C.G.Jung / Ethics / History / Philosophy / Religion / Spiritual / West

“Don’t be a maybe” – a Junganian view of postmodern, post-metaphysical, post-philosophical neo-pragmatism


That movie title “The Right thing to do” of Spike Lee would not fly today. Rather Raymond Chandlers “The Big Sleep”. Maybe. Something feels not right any more. Specifically the “Right” (as opposed to Wrong not to Left) is an endangered species. One has to decode first all the Western mental systems before separating Wright from Wrong! Right? For example, is neoliberalism good or bad from a Gender perspective? “On the one hand”, says the young woman, “it fosters the image a sexless and faceless human capital against patriarchy“ – break – however, it is an antisocial, undemocratic élite project.

My observation is that philosophy is going through a bit of a dry spell at the moment. Philosophy flowered beautifully from Plato, through the medieval ages, to the majestic insight of Kant and the last great unlikely prophets of our post-modern times, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. But the last century was not kind to philosophy and it gets progressively worse. For all practical purposes science has taken over ontology and cosmology; pragmatism has taken over ethics, pseudo-religions have been taken over metaphysics, the Dow Jones social relevance; and psychology has taken over epistemology. Analytical Psychology is the most wide-ranging kind of psychology, unafraid to deal with anything. Jung was a pioneer who were “cutting edge” in his day. He was very much aware that knowledge was evolving rapidly, but his concept of collective archetypes contradicts postmodern relativism.

“Don’t be a maybe”

Generation Maybe

Generation Maybe

Lets face it, in the West we live in a world of Maybe-Academics, Maybe-Journalist, Maybe-Analysts, Maybe-Churches and of course Maybe-Politicians. We, ourselves, are the Generation ” Maybe“. One cigarette company advertises with the slogan Don’t be a maybe”, but universalism is just as out as the truth, the evil and the good. One rather says „Yes, but“ and has learned that knowledge and facts are social constructs, all so-called facts one has to seen in the society-political context. We generate worlds, through generating languages, according to the “post-metaphysical”  philosopher Wittgenstein. Since him, an immense power has been awarded the language. The postmodern/deconstructionist claim „Nobody who has not made the experience, while something what is absolutely clear in one world, that in another world something absolutely differently can be equally clear, is able to talk even today competently.“ Scary really.

Not, nevertheless, for Richard Rorty, for him even the existence of the dinosaurs beyond the language was unlikely: “The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that.”  For Jung, as for later cognitive psychologists, the human mind is not a simple, passive, externally programmed machine.  Our minds are part of the universe, participants in the same laws that created the universe. We are made, as Christians believe, in Gods image. Richard Rorty was a popular professor of philosophy at Princeton University and at Stanford University – sometimes called neo-pragmatist, for whom scientific and philosophical methods form merely a set of contingent “vocabularies” which  post-philosophers abandon or adopt as they please.  We old people shake our heads about the Wischiwaschis aka transitory trendy studies”. Mrs. Schavan, a so-called “modern christian” (and politician longtime responsible for education and science in Germany), recently lost her PhD title, because  essentially used copy cat in her PhD thesis. Here rather uninspiring doctorate was about truth and ethics, isn’t that funny?

The Maybe Academics

truth-is-out-of-fashion

truth-is-out-of-fashion

But they shape the world.  Historian in the meantime, pursue less fact research, they track now down narratives. Traditional historians believe, that primary sources should be used to research history, whereas  postmodern historians claim because of a different age in a different culture, the historian of today has no way of interpreting these sources accurately,therefore again they are not to be trusted and rely more on secondary sources and individual perception of historical events. Personally,I think post modernists are just too lazy to do proper, real research. Postmodernism has brought history dangerously close to the fairy tales. Postmodern historians, a term that, by its own definition, is difficult to define, is a line of thought still remains the discipline of choice of many historians today. It is best known, and equally best hated, for its relativism. For instance, R.G. Collingwood constantly states in `The Idea of History’ that history is the `history of thought.’ While the history of humanity itself may not have a purpose, the writing of historical accounts does. Resonating with Foucault’s approach to history is the view that the writing of history should promote an ideology.

Truth is the story of the past told at present for present purpose.

History is the story of the past told at present for present purpose.

If, as Foucault declares, a claim to knowledge really is nothing but an attempt to overpower others, then retelling history serves the purpose of gaining power. This rewriting of the past to serve a purpose, known as revisionist history, contributes to empowering minorities. Thus feminist histories attempt to expose a male-dominated, patriarchal past and point the way for empowering women. Likewise, gender preference histories are put forward (in response to gender-preference-phobic repressions) to provide equality for all gender-preferences.  Religious histories emphasize the horrors of, say the crusade, to redress past misbehavior of the other side. Every repressed group—minorities of all colors, ethnicities, nationalities, and gender—has an injustice that must be exposed in order to rectify the abuses of the past –  except the White (Anglo-Saxon) Male, as the late NY mayor Ed Koch once quipped.

The Maybe Journalists

Meanwhile, Journalist promises in the “real” world of quality medias “facts, facts, facts”, and serve either opinions or sponsored, well, also narratives. There is no doubt that many produce not only (usually) left-leaning editorial and op-ed pages, but some news coverage was among the finest in the world.

Embedded Journalism

Embedded Journalism

When did we reach the point where news articles in the established media were considered suspect? And if news in the quality medias can’t be trusted then what news sources can be? We truly reached the age of Post-Modern Journalism. Postmodernism, among other things, is the denial of objective truths, so Post-Modern Journalism would be the denial of basic facts. And it is. The Benghazi disaster, the involvement of trans-national financial powers in the Banking crisis, made smartly to an Euro crisis, Syria activism, or the Arab spring turned to Brotherhood winter are all a typical examples of a status in which baseline facts are in constant dispute. Post-Modern Journalism then is what happens when we – as a society – can no longer agree to these facts. When journalists can no longer collect, verify and report on the facts of a story – because the facts are in a constant state of contradiction – then we have reached the point of Post-Modern Journalism. The consequent step of traditional embedded Journalism of the Gulf Wars is the   “secret service and elite-embedded   Journalism”  in crisis . A multiple “news sources” at least claiming to be objective journalism but with varying definitions of what the baseline”facts” and “truths” has been replaced by single source  / view journalism (especially evident in  TV News).  It is any wonder that so many people no longer believe what they read and see from news organizations when we’ve reached this point? When any facts about the origin and political beliefs are under dispute or plain disinformation how can we trust anything written? The result is news organizations with different factual foundations – and ever skewing toward their audience’s perspectives. In simple terms: FOX-News vs. CNN or The Daily Beast vs. Blogs. There has been much ink spilled worrying about how the Internet is destroying journalism, but the change from the Post-Modern Journalism to Maybe Journalism is the real threat. It does not help, that Newsweek comes since January over Whisper Net.

The Maybe Churches

Confused Religions

Confused Religions

In the modern age, staunch atheists and, even worse, confused and misleading theologians have severed the link between humanity, the Church and the Creator: hence the mutation of human failures into systemic misbehavior.  So, because ideas have consequences, we cannot afford to overlook the effects of the radical “Maybe” in ethics and churches.  If everything is mere fiction, or even largely so, then those who deny, for example, the Nazi holocaust are validated , then Jesu and Hitler cannot be used as examples of good and evil. There are no “facts, there is no moral.” There are only various degrees of fiction.

POSTMODERN RELIGION

POSTMODERN RELIGION

Jung, however, affirmed that the human unconscious, expressed spontaneously in religious practice, myth, and literature,transcends mere subjectivity. It is kind of perception, through us as a thing-in-itself, of things as they really are and by pouring into consciousness, it is the personality of the universe becoming self-aware. More than even many today’s theologians, Jung took seriously that the God of the Bible is a personality, and an omnipresent, and evolving one at that. Hence, Jung agreed that the Bible is on to something, namely, that consciousness and personality are not mere artifacts of electrons and energy-events, they’re a natural outgrowth of Creation, fundamental ontological characteristics of the universe itself. By including this biblical perspective he avoided one of the biggest failings of post-metaphysical philosophy, namely the denial of the reality of consciousness. In any mechanistic worldview, a view intuition is only used to make materialistic gains, truth becomes a victim of complexity. Not so for Jung.

If one searches for contemporary courageous and outspoken critics of relativist ideologies, beside the stepped down pope Benedict XVI, finally, the truth finishes to be a valid currency. The airwaves are full of theologians like Küngs and other ex-catholic judging his truly modern (and truly anti-postmodern) pontificate after he stepped down.  Benedict XVI announcing resignation on 11 February 2013, only two months after his decision to join twitter could not have finished on a less coherent note. It has been said he stays on twitter. I have been a follower, and one can hope the ope never read the often disgusting comments I observed. Benedict XVI, soon Joseph Ratzinger again, has relied on the unbending and strong faith of a bright gifted Bavarian country boy: doctrinal solidity has been his asset as theologian and bishop, then, as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and finally, as Pope Benedict XVI, the re-evangelizer of Europe in the name of faith -and- reason.  Since his early years, small is beautiful was his recipe, against the background of a world, and a Church, going crazily secular and going crazy. Catholicism teaches that our failures are the inevitable consequence of the original sin.

Over Cross

Over Cross

Joseph Ratzinger was defined by what he saw as the spreading of Marxism in German faculties of theology after the Second Vatican Council.To him a polluted theology and a God-free philosophy of the 1960s and the 1970s produced anarchy. Acclaimed by Catholics worldwide as the greatest theologian of his time, and as the most powerful Catholic cleric he has inspired the Church, and stood firmly against the post modern, secular and relativistic age, within the church and outside.  In Benedict XVI,  a very old man when he was elected, the mixture of softness and hardness, of weakness and strength was inextricable. He fired one Jungian theologian and still was so typical Jungian. In this, of course, stepping down is not about diminishing the leadership and not about relinquishing control either.  Despite the isolation of his retreat in  the territory of Vatican City, he will be there. I found it remarkable that he read his announcement in Latin. He must have felt, that post-modern clerics are in the wait and huge tensions await the Catholic Church. The Pope has anticipated this decision often, and yet he is giving the Papacy a depth-psychological spin, once more acknowledged the Shadow of the Church. Benedict XVI will be remembered for this dramatic departure. The theologian who held relativism as the worst foe of the Church, will be a decisive Pope who may have led the church outside of this God-less, sterile post-modern mess. Even, if it is more than likely that he was hunted down by (financial) powers.

Jung and truth

Broadly speaking, philosophy can be broken up into four basic types of truth-claims: Empirical, Pragmatic,Subjective, and Rationalistic.

  • Empirical systems hold that reality is that which is observable, verifiable, and replicable. It’s major deficits are three. One, that there are some things, especially cultural and emotional phenomena, which are real, important, life and death issues that are not so predictable.Two, Empiricism leads to some untenable conclusions. Three, our knowledge is limited.
  • Pragmatic systems, like the bottom line question, “Does it work?” It’s danger is that purely practical”truth” can change,inaccurate beliefs and evil actions can be practical, hence, by Pragmatic standards, true. It would have been eminently practical, for example, in the 1930’s in Germany to believe in the inferiority of the international money system. Pragmatism too easily lends itself to self-centered ethics. Believing something is not enough to make it really True.
  • Subjective system especially in post-modern thought, since Nietzsche hold that reality is a matter of personal perception. Contemporary post-modern subjectivism  as shown above, loves to protest “hegemonic” world views, defend reality as social construct, and explore truth as defined by “power” relationships.There are  strengths three deadly dangers. One is that it is inherently negative. It protests and deconstructs, but chronic skepticism makes no real contribution and it allows anyone to retain any idea they wish by simply labeling contrary ideas and even evidence as “opinion”. The major danger is solipsism. All the assertions, “God exists.”, “Terrorists kill.”, “Activists kill”, and “lasagna taste great.” become the same in the end.
  • Rationalistic, systems particularly modern logic realizes that observed data may be flawed and is definitely limited. “Facts” change as observations improve and knowledge grows.  The weakness of this school is that every meaningful assertion must be tested in the real world.

Empiricism and pragmatism are materialistic, subjectivism and rationalism are idealistic. Since Wittgenstein all of them spend a great deal of time discussing language as the medium of the philosophical enterprise. Jung, allowed elegantly with  his four function and synchronicity a synergy,.Being something out of his empiric scope, did not mean to him  it does not exist. What probably intrigues me most about Jung is his ability to bridge the gap between apparently different viewpoints, without post-modern relativism and connecting into the wide world of religion, history, anthropology, and philosophy. He does this primarily by distinguishing between the psychic functions while remaining adamant that they are necessarily complementary to each other. In this, Jung describes (in his ascetic,cross-cultural way) that naive post-modern thinking is too simple. We are not a tabula rasa nor a language programmed machine. Our Sensations provide facts to our Intuitions, our Intuitions provide organization for our Sensations. Sensations are not always reliable, but our intuition solve equations that describes intangible knowledge virtually perfectly.

Conclusion

George Soros made almost $1 billion since November from bets that the yen would tumble

George Soros made almost $1 billion since November from bets that the yen would tumble €, USD will be next.

Post-modern subjectivism is a tool to create complexity in order to hide reality and dress up totalitarian systems as pragmatic. Public faces of this unholy alliance of neoliberalism and neo-pragmatism are for example Mrs. Maybe-Merkel and Mr. Maybe-Obama. Of course they can be decisive holding on to their office. You vote for them. Those, however,  are only the first layer of the matrix.

Definitely no “Maybe’s” is “star investor” Soros, one face behind those public faces. Behind him there are  G&S and other finance clusters,  for which we are less than a muppet.  Mr. Soros owns own analysts and is regularly in Davos publishing his views where and when he pleases.  Those behind the faces rule you in reality – say if you believe what Maybe Journalist and the Maybe Academics tell you. And if you listen to the Maybe Clerics, most likely you will not go to heaven either.  So the confusion of this young women is understandable. An antisocial, undemocratic élite project uses conveniently, whining, nihilistic depression, humanistic godlessness, subjectivism and linguistic niggling as it became the norm today.

What do you think? Can reality be objective? Should it at least strive for objectivity? Or is this state of Post-Modern “ironism and confusionism” a permanent condition?