The life of the spirit

Reading a collection of essays and lectures by Carl Jung – Modern Man in Search of a Soul – has reminded of how, inspired as he was by the gnostic tradition, he very much forms part of what one could loosely term the ‘perennialist’ tradition.

I have, in fact, already referred to his work in both Antibodies and Anarchangels, but here are some more quotations on which to reflect:

 “But beyond that [the intellect] there is a thinking in primordial images – in symbols which are older than historical man; which have been ingrained in him from earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.”
(The Stages of Life)

“We moderns are faced with the necessity of rediscovering the life of the spirit; we must experience it anew for ourselves. It is the only way in which we can break the spell that binds us to the cycle of biological events.”
(Freud and Jung)

“For thousands of years, rites of initiation have been teaching spiritual rebirth; yet, strangely enough, man forgets again and again the meaning of divine procreation. This is surely no evidence of a strong life of the spirit; and yet the penalty of misunderstanding is heavy, for it is nothing less than neurotic decay, embitterment, atrophy and sterility. It is easy enough to drive the spirit out of the door, but when we have done so the salt of life grows flat – it loses its savour.”
(Freud and Jung)