The underlying source of what is playing out on the world stage is the unconscious psyche of humanity. However, because of its obviousness, this fact goes unnoticed by most people. Jung said, “The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the “sin qua non” [indispensable ingredient] of the world as an object. It is in the highest degree odd that western man, with but very few- and ever fewer- exceptions, apparently pays so little regard to this fact. Swamped by the knowledge of external objects, the subject of all knowledge [the psyche] has been temporarily eclipsed to the point of seeming nonexistence.”
We have overlooked the fact that we cannot have an experience of the seemingly external world without the presence of the psyche. The psyche is the organ through which we experience the seemingly outer world. This is to say that on a deeper level the inner psyche and the outer world are inseparably united parts of a greater, more all-encompassing whole. Modern humanity has fallen asleep to the primary importance of our own psyche in creating our experience, our world and ourselves.
Recognizing the psychic nature of our experience is analogous to recognizing the dream-like nature of our universe. Unaware of the role that our psyche plays in the co-creation of our universe, we of necessity “dream up” or create our world in such a way so as to remind us of the profound importance of the psyche. This is analogous to how, in a night dream, we “dream up” our unconscious into manifestation in, as and through the dream so as to reveal itself to us and help us to awaken. And just like in a night dream, if we don’t get the “message” that our dream-like universe is revealing to us, we can expect to have endless re-iterations of the same waking nightmare, as if we are having a recurring dream.
Interestingly, in the above quote, Jung uses the word “eclipsed,” which means “to hide.” Etymologically, the word ec-lipse is the antonym of the word “apoca-lypse,” whose inner meaning is “the unveiling of what has been hidden.” In these apocalyptic times we are living in, the light is being “un-eclipsed,” thereby penetrating our universe to the core so as to illumine the hidden darkness for all to see. Something that has remained “hidden” is being revealed to us. The veil is being lifted, and the integral role the human psyche plays in co-creating our world is being shown to us in bold relief through events unfolding in our world. We are simply asked to recognize what is being revealed.
When we disassociate from a part of ourselves, we of necessity project it outside of ourselves and unconsciously “dream up,” and create the universe to reflect back to us our underlying psychic disassociation. If we are disassociated from the psyche, the psyche is disassociated from itself, which of necessity will then play itself out in the sandbox of the outer world. The seemingly outer world is not only not separate from the psyche that is experiencing it, but is in fact an unmediated reflection of the very psyche itself. The indisputable fact that the outer world and the inner psyche are never found apart from one another is to say that they are inseparably united in a “Oneness” that is unable to be divided. The obviousness of this realization is what makes it so seemingly difficult to see.
We tend to not see the primary role the psyche plays in our world because it is the psyche through which we see the world in the first place. The psyche is simultaneously the object and subject of its own investigation. In observing the psyche, the observer is truly the observed.
Due to our unawareness of the key role that the psyche plays in our world, we experience this disassociation from our own psyche through the medium of the seemingly outer world. When we are inwardly disassociated, the external world gets dreamed up to continually embody and reinforce our disassociation. The external world is the canvas upon which the psyche gives shape and form to, as well as cultivates, its “inner” disassociation. The seemingly outer world gets “dreamed up” into materialization to reflect and play out, in full-bodied form, the inner state of disassociation within ourselves. And yet, due to our inner disassociation, we become convinced, or more accurately, entranced, that the problem exists outside of ourselves.
To quote Jung, “Once the symptoms are really outside in some form of sociopolitical insanity, it is impossible to convince anybody that the conflict is in the psyche of every individual, since he is now quite sure where his enemy is. Then, the conflict which remains an intrapsychic [within the psyche] phenomenon in the mind of the discerning person, takes place on the plane of projection in the form of political tension and murderous violence. To produce such consequences the individual must have been thoroughly indoctrinated with the insignificance and worthlessness of his psyche and of psychology in general.”
The role that the psyche plays in world events is oftentimes looked down upon, ridiculed, marginalized and ignored. Jung said, “…very little attention is paid to the essence of man, which is his psyche…. Man’s greatest instrument, his psyche, is little thought of, if not actually mistrusted and despised. ‘It’s only psychological’ too often means: It is nothing.” This is analogous to how in alchemy, the “prima materia” the very “raw material” out of which the alchemical “gold” (which is consciousness) is produced, is oftentimes rejected, despised and an object of revulsion. This is also related to how the figure of Christ, the Messiah who is the symbol of the True Self, is oftentimes an object of scorn and contempt.
What is being acted out as history is actually a process that is “intrapsychic,” which is to say it is an experience whose origin lies deep within the psyche of humanity. This “inner” process is both literally and symbolically expressing itself by playing itself out collectively on “the plane of projection” in the outside world. Our collective experience can only continue to unfold in such a murderously violent way if people persist in not realizing that the conflict they are enacting in the world is actually a re-presentation of a process happening deep inside every one of us.
It’s almost unbelievable that the very “root” of what is playing out in the world is itself the very thing that most people are unaware of, refusing to look at and not talking about. Jung said, “It is high time humanity took cognizance of the nature of the psyche, for it is becoming more and more evident that the greatest danger which threatens man comes from his own psyche and hence from that part of the empirical world we know the least about.”
There is an interconnection between our “not” looking at the root of our problem- the role the psyche plays in shaping the outer world, and the destructive manifestation of our world. The inner psyche and the outer world are interdependent reflex-ions of each other, reciprocally co-arising together. The inner and the outer are aspects of a single unified field, an indivisible unitary continuum. The implications of this realization are crystal clear: If we want to create a more grace-filled universe, we simply have to recognize what the universe itself is revealing to us. Events in our world are continually showing us that the origin of our experience, of experience itself for that matter, can only be found within our own psyche.
Jung said, “It is indeed paradoxical that the category of existence, the indispensable sine qua non of all existence, namely the psyche, should be treated as if it were only semi-existent. Psychic existence is the only category of existence of which we have immediate knowledge, since nothing can be known unless it first appears as a psychic image.” The world is never experienced without the psyche. The world manifests within the psyche and the psyche within the world. The two are never found apart, which is to say they are utterly, seamlessly, inseparably and effortlessly one.
The world and the psyche reciprocally co-arise in a self-generating, synchronistic feedback loop. Each creates and is concurrently created by the other. The world and the psyche mutually in-form and give shape to each other, as they are interdependent and mutually condition each other. The world and the psyche completely interpenetrate each other, co-joined in a timeless embrace of Oneness. We don’t have to “do” anything to make this so. We simply have to recognize this already existing state of affairs.
Being disassociated from our own psyche makes us susceptible to looking for answers outside of ourselves, whether from the church, the government, other people, books, or articles talking about how we’re disassociated from our own psyche. Commenting on keeping people in this state of disassociation, Jung said, “One must preach at him from all the pulpits of authority that salvation always comes from outside.” Giving away their power to an outer authority, it is as if people fall under a spell, becoming like sheep, disconnecting from the true source of their power, which is their own psyche.
Jung continues, “He can then be led docilely to the place where of his own natural [unconscious] accord he would rather go anyway: to the land of childhood, where one makes claims exclusively on others, and where, if wrong is done, it is always somebody else who has done it.” We then become caught in the adolescent stage of blaming others, which is to be projecting our own darkness outside of ourselves. In projecting the shadow, we refuse to take responsibility for our actions, always playing the role of the self-righteous, innocent victim.
And yet, when we play the victim and project out our own darkness, we are unwittingly perpetrating the very abuse we wish to avoid. Projecting the shadow is itself a reflection of the inner violence we do to ourselves by not embracing our own darkness. When we disassociate from our own darkness, this inner process explicates itself collectively on the world stage as violence, criminality, war and madness. We are thus all complicit in what is playing out in the world theater.
In this adolescent state of scapegoating others, we are secretly acting out the role of the victimizer who hides behind the guise of being victimized. We are then enacting the very abuse of which we ourselves are victims. Traumatized ourselves and traumatizing to others, we collectively and unwittingly enact our trauma en masse on the world stage, thereby perpetuating the endless cycle of abuse. When groups of people, nations, or an entire planet collectively act out and reciprocally reinforce each others’ trauma, it is called “collective psychosis.” (I talk about this in greater depth in my book “The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis,” available on my website www.awakeninthedream.com).
Ours is an extremely dangerous time. Jung said, “…the future will be decided neither by the threat of wild animals, not by natural catastrophe, nor by the danger of world-wide epidemics, but simply and solely by the psychic changes in man. It needs only an almost imperceptible disturbance of equilibrium in a few of our rulers’ heads to plunge the world into blood, fire, and radioactivity.” We, as a species are quickly approaching an event horizon. The darkness that is manifesting in our world will either continue to generate endless suffering and self-destruction, or precipitate an expansion of consciousness and wake us up.
What is playing out collectively in the global arena is a reflection of a deeper, psycho-spiritual process that has occurred within individuals from time immemorial. To quote Jung, “And so we can draw a parallel: just as in me, a single individual, the darkness calls forth a helpful light, so it does in the psychic life of a people.” The darkness that is manifesting in our world is an expression that light is nearby, just as shadows are themselves expressions of light. Everything depends upon if we are able to draw upon the “helpful light” of consciousness that is called forth by the darkness. If we are able to connect with this emerging light of consciousness and recognize what is being revealed by the darkness, we can creatively mediate, transform, and assimilate these darker, destructive powers of the psyche.
Paradoxically, the cause as well as the healing of our collective psychosis lies within the human psyche. Secretly encoded in the psychic epidemic we have fallen into is its own medicine. Hidden in our collective madness are the keys to its resolution and healing. Our collective madness itself is revealing to us the crucial role our own psyche plays in-forming events in our world.
The part of us that doesn’t see that our experience of ourselves and the world exists in the psyche is itself a manifestation of the psyche. Recognizing this fact occurs within the all-embracing confines of the psyche. Recognizing the profound role of the psyche in creating the madness in our world occurs within the agency of the psyche itself. The psyche, through its non-local effects of shaping our world and ourselves, is inviting us to partake in its, and our own transformation and self-realization.
Whether our collective madness continues to destroy us, or wakes us up to the dream-like, open-ended potential of our current situation, depends upon our recognizing what it is revealing to us. Paradoxically, both the origin and re-solution of what is playing out in the world today lies within our own psyche. All we have to do to see is open our eyes and look. The universe, or should I say the psyche, is asking us to do nothing less.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,which is available on his website www.awakeninthedream.com. (See the first chapter, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis). Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010