Issue No. 1
the undiscov er ed self 05/2012
01 context The Time of the Animal Freedom from Conditioning
02 fe at ur e The Undiscovered Self Levels of the Psyche & Archetypes
03 inter pr etation Jung & Ă†nima Neon Genesis Evangelion
04 fr a mewor k Stanley Kubrickâ€™s 2001 Carl Sagan: Religion & Science
Issue No. 1
the undiscov ered self
editor in chief
Total Graphics 3865 First Avenue
assistant editor Jesus Ambriz
Burnaby, BC V5C 3V6 Canada
Monolith Leitura Display Leitura News Akkurat
photography Deviantart.com LostandTaken.com See page 91
bibliography See page 91
about the design
wordmark Monolith (Custom) by Briana Garelli
Masthead & Colophon
about the designer
Briana Garelli is a designer and illustrator from Mexico, now residing in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about typography and editorial design. Recently she has been working on creating a hybrid novel, an interest she acquired after researching new ways of communicating stories visually. She is now working as a freelance graphic designer.
The design of Monolith is meant to attract the reader with its use of high-contrast photography, along with a dynamic and colorful use of typography. The custom typeface Monolith was created exclusively for the publication by the designer. Special care was put as well into making the layout structured and comfortable to read. The publication is meant to be read and enjoyed at a comfortable pace, and the content is meant to be reflected upon.
On Connectivity + Speed/Greed, Love & Devotion
Eckhart Tolle, Kathy Juline
Interview by Science of Mind
As One Is: Talks in Oak Grove
Carl Gustav Jung The Undiscovered Self
Table of Contents
Anonymous Carl Jung & Ă†nima
Mariana Ortega Self, Desire, Engendering & the Mother in Neon Genesis Evangelion
FR A MEW ORK 68
Stanley Kubrick, Eric Norden
The Playboy Interview
The Undiscovered Self
Religion & Science: An Alliance
A NNEX 84
Bibliography & Sources
Monolith is a bi-monthly publication for the curious individual, focusing on topics about consciousness, self-awareness, contemporary science and enlightenment. The publication was born after the idea of content seeking and gathering: where do we read about issues that we, as young human beings, care about—but never find anywhere because some of our questions may just be too complicated? The topics discussed in Monolith are meant to raise questions and encourage our minds to think beyond what we see in everyday life; or maybe even to make us pay more attention to the little facts of our daily living. A wide range of issues that ponder on all sorts of questions—spiritualism, scientific skepticism, paranormal activities, metaphors and symbolisms, a deeper look into films and literature we love—are presented in an organized and understandable way for the reader to spend as much time reflecting and dissecting, turning the pages to find new connections and meanings.
Letter from the Editor
Monolith is a new kind of publication for a new kind of reader: one who knows the world we’re living in and desires to know more about the mysteries unsolved, the challenges that we face as human beings and the answers we’re all seeking but may be just one or two steps away from reaching. Monolith encourages curiosity and inspiration into finding not only what we’re looking for, but ourselves as well.
The first issue of our publication is dedicated to psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung in his search for the unconscious. He believed in inherent human potential, independent and unique in every person, and disregarded proven theories of the human psyche in favor of venturing into the unknown. This is the first stepping stone into following your intuition and curiosity, and for that we’ve prepared this issue as an introduction of future themes to come.
V I S UA L IZ AT I O N
In This Issue This issue’s contributors include spiritual leaders, a scientist, a conceptual artist, a filmmaker, a doctor in psychology, and a progressive metal band’s album: everything comes together under the umbrella of Jungian theory.
Griepink’s term, “The Time of the Animal,” is about the expansion-driven mindset of mankind. He sees the World Wide Web as “not only a path leading us into a timeless and accelerating dimension, but also a root system connecting us all.”
Science of Mind magazine has interviewed Tolle about his newest book, A New Earth. His teachings implore us to accept and let go of our identification with our minds and egoic state.
Ænima, discussed in this issue, is the second award-winning album of progressive metal band Tool, led by Maynard James Keenan.
This interpretation feature talks about Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, a postmodernist, controversial Japanese anime that reached cult status in the late 90s.
maynard james keenan
The featured excerpts of Krishnamurti’s talks were given at Oak Grove School in Ojai, California. He founded the school himself to offer a place “where one can learn a way of living that is whole, sane and intelligent.”
Written late in Jung’s life, the essay reflects his responses to the shattering experience of World War II and the dawn of mass society. Among his most influential works, it is a plea for his generation—and those to come—to continue the individual work of self-discovery.
Man has been robbed of transcendence; current time of daemonization
conte x t THE COLLEC TIVE UNC ONSCIOUS To be free from all conditioning
f e at ur e THE PR OCES S OF INDIVIDUATION No essential limits to human knowledge
in t er p r e tat i o n
SELF-AWARENES S Deconstruction of the Pysche
Eric Norden’s conversation with Stanley Kubrick begins with a discussion of 2001: A Space Odyssey and quickly veers into the nature of God and the meaning of life.
Taken from the final book of his astonishing career, Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us.
COLLEC TIVE HARMONY Experience of Oneness
f r a me wo r k C ONTINUIT Y OF OUR SPECIES Respect for Nature & the Universe
an online essay by jasper griepink
On Connectivity + Speed/Greed, Love & Devotion
I am, right now, in a time of opportunities and prosperity. Or, as the German-American philosopher Erich Fromm (19001980), known for his 1941 book about freedom in the modern western hemisphere, says: a time of freedom. The beginning of freeing the human mind was made by Protestantism in the 16th century and was continued by Capitalism later on. Both on a personal and inward level, as well as on a social and political level, mankind was freed from previous sovereigns. Here, economical freedom was the primary basis, and the middleclass its executor. No longer was mankind hold back by a social structure which (based on production) gave little freedom to individual growth beyond the traditional limitations. From now on, he was allowed (and even supposed) to succeed in his personal conquests as far as his hard work, dedication, intelligence or luck could bring him.1 To free ourselves from the dominion of gods and dictators, and to be fully free from the dependence on natural and geographically available resources, we constructed Capitalism.Being as I am, in a country that pays for my education and has numerous social services that support me financially, I feel I have been granted a life with many freedoms. But this newly acclaimed freedom is a two-sided blade. It enfolds itself as a curse: we are now free ‘from’ external dominion, which Fromm described as the negative side of freedom. But we are not yet fully free ‘to’, which in respect is described as the positive side of freedom. This positive side of freedom requires a self-governance. This self-governance is needed to realize the individuality and identity, which in turn is needed to wield the positive side of freedom. On one hand, it is a process of growing force and integration, of dominion over nature, and of increased rationalism and solidarity. On the other hand this freedom means increased solitude. Insecurities and questions about our place in the cosmos, the meaning of our lives, and further more a growing awareness of one’s powerlessness, and the uselessness of an individual and solitary existence. The Time of the Animal is a paradigm in which expansion and imperialism is at its peak, being the current that formerly set us free. There is an addiction to growth and development. And greed has almost fully became our second nature. It is a time of speed and acceleration. An explosion of production and development. We travel with the most amazing speeds, and are bestowed by real time, on the fly information. We have the World Wide Web as a worldwide encyclopedia, giving us insight into research, the news of the planet and numerous amounts of personal recordings, representations of life itself. The Time of the Animal is a time of devouring, a time of conquest and war, and the desire to be on top of the game. Commerce made us search and discover the planet on a quest for gold; a search for El Dorado; cheaper spices and goods, and faster trading routes. In the late 1700s steam engines physically powered
machines. And although battery powered telegraphy emerged in the 1830s, another fifty years passed before the local telephone exchange was established. As municipal utilities emerged in the 1880s to generate and deliver AC power, the stage was set for the use of electrical appliances by the general public. Following the popularity of electrical lightning and telephony in urban centers in the late nineteenth century, the first electronical household items, such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines and refrigerators came to market in the 1910s. The market for radios exploded in the 1920s together with the growth of commercial broadcasting, technologies that were developed during the lean years of the Second World War precipitated another outpour of electronic consumer goods during the prosperity of peacetime. Television became wildly successful in the 1950s, while the 1960s and 1970s brought hi-fi stereo sounds-systems, video cameras, remote controls, cable television and satellite telecasts. In the 1980s and 1990s, the advent of personal computing, public access to the Internet and the multimedia capabilities of the World Wide Web, along with broadband Internet and cellular mobile phones, sparked the e-commerce boom and fuelled globalization.2
This addiction is massively sucking up our energy, and we haven’t even got the time to properly digest the information we find, because new feeds are piling up. The speed of information is so rapidly expanding that we become like animals. Greedily devouring the planet without limitations. Once more, as we have done for so many centuries. Having a focus on the entire world as we know it is diffusing our view. We are surfing on a network ‘in between’ planes of content. There are plateaus of experience and sensations of time and place which the network cannot focus on, since it is focused on the connectivity and the links leading to other links, in order to be everywhere simultaneously. It is a global network on which you can travel with the speed of light absorbing and digesting the information that you find. But it is a network of very limited and very colored information. Like the way music nowadays is being digitalized into dots, in contrast to the waves of the vinyl gramophone records, we lose out the information in between. Within the principle of sampling lies abstraction and selection, which both lead you further away from an authentic and full experience of the waves, and all the sensations in between these sample marker points. The grid of the cyber world works exactly the same. The destinations are limited, bordered, selected and mostly shallow and fast. They are standardized.
The Undiscovered Self
Globalization gave us the ability to be aware of events taking place all over the globe, and of events taking place in the lives of people living miles and miles away. In a sense, we have entered a new era of connectivity. We have a hyperconnected mind,3 which is in a constant process of transformation by the sheer velocity and rush of information that is being absorbed and digested. But hasn’t our desire to produce and get ahead in the commercial game gone over our heads, literally? We gave our handcraft away to machines, and our jobs to computers. Mountain-climbing and sublime experiences of nature have been handed out to the TV-broadcasts on National Geographic, and our calming and inspiring landscape was sold to the speeding aircrafts. A globalized world means having a worldwide focus; a global focus; a diffused focus. You see everything and nothing at the same time. Our need of hyper-connectivity in a competitive world brings forth a need for (or addiction to) information.4 Information we need in order to plot the grid of this cyber network and of our life there.
Even when we travel, we have accustomed to take a jet to a city but hardly notice that all we (desire to) travel to are different quantities of sunlight, and a different mother tongue. For the rest, we want to be able to pay with our bankcards, call with our mobile phones, and find the same foods in the supermarket as we do back home. Even in our mobility we become so hopelessly motionless. On one hand this is because the physicality of our traveling is diminishing rapidly (our seats have gotten wheels). On the other hand this is because the world is being assimilated into this grey and standardized reality. So, what is distance anyway? The ways of the URL; the almost holy synapse between your search and that what you find. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a magical gateway between you and the world, and Google is the god of those gateways. A plane of portals to destinations it will locate for you. It knows what
disease you have and what everything looks like. Google and the URL are the uniform and standardized locators you use in your searches. The world, in some sense, is becoming a standardized place too. If we view and connect with it similarly to the ways we view and connect with the virtual world; a common language and a common sensation; comfort and ease, with tremendous speed. Like fast food that is prepared without any attention, intention or care whatsoever. We have a fastlife, a fastcar and a fastjob. We become uneased with time as a spacious entity. We are even controlled by Google, since all our experiences there are stored in a big database; those data are sold to companies; they will, in the end, prescribe who we think we are and how we should behave as consumers. Minions of the economic paradigm. So please, take a hike, and stay outside until the sun sets and the world shows you a broader display of being than the everlight screens of your television, personal computer and your mobile phones can show you. Let your eyes suck up the darkness and color your world for you.
our Facebook, and we post on our walls that which we experience. Instead of keeping an insightful journal to reflect on our steps and movements inwardly, we reflect (or are; as in being) in representation. We become fully aware of all the eyes looking back at us when we stare into the global connected cyber world. And we have the need to plot our identity here as we do in our physical life. We become a self-mapping hyperconnected humankind, which requires modern varieties of the self-governance Fromm wrote about in the 1940s. This new form of self governance, managing your identity on multiple realities of time and place, is another addition to the struggle we have with forming our individual entity in the space that has been given to us by our acclaimed freedom.
Who I am and what I am is being reformulated into a reflection through representation, mostly portrayed & created on social networks.
On the World Wide Web there is a focus on the all, on the full globe, and all that is happening there. There is a need to be informed, and there is an addiction to receive information. But next to the amount of information we devour on a daily basis, we also have the need to communicate all that we come across in our daily lives as well. We post Youtube videos that we think are amazing on
Who I am and what I am is no longer an issue that can solely be perceived by the old indicators of social constructs, but is being reformulated into a reflection trough representation. Representations mostly portrayed and created on social networks. The social facet of the World Wide Web is changing the way people think about the Internet; from a tool used in solitary anonymity to a medium that touches on questions about human nature and identity, an identity which is constructed by linking your being to ideas and issues of care, and by affiliating yourself to other persons which you add to your list of Facebook friends, or link to your professional online network. Linking as a manner of constructing, like roots of grass. Having the potency of becoming a fertile and healthy network intertwining our lives and the health of the planet, it is not yet so the case. For we enter this lucid living with the mind of the Animal. We have the desire to expand and grow, and explode into successes and financial triumphs. And, added to that, our identity is getting constructed by the position we take â€˜in betweenâ€™ people and the abundance of ideas floating about, and from which we can pick. But the reality is that the richness in ideas and personas is being desaturated
The reality is that the richness in ideas and personas is being saturated by a municipal desire to succeed and/or be perfect. There is no format for a real individual identity. by a municipal desire to succeed and/or be perfect. There is no format for a real individual identity, or authentic placing here. I have experienced that the insecure identity surfing about on the Internet, looking at all the other representations, will find it harder to post about their personal insecurities and defeats. Instead, it will be posting only their successes and their gains. Positioning their identity just hovering above a major part of the people they encounter. When being better than another, one has fewer questions about what or where he or she is. It is an envious battleground where after nights of browsing trough photos, you analyze your opponents. And, as the success driven Animal you are, try to better them and be on top of the game.
In the mediated world, information is not only filtered, but also abstracted and extracted from the whole, not only by the basic principles of the camera lens; a frame which cuts off the view. Any imagery that is brought to us by any medium whatsoever is in its principle a selection, and never a full and objective encounter. And so are also the representations of our friends on the Internet. Being retouched by Photoshop, and posting on their walls 6 stories about the nice Starsbucks coffee they just got while shopping in the nicest streets in the most divine sunlight, wearing nothing but the most ultra chique garments, accompanied by their immaculate friends. Ironically, these are the people you start to compare yourself with when subconsciously establishing your identity. You must, somehow, find a place for yourself amongst these immanent personalities that can be altered by the click of a mouse, or a tweak of information. Lucid as this world is, you as well become more lucid then ever positioning your identity in this big lightshow; throwing overboard your communing with the physical world, and the whole universe as a mirror to your entity; forming your identity and individuality amidst the pylons of this a virtual hideout. Spending so much time sculpting the representation of ourselves; looking for our destinations on the Internet; seeing friendships as nothing more than a small green blinky dot, linking your profiles together, and understanding ‘love’ as a status you can simply attach to a photo, video or an idea, by simply leaving a <3 comment on another person’s Internet profile or on a Youtube video.
The Undiscovered Self
Mediation—A major part of the social facet of the World Wide Web is, psychologically, a very aggressive or competitive place, in which your mind starts to mix up the reality of things with the way they are represented. We see the world trough a medium, and the world is brought to us by the everlit glass screens. Hollywood shows the way we must love, and Discovery Channel shows us the world we are missing out on. But thank God they bring it to us at our homes. Even our dreams where altered massively when the TV became a major conductor of the visual information we gather during the daytime.4 Together with our personal and physical encounters with the world and with life itself, huge parts of our perception is being brought to us by videotaped and edited collections and distillations done by external entities.
V I S UA L IZ AT I O N
The State of the World In the late modern post-Copernican, postNietzschean cosmos, the human self exists as an infinitesimal and peripheral island of meaning and spiritual aspiration in a vast, purposeless universe, signifying nothing except what the human self creates. Cosmos & Psyche: Intimations of a New World View—Richard Tarnas
p r im a l wo r l d v ie w
l at e / m o der n wo r l d v ie w
Loving—Love has become a mere status, instead of willingly making a devotion to an object or subject (as Fromm wrote about in his 1956 book The Art of Loving). Since there is an inability or uneasiness with time as a spacious entity, when something takes time, we get anxious. We rather keep on exploiting time rather than excavating it with care and attention, making the space in it bigger and more enriched, enclaving in depth as opposed to distance. A knowing, which is also required to understand and love an object or a subject is getting harder to obtain; the physical details and the endless fractals of the physical world get smudged away by Photoshop tools, and are pixilated to a point that blinds you as you try to zoom in. The way Giacometti got lost in borderless deserts of skin, and oceans of texture, is a good example of the physical attention a human can give. Virginia Woolf was also inspired by the devoted attention she gave to natural phenonemas around her. And when observing it with care and attention, it opened up for her, and shared with her its contents and secrets. But looking at something with care and attention is getting harder in a culture that is aimed at a very scattered way of living, without any concentration whatsoever. The modern day man does so many things simultaneously: reading, listening to the radio, talking, smoking, eating, drinking. He consumes with his mouth open wide, greedy and willingly to gobble up everything it can: films, alcoholics, information. A lack of concentration originating from the trouble we have with simply being by ourselves.7 In the way the Internet world is merely only there when you look for it through the URL and is gone when you click it away makes you more distanced from matters. Matters that are usually taking place in time, and on location. But now, everything can wait, and everything will be there when you look for it again. Like the particles we look for in Quantum physics. The world is there only when we look for it.8 But, is the world gone when we don’t look? By interlining the physical world with the way we treat the digital world, we miss out an important part of responsibility that is entangled with a true sensation of time. The non-reply you can get away with since, in fact, you are able to hide behind your Internet representation, which, although present, does not mean that you are in
fact present. Even when you are in fact present, this layer of being and non-being can be used to escape responsibility. The bizarre anti-place and/ or anti-time of the Internet world gives you the ability to flee from the reality and the realness of social and emotional encounters you have in the real-time physical world. It concerns me greatly that the changing relationship we have with time and the loss of our physical being results in an alteration of loving, from devotion to status. An alteration that Dutch artist Melanie Bonajo (1978) also described in her essay ‘Floccinaucinihilipilification’ which was published in her 2009 book Furniture Bondage, in which she illustrates the way she and her father both look at loving in different ways.
the electric current, which makes the universe, tremble and grow in ecstasy. And since this is in so many situations forgotten and not done, the times in which you manage to do dedicate to an object or a subject, the stories it will tell you will be perceived as the grandest and utmost intimate treasures in the midst of this fastlife world. Like caves of love, overgrown with treasures, moist plants and flowers, the shallow and hard surfaces will be transformed into gardens of experience; once we find the occasion to deploy the ability we have to quarry (give attention; or love) that which is already around us right now. We must look at Loving as being a gift of attention and devotion, as care and responsibility. Rather than gaining or obtaining love —give love. Instead of devouring—nurture. The Plant versus the Animal. The maternal values rather than the paternal values. Omnivorous, land-clearing, war makers versus the circumglobal mantle of vegetation that constitutes by far the major portion of the biomass of the living planet. The last time the mainstream western mindset was refreshed by the gnosis of the vegetable mind was at the end of the Hellenistic Era (323bc—146bc) before the nurturing and vegetable religions were finally suppressed by the enthusiastic Christian barbarians. A dominion of fear, guilt and suppression of which we got rid off some 2000 years later. And the Internet as it is right now, is the perfect format. It should be used wise and for good purposes. I am not imposing that we should not ever use the internet for any form of trivial entertainment or simple joys. I too am very pleased that I can download all the TV series I like to watch, and I can easiliy stumble upon something new and interesting every day. But we have to know that there is a risk. We can easily fall into motionlessness, and spend our hours at home browsing trough content without proper attention. While concentrating on something is the basic for knowing something, and eventually caring for something or even loving something, it is troubling that the western world thinks that the virtue of concentration must be a painful or hard to maintain. But the opposite is true, for when you do manage to concentrate on something, your mind will awaken and you will be able to truly concentrate with much more ease than was anticipated.
I know it is a cliché. Whenever I tell my dad how much I love my car, which is true, he always retorts: “No, you don’t. You never clean it.” It points out an essential difference in how my father and I maintain our material worlds. My love for objects gives me some sort of service and is expressed purely on emotion and the dialogue I prolong with it. My dad has a very practical approach of showing his love for things.
The Undiscovered Self
Bonajo here refers to the world of objects, as is the main subject in her art work, but I don’t see this alteration being limited to objects only. There is a laid back attitude towards Loving, and to necessary devotion and care in general. I for one tend to follow what Erich Fromm writes about love. He considered love to be an interpersonal creative capacity rather than an emotion, and he distinguished this creative capacity from what he considered to be various forms of narcissistic neuroses and sado-masochistic tendencies that are commonly held out as proof of “true love.” Indeed, Fromm viewed the experience of “falling in love” as evidence of one’s failure to understand the true nature of love, which he believed always had the common elements of care, responsibility, respect and knowledge.9 I must say, that I also notice the tendency Melanie Bonajo wrote about, and that that is on one side a very bad development leading us astray from what Fromm calls the ‘creative being’ that we humans are in our most principle nature—when loving something simply becomes a way of defining who we are, rather than it being
Concentration is about fully living in the here and the now. It does not think about other things when it is working with something right now. And one who does not see that everything has itâ€™s one time, and that time itself is in fact a spacious entity, will want to force, and never succeed in concentrating. And therewith loving.
I about the author Jasper Griepink is a visual (and physical) researcher based in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. full text online at jaspergriepink.nl
as interviewed by kathy juline for science of mind magazine
An Interview with Eckhart Tolle
S C IE N C E O F MIND In your vision of a new Earth, the purpose of life involves what you call “awakened doing.” What do you mean by this?
as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live. In awakened doing there is complete internal alignment with the present moment and whatever you are doing right now. The doing is then not primarily a means to an end, but an opening for consciousness to come into this world. Aligning yourself with the Now is aligning yourself with universal purpose, the purpose of the whole. What is the purpose of the whole? The birth and flowering of consciousness. The whole then guides you in whatever you think or do. As I explain in A New Earth, awakened doing has three modalities, depending on circumstances and the nature of the activity. They are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. If there is neither acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm in what you do, you are out of alignment with universal purpose. You are creating unhappiness, that is to say suffering in one form or another. One way of defining the ego is simply this: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. What I refer to as the “new earth”—the outer forms created by awakened doing—arises as more people realize that their purpose is to allow consciousness to emerge through whatever they do.
Do you believe that humanity is ready for this transformation?
You say in your new book that for humanity to make this transformation, there needs to be a shift from object consciousness to space consciousness. Can you explain more about that? I am saying that I see the emergence of space consciousness as the next stage in the evolution of humanity. By space consciousness I mean that in
tolle Most people treat the present moment
Yes. I see signs that it is already happening. For the first time there is a large scale awakening on our planet. Why now? Because if there is no change in human consciousness now, we will destroy ourselves and perhaps the planet. The insanity of the collective egoic mind, amplified by science and technology, is rapidly taking our species to the brink of disaster. Evolve or die: that is our only choice now. Without considering the Eastern world, my estimate is that at this time about ten percent of people in North America are already awakening. That makes thirty million Americans alone, and in addition to those people in other North American countries, about ten percent of the population of Western European countries are also awakening. This is probably enough of a critical mass to bring about a new earth. So the transformation of consciousness is truly happening even though they won’t be reporting it on tonight’s news. Is it happening fast enough? I am hopeful about humanity’s future, much more so now than when I wrote The Power of Now. In fact that is why I wrote that book. I really wasn’t sure that humanity was going to survive. Now I feel differently. I see many reasons to be hopeful.
addition to our being fully conscious of things—that is to say of sense perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and whatever happens in our lives—there is at the same time an undercurrent of awareness or Presence operating in us. Awareness implies that we are not only conscious of things, such as the objects and the people around us, but we are also conscious at the same time of being conscious. Conscious of the timeless i am without which there would be no world. We can sense an inner alert stillness in the background while things happen in the foreground. That is the unconditioned. That is true intelligence. If there is only object consciousness in our lives, we remain trapped in the conditioned, trapped in form, which creates an appearance of separation. We are always trying to change the form or are resisting it in some way. We are looking to the world of form for salvation. But when we are aware of space consciousness, aware of being aware, we are freed from identification with form, which is ego, and there arises within us a sense of oneness with the whole and with our Source.
Can you suggest some ways to stay focused in the now? One thing we can do is to notice the little things all around us, paying attention to details such as the birds in the trees and the flowers in the garden or the park—just notice the beauty everywhere, even the smallest things. To notice seemingly insignificant things requires alertness. That alertness is the key. It is the unconditioned. It is consciousness itself. Another helpful practice is to watch the breath, and breathe consciously. If we are paying attention to our breath, we cannot be thinking of anything else at the same time. Our attention is in the now moment and not on our worries about yesterday or our plans for what we will do next week. We are just breathing, not thinking. Because the practice of breath meditation takes us out of the activity of thought, it is an effective way to awaken. In fact, breath, because it has no form as such, has traditionally been equated with spirit, the formless One Life. In the German language, the word atmen, meaning “breathing,” is derived from atman, which in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, refers to the innermost essence or universal self.
So attachment and struggle are released.
The Undiscovered Self
That’s right, because in space consciousness there is no future and no past. There is only the present, and it is always free. This is what the Buddhists call “emptiness” and Jesus calls “the fullness of life.” It is the same thing, or rather no-thing. Because it is an opening into the vertical dimension, which has no limit, the present is never confining or fraught with problems. Problems need time, that is to say past and future, to survive. On the other hand, if we let our focus drift back to the past or forward to the future, we are functioning in the horizontal dimension, and this results in an expanded differentiation of forms deriving from ego constructs. Entering the vertical dimension requires a high degree of Presence. The Now needs to be the main focus of our attention. Of course, we need the concept of time in order to function, for example, to schedule this interview. But the point is not to be limited to that dimension alone. The arising of space consciousness—a shift to vertical rather than horizontal awareness—is the next stage in the evolution of humanity, and it’s happening more and more as our awareness remains in the now moment.
Why is it a desirable practice to free the mind from thinking?
Thinking, or more precisely identification with thinking, gives rise to and maintains the ego, which, in our Western society in particular, is out of control. It believes it is real and tries hard to maintain its supremacy. Negative states of mind, such as anger, resentment, fear, envy, and jealousy, are products of the ego. When the ego is in control, these states of mind appear to us to be justified and also to be caused by some external factor. Usually another person is blamed for these feelings. Their true cause, however, is not to be found in the content of your life, but in the very structure of the egoic mind. It needs enemies because it defines its identity h separation, and so it emphasizes the other-ness of others. For this reason, letting the ego be in control leads ultimately to violence, fighting, and war. This is madness, but the ego doesn’t see it that way. The film A Beautiful Mind does a good job of depicting how the mind can delude us if we are not
We can sense an inner alert stillness in the background while things happen in the foreground. That is the unconditioned. That is true intelligence.
Fear seems to lie behind most negative emotions. How can it be released? You speak about a process of disidentification. How does it work?
Fear arises through identification with form, whether it be a material possession, a physical body, a social role, a self-image, a thought, or an emotion. It arises through unawareness of the formless inner dimension of consciousness or spirit, which is the essence of who you are. You are trapped in object consciousness, unaware of the dimension of inner space which alone is true freedom. Every fearful thought is about future, is about something that could or may happen. Most people are familiar with the “mental movies” that cause stress and anxiety and keep you awake at night, while your body lies in a warm and comfortable bed. The moment you recognize a fearful thought for what it is, that is to say futile
Positive thinking is certainly preferable to negative thinking. But to be in the consciousness of the now moment and to practice awareness of the divine Presence is what Jesus means in his Sermon on the Mount when he says, “Take no thought for your life.” From this state of Being comes great creativity. “Change your thinking” can really be understood as telling us to cease the constant busy activity of the mind, which is repetitive, futile, and often negative. Instead of constantly thinking, we become still and quiet, and we become conscious of being conscious. This is the realization of i am, the realization of Being, our essence identity. When we are rooted in that, thinking becomes the servant of awareness, rather than a self (ego) serving activity. It becomes creative, empowered.
You talk in your book about the pain-body,
The pain-body is my term for the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose. These negative emotions leave a residue of emotional pain, which is stored in the cells of the body. There is also a collective human pain-body containing the pain suffered by countless human beings throughout history. The pain-body has a dormant stage and an active stage. Periodically it becomes activated, and when it does, it seeks more suffering to feed on. If you are not absolutely present, it takes over your mind and feeds on negative thinking as well as negative experiences such as drama in relationships. This is how it has been perpetuating itself throughout human history. Another way of describing the pain-body is this: the addiction to unhappiness.
aware that it is controlling us. It’s the true story of a man who is a genius but he’s also insane. The audience doesn’t know that he’s insane until he himself realizes it as the story unfolds. The film makes the point that when you become aware that you are insane, you are no longer insane. So when you become aware of your mind, you are not identified with your mind anymore. A new dimension of consciousness has come in.
Are you suggesting that we just change the content of our thoughts away from negativity or rather that we cease the activity of thinking?
both personal and collective. What do you mean by the pain-body?
and self-destructive mind activity, you begin to disidentify from it. Awareness or Presence then takes over from thinking. I am not saying that you don’t think anymore, just that you no longer confuse it with who you are. Thinking becomes rooted in awareness rather than being autonomous and self-serving, which is the ego. Every pain-body contains a great deal of fear, since fear is the primordial negative emotion. How do we deal with that? Here again, you recognize it for what it is: the pain-body, an accumulation of old emotion. Once you recognize it, it cannot take over your mind, feed on your negative thoughts, and control your internal dialogue as well as what you say and do. Once the pain-body has come up, don’t fight or resist it. It is part of the “isness” of the present moment with which you always need to be in inner alignment. So you allow it to be there. If you don’t feed it anymore, it loses its energy charge and the negative emotion undergoes transmutation.
consciousness can begin to create form without losing itself in it. The true essence of who each of us is, is being realized. This shift, however, is not a future state to be achieved or even believed in. A new heaven and a new earth are arising within each of us at this moment. So awakening to your life’s purpose is not to try to look to the future and expect fulfillment there but to stay in the moment, allowing the ego to dissolve. Your life’s inner purpose is primary, and your inner purpose is to awaken, to be conscious. In whatever you do, your state of consciousness is the primary factor.
You speak in your book of the ego’s incessant wanting and its insatiable need for more. Wouldn’t certain things we want be considered worthwhile, though, such as wanting to become a better person?
The desire to become a better person is usually to do with wanting to improve how I feel about myself, how I see myself, or how I am seen by others. It is to do with mental image-making, that is to say, ego. That includes, of course, wanting to become enlightened or more spiritual. Awakening or spiritual realization is the discovery that you don’t need to add anything to yourself in order to be yourself fully. You don’t need to try to become good, but allow the goodness that is within you, inherent in Being and inseparable from who you are, to emerge.
You say that as people awaken to their true self and their life purpose, a new earth is created. What is this new Earth like? The Undiscovered Self
I don’t want to speculate about the characteristics of the new Earth, but whatever it is, it will be an outer manifestation of the new heaven, the inner realm of consciousness. It will arise out of the awakened consciousness that is unconditioned and free from the illusions of ego. As human beings awaken from the dream of identification with form,
about the author Eckhart Tolle (born 1948) is a German-born Canadian spiritual teacher best known as the author of the The Power of Now and A New Earth. He was listed by the Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world. His books and teachings have stimulated much commentary from theologians and journalists.
ojai, california, 1955 excerpts from “as one is”
Krishnamurti: Talks in Oak Grove
Being free of society implies not being ambitious, not being covetous, not being competitive; it implies being nothing in relation to that society which is striving to be something. But you see, it is very difficult to accept that because you may be trodden on, you may be pushed aside; you will have nothing. In that nothingness there is sanity, not in the other… As long as one wants to be part of this society, one must breed insanity, wars, destruction, and misery; but to be free oneself from this society—the society of violence, of wealth, of position, of success—requires patience, inquiry, discovery, not the reading of books, the chasing after teachers, psychologists, and all the rest of it. The present social structure is based on envy, on acquisitiveness, in which is implied conformity, acceptance of authority, the perpetual fulfillment of ambition, which is essentially the self, the ‘me’ striving to become something. Out of this stuff society is made, and its culture— the pleasant and the unpleasant, the beautiful and the ugly, the whole field of social endeavour—conditions of the mind. You are the result of society. If you were born and trained in Russia through their particular form of education, you would deny God, you would accept certain patterns, as here you accept certain other patterns.
So everywhere society is conditioning the individual, and this conditioning takes the form of self-improvement, which is really the perpetuation of the ‘me’, the ego, in different forms. Selfimprovement may be gross, or it may be very, very refined when it becomes the practice of virtue, goodness, the so-called love of one’s neighbor, but essentially it is the continuance of the ‘me’, which is a product of the conditioning influences of society. All your endeavour has gone into becoming something, either here, if you can make it, or if not, in another world; but it is the same urge, the same drive to maintain and continue the self.
Now, if one wishes to find that which is truth, one must be totally free from all religions, from all conditioning, from all dogmas, from all beliefs, from all authority which makes one conform, which means, essentially, standing completely alone, and that is very arduous; it is not a hobby for a Sunday morning when you go for a pleasant drive to sit under the trees and listen to some nonsense. To find out what is truth requires immense patience, gentleness, hesitancy. The mere
When one sees all this—and I am not necessarily going into every detail of it—one inevitably asks oneself: Does society or culture exist to help man to discover that which may be called truth? What matters, surely, is to discover, to actually experience, something far beyond the mind, not merely to have a belief, which has no significance at all. And do so-called religions, the following of various teachers, disciplines, belonging to sects, cults, which are all, if you observe, within the field of social respectability—do any of those things help you to find that which is timeless bliss, timeless reality?
The mind is the result of the known; it is shaped by memories, by reactions; and a mind that is held within the field of time. The mind is creative only when it is free from the known.
studying of books has no value, but if as you listen you can be completely attentive, then you will see that this attention frees you from effort so that without movement in any direction the mind is capable of receiving something which is extraordinarily beautiful and creative, something which is not to be measured by knowledge, by the past. It is only such a person who is really religious and revolutionary because he is no longer part of society. As long as one is ambitious, envious, acquisitive, competitive, one is society. With that mentality, which is extraordinarily difficult to be free of, one seeks God, and that search has no meaning at all because it is merely another endeavour to become something, to gain something. That is why it is very important to understand one’s relationship to society, to aware of all the beliefs, dogmas, tenets, superstitions that one has acquired, and to throw them off—not with effort, because then you will again be caught in it, but just to see these things for what they are and let them go, like the autumnal leaf that withers and is blown away, leaving the tree naked.
The Undiscovered Self
We cultivate virtue; we discipline ourselves to conform to a particular pattern of morality. Why? Not only in order to be socially respectable, but also because we see the necessity of bringing about order, of controlling our minds, our speech, our thought. We see how extraordinarily important that is, but in the process of cultivating virtue, we are building up memory, the memory of which is the ‘me’, the self, the ego. That is the background we have, especially those who think they are
religious—the background of constantly practicing a particular discipline, of belonging to certain sects, groups, so-called religious bodies. Their reward may be somewhere else, in the next world, but it is still a reward; and in pursuing virtue, which means polishing, disciplining, controlling the mind, they are developing and maintaining selfconscious memory, so never for a moment are they free from the past.
If you have ever really disciplined yourself, practiced not being envious, not being angry, and so on, I wonder if you have noticed that that very practice, the very disciplining of the mind, leaves a series of memories of the known? This is rather a difficult problem we are discussing, and I hope I am making myself clear. The whole process of saying, “I must not do this,” breeds or builds up time, and a mind that is caught in time can obviously never experience something which is timeless, which is the unknown. Yet the mind must be orderly, free of contradictory desires—which does not mean conforming, accepting, obeying. So if you are at all earnest, in the sense in which I am using that word, this problem must inevitably arise. Your mind is the result of the known. Your mind is the known; it is shaped by memories, by reactions, by impressions of the know; and a mind that is held within the field of time. The mind is creative only when it is free from the known—and the it can use the known, which is the technique. The mind is the result of the known; it is the result of the past, which is the accumulation of time; and is it possible for such a mind to be free from the known
without effort so that it can discover something original? That’s why it is important to find out if one can be good, in the complete sense of the world, without trying to be good, without making an effort to get rid of envy, or ambition, of cruelty, without disciplining oneself to stop gossiping—you know, the whole mass of strictures which we impose upon ourselves in order to be good. Can there be goodness without an attempt to be good? I think there can be only if each one of us knows how to listen, how to be attentive—now. There is goodness only when there is complete attention. Forget all the books you have read, the things that you have been told of, and give complete attention to the statement that there can be no virtue as long as there is endeavour to be virtuous.
Is there a duality between the ‘me’, the self, the ego, and the mind? Surely not. The mind is the self, the ego. The ego, the self, is this urge of envy, of brutality, of violence, this lack of love, this everlasting seeking of prestige, position, power, trying to be something —which is what the mind is also doing, is it not? The mind is thinking all the time how to advance itself, how to have more security, how to have a better position, more comfort, greater wealth, increased power, all of which is the self. So the mind is the self; the self is not a separate thing, though we like to think it is because then the mind can control the self; it can play this game of back and forth, subjugating, trying to do something about the self - which is the immature play of an educated mind, educated in the wrong sense of the word. So, the mind is the self; it is this whole structure of acquisitiveness, and the problem is: How is the mind to be free of itself?
about the author Jiddu Krishnamurti (May 12, 1895 – February 17, 1986) was an Indian writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of the mind, meditation, human relationships, and bringing about positive change in society. He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being.
Is there a duality between the mind and the self? If there is not, how is one to free the mind from the self?
The Undiscovered Self C.G. Jung is widely recognized as a major figure in modern Western thought, and his work continues to spark controversies. He played critical roles in the formation of modern psychology, psychotherapy, and psychiatry, and a large international profession of analytical psychologists work under his name. His work has had its widest impact, however, outside professional circles: Jung and Freud are the names that most people first think of in connection with psychology, and their ideas have been widely disseminated in the arts, the humanities, films and popular culture. Jung is also widely regarded as one of the instigators of the New Age movement. sonu shamdasani, the red book
What will the future bring? From time immemorial this question has occupied men’s minds, though not always to the same degree. Historically, it is chiefly in times of physical, political, economic and spiritual distress that men’s eyes turn with anxious hope to the future, and when anticipations, utopias and apocalyptic visions multiply. Today, as the end of the second millennium draws near, we are again living in an age filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction. What is the significance of that split, symbolized by the “Iron Curtain,” which divides humanity into two halves? What will become of our civilization, and of man himself, if the hydrogen bombs begin to go off, or if the spiritual and moral darkness of State absolutism should spread over Europe? We have no reason to take this threat lightly. Everywhere in the West there are subversive minorities who, sheltered by our humanitarianism and our sense of justice, hold the incendiary torches ready, with nothing to stop the spread of their ideas except the critical reason of a single, fairly intelligent, mentally stable stratum of the population. One should not, however, overestimate the thickness of this stratum. It varies from country to country in accordance with national temperament. Also, it is regionally dependent on public education and is subject to the influence of acutely disturbing factors of a political and economic nature. Taking plebiscites as criterion, one could on an optimistic estimate put its upper limit at about 40 per cent of the electorate. A rather more pessimistic view would not be unjustified either, since the gift of reason and critical reflection is not one of man’s outstanding peculiarities, and even where it exists it proves to be wavering and inconstant, the more so, as a rule, the bigger the political groups are. The mass crushes out the insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily lead to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.
For every manifest case of insanity there are, in my estimation, at least then latent cases who seldom get to the point of breaking out openly but whose views and behavior, for all their appearance of normality, are influenced by unconsciously morbid and perverse factors. Their mental state is that of a collectively excited group ruled by affective judgments and wish-fantasies. In a state of “collective possession” they are the adapted ones and consequently they feel quite at home in it. They know from their own experience the language of these conditions and they know how to handle them. Their chimerical ideas, upborne by fanatical resentment, appeal to the collective irrationality and find fruitful soil there, for they express all those motives and resentments which lurk in more normal people under the cloak of reason and insight. They are, therefore, despite their small number in comparison with the population as a whole, dangerous as sources of infection precisely because the so-called normal person possesses only a limited degree of self-knowledge.
the plight of the individual in modern society
There is and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of self-knowledge is an individual—a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon. Most people confuse “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities. Anyone who has any ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. In this respect the psyche behaves like the body with its physiological and anatomical structure, of which the average person knows very little too. Although he lives in it and with it, most of it is totally unknown to the layman, and special scientific knowledge is needed to acquaint consciousness with what is known of the body, not to speak of all that is not known, which also exists.
how, where and when the attack will come. Since self-knowledge is a matter of getting to know the individual facts, theories help very little in this respect. For the more a theory lays claim to universal validity, the less capable it is of doing justice to the individual facts.
The Undiscovered Self
What is commonly called “self-knowledge” is therefore a very limited knowledge, most of it dependent on social factors, of what goes on in the human psyche. Hence one is always coming up against the prejudice that such and such a thing does not happen “with us” or “in our family” or among our friends and acquaintances, and on the other hand, one meets with equally illusory assumptions about the alleged presence of qualities which merely serve to cover up the true facts of the case. In this broad belt of unconsciousness, which is immune to conscious criticism and control, we stand defenseless, open to all kinds of influences and psychic infections. As with all dangers, we can guard against the risk of psychic infection only when we know what is attacking us, and
There is and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of selfknowledge is an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon. Hence it is not the universal and the regular that characterize the individual, but rather the unique. He is not to be understood as a recurrent unit but as something unique and singular which in the last analysis can neither be known nor compared with anything else. At the same time man, as member of a species, can and must be described as a statistical unit; otherwise nothing general could be said about him. For this purpose he has to be regarded as a comparative unit. This results in a universally valid anthropology or psychology, as the case may be, with an abstract picture of man as an average unit from which all individual features have been removed. But it is precisely these features which are of paramount importance for understanding man. If I want to understand an individual human being, I must lay aside all scientific knowledge of the average man and discard all theories in order to adopt a completely new and unprejudiced attitude. I can only approach the task of understanding with a free and open mind, whereas knowledge of man, or insight into human character, presupposes all sorts of knowledge about mankind in general.
In view of the fact that in principle, the positive advantages of knowledge work specifically to the disadvantage of understanding, the judgment resulting therefrom is likely to be something of a paradox. Judged scientifically, the individual is nothing but a unit which repeats itself ad infinitum and could just as well be designated with a letter of the alphabet. For understanding, on the other hand, it is just the unique individual human being who, when stripped of all those conformities and regularities so dear to the heart of the scientist, is the supreme and only real object of investigation. Under the influence of scientific assumptions, not only the psyche but the individual man and, indeed, all individual events whatsoever suffer a leveling down and a process of blurring that distorts the picture of reality into a conceptual average. We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world picture: it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations. Science supplies us with, instead of the concrete individual, the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality. The moral responsibility of the individual is then inevitably replaced by the policy of the State (raison d’état). Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside and consists in the execution of an abstract idea which ultimately tends to attract all life to itself. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothes and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses. The rulers, in their turn, are just as much social units as the ruled and are distinguished only by the fact that they are specialized mouthpieces of the State doctrine. They do not need to be personalities capable of judgment, but thoroughgoing specialists who are unusable outside their line of business. State policy decides what shall be taught and studied. This development becomes logically unavoidable the moment the individual
masses together with others and becomes obsolete. Apart from agglomerations of huge masses of people, in which the individual disappears anyway, one of the chief factors responsible for psychological massmindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance. Looked at rationally and from outside, that is exactly what he is, and from this point of view it seems positively absurd to go on talking about the value or meaning of the individual. Indeed, one can hardly imagine how one ever came to endow individual human life with so much dignity when the truth to the contrary is as plain as the palm of your hand.
Seen from this standpoint, the individual really is of diminishing importance and anyone who wished to dispute this would soon find himself at a loss for arguments. The fact that the individual feels himself or the members of his family or the esteemed friends in his circle to be important merely underlines the slightly comic subjectivity of his feeling. For what are the few compared with ten thousand or a hundred thousand, let alone a million? The bigger the crowd the more negligible the individual becomes. But if the individual, overwhelmed by the sense of his own puniness and impotence, should feel that his life has lost its meaning—which, after all, is not identical with public welfare and higher standards of living— then he is already on the road to State slavery and, without knowing or wanting it, has becomes its proselyte. The man who looks only outside and quails before the big battalions has no resource with which to combat the evidence of his senses and his reason. But that is just what is happening today: we are all fascinated and overawed by statistical truths and large numbers and are daily apprised of the nullity and futility of the individual personality, since it is not represented and personified by any mass organization. Conversely, those personage who strut about on the world stage and whose voices are heard far and wide seem, to the uncritical public, to be borne along on some mass movement or on the tide of public opinion and for this reason are either applauded or execrated. Since mass suggestion plays the predominant
role here, it remains a moot point whether their message is their own, for which they are personally responsible, or whether they merely function as a megaphone for collective opinion. Under these circumstances it is small wonder that individual judgment grows increasingly uncertain of itself and that responsibility is collectivized as much as possible, i.e., is shuffled off by the individual and delegated to a corporate body. In this way the individual becomes more and more a function of society, which in its turn usurps the function of the real life carrier, whereas, in actual fact, society is nothing more than an abstract idea like the State. Both are hypostatized, that is, have become autonomous. The State in particular is turned into a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected. In reality it is only a camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it. Thus the constitutional State drifts into the situation of a primitive form of society, namely, the communism of a primitive tribe where everybody is subject to the autocratic rule of a chief or an oligarchy.
the individual’s understanding of himself
The Undiscovered Self
is on this planet a unique phenomenon which he cannot compare with anything else. The possibility of comparison and hence of self-knowledge would arise only if he could establish relations with quasihuman mammals inhabiting other stars. For the sake of this explanation people deny the findings of parapsychology outright, either for philosophical reasons or from intellectual laziness. The structure and physiology of the brain furnish no explanation of the psychic process. The psyche has a peculiar nature which cannot be reduced to anything else. Like physiology, it presents a relatively self-contained field of experience, to which we must attribute a quite special importance because it includes one of the two indispensable conditions for existence as such, namely, the phenomenon of consciousness. Without consciousness there would, practically speaking, be no world, for the world exists for us only in so far as it is consciously reflected by a psyche. Consciousness is a precondition of being. Thus the psyche is endowed with the dignity of a cosmic principle, which philosophically and in fact gives it a position co-equal with the principle of physical being. The carrier of this consciousness is the individual, who does not produce the psyche of his own volition but is, on the contrary, preformed by it and nourished by the gradual awakening of consciousness during childhood. If therefore the psyche is of overriding empirical importance, so also is the individual, who is the only immediate manifestation of the psyche.
It is astounding that man, the instigator, inventor and vehicle of all these developments, the originator of all judgments and decisions and the planner of the future, must make himself such a quantité négligeable. The contradiction, the paradoxical evaluation of humanity by man himself, is in truth a matter for wonder, and one can only explain it as springing from an extraordinary uncertainty of judgment-in other words, man is an enigma to himself.
This is understandable, seeing that he lacks the means of comparison necessary for self-knowledge. He knows how to distinguish himself from the other animals in point of anatomy and physiology, but as a conscious, reflecting being, gifted with speech, he lacks all criteria for self-judgment. He
This fact must be expressly emphasized for two reasons. Firstly, the individual psyche, just because of its individuality, is an exception to the statistical rule and is therefore robbed of one of its main characteristics when subjected to the levelling influence of statistical evaluation. Secondly, the Churches grant it validity only in so far as it acknowledges their dogmas—in other words, when it submits to a collective category. In both cases the will to individuality is regarded as egotistic obstinacy. Science devalues this as subjectivism, and the Churches condemn it morally as heresy and spiritual pride. All these obstacles make it more difficult to arrive at a correct appreciation of the human psyche, but they count for very little beside one other remarkable fact that deserves mentioning. This is the common psychiatric experience that the
devaluation of the psyche and other resistances to psychological enlightenment are based in large measure on fear—on panic fear of the discoveries that might be made in the realm of the unconscious. These fears are found not only among persons who are frightened by the picture Freud painted of the unconscious; they also troubled the originator of psychoanalysis himself, who confessed to me that it was necessary to make a dogma of his sexual theory because this was the sole bulwark of reason against a possible “eruption of the black flood of occultism.” In these words Freud was expressing his conviction that the unconscious still harboured many things that might lend themselves to “occult” interpretation, as is in fact the case. These “archaic vestiges,” or archetypal forms grounded on the instincts and giving expression to them, have a numinous quality that sometimes arouses fear. They are ineradicable, for they represent the ultimate foundations of the psyche itself. They cannot be grasped intellectually, and when one has destroyed one manifestation of them, they reappear in altered form. It is this fear of the unconscious psyche which not only impedes self-knowledge but is the gravest obstacle to a wider understanding and knowledge of psychology. Often the fear is so great that one dares not admit it even to oneself. This is a question which every religious person should consider very seriously; he might get an illuminating answer.
might expect, slip with the greatest ease down an inclined plane made up of large numbers. Where the many are, there is security; what the many believe must of course be true; what the many want must be worth striving for, and necessary, and therefore good. In the clamour of the many resides the power to snatch wish-fulfilments by force; sweetest of all, however, is that gentle and painless slipping back into the kingdom of childhood, into the paradise of parental care, into happy-go-Iuckiness and irresponsibility. All the thinking and looking after are done from the top; to all questions there is an answer, and for all needs the necessary pro¬vision is made. The infantile dream-state of the mass man is so unrealistic that he never thinks to ask who is paying for this paradise. The balancing of accounts is left to a higher political or social authority, which welcomes the task, for its power is thereby increased; and the more power it has, the weaker and more helpless the individual becomes.
The Undiscovered Self
Naturally, society has an indisputable right to protect itself against arrant subjectivisms, but, in so far as society is itself composed of de-individualized human beings, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes—it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual. Unfortunately, this realization does not seem to have penetrated very far—and our blindness is extremely dangerous. People go on blithely organizing and believing in the sovereign remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest of slogans. All mass movements, as one
Whenever social conditions of this type develop on a large scale, the road to tyranny lies open and the freedom of the individual turns into spiritual and physical slavery. The suffocating power of the masses is paraded before our eyes in one form or another every day in the newspapers, and the insignificance of the individual is rubbed into him so thoroughly that he loses all hope of making himself heard. Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself. One often has to ask oneself whether this kind of single-mindedness is worth forcing at all, seeing that the natural state of the human psyche consists in a jostling together of its components and in their contradictory behaviour—that is, in a certain degree of dissociation. The Buddhist name for this is attachment to the “ten thousand things.” Such a condition cries out for order and synthesis.
Just as the chaotic movements of the crowd, all ending in mutual frustration, are impelled in a definite direction by a dictatorial will, so the individual in his dissociated state needs a directing and ordering principle. Ego-consciousness would like to let its own will play this role, but overlooks the existence of powerful unconscious factors which
Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself. thwart its intentions. If it wants to reach the goal of synthesis, it must first get to know the nature of these factors. It must experience them, or else it must possess a numinous symbol that expresses them and leads to their synthesis.
themselves—express a view of the world which caused no great difficulties in the Middle Ages but has become strange and unintelligible to modern man.
the philosophical & psychological approach to life Today, our basic convictions are becoming increasingly rationalistic. Our philosophy is no longer a way of life, as it was in antiquity; it has turned into an exclusively intellectual and academic exercise. Our denominational religions, with their archaic rites and conceptions—justified enough in
Despite this conflict with the modern scientific outlook, a deep instinct bids him hang on to ideas which, if taken literally, leave out of account all the mental developments of the last five hundred years. The obvious purpose of this is to prevent him from falling into the abyss of nihilistic despair. But even when, as a rationalist, he feels impelled to criticize denominational religion as literalistic, narrow-minded, and obsolescent, he should never forget that it proclaims a doctrine whose symbols, although their interpretation may be disputed, nevertheless possess a life of their own by virtue of their archetypal character. Consequently, intellectual understanding is by no means indispensable in all cases, but is called for only when evaluation through feeling and intuition does not suffice, that is to say, in the case of people for whom the intellect carries the prime power of conviction.
The rupture between faith and knowledge is a symptom of the split consciousness which is so characteristic of the mental disorder of our day. It is as if two different persons were making statements about the same thing, each from his own point of view, or as if one person in two different frames of mind were sketching a picture of his experience. Credulity is one of our worst enemies, but that is the makeshift the neurotic always resorts to in order to quell the doubter in his own breast or to conjure him out of existence. People think you have only to “tell” a person that he “ought” to do something in order to put him on
The fact that our conscious activity is rooted in instinct and derives from it its dynamism as well as the basic features of its ideational forms has the same significance for human psychology as for all other members of the animal kingdom. Human knowledge consists essentially in the constant adaptation of the primordial patterns of ideas that were given us a priori. These need certain modifications, because, in their original form, they are suited to an archaic mode of life but not to the demands of a specifically differentiated environment. If the flow of instinctive dynamism into our life is to be maintained, as is absolutely necessary for our existence, then it is imperative that we should remould these archetypal forms into ideas which are adequate to the challenge of the present.
the right track. But whether he can or will do it is another matter. Nothing estranges man more from the groundplan of his instincts than his learning capacity, which turns out to be a genuine drive for progressive transformation of human modes of behaviour. It, more than anything else, is responsible for the altered conditions of his existence and the need for new adaptations which civilization brings. It is also the ultimate source of those numerous psychic disturbances and difficulties which are occasioned by man’s progressive alienation from his instinctual foundation, i.e., by his uprootedness and identification with his conscious knowledge of himself, by his concern with consciousness at the expense of the unconscious. The result is that modern man knows himself only insofar as he can become conscious of himself—a capacity largely dependent on environmental conditions, knowledge and control of which necessitated or suggested certain modifications of his original instinctive tendencies. His consciousness therefore orients itself chiefly by observing and investigating the world around him, and it is to the latter’s peculiarities that he must adapt his psychic and technical resources. This task is so exacting, and its fulfilment so profitable, that he forgets himself in the process, losing sight of his instinctual nature and putting his own conception of himself in place of his real being. In this way he slips imperceptibly into a purely conceptual world where the products of his conscious activity progressively take the place of reality.
which bring the same ills back again in altered form. What then happens is a simple reversal: the underside comes to the top and the shadow takes the place of the light, and since the former is always anarchic and turbulent, the freedom of the “liberated” underdog must suffer Draconian curtailment. All this is unavoidable, because the root of the evil is untouched and merely the counterposition has come to light. Our rational philosophy does not bother itself with whether the other person in us, pejoratively described as the “shadow,” is in sympathy with our conscious plans and intentions. Evidently it still does not know that we carry in ourselves a real shadow whose existence is grounded in our instinctual nature. No one can overlook either the dynamism or the imagery of the instincts without the gravest injury to himself. For more than fifty years we have known, or could have known, that there is an unconscious counterbalance to consciousness. We still go on thinking and acting as before, as if we were simplex and not duplex. Accordingly, we imagine ourselves to be innocuous, reasonable, and humane. We do not think of distrusting our motives or of asking ourselves how the inner man feels about the things we do in the outside world. Virtually everything depends on the human psyche and its functions. It should be worthy of all the attention we can give it, especially today, when everyone admits that the weal or woe of the future will be decided neither by the threat of wild animals, nor by natural catastrophes, nor by the danger of world-wide epidemics, but simply and solely by the psychic changes in man. It needs only an almost imperceptible disturbance of equilibrium in a few of our rulers’ heads to plunge the world into blood, fire, and radioactivity.
The Undiscovered Self
Separation from his instinctual nature inevitably plunges civilized man into the conflict between conscious and unconscious, spirit and nature, knowledge and faith, a split that becomes pathological the moment his consciousness is no longer able to neglect or suppress his instinctual side. The accumulation of individuals who have got into this critical state starts off a mass movement purporting to be the champion of the suppressed. In accordance with the prevailing tendency of consciousness to seek the source of all ills in the outside world, the cry goes up for political and social changes which, it is supposed, would automatically solve the much deeper problem of split personality. Hence it is that whenever this demand is fulfilled, political and social conditions arise
The forlorn state of consciousness in our world is due primarily to loss of instinct, and the reason for this lies in the development of the human mind over the past aeon. The more power man had over nature, the more his knowledge and skill went to his head, and the deeper became his contempt for the merely natural and accidental, for all irrational data-including the objective psyche, which is everything that consciousness is not. Even today psychology is still, for the most part, the science of conscious contents, measured as far as possible by
V I S UA L IZ AT I O N collective standards. The individual psyche has become a mere accident, a marginal phenomenon, while the unconscious, which can manifest itself only in the real, “irrationally given” human being, has been ignored altogether.
self-knowledge Since it is universally believed that man is merely what his consciousness knows of itself, he regards himself as harmless and so adds stupidity to iniquity. He does not deny that terrible things have happened and still go on happening, but it is always “the others” who do them. And, when such deeds belong to the remote past, they quickly and conveniently sink into the sea of forgetfulness, and that state which we describe as “normality.” In shocking contrast to this is the fact that nothing has finally disappeared and nothing has been made good. The evil, the guilt, the profound unease of conscience, the dark foreboding, are there before our eyes, if only we would see. Man has done these things; I am a man, who has his share of human nature; therefore I am guilty with the rest and bear unaltered and indelibly within me the capacity and the inclination to do them again at any time. Even if, juristically speaking, we were not accessories to the crime, we are always, thanks to our human nature, potential criminals. In reality we merely lacked a suitable opportunity to be drawn into the infernal melee. None of us stands outside humanity’s black collective shadow. The crux of the matter is man’s own dualism, to which he knows no answer. This abyss has suddenly yawned open before him with the latest events in world history, after mankind had lived for many centuries in the comfortable belief that a unitary God had created man in his own image, as a little unity. Even today
Archetypes & the Psyche The psyche can be compared to a sphere with a bright field (A) on its surface, representing consciousness. The Ego is the field’s center (only if “I” know a thing is it conscious). The Self is at once the nucleus and the whole sphere (B). Its internal regulating processes produce dreams. Jung defined archetypes as being “archaic images that derive from the collective unconscious.” They are also referred to as innate universal psychic dispositions which form the substrate from which unconscious experience emerges. Man & His Symbols—Carl G. Jung
Ego A Self
l e v el s o f t he p syche Persona Ego Anima & Animus
a r che t y p e s
people are largely unconscious of the fact that every individual is a cell in the structure of various international organisms and is therefore causally implicated in their conflicts. He knows that as an individual being he is more or less meaningless and feels himself the victim of uncontrollable forces, but, on the other hand, he harbours within himself a dangerous shadow and adversary who is involved as an invisible helper in the dark machinations of the political monster. It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know about himself by foisting it off on somebody else. We can recognize our prejudices and illusions only when, from a broader psychological knowledge of ourselves and others, we are prepared to doubt the absolute rightness of our assumptions and compare them carefully and conscientiously with the objective facts. The mass State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa.
alibi? How much respectability and apparent morality is there, cloaking in deceptive colours a very different inner world of darkness? One would first like to be assured that the man who talks of ideals is himself ideal, so that his words and deeds are more than they seem. To be ideal is impossible, and remains therefore an unfulfilled postulate. Recognition of the shadow, on the other hand, leads to the modesty we need in order to acknowledge imperfection. And it is just this conscious recognition and consideration that are needed whenever a human relationship is not based on differentiation and perfection, for these only emphasize the differences or call forth the exact opposite; it is based, rather, on imperfection, on what is weak, helpless and in need of support—the very ground and motive for dependence.
We can recognize our prejudices and illusions only when we are prepared to doubt the absolute rightness of our assumptions.
What our age thinks of as the “shadow” and inferior part of the psyche contains more than something merely negative. The very fact that through self-knowledge—by exploring our own souls—we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery, should throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well. They are potentialities of the greatest dynamism, and it depends, entirely on the preparedness and attitude of the conscious mind whether the interruption of these forces, and the images and ideas associated with them, will tend towards construction or catastrophe. The effect on all individuals, which one would like to see realized, may not set in for hundreds of years, for the spiritual transformation of mankind follows the slow tread of the centuries
Who is making the idealistic demand? Is it, perchance, someone who jumps over his own shadow in order to hurl himself avidly on some idealistic programme that offers him a welcome
the meaning of self-knowledge
and cannot be hurried or held up by any rational process of reflection, let alone brought to fruition in one generation. What does lie within our reach, however, is the change in individuals who have, or create for themselves, an opportunity to influence others of like mind. I do not mean by persuading or preaching—I am thinking of the well-known fact that anyone who has insight into his own actions, and has thus found access to the unconscious, involuntarily exercises an influence on his environment. The deepening and broadening of his consciousness produce the kind of effect which the primitives call “mana.” It is an unintentional influence on the unconscious of others, a sort of unconscious prestige, and its effect lasts only so long as it is not disturbed by conscious intention. Nor is the striving for self-knowledge altogether without prospects of success, since there exists a factor which, though completely disregarded, meets our expectations halfway. This is the unconscious Zeitgeist. It compensates the attitude of the conscious mind and anticipates changes to come.
So much is at stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of modern man. Is he capable of resisting the temptation to use his power for the purpose of staging a world conflagration? Is he conscious of the path he is treading, and what the conclusions are that must be drawn from the present world situation and his own psychic situation? And finally, does the individual know that he is the makeweight that tips the scale? Happiness and contentment, equability of mind and meaningfulness of life—these can be experienced only by the individual and not by a State, which, on the one hand, is nothing but a convention agreed to by independent individuals and, on the other, continually threatens to paralyse and suppress the individual.
The Undiscovered Self
I am neither spurred on by excessive optimism nor in love with high ideals, but am merely concerned with the fate of the individual human being—that infinitesimal unit on whom a world depends, and in whom, if we read the meaning of the Christian message aright, even God seeks his goal.
about the author Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as “by nature religious” and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and symbolization. While he was a fully involved and practicing clinician, much of his life’s work was spent exploring tangential areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and sociology, as well as literature and the arts.
an online essay
Carl Jung & Ă†nima
In the background of the bleak modern music scene—like the quiet kid at a high school party—one can find the band Tool. From their 1991 EP Opiate, through to their latest album 10,000 Days, Tool have consistently defied commercial trends and single-mindedly pursued their visions as artists to create brilliant and original music. Tool’s lyrics frequently explore personal and disturbing areas that few other bands would be able to tackle, such as child abuse, self-hatred and drug addiction in such an intimate way that listening to it is an uncomfortable experience. The members of the band—far from being the drug-addled rock stars that one sees in the media—are intelligent and educated in diverse areas, and this results in music that covers ideas that perhaps no other band ever has. In this essay, I intend to examine in depth Tool’s 1996 release Ænima with the intent of revealing and interpreting the Jungian themes of the lyrics. To do this, it is necessary first to give an overview of Jung’s theories and approach to psychology, including his idea of archetypes, the shadow self, and the anima. I will then relate Jung’s ideas to the lyrics of the album, going through each song and highlighting the elements that can be clarified by a Jungian interpretation. From this, the overall nature of the album—a Jungian quest for re-integration with the anima, and the unconscious in general—will become clear.
Critical to this process of individuation is Jung’s idea of archetypes. Archetypes are the natural, evolutionarily predicated instinct to act or react in a certain way to a certain kind of person or situation. Jung believed that everyone is born with these archetypes as “psychological organs,” or skeletons, onto which experience grows like muscle. An archetype—for example, the archetype of the Mother—will blend with the individual’s experience of mothers to form the Mother complex. A principal aspect of the process of individuation for Jung is to connect (or reconnect) the archetypal dimension with the world
Jung, like Freud, believed in an unconscious part of the mind, which was often in conflict with the conscious mind. Jung believed that humans experience the unconscious through symbols, as they are unable to communicate directly with it. These can include dreams, fables, myths, fantasies, and other areas in which symbols stand in for emotionally potent concepts. Neurosis, according to Jung, is an expression of the conflict between opposing forces in the psyche. The goal of psychoanalysis is to reconcile the conflict between the conscious and unconscious into a whole, unified state of mind that he called the “Self”—the fullest possible consciousness of one’s personality. He called this process “individuation.” For Jung, this process is teleological; the desire for reconciliation with the Self is inherent in every person, and it is the end result to which all strivings are directed. This process for Jung is inherently painful, but he believed that it is only by working through this pain that people are able to realize their true selves.
that the individual finds around them. Failure to do this results in “spiritual impoverishment and a sense of meaninglessness in life.” The anima is one of the main psychological complexes found in men; the female counterpart is called animus. The anima is the feminine archetype in a man, combined with the individual’s experience of women; it represents nurturance, interrelatedness, empathy, and other ‘feminine’ traits. If a person is not in touch with their anima, they find it projected onto other people. For example, Jung attributes the phenomenon of falling in love at first sight as a case of anima or animus projection. Reconnection with the anima leads men into their emotional and passionate lives.
psychology is not to integrate the shadow self completely into the ego, but rather for the individual to have a good relationship between the two. Jung’s contributions to psychology far exceed just these ideas, but they are at the core of much of what he wrote, and they have the closest relation to the themes of Ænima. Similarly, there are many interesting themes and ideas present in Ænima, but this essay will focus only on those that relate to Jungian concepts. The best place to start a Jungian analysis of Ænima is the name of the album. It is a combination of two words: anima, Jung’s concept which I outlined above, and enema, an anal douche. This not-quite-a-word sums up the key themes of Ænima. On the one hand, it is about reconciliation with the anima, soul-searching and introspection; on the other, it is about flushing things away, “cleaning out the house to refurbish or redecorate and start over.” With these two ideas taken together, the word ‘Ænima’ comes to represent a flushing out of the soul, purging oneself of impurities, suffering through a painful process of re-evaluation in order to achieve a higher state of being. This concept is crucial to an informed understanding of the album, so it is important to keep it in mind while analyzing the work.
Another important psychological complex in Jung’s work is the shadow self. An individual does not wish to think of himself or herself as possessing weaknesses, shortcomings, or unsightly instincts, and so they repress these negative parts of themselves when they experience them. The shadow is the dissociated secondary personality that is formed from this repression. If the shadow self is not properly acknowledged and understood, it is often projected onto others. Instead of viewing oneself as being unattractive, for example, a person may perceive many of the people they meet to be unpleasant looking. The goal of analytical
The Undiscovered Self
The first two songs, “Stinkfist” and “Eulogy,” introduce the album and state of mind of the singer (who can also be thought of as the ‘narrator,’ given the story-like nature of the album.) The singer is alienated and disconnected from himself, and constantly has to seek greater heights of stimulation in order to feel alive. While these songs are important in understanding the album as a whole, they have little relation to Jungian concepts and thus do not fit under the scope of this essay. For this reason, I will start my analysis with the third track, titled “H.” As with many of Tool’s songs, the song’s lyrics are cryptic and it is unclear at first what the song is about. However, Maynard James Keenan—the vocalist and lyricist
A principal aspect of the process of individuation for Jung is to connect (or reconnect) the archetypal dimension with the world that the individual finds around them.
for Tool—has given clues as to its meaning. At one concert, he introduced the song by saying: “This next song is about having children. Do any of you have children? It’s amazing how much they change your life, isn’t it?” At another show, he said: So, any of you ever watch those Warner Brothers cartoons? Sometimes there’s that one where the guy’s having a tough time making a decision, he’s got an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other. Usually the angel’s the one that’s going to give the good advice, and the devil’s trying to get him to do what’s going to be bad for him. It’s not always that simple, though. Most times they’re not really angels or devils, they’re just friends, giving you advice, looking out for your best interests but not really understanding what’s going to be best for you, so it kind of comes down to you. You have to make the decision yourself.
archetypal world of the collective unconscious (as well as his own personal unconscious.) The singer’s first experience of an archetype comes with his son’s birth. Likely it is his anima that the singer experiences for the first time here; the feelings of emotion and passion in Jungian psychology are related to one’s connection with one’s anima. This gives him a glimpse into what life could be like if he further healed his psyche and came to totally reconcile his fractured unconscious. The pain that he experiences when he attempts to separate from his old lifestyle reflects another Jungian idea—the painful nature of the process of individuation. For Jung, pain and suffering were inevitable if one honestly wanted to heal him—or her—self. One can see that idea mirrored in this song. It is far from easy for the singer to separate himself from the “snake” and try to move his life into a better path, but it is necessary for him to deal with that pain in order to move forward.
Tool often includes short tracks in between songs as transitions. The track after “H.” is interesting because it is just the sound of a record clicking, as though it had reached the end of one side and had to be turned over. This furthers the idea that the singer has come to a turning point in his life—he has reached the end of his old life, and is now starting a new path. The title of this track, “Useful Idiot,” is the name given to those people in Soviet countries who obeyed the regime and had unswerving loyalty to the party, even when they were suffering immensely from the party’s actions. There is a clear parallel between these ‘useful idiots’ and the state of the singer before the birth of his son, in that he obeyed his desire for stimulation even when it caused him such suffering. This furthers the idea that after “H.” the singer’s life is on a different track.
The next track, titled “46&2,” is the song on the album that most depends on a Jungian translation in order to make any sense. It describes the singer’s confrontation with his shadow self; he says: “I’ve been crawling on my belly / Clearing out what could have been,” and “change is coming through my shadow.” The shadow self, as previously mentioned, is a complex composed of all the repressed or rejected parts of oneself. In order to grow, a person must examine their shadow self
Finally, in an interview in 1996, Keenan mentioned that his son’s name was Devo H. With this information, one can better understand “H.” The singer has experienced, at the start of the song, something that has changed his conception of the world: the birth of his son. This causes him to feel emotional and passionate for the first time. This forces him to look at his life (“what’s holding up is a mirror,”) and finds that his friends (“a snake / looking to turn this piss to wine,”) though they seem to have his best interests at heart, are encouraging him in unhealthy habits and ways of thinking. He says: “They’re both totally void of hate / but killing me just the same.” This can be interpreted to mean that, on the one hand, his friends are “considerately” killing him by encouraging his negative habits, and on the other hand, his son is killing him by forcing him to confront and expel the parts of himself that led him into this situation. The “storm” of emotion that comes when he attempts to separate himself from this lifestyle causes him immense pain; however, “beneath the storm, under these tears, the walls came down,” and he is finally able to “drown” the snake and accept the pain that he will have to endure to cleanse himself. Immediately, one finds numerous Jungian elements in this song. Before his son’s birth, the singer was in a state of malaise and found life to have little meaning; for Jung, this would be seen as a symptom of him being shut off from the
and find ways to incorporate it into their ego. This is clearly what the singer is doing in this song. He says he is “wallowing in my own confused and insecure delusions / For a piece to cross me over / Or a word to guide me in.” In other words, this means that the singer is introspecting and examining himself, his psychological processes, the assumptions he makes about the world, and all of the other previously unquestioned parts of his psyche, in order to discover the repressed parts of himself. The singer referred to this in an interview: “I really went out of my way to discover the things I don’t like about people, in essence, for selfreflection, so really just going off on the deep end, going, “What is it I don’t like about you? What is it that bugs me about you? Why do I dislike what you do and how you do it?” And as soon as I get all of that stuff on paper and write it down, I just kind of turn the you into me, and you really come up with some interesting things...” This is clearly a description, in layman’s terms, of the process of discovering and examining one’s shadow self. The title of the song, “46&2,” echoes the idea of growth and evolution present in Jung’s psychology. “46&2” refers to chromosomes in the human body. Currently, each human has 46 chromosomes—44 plus the 2 sex hormones. Thus, the idea of “46&2” is that of people evolving to reach a higher state of consciousness. The idea comes from the mystical and New Age ideas of Drunvalo Melchizedek, but removing this unscientific origin still leaves a valid metaphor for the evolution and growth that the singer experiences when he confronts his shadow self. The section after the second chorus, “I choose to live and to grow, take and give and to” can be interpreted as the singer coming to terms with and accepting all the parts of himself that he had previously rejected.
The next significant track is “Jimmy,” though it does not contain as many overt Jungian influences as the previous two tracks. In it, the singer realizes that his problems are rooted in a trauma that he suffered when he was eleven. Taken autobiographically, the singer is likely referring to an accident that his mother suffered when he was eleven that left her paralyzed and unable to care for him. He refers to this in the lyric “Eleven and she was gone / Eleven is when we waved goodbye.” Introspecting, he realizes that this was “where it all began, eleven.” In this introspection, he personifies his 11-year-old self as another person, and says that “Under a dead Ohio sky /Eleven has been and will be waiting / Defending his light and wondering / Where the hell have I been?” He reconnects with his 11-year-old self, and begs him to “hold your light / Eleven, lead me through each gentle step by step / By inch by loaded memory” and says, “I’ll move to heal as soon as pain allows / So we can reunite and both move on together.” Clearly, his mother’s paralysis caused the singer some significant trauma, and by recognizing this, he is able to work through the conflicted and painful emotions that he felt in order to finally overcome it.
The Undiscovered Self
Instead of shying away from the ugly parts of himself, he unconditionally accepts it all as part of the growth that he has to go through. Finally, at the end of the song he can “see [his] shadow changing / Stretching up and over me.” This process of reflection has let him finally come to terms with his shadow self and incorporate it into his ego. He “[comes] out the other side” to see that “forty-six and two are just ahead of me.”
His 11-year-old self could be seen as an archetype, in this case the archetype of the child. In this interpretation, the song shows the singer reuniting with this archetype which has been laying dormant in his unconscious. Alternatively, this 11-year-old self could be seen as a personification of a time in the singer’s life before he was traumatized, and the reunification that he talks about means that the singer has remembered what life was like before he was scarred by his mother’s paralysis. He describes himself as being “sleeping, lost, and numb” until that point; this phrase aptly describes the singer’s state of mind at the start of the album. The trauma he suffered at a young age can thus be seen as the root of all his subsequent problems; by moving beyond this, he is able to reconnect with the archetypal dimensions and overcome his feeling of meaninglessness in life. He is now “wide awake;” he still feels the pain of the separation within himself, but he is fully conscious of it and can now heal.
“Pushit” is the next major track after “Jimmy.” The version I will be talking about is the one
“46&2” refers to chromosomes in the human body. each human has 46 chromosomes—44 plus the 2 sex hormones. the idea is that of people evolving to reach a higher state of consciousness. released on the Salival mini-box set; it is slower, has slightly different lyrics, and is in my opinion superior to the original. It describes the singer’s experiences as he confronts the most painful part of his journey: separating himself from his partner, with whom he has a co-dependant and abusive relationship. He begins the song by saying: “Saw that gap again today / While you were begging me to stay.” Though he suffers from the abuse they each receive and inflict on each other, he feels that “What is this but my reflection / Who am I to judge or strike you down?” The music gradually becomes more intense, and finally, despite his best efforts, the singer finds himself “slipping back into the gap again,” and says that “I feel alive when you touch me/I feel alive when you hold me… down.” Afterwards, the singer reflects that “I am somewhere I don’t wanna be… [I] never wanna see that place again.” After a guitar interlude, he eventually finds the strength to reject this person and the abusive relationship they have, saying: “Remember I will always love you / As I claw your fucking throat away.” Though he is “terrified of what may come” he realizes that “it will end no other way.”
given his splintered psyche and the repressed problems he had to face, it is unsurprising that this relationship became abusive. The “gap” that he talks about refers to intimacy between them; he realizes that this relationship is unhealthy, and thus pushes his partner away from him, but at the same time he feels irresistibly drawn to it, and so again he “slips” back into it. The turning point in the song comes when he realizes that “I am somewhere I don’t wanna be.” This is the point at which he realizes that the person he is in love with is not in fact his partner, but rather his projected animaimage. Thus, he is finally able to “Push myself away / And you as well, my dear.” He pushes himself away from the temptation that his partner yields, and he pushes his partner away from himself. He realizes that the emotions which he previously thought came only from his relationship actually come from a proper connection with one’s anima, and finding this connection is the only path he can take.
The intensity and emotion evident in “Pushit” suggests that this is the most painful part of the individuation process for the singer. Jung believed that the phenomenon of falling in love at first sight is often due to a person seeing his or her anima or animus (respectively) in another person. The singer may have entered into the relationship with his partner by projecting his anima onto her, and
Though it is the title track, the song “Ænema” does not actually relate much to Jungian concepts. The song represents the singer’s final break from society: He looks at the people of Los Angeles and the lifestyle they represent and says that “the only way to fix it is to flush it all away.” He also separates himself from that society and the parts of himself that are attracted to it. From a Jungian perspective, the most interesting aspect of the song is the water imagery that he uses: “I’m praying for waves / I’m praying for tidal waves,” “Please flush it all away,” and his repeated cry to “Learn
to swim.” Water has many archetypal properties; it represents purification, flow, the dissolution of obstructed libido (psychic energy) death, renewal, and many other images. The singer’s desire to “flush it all away” represents his desire to break down unhealthy structures back to their constituent parts. This is the pinnacle of his quest to purge himself of imperfections, to destroy the obstructed libido within himself and achieve personal renewal and purification.
meaninglessness, the singer becomes aware of his anima for the first time, and gradually explores his personality and purges himself of imperfections to reach a state of full individuation.
The singer said in an interview that this song “can be looked at as involving the whole collective environment and how all of us as individuals need to learn how to go into the deep dark waters.” In this interpretation, the song serves as a cry to other people to undertake the same journey of self-discovery that the singer has. He sees the city of Los Angeles—and probably the rest of North American society—as suffering from the same problems that he once did, and so he recommends to them the same violent purging of the self that he has experienced.
The last song on the album is the 13-minute long epic “Third Eye.” The idea of the “third eye” typically represents enlightenment, knowledge of inner realms, and spaces of higher consciousness; from a Jungian perspective, it refers to the state of full individuation, where one has completely assimilated all parts of their psyche into the Self. Thus, this song represents the culmination of the singer’s journey towards enlightenment and full self-knowledge. Unfortunately, the lyrics for Third Eye are so metaphorical and vague that one could interpret them in almost any way; furthermore, as the song is the culmination of all of the album’s themes, it is difficult to separate the Jungian elements from the other concepts present. Within the scope of this essay, all that one should note is that the singer’s journey has by and large come to an end and he has achieved full individuation. The Undiscovered Self
In this essay, I have attempted to highlight the Jungian themes present in Tool’s album Ænima. The concepts that Jung discovered and outlined in his works—the psyche and the Self, the process of individuation, archetypes, the anima, and the shadow self—are useful in understanding the journey that the singer goes through over the course of the album. From a state of malaise and
about the author This essay was sourced online from a website dedicated to the band Tool’s music and consequently Maynard James compositions.
by mariana ortega originally published in mechademia, vol. 2
Self, Desire, Engendering & the Mother in Neon Genesis Evangelion
In an oneiric excerpt from the Zohar, a key text of Jewish mysticism, we learn of a strange event that takes place before the primal parents’ expulsion from Eden: Now return: Adam and Eve are still in Paradise when Samael, with a little boy in tow, accosts Eve. “Would you mind merely keeping an eye on my son?” he asks her. “I will soon return.” Eve agrees. Returning from a walk in Paradise, Adam follows the piercing squeals of the child back to Eve. “It is Samael’s,” she tells a vexed Adam. His anxiety increases along with the screams of the little one, which grow unbearably violent. Beside himself, Adam delivers a blow that kills the youngster then and there. Yet its body continues to wail at a fever pitch, monstrous groans that do not stop when Adam cuts the corpse into bits. Then Adam cooked the pieces of flesh and bone that remained, to wipe out this fiend. Together with Eve, he ate all that was left. They had hardly finished when Samael called for his son. Denying all knowledge of his son, the culprits were protesting their innocence when suddenly a louder voice cried out from within their stomachs to silence them: it was the dead boy’s voice, come straight from their hearts, his words directed to Samael.
Taken out of its context as part of a multilayered text of rabbinical hermeneutics aimed toward psychic and spiritual insight, this story forces us to engage it on a most primeval level, one that is essentially preverbal. It is by inference rather than direct analysis that we become aware of a compendium of some of the most primal human fears and anxieties, among them the uncanniness of birth and death; the many forms and terrors of ingestion, including sex; the cannibalistic bond of parent-child relationships and the allure of incest,as well as the presence in our entrails of the seeds of both reproduction and death. It is this level of primal sexual, thanatic, and generative terror that I wish to address in regard to Anno Hideaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shinseiki evangerion), a corpus that includes the initial twenty-six-episode TV series (aired from October 1995 to March 1996) and the subsequent feature films, Death and Rebirth (1997) and End of Evangelion (1997).2 As the title indicates, Neon Genesis Evangelion literally posits itself as the “gospel of a new genesis,” a work that questions and ponders the source and meaning of human life. By drawing on particular Judeo-Christian mytho-religious sources, specifically the kabbalistic and “gnostic” interpretations of The Book of Genesis that inform Anno’s script,3 I hope to address the series’ strong generative thematics. Evangelion is, without doubt, one of the most complex anime serials produced in the late 1990s, a rumination and critique on its own nature as cultural and ideological product, art and artifice. The show’s proclivity for
“Leave me, now that I’ve pierced the hearts of both Adam and Eve. I remain in their hearts forever, and in their children’s hearts, their children’s children—until the last generation I abide here.”1
self-referentiality, parody, pastiche, metalepsis, and, ultimately, deconstruction, provides us with a general instance of what Umberto Eco has termed opera aperta, or “open work,” a piece that allows and even requires multiple interpretations from the reader.4 There is no single or straight interpretation of Evangelion based on its plot sources: like many of the esoteric works it references, it is layered, crowded with riddles, arguably overcoded. Elements are shuffled, recombined, and altered to provide a new mythology that nevertheless maintains a dialectical connection to the original traditions. A combination of family melodrama and comingof-age narrative, the series follows the story of solipsistic teenager Ikari Shinji. In a postapocalyptic world following a disaster known as the Second Impact, Shinji and two other troubled fourteen year olds, Asuka Sōryū Langley and Ayanami Rei, have been chosen to pilot the exclusive Evangelion (or Eva) units, which are employed to protect humanity from the attacks of ostensibly alien life forms called “angels” (shito, in Japanese.) The creation of the three Eva units (00, 01, and 02) and the defensive work are carried out by an institution known as Nerv (“nerve” in German), a subsidiary of the Seele organization (German for “soul”.) A new angel appears in each episode, always different and seemingly more powerful than the last. Variously taking the form of monsters, clouds, and abstract geometric shapes, the angels attack the Nerv base with progressively powerful versions of the ultimate weapon, the “at field,” but are successively repulsed by the Evas.
explosion of the Second Impact. Like angels and humans, the Evas have souls, and it is later discovered that Shinji and Asuka’s units have those of their disappeared mothers. The third Eva might have the soul of Akagi Naoko, the mastermind behind Nerv’s supercomputer magi and mother of the computer engineer Akagi Ritsuko. We learn that Gendō and Seele have been pursuing distinct goals under the pretense of defending humanity. Both seek to generate a Third Impact that will obliterate humanity and return human souls to a primeval preconscious state of being. But while Seele’s aim is religious and apocalyptic in nature, Gendō instead wants to launch the “Instrumentality Process.” This will dissolve humankind into an insubstantial and undifferentiated psychic commonality, enabling Gendō’s longed-for reunion with Yui, his dead wife and Shinji’s mother.
The Undiscovered Self
Nerv is commanded by Ikari Gendō, Shinji’s estranged father. Most of Nerv’s main personnel, are, in fact, tied by a combination of past and blood histories, a sort of dysfunctional postapocalyptic original family. As the story progresses, we learn that the Evas are not mere robots to which the children neurologically connect but huge organic shells made in the image of the first angel, which was found in Antarctica and is known as Adam. Adam’s counterpart is the angel Lilith, a giant humanoid figure Nerv has captured and keeps crucified in the basement of their headquarters. In fact, it was the hubristic human attempt to reduce Adam to embryonic form that caused the
The last angel to attack Nerv takes the shape of a teenager called Nagisa Kaoru. He explains that while the angels are derived from Adam, humanity (or the “Lilim”) has sprung from Lilith, and that the return of either life form to its respective source will obliterate the other one. At this point, it becomes clear that what is at stake for Nerv, Seele, and even the angels is a kind of return to an original womb. We also learn that Rei is a clone made from human and angelic material: the crucified Lilith and Shinji’s mother, Yui. Fleshed out of Lilith and Adam respectively, Rei and Kaoru come to stand in for the primeval parents.5 Kaoru points out that they are “the same,” emphasizing the similarity between the two apparently opposed primal angels. The difference between humans and angels is also ultimately illusory. Kaoru reveals that the at field, the angelic weapon humans have learned to copy, is in fact the soul that links them both. By the final film, humanity is disclosed as the last angel, suggesting that the final source of life is a cosmic whole comprising all the dualities that are necessary for separate forms of life and consciousness to exist. As is also made clear in the movie, it is up to Shinji to decide whether humanity should dissolve into an eternal unified psyche (his father’s dream) or whether individuals should maintain their differentiated characters along with the physical and psychic alienation resulting from that
The show’s self-referentiality & deconstruction provides us with what Umberto Eco has termed “opera aperta,” a piece that allows and even requires multiple interpretations from the reader.
While Evangelion turns on concepts of origin and regeneration and bases its narrative on specifically Judeo-Christian tales of human origin, it does not follow the biblical text per se as much as assorted religious interpretations. Gnostic Christian versions of the creation story,6 as well as Judaic traditions from the Midrash, Zohar, and other kabbalistic and rabbinical commentary on Genesis, contribute a sizable part of its source material. The figures of Adam and Lilith, the concept of Lilith’s brood—the lilim—and some of the angel lore are all drawn from Hebrew sources. The diagram of the tree of the sefirot, which decorates the ceiling of Gendō’s office and is displayed during the TV series opening titles, is also a prominent kabbalistic image.
Lilith appears in a number of Jewish commentaries that address the discrepancies between Genesis 1.26–27 and 2.22–23. In Genesis 1.26, God talks about creating humankind in the plural sense, and 1.27 reads, “So God created man [Hebrew: et ha adam] in his image, / in the image of God he created him; / male and female he created them [Heb.: otam].” But 2.22 narrates Eve’s creation
from Adam’s rib, and 2.23 ends with the words “this one shall be called Woman [Heb.: ishshah], / for out of Man [Heb.: ish] this one was taken.”7 This incongruity, which owes to the fact that there are two versions of Genesis woven into one (the so-called Priestly and non-Priestly sources), has resulted in a variety of religious interpretations (both Judaic and Christian), including that of Lilith as the First Woman. As a symbol, Lilith represents the female aspect of temptation and is portrayed as belonging to the Other Side, a kind of shadow world where libidinal and deep unconscious desires go unchecked. She is the female aspect of a qliphah (a shell or husk of evil), the male part being Samael, who figures in the opening quote. In this male–female duality they form a couple that functions vis-à-vis Adam and Eve. Samael preys on women, while Lilith preys on men during their dreams, leading to nocturnal emissions and spilled seed that produces demons. This prompts possible readings of Evangelion as a narrative of psychic struggles between ego and unconscious, Jungian shadow and anima/animus. It also situates the series at the beginning of psychic and mythic time rather than at the end of it. The primal parents in the anime—the angels Adam and Lilith as well as their agents, the human/angel clone Rei and the humanlike angel Kaoru—parallel the original male and female entities of Hebrew myth. Evangelion’s Adam is associated with the angels, beings indiscernible to the human mind and associated with a higher power, while the scientifically arrogant, passion-prone, and dysfunctional humans are
condition. His final choice is a return to individuation firmly anchored in the body’s materiality. This is merely hinted at in the last two episodes, which take place in an ambivalent space encompassing the protagonist’s mind and the animator’s blank cells. These focus on Shinji’s final psychic individuation, but the movie caps the character’s journey by emphasizing the physicality of his struggle.
linked to Lilith, a figure associated with forbidden knowledge, unrestrained desire and irrationality in the Jewish sources. In the gnostic retellings of Genesis, not only does Eve have a counterpart: God does as well.8 These sources posit the concept of a fallen material world fashioned by a tyrannical demiurge who, along with his associates, tried to create humanity as a copy of a luminous, original Perfect Human or an Adam of Light, “an unflawed distillation of the divine image.”9 In Evangelion, the demiurge and his corulers (the archons) are clearly paralleled by Gendō and the Nerv personnel who experiment with the angels Adam and Lilith: both ultimately fail to imbue higher life into their material creation. According to some gnostic accounts, it was the spark of life from the true Divinity or, in other versions, the breath provided by a female emanation of the divine that brought the created Adam to his feet and imbued him with the inherent knowledge of the Divinity. If we consider the Evangelion narrative in regard to these sources, the role of the angels Adam and Lilith becomes evident: they represent an ultimate life-essence that escapes human ingenuity but is part of human nature.
is a crucial aspect of Evangelion. There are plenty of maternal figures in the series, but only three of them are actual mothers: Yui, Kyōko, and Naoko have given birth to Shinji, Asuka, and Ritsuko, respectively. Although all of them have ceased to exist in their original individuated shape and entered into the Evas and magi, their persons have an almost immutable psychic hold on their children. What is more, their threatening and monstrous aspect seems to be located in the body’s materiality, whether that of the Evas, the visceral interiors of the magi supercomputers, or the offspring themselves. Just as the Evas and magi have absorbed the women, they in turn absorb their children back into these mechanical hybrid bodies: this is the case every time Ritsuko crawls inside magi to fix it or the children climb into the “entry plug” cockpits that are then inserted into the Evas. If, in the title of this essay, I have inverted the famous line from Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s retelling of The Juniper Tree, “My mother, she killed me. / My father, he ate me,”11 it is because in Evangelion the figure of the mother becomes both literally and metaphorically cannibalistic, ingesting both the bodies and psyches of her children in order to perpetuate herself as an entity whose presence is rooted in her material inescapability.
The Undiscovered Self
Certain gnostic sources also contribute the very important trope of a female trinity: Eve, Zoe (Life), and Sophia (Wisdom), increasingly sublime and dematerialized aspects of the female principle. Generally, as recounted in the text On the Origin of the World, Sophia is the female emanation of the divine, Zoe is her manifestation as material life purveyor, and Eve is both a manifestation of Zoe and the material but divinely informed husk that is left behind when Zoe-Eve’s essence enters the Tree of Knowledge, thwarting a plan by the demiurge and his archons to rape her. In Evangelion, these variegated aspects of the archetypal feminine are carried out in Shinji’s relation to a triad composed by his caretaker, Katsuragi Misato, and his fellow pilots Rei and Asuka; they inform the maternal narrative and are also present in Naoko’s description of her creation, the magi. Despite being named after the Three Wise Men of traditional Christian lore, the computer represents the three aspects of Naoko’s self: woman, mother, scientist.10 As in the case of the gnostic myth, the existence of a feminine presence that is teleologically maternal
Mother–daughter relations in Evangelion are extremely interesting, all the more given their violence and vampiric, often sterile nature. Here, however, I focus on the figures of Yui and Shinji, given the prominence of the mother–son bond in the narrative of ingestion, death, and rebirth located in the mother’s body. As a barely formed memory in Shinji’s mind, Yui appears as a benign Madonna. When Shinji is inside the Eva, she appears to him as an essence, a vague memory of a smell, even a state of mind. It is important to notice, however, that disembodiment is the key to all these memories, not only because of their nature as memories per se but because Yui did not die. Unlike Naoko and Kyōko, whose ends are depicted in materially grotesque and gruesome images, Yui might have ceased to exist as a fleshed ego but did not cease to be. Naoko and Kyōko both apparently commit suicide, but in episode 20, Ritsuko recalls that Yui simply physically disappeared inside the Eva. Unlike Kyōko, who survived only to go mad, Yui lost her “ego border” and became
V I S UA L IZ AT I O N
Neon Genesis Evangelion In the late modern post-Copernican, postNietzschean cosmos, the human self exists as an infinitesimal and peripheral island of meaning and spiritual aspiration in a vast, purposeless universe, signifying nothing except what the human self creates.
SOFIA Wisdom Asuka
gn o s t i c s o ur ce s
s o ul s w i t hin e va
b o d ie s & p syche s
E VE “From” Adam
r ei & k ao r u
GENESIS ≥ Fall of Man K ABBAL AH ≥ “Be fruitful & multiply” Conflict at end
ADAM E VE SAMAEL LILITH
awa k enin g o f Origin e va : tr ee o f Reproduction s ef ir o t a End nd o ur o b o r o s
Shinji / Asuka
DIVINE ≥ EVAs derived from Adam HUSK ≥ Humans derived from Lilith Unit 01 eats God ( ANGEL) + swallows Lilith (SHINJI) Unit 01 becomes Alpha + Omega
s hin j i
Y UI /E VA
E VE Divine Husk
en t ry p l u g in t o e va s & m agi Yui / Kyoko
LILITH Separate Entity Image & Likeness
Body or Consciousness
Human Arrogance LILITH
The role of the angels Adam & Lilith becomes evident: they represent an ultimate life-essence that escapes human ingenuity but is part of human nature. that essence which defined herself: while Naoko and Kyōko were characterized and even died by their “woman” aspect in fits of jealousy and guilt, Yui became “all-mother.” The shell in which that maternal quintessence survives, exists and, most important, manifests herself is Eva 01.
when, after attaining a 400 percent synch level with Eva 01, he actually dissolves or disappears in the liquid interior of the entry plug. It is worth looking in more detail at this incident, which takes place in episode 20, significantly titled “Oral Stage.” In episode 19 Shinji has willfully decided to stop piloting after an incident involving his father. When Eva 03 is taken over by an angel, Shinji refuses to act against it, so Gendō takes control of Shinji’s Eva and uses it to butcher the hijacked unit 03. The pilot of unit 03, Shinji then learns, was one of his school friends. As he is leaving town, a new angel attacks, quickly defeats Rei and Asuka, and proceeds on to Nerv’s headquarters. After a crucial encounter with Kaji Ryōji, his adopted father-figure, Shinji returns to Nerv, asserts himself to Gendō (“I am the pilot of Evangelion 01! Ikari Shinji!”) and pilots the Eva, dragging the angel out of headquarters just in the nick of time. Once outside, the Eva’s power supply runs out, but just when all seems lost, Unit 01 responds to Shinji’s frenetic pleas and proceeds to defeat the angel. In the process, she regenerates her lost arm with flesh taken off her enemy’s body. Once the angel has been vanquished, Unit 01, growling and walking on all fours, begins to eat it, consuming the angel’s power-core, the S-2 engine. This happens along with a reincorporation of the flesh of the child, as Shinji himself is swallowed by Unit 01 in episode 20.
Shinji’s mother, then, contains a kind of SophiaZoe-Eve trinity within herself. Her intellectual brilliance, maternal wisdom, status as one of the founding members of Nerv, and immateriality of her essence, if not her presence, recall Sophia, while the life and soul she has imbued into Unit 01 suggest the role of Zoe. The shell represented by Eve in the gnostic myth is, of course, the Eva itself. Indeed, Yui/Eva often acts as protectress and salve against the demiurgic Gendō, who plays paternal tyrant to Shinji’s earthen Adam. But her benign, physically sublimated aspects coexist with the physical ambivalence and violence of the Eva.
The Undiscovered Self
When Asuka tauntingly asks Shinji, who has swapped Evas with Rei, “Hey, Shin-chan, how do you like mommy’s breast? Or is it more like inside her womb?” she is not merely pointing to the fundamentally motherly aspect of the Evas. She is also adding to the foreshadowing of Rei’s essential nature as a clone of Shinji’s mother. No matter which Eva he is in, he will constantly return to her, either through an entry plug in Eva 01 or Ayanami Rei’s memories, impression, and “smell” in Eva 00. An incestuous moment is symbolically realized whenever a unit takes her child into her via the vaginal/womblike space that receives the phallicized entry plug, enacting a return to the womb. In Shinji’s case, this is further developed
In episode 24, Kaoru asserts that the angels and Evas are derived from Adam (either as human-made replicas or actual off spring) and that humans are Lilith’s brood. Elsewhere, we learn that Eva 01 was built from Lilith’s flesh. If all this is true, then, in this scene, the Eva is eating its sibling (the angel,
child of Lilith’s primordial counterpart Adam) along with its child and progenitor (Shinji, a manifestation of Lilith) and even its own self, since it was created from Lilith by Nerv. She becomes wholly individuated and complete (or, as Ryōji says, “awakes”) once she has ingested the flesh of her counterpart as well as that which engendered and composes her. This not only results in an inversion of the birthing process but also an inversion of death, which is normally taken to occur outside the womb—it is, in fact, the inevitable ontological result of exiting the womb. The Eva is, then, a physically potent alpha and omega: a being that, by erasing the traces of both its inception and procreation, has become utterly invulnerable and single, embodying its origin, reproduction, and end.12
within himself all the life potential contained in the motherly life source. The crucified figure in Nerv’s basement shows an aspect of Lilith that constitutes an external physical presence who, in her primal maternity, offers the keys to both engendering and physical dissolution, with the latter’s implied cessation of sexual and psychic desires. But in End of Evangelion, when Rei finally melds with the crucified angel to begin the process of Instrumentality and becomes a giant, metamorphosing force, the presence of Lilith is rendered simultaneously physical and abstract. As a motherly figure who, in the second half of the movie, participates actively in Shinji’s internal discourse, counsels him during the dissolution of Instrumentality, is depicted melding with him in physical coitus—holding him in her lap and ultimately giving way to the physical presence of Yui—she also becomes a symbol of internalized sexuality, onanism, oedipal desire, and stagnation, a cipher for the refusal and/or inability to individuate sexually and psychically, as well as the latent potential to do so.
But the disappearance inside the Eva is also Shinji’s encounter with a sort of “eternal feminine” that is traced back to the mother not as an individual but as a state of being. This mother–child duality/proximity is the closest post natal approximation to a cessation of alterity. By swallowing Shinji, holding him inside for several days, and then expelling him, Eva/Yui reconstitutes herself as source and potentiality, a union of mother and child that by bringing dissolution also brings about corporealization. Inside the Eva, Shinji dies and is gestated at the same time, enclosing
The myth of Lilith is part of a tradition emblematized in the diagram of the tree of the sefirot, mentioned earlier in this essay. The sefirot are interacting and reproducing emanations of Ein Sof, the Divine Being, an ultimate source that exists beyond human comprehension. They encompass the creative, generative power of divinity in ten diff erent aspects and bridge the physical and metaphysical distances between infi nity and the created world.
The image of the tree whose symbolic roots are at the source of divine power and whose branches reach down into the plane of physical reality represents the notion of a continuous and fluid relationship with the divine. Seen in correlation to the human body, this diagram envisions the act of human reproduction as a kind of theogony: “In the eyes of the kabbalists, the genealogy of bodies makes manifest an invisible chain whose first links constitute the divine order itself, the creative activity brought forth in human procreative activity.”14 This stands almost in direct opposition to the gnostic notions of corporeality, which, although they recognize the body as “the best visible trace of the divine in the material world”15
The Eva’s ingestion of Shinji wrenches him away from his own physical self as well as his father’s side, bringing him the closest he can possibly get to his place of origin. Inside, he confronts, among other things, the trinity of Misato, Rei, and Asuka, who float naked in an ethereal, luminous space and repeatedly ask him if he wants to become one with them. This event functions on various levels. On the one hand, it is a reference to Gendō’s secular conception of the gnostic concept of the “pleroma,”13 an absolute dissolution of individual consciousnesses into a collective eternal awareness that, by eliminating all lacks that result from unfulfilled desires, eliminates all traces of ego. Melding with Misato, Rei, and Asuka, Shinji ceases to be who he is, and they cease to be themselves, becoming part of an asexual, impersonal, and immaterial bliss that exists outside time and space. This is exactly what starts happening in episode 25, when Gendō’s Instrumentality project is launched.
implied in the last installment of the TV series when the protagonist let go of the psychological
While Gendo & Seele both sought a cessation of individuation, Shinji embraces the procreative imperative, returning the narrative to physicality.
ghosts of his parents in order to individuate himself fully (“To my father, thank you. To my mother, farewell”). However, the final two episodes contained a number of metatextual elements that problematized not only the nature of representation but also that of a material reality existing outside the individual mind,18 opening up questions about the physical integrity of the body. End of Evangelion resolves this
also paradoxically categorize it as an “enclosure of the light,”16 the “prison” in which a tyrannical demiurge has confined the essentially divine soul (just as Gendō’s construction of the Evas ultimately confines the souls of his wife and others within these shells).
The Undiscovered Self
While gnostic revisions of Genesis conceive the very creation of man as a fall from an abstracted original bliss, kabbalistic readings tend to focus on the divine imperative “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”17 It is these two opposing views that are at play during the anime’s grand finale, which starts in the last two episodes of the TV series and fi nishes in the movie End of Evangelion. Through a complex series of events, humanity’s final encounters with the angels trigger the Instrumentality process, which unravels the fabric of the existing world and threatens to swallow up all individuals into a single collective state. Shinji alone remains unaffected, perhaps because he is shielded by Eva/Yui and chosen over Gendō by Lilith/Rei, and is presented with the chance to refuse Instrumentality and remake the physical world. While Gendō and Seele both sought, through different means and with different attitudes, a cessation of individuation and an end to materiality, reproduction, and engenderment, Shinji eventually embraces the procreative imperative, returning the whole narrative to physicality and, furthermore, to the body as potential source of life. This was already
mind–body dichotomy with a smorgasbord of mytho-sexual
and sexual images and, more important, a series
of eminently physical final gestures: Shinji tries to strangle Asuka, Asuka strokes Shinji’s cheek, Shinji
collapses sobbing, and Asuka’s final words, “How disgusting,” tie mental impressions and emotions to an elementary bodily response (repulsion).
These brief exchanges signal a return to the immanence of the body. In episode 20, Yui’s disembodied voice floats
through the uterine consciousness of the Eva
01: “If you have the will to live, anywhere can be heaven.” She repeats similar words to Shinji
toward the conclusion of End of Evangelion. Unlike the vampiric Naoko and Kyōko, Yui/Eva 01/Rei/
Lilith ultimately acts as the force of develop-
ment and engenderment. Her self-reproducing nature becomes the fi nal sacrifice that will allow the “new genesis” promised in the title to come into being. The fact that Rei/ Lilith melds with or transforms into Kaoru suggests a variety of possi-
bilities: while it arguably adds homosociality and unresolved homosexual desires to the list of issues impeding Shinji’s sexual and psychic maturation, it also calls attention to the fact that split, dualistic appearances are ultimately manifestations of a holistic cosmic force. This is important because bringing Adam/Kaoru and Lilith/Rei into one emphasizes the essentially androgynous character of the procreative embodiment, prompting us to locate the motherly potential in Shinji’s male body. His refusal of Instrumentality is, after all,
humanity’s rebirth. In other words, Shinji’s own birthing process must come to an end, and he must now embody the generative power. While this force was previously personified as a circular process by the maternal figure, Shinji presents it in its linear aspect, opening up the possibility of generational reproduction and a new beginning for humanity. Mother and child are indeed one but, like the angels Adam and Lilith, they must be one differently and separately in the world of Shinji’s choosing. It is indispensable that Shinji let go both of his mother’s ghost and the Eva in order to individuate fully. By the same token, the mother in all her aspects (Yui/Eva 01/Lilith/Rei) must end the cyclicality of her relationship with the son and cut the metaphoric umbilical cord that still ties them: Yui, Rei, the Eva, and Lilith must all cease to be physically present in Shinji’s new world. As Eva 01 floats into outer space to live as “eternal proof that humankind has existed” (here humans have indeed created god), the body of Lilith/Rei crumbles. While this material manifestation of the “All Mother” could also have become the way to an eternal, cyclical return to a uterine unconsciousness, it is her physical death and disintegration that are the ultimate source of life and herald a new reproductive order.
In the final scene, Shinji and the reborn Asuka lie on the shore by a sea of LCL, the uterine fluid that fills the entry plugs and Evangelion’s primordial soup. Discouraging as this might seem, the two dysfunctional teenagers now stand as a new Adam and Eve, a primal earthly couple through whose direct—or indirect—agency the world will repopulate itself. In a sense, they will all be the children of the eternal Eva-mother, and the reconstitution and engenderment of human life will continue, carrying inside all its fears and anxieties, along with its creative and generative power, “until the last generation.”
Dr. Ortega (PhD California at San Diego, at JCU since 1995) has special interest in continental philosophy, especially Heideggerian phenomenology, and Latin feminism. originally published in mechademia vol. 2
about the author
IV FR A MEW ORK
as interviewed by eric norden for playboy magazine, 1968
Stanley Kubrick: The Playboy Interview
P L AY B OY Much of the controversy surrounding 2001 deals with the meaning of the metaphysical symbols that abound in the film—the polished black monoliths, the orbital conjunction of Earth, Moon and Sun at each stage of the monoliths’ intervention in human destiny, the stunning final kaleidoscopic maelstrom of time and space that engulfs the surviving astronaut and sets the stage for his rebirth as a “star child” drifting toward Earth in a translucent placenta. One critic even called 2001 “the first Nietzschean film,” contending that its essential theme is Nietzsche’s concept of man’s evolution from ape to human to superman. What was the metaphysical message of 2001?
level—but I don’t want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he’s missed the point. I think that if 2001 succeeds at all, it is in reaching a wide spectrum of people who would not often give a thought to man’s destiny, his role in the cosmos and his relationship to higher forms of life. But even in the case of someone who is highly intelligent, certain ideas found in 2001 would, if presented as abstractions, fall rather lifelessly and be automatically assigned to pat intellectual categories; experienced in a moving visual and emotional context, however, they can resonate within the deepest fibers of one’s being.
No, for the reasons I’ve already given. How much would we appreciate La Gioconda today if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: “This lady is smiling slightly because she has rotten teeth”—or “because she’s hiding a secret from her lover”? It would shut off the viewer’s appreciation and shackle him to a “reality” other than his own. I don’t want that to happen to 2001.
Arthur Clarke has said of the film, “If anyone understands it on the first viewing, we’ve failed in our intention.” Why should the viewer have to see a film twice to get its message? I don’t agree with that statement of Arthur’s, and I believe he made it facetiously. The very nature of the visual experience in 2001 is to give the viewer an instantaneous, visceral reaction that does
kubrick It’s not a message that I ever intend to convey in words. 2001 is a nonverbal experience; out of two hours and nineteen minutes of film, there are only a little less than forty minutes of dialog. I tried to create a visual experience, one that bypasses verbalized pigeonholing and directly penetrates the subconscious with an emotional and philosophic content. To convolute McLuhan, in 2001 the message is the medium. I intended the film to be an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does; to “explain” a Beethoven symphony would be to emasculate it by erecting an artificial barrier between conception and appreciation. You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film—and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep
Without laying out a philosophical road map for the viewer, can you tell us your own interpretation of the meaning of the film?
not—and should not—require further amplification. Just speaking generally, however, I would say that there are elements in any good film that would increase the viewer’s interest and appreciation on a second viewing; the momentum of a movie often prevents every stimulating detail or nuance from having a full impact the first time it’s seen. The whole idea that a movie should be seen only once is an extension of our traditional conception of the film as an ephemeral entertainment rather than as a visual work of art. We don’t believe that we should hear a great piece of music only once, or see a great painting once, or even read a great book just once. But the film has until recent years been exempted from the category of art—a situation I’m glad is finally changing.
Speaking of what it’s all about—if you’ll allow us to return to the philosophical interpretation of 2001—would you agree with those critics who call it a profoundly religious film?
a microsecond in the chronology of the universe— can you imagine the evolutionary development that much old life forms have taken? They may have progressed from biological species, which are fragile shells for the mind at best, into immortal machine entities—and then, over innumerable eons, they could emerge from the chrysalis of matter transformed into beings of pure energy and spirit. Their potentialities would be limitless and their intelligence ungraspable by humans.
Even assuming the cosmic evolutionary path you suggest, what has this to do with the nature of God? Everything—because these beings would be gods to the billions of less advanced races in the universe, just as man would appear a god to an ant that somehow comprehended man’s existence. They would possess the twin attributes of all deities—omniscience and omnipotence. These entities might be in telepathic communication throughout the cosmos and thus be aware of everything that occurs, tapping every intelligent mind as effortlessly as we switch on the radio; they might not be limited to the speed of light and their presence could penetrate to the farthest corners of the universe; they might possess complete mastery over matter and energy; and in their final evolutionary stage, they might develop into an integrated collective immortal consciousness. They would be incomprehensible to us except as gods; and if the tendrils of their consciousness ever brushed men’s minds, it is only the hand of God we could grasp as an explanation.
The Undiscovered Self
I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001—but not any traditional, anthropomorphic image of God. I don’t believe in any of Earth’s monotheistic religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of God, once you accept the fact that there are approximately 100 billion starts in our galaxy alone, that each star is a life-giving sun and that there are approximately 100 billion galaxies in just the visible universe. Given a planet in a stable orbit, not too hot and not too cold, and given a few billion years of chance chemical reactions created by the interaction of a sun’s energy on the planet’s chemicals, it’s fairly certain that life in one form or another will eventually emerge. It’s reasonable to assume that there must be, in fact, countless billions if such planets where biological life has arisen, and the odds of some proportion of such life developing intelligence are high. Now, the sun is by no means an old star, and its planets are mere children in cosmic age, so it seems likely that there are billions of planets in the universe not only where intelligent life is on a lower scale than man but other billions where it is approximately equal and others still where it is hundreds of thousands of millions of years in advance of us. When you think of the giant technological strides that man has made in a few millennia—less than
If such creatures do exist, why should they be interested in man? They might not be. But why should man be interested in microbes? The motives of such beings would be as alien to us as their intelligence.
In 2001, such incorporeal creatures seem to manipulate our destinies and control our evolution, though whether for good or evil— or both, or neither—remains unclear. Do you really believe it’s possible that man is a cosmic plaything of such entities? I don’t really believe anything about them; how can I? Mere speculation on the possibility of their
I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001—but not any traditional, anthropomorphic image of God.
existence is sufficiently overwhelming, without attempting to decipher their motives. The important point is that all the standard attributes assigned to God in our history could equally well be the characteristics of biological entities who billions of years ago were at a stage of development similar to man’s own and evolved into something as remote from man as man is remote from the primordial ooze from which he first emerged.
subject among scientists and philosophers. Some contend that encountering a highly advanced civilization—even one whose technology is essentially comprehensible to us—would produce a traumatic cultural shock effect on man by divesting him of his smug ethnocentrism and shattering the delusion that he is the center of the universe. Carl Jung summed up this position when he wrote of contact with advanced extraterrestrial life that the “reins would be torn from our hands and we would, as a tearful old medicine man once said to me, find ourselves ‘without dreams’ […] we would find our intellectual and spiritual aspirations so outmoded as to leave us completely paralyzed.” I personally don’t accept this position, but it’s one that’s widely held and can’t be summarily dismissed. In 1960, for example, the Committee for Long Range Studies of the Brookings Institution prepared a report for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration warning that even indirect contact—i.e., alien artifacts that might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus or via radio contact with an interstellar civilization—could cause severe psychological dislocations. It concluded that since intelligent life might be discovered at any time, and that since the consequences of such a discovery are “presently unpredictable,” it was advisable that the government initiate continuing studies on the psychological and intellectual impact of confrontation with extraterrestrial life. What action was taken on this report I don’t know, but I assume that such studies are now under way. However, while not discounting the possible adverse emotional impact on some people, I would personally tend to view such contact with a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm.
Of course there would be; in an infinite, eternal universe, the point is that anything is possible, and it’s unlikely that we can even begin to scratch the surface of the full range of possibilities. But at a time  when man is preparing to set foot on the Moon, I think it’s necessary to open up our Earth bound minds to such speculation. No one knows what’s waiting for us in the universe. I think it was a prominent astronomer who wrote recently, “Sometimes I think we are alone, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering.”
You said there must be billions of planets sustaining life that is considerably more advanced than man but has not yet evolved into non- or suprabiological forms. What do you believe would be the effect on humanity if the Earth were contacted by a race of such ungodlike but technologically superior beings? There’s a considerable difference of opinion on this
In this cosmic phylogeny you’ve described, isn’t it possible that there might be forms of intelligent life on an even higher scale than these entities of pure energy—perhaps as far removed from them as they are from us?
Rather than shattering our society, I think it could immeasurably enrich it. WAnother positive point is that it’s a virtual certainty that all intelligent life at one stage in its technological development must have discovered nuclear energy. This is obviously the watershed of any civilization; does it find a way to use nuclear power without destruction and harness it for peaceful purposes, or does it annihilate itself? In any case, as far as cultural shock is concerned, my impression is that the attention span of most people is quite brief; after a week or two of great excitement and over-saturation in newspapers and on television, the public’s interest would drop off and the United Nations, or whatever world body we then had, would settle down to discussions with the aliens.
to visit other planets for fear of what we may find there. If others don’t contact us, we must contact them; it’s our destiny.
How about possibilities, if not the probabilities, of intelligent life on the other planets? Most scientists and astronomers rule out life on the outer planets since their surface temperatures are thousands of degrees either above or below zero and their atmospheres would be poisonous. I suppose it’s possible that life could evolve on such planets with, say, a liquid ammonia or methane base, but it doesn’t appear too likely. As far as Venus goes, the Mariner probes indicate that the surface temperature of the planet is approximately eight hundred degrees Fahrenheit, which would deny the chemical basis for molecular development of life. And there could be no indigenous intelligent life on the Moon, because of the total lack of atmosphere—no life as we know it, in any case; though I suppose that intelligent rocks or crystals, or statues, with a silicone life base are not really impossible, or even conscious gaseous matter or swarms of sentient electric particles. You’d get not technology from such creatures, but if their intelligence could control matter, why would they need it? There could be nothing about them, however, remotely humanoid—a form that would appear to be an eminently practicable universal life prototype.
You’re assuming that extraterrestrials would be benevolent. Why?
Why would a vastly superior race bother to harm or destroy us? If an intelligent and suddenly traced a message in the sand at my feet reading, “I am sentient; let’s talk things over,” I doubt very much that I would rush to grind him under my heel. Even if they weren’t superintelligent, though, but merely more advanced than mankind, I would tend to lean more toward the benevolence, or at least indifference, theory. Since it’s most unlikely that we would be visited from within our own solar system, any society capable of traversing lightyears of space would have to have an extremely high degree of control over matter and energy. Therefore, what possible motivation for hostility would they have? To steal our gold or oil or coal? It’s hard to think of any nasty intention that would justify the long and arduous journey from another star.
The Undiscovered Self
Even if they prove to be malevolent, their arrival would have at least one useful by-product in that the nations of the Earth would stop squabbling among themselves and forge a common front to defend the planet. I think it was André Maurois who suggested many years ago that the best way to realize world peace would be to stage a false threat from outer space; it’s not a bad idea. But I certainly don’t believe we should view contact with extraterrestrial life forms with foreboding, or hesitate
Have you ever used LSD or other so-called consciousness-expanding drugs?
No. I believe that drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist. I think that the illusion of oneness with the universe, and absorption with the significance of every object in your environment, and the pervasive aura of peace and contentment is not the ideal state for an artist. It tranquilizes the creative personality, which thrives on conflict and on the clash and ferment of ideas. The artist’s transcendence must be within his own work; he should not impose any artificial barriers between himself and the mainspring of his subconscious. One of the things that’s turned me against lsd is that all the people I know who use it have a peculiar inability to distinguish between things that are really interesting and stimulating and things that appear so in the state of universal
bliss the drug induces on a “good” trip. They seem to completely lose their critical faculties and disengage themselves from some of the most stimulating areas of life. Perhaps when everything is beautiful, nothing is beautiful.
Some critics have detected not only a deep pessimism but also a kind of misanthropy in much of your work. In Dr. Strangelove, one reviewer commented that your directorial attitude, despite the film’s antiwar message, seemed curiously aloof and detached and unmoved by the annihilation of mankind, almost as if the Earth were being cleansed of an infection. Is there any truth to that? Good God, no. You don’t stop being concerned with man because you recognize his essential absurdities and frailties and pretensions. To me, the only real immorality is that which endangers the species; and the only absolute evil, that which threatens its annihilation. In the deepest sense, I believe in man’s potential and in his capacity for progress. In Strangelove, I was dealing with the inherent irrationality in man that threatens to destroy him; that irrationality is with us as strongly today, and must be conquered. But a recognition of insanity doesn’t imply a celebration of it—nor a sense of despair and futility about the possibility of curing it.
with a kind of morbid fascination—toward automation. Your critics claim this was especially evident in 2001, where the archvillain of the film, the computer HAL 9000, was in a sense the only human being. Do you believe that machines are becoming more like men and men more like machines—and do you detect an eventual struggle for dominance between the two? First of all, I’m not hostile toward machines at all; just the opposite, in fact. There’s no doubt that we’re entering a mechanarchy, however, and that our already complex relationship with our machinery will become even more complex as the machines become more and more intelligent. Eventually, we will have to share this planet with machines whose intelligence and abilities far surpass our own. But the interrelationship—if intelligently managed by man—could have an immeasurably enriching effect on society. Looking into the distant future, I suppose it’s not inconceivable that a semisentient robot-computer subculture could evolve that might one day decide it no longer needed man. You’ve probably heard the story about the ultimate computer of the future: For months scientists think of the first question to pose to it, and finally they hit on the right one: “Is there a God?” After a moment of whirring and flashing lights, a card comes out, punched with the words: there is now. But this problem is a distant one and I’m not staying up nights worrying about it; I’m convinced that our toasters and tvs are fully domesticated, thought I’m not so sure about
You’ve been accused of revealing, in your films, a strong hostility to the modern industrialized society of the democratic West, and a particular antagonism—ambivalently laced
The Undiscovered Self
The most terrifying fact about the Universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
integrated telephone circuits, which sometimes strike me as possessing a malevolent life all their own.
Thanks to those special effects, 2001 is undoubtedly the most graphic depiction of space flight in the history of films—and yet you have admitted that you yourself refuse to fly, even in a commercial jet liner. Why? I suppose it comes down to a rather awesome awareness of mortality. Our ability, unlike the other animals, to conceptualize our own end creates tremendous psychic strains within us; whether we like to admit it or not, in each man’s chest a tiny ferret of fear at this ultimate knowledge gnaws away at his ego and his sense of purpose. We’re fortunate, in a way, that our body, and the fulfillment of its need and functions, plays such an imperative role in our lives; this physical shell creates a buffer between us and the mind-paralyzing realization that only a few years of existence separate birth from death. If man really sat back and thought about his impending termination and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad, or succumb to a numbing sense of futility. Why, he might ask himself, should he bother to write a great symphony, or strive to make a living, or even to love another, when he is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space? Those of us who are forced by their own sensibilities to view their lives in this perspective—who recognize that there is no purpose they can comprehend and that amidst a countless myriad of stars their existence goes unknown and unchronicled—can fall prey all too easily to the ultimate anomie. I can well understand how life became for Matthew Arnold “a darkling plain… where ignorant armies clash by night… and there is neither love nor hope nor certitude nor faith nor surcease from pain.” But even for those who lack the sensitivity to more than vaguely comprehend their transience and their triviality, this inchoate awareness robs life of meaning and purpose; it’s why “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” why so many of us find our lives as absent of meaning as our deaths The world’s religions, for all their parochialism, did supply a kind of consolation for this great ache; but
as clergymen now pronounce the death of God and, to quote Arnold again, “the sea of faith” recedes around the world with a “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,” man has no crutch left on which to lean—and no hope, however irrational, to give purpose to his existence. This shattering recognition of our mortality is at the root of far more mental illness than I suspect even psychiatrists are aware.
If life is so purposeless, do you feel that it’s worth living? Yes, for those of us who manage somehow to cope with our mortality. The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism— and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But if he’s reasonably strong—and lucky—he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s élan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He many not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death—however mutable man may be able to make them—our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
Will we be able to find any deep meaning or fulfillment, either as individuals or as a species, as long as we continue to live with the knowledge that all human life could be snuffed out at any moment in a nuclear catastrophe? We must, for in the final analysis, there may be no sound way to eliminate the threat of self-extinction without changing human nature; even if you
managed to get every country disarmed down to the bow and arrow, you would still be unable to lobotomize either the knowledge of how to build nuclear warheads or the perversity that allows us to rationalize their use. Given these two categorical imperatives in a disarmed world, the first country to amass even a few weapons would have a great incentive to use them quickly. So an argument might be made that there is a greater chance for some use of nuclear weapons in a totally disarmed world, though less chance of global extinction; while in a world armed to the teeth you have less chance for some use—but a great chance of extinction if they’re used. If you try to remove yourself from an Earthly perspective and look at this tragic paradox with the detachment of an extraterrestrial, the whole thing is totally irrational. Man now has the power in one mad, incandescent moment, as you point out, to exterminate the entire species; our own generation could be the last on Earth. One miscalculation and all the achievements of history could vanish in a mushroom cloud; one misstep and all of man’s aspirations and strivings over the millennia could be terminated. One short circuit in a computer, one lunatic in a command structure and we could negate the heritage of the billions who have died since the dawn of man and abort the promise of the billions yet unborn—the ultimate genocide. What an irony that the discovery of nuclear power, with its potential for annihilation, also constitutes the first tottering step into the universe that must be taken by all intelligent worlds. Unhappily, the infant-mortality rate among emerging civilizations in the cosmos may be very high. Not that it will matter except to us; the destruction of this planet would have no significance on a cosmic scale; to an observer in the Andromeda nebulae, the sign of our extinction would be no more than a match flaring for a second in the heavens; and it that match does blaze in the darkness, there will be none to mourn a race that used a power that could have lit a beacon in the stars to light its funeral pyre. The choice is ours.
The Undiscovered Self
about the author Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and cinematographer, considered one of America’s greatest filmmakers. His films, typically adaptations of novels or short stories, were noted for their unique cinematography, attention to details to achieve realism, and an inspired use of music scores. originally published in stanley kubrick: the interviews
the brink of a new millenium.â€?
thoughts on life & death on
excerpt from â€œbillions & billions:
carl sagan, 1988
Religion & Science: An Alliance
Intelligence and tool-making were our strengths from the beginning. We used these talents to compensate for the paucity of the natural gifts—speed, flight, venom, burrowing, and the rest—freely distributed to other animals, so it seemed, and cruelly denied to us. From the time of the domestication of fire and the elaboration of stone tools, it was obvious that our skills could be used for evil as well as for good. But it was not until very recently that it dawned on us that even the benign use of our intelligence and our tools might—because we are not smart enough to foresee all consequences—put us at risk. Now we are everywhere on Earth. We have bases in Antarctica. We visit the ocean bottoms. Twelve of us have even walked on the Moon. There are now nearly six billion of us, and our numbers grow by the equivalent of the population of China every decade. We have subdued the other animals and the plants (although we have been less successful with the microbes.) We have domesticated many organisms and made them do our bidding. We have become, by some standards, the dominant species on Earth.
The wholesale attack on the global environment is not the fault only of profit-hungry industrialists or visionless and corrupt politicians. There is plenty of blame to share. The tribe of scientists has played a central role. Many of us didn’t even bother to think about the long term consequences of our inventions. We have been to ready to put devastating powers into the hands of the highest bidder and the officials of whichever nation we happen to be living in. In too many cases, we have lacked a moral compass. Philosophy and science from their very beginnings have been eager, in the words of Rene Descartes, “to make us masters and possessors of Nature,” to use science, as Francis Bacon said, to bend all of Nature into “the service of Man.” Bacon talked about “Man” exercising a “Right over Nature.” “Nature,” wrote Aristotle, “has made all animals for the sake of man.” “Without man,” asserted Immanuel Kant, “the whole of creation would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain.” Not so long ago we were hearing about “conquering” Nature and the “conquest” of space—as if Nature and the Cosmos were enemies to be vanquished. The religious tribe also has played a central role. Western sects held that just as we must submit to God, so the rest of Nature must submit to us. In modern times especially, we seem more dedicated to the
And at almost every step, we have emphasized the local over the global, the short-term over the long. We have destroyed the forests, eroded the topsoil, changed the composition of the atmosphere, depleted the protective ozone layer, tampered with the climate, poisoned the air and the waters, and made the poorest people suffer most from the deteriorating environment. We have become predators on the biosphere—full of arrogant entitlement, always taking and never giving back. And so, we are now a danger to ourselves and the other beings with whom we share the planet.
We have emphasized the local over the global, the short-term over the long. We have become predators on the biosphere; always taking, never giving back.
second half of this proposition than the first. In the real and palpable world, as revealed by what we do and not what we say, many humans seemingly aspire to be lords of Creation—with an occasional token bow, as required by social convention, to whatever gods may lately be fashionable. Descartes and Bacon were profoundly influenced by religion. The notion of “us against Nature” is a legacy of our religious traditions. In the Book of Genesis, God gives humans “dominion… over every living thing,” and the “fear” and “dread” of us is to be upon “every beast.” Man is urged to “subdue” Nature, and “subdue” is translated from a Hebrew word with strong military connotations. There is much else in the Bible—and in the medieval Christian tradition out of which modern science emerged—along similar lines. Islam, by contrast, is disinclined to declare Nature an enemy.
their way to assert that Nature is just the setting and not the story, that viewing Nature as sacred is sacrilege.
The Undiscovered Self
Of course, both science and religion are complex and multilayered structures, embracing many different, even contradictory, opinions. It is scientists who discovered and called the world’s attention to the environmental crises, and there are scientists who, at considerable cost to themselves, refused to work on inventions that might harm their fellows. And it is religion that first articulated the imperative to revere living things. True, there is nothing in the Judeo-ChristianMuslim tradition that approaches the cherishing of Nature in the Hindu-Buddhist-Jain tradition or among Native Americans. Indeed, both Western religion and Western science have gone out of
Nevertheless, there is a clear religious counterpoint: The natural world is a creation of God, put here for purposes separate from the glorification of “Man” and deserving, therefore, of respect and care in its own right, and not just because of its utility for us. A poignant metaphor of “stewardship” has emerged, especially recently—the idea that humans are the caretakers of the Earth, put here for the purpose of accountable, now and into the indefinite future, to the Landlord. Of course, life on Earth got along pretty well for 4 billion years without “stewards.” Trilobites and dinosaurs, who were each around for more than a hundred million years, might be amused at a species here only a thousandth as long deciding to appoint itself the guardian of life on Earth. That species is itself the danger. Human stewards are needed, these religions recognize, to protect the Earth from humans. The methods and ethos of science and religion are profoundly different. Religion frequently asks us to believe without question, even (or especially) in the absence of hard evidence. Indeed, this is the central meaning of faith. Science asks us to take nothing on faith, to be wary of our penchant for self-deception, to reject anecdotal evidence. Science considers deep skepticism a prime virtue. Religion often sees it as a barrier to enlightenment.
So, for centuries, there has been a conflict between the two fields—the discoveries of science challenging religious dogmas, and religion attempting to ignore or suppress the disquieting findings. But times have changed. Many religions are now comfortable with an Earth that goes around the Sun, with an Earth that’s 4.5 billion years old, with evolution, and with the other discoveries of modern science. Pope John Paul II has said, “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish… Such bridging ministries must be nurtured and encouraged.” Nowhere is this more clear than in the current environmental crisis. No matter whose responsibility the crisis mainly is, there’s no way out of it without understanding the dangers and their mechanisms, and without a deep devotion to the long-term well-being of our species and our planet—that is, pretty closely, without the central involvement of both science and religion.
Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). originally published in billions & billions: thoughts on life and death at the brink of the new millenium
about the author
V A NNEX
On Connectivity + Speed/Greed, Love & Devotion Erich Fromm, Escape from freedom, or The Fear of Freedom, 1941. 1
Excerpt from Art and New Media 2009.
“Hyperconnectivity” is a term that first appeared in a series of essays appearing online on spacecollective.org in January 2010. In The rise of the Cyber Unified Civilisation the anonymous essayist uses the term to describe the status in which the modern day man is intertwined with the Internet, cellular phones, and laptops, and is in a constant connection to the endless online news feeds and other forms of information being spread around the globe. 3
Excerpt from Erich Fromm’s Escape from freedom, or The Fear of Freedom, 1941. 7
The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests that particles are here and also not here, and can only be defined as present while being observed. The location of particles, while not being observed, can not be scientifically determined since there is no confirming evidence or observation during these ‘un-observed’ periods. 8
Information addiction is a condition whereby connected users experience a hit of pleasure, stimulation and escape. Technology that affects attention span, creativity and focus, and has been referred to as pseudo-attention deficit disorder. According to M.Richtel, who wrote the article “The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive?” in The New York Times on July 6, 2003; ‘the ubiquity of technology in the lives of executives, other businesspeople and also consumers has created a subculture of the ‘Always On’—and a brewing tension between productivity and freneticism. For all the efficiency gains that it seemingly provides, the constant stream of data can interrupt not just dinner and family time, but also meetings and creative time, and it can prove very tough to turn off’.
A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. The remaining number dream in full color. Studies from the 1915 through to the 1950s maintained that the majority of dreams were in black and white, but these results began to change in the 1960s. Today, only 4.4% of the dreams of under-15 year-olds are in black and white. Recent research has suggested that those changing results may be linked to the switch from black-and-white film and TV to color media.
The Undiscovered Self
allows friends to post messages for the user to see while displaying the time and date the message was written. One user’s Wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see his or her full profile, and different users’ Wall posts show up in an individual’s News Feed. Many users use their friends’ Walls for leaving short, temporal notes. More private discourse is saved for messages, which are sent to a user’s inbox, and are visible only to the sender and recipient(s) of the message, much like email.
The Wall is a space on each user’s profile page that
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, 1956.
Self, Desire, Engendering & the Mother in Neon Genesis Evangelion Translation by David Rosenberg, included in his book Dreams of Being Eaten Alive: The Literary Core of the Kabbalah (New York: Harmony Books, 2000), 63–64. 1
Shinseiki evangerion, dir. Anno Hideaki, TV series, 26 episodes (1995–96); translated as Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Complete, 6-DVD box set (ADV Films, 2005); End of Evangelion, dir. Anno Hideaki (1997), DVD (Manga Entertainment, 2002). The use of the term gnostic is increasingly debated among historians. Here I use it as the convenient denomination commonly ascribed to the works that concern me, mainly the Nag Hammadi texts. See The Nag Hammadi Library in English, 3
ed. James M. Robinson, 3rd rev. ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 1990).
Human Body, ed. Michel Feher, Ramona Naddaff , and Nadia Tazi (New York: Zone, 1989), 1:132.
Umberto Eco, Opera aperta (Milan: Bompiani, 1962). Some of these aspects, as well as their relevance in the problematic conclusion of the TV series, have been addressed by Susan Napier in her article “When the Machines Stop: Fantasy, Reality, and Terminal Identity in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain,” Science Fiction Studies 29 (2002): 419–35.
As far as Christian sources are concerned, a substantial part of Evangelion’s narrative is derived from the so-called Gnostic Gospels, though it also deals with a variety of notions related to orthodox Christian narratives like the book of Revelation and the New Testament’s Gospels. In fact, depending on what Evangelion source we pick, Kaoru, Rei, Shinji, and Gendō can all be seen, at different points of the narrative and under different guises, as valid Christ figures or analogues. This kind of interpretive network applies to all major characters and events in the series. It could also be said that Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism are important narrative and ideological undercurrents. The series does not necessarily engage all these narratives in a coherent, consistent, or comparable manner, but uses them to shape its scope and vision. Ultimately, it seems to me that, in the specific case of Christian lore, the orthodox elements are subsumed by the gnostic vision, maybe because the latter is more congenial to Anno’s psychological, introspective narrative intent. 6
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, “The Juniper Tree,” in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, trans. Jack Zipes (New York: Bantam Books, 1992), 175. 11
A similar event has already been portrayed in episode 16, “Splitting of the Breast.” In this case, Shinji and Unit 01 are swallowed by an angel’s Diracsea, and when Shinji has lost all hope, Eva 01 activates itself and proceeds to literally rip its way out of the angel’s round shadow. 12
The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). 7
See The Apocryphon of John, The Hypostasis of the Archons, On the Origin of the World, and The Testimony of Truth, in The Nag Hammadi Library, 104–23, 161–69, 170–89, 448–59. 8
Michael A. Williams, “Divine Image—Prison of Flesh: Perceptions of the Body in Ancient Gnosticism,” in Fragments for a History of the 9
Gnostic myth distinguishes between the lower manifestations of the universe (i.e., the material world and its psychic and material elements) and the pleroma as a transcendental space that contains the Divinity and its emanations and manifestations, a higher state of being beyond rational comprehension. When I speak of Gendō’s Instrumentality project as a “secular pleroma,” it is because his view is based on a massive, human psychic integration that does not aspire to relocation in a higher spiritual and religious existence, as Gendō’s rival Seele does. 13
Charles Mopsik, “The Body of Engenderment in the Hebrew Bible, the Rabbinic Tradition and the Kabbalah,” in Feher, Naddaff, and Tazia, Fragments for a History, 1:68. 14
Williams, “Divine Image,” 130.
On the Origin of the World, 180.
Genesis 1:28, New Oxford Annotated Bible.
Among the many problematic elements in the last two episodes of the TV series, we have scenes in which the scriptwriters appear, implicitly if not explicitly, and rewrite the show’s ending; sequences of events that seem to take place within a theater inside Shinji’s mind; and moments where the characters appear as preparatory sketches or 18
This is made evident during End of Evangelion, where the two characters are often depicted side by side as geminate, linked or mirror images, and Rei even metamorphoses into Kaoru. 5
As Dennis Redmond has pointed out, this also stands as a twist on the patriarchal structure of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Redmond, The World Is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics, 1967–1995, chapters 6 and 7, http://www.efn. org/~dredmond/GV.html (accessed December 14, 2005).
are drawn upon the animator’s blank cel from scratch. See Napier, “When the Machines Stop.”
Religion & Science: An Alliance Julie Edelson Halport, “Harnessing the Sun and Selling It Abroad: U.S. Solar Industry in Export Boom,” The New York Times, June 5, 1995, p. D1. 1
Raimon Panikkar, University of California at Santa Barbara, at Global World Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders, Oxford, U.K., April 1988. 2
Carl Sagan, et. al., “Preserving and Cherishing the Earth,” American Journal of Physics, vol. 58, 1990, pp. 615-17. 3
Peter Steinfels, “Evangelical Group Defends Laws Protecting Endangered Species as a Modern ‘Noah’s Ark,’” The New York Times, January 31, 1996.
The Undiscovered Self
Ortega, Mariana. “My Father, He Killed Me; My Mother, She Ate Me: Self, Desire, Engendering, and the Mother in Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Mechademia. Volume 2. (2007). 216-231. Print.
Jung, Carl Gustav. Collected Works, Volume 8. ed. Michael Fordham. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, and Princeton, N.J.: Bollingen, 1953. Print. --- Man & His Symbols. New York: Anchor Press, 1964. Print. --- The Red Book (Liber Novus.) New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print. --- The Undiscovered Self. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958. Print.
Griepink, Jasper. “The Time of the Animal.” Jasper Griepink. 2010. Web. 12.Feb.2012. <http:// www.jaspergriepink.nl/>
Kubrick, Stanley. “The Playboy Interview.” Stanley Kubrick: Interviews. ed. Gene D. Phillips. Mississippi: The University Press of Mississippi, 2001. Print. 3
Sagan, Carl. “Religion & Science: An Alliance.” Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the New Millenium. New York: Random House, 1997. Print. 4
Tarnas, Richard. Cosmos & Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. New York, N.Y.: Viking, 2006. Print. 5
Websites “Carl Jung & Ænima.” Opinion: The Tool Page. Oct. 2008. Web. 25.Feb.2012. <http:// http://toolnavy.com/showthread.php?t=105026/> 1
Krishnamurti, Jiddu. As One Is: To Free the Mind from all Conditioning. Chino Valley, Arizona. Hohm Press, 2007. Print. 2
Bibliography & Resources
Tolle, Eckhart. “Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” Eckhart Teachings. 2012. Web. 12.Feb.2012. <http://www.eckharttolletv.com/ article/Awakening-Your-Spiritual-Lifes-Purpose>