Archive for Philosophy

Holistic Thinking – Jung’s Ethical Worldview

Holistic Thinking – Jung’s Ethical Worldview
Presentation by Robbie Tulip

Canberra Jung Society, 5 May 2023

Abstract: The psychology of Carl Jung is based on his holistic philosophy, his assumption that a connection between the individual and the whole of reality at various levels makes an essential contribution to personal and social wellbeing. Holism is “an all-embracing approach that sees things as a cohesive whole rather than a collection of isolated entities, a mind frame that focuses on the big picture” ( His holistic approach led Jung to explore topics such as the spiritual meaning of symbols and the totality of the Self, with valuable ethical and psychological insights.  Jung’s holistic ideas affirm and support cultural identity and diversity, and have broader moral and therapeutic benefits. By contrast, rejection of these ideas leads to a more narrow and exclusive way of thinking. Holism can guide our views on a wide range of fields, including climate change, theology and ecology, offering conceptual grounding for practical visions of reform and transformation.  Jung’s ideas can support what I call a triple paradigm shift, challenging prevailing false assumptions in science, politics and religion.

Giordano Bruno

One of Carl Jung’s heroes was the Renaissance heretic Giordano Bruno, a pioneer of holistic thinking.  When Bruno visited England in 1584 as a refugee from papal tyranny, he found shelter in the court of Queen Elizabeth.  Bruno took advantage of this brief window of peace to write dialogues on the tension between religious tradition and emerging scientific knowledge. His dialogue Ash Wednesday focussed on implications of the discovery that the Earth orbits the Sun. Bruno observed that this paradigm shift had revealed the coherent oneness of nature, supporting a holistic philosophy with no need of any supernatural assumptions about heaven, God or miracles. 

Seeing how everything fitted together opened up a new and accurate vision of our galaxy as composed of millions of Suns within a seemingly infinite universe.  This observation of how the unity of the natural cosmos is governed by consistent causal laws began the scientific revolution, generating dynamic intellectual and social currents that continue today.  The immense differences of view about holistic approaches between science and religion are reflected in how they clash over how humanity can connect to the whole of reality.  Psychology, and especially holistic psychology as explained by Jung, is caught in between these divergent perspectives. 

Bruno’s ideas about the primacy of observation brought him into sharp conflict with the Catholic Church, which burnt him at the stake in Rome in 1600 as a martyr for reason.  Bruno was an emblem of rationality for Carl Jung.  They shared the belief that observation of nature, integrated with spiritual awareness, can enable us to develop a holistic philosophy.  Jung followed in the tradition of scientific enlightenment to explore how systematic understanding of reality can chart an ethical path by combining evidence, logic and intuition.  Jung shared Bruno’s critique of Christian theology, and developed his ideas in ways that are still not well understood.  Jung held that the Christian heritage of the west must inform the holistic platform for a new age, a new systematic understanding of the whole of reality with earthshaking moral and social implications for profound transformation of belief, opening a series of connected paradigm shifts.

All is One

Holistic thinking is at the basis of the axiom in Eastern religions that all is one.  While often challenged as a difficult idea, this sense of cosmic unity reflects the simple observations that everything in the universe is connected and that human life is a part of this natural causal interconnectedness.  Ethical implications of this philosophical spirituality include seeing our own society as part of a single planetary reality, and considering moral questions in terms of the consequences of alternative paths of action.  The scientific assumption that the universe follows consistent natural laws reflects this holistic philosophy.

Bruno and Jung were part of the Hermetic tradition whose roots are thought to reach back to ancient Egypt, developing the axiom that all is one into the principle ‘as above so below’, meaning that the same laws that govern the movements of the stars govern the causal processes on the Earth. Although this principle has mystical origins, it also enabled the scientific revolution, as the intellectual basis of Isaac Newton’s discovery of the law of gravity as the unifying mechanism of the cosmos.

Religion has this same sense of unification inherent to its meaning.  The word religion comes from the same linguistic root as the word ligament.  Just as ligaments are the sinews that hold our skeleton together, religion is imagined as the social construct holding the world together, creating a sense of belonging and trust and shared identity.  Of course, this ideal vision of unity is very far from the reality, but it represents the goal that Jung imagines for religion if it is able to overcome its various pathologies that entrench separation and delusion.


One of Jung’s key ideas was that the human mind is grounded in what he called archetypes of the collective unconscious.  Archetypes are universal structures of the mind that have evolved as part of our genetic inheritance and identity.  This way of thinking by Jung remains controversial, and is targeted toward the scientific integration of spirituality and religion into psychology.  In his 1912 study Transformations and Symbols of the Libido, Jung explored how maturation into individual identity is an inherent endowment of human existence. He argued our maturation is governed by symbolic images that link our conscious mind to a deeply hidden collective psychic background, providing the form of our instincts (p43) as an essential feature of the biological evolution of psychic meaning and purpose. 

Archetypal analysis uses a method known as hermeneutics, the interpretation of sacred wisdom literature and philosophy.  Jung’s holistic hermeneutic was grounded in his wide reading in philosophy and religion, with his theory of archetypes particularly influenced by Immanuel Kant’s idea of the transcendental imagination.  For Kant, the necessary conditions of experience and knowledge can be locally defined, such as space, time and causality.  Through philosophical imagination we can construct a coherent unified vision of the world with a systematic rational explanation.  Jung applied this logical hermeneutic to analysis of incoherent beliefs, as seen in psychopathology, fantasy, religion and mythology, exploring how these may reflect an underlying hidden coherence within the collective unconscious.

A way to place hermeneutics as a path to holistic thinking is from its linguistic origins with the Greek messenger God Hermes or Mercury.  Just as the planet Mercury sits between the Earth and the Sun, so the principles of hermeneutics offer to connect human consciousness with eternal truth.  Jung gave the example of baptism, whose meaning is part of “the rich world of myths that have laid the foundation of religions.” The hermeneutics of baptism offer “profound insight into the marvellously delicate and meaningful network of unconscious determination” (Fordham lecture, 1912).  Archetypes such as the psychological processes behind the initiation process of baptism are our window onto eternity, stable enduring structures of the psyche.  Jung said such symbols cannot be reduced to things generally known, but must be interpreted in hermeneutics to appreciate that we live within “an infinitely complex and variegated picture” (The Structure of the Unconscious, 1916).

Such ideas create a very different perspective from dominant assumptions in the modern secular atheist world, even while Jung maintained deep respect for the scientific values of evidence and logic.  His problem with the scientific tradition was its effort to disenchant nature, based on the modern reductive observation that there is no evidence for the supernatural or magic.  Jung did not argue for the supernatural, but he held that the world is far more complex and mysterious than we appreciate, and that we need a new intuitive agenda of natural re-enchantment, through a focus on how everything is connected in one whole complex web of life, like the natural ecology of an old forest. 

The intellectual and political clash between science and religion partly turns on attitudes toward this holistic psychology, reflecting the difficulties that adherents of conflicting worldviews have in understanding each other, engaging in respectful dialogue and imagining an integrating synthesis of their contrasting views. 


Standing on the shoulders of giants such as Giordano Bruno, Jung sought to integrate faith and reason through a holistic perspective, bringing the tools of logic to analyse the content of religion in a way generally seen as mystical.  Mention of mysticism creates alarm among the scientifically-minded, but all it should mean is that we should aim to place our scientific knowledge within a coherent and systematic philosophical framework whose ultimate nature remains mysterious.  An underlying theme in Jung’s work is humility before the mystery of the whole.  That means exploration of mystical ideas can and should be rationally based, and wholistic psychology should aim to be defensible and contestable.  This scholarly approach is very different from how these topics are widely seen, by both advocates and opponents.

In contrast to the reductive sexual interpretation of Freud, Jung understood libido as an irreducible psychic energy.  For Jung, his focus on holistic thinking, respecting the interconnectedness of everything, provided the basis for his psychoanalytic therapy.  A key element of Jung’s holistic thinking emerges in his new perspective on Christianity, with far reaching ethical and intellectual implications.  Despite his break with Freud, the reductive methods of psychoanalysis remained highly important for Jung’s psychology, aiming to deconstruct our beliefs and practices in order to then reconstruct their real unconscious meaning.

Jung’s Treatment of Christianity

An informative analysis of Jung’s holistic thinking is provided by Murray Stein in his 1985 book Jung’s Treatment of Christianity – The Psychotherapy of a Religious Tradition.  My discussion here draws intensively from this study, which explains how Jung saw the holistic analysis of Christian faith as central to the problem of defining an adequate modern ethic.  All page references are to Stein.

The context is that the modern culture of secular disenchantment has reacted against the doctrinal errors and ethical weaknesses of religion, and instead takes science as its source of meaning.  As a result, Jung contended that society had largely lost contact with the underlying meaning and purpose of religion of providing personal and social connection to deeper shared truths. 

Psychology has an intrinsic connection to religion through exploration of the central role of faith in defining human identity, both consciously and unconsciously.  Explaining why people hold their religious beliefs, and how these beliefs can bring both pathology and fulfilment, is a key issue for psychology. Freud’s atheism sought to reduce religion to an explanation in terms of sexual drives.  For Jung, the role of religion in connecting us to our authentic self, to our community, to our cultural heritage and to a mysterious whole of reality understood as God, has an irreducible dimension that validates the place of spirituality as a central concern for psychology. 

A major problem in religion is its failure to provide a believable and coherent story that gives meaning to life.  The disjointed and implausible nature of religious belief is a source of psychological trauma, both for believers and for non-believers, and for the moral compass of society.  Jung approached religious incoherence as a psychological malady in need of therapeutic healing, while respecting the immense complexity of these questions.  His psychotherapy sought rational understanding of the psychology of religion, with a growing focus especially in his later writings on how religion could reform in a holistic direction.  His analysis was opposed to any apologetic or metaphysical defence of traditional religious views.  

Despite his critical stance, Jung was sympathetic to Christianity.  He regarded Jesus Christ as the archetype of the Self, the symbol of human wholeness and integrity, representing how our shattered humanity can be redeemed through a restored connection to the whole. Manifesting the holy, Christ represents for Jung a sacred marriage of heaven and earth, or spirit and matter (p149).  These ideas are very different from conventional theology about the saving role of Christ as expressed in literal dogma.  Instead, Jung imagined a future form of faith that would alter its basic assumptions about central matters of belief such as the transcendence of God and historicity of Jesus, while retaining high respect for the heritage of faith.   Jung’s passionate interest in heretical hermetic ideas about Christian theology has suggested to some that he was a prophet, imagining a transformation of religion to accord with the spiritual needs of a New Age.

As a doctor of souls, treating hundreds of patients each year, Jung’s clinical practice was therapeutic, helping people who lacked a sense of belonging and identity to restore their sense of self. His emphasis was the need for strong focus on holistic understanding. He brought this therapeutic model to his study of Christianity, essentially treating the whole of Christian doctrine and history like a patient coming for psychological analysis.  Such a generalising of the doctor-patient relationship reflects an effort to assess the trauma of modernity as a whole.  The growing psychological gap between broadly held opinions and reality is manifested in how the individual ego or a whole culture can become unmoored from reality and its interconnections. When we understand how we are connected to the whole of reality, we are better able to accept and live with this sense of connection as the basis of our ethical values, overcoming barriers that divide us from each other and from the natural world.

Jung’s therapeutic focus in the psychology of religion was on analysing the pathology of fractured and deluded conventional doctrines and beliefs, in order to imagine more coherent explanations of the data.  Religious language is often delusional.  The reliance of theology on ideas that are based in myth rather than observation creates a disjuncture between faith and reason, separating conventional faith from holistic integral perspectives.  The pietistic context of Jung’s society saw many people holding literal beliefs that were untrue. This syndrome of delusion produces psychological pathology and continues to generate trauma today.  Jung thought deeply about how best to help people in this situation, how to help bring his patients toward personal psychological wholeness, and how to imagine new integral visions of wholeness incubating in the collective unconscious.  He formed the view that social therapy requires challenge to Christian doctrine, within a context of support for the social value and heritage of the church, in order to facilitate religious and theological reflection on psychological wholeness (p22).

Jung’s therapeutic approach to religion aimed to heal the split between consciousness and the unconscious.  Neurosis arises when the psychic energy of libido is blocked, whereas achievement of psychological wholeness enables the free flow of libido, liberating our creative potential.  Neurotic blockages within Christianity include the portrayal of God as exclusively male, repressing the equality of the divine feminine, and the traditional assumption that Biblical narratives reflect actual history rather than events of symbolic imagination and meaning.  Jung’s analysis shows that deconstructing conventional beliefs, exploring how they arose, their social function, and their many anomalies, can support a constructive rebuilding of faith.  The goal is to engage with modern ethical concern, seeing achievement of wholeness as the original purpose of faith.

In his 1921 essay Psychological Types Jung explored how an enlightened understanding of the psychic energies of libido can transform our lives, bringing repressed elements into awareness and adapting our personality and ego from restrictive constructed limitations toward an understanding of the innate wholeness of the self.  In this process religion can either operate as a repressive barrier to understanding or can help heal the damage.  A constructive role of religion can accept its symbols as sources of creative energy and meaning, in a higher form of integration that is in large part unconscious. 

Jung’s attitude toward Christianity was ambiguous.  Growing up with a father and six uncles who were parsons in the Swiss Reformed church, he found his analytic and therapeutic assumptions were not understood or shared in church circles. That led him to an ambivalent attitude, identifying as a Christian but not with the church, a sense that traditional faith was a spiritual wasteland.  He found no answers in the church to his existential dilemmas about the problem of evil, or any interest in rational explanations of dogma. He saw his father as sadly crippled by his lack of intellectual interest in the meaning of faith, and was indignant at how his father had fallen victim to mumbo-jumbo and fancy drivel. He perceived his society as experiencing a broad cultural crisis of faith where direct spiritual experience was absent. 

By contrast Jung himself was passionate about discovering fundamental truths about humanity and the cosmos. His holistic hermeneutic method is reflected in the statement in his memoirs that “God himself had disavowed theology and the church founded upon it.”  This means that only an authentically holistic method grounded in observation and logic can restore meaning to religious language. It is impossible to achieve a holistic perspective when the only options are materialistic reduction that abandons all faith or supernatural belief that sacrifices the intellect.  Jung’s program sought a scientific study of the soul, while respecting the mystical sense of eternal transcendence in religion. Jung’s holy grail was the quest for a new containing and ordering mythos, an acceptable healing story that would explain the meaning and purpose of life.

This mysticism clashed with the reductionism of Freud.  Jung found Freud to be like his own father, dogmatic, rationalistic and narrow-minded.  Neither Freud nor Jung senior could appreciate the high holistic spiritual vision that Jung saw as essential and vital. The empty shell of Christianity was like the sexual dogma of Freud, and like so many other limited ideologies, a partial explanation that refused to consider the whole.

Jung developed his theory of psychological wholeness in his 1921 publication Psychological Types, the ground-breaking work that is the source of the Myers-Briggs classification of eight personality types.  The spectrum between introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving seeks to encompass the range of healthy human possibility.  The observation that no single perspective can tell the whole story of psychic wholeness helps to explain the distortions and assumptions in human relations.  By outlining these character types, Jung sought to imagine wholeness as a healing therapeutic goal.  He argued in Psychological Types that the partiality of Christianity, its lack of wholeness, reflects its dominant traditions of extraversion, feeling and intuition, and its rejection of the compensatory more introverted traditions of mysticism and philosophy.

Jung’s extensive interest in eastern religion and philosophy reflects this wish to understand how spirituality can support a path to psychological wholeness.  His Introduction to the I Ching, the ancient Chinese oracle, is an example of these holistic goals, reflected in his concept of synchronicity, the idea that all events occurring at any given instant reflect the combined causal qualities of that moment in time.  He controversially argues that divination can access the intuitive wisdom of the collective unconscious, contrary to prevailing Western biases.  His sympathy for oracular language, seen also in his interest in alchemy and tarot, claims that we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world through these neglected occult sources.  As the world now seeks greater respect for indigenous culture, Jung’s sympathetic interest in indigenous religious traditions such as shamanism informed his work on dreams and the unconscious. These esoteric interests reflect Jung’s belief in a world soul, an anima mundi, bridging the spiritual and material realms as a healing symbol of wholeness and connection and a response to cultural crisis. 

In his old age, the question of Christianity and wholeness became Jung’s abiding therapeutic interest, through his essays on the Trinity, the Mass, the book of Job and others.  He saw this intellectual analysis of culture as providing diagnosis, treatment and prognosis as doctor to a sick tradition.

Jung’s 1948 essay A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity is discussed in depth by Murray Stein in Jung’s Treatment of Christianity. Beginning with an intriguing discussion of the numerous triadic parallels in other religions, Jung saw this widespread mythological pattern of three in one as an example of an innate and indestructible holistic archetype of the collective unconscious. This pervasive story is reflected in the mathematical dialectic whereby a third factor provides a connection between two opposing factors, such as in how a child brings together attributes of the father and mother. 

However, the social distortions of Christianity, notably its patriarchal exclusion of the divine feminine, meant the Trinity failed to integrate the whole.  Jung argues that this incompleteness appears in the exclusion of the dark side of reality from the story of Christ, and in a general failure of Christian theology to explain the problem of evil.  This brought him to the rather perplexing idea, partly grounded in his interest in Buddhist mandalas, that the symbol of three in the Trinity should be replaced by a symbol of four, a quaternity, as a basis for a new reformation of Christianity.  He argued, quite obscurely, that three represents ideal spiritual perfection while four represents worldly physical completeness.

This numerological argument is interesting to consider, in terms of how these abstract number symbols might relate to moves toward cultural wholeness. Jung recognises that the Trinity served as a formula of wholeness for Christendom, but observes that it has lost this power in modern times, so he is speculating about what symbols might now serve this function of connecting society to a holistic vision.  However, his idea of the four replacing the three is unsatisfactory.  There is no reason why the numerous religious symbols of four, such as the four evangelists, the four living creatures, the four points of the cross, the four directions of the compass and the four elements of fire, earth, air and water, cannot sit equally alongside triadic symbols.

These quaternal symbols are better understood as integrating with triadic symbols to form more complex visions of the whole than as somehow replacing the triad.  One way to consider this is that multiplication of three times four generates the spiritually significant number twelve, seen in the twelve months of the year and related Biblical ideas of the twelve disciples and tribes, while three plus four produces the seven days of creation and the week.  Triadic structures appear in modern philosophy.  Hegel’s dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis is the best known, as a way to achieve systematic wholeness in the evolution of ideas.  Another example is Heidegger’s existential metaphysical system, replacing the trinity with nature, language and truth in the place of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jung’s surprising view is that the Trinity might be made complete by the addition of worldly evil as a fourth point, recognising the power of the world. A basic problem here is that evil undermines completeness rather than adding to it.  Evil is the negative force of separation, destruction and delusion, and as such cannot be seen as a positive cosmic force in the same way that good can.  For Jung to describe the kingdom of the world as “a power opposed to God” is certainly true, but worldly power that creates its own reality in opposition to God can only survive for a short time and is not a cosmic principle.  The old idea known as Manichaeism whereby the cosmos has rival good and evil powers was rejected by the Christian teaching that evil only arises as a corruption of the good, and that good alone is attuned to the cosmos, meaning the Earth itself is good. 

The Christian vision of God can be re-imagined, in my view, as the features of the cosmos that support the sustained flourishing of life and complexity. That means opposition to God is opposition to sustainability.  Any worldly powers that oppose God in this way are destined to collapse.  This interpretation finds support in the Biblical idea that the wrath of God is against those who destroy the Earth (Rev 11:18).  Our sense of wholeness needs to be integrated into a vision of the good, of how the world can be improved.  I don’t agree with Jung that things that destroy wholeness can be part of our sense of completeness, except in the sense that God is understood as present even in the parts of nature that are destructive, as death is part of the renewal of natural cycles.  These ideas can help to see how theology could respond in dialogue to the challenges that Jung raises.  His observation that theology has lost its ability to convince and heal should be recognised as a serious invitation to dialogue, respecting scientific and spiritual critiques of traditional belief and leaving aside the old dogmatic arrogance. 

A better way to reconsider the Trinity, in my view, is to see a holistic natural trinity of Heaven, Earth and Life as equating symbolically to Father, Mother and Child, restoring the divine feminine within the sacred economy. A shift from the false patriarchal hostility toward the sanctity of the earth is needed, restoring the spiritual respect for Mother Earth as Gaia.  In this natural trinity, Heaven represents the orderly paternal principle of God the Father seen in the stability of the stars, Earth is the maternal principle of compassion and support reflected in distorted form in the Christian tradition of the Holy Spirit, and Life is the integrating synthesis of Heaven and Earth symbolised by Jesus Christ as the enlightened vision of what is needed to save the world from its path toward destruction. This finite trinitarian model presents the holistic human perspective as its basis. 

Jung explored his theological critique further in Transformation Symbols in the Mass, where he argued that the suppressed ancient heretical movement of Gnosticism had precisely the same holistic agenda of seeing Christ as a saving symbol of the original unity of humanity: “bringing order into chaos, resolving disharmonies [and…] reuniting consciousness with the unconscious” (p137). The implication is that Christian orthodoxy, through its alliance with the state and its masculine vision of God, has repudiated the holistic thinking needed to save the world, but that this saving thinking is actually present within Christian origins and can be rekindled today.  A repentant sense of guilt about mistakes, integrating our shadow in what Jung calls “the chiaroscuro of life” (p145), is needed to restore wholeness, transforming the bereft strife of modern life.

Like the Trinity, Jung explains that the communion ritual of the Eucharist has parallels in other cultures.  The Eucharist has an archetypal psychological purpose as a living mystery and a personal and social symbol of atonement.  But for Christianity to become at one with the cosmos, it has to find more humility in seeing its own traditions as one partial expression among many, rather than an exclusive truth.  In this way the Mass can represent renewal of wholeness with universal meaning across cultures.  Jung sees this potential for wholeness through the Mass in his comment that Christ is “perhaps the most highly developed symbol of the self apart from Buddha” (p142). 

Stein observes that “Jung identified with the Hermetic underground tradition in European cultural history” (140).  The Hermetic tradition, exemplified in writers such as Giordano Bruno, is a concealed and suppressed esoteric way of thought.  Its popular image is concerned only with practices of occult magic. However, Hermetism can relate constructively to theology through its tradition of wisdom philosophy, maintaining that hidden symbolic meaning behind the literal imperial doctrines of the church can be explored through a coherent critique of religion and society, seeking holistic integration of the psyche. Seeing the Mass against this hidden esoteric meaning indicates for Jung how the unconscious inner meaning in Christian practice can be discovered and transformed and reborn.

Jung argued that the losses involved in the Christian separation between spirit and nature were psychologically necessary in the patriarchal world of the early church, but this theological move created a serious split in the psyche.  The current move toward gender equality enables a reform of spirituality to integrate with nature, toward a healing wholeness.  In this area Jung foreshadowed much modern feminist and ecological spirituality.  These themes of integrating nature and spirit are central to the idea that Jung was the prophetic father of the New Age.  

The key text that expands Jung’s holistic thinking about imagining a future New Age for our planet is Aion – Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self, published in 1951.  Jung said the purpose of this book was to explain “the relations between the traditional Christ-figure and the natural symbols of wholeness” (p147).  He achieved this by seeing these natural symbols of wholeness in visual astronomy, understanding how our Earth is connected to the slow encompassing patterns of the cosmos as part of the whole.  He saw restoring understanding of this root of our being as able to heal the alienation and delusion experienced by the modern world.  This method, seeing astronomy as the context for mythology, supports the scientific paradigm shift in Jung’s ideas by proposing an integration between the descriptive observations available from empirical science and a holistic study of human perspective. 

Beginning with the astronomy of how the stars imperceptibly move against the annual seasons, one degree per lifetime, known as precession of the equinox, Jung explains the direct causal correlation between this observation and the whole mythological structure of Christianity.  He observes that the story of Jesus Christ is set exactly when the equinox moved from the constellation of Aries into Pisces, and this has extensive symbolic correlation, such as with images of the fish and the lamb.  These correlations can only be based on lost ancient ideas that underly the surviving texts, combined with intuitive ideas arising from the collective unconscious. 

These findings provide a profound basis to shift the paradigm of Christianity from simple supernatural belief to complex scientific knowledge, by interpreting all Christian texts as primarily symbolic rather than literal.  The scientific paradigm shift from description alone to an explanation of human connection with the cosmos combines with the religious paradigm shift from literal belief to symbolic knowledge.

The scientific and religious implications of precession is a topic I have investigated in some depth.  In my recently published paper The Physics of Astrological Ages, I show these concepts can integrate into scientific understanding of astronomy in a transformative and compelling way, to help explain the evolution of consciousness. These claims are supported by the direct correlation between precessional myth and the long term structure of terrestrial time discovered in climate science.

In Aion, Jung uses precession to “show the development, extending over the centuries, of the religious content which Christ represented… to show how Christ could have been astrologically predicted, and how he was understood both in terms of the spirit of his age and in the course of two thousand years of Christian civilization” (p149).  Implications for religion and society today emerge from Jung’s statement that “the old myth needs to be clothed anew in every renewed age if it is not to lose its therapeutic effect” (p156).  Taking Hegel’s triadic dialectic, we can see traditional Christian faith as a thesis, to which the scientific revolution counterposed an antithesis, creating the need now for an integrating synthesis of wholeness, recognising the merits and pitfalls in these conflicting traditions.  The narrative framing of this imaginative vision can provide the symbolic meaning of the coming New Age of Aquarius over the next two millennia, as a time when a new holistic ethical vision will develop a coherent critique of the dangerous forces now governing our world.

In Aion, and in his Answer to Job, Jung expresses the fear that the Promethean energies of human technology will destroy us. He argues a shift of ethos is needed toward an ethical understanding of psychological and planetary wholeness.  As we imagine the future guided by this transformative holistic thinking, Jung’s ideas can help us analyse the political and ideological problems of our world. 

To conclude, I would like to explain my view on the political paradigm shift that is emerging in response to the scientific and religious shifts foreshadowed by Jung.  This shift appears particularly in relation to climate change, where the inability to think globally is creating the urgent risk of catastrophe.  However, this inability occurs as much within the scientific community as among the deniers of science.  Recent work has shown that our planet is approaching a series of cascading tipping points, changing the stable climate systems in dramatic ways.  However, just cutting emissions is too small, slow, costly and contested to stop these looming changes.  If we learn to think holistically, we can learn that a new form of global thinking, focussing on the planetary heat balance, can enable us to prioritise different responses in order to support those with the best overall cooling effects.  A key theme is planetary albedo or brightness, understood in physical, emotional and intellectual terms.  Reflecting more sunlight back to space is needed to brighten our mood. As Carl Jung invites us to catch his holistic vision of a New Age, we can apply his ideas to the pressing ethical problems of planetary reality, integrating science and spirituality to create new ways of global peaceful cooperation, as we seek to identify and promote everything that is good.

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Berlin Tourism

In the last week of my visit to Berlin I was able to do some great visits to interesting places.

On Monday I caught the train south from Berlin to the city of Dresden.  Known as

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Commentary on Carl Jung’s Answer to Job

The Canberra Jung Society has uploaded the draft essay I used for my talk on Jung’s book Answer To Job on 6 July, as well as recordings of the talk and of the question and answer session.

The link above is to the Society’s home page. Direct link to the talk is here. I will revise this paper for publication in the Canberra Jung Society Journal.

Here is the diagram mentioned in the essay, providing an astronomical framework for mythology.
Orbital Drivers of Mythology and Cultural Evolution

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The Place of Ethics in Heidegger’s Ontology

My Master of Arts Honours thesis in philosophy, completed in 1991 at Macquarie University, with degree awarded in 1992, is at this link.

I have edited the PDF document into a single file, correcting some typographical errors and formatting problems that happened when I typed it nearly three decades ago. I decided after I completed the degree that philosophy is a topic that requires life experience to conduct properly, so I did not want at that time to become an academic philosopher, and instead have worked since then in international development. Since leaving paid employment last year, I have had time to focus on my original interests, including reviewing my thesis. There is nothing in it that I would want to change. There are many ideas in it, looking at how ethics can be grounded in a coherent philosophical perspective, that have shaped my attitudes and beliefs, but that seem to be quite difficult to discuss against prevailing views. I would warmly welcome any questions or comments.
The Place of Ethics in Heidegger’s Ontology: Robert Tulip Masters of Arts Honours Thesis 1991

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