It is absurd to deny the progress that, through the application of the intellect, allowed the exponential growth of science and technology throughout the Twentieth Century, which continues in this Third Millennium.
But at the same time it is also necessary to admit that our spiritual foundations, if they have not completely collapsed, are on their way to it.
Because since Sigmund Freud discovered that the unconscious psyche is the foundation and essence of human behavior, we can assure that disturbances begin in the personality when consciousness is allowed to act as if it were the psychic totality of man. But is not.
The person is not their conscience, but –precisely– the opposite: it is what nests in the psychic interior of oneself. For this reason Carl Gustav Jung (1875/1961) expressed that whoever “looks out, dreams; but he who looks inward wakes up.”
“Whoever sees himself – added the Swiss sage – reflected in the mirror runs the risk of finding himself. The mirror… faithfully shows the figure that is seen in it, it makes us see that face that we never show to the world, because we cover it with an actor’s mask. But the mirror is behind the mask and shows the true face. That is the first test of courage on the interior path; a test that is enough to scare the majority, since the encounter with oneself is one of the most unpleasant things and man avoids it as long as he can project everything negative onto his surrounding world”.
Why does Jung argue that such an encounter “is one of the most unpleasant things” when that is why most avoid having it?
The answer is quite simple. And today it is essential to understand much of what is happening to Humanity. To look inside oneself is to know –to later admit– the essence of each one.
“You will be what you should be or you will be nothing”
It is that phrase pronounced by Jose de San Martin: “You will be what you should be or you will be nothing”. Which has as its antecedent the famous Greek poet Pindar (518 BC/ 437 BC) stating: “become who you are”.
Today people are attentive to what they “want” or “do not want” as well as what they “like” or “do not like”; all circumstantial and merely conscious matters. As the search is therefore superficial, the resulting feeling is one of permanent dissatisfaction.
The award-winning South African writer Laurens van der Post (1906/1996) comments that already in the first half of the last century “Jung was sure that the decline and meaninglessness of the world around him were due, to a large extent, to the growing inability of modern man to guide his life for symbols.”
But allowing oneself to be guided by the symbols necessarily implies being attentive to what Socrates called “inner voices” and that the modern Psychology of the Unconscious describes in myths, legends, beliefs and universal knowledge. Everything that modern and postmodern civilization systematically leaves aside.
Even Jung had already warned about the misguidance of the sudden interest of Westerners in the search for answers in Eastern philosophies as a possibility for a harmonious life. “We have let the house that our parents built fall apart and now we are trying to break into oriental palaces that our parents never got to know,” said the wise Swiss creator of the Psychology of Archetypes.
The look at oneself, authentic, daring and persevering, pursues the same goal as the work of the alchemists: to generate in the person a consciousness capable of understanding reality with greater vastness; especially that which exceeds the five senses, to give a motivational extension to the meaning of life. And that everyone can answer those two questions that he indicated Saint Ignatius of Loyola: “Where am I going, why am I going?”
Antonio Las Heras is a doctor in Social Psychology, a Master’s in Psychoanalysis, a philosopher, a parapsychologist and a writer. www.antoniolasheras.com