A Pinch of Regret

Having church to go to was helpful for a couple of years. I hope the congregation doesn’t feel used or cheated now that I’ve left. Was I merely deceiving them through all those services? Sort of going through the motions? I don’t think it was a deliberate swindle. It was early in my recovery, and I wasn’t quite myself yet. And the falling away from faith was gradual. I was never dishonest about it, but rather, aboveboard the whole way. Pastor didn’t want to believe it. The first barrier I noticed was the problem of prayer, and this came up a year ago last summer. And then it was the whole concept of Jesus, especially since the virus made it appear like the end of the world. The apocalypse would spell out the Last Judgment, and essentially this entailed the dividing of human beings into saved and lost. My whole being found this proposal offensive. Unfortunately, it is built into the entire New Testament. Parable after parable taught by Jesus refers to the righteousness of Christians. When I cornered Pastor about this, he had no defense, no recourse. I think that by now he has finally dropped me and the whole issue. The one who’s still bothered by it all happens to be me. I regret that it couldn’t have worked out for me and the church. If I could rewrite the Bible to make it more reasonable, I suppose I would in order to get along with more people. The scriptures would be an okay thing if the pages were blank. Some churches try to treat the Bible in just that way. Interpretations can be very plastic, almost as though there were no text at all. I think that this was the impasse I came to with Pastor. At some juncture, his latitude with interpretation would hit a wall and break down. Perhaps I really was a jerk to be so insistent on a point. I believe that, at bottom, maybe Pastor acceded my argument. But in saying so, I’m merely mindreading. For myself, anyway, I wouldn’t want life and mind to be circumscribed by the Bible… Pastor wrote something that suggested to me that I’d been “hardhearted” in deciding to leave. But is it hardheartedness or rather toughmindedness? My heart is a reflector of what my mind earnestly thinks. Perhaps it would’ve been softhearted to put on blinders and forget what I had seen. But that wouldn’t have been my way…

Jung as Sophist

Quarter of one. I slept for about four hours. It was like having another person’s dreams; they were quite irrelevant to my life. One dream abruptly hit the ground, leaving blackness… so I opened my eyes: I wasn’t blind or dead. I wasn’t in hell. And then I went on dreaming impersonal technical dreams. What kind of problem is my unconscious working on? Or does it even care about me? Perhaps the ego of consciousness doesn’t matter? But I feel ignored by my own soul. Not much that was human occurred in my dreams. It was strange. But life has been disregarding me as well, so I don’t know what gives. It’s just as well to be alone… The Portable Jung was first printed in paperback in 1971, the same year my parents bought our house. This may or may not be significant. I read a few random pages from the essay about dream symbolism in relation to alchemy. Hull’s translation rolls along smoothly. Jung is mainly concerned with the self and the process of individuation, or self realization— within reasonable limits. He says that the unconscious itself is illimitable and hints at immortality. The odd thing is that Jung offers no evidence to support his arbitrary claims, but trusts that the reader will accept his intuitions. He seems to confuse opinions with facts. I observe the same thing with prose writers like Emerson and Thoreau. They blurt generalizations for indisputable truth without giving examples or any kind of logical proofs. For that reason, they don’t qualify as philosophers in the strict sense of Western philosophy. They state their case but don’t substantiate their assertions with even a quotation or instance in point. The teacher who taught me how to write in high school would be unimpressed by Jung or anyone who wrote without proofs. But then I suppose Jung didn’t value logic for his method, which could be a mistake. His intuitionism could misguide a lot of people, like lemmings over the cliff. You either write fiction or facts, and if neither, you write in the boonies of empty rhetoric.