JUNG'S TOWER and PERSONAL MYTHOLOGY, Part Three

[Continued from Part Two]...

.... Four years later, Jung's "testament in stone" reached its penultimate state: "I added a courtyard and a loggia by the lake, which formed a fourth element that was separated from the unitary threeness of the house." This fourth element opens the self up to nature and the sky, to the divine and the cosmos. The courtyard is a part of the house but it is also connected to something far beyond the Self. to look into the eye of God.

Twenty years later, after the death of his wife Emma, Jung made his last addition to the building, an upper story added to the central section. "I felt an inner obligation to become what I myself am," Jung explains to himself in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, "I could no longer hide myself behind the 'maternal' [Part I] and the 'spiritual' towers [Part II]. I added an upper story to this section, which represents myself, or my ego-personality."

Why this fifth stage of development in the structure? What more is there to build, after the womb, action taking action in the world, after withdrawal into the self, after the open courtyard perceiving the eternal? There is the final act that mystics speak of as bringing the divine down to this world and rising up to meet it so that the two are one, indistinguishable from one another. This is what the design of the Star of David represents with its two triangles meeting to form a single star: "As above, so below"; "I and the Father are One".

This concept is common to many mystic traditions. In Kundalini yoga, seven "chakras"-- levels of spiritual development-- are imagined at seven points in the human body. The penultimate chakra, on the forehead between the eyes, represents a level of development wherein "God", or the "Universe", has finally revealed itself to the seeker-- but the ultimate chakra is higher still, at the crown of the head, where the mystic becomes one with the divine, no longer separate, beyond polarity. The Christian mystic Meister Eckhardt speaks of "the leaving of God for God for God"-- that is to say, growing beyond one's preconceptions in order to discover the true mystery.

As a caveat, this might be the time to tell the story of the moth who spent all night banging against the glass of a lantern trying to reach the flame within. When he went home the next morning, he told his friends, "I've seen God!", and his friends replied, "You don't look any better for it."

Had Jung attempted this stage of spiritual development at any other time than in his old age, it would have been a gross act of inflation. Coming at this time of life, his acknowledgement of ego is a simple act of recognition, like crowning a piece in the game of checkers when it reaches the other side of the board. "I felt an inner obligation to become what I myself am... Earlier, I would have regarded it as presumptuous self-emphasis. Now it signified an extension of consciousness avhieved in old age."

How much of the tower's evolutionary design was intentional, and how much was unconscious? Jung hints that he knew perfectly well what he was doing with this pun made of stone, when he speaks of the marker stone outside the tower: "The stone stands outside the Tower, and is like an explanation of it. It is a manifestation of the occupant, but one which remains incomprehensible to others. Do you know what I wanted to chisel into the stone? 'Le cri de Merin!' For what the stone expressed reminded me of Merlin's life in the forest, after which he vanished from the world. Men still hear his cries, so the legend runs, but they cannot understand or interpret them."

The truly transcendent experience cannot be described; it cannot be adequately translated to others. As the Sufis say, "To taste is to know"-- words are not experience. As the Sufis (and young animals) say, "To taste is to know"-- words are not experience. It is as the naturalist Loren Eiseley explained, after his own transcendent moment involving a wild fox cub, a chicken bone, and a moment of play: "The universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to present its face, and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing... It is the gravest, most meaningful act I shall ever accomplish, but, as Thoreau remarked of some peculiar errand of his own, there is no use reporting it to the Royal Society."

Jung's Bollingen is like a magician's tower from fable: the edifice is not just a representation of his temporal power, but synonymous with the magician itself. Unlike the tower made from faery dust, Bollingen did not collapse when its magician died, perhaps because of the integrity of the craftsmanship.

1 comment:

Stewart Sternberg said...

Isn't there a saying that love is for the Jung at heart???

Actually, my blog has been an experiment. The blog traffic has been culled through use of labels, technocrati, and just plain going to different people sights. I try and visit all sites who come to mine at least once a day. I also try and comment in such a way as to draw attention. And of course, there's the old fashioned approach: establishing some sort of connection and relationship with some of the people I visit.

My goal, besides networking, journaling, etc..is to explore the possibility of developing a small group following who might be willing to buy an anthology..I'm hoping will come out this coming year.

Im thinking I will probably slow down blogging a bit, but for now it's been fun, and I've had the time and inclination.

By the way, one thing I've always found interesting is the sitemeter. I sometimes check where people are being referred by..what blogs they are coming from. It's amazing to comment on someone's blog and suddenly have six or seven hits from that blog site from people who are responding to the comment.