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Answer to Job 
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Post Re: Answer to Job
Harry Marks wrote:
Submission to the exigencies of reality does not provide the kind of nurturing intimacy that moderns have come to identify as the essential nature at the heart of our ultimate concern.
That opens up some core issues in Answer to Job. Jung equates God with reality. Rather than an attitude of ‘submission’, he argues more for a sort of ‘co-creation’, recognising that the human psyche has potential to freely construct our world, rather than any fatalism. So it may be possible to construct a vision of reality that is nurturing.

That sense of natural grace is a reasonable idea, since our planet is a stable cocoon for life, providentially enabling our evolution. But fantasy about comfort often goes too far, and needs to avoid the denial of reality. The problem is how we work with reality to create a better future, not suggesting we submit to reality.
Harry Marks wrote:
Nature is stand-offish, while the spirit of caring comes to us and reassures us that we are valued and we embody that which properly should be the ultimate concern of humanity.
Nature operates at different scales. The planetary scale has important nurturing features. One of my favourite books, Rare Earth – Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe (Ward and Brownlee) lists a bunch of nurturing features of the earth, such as the stable temperature allowing liquid water, the existence of Jupiter and Saturn as shields reducing impact frequency, the role of plate tectonics and heavy metals, etc.

Now it may be hard to think at the time scale where continental drift becomes linked to the spirit of caring, but it seems helpful to recognise that there is a sort of natural providence at work that aligns planetary reality to our short term interests. The point is that the earth is fundamentally good for humans, so we should develop our theories about the spirit of caring, our analogy for God, that recognise this natural context through a theology of nurturing rather than dominating.
Harry Marks wrote:
When we have come to the "ground of being" in a meditation process, we are (supposedly: I cannot vouch for this personally) enfolded by the same nurturance that a child feels in the arms of a parent. That sense of safety is in turn a vital condition for approaching life in an I/Thou relationship. That is why the spirit of non-violence, able to confront even threats to one's life in an I/Thou relation, is a truly heroic, transcendently inspiring attainment.
Meditation on the ground of being is central to an authentic life of contemplative prayer. Regular practice focussing on the unity of all things opens the sense of how the ego is encompassed by the soul, leading to a selfless emptying, what the Bible calls kenosis, as we have discussed before. The mantra 'om mani padme hum' means 'dew drop slips into shining sea', expressing this sense of unity and reflection. But always the problem in Answer to Job is that the world is anti-kenotic, viewing kenosis with incomprehension and derision. Yet Job’s attitude of kenosis provides an unshakeable faith in God, despite the torments of Satan.

By the way, I should note that in my recent quote about ‘the dark son of God’, Jung was referring to Satan, not Jesus. He takes the Adam-Abel-Cain triad as a type for God-Jesus-Satan, viewing Jesus and the devil as brothers. Cain's question ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ expresses the scorn that the corrupt have for grace.
Harry Marks wrote:
Tillich had what he called a "method of correspondences." Once he had worked out that the deity is a symbol for the Ground of Being, and that being itself (including aspirations) is our ultimate concern, he was able to interpret much theological construction (salvation, grace, the relationship between judgment and forgiveness, etc.) in terms of this understanding.
For Jung, these theological concepts such as salvation and grace are explored using the philosophical method called phenomenology, the analysis of how concepts appear to us in the light of evidence and experience, rather than simply accepting traditional meanings. Tillich’s Ground of Being concept drawn from Heidegger, who analysed the meaning of Being as a pupil of Edmund Husserl, the key phenomenologist. So Tillich’s analysis of grace and forgiveness is basically phenomenological and existential. This method treats God as a metaphor rather than as a supernatural entity.
Harry Marks wrote:
But normally there is a translation process, like trying to understand a statement that comes to us from a foreign language. (One of my favorites, "Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht andern." I think I got that right.)
Almost – The famous Luther attribution is "Hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders! Gott helfe mir, Amen!" Anders means he could not do otherwise, whereas ‘andern’ means he could not change.
Harry Marks wrote:
I do the same thing with my "system" conceptualizing God as the Spirit of Caring. It can be laborious, but it allows me to feel confident in rejecting spurious claims about God and endorsing those that make sense. It gives me, in the usual term, a hermeneutic (usually applied to the Bible, but can be applied to theological claims as well).
In my MA thesis on The Place of Ethics in Heidegger’s Ontology, I summarised Heidegger’s theory of care as follows: “the triadic temporal structure of Dasein as care; anticipating the future in existential projection, we retain the past in our thrown facticity, while in the present we decide whether to be authentic: whether to resolutely take a hold of our temporality.” Heidegger’s theory of Dasein, German for human existence, is a systematic way to analyse the temporality of existence as care, a heuristic to assess authenticity.


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Post Re: Answer to Job
Harry Marks wrote:
If you ever look into the "Death of God" theology of, for example, Thomas Altizer, you will find it makes claims directly about the sociological phenomenon of God, that the punitive, judgmental God of tradition had to die and that the death occurred at Calvary (so what took it so long to stop flopping around crushing people, I ask myself?) But the explanation of why this had to occur is in theological terms, generated by the demands of our ability to make sense of the truer sociological phenomenon of a loving, caring God. I have not read much Altizer, but it seemed to me when I did that he was speaking in a way that rhetorically posed as "direct" knowledge about God, but that in fact he was working with a translation system from a philosophical framework. "Saber" (formal knowledge about something) not "conocer" (experiential knowledge of something).
The Death of God theology as you summarise it here translates a philosophical framework into a myth. That is what Jung says also occurs in the Bible. On this reading, the original authors were highly philosophical, but wanted to convey their messages to a wide audience in metaphors that would get attention and be remembered, while also serving as a portal into the hidden wisdom of philosophy, something that only initiates could grasp. As the Gospels say, “To the public, parables; to initiates, the secrets of the kingdom”.
Harry Marks wrote:
By contrast, the best mythopoetic work, of, say Tolstoy and perhaps Dostoevsky and Ursula LeGuin, operates out of experience with the forces being represented. There has to be enough "theory" to be able to convey the "right" experiences, but the theory is guiding a process that is not fundamentally translating from formal understanding to some less structured mythical method of representation.
This is a helpful contrast between religion and literature, if we can call ‘death of God’ theology a form of religion. Religion presents its mythical framework as literal truth, whereas literature is overtly fictional.
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Frost, the author, achieves poetry but not myth, because he is relating his doubts, not his faith.
This sense that religion presents itself in absolute faith as a revelation of divine reality is a key difference from fiction. You seem to be noting that Jung steps over this line, trying to achieve an academic detachment but frequently making statements that invite assent as coming from a mystical intuition, thereby constructing myths, such as the collective unconscious. Tolstoy and the other great novelists you mention mix together the suspended disbelief of fiction with the invited belief of religion.
Harry Marks wrote:
I think Jung is doing the opposite: using a formal construction (though it use an ironic twinkle of the eye) to convey experience of that in which he can have faith. So when he says God was not conscious, he is saying something formal (addressing the sociological and depth psychological phenomenon we call God) in terms that not only claim direct knowledge (as if he had been there to check on it) but work out of direct knowledge (he knows, in other words, from his own experience how the process he is understanding as God actually works).
And as a result, Jung presents a modern covenant, a means to reconcile faith and reason, by placing God as a constructed imaginative fantasy that nonetheless is entirely real as archetypal myth and can respect supernatural tradition as pure allegory and parable. The new covenant here invites strong continuity with traditional faith, while transforming its intent from ‘what really happened’ to ‘what it means for us’.


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Wed May 16, 2018 1:32 am
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Post Re: Answer to Job
Robert Tulip wrote:
Jung equates God with reality. Rather than an attitude of ‘submission’, he argues more for a sort of ‘co-creation’, recognising that the human psyche has potential to freely construct our world, rather than any fatalism. So it may be possible to construct a vision of reality that is nurturing.
I have no problem with a stance and faithful quest to be co-creators with reality. But for religion to be unifying, we need to grapple with the situations of the less fortunate and the less dynamic. To hold common cause with them, "co-creating" has to mean engaging with the full range of impacts reality hands people. To identify those with the hand of God is to diminish our capacity for engaging and creating.

Traditional concepts like God's sovereignty and impassibility are just superstructure for a hierarchical society. To be a co-creator you have to be able to work with what is working, and dialogue with what is reflecting on the work. Stable natural order and implacable scientific fact do not amount to that sort of creation process. They are good on sovereignty and impassibility, but not so much on encounter, intimate knowledge and genuine forgiveness.

Robert Tulip wrote:
That sense of natural grace is a reasonable idea, since our planet is a stable cocoon for life, providentially enabling our evolution. But fantasy about comfort often goes too far, and needs to avoid the denial of reality. The problem is how we work with reality to create a better future, not suggesting we submit to reality.

Submitting to reality is not optional. The alternative is denial. I did not mean to suggest "an attitude of submission" but rather that accepting reality is a crucial part of a life of faith. But I think the time is past when we can or should identify that with our ultimate concern or with the caring at the ground of being.

Robert Tulip wrote:
it seems helpful to recognise that there is a sort of natural providence at work that aligns planetary reality to our short term interests. The point is that the earth is fundamentally good for humans, so we should develop our theories about the spirit of caring, our analogy for God, that recognise this natural context through a theology of nurturing rather than dominating.
I guess I think there is an "external" aspect of the spirit of caring, coming from the experience of providential care. All the helpful aspects of reality that you identify, plus a few like processes favoring small broods of children and heavy investment in them, are surely part of an encouraging sense that the spirit of caring is cooperating with nature rather than attempting to defy it.

This external, impersonal nurture, along with the humbling sense of awe we fell before the grandeur and beauty of nature, represent to us the true nature of being in direct rather than instrumental engagement, encountering life rather than using it. I suspect a person who lacks that experience in life will have trouble encountering other people in an open, trusting way.

Even so, when I ask myself if that is more fundamental than the experience of actually having been cared for, I can't credit it. As an organizing principle, caring does a better job of organizing reality than reality does of organizing caring.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Regular practice focussing on the unity of all things opens the sense of how the ego is encompassed by the soul, leading to a selfless emptying, what the Bible calls kenosis, as we have discussed before.
Yes, I think the connection is a strong one. To be imprisoned by the passing emotions of the small self, the "not-others" self, is an unhappy fate except possibly for a small part of humanity who is very lucky. And like Kierkegaard I even question whether the really lucky are really happy or just, like the Donald, beating their head against a different kind of wall.

Robert Tulip wrote:
But always the problem in Answer to Job is that the world is anti-kenotic, viewing kenosis with incomprehension and derision. Yet Job’s attitude of kenosis provides an unshakeable faith in God, despite the torments of Satan.
The ways of the world are caught up in the urgent, and resist forming a true sense of the important. I am often in that mode myself, and I understand, but I shake my head at the folly of it.

Robert Tulip wrote:
By the way, I should note that in my recent quote about ‘the dark son of God’, Jung was referring to Satan, not Jesus. He takes the Adam-Abel-Cain triad as a type for God-Jesus-Satan, viewing Jesus and the devil as brothers. Cain's question ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ expresses the scorn that the corrupt have for grace.
I have now read far enough in that I had gathered the basic nature of the reference. Sorry for the mystified, misled response.
Robert Tulip wrote:
So Tillich’s analysis of grace and forgiveness is basically phenomenological and existential. This method treats God as a metaphor rather than as a supernatural entity.
Metaphor isn't quite the right word. Tillich talks about a symbol. God (the traditional conception) is a symbol for God (the ground of being, our ultimate concern). The difference is that a symbol "participates in what it symbolizes" (which is a pretty useful formulation.) An example is a wedding ring, which is not "mere metaphor" in any sense, or a national flag. A bull is a symbol of territoriality and ill-temper, while something like the growling of ice breaking up can be a metaphor for it.
Robert Tulip wrote:
The famous Luther attribution is "Hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders! Gott helfe mir, Amen!" Anders means he could not do otherwise, whereas ‘andern’ means he could not change.
Excellent! Thanks.
Robert Tulip wrote:
In my MA thesis I summarised Heidegger’s theory of care as follows: “the triadic temporal structure of Dasein as care; anticipating the future in existential projection, we retain the past in our thrown facticity, while in the present we decide whether to be authentic: whether to resolutely take a hold of our temporality.” Heidegger’s theory of Dasein, German for human existence, is a systematic way to analyse the temporality of existence as care, a heuristic to assess authenticity.

Very nice. There is a kind of Dunning-Kruger effect with authenticity, where the truly unauthentic is too false to recognize his or her falsity. Trying to convince oneself that ethics don't apply to me is a sign of that kind of inauthentic life.

Your explanation in terms of temporality reminds me of incarnation. I think the traditional version of incarnation, in which Jesus is the sole individual said to incarnate God, is lame. It stems from identification of God with various powers and perfections, rather than with vulnerable care. For me, the spirit of caring calls "softly and tenderly" rather than threatening a harsh, implacable judgment if we don't shape up. The call is to love the world as it is, including its potential to become something better in the future.

But results of choices can be implacable indeed. The old formulation is "Truth without love will crush; love without truth is mush." It was meant to be about conviction and grace, but it is just as apt for relationships in the world. The dialectic between them is certainly essential to authentic living and all virtue. But the implacability of cause and effect is not about judgement. Refusing wishful thinking is not the road to kenosis, it's just the terrain on which our journey plays out.



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Post Re: Answer to Job
Harry Marks wrote:
If I can do a little packing and unpacking, I believe he is saying that the inner representation of parental authority and nurturance which we consider responsible for social order was not in any form capable of learning and reflecting until humans became conscious. Neuroscience of a more recent vintage might take minor issue with that, but fundamentally it makes sense.
One ‘minor issue’ for the neuroscience of human distinctiveness is the evidence of learning among animals. Whether ability to reflect upon what we learn is a distinctive human trait seems to be at the centre of this naturalistic myth of man being made in the image of God, and Jung’s converse construction of God being made in the image of man. Overall, the theme emerging in Answer to Job is the centrality of human consciousness to explaining the myth of God.

There really is a radically atheist dimension to this idea from Jung with its rejection of any theistic speculation about the universe being alive or conscious, separate from human ability to project these qualities onto inert matter. The fact that the universe obeys the rational order set by the laws of physics does not in the least imply there is an eternal God who is aware of that fact. But the evolutionary utility of believing in God as a creative designer means that we should respect observations of how such utility continues today, even if we analyse it as a construction rather than a description.
Harry Marks wrote:
There has to be a process of culture, passing ideas to the next generation and not just practices, before "inner parent" can do any reflecting. And I am claiming that Jung knew this more by knowing "inner parent" first hand than by a slightly laborious process of checking the formal properties of "inner parent." The average person could do the same, but Jung's understanding of his own experience has not only been made an accessible resource by his theory, but also has been shaped and given confidence by his direct acquaintance.
This process of cultural transmission that you mention is enabled by the assertion that a mysterious guarantor, God, validates the process. Invoking divine sanction on the importance of filial piety, as per the Ten Commandments and with echoes in the more secular Confucian tradition, is an important factor in the prevention of delinquency. A reasonable concern here is that Jung’s secular argument that God is imaginary has the damaging result of destroying the transmission of moral values, because people will lack respect for an overtly constructed God. That is why the Noble Lie that God exists as an eternally conscious entity became socially and psychologically necessary. I think there is scope to explore how this problem of naturalism works together with mystical initiation, with the assertions of supernatural reality a key entry point for the broader public impression of faith. Jung is constructing a more esoteric secret vision of the meaning of God as symbol.
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
…Your point about learning to study on what God wanted is key. Where I think Jung has an advantage is his scientific philosophy, which gives a far stronger grounding in truth than any religious assumptions about supernatural entities actually existing. A ‘mythical force’ in this context is primarily psychological, the emotional and social power that any symbol gains through being believed or used.

I quote this again because I think it is a doorway passage, where we moved into a better ability to work with the concepts. I don't have much to add except that I think "studying on what God wanted" which came to me at the time I was writing that passage, is a good description of how this prophetic process works.
‘A doorway passage’, knock and ye shall enter, is one that opens a threshold to a new understanding. In this case, Jung’s perspective is about the actual energies in mythology, how imagined symbolic beings that reside in our collective unconscious exercise psychological and cultural influence.

So when Jesus Christ said ‘I am the door’, Jung recognises this in terms of the incarnation as the emergence of God into consciousness, prefigured by the defiant faith of Job. This doorway role of Christ is a way of seeing the divine in human presence, providing an eternal connection and intimate relationship to the stable order of the natural cosmos.
Harry Marks wrote:
It helps that I had been thinking about the work of Walter Brueggemann, whose book "The Prophetic Imagination" is both landmark and spiritual doorway.
Here is a wonderful quote from that book:
Quote:
““The prophet engages in futuring fantasy. The prophet does not ask if the vision can be implemented, for questions of implementation are of no consequence until the vision can be imagined. The imagination must come before the implementation. Our culture is competent to implement almost anything and to imagine almost nothing. The same royal consciousness that make it possible to implement anything and everything is the one that shrinks imagination because imagination is a danger. Thus every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.”
― Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination

Carl Jung is suggesting that the prophet Job saves himself through his imagination of God, which protects him and us against the wiles of the evil one. Meanwhile the Satanic ‘princes of this world’ maintain what Brueggemann suggests here is a frenzy of implementation without vision, a scorning rejection of any creative imagination. The imaginative work of the mind is central and victorious, despite the appearance of its weak ethereal invisibility and the literal implausibility of its constructions.

Brueggemann’s use of ‘futuring fantasy’ as a way to describe prophecy is ambiguous, given the tendency of the fantasy genre to involve an escape from reality into a suspension of disbelief that would be delusional myths if taken seriously. The great fantasist novelists use their imagination to construct allegorical worlds that have a satirical parabolic relation to our world, thinking here of writers such as Tolkien, Doris Lessing and Bulgakov.

In religion, the prophetic future may have the appearance of indulgent fantasy or unduly harsh critique, depending on how it relates to the chips on our shoulders. Yet, the grounding of prophecy in prayer about the will of God makes prophecy entirely realistic and necessary in principle as a method of discernment.


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Post Re: Answer to Job
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
If I can do a little packing and unpacking, I believe he is saying that the inner representation of parental authority and nurturance which we consider responsible for social order was not in any form capable of learning and reflecting until humans became conscious. Neuroscience of a more recent vintage might take minor issue with that, but fundamentally it makes sense.
One ‘minor issue’ for the neuroscience of human distinctiveness is the evidence of learning among animals. Whether ability to reflect upon what we learn is a distinctive human trait seems to be at the centre of this naturalistic myth of man being made in the image of God, and Jung’s converse construction of God being made in the image of man. Overall, the theme emerging in Answer to Job is the centrality of human consciousness to explaining the myth of God.
There is reflecting and reflecting. I have seen a cat mesmerized by a process it was trying to make sense of. Humans are interesting to cats partly because we do things they can see the value of, but usually cannot see how we do them.

But the reflection done by a cat, and probably an elephant, is in the mode Piaget called "concrete." A child up to about the age of 12 (depending on the individual and their extent of relevant interactions) can only think about specific processes with which they have enough acquaintance to process as "concrete" or "real". Even if they are imagining talking animals, they have some concept of an animal and some concept of talking, and they just splice the two together. What they are terrible at is processing issues that are abstract, like whether a certain derivation in geometry is proof of Pythagoras' theorem, or whether a chess strategy is too "crowded" or too "impatient." Piaget referred to "formal thinking", in which we can think about mental objects (like closure under multiplication or integrals), and it doesn't really flower for most people until they are 17 or 18 years old. Similarly the cat seemed unable to work on questions like why the water from the faucet sometimes had bubbles in it and sometimes didn't - the question seemed to be there, but no ability to address it.

Robert Tulip wrote:
There really is a radically atheist dimension to this idea from Jung with its rejection of any theistic speculation about the universe being alive or conscious, separate from human ability to project these qualities onto inert matter. The fact that the universe obeys the rational order set by the laws of physics does not in the least imply there is an eternal God who is aware of that fact. But the evolutionary utility of believing in God as a creative designer means that we should respect observations of how such utility continues today, even if we analyse it as a construction rather than a description.


Well, if we are co-creators, then maybe we can get smart enough to think about what God wants from us without having to posit a conscious, hidden agent in whom we can have perfect confidence. I repeat that even fundamentalists admit that our concepts of God are inadequate. And they also understand very well that we can't really have perfect confidence about God avenging the deeds of the wicked or protecting us from grave misfortune (though I did meet a stubborn man once who insisted that those people I had met who were chronically hungry must never have actually called on the name of the Lord - I assured him that they called much more seriously than any Americans I had ever met, but the cognitive dissonance was too much for him).

The main problem I see with trying to understand God as description (despite knowing full well that is not what they are doing because it isn't possible) is that it requires us to operate in bad faith. Distorted sociology, even wicked sociology such as scapegoating, emerges from indulging our wishful thinking on a tribal scale. Distorted thinking about reality follows in short order. This is very much the same as the case of the soldiers believing the magic potion will keep the bullets from hitting them - understanding the functional connection they submerge the issue of whether it is "really true" in an act of assertion of the will.

Fortunately religion had progressed far enough in its innocent stage to empower a straightforward refutation of the distortions from the perspective of religious symbolism itself. You can't use the traditional religion to dispel notions of miracles or even of witchcraft, but you can insist that we are in no position to prove that a person is a witch, and show the accuser to be operating in bad faith.

I am suggesting that we treat "analyzing God as a construction" as analysis of a process which can be checked and verified and corrected from within its own frame of reference. The fact that it is a construction does not imply that the constructed version of things lacks validity or consistent causal structure. But you do have to address it in good faith, and ask the right questions out of personal experience with the workings of the relevant dynamics. The second such questions become instrumental means to win an argument, or a battle over a theological point, or even just a way of one-upping someone who is not as skilled at argumentation, the questioning process will trip over the smallest bit (least whiff?) of that bad faith.

I submit, without having read enough of Jung's essay to really know, that he is operating out of that experience and that good faith.

Robert Tulip wrote:
This process of cultural transmission that you mention is enabled by the assertion that a mysterious guarantor, God, validates the process. Invoking divine sanction on the importance of filial piety, as per the Ten Commandments and with echoes in the more secular Confucian tradition, is an important factor in the prevention of delinquency.
But the validation is not by reward and punishment. In a recent Sunday School class we dealt with this by asking about "hearing the voice of God inside." Would that voice tell you to steal, I asked them? No, they agreed, it would not. People get this stuff. It was such a mistake to insist on supernatural processes when the real version works perfectly well.

Robert Tulip wrote:
((from the previous post)) And as a result, Jung presents a modern covenant, a means to reconcile faith and reason, by placing God as a constructed imaginative fantasy that nonetheless is entirely real as archetypal myth and can respect supernatural tradition as pure allegory and parable. The new covenant here invites strong continuity with traditional faith, while transforming its intent from ‘what really happened’ to ‘what it means for us’.

People of a skeptical mind can be reassured that the supernatural tradition is "allegory and fable" without having to dismiss its meaning and the importance of its meaning. Any real importance was always in their understanding and response anyway - fooling a person into behaving well out of fear of punishment by a nosy, punitive God was never anything but an alternate means of manipulation, perhaps gentler than the dungeon and the rack. To have faith that God saves is to believe that people can look in their heart and see the goodness of doing the right thing.

Robert Tulip wrote:
A reasonable concern here is that Jung’s secular argument that God is imaginary has the damaging result of destroying the transmission of moral values, because people will lack respect for an overtly constructed God. That is why the Noble Lie that God exists as an eternally conscious entity became socially and psychologically necessary.
Well, as you can tell by now, I think that Noble Lie was never any better than the man behind the curtain in the Emerald City of Oz. The respect that people have for the real God, (i.e. for the fundamental engagement with life at the heart of our ultimate concern,) will always give meaning to choosing moral values in a way that pretending to be afraid of a Bogeyman in the Sky will not.

Robert Tulip wrote:
‘A doorway passage’, knock and ye shall enter, is one that opens a threshold to a new understanding. In this case, Jung’s perspective is about the actual energies in mythology, how imagined symbolic beings that reside in our collective unconscious exercise psychological and cultural influence.
Yes, but working with those energies will always be more a process of connecting to personal experience in a proper way than a process of manipulating symbols.

Robert Tulip wrote:
So when Jesus Christ said ‘I am the door’, Jung recognises this in terms of the incarnation as the emergence of God into consciousness, prefigured by the defiant faith of Job. This doorway role of Christ is a way of seeing the divine in human presence, providing an eternal connection and intimate relationship to the stable order of the natural cosmos.
I think the stable order that matters most is the one in the healthy, well-nurtured psyche. It is interesting to think about Job as prefigurement of Christ - enough to motivate me to read Jung's essay even if I didn't have other reasons to. Job's "though he slay me, yet will I trust him," is very close indeed to "not my will but thine be done."

Robert Tulip wrote:
Here is a wonderful quote from that book: (("The Prophetic Imagination"))
Quote:
The same royal consciousness that make it possible to implement anything and everything is the one that shrinks imagination because imagination is a danger. Thus every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.

Unfortunately we tend to pay closest attention to the apocalyptic prophecies of dystopian literature. Currently "The Handmaid's Tale" is a the top of the charts in popularity and notoriety. I am more worried about the dire warnings in "Oryx and Crake" another dystopia by Margaret Atwood, but then I am not a woman faced with the threats of the misogyny machine at the heart of evangelical Christianity.

The conjuring I want to see more of was addressed in the wonderful sermon by Bishop Curry at the royal wedding. Imagining a world powered by love. Regimes do not have to be totalitarian to show their fear by fearing art.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Carl Jung is suggesting that the prophet Job saves himself through his imagination of God, which protects him and us against the wiles of the evil one. Meanwhile the Satanic ‘princes of this world’ maintain what Brueggemann suggests here is a frenzy of implementation without vision, a scorning rejection of any creative imagination. The imaginative work of the mind is central and victorious, despite the appearance of its weak ethereal invisibility and the literal implausibility of its constructions.
This is very deep. The wiles of the evil one are external, in constructions such as apartheid, and also internal, as shown by our Dear Leader's admiration of Vlad the Putin. And the imagination of God (or the inner voice of God, in my preferred construction) refutes those wiles. When fear leads people to be cruel to others, but also when we listen to accusations of our own inadequacy and lack of worth, we shed the protection of trust in favor of a "frenzy of implementation."

If you think about it, the epidemic of men drinking themselves to death in the post-Cold War Russian economic collapse was a "frenzy of implementation."

Robert Tulip wrote:
the tendency of the fantasy genre to involve an escape from reality into a suspension of disbelief that would be delusional myths if taken seriously. The great fantasist novelists use their imagination to construct allegorical worlds that have a satirical parabolic relation to our world, thinking here of writers such as Tolkien, Doris Lessing and Bulgakov.
The idea, (as has been said in an entirely different context,) is to take them seriously without taking them literally. To hear the mythic reverberations without trying to assess the accuracy. A parabolic approach doesn't necessarily result in satire -- the world is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel -- but it does offer the hope of making the right connections to our inner world without having to solve the practicalities first.



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Mon May 21, 2018 1:44 am
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Post Re: Answer to Job
Having gotten further into the Answer to Job, I confess myself dismayed.

Some part of that is my fault. I want Jung to enunciate a consistent point of view, a theory you might say, and demonstrate that it is explanatory and predictive, or at least insightful. Instead he ruminates in a kind of (apparently aimless) way, tossing out outrageous claims (such as that God's omnipotence and omniscience stem from being an antimony, a whole in tension between its parts) and only occasionally working a theme with any consistency (such as that God is engaged, but being unconstrained has no cause to reflect and thus be moral, or that the abandonment of the Davidic covenant, i.e. the Captivity, is a piece of arbitrary injustice).

I rather suspect that Jung would pityingly explain that the unconscious is simply like that: seething with conflicting emotions and unpredictable confrontations. One has only to remember the Nuremberg rallies to get that point, but I have trouble engaging with the chaos.

A separate point is his fault: Jung skips around between different ages and traditions as if God is a single character in all of them. If you are going to be taken seriously as an analyst of myth, that won't do. Just as the traditions of Apollo and Dionysius underwent changes, maybe even dramatic changes, over the centuries, so the Yahweh of the Abraham stories, the Noah story and the story of Eden and the Fall are working at different levels and capturing different mythic forces. I think especially in light of Jung's astute observation that Yahweh was engaged in a way that Zeus was not, caring about humanity's fate and doing all of that bullying, pleading and smiting out of a sense that humanity had something to move toward, it is just flat-footed laziness to take them all as the same interaction with the collective unconscious.

Still, even with those reservations on the table, I have to say I take his main point (at this point) that Yahweh is behind the curve on moral behavior. His abuse of Job (or the Babylonian Captivity, or the Holocaust, all essentially the same phenomenon) presents Job with a wounded insistence on rescue from God's moral side. He will at least be heard, and his faith insists that there is justice to be had from God.

Without presuming too much since I am not even halfway in, it seems to me that at least three symbolisms are at work, in Jung's vision of the process. First, God is arbitrary, capricious reality, prone to whack people with no justification. Second, God is parent, moving between personal foibles and engaged nurture with no discernable rhyme or reason. The arbitrariness of nature's insults and injuries becomes the parent's preoccupation with things the child doesn't understand, whether rivalries or failures or just migraines. Third, God is also projection of our fantasized omnipotence, with which we smite those who resist our will, and with which we scare ourselves into preferring the order of morality to the disorder of raw emotion. Maybe Jung will lay out these forces in operation, or maybe he will leave them slouching around inexplicably, like the cat under the blanket. Hard to tell at this point.



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Post Re: Answer to Job
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
The prophetic dimension in Jung emerges in his analysis of zodiac ages, which provide an empirical framework for the structure of time.

If you mean Jung was able to forecast the future because of his understanding of these ages and Precessional structures, I will defer to your greater knowledge of the matter.
Like the Old Testament prophets, Jung’s prophetic position was more about presenting unflinching options to society than making specific predictions of the future. Answer to Job, in my reading, provides a therapeutic analysis that says if people choose one path, these will be the effects, while if we choose another path, quite different results can be expected.

The Zodiac Age theme is at the core of this prophetic dimension in Answer to Job. Jung analyses the concept of the divine revealed by the story of Job in terms of the Book of Revelations, the most difficult and central prophetic text in the Bible.

Jung claims, for example, that the apocalyptic myth of locking Satan in the bottomless pit during the millennial reign of Christ (Rev 20:3) “corresponds astrologically to the first half of the Age of Pisces.”
This approach of connecting Biblical prophecies with historical periods marked by precession of the equinox opens a range of controversial historical and scientific claims, such as whether the ancient authors were aware of the Zodiac Ages.

This question of ancient awareness is a topic I explored in depth in my previous paper at the Canberra Jung Society, on Jung’s Aion, a companion book to Answer to Job. I presented strong evidence that the inventors of Christianity were well aware of precession of the equinox, as that is the only coherent explanation for numerous symbols and beliefs and texts.

In summary, astronomer-priests could see for hundreds of years before the time of Christ that the March equinox point in the sky would shift from Aries into Pisces in 21 AD. This physical observation provided the original accurate empirical basis in mythological symbol for Christian cosmology and eschatology, but the empirical model was severely repressed in the long orthodox campaigns against heresy.

Jung’s claim about the millennium dates it to the thousand years from the time of Christ to about 1000 AD. This plays into tractarian fundamentalist claims around millennial theology, except that his analysis is grounded in a rational empirical mentality, seeing the myths as symbols rather than facts. Even so, for him to introduce this notion of ‘astrological correspondence’ is daunting, unless we just view it as an exploration of what the ancient authors thought and wrote.

Debate over millennial theology has long been a central point of division in Christianity between institutional priests and messianic radicals. Augustine blessed the institutional priesthood of the Roman Church as incarnating the reign of Christ, against the more Biblical messianic view that the Second Coming would occur in the future. The YEC tradition sees time as 7000 years long, from 4000 BC to 3000 AD, with the last thousand years the Sabbath millennium of rest and peace and restoration, as per day/millennium theory. That convention places the return of Christ in this coming millennium, incarnating the dawn of the Age of Aquarius.

Jung’s placement of the millennium in the first half of the Age of Pisces seems to accept the Augustinian establishment model. Placing the imaginative prophetic fantasy within the empirical astronomical framework of precession, together with the objective dimension of psychoanalysis, gives a dose of reality that is missing in the more magical thinking of the fundamentalists.

Jung’s introduction of astrology into his Zodiac Age analysis is something that I explore in more detail in my papers on Aion and The Precessional Structure of Time at http://rtulip.net/astronomy

Jung says “The setting free of Satan after this time must therefore correspond to ... the reign of the Antichrist, whose coming could be predicted on astrological grounds.” This timeline appears to mean that Jung believes evil has emerged victorious in the last thousand years, presenting a dismal analysis of modernity and colonial conquest by comparison to a romanticised vision of the early middle ages.

In saying of Saint John that “the seer’s range of vision extends far beyond the first half of the Christian aeon: he divines that the reign of Antichrist will begin after a thousand years, a clear indication that Christ was not an unqualified victor”, Jung emphasises that the Christian Age is understood as a two thousand year period that is now ending. This Augustinian timeline contradicts the series of Biblical prophecies that Christ would return at the end of the Age, and therefore at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius.

To illustrate the cultural pitfalls associated with such prophetic imagination, Jung says “living at the end of the Christian Age of Pisces, one cannot help but recall the doom that has overtaken our modern art.” This statement looks to support the conservative view that modern art is decadent and corrupt, having lost connection with the spiritual identity of western civilization.

The negative message about modernity, in the wake of the world wars, is reinforced by Jung’s comment that “The destruction of all beauty and of all life's joys, the unspeakable suffering of the whole of creation that once sprang from the hand of a lavish Creator, would be, for a feeling heart, an occasion for deepest melancholy.”

Jung connects this theory of doom with “symbols like Jerusalem, Babylon, etc”, saying he is “only concerned with the psychological aspect, … not … their possible connection with historical events”, whatever that means.

In his most directly prophetic remark in Answer to Job, Jung says “John… anticipated the possibility of God's birth in man… He thus outlined the programme for the whole aeon of Pisces, with its … dark end which we have still to experience, and before whose … apocalyptic possibilities mankind shudders. The four sinister horsemen, the threatening tumult of trumpets, and the brimming vials of wrath are still waiting; already the atom bomb hangs over us like the sword of Damocles, and behind that lurk the incomparably more terrible possibilities of chemical warfare, which would eclipse even the horrors described in the Apocalypse."

Then, quoting the Sybilline Oracle, he says "Aquarius sets aflame Lucifer's harsh forces," equating the apocalypse with the current transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, arguing that “John correctly foresaw at least some of the possible dangers which threaten our world in the final phase of the Christian aeon.”

Against the context of explaining innocent suffering in the story of Job, as providing the pathway to the incarnation of Christ, these contemporary ruminations provide a helpful prophetic voice about the risks facing our planet, to which today we can add climate change as well as nuclear and chemical war. The underlying problem for psychology, philosophy, politics and history is whether human redemption requires the connection to the absolute imagined in Christ.


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Post Re: Answer to Job
Robert Tulip wrote:
Like the Old Testament prophets, Jung’s prophetic position was more about presenting unflinching options to society than making specific predictions of the future. Answer to Job, in my reading, provides a therapeutic analysis that says if people choose one path, these will be the effects, while if we choose another path, quite different results can be expected.
It's possible to see at least two paths before us. In one, people find ways to integrate socially with each other, building social skills and realizing new levels of meaning and worth. In the other, our technical capacity has raced so far ahead of our integrative skills that the world begins to recapitulate the dominance systems of the past. Elections are a joke, manipulated by hackers in and out of government. The best lack all conviction. Biological enhancement becomes yet another way for the rich to experience their privilege. Rule of law is just another sandbox for the elites to rub the faces of ordinary people in. The vast majority of workers are hardly worth employing at a subsistence level, since AI and machines are so much safer and more reliable. The poor are kept in their Gazas and shot if they try to return. The affluent live inland at high latitudes and don't care that the teeming coasts are flooded and the tropics unbearable.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The Zodiac Age theme is at the core of this prophetic dimension in Answer to Job. Jung analyses the concept of the divine revealed by the story of Job in terms of the Book of Revelations, the most difficult and central prophetic text in the Bible.
Yawn. (Sorry.) Today I learned that more Americans think the Mueller investigation is a politically motivated scam than think it is a legitimate effort to protect our country from foreign manipulation and to safeguard the rule of law, according to a recent poll. We are in so much trouble, the apocalyptic visions seem beside the point. I feel like the Camelot court in "Once and Future King," with Mordred and his army of barbarians claiming justice as their reason for marching on Arthur, and Arthur paralyzed by his own genuine sense of justice.

The typical Trump supporter believes in God and the Bible, and has no clue what either of them mean. Jung saw some of the same in the devastations the world had just lived through, and the threat of even worse to come. But the post-War affluence brought a moral reckoning and the U.S. took a decisive turn toward justice. It's hard to see any material advancement that could bring any similar expansion of enlightenment today, or for that matter any turn toward justice that would amount to an empowerment of our material future. I fear there must be a conscious choice between spiritual advancement or materialist moral nihilism that will bring a downward spiral back into barbarism.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Jung says “The setting free of Satan after this time must therefore correspond to ... the reign of the Antichrist, whose coming could be predicted on astrological grounds.” This timeline appears to mean that Jung believes evil has emerged victorious in the last thousand years, presenting a dismal analysis of modernity and colonial conquest by comparison to a romanticised vision of the early middle ages.
I'm not sure why feudalism would be considered either better or worse than the slave empires of Antiquity. Democracy and capitalism might not be the End of History that Fukuyama envisioned, but they are a far sight better than a victory for evil.

Robert Tulip wrote:
In saying of Saint John that “the seer’s range of vision extends far beyond the first half of the Christian aeon: he divines that the reign of Antichrist will begin after a thousand years, a clear indication that Christ was not an unqualified victor”, Jung emphasises that the Christian Age is understood as a two thousand year period that is now ending. This Augustinian timeline contradicts the series of Biblical prophecies that Christ would return at the end of the Age, and therefore at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius.
I don't know how Augustine or anyone else could have seen Christ as "unqualified victor," at least in any earthly, historically bound sense. I was taught, growing up, that if there was a millenium of tribulation, it began with Constantine and ended with the Thirty Years' War.

Robert Tulip wrote:
In his most directly prophetic remark in Answer to Job, Jung says “John… anticipated the possibility of God's birth in man… He thus outlined the programme for the whole aeon of Pisces, with its … dark end which we have still to experience, and before whose … apocalyptic possibilities mankind shudders. The four sinister horsemen, the threatening tumult of trumpets, and the brimming vials of wrath are still waiting; already the atom bomb hangs over us like the sword of Damocles, and behind that lurk the incomparably more terrible possibilities of chemical warfare, which would eclipse even the horrors described in the Apocalypse."
I fear this is an example of Jung at his most incoherent. It sounds like he treats "God's birth in man" as an incarnation of the stormy, unreflective, petty and thin-skinned God of (some of) the OT stories, as if that side of God had not been evident among men for millennia.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The underlying problem for psychology, philosophy, politics and history is whether human redemption requires the connection to the absolute imagined in Christ.
There is an ongoing processing of the anthropology of Rene Girard, which sees envy as the driving force in human affairs, at the community level even more than the national level, and sees scapegoating as the typical response. In Girard's analysis, Christ's willing sacrifice is the only way to short-circuit the antagonism generated by mutual envy, and all the other cultural responses to conflictual forces degrade the human capacity for cooperation.

I haven't looked into it enough to know what Girard made of non-violent movements such as Gandhi's or King's. But the foundation who keeps Girard's theories feeding into the Patheos Progressive Christian forum treats non-violence as essentially identical with the Christ's kenosis response.



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Post Re: Answer to Job
At 542 in the text, I find what I consider the key to understanding Jung's approach.

Jung wrote:
Yet it is not remorse and certainly
not moral horror that rises to his [God's] consciousness, but an
obscure intimation of something that questions his om-
nipotence.


The creator is not only shown to be less than omnipotent, by all the pain accruing to humans as they are "tested," but to be indifferent. Yet the God in the story, projection of human claims to power, cares only about the first issue. The fact that we could not have been given a world that lacks such tests is an affront to omnipotence which projection-God will not accept. Might refuses to be questioned by right.

This cosmos is the greatest ever, the best, unlike any ever seen before. Nobody makes a cosmos like God does. And if you want solutions, pick God, because the others are fakes. Job, sitting on his ash-pile, missing his children, doesn't even get what a loser he is. Sad.



Mon May 28, 2018 3:54 am
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Post Re: Answer to Job
Jung wrote:
Yahweh calmed down at last. The therapeutic measure of unresisting acceptance had proved its value once again.
At 547 in the text.

Here Jung appears to be taking an ironic tone, but it may be the most insightful observation in the entire Response. Which would not be too surprising, since as Jung suggests, it emerges from the experience, repeated over many instances, of therapy.

Yahweh the projection of power and authority, attempting to avoid consciousness of his lack of moral accountability, has humiliated Job with his ultimate argument, "You puny insect! How dare you raise words and concepts of justice against me, the maker of everything? I gave you everything you have, and if not for me, you would not even exist! All I ask from you is a little respect, and instead you are trying to judge me!"

With a little more distance from the apocalyptic horrors of the second World War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, we can ask, "Where did that rage come from? Why is power so touchy?"

The mid-20th century answer from therapy is fairly unanimous: the self-assertive urge of every person (id) rages against anything that resists it, and most especially against abstractions about the requirements of human community (superego), abstractions the child is not yet capable of understanding (ego), much less internalizing.

I think today we might cleave the planes of this crystal along a different slant.

A family system can be, as Brazelton said of infants, "self-calming." A potential for rage and naked self-assertion is latent in all of us, but that doesn't mean it will be our way of life. So we ask ourselves, what leads a family to be caught up in systems of rage, in which every member is so afraid that only ferocity seems to stand between the others and one's own annihilation? The question of how rage gets established as the mode of living is a different question from where it comes from.

One obvious answer is that the threat of annihilation by external forces may be part of the parents' awareness, and they may thus react to any attempt at holding them accountable as petty whining by mewling little ignoramuses who have no concept what is at stake. But when we consider the many ways that violence established itself in the roiling centuries of struggle for imperial power, including, for example, the droit de seigneur by which lords would impose their offspring on peasants to raise, and the placement of noble sons in bishop and abbot positions of church authority, we see that rage against accountability is not necessarily benevolent. The systems of self-assertion may have often been just an extension of the use of violence for base biological advantage. And sure enough, the pater familias who will brook no challenge to his authority turns out to be exploiting his dear wife and seeking his pleasure on the side. How does rage get established as a system? A question to be considered.

And yet, like the God who wishes to be worshipped and praised for his justice, the propagators of authoritarian systems of exploitation also wish to be seen as benevolent, wise and even charitable. Our dear leader exemplifies this pitiful longing for approval and affirmation, at such cross-purposes to his assertions that "I alone" am the decider and the authority and the one who understands. He cannot help but promise to make charitable donations, but then in the privacy of his self-consultation, he cannot bring himself to be so weak. Over and over, his desire to be applauded as a savior collides with his captivity to the requirements of appearing powerful and even invulnerable. And so he lies.

The British Empire was perhaps the first great battleground of this titanic struggle between our craving for the security demonstrated by dominating others, on one hand, and our longing for a just world in which such cravings cease to torture people, on the other. Jung's analysis holds, just beneath the surface, the specter of Gandhi being asked, "What do you think of Western civilization?" and responding, "I think it would be an excellent idea." India played the role of Job to Britain's God, holding it to account morally based on its own moral aspirations.

I don't think that perspective escaped Jung. In fact I suspect it is exactly why we next move into issues of "Wisdom" in archetypal, mythic form, and, I gather from Robert's comments, issues of apocalypse and the astonishing reversal by which moral principles become the very means of survival.



Wed May 30, 2018 4:43 am
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Post Re: Answer to Job
Sorry to be slow getting back to this discussion. I will continue to reply to comments in order.
Harry Marks wrote:
I am more interested in the "prophetic" ability to translate, say, the pessimistic times of Augustine and their influence on his rejection of his own elite, privileged background than I am in forecasting the future.
There is a key distinction about the meaning of prophecy. The more important meaning is a deep understanding of the trajectory of a society. The more popular meaning is linked to magical fortune telling.

The reason for the confusion is that a real prophet, with deep understanding, is better able to make accurate predictions of the future, in the sense of a pundit, than someone whose analysis is based on error. So the Biblical prophets like Jeremiah were able to say accurately to Israel that if they continued to behave unethically they would lose their national independence, as occurred with the Babylonian captivity.

Prophecy was primarily a question of the role of religion in providing a strategic framework for military security. The interesting thing for Israel was the idea that as a tiny state wedged between large empires their only hope for freedom rested in building alliances based on a good reputation, but they failed to achieve that goal. To my view this strategy was the key to the theory of monotheism, that belief in God would generate ethical conduct.

The modern problem is that prophecy is now seen exclusively in terms of supernatural revelation, and is therefore the object of mockery and derision, whereas the Biblical prophets like Jeremiah also included secular prediction based on political insight. While allegedly inspired by God, he could predict with no divine guidance that Israel would be conquered unless it changed social direction.

A modern example that you mentioned recently Harry is George Kennan, who rightly predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union based on his observations. Now diplomats don’t want to see Kennan as a prophet, and yet there is a similarity. Equally, we could cite Churchill’s predictions of war with Hitler, among other prophecies.

Relating this to Jung, his approach as a modern prophet is more psychological than political, predicting that without better integration of the ego and the unconscious, humanity will be unable to achieve the wholeness needed to overcome social difficulties. His status as the father of the Age of Aquarius, as intimated in Answer to Job, provides a framework for this spiritual New Age prophetic position.
Harry Marks wrote:
A prophet might be able to tell what will become of Trumpism and the Tea Party movement if the Democratic party sweeps both houses of Congress, but if so it would be by sensing the inner workings of the way social aspirations interact with political processes. There is more than a little bit of spiritual aspect to that relationship.
The problem with that example is that it operates on too short a time frame to make sense. There are deep trends in the polarities of conservative and progressive politics that operate like tectonic or glacial change, where the exact moment when the tension will break is too complex to see, even though the general trend is apparent.

My own view on American politics is a bit like Jung, based on the zodiac age concept. Astronomically, the length of a zodiac age is 2148 years. I did a study of modern politics compared to events 2148 years earlier and found a bunch of interesting correlations, such as between Napoleon and Alexander, and between Hitler and Hannibal. The current time on that scheme equates to the Roman position of about 130 BC, as the Republic had begun its collapse toward civil war and eventual military empire.


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Post Re: Answer to Job
Harry Marks wrote:
In the sense that we do not know where rescue may come from concerning climate change, you might be right that it is scarier [than 1970s prophecies of resource depletion]. There are no scientists out there with an observation of a mechanism by which the process might right itself. On the other hand, it would seem that solutions are quite within our technical grasp. Europe, at least, has mustered the force of will to take it on.
This talk about climate may seem a sidebar, and yet it provides a perfect example of some of the big psychological problems that Jung describes in Answer to Job. I am fascinated by the problem of mass delusion that Jung discusses. As I have recently argued, the science is simple that proves 'emission reduction alone' can only produce catastrophe, meaning carbon removal is absolutely critical as a method to address climate change.

And yet that perception struggles to get scientific oxygen, let alone political oxygen, due to the intense role of psychological repression in avoiding conversation about difficult topics that challenge assumptions. It is likely that scientists do have answers to global warming, but the dominant repressive psychology makes these ideas invisible.

I completely disagree with your assertion about Europe. Far from addressing climate change, Europe has only mustered the will to agree to expensive delusional spin about emission reduction, and is very far from any feasible path to avoid warming tipping points.

Jung says “our whole world of religious ideas consists of anthropomorphic images that could never stand up to rational criticism… they are based on … an emotional foundation which is unassailable by reason.”

This is a key psychological point about the enduring nature of mythological thinking, indicating that Christian or Muslim stories need have no more factual basis than Mormon or Scientology fantasies.

Unfortunately, the modern belief that secular humanism provides protection from mythical thinking is false. For example, emission reduction, like communism in previous generations, has become a religious idea transposed into secular politics. Calling emission reduction a myth is not in the slightest to give credence to climate denial. Rather, the key point is that the comforting belief that carbon emission reduction could prevent dangerous warming has no empirical basis, and is a myth. And yet people believe it anyway, and get angry when confronted by facts that refute their myth.
Harry Marks wrote:
Well, if we don't find some technical fix such as your idea bids to be, operating outside governmental social engineering, there is going to be a lot of repenting going on. The question is whether it will be too late by then. Quite possibly so. Very likely so, for biodiversity.

Indeed. The problem though, is that human psychology is riven by delusion, with our public conversation so repressed that we are incapable of even having a rational discussion of technical fixes, let alone testing and applying them. In the framework of Job, a massive catastrophe is looming for the earth, but we don't even have Job's excuse that we are innocent and good and faithful.


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Post Re: Answer to Job
Robert Tulip wrote:
There is a key distinction about the meaning of prophecy. The more important meaning is a deep understanding of the trajectory of a society. The more popular meaning is linked to magical fortune telling.

The reason for the confusion is that a real prophet, with deep understanding, is better able to make accurate predictions of the future, in the sense of a pundit, than someone whose analysis is based on error. So the Biblical prophets like Jeremiah were able to say accurately to Israel that if they continued to behave unethically they would lose their national independence, as occurred with the Babylonian captivity.

I think sensing (not "understanding") the trajectory of a society is a good way of thinking about what prophets do. But it is tricky business, and easily falls prey to hubris. In my view, Jeremiah is an example.

At best, one can readily argue that he was good at taking the view from eternity, asking what is truly right and what is truly wrong, independent of what King or Party might want proclaimed at that particular pivot in their policy.

But his theology was deeply flawed, and their unethical behavior or lack of it had little to do with the conquest they suffered. That is the topic of the book of Job - you may be as sinless and faithful as can be, and reality will still take your scalp.

In the longer scheme of things, his pronouncements helped to set up the re-thinking and re-engineering of Judaism that was Christianity. As frequently happens with a first draft, Jeremiah underlined the right question but jumped too quickly to a wrong answer. Jesus had to consciously step out of the Jeremiah theology, endorsing such sayings as "the rain falls on the just and the unjust", in order to perceive the beautiful aspiration in Jeremiah's report that Yahweh would "write the law on their hearts."

Robert Tulip wrote:
To my view this strategy was the key to the theory of monotheism, that belief in God would generate ethical conduct.
I think the modern review of these issues, after a second look, then a third and fourth look, would argue that the monotheism project was based in covenant relation (absent from previous theisms) rather than in enforcement and judgment. It is possible to support either view with texts, and no doubt they are not completely separable. But the part that went on to grow and flourish was relational, while judgment came to a kind of dead end in which it was pushed off to the afterlife and mythical speculation about the supernatural.

Robert Tulip wrote:
A modern example that you mentioned recently Harry is George Kennan, who rightly predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union based on his observations. Now diplomats don’t want to see Kennan as a prophet, and yet there is a similarity. Equally, we could cite Churchill’s predictions of war with Hitler, among other prophecies.
I think those are both good examples of seeing "the trajectories of societies", including the psychological pathologies implicit in their pathological structures.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Relating this to Jung, his approach as a modern prophet is more psychological than political, predicting that without better integration of the ego and the unconscious, humanity will be unable to achieve the wholeness needed to overcome social difficulties.
Anyone asking me to separate the psychological from the political would have had a much easier time of it two years ago.
Robert Tulip wrote:
There are deep trends in the polarities of conservative and progressive politics that operate like tectonic or glacial change, where the exact moment when the tension will break is too complex to see, even though the general trend is apparent.
Mainly, perhaps. I also don't think that kind of archetypal analysis could improve much on political forecasting in the near term. But it could help those trying to reassess each party to understand which approaches are fighting losing battles.

The Republicans chose to ride the tiger of White Nationalism with Nixon's Southern Strategy, perhaps out of frustration at having to face the Northern Democrats' claims of moral right at the same time they could never grasp power because of the Southern Democrats' corrupt machinations. I think they were fooled by Reagan's talent for looking the other way into thinking that they could carry off the trick. But first they lost their soul, and now they are losing their mind.



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Post Re: Answer to Job
Reply to comments from 8 May.
Harry Marks wrote:
First, please note that in the narrative God has faith in Job. "You will see" he tells Satan. The point is precisely not to break his spirit, but to show how strong his spirit is.
I think you have misread Job. There is nothing in it that I could see that indicates that God has faith in Job. The actual statement ‘you will see’ is said by Satan to God, at 2:5, where the devil says “send your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and then you will see whether or not he blesses you to your face.” God says nothing about having faith in Job, but only tells the devil “he is in your hand”.

This unsupportive testing attitude by God towards Job is why Jung is so perplexed at how we can understand the apparent amorality of God, who is “contradictory… eaten up with rage and jealousy… Insight existed along with obtuseness, loving-kindness along with cruelty, creative power along with destructiveness. Everything was there, and none of these qualities was an obstacle to the other. Such a condition is only conceivable either when no reflecting consciousness is present at all, or when the capacity for reflection is very feeble… A condition of this sort can only be described as amoral.”
Harry Marks wrote:
So the set-up is a good man, who remains true to God ("Though he slay me, yet will I trust him") and yet is tormented by misfortune. This is a representation of the Exile.
Again I disagree. The exile of Israel to Babylon was presented in the Bible, eg Jeremiah 12 as a just punishment for evil, like Noah’s flood. Israel had not at all ‘remained true to God’ like Job. Jeremiah asks why the wicked prosper and the treacherous thrive, and says
God wrote:
7 “I have forsaken my house; I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies. 8 My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her. 9 Is my heritage to me like a hyena’s lair? Are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour. 10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled down my portion; they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11 They have made it a desolation; desolate, it mourns to me. The whole land is made desolate, but no man lays it to heart. 12 Upon all the bare heights in the desert destroyers have come, for the sword of the LORD devours from one end of the land to the other; no flesh has peace. 13 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns; they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the LORD.”
This is completely different from anything God is purported to say about the innocent suffering of Job, but rather blames the exile squarely on the evil actions of Israel as a just punishment. Zephaniah 3 is similar, in calling Israel the oppressing city who accepts no correction, with wolves for judges and treacherous prophets and profane priests, deserving to be made desolate.
Harry Marks wrote:
The long passages in Job in which the "friends" argue that he must have done something bad to deserve this, and Job maintains his righteousness, are not entirely plausible.
On the problem of plausibility, you appear to mean logically plausible within the framework of belief. That is an interesting point, but first it is important to note that Jung raises a very different agenda about the plausibility of the Bible, that the whole story has zero literal evidentiary plausibility and makes sense only on the psychological terrain in terms of what it means for the reader. He says “"Physical" is not the only criterion of truth: there are also psychic truths which can neither be explained nor proved nor contested in any physical way.”

The implausibility you are talking about is different, it is whether justice demands that suffering only occurs as punishment for evil. That belief reflects a widespread primitive magical belief in moral causality, like hurricanes punishing cities for atheism. But the whole point of Job is that this magical moral framework does not work, that innocent suffering is common, but should not shake our faith in God.
Harry Marks wrote:
As the evangelicals love to observe, we have pretty much all done stuff that could be interpreted as deserving punishment.
Yes, but the point of the Bible, for example in the Baptism of Christ, is that God will forgive sin if we are truly sorry for it. The justified lack of forgiveness and mercy is the divine response to unrepentant evil. The point is that we need to understand our mistake, why and how it was wrong, in order to achieve the redeeming atonement promised in Christ. Divine love may be unconditional, but forgiveness certainly is conditional on repentance.
Harry Marks wrote:
And yet neither is it plausible that world-historical events such as the Exile were caused by the wrath of a deity as punishment for bad treatment of the poor (as Amos would have it) or for dalliance with the fertility gods (Hosea, Ezekiel, Jeremiah). The author of Job puts the case plainly: even the best suffer.
The Exile can be interpreted more coherently using Jung’s approach of seeing religious myth as psychological symbol. This prophetic myth of wrath rests on the realpolitik claim that if Israel had been faithful to God, it would have been able to build alliances of trust and non-interference with neighbouring empires, but due to its infidelity such security arrangements were impossible, leaving Israel totally vulnerable to invasion. Speaking of “the wrath of a deity” is a way to personalise such historical processes for a mass audience.

In a psychological reading, as Jung presents, there is no need to posit a conscious intentional personal God as making deliberate decisions of will based on observation of events on earth. It is entirely contrary to the prophetic tradition to read the Exile as innocent suffering, since the consistent message of the Biblical prophets is that Israel fully deserved the captivity as punishment for arrogance.


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Post Re: Answer to Job
Robert Tulip wrote:
This talk about climate may seem a sidebar, and yet it provides a perfect example of some of the big psychological problems that Jung describes in Answer to Job. I am fascinated by the problem of mass delusion that Jung discusses. As I have recently argued, the science is simple that proves 'emission reduction alone' can only produce catastrophe, meaning carbon removal is absolutely critical as a method to address climate change.

And yet that perception struggles to get scientific oxygen, let alone political oxygen, due to the intense role of psychological repression in avoiding conversation about difficult topics that challenge assumptions. It is likely that scientists do have answers to global warming, but the dominant repressive psychology makes these ideas invisible.

Well, I understand the problem (referred to as "moral hazard") that environmentalists have with geoengineering. And I understand why you and your community perceive a kind of struggle for "political oxygen" with the environmentalists. In some sense you are not wrong that the claim of a "moral hazard" problem is a fight to starve alternative approaches. But economists, who have a much longer history of sitting close to the political hot seat than either engineers or environmentalists, see absolutely no reason why the two approaches need to be mutually exclusive, despite the claims of each.

The moral hazard claim is that if geoengineering finds ways to fit within a larger "carbon budget," that they let society, and the fossil fuel industry, off the hook of reckoning with their damage. The terminology is taken from the conservative claim (which has some substance) that deposit insurance and the resulting bank rescue created "moral hazard" for banks, tempting them to gamble with other people's money by socializing the losses while privatizing gains. The original use of the term was in insurance, in which the chances of, say, a house burning down, go up if the house is insured, because the insured householder is less careful than the uninsured.

In effect the environmentalists are claiming that the problems of putting society on a sustainable basis are simply put off if we stave off Armageddon with a geoengineering fix, as they believe that the problems will be just as severe when society eventually reaches the higher, looser constraint allowed by geoengineering. There is some logic to that, but the "all or nothing" approach is completely artificial, and the economist's approach of balancing (all) costs against benefits would encourage both. A carbon budget would move us toward sustainability without forcing that to occur at a tighter total level of emissions through artificially excluding carbon sequestration and negative emissions technology from participating in the incentives.

Robert Tulip wrote:
I completely disagree with your assertion about Europe. Far from addressing climate change, Europe has only mustered the will to agree to expensive delusional spin about emission reduction, and is very far from any feasible path to avoid warming tipping points.
Well, I agree that Europe has endured higher costs than necessary to achieve their level of renewables use, but overall it was a good use of cheap capital and a demonstration of how utterly manageable emissions reduction is. If the rest of the world had cut carbon-intensity at the rate Europe has in the last 20 years, we could be talking about this without any sense that apocalyptic urgency makes the issue of "scientific oxygen" critical.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Unfortunately, the modern belief that secular humanism provides protection from mythical thinking is false. For example, emission reduction, like communism in previous generations, has become a religious idea transposed into secular politics. Calling emission reduction a myth is not in the slightest to give credence to climate denial. Rather, the key point is that the comforting belief that carbon emission reduction could prevent dangerous warming has no empirical basis, and is a myth. And yet people believe it anyway, and get angry when confronted by facts that refute their myth.

It seems to me that I am seeing "delusional spin" and a "dominant repressive psychology" on both sides of this sterile debate, so myth-calling is not very persuasive.



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