Black Books

Przywara calls these opposites that come together in man : “the beams of the Cross”.

That is for him the symbol of the reconciliation of the opposites, that unite so painfully in man.

So we often hear ” the cross has redeemed us ” instead of ” Christ has redeemed us.”

This expresses a symbol: the cross, the coming together of the opposites , is redemption. In other words no one can be redeemed
who is unconscious of the conflict and lives either on the material or spiritual side, ignoring the other.

It is only in the uncomfortable condition of doubt and conflict that we can be redeemed.

We always think that we must be all wrong when we are in doubt, but it is just then that we are as we should be.

This condition is the only gate to higher consciousness.

When man is contented he never makes an effort to reach another condition, he must be in a desperately bad way before he does anything about it.

And this is the great psychological meaning behind the glorification of suffering.

It is also the aspect which is ignored by Buddhism; the Buddhist step s out of the conflict, nirdvandva, free from the opposites, he does not look right or left, up or down, and he thus reaches Bodhi consciousness which he calls the highest consciousness .

We should not call this consciousness but unconsciousness.

It is a trance-like condition from which the Yogin emerges, as out of a deep sleep , with new strength, just as Antaios gained fresh power from each contact with the earth, his mother.

Conflict is not always the most desirable condition, it can be exceedingly destructive, so that we long to be freed from the opposites and to plunge into blessed unconsciousness where nothing matters.

And that is the greatness of India, they have learnt the art of doing this thoroughly.

Buddha transcended consciousness, that is, he reached something different to consciousness, no consciousness, unconsciousness.

We saw that Przywara regards the psychological existence of man, essentially full of conflict, as the cross.

Man is not only crucified, he is himself the cross.

In some old pictures Christ is not crucified but stands with outstretched arms before the cross, that is, he becomes the cross.

Przywara says:

” In that God as redeemer descends into man, His countenance appears in the truly human medium, namely in the soul as the middle between mere body and mere spirit. But in that He as redeemer descends into man in the form of the rent His countenance appears in the soul, i. e. God appears in the face of the ‘rent as cross’. ”

This means that the soul is a cross and this is true in the fullest sense of the word.

To learn to know ourselves, to face the conflict, to become conscious, is a cross.

This is the reason why we prefer to avoid it, we do not want to know our faults. We forget that this other side is also ourselves.

It belongs to us but if we accept it we find ourselves crucified, hung up between the opposites.

We are in doubt and we no longer know what to do but, when we can do anything in that state, it belongs to both sides, it is not only spirit, not only matter, but something living; and the living thing is never pure and sterile but always somewhat turbid.

So Przywara says that God himself appears in the cross.

God is the cross and himself a torture, and if we let the conflict materialise in us, if we consciously accept the conflict, we carry the cross and this cross is God.

When Nietzsche says:

“You sought for the heaviest burden and found yourself ” he could also have said : ” You found God”, for the meeting with yourself is the meeting with God.

The other man in us is ourselves and God.

An Indian would understand this without difficulty, but he would not s ay that it was painful for he simply refuses the pain.

There are naturally very good reasons in the Indian psychology for this attitude but it is different in the West.

We should doubt ourselves, we should become aware of this inner conflict, but we also do our best to avoid it ! ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, 2 February 1940, Page 231-232