by Alfredo Anania

The contribution that psychology can offer to the post-modern western men’s need to find a greater equilibrium between the material dimension and that spiritual is related to its ability to help them to understand the individual and group factors that bring them to desire in a way and to act in the opposite way, to feel the longing for individualization and contemporarily to want for enlisting to institutions and cults, to aim towards the personal freedom and at the same time to remain slave to consumptions, to want the peace and instead to practise the war. If psychology can give a contribution to the recovery of the spiritual dimension it is only helping man to become “what one is” [Friedrich Nietzsche, «Hecce Homo», Adelphi, Milano, 1969, p. 52] and to project himself in the future without losing the cultural matrixes of his own Self.

Psychology about the problems of the spirit, during its also short history as autonomous discipline, has undoubtedly derived all the better from the Jung’s special interest towards that aspects of the individual and collective psychology connected to archetypes, oriental philosophy, synchronicity, sense of the divinity, alchemy, esotericism and such. Certainly, Jung has passed on his passion for these studies to his disciples. After all, the post-modern actuality of the Jungian analytical psychology draws its luck from its “borderline” capacity to face many, for so to say, “esoteric” themes in comparison to the “excessively logics” categories that most of the remaining psychoanalytic schools use for explaining the complexity of the human one. If nothing else, the Karl Gustav Jung’s thought, as Roderick Main affirms, clearly makes an ontological distinction among “different kinds of phenomena: material phenomena such as tables and trees, psychic phenomena such as thoughts and fantasies; and spiritual phenomena such as moments of insight and creativity or senses of numinous presence” [Roderick Main; The rupture of Time, Brunner-Routledge; Hove and New York, 2004, p.172].

The attention towards the spiritual life has always shown notable oscillations in relation to the historical period, the place and the emerging culture. In Western culture, the search for a new spiritual dimension has found, recently, the most definite expressions in the New Age movement, under the influence of the Jungian psychology and the speculations of some modern eminent theologians. Today, however, after the conclusion of the Karol Wojtyla’s pontifical route, the Christianity returns to resurface. We will see below why this return owing to John Paul II.

We, human beings, let's say frankly it, we live in mystery and although we have the tendency to give an ostensible rationality to our progress in the world, although we can attribute scientificity to our attempts to discover the laws that regulate the Universe, although we arrogate to ourselves the ability to know God and his will, at long last we feel nevertheless to be dipped in mystery, an ambiguous term that just expresses two only apparently opposite possibilities: revealed truth and incomprehensible event. It is our to live immersed in the irrational that produces the need of the irrational, this probably for not-losing the contact with the primordial matrix at the beginning of our “Universe-Self”; even if without any certainty that the “ours” is the only possible Universe. Besides it needs to consider, that really the most recent scientific theories tend to confirm quite unusual phenomena as the virtual reality, the quantum mechanics, the laws of the chaos, the epistemology of the complexity etc.

Today, as Paul Heelas affirms, we are more capably to clearly distinguish between religion - that is totally God-centred, regulated and transmitted by religious authorities who prescribe rituals and establish ways of believing - and spirituality: it is deeply personal as interior or immanent experience of relationship with the sacred, so that “at heart, spirituality has come to mean 'life' . . . Life, rather than what transcends life, becomes God (thus contemporary spirituality may more precisely be termed 'spirituality of life’)” [Paul Heelas «The spiritual revolution: from “Religion” to “Spirituality”, in Linda Woodhead, Paul Fletcher, Hiroko Kwanami, David Smith; «Religions in the modern world: traditions and transformations»; Routledge, London and New York 2002; 358-9].

Gordon Kaufman, [«On thinking of God as Serendiptious Creativity», in Journal of the American Accademy of Religion, 2001], examining the history and development of the word or symbol ‘God’ “identifies three important strands in its meaning, the first being the intermingling of the anthropomorphic and philosophical images of God, the second being the relation of "God" to subjectivity and the realization that God or awareness of the infinite resides in the soul or is part of human experience, and the third is the use of negative theology to understand God”. Kaufman “seems to rely almost solely on negative statements about God, content to assert that almost all positive statement of God is anthropomorphizing, is inadequate, is a human creation or projection. Finally, he is able to make only the most basic and minimal statement of God, as being the serendipitous creativity that is manifest throughout the cosmos. God is not like human beings, God is not personal, God is not adequately described by the theologizing of the past, God is only dimly reflected in the biblical witness … These statements bring Kaufman to a place where he clings to the mystery of God, seeing God's activity as "creative," but even in this categorization, he is nearly helpless in articulating a clear understanding of God, because he seems to be stuck up against a need to define "creativity …" [in]

In David Tacey’s opinion, the spiritual life is no longer a specialist concern, restricted to those who belong to religious traditions. The “spirituality revolution” is “a spontaneous movement in society, a new interest in the reality of spirit and its healing effects on life, health, community and well-being” [David Tacey; «The spirituality revolution, the emergence of contemporary spirituality»; Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York; 2004, p.1]. The early scientific era, he considers “viewed the individual as sort of efficient machine. We now have to revise our concepts of life, society and progress, while persevering the advances that technology and science have given us. Significantly, the new revolution is found at the heart of the new sciences, where recently discoveries in physics, biology, psychology and ecology have begun to restore dignity to previously discredited spiritual visions of realty. Science itself has experienced its own revolution of the spirit, and is no longer arraigned against spirituality in the old way”; therefore, improbably the society could “return to organised religion or dogmatic theology in their old, premodern forms”, also in consideration of the “recent upwelling of spiritual feeling in young people throughout the world, who increasingly realise, often with some desperation, that the society is need of renewal».

Roderick Main clarifies that the spiritual revolution is not one that threatens to overthrow existing social or even religious structures but, like the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s, is nevertheless significantly affecting mainstream culture in a continual dialectic of challenge and assimilation. Above all - the reference to the New Age is here an obligation – what has estranged the western post-modern man from the traditional religious institutions has been the necessity to recover symbols, to give a purpose and a not-ordinary meaning to the life, to escape the role of mere performer of actions imposed by the technocracy, to safeguard own identity and to donate again sense to the mystery.

The New Age constitutes a particularly interesting spiritual movement for Jungians. Tacey, for example, considers the New Age “a significant spiritual phenomenon, and Jungians should be more interested in it than they appear to be, especially because the movement has appropriated Jung as one of its spiritual leaders”. Nevertheless, Tacey thinks that the New Age is a “specific and highly commercialised ‘wing’ of the new spiritual movement”, in fact it “does not compensates our consumerist society but simply reproduces several of its features in its industry and enterprise, creating a spiritual consumerism”, so it is “a largely product of American popular culture” and, to some extent, by means of its “production on Jung” it also represents “the Americanisation of Jung”. In Tacey’s opinion, anyway, the New Age has had the function to counterbalance the stasis of our established religious traditions “by forcing us to attend to what has been repressed or ignored by Western traditional religions: the sacred feminine, the Goddess, the body, nature, instincts, ecstasy and mysticism”. [David Tacey; «Jung and the New Age»; Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York; 2001; pp. IX-X, 5).

Roderick Main points out that there is “a great deal of controversy about the use of the phrase ‘New Age’. Many of those to whose beliefs and practices it is applied repudiate it, insisting that New Age needs to be clearly distinguished from Wicca, neo-paganism, and other new or revived religious movements with which it tends to be conflated. Others who formerly embraced the label ‘New Age’ now prefer such alternative descriptions as ‘holistic spirituality’ (e.g. Bloom 2003)”. [Roderick Main; «The rupture of time»; Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York; 2004; p. 152].

If however for a moment we neglect the phenomenon in its dimension of event concerning a part of the collectivity and we considers the psychological aspects from the point of view of the “New Age” individual we can perhaps discover some more intriguing thing. For example, Wouter J. Hanegraaff says that “the New Age movement tends to make each private individual into the center of his or her symbolic world” [Wouter J. Hanegraaf; «New Age religion and western culture: Esotericism in the mirror of secular thought »; E. J. Brill, Leiden,1996 – republished: State University of New York Press, Albany, New York; 1998], so that the personal experience is preferred to every institutional creed and the authority of the spiritual Self becomes primary in comparison with every faith, besides the source of the well-being is interior and reached when one is in contact with the inner energy or the cosmic energy. All that rouses the official religions’ (Christian, Jewish, Islamic) worries and above all the worries of Christian religion since it is the religion prevailing just in that Western countries where the New Age has had a greater development.

In a document edited by The Pontifical Council For Culture and by The Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue, titled «Jesus Christ the Bearer of the water life - A Christian reflection on the New Age», the Catholic Church recognizes that the “New Age is attractive mainly because so much of what it offers meets hungers often left unsatisfied by the established institutions”. A notable prudence appears through this document “the attraction that New Age religiosity has for some Christians may be due in part to the lack of serious attention in their own communities for themes which are actually part of the Catholic synthesis such as the importance of man's spiritual dimension and its integration with the whole of life, the search for life's meaning, the link between human beings and the rest of creation, the desire for personal and social transformation, and the rejection of a rationalistic and materialistic view of humanity … It is essential to try to understand New Age correctly, in order to evaluate it fairly, and avoid creating a caricature. It would be unwise and untrue to say that everything connected with the New Age movement is good, or that everything about it is bad ... New Age is a witness to nothing less than a cultural revolution, a complex reaction to the dominant ideas and values in western culture, and yet its idealistic criticism is itself ironically typical of the culture it criticizes” [in].

The mentioned Roman Curia’s Pontifical Councils instead appears to go with a particular emphasis really against Jung and Jungians: “Jung emphasized the transcendent character of consciousness and introduced the idea of the collective unconscious, a kind of store for symbols and memories shared with people from various different ages and cultures. According to Wouter Hanegraaff, … [Jung contributed to] a «sacralisation of psychology» … indeed, ‘not only psychologized esotericism but he also sacralized psychology, by filling it with the contents of esoteric speculation. The result was a body of theories which enabled people to talk about God while really meaning their own psyche, and about their own psyche while really meaning the divine. If the psyche is «mind», and God is «mind» as well, then to discuss one must mean to discuss the other’. His response to the accusation that he had «psychologised» Christianity was that ‘psychology is the modern myth and only in terms of the current myth can we understand the faith’ … A central element in his thought is the cult of the sun, where God is the vital energy (libido) within a person. As he himself said, “this comparison is no mere play of words. This is «the god within» to which Jung refers, the essential divinity he believed to be in every human being. The path to the inner universe is through the unconscious. The inner world's correspondence to the outer one is in the collective unconscious” [in].

At the base of the criticism to Jung by the Catholic Church there is also an “astrologic question”: the precession of the equinoxes that happens every 2160 years and that would be transporting us from of the Pisces’s Era (dominated by the suffering, by the senses of guilt, by the so-called “original sin”) into the constellation of Aquarius. Just Jung had predicted “a great change” “would occur with the advent of the Age of Aquarius”: “a long-lasting transformation of the collective psyche” [Roderick Main; «The rupture of time»; Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York; 2004; p. 165], marked, presumably, by solidarity and harmony among peoples.

Are we to the beginning of such radical changing of the collective psyche indeed? Is it coming true the Jung’s great prophecy? Or are darker centuries on the way under the push of macro-business interests and revived religious wars? What does it have to change in the social world from now so that the advent of the hoped happy Era of Aquarius comes? Is Pope Wojtyla the symbol foreboding a such transformation of the humanity?

We haven’t the pride to be able to give answers to so imposing and complex questions. However we desire to continue our thematic thread, that moves along the tracks of the analytical psychology, so that such fundamental questions, above all for the future generations, doesn't easily fall in the oblivion behind the not-innocent indolence of our ordinary life; a point of forced passage of this discursive run is to mention the role of the institutions.

The technological achievements, the discoveries of the quantum science and the “informational philosophy” has brought us to develop a conception of God as a perfect computer, as a primordial choice between yes/not, 0/1, here/not-here, I am/I am-not; God as the affirmation of a Supreme Bit: an Almighty Yes, I AM, One, I Exist.

As an individual is a reality (within the bounds of our possibilities of knowledge), also the Papacy (as institution) is a reality - but only in the sense proposed by John Roger Searle [«The construction of social realty», Free Press Pub. New York, 1995] who distinguishes “between ‘brutes facts’, or rather facts which exist independently of the language that describes them, and ‘institutional facts’, or rather facts whose existence is linked to men. From this perspective, the structures and the phenomena that characterize the society don't have any intrinsic reality: they are ‘facts’ only by virtue of an accord among men, or rather because they believe in their existence. The reality of the natural facts, of the mountains or of the molecules, it is independent from our representations, while the money, the private ownership, the family, achieve ‘reality’ following conventions that men establish among them. The power of the governments is a concrete and real power, but, unlike the power of the winds or the volcanic eruptions, it exists only because someone recognizes its existence and adjusts to it his choices and the own actions [in]).

About institutional facts one could say: “there are plenty of other fish in the sea”!

God is an invisible reality and as such he “is/is-not”. Now it is clear that all institutions that have invested themselves with the power to manage the truths on invisible (not-imaginable, not-describable and, besides, reputed eternal and unchangeable) entity, they do soon to individualize a “sacrificial lamb” (see Renè Girard, [«Le bouc emissaire» le Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, Paris, 1982]) on which it is easy to reverse aside their inadequacy for the evolution of the times. What can understand institutional people or apparatus - whose mission is to maintain an eternal and unchangeable truth - about the belonging to the psychoanalyst reality that is an exploring continually the unknown one of Itself and of the other, in a perennial researching and becoming? The main Jung’s worth has been to point out the importance of the individualization process that is a without end itinerary; furthermore, what was not exactly his merit for his contemporaries - to go over the Freudian hyper-rationalism, giving relief to spirituality - is the principal motive for Jung has achieved a so great value among the following generations.

However, really, all the great religious institutions have historically strong interlacements with the politics, while it is known that just many psychoanalysts have always looked at the political world without any liking. Thomas Singer [«The Vision Thing»; Routledge Pub., Hove and New York, 2000, p. 4] delineates a continuum between myth/archetype and politics, a series with the psyche on the centre. Singer wrights: «At one end of the spectrum is the purely mythological or archetypal realm with its grand themes of death and rebirth, inner transformation and outer renewal, man and God. At the other end of the imaginary spectrum is the realm of everyday politics with its power plays, deals, persona appearances and deception, and a quite substantial knowledge of the practical world”. About that, in conclusion, nothing yet again, Singer says, really “The Upanishads, the Koran, the Bible and just about every other sacred scripture of the World’s great religions wrestle continuously with the of man as political animal against the backdrop of deep archetypal encounters with the spirit”.

Eli B. Weisstub [«Reflections from the back side of a dollar: myth and the origins of diversity », in Thomas Singer «The Vision Thing»; Routledge Pub., Hove and New York, 2000, pp.143-144] shows as, after all, “Religious reform may also occur in response to political oppression. The need for spiritual and religious renewal often underlines social and political change. Historically, major religious movements have evolved out of difficult political circumstances … Power and wealth are not sufficient in providing for a deeper sense of security and well-being. Political change is inevitably tied to spiritual need”.

In a heartfelt writing, Roberto Gambini [«L’anima del sottosviluppo - Il caso del Brasile», Psicologia Dinamica, I, 2-3, 1997, pp. 42-43], discusses about the concept of “underdevelopment”, a word that allowed a secular manipulation: “Soon they will are five centuries since we began as a Nation [Brazil] under the spell of another sentence, this time by the Pope: ‘There is no sin below the Equator’ … This assertion reveals that the shadow would reigned in the society laying out the recently discovered lands. In the Catholic 16th century Europe the shadow was kept under relative control by ethical institutions and civil law, so extreme abuses such as human exploitation, slavery, manslaughter - in one word, explicit Evil - were condemned an punished. The shadow, kept in a corner, pressed for a way out, to be lived and projected. So when a vast geographical area is opened in the historical horizon under the heading ‘here it is allowed’, the shadow disembarks on the shore and runs gladly free, proclaiming: ‘I made it! This is home!’ … If we analyse this shadow and this talk that there is no sin below the Equator, step by step, we acquire a psychological (and not only socio-economic) understanding of slavery first of Indians and later of Africans, since upon these two races Christianity’s shadow was to fall. In short, Indians and Africans were seen as naturally inferior and ruled by the Devil - in a time, in fact still actual, in which so-called civilized man had not reached enough psychological maturity to admit the barbarism and destructiveness of his own shadow. And beyond that, our analysis has to take into account the greedy, rapacious attitude of white man behaving towards America as if it were a tree full of fruit just waiting to be plucked off, or the cornucopia of abundance - which by the way you can see in many allegorical paintings and tapestries of the Baroque period in Europe. ‘Take all you can’ - this was the motto that drove the conqueros, who just took away, expropriated, kidnapped and violated as if the land belonged to no one until they arrived. Our first anti-ecological act, in 1500, was cutting down brazil-wood, much in use then as a red dye for fabrics. I consider this the starting point of forest devastation, but our children won’t learn it at school: civilization begins as destruction of nature and of the land’s ancestral soul - especially by means of an enforced conversion of the Indians to Catholicism”.

Dale Mathers [«Religion, politics and the collective unconscious», in «An introduction to meaning and purpose in analytical psychology», Brunner-Routledge, Hove and Taylor & Francis, Philadelphia, Pub., 2001, p. 217-220] about the institutional involvements observes: “religion or politics look like this, they’re mere ‘arrangements of rules’. Unable to give depth and meaning to life, their social, boundary-marking (hermetic) activity fails. Culture-myths, religion and politics define and determine power gradients: who is master, who is slave, who says playing a harp all day is ‘paradise’… If spiritual and material interfuse, then their social manifestations, religion and politics, go together. Both were once a prerogative of Lords (temporal and spiritual) but are now our co-responsibility; we share one planet, have the same archetypal meaning-making strategies - and a common human spirit. Analytical psychology comes from a philosophical position of epistemological idealism - we ‘give authority to the reasons in the mind in order to guarantee a moral world order and/or (we) grant authority to the thing of the mind because of the moral order which is thought to exist’ [Marilyn Nagy, «Philosophical Issues in the Psychology of C.G. Jung», Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 1991, p. 45]. About the «governance» Dale Mathers says that “religion and politics are two sides of one coin, one meaning-system … this meaning-system protects boundaries”, in reality for Mathers jointly “Religion and politics form an archetype - ‘Governance’, a social form of the transcendent function … this idea derives from Hegel’s idea of dialectic: the dialectical materialism of Marx, and the ‘dialectical spiritualism’ of Jung. Religion and politics (often seen as thesis and antithesis) can be synthesised into a whole - governance … Governance arises as culture myths interact with personal myths to form socially coherent meaning patterns, validating certain percepts (and precepts) over others. It creates these patterns using totems (numinous signifiers, like the Star of David) and taboos (like kosher food). Individual and groups obtain meaning validation by acts of closure and opening. For example, for Christians, baptism closes into membership and opens up the benefits of membership”.

The revolutionary “soul” (a cultural revolution) of the Analytic Psychology sure take origin from its founder, in fact Jung showed a constant tendency to break with the traditional culture just because he attributed to the Analytical Psychology the value to bring new light to the understanding of the human being in its different dimensions, particularly the spiritual one and the religious, and he went to the point of reinterpreting the sacred texts, particularly the Bible, and the relationship of man with the divinity. About this, it is interesting to read, by Paul Bishop, «Jung’s answer to Job» [Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York, 2002], it is a detailed commentary on one Jung’s very difficult writing [C.G. Jung, «Answer to Job», in C.G. JUNG, «Collected Works», V. 11, Princeton University Press, Princeton]. For Jung, on the one hand, God needs the man to become conscious and to have a space-time delimitation, on the other hand, contemporarily, in the modern man it is emerging a greater centrality of the conscience and an experience of the "numinous" mostly linked to the psychic experience, all this determines in such way a different encounter between the man and God, that, beginning from the God's transformation in man, finds in Christ the paradigm of the process of individuation, that is the encounter between Self and Ego [Edward F. Edinger, «Christ as a paradigm of the individuating Ego, Spring, 1966].

The “psychological theology”, started by Jung, has not only has created many deep controversies between psychoanalysts and theologians, but also various controversies among the same Jungian psychoanalysts. From this point of view it is very interesting the collection of papers - edited by Robert Withers, [«Controversies in analytical psychology», Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York, 2003] – of which now we will mention below some written.

Elizabeth Urban [«Response to commentaries by Julian David and Robert Hinshelwood», in op. cit., Robert Withers, 2003, p. 43] affirms that “in Jungian psychology there are two organizing centres in the personality, the self and the ego” and that for Jung the Self is certainly “more fundamental than the Ego”; this, Urban explains, because the “Jungian concept arose from Jung’s long-standing interest in the psychology of spiritual states of mind, not as expressions of infantile states of mind or the defences against them but as irreducible states in their own right. Jung’s first reference to what would become his idea of the self was in a paper describing psychic phenomena in which opposites - good and evil, love and hate - were transcended … Given his vertex, he related this to certain notion of God, such as those of the early Gnostics and the Hindu concept of Atman, both of which conceive, via non-rational means, an ultimate that transcends opposites. Jung understood these to be expressions of an essential part of mankind, which he terms the self, projected into religion, as well as science and psychology. It represents the intrinsic wholeness of the individual beneath and beyond the conflict of the opposites”.

Roderick Main [«Analytical psychology, religion and academy», in op. cit., Robert Withers, 2003, pp. 192-199] comments that “at the beginning of the twentieth-first century, religion remains a major player on the world stage; it is neither disappearing nor, looked at from a global perspective, declining. It is true that some manifestations of religion … may have waned, but others, such as the numerous forms of fundamentalism and alternative spirituality appearing throughout the world, are currently burgeoning … Quite apart from these explicit manifestations of religion, there is also a growing awareness of ‘implicit religion’ where a religious-style commitment informs secular activities. Both explicitly and implicitly, religion remains inextricably bound up with politics, economics, ethics, health, life-styles, and culture generally”. About the many points of similarity between the New Age spirituality and religious aspects of Analytical psychology, Main signals: “both have an ambivalent but largely oppositional relationship to secular modernity. Both tend do react against the reductive tendencies of modern science while at the same time selectively appropriating ideas from modern science. Both place considerable importance on notions of psycho-spiritual transformation. Both engage eclectically with non-Western, pre-modern, and esoteric traditions. Both frequently frame contemporary experience in terms of myth. Both prioritise personal experience over institutional beliefs. Above all, both locate authority in the individual self”. About some points of similarity between Religious Fundamentalism and religious dimensions of Analytical psychology Main remarks that for the religious fundamentalism “there is a transcendent reality, that the knowledge can be divinely revealed, and that emotional commitment to revealed knowledge can justifiably override rational criticism of it. Here, in this terrain that fundamentalism holds in common with much mainstream religion, there is some affinity with analytical psychology. For analytical psychology also recognizes and attends to a transcendent reality, accepts the possibility of revealed knowledge, and acknowledges the validity if non-rational modes of apprehending and evaluating truth. To be sure, major differences remain. In analytical psychology, there is less dogmatism and certainty in the characterization of the transcendent, the revelations (e.g., in the form of dreams) are individual and relevant primarily to very specific circumstances; and the valuation of emotional awareness is a helpful complement rather than a defensive alternative to reason. However, that analytical psychology respects these principles … provides some participatory access to the world of thought of fundamentalism”. However, Main remarks as while religion is “a multidimensional phenomenon”, the “analytical psychology have tented to focus only some … dimensions (in particular the experiential and the mythic), while paying less attention to others (such the social, economic, and political)”.

Melanie Withers [«Religion and the terrified», in op. cit., Robert Withers, 2003, pp. 207-209] underlines as for “vast numbers of the world’s population, adherence to a sacred deity provides the major focus of daily life. Islamic thinking continues to rise, whilst evangelical Christianity and the New Age belief as noted by Main continue to attract devotees. Paradoxically, by forgoing individualistic thinking, by surrendering personal independence and acknowledging powerlessness, believers are given the tools to live and structures to survive all eventualities. The benefits are threefold. The faithful can expect relief from the burden of the responsibility and security from life’s anxiety by continuing to hand over such concerns to omnipotent being. Moreover, that most annihilating of visions - the endless void of death - can be avoided by the security of an afterlife. It is understandably seductive”. What is less understandable, according to Melanie Withers, it is the tendency among some psychoanalysts to found figures to elevate, after Freud, for so to say, to a superior “all-seeing deity … Jung is elevated to the status of jet another cult figure [R. NOLL, «The Jung Cult: the Origin of a Charismatic Movement», Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994]. About institutions, Melanie Withers exposes the convincement that “Church, temple and mosque, government, school and workplace provide the setting for our daily lives. In providing the illusion of existential order through highly structured arrangements regulating behaviour, thoughts and action, institutional hierarchies clarify the ambiguities around our status and place on the world stage”. Further Melanie Withers, paying attention to the question concerning the “subjugation to human ruler”, considers that “in most societies individuals and groups subject themselves to a human ruler perceived as being wise, compassionate and benevolent. In seeking the protection of leaders thought to be more intelligent, skilful and powerful than them, people aim to have individual burdens and responsibilities, lifted from their shoulders, though at the same time they long to be free. Freud of course, would interpret this as a desire to replicate the parent-child relationship with which we are so familiar and which we have all used to deal with underlying aspects of existential anxiety, albeit with varying degrees of success. It remains the case that from childhood we become conditioned to follow our parents’ dictums. Exchanging safety and security, if not love and care, for obedience and subordination is difficult over time, however; Jung’s notion of individuation versus subordination here represents something of this struggle. As adult we may well attempt to renegotiate the power balance”.

Dale Mathers [op. cit., 2001, p. 220] says about psychoanalysis that “Theories are our ‘best truths’, but we cannot have freedom to theorise without responsibility, or responsibility without freedom to chose to be responsible of our actions … The goal is what Andrew Samuels [«The Political Psyche», Routledge, London, 1993, p. 111-34] calls ‘resacralisation’ – revisioning the sacred (the numinous) in ordinary life - ‘Glory to God in the High Street’. We [psychoanalysts] do not create compliant, socially adjusted ‘happy workers’ or Neitzschean Supermen, but enhance personal and social integration, the finding of personal and social purpose, by increasing an individual’s skills at making meaning”.

David Tacey [op. cit., 2400, pp. 11, 154-155] is of the opinion that a “spirituality revolution is taking place in Western ad Eastern societies as politics fails as vessel of hope and meaning. This revolution is not to be confused with the rising tide of religious fundamentalism, although the two are caught up in the same phenomenon: the emergence of the sacred as a leading force in contemporary society. Spirituality and fundamentalism are at opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. Spirituality seeks a sensitive, contemplative, transformative relationship with the sacred, and is able to sustain levels of uncertainty in its quest because respect for mystery is paramount. Fundamentalism seeks certainty, fixed answers and absolutism, as a fearful response to the complexity of the world and to our vulnerability as creatures in mysterious universe. Spirituality arises from love of and intimacy with the sacred, and fundamentalism arises from fear and possession by the sacred. The choice between spirituality and fundamentalism is a choice between conscious intimacy and unconscious possession”. Tacey thinks that the modernity stretches out to a new image of God “‘He’ won’t return in the same form as before, in fact the pronoun ‘he’ may be dropped altogether, since we no longer believe that God is a man (if we ever did), nor even ‘masculine’ as a cosmic principle. Yet God will return because God is an archetypal idea, and such ideas are eternal and enormously valuable, although at times they are debunked and declared redundant”, but also the new science, “open to the possibility of mystery” once more it will be “forced to reopen the case about the existence of God”.

To deal psychologically with spiritual revolution and to focus it on the more popular movements – which have had life certainly out and beyond the traditional institutional religions – it could certainly result less arduous before the apostolic Karol Wojtyla’s itinerary was completed. Many people are probably able “to feel” that something is changed, but it is not an easy task also find the reasons of it because they are too many recent events in which all we are directly (as Catholics) or indirectly (as historical testifies) involved. Perhaps, once more, we can resort to psychology to find useful interpretative keys.

It is evident that difficulties would have been lesser if Karol Wojtyla had been a typical a “messenger of the spirit”, or better, a “hero for the faith” (very rarer heroic kind in comparison to the classical “warlike strength-vigour” heroes [Alfredo Anania, «The myth of the hero between the past and the future», Psicologia Dinamica, III, 1-2-3, 1999, p. 59]) who, generally corresponds to an extremely “humble” person without any power (institutional, political, religious) if not the “mana” which emanates from every deeply spiritual and rich in “humanitas” person; it suffices to think to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. On the contrary, in this case, the “hero for the faith”, Karol Wojtyla, is/has been even the head of Saint Roman Church! This, history teaches us, is an absolutely exceptional situation. It is by virtue of his double role that Karol Wojtyla has had the possibility to prelude the renewed advent of the Christian spirituality.

The unintentional alchemic operation completed by Karol Wojtyla has been that of a his transmutation, through the death, from a sort of “living myth” to symbol (symbols in relation to myths are more alive and more overwhelming, because they are the fundamental metaphors through which the humanity represents to itself the laws of the life and the death). New epiphany that has again gathered “shepherds” and “magi” coming from far and wide; but the first Christian epiphany coincides with the Christ’s birth, whereas this second epiphany coincides with the Karol’s death. But Karol from the symbolic point of view is a new Christ in an diametrically opposite form to that of his predecessor who appeared 2005 years ago, namely Karol is not symbol of “passion and death” but symbol of the “Eternal Wanderer” and as such he is symbol of the searching and of the hope through the knowledge, an “Ulysses-Socrates” lacking in dogmas and full of faith in the meeting and in the communication with the other. The “communion” that previously favoured the return to God, during the public celebration of the “hierogamy” by means of the blessed Host like totemic food, now has become the “communication” that surrounds in an one great embrace (like the great colonnade of St. Peter’s symbolizes) the believers and the infidels, the belonging ones and the others, the different ones, the foreigners and through such embrace it re-establishes the coming closer to God. The quadrangular [here there is not any direct reference to the Jung’s interpretation about the collective transformation of the God image from Trinity to quaternity (including body, instincts, earth, material domain generally)] whose vertexes are God, Virgin Maria, Christ and Spirit Saint has found, with Karol, an extraordinarily innovative readjustment, turning into “circularity” of the “communication”, which symbolically abolishes every vertex because mother, father, child and brother occupy an equipollent and dynamically interchangeable place-space. The advent of the “itinerant communication” produced by Karol Wojtyla abolishes not only every pyramidal order between man and man and between man and God, besides not only abolishes every hierarchical-institutional power able to make unequal among themselves the human beings, but also and above all it abolishes every enmity among different faith people, so ending up beating “in accordance with the most Christian way” the Islamic religion. Pope Wojtyla has, definitely beaten, maybe, the Islamic fundamentalism. That, above announced, “Living Water” has found a new source in Pope John Paul II and he is particularly loved by young people!

We don't know if the Karol Wojtyla’s search, one could say “his longing”, for the other, betrays in reality an unconscious search for the mother (and therefore for the feminine or for the God’s “feminine”) whose he has precociously suffered the loss, in that case still more suggestive it could appear his predilection for circularity – which belongs to groups - if it is true what Fornari affirms: the “maternal imago”, as phantasmal invisible presence, emerges “like illusory body of the group that holds united the individuals as real limbs” [Franco Fornari, «Psicoanalisi della guerra», Feltrinelli, Milano, 1970, p. 121]. We don't know if the Karol Wojtyla’s love towards humanity - that in its choral quality can represent a phantasmal symbol of the maternal imago and, therefore, of the “feminine” in general – is the exact opposite of the possible unconscious hate by Bush or Bin Laden towards the “paternal imago”, presumably it felt as invasive and hostile. What we can state with certainty it is that paradoxically who, likewise Pope Wojtyla, has experienced the true love only he/she can accept without fear to cross the dark threshold of death


May 11, 2005©

Reproduction is prohibited in whole or in part