Einstein and Tagore explore truth and science

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In 1930, Nobel prize winners Albert Einstein (physics, 1921) and Rabindranath Tagore (literature, 1913) met four times to discuss the nature of reality, science, beauty, consciousness, philosophy and religion.

At the time of their meetings, Einstein’s son-in-law Dimitri Marianoff said, “It was interesting to see them together — Tagore, the poet with the head of a thinker, and Einstein, the thinker with the head of a poet… Neither sought to press his opinion. But it seemed to an observer as though two planets were engaged in a chat.”

Transcripts of two of these historic conversations were published in The New York Times magazine (August 10, 1930) and Asia magazine (1931).

CONVERSATION 1: JULY 14, 1930
“ON THE NATURE OF REALITY”

Tagore: You have been busy, hunting down with mathematics, the two ancient entities, time and space, while I have been lecturing in this country on the eternal world of man, the universe of reality.

Einstein: Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

Tagore: Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the truth of the Universe is human truth.

I have taken a scientific fact to explain this — matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them; but matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man’s world. The entire universe is linked up with us in a similar manner, it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

Einstein: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe — the world as a unity dependent on humanity, and the world as a reality independent of the human factor.

Tagore: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty.

Einstein: This is the purely human conception of the universe.

Tagore: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

Einstein: This is a realization of the human entity.

Tagore: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to truth, and we know this truth as good through our own harmony with it.

Einstein: Truth, then, or Beauty is not independent of Man?

Tagore: No.

Einstein: If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.

Tagore: No.

Einstein: I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to truth.

Tagore: Why not? Truth is realized through man.

Einstein: I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion.

Tagore: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the Universal Being; truth the perfect comprehension of the Universal Mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experiences, through our illumined consciousness — how, otherwise, can we know truth?

Einstein: I cannot prove scientifically that truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. Anyway, if there is a reality independent of man, there is also a truth relative to this reality; and in the same way the negation of the first engenders a negation of the existence of the latter.

Tagore: Truth, which is one with the Universal Being, must essentially be human, otherwise whatever we individuals realize as true can never be called truth. At least, the truth which is described as scientific and which only can be reached through the process of logic, in other words, by an organ of thoughts which is human. According to Indian Philosophy there is Brahman, the absolute truth, which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words but can only be realized by completely merging the individual in its infinity. But such a truth cannot belong to Science. The nature of truth which we are discussing is an appearance — that is to say, what appears to be true to the human mind and therefore is human, and may be called maya or illusion.

Einstein: So according to your conception, which may be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of the individual, but of humanity as a whole.

Tagore: The species also belongs to a unity, to humanity. Therefore the entire human mind realizes truth; the Indian or the European mind meet in a common realization.

Einstein: The word species is used in German for all human beings, as a matter of fact, even the apes and the frogs would belong to it.

Tagore: In science we go through the discipline of eliminating the personal limitations of our individual minds and thus reach that comprehension of truth which is in the mind of the Universal Man.

Einstein: The problem begins whether truth is independent of our consciousness.

Tagore: What we call truth lies in the rational harmony between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, both of which belong to the super-personal man.

Einstein: Even in our everyday life we feel compelled to ascribe a reality independent of man to the objects we use. We do this to connect the experiences of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if nobody is in this house, yet that table remains where it is.

Tagore: Yes, it remains outside the individual mind, but not the universal mind. The table which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind of consciousness which I possess.

Einstein: If nobody would be in the house the table would exist all the same — but this is already illegitimate from your point of view — because we cannot explain what it means that the table is there, independently of us.

Our natural point of view in regard to the existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be explained or proved, but it is a belief which nobody can lack — no primitive beings even. We attribute to truth a super-human objectivity; it is indispensable for us, this reality which is independent of our existence and our experience and our mind — though we cannot say what it means.

Tagore: Science has proved that the table as a solid object is an appearance and therefore that which the human mind perceives as a table would not exist if that mind were naught. At the same time it must be admitted that the fact, that the ultimate physical reality is nothing but a multitude of separate revolving centres of electric force, also belongs to the human mind.

In the apprehension of truth there is an eternal conflict between the universal human mind and the same mind confined in the individual. The perpetual process of reconciliation is being carried on in our science, philosophy, in our ethics. In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity then for us it is absolutely non-existing.

It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which the sequence of things happens not in space but only in time like the sequence of notes in music. For such a mind such conception of reality is akin to the musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry can have no meaning. There is the reality of paper, infinitely different from the reality of literature. For the kind of mind possessed by the moth which eats that paper literature is absolutely non-existent, yet for Man’s mind literature has a greater value of truth than the paper itself. In a similar manner if there be some truth which has no sensuous or rational relation to the human mind, it will ever remain as nothing so long as we remain human beings.

Einstein: Then I am more religious than you are!

Tagore: My religion is in the reconciliation of the Super-personal Man, the universal human spirit, in my own individual being.

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CONVERSATION 2: AUGUST 19, 1930

“EINSTEIN AND TAGORE PLUMB THE TRUTH: Scientist and poet exchange thoughts on the possibility of its existence without relation to humanity”

Tagore: I was discussing with Dr. Mendel today the new mathematical discoveries which tell us that in the realm of infinitesimal atoms chance has its play; the drama of existence is not absolutely predestined in character.

Einstein: The facts that make science tend toward this view do not say good-bye to causality.

Einstein: One tries to understand in the higher plane how the order is. The order is there, where the big elements combine and guide existence, but in the minute elements this order is not perceptible.

Tagore: Thus duality is in the depths of existence, the contradiction of free impulse and the directive will which works upon it and evolves an orderly scheme of things.

Einstein: Modern physics would not say they are contradictory. Clouds look as one from a distance, but if you see them nearby, they show themselves as disorderly drops of water.

Tagore: I find a parallel in human psychology. Our passions and desires are unruly, but our character subdues these elements into a harmonious whole. Does something similar to this happen in the physical world? Are the elements rebellious, dynamic with individual impulse? And is there a principle in the physical world which dominates them and puts them into an orderly organization?

Einstein: Even the elements are not without statistical order; elements of radium will always maintain their specific order, now and ever onward, just as they have done all along. There is, then, a statistical order in the elements.

Tagore: Otherwise, the drama of existence would be too desultory. It is the constant harmony of chance and determination which makes it eternally new and living.

Einstein: I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.

Tagore: There is in human affairs an element of elasticity also, some freedom within a small range which is for the expression of our personality. It is like the musical system in India, which is not so rigidly fixed as western music. Our composers give a certain definite outline, a system of melody and rhythmic arrangement, and within a certain limit the player can improvise upon it. He must be one with the law of that particular melody, and then he can give spontaneous expression to his musical feeling within the prescribed regulation. We praise the composer for his genius in creating a foundation along with a superstructure of melodies, but we expect from the player his own skill in the creation of variations of melodic flourish and ornamentation. In creation we follow the central law of existence, but if we do not cut ourselves adrift from it, we can have sufficient freedom within the limits of our personality for the fullest self-expression.

Einstein: That is possible only when there is a strong artistic tradition in music to guide the people’s mind. In Europe, music has come too far away from popular art and popular feeling and has become something like a secret art with conventions and traditions of its own.

Tagore: You have to be absolutely obedient to this too complicated music. In India, the measure of a singer’s freedom is in his own creative personality. He can sing the composer’s song as his own, if he has the power creatively to assert himself in his interpretation of the general law of the melody which he is given to interpret.

Einstein: It requires a very high standard of art to realize fully the great idea in the original music, so that one can make variations upon it. In our country, the variations are often prescribed.

Tagore: If in our conduct we can follow the law of goodness, we can have real liberty of self-expression. The principle of conduct is there, but the character which makes it true and individual is our own creation. In our music there is a duality of freedom and prescribed order.

Einstein: Are the words of a song also free? I mean to say, is the singer at liberty to add his own words to the song which he is singing?

Tagore: Yes. In Bengal we have a kind of song-kirtan, we call it-which gives freedom to the singer to introduce parenthetical comments, phrases not in the original song. This occasions great enthusiasm, since the audience is constantly thrilled by some beautiful, spontaneous sentiment added by the singer.

Einstein: Is the metrical form quite severe?

Tagore: Yes, quite. You cannot exceed the limits of versification; the singer in all his variations must keep the rhythm and the time, which is fixed. In European music you have a comparative liberty with time, but not with melody.

Einstein: Can the Indian music be sung without words? Can one understand a song without words?

Tagore: Yes, we have songs with unmeaning words, sounds which just help to act as carriers of the notes. In North India, music is an independent art, not the interpretation of words and thoughts, as in Bengal. The music is very intricate and subtle and is a complete world of melody by itself.

Einstein: Is it not polyphonic?

Tagore: Instruments are used, not for harmony, but for keeping time and adding to the volume and depth. Has melody suffered in your music by the imposition of harmony?

Einstein: Sometimes it does suffer very much. Sometimes the harmony swallows up the melody altogether.

Tagore: Melody and harmony are like lines and colors in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of color may make it vague and insignificant. Yet color may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value.

Einstein: It is a beautiful comparison; line is also much older than color. It seems that your melody is much richer in structure than ours. Japanese music also seems to be so.

Tagore: It is difficult to analyze the effect of eastern and western music on our minds. I am deeply moved by the western music; I feel that it is great, that it is vast in its structure and grand in its composition. Our own music touches me more deeply by its fundamental lyrical appeal. European music is epic in character; it has a broad background and is Gothic in its structure.

Einstein: This is a question we Europeans cannot properly answer, we are so used to our own music. We want to know whether our own music is a conventional or a fundamental human feeling, whether to feel consonance and dissonance is natural, or a convention which we accept.

Tagore: Somehow the piano confounds me. The violin pleases me much more.

Einstein: It would be interesting to study the effects of European music on an Indian who had never heard it when he was young.

Tagore: Once I asked an English musician to analyze for me some classical music, and explain to me what elements make for the beauty of the piece.

Einstein: The difficulty is that the really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.

Tagore: Yes, and what deeply affects the hearer is beyond himself.

Einstein: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or in Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.

Tagore: And yet there is always going on the process of reconciliation between them, the individual taste conforming to the universal standard.

Marion Woodman interview archive

It has been said that Marion Woodman is “one of the wisest women in the world.” She is a brilliant Jungian analyst, mystic, healer, writer and international speaker. It is true that her work is inspiring, healing and whole-making. To share a glimpse into the world of Marion Woodman, I searched the web and gathered links to every interview I could find. If you know of any others, please let me know and I will update the list. Otherwise, do enjoy these, they are wonderful…

Marion Woodman: “When I say the feminine, I don’t mean gender. I mean the feminine principle that is living—or suppressed—in both men and women. The feminine principle attempts to relate. Instead of breaking things off into parts, it says, Where are we alike? How can we connect? Where is the love? Can you listen to me? Can you really hear what I am saying? Can you see me? Do you care whether you see me or not?”

Empowering Soul Through the Feminine
1993

Inner Man, Inner Woman
December 1993 – M.E.N. magazine

An Interview with Marion Woodman
November 1995 – M.E.N. magazine

The Dark Goddess Returns
1996

Marion Woodman Profile
May 13, 1996 – Maclean’s magazine

An Interview with Marion Woodman
November 1, 1997 – The London Free Press

Abandoned Soul, Abandoned Planet
1998

Robert Bly and Marion Woodman
Over a Decade of Magic in Working Together

1998 – M.E.N. magazine

Marion Woodman Interview
November 1998 – Yoga Journal

Slow Down and Meet Your Sacred Feminine
January 1999 – New Times

Taming Patriarchy
The Emergence of the Black Goddess

Fall/Winter 1999 – EnlightenNext magazine

Conscious Femininity
A Speech by Marion Woodman

September 2004 – 3rd Annual Women & Power Conference

Men Are From Earth, And So Are Women
Marion Woodman on the Inner Marriage of the True Masculine and the True Feminine

August 2006 – The Sun

I had a marvellous dream about a metaphor machine…
2007 – Ascent magazine

Marion Woodman video interview
2009 – PBS “Life (Part 2)”

8 Ways of Looking at Power
The Power of the Feminine

September 2009 – O, The Oprah Magazine

Jungian Analysis, Eating Disorders and the ‘Great Work’
May 21, 2010 – Huffington Post

* Marion Woodman books, audio-books, lectures and DVDs
* Marion Woodman Foundation website

Jung on the Christian Archetype

Quotes by Carl Jung (from various books) on Christianity, Jesus, ego and individuation:

“What happens in the life of Christ happens always and everywhere. In the Christian archetype all lives of this kind are prefigured.” – Psychology and Religion

“We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos–the right moment–for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’ of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time . . . is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing.” – Civilization in Transition

“The drama of the archetypal life of Christ describes in symbolic images the events of the conscious life–as well as in the life that transcends consciousness–of a man who has been transformed by his higher destiny.” – Psychology and Religion

“In so far as the archetypal content of the Christian drama was able to give satisfying expression to the uneasy and clamorous unconscious of the many, the consensus omnium raised this drama to a universally binding truth–not of course by an act of judgment, but by the irrational fact of possession, which is far more effective. Thus Jesus became the tutelary image or amulet against the archetypal powers that threatened to possess everyone. The glad tidings announced: ‘It has happened, but it will not happen to you inasmuch as you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God!’ Yet it could and it can and it will happen to everyone in whom the Christian dominant has decayed. For this reason there have always been people who, not satisfied with the dominants of conscious life, set forth–under cover and by devious paths, to their destruction or salvation–to seek direct experience of the eternal roots, and, following the lure of the restless unconscious psyche, find themselves in the wilderness where, like Jesus, they come up against the son of darkness.” – Psychology and Alchemy

“The fundamental idea of the theologians is always this: the earthly fate of the Church as the body of Christ is modeled on the earthly fate of Christ himself. That is to say, the Church, in the course of her history, moves towards a death . . . until the last day when, after fulfilling her earthly task, she becomes ‘unnecessary’ and ‘dies,’ as indicated in Psalm 71:7: ‘until the moon shall fail.’ These ideas were expressed in the symbolism of Luna as the Church. Just as the kenosis of Christ was fulfilled in death . . . even so it is with the parallel kenosis of Ecclesia-Luna (the Church).” – Mysterium Coniunctionis

“[The Holy Ghost descending at Pentecost brings about for the individual] not an ‘imitation of Christ’ but its exact opposite: an assimilation of the Christ-image to his own self. . . . It is no longer an effort, an intentional straining after imitation, but rather an involuntary experience of the reality represented by the sacred legend.” – Mysterium Coniunctionis

“Analysis should release an experience that grips us or falls upon us as from above, an experience that has substance and body such as those things which occurred to the ancients. If I were going to symbolize it I would choose the Annunciation.” – Seminar 1925

“The individual ego is the stable in which the Christ-child is born.” – Collected Works Vol. 11

“When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then, as Nietzsche says, ‘One becomes Two,’ and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation . . . –a moment of deadliest peril!” – The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious

“What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise out of unconscious identity with the mass. . . ? Is it what is commonly called vocation . . . [which] acts like a law of God from which there is no escape. . . . Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of the inner man: he is called.” – The Development of the Personality

“The story of the Temptation clearly reveals the nature of the psychic power with which Jesus came into collision: it was the power-intoxicated devil of the prevailing Caesarean psychology that led him into dire temptation in the wilderness. This devil was the objective psyche that held all the peoples of the Roman Empire under its sway, and that is why it promised Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, as if it were trying to make a Caesar of him. Obeying the inner call of his vocation, Jesus voluntarily exposed himself to the assaults of the imperialistic madness that filled everyone, conqueror and conquered alike. In this way he recognized the nature of the objective psyche which had plunged the whole world into misery and had begotten a yearning for salvation that found expression even in the pagan poets. Far from suppressing or allowing himself to be suppressed by this psychic onslaught, he let it act on him consciously, and assimilated it. Thus was world-conquering Caesarism transformed into spiritual kingship, and the Roman Empire into the universal kingdom of God that was not of this world.” – The Development of the Personality

“We all must do what Christ did. We must make our experiment. We must make mistakes. We must live out our own version of life. And there will be error. If you avoid error you do not live.” – Jung Speaking

“Jesus voluntarily exposed himself to the assaults [from within] of the imperialistic madness that filled everyone, conqueror and conquered alike.” – The Development of the Personality

“If the projected conflict is to be healed, it must return into the psyche of the individual, where it had its unconscious beginnings. He must celebrate a Last Supper with himself, and eat his own flesh and drink his own blood; which means that he must recognize and accept the other in himself. . . . Is this perhaps the meaning of Christ’s teaching, that each must bear his own cross? For if you have to endure yourself, how will you be able to rend others also?” – Mysterium Coniunctionis

“Although the Mass itself is a unique phenomenon in the history of comparative religion, its symbolic content would be profoundly alien to man were it not rooted in the human psyche. But if it is so rooted, then we may expect to find similar patterns of symbolism both in the earlier history of mankind and in the world of pagan thought contemporary with it. . . . The liturgy of the Mass contains allusions to the ‘prefigurations’ in the Old Testament, and thus indirectly to ancient sacrificial symbolism in general. It is clear, then, that in Christ’s sacrifice and the Communion one of the deepest chords in the human psyche is struck: human sacrifice and ritual anthropophagy [eating of human flesh]. . . . I must content myself with mentioning the ritual slaying of the king to promote the fertility of the land and the prosperity of his people, the renewal and revivification of the gods through human sacrifice, and the totem meal, the purpose of which was to reunite the participants with the life of their ancestors. These hints will suffice to show how the symbols of the Mass penetrate into the deepest layers of the psyche and its history.” – Psychology and Religion

“The mystery of the Eucharist transforms the soul of the empirical man, who is only a part of himself, into his totality, symbolically expressed by Christ. In this sense, therefore, we can speak of the Mass as the rite of the individuation process.– Psychology and Religion

“The problem of crucifixion is the beginning of individuation; there is the secret meaning of the Christian symbolism, a path of blood and suffering.” – quoted in Aspects of Jung’s Personality and Work by Gerhard Adler

“We discern a crimson line on this earth, a red, blood-spattered line which ascends, struggling, from matter to plants, from plants to animals, from animals to man.” – quoted in The Saviors of God by Nikos Kazantzakis

“The highest and most decisive experience of all . . . is to be alone with . . . [one’s] own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation.” – Psychology and Alchemy

“He said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ But ‘kingdom’ it was, all the same.” – Jung Speaking

“The bigger the crowd the more negligible the individual becomes. But the carrier of consciousness is the individual. . . . Did Christ, perchance, call his disciples to him at a mass meeting? Did the feeding of the five thousand bring him any followers who did not afterwards cry with the rest ‘Crucify him!’ . . . ?” – The Undiscovered Self

“The divine process of change manifests itself to our human understanding . . . as punishment, torment, death, and transfiguration.” – Alchemical Studies

“The experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.” – Mysterium Coniunctionis

“The reality of evil and its incompatibility with good cleave the opposites asunder and lead inexorably to the crucifixion and suspension of everything that lives. Since ‘the soul is by nature Christian’ this result is bound to come as infallibly as it did in the life of Jesus: we all have to be ‘crucified with Christ,’ i.e., suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion.” – Psychology and Alchemy

“Although the attributes of Christ (consubstantiality with the Father, co-eternity, filiation, parthenogenesis, crucifixion, Lamb sacrificed between opposites, One divided into Many, etc.) undoubtedly mark him out as an embodiment of the self, looked at from the psychological angle he corresponds to only one half of the archetype. The other half appears as the Anti-Christ. The latter is just as much a manifestation of the self, except that he consists of its dark aspect. Both are Christian symbols, and they have the same meaning as the image of the Savior crucified between two thieves. This great symbol tells us that the progressive development and differentiation of consciousness leads to an ever more menacing awareness of the conflict and involves nothing less than a crucifixion of the ego, its agonizing suspension between irreconcilable opposites.

“Through the Christ crucified between the two thieves, man gradually attained knowledge of his shadow and its duality. This duality had already been anticipated by the double meaning of the serpent. Just as the serpent stands for the power that heals as well as corrupts, so one of the thieves is destined upwards, the other downwards, and so likewise the shadow is on one side regrettable and reprehensible weakness, on the other side healthy instinctively and the prerequisite for higher consciousness.” – Aion

“The God-image in man was not destroyed by the Fall but was only damaged and corrupted (‘deformed’), and can be restored through God’s grace. The scope of the integration is suggested by the descent of Christ’s soul to hell, its work of redemption embracing even the dead. The psychological equivalent of this is the integration of the collective unconscious which forms an essential part of the individuation process.” – Aion

“I only know–and here I am expressing what countless other people know–that the present is a time of God’s death and disappearance. The myth says he was not to be found where his body was laid. ‘Body’ means the outward, visible form, the erstwhile but ephemeral setting for the highest value. The myth further says that the value rose again in a miraculous manner, transformed. It looks like a miracle, for, when a value disappears, it always seems to be lost irretrievably. So it is quite unexpected that it should come back. The three days’ descent into hell during death describes the sinking of the vanished value into the unconscious, where, by conquering the power of darkness, it establishes a new order, and then rises up to heaven again, that is, attains supreme clarity of consciousness. The fact that only a few people see the Risen One means that no small difficulties stand in the way of finding and recognizing the transformed value.” – Psychology and Religion

“The utter failure came at the Crucifixion in the tragic words, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ If you want to understand the full tragedy of those words you must realize what they meant: Christ saw that his whole life, devoted to the truth according to his best conviction, had been a terrible illusion. He had lived it to the full absolutely sincerely, he had made his honest experiment, but it was nevertheless a compensation. On the cross his mission deserted him. But because he had lived so fully and devotedly he won through to the Resurrection body.– Jung Speaking

“On the level of the Son there is no answer to the question of good and evil; there is only an incurable separation of the opposites. . . . It seems to me to be the Holy Spirit’s task and charge to reconcile and reunite the opposites in the human individual through a special development of the human soul.” – The Symbolic Life

“The continuing, direct operation of the Holy Ghost on those who are called to be God’s children implies, in fact, a broadening process of incarnation. Christ, the son begotten by God, is the first-born who is succeeded by an ever-increasing number of younger brothers and sisters. There are, however, neither begotten by the Holy Ghost nor born of a virgin. . . . Their lowly origin (possibly from the mammals) does not prevent them from entering into a close kinship with God as their father and Christ as their brother.” – Answer to Job

[There is a] . . . continued and progressive divine incarnation. Thus man is received and integrated into the divine drama. He seems destined to play a decisive part in it; that is why he must receive the Holy Spirit. I look upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit as a highly revolutionary fact which cannot take place until the ambivalent nature of the Father is recognized. If God is the summum bonum, the incarnation makes no sense, for a good god could never produce such hate and anger that his only son had to be sacrificed to appease it. A Midrash says that the Shofar is still sounded on the Day of Atonement to remind YHWH (God) of his act of injustice towards Abraham (by compelling him to slay Isaac) and to prevent him from repeating it. A conscientious clarification of the idea of God would have consequences as upsetting as they are necessary. They would be indispensable for an interior development of the trinitarian drama and of the role of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is destined to be incarnate in man or to choose him as a transitory dwelling-place. ‘Non habet nomen proprium,’ says St. Thomas; because he will receive the name of man. That is why he must not be identified with Christ. We cannot receive the Holy Spirit unless we have accepted our own individual life as Christ accepted his. Thus we become the ‘sons of god’ fated to experience the conflict of the divine opposites, represented by the crucifixion.” – The Symbolic Life

The Mike Wallace Interview with Aldous Huxley

The internet can truly be a wonderful resource. Thanks to this seemingly endless digital archive, I can share an insightful and thought-provoking interview with Aldous Huxley, a great mystic and philosopher who wrote the classic books Brave New World and The Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West, among others. Huxley’s controversial appearance on The Mike Wallace Interview, a popular show from 1957-1960, was originally broadcast nationwide on prime-time television on May 18, 1958. Thanks to the University of Texas for sharing the complete interview in their amazing archive, and to covellz for sharing a subtitled version on youtube. You can watch it here. A complete transcript of the interview is below.

Program Description: Aldous Huxley, social critic and author of Brave New World, talks to Wallace about threats to freedom in the United States, overpopulation, bureaucracy, propaganda, drugs, advertising, and television.

Interview Transcript: [right-click to save .txt version]

Jung says the psyche lives on after death

Here are two lessons to remember from our old friend Carl Gustav Jung. In the first video, “Death is Not the End” (transcript below), Jung says the psyche does not exist in space and time like the body, so it is not subject to the same laws of death, and perhaps lives on after the body dies. How about that? The second video is about “Transference and Archetypes,” and conveniently has subtitles.

Carl Jung: Death is Not the End

“Death is Not the End” transcript:

Interviewer: I know that you say death is psychologically just as important as birth and like it is an integral part of life, but surely, it can’t be like birth if it is an end. Can it?

Jung: Yes, if it is an end. And there we are not quite certain about this end because we know that there are these peculiar faculties of the psyche – that it isn’t entirely confined to space and time. You can have dreams or visions of the future. You can see around corners and such things. Only ignorants deny these facts. It’s quite evident that they do exist and have existed always. Now these facts show that the psyche – in part, at least – is not dependent on these confinements. And then what? When the psyche is not under that obligation to live in time and space alone – and obviously, it doesn’t – then to that extent, the psyche is not submitted to those laws and that means a practical continuation of life of a sort of psychical existence beyond time and space.

Interviewer: Do you, yourself, believe that death is probably the end or do you believe…?

Jung: Well, I can’t say. You see, the word “believe” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t “believe.” I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing; and when I KNOW it, I don’t need to believe it. I don’t allow myself, for instance, to believe a thing just for sake of believing it. I can’t believe it! But when there are sufficient reasons for a certain hypothesis, I shall accept these reasons naturally. I shall say “We have to recon with the possibility of so and so.” You know?

Interviewer: Well, now you told us that we should regard death as being a goal and to stray away from it is to evade life and life’s purpose. What advice would you give to people in their later life to enable them to do this when most of them must, in fact, believe that death is the end of everything?

Jung: Well, you see I have treated many old people and it’s quite interesting to watch what their conscious is doing with the fact that it is apparently threatened with the complete end. It disregards it. Life behaves as if it were going on and so I think it is better for old people to live on, to look forward to the next day as if he had to spend centuries and then he lives happily. But when he is afraid and he doesn’t look forward; he looks back. He petrifies. He gets stiff and he dies before his time, but when he’s living on, looking forward to the great adventure that is ahead, then he lives. And that is about what your conscious is intending to do.

Of course it is quite obvious that we’re all going to die and this is the sad finale of everything, but nevertheless, there is something in us that doesn’t believe it, apparently, but this is merely a fact, a psychological fact. Doesn’t mean to me that it proves something. It is simply so. For instance, I may not know why we need salt, but we prefer to eat salt, too, because we feel better. And so when you think in a certain way, you may feel considerably better. And I think if you think along the lines of nature, then you think properly.

Carl Jung: On Transference & Archetypes