Aurora, A Tragedy of Soul

Aurora, A Tragedy of Soul

Old Man Grieving, by Vincent Van Gogh

When I think of Aurora, I always think of the Roman goddess of dawn. After today, that beautiful image will be forever marred in the Psyche. The same kind of thing occurred with the wonderful image of the Columbine (from Latin columba “dove”), that indescribably lovely flower that flourishes at higher altitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. After April 20, 1999, the image metamorphosed into two insane monsters with guns.

Today, something occurred in Aurora, Colorado, that should have never occurred. Yet again, a crazed gunman robbed the precious lives of innocent people and wounded dozens more at a movie theater.

Every time something like this happens, the cause-and-effect people come out of the woodwork. Some say it’s because of violent video games; some say it is due to violence in movies; and some claim all we need to do is ban the sale of firearms. I think it goes much deeper than any of these, much deeper than anything rational. There is no direct cause for something this heinous in the human experience. Such acts result from a very long process of deanimization of our culture. By the term, “deanimization,” I mean the removal of Soul from the human experience.

The following quote from Jung, which I used in my article, The Loss of Myth, applies to this situation:

. . .the individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil, as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish — as he ought — to live without self deception or self-delusion (C.G. Jung, MDR, pg 330). 

These shootings we have seen for a number of years are not effects of direct causes. They are, rather, pathological symptoms of our culture. 

I proposed in the aforementioned article that those who have not erected sufficiently protective mythical and symbolic barriers  are more prone to allowing the tsunami of unconscious forces, which include some very evil phenomena, to wash over us. This is what religion once accomplished for Western culture, but no longer does so, since it has adopted most of the thought-patterns of those who attempt to banish symbols and myths from the minds of all of us. I am referring here to fundamentalists of all religions, who hold the world’s most powerful and cathartic symbologies and mythologies in utter contempt. I am also referring to those adherents of scientism, who see no worth in things of the Soul at all. These have made a Faustian deal, where Soul has been given in exchange for scientific and materialistic knowledge.

Notice I used the word, “allowing” in the above paragraph. There is a choice involved here. One can very consciously give oneself over to the left-hand path. One decides to be a follower of evil. Once open to these forces, one’s actions are not one’s own. Evil is not simply the Augustinian privatio boni, the privation of good; evil is a very real phenomenon. The adherents of scientism will never explain it rationally.

I don’t know the circumstances of James Holmes’ life. He is obviously insane. But how many insane people became that way because of a privation of Soul? How many became that way because they chose to follow evil?

Our system of child-rearing in America has failed. Our educational system has failed miserably. We must realize, and soon, what we’re doing and correct it. We must restore the things of Soul to our society. We must, once again, emphasize the importance of what we once called a “classical education,” where Classics studies and the Humanities were primary. We once studied the myths of our culture and had them ingrained into us. Now, we are inculcated with math and science so that corporations can make more profit from us.

I think things are beginning to turn. There is a movement of Soul that has begun. It will not be stopped because the Anima Mundi is driving it. This movement is compensatory in nature and will return us to a greater reverence for Soul than the world has ever seen. May it swiftly come to pass!

This evening, my prayers and thoughts are with the families of the victims of this most heinous act. May your hearts be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

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4 thoughts on “Aurora, A Tragedy of Soul

  1. Well thought out & heartfelt essay, too bad a heinous tragedy inspired it… I just happened to be reading a Meister Eckhart sermon today when I was home for lunch & the topic was evil:

    “Note: evil is accidental in it's nature: it stands outside, draws & directs things outwards, distracts from inner things, draws to what is other, smacks of otherness, of division, withdrawl or falling away.”

    He goes on, but for me he seems to be saying what we refer to sometimes nowadays as “objectification”, turning people into objects…

    No explanation or theories from me (about this tragedy), just thinking reading your essay how you mentioned evil & how I happened to read of it earlier today…

    The human race as a whole has a lot of healing to do…

  2. Synchronous indeed, Mark. I wonder sometimes if even the choice to do evil would ever be made if not for the soul-deadening forces at work. I guess there's no way to answer, since we can't separate the individual from the world-view that we're all immersed in at this moment in time. But I share your fervent hope that it is shifting, and will shift.

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