If I speak in the spirit of this time, I must say:
no one and nothing can justify what I must proclaim to you.
Justification is superfluous to me, since I have no choice, but I must. I have learned that in addition to the spirit of this time there is still another spirit at work, namely that which rules the depths of everything contemporary:
The spirit of this time would like to hear of use and value. I also thought this way, and my humanity still thinks this way. But that other spirit forces me nevertheless to speak, beyond justification, use, and meaning.
Filled with human pride and blinded by the presumptuous spirit of the times, I long sought to hold that other spirit away from me. But I did not consider that the spirit of the depths from time immemorial and for all the future possesses a greater power than the spirit of this time, who changes with the generations.
The spirit of the depths has subjugated all pride and arrogance to the power of judgment. He took away my belief in science, he robbed me of the joy of explaining and ordering things, and he let devotion to the ideals of this time die out in me.
He forced me down to the last and simplest things.
The spirit of the depths took my understanding and all my knowledge and placed them at the service of the inexplicable and the paradoxical.
He robbed me of speech and writing for everything that was not in his service, namely the melting together of sense and nonsense, which produces the supreme meaning.
But the supreme meaning is the path) the way and the bridge to what is to come.
That is the God yet to come. It is not the coming God himself but his image which appears in the supreme meaning.
God is an image and those who worship him must worship him in the images of the supreme meaning.
The supreme meaning is not a meaning and not an absurdity, it is image and force in one, magnificence and force together.
The supreme meaning is the beginning and the end. It is the bridge of going across and fulfillment.
The other Gods died of their temporality, yet the supreme meaning never dies, it turns into meaning and then into absurdity, and out of the fire and blood of their collision the supreme meaning rises up rejuvenated anew.
The image of God has a shadow. The supreme meaning is real and casts a shadow. For what can be actual and corporeal and have no shadow?
The shadow is nonsense. It lacks force and has no continued existence through itself. But nonsense is the inseparable and undying brother of the supreme meaning.
Like plants, so men also grow, some in the light, others in the shadows.
There are many who need the shadows and not the light.
The image of God throws a shadow that is just as great as itself.
The supreme meaning is great and small it is as wide as the space of the starry Heaven and as narrow as the cell of the living body.
The spirit of this time in me wanted to recognize the greatness and extent of the supreme meaning, but not its littleness.
The spirit of the depths, however, conquered this arrogance, and I had to swallow the small as a means of healing the immortal in me. It completely burnt up my innards since it was inglorious and unheroic. It was even ridiculous and revolting. But the pliers of the spirit of the depths held me, and I had to drink the bitterest of all draughts.
The spirit of this time tempted me with the thought that all this belongs to the shadowiness of the God-image.
This would be pernicious deception, since the shadow is nonsense. But the small, narrow, and banal is not nonsense, but one of both of the essences of the Godhead.
I resisted recognizing that the everyday belongs to the image of the Godhead. I fled this thought, I hid myself behind the highest and coldest stars.
But the spirit of the depths caught up with me, and forced the bitter drink between my lips.
The spirit of this time whispered to me:
“This supreme meaning, this image of God, this melting together of the hot and the cold, that is you and only you.”
But the spirit of the depths spoke to me:
“You are an image of the unending world, all the last mysteries of becoming and passing away live in you. If you did not possess all this, how could you know?”
For the sake of my human weakness, the spirit of the depths gave me this word. Yet this word is also superfluous, since I do not speak it freely; but because I must. I speak because the spirit robs me of joy and life if I do not speak.
I am the serf who brings it and does not know what he carries in his hand. It would burn his hands if he did not place it where his master orders him to lay it.
The spirit of our time spoke to me and said: “What dire urgency could be forcing you to speak all this?”
This was an awful temptation. I wanted to ponder what inner or outer bind could force me into this, and because I found nothing that I could grasp, I was near to making one up.
But with this the spirit of our time had almost brought it about that instead of speaking, I was thinking again about reasons and explanations.
But the spirit of the depths spoke to me and said:
“To understand a thing is a bridge and possibility of returning to the path. But to explain a matter is arbitrary and sometimes even murder. Have you counted the murderers
among the scholars?”
But the spirit of this time stepped up to me and laid before me huge volumes which contained all my knowledge. Their pages were made of ore, and a steel stylus had engraved inexorable words in them, and he pointed to these inexorable words and spoke to me, and said: “What you speak, that is madness.”
It is true, it is true, what I speak is the greatness and intoxication and ugliness of madness.
But the spirit of the depths stepped up to me and said:
“What you speak is. The greatness is, the intoxication is, the undignified, sick, paltry dailiness is. It runs in all the streets, lives in all the houses, and rules the day of all humanity. Even the eternal stars are commonplace. It is the great mistress and the one essence of God. One laughs about it, and laughter, too, is. Do you believe, man of this time, that laughter is lower than worship? Where is your measure, false measurer? The sum of life decides in laughter and in worship, not your judgment.”
I must also speak the ridiculous. You coming men! You will recognize the supreme meaning by the fact that he is laughter and worship, a bloody laughter and a bloody worship.
A sacrificial blood binds the poles. Those who know this laugh and worship in the same breath.
After this, however, my humanity approached me and said:
“What solitude, what coldness of desolation you lay upon me when you speak such! Reflect on the destruction of being and the streams of blood from the terrible sacrifice that the depths demand.”
But the spirit of the depths said:
“No one can or should halt sacrifice. Sacrifice is not destruction, sacrifice is the foundation stone of what is to come. Have you not had monasteries? Have not countless thousands gone into the desert? You should carry the monastery in yourself The desert is within you. The desert calls you and draws you back, and if you were fettered to the
world of this time with iron, the call of the desert would break all chains. Truly; I prepare you for solitude.”
After this, my humanity remained silent. Something happened to my spirit, however, which I must call mercy:
My speech is imperfect. Not because I want to shine with words, but out of the impossibility of finding those words, I speak in images. With nothing else can I express the words from the depths.
The mercy which happened to me gave me belief hope, and sufficient daring, not to resist further the spirit of the depths, but to utter his word. But before I could pull myself together to really do it, I needed a visible sign that would show me that the spirit of the depths in me was at the same time the ruler of the depths of world affairs.
Thus it happened in October of the year 1913 as I was leaving alone for a journey; that during the day I was suddenly overcome in broad daylight by a vision: I saw a terrible flood that covered all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. It reached from England up to Russia, and from the coast of the North Sea right up to the Alps.
I saw yellow waves, swimming rubble, and the death of countless thousands.
This vision lasted for two hours, it confused me and made me ill. I was not able to interpret it. Two weeks passed then the vision returned, still more violent than before, and an inner voice spoke:
“look at it, it is completely real, and it will come to pass. You cannot doubt this.” I wrestled again for two hours with this vision, but it held me fast. It left me exhausted and confused. And I thought my mind had gone crazy.
From then on the anxiety toward the terrible event that stood directly before us kept coming back. Once I also saw a sea of blood over the northern lands.
In the year 1914 in the month of June, at the beginning and end of the month, and at the beginning of July; I had the same dream three times: I was in a foreign land, and suddenly; overnight and right in the middle of summer, a terrible cold descended from space.
All seas and rivers were locked in ice, every green living thing had frozen.
The second dream was thoroughly similar to this. But the third dream at the beginning of July went as follows:
I was in a remote English land. It was necessary that I return to my homeland with a fast ship as speedily as possible.
I reached home quickly. In my homeland I found that in the middle of summer a terrible cold had fallen from space, which had turned every living thing into ice. There stood a leaf-bearing but fruitless tree, whose leaves had turned into sweet grapes full of healing juice through the working of the frost. So I picked some grapes and gave them to a great waiting throng.
In reality; now, it was so: At the time when the great war broke out between the peoples of Europe, I found myself in Scotland, compelled by the war to choose the fastest ship and the shortest route home. I encountered the colossal cold that froze everything, I met up with the flood, the sea of blood, and found my barren tree whose leaves the frost had transformed into a remedy. And I plucked the ripe fruit and gave it to you and I do not know what I poured out for you, what bitter-sweet intoxicating drink, which left on your tongues an aftertaste of blood.
Believe me: It is no teaching and no instruction that I give you. On what basis should I presume to teach your I give you news of the way of this man, but not of your own way. My path is not your path therefore I / cannot teach you. The way is within us, but not in Gods, nor in teachings, nor in laws. Within us is the way, the truth, and the life.
Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself. So live yourselves.
The signposts have fallen, unblazed trails lie before us.
Do not be greedy to gobble up the fruits of foreign fields. Do you not know that you yourselves are the fertile acre which bears everything that avails you.
Yet who today knows this? Who knows the way to the eternally fruitful climes of the soul? You seek the way through mere appearances, you study books and give ear to all kinds of opinion. What good is all that? There is only one way and that is your way.
You seek the path. I warn you away from my own. It can also be the wrong way for you.
May each go his own way. I will be no savior, no lawgiver, no master teacher unto you. You are no longer little children.
Giving laws, wanting improvements, making things easier, has all become wrong and evil. May each one seek out his own way. The way leads to mutual love in community.
Men will come to see and feel the similarity and commonality of their ways.
Laws and teachings held in common compel people to solitude, so that they may escape the pressure of undesirable contact, but solitude makes people hostile and venomous.
Therefore give people dignity and let each of them stand apart, so that each may find his own fellowship and love it.
Power stands against power, contempt against contempt, love against love.
Give humanity dignity, and trust that life will find the better way.
The one eye of the Godhead is blind, the one ear of the Godhead is deaf, the order of its being is crossed by chaos.
So be patient with the crippledness of the world and do not overvalue its consummate beauty. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, The Way of What is to Come, Pages 229-231.