Seasonal thoughts for the New Year 2023


As we begin a new year there’s much to be worried about – individually and collectively. The state of the external world – the madness of war, and the absurdity of the money invested in weapons and ways to kill each other, and, then, the planet with the state of destruction of life and destruction of the habitats of our fellow creatures, the cost of living, the corruption of those in power and so on.

How not to despair…?

The poet Holderlin writes:

‘When the danger is greatest. There the helping powers grow.’

Carl Jung offers the same insight when he states that ‘when the confusion is at its height a new revelation comes.’ Jung encourages us to think ‘right thoughts’ and as an old Chinese proverb states: ‘the right person sitting in their house and thinking the right thought will be heard 100 miles away’ – right thought seems to be about being hopeful and where possible positive, trusting in the Self /Divine/ God and so confident that we will be guided by inner wisdom if we take the time to turn within and listen.

Jung offered advice to a correspondent, a young man whose father had been warned about his son’s emotional state. Jung writes that a psychological diagnosis is to do with thorough knowledge of one’s psychological state. It might hurt our vanity, but one thing we can all do is to see where we stand, otherwise ‘we are immoral illusionists’. Jung encourages the young man to acquire what he calls the ‘distressing capacity of seeing yourself from the outside’.

‘You must hasten to acquire it without letting it upset you. Jesus said to the man who was working on the Sabbath: “Man, if indeed thou knowest what you doest, thou are blessed; but if thou knowest not, thou are cursed and a transgressor of the law.” We live not only inwardly, but also outwardly.

‘People like you must look at everything and think about it and communicate with the heaven that dwells deep within them and listen inwardly for a word to come. At the same time organize your outward life properly so that your voice carries weight.’

Incidentally, this correspondent Walter Robert Corti was a philosopher and teacher, and later founded the Pestalozzi Village for Children. He met Jung in 1929 and clearly took the advice to heart.