Chuck’s Place: Nature’s Bridge

Sixty years ago, C. G. Jung predicted: “…The trend of the time is one-sidedness and disagreement, and thus the dissociation and separation of the two worlds will be accomplished. Nothing will prevent this fact. We have no answer yet that would appeal to the general mind, nothing that could function as a bridge.” *

The sunrise, a natural bridge between night and day…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Through her fury now, nature is forging a path of heart to bridge the great divide. Nature’s floods are pressing the human spirit to rise to the oneness of overarching love.

Nature’s strategy is apparent: Saturation. As one storm passes the next will soon arrive. In rapid succession the floodgates are overwhelmed. Human resistance is leveled as nature exacts her toll and reshapes our world.

Ego is slipping in empty rhetoric. Exhaustion and utter necessity are compelling ego to shift from its tales of power to instead see the true needs of the self, the populace, and the world. Survival now requires dedication to the truth.

In truth, nature teaches that a city founded on the principle of unlimited growth, with such an extreme concentration of resources and toxins, is no longer safe.

The time of the metropolis is over. No walls can hold back nature’s guiding imperative. Human ingenuity must learn humility to make peace with nature. This is living in the Tao. In the Tao one recognizes and occupies one’s proper place. To resist what is is merely a sandcastle bridge. Going with nature’s flow is the only way to go.

Within the self, the fire and fury of the animal disrupts cerebral hegemony. The floods of passion and emotion stir beneath the belt and threaten even the greatest defense, reason. Reason is no match for anxiety and fear. It’s time to bridge the divide within with a sustainable bridge. The ego metropolis is slipping. Time to make way to solid ground.

Would that the fire and fury of aggressive energy could be contained by reason and détente! But the joint rhetoric and escalating nuclear tests join nature’s fury with hair-trigger threat.

The dissociation and separation of worlds that Jung speaks about in the above quotation are the pairs of opposites within the human animal, the inner worlds of the rational ego and the unconscious, nature’s way. Sixty years ago Jung was worried that we would not find our way to reconciliation of these dissociated parts before it was too late. Indeed, the human animal has been neglected for far too long while the ego and reason have ruled. The apocalyptic release of the stored energies of the animal, previously satisfied in the cinema, can no longer be vicariously contained in theatre or fantasy. Nature demands attention.

How can we reckon with nature within our personal hologram?

To begin with, we must claim ownership of our own animal nature. When our boundaries are violated we must recognize the fury of the animal within us. When we are hungry we must recognize the primal hunger of the animal within us that perhaps craves a juicy fat steak on a bone. We must recognize our animal narcissism—me first, I have no interest in sharing. We must acknowledge the depths of our sexual desire, perhaps the most disowned instinct of our modern time. We must acknowledge our insatiable power drive that always wants to dominate, or wants more of something.

If we can acknowledge the passions of the animal within us we can bring it home, as opposed to hating it and projecting it onto those we would like to blame for our woes.

Of course, owning the barbaric, murderous, philandering, self-centered impulses of one’s inner animal creates a tense inner domain when pitted against higher reason and the values of the human spirit. A most tense opposition is sure to arise. But if spirit can suspend judgment and appreciate the instinctual knowledge of  its rowdy animal partner, and safely live its needs, an inner bridge of balance might be achieved.

The technology of the Greek and Roman Dionysian festivals, as well as the Christian traditions that followed them, found a way to ritually act out the orgiastic impulses of sexuality, murder, and eating of the flesh and bring them into spiritual harmony with the higher values of the human spirit. Even today, Carneval is still celebrated in many countries. And Mardi Gras, within the boundaries of our own United States, offers the opportunity to bring into balance the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit, days or weeks of revelry followed by days or weeks of spiritual contemplation.

Nature now is delivering a barbarous onslaught through floods and rage. The human spirit finds itself communing with nature’s impulses  by reacting in loving concern and heroism. Such loving response balances and bridges the divide.

Inwardly, we can personally express the fullness of our passions in our creativity. Perhaps we must allow ourselves to write about or paint the forbidden, the unacceptable. Perhaps we need to commit to the ritual of sacred sex in a contained yet fully lived way. Perhaps we must allow our rageful impulses to be expressed, setting boundaries and allowing our true feelings to be spoken. Perhaps we must devour our food with the frenzy of a wild beast—to hell with civilized decorum! Belches included! Perhaps at least ritually once in a while!

Perhaps, as well, we must learn to sacrifice. Sacrifice is an inherent imperative in our own nature that must also be lived. For parents to let their children go into the world they must sacrifice them to life. Fasting, letting go of something, not acting upon an impulse, acquiescing to the flow of life are all forms of sacrifice. Nature demands limitation and  sacrifice of spirit ambition that is not in accordance with her laws.

Through creating personal rituals we can contain our raw impulses until a set-aside sacred time and space, where we can then allow ourselves to live them out in some ritual symbolic way. Spirit containment of animal impulses that joins sacrifice with lived impulse forms a solid bridge to joining spirit and animal in higher communion.

These are tools for the individual to employ to bring animal and spirit into new balance. Though nature has taken the lead in forging a new bridge with spirit through the storms we face, we are all empowered to contribute to this bridge in the privacy of our own lives. Perhaps we can give Jung the answer he longed for, before it’s too late.

As within, so without,


*C. G. Jung, Letters Volume II, p. 385

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