January 8, 2021
The alchemists understood the return to chaos as an essential part of the opus. (Jung, 1970, p.197 para 253)
It is hard to believe a finished piece comes out of wood carver’s workshop when the front of the shop is clean and highly organized. The view from the street is much different than the experience of the workroom.
There were two significant events this week. The first was the election in Georgia that brought about a different kind of balance in the senate. The second event was the invasion of the nation’s Capital building. When I saw the result of the Georgia run off, it was much like the store front of the wood carver. All the time and effort it took to make it happen is hidden behind the scenes.
The scenes at the Capital riot were in opposition to what the building represents and the work it does. It is hard for me to see the embodied opposition to democratic values, just as it is difficult to look at the mess in the wood carver’s workshop. Jung’s reflection of the alchemist is helpful to me. The work of democracy is no different than the personal work I must do. There are messy parts of me that I hide from view. My inner workroom is chaotic, and I need to remember it is an essential and valuable part of who I am. Creativity can be born out of chaos and the feelings that emerge as I encounter it.
Groups of human beings, left free to each regulate themselves, tend to produce spontaneous order, rather than the meaningless chaos often feared. This has been observed in society at least since Chuang Tzu in ancient China. Human beings are the basic elements of social systems, which perpetually interact and create, maintain, or untangle mutual social bonds. Social bonds in social systems are perpetually changing in the sense of the ongoing reconfiguration of their structure. (Luhmann, 1995)
in the hard sciences, is the spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming chaos. It is a process in social networks including economics, though the term “self-organization” is more often used for physical changes and biological processes, while “spontaneous order” is typically used to describe the emergence of various kinds of social orders from a combination of self-interested individuals who are not intentionally trying to create order through planning. The evolution of life on Earth, language, crystal structure, the Internet and a free-market economy have all been proposed as examples of systems which evolved through spontaneous order. (Barry, (1982). )
We are in one such moment of chaos as a nation and as a global human community. As a leader in global political consciousness, United States is manifesting the maximal chaos as a shaman for the world order. Americans are incubating the process of a new emergence of a spontaneous order, hopefully guiding the rest of the world. So, we are poised at the precipice of chaos, pregnant with the potential of a new, higher, fair, spiritually informed order. So, it is the worst of times as the harbinger of the best of times. We must trust that the core fairness, integrity and ideals of human values will prevail. After every descent, there is an ascent. Following destruction of the old order, there is a creation of a new order. That is the archetypal rhythm. When Shiva the destroyer dissolves the shadow, Brahma creates new consciousness and Vishnu consolidates the new order. (Bedi, 2007)
This process of emergence of the new order will manifest at the macro level in the society as a whole and in each one of us. Some of us will regress to our dark side, others will progress to their higher self. Each one of us will have to make a choice. Small and subtle choices will have a profound impact on the ultimate new order of our personality and society. Since we have survived from the stone age to the modern age, we may speculate that there are more good souls then dark souls in our society. That will cumulatively lead to a more just and higher order eventually. However, we will have to endure the dark night of our national soul before the new emergence.
Each one of us needs to create our alchemic lab, a sacred space for inner work to work through our chaos and incubate the emergence of a new guiding symbol. When we create an alchemic space, the dove – symbol of the divine constellates and guides us, if we are sincere in our Opus. This dove may manifest as a dream, a synchronistic event, a creative product, a fascination or a relationship. Stay open to these symbols. May the Holy Spirit be with you.
Points to Ponder.
- What is your response to chaos?
- What is the opus of your life?
- Do you show the world your workroom or only the storefront view?
- In response to the chaos in and around you, what choices have you made to respond to the establish a new order?
- What are the symbols that guide you as a GPS to navigate these hard times?
- Do you respond from a place of survival and self-interest or altruism and service?
- What is your image of the new society in our country?
- Are you guided by the values of our founding fathers of our constitution or your own personal constitution?
- Are your choices to respond to the chaos consistent with the guidance of your faith and spiritual framework?
Jung, C. G. (1970). Mysterium coniunctionis : an inquiry into the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy (2d ed. Vol. 14). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Barry, N. ((1982). ). “The Tradition of Spontaneous Order”. . Literature of Liberty., 5 ((2).).
Bedi, A. (2007). Awaken the Slumbering Goddess – The Latent Code of the Hindu Goddess Archetypes: BookSurge.
Luhmann, N. (1995). Social systems. : Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist
In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH. D