Archive for October, 2013

Jung on longevity

I read a lot (during the times that I’m not mindlessly absorbed watching old college football games on muh cable Tee Vee) and lately I’ve been reading “Play It Again” by Alan Rusbridger, current editor of the Guardian. In its introduction he writes, “[Jung] wrote of how, as we approach the middle of life, we may well have succeeded ‘socially'; that is, had children, become more comfortable materially, perhaps even gained status or modest recognition in our chosen field. But, at the same time, he said, ‘we can overlook the essential fact that the social goal is attained only at the cost of a diminution of the personality.’ ‘Many—far too many—aspects of life which should have been experienced lie in the lumber-room among dusty memories,’ he wrote. But all is not lost, because sometimes these memories ‘are glowing coals under grey ashes’.

“For Jung, middle age and the years that follow may in fact constitute our chance to do something about these ‘glowing coals':

A human being would certainly not grow to be 70 or 80 years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species to which he belongs The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage of life’s morning. The significance of the morning undoubtedly lies in the development of the individual, our entrenchment in the outer world, the propagation of our kind and the care of our children. This is the obvious purpose of nature. But…whoever carries over into the afternoon the law of the morning must pay for so doing with damage to his soul. Moneymaking, social existence, family and posterity are nothing but plain nature—not culture. Culture lies beyond the purpose of nature. Could by any chance culture be the meaning and purpose of the second half of life?”

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