(Focus On War – tonight’s featured essay! – promoted by On The Bus)
Tomorrow will be the 5th anniversary of the Bush regime’s Shock and Awe blitzkrieg against Iraq. How dazzling the light and color explosions would have appeared on my TV screen if I had been able to disassociate myself from what was most certainly the experience of human beings on the ground.
Many of us knew at the time that the war was a travesty, that Iraq probably had no Weapons of Mass Destruction, was not an ally of bin Laden, had no role in 9/11, and was not a threat to the USA. I watched in horror. Not only did Saddam have no Weapons of Mass Destruction, he didn’t even have those other “WMD”s, Weapons of Minimal Defense.
Over this last weekend, I listened to the Winter Soldier II hearings in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. I thought back to the Winter Soldier I hearings in 1971 with veterans of the Vietnam travesty. Will our country never learn?
But I heard something quite different today, in 2008. I heard a very different quality, a different tone. To read about this different tone, follow me across the leap in consciousness below the fold.
In 1971, at Winter Soldier I, there was a lot of anger, bitterness and frustration. This was certainly appropriate and understandable. But the hearings this past weekend, while still displaying a sense of anger, it was not as explicit. It was muted. It seemed that the earlier frustration was based in not knowing where to go with all the input, all the emotion.
At Winter Soldier II, on the other hand, the vets displayed a confidence that they were able to contribute to the forward movement of the planet, the growth in awareness to a place of less, or beyond, war. Certainly there was the sense of commitment to working against ever having such an absurd, sick, criminal war again.
Decades ago, when I was a student at UCB, I came across a transcript or a BBC broadcast of a speech given by Carl Jung in the late 40s or early 50s. I can’t be more specific; it was so long ago. But I clearly remember the thesis.
In his practice before and during the rise of Nazism, Jung noticed an alarming rise in the projection of the shadow side among his German clients. This puzzled him until the collective, societal projection of the shadow side onto the Jews became apparent. The individual phenomenon mirrored the collective.
Many of us here are interested in the evolution of consciousness. Evolution does not have rigid, distinct phases, but there do seem to be dominant trends at different historical times: ie, physical, cultural, social, technological, etc. To me it seems that this next phase of evolution, which is ongoing now, is the evolution of consciousness. It seems imperative that humankind must match in consciousness and morality, the powers which were once attributable only go god. By splitting the atom, for one example, we have acquired a bit of god’s power. This has been acquired, however, without a concommitant growth in morality, consciousness, compassion.
During the past year, I have come across the writings of Paul Levy.
At the beginning of his essay, “The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,” Levy quotes Carl Jung–
“The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche. This is the World Power that vastly exceeds all other powers on earth.[i]”
Levy extends Jung’s ideas on “projection” and “psychic epidemics” to the world today:
George W. Bush is ill. He has a psycho-spiritual dis-ease of the soul, a sickness that is endemic to our culture and symptomatic of the times in which we live. It is an illness that has been with us since time immemorial. Because it is an illness in the soul of all of humanity, it pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose.
and goes on to specify the disease:
Bush’s malady is quite different from schizophrenia, for example, in which different parts of the personality are fragmented and not connected to each other, resulting in a state of internal chaos. As compared to the dis-order of the schizophrenic, Bush can sound quite coherent and appear like a “regular” guy, which makes the syndrome he is suffering from very hard to recognize. This is because the healthy parts of his personality have been co-opted by the pathological aspect, which drafts them into its service. Because of the way the personality self-organizes an outer display of coherence around a pathogenic core, I would like to name Bush’s illness “Malignant Egophrenia” (as compared to schizophrenia), or “ME disease,” for short. If ME disease goes unrecognized and is not contained, it can be very destructive, particularly if the person afflicted is in a position of power.
In much the same way that a child’s psychology cannot be understood without looking at the family system of which he or she is a part, George Bush does not exist in isolation. We can view Bush-and his entire administration: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc., as well as the corporate, military industrial complex they are co-dependently enmeshed with, the media they control, the voters supporting them, and ourselves as well-as interconnected parts of a whole system, or a “field.” Instead of relating to any part of this field as an isolated entity, it’s important to contemplate the entire interdependent field as the “medium” through which malignant egophrenia manifests and propagates itself. ME disease is a field phenomenon and needs to be contemplated as such. Bush’s sickness is
Since “Bush’s sickness is our own,
It is more a question of whether or not we are aware of our susceptibility to fall prey to the disease. This awareness itself serves as an immunization protecting us from the pernicious effects of the illness, thereby allowing us to be of genuine help to others.
Bush, like all of us, is both a manifestation of this deeper field and simultaneously an agent affecting the field. He’s become so fully taken over by the disease, all the while not suspecting a thing, that he’s become a “carrier” for this death-creating disease, thus infecting the field around him.
. People who support Bush are actually complicit with and enabling Bush’s madness in a co-dependent, self-reinforcing feedback loop that is “closed,” which is to say it is insular and not open to any feedback from the “real” world.
…Bush supporters are not merely disinterested in seeing that they are in denial of reality; on the contrary, they actively don’t want to look at this-they resist self-reflection at all costs.
A historical comparison:
The situation is analogous to when seemingly good, normal, loving Germans supported Hitler, believing he was a good leader trying to help them. The German people didn’t realize that the virulent malignant egophrenia pathogen had taken possession of Hitler and was incarnating itself through him. By not seeing this and supporting Hitler, they became agents used by this non-local, deadly disease to propagate itself. This is why Jung says, “…evil needs masses for its genesis and continued existence.”[ii] What happened in Germany was a collective psychosis, and this is what is taking place in our country right now.
Back to our contemporary situation:
“An inflated consciousness,” to quote Jung:
is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it [and others within its sphere of influence] dead.[xi]
Having the most powerful man in the world be unconsciously identified with and inflated by an archetype is a very dangerous situation for everyone involved, which is all of us.
Levy goes on to express the necessity for our awareness, so as not to give in and react out of the same kind of shadow projection.
The disease literally feeds on our unawareness of it. The recognition of the disease is itself the beginning of the cure. By recognizing the nature of this collective psychosis, we snap out of being part of it. Malignant egophrenia, unrecognized and misdiagnosed until now, has wreaked havoc all throughout human history, and is at the very root of our current world crisis. To the extent we are unaware of the nature of this collective psychosis, it has us in its grips and will unconsciously be acted out through us in a destructive manner. The choice is truly ours.
This disease, if it gets out of control, means self-destruction for both victim and perpetrator. There are no winners.
ME disease is as old as the human species. However, we’re now at the point in our evolution where we can finally recognize it, see it, give it a name, and diagnose it.
Egophrenia is an expression of the deepest level of our being, the archetypal dimension of the collective unconscious.
So let us, like the 2008 Winter Soldiers II, move beyond our anger and our projections and work to create a better society, because…
The prescription for this disease is simply for enough of us who see it to connect with each other in lucid awareness so that it can be contained, metabolized, and healed. We can put our collective realization together and dream a much more grace-filled universe into incarnation. This is an evolutionary impulse from the universe in which we are invited to participate.
Encoded in the disease is its own medicine. If we remain unconscious of the psychic nature of the disease, it will act itself out through us in a purely destructive, life-negating, and hence, demonic way. Hidden in the daemonic is our guiding spirit and genie (as in “I dream of…”). This is our true genius and inner voice. This is why Jung called the daemonic the “not yet made real creative.” The fact that such a dark shadow is emerging in our world is an expression that light is nearby, as shadows are themselves an expression of light. Demons are actually blessings in drag. Lucifer is truly the bringer of light.
Egophrenia is a disease of consciousness-it is consciousness itself becoming sick so as to create a greater level of health and wholeness in itself. Egophrenia is our consciousness materializing into form so as to expand and evolve itself. The disease is the conduit through which consciousness grows into greater orders of freedom. In the disease, consciousness is revealing itself to itself, which is to say that the disease is an unfolding revelation.
Because malignant egophrenia is a disease of consciousness itself, it can only be healed through the dimension of consciousness. The cure for egophrenia is the very expansion of consciousness which it necessitates and demands. Encoded into the disease is its own cure.
This quantum leap in consciousness being offered us by egophrenia … is a portal into a more whole and integrated part of our being, both individually and collectively. Egophrenia is introducing and initiating us into the dream-like nature of reality, where this universe is like a mass shared dream we are collaboratively dreaming up into full-bodied materialization. This is to have the realization that we are interconnected and not separate from one another, that we are parts of and contained in a greater being.
When we recognize our part in this evolutionary process, great compassion can be born toward even, dare I say it, Bush and his deluded minnions.
So Blog Away! And go forth to the 5th Anniversary demonstrations tomorrow in the knowledge of the evolutionary imperative!