"From the flooding darkness the son of the earth had brought, my soul gave me ancient things that pointed to the future. She gave me three things: The misery of war, the darkness of magic, and the gift of religion.
If you are clever, you will understand that these three things belong together. These three mean the unleashing of chaos and its power, just as they also mean the binding of chaos. War is obvious and everybody sees it. Magic is dark and no one sees it. Religion is still to come, but it will become evident. Did you think that the horrors of such atrocious warfare would come over us? Did you think that magic existed? Did you think about
a new religion? I sat up for long nights and looked ahead at what was to come and I shuddered. Do you believe me? I am not too concerned. What should I believe? What should I disbelieve? I saw and I shuddered." Jung, Red Book, 305-307
Hi Thom. Wow--thanks for sharing this powerful excerpt. I've been reading more "about" Jung lately for a project I'm working on, and not as much of his actual works. This passage is a great re-entry. It's offered in terms that, for me, are so palpable. As I read each word and the meaning landed, I felt each concept--war, magic, religion--the way he describes them. I "think" I have an inkling of what he means when he says they "belong together"--but what does it mean in my life? What is my religion if not depth psychology? What is the war that always being fought if not the war between good and evil? And is the chaos everywhere--especially lately--but I am just still on the sane side of sanity not to be sucked into despair about what's going on in our culture? Intense thoughts for a beautiful morning when the sun is streaming brightly from my window.... :)
Put in context I think you would agree that by war Jung was referring to and anticipating two major world wars. In the aftermath, there was an explosions of new technology that continues to change the environment in which we live. Atomic weapons, the computer and advances in biotechnology are only three areas that, even for us today, appear magical. Finally, there is religion that is losing its sacredness and spirituality is on the rise. This last prophesy will take many years to mature, but change is at hand. As to considering depth psychology a religion, I refer you back to some excellent discussion in previous postings. Mind you, Jung repeatedly denied being a mystic or for that matter, a theologian. He, as well as depth psychology, is en empirical science. With new imaging devices, this is becoming increasingly clear: non-rational, non-cognitive, unconscious stimuli influence and produce meaningful events in the world. You may recall what I've written elsewhere, "Magic is tomorrow's science."