Author, Gary Lachman, writes:
I believe that nature, the world, the cosmos, separated us off from itself in order for it to become conscious of itself through us (Lachman, Caretakers 302)
This idea deeply resonates with me. Because I wholeheartedly agree with James Hillman’s teaching of the pathologization of the soul, it is really the only answer to the question as to why human consciousness has drifted so far away from Nature. As I wrote back in February in an article called The Pathologizing of the World Soul,
James Hillman has made the pathologization of the soul one of the main tenets of his archetypal psychology. The evil and ugliness we see in our world are psychopathologizations of the Anima Mundi, symptoms that provide clues as to her psychic state of affairs. According to Hillman, pathologization is “the psyche’s autonomous ability to create illness, morbidity, disorder, abnormality, and suffering in any aspect of its behavior and to experience and imagine life through this deformed and afflicted perspective” (Hillman, Revisioning, 57). If the Soul of the World desires to engage in metamorphosis, and we know she does, then, according to Hillman, she will autonomously create abnormal and disordered situations that will ultimately further her transformation. Isn’t that what we’ve been witnessing for many years now? These scenarios seem to be accelerating in their frequency, as well. Does this mean the World Soul is drawing closer to departing from the cosmic chrysalis?
I think so, but it is up to us.
Most of the thinkers I’ve written about on Soul Spelunker over the years tend to have a Hermetic motif running through their work. I began this blog in 2006, writing commentaries on Goethe’s Faust. It is a very Hermetic tale, wrought in the belly of the unconscious. Goethe was a man who was in tune with Nature. The Hermetic thread runs through his poetry and his science. Carl Jung, James Hillman, the Romantics, Giordano Bruno, Marsilio Ficino, all of these people give a nod of approval to the Hermetic doctrine. There are many others I haven’t even touched upon yet. They all lived close to Nature, and many of them believed mankind must assist the Anima Mundi in her quest for wholeness. In my recent readings of Gary Lachman’s work, I have discovered yet another like-minded soul who sees the need for us to adopt a Hermetic worldview and carry on the magnum opus. I tip my hat to Gary.
The Hermetic doctrine teaches “as above, so below,” the correspondence of the macrocosm and microcosm. Our inner lives are infinite universes, just as the physical universe is infinite and expanding constantly. It is no coincidence that some of the secrets of Nature were revealed to the discoverers of quantum physics in the twentieth century, and in other important fields of study. Such monumental knowledge is given for a reason. Mankind is moving closer and closer to what Jean Gebser calls the “integral structure of consciousness,” or what Jesus meant when He said, “Ye are gods.” It may not look like it on the surface now, but it will come. Imagine what the Neanderthals must have thought about being surmounted and overcome by Homo sapiens. Did they suffer from angst, or feelings of meaninglessness? Maybe not, but they certainly suffered in some ways.
Yes, our world is in turmoil, but that’s how the Soul grows in its chrysalis. The World Soul, through us, is becoming more conscious of herself all the time. It is a rough, circuitous road that all of us are on.
In his book, The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus, Lachman tells what the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, decided when he saw the outer world filled with meaninglessness:
In response to what he saw as the ‘emptying’ of the world of significance through the rise of the rationalistic reductive view, Rilke, like many other late-Romantic souls, turned inward. The old symbols of meaning — whether religious or classical — were no longer viable; as I’ve remarked elsewhere, ‘like exhausted batteries, they could no longer hold a charge’. So Rilke recognized that his task — the task of the poet — was to save the visible, outer world from complete meaninglessness, by taking it into his own soul. The microcosm would save the macrocosm, by sheltering it within itself (Lachman, Hermes 3967-3972).
In our day, we must all do this, shelter the world within all of our hearts, as Noah did when a deluge destroyed the world of his day. He gathered all that he loved from the outer world into the shelter of the ark, which I interpret as our inner selves, the microcosm, the mundus imaginalis. There, we can protect all that we love and cherish, and all that is good in the world from the ravages of greed, materialism, scientism, evil politicians, capitalists, and adherents of scientism. These are the evils that compose the deluge of our day. We can, however, sail above these destructive forces by gathering the world unto our inner selves. Enter the world of the imaginal, for it is the way we can bring completion to the work of Creation.
Hillman, James. Re-Visioning Psychology. New York: Harper Collins, 1975.
Lachman, Gary. Caretakers of the Cosmos: Living Responsibly in an Unfinished World. Floris Books, 2013. Kindle Edition.
Lachman, Gary (2011-06-09). The Quest For Hermes Trismegistus. Floris Books. Kindle Edition.