The final instalment in Mark Vernon’s series of short articles on Carl Jung has now been published. It’s titled “Religion and the Search for Meaning.”
Here are some excerpts from it:
“…In 1959, two years before his death, Jung was interviewed for the BBC television programme Face to Face. The presenter, John Freeman, asked the elderly sage if he now believed in God. "Now?" Jung replied, paused and smiled. "Difficult to answer. I know. I don't need to believe, I know."
What did he mean? Perhaps several things.
He had spent much of the second half of his life exploring what it is to live during a period of spiritual crisis. It is manifest in the widespread search for meaning – a peculiar characteristic of the modern age…
"A secret unrest gnaws at the roots of our being," he wrote; “an unrest that yearns for the divine…”
…The sense of threat – real and imagined – that Jung witnessed during his lifetime has not lessened. Ecologists such as James Lovelock now predict that the planet itself has turned against us. Or think of the war games that power an online gaming industry worth £45bn and counting. Why do so many spend so much indulging murderous fantasies?
…But if the world has rejected God, those who remain religious are, in part, to blame.
They have suffered a loss of confidence too, Jung suggests. The powerful, fearful experience of the numinous that speaks of the mystery of life has been traded in for a variety of substitutes that no longer speak to the depths of our humanity or serve our spiritual yearning…”
You can read the full article here. You’ll find all 8 instalments and more on Jung in my original post about Vernon’s series. The series provided a useful introduction to some of the key themes that make up the Jung corpus. If you know little about Jung, Vernon's series is a good place to start.