The Gods Have Become Diseases

“We think we can congratulate ourselves on having already reached such a pinnacle of clarity, imagining that we have left all these phantasmal gods far behind.  But what we have left behind are only verbal spectres, not the psychic facts that were responsible for the birth of the gods.  We are still as much possessed by autonomous as if they were Olympians.  Today they are called phobias, obsessions, and so forth; in a word, neurotic symptoms.  The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders of the brains of politicians and journalists who unwillingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.” (Jung, Cw 13, par. 54)

“The gods have become diseases” . . . I guess that about sums it up.  These words were written quite some time ago, yet it is as if C.G. Jung is looking at today’s world and events with these words.  These words trigger a series of thoughts within me.  What a statement to make, “the gods have become diseases”!

Or, could one say that those who re-discover the gods are themselves suffering from disease (dis-ease)?  What it took for me to find a place for the idea of the gods, a recognition of the spiritual centre within “self” was a”breakdown” that allowed me to take “sick leave” for “treatment.”  I had to be broken before I would allow myself time to think and feel again.  Strange how midlife crises have become a dividing line between life externalised and life that includes “Self.”  How many, like myself, have embraced a spiritual centre with the crisis of midlife bringing them to a halt in the outer world?  I know that many have ignored the call to an inner self and respond to the crisis of midlife with affairs, new toys, fundamentalist adherence to some religion or political belief.

These words of Jung’s open up a huge world of questions for me.  I will need to take time to think about these words a lot more if I am ever to find a way to express my response to them in some meaningful way.