This cartoon beautifully illustrates the fate of ideologies which captivate lost souls who thus become “ideologues.” Posted in a Carl Jung facebook discussion group, it demonstrates the necessary role of irony in dealing with ideas and avoiding their imprisonment, including the caption, “Woo-hoo, we’re Jungians.” This cartoon reflected knowledge of a lesser known but profound quote from Carl Jung himself, “Thank God I’m not a Jungian!” Jung knew that his teachings were captivating to some who did not exercise what the New Testament calls as, “discerning Spirit” and used his teachings to create a shallow ideological identity in which they could hide and avoid the gut-level wisdom that his teachings offered.
I facetiously toy with writing my copy of the Gospels someday, clearly identified as, “fictional,” and in them I would toss in at some point Jesus saying as he fled the hordes of “mindless” escape-oriented seekers, “Thank God I’m not a Christian.” For Jesus’ teachings clearly recognized the entrapment of taking spiritual tradition and teachings only on the superficial level and he used the world, “hypocrites” to describe them, people who were simply actors offering to their community merely the “performance art” of spirituality.
This phenomenon which is so egregiously conspicuous now in my country takes the teachings of Jesus only as “ideas” without ever bothering to explore them in depth to the point of discovering that, “the idea is not the thing” and that ideas have value only when they open-up into a region beyond themselves. The ability to understand this includes getting to the point where one realizes that buried in his heart is a hidden region that can be found only by opening oneself to it, an opening-up which is not a simple rational undertaking resulting from a moment of revivalistic fervor. This “opening up” is the discovery of the mystery of life, buried far beneath the conscious edifice of one’s persona, related to what T.S. Eliot described as, “a condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything.” Jesus put it this way, “You can find your life only by losing it.” This is really difficult if you are a “cradle Christian,” one who has been enculturated into the Christian faith as it will often feel as if one is losing his faith. In a sense, one will be losing his “faith” but possibly only its ideological dimension, allowing the freedom to venture into the, “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”