Table of Contents
- The image of New Jerusalem
- What it means for modern people to be living in an apocalyptic age
- Final remarks
This is class number 10 on the apocalypse archetype, our final session, and the assigned material is chapters 21 and 22.
The image of New Jerusalem
As you noticed if you read it, the Book of Revelation ends in a grand finale, with a grand mandala vision and coniunctio. The mandala is the New Jerusalem. It’s described in Revelation 21, starting about verse 9. Let me read some of it, abbreviating a little bit to give us the picture.
"21:10 In the spirit, he took me to the top of an enormous high mountain[e] and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. 21:11 It had all the radiant glory of God[f] and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. 21:12 The walls of it were of a great height, and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; 21:13 on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates[*g]. 21:14 The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 21:15 The angel that was speaking to me was carrying a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and wall. 21:16 The plan of the city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod and it was twelve thousand furlongs in length and in breadth, and equal in height."
So it’s a cube actually.
"21:17 He measured its wall, and this was a hundred and forty-four cubits high – the angel was using the ordinary cubit. 21:18 The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like polished glass. 21:19 The foundations of the city wall were faced with all kinds of precious stone: the first with diamond, the second lapis lazuli, the third turquoise, the fourth crystal, 21:20 the fifth agate, the sixth ruby, the seventh gold quartz, the eighth malachite, the ninth topaz, the tenth emerald, the eleventh sapphire and the twelfth amethyst. 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made of a single pearl, and the main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 21:22 I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, 21:23 and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it. 21:24 The pagan nations will live by its light[h] and the kings of the earth will bring it their treasures. 21:25 The gates of it will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there – 21:26 and the nations will come, bringing their treasure and their wealth. 21:27 Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb’s book of life. 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear 22:2 down the middle of the city street. On either side of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the pagans.[a]"
Magnificent mandala image. A complex quaternity which is really a city of stone, a city of precious stone. So, as Jung points out, when he speaks of it, it has many parallels to the alchemical Lapis and whenever one encounters dreams involving precious stones, it’s generally a reference to the Self. Beautiful and eternal. It also reproduces certain features of the original state of paradise. The river of life and the trees of life that are in it. And it’s specifically a place of healing, because it’s stated explicitly that trees of life the leaves of which are the – in this translation – “a cure for the pagans”. In the more usual translation it’s “healing of the nations”. That particular phrase reminds me of a dream of Jung’s that he reports in “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” on page 176. He is talking about his experiences in 1914, in the spring and early summer of 1914 and he states that he had a trice repeated dream that intense arctic cold had descended over all of Europe. And in the third dream:
“In the third dream frightful cold had again descended from out of the cosmos. This dream, however, had an unexpected end. There stood a leaf-bearing tree, but without fruit (my tree of life, I thought), whose leaves had been transformed by the effects of the frost into sweet grapes full of healing juices. I plucked the grapes and gave them to a large, waiting crowd.”
I don’t think that needs any interpretation, but it’s a clear amplification of that dream is this particular reference of the tree of life within the Heavenly Jerusalem.
In addition to the mandala there is also the description of a coniunctio, the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage of the Lamb and His bride the Heavenly Jerusalem. And concerning this imagery Jung has some remarks to make in “Answer to Job” starting in paragraph 726 into 727:
“ This final vision, which is generally interpreted as referring to the relationship of Christ to his Church, has the meaning of a “uniting symbol” and is therefore a representation of perfection and wholeness: hence the quaternity, which expresses itself in the city as a quadrangle, in paradise as the four rivers, in Christ as the four evangelists, and in God as the four living creatures. While the circle signifies the roundness of heaven and the all-embracing nature of the “pneumatic” deity, the square refers to the earth. Heaven is masculine, but the earth is feminine. Therefore God has his throne in heaven, while Wisdom has hers on the earth,”
So that Wisdom will be equated with the Heavenly City.
“ as she says in Ecclesiasticus: “Likewise in the beloved city he gave me rest, and in Jerusalem was my power.” She is the “mother of fair love,” and when John pictures Jerusalem as the bride he is probably following Ecclesiasticus. The city is Sophia, who was with God before time began, and at the end of time will be reunited with God through the sacred marriage. As a feminine being she coincides with the earth, from which, so a Church Father tells us, Christ was born, and hence with the quaternity of the four living creatures in whom God manifests himself in Ezekiel.”
The trouble is that the marriage takes place in the Pleroma, rather than in the Earthly level. And although this image was meant to be one of the greatest universality, Jung continues:
“ No doubt this is meant as a final solution of the terrible conflict of existence. The solution, however, as here presented, does not consist in the reconciliation of the opposites, but in their final severance, by which means those whose destiny it is to be saved can save themselves by identifying with the bright pneumatic side of God. An indispensable condition for this seems to be the denial of propagation and of sexual life altogether.”
See, what we have here then is a superimposition of two different levels of symbolism. I pointed out as we went along how throughout the Book of Revelation a cosmic separatio process is going on, a vast cosmic split, but then comes the end and we have this grand coniunctio and quaternity image which implies a reconciliation of opposites, it implies a state of wholeness. I think what is signified by that double layered phenomenon, in the first place just on the concrete level, this last portion was patched on in all likelihood by redactors, but that’s not the chief point, the fact is the collective psyche has generated this particular text and preserved it for us, so we do have to take it as it is, and I think what it signifies, the double layers, is that at certain levels of development a decisive separatio is a state of wholeness. It’s just not a state of wholeness for the modern psyche. Whenever one reaches a decisive developmental stage that fulfills the innate potential of one’s time and of one’s nature then images of the Self will signify that fact. But looked at from the perspective of a later time and a later developmental stage those images can be seen to be in conflict with each other.
I don’t expect that to be perfectly clear, because a paradox does remain and the psyche at this level is more than we can explicate totally.
Earlier in Revelation the Heavenly Jerusalem have been described as a bride adorned for her husband and a grand wedding is taking place and often associated with wedding symbolism is the idea of the wedding feast. In Jewish legend this feast appears as the messianic banquet that I’ve referred to previously. In this banquet that faithful pious ones are to be served the meat of Behemoth and Leviathan and they’re to drink wine made from the grapes grown in Paradise. Now we don’t have an explicit reference to the wedding feast in these last two chapters, but it does sneak in, in an earlier chapter, in Revelation, chapter 19, verse 17.
"19:17 I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he shouted aloud to all the birds that were flying high overhead in the sky, Come here. Gather together at the great feast[*e] that God is giving.
19:18 There will be the flesh of kings for you, and the flesh of great generals and heroes, the flesh of horses and their riders and of all kinds of men, citizens and slaves, small and great.’"
This flesh there that’s being offered is the flesh of the slaughtered, you see? This is a grizzly version of the symbolic wedding feast, but it does slip in. Now, there’s a parallel to that in a dream. This is the dream I’ve spoken of earlier that I’m returning to, the one that I report in the “Creation of Consciousness”, starting on page 28. Earlier in the course I read you the first half of that dream. You remember the dreamer is observing New York City from the other side of the river and it’s in the state of ruins and giants from outer space had descended and are eating human beings. You remember that part of it.
“They cultivated our civilization like we cultivated vegetables in a hot-house. The Earth was their hot-house so to speak and now they’ve returned to reap the fruits they have sown.”
But then the dream goes on. The dreamer is going to be spared being eaten because he has a slightly high blood pressure and instead he had to submit to an ordeal.
“We walked a long time witnessing cataclysmic destruction then before me I saw a huge golden throne as brilliant as the Sun, impossible to view straight on. On the throne sat the king and queen of the race of giants. They were the intelligences behind the destruction of our planet. The ordeal or task I had to perform in addition to witnessing the world’s destruction was to climb up the staircase until I was at their level, face to face with them. I started climbing, probably in stages. It was long and very difficult. My heart was pounding very hard. I felt frightened but I knew I had to accomplish this task, the world and humanity were at stake. I woke up from this dream perspiring heavily. Later I realized that the destruction of the Earth by the race of giants was a wedding feast for the newly united king and queen.”
So, here we have an image very close to that presented in the Book of Revelation, you see. And we have to ask ourselves if we are going to examine this psychologically how are we to understand this grizzly feast, wedding feast, that’s referred to both in Revelation and in the dream?
Here’s how I understand it. The apocalypse, that state of affairs signifies that the archetypal opposites that make up the God-Image, had been activated. And when that is the case, when the archetypal opposites are activated profound dynamisms emerge for love and war. They either clash in enmity or they try to unite in love. When this dynamism touches the conscious Ego, the process then engages the human psyche, both individually and collectively. And the process insists on being incarnated so to speak, it insists on acting itself out and to do this it must draft human beings into its service who live out the coniunctio dynamic. Coniunctio dynamic being war and love. And that process of drafting or conscripting human beings into service of that archetypal process consumes or devours the individual Egos thereby, because they become possessed by that process and they are eaten up by it in effect. Their personal life is no longer available to them. That’s how I understand what it means to be eaten by giants in the dream. And individuals then willy-nilly become actors in the archetypal drama which then lives itself out as individuation in the individual, providing the individual can face it with sufficient consciousness to understand it or it lives itself out unconsciously in the collective as human history. I often think of an important sentence that Jung slips in, in paragraph 660 of “Answer to Job” where he says:
“The Imago Dei pervades the whole human sphere and makes mankind its involuntary exponent.”
A volume could easily be written on the one sentence and what it means. The Imago Dei pervades the whole human sphere and makes mankind its involuntary exponent. And when the Imago Dei is particularly activated the God-Image in effect eats human beings, consumes them. Doesn’t just pervade them but it possesses them. That’s how I understand the wedding feast image, you see.
Alright, going on.
At the beginning of chapter 21 we read:
"21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth ;[a] the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. 21:2 I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband. 21:3 Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, ‘You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people,[b] and he will be their God; his name is God-with-them."
That’s clearly stating the theme of incarnation.
"21:4 He will wipe away all tears from their eyes;[*c] there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone.’
21:5 Then the One sitting on the throne spoke: ‘Now I am making the whole of creation new’ he said. ‘Write this: that what I am saying is sure and will come true.’"
This is what’s called elsewhere the apocatastasis, generally translated “restoration”. The restoration of all things, a new creation, a new Heaven and new Earth. The one place in the New Testament where that exact word is used is in chapter 3 of Acts, where Peter says:
"3:19 Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,
3:20 and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus,
3:21 whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration (ἀποκατάστασις - "ápokatástasis") comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets."
I think this is a very important concept psychologically. The idea is, that originally the world was perfect, whole and complete, before Adam sinned and Adam’s sin would signify the entrance of Ego-Consciousness into the created world, spoil that original state of wholeness and completion and at the appointed time that original state is going to be restored on another level. There’s going to be an apocatastasis, a new creation, a new Heaven and Earth, corresponding to the original one that got spoiled by the birth of the human Ego.
Now the stoics had an idea something like this. The stoics imagined that the course of the universe was in terms of an infinite series of cyclical cosmic periods of which the apocatastasis is the final stage of the old period and the point where the new one begins. So that was an image that was kicking around in the collective psyche in other places then Hebrew and Christian literature.
But this particular image gained special prominence through the work of Origen. You may remember from last year’s seminar, Origen was one of the early Greek fathers of the Church who was later deemed heretical, but he is one of the most interesting figures psychologically and he spoke quite extensively on the apocatastasis. In fact, his whole chapter 6 in book 1 of “First Principles” is on this subject. But I want to read you just a few lines of it to give you the flavor of how he considered it:
“The end of the world and the consummation will come when every soul shall be visited with the penalties due for its sins. This time when everyone should pay what he owes is known to God alone. We believe however that the goodness of God through Christ will restore – bring about an apocatastasis – His entire creation. To one end even His enemies being conquered and subdued …”
I won’t go into the further elaboration. He cites various scriptures referring to the fact that everything is going to be subject to Christ or God soon or later to demonstrate what he is referring to. The point is that his conclusion is that everyone is ultimately redeemed including the Devil. And that psychologically generous position is unique in among the early Christian fathers to my knowledge, so that gives me particular fondness for Origen. He had a sense of ultimate wholeness, you see, beyond the split of the Christian aeon, so of course he had to be branded heretical, how could it be otherwise? But this was his notion of the ultimate apocatastasis.
Now, psychologically we can understand that as referring to the Ego’s restored relation to the Self after a long period of estrangement. The whole process of Ego development from infancy on to maturity involves an elaborate estrangement from the original relation to the Self which was total and complete in the original condition. It had only one defect to it: it was unconscious. A rather sizable defect. I go into this matter at some length in part 1 of “Ego and Archetype”, how the Ego is born out of the Self and goes through various stages of inflation and alienation and eventually, if it develops far enough there is a returned relation to the Self on a conscious level, but this would be the psychological background of the image of apocatastasis.
I have now finished all I am going to say about the Book of Revelation and my remaining remarks concern the whole question of what it means for modern people to be living in an apocalyptic age. This is a shift in gears so to speak.
What it means for modern people to be living in an apocalyptic age
I think it’s evident to perceptive people that the apocalypse archetype is now highly activated in the collective psyche and it’s living itself out in human history. It’s already started. The dynamic is already moving. In that respect the fundamentalists are right in their preoccupation with this particular imagery. Trouble is that they are anachronistic in their understanding of it because they are approaching it from the psychology that was operative 2000 years ago, in terms of concretistic, metaphysical projections. Believe it or not, they really do expect to be caught up into the air when the rapture comes. Literally. Into the Heavens. At least some of the preaches I listen to on television indicate that.
You see the evidence for the activation of the apocalypse archetype in the collective psyche is everywhere. The coming of the Self is happening and the phenomena of it ought to be experienced consciously and integrated by the individual in the course of the individuation process, are instead occurring unconsciously and collectively in society as a whole. That’s happening according to the psychological law that an activated psychic content not consciously realized manifests itself externally in the outer world.
It’s my conviction that we are on the verge of a time of troubles of immense proportion and how massive the catastrophe would be to the best of our evidence and knowledge will be pinned on how many individuals have achieved sufficient level of individuation to know what’s going on, and I see Jung’s “Answer to Job” as a crucial factor in this regard. On April 2nd, 1955, that’s almost exactly 40 years ago, Jung wrote the following in a letter. He’d been talking about the “Answer to Job” and why he had written it.
“Just as Job lifted his voice so that everybody could hear him, I have come to the conclusion that I had better risk my skin and do my worst or best to shake the unconsciousness of my contemporaries rather than allow my laxity to let things drift towards the impending world catastrophe.”
Rather than allow my laxity to let things drift towards the impending world catastrophe.
I find that an amazing statement, because it indicated that Jung was keenly aware that what he knew about the nature of the God-Image this unique discovery that only 1 person in 5 billion was aware of could possibly avert or at least mitigate the impending world catastrophe, if he made that information known, and that’s why he wrote “Answer to Job”.
As I see it “Answer to Job” is the one and only antidote that the individual has in surviving the ordeal of the apocalypse in its collective manifestation. The reason it’s an antidote is that “Answer to Job” tells us what’s going on, tells us the meaning of the vast collective upheaval that we are now in the beginning stages of. That meaning namely is the coming of the Self into collective awareness with the intention to incarnate in humanity. That’s the meaning of the apocalypse and Jung spells that out explicitly in “Answer to Job”. He lays out the profound divine drama that’s unfolding in the collective psyche.
Now, actually as I see it “Answer to Job” is a trilogy. “Aion” is the first part of the trilogy, “Answer to Job” is the second part and what’s been titled in English “The Undiscovered Self” is the third part. That title was chosen by the publishers of the English translation and Jung accepted it reluctantly. His title was “Gegenwart und Zukunft” – “Present and Future” and that’s the way it was published in German originally and that’s a much more appropriate title that indicates how it belongs to the apocalyptic experience, you see. Present and future. The basic idea is that the Self, the God-Image is coming. It’s visiting the Earth, it’s visiting humanity, it’s visiting the individual Ego and it’s coming for the purpose of incarnating itself. Yahweh wants to become man. Here’s what Jung says about it in paragraph 740 of “Answer to Job”.
“ Yahweh’s decision to become man is a symbol of the development that had to supervene when man becomes conscious of the sort of God-image he is confronted with.”
Namely the paradoxical God-Image. The God-Image that unites both good and evil within itself.
“ God acts out of the unconscious of man and forces him to harmonize and unite the opposing influences to which his mind is exposed from the unconscious. The unconscious wants both: to divide and to unite.”
As I said earlier it wants both love and war.
“ In his striving for unity, therefore, man may always count on the help of a metaphysical advocate, as Job clearly recognized. The unconscious wants to flow into consciousness in order to reach the light, but at the same time it continually thwarts itself, because it would rather remain unconscious. That is to say, God wants to become man, but not quite. The conflict in his nature is so great that the incarnation can only be bought by an expiatory self-sacrifice offered up to the wrath of God’s dark side.”
The conflict in his nature is so great that the incarnation can only be bought by an expiatory self-sacrifice offered up to the wrath of God’s dark side.
Now that expiatory self-sacrifice is the ordeal that humanity must undergo as the untransformed God-Image enters the human sphere in search of its own transformation. As I said before, it’s psychological rule that an activated psychic content that is not integrated consciously manifests itself externally in a literal, concrete way. Emerson with his uncanny insight recognized one aspect of this insight. He says:
“Every man’s condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life before he apprehends it as truth.”
Though if we want to know the nature of certain unrealized aspects of our psychology we should examine the circumstances that confront us from without and that surround us. Our condition, our external condition is a picture of those psychic entities that we would ask to understand. I think there’s a converse to this rule too. The converse is that a dangerous or inimical external event that is threatening to happen may be averted of mitigated by one’s becoming conscious of its inner psychic origin. If you have the psychic experience of it you can often be spared the concrete experience of it and generally the psychic experience is much more manageable than the concrete. There are people for instance who even having car accidents and indeed are in grave danger of having car accidents because what the car accident signifies they’re so unconscious of that in order to get their attention the unconscious has to stage a literal accident. Sometime the analyst must very earnestly warn his patient: you’re in danger of having a literal car accident. The Unconscious can be very stupid in that regard, you see. It’s going to get its point across at whatever cost it may take.
One way of putting it is that the process of collective individuation is living itself out in human history. One way or another the world is going to be made a single whole unity. It will either be unified by mutual human consciousness or to be unified in mutual mass-destruction. If a sufficient number of individuals can have the experience of the coming of the Self as an individual, inner experience, then just possibly, we may be spared of the worst features of its external manifestations. That’s the hypothesis. I can’t state it as a certain fact, but it’s a good working psychological hypothesis that we do have some data for, anyway, that a sufficient number of individuals can have the experience of the coming of the Self, individually, internally, psychologically, then there will be less dynamic urge in the collective psyche for it to manifest itself collectively and concretely in its most extreme form.
See, what happens when the Self comes is it brings the opposites with it, because that’s its essential content. And as long as the Self is unconscious the opposites lie side by side peacefully. Lion lies down with the lamb, because there is no consciousness of their separateness. But as soon as the Self touches the area of consciousness the opposites split apart and then the individual Ego is confronted with conflict and the whole question is whether the individual will be able to contain that conflict or not. Unfortunately, usually this is very difficult. As Jung puts it, and this comes from paragraph 659 of “Answer to Job”:
“ All opposites are of God, therefore man must bend to this burden and in so doing he finds that God in his oppositeness has taken possession of him, incarnated Himself in him, he becomes a vessel filled with divine conflict.”
Now, if the individual is not able to contain the conflict of opposites then it spills it out into the outer world via projection. And unfortunately that’s the rule. And then the conflict of the opposites that had been constellated live themselves out not in the vessel of in the individual psyche but in the vessel of the society as a whole. The society then becomes the vessel, you see, and the warring opposites live themselves out there. And this is precisely what’s happening today. The God-Image is living out its oppositeness in the bitter factional disputes that are breaking out all over the world. I jotted down just a few: warring clans in Somalia; Tutsis and Hutu in Rwanda; Serbs in Bosnia in Yugoslavia; Palestinians and Israelis; etc; etc. Not to mention all of our own fanatical, political action groups they’re at war with one another on the political scene and these factions that Jung refers to as the “wretched -isms”. All of these are a part of the phenomenology of the apocalypse. In paragraph 746, it’s still in “Answer to Job”.
“ The only thing that really matters now is whether man can climb up to a higher moral level, to a higher plane of consciousness, in order to be equal to the superhuman powers which the fallen angels have played into his hands. But he can make no progress with himself unless he becomes very much better acquainted with his own nature. Unfortunately, a terrifying ignorance prevails in this respect, and an equally great aversion to increasing the knowledge of his intrinsic character.”
“ We can, of course, hope for the undeserved grace of God, who hears our prayers. But God, who also does not hear our prayers, wants to become man, and for that purpose he has chosen, through the Holy Ghost, the creaturely man filled with darkness—the natural man who is tainted with original sin and who learnt the divine arts and sciences from the fallen angels. The guilty man is eminently suitable and is therefore chosen to become the vessel for the continuing incarnation, not the guiltless one who holds aloof from the world and refuses to pay his tribute to life, for in him the dark God would find no room.”
“ Since he has been granted an almost godlike power, he can no longer remain blind and unconscious. He must know something of God’s nature and of metaphysical processes if he is to understand himself and thereby achieve gnosis of the Divine.”
This ordeal of the apocalypse that is now beginning to which all of humanity have been subjected corresponds to Job’s ordeal as Jung spells it out in “Answer to Job” and even more pertinently it corresponds to Christ’s ordeal. You see, Christ was the first attempt of the God-Image to incarnate and transform itself. Now, the second time around humanity as a whole is going to be the subject of that process, not just one person. God is going to incarnate in humanity as a whole and in that incarnated form He offers Himself as a self-sacrifice to bring about his own transformation just as He did with the individual Christ. Now I don’t expect you to quite get that yet, but bear with me here.
In the classic Elined Kotschnig letter you find this statement, it’s in the volume 2 of the “Letters” on page 313. Listen carefully because it’s dense but crucial.
“Christ obviously took up this idea, feeling that his task was to represent the role of the “Teacher of Justice” and thus of a Mediator; and he was up against an unpredictable and lawless God who would need a most drastic sacrifice to appease His wrath, viz. the slaughter of His own son. Curiously enough, as on the one hand his self-sacrifice means admission of the Father’s amoral nature, he taught on the other hand a new image of God, namely that of a Loving Father in whom there is no darkness. This enormous antinomy needs some explanation. It needed the assertion that he was the Son of the Father, i.e., the incarnation of the Deity in man. As a consequence the sacrifice was a self-destruction of the amoral God, incarnated in a mortal body.”
Christ’s sacrifice – I repeat – was a self-destruction of the amoral God, incarnated in a mortal body, because Christ was identified as the Son of God, as the partaking of deity, He was the incarnation of deity. Therefor His sacrifice was a self-destruction of the amoral God, incarnated in a mortal body.
“Thus the sacrifice takes on the aspect of a highly moral deed, of a self-punishment, as it were.”
Now, I make so much of this passage because it can be applied to precisely to Yahweh’s second act of incarnation, when He incarnates into humanity as a whole. Now humanity as a whole is in the role of the Son of God. And God is bringing about His own transformation by a self-destruction while incarnated in the mortal body of humanity. It’s the same sequence in a larger arena. Instead of a single individual it’s now the whole race of humanity that is engaged in the process. And this second act of incarnation likewise brings about a transformation of the God-Image just like the first incarnation did. Because no longer is the image of a totally good God, even though pestered by the dissociated evil Satan, viable. The new God-Image that comes into conscious realization is that of a paradoxical union of opposites and with that new God-Image comes a healing of the metaphysical split that characterized the whole Christian aeon. Now that’s what can happen potentially.
But this process of transformation of the God-Image can take place only if the human participants are conscious of what’s going on, because consciousness is the agency of transformation. There is no transformation of the God-Image if we end up with nothing but a heap of ruins and a group of primitive savages who have to start the whole laborious climb to civilization all over again. There’s no transformation of the God-Image then. This is only a potential event providing the human participants are conscious of what’s happening. Only if there are enough individuals are aware of the unfolding archetypal drama will that transformation occur and at the same time hopefully avert really massive destruction.
Now, it is my view that the transformation of the God-Image is ultimately certain, because one person, Jung, has already realized what’s going on and I think all it takes is one for it to be eventually certain. But “eventually” can be a long time. But my hypothesis anyway is that the extent of the destructive collective process will be pinned on how many other individuals can achieve Jung’s level of consciousness. How many will it to take to reach the critical mass? That’s the unknown question that we can’t answer of course.
Now just a few final, somewhat more personal remarks. In the passage I quoted earlier Jung says:
“ Since he has been granted an almost godlike power, he can no longer remain blind and unconscious. He must know something of God’s nature and of metaphysical processes if he is to understand himself and thereby achieve gnosis of the Divine.”
One might ask for a little more elaboration as to just what that means, what is “gnosis of the Divine”, understanding in metaphysical processes?
I think this issue is relevant to every depth-analysis – to every analysis that goes into the depth, that’s what I mean by depth-analysis – because every depth-analysis is a miniature apocalypse. The individual experiences a conflict, the frustration, the defeat, the demoralization, despair leading to impairment or paralysis of the libido-flow, all those things are standard, symptomatic events prior to and in the course of the analysis. And if life is to go on in fullness and healing is to take place, the nature of the situation has to be understood. Meaning has to be provided. What’s happening here? The questions have to be answered that keep coming up. What is this happened to me? Where does the responsibility lie for it? And what does it mean? Now in analytic work shallow answers to these questions maybe found in the study of one’s personal life history going back and going through the traumas and all the experiences that go to make up so many of our complexes. And if that method suffices to provide the healing meaning, so be it, fine. But often it doesn’t. And when not, then one must go deeper. Then one has to go to the transpersonal level of the events and one comes at last to the Self, to the paradoxical God-Image and the experience that one has and the knowledge that one learns when that comes about is what’s meant by “gnosis of the Divine”. And when that knowledge and experience is reached then the neurosis is healed.
Now, that’s how we encounter the matter just on the personal level of individual analysis but these same issues apply on a vast collective scale, to humanity as a whole as it goes through the experience of world wide apocalyptic events. So the same questions will come up. Why is this happening? Who is responsible? And what does it mean? And those questions take on a kind of desperate urgency the more serious the circumstances become.
Now, when the issue is contained and dealt within the collective rather than in the individual, that means that it all takes place unconsciously, because consciousness is carried only by the individual. So that in response to these questions, when dealt with collectively, large-scale regressive phenomena manifest. There is disintegration of complex social structures and reversions to more primitive social arrangements. There is an atavistic return to religious fundamentalisms, there are massive collective shadow-projections, leading to factional wars and violence of all kinds on all social levels from the neighborhood gang level, from the family level even, all the way up to the national level. There is widespread despair, leading to large-scale increases in suicide, addictions of all kinds, general disintegration of social and psychic values and structures that had been the architecture of the collective psyche provided by the containing religious myth that is no longer operative. And I would see these tendencies are being so widespread that they will generate vast waves of psychic contagion tending to infect even those who might otherwise have sufficient consciousness to resist them. That’s when you’ve got vast collective psychic moods of certain kind, they have an immense contagious power.
Now I paint this terrible picture as the backdrop for what I think is the possible mitigating factor. In the midst of these state of affairs, it’s just possible, that Jung’s message as he presents it in “Answer to Job” will finally gain the attention of enough members of a creative minority in the society to be brought into the general view, so that it receives some general discussion, not just a few people on West Pico Boulevard. If that were to happen, people then might begin to get a glimmer of the meaning of the collective upheaval that they are having to endure. They will begin to entertain the idea that a vast historical transformation of God is going on and their ordeal is the necessary sacrificial event to bring about that transformation or putting it more prosaically, the way Jung does in another place, he speaks of this being the καιρός – “kairós”, the “right time” for a metamorphosis of the gods that is of the fundamental principles and symbols. It’s just possible that this course of events could take place and Jung must have had something like that in mind when he wrote these remarkable words that he had to write “Answer to Job”, rather than allow his laxity to let things drift towards the impending world catastrophe.
And with that I conclude the course and thank you for your attention.