History of Culture and Consciousness
History…Through Nietzsche and Jung
( color of the text corresponds to the date written/edited )
A comedy of error, no… a tragedy. Camus’s absurd must first take us back, through history to the beginning. And for now, the Greeks, pre-Socratic and Hellenic, must be our starting point. The early Greek city/states are among the first culture-groups in ‘recorded history’ to develop dramatic art with a high degree of philosophical content. These dramas took the form of the antithetical dualism prevalent in philosophy at the time: Comedy, or philosophical ‘optimism’ and tragedy, or ‘pessimism’. Nietzsche has led us through here in his early work, “The Birth of Tragedy”. The same antithesis existed between sculpture and music, the former being of the school of ideal forms, the latter expressing the ‘worlds’ of motion and change. Art and philosophy thusly mingled, became a powerful tool to shape mass-consciousness, then as it is today. Both reached their early peaks in the dialogues of Socrates by Plato and the works of Aristotle, which were attempts to construct or synthesize and crystallize their philosophical positions, and consequently were required to ‘censor or create’ truth as needed, in order to promote their ‘artistic’ model of reality.
Though not universally recognized, Carl Jung, a onetime protégé of Freud who later abandoned Freud and his obsession with Sexual- Repression complexes to develop his own holistic psychology which covertly (in order not to sacrifice ‘scientific credibility’) incorporates spiritual-dimension factors that influence mental health, was the foremost authority in the 20th century on the significance of art and symbolism and their influence and relationship with conscious and the sub-conscious forces that effect our thoughts and behaviors. In Jung’s view the human mind sprang forth from a “collective subconsciousness” and what we think and do is effected by subconscious forces arising from this universal source. In the psychological theory Jung developed over the course of six decades of studies he identified a variety of subconscious phenomena or "archtypes" arising from the collective consciousness that reoccurred independently in many of his patients. Analysis of their dreams showed remarkable similarities of imagery and symbols, even when those patients had not ever been in a position to have encountered those images or symbols; as in symbols that were in use during the middle ages by Alchemists but which were no longer encountered in twentieth century Europe. These patients subconscious had to have been connected to or actually were a part of something on the (spiritual) plane of existence which included what were to the patients consciously unknowable elements. Jung found that such symbols are often incorporated in the artistry of the dream to bring the individual to an awareness of some spiritual need in their life or some task that needed completed to ‘complete’ themselves as an individual. One of the most powerful concepts of Jung’s psychology is called Enantiodromia, which I think of as a ‘compensation factor’ at work in our subconscious. Enantiodromia is the ‘spiral-effect’ of evolutionary tendencies in the subconscious covertly ‘charging’ our wills and the forms our thoughts take in a complex relationship with one’s total environment, i.e., one’s ‘time’ in history or specific angularity within the ‘spiral’ (connection to astrology here), multiplied/divided by the synchronicity/discordance of our individual ‘Weltanschauungs’. This 'charge' acts upon the subconscious like a psycho-electric force 'attracting' 'compensation karma' , or event horizons of opposite 'charge', creating conditions in 'spiritual space' which 'draw' needed compensatorially corrective 'events' to the person. The enantiodromiated subconscious impulses of the people of ancient Athens, where there were more slaves than citizens, produced the chain of eventualities which created the rise and fall of the Golden Age. This ‘chain’ is not to be considered strictly causal as in the concept of Karma; instead it is as the opening of doors to probabilities within the mechanisms of ‘Fate’.
©2007 Thomas Theodore Welborn