Jung On Tools for Crafting a Positive “Curioser and Curioser” Future

Sue Mehrtens is the author of this and all the other blog essays on this site. The opinions expressed in these essays are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other Jungian Center faculty or Board members.  Honesty, as well as professional courtesy, require that you give proper attribution to the author if you post this essay elsewhere. I am very sorry about the formatting of the initial quotes, but I cannot figure out how to tab the authors’ names over to the right. I am frustrated beyond words with InMotion Hosting’s system!!!

 

Tools for Crafting a Positive “Curioser and Curioser” Future

“… the darkness … is illuminated only by what, to it, is unexpected, unwanted, and incomprehensible.”      Jung (1954)[1]

“… through the power of imagination [we can] bring into being things that apparently were not there before.”      Jung (1942)[2]

“Imagination is the star in man, the celestial or supercelestial body….a concentrated extract of the life forces, both physical and psychic.”      Jung (1944)[3]

“As one falls asleep, one’s fading power of judgment leaves the imagination free to construct more and more vivid forms.”      Jung (1902)[4]

“For everyone whose guiding principle is adaptation to external reality, imagination is for those reasons something reprehensible and useless. And yet we know that every good idea and all creative work are the offspring of the imagination, and have their source in what one is pleased to call infantile fantasy. Not the artist alone, but every creative individual whatsoever owes all that is greatest in his life to fantasy. The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, a characteristic also of the child’s, and as such it appears inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth. It must not be forgotten that it is just in the imagination that a man’s highest value may lie.”        Jung (1920)[5]

“Imagination is the reproductive or creative activity of the mind in general. It is not a special faculty, since it can come into play in all the basic forms of psychic activity, whether thinking, feeling, sensation, or intuition. Fantasy as imaginative activity is, in my view, simply the direct expression of psychic life, of psychic energy which cannot appear in consciousness except in the form of images or contents, just as physical energy cannot manifest itself except as a definite physical state stimulating the sense organs in physical ways.”      Jung (1920)[6]

“Wearing a school uniform leads to a decline in imagination….we so rarely talk about imagination in education. We have come to see it as associated with the irrational, “fantasy,” “make-believe.” When you engage imagination, you wake up emotion.”      Hopkins (2019)[7]

“… this true or real imagination is the power responsible for creating everything around and inside us, from our inner thoughts right out to the stars. It’s also the power that can bring us back into the productive, functioning center of ourselves – because, as Jung states the matter so succinctly, ‘the real is what works.'”      Kingsley (2018)[8]

“But if we are bold enough to imagine we can rescue the planet, we should also imagine rescuing ourselves from an economic system that doesn’t work. In fact, the imagination stage is critical”.      Mason (2020)[9]

“What we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.”      Eliot (2020)[10]

“What’s needed is hope, not faith. The difference? Faith is about the moment; hope is a vision of the future. People of faith tend to collapse in crisis. What helps people survive is specific hope for a nameable and better future.”      Binder-Brynes (2020)[11]

 

In the previous essay, in reply to my students’ question about what’s coming, I said I think our future will get “curioser and curioser.” This neologism of Lewis Carroll seems to me to be very apt. That we might find ourselves in the future living in a “Wonderland” full of weird unprecedented events (much as Alice did in Carroll’s tale) is not an unreasonable prediction, since in recent years we have lived through many such events, and if the polarization of American politics continues as it has, we are very likely to experience more of the same.

Rather than making specific predictions, it seems to me to be more useful to provide some tools for how we might navigate through the challenges that lie ahead. In the first part of this essay I will describe some tools, and then consider how we might apply them.

Some Helpful Tools

Oxford don that he was,[12] Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) recognized the importance of the first tool: curiosity. When things get really strange and we feel disoriented–living, as it were, in some sort of “Wonderland”–it is vital that we be curious. Why so? because curiosity is the mental condition of being open and eager to learn.[13] When confronted with the strange, odd or unusual, we should be inquisitive, which is the meaning of curiosus, the Latin root of “curious.”[14] If we can summon curiosity and use it to investigate what’s going on, with an open mind and willingness to grapple with new situations and conditions, we are much more likely to survive and thrive in whatever the future holds.

Curiosity fosters the second tool: gathering information. Open-minded investigation will generate facts. In the previous essay, “Karma, Guilt and Reparations,”[15] I offered multiple facts from American history which explain how our collective guilt has created a karmic debt. Several people in our Jungian Center community asked me what karmic payback will look like. I’m no prophet, but history offers us several possible forms such payback can take.

Sometimes karmic payback is reciprocal, as in the case of Tibet. Most people today think of Tibetan society as peaceable, but it was not always so. In the 7th through the 10th centuries Tibet was imperialistic and expansionistic, and its imperial ambitions led it to invade China and seize some of its territory. In 763, under King Khri-srong-Ide-brtsan, Tibetan armies captured the Chinese capital of Chang’an.[16] Twelve hundred years later the Chinese invaded Tibet and captured the Tibetan capital of Lhosa. Karma cannot be gainsaid.

But it is not always so tit-for-tit. It can be tit for tat, as in the case of Germany. Four generations of German militarists caused the deaths of millions and the suffering of millions more, and, as Benjamin Rush[17] warned “national crimes require national punishments.”[18] Germany was punished via reparations demands by France after World War I, and by the division of the country after World War II by the Soviet Union’s seizure of East Germany. In recent years Germany sought to work off the karma it generated from the wars it caused by striving to be the most responsible, well-ordered and generous of European countries, as seen in the acceptance of hundreds of thousands of refugees, while it also consciously confronted collectively the fact of its national guilt.[19]

How will America’s karmic payback look? Clearly our Civil War was not sufficient to expiate our guilt, as the long history of Jim Crow, red-lining, police brutality and the recent protest demonstrations after George Floyd’s murder attest.[20] We wrote slavery into the U.S. Constitution,[21] and it was this fact that led Benjamin Rush to express his warning: Slavery is one of our “national crimes” and we have yet to experience our “national punishment.” Perhaps a major and thorough revision of our government–creating a true democracy, with a Constitution enshrining genuine equality for all, and thus ensuring “domestic tranquility”[22]–lies in our American future.

Curiosity can also lead us to what, to Jung, was the most important information we can have: self-knowledge, awareness of our “inner city” and a deep relationship with the Self.[23] If we are open to learning about ourselves, to facing our shadow sides, to confronting our complexes, and “having it out”[24] with the recalcitrant parts of ourselves, we can develop a firm trust in our inner Divine core. Such trust gives us a solid sense of security regardless of what the collective future might be. Since trust in the Self accrues over time, the process of getting to know the Self comes along with use of and trust in dreams, intuitions, and synchronicities.[25]

Jung would not have us feel powerless when contemplating the future. This is because he recognized a third important tool: imagination.[26] Our English word comes from the Latin imago,[27] “image,” and imagination often (but not always) has a visual form to it.[28] Those who are clairvoyant have “high sense perception”[29] which shows up usually as visions. Given our cultural bias toward sight, this form of HSP is given more value than clairaudience and clairsentience, but these two forms (hearing words and having bodily feelings) are equally valuable as forms of imagination. Part of achieving self-awareness means coming to recognize which of these three modes works for you.

From decades of his own personal experience Jung knew that imagination is powerful, being “the star in man, the celestial or supercelestial body,”[30] “a concentrated extract of the life forces, both physical and psychic,”[31] which can bring us “enlightenment,” and “… through the power of imagination [we can] bring into being things that apparently were not there before.”[32] Imagination also produces “every good idea and all creative work,”[33] and comes “into play in all the basic forms of psychic activity, whether thinking, feeling, sensation, or intuition.”[34] Jung reminds us that

“All the works of man have their origin in creative imagination. What right, then, do we have to disparage fantasy? In the normal course of things, fantasy does not easily go astray; it is too deep for that, and too closely bound up with the tap-root of human and animal instinct. It has a surprising way of always coming out right in the end. The creative activity of imagination frees man from his bondage to the “nothing but” and raises him to the status of one who plays.”[35]

Note the last 9 words of the quote: raises a person to the status of one who plays. Our modern society, with its focus on need, greed, and speed,[36] rarely regards “one who plays” as having high status. But Jung cautions us:

“But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth. It must not be forgotten that it is just in the imagination that a man’s highest value may lie.”[37]

As we enumerate useful tools for living in the “curioser and curioser” world of the future play is a valuable tool. Just how “play” takes form in your life depends on where along the puer-senex continuum you live: Those who are more senex than puer will manifest how they play differently than those who live more as pueri.[38] But for both the old and young, imagination and play are important, and both need to be tempered with another tool: critical thinking.

It is one of the more curious features of our current American civic life that critical thinking seems to be in short supply. For example, a person actually believed the “Pizzagate” tale: he traveled to Washington D.C. prepared to free the child victims of a pedophile ring run by Hillary Clinton out of the basement of a pizzeria![39] Hello? Even more bizarre are the sad experiences of people who actually ingested Lysol after listening to Trump’s suggestion it would cure the coronavirus![40] Clearly our educational systems are deficient in teaching students to be critical consumers of media stories!

Critical thinking is more essential now than ever before since the Internet is the main source of news for many people, and the Internet is “disintermediated,” i.e. the quality evaluators of old–the professionally trained journalists, librarians, critics and arbiters of the culture–are either gone completely or much reduced in status. This has left us as citizens to evaluate what we hear, read or see for ourselves, and this task is challenging amid the lies and distortions emanating from Fox News, the White House and myriad Internet sites.[41] How best to think critically? Take Jung’s suggestion that “the real is what works.”[42] Ingest Lysol and you’re dead. Storm a Washington D.C. pizzeria and you discover it doesn’t even have a basement–all that time and money spent on the trip, wasted. In so many ways now the “fake facts” and false news mean that hundreds of thousands of Americans are “dying of whiteness,”[43] stuck on an ideology that is literally killing them, because they do not think critically.[44] Life does not work very well when you are out of touch with reality.

Another tool for crafting a positive future is hope. Karen Binder-Brynes, a New York psychotherapist, defines “hope:”

“What’s needed is hope, not faith. The difference? Faith is about the moment; hope is a vision of the future. People of faith tend to collapse in crisis. What helps people survive is specific hope for a nameable and better future.”[45]

Jung would agree that faith is a weak reed, not reliable in times of crisis.[46] Much more useful a tool is hope, i.e. having a vision of the future. Which brings us to the second part of this essay.

Applying the Tools to Craft a Positive Future

Jung never regarded people as passive victims of Fate.[47] He recognized some people do succumb to this disempowering belief, but not Jung. He would have us be curious, seek information, apply critical thinking to sort the fake from the true facts, and apply our imagination to envision a positive future.

Jung drew on his alchemical studies in his recognition of the power of imaginatio vera,[48] real/true imagination, “the power responsible for creating everything around and inside us, from our inner thoughts right out to the stars.”[49] I was forcibly initiated into this idea of the power of imagining in 1990, when I had one of my “voice-over dreams” telling me to create a set of vision papers. I have five planets in Earth in my natal chart,[50] and my temperament does not run toward the airy-fairy, so this directive was most unwanted. I stewed about it for a while, trying to figure out why I got tasked with this chore. Why use my imagination to create visions? I wrote a request in my dream journal for guidance about this, and what appeared was two words: Bernoulli’s principle.

Daniel Bernoulli was an 18th century Swiss mathematician who is regarded as the father of aeronautics for his elucidation of hydrodynamics, specifically how, as the velocity of fluid flow increases, its pressure decreases.[51] Applied in the world, this principle explains how sailboats sail and airplanes fly. My psyche knew I had spent years sailing, taught Bernoulli’s principle and understood how to apply it on the water. But what did it have to do with vision papers?? And then an insight came: Just as we employ Bernoulli’s principle to pull the sailboat forward or the airplane up, so we can use vision to pull us into the future. But, as the principle states, there must be a pressure differential to cause the forward/uplifting motion.

By applying imagination, we can create a positive, appealing, “nameable and better”[52] vision of our future. Since we must always set the intention to work in conformity with universal laws[53] and spiritual truth, such a vision must be for the highest good of all concerned (plants, animals, Gaia, as well as human beings), would manifest in kairos time (not chronos/clock time or the harried pace of modern life),[54] and would show up in ways that might transcend the limits of our logical, linear conscious minds. To gain forward motion we have to be sure the vision is very attractive, quite unlike our current reality. This is essential to get the differential that causes the movement.

This means that, if we set about being visionaries of such a future, “we need to be unshamed utopians,”[55] as Paul Mason suggests was true for “all the pioneers of human liberation.”[56] But now we are going for the liberation of all beings, and Mother Earth too. Our visioning requires that we “imagine better,” that we be

“bold enough to imagine we can rescue the planet, [and] we should also imagine rescuing ourselves from an economic system that doesn’t work. In fact, the imagination stage is critical.”[57]

By “an economic system that doesn’t work” Paul Mason is referring to neoliberalism, aka “market fundamentalism,” or supply-side economics–all terms for the current economic orthodoxy that is destroying the planet and millions of lives (human and animal), while causing massive economic inequality.[58]

In such projects I have found it is easier to start by enumerating all the things we don’t want, and then flip them to what we do want. Clearly, if we hope to clear our national karma, we don’t want racism, sexism, misogyny, inequality (political, social or economic), environmental destruction, resource depletion, planned obsolescence, patriarchy, or wars. Flipping these would produce an image of a world

  • full of respect for all beings, with racism relegated to the history books as a mental construct associated with slavery, hierarchy, patriarchy and a low level of consciousness characteristic of earlier societies
  • with gender fluidity and appreciation for the masculine/animus and feminine/anima energies which live in all of us, and the freedom for all humans to manifest a gender expression that feels appropriate to them
  • with respect for women, the feminine archetype and the various qualities associated with it
  • with political equality and equal access to the rights associated with citizenship
  • with social equality and the fluidity of social movement implied in the concept of respect for all beings
  • with economic equality, as expressed in equality of education, equality of opportunity to learn, grow and develop in material, intellectual, social and spiritual ways
  • with universal educational systems of high quality and no uniforms[59]
  • with rigorous protection for the Earth, and political and economic actions operating in conformity to the Laws of Ecology,[60] enforced with rigorous regulations at the state, national and international levels, so as to reduce global warming to less than one degree Celsius in the next decade (truly Utopian!)[61]
  • with universal mandatory recycling of all manufactured materials, with maximized utility and minimized throughput[62] (following the old Yankee adage “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”), in which appliances and technologies are made to last for decades and be easily repaired and/or reconditioned
  • with the development of a partnership cultural model,[63] in which men and women are equal, and a more equitable, Earth-conserving, spirit-based value system is the norm
  • and finally peace is universal, since everyone recognizes the truth that we are all one, and war with others is as foolish as one’s hand warring with one’s foot.

Such a vision is a start. It could be elaborated in granular detail, but it offers an example of a positive vision that is very different from the reality we currently live in. Imagination should refine it, infusing it with emotional power,[64] which (in my experience of visioneering) is the key to manifesting the vision in outer reality.

Conclusion

Jung was a prophetic figure, in part because his “number 2” personality was psychic,[65] in part because he recognized, valued, and drew upon the timeless wisdom that lay in his unconscious. We have this same wisdom. This is obvious whenever we dream of a relative long-since deceased, or of a friend we have not seen or thought of for ages who shows up out of the blue in outer life the next day. The psyche exists outside of time, so we all have the potential to answer the question “What’s coming?”

Just as we all have the wisdom of our unconscious, so we all have the capacity for curiosity, for investigating and learning, for imagining, for thinking critically, for playing, for spotting synchronicities and putting out fleeces (explained in footnote 66, which the InMotion Hosting system puts at the very end; sigh),[66] and for visioning. We also have freedom of choice:[67] we can choose to live in fear, anticipating a terrible future, or we can choose to take up the tools we have to imagine a positive future and hold that vision with conscious intention. We can also choose our attitude: whatever comes along we can regard as an opportunity to grow or rethink assumptions, or as a dire, dreadful event that will lead to doom. Choices matter. Jung would have us choose the paths of growth and self-discovery, and in so doing, we can make our contribution toward creating a better future. And he would have us remember that “There is only one certainty – nothing can put out the light within.”[68]

Bibliography

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Asimov, Isaac (1982), Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. Garden City: Doubleday & Co.

Barone, Emily & Lon Tweeton (2020), “How We Got Here,” Time (July 20/27, 2020), 58.

Commoner, Barry (1971), The Closing Circle. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Daly, Herman (1973), Toward a Steady-State Economy. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.

________ (1977), Steady-State Economics. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.

Eisler, Riane (1987), The Chalice & the Blade. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Gates, Henry Louis Jr. (2019), Stony the Road. New York: Penguin Press.

Gopnik, Adam (2020), “The Empty Couch,” The New Yorker (June 1, 2020), 16-20.

Hollis, James (1996), Swamplands of the Soul. Toronto: Inner City Press.

Hopkins, Rob (2019), From What Is to What If. White River Junction VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Jaspers, Karl (1947), The Question of German Guilt, trans. E.B. Ashton. New York: Capricorn Books.

Jung Carl (1970), “Psychiatric Studies,” Collected Works, 1. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1961), “Freud and Psychoanalysis,” Collected Works, 4. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1956) “Symbols of Transformation,” Collected Works, 5, 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1971), “Psychological Types,” Collected Works, 6. Princeton: Princeton University Press

________ (1966), “Two Essays on Analytical Psychology,” CW 7. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1960), ”The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche,” CW 8. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1970), “Civilization in Transition,” CW 10. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1969), “Psychology and Religion: West and East,” CW 11. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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________ (1967), “Alchemical Studies,” CW 13. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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________ (1976), ”The Symbolic Life,” CW 18. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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Kang, Cecilia & Sheera Frenkel (2020), “PizzaGate Conspiracy Theory Thrives Anew in the TikTok Era,” The New York Times (June 27, 2020).

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Kluger, Jeffrey (2020), “Accidental Poisonings Increased After President Trump’s Disinfectant Comments,” Time (May 12, 2020).

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Mason, Paul (2015), Postcapitalism. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

McCullough, David (2017), The American Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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Appendix

The left column of the table below is the text of the Biblical source for the technique of putting out a fleece: Judges, chapter 6. The right column suggests its modern-day application.

 

The Historical Account

The Archetypal Level

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. A community faces severe problems, including loss of freedom, inability to control its own destiny, economic losses, and oppression.
Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Many of the people are afraid and defensive and go into hiding, or take refuge behind strong walls.
Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the  men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. The labors of this community bring little harvest: they have little to show for their efforts and become frustrated.
Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. In their need and anguish, the community appeals for help from The Force, which they had fallen away from (i.e. had stopped dialoging with).
When the Israelites cried to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.” A prophetic voice in their midst reminds them of their history of experiences in dealing with, and being delivered by The Force, and how caring and beneficent it has been for them. This voice also points out how the community has gone astray, putting its faith in false gods, and neglecting to maintain the inner dialog with The Force.

 

[The subsequent action is driven by need, suffering and the response of The Force to the appeal by humans in the midst of their misery.]

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” A messenger from The Force appears in an ordinary setting. This representative is watchful, patient, present and willing to wait.

 

This messenger shows himself to the “dummling,” that archetypal figure who is the least, the youngest, the marginalized [in accordance with the law of the retarding lead].

The messenger reminds the dummling of the presence of the Self [i.e. the personal inner archetype of The Force] within him, and also of the fact that he has warrior-like power.

“But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned up and put us into the hand of Midian.” Sir: Human beings often fail, at first, to recognize messengers from The Force, regarding them as ordinary people.

 

Why?: People often wonder about the meaning of recent events. They also are often initially skeptical of the Divine message, having bought into the mind-set of the community they live in. So they question the messenger, interpreting his words in the collective, rather than the personal sense.

The dummling misunderstands one part of the message and fails to “hear” (take in) the other part. And he reveals his feelings: wonderment, confusion, abandonment and sadness.

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” The messenger from The Force replies on the personal level, and reminds the person that he has the necessary strength.

 

Then he gives the person his “charge” or “marching orders,” his mission. Such Divine missions very often speak of salvation or liberation.

“But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The person as the dummling. Least of all, aware of being regarded by his community as “weak,” the person reacts with wonderment and disbelief, thinking him/herself inadequate to the task. The person is not proud, arrogant, sure of him/herself, or full of him/herself.
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down the Midianites as if they were but one man.” The promise and prediction is given. The messenger reassures the person of the presence of The Force and makes a prediction of victory for the person’s efforts.
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” In this initial contact with The Force, the person is not sure if he/she is taking in the data correctly—if this messenger really is from The Force, and if what he said is to be believed. So the person asks for a sign. And, in case it is The Force, he/she wants to honor it with an offering. That is, the person is devout, but also full of doubt. He dialogs with the messenger and asks him to stay and wait, while he prepares his offering.
And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” The Force is patient with us, willing to wait and give us the time we need.
Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. The person is diligent and follows up his words with actions. He/she is also willing to sacrifice him/herself and his/her possessions in his/her devotion. The offering is of both substance and self (feelings). And, as a result, he/she is given the requested sign, in a memorable and inspiring form.

 

 

Fire: in the alchemical process of the calcinatio, the person experiences the burning up of his/her doubts.

And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

 

But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

The person has an epiphany and then “wakes up” to the reality of the visitation he/she has just received. He/she is filled with all the usual feelings associated with epiphany: fear, awe, anxiety. Whereupon The Force dialogs with the person, urging him/her not to be fearful [any contact the ego has with the Self is experienced as a “defeat;” hence the feelings of fear and dread.]
So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it “The Lord is Peace.” To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. The person’s devotion shows up in some outward way, to remind him/her and others of the goodness of The Force. He/she invests time and effort into recalling the epiphany
That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this bluff. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” The Force doesn’t waste time once it makes contact with us. It asks the person for concrete actions that reflect his/her loyalty, a “leap frog action” that will challenge the conventions of the community and call into question their loyalties, values and past actions. The person is told that he/she will have to take a stand—for all to see—attesting to his/her devotion to The Force. The person will have to commit significant resources to this task, i.e. be ready and willing to sacrifice him/herself, time and substance to carry out his/her Divine mission.
So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. The person obeys the inner voice, or dream, and summons his/her resources to perform his/her mission. But he/she fears the consequences, so he/she acts at a time when he/she will be less conspicuous, taking advantage of others’ being asleep. Clearly, the person is not eager to seem different, or to challenge the conventions of his/her society. He/she expects negative reactions from both family and the community at large.
In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!

 

They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon, son of Joash, did it.”

It is not long in coming: There is a flap with any leap-frog activity. The community gets upset. The things they have been devoted to have been desecrated or destroyed. They want to kill the perpetrator of what they regard as an abomination. Doing Divine work, leap-frog work, often results in hostility from the collective.
The men of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

 

But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” So that day they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal,” saying “Let Baal contend with him” because he broke down Baal’s altar.

The leap-frogger is protected inwardly by the inner father/authority/power principle, articulating the voice of reason. Outwardly, this may show up as powerful protectors, or the ability to speak up for oneself, with rational, cogent arguments that mollify the crowd.
Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. Leap-frogging has consequences: the “powers that be” can organize to stop it. Opposition coalesces and grows to the point of becoming a threat. At some point there is a crucial moment when the “river is crossed,” sparking the realization that a conflict or some sort of confrontation is imminent. The Force is monitoring all this, and responds
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. The leap-frogger is inspired by The Force and summons all his/her resources, garnering support. He/she may call attention to him/herself (“blow his/her own horn”) so as to be a catalyst for those who are discontent and eager to overcome what is oppressing them.
He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Ahser, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them. The leap-frogger networks widely in his/her quest for support. Supportive forces mobilize.
Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. The leap-frogger continues to dialog with The Force.

 

It is common for the leap-frogger to get cold feet, becoming unsure about the ultimate outcome and whether he/she is really doing what he/she is supposed to be doing. So he/she “puts out a fleece,” asking for a sign from The Force, to assure him/her that he/she is on target. Then he/she pays attention, waits eagerly for the sign, and follows up on his/her request.

The Force complies with the leap-frogger’s request.

Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. Leap-froggers have weak faith, moments when they are really anxious and full of doubts. This is part of being human. The Force is loving and patient and willing to support us even in our weak moments.

 

The leap-frogger tests his/her guidance yet again, and yet again The Force comes through.

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The leap-frogger shows up to fulfill his/her mission, having marshaled his/her resources. He/she may have a transcendent perspective on the situation.
The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that his own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

 

 

And he/she may have amassed far more than he/she will really need. If so, he/she may experience being stripped of the excess in some way. The point of this is to reinforce reliance on the power of The Force (rather than on personal or earthly power). The stripping assures that he/she will not later try to boast that he/she was able to do the task on his/her own (i.e. the ego’s) strength.

 

Fear shows up on the scene. On the inner plane, the leap-frogger has fears, but these are not allowed to interfere with the success of the mission. On the outer plane, the leap-frogger recognizes that some of the supporters of the leap-frog activity are fearful. Those people are allowed to leave. That is, some supporters will fall away as the leap-frog activity intensifies. The leap-frogger knows this and expects it and is not deterred or dismayed by it.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. “Many are called; few are chosen.” The choosing is done by The Force, not by the leap-frogger’s ego mind.

 

The leap frogger’s resources are differentiated, based on fidelity (i.e. dog-like qualities) and relationship to the feeling function (i.e. the water).

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. The leap-frogger may find that the stripping action goes on and on until only a tiny fraction of his/her initial resources/supporters remain. The point of this process is to force reliance totally on The Force. The leap-frogger’s faith must be strong at this point. Outwardly, it may look as if the cause is hopeless, given the unevenness of the numbers.
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. The leap-frogger enjoys a higher level of perspective than those who seek to stay in the status quo. He/she can see farther and has a more transcendent vision.
During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The leap-frogger will be comforted and guided by dreams and dialogs with The Force. He/she will get directions and also be given provisions.

 

The Force recognizes that the leap-frogger will have fears and will provide ways for him/her to be comforted. Notice how The Force calls on the leap-frogger to go right into what he/she fears and to listen, i.e. to face the fears and investigate them, especially with his/her feeling function.

The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. The opposition may be great, numerous, impressive. The leap-frogger’s investigations may reveal that the odds of success are terrible.
Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon, son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” Dreams are a powerful tool The Force uses to support the leap-frogger and to buttress his/her faith. The Force will even, at times, send demoralizing dreams to those who oppose the leap-frog activity.

 

The timing here is an example of synchronicity: a meaningful coincidence that serves to buttress the faith of the leap-frogger who is attentive and recognizes it.

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Such synchronicities in the course of fulfilling one’s mission can fill leap-froggers with wonder and awe and thanksgiving, as well as boosting their energy and strengthening their resolve.
Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. Leap-froggers are leaders. They can give orders and create strategies, organize and deploy their resources tactically.

 

It may be necessary to provision supporters with the resources (e.g. trumpets and jars) to generate noise and create the impression their numbers are greater than they are, so as to intimidate the opposition.

“Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’” The leap-frogger knows he/she is a model for others, so he/she consciously models the actions he/she wants to see in his/her supporters.

 

The leap-frogger reminds people that theirs is Divine work, that they are there for The Force, rather than for gratification of their egos.

Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. Times of change are sensitive intervals during which leap-froggers can act successfully.
They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Leap-frog activities cause people to pay attention, and the result of such activities is the breaking of old structures that contain (i.e. limit) reality.
Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Leap-froggers work illuminated from the unconscious and deliver their message via their conscious minds.

 

The authority under which they work is recognized as being Divine.

While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. Leap-froggers are resolute: they show up and stick to their commitments. In the face of such determination, the opposition falls apart and disperses.
Israelites from Naphtali, Ahser and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah….” As the opposition retreats, other supporters of the leap-frog activity gather and join the campaign.

 

Networking resumes, with strategic calls and instructions being given by the leaders.

Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and fell upon the unsuspecting army. Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army…. Perseverance is essential: one incident or confrontation is not the end. Leap-froggers are persistent and follow through on what they begin.
The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”

 

But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”

Leap-froggers are likely to receive the projections from their followers of their power and authority (i.e. followers tend to set the leap-frog leader up as “god,” rather than to recognize their own inner divinity and seek to follow it).

 

The leap-frog leader must refuse this projection and remind his/her followers of their own Self (the inner divinity in every person) and help them develop a relationship with the Self.

And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.) They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each man threw a ring from his plunder onto it. The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family…. Leap-froggers are human, with weaknesses and failings (e.g. a desire for wealth, forgetfulness of the admonitions of The Force) and so can become “ensnared” by their own ego-driven problems.

In general terms, Gideon’s story is a paradigm for leap-frog endeavors (i.e. activities that mainstream society is likely to regard as unconventional, unrealistic, or likely to be unsuccessful). Specifically, any leap-frog activity is born out of a manifest problem on the physical plane. It is recognized as an opportunity by the leap-frogger, although others will call it a “problem.”

The leap-frog action is initiated by The Force, not by the individual person. This can show up in many ways, e.g. in guidance in a dream; in a moment’s epiphany sparked by some event one day; or by a gradual process that calls a person’s attention to some injustice or “problem.”

The leap-frogger, that is the person likely to respond to the call of The Force, is humble, reverent, and more often than not drawn from the marginalized. That is, there is some way in which the leap-frogger is not part of the privileged class or group. Often the person feels quite inadequate to the task he or she is given. Inner dialogs with the Self then take place (in dreams, in sleep, in meditations, in prayer), which gradually build an awareness of personal power.

There is a time interval involved. It usually takes some time for the person to become aware of just what is going on. This process of coming to consciousness can be a few days, a few weeks, a few months, even, at times, a few years. The Force is very patient. It waits.

Once the leap-frogger gets the call, he or she often experiences resistance, out of fear of being seen as different, or from reluctance to challenge the status quo. This resistance leads to testing of the message. Faith is weak. Doubts are many. The leap-frogger needs reinforcement of the call. The Force provides them.

Sacrifices are required. These can take many different forms: experiences of letting go, clearing out of the old outmoded “stuff” in one’s closets (both inner and outer), relinquishing of cherished ideas or beliefs. The point of this sacrifice is to both honor The Force and to confirm the validity of the message.

The leap-frogger may endure death in its various stages and forms. These painful times are balanced by the epiphanies, which remind us of the power working for us. The Force provides comfort, promises and predictions that help us to carry on. One of the most common of these promises is “shalom,” that we will know the deep peace of heart, mind and soul that comes from achieving wholeness.

Dreams and synchronicities are important features of the leap-frog process. Leap-froggers regularly study their dreams, and watch attentively for the meaningful coincidences that will appear when they need guidance or bolstering of their faith.

Growth into the work is incremental. Obedience to the inner voice is hesitant at first. The leap-frogger is full of doubts about this whole business, wondering if he/she can really trust the unconscious. Fears are common, particularly around taking on the collective, challenging customs and accepted ways.

Eventually, a crisis develops. Things come to a head. The leap-frogger is forced to take a stand, to be revealed to the community as “odd man out.” He/she feels inadequate to the challenge. The Divine makes its presence felt, and the leap-frogger knows he/she can go on.

This phenomenon of getting cold feet is so common it is an inextricable part of the archetypal process. At such times, leap-froggers can “put out a fleece,” and do it again, if necessary. In a dialog with The Force, the test and its parameters are set. Then the leap-frogger watches, eagerly expecting a response.

If there is excess, it is likely to be stripped away. The Force wants leap-froggers to rely on it, rather than on lots of money or manpower. This stripping can take many forms, but the point of it is to give ego arrogance or a sense of self-sufficiency a hit. A leap-frogging activity is not done by us, but by The Force. The ego will interpret this as a “defeat,” and will suffer as a result.

The fearful will fall away, and this is OK. Leap-froggers expect this and allow for it. Few are chosen for this work, and differentiation is required. Leap-froggers have to recognize when The Force is pruning away those who are not meant to be part of the process.

Fear never will leave completely, but leap-froggers can expect to have their fears alleviated, i.e. lightened, so they are not oppressive or paralyzing. The Force will encourage the leap-frogger to face his/her fears directly and move into them, with its support.

Leap-froggers have to remember who really is due the accolades in any victory: It is not them, but The Force. They remind their followers of this.

Leap-froggers are co-creators with The Force. They put their talents, resources, etc. at the disposal of The Force and show up when and where they are told to be. They don’t stand around idly waiting for The Force to do it all, either: They use their minds and reasoning ability, and the full range of talents to develop plans, work out strategies and implement tactics.

 

[1] Collected Works 14 ¶345. Hereafter Collected Works will be abbreviated CW.

[2] CW 13 ¶220.

[3] CW 12 ¶394.

[4] CW 1 ¶100.

[5] CW 6 ¶93.

[6] Ibid. ¶722.

[7] Hopkins (2019), 89, 91.

[8] Kingsley (2018), 386.

[9] Mason (2020), 218.

[10] George Eliot. This quote originally appeared in Parade magazine and was re-quoted in The Week (August 29, 2020), 19.

[11] Quoted in Gopnik (2020), 20.

[12] Dodgson was a lecturer in mathematics at Christ Church College, Oxford.

[13] World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, I, 488.

[14] Lewis & Short (1969), 502.

[15] Posted on July 29th, 2020, and archived on this blog site.

[16] www.britannica.com/place/Tibet/History

[17] Rush was a prominent Philadelphia physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

[18] Quoted in McCullough (2017), 46.

[19] Jaspers (1947).

[20] Cf. Lepore (2018) and Gates (2019) for detailed descriptions of these features of U.S. history.

[21] In Article I, section 2, referring to “three-fifths of all other Persons.”

[22] This phrase is in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, as one reason for the creation of the document.

[23] CW 7 ¶404. For more on Jung and his stress on the Self, see the essay “Jung on Self-Partnering” archived on this blog site.

[24] This is the English translation of Jung’s term auseinandersetzung; Hollis (1996), 12.

[25] This includes the process of “putting out a fleece,” a description of which is in the Appendix to this essay.

[26] Cf. CW 13 ¶s 204,220,393; CW 12 ¶s 219,393,394,396; CW 11 ¶s845,889; CW 18 ¶396; CW 16 ¶s 93 & 722.

[27] World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, I, 981.

[28] CW 8 ¶168.

[29] I heard this term from Barbara Brennan, when I took her energy healing course in 1994. Jung describes how clairvoyants, clairaudients and clairsentients can express imagination in ways suited to their type in CW 8 ¶s 167-171.

[30] CW 12 ¶394.

[31] Ibid.

[32] CW 13 ¶220.

[33] CW 6 ¶93.

[34] Ibid. ¶722.

[35] CW 16 ¶98.

[36] This assessment of our culture is by the Tibetan lama Sakyong Mipham; Mipham (2003), 21.

[37] CW 6 ¶93.

[38] See the essay “Senex Play and Puer Play” archived on this blog site for specifics on how these two modes of living and playing differ.

[39] Kang & Frenkel (2020).

[40] Kluger (2020).

[41] For an excellent graphic assessment of the bias of many media, see the media bias chart at https://www.adfontesmedia.com

[42] Cf, CW 4 ¶478 and CW 5 ¶344; for more on Jung’s criteria for truth, see the essay “Jung on Truth,” archived on this blog site.

[43] This is the title of Jonathan Metzl’s 2019 study of “how the politics of racial resentment is killing America’s heartland” (quoting the sub-title). Metzl (2019)

[44] Ibid.

[45] Quoted in Gopnik (2020), 20.

[46] CW 10 ¶521. For more on Jung’s attitude toward belief and faith, see the essay “Jung on Belief, Doubt and Trust,” archived on this blog site.

[47] CW 7 ¶22. Jung recognized the reality of Fate, but he also knew people could transform Fate into Destiny, and in doing so, could build their character. For more on this, see the essay “Jung on Fate, Destiny and Vocation,” archived on this blog site.

[48] CW 18 ¶396.

[49] Kingsley (2018), 386.

[50] The Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.

[51] Asimov (1982), 176.

[52] Karen Binder-Brynes, quoted in Gopnik (2020), 20.

[53] E.g. the law of gravity, the laws of motion, the laws of ecology, the law of ethology (aka the law of the retarding lead), the laws of metaphysics (mentalism, correspondence, vibration, polarity, rhythm, causality, gender), “resist not evil,” reality grows where attention goes, “the first shall be last,” “as ye sow, so shall ye reap,” and there’s no such thing as coincidence.

[54] CW 10 ¶398.

[55] Mason (2015), 288.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid. 218.

[58] For an in-depth critique of neo-liberal economics, see Akerlof & Shiller (2015).

[59] Hopkins (2019), 89.

[60] The Laws of Ecology are: Everything is connected to everything else; Everything must go somewhere; There’s no such thing as a free lunch; and Nature knows best. See Commoner (1971), 33-46. The pandemic is reminding us that we are not in control: Nature is.

[61] I say “truly Utopian” because this goal would require the governments of the world to cut carbon emissions below what climate scientists hope for (1.5 C is their goal), but even that would require massive changes few nations are now prepared to undertake; Barone & Tweeten (2020), 58.

[62] On the need to maximize utility and minimize throughput (features of the steady-state economy), see Daly (1973) and (1977).

[63] See Eisler (1987) for an in-depth description of the partnership model.

[64] Hopkins (2019), 91.

[65] Jung (1965), 45,51,63,66,68,72,74-5,80,87-90.

[66] In the Appendix that follows the Bibliography I explain in detail what is involved in putting out a fleece and give an example of when and why it is done. I encountered the terms “leap-frogging” and “leap-frogger” on my first trip to South Africa in 1998, where people there used it to refer to how Africa was leap-frogging technologically by going straight to cell phones rather than following the old (expensive) convention of installing landline phones. I later wrote a book, The Leap-Frog Option, relating the concept more generally to activism and reform movements.

[67] Cf. the essay “Jung and Buridan’s Ass: A Jungian Approach to Choosing,” archived on this blog site, for a more ample discussion of choice.

[68] “Letter to Mary Mellon,” 19 June 1940; Letters, I, 284. Jung wrote this as Germany surrounded Switzerland in World War II, leaving the Swiss to wonder day-to-day if they too would be invaded and under the Nazis’ boot–a very scary time indeed!