know?

That no poor, pitiful unwitting beast of lower intelligence, human or animal, is off limits to the usury and exploitation beneath the carefully staged benign, even pleasant, subliminally-induced commercial images of corporate media-interests which trigger the Pavlov-like responses of sensual self-indulgence we’ve been conditioned to like automatons through the merest suggestion of the most transparent, pre-packaged advertisements?

Click here for a serious look at our modern predicament.

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Psych-Standards for Public Office?

Legislative response to public outcries for the mental evaluation of our nation’s political leaders has finally arrived. Psychological standards for holding office are now being considered on both state and federal levels. After years of closed-door negotiations, an APA-backed proposal defining the depth and nature of testing procedures has been drafted.

A slip-tight majority approved an independent committee’s recommendation to hold the nation’s decision-makers to the minimal standards of “at least, say, a sanitation worker.” Only the slim-jim of a disgruntled populace decided the fate of the controversial bill first introduced by senator, Wares DeBiefe.

Angry phone calls, e-mails, texts, twitters, tooters, tweets, hooters, spoots, faxes, and floots from outraged citizens nationwide so overwhelmed Capitol electronic circuits that the overloads inadvertently set off alarms. Congressional members rushed head-long into the streets as in a jail-break.

When order was finally restored by the Federal Bureau of Instigation, the panic produced by what were later assessed as “projected fears of mass conspiracy” left lawmakers so shaken, even lunch was cancelled. “They’re not accustomed to immediate response outside physical threat and the denial reflex.” an inside source told Entertainment-For-Spite amid the chaos. 

“It was the perfect storm.” an anonymous aide explained after the dust settled. Congress finally reconvened — two weeks after the potential catastrophe which never happened had left the projected portent of emotional angst in the over-sensitive guilt complexes of the nation’s public servants. 

I spoke with Dr. Norm Gruupe, who will oversee the testing. “Many of the aging politicos familiar with the psychoanalytic theories of the Freudian era worried about phallic issues. What the old school conceived as a classic clinging to a patriarchal power-complex — a regressive, reverse weenis-envy with anxiety-induced erectile aberration compensated by premature verbal ejaculation — we now know to be of chemical causation correlated with the mediating mechanism of male menopause; age-related functional failure of the weenis itself, which modern medicines have cured

“The younger members were more concerned with peer approval,” he continued, “and we took advantage of that as leverage for negotiation. We finally settled on the ‘good therapist/bad therapist’ tack and separated them into random groups to test responses. Fortunately, clear-headed reason prevailed, and much needed criteria for public service were approved  for consideration.” 

“I don’t think the old trickle-down psychology ever worked.” Dr. Gruupe mused. While his inside experience of the political process had increased his respect for corporate interests intent on abnegating legislative restraints altogether and just allowing each individual to “go for it” in an unregulated free market, the lure of political corruption still lurked. He rummaged in his head: “The each-for-himself capitalist approach, especially in light of federal uber-reach, might just be crazy enough to work in a real free market. Anywhoo…

“To appraise the situation, we sent out market-test questionnaires with yes/no boxes. These matched up only with random statistical patterns which showed no continuity. We knew then we had a formidable task ahead of us.”

When responses were required in essay form, Dr. Gruupe explained, they had to run them through computerized code-breaking sequences to determine their actual content. “Even our most experienced psychologists couldn’t make sense of them.” he said; though, he added, it was no surprise. “Their statements were so subtle and contradictory that we couldn’t leave the grunt-work to college psych majors as we do with the general public.”

Various testing procedures were applied to determine which might be the most effective in establishing criteria for service. “General assessment began with the IQ/Deceivement Test.” Dr. Gruupe said. “High verbal acuity conflicted with low meaning-scales under comprehensive analysis and,  in the end, we were forced to resort to the “Animal Metaphor Test” to arrive at a curve for evaluation.”

That test proved to be the most efficient for distinguishing motive intent in the incoherent catchword-designed articulations required for public deception. The Rorshach had resulted only in meaningless meanderings that left even test professionals confused and disoriented. Many were alarmed at the results.

Free association proved equally unproductive. “I could only describe their results as a strange hybrid of P.T. Barnum, Nietzsche, and Billy Graham.” Dr. Gruupe recalled. “The neurocognitive functions first appeared normal, but on further examination, analogical inconsistencies contrasted so starkly with any coherent parameters of organized thought that we were compelled to reject one exam after another and try more creative approaches…

“It was the appearance of neurocognitive normalcy that threw us off. Even our assessment team began to question their sanity. Think about it. They all aced the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.  Semantic and episodic memory scores were off the charts. They blew the lid off the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia, yet they were quite unable to answer a simple, direct question. We shit-canned the Ruff Figural Fluency; even considered the possibility that they may be an atavistic species of weird savant tuned to an upside-down world all their own.”

For a serious examination of the upside-down psychic world, click here.

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Political Reality

“The underlying tension of the individual’s relation to culture… is a fundamental conflict of psychic life, a catalyst for development from infancy to old age. If the individual cannot discern him/herself apart from these impersonal forces, he/she is unconsciously carried along by them, and this herding effect only magnifies the dangerous potential of mass movements. All unconscious conflicts have a dual nature: subjective and objective, personal and social, creative and destructive. Their opposing tendencies converge in the psyche, and they determine our actions. How we perceive and evaluate them will decide our future.” — A Mid-Life Perspective: Conversations With The Unconscious

As I wrote in my last post, the political landscape has changed since Jung shared his observations in 1957. Spiritual values, however rudely conceived, appeal to a fast-shrinking minority whose leadership is increasingly irrelevant today. But, the facts of nature that science would educate us to are no more incorporated than were the religious ideals of two thousand years ago.

The compensations for the repression of the soul, the reality of the individual, are reflected in impersonal ideologies: emotional harbor for the mass social units under the direction of those manipulating them for their own ends. But, as Jung wrote:

The rulers… are just as much social units as the ruled… distinguished only by the fact that they are specialized mouthpieces of the State Doctrine. They do not need to be personalities capable of judgment, but thoroughgoing specialists who are unusable outside their line of business. State policy decides what shall be taught and studied.

Today, rather than a “State policy”, we might say a “majority ideology”; though those vying for it are so polarized that a single policy can’t describe the conflicting ideas in them. Jung’s observations still apply:

The… doctrine is for its part manipulated in the name of… policy by those occupying the highest positions in the government, where all the power is concentrated. Whoever, by election or caprice, gets into one of these positions is subject to no higher authority; he is the… policy itself and within… limits… can proceed at his own discretion… He is thus the only individual or, at any rate, one of the few… who could make use of their individuality if only they knew how to differentiate themselves from the… doctrine.

They are more likely, however, to be the slaves of their own fictions. Such one-sidedness is always compensated psychologically by unconscious subversive tendencies. Slavery and rebellion are inseparable correlates. Hence, rivalry for power and exaggerated mistrust pervade the entire organism from top to bottom… to compensate its chaotic formlessness, a mass always produces a “Leader,” who… becomes the victim of his own inflated ego-consciousness.”

Modern conditions are more complicated than George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ once suggested, though their effects are the same. The concentration of power is more diffuse; the “Leader” more a figure-head for those behind the scenes dictating policy through the buying and selling of influence. Mass media and commercial manipulation accomplish the same goals more easily through benign subversion than threat and intimidation. Still, the facts of its unconscious reality will sooner or later be impressed on an inflated ego.

This development becomes logically unavoidable the moment the individual combines with the mass and thus renders himself obsolete. Apart from the agglomeration of huge masses in which the individual disappears anyway, one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and becomes a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance.

It’s an historical fact that only the individual’s creative responses to collective conflicts point the way to different perceptions of them. The personal “neuroses” of today are the conscious psychic functions of tomorrow, and as more and more individuals are forced to confront themselves through them, so they may create a new attitude to the psychological facts of our conditions. But:

Looked at rationally and from outside… it seems positively absurd to go on talking about the value or meaning of the individual. Indeed, one can hardly imagine how one ever came to endow individual human life with so much dignity when the truth to the contrary is as plain as the palm of your hand…

Under these circumstances it is small wonder that individual judgment grows increasingly uncertain of itself and that responsibility is collectivized… and delegated to a corporate body. In this way the individual becomes more and more a function of society… whereas, in actual fact, society is nothing more than an abstract idea… The State [the ideology] in particular is turned into a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected. In reality it is only a camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it.”

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Knowledge and Understanding

Centuries of spiritual idealism which sought to develop the soul have… convinced us that we have only to believe in it to achieve it – for those who can still believe. For those who can’t, a new ideal of material progress now discards the too-taxing task of looking inward as not worth the effort…  Ever more advanced technologies draw us further outside ourselves and into devices. Instant access and constant exposure to the subliminal effects of marketing and advertising cultivate unconscious emotions so paradoxical that what is meant to emancipate and connect also finds us dependent and alienated — our most personal and intimate needs indistinguishable from carefully instilled, pre-packed desires.“ A Mid-Life Perspective: Conversations With The Unconscious.

That consciousness may be spiraling out of control and in danger of losing itself in its own subjectivity, is apparent when viewed from an historical perspective. Important though the sciences of the humanities may be for our education, it’s a mistake to confuse knowledge with understanding. Jung wrote in, Civilization In Transition:

In view of the fact that, in principle, the positive advantages of knowledge work specifically to the disadvantage of understanding, the judgment resulting therefrom is likely to be something of a paradox. Judged scientifically, the individual is nothing but a unit which… could just as well be designated with a letter of the alphabet. For understanding, on the other hand, it is just the unique individual human being who, when stripped of all those conformities and regularities so dear to… the scientist, is the supreme and only real object of investigation.”

Why this is so is frighteningly evident today– not because of the recent advance of science itself but in our use of it. Unless you’re a politician, the people you know are mostly decent folks whose self-deceptions far outweigh any conscious ill-intent to others. But, magnify those seemingly insignificant projections times four billion and re-collectivize them according to ideology, and they morph into world catastrophes waiting to happen:

Scientific education is based in the main on statistical truths and abstract knowledge and therefore imparts an unrealistic, rational picture of the world, in which the individual, as a merely marginal phenomenon, plays no role. The individual, however, as an irrational datum, is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal or “normal” man to whom scientific statements refer.

That we all have such unrealistic, rational conceptions of ourselves could become clearer  – if we applied our scientific education to our own activities:

What is more, most of the natural sciences try to represent the results of their investigations as though these had come into existence without man’s intervention, in such a way that the collaboration of the psyche… remains invisible… So, in this respect as well, science conveys a picture of the world in which a real human psyche appears to be excluded — the very antithesis of the “humanities“.”

As Jung explained, the paradox results from a psychic condition in which ego is possessed by one function.  This, he described as a new stage of consciousness. The unconscious functions formerly projected into the deity are introjected and felt as personal qualities. The result is an identification with intellect in which ego is “puffed up” or inflated: the self-fulfilling prophecy of the old biblical warning in modern guise.

Under the influence of scientific assumptions, not only the psyche and the individual man and, indeed, all individual events… suffer a levelling down… a process of blurring that distorts the picture of reality into a conceptual average. We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world-picture: it thrusts aside the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations. Instead of the concrete individual, you have the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality.”

The current political reality has changed somewhat since Jung’s observations in 1957 — but their bases haven’t. Instead of “the State”, we might refer to vying ideologies paralyzed by conflicts of progression and regression that now find us at a standstill; an unconscious reality is in open rebellion.

Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have… the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State [the ideology], which is thrust upon the individual from outside and consists in… an abstract idea which ultimately tends to attract all life to itself. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision of how to live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed, as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses.

(Next: Political Reality)

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Back to Basics

In 1912, Einstein introduced his theory of special relativity. One experiment he devised to test his intuition that time and space might be relative to the observer was surprisingly simple:

He set two cameras at either end of a train platform. A car was prepared so that a small explosion triggered at the mid-point of the platform, and the cameras then photographed the explosion at the instant of its detonation. The exact times were recorded at each location; a difference was found between them.

We’re familiar with the impact Einstein’s theories had on science. He proved that time and space are relative to the observer and also to motion. He revolutionized existing conceptions of energy and paved the way for modern technology.

In the same year, C.G. Jung introduced his theory of psychic energy: an analogy of Einstein’s physical discoveries. He showed that perception is relative to the individual; that our human objectivity is not what it appears to be. His ‘subjective factor‘ is still little acknowledged today even by psychology, much less science, a century since. Each in his own field showed that any depth perspective of nature is counter-intuitive.

Einstein’s later theory of general relativity turned Newton’s assumptions about gravity upside down. He proved that the gravitational effect of a body in space is proportional to its mass; that its effects are not immediate but relative to the speed of light. Jung’s studies of complexes again had remarkable similarities with the physical concepts. 

The mass, or value, of a complex of ideas determines the gravitational effects of an instinctual function. The more vital the function, the more its energy draws psychic material to it, creating a complex of emotionally charged associations. Though the function itself is common to all, its subjective value is relative to the individual, and this general principle is borne out by experience:

So much so that the idea of complexes is now used in everyday speech. One may have a ‘power complex’ or an ‘inferiority complex’ or a ‘sexual complex’. It’s part of what makes us unique; a visible form of psychic energy which is expressed in symbols or symbolic behavior.

Jung showed how images reflect natural functions; that the unconscious psyche expresses them in this symbolic picture-language. Much as one might interpret an unknown language through the comparative analysis of the associations and context of certain words and ideas, he discovered basic themes which recur in the myths and symbols of all people. These analogies reflect our common structure.

Personal values both conceal and reveal the dual nature of symbols according to individual disposition. More general perspectives are partially determined by a favored subjective function such as thinking or feeling, and also by the attitude-type. In the extraverted type, the weight of value lies in the external world. In the introvert, the accent is on the internal ‘object’. These, combined with the unique nature of consciousness, are the pre-conditions of perception. 

It’s not exactly a paradox that physical discoveries and their psychic parallels are so unevenly acknowledged. The complexities of self-observation depend on laws which are just as objective as those governing any natural process; but because the subjective mind is unique, they can only be inferred through a process of self-analysis in which the unconscious supplies the objective material for comparison. Few outside observers have the ability beyond their own projections to evaluate the effects of individual development.

Jung’s concepts were as revolutionary as Einstein’s. They’re even more vital in the wake of technological advancements. The quantum physicist is motivated by the same human fears and insecurities as in biblical times — but can he conceive a psychological equivalent of ‘E=MC²’? (Maybe: Psychic energy=concrete thought x the evolution of consciousness²?)

The rational perspective only magnifies the split between an artificial reality and an unconscious psychic one which would guide us in a natural direction. That nature’s inborn wisdom exceeds conscious knowledge is apparent to a reflective mind. But, the ego-projections behind ideological and political disputes make science and technology as dangerous as it is productive. Where is the science of the mind?

Ego-psychologies based on collective norms have failed to deliver. The tension between conscious and unconscious has now reached epic proportions. There are special reasons for this which standardized methods can’t address. That spiritual reflection might be as basic a demand as biological and social ones is beyond their purview.

Spiritual development, the extension of consciousness and not just intellect,  is opposed to the world of the senses; it’s that opposition we’re facing now. Jung conceived a model over a century ago which outlined our modern conflicts. To make any sense of them requires psychological knowledge and reflection, not just conscious belief or rational assumption. 

Jung demonstrated that the religious factor is a vital human function. Has it just disappeared, or have the symbols changed form? The old religion was ineffective to the extent that ego identified with its own compensations. Do we think we understand what that means and what it’s for any more than what E=MC² means to the inner beast that exploits the knowledge in it? 

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Psychic Relativity

Science has proven that nature operates by the law of opposites. Jung based his psychology on that basic fact, and alchemy provided much philosophical material for his research.

It’s best illustrated by analogy, and Goethe was a master of its poetic form. His story of Faust, the alchemical doctor who confronted his inner opposite in a ‘pact with the Devil’, was a continuation of the symbolic tale of conscious development which earlier appeared in Job:

The bargain between Jehovah and Satan foreshadowed a personal dialogue with the spirit in which consciousness began to take an active role. Developmentally, it meant a capacity for choice, to question and doubt —  even the authority of God, so that man could participate in his own fate.

The depth of Goethe’s experience was described by Jung as a spiritual advance; a foreshadowing of the religious task confronting modern man. As with Job, a new perspective of the inner world and the personal responsibility it carries with it, means a confrontation with collective values.

Faust’s inner journey begins when rational thought no longer serves the purposes of development. He feels the dark influence of the earthly spirit: “No dog could live thus any more!/So I have turned to magic lore…” It signals the mid-life stage when the paradox of individuality asserts itself.

The spirit’s energy exceeds consciousness; as it steadily accumulates over the first half of life, it can be frightening when it first emerges: this spirit confronts Faust as he reflects on the the depth of its symbol: “…what a pitiable fright/Grips thee, thou Superman! Where is the soul elated?/Where is the breast that in its self a world created?/… Is it thou, who by my breath surrounded,/In all the deeps of being art confounded?

This inner challenge is not a one-time experience; it informs a subtle invasion of consciousness that makes Faust question the primacy of collective values. The creative power continues to work in him as he strolls home with Wagner, his rational counterpart. Suddenly, a black dog appears and circles around them curiously. Faust senses a strange connection to his dark preoccupations:

He seems in magic nooses to be sweeping/Around our feet, a future snare to bind.” The rational part sees only the thing itself, and Wagner responds: “I see he doubts, he’s timidly around us leaping/Two strangers — not his master — does he find.” Faust perceives its symbolic portent: “The circle narrows, he’s already near!” Wagner can’t see it: “You see a dog. It is no spectre here.

Faust befriends the black dog and lays a cushion for it behind the stove in his study. He begins translating the Bible into his beloved German. He ponders the first line, ‘In the beginning was the Word’ and concludes: “It seems impossible the Word so high to prize, I must translate it otherwise.

So begins Faust’s confrontation with traditional religious philosophy. The black dog begins to sniff and snarl behind the stove. Suddenly, it swells into a terrifying beast in a cloud of smoke, red eyes glowing through the mist. Faust casts a spell, and out of the vapor steps Mephistopheles (he with the cloven hoof) dressed as a scholar. Faust asks who he is:

Mephistopheles:The question seems but cheap/For one who for the Word has such contempt,/Who from all outward show is quite exempt/And only into beings would delve deep.” Faust senses his uncanny power and again asks who he is:

“Mephistopheles.  Part of that Power which would/The Evil ever do and  ever does the Good./Faust.  A riddle! Say what it implies! /Mephistopheles.  I am the Spirit that denies!”                                                          

Faust is confused: “You call yourself a part, yet whole you’re standing there.” Mephistopheles: “A modest truth do I declare./A man, the microcosmic fool, down in his soul/Is wont to think himself a whole.

He explains: “… part of the Part of Darkness which gave birth to Light“; the ‘haughty’ light which ‘disputes the ancient rank of its mother’, the unconscious guiding principle which Faust’s rationalism has attracted through the “chance” meeting with the earthly, animal spirit.

Goethe’s intuitive nature met the spirit through the inner opposite; a profound increase in man’s moral awareness: the recognition of two opposed yet related principles which Christian philosophy has divided into two irreconcilable halves. A new stage of psychic evolution was forming. 

The identification of good with conscious desire and evil with the fear of what opposes it results only in unconsciousness. That they’re two side of the same coin is not only a paradox of the unconscious psyche but of life itself. 

The world is smaller today even than in Jung’s time; the more pressurized and compact technology makes it, the greater our adverse impact. The damage we’ve done to our environment in just the last century seems only to predict a darker future than any past history has seen.

I read an interview with Stephen Hawking in which he said that man’s future is in space; that we must accustom ourselves to the idea that we will one day live on a distant planet. He was as convinced of it as any religious zealot’s dissociated ego-projections into the unknown.

Who would want to live on a dead planet in a plexi-glass bubble, subject to a mass of artificial contraptions contrived to keep you alive? What would it say of us to have sacrificed the beauty and mystery of a living Eden for the dry, arid pursuit of a dissociated intellect — and for not much more than self-worship and the projected fear of our own natures? Which witch is which?

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Image, Symbol, and Function

Because a limited will only partially creates our conditions, the deeper effects of our actions are shrouded by the veil of conscious intent. We also react to inner circumstances which are just as real as the outer ones, unseen by the fascination with the sensual and concrete. What we see and what we can’t see are determined by the concepts which shape our perceptions. A different… view is required to grasp the effects of the psychic reality we can’t see: a symbolic one.“ – A Mid-Life Perspective: Conversations With The Unconscious

Four hundred years ago, the facts of a heliocentric universe were empirically established. Though the science of the time proved it beyond doubt, it was not generally accepted for several generations. 

Two centuries ago, Darwin introduced another idea which shook collective views — one still not accepted by many: that the human animal is a product of natural history and not ego-assumptions. His intuitive ideas of adaptation through form and function, natural images previously distorted by religious projections, were confirmed scientifically by observation and comparison.

A hundred years ago, Freud introduced clinical evidence of an unconscious mind. In contrast to prevailing medical views, he applied his observations to the subtle complexities of the psyche.

Fifty years ago, Carl Jung established a body of empirical facts which proved that our views of ego-consciousness are dangerously over-estimated. One of his most important contributions was the idea of symbolic thinking. His in-depth studies of symbols followed directly from his own psychic experiences, and through them he discovered a wealth of information previously hidden in the peculiar language of the so-called primitive psyche.

That the unconscious was seen as primitive in the negative sense was due not only to Freud’s influence in the early years of psychoanalysis but to the role generally ascribed to consciousness. The mind of that time couldn’t imagine that thought was not its own arbiter. Freud showed clinically that it wasn’t — at least not in ‘neurotics’. Psychology was for those who were ‘sick’ or had special weaknesses. Jung challenged the assumption by proving psychic experience to be relative to the individual – often contrary to social labels and expectations.

Freud’s philosophy, while acknowledging an unconscious mind, considered it a kind of crude inheritance which modern man would soon overcome by a superior intellect. He theorized ‘archaic vestiges’ as primitive relics which consciousness had outgrown the need for; though the conflicts they created couldn’t be denied.

As a result, concepts of unconscious mental functioning were slow to develop. Our egocentric notions of who and what we are were again threatened. Though men have always thought they knew what they were doing, yet they haven’t — the very idea of an unconscious psyche contradicted it.

Our views of ourselves have been forged mainly by such inflated self-opinions. An honest examination of history confirms our possession by them. Unbiased observation and evaluation by those who thought outside that mold has provided overwhelming evidence for it.

As Jung’s historical setting required a model that grew out of medical pathology, the conflicts of development were initially seen as ‘diseases.’ They were certainly outside the collective norm of the time, but that they might be the inner demands of a transitional stage of consciousness had yet to be conceived.

Without concepts of unconscious psychic functions — their opposition and their purposes — how else could the seeds of inner development appear to a collective ego based on causality but as diseases? Jung showed conclusively that the psyche is purposive as well; causality only half the picture.

Today, the material philosophy of an objective science is the possession of all — while consciousness remains the creation of an instinctual psyche whose symbolic language has evolved for the purposes of Nature; ego but another idol in the dark strivings of a human-like animal who would have ‘god-like’ qualities, yet for two thousand years has been unable to see through the curtain of its own subjective image enough to truly pursue them.

Jung wrote that sooner or later we’ll discover that consciousness has evolved for higher purposes than itself; obscured in the analogies of ‘primitive’ images which are forward oriented but require reflection to perceive. The guiding principle of instinct, in outright opposition to ego’s own over-valuation, now works against us with the same fury of our resistance. 

We can no longer pretend that we know who or what God is. Because we rarely reflect on anything beyond ourselves, that opposite now confronts us. What are the dual purposes of ‘god’ and ‘devil’? The modern task of consciousness is to reflect on the images that would orient us to a bi-polar inner reality and not the literal and one-sided ego-fantasies we’ve so far constructed in the outer world; to reflect on why we’re here and for what.

You may read a review of my book here.

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The Psychological Value of Guilt

Consciousness as a spiritual principle has created a counter-pole to natural, instinctive animal function. Duality, dissociation, and repression have been born in the human psyche simultaneously with the birth of consciousness. This means… that consciousness in order to exist in its own right must, initially at least, be antagonistic to the unconscious… The innate and necessary stages of psychic development require a polarization of the opposites, conscious vs. unconscious, spirit vs. nature.” — Edward Edinger

Webster’s defines guilt as: “Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong or having failed to do something required or expected.” More than just a social mechanism, Jung saw it as a function of relationship which works in two directions.

Even as Webster’s relates it to awareness, so guilt has also the dual function of connecting to an inner reality. Such unconscious conflicts are catalysts for growth from birth; though at mid-life, an increasing psychic horizon reveals them (in the reflective mind, at least) to be religious problems.

Even if you were profoundly devoted to the collective spiritual assumptions you inherited, they were as much wishful fantasies as unconscious intuitions. Goethe said of conventional religion: “So much of hidden poison lies therein, you scarce can tell it from its medicine.”

Though, maybe you were irreligious — either way you’ll be confronted with the relative nature of personal/collective guilt. The modern transition to science and rational thought only brings into relief the grandiose philosophical ideas we’ve manufactured of this business of religion and ego; and guilt remains the spiritual compensation for the Original Sin of self-idolatry and our presumed dominion over nature.

Joseph Campbell illustrated the link between guilt and unconscious demands: instinct concentrated primitive energies for a hunt, for instance, through rituals. Their dual purpose also required their performance afterward. The instinct to kill was necessary for survival, but a natural regulating function was needed to balance it; guilt was the psychic check on blind aggression.

The ritual neutralized it. Nature takes only what it needs: the innate balancing function of life itself. The story of the Garden symbolized the unconscious guilt inherent in the conflict of opposites on the more conscious plane of a religious problem:

In, Ego and Archetype, Edinger wrote: ”The myth of the fall expresses a pattern and a process… that one must go through in one form or another with every new increment of consciousness… being bitten by a snake… has the same meaning that the succumbing to the temptation of the serpent in the Garden of Eden had for Adam and Eve; namely, that an old state of affairs is being lost and a new conscious insight is being born.

Edinger confirmed Campbell’s insight through the blood of Christ in the ritual of communion: it’s “… the covenant-sealing quality which binds man to God… it cleanses from sin… releases one from unconscious guilt. Also it is said to sanctify which… would suggest… the sacred or archetypal dimension into personal consciousness.

But, what does that mean in the modern shift from irrational to rational? To the “new conscious insight being born” today? Erich Neumann wrote in his, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic:

This split between the world of ethical values in the conscious mind and a value-negating, anti-ethical world in the unconscious which has to be suppressed or repressed generates guilt feelings… and accumulations of blocked energies in the unconscious.  Naturally, these are now hostile to the conscious attitude, and when they finally burst their dams they are capable of transforming human history into an unprecedented orgy of destruction.

The image of guilt reveals why there should be such a world lurking beneath conscious ideals. When the “polarization of opposites” reaches a tension that must be released (think war), its unchecked nature means the instinctual counter-pole has turned reason to its own demands. Much of our energy is spent trying to resolve the ideological projections which, without reflection, can no longer match the unconscious consequences of technology. Neumann:

The guilt-feeling based on… the shadow is discharged… in the same way in both the individual and the collective… by the phenomenon of… projection. The shadow, which is in conflict with the acknowledged values, cannot be accepted as a negative part of one’s own psyche and is… transferred to the outside world and experienced as an outside object. It is combated, punished, and exterminated as the “alien out there” instead of being dealt with as “one’s own inner problem”.”

The old ethic (and the new scientific one, too; for the purposes of the old one have not been reflected), the shadow, the guilt, the repressed longing (the natural facts of instinct) are symbolized as a “pact with the Devil” — an image Goethe seized upon in Faust – foreshadowing our modern predicament. He described a consciousness on the threshold of a new insight:

He asks of heaven every fairest star,                                                                                    And of the earth each highest zest,                                                                                         But all things near and all things far                                                                     Cannot appease his deeply troubled breast.”                                                                  

For an interesting look at guilt and the modern religious problem, read more here, or visit Amazon.

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The Conscious Perception of Opposites

“Beneath our scientific preoccupations, we remain in the stage of psychological awareness reflected in our religious heritage. Behind the curtain of moral judgment lurk the split figures of good and evil: a model of how we relate to our unconscious natures. Jung has described how those ideas reflect the positive and negative poles necessary to produce psychic energy: the sliding scale along which consciousness fluctuates in its on-going efforts to define itself. Just as it forms the path of collective history, so in the growth of the individual in the first half of life, the repression of the unconscious required for ego to strengthen and develop now creates circumstances which signal the need for a new relation to it — to balance conscious direction; to relate it, make it relative to the counter-pole of inner development.” — A Mid-Life Perspective: Conversations With The Unconscious.

The world today is in crisis. Though the Western mind has pursued it unaware for millennia, it has now created a dangerous tipping point. As we continue to live out the unconscious myth of God-likeness, so we make illusions of our highest ideals. We don’t know what Nature’s purposes are, but the conscious assumption is clear: “We would be as Gods”; whether knowing good and evil is not so certain.

The unconscious counter-pole (the inner value) which defines what we do that we don’t know we’re doing is a recent insight that goes deeper than ego and intellect. That we’re driven to subjugate nature is plain: it’s the law of ego-compensation, and all our creativity and resources are devoted to it. That it threatens to destroy us, we’re coming to understand but lack the self-knowledge to stop it.

It’s not as if the warning signs appeared out of nowhere with modern technology. The primitive nature of our destructive capacity is only brought into relief by it. But, if we would indeed be God-like in our self-appointed dominion over the earth, a more comprehensive view of life seems worth the effort.

Historically, we’ve given much lip-service to the biblical parables that describe the roots of our problems. Man’s hubris is a major theme of myth and religion. Ego-inflation is a dangerous form of possession. Intellectually, we may know that, but without higher values, ego is blind to itself.

Whatever truths the old religion holds, the contradictions are too transparent for modern sensibilities. Maybe the old adages only echo the hypocrisies of the past. But, if we reflect on our history with the new insights available, we may relate to some of the old truths we’ve left behind. Jung’s discussion of this parable from the Koran is found in his, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, from which the following quotes are taken:

The story concerns Moses’ life-quest for meaning, as he related to his servant: “I will not cease from my wanderings until I reach the place where the two seas meet… though I journey for eighty years.” They reach their ostensible goal only to discover that a mishap has occurred. Moses said: “Bring us our breakfast, for we are weary from this journey.

But the other replied, “See what has befallen me! When we were resting… I forgot the fish. Only Satan can have put it out of my mind, and in wondrous fashion, it took its way to the sea… Moses said: “That is the place we seek… and they went back the way they had come...”

We get an idea here of how the unconscious operates. Leaving things behind is a motif that expresses the progression and regression involved in the stages of development. Consciousness can’t see beyond its own state, and the end-purpose appears first as Satan — but later proves to be indiscernible from the God-image:

And they found one of Our servants, whom we had endowed with Our grace and… wisdom. Moses said to him: “Shall I follow you that you may teach me for my guidance… the wisdom you have learnt?

“But he answered: “You will not bear with me, for how should you bear patiently with things you cannot comprehend?”… Moses said: “If Allah wills, you shall find me patient; I shall not… disobey you…” He said: “If you are bent on following me, you must ask no questions… till I myself speak to you concerning it…”

“The two set forth, but as soon as they embarked, Moses’ companion bored a hole in the bottom of the ship “A strange thing you have done!” exclaimed Moses. “Is it to drown her passengers that you have bored a hole…?

Did I not tell you,” he replied, “that you would not bear with me?”… “Pardon my forgetfulness,” said Moses. “Do not be angry with me…“ They journeyed on until they fell in with a certain youth. Moses’ companion slew him, and Moses said: “You have killed an innocent man, who has done no harm. Surely you have committed a wicked crime.

Did I not tell you,” he replied, “that you would not bear with me?” Moses said, “If ever I question you again, abandon me; for then I should deserve it.

They travelled on until they reached a certain city. They asked the people for some food, but they declined… There they found a wall on the point of falling down. The other raised it up, and Moses said: “Had you wished, you could have demanded payment for your labors.

Now the time has arrived when we must part,” said the other. “But first I will explain those acts… which you could not bear with in patience… Know that the ship belonged to some poor fisherman. I damaged it because in their rear was a king who was taking every ship by force.” (Elsewhere, Jung described how a fisherman happened upon them, rescued them, and took them to the city.)

As for the youth, his parents are true believers, and we feared lest he should plague them with his wickedness and unbelief. It was our wish that their Lord should grant them another… more righteous and more filial.

“As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys… whose father was an honest man. Your Lord decreed… that they should dig out their treasure when they grew to manhood. What I did was not done by caprice. That is the meaning of the things you could not bear with in patience.

For a modern, poetic experience of the confrontation with the opposites from a psychological angle, click here, or visit Amazon.

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The Mystery of the God-Image

God goes on working as before, like an unknown quantity in the depths of the psyche. We do not even know the nature of the simplest thought, let alone the ultimate principles of the psyche. Also, we have no control over its inner life. Because this inner life is intrinsically free and not subject to our will and intentions, it may easily happen that the living thing chosen and defined by us will drop out of its setting… even against our will. Then perhaps we could say with Nietzsche, “God is dead.” Yet it is truer to say, “He has put off our image, and where shall we find him again?” The interregnum is full of danger, for the natural facts will raise their claim in the form of various isms which are productive of nothing but anarchy and destruction because inflation and man’s hybris… have elected to make the ego, in all its ridiculous paltriness, lord of the universe.” – Carl Jung

As consciousness evolves, so do our notions of the deity. Science has exposed His heavenly abode as an intensely violent process of destruction and creation which, though beautiful to behold from a distance, is so inimical to life as we know it that it took the mystery of Nature to round out a special sphere for its evolution. So perfectly ordered is it, so unfathomable, that only the idea of a deity can express it. But, never mind that:

Science is a function of intellect; a uniquely subjective form of objectivity which views life in rational terms. So dissociated is modern thought that God has all but disappeared; a de-personalized consciousness has no feeling for the mysteries of a higher inner power. ‘Intelligent design’ is the new impersonal God of Intellect; material reality filtered through secret ego-images, just as the older spiritual truths were. To re-vision a truer image of life is to incorporate both:

The masculinity once ascribed to Him is no longer tenable. Our genetic make-up dictates that at least a partial aspect of the god-image exists in a man as woman and in a woman as man. Our tenuous identification with gender is based on the preponderance of only one chromosome out of the twenty-three in each cell. A more objective assessment asserts a bisexual nature. Without a concept of the sexes as psychic functions, we lack the tools to balance our natures.

Gene-comparisons of humans and primates have proven to be nearly identical — another aspect of the deity which is as animal as it is human. Egocentric notions of consciousness and deep-seated hostilities toward nature are an affront to life. The technological achievements of the last century require a reappraisal of our relations to animals and our mutual environment.

The role ascribed to genes has shifted the old view, but what we don’t know about them is likewise a god-like quality — another aspect of the elusive spirit which is innate in the very sinews of the body. Considered psychologically, their ultimate purpose and meaning in the heart and soul are beyond objective evaluation.

Matter has been shown to be unimaginably active on the subatomic scale; as if it, too, were animated by a living force. Life exists in the very fabric of the universe — waiting for the proper conditions to become manifest. Our notions of organic and inorganic are incomplete.

The recent reference to a “God-particle“ as a complete physical picture of the universe describes the mystery of psychic wholeness and scientific hubris in two succinct words. Consciousness can only infer a whole from its parts, and physical descriptions relate only to material reality. Without psychological insight, such focus only further alienates us from the human condition.

We have little sense today of the god-image as a function of relationship. Our psychological history is as dead as a textbook. The living psyche is viewed as an animal in a zoo. Self-knowledge is not just biology, anthropology, or the flight of consciousness. Our animal, religious, and philosophical history is who we are.

Objective science only accentuates the profound conflicts ego has always had with this image. The functions defined by our history are as alive in the psyche today as they ever were; the medieval star-gazer, the primitive beast-killer, are still-living realities. We readily see these qualities in ourselves if we’re honest.

As irrational factors, accident and chance comprise another partial aspect of the deity. Our interactions in the world, how we differ, conform, for what purposes and motives, in what unknown circumstances, and with what unforeseeable consequences, are how the spirit works unconsciously.

History shows conflict to be the way of development. To decipher the projections of inner conflict onto outer circumstances is to re-connect with another image of the deity. The major problems today come less from without than within, our survival as a race threatened largely by ego-concerns: compensations as natural and objective as the laws regulating the universe.

Jung’s comparative approach is the only science which describes the living vitality of the psyche’s historical reality. Its language is as old as life and comes straight from the only source of the deity with which we have direct contact: the creative unconscious. The picture of who we are is hidden there. Jung discovered a way to access it; perhaps at a time when we need it most.

For an example of how Jung’s work may be applied personally, click here.

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The Law of Opposites

“Today, our… natures are reflected in division, diversion, disorientation, suggestibility, a longing to adhere to a cause or “ism” or to be contained within the security of a social, political, or religious system which no longer serves the aims of psychic development. Traditional symbols and their interpretations are quickly losing relevance, and the older orientation becomes increasingly ineffective as a check against our animal natures. The “beast within” must be re-interpreted to stimulate a new image which would more adequately express the changing relations with the unconscious. Without its symbols to attract consciousness to goals beyond its own desires, the deeper designs of instinct are projected onto external circumstances and often lead to the violent acting out of what is ultimately a psychological/spiritual conflict.” — A Mid-Life Perpsective: Conversations With The Unconscious.

The world today is a very dangerous place. All perceive themselves as reasonable in the bubbles of their personal lives; yet even those who may legitimately lay claim to such a lofty notion will be forced to admit an all-consuming participation in the destruction of the planet. Collectively, we’re the greatest threat to our own survival, and it would seem important to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. Without those insights, we can’t stop. To that end, I return to the intuitive ideas in Philip Wylie’s, Essay on Morals, published in 1947:

… Jung’s theory of the law which governs instinctual activity… he calls the “law of opposites” — taking the phrase from Oriental philosophy, which has assumed for thousands of years that man obeys compulsions of Nature rather than the immediate dictates of his reason and will.

“The “law of opposites” is nothing more (or less!) than the hypothesis that compensation, complement, and conservation operate subjectively just as they do in the objective world. For every instinct put to conscious use by man — or society — there exists a potential force, equal, opposed, and unconscious, unless the individual (or the group) recognizes the dual nature of instinct.

Our antagonism to Nature is an historical given — it’s a force greater than we can conceive; to protect ourselves from its destructive effects requires tremendous effort. But, our fears and inferiorities in the face of it have produced unconscious ego-reactions that have spiraled out of control. Those compensations form the split that defines the opposition of our inner natures. Wylie:

In physics, this compares with the simple law of action and reaction and resembles the thermodynamic concepts… in psychology, this is a much subtler postulate to catch on to — and far more difficult for Occidental man because he has been brought up to imagine no such law could possibly exist. He believes he is reasonable and when his behavior is otherwise, shrugs it off either unexplained or labeled “irrational.”

 ”We are barely beginning to perceive “opposites” empirically… But nowadays we do know (for example) that the consuming love of a mother may become a hateful instrument for the ruin of her beloved. We have found out that intense pacifism at home abets scornful militarism abroad. We may soon find out… that a nervous militarism at home destroys the liberty it was designed to protect… These are examples of compensations along several levels of instinct.

But that for every prompting we obey, the risk of opposite result is set up, few Western men are willing to consider in relation to themselves. It shakes every pretension… To a pragmatic, positvistic, materialistic “civilization” it proposes — for instance — that orientation toward objects has put the whole subjective nature of society in jeopardy. We may go mad — or be mad.

But, a subjective mind can’t measure its own “madness” objectively. That “we are barely beginning to perceive “opposites” empirically” is in itself an insight. That consciousness is in conflict with itself and its own nature (and always has been in some projected form) is psychologically indisputable today in the light of Jung’s discoveries.

Contemporary man does perceive to some degree that what he calls “ethics” or… “morality,” or, perhaps, his “social science,” must now “catch up with material power and know-how.” But he hardly conceives that his current subjective chaos is the inevitable consequence of a psychological law of compensation — that he is paying in world-wide hostility, rage, frustration and fear for his long, conscious concentration on objects, at vast cost to any realistic awareness of, dedication to, or even development of, his subjective life.

The only way a subjective mind may glimpse it’s own objective nature is by the consequences of its actions. If we can’t admit them and rationalize them away, we make victims not only of ourselves but of all life — a sad testament to Nature’s experiment of a conscious animal.

(For a real wake-up call, visit Peter Jeanmaire’s website. Click on Englisch and read the two pdf articles. If you prefer to ignore our prediament, don’t click here.)

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Statistics and the Subjective Mind

The individual is the only real carrier of life.” — Carl Jung

The undeniable fact that the body is regulated by nature, along with the absurd idea that humans had otherwise freed themselves from the bondage of instinct, dominated psychology throughout most of the last century. That view loosely fit together certain facts while ignoring others. Such self-inflated notions were not seen as projections of a split condition — nor are they much more acknowledged today.

The complicated nature of its own subjectivity pushed psychology to statistical measurement in an attempt to apply the scientific method. The idea was that emotions could be studied rationally — like objects. The studies did reveal certain strained facts, though many were based on assumptions which only obscured the very processes they tried to illuminate. Fundamental questions as to how the mind worked were thought to have been answered.

But, the scientization of the psyche quickly turned into a paradox. Because the material view saw physical processes as primary, it was forced to concede certain euphemistic ‘drives’ and ‘reflexes’; though because consciousness was no longer presumed to be subject to natural laws, instinct was denied. Observations were unconsciously influenced by subjective assumptions that had been argued for centuries but which history was also refuted.  

Statistics would resolve the contradictions by providing objective data, though it lacked the concepts to evaluate the unconscious processes which influenced their interpretation. Appraisals, based on biology and rationalized by ego, conceived the psyche as secondary, yet consciousness as somehow primary — with no real evidence to support either.

To separate mind and body for purposes of examination was necessary, but its literal conception created contradictions which could only be seen in terms of either/or but not both. What was philosophical speculation was thought to be objective — each partial truth supported by a partial fact.

Notions of free will, self-determination, and the independence of consciousness coexisted with the primacy of physical processes with no functions to mediate them. It was as if thought ruled itself, and the body was a separate entity that intruded only under pathological conditions.

Depression, obsessions, compulsive behaviors, and their origins and effects were treated as physiological problems, since no unconscious mental processes were admitted into its view. Instinctive psychic functions were reduced to biology. The partial explanations piled up with no threads to connect them.

Since the unconscious psyche wasn’t directly observable and expressed its reality through diffuse and contradictory images, logical methods could not be applied to inner experience. Science knew only a causal, material truth; religious ideas became mere fantasies. Unaware of the symbols hidden in its own images, it was fixed on a consciously conceived external reality.

Pre-conceived rationalizations filled the void of projection; all contrary evidence was dismissed, theory accepted as fact. The semi-conscious images beneath the assumptions — the historical nature of all things psychic — were ignored.

The psychological relations between image and object were invisible to a concrete science; the projected inner experience reflected in religious images rejected as meaningless. It was the mind/body equation in symbolic form. Without a concept of unconscious functioning, image and object formed an irreconcilable pair of opposites, much as Aristotle and Plato argued.

Jung showed that the causal viewpoint was only half the picture; that the two worlds of experience couldn’t be evaluated in the same terms. Religious images contained descriptions, not of external reality, but of an objective inner reality that subjective interpretation can only approximate.

He described the fundamental problem with the statistical view: if there are a hundred pebbles, and the average weight of each pebble is .5 grams, there may not be a single pebble which weighs .5 grams. If there is, it’s no less an exception, and the exception becomes the rule. The focus is on the sameness of the pebbles, though it is nowhere apparent; more importantly, their differences disappear. Thought distorts the natural picture to conform to its preconceptions.

In this sense, statistics is an extension of our historical way of thinking. Christ represented a collective ideal, a model Christians strove to emulate. He seems to have been the only pebble in the lot which conformed to this picture (a profound symbol of the individual), yet viewed concretely, he appears only as an inflated, inhuman ideal, an image of conscious desire.

Statistics establishes standards which may broadly orient thought, yet the ideals they represent remain collective assumptions which not only do not acknowledge individual qualities, they devalue the human nature beneath them. The reality of the exception is a universal truth as well: the subjective sense of identity through which we all operate.

In psychology, statistical evaluation is subject to unknown factors in addition to the increasing welter of known ones which must be excluded for the purposes of isolating those for study (the nature of consciousness). The selection of which factors to observe is an assignment of value by the investigator. Value judgments are personal, emotional prejudices which are then infused into the studies.

Interpretations are further removed from objectivity, not just because of their isolation from a living context and the guise of subjective value-judgments, but the unconscious factors inherent in the initial assumptions. Though they may yield certain facts in a prescribed and limited way, they give little information about how we experience life as individuals. 

Statistics lead back to standardized formulas which only reinforce our collective natures and ignore individual truth. Such a model is the most unachievable by the average it was meant to reflect; the psyche fades into the background — lost in the paradox of rules, exceptions, and false ideals.

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