Friday, August 11, 2017

The Human Soul (Lost?) in Transition, at the Dawn of a New Era - Quadrant

This essay, in the Spring 2017 issue of Quadrant, examines the liminal phase of society and interiority in which we find ourselves today and poses several questions to the irrepressibly optimistic inventors of a techno-utopian future: Can we really be and feel happy if we need to be informed about it by a cellphone app? Do 93 million selfies a day replace a single moment of true reflection? How can we remain relatively integrated individuals in the transiency of the present?

The essay will be part of a forthcoming book.

From the introduction:
Jung says, “Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices…,” and “In each of these images there is a little piece of human psychology and human fate, a remnant of the joys and sorrows that have been repeated countless times in our ancestral history…” (CW15, par. 129, 127).
The image, the images of interiority, cannot exist without the soul. In soullessness, in fundamentalism and totalitarianism there are no images.The existence of the soul, that elusive, purely poetical idea of anima, whether in man or woman, cannot be bound by earthly empires, neither by imperial rules nor by imperatives, but can only be poetically imagined, for instance, as that image of a mirror that mirrors the image.
But the soul also relies on the capacity of imagelessness, in the sense of an absence of externally generated images. In their discussion centered around Neumann’s manuscript on Jacob and Esau, Jung writes that “the ‘imagelessness’ [that is, of the God-image] is exceedingly important for the free exercise of intuition that would be prejudiced by a fixed image, and thereby rendered unusable.” (Jung and Neumann, 2015, p. 56).
While images take shape within our individual psyches, the image is not only within us, but we are also within the image, as Henry Corbin says (Cheetham, 2003, p. 71). We reside within an image of the world, within the world soul, and we relate to the world according to the images, ideas and perspectives that we have developed, and to a large extent, according to the views and the spirit of our times.
When listening to the brilliant young men and women at the forefront of progress, those that hold the trigger to the chips and the apps of the future, one cannot refrain from being amazed at the firm belief and complete conviction that technology is the remedy of all ills and the foundation of all future viruses – sorry! virtues, not viruses.
This essay is an attempt to cause a slight crack in the confidence of the young, and perhaps it is merely an old man’s pathetic envy of tomorrow’s triumphant heroes, to whisper in their ears, “you are also mortals.” .....

Quadrant, Spring 17 - Volume XLVII:1

— Kathryn Madden
— Shaun McNiff
— Erel Shalit
— Brandon J. O'Neil
— Elizabeth Colistra
— Roger Peasley
Beth Darlington, review editor. Reviews by Deborah Stewart, Mark Dean, and Chris Beach

No comments: