General Realities and the American Vision
This essay will take a look at the phenomenology of religious doubt from the standpoint
of individual psychosocial adaptation. This will be done by presenting the general
characteristics of, and similarities between, doubt as it occurs at "liberal" and
"conservative" theological extremes. The question will be raised as to an accurate
view of religious living. It will be proposed that the Transcendentalists had one
such view. Finally, cultural trends in the American vision today will be discussed.
Before defining the liberal and conservative theologies and making pertinent distinctions
between them, the theory of religion upon which their vulnerabilities will be compared
will be presented. Such comparisons and the proposals I shall make will be founded on an interpretation of the basis and dynamics of faith and doubt largely in
accord with Erikson's theory of psychosocial development.
Religion is defined as a set of symbolic forms and acts which relate men (persons)
to "the ultimate considerations of existence." That is, it is the most general model
of the identity problem that one has of himself. In order for one's religion to
function effectively, it is essential that one have a relatively condensed and highly general
definition of the environment and that religion. From this we can infer that the
religion must actually apply and be meaningful in regard to many aspects of one's
roles. Thus, religion as a conceptualization of one's identity, is itself a definition
of what that system (the religion) is and of what the world is in more than a transient
sense (i.e. in a non-transient sense)(1).
Therefore the problem for religion, psychologically, is that of dealing with inputs
that are not under the immediate control of conscious decision. The role of religion
is to provide cognitively and motivationally meaningful identity "conceptualizations" (symbols) through action systems (there is a basic assumption in this paper that
one's actual religion or religiosity is active in the world). The last phrase
"through action systems" will be qualified below. Obviously, if one's religiosity
is to develop one must develop new patterns of action and/or "conceptualizations" thereof (2).
Both Jung and Erikson have psychological conceptualizations of how we creatively develop
new directives for the improvement of our lives and religions. Both theories have
to do with self-knowledge, more specifically, with integrating the affective (emotion charged and directive) orientations periodically "emerging" from the "unconscious"
with consciousness. This integration of unconscious orientations occurs when these
orientations come, in time, to be given "consideration" in one's general life style.
(It should be noted that one cannot consider but portions of his lifestyle consciously
at any one time.) Jung believes that such integration of the unconscious is innately
rewarding, and that there is an innate general directive towards improved integration of the whole self or being (3). Erikson notes that the changes characteristic
of the major developmental stages in life would make further integration requisite
for healthy maturation. It is implied by Erikson's theory that underlying emotional
orientations must be stabilized or habituated for further maturation. This occurs only
when they are integrated with consciousness. The theory further implies that new
objects or relations in the environment come to be permanently endowed with import.
In Erikson's view, the conflicts of development usually are not (and possibly never are)
ideally resolved. As time passes, remaining conflict becomes unconscious. Yet,
their further resolution at later times (when these affective orientations emerge)
and their corresponding integration is rewarding (4). Jung believes that after a certain quality
of integration, something that could be described as God becomes apparent (5). Erikson
views the ultimate Ideal (given the valued and unrelinguishable social relationships and corresponding responsibilities developed throughout life) as the closest
approximation to the maternal relationship (i.e. early mother-child relationship)
There are other conflicts that must be adequately resolved and thus integrated
with consciousness before development of a sense of Unity with mankind in a religious
restitution of the maternal relationship can be achieved. As was mentioned, there
are valued social relationships developed in other life stages occurring after maternal
separation that cannot be abandoned (e.g. in Stage 2 of life, one develops basic
autonomy). Thus the maternal "imago" also has its evil side because of dread of
fusion and annihilation: This is the ultimate basis of one's most basic standard of Evil.
The better resolution of the all later psycho-social "conflicts" must occur before
a sense of self-fulfilment (self-actualization) can be achieved. This makes the
social nature of an effective religion inevitable (6). (Jung may not agree here, but the two
general views do not contradict, and some of Jung's views will be used later in discussing
cultural trends. Because of memories revealed in hypnosis and the highly valued relationships developed in maturation, I have a strong tendency to accept Erikson's
views as being at least indicative of directives on ultimate motives each of us possess.
For this reason it is satisfactory to use his orientation in presenting the general psychodynamics of religious faith and doubt (7).
It should be noted again that for higher states of integration to develop one must
find "active concerns" for the "deeper" aspects of the personality (or equivalently,
for the higher aspects of consciousness -- an assumption that is hopefully appreciable). These must be congruent with aspects of one's present maturational state that one
will not or cannot eliminate.
Man's creative capacity can be sensed in every moment: "The capacity to ask questions
of the ultimate [concern] is perhaps a consequence of shifting the locus of ultimacy
from the natural [or GIVEN] social order to a transcendent reference point. From the point of view of the transcendent everything, the natural (the given) has only
relative value and can be questioned. But the questioning tends to lead to the questioning
of the Ultimate itself" (Bellah, 1965)(8). This obviously raises the question of what is the nature or quality of adaptive doubt and eventually of appropriate religious
doubt. This question will become relevant when the two extreme forms of non-progressive
(maladaptive) doubt are considered. First though, we must deal with the definitions and general psychodynamics of faith and doubt.
The personal symbol of creative vision at all times includes the "better" aspects
of what is commonly known as the conscience. This is technically known as the ego-ideal.
Its first formulation is in the first year of life, during the mother-child relationship: This ideal is constantly pressed for revision throughout maturation; the
fulfillment of this ideal results in a precise, but fluid role definition and in
self-fulfillment. This ego-ideal is contrasted with what is often thought of as
the super-ego, the prohibitive, sometimes "punitive," aspect of the conscience. The ego-ideal
is more flexible and more closely related to the ego's function of reality testing,
than the punitive super-ego. The enforcing superego is more representative of the
ideals of a particular historic period (9).
The symbolization characteristic of the ego-ideal can be spelled out only by describing
in detail many interlocking aspects of an individual's life in a particular sociocultural
matrix. Beyond that, only the person himself can further discern its characteristics and then only when those "most personal and deepest conflicts" are interpreted
in terms of myth and when the myth is interpreted in terms of personal action. Then
"life through myth" is achieved (10). "Through a sustaining use of a symbol system in the individual's life experience, the personality is enabled to make a more extensive
use of the symbols of the belief system for condensing, expressing, and giving socially
meaningful form to fundamental psychic contents" (11). Developing such a relationship with the ultimate concern heightens one's sense
of specialness. One becomes secure because of the closer approximation to maternal
security and heightened consciousness of one's identity and, correspondingly, of
the environment (12).
Religious symbolism may be viewed from another perspective as a largely unconscious
defense system protecting the individual from awareness of certain emotions (13),
yet ideally providing a satisfying way of delaying gratification of such emotions.
But when the ego-ideal is poorly developed the "inner" controls are poorly developed
and the unconscious activities may become noticeable. This more negative view may
be useful in considering religious doubt.
Having described religion and faith by specifying the character of religious directives,
it is appropriate to take a look at doubt. Many of an individual's religious doubts
might be seen as arising from his personal past and current emotional life, while others may be seen as stemming from his larger sociocultural milieu (14). Both faith
and doubt represent a complex of thought and underlying affective orientations corresponding
to such sources (15). Ideology, in general ("faithful" or "doubting"), is largely an unconscious tendency underlying all
forms of thought: the tendency to make facts amenable to ideas and vice versa in
order to create a world convincing enough to support the collective and individual
sense of identity (16).
On one hand, the religious belief system is an outcome of ego synthesis and resynthesis
(i.e. of major reorientations and reorganizations in the quest to discern and maintain
a proper and satisfying role). But on the other hand, this process must make use of symbolism present in the family and society (mythology or tradition). There
is an interaction: the conscious awareness and manipulation of religious symbolism
provides a kind of cybernetic monitoring of the unconscious meanings attached to
them (17). AND, doubt predominates when the "risk" of adaptation to a complex world comes
to outweigh hopeful spirituality (18).
"Risk" implies a state in which consciousness is relatively overcome by conflict.
Religious doubt, when pervasive, is a lingering conflict. In any case, in conflict
psychic contents otherwise "repressed" and integrated are more open to observation
in an undisguised form (at least to an observer) (19). This is true because in states
of psychic conflict mobilization occurs and if the conscious orientation does not
suffice to resolve difficulties, "regression" will occur. That is, one's more basic
orientations on the problem will emerge to insure that one's more basic reality (and security)
is affirmed. In the case of a well-integrated individual, such mobilization will
give strength to his consciousness because the unconscious has been organized with
his ego sufficiently for these unconscious reality considerations to be, in larger part,
supportive and comprehensible, and often they improve conscious directives. In contrast,
doubt occurs when the "contents" of the unconscious, when emerging in the face of conflict, have been poorly integrated by and with the practiced belief system (i.e.
"by the ego").
Consistent with the above view: It has been asserted that doubt, as a general phenomenon
is a form of obsessional neurosis, where the individual withdraws from the feelings
and actions he has preferred to an orientation which seems to acquire an unusual
power of significance. This is part of his world view he has neglected, consciously
or unconsciously (usually largely unconsciously) (20).
Given the psychic mobilization and emergence of unconsidered orientations (the unconscious),
the case of doubt is thus still a manifestation of the ego's effort to resolve conflict.
Doubt, in general (including religious doubt) may be viewed as a lack, temporary or otherwise, of an integrated wholeness of the ego. Even with religious
doubt, this can be very subtle (as in the case of one near religious enlightenment
of self-actualization) or severe, depending on the adaptedness and development of
the ultimate concern. The case of some temporary doubt is often due to incongruous fantasy
or feeling emerging from the unconscious. Pervasive doubt has been related to uncertainty
as to whether the world is basically "good" or "bad," this feeling due to confusing or contradictory early experience that has not been resolved (21).
Taking another approach, in those vulnerable to doubt there is a lack of integration
of the personality and of differentiated aspects of the personality, where discriminations
are insufficiently related. This is also true of a diffuse personality, for in that case the individual has Overgeneralized certain attitudes. Doubt as experienced
is the "conscious symbolic experience of either a disruption of ego synthesis or
of the effort to form a new integration" (22).
In short, when a person is trying to use the religious belief system to meet basic
needs and those needs are not being met doubt will arise (23). The structures of
faith sustain the meanings of intimate relations and faith is sustained by them.
To the degree the restitution of relations lost through maturation are projected in a positive
or real way, they will be experienced as sources of protection and goodness external
to oneself: of God, in man, or of nature. Religion derives from and fosters the
continual evolution of identity, the continual wholesome synthesis of life-long developments,
and responsiveness to organically relevant changes in the world (24). Development
of the broad time perspective of a religious vision allows one to delay gratification and intermittent reinforcements come to satisfy more and more.
Now the two theological extremes and their vulnerabilities to inappropriate (maladapted)
religious doubt will be described. These descriptions are derived from, and generally
descriptive of, graduate theology students with such problems of doubt.
The general distinctions that may be made among different theological viewpoints are
on dimensions of absoluteness vs. relativity and externalization vs. internalization.
Those at the absoluteness pole of the first dimension emphasize three dichotomies:
(a) between the power, greatness, and infinitude of God and the weakness and finitude
of man; (b) between the goodness and purity of God and Jesus and the evil and sinfulness
of man; and (c) between this world and the "supernatural" one. The relativistic view emphasizes the relatedness between man and the holy on each of these dichotomies.
Externalization vs. internalization refers to the degree in which a theology locates
relevance outside or within man, respectively. Theologies tending towards absoluteness and externalization will be referred to as conservative and the liberal theologies
will be those stressing relativity and internalization.
The assertion will be made that problems of doubt with similar characteristics can
arise at either theological extreme. There is likely some middle ground where either
theological description could suffice if correctly interpreted. It is however true
that the liberal categories would likely offer a description in more conventional terms
that is more comprehendible.
Conservative doubt: The view of doubt as unnatural that is offered by some conservatives
is wrong. It effectively denies some subtle possibilities for man (the sinner) to
progress towards living a more righteous and fulfilling life. The effect on the individual with such attitudes is, paradoxically, to make the experience of doubt
or allied experiences not a part of the self by projecting them (externalizing them).
An experience rather than an object or relatively well-defined situation is what
is feared here. This amounts to a fixation of that doubt and remains a source of vulnerability.
The concretized conception of sin that results provides a stereotyped view of man
that can only be the result of some sufficiently adapted egocentricity OR the source of doubt.
From another perspective, the feeling still has its source from within, for externalization
cannot remove feeling entirely from the person (although it is thought by such persons
to be shared) AND therefore some form of guilt is generated. This requires defensive structures in the personality. Sometimes becoming more rigid will suffice.
This guilt clearly conveys to the conservative that he is evaluated by a judgment
external to himself (28).
More important for the individual's psyche is that externalization may actually force
(in a negative sense) into decision making processes, and other experiences, psychic
contents not otherwise accessible to consciousness. (see back to the paragraph associated with footnote (2)) . These may be difficult to integrate within an overly rigid
metaphysics and even if this conflict is not realized, there will be spiritual stagnation.
In short, regarding doubt as unnatural may well lead to a sense of estrangement from
the sources of goodness and meaning and only a God conceived in an absolute dichotomy
(unquestioned) can offer a "solution" to that state of evil and hopelessness (30).
An unfulfilled conservative's world is constricted and dichotomized by what is, in
effect, a premature identity formation resulting in a characterlogical barrier to
experience (31). Such an individual will deprive himself of the ability to more
properly differentiate and judge his interests. He will be deprived of one very important source
of cues for feeling the "Lord's will" -- a "deep" (pervasive) interest in something
From the above one might conclude that one's visions are intermidibly fluid and, in
a sense, this is true. But the unconscious is integrated well when a vision of man
that provides security (i.e. is sound) is established. The unconscious would then
aid in activity by assimilating material to fulfill, develop, and maintain its vision.
There is still externalization of feeling but in the well-adapted it will correspond
well with reality; true sources of evil (many possibilities) will necessarily receive
their due before self-fulfillment is attained; sources of good will, of course, also
. In the case of those practicing religious discipline, the termination of doubt
will come only when the religious nature of man and/or "the Kingdom of God" is realized.
Before these are realized there will be an appropriate form of religious doubt to
be wrestled with. The communal nature of a state of religious enlightenment is supportable
by psychological theory.
In spite of their vulnerability, there is some
substance in the conservative statement that "only God's revelation, not our reason
[(which is relatively momentary and transient)] can carry us over from God's incomprehensibility."
Also as reason develops to its adaptive end, it is true in a meaningful sense that "faith lives by its objects" (object here is, of course, in a symbolic
sense). I have mentioned also the idea of appropriate externalization.
In anticipation of the disposition of doubt in the case of the extreme "liberal":
while it may be true that an impure religion could be a barrier to a relation with
God, a radical liberal is certainly very wrong if he says that "a relationship with
God depends on nothing religious."
Liberalism may also go astray: This occurs when he incorporates a restrictive view
of man without integrating that view sufficiently in (with) his personality. He
should (though he may not be able to) personally encounter what he believes of man,
know the truth of these views and the limits thereof. Unfortunately what sometimes
happens is something quite analogous to the improper externalization by many conservatives,
where the nature of "God" (possibly here: "man") is defined. In "shallow" liberalism, the limitations of the individual are defined. The result may be a tendency
to reconcile evil with a "blanket of acceptance" and "a readiness to see goodness
which becomes notoriously indiscriminate and overly passive" (34). Actually a liberal's absolute rejection of conservatism may, in part, represent a defense against his
own conservatism (unrealized or unadmitted) (35).
The structural vulnerability of the liberal belief system
is the profound ambiguity that arises in the interpretation of experience. This
occurs when there is competition between a projective (externalized) belief system
(often based upon an improper or maladaptive incorporation of beliefs) and his internalized system (his belief in "God" or a "divine dimension" )(36).
A liberal doubter or a religious liberal especially vulnerable to doubt will talk
about forces inimical to human life with which he must struggle, but they are not
seen as external objects to which he can relate to on a personal basis (37). Jung
says that "a truly modern man [(one who has clearly realized the good and evil in the world)]
must be proficient in the highest degree, for unless he can atone by creative ability
[(intimately guided by reason)] for his break with tradition, he is merely disloyal
to the past" (38). An extreme "liberal" may find he cannot satisfy his aims; he doubts,
he becomes guilty. He comes to feel his response to life is unfit for his "God"
-- this God gives him no satisfaction (39).
The liberal doubt arising is related to conservative doubt except that the guilt is
perceived as from within rather than thought to be a judgment from without (often
a judgment conveyed by God on man since the beginning of time). In both of these
extreme cases (liberal and conservative), the individual expects much of himself (40). In
both cases, the individual doubts the integrity of his personality system without
the direct support of his belief system (i.e. he is self-ignorant). Doubt is necessarily
cast "on the back" of the belief system, for eventually his "true belief" integrates
all aspects of life (40).
The ideal is not no doubt, but controlled doubt. Good and Evil are more fully discerned
with further realization and resolution of doubt. One's standards in the development
of a religious vision will always be most truly one's own by the innate wisdom of the human "soul."
The self-fulfilling properties of righteous action must be commonly believed (tradition)
or demonstrated by leaders ("genius," in the Transcendental term), otherwise the
happy righteous men will surely be few (42).
It was proposed in the introduction that the transcendentalists may have had an accurate
view of religious living. Before looking at their philosophy, it might be helpful
to make explicit one further view pertinent to the description of adaptive religion. This view is that religious life can only be demonstrated; descriptions must eventually
depend on contrasts with what religion is not. (This latter technique was attempted
to a limited extent in the first section of this essay.) A good life may be at best approximated by direct description, when what is good in society is emphasized
in contrast to that that hinders or oppresses the good. Emerson may have appropriately
carried this view one step further when he said "there is no man; there hath never
been" (43). For him religious life has never been ideally demonstrated and he probably
viewed this as an impossible ideal. Also, relatedly, but most importantly, religion
Transcendentalists in their lives and philosophy attempted to express what they saw
as the proper balance of reason and the spirit in the personality. They tried to
show the proper function of reason in religion by emphasizing its place in the personality, yet always emphatically describing and expressing what is also necessary for one
to come to approximate his religious nature. But society, in general, soon opted
out or ignored this kind of thought (this religion) until quite recently. The views
of the transcendentalists were probably quite relevant to their own time, for the Age of
Reason was already upon us, but their views are probably even more relevant today,
when man is surrounded by mass everything, all of his own "creation." Therefore
it would be appropriate, after an attempt to suggest the accuracy of the Transcendentalist
views, to turn to trends in present religion and speculate on what type of religiosity
they are a response to.
The Transcendentalists spoke of a triple nature of man -- animal, rational, and spiritual
-- with ideas not coming only from the senses or the powers of reasoning, but from
immediate inspiration or from an immanent presence in the spiritual world. That
this view and other Transcendentalist view correspond nicely with the nature of Ideology,
as seen by some persons nowadays, AND as implied in the early part of this paper
will become clear as this exposition proceeds (44).
The Transcendentalists did not in any way oppose Reason, but on the contrary wanted
the intellect to have the proper meaning and meaningfulness. Emerson says: " It
is the office, I doubt not, of this age to annul that adulterous divorce which the
superstition of many ages has effected between the intellect and holiness." Thus they
opposed both empty rationalism and the mindless emotion of the revivalists (45).
They believed in "the substantive
, independent existence of the soul of man, the reality of conscience, [and in] the
religious sense, the inner light, of man's religious affections; his knowledge of
the right and truth." This was not dependent upon anything beyond man, and education
and custom "can only add new motives for obedience to that which he feels to be of imperative
obligation." These points correspond well with the experience that should result
from higher states of personality integration and with the nature of proper (adaptive) incorporation of ideas to develop, maintain, and fulfill such an identity, respectively
They spoke quite appropriately of religion when they asserted: "not thanks, not prayer
seem quite the highest or truest name for our communication with the infinite, but
glad and conspiring reception -- reception that becomes giving in its turn, for the receiver is only the Allgiver in part and in infancy"
(Emerson) (47). The Transcendentalists realized the delusion of the conservative
Puritans profoundly and also emphasized communion with the world. As suggested before,
one must interact with the world: find objects of faith and come to have a loving
interaction with ones interests. "Nature testifies to truth and love...[We may] study
the nature of the mind in nature" (Emerson). Also, "nature is the memory of the
mind" (48) This again is similar to the concept of appropriate externalization.
"Divinely seen facts are symbols of spiritual laws" (49).
The Transcendentalists spoke of the general nature of religious experience when they
believed as Emerson: "nature does not exist to one or any
number of particular ends, but to numberless and endless benefit ... The whole is
expressed by one superincumbent tendency, ... the excess of life which in conscious
beings we call ecstasy." "The soul can be appeased not by a deed but by a tendency
... You shall love rectitude, and not the disuse of money..." (49).
The divine nature of the most true and the communal nature of such truth was expressed
in such statements as: "When all is said and done, the saint is found the only logician
. Not exhortation, not argument, becomes our lips, but the paeans of joy and praise.
But not of adulation: we are too nearly related in the deep of the mind to that we honor
"(Emerson) (50). Transcendental philosophy was also the nucleus of a social gospel
for some: "There are means for improving the condition of the mass of mankind ...
to make the most of these means is the office of religion" (Ellis) (51).
The concept of the progressive integration of the unconscious (described earlier)
is given in the description: "Man is spoken to from behind ...[and if he] will exactly
obey it, it will adopt him so that he shall no longer separate himself from his thoughts; he shall seem to be it, he shall be it" (Emerson) (52).
A statement of Parker's may help to make one further idea from a previous section
more clear. This is the idea of the rewards of a rational, patient, but diligently
progressive religion: "It is only gradually that we approach to the true system
of nature by observation and reasoning, and work out a philosophy and theology by the toil
of the brain. But meantime if we are faithful, the great truths of morality and
religion, the deep sentiment of love to man and love to God, are perceived intuitively,
and by instinct, as it were, though our theology be imperfect and miserable" (53). The
quality of these great truths no doubt develop as one's religious life and theology
To this point the quality of Transcendentalism as a religious philosophy has been
evaluated from the perspective used in the first section of the paper to provide
an analytical model of faith and doubt. Plausible grounds for believing that something
of a transcendental movement may be developing in America today shall now be presented.
The final section of this paper will deal with modern trends in the American vision
and with what these new trends may be a reaction to.
Jung believes that a man who is fully conscious (as much as possible) of his identity
and role has a minimum of unconsciousness. In this view, the spiritual need of Western
man has produced the discovery and concern of psychology. Technology has resulted in the questioning of traditional religious beliefs. Because "no psychic value
can disappear without being replaced by another of equal intensity," those who cannot
find security and take heart in their work become dreamers and the unconscious comes
to be suspicious (54). The psychological interest in the psyche of the present time
is one indication that modern man expect something from the psyche which the outer
world has not given him. This is doubtless something religion should provide, but
no longer does for many (55).
Another related indication of the spiritual crisis of modern man is that many whose
psychic energy apparently cannot be invested in obsolete religious forms are becoming
part of movements which have a genuinely religious character, even when they pretend
to be scientific. An example in this connection is the current interest among students
in ESP, parapsychology, etc. It is somewhat ironic that many expect from the new
science of psychology a collection of laws
of human behavior, while many students are not content with the scope
of the provisional answers given today (56).
As Roszak suggested, Jung also believes that it is knowledge, not faith, modern man
has sought and at the expense of faith. "Modern man abhors faith and religions based
upon it. He holds them valid only so far as their knowledge [(that is, knowledge
content, rather than apparent content)] seems in accord with his own experience of the psychic background
" (56). This is reminiscent of the models of doubting theologians. This is probably
more than an analogy and is probably an indication of why modern man is vulnerable
to doubting his religion. That is, he is prone to doubt the value of his major roles
Some indications that man's needs are not being satisfied have been given. What could
be constricting modern religion but the complexity of the modern world, rationalized
by some form of single-visioned objectivity? This has been our unavowed religion
and our beliefs in a natural irrationality often do not suffice to "fill the gap."
"Generally our age wants to experience the psyche for itself
. It wants original experiences, though it is often willing to make use of all the
existing assumptions as means to this end" (57). This is similar to the psychological
outline of the "liberal" who is really conservative "underneath" (a view presented
earlier in this paper). Although this is still often the case, some of the on-going
trends seem to be in a positive direction. Theologians and some psychologists are
trying to alter their assumptions in a direction that allows for a transcendent dimension.
A period in our history may be coming to an end. This is one in which "faith" in
science was taken to such extremes that it was used to belittle its best accomplishments:
In this period Freudian psychoanalysis had its most doctrinaire interpretation:
everything was "nothing but ...". This has been a time when many would choose an occupation
and give all their effort to the accumulation of facts for 'success,' only to find
themselves estranged and their occupations nothing but "borrowed" roles.
Our sometimes impatient quests for knowledge have often resulted in the loss of appreciation
for the object and unfortunately we now have to work with nearly incomprehensible
systems, having often no idea of the effect of the product on the community. We still compete for such positions with the foreknowledge of these characteristics.
The meaning of Eastern philosophy, quite like Transcendentalism, is beginning to be
understood on this side of the globe. This is not so much for what has been proven
as because of what it has suggested and what we are coming to see as neglected potentials. According to Jung this new world view does not arise from idealistic requirements
(what "liberals" call "needs") or from mere wishes: It is from a "pervasive insecurity
and distress that new forms of existence arise" (59).
Among many in the East, our general lack of identification with our work is depreciated
as "illusory desirousness which will culminate in the sum of the world's sufferings."
"Mind," in the Eastern tradition, has more to do with what we call the unconscious than with what we call "the mind." In the Eastern view consciousness is deemed
capable of transcending the ego. A transition toward
such a view is now necessary in our society because our ego has been rather debased
(literally) (60). As described in the first section of this essay, our so-called
unconscious still does necessarily "transcend" (even if neglected) if only in a non-directive, diffuse way. This likely creates apathy or a sense of meaninglessness or confusion,
in contrast to an adequate and personally invested faith, interacting with one's
world. We must move toward a new and more understanding world view or systematically teach idealistic youth growing up into the macro-system to reject faith even as
we've known it (60).
In conclusion, it appears that we have begun to understand the intellect, not as a
superior, independent mental function, but rather as a tool capable of operating
within a religious sphere when properly developed, and as a capacity for knowledge
of useful talents (61). "It must [now] be realized
that consciousness is not an independent entity, but the master key of a higher totality"
(62). This higher totality must be in good part seen in community.
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Campbell, Joseph (ed.) , The Portable Jung.
N.Y.: The Viking Press, 1971
Helfaer, Philip M. The Psychology of Religious Doubt
. Boston: Bacon
Hostie, Raymond. Religion and the Psychology of Jung
. N.Y.: Sheed
and Ward, 1957.
Miller, Perry (ed.). The American Transcendentalists, Their Prose and
. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co. 19??
Rostak, Theodore. Where the Wasteland Ends, Politics and Transcendence
in Post industrial Society
. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co.:
Footnotes (1) , (2), (4) , (34) and (6) through (37) and (39) through (42) are from
Footnotes (3), (5), (38), (54)-(57) and (59) are from Campbell.
Footnotes (43) through (53) are from Miller.
Footnotes (58) and (62) are from Hostie.
(Details of specific page citations corresponding to each footnote are available on
For a consice summary of Buddhism USE THIS LINK