Carl Jung was once asked in a television documentary: “Do you believe in God?”
He replied, in his thick Swiss accent, “I know there is a God.” Dwight Eisenhower once walked into a room of early computers. He was invited to ask the computer any question he wanted. He asked: “Is there a god?”-
The computer “thought” for a moment (it computed axioms it had been fed – such as; ‘a god is an authority figure’) and it replied: “There is now.”
If you look at the television series Battlestar Galactica, it is the story of a human space age civilization searching for a lost Earth. There is a little boy who has a robot that looks a little like a Red Panda. In the story, they are looking for what we have. We have a home planet. We have countless incredible animals and plants that we share the earth with and all of them are part of the landscape of evolution.
Joseph Campbell wrote that:
“It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestations.”
Campbell pointed out that all myths, religions and cosmologies serve certain core needs in a human society. And that those mythic structures evolve over time.
For example in the Christian mythos you have Jesus Christ. But then 12 centuries later you have the myth of Parzival. He is the key knight to find the Holy Grail.
What you witness in the Parzival myth is something very important.
Because you have Parmenides and Empedocles and Pythagoras on the one hand. And then Aristotle, Plato and the Christian myth, on the other.
Now Campbell said of Parzival, that he was a questing man of deeds. And he finds the grail in the grail castle and he does it by making a lot of mistakes and by learning from them. But he is naturally gifted and his gifts shine out his errors. His errors hone his gifts and teach him.
The grail is a Christian myth. It’s the cup of Christ that you drink from and illumination follows. It is a symbolic story – as all myths are.
But what you see in that story is an evolution of the language of spirit.
A woman who is fully loved by a man, and vice versa, is a light to herself. Not because of him or he because of her. But because to achieve that end two factors influence –
Natural chemistry – aligned natures
Shadow work – to work through the illusions of fear – disenthrallment from deception is crucial.
And in the 12th Century in France, romantic love, amor, influenced by the Sufi culture, blossoms and grows. Prior to that the world was governed by arranged marriages. Something shifted in the 12th Century in that sense.
Now the connection between Parmenides and Parzival – a real man and a mythic character – is that science did evolve a great deal over time – Parmenides saw into how it would. And Parsifal is very much a pragmatist.
And what you see with the character of Parzival is the movement toward renaissance men. Now you could be a plumber or a doctor or a scientist or a street sweeper or someone down on their luck – but that sense of an awakened interest and intelligence is the essential ingredient for you to see into an aspect of your nature that is best described by a phrase my mentor used:
“Occasionally, you meet a man or woman who is bigger than their profession.”
What did he mean?
The key with a human life is to do what aligns with your character and do it with the balanced sanity of a Parzival, relative to your field of exploration.
Joseph Campbell wrote a book called:
‘Transformations of myth through time’
Just the title alone is illuminating when you contemplate it. Myth evolves and changes.
And with those changes the manifest universe changes.
Yes, life lives on life. The image of a snake digesting a stray dog may upset some, but Campbell said – that that image is a very primal image. A snake is essentially a stomach moving through the grass.
I remember one evening as a child, my father came home with a seal pup in a bag. It had been found on a sand bank lost and bewildered. The pup passed through our home that evening en passage to sanctuary with a local animal shelter. But, I recall looking into his eyes, big black eyes full of millions of years of evolution and a wonderful mischievousness too.
Campbell was asked toward the end of his life what he felt the myths to come would be. He said (paraphrasing) :
‘You can no more predict what the myth is going to be than you can say what you will dream tonight. But you can be sure the central theme of the myth to come is going to be about the planet. That’s the center of gravity we are going to be celebrating.’
I feel the central challenge of the Christian myth is this sense that we are not in heaven. We have to die or suffer to get there.
I was deeply warmed when I read that “heaven,” in old German, means: “the place of clouds.”
Plants 🌱make clouds.
Campbell said (again paraphrasing): This is it. Right here and now.
But you have to learn to see in the right way to understand the depths of what he’s pointing at.
The Greek word for the sun was ‘Helios.’ We get the word helium form Helios. The second element. We have found 67 elements in the sun. They all originate from the burning of hydrogen.
I do feel that our human society will move toward a conception of nature that is sacred.
When you look at the natural death of a plant that has lived a rich life, there is no sorrow in it.
Heaven means the place of clouds and clouds comes from plants.
And when we can live that way, without the shadow of sorrow, then we can see with the eyes of true emotional intelligence.
If when you woke up tomorrow someone came to you, someone you cared for and who cared for you and, they just show up, out of the blue, with your dream car as a gift, and you welcomed it, you would take it for a ride and enjoy it. Celebrating the wonder of it. Life is like that. Not the part about friends giving you cars necessarily, but this metaphoric sense of being given a vehicle of experience to make the most of.
And, in a very real sense, when we graduate from our fearful perceptions, then resistance ends. And a different adventure awaits.
Carl Jung said:
“What we resist, persists.”
He also said:
“I am not what happened to me.
I am what I choose to become.”
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”
The horticulturalist Alan Chadwick once said:
“Nature adores man.”
I remember hearing him say that in an interview. What a statement!
Nature adores man when man is man. To be man demands knowing himself. And this relates to the context of his divine leisure – for a pressured mind is not expansive.
What if this earth is actually heaven?
And eternity is the experience of mastering destiny.
Fate and destiny are not the same thing.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Destiny is the life that awaits AFTER the light of meaning has been kindled as a persistent habit, as a way of being, wherein the unconscious has been made conscious and healed of misperception.
You look at the early prehistoric men. How they painted the bison and the buffaloes on the walls of caves.
And you ponder Nikola Tesla and how he fathomed the forces of nature. How he imagined replicating the power of the furnace of the sun on Earth.
Campbell said all myths and religions essentially serve 4 fundamental functions:
“1. First is the metaphysical function. Myth awakens and supports a sense of awe before the mystery of being. It reconciles consciousness to the preconditions of its own existence. Myth induces a realization that behind the surface phenomenology of the world, there is a transcendent mystery source. Through this vitalizing mystical function, the universe becomes a holy picture.
2. The second is a cosmological dimension deals with the image of the world that is the focus of science. This function shows the shape of the universe, but in such a way that the mystery still comes through. The cosmology should correspond to the actual experience, knowledge, and mentality of the culture. This interpretive function changes radically over time. It presents a map or picture of the order of the cosmos and our relationship to it.
3. Third is the sociological function. Myth supports and validates the specific moral order of the society out of which it arose. Particular life-customs of this social dimension, such as ethical laws and social roles, evolve dramatically. This function, and the rites by which it is rendered, establishes in members of the group concerned a system of sentiments that can be depended upon to link that person spontaneously to its ends.
4. The fourth function of myth is psychological. The myths show how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances. It is this pedagogical function of mythology that carries the individual through the various stages and crises of life, from childhood dependency, to the responsibilities of maturity, to the reflection of old age, and finally, to death. It helps people grasp the unfolding of life with integrity. It initiates individuals into the order of realities in their own psyches, guiding them toward enrichment and realization.”
Myth, when viewed through such a lens, is part of the fabric of mind that yields evolution. It is not a static thing. It is a living evolving thing.
This is the last paragraph of the first edition of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
One of the biggest shifts on our horizon as a species is highlighted in these quotes by Nikola Tesla:
“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena it will make more progress in one decade, than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
“Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe. This idea is not novel. Men have been led to it long ago go by instinct or reason. It has been expressed in many ways, and in many places, in the history of old and new. We find it in the delightful myth of Antheus, who drives power from the earth; we find it among the subtle speculations of one of your splendid mathematicians, and in many hints and statements of thinkers of the present time. Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic? If static, our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and this we know it is for certain — then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.”
From a lecture delivered before the Institution of Electrical Engineers, London, February, 1892.
When Jung said:
“I know there is a god.”
What I hear is a man who is seeing that meaning is woven into evolution.
And that that evolution is constant.
The seal that came to my house that night looked up at me from the burlap bag, his eyes full of wonder. I looked back in the same spirit.
I do believe it is such wonder that unearths all the secrets of nature. We are part of a flourishing essence. I do not believe in utopias. I am not a pessimist.
I see into the potential in nature and in man. I have no reason to justify disappointment.
I think what you carry forth from the Taoists and the yogis and Tantrik sects and the Ancient Greeks is this:
Earth is Eden when we see it is.
My sense of the word “logos” – is that the Greeks saw into this sense of what the root meaning of education is.
Ducat – ducare
To pull out what is within
And when you die, if you did that fully, can you justify a belief in lack?
President John F. Kennedy once said this in an address to the Irish Parliament in Dublin in 1963:
“George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life: Other people, he said, “see things and… say: ‘Why?’ … But I dream things that never were-and I say: ‘Why not?'”
I feel that sentiment is the driving force of genius.
It is why Emerson wrote:
“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.”
Such “gleams of light” are the very kindling of meaning.
© Copyright 2021 Nathan Curry