Through a Jungian Lens

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Living in Hell

with 3 comments

Looking through the photos taken last week for a photo to go with today’s post, this photo jumped out at me.  I took this photo for my grandsons who had come to visit last time I taught in Changzhou.  This is a scene from China Dinosaur Park, a new section added to the park since their visit.  The scene makes me think of what “Hell” might look like.

There is no doubt in my mind that as doubt comes, the loss of certainty opens up a path to the repressed unconscious, and to depression.  It is about loss, at least it was for me.  I lost the certainty of structured religion.  With the turmoil of being a youth at the time, the loss left me in a dark place.  Of course, there were other factors as one would expect.  The things in one’s life are interrelated.

When and if faith as fanaticism is overcome, the results are not always unqualifiedly beneficial.  Patterns of depression and emptiness can follow the loss of whatever solace was previously offered by the so-called faith – though paradoxically the depression may be accompanied by rage at the sacrifices made to the dubious God of such faith and his strident moral demands, now felt to be hostile to fuller expressions of human life and spirit.”  (Dourley, The Illness That We Are, p.18)

When one puts one’s trust in a religion and then begins to become a more conscious being  as he or she works hard to honour the symbols and promise of the religion, and in the process becomes aware of the darkness of that religion which translates to being betrayed, anger is a natural response.  But the anger demands action for resolution.

Victims of “sacrosanct unintelligibility” are thus often faced with “no-win” options.  They can grit their teeth and cling fanatically to a burden of “revealed truth” which finds no experiential resonance in themselves.  This splits them between the demands of their faith and the demands of their humanity and potential maturity.  Or they are driven, often by inner demands for a fuller and more balanced life, into patterns of denial.  In the language of their own impoverished theological options such denial is described as “atheism.”  Not infrequently this carries with it a lingering guilt for having abandoned what may have been, after all, the one true revelation – all the truer precisely because of its unintelligibility.”  (Dourley, The Illness That We Are, p.18)

It is as though one is damned of one does and double-damned if one doesn’t stick with one’s religion.  Either way, one is effectively trapped in a hell.


3 Responses

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  1. Robert, Thanks for this.

    Am currently not quite leaving a religion but following the same path and realizing what wide angles it has. Beliefs hitherto clouded now left collapsing in a wide open space. Had not realized this was the case until reading your post SO —- THANK YOU!

    On another note – was drawn to your post because now reading William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

    “Damn Braces. Bless relaxes”

    The blessing escapes us from the damn and allowing us to forge a way on the sometime difficult path to an all-embracing view.


    November 8, 2010 at 1:56 am

  2. Good stuff, thanks!

    aqworlds hack

    November 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  3. […] it could be that Robert G. Longpré wrote about the damning exit from a belief system with a hellish photo essay that is similar to one […]

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