Mark Vernon: Jung thought psychology could offer a language for grappling with moral ambiguities in an age of spiritual crisis
In 1959, two years before his death, Jung was interviewed for the BBC television programme Face to Face. The presenter, John Freeman, asked the elderly sage if he now believed in God. "Now?" Jung replied, paused and smiled. "Difficult to answer. I know. I don't need to believe, I know."
What did he mean? Perhaps several things.
He had spent much of the second half of his life exploring what it is to live during a period of spiritual crisis. It is manifest in the widespread search for meaning – a peculiar characteristic of the modern age: our medieval and ancient forebears showed few signs of it, if anything suffering from an excess of meaning. The crisis stems from the cultural convulsion triggered by the decline of religion in Europe. "Are we not plunging continually," Nietzsche has the "madman" ask when he announces ... (click title to continue)