Jung’s Memories Dreams Reflections 13

renewal of myth and Jung

“Unfortunately, the mythic side of man is given short shrift nowadays. He can no longer create fables. As a result, a great deal escapes him; it is important and salutory to speak also of incomprehensible things.”  -C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 331.

There’s far more weight to this quote than first meets the eye. To cut right to heart of it, we no longer speak of what we cannot comprehend with our minds–the “incomprehensible.” Think of all the important things that this excludes. It excludes the divine, the soul, the origin of the cosmos, the experience of love, the archetypes, death and the hereafter… shall I go on? Even the great philosopher Plato blended mythologizing into his quest to understand. He created philosophical myths as approaches to what lies beyond our limited scope. Jung isn’t anti-rational. He’s simply saying that so much of ultimate importance lies beyond reason’s ability to understand. Modern human beings live within a closed horizon of our own undoing. Part of the continued appeal of Jung’s work consists in his return to the psychological experiences of the individual–the myth-making capacity of dreams and the storytelling of our waking fantasies. We have not evolved out of our need to mythologize as some have suggested. We are only hamstrung for the moment, still top-heavy with Enlightenment rationalism, human rationality as the measure of reality, the ego’s revolt against reality as it is rather than as we’d like it to be. So… keep dreaming and imagining! When you do, you’re exercising healthy rebellion against the pathology of our age and making a space in which the gods may return.

Speak Your Mind

*