The famed Swiss psychologist’s work comes up time and again in our sangha. I thought this piece in today’s BBC News was interesting.
He would see signs of progress. Take the way we worry about the care of children. In the last 50 years, attitudes towards parenting have shifted markedly. Psychologists now widely recognise that children do best when they receive the dedicated attention of their mother or other primary carer from an early age.
Jung would also be troubled by the way life is unfolding now. For example, he lived in a period “filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction”, as he observed – thinking of the Cold War and nuclear bomb.
These particular horrors have receded. But it is striking how quickly they have been replaced by new threats. The most obvious is the devastation that is anticipated as a result of climate change. Or you could point to terrorism. And it does not stop there.
We seem to have a fascination with ruination that extends beyond the possible or probable to the purely imagined. Look at how the end of the world provides an irresistible storyline in movies. Or recall how the Rapture predictions of Harold Camping spread like wildfire across the internet last month.Jung would spot the high levels of mental illness in modern society as well, marked by the boom in prescribed anti-depressants and other drugs in the years after his death. He would see that even politicians and economists are becoming concerned that while a nation’s material wealth can grow inexorably, it does not appear to deliver true happiness or fulfilment.