Symbolic Poverty

On the capacity of relating
symbolically with life

Abstract: The article tries to pinpoint a collective complex unconsciously affecting the Western population. Our capacity to relate symbolically with life has perished. Symbolic poverty denotes a deficiency of spiritual relatedness. As a compensatory measure, many strange preconceptions have taken hold of people’s minds. This is partly due to indoctrination. Most conspicuous is the inability to accept suffering and the reluctance to endure it. Western man, especially through the loss of ritual conceptions, is losing his capacity to relate symbolically to the dark side of existence. A new attitude toward evil and the destructive forces is called for. The article hopes to challenge the reader’s preconceptions, many of which have been drunk in with the mother’s milk.

Keywords: suffering, evil, symbol, ritual, welfare state, Earth-Mother, Chuang-tzu.


General consciousness in the Western world is ensnared by an idealistic and naive form of morality. Conscious moral standards are today conditioned by an unconscious complex similar to the mythic Great Mother. Current political consciousness embraces the vision of a world-encompassing benign community. All the earth’s inhabitants shall be won over to the cause of democracy, welfare, and market economy. A future global society is envisioned as a good mother and a safe garden for its children. Accordingly, all of earth’s inhabitants have the right to the blessings of the welfare state. The other side of existence — the dark forces of unconscious nature and the unpredictable “powers of the divine” — is dispelled from collective awareness. Instead there is a one-sided focus on the “good life”; “worldly goods and chattels”. People have become quite materialistic and fixated on material welfare, forgetting about the spiritual side of existence. This is the expression of a resurgent mother complex.

The missing feminine

Marie-Louise von Franz (1980) says:

This pronounced lack of a feminine personification of the unconscious has therefore been compensated by the radical materialism which has gradually taken hold of the Christian tradition. One could say that practically no religion began with such a highly one-sided spiritual accent and has landed — if you think of Communism as the end form of Christian theology — in such an absolutely one-sided materialistic aspect. The swing from one to the other is one of the most striking phenomena we know of in the history of religion; it is due to the fact that from the beginning there was an unawareness, an unbalanced attitude towards the problem of the feminine goddess and therefore of matter, because the feminine Godhead in all religions is always projected into and linked up with the concept of matter.

Only yesterday I had in my hand — this is in the nature of a digression, but quite an interesting one — a book by Hans Marti entitled ‘Urbild und Verfassung’, which could be translated as “Archetype and Constitution.” Marti shows that since man originally conceived of the constitution of a democratic state — switch has taken place from the patriarchal concept of the State (the juridical State, the State being a legal concept, a kind of father spirit) to what he calls the Welfare State. Swiss democracy in its beginnings, let us say until the last fifty years, was chiefly administered by a Club consisting of men — you know women in Switzerland still cannot vote — and the basis of the Constitution was a certain number of laws, the main object of which was to guarantee the freedom of the individual, freedom of religion, freedom of possession, and so on.

Into this slowly crept, as Marti very beautifully demonstrates, another idea, namely that of the Welfare State, a mother archetype where the State has to care for the health of the people, their material welfare, old age pensions, etc. Marti points out very clearly that this is a switch, that the State is no longer the father but has become the mother, and as such interested in the physical welfare of her children. He shows how, according to Swiss law, the State now has the right to impose certain regulations on the possession of land, in order to protect agricultural areas, for instance.

Some years ago the State assumed control over water rights — water is a feminine symbol — in order to protect people since the water gets so dirty and unwholesome, and slowly it has acquired the right to issue laws to fight epidemics. If, for instance, there is some kind of plague, or rabies, then the State can issue regulations which did not previously exist. Formerly mankind was not so interested in the people’s physical and material welfare. If they died of the plague or were bitten by mad dogs, that was just a part of life and not important; the emphasis was on spiritual freedom while physical welfare was rather neglected. Over the last fifty or sixty years physical welfare has gradually become an important concern of the State, and with that it has by degrees become more and more the carrier of the projection of the mother, and less so of the father image. We are slowly and without noticing it gliding into a matriarchal situation.

Marti shows very clearly how certain emotional factors are unconsciously at play, that the people conceive of the State in some vague archetypal form and from that standpoint vote for certain laws. But what seems to be self-evident, i.e., that the State should look after its children, is really the projection of the mother image, and that is not self-evident. He ends his book very intelligently by saying that we should become conscious of what we are projecting onto the State and begin with a real Auseinandersetzung, or confrontation, and not change our laws by just projecting a mother image.

This book describes a small aspect of a slow turn which on a large scale has happened in the whole Christian civilization and which one could call a secret unobtrusive return to matriarchy and materialism. This enantiodromia has to do with the fact that the Judaeo-Christian religion did not face the archetype of the mother consciously enough. It had to a certain extent excluded the question. It is well known, also, that when Pope Pius XII declared the assumptio Maria his conscious aim was to hit Communistic materialism by elevating, so to speak, a symbol of matter in the Catholic Church, so as to take the wind out of the Communists’ sails. There is a much deeper implication, but that was his conscious idea, namely that the only way to fight the materialistic aspect would be by raising to a higher position the symbol of the feminine Godhead, and with it matter. Since it is the Virgin Mary’s body which is raised to Heaven, emphasis is on the physical material aspect. (von Franz, 1980, pp. 212-15)

Since the seventies, when von Franz held this lecture, things have taken a turn for the worse. Today the Western welfare states have taken upon themselves the yoke of all the hapless people of the earth, who must now have their provision for free. To my country, Sweden, refugees arrive en masse. However, they often end up in passivity, spending their time watching cable TV from their home country, while awaiting their next social allowance. I fear that a misguided humanitarianism creates the danger of a blackhearted compensation from the unconscious. A backlash, on lines of racialist or √úbermensch ideals, results in a total unconcern for the well-being and lives of people. This is how nature works. An extreme standpoint is counterpoised by an equally extreme standpoint at the other end of the spectrum.

Toleration of suffering

Suffering is an integral part of earthly existence. It cannot be extinguished, only palliated. This insight, that we partake in ‘dark nature’, may mitigate the unconscious compensatory reactions, which have acquired a Nietzschean format in the collective psyche. The glorification of war, including a chocking unconcern for human life, is evident among today’s Islamists, but is also a recurrent theme in European history. Collective victimization, well-known from history, comes to expression in a feverish search after sacrificial victims. In times of distress, such outbreaks tend to occur more often. The collective regress to an archaic psychic economy implies that suffering is forced upon our fellow men, to be carried vicariously. It depends on a lack of maturation and stifled individuation. In a culture permeated by the motherly paradigm, the citizen is not expected to grow to maturity. Rather, he is expected to remain psychologically dependent, childlike and naive. This paves the way for evil dominion. Those not mature enough to carry their own agony at heart will inevitably force it upon others.

To grow and mature, and to leave an inferior state of consciousness behind, remains a path of hardship. It is implied in a well-known saying: “Come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21). Unconscious suffering on part of the masses is normally projected on others, or carried vicariously by other people. Conscious suffering, on the other hand, or a conscious acceptance of hardship, can put an end to the process of sin transference. [1] Judging from history, if the Western states aren’t out to relieve the world of all mankind’s afflictions and poverty, then they are equally determined to create colossal misery among humankind. This pendulum movement, to and fro, of unconscious obsession with suffering, must cease.

Many a young person these days is lacking in true personal identity. As a substitute, the individual may acquire an identity by becoming a welfare idealist and join the ‘Gutmenschen’, adopting a persona of moral goodness. Today’s concern for others, especially when it involves wholly unrelated dwellers on another continent, is neither rooted in instinct nor in heartfelt motives. In fact, empathy can only function in relation to the human being (or the cat) with whom we spend our time. Rather, welfare idealism is a moralistic ideology, making people feel that they are involved in something meaningful and larger than themselves, much like how the Communist pioneer felt during the heydays of the USSR.

The Earth-Mother

Marie-Louise von Franz (1993) argues that the crux of Western consciousness is the total disregard of the dark side of the feminine principle, the darkness of the Earth Mother. In Slavic folklore it is commonly portrayed as the witch Baba Yaga. [2] The repression of dark nature creates an inability to accept misery as an integral part of life, and it also makes us deny the inner darkness of our own nature. She says:

The whole of natural life is based on murder. That is a terrible thing to realize, but, at the same time, if one is not very morbid by nature, such a realization brings acceptance and, strangely, the wish to live and the desire to accept one’s guilt individually, for that is the guilt of living and living is guilt, in a certain sense. The realization of destruction and the wish to live are very closely connected. (von Franz, 1993, p. 205)

According to von Franz “[Jesus] warned against the all too human tendency, the inflation actually, to pursue shadow problems which are not one’s own. One should say, ‘I have done my human best and have not succeeded, but have been shown my own limitations’ ” (ibid. p. 199). Von Franz is here referring to the passage in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus urges his disciples not to resist evil (Matthew 05:39). However, pursuing “shadow problems which are not our own” are exactly what we are doing today, on a megalomaniacal scale. She explains:

Jung once went so far as to say that goodness which is beyond instinctiveness is no longer good, and wickedness which is anti-instinctual cannot succeed either. If I try to be better than my instincts permit, I cease to do good. If I want to do evil in order to survive, this is only possible as long as my instinct goes with it. If I do more evil than my instinct allows, then I destroy myself. Instinct, or the animal, is the final judge, for that is what gives my good or evil intentions the right measure. (ibid. p. 208)

But how, then, can evil be countered? Von Franz continues:

Once at a Fastnacht, Jung made up a wonderful verse about the poisonous dragon, to the effect that if a poisonous dragon appeared, one should not get upset, for the dragon had only forgotten his own fate: that he had to eat himself — the uroboros! So you must just remind the dragon of his duty, and he will say, “Oh, yes,” and will eat himself up! But you have to remind him, that is, bring a little bit of consciousness into the situation. It doesn’t mean letting things go, but putting a little drop of consciousness in and then retiring. (ibid. p. 204)

Von Franz also discusses the subject in terms of the healing effect of the unconscious archetype [3] and the synchronistic [4] phenomenon:

The psychological analogy [with alchemy] seems to have to do with the fact that when one succeeds consciously and positively to relate to an archetypal constellation, there is a widespread effect. If the rainmaker, or the medicine man, gets in touch in the right way with the powers of the Beyond, rain falls over the whole country. Confucius said that if the noble man sits in his room and has the right thoughts and writes down the right things, he is heard a thousand miles around. The Taoist philosopher Chuang-tzu always comments on the point that as long as the ruler of the country tries to do the right thing, actively making good or bad laws, the empire will get worse and worse. If, on the contrary, he retires and gets right inwardly, then the problems of the empire are solved by themselves too. (ibid. p. 179)

Moral infantilism

In the present day, inflationary and banal conscious values are contributing to the reinstatement of the Great Mother (Magna Mater), in the shape of out-and-out materialism (‘mater’ = mother). An archaic mother myth is filling up the empty space created by the poverty of symbols. Under its influence the individual will develop into a state of moral infantilism. In today’s Western democracies, along with archaisms and childish ways of human relations, a primitive matriarchal conception is unconsciously on the rise. It seems as if the seemingly benign mother goddess, in accordance with her indiscriminate and enveloping nature, accepts a manifoldness of thoughtways, and gathers everyone under her auspices. Inclusiveness, multiculturalism, and multiethnicity, have become the catchwords of the present day. Today’s situation forms a glaring contrast to traditional society. Joseph Campbell (1973) says:

In earlier times, when the relevant social unit was the tribe, the religious sect, a nation, or even a civilization, it was possible for the local mythology in service to that unit to represent all those beyond its bounds as inferior, and its own local inflection of the universal human heritage of mythological imagery either as the one, the true and sanctified, or at least as the noblest and supreme. And it was in those times beneficial to the order of the group that its young should be trained to respond positively to their own system of tribal signals and negatively to all others, to reserve their love for at home and to project their hatreds outward. Today, however, we are the passengers, all, of this single space-ship Earth (as Buckminster Fuller once termed it), hurtling at a prodigious rate through the vast night of space, going nowhere. And are we to allow a hijacker aboard?

Nietzsche, nearly a century ago, already named our period the Age of Comparisons. There were formerly horizons within which people lived and thought and mythologized. There are now no more horizons. And with the dissolution of horizons we have experienced and are experiencing collisions, terrific collisions, not only of peoples but also of their mythologies. It is as when dividing panels are withdrawn from between chambers of very hot and very cold airs: there is a rush of these forces together. And so we are right now in an extremely perilous age of thunder, lightning, and hurricanes all around […]

And now, among the powers that are here being catapulted together, to collide and to explode, not the least important (it can be safely said) are the ancient mythological traditions, chiefly of India and the Far East, that are now entering in force into the fields of our European heritage, and vice versa, ideals of rational, progressive humanism and democracy that are now flooding into Asia. Add the general bearing of the knowledges of modern science on the archaic beliefs incorporated in all traditional systems, and I think we shall agree that there is a considerable sifting task to be resolved here, if anything of the wisdom-lore that has sustained our species to the present is to be retained and intelligently handed on to whatever times are to come. (Campbell, 1973, pp. 262-3)

The “sifting task” depends on a mature and discriminative sensibility, capable of making distinctions, something which enables it to sift the wheat from the chaff. Such a task cannot be accomplished by a naive and indiscriminate moral consciousness, characteristic of the matriarchal sentiment. Sadly, in the present day, this way of thinking commands the discourse. Relativism, cultural and ethical, once threatened ancient Greek society with disintegration and moral dissolution. In those days, Platonic thought managed to put a curb on the destructive development. Today, a comparable relativistic ideology has gained a strong momentum thanks to an underlying dependency on the Mother, expressing itself in banal materialistic convictions. In the individual, this takes the expression of moral infantilism, which is now having a corruptive influence on democratic societies. Needless to say, our democracies must rely upon mature and autonomous individuals, innovative citizens capable of thinking for themselves. The forging of personality, within the social context, is of central concern for society.


Jonathan Chaplin (1993) discusses the limits of cultural and religious pluralism and concludes that consistent application of liberal policy undermines pluralism. To such an extent it is religiously and culturally intolerant. The problem with liberalism becomes apparent when the “dominant community fails to recognize itself as a community with a distinctive culture” (p. 32). Thus, cultural communities can maintain their uniqueness, but only within the limits prescribed by liberalism. However, with liberalization they would tend to lose their distinctiveness. Liberalism is itself a distinctive cultural community. As a consequence, liberalism is much less tolerant of pluralism than it purports to be. He concludes that “[if] these claims are valid, then the liberal project of a universally valid conception of justice which is endorsable by all irrespective of their particular conceptions of the good is unattainable” (p. 49).

Rajiv Malhotra (2011) criticizes ‘difference anxiety’ in Western culture and exposes the falseness of difference-negating “sameness”. He exemplifies with Christian proselytizing in India which serves the purpose of “inculturation”. Although proselytizers give the appearance that they embrace sameness, they really believe that the dharma traditions are illegitimate. They ‘tolerate’ differences outwardly, yet pave the way for the elimination of difference through conversion. As a consequence, the universal potential of Indian thought is devalued and ignored. It is a process where the genuinely Indian way of religious devotion and cultural thought is slowly smothered under the blanket of Western culture. Universalists don’t realize that they privilege the Western gaze when they say that everything is the same. Thomas M. Scanlon (2003) discusses the “difficulty of tolerance”:

Tolerance requires us to accept people and permit their practices even when we strongly disapprove of them. Tolerance thus involves an attitude that is intermediate between wholehearted acceptance and unrestrained opposition. This intermediate status makes tolerance a puzzling attitude. (p. 187)

Although we have reason to value it, tolerance also involves costs and dangers. He exemplifies with religious toleration which in the end could lead to a society in which religion plays a central role in all public discourse. The dangers of toleration lies especially “in the informal politics through which the nature of a society is constantly redefined” (p. 201). He concludes that an attitude of tolerance is difficult to sustain.

Bhikhu Parekh (1996) argues that “the tendency towards moral monism has deep roots in Western thought and that it is both incoherent and has unfortunate consequences” (p. 130). It rests on the following five assumptions: (I) The uniformity of human nature; (II) The moral and ontological primacy of similarities over differences; (III) The socially transcendental character of human nature (i.e. that they remain largely the same over time, regardless of cultural factors); (IV) Knowability of human nature; (V) Human nature as the basis of the good life or, what comes to the same thing, the unity of good and truth (i.e. that the good is objective, regardless of individual variance).

He finds that the five basic assumptions are flawed in varying degrees. Human similarities and differences undergo change over time, as human nature evolves in varying historical and geographical environments. Similarities and differences “are both equally important in constituting our humanity, and neither can be treated as ontologically secondary or derivative” (p. 133).

It seems that the prevailing liberal worldview of pluralism, universalism, multiculturalism and “universal goodness” rests on shaky grounds. It does not nurture pluralism, but the effect will someday be the opposite. Yet, theorists seem averse to delving into the dark side of the problem, namely the way in which we stand up for and cherish our group simply because “it is my group”. Anybody who has partaken in team competitions in any form, such as football or chess, knows about the strong impetus of communal fervour, and that it is taken to lunatic extremes in some individuals. The elephant in the room is the instinctual foundation of belongingness.

In evolution it has served its purpose. How would it go for a football team that adopted the tenets of universal tolerance and cultural relativism, whose players said that “we don’t deserve to come out on top anymore than the others”? What is behind the historical expansion of Islam? The answer to this question is simple: “I am a Muslim, and we’re going to win!” It has nothing to do at all with superiority of culture. It builds on sheer instinct and social psychology. The question that we must ask ourselves is what will happen to our own civilization if we put a lid on our feelings of belongingness, equal to “Western culture is superior because it is my culture”. We have no other choice than to accept dark nature if we are going to survive into the future.

Symbolic poverty

As von Franz has pointed out, a weakness in the symbol-forming process, within the realm of the feminine spirit and dark nature, especially, has backfired and given rise to materialism and fixation on welfare. The motherly sentiment endorses notions of safety and material comfort. An inability to relate consciously, via the symbolic function, with the spirit of the feminine, forces the same to enter through the backdoor; by the route of the unconscious collective complex. This is the reason why it assumes such a vulgar and naive expression, and why the conscious side comes out as banal and empty, lacking both in analytical depth and heartfelt sincerity. The overcompensations in the form of banal content seem to emulate a materialistic religion, whose central tenet of faith is this: “safety, healthcare, democracy and material comfort, are blessings that by birthright belong to all of earth’s inhabitants.”

It is a goodness out of bounds. It is neither anchored in instinct nor in true warmheartedness but constructed out of an empty overblown creed of consciousness; an ethics by decree, as it were. Secular society is, unconsciously and furtively, turning into a matriarchal religious society. It is unsimilar to its historical predecessors, a vulgar and banal version, imbued as it is with archaic motherly sentiment. Orrin E. Klapp (1969) diagnoses the condition as ‘symbolic poverty’ and asks:

What is symbolic poverty? Not lack of factual information, but of kinds of symbols which make a person’s life meaningful and interesting… [At] the nondiscursive level modern society suffers a more serious poverty of symbols, including a lack of: reassurance from the gestures of others (that one is loved, understood, needed, somebody special) — what Eric Berne calls “strokes”; ritual which gives a person a sense of himself and fills his life with valid sentiments; place symbols, the familiar world where one belongs, home; the voice of the past, a sense of contact with prior generations; psychological payoffs in recognition for work; and, above all, centering […]

Few, even among leaders of business, have personal reputations that amount to much; and, for almost all, loss of job by retirement or unemployment turns a person easily into “nobody.” Above it all is the lack of mystique, of faith in something “more,” so characteristic of secular society […]

From the standpoint of social policy, the nub of the matter is that we do not know how to design a context of human relations in the abundance of a mobile, modernistic, traditionless society which will provide the individual with nondiscursive symbols to give him an interesting life and satisfying identity.

This is the problem of banality. A person whose interactions lack psychological payoffs will find life unutterably boring. The success symbols, though he has them, will seem empty. Practical measures, such as economic progress, political reform, even welfare legislation, will seem irrelevant to him, because they do not deal with the real problem — of banality. He will, therefore, have a tendency to become a dropout or a deviant, turning to escapes or kicks for compensation […]

His argument might be as follows: If the social order denies me a feeling of integrity as a person, something is wrong with it; therefore, I have a right to go outside its codes to the extent necessary to find myself. Such a point of view divides people — not between haves and have-nots, or political parties — but between those who feel dissatisfied with their identity and cheated by the social order — therefore searching, escaping unconventional, rebel, extremist — and those who are satisfied with their identities because the psychological payoffs are satisfactory to them […]

Surely one cannot resuscitate such symbols merely by shooting people full of information “about” such things. Factual, historical, technical, discursive information is next to irrelevant for the meaning of nondiscursive symbols. This is perhaps the predicament of our society: trying to replace dying nondiscursive symbols (some of which we call tradition, some of which we call human relations) by material comforts, technological efficiency and design, and impersonal information. (Klapp, 1969, pp. 317-23)

An inflated political consciousness

Symbolic poverty goes hand in hand with an inflated consciousness. It depends on the way in which citizens cling to stale and bloodless conscious values. The conscious side is being overvalued, something which creates an inflation of the human ego. A most conspicuous example is the well-known political ambition according to which all forms of human suffering must be removed from the face of the earth. Such an exaggerated idealistic consciousness cannot bear with the dark side of existence, which is brushed aside and neglected. This occurs ceremonially but not effectually. A most popular conscious agenda is the conceited notion that evil, in all its forms, can and will be conquered by the human endeavour. Hidden behind this notion is an unconscious rationale. An inflated and idealistic conscious standpoint is really predicated on overcompensation, a defensive attempt at holding the dark forces of unconscious nature at bay.

We may observe a similar phenomenon at times of looming crisis. At the very point when things are about to take a catastrophic turn for the worse, companies furnish their luxurious office buildings with fountains and hanging gardens, and executives are lavished with great bonuses. In this fashion, due to a compensatory tendency, the conscious attitude is being inflated. By an almost religious logic, the entirety of the global community must needs be involved. All of the earth’s inhabitants have the “right” to all the boons of the welfare state and must henceforth be thoroughly relieved of hardship.

It is interesting to compare the current ideal with the Islamic state, and the Third Reich, where the doctrine of world dominion is equally central. Here, the ultimate goal is to achieve a comfortably controlled existence in the life of the subject, who is not expected to think for himself. A society of this kind is not unlike a protected Kindergarten where each and everybody is expected to lead a wholly automated life. Under such circumstances a person will never grow up to become a psychologically independent individual. The tenets of consciousness are to rule uncontested, especially if they are formulated in a book such as the Quran. True and heartfelt expressions of unconscious nature and true spirituality are being suppressed by a conscious rule which has become inflated, stale, and bloodless.


The Chinese Taoist philosopher Chuang-tzu (4th century BC) was bitterly antagonistic to the strong society, in any form. His thinking contrasts strongly with the average Westerner’s frame of mind. He sometimes tends to the extreme; but this makes his cogent points all the clearer. His thoughts are almost antithetical to today’s celebrated notion of society as a good mother. Chuang-tzu’s philosophy is a potent remedy for the upsurge of matriarchal sentiment and concomitant inflationary ideas and mores. From the chapter ‘Broken Suitcases’:

To guard yourself against thieves who slash open suitcases, rifle through bags and smash open boxes, one should strap the bags and lock them. The world at large knows that this shows wisdom. However, when a master thief comes, he simply picks up the suitcase, lifts the bag, carries off the box and runs away with them, his only concern being whether the straps and locks will hold! In such an instance, what seemed like wisdom on the part of the owner surely turns out to have been of use only to the master thief!

I will try to explain what I am saying. What the world at large calls a wise man, is he not really just someone who stores things up for the master thief? Likewise, isn’t the one they call a sage just a guardian of the master thief’s interests?

How do I know all this? Long ago in the state of Chi, all the little towns could see each other and the cockerels and dogs called to each other. Nets were cast and the land ploughed over an area of two thousand square miles. Within its four borders, ancestral temples were built and maintained and shrines to the land and the crops were built. Its villages and towns were well governed and everything was under the guidance of the sage. However, one morning Lord Tien Cheng killed the ruler and took his country. But was it just his country he took? He also took the wisdom of the laws of the state, created by the sages. So Lord Tien Cheng earned the title of thief and robber, but he was able to live out his days as secure as Yao or Shun had done. The smaller states dared not criticize him and the larger states did not dare attack. So for twelve generations his family ruled the state of Chi. Is this not an example of someone stealing the state of Chi and also taking the laws arising from the wisdom of the sages and using them to protect himself, although he was both robber and thief?

I will try to explain this. What the world at large calls someone of perfect knowledge, is this not in fact the person who stores up things for a great thief? Those commonly called sages, are they not responsible for securing things for the great thief? […]

So it is that the sage brings little to the world but inflicts much harm […] When the sage is born, the great thief arises. Beat the sages and let the thieves and robbers go, then the world will be all right. When the rivers dry up, the valley is empty. When the hill is levelled, the pool is filled.

If the sage does not die, then great thieves will continue to arise. The more sages are brought forth to rule the world, the more this helps people like Robber Chih. Create weights and measures to judge by and people will steal by weight and measure; create balances and weights and people will steal by balances and weights; create contracts and legal agreements to inspire trust and people will steal by contracts and legal agreements; create benevolence and righteousness to ensure honesty and even in this instance benevolence and righteousness teach them to steal.

How do I know all this? This one steals a buckle and he is executed, that one steals a country and he becomes its ruler. Yet it is at the gates of rulers that benevolence and righteousness are professed. Surely this is a case of the wisdom of the sages, benevolence and righteousness being stolen? So people rush to become great robbers, to seize estates, stealing benevolence and righteousness, and taking all the profits of the weights and measures, balances and weights, contracts and legal arguments. Try to prevent them with promises of the trappings of power, they don’t care. Threaten them with execution, and this doesn’t stop them. For by profiting those like Robber Chih, whom none can stop, the sage has made a great mistake.

It is said, ‘Just as you do not take the fish away from the deep waters, so the means of controlling a country should not be shown.’ The sage is the means of control, so the world should not see him clearly […]
Ignore the behaviour of Tseng and Shih, shut the mouth of Yang and Mo, purge benevolence and righteousness, and the true Virtue of all under Heaven will display its mystic power. When people have true clear vision, no one in the world will be duped; […]
Those such as Tseng, Shih, Yang, Mo, the musician Kuang, craftsman Chui or Li Chu showed off their virtue on the outside. They made the world aflame with admiration and so confused the world: a way of proceeding which was pointless […] This is the fault of those in authority who search for good knowledge. If those in authority search for knowledge, but without the Tao, everything under Heaven will be in terrible confusion. (Chuang-tzu, 1996, pp. 76-80)

A decaying society

A “strong society”, whether it’s a welfare society or a dictatorship, must have resort to doctrinal concepts, detailed legislation, social engineering, etc. Yet the ambitious efforts only contribute to society’s demise. Sweden’s strong welfare system is today undergoing decay. A perfectly bizarre example is the way in which citizens, especially immigrants from Africa’s horn, are making use of their right to social allowance and child benefit in order to give birth to many children, sometimes more than ten. Immigrants from this part of the world have their roots in a matriarchal culture, meaning that motherhood, in itself, and to beget many children, is viewed as model conduct. To have many children, combined with little or no work, is regarded as a marker of status. Thus, many a citizen is today building a life exclusively on the shoulders of others, relying wholly on the welfare system.

Of course, the drone mentality stands in sharp contrast to the mores of the society in which the welfare system originated, since it has its roots in the patriarchal conception. It was always taken for granted that citizens shall have acquired an earned income before deciding to marry and settle down. The system wasn’t meant to be used in this way. So the excellently thought-out system, produced by the “sages” of social welfare, is now working against the very foundation of society. This example is, after a fashion, a counterpart of the Robber Chih story, and illustrates finely Chuang-tzu’s point.

Remarkable, also, is the way in which the old notion of “fair and just” has acquired a much different meaning (cf. Farrell, 2012). Today, it is viewed as a “right” to get one’s provision along with food on the table. It has come to be viewed as only “fair and just” that everyone should be able to beget many children. After all, rich people have recourse to all the goods of life, so why shouldn’t everybody on this earth? Originally, it was only regarded as “fair and just” that they who should be rewarded are the ones who make good use of their moral and intellectual resources, as well as the workers who have made their daily toil, whereas the drone is justly being reduced to simple circumstances.

Somewhat oversimply, the latter standpoint portrays the original and patriarchal view of justice and fairness, originating with the juridical State. It is remarkable how, in many a Western society, justice and fairness have come to mean something very different. European countries are today bound by law, national and supranational, to accept more and more immigrants. They are also expected to support Third World nations in a way which only passivates and corrupts these states, and enables the inhabitants to have even more children. Moreover, within the EU, parties are working toward a new legislation that makes the European states legally bound to provide a certain level of welfare for the individual. The individual shall have the legal right to always have all his fundamental needs satisfied. This is matriarchy with a vengeance. Another appropriate term is socialism, although this term doesn’t bespeak the underlying unconscious motif, as being described in this article.

Creative mythology

The fundamental question remains, the one which Klapp has asked above, namely what it means to awaken to symbolic awareness. How can we tackle banal materialism and its inherent destructiveness, which lurks behind its splendid facade? In Joseph Campbell’s terms, our society is lacking in the expression of “creative mythology.” The ability to relate symbolically to existence — in an alternative reading; to acquire a spiritual relation to things — would have a wholesome effect on the individual, and therefore also on society. The “Dream Time”, in Australian aboriginal tradition, is a parallel spiritual realm, transcending and overlapping material reality. An individual always stands in relation to it. In fact, mankind has always lived in a semi-spiritual world. Later in history, the book religions came to condemn the creative and flexible relation with the symbolical realm, because the symbol had once and for all been fixed in the creed. Today’s culture is become permeated with bookishness — in this respect the book religions have succeeded.

Historically, only the mystic has been able to lead the symbolic life, provided that he kept silent about it. Discursive information has a much higher status than non-discursive symbolic imagery, an imbalance that needs to be rectified. Rejecting literalism and rationalism is today becoming more and more urgent, because collective neurosis is on the horizon. Campbell (1968) discusses this problem:

[When] the symbolic forms in which wisdom-lore has been everywhere embodied are interpreted not as referring primarily to any supposed or even actual historical personages or events, but psychologically, properly “spiritually,” as referring to the inward potentials of our species, there then appears through all something that can be properly termed a philosophia perennis of the human race, which, however, is lost to view when the texts are interpreted literally, as history, in the usual ways of harshly orthodox thought.

Dante in his philosophical work the Convito distinguishes between the literal, the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical (or mystical) senses of any scriptural passage. Let us take, for example, such a statement as the following: Christ Jesus rose from the dead. The literal meaning is obvious: “A historical personage, Jesus by name who has been identified as Christ (the Messiah), rose alive from the dead.” Allegorically, the normal Christian reading would be: “So likewise, we too are to rise from death to eternal life.” And the moral lesson thereby: “Let our minds be turned from the contemplation of mortal things to abide in what is eternal.” Since the anagogical or mystical reading, however, must refer to what is neither past nor future but transcendent of time and eternal, neither in this place nor in that, but everywhere, in all, now and forever, the fourth level of meaning would seem to be that in death — or in this world of death — is eternal life. The moral from that transcendental standpoint would then seem to have to be that the mind in beholding mortal things is to recognize the eternal; and the allegory: that in this very body which Saint Paul termed “the body of this death” (Romans 6:24) is our eternal life — not “to come,” in any heavenly place, but here and now, on this earth, in the aspect of time […]

“The true symbol,” [Thomas Merton] states again, “does not merely point to something else. It contains in itself a structure which awakens our consciousness to a new awareness of the inner meaning of life and of reality itself. A true symbol takes us to the center of the circle, not to another point on the circumference. It is by symbolism that man enters affectively and consciously into contact with his own deepest self, with other men, and with God.” […]

The poet and the mystic regard the imagery of a revelation as a fiction through which an insight into the depths of being — one’s own being and being generally — is conveyed anagogically. Sectarian theologians, on the other hand, hold hard to the literal readings of their narratives, and these hold traditions apart. The lives of three incarnations, Jesus, Krishna, and Shakyamuni, will not be the same, yet as symbols pointing not to themselves, or to each other, but to the life beholding them, they are equivalent. To quote the monk Thomas Merton again: “One cannot apprehend a symbol unless one is able to awaken, in one’s own being, the spiritual resonances which respond to the symbol not only as sign but as ‘sacrament’ and ‘presence.’ The symbol is an object pointing to a subject. We are summoned to a deeper spiritual awareness, far beyond the level of subject and object.”

Mythologies, in other words, mythologies and religions, are great poems and, when recognized as such, point infallibly through things and events to the ubiquity of a “presence” or “eternity” that is whole and entire in each. In this function all mythologies, all great poetries, and all mystic traditions are in accord; and where any such inspiriting vision remains effective in a civilization, everything and every creature within its range is alive. The first condition, therefore, that any mythology must fulfill if it is to render life to modern lives is that of cleansing the doors of perception to the wonder, at once terrible and fascinating, of ourselves, and of the universe of which we are the ears and eyes and the mind. Whereas theologians, reading their revelations counterclockwise, so to say, point to references in the past (in Merton’s words: “to another point on the circumference”) and Utopians offer revelations only promissory of some desired future, mythologies, having sprung from the psyche, point back to the psyche (“the center”): and anyone seriously turning within will, in fact, rediscover their references in himself. (Campbell, 1968, pp. 264-66)


Symbolical consciousness is lacking in a personification of the dark feminine. Symbolic poverty has allowed the spirit of the feminine to unite with matter by means of projection. The projective content is what underlies the materialistic and bodily fixated welfare state, and the inflation of banal conscious values. Moral infantilism is conditioned by a psychological mother dependency. The natural darkness of existence is not heeded as a genuine and quintessential side of reality. Hence today’s naive and idealistic creed finds suffering and the diverse forms of evil intolerable. Moral weakness implies an incapacity to carry the woe in one’s own heart, and it follows that its existence must be suppressed or engineered away.

Goodness is not coupled with instinct anymore. From the original Christian “morality of the heart”, Western culture has gone over to an ethics by decree. This tells us Europeans, for instance, that we must take responsibility for all the residents on earth and allow them shelter and free provision in our countries. But it does not derive from heartfelt feeling; it is a mere ethics of the intellect, wholly lacking in instinct. The intellectually moralistic aspiration that all suffering can be eradicated, is a form of inflation, which will have dire repercussions on society in the future.

In fact, the historical Jesus of Nazareth renounces riches and an opulent lifestyle. Instead he advances a frugal lifestyle. It’s a mystery how this message has turned into its opposite. We now regard as ideal Christian conduct to help people out of poverty. As is obvious from scripture, Jesus saw material privation as a prerequisite of spiritual advancement. Arguably, we are instead destroying people’s chances of meaningful lives. We don’t need to assume the role of benign worldly benefactors, spreading the gospel of materialism and worldly goods. On the face of it, it is downright anti-Christian.

A reappraisal of the natural morality of Chuang-tzu is called for, and a return to the original teachings of Jesus. The latter taught us not to resist evil. He warned against the all too human tendency, the inflation actually, to pursue shadow problems which are not one’s own. The conceited notion that evil can be conquered by means of rational designs is refuted by the historical record, the teachings of Chuang-tzu and Augustine (City of God ). Purportedly, the many forms of evil and destructive forces may be conquered by rational engineerings, and also interventions in other countries. Perhaps it would have been better to leave Saddam Hussein be, instead “putting a little drop of consciousness in and then retiring”. Eventually, the snake will eat itself up.

The discursive intellect, fixated as it is on information, has overruled the symbolic and ritual way of relating to reality, also in the realm of ethics. To remedy this, we must begin to take non-discursive imagery seriously. What is required is an heightened awareness of the unconscious, allowing us to overcome the naive mentality coloured by literalism, base concretism, and overly strong attachment to the material and the bodily, indicative of an unconscious dependency on the mother complex.

Our inability in the symbolic realm has divested us of the rituals, well-known to primitive man, by which the child is taken up into the fellowship of men, thus acquiring manhood and full human value. Comparatively, in the present time, enormous resources are invested in the prematurely born child. Since it has all the bodily organs, a rationally determined ethics accords the foetus with human value. Every technological means of prolonging its life is employed, while the consequences of physical and mental debility are disregarded. Historically, thanks to knowledge and awareness of symbol and ritual, humanity could always deal with moral problems of this kind. Today, machinelike rationality goes to any length trying to evade the problem of death and the gruesome side of existence on this earth.


© Mats Winther, 2009.


1. Sin transference. The notion of sin transference did not begin with the moral conceptions of the world religions. It derives from the archaic functioning of the psyche. Sin, in its original meaning, is a survival of the animistic era. It is almost like a substance, and is therefore a neutral concept. It is what destroys wholeness and health, and what causes devitalization. The transfer of sin to a victim, as in the human sacrifice of the innocent, has a therapeutic function in that the participators are relieved of their own failings, which are transferred to the victim.

2. ‘Baba Yaga’. Wikipedia article. (here)

3. ‘Archetype’. Wikipedia article. (here)

4. ‘Synchronicity’. Wikipedia article. (here)


A new morality

It is high time that Western man changes his perception of moral matters. As a consequence people will change their ways. We have accorded human life, as such, with a sanctified status as the supreme good. It wasn’t like this in earlier times. The Bakhtiari nomads are portrayed in Bronowski’s documentary series from the seventies (The Ascent of Man ). It was time for an old man to die. He had lost his zest; so he chose not to follow the others who waded over the river during the yearly wandering. He just sat down on the hillside and awaited death. This event, which was regarded as wholly natural by the tribespeople, was played out before the camera. I am not saying that this is worthy of imitation, but it’s clear that mankind has viewed these matters differently in earlier times. Perhaps we could learn something from history.

Charitable deeds toward the needy has become an obsession; but this has as consequence that nature is overtaxed. It is a double standard of morality. We ought to leave something behind for future generations, too, and not only think of the generations alive today. It is not self-evident to always give our support to all forms of human life. In earlier times it was not obligatory to subsidize the expansion of the human population in the Third World. There is a marked tendency to subsidize passive human existence, because it panders to the basest emotions. We would better give our support to a self-supporting human culture that can fend for itself without plundering nature. Yet the politicians don’t seem to care. The greater the population, the better it is. My country is invaded with immigrants from Third World countries, who are for the most part simple people. To subsidize these settlers is, by most of my countrymen, reckoned as the highest good. The majority will lead completely meaningless lives in a culture which is only capable of fending for their material needs, and nothing else. It has only destructive consequences.

In fact, what really counts is the growth of the human soul, and not the subsistence of passive and vegetating human flesh. The materialist obsession with multiplication of humanity must come to an end. It builds on a Marxist doctrine: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Arguably, the Communist persecutions in the USA during the fifties built on a misconception. Joseph McCarthy thought that the threat was represented by Communist individuals. In fact, it was the Communist way of thought, the obsession with a materialist understanding of society, which was infiltrating the human soul. The spirit isn’t the center of attention anymore. It is the growth and well-being of human flesh that counts. Accordingly, we must be nourished and passively fed, according to the dictum: “to each according to his needs”.

Charity is precious provided that it comes from the heart. But if charity derives from a doctrine that has been programmed into the brain, it will lead to evil consequences. The first priority ought to be individual life with a spiritual connection. A better balance between spirit and matter obviates setbacks in the form of Fascism, Communism and Nazism, and global wars, in which individual life suddenly counts for nothing. Accordingly, the only thing that matters is the State and the Dogmas. Today, this standpoint is represented by radical Islamists who want to accomplish the Caliphate, the Muslim state, in which religious law rules supreme.

As Communists and Socialists subscribe to a dogmatic form of charity (to each according to his needs), they will eventually turn to the other extreme and come to worship the Communist state as the highest good, whereas the individual counts for nothing. Behind the materialist obsession with the sustainment of human flesh hides a collectivistic spirit that accords individual life with no value at all, and which aims to eradicate individuality (cf. Winther, 2012, here). It is an historical pendulum movement. The obsession with keeping each individual alive and wholly sustained changes into the opposite standpoint of collectivism where the individual counts for nothing and can easily be sacrificed, during war efforts or as a slave to the state. These are the opposite sides of the same coin, materialism and its flip side, Thanatos — the spirit of death.

A conscious obsession with maximizing the presence of robotic human life in society, is also an unconscious obsession with the spirit of death, that is, an unconscious worship of the slave state — the regulated and perfectly controlled society where individuality will perish. Thus, the spirit of collectivism is the enemy of the spirit of the individual. Americans always talk about “individual freedom”. They should know that the spirit of Communism and Thanatos does not manifest in individuals, nor in President Obama, as has been alleged. It works differently. It slowly takes over the soul of people. It comes to expression in the obsession with keeping human beings alive at all cost; to provide for the material needs of the global population, to strive for opulence, and to make one’s own life as materially comfortable as possible. There is a monster hiding in materialism, which threatens individual freedom. A simpler lifestyle, more in tune with nature, can ward off this threat.


Earlier in history the baby acquired status as a human being only at the moment of birth. As a fetus it hadn’t yet taken its first breath, which was regarded as the moment when it became inspired with the life spirit. In fact, during epochs in history, the child had to undergo a ritual, similar to baptism, before it acquired full status as a human being. Before this, the parents could let the child die. This was, of course, due to factors of poverty. (In Rome, until the rise of Christianity, infanticide was lawful, up to a certain age.) Historically, mankind always had recourse to a symbolic and religious worldview. The “rule” was that human life begins when the child is born. This is the moment when it takes its first breath and starts life as a separate organism. We still celebrate this as our birthday, when our life began. We don’t view it as beginning a few months before. Astrologers have always regarded this as the moment when life begins. Although we have lost this naive view, I don’t think it’s possible to cope with life without a symbolic outlook. We must still have recourse to symbolic rules to live by. The moral burden gets too big, otherwise. We cannot expect scientific definitions to resolve all moral problems.

We should be less sentimental about abortion. Up to a few months, abortion should be legal. Those who view it as an inhumane act of cruelty must bear in mind that we cannot expect to remove all the dark aspects from existence. Most importantly, human life isn’t holy. There is a tendency of putting the human being on a pedestal, as if he were divine. Facts are that homo sapiens is the most destructive creature that ever walked this earth. There is no grounds for worshipping human life. There is a conflict between qualitatively valuable life (intellectual, spiritual, artistic) versus vegetative existence, i.e., the life of the child; motherhood, and the rearing of children, etc. In backwards cultures of the Third World there is really no alternative to a vegetative life; so they tend to give birth to many children. On the other hand, among the Western population there are citizens with a more extensive horizon than mere unconscious continuance. It makes possible a qualitatively valuable existence, capable of enhancing the conscious dimensions. “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being”, says C. G. Jung (1989, ch. 11). The meaning of human life isn’t simply to propagate the species. By example, should a woman wants to pursue a career as a musician, it might be necessary to do an abortion. Thus, something spiritually valuable is allowed to take root. Life isn’t only about quantity — quality is equally important. This is a conflict that we have to live with. We must learn to tolerate the painful and conflicting sides of life, and not simply remove that which is morally difficult, as in the Islamic countries. In a way, one meaningful human life is worth hundreds of unconscious and vegetative lives. Nietzsche’s inhumane delusion illustrates the consequences of neglecting dark nature. Nietzsche went off the deep end, but he wasn’t entirely wrong.

A meaningful human life is a life capable of reaching its potential. Think of the many women in history who have had to sacrifice their individual talent for the sake of motherhood and kitchen duties. An immense number of philosophers, musicians, artists, poets, scientists, and spiritual personalities, were never given a chance in life. It is very painful not to be able to develop one’s personality, instead to be confined within a suffocating space. Many, not only women, have been driven insane by the stifling morality of society. It has created immense tragedy in human history. When I speak of “meaningful life” I don’t mean to say that the unconscious form of human life is worthless. I hold that those who have an impetus in themselves, to manifest their inner nature, will experience life as meaningless if they are confined within too narrow constraints. Such individuals have an urge to lead a meaningful life, whereas the majority will just take a seat on the train, visit all the stations, and then pass on. Although their lives are probably meaningful in some religious sense, it is wholly meaningless in the personal sense of the creative individual.

It is not an easy decision to terminate the life of fetuses, nor is it self-evident to always let them live. We ought to accept that life is wrought with difficult moral problems and mustn’t swallow the fundamentalist argument that abortion is equal to murder. After all, we are unceasingly taking the lives of living beings. A pig, for instance, is a decidedly more intelligent creature than a fetus, and it has a full spectrum of feelings. We mustn’t elevate human beings to divine creatures that under all circumstances must be kept alive, while other living creatures may be butchered as if they had no value at all. Today, phlegmatic and lethargic human life is overvalued whereas spiritual and individual life is underestimated. We ought to acknowledge the moral conflict involved between these two forms of existence. Sometimes one must leave room to the growth of the individual at the price of vegetative and unconscious life. The notion that all human life is always divine and must be protected at all costs is what underlies the expansive population in the Third World and their migration to the Western world. In Sweden, the majority of them lead passive lives. A majority of Westerners seem to think that this is perfectly fine. The more human beings there exist on earth the better it is, whether or not they are merely vegetating. But this policy will have catastrophic consequences. Population growth devastates the earth.

The lack of appraisal of the principle of individuation is dismaying. The advanced conscious life of the individual is truly valuable being. It is the only thing which is divine, whereas impassive and vegetative human life is not only meaningless; it is destructive to life on earth since it uses up so much resources and gives rise to criminality. The individual is like a tree that has a strong urge to blossom out. If this force is stymied, it creates great anxiety and agony in the individual. Life must be lived, and there are always costs involved, such as the sacrifice of a fetus, or the sacrifice of a loving relationship. Life always involves sacrifice. That’s probably why all higher civilizations in the Bronze Age made an abominable ritual of this truth and instituted the human sacrifice. We don’t need to spare every embryo, nor do we need to keep every Third World child alive. It’s time to stop worshipping human life, as such. In the modern age the human being is elevated to divine proportions. This is a severe misunderstanding of the Christian message. To follow the path of Christ means to achieve emancipation from unconscious and inert life and to realize one’s inner potential.

Lao-tzu says: “Life is spirit” (Tao Te Ching, 6). The life of the spirit mustn’t be confined within a box where it is suffocating. This is what happens when the vulgar notion of life in the flesh is elevated as the highest principle. The materialistic worship of human proliferation must cease. It is time to understand that life is spirit. The maximization of human lives on this planet has no value at all; it only destroys the planet. It asphyxiates the life in the spirit, which is the only true life.

An atheistic morality?

Must morality be rooted in the Bible, or more generally, in a worldview of faith, or does morality depend on “common sense”, as is the claim of “Humanist associations” and atheists belonging to different schools of thought? It boils down to the conflict between the spiritual worldview and the ideology of materialism, embraced by atheists. A scientific worldview cannot take into account moral, spiritual or psychological factors, as reality is portrayed without relation to the human soul. It implies that the scientific paradigm is not quite adequate as a worldview on its own. For instance, medieval paintings have a value perspective in which important persons look larger than others. This is a moral perspective that is equally relevant as the optical perspective, and it is not a sign that medieval man was ignorant. Science and faith ought to be viewed as parallel worldviews that aren’t quite self-sustaining, in themselves, and therefore must be brought to completion by their counterpart.

The medieval painter wasn’t realistic in the optical sense; but neither is today’s scientistic materialist realistic in the moral sense. That’s why there is today no morality of the heart. People instead follow ideological tenets that have been programmed into their head. This gives rise to an awkward and hypocritical ethics lacking support in heartfelt instinct. The consequences are very destructive. For instance, empathy is today viewed as the function by which you donate money to the poor people of the world, to subsidize the growth of inert and meaningless human life. This is a robotic definition of empathy. In truth, empathy is the feeling you have for creatures in your vicinity, including your cat and your pot plants.

The distribution of material resources to people who don’t deserve it is by the atheists viewed as the epitome of goodness, which shows that materialism and atheism cannot function as a groundwork of morality. The moral perspective becomes skewed, perverted, and robotic. The materialistic form of goodness has in the end only evil consequences, because it is neither founded in the heart nor in our natural instincts. It is merely a product of the intellect. The foremost example is Marxism, created during an epoch in the 19th century when the misery caused by poverty and inhumane working conditions was immense. The appalling situation was documented by Friedrich Engels and Charles Dickens.

Yet Marxist goodness was merely a product of simplistic cerebration. The ideal of goodness was “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. Atheists, Socialists and Communists adopted this tenet, aiming to do good, but the result was the opposite. It gave rise to the greatest evil and suffering in world history. Many still believe in this tenet in some form. According to the American Declaration of Freedom, every person should have equal opportunities to build a good life of their own, but they do not have the right to have all their needs satisfied, which is a Marxist doctrine. As soon as we program ideological tenets into our heads, and stop listening to our heart, we are certain to draw the wrong conclusions. Suddenly we start thinking that millions of Third World inhabitants have the right to migrate to our country, and with time take over our country, causing the demise of our civilization. But should we listen to our heart, we realize that it’s not right to give away our country and undermine the civilization inherited from our ancestors. The conclusion is that atheistic morals cannot work, because they are based on mere materialistic premises, just as Marxism.

Today’s ideological fixation on the well-being and proliferation of humanity is downright anti-Christian. Earlier in history, the individual was more concerned with the welfare of the soul, and whether or not he would be allowed entry into heaven. Today, the materialistic and paradisal welfare state is regarded the new heaven. It is an illusion. The soul of modern man is being invaded with the mechanistic and materialistic spirit, which also comes to expression as Marxist ways of thought, i.e., that humanity all over the world must be fended for and allowed to grow out of bounds. Even Catholics have been indoctrinated with the materialistic and mechanistic form of morality. In the 19th century, Christians did not regard humanity as the supreme good. Nor did they think that the physical welfare of human beings all over the world is of such paramount importance. Something has happened. An obsession with matter and human life has taken over. It is a regressive matriarchal movement in which the state plays a central role as the carrier of a mother projection.


‘Baba Yaga’. Wikipedia article. (here)

Campbell, J. (1968). Creative Mythology. Penguin Compass.

   -------      (1973). Myths to Live By. Bantam Books.

Chaplin, J. (1993). ‘How Much Cultural and Religious Pluralism can Liberalism Tolerate?’ in Horton, J. (ed.) (1993). Liberalism, Multiculturalism and Toleration. Palgrave.

Chuang-tzu (1996). The Book of Chuang-tzu. Penguin. (transl. Palmer/Breuilly.)

Farrell, N. (2012). ‘What’s Wrong About Rights’. Taki’s Magazine, Sept. 23, 2012. (here)

Franz, M-L von (1980). Alchemy – An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology. Inner City Books.

   -------          (1993). The Feminine in Fairy Tales. Shambala. (orig. publ. 1972.)

Jung, C. G. (1989). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Vintage.

Klapp, O. E. (1969). Collective Search for Identity. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

Malhotra, R. (2011). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism. HarperCollins/The India Today Group.

Parekh, B. (1996). ‘Moral Philosophy and its Anti-pluralist Bias’ in Archard, D. (ed.) (1996). Philosophy and Pluralism. Cambridge University Press.

Scanlon, T. M. (2003). The Difficulty of Tolerance – Essays in Political Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.

Winther, M. (2012). ‘Thanatos –A contribution to the understanding of the collective shadow’. (here)

See also:

The Divided Brain (Iain McGilchrist).

Winther, M. (2008). ‘An intrusion of matriarchal consciousness’ (here).

   -------     (2010). ‘Critique of Feminism – on women’s collective shadow’ (here).

   -------     (2008). ‘The Blood Sacrifice’ (here).

   -------     (2006). ‘The Psychodynamics of Terrorism’ (here).

Dales, D. (1994). Living Through Dying: The Spiritual Experience of St Paul. Lutterworth Press. (see my review below)

Dales argues that ‘living through dying’ is the mystery at the heart of Christian life. He says that “[the] gospel of the Cross continually has to face up to and live with the pain of human rejection, and the implacable hostility of evil. The glory, the darkness and the light are entwined.” This message is very important in today’s world, since society attempts to remove suffering at all cost. Western society, it seems, has fallen prey to a mother myth which runs counter to the message of Paul, who viewed suffering as the necessary way of transformation into a new spiritual being.