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Earlier Temples ~Carl Jung

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Red Book

Yet another new adventure occurred: wide meadows spread out before me-a carpet of flowers-soft hills-a fresh green wood in the distance.

I come across two strange journeymen probably two completely accidental companions: an old monk and a tall gangly thin man with a childish gait and discolored red clothes.

As they draw near, I recognize the tall one as the red rider.

How he has changed! He has grown old, his red hair has become gray, his fiery red clothes are worn out, shabby, poor. A

nd the other?

He has a paunch and appears not to have fallen on bad times.

But his face seems familiar: by all the Gods, it’s Ammonius!

What changes!

And where are these utterly different people coming from?

I approach them and bid them good day.

Both look at me frightened and make the sign of the cross.

Their horror prompts me to look down at myself I am fully covered in green leaves, which spring from my body.

I greet them a second time, laughing.

Ammonius exclaims horrified: ”Apage, Satanas!”

The Red One: “Damned pagan riffraff!”

I: “But my dear friends, what’s wrong with you? I’m the Hyperborean stranger, who visited you, Oh Ammonius, in the desert. And I’m the watchman whom you, Red One, once visited.”

Ammonius: “I recognize you, you supreme devil. My downfall began with you.”

The Red One looks at him reproachfully and gives him a poke in the ribs. The monk sheepishly stops. The Red One turns haughtily toward me.

R: ”Already at that time I couldn’t help thinking that you lacked a noble disposition, notwithstanding your hypocritical seriousness. Your damned Christian play-act-”

At this moment Ammonius pokes him in the ribs and the Red One falls into an embarrassed silence. And thus both stand before me, sheepish and ridiculous, and yet pitiable.

I: “Wherefrom, man of God? What outrageous fate has led you here, let alone in the company of the Red One?”

A: “I would prefer not to tell you. But it does not appear to be a dispensation of God that one can escape. So know then that you, evil spirit, have done me a terrible deed. You seduced me with your accursed curiosity, desirously stretching my hand after the divine mysteries, since you made me conscious at that time that I really knew nothing about them. Your remark that I probably needed the closeness of men to arrive at the higher mysteries stunned me like infernal poison. Soon thereafter I called the brothers of the valley together and announced to them that a messenger of God had appeared to me-so terribly had you blinded me-and commanded me to form a monastery with the brothers.

“When Brother Philetus raised an objection, I refuted him with reference to the passage in the holy scriptures where it is said that it is not good for man to be alone. So we founded the monastery, near the Nile, from where we could see the passing ships.

“We cultivated fat fields, and there was so much to do that the holy scriptures fell into oblivion. We became voluptuous, and one day I was filled with such terrible longing to see Alexandria again. I talked myself into believing that I wanted to visit the bishop there. But first I was intoxicated so much by life on the ship, and then by the milling crowds on the streets of Alexandria, that I became completely lost.

“As in a dream I climbed onto a large ship bound for Italy. I felt an insatiable greed to see the world. I drank wine and saw that women were beautiful. I wallowed in pleasure and wholly turned into an animal. When I climbed ashore in Naples, the Red One stood there, and I knew that I had fallen into the hands of evil.”

R: “Be silent, old fool, if I had not been present, you would have become an outright pig. When you saw me, you finally pulled yourself together, cursed the drinking and the women, and returned to the monastery.

“Now hear my story; damned hobgoblin: I too fell into your snare, and your pagan arts also enticed me. After the conversation at that time, where you caught me in the fox trap with your remark about dancing, I became serious, so serious that I went into the monastery; prayed, fasted, and converted myself.

“In my blindness I wanted to reform the Church liturgy; and with the bishop’s approval I introduced dancing.

“I became Abbot and, as such, alone had the sole right to dance before the altar, like David before the ark of the covenant. But little by little, the brothers also began to dance; indeed, even the congregation of the faithful and finally the whole city danced.

“It was terrible. I fled into solitude and danced all day until I dropped, but in the morning the hellish dance began again.

“I sought to escape from myself, and strayed and wandered around at night. In the daytime I kept myself secluded, and danced alone in the forests and deserted mountains. And thus gradually I came to Italy. Down there in the south, I no longer felt as I had felt in the north; I could mingle with the crowds. Only in Naples did I somewhat find my way again, and there I also found this ragged man of God. His appearance gave me strength. Through him I could regain my health. You’ve heard how he took
heart from me, too, and found his way again.”

A: “I must confess I did not fare so badly with the Red One; he’s a toned-down type of devil.”

R: “I must add that the monk is hardly the fanatical type, although I’ve developed a deep aversion against the whole Christian religion since my experience in the monastery.”

I: “Dear friends, it does my heart good to see you enjoying yourselves together.”

Both: “We are not pleased, mocker and adversary, clear off, you robber, pagan!”

I: “But why are you traveling together, if you’re not enjoying each other’s company and friendship”

A: “What can be done Even the devil is necessary; since otherwise one has nothing that commands a sense of respect with people.”

R: “Well, I need to come to an arrangement with the clergy; or else I will lose my clientele.”

I: “Therefore the necessities of life have brought you together! So let’s make peace and be friends.”

Both: “But we can never be friends.”

I: “Oh, I see, the system is at fault. You probably want to die out first. Now let me pass, you old ghosts!”

When I had seen death and all the terrible solemnity that is gathered around it, and had become ice and night myself, an angry life and impulse rose up in me.

My thirst for the rushing water of the deepest knowledge began to clink with wine glasses; from afar I heard drunken laughter, laughing women and street noise.

Dance music, stamping and cheering poured forth from all over; and instead of the rose scented south wind, the reek of the human animal streamed over me.

Luscious-lewd whores giggled and rustled along the walls, wine fumes and kitchen steam and the foolish cackling of the human crowd drew near in a cloud.

Hot sticky tender hands reached out for me, and I was swaddled in the covers of a sickbed.

I was born into life from below, and I grew up as heroes do, in hours rather than years.

And after I had grown up, I found myself in the middle land, and saw that it was spring.

But I was no longer the man I had been, for a strange being grew through me.

This was a laughing being of the forest, a leaf green daimon, a forest goblin and prankster, who lived alone in the forest and was itself a greening tree being, who loved nothing but greening and growing, who was neither disposed nor indisposed toward men, full of mood and chance, obeying an invisible law and greening and wilting with the trees, neither beautiful nor ugly, neither good nor bad, merely living, primordially old and yet completely young, naked and yet naturally clothed, not man but nature, frightened, laughable, powerful, childish, weak, deceiving and deceived, utterly inconstant and superficial, and yet reaching deep down, down to the kernel of the world.

I had absorbed the life of both of my friends; a green tree grew from the ruins of the temple.

They had not withstood life, but, seduced by life, had become their own monkey business.

They had got caught in the muck, and so they called the living a devil and traitor.

Because both of them believed in themselves and in their own goodness, each in his own way, they ultimately became mired in the natural and conclusive burial ground of all outlived ideals.

The most beautiful and the best, like the ugliest and the worst, end up someday in the most laughable place in the world, surrounded by fancy dress and led by fools, and go horror-struck to the pit of filth.

After the cursing comes laughter, so that the soul is saved from the dead.

Ideals are, according to their essence, desired and pondered; they exist to this extent, but only to this extent.

Yet their effective being cannot be denied.

He who believes he is really living his ideals, or believes he can live them, suffers from delusions of grandeur and behaves like a lunatic in that he stages himself as an ideal; but the hero has fallen.

Ideals are mortal, so one should prepare oneself for their end: at the same time it probably costs you your neck.

For do you not see that it was you who gave meaning, value, and effective force to your ideal If you have become a sacrifice to the ideal, then the ideal cracks open, plays carnival with you, and goes to Hell on Ash Wednesday.

The ideal is also a tool that one can put aside anytime, a torch on dark paths. But whoever runs around with a torch by day is a fool.

How much my ideals have come down, and how freshly my tree greens!

When I turned green, they stood there, the sad remains of earlier temples and rose gardens, and I recognized with a shudder their inner affinity.

It seemed to me that they had established an indecent alliance.

But I understood that this alliance had already existed for a long time.

At a time when I still claimed that my sanctuaries were of crystal purity, and when I compared my friends to the perfume of the roses of Persia, both of them formed an alliance of mutual silence.

They seemed to scatter, but secretly they worked together.

The solitary silence of the temple lured me far away from men to the supernatural mysteries in which I lost myself to the point of surfeit.

And while I struggled with God, the devil prepared himself for my reception, and tore me just as far to his side.

There, too, I found no boundaries other than surfeit and disgust.

I did not live, but was driven; I was a slave to my ideals.

And thus they stood there, the ruins, quarreling with one another and unable to reconcile themselves to their common misery.

Within myself I had become one as a natural being, but I was a hobgoblin who frightened the solitary wanderer, and who avoided the places of men.

But I greened and bloomed from within myself I had still not become a man again who carried within himself the conflict between a longing for the world and a longing for the spirit.

I did not live either of these longings, but I lived myself and was a merrily greening tree in a remote spring forest.

And thus I learned to live without the world and spirit; and I was amazed how well I could live like this.

But what about men, what about mankind?

There they stood, the two deserted bridges that should lead across to mankind: one leads from above to below, and men glide down on it, which pleases them. / The other leads from below to above and mankind groans upward on it.

This causes them trouble.

We drive our fellow men to trouble and joy If I myself do not live, but merely climb, it gives others undeserved pleasure.

If I simply enjoy myself it causes others undeserved trouble.

If I merely live, I am far removed from men.

They no longer see me, and when they see me, they are astonished and shocked.

I myself however, quite simply living, greening, blooming, fading, stand like a tree always in the same spot and let the suffering and the joy of men pass over me with equanimity

And yet I am a man who cannot excuse himself from the discord of the human heart.

But my ideals can also be my dogs, whose yapping and squabbling do not disturb me.

But at least then I am a good and a bad dog to men.

But I have not yet achieved what should be, namely that I live and yet am a man.

It seems to be nearly impossible to live as a man.

As long as you are not conscious of yourself you can live; but if you become conscious of your self you fall from one grave into another.

All your rebirths could ultimately make you sick.

The Buddha therefore finally gave up on rebirth, for he had had enough of crawling through all human and animal forms.

After all the rebirths you still remain the lion crawling on the earth, the Chameleon, a caricature, one prone to changing colors, a crawling shimmering lizard, but precisely not a lion, whose nature is related to the sun, who draws his power from within himself who does not crawl around in the protective colors of the environment, and who does not defend himself by going into hiding.

I recognized the chameleon and no longer want to crawl on the earth and change colors and be reborn; instead I want to exist from my own force, like the
sun which gives light and does not suck light.

That belongs to the earth.

I recall my solar nature and would like to rush to my rising.

But ruins stand in my way.

They say: “With regard to men you should be this or that.”

My chameleonesque skin shudders.

They obtrude upon me and want to color me.

But that should no longer be. Neither good nor evil shall be my masters.

I push them aside, the laughable survivors, and go on my way again, which leads me to the East.

The quarreling powers that for so long stood between me and myself lie behind me.

Henceforth I’m completely alone.

I can no longer say to you: “Listen!” or “you should,” or “you could,” but now I talk only with myself Now no one else can do anything more for me, nothing whatsoever.

I no longer have a duty toward you, and you no longer have duties toward me, since I vanish and you vanish from me.

I no longer hear requests and no longer make requests of you.

I no longer fight and reconcile myself with you, but place silence between you and me.

Your call dies away in the distance, and you cannot find my footprints.

Together with the west wind, which comes from the plains of the ocean, I journey across the green countryside, I roam through the forests, and bend the young grass.

I talk with trees and the forest wildlife, and the stones show me the way.

When I thirst and the source does not come to me, I go to the source.

When I starve and the bread does not come to me, I seek my bread and take it where I find it.

I provide no help and need no help.

If at any time necessity confronts me, I do not look around to see whether there is a helper nearby, but I accept the necessity and bend and writhe and struggle. I laugh, I weep, I swear, but I do not look around me.

On this way, no one walks behind me, and I cross no one’s path.

I am alone, but I fill my solitariness with my life.

I am man enough, I am noise, conversation, comfort, and help enough unto myself.

And so I wander to the far East.

Not that I know anything about what my distant goal might be.

I see blue horizons before me: they suffice as a goal.

I hurry toward the East and my rising-I will my rising. ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 275-27

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