Archetypes constellate in nature and human nature as images and symbols. Becoming familiar with these constellations assists us in developing a greater level of consciousness. As consciousness changes, the active archetypes change as well. This occurs on a personal level, a collective level and, as proposed in this paper, a global level. Archetypal constellations on all three levels impose illusory forms of reality that must be understood in order for human nature to progress. Discovering the illusions, and associated transient natures, on all levels of reality is essential.
Following Yeats’ astute understanding of nature, the following paraphrase applies to this paper: The psyche is full of archetypal content, patiently waiting for our consciousness to grow greater.
Archetypes were presented by Carl G. Jung as psychological predisposed forms within the unconscious psyche. Present at birth, these preeminent psychological forms are nothing less than human nature (Hillman, 1975). Instrumental in a person’s development and a culture’s formation and progression, archetypes manifest as symbolic images within dreams, myths, fantasies and imaginings. These constellations occur in three ways: human/individual, social/cultural and global/reality.
On a personal level, we receive archetypal dreams, fantasies and imaginative images from our unconscious psyches. In addition, we live common human behaviors and psychological patterns that manifest from archetypal forms. We also live and follow archetypal mythological expressions that lead us through our lives and events.
On a social level, archetypes constellate in social structures, as social patterns and as mythological stories and meanings, guiding cultures through developmental processes and time-sensitive epochs.
The global, or reality level, differs in one major respect from the other two levels. Archetypes “define” and influence what people and societies consider fixed reality. Examples include: time, space, solid mass, planetary structures, constants such as the speed of light, cause and effect, evolutionary processes and more. Human and physical natures are functions of an archetypal base; therefore, the holism of reality can be understood in terms of psyche. In other words, global reality, upon which we depend and function each day, is archetypal.
Searching for symbolic expressions of the archetype of transience and permanence leads to many experiences of “reality” that we take for granted, yet, consider the core of human existence. A close evaluation of our reality reveals an omnipresent transient quality, opening many questions and unusual explanations.
Illusion and Reality
An essential correspondence exists between two pairs of polarities -– illusion and reality as one pole and transience and permanence as the other. Within the polarities, transience corresponds to reality and permanence to illusion. At first mention, this correspondence might seem odd, given that we consider permanence to be reality. It is our constant desire for permanence in our global, social or personal experiences, which extend from our need for stability, constancy, familiarity and dependence, that lies behind the oddness of transience corresponding to reality and not permanence. We need not wander far from our stable existence to discover that permanency fluctuates. “In the realm of consciousness we are our own masters; …But if we step through the door of the shadow we discover with terror that we are the objects of unseen factors” (Jung, 1969, p. 23).
Many avenues point to reality as an illusion. Eastern spirituality and Western non-Newtonian systems provide ample opportunity to question permanency, revealing the transient nature and illusion of our so-called real experiences. These spiritual practices and discoveries remain the possession of a small, minority of historic and contemporary figures. Outside of this minority, life continues as usual, following the shared realism that permanence is real.
One of the most commonly accepted forms of reality is cause and effect. Questioning this cornerstone of existence is tantamount to exclaiming that the sun isn’t the center of the solar system. In his simple anecdote, describing cause and effect, Alan Watts (1972) presents the power of reasoning, invariance, structure and our need for a rule-based reality. His example includes an observer unfamiliar with cats.
He is looking through a narrow slit in a fence, and, on the other side, a cat walks by. He sees first the head, then the less distinctly shaped furry trunk, and then the tail. Extraordinary! The cat turns round and walks back, and again he sees the head, and a little later the tail. This sequence begins to look like something regular and reliable [permanent – my emphasis]. Yet, again, the cat turns round, and he witnesses the same regular sequence: first the head, and later the tail. Thereupon he reasons that, the event head is the invariable and necessary cause of the event tail, which is the head’s effect. (p. 27)
Regular, reliable and invariant are necessary conditions for our experience of permanence and stability – for our sense of reality! Cause and effect becomes part of our rule-based repertoire of reality given our repetitive observations, reasoning power, and its regular, reliable and invariant characteristics. The power of this rule cannot be denied by any sane person, yet, observation implies that it is consciousness which underlies this discretionary form of existence that we experience at any given moment. As Watts (1972) so clearly depicts in the above anecdote, consciousness is the psychic force behind the cause and effect understanding of reality.
Of course, the cat’s head doesn’t cause the tail to appear. The cat’s completeness, or wholeness, remains unseen and unfamiliar to the observer, but cause and effect emerge, dominating the observer’s reality. The wholeness underlying the cause and effect illusion remains unconscious. Jung (1963) said of the wholeness: “No words express the whole and we can grasp only its partial aspect in an inadequate way” (p. 354). Watts (1972) also contributes a brief, yet precise, description of the wholeness: “… the whole is a pattern, a complex wiggliness, which has no separate parts. Parts are fictions of language, of the calculus of looking at the world through a net which seems to chop it up into bits” (p. 90).
How might we understand the illusion of cause and effect with respect to consciousness? The slit in the fence provides the answer. Watts (1972) claims that: “The slit in the fence is much like the way we look at life by conscious attention, for when we attend to something we ignore everything else. Attention is a narrowed perception” (p. 28). This is an interesting understanding to which I would add that the slit symbolically represents a conscious, discrete perception or simply a discrete awareness.
Analogous to digitizing a picture into discrete picture elements, discrete perceptions present us with separate illusions distinct from the whole of reality. Similar to discrete instances of movie frames, moving at a certain speed and producing the illusion of a continuous movie, an accumulation of discrete perceptions presents us with the illusion of continuous permanent forms of reality that we experience each day. A function of consciousness creates each discrete perception, or awareness, and frames them into a continuous “flow,” thereby, contributing to our reality, or illusion of permanence. “According to Jung, the so-called unity of consciousness is an illusion” (Avens, 1980, p. 68). Consciousness differentiates and produces order out of “chaos” (Watts, 1972).
Reading Watts’ anecdote brings to mind the single slit experiment of quantum physics. This experiment proves that a quantum wave form, e.g., representing an electron or photon, is a particle; that is, until a double slit experiment is performed. Then, the quantum waveform of the electron or photon becomes a wave (Al Khalili, 2003). The holism underlying the reality of the particle or the wave manifests as either a wave or a particle depending upon the number of slits. In other words, the slit (s), or decoherence as it is referred to in quantum physics, determines if the quantum holism manifests as particle or wave. Although the slit in Watts’ anecdote can be symbolically equated with consciousness, the slit, or slits, in the quantum experiment cannot. The latter is an actual quantum experiment with actual physical slits. The former is a symbolic analogy referring to consciousness.
We are instructed in Buddhism, Zen, Taoism and Hinduism, that the Buddha-nature, emptiness, wu-wei or non-doing, and samsari, respectively, provide one with enlightenment. While discussing the Ten Oxherding Pictures devised by Kuo-an, authors Spiegelman and Miyuki (1985) state: “Both nature and human activity become authentic to the genuine man. He experiences both as the Buddha-nature realizing itself in different modalities…. ‘From the very beginning, pure and immaculate, man has never been affected by defilement’”( p. 38).
Miyuki (1985) describes impermanence and the striving for Buddhist Awakening in this way:
[Buddhism] stresses the life-long process of Awakening (bodhi, Enligtenment). In this world of impermanence (anicca, anitya), both the objective conditions and the subjective factors are in constant change so that one’s Awakening is not a completed, or perfected, state but an ever-changing process which forms a continuum with the impermanence of the interior and exterior world of an individual. (p. 171)
Realizing that nature and human nature originate in the same source, the psyche, opens the door to understanding illusion and reality with greater clarity. Both natures represent the psychic holism underlying each – the “chaos” to which Watts refers and the whole to which Jung refers. Consciousness (Maya’s veil) differentiates the whole, producing many illusions or impermanent forms of reality.
Typically, the ego or ego-consciousness is assigned responsibility for the layers of illusion beyond which we must move. In the Hindu myths, the layers of illusion represent Maya’s veil. Maya’s veil “cannot be lifted by a merely rational resolve; it requires a most thoroughgoing and persevering preparation consisting in the full payment of all debts to life. For as long as unconditional attachment through cupiditas exists, the veil is not lifted and the heights of a consciousness free of contents and free of illusion are not attained…” (Jung, 1967, p.38).
Jung (1968) describes ego as a psychological complex – a union of ego qualities and consciousness, or ego-consciousness. From Jung’s understanding, moving beyond ego actually entails moving beyond consciousness as well. Moving beyond ego can be understood in several ways, e.g., ego integration with the Self or dissolution of the ego. Eastern spiritual practices, quantum physics, Jung and Maya’s veil inform us that reality, as we know it, is an illusion, and that a wholeness underlies this illusion.
Essentially, there is an interweaving energy or “fabric of energy” that underlies our conscious reality of objects, people, and the external world, as well as our thoughts, emotions, and the internal world. The idea of wholeness spans many centuries and millennia. During the Medieval period, for example, correspondences between internal and external world “objects” captured the imagination. The collective understanding, or more appropriately the myth, of that period presented the underlying holism as correspondences between the inner and outer realities.
Here, the word myth is not meant to convey a falsehood or fiction with respect to meaning. Instead, myths represent meaningful expressions from psyche that establish personal, social, cultural and world ethos. Another example of a relevant myth is the mind/body/spirit holism that has faded in and out of favor over the centuries. This myth expresses the integrated whole of mind, body and spirit.
These mythological expressions from the psyche are examples of the holism of nature and human nature that manifest through consciousness but originate from the archetypes of the unconscious. Suggesting that an illusory characteristic accompanies this mythic reality is but a small step, as noted above.
In Search of Permanence
Let me begin with a quote from Jung (2008) describing an inner sense of knowing. A one-time frequent correspondent of Jung’s, Father Victor White, described a woman who claimed to know Jung as a result of her dreams. Jung’s partial response to hearing this claim was:
…integration of the unconscious into consciousness leads to a higher level of existence, where the distinctness of the ego as well as of time and space vanishes to a certain extent, so that a peculiar nearness of otherwise perfect strangers appears. This nearness expresses itself often through synchronistic phenomena, as, for instance, parallel dreams and other experiences, as for instance, analogous external events…[this] is something like relativity of ego, Time (sic) and or an increase of the self, an approximation to eternity and a contractible space. (p. 71)
Jung’s implications are profound, bordering on the unbelievable, however, as discovered by Einstein and quantum physicists, Jung’s seemingly far-fetched claim accurately presents a valid possibility.
How does this quote relate to permanence? It indicates that there is much more to reality than that which meets the eye, leading to powerful implications concerning the imposition of active myths on reality which are transient in nature. As Einstein discovered, physical space and time are a unity; compression of physical space does occur as an object moves close to the speed of light. Our everyday reality is not only questionable but clearly an illusion.
As we search for permanence, thousands, if not millions, of examples come to mind. Some examples include: the computer on which I’m typing, the house in which I’m residing, the car which I drive, my family and friends, the memories I hold, buildings in my hometown, the rivers that flow, the oceans, the earth, the light from the sun that sustains us, the myriad of species including human beings, and on, and on. Careful inspection of each example, however, reveals that this list of objects, structures, people and psychological functions fail to satisfy the notion of permanence. For example, people live and die, revealing the illusion of permanence. Cars and houses deteriorate or are destroyed, revealing the illusion of permanence. The sun has a finite existence, again revealing the illusion of permanence. Based on these simple examples, Jung’s proclamation and Einstein’s discoveries, it appears that discovering permanence is near impossible.
Of course, we believe permanence permeates our lives. We depend on permanence for stability and hope, for sustenance and for tomorrow’s events. The Buddha described the human condition in many ways. Dukkha, or dis-ease, e.g., illness, separation or death, invokes an understanding of limitation. Limitation reveals the impermanence of life and the human condition (Spiegelman & Miyuki, 1985). In Hinduism, the fourth asrama, or sannyasa, is symbolized by the sage-hermit, liberated from bondage and attachment (Spiegelman & Miyuki, 1985). During this stage, the sage-hermit seeks the infinite, the wholeness that underlies all of reality.
Psychologically, Jung (1969) reflects this understanding as he states:
Consciousness, no matter how extensive it may be, must always remain the smaller circle within the greater circle of the unconscious, an island surrounded by the sea; and like the sea itself, the unconscious yields an endless and self-replenishing of abundance, living creatures, a wealth beyond our fathoming. (as cited in Spiegelman & Miyuki, 1985, p. 31)
The infinite unconscious, the greater circle, underlies the conscious discrete awareness forming our experiences of reality. As mentioned previously, the accumulation of discrete perception or awareness forms an illusory reality experienced as a continuous. The ego-consciousness perceives the continuous illusion of reality while the infinite unconscious behind Maya’s veil not only creates ego-consciousness but the reality which it experiences. Comprehension of this notion is essential to realizing how the archetype of transience and permanence, the global archetype of reality, functions.
In Search of Transience
A commonly repeated belief states that the only constant is change. At first glance, it appears that change is permanent since everything changes, however, this oxymoron requires more reflection.
We begin with the idea that change and time are related. The dynamic quality of change corresponds to a passage of time but so, too, does the constancy of change, e.g., the ever-presence of change throughout time.
Our understanding of the linear nature of time, however, is an illusion. Einstein’s discovery of relativity, i.e., the special theory of relativity, unites time and space as one fabric, or whole – spacetime. He discovered that time slows down as a result of traveling close to the speed of light. Correspondingly, as noted above, at speeds close to the speed of light space compresses and the mass of an object becomes increasingly dense. A changing dynamic presents in each of these odd occurrences, or events, expressing the impermanence of matter, time and space, however, permanence appears to persist in the ever-presence of change, but since linear time is an illusion, any characteristic or quality associated with linear time is illusory, e.g., the ever-presence of change. This simply means that change isn’t persistently present because persistence is illusory.
The illusory passage of linear time and the unity of spacetime move us to consider other possibilities regarding the ever-presence of change. For example, we can consider the accumulative conscious discrete perceptions that produce the illusion of permanence of this ever-present change. Just as viewing the cat through the slit in the fence cannot produce the wholeness of the cat, or the blind men touching the elephant cannot reveal the wholeness of the elephant, neither can the discrete points of awareness, nor the continuous accumulation of the points of awareness, reveal the underlying wholeness. Just as cause and effect is considered a law of nature and permanent, but as noted above is an illusion, we can analogically understand the ever-presence of change as an illusion as well. Not “seeing” the whole in both events introduces the illusion and the associated transience of each.
Alan Watts (1972) describes the illusion of all things, including us, in a rather off-the-cuff manner. Nevertheless, his description can assist in a search for transience.
The only real “you” is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For “you” is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new. What we see as death, empty space, or nothingness is only the trough between the crests of this endlessly waving ocean. It is all part of the illusion that there should seem to be something to be gained in the future, and that there is an urgent necessity to go on and on until we get it. (p. 120)
Searching for transience paradoxically cycles us back to the search for permanence. A unity exists between the two poles, like two sides of a coin. Transience surfaces in what is considered permanent, as described in the previous section, and permanence, as an illusion, surfaces in what is transient, or stated another way: reality surfaces in illusion and illusion in reality.
According to Zen, the fundamental suffering (dukkha) lies in the delusion that man can isolate himself from the rest of life. Like the original Buddhism (Therevada) and its later development in Mahayana, Zen holds that all separate entities are without purpose (anatta and anicca), but it completes this denial of substance by affirming total interrelatedness of all things. Reality is “suchness” (tathata) which has a close affinity with the Chinese Tao or “The Way of Things.”(Avens, 1980, p. 78)
Archetypes, Myths and Reality
Archetypes are psychic potentials that can influence a person or a collective group, and, as proposed in this paper, global reality. To consider archetypes as thoughts or ideas, erroneously misses the point. Similar to Plato’s ideal forms, archetypes are psychic forms of potentialities, representing our historic human dimension and life itself. Archetypal constellations manifest as image and symbol within a person’s, a collective’s or global reality.
Jung (1966) describes the origin and development of unconscious archetypes with carefully carved details from the history of human experience. Some of his description follows:
The collective unconscious, being the repository of man’s experience and at the same time the prior condition of this experience, is an image of the world which has taken aeons to form. In this image certain features, the archetypes or dominants, have crystallized out in the course of time. They are the ruling powers, the gods, images of the dominant laws and principles, and of typical, regularly occurring events in the soul’s cycle of experience (…the archetypes may be regarded as the effect and deposit of experiences that have already taken place, but equally they appear as the factors which cause such experiences). (p. 95) [boldface is my emphasis]
The boldface text in Jung’s quote point us to the relevant characteristics for the argument that mythic reality occurs on a personal, collective and global level.
Jung (1969b) continues to describe archetypes and to reinforce the essential themes:
…we have to imagine a millennial process of symbol-formation which presses toward consciousness, beginning in the darkness of prehistory with primordial or archetypal images, and gradually developing and differentiating these images into conscious creations. (as cited in Avens, 1980, p. 57).
Myths and fairy tales inform us of trials, triumphs, dangers, dynamics and meanings within human nature and collective conditions. Myths are “first and foremost psychic phenomena that reveal the nature of the soul” (Jung, 1969, p. 6). More internally expressive, but no less archetypal, are imaginings. Continual, yet flexibly changing symbolic constellations, archetypal influences surround and intercede each day of our lives.
Being unconscious of these influences, we believe that we consciously control our lives and destinies. Clearly, this belief belongs to the “permanence”, or illusion, of human nature with which we live. “It must emphatically be stated that it is not just a question of cognitive contents, but of trans-subjective, largely autonomous psychic systems which on that account are only very conditionally under the control of the conscious mind and for the most part escape it altogether” (Jung, 1966, p. 98). Of course we make conscious choices, however, the strings directing our lives extend from unconscious archetypal influences.
Collective myths from archetypal influences include: politics, science, religions, social groups and movements, cultural dynamics and structure, and much more. On the other hand, individual myths encompass each individual human life. These mythical, archetypal influences form developmental processes and transient nature of our existence within which we are immersed. Yet, there is one more “level” of archetypal influence – global myths of reality.
All humans share characteristic experiences of reality that extend beyond collective and personal myths. The scale on which these archetypal constellations occur is best described as global. As are all unconscious influences, archetypal global influences and experiences are taken for granted. Global reality archetypes, just as other archetypes, influence us “objectively” and internally. Jung (1966) states:
Archetypal images can therefore be taken metaphorically, as intuitive concepts for physical phenomena. For instance, aether, the primordial breath of soul-substance, is a concept found all over the world, and energy, or magical power, is an intuitive idea that is equally widespread [my emphasis]. (p. 95)
Other examples include experiences of: the earth and its characteristics, the sun and its life giving energy, cause and effect based nature, the nature of the solar system, the galaxy, the universe, the stars, planets, etc., laws of the universe, conscious, unconscious, souls, and any global characteristic experiences that come to mind.
As a further explanation, let’s consider a movie entitled The Truman Show. This movie presents reality enclosed in a bubble. The protagonist lives within an enormous reality bubble without any conscious awareness that he lives within such a bubble while being observed from outside the bubble. His life experiences are full — complete with family, love, employment, emotional joys and more. Throughout each day of his life, he remains unconscious of the people observing and conducting this experiment. He is unconscious of the people who pull the strings that direct his reality. One day, however, Truman’s consciousness changes, revealing his great illusion.
Comparing the movie structure to the archetypal psychic structure, we find global archetypes “pulling” the strings of our global reality, producing our global myth. All reality within Truman’s bubble and our lives is an illusion, as influenced by the constellation of the global reality archetype. Just as in the movie, if enough conscious change occurs, a different global reality myth will constellate.
This simple minded example covers the notion of global reality archetypes in a comprehensive way. One can easily understand how the reality of the universe, the laws of the universe, the sunshine and energy expended from the sun, the cause and effects experienced within life, all this and more, are embodied within our reality bubble. Although we don’t live in a bubble, we do live in the illusion of reality and the transient nature of the so-called permanence imposed on us by the archetypes. The global reality archetype of transience and permanence induces the global myth we currently “see,” experience and live each day, regardless of culture.
Myths express unconscious content, meaning and teleology emanating from the psyche within collective, individual and global realities. Myth provides a symbolic manifestation of archetypal energic potentials and the Self that enlivens people and nature. Basically, we are unconscious of the symbolism in our lives, of the myths that direct us and the psyche that provides us with an illusory reality.
Eastern spiritual practices come closest to this understanding, and to attaining, a consciousness that “sees” the illusory formations – the myths and what they truly represent. These practices stress the necessity to move beyond the myths, but what does that really mean, and can it be done?
As Jung (1969) states:
We must get at the Eastern values from within and not from without, seeking them in ourselves, in the unconscious … If we snatch these things directly from the East, we have merely indulged our Western acquisitiveness, confirming yet again that “everything good is outside,” whence it has to be fetched and pumped into our barren souls. (p. 483)
Jung provides us with a Western perspective that purports to assist us as we attempt to move beyond ego-conscious illusions.
James Hillman (1975) takes a slightly different approach.
In the East the spirit is rooted in the thick yellow loam of richly pathologized imagery – demons, monsters, grotesque goddesses, tortures and obscenities… But once uprooted and imported to the West it arrives debrided of its imaginal ground, dirt-free and smelling of sandalwood. (p. 67)
Hillman describes the transformative imagery, the imaginal changes imposed by the West, on the raw imaginal expressions from the East. He further argues for a return to the raw, imaginal expressions of the soul/psyche in order for Westerners to move beyond the illusions.
Both these extraordinary analysts and scholars are pointing to the necessity to modify Western consciousness in order to begin to reach through Maya’s veil.
Roberts Avens (1980) explains that “Eastern values must be discovered from within, or the ‘unconscious,’ and, furthermore, that the unconscious is identical with the imaginal ground from which all purely spiritual doctrines and disciplines must grow…” (p. 5). He goes on to claim that “…Western society, while paying lip service to its artists and the assorted crowd, has excluded imaginal experience from its culturally and religiously sanctioned vision of reality” (p. 11). While this might be the case and provide an approach to help us move beyond the illusion of permanence, it falls short of comprehending that reality manifests from global reality archetypes.
Coleridge (1937) comes closer to touching global reality archetypes, describing creative imagination as not only the source of art but a living power and agent of all human perception (as cited in Avens, 1980). Both Avens and Coleridge help us comprehend the mythical expressions of psyche, which must also include global mythical reality, however, the depth associated with the underlying archetypes of all myths and creative imagination, remains absent in Avens’ and Coleridge’s quotes.
Avens (1980) does offer descriptions that move us deeper and begin to expose the archetypes of global reality. “Imagination, in addition to its commonly accepted reproductive function, has the uncanny ability to see into the inner life of things and to assure us that there is more in our experience of the world than meets the unreflecting eye…it produces a peculiar kind of relation between matter and spirit…” (pp. 23-24).
Imagination or archetypal symbolic images provide an inner vision, as do dreams, into the unconscious psyche or “inner life” of each person. This applies to collectives, as well. The “peculiar kind of relation between matter and spirit”(Avens, 1980, pp. 23-24) refers to the holism of the psyche that influences “both” matter and spirit because matter and spirit, psychology and mind, reality and imagination, are the holism of psyche.
Jung (1969) addresses this understanding in a simple but profound way: “The psyche creates reality every day…Every psychic process is an image and an imaging” (as cited in Avens, 1980, p. 33). Finally, Avens (1980) touches on the essence of comprehending global archetypes: “… a truly meaningful life has no meaning ‘in’ it. Perhaps it is the case, that meaning, like a poem, is something to be created out of ‘no-thing’ and it exists only in the created and while it is created” (pp. 40-41). We must keep in mind that we are only recipients of the creative; therefore, meaning is imposed on us (by the archetypes and the Self through mythic reality).
Changing the Current Reality Myth – Transience and Permanence
The global archetype of illusion and reality provides human existence with the constant and commonly understood staples of nature and human nature, e.g., laws of nature, atomic structures, the passage of time, the existence of space, the three dimensional reality of life, cause and effect, a sense of I-ness, and so forth. The “constancy” of reality is important, but more important is the transient nature of the “constancy” of reality. For it is the archetype of transience and permanence that manifest as global mythological consequences, producing the reality in which people live and function.
In other words, a dominant myth, or global myth, expresses the reality that we experience regardless of location or time. The collective and personal myths differ from the global myth. The former two types of myths vary in expression. The global myth does not vary; that is, not until it is replaced by another global myth or a different dominant archetype of global reality. How do we know this can happen? There are rare individuals and research insights that seem to “tap,” or peer, into the new myth of reality — the archetypal global myth awaiting constellation to replace the current, active dominant global myth.
Zimmer (1951) describes Brahman and Maya Shakti, or reality and the veil of illusion respectively, providing insight into the global archetypes of reality:
Brahman, sakti, the life substance of Indian nondual philosophy, is the principle that enters, pervades and animates the panorama and evolutions of nature, but at the same time is the animated and pervaded, entered field or matter of nature itself (prakti, natura naturans); thus it both inhabits and is the manifested universe and all its forms. (as cited in Avens, 1980, p. 66)
The long duration of the current global myth directly reflects the degree, or level, of conscious development. As monumental steps in conscious development occur, the global archetypes are activated and deactivated, expressing the global reality myths by which we live. Just as the observer looking through the slit in the fence only sees cause and effect with respect to the cat’s head and tail (Watts, 1975) the world population is looking through a common “slit” due to the level of conscious development that has occurred to this point in history. As a result, we all see the same characteristics and properties understood as reality constants. When our consciousness develops, or changes enough, the “slit” in the reality fence will be different from the current slit, and thus, the archetype of global reality will change from the current myth of transience and permanence to the next global reality archetype and its manifest reality myth.
Some of the rare individuals and discoveries mentioned earlier that utilized a different consciousness and received a vision of the future reality myth include the following: Einstein, Eastern spiritualists, quantum physics, so-called idiot savants, Mozart, Jung, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus and perhaps schizophrenics, among others. All these individuals peered through different “slits” with a different consciousness for a brief period. Jung (1969a) succinctly describes the same point: “Psychic existence can be recognized only by the presence of contents that are capable of consciousness” (p. 4). As conscious as we like to believe we are as a species, we simply are living another illusion.
Hillman (1979) illuminates this position:
All consciousness depends upon fantasy images. All we know about the world, about the mind, the body, about anything whatsoever, including the spirit and the nature of the divine, comes through images and is organized by fantasies into one pattern or another….Because these patterns are archetypal, we are always in one or another archetypal configuration, one or another fantasy, including the fantasy of soul and the fantasy of spirit. (as cited in Avens, 1980, p. 53)
Recently, a National Public Radio broadcast interviewed a mother and her daughter. The young daughter was born with a natural ability to play the piano. At two and half years old, this child was sitting at the piano and playing. At four she began formal lessons, and at five years old she was invited to play a solo concert at a well-known concert hall. This young girl is another example of someone who “peered through” the old myth to view the new myth. She lives the myth in her music, talent and daily life.
Elements of the New Reality Myth
Einstein’s discovery of the fourth dimension, special and general relativity theories are examples of peering into the new myth due to a different level of consciousness. Einstein determined that energy and mass are inseparable – a unity; he determined that space and time are inseparable – a unity; he discovered that time, as we know it, slows down when traveling close to the speed of light, and that gravity is not a force but a warping or bending of the spacetime continuum. Mass becomes greater when an object travels close to the speed of light and light moves at a constant speed regardless of the reference frame in which it is measured. In addition, he determined another remarkable element of the new myth — space, or the environment, compresses as an object approaches the speed of light.
This new reality myth differs so profoundly from our current reality myth that understanding and describing it requires extreme effort. In other words, our level of consciousness cannot provide the reflection and awareness required for the global archetype associated with the new realty myth to constellate.
Another example comes from the field of quantum physics. Researchers discovered that the quantum level of reality offers several strange and unfamiliar elements: an holism of interconnected potential or quanta, superimposed potentials labeled as waveforms, immediate communication at remote distances – nonlocal communication, Newtonian particles and waves that form from quantum waveforms as a result of measurement or decoherence. Again, these elements are so far removed from Newtonian, everyday reality that we cannot comprehend them without much deliberation and effort due to our current level of consciousness.
These are some of the breakthroughs revealing the new myth –- the new global reality myth that will replace the current global myth. The current global myth represents the archetype of transience and permanence, or illusion and reality. What the new reality myth will entail remains to be experienced by many more than a minority group of researchers. This can only occur when consciousness among the world population changes, enough.
Al-Khalili, J. (2003). QUANTUM: A guide for the perplexed. United Kingdom: Weidenfekd & Nicolson.
Avens, R. (1980). Imagination is reality: Western nirvana in Jung, Hillman, Barfield & Cassierer. Irving, TX: Spring Publications, Inc.
Conrad Lammers, A., & Cunningham, A. (Eds.). (2008). The Jung-White letters. New York, NY: Routledge.
Hillman, J. (1975). Re-visioning psychology. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Jung, C.G. (1966). Two essays on analytical psychology (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1969a). Archetypes of the collective unconscious (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1969b). Psychology of religions: West and east (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1967). Alchemical studies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1963). Memories, dreams, reflections. New York, NY: Random House.
Spiegelman, J.M., & Miyuki, M. (1985). Buddhism and Jungian psychology. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press.
Watts, A. (1972). The book: On the taboo against knowing who you are. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
If you would like to contact Ken Silvestro, his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org