In his autobiography, Carl Jung tells of “a moment of unusual clarity”, during which he had a strange dialogue with something inside him: In what myth does man live nowadays, his inner-self enquired? “In the Christian myth: Do you live in it?” (Jung asked of himself. And to be honest with himself, the answer that he gave was ‘no’): “For me, it is not what I live by.” Then do we no longer have any myth, asked his inner-self? “No”, Jung replied, “evidently not”. Then what is it, by which you live, his inner-self demanded? “At this point the dialogue with myself, became uncomfortable. I stopped thinking. I had reached a dead end”, Jung concluded.
Many today, feel similarly. They feel the void. The post-war era – perhaps it is the European Enlightenment phenomenon, itself – that has run its course, people believe. Some regret it; many more are disturbed by it – and wonder what is next.
We live in a moment of the waning of two major projects: the decline of revealed religion, and – simultaneously – of the discrediting of the experience of secular Utopia. We live in a world littered with the debris of utopian projects which – though they were framed in secular terms, that denied the truth of religion – were in fact, vehicles for religious myth.
The Jacobin revolutionaries launched the Terror as a violent retribution for élite repression — inspired by Rousseau’s Enlightenment humanism; the Trotskyite Bolsheviks murdered millions in the name of reforming humanity through Scientific Empiricism; the Nazis did similar, in the name of pursuing ‘Scientific (Darwinian) Racism’.
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