Another question to the Jungian psychologist – Jesus cast out demons, how does this relate to Jung? How might these demons be the same or different?
My friend is a Jungian psychotherapist – He and I read much of the same material – but he is way ahead of me on Jung – so I ask questions. A note to the reader – these are personal and intimate emails – thus I do not identify the psychotherapist – his written opinions presented here are biased by his audience – me. He writes in a way that he believes will make the most sense to me – and he adds personal commentary that would probably be considered a private joke.
Very interesting and emotionally sticky subject of Jesus exorcising demons and connecting this with Jung’s “complex” psychological theories. However, I do believe there is a direct connection between the two.
I admire Jung for many reasons. He had tremendous courage. One of the ways he was courageous was to take head on the theological establishment of western civilization. He did not shrink from it. On the contrary, he dug deeper into ancient scriptures and ancient religious texts than any theologian. He was able to translate deep religious ideas and concepts into a usable psychological system based on empiricism. In other words, he avoided the metaphysical argument about whether “God” exists or not. His approach was always that it is impossible to scientifically “prove” whether “God” exists or not. That is a topic he left to individuals.
However, he vehemently shouted that his psychology was scientific because he always dealt with empirical subject matter. He could see the evidence with his own eyes!! His epistemology started with the assertion that a “god image” is ubiquitous throughout global human cultures. “God images” appear in various forms; humans have visions, hallucinations, dreams, myths that constantly manifest “god images”. He called these manifestations of the god archetype; psychologically connected to the Sun of our solar system archetype. The “shadow” archetype was the archetype of darkness, nighttime, evil, the devil, demons. He contended that these archetypes manifest themselves in human cultures, without heed to human rationality. Jung had a saying engraved above his castle tower; “Invited or not, gods will show themselves.” Further, Jung’s work led him to a deep conviction; deep personal “proof”, that he “knows” there is a god. He did not come to this conclusion because “it says so in the Bible!”. He was utterly convinced. I can say I also “know” there is a god—-the caveat is that “it is a god of my understanding”. Actually, I “know” there are innumerable “gods” and “entities” running around everywhere.
(Isn’t freedom of thought and expression fantastic. In other times I would be burned at the stake for expressing my views.)
Jung’s empiricism led him to the “complex” theory. He observed “real” phenomena that he proceeded to translate into his own unique psychological system; analytical psychology. One of the things he observed was that some human behavior occurred out of human “conscious” control. The behavior occurred unconsciously. This is another description of “possession by a demon”. Anyone who attends AA meetings regularly will be bombarded with evidence such as this. An alcoholic’s behavior is out of his conscious control. He also says “mad” individuals who hear “voices” are encountering a real “being” or “entity”. It is very appropriate that the 12 Steps incorporate a “power greater than themselves” to help alcoholics deal with this demon.
Some people use Jesus as a higher power and this works for some people. I have a “complex” which manifests as an aversion to people who propose that Jesus is the only legitimate higher power. This raises my ire. I think that Jesus probably did exorcise demons; my belief is that other have done it and still do it. Evidence of this is rampant in 12 Step groups with people who have found peace without “Jesus”. I sympathize with the Gnostics; there were at least 50 gnostic “gospels”. Around 200-300 years after Christ died, some fat, small minded “bishops” chose only 4 of these gospels as “true”. Now, that is true bullshit; that stinks.
Gary, as I read your article describing how your childhood religion
had you participate in a ceremony to “marry” Jesus; that made me grimace. That sounds distasteful to me, to say the least. However, I would defend anyone’s right to participate and believe in ceremonies like this if they so choose. I have a problem with having a 12 year old go through it without deep reflection. Anyway, I think Jesus exorcised demons but he is not the only one; lots of people can do it. That is my belief today. And that Jung’s “complex” is the same or similar to “possession” or “demon”.