Jung, Nature, and Psyche

In The Earth Has a Soul: The Nature Writings of C. G. Jung edited by Meredith Sabini, Carl Gustav Jung shares that “Trees […] were mysterious and seemed to [him] direct embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life” (29). Sitting under the shade from the branches of my favorite tree, I pondered Jung’s plethora of insights.

Within each individual is the power to imagine a life that is lived in harmony with nature. This is actually consistent with the development of human beings as a species on a particular planet that evolved under specific conditions. To live in disharmony with nature is work; to live in harmony is easy but is counter to the mass culture and, therefore, the individual must break away to lead the way back to a connection with the earth.

As Jung puts it, “A fundamental change of attitude (metanoia) is required, a real recognition of the whole [individual]” (167), a far-reaching metamorphosis that comes not from outside but from inside the individual, or the “bearer” of life (168). Individuals must face “the present condition of the world” as well as their own souls (168-169). That is, to reconnect with nature, they must remove the extraneous historical layers and connect with their own “nature within” at the animal level that is not conscious and can, thus, unveil the original patterns and reestablish humankind’s initial bridge to nature (172).

Once the break between humankind and nature is abolished, the “truth, but a truth which [one] cannot prove” (172) can be revealed. The truth is that humans, like trees, live on earth, our home, and we need to take care of our home and ourselves if our lives as we know them are to continue for generations to come.

Jung asserts that the psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders (176) and is aware that people need a better understanding of their own psyches, which is their essence (174). He observes that recently, too much emphasis has been placed on the development of technology and other external objects while human psyches and the earth have been neglected. Jung suggests that the uses of technology are determined by people’s states of mind. He believes that there is a profound need to understand the human soul, and that it is through the wisdom from dreams that people can find their way back to human existence (175-177). Thomas Berry offers, through the wisdom of the “dream of the earth” (Dream 223), humans can find their way back to their biospiritual earth as well (117).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current day month ye@r *