I’m not likely to ever submit this but it I feel the need to say it anyway.

How are we to respond to the twentieth-century phenomenon, which Jung noted with such alarm: that the collective containers of religious symbolism are weak, if not altogether gone? For centuries the symbols, rituals, and dogmas of religions, East and West, gathered the psychic energy of individuals and nations alike into traditions that bore witness to life’s meaning and acted as underground springs nourishing different civilization.

Jung and Religion: The opposing self / Ann Ulanov

To which I say, Have they? Are we really so special in being disconnected from the spirit? Or is the difference that in the last hundred years or so it’s become OK to admit to that disconnect? We’re finally able to talk about how we really feel (or perhaps don’t feel at all) about religious ritual and dogma without being labeled as heretics.We’re free to voice our doubts. We’re free to look at the origin of the myths we’ve been handed and ask, just as Jung did, what do they really mean?

It’s possible that the result of this freedom has been some disillusionment with the old traditions. A disconnect. But is that much worse than fear? Is it that much worse than blind devotion? How well served was a peasant from attending church services in Latin? How much spiritual meaning is there in following ritual blindly generation after generation? And does dogma really serve the individual’s spiritual life?

Certainly every period of history in every culture had its mystics. The ones who dive into the spiritual world and plumb its depth anew but those are unique individuals. Likewise there are those who find some spiritual connection in organized religion or in the tradition they were born into but do they ever outnumber those who just follow the rules (for whatever reason)? I am a cynic and so I doubt that (I doubt a great, many things).

On the other hand, this feeling of a lack of connection, we all know it (if you didn’t I doubt you’d have read this far) and the common admonition about young people these days and lack of respect, etc. comes up easily in the mind. So it is easy to say, this generation is so disconnected from the life of spirit. At least in this generation we’re finally free to choose our own path, our own myth and that by itself is something too.

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