Famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung contributions bridged the wide divide between religion of antiquity and the modern world in his day. Those same ideas remain paramount today and can help us to understand a world that seems out of control. Jung’s associate Eleanor Bertine delivers Jung’s message plainly for our time.
God a Belief?
The pastor one day spoke of people who don’t believe in God. Eleanor Bertine, then a child, heard her pastor’s words and was devastated. God had been always there, like the Sun. How could the very center of her being be called a mere belief?
Bertine’s pastor, the authority figure of her religion, lowering the core of her reality to the status of a mere belief, brought her to lose her faith in God that day in church. The center of her very being that she had known from childhood was lost, and with it her life purpose. She would later turn to psychology and end her confusion, regaining that center when she found and became an associate of famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung.
God the Unconscious Mind
In her 1967 book “Jung’s Contribution to Our Time”, Bertine tells of Jung’s five basic conclusions regarding the religious side of the psyche: Namely, an individual is composed of a whole Self, which initially acts unconsciously, yet develops self-awareness over time, separating into a conscious and unconscious Self. The whole Self, unique for every individual, is characterized as having unconditional power and authority.
We symbolize the Self, calling it God, an outward manifestation of an inward reality. In this way, Bertine rediscovered the important center of her psyche, a “supreme value” that trumps all other values and brings wholeness and purpose to her being.
The World a Reflection of our Inner Thoughts
It is paramount that we be aware of our connection to this supreme value for us to function normally and have a healthy outlook and purpose, so that we fulfill our unconscious as well as conscious needs. When we, the conscious Ego, fail to fulfill the needs of the unconscious, says Bertine, our darkest aspects will emerge from out of it. On a whole world scale, our inner conflicts play out collectively as war and conflict among nations and people. A young Bertine experienced Adolf Hitler’s world rise as Germany’s perceived savior. She attributes this and such other dark periods to man’s soul not being fulfilled in his ordinary daily civilized life, leaving symptoms of decay plainly visible.
Dreams our Vehicle for Communication
Similarly, as the world theater of outward images, the personal unconscious uses dreams as a vehicle to send messages to the conscious Ego. When we have bad dreams and nightmares, it is a symptom of the unconscious rebelling against our conscious mind; we, the ego, ignoring this greater self, the unconscious. The war thus is between our own conscious and unconscious mind, the conscious mind acting as dictator by ignoring our unconscious needs. This is a basis of psychoanalysis, which in Bertine’s time was a new science, pioneered by Dr. Sigmund Freud, and later by his student, Jung.
Jung’s contribution to our world today, as with Bertine, provides for a modern world weary of the fanciful and incredulous stories of the religions of the West, an alternative psychological roadmap within the mind revealing that great God from whom war or peace manifest. Our collective actions, Bertine says, are nothing more than an automatic result of the inner communications of individual men.