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Carl Jung: Looking to the past for self-identity March 30, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Fear and Anxiety.
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When we are working on our program of personal development, the stresses and anxieties of today’s fast-paced world can make the process of reaching our objectives challenging and difficult.

We may occasionally find ourselves wishing we could live in a simpler, less hectic earlier time period.

The concept of yearning for a simpler time with less distraction and fewer pervasive worries related our surroundings is not new. It was one of the reasons for the emergence of the European Renaissance, in which thoughtful people looked back with fondness to the days of antiquity in Greece and Rome.

The psychiatrist and philosophical writer Carl Jung felt that our unconscious or subconscious mind carried vestiges of our ancestral roots and that our psyches could not always reconcile these ancestral components with the modern world.

“”Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were already present in the ranks of our ancestors…Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no place in what is new, in things that have just come into being…we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future  with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots….we rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness…we no longer live on what we have, but on promises…”

In part to combat these feelings within him, Jung built a rustic, “primitive”  lakeside retreat at Bollingen, Which he referred to as the Tower at Bollingen, as it had a turret structure as the main room.

Jung said, “At Bollingen I am the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself…I have done without electricity, and tend the fireplace and stove myself. Evenings I light the old lamps. There is no running water, and I pump the water from the well. I chop the wood and cook the food…Thoughts rise to the surface which reach back into the centuries…”

For most of us, it is not possible to have a lakeside retreat, but we can look for places and circumstances that can help calm our minds, even if this is a place we can reach only through meditation.

Note: The quotations by Carl Jung are from his book, Memories, Dreams, Reflections