A Species In Denial—Resignation
The extent of humans’ fear of the issue of the human condition
In the earlier section, ‘A history of analysis of resignation’, Erich Neumann’s concluding sentence, that ‘only deep psychological analysis can then discover the unconscious counterposition’, emphasises just how committed the resigned mind becomes to denial. This extreme commitment is a direct measure of the extent of the mind’s fear of the depressing issue of the human condition.
Ronald Hayman’s 2000 book, Life of Jung, documents Carl Jung’s journey into this ‘unconscious counterposition’—the truthful world that humans repressed when they became resigned—and described how those depressing depths nearly destroyed Jung yet also allowed him to think truthfully and thus effectively; most of his important concepts being found while he was in that truthful state and domain. Hayman wrote: ‘He [Jung] claimed to have acquired the knack of catching unconscious material “in flagrante”, and his  book Memories, Dreams, Reflections suggests his behaviour was heroic—that he was making a dangerous expedition into the unconscious for the sake of scientific discovery. Several dreams involved subterranean staircases and caverns, which suggested that his fantasies were located somewhere underground. In December 1913, he says, he decided to drop downwards. “I let myself fall, It was as if the floor literally gave way underneath me and I plummeted into Page 244 of
Print Edition dark depths”…It took about three years to recover from the breakdown…It was during Jung’s breakdown that he arrived at some of his most important concepts…Had it not been for his breakdown, Jung might never have developed the technique he called active imagination, based on conversations with his anima [the soulful, more female side of himself] and with fantasy figures. He told patients to draw or paint characters from dreams or fantasies, and to interrogate them. This was like praying to an internal god, “for there are answers inside you if you are not afraid of them”. It was a matter of “letting the unconscious come up”.’
In his 1976 book, Jung and the Story of Our Time, Sir Laurens van der Post offered this account of Jung’s journey into the unconscious: ‘Jung no longer looked for the answer [to what would make humans whole] vicariously through the neuroses of others. More and more he looked into his own deeply wounded self…no physician has taken the task of healing more seriously than he did. He was, in all this, quite alone…He was denounced and abandoned by most of his former colleagues. He had to face, alone, the unknown in this unconscious universe to which he had been brought. He was bombarded by symbols and images demanding that he should return with them from whatever fathomless depths they had come…He found himself turning to the child in himself as if instinct, too, was exhorting him to become like the child which the New Testament exhortation makes imperative. In this way he hoped to emerge from darkness into the light of which the Kingdom of Heaven is the supreme image…Although he recognised in the dreams and fantasies psychological material and patterns that he had encountered only in the most schizoid and psychotic of his patients, he felt he had to accept them also as part of himself…No-one could possibly know better than he the dangers of succumbing to such dark forces…So, on the afternoon of December 12 of that year, 1913, sitting in his chair at his desk, he made one of the bravest decisions, I believe, ever recorded in the history of the human spirit. He committed himself absolutely to this equinoxial urge from within and in doing so apparently subordinating reason to unreason, and risking the sacrifice even of sanity to insanity. But he had always wanted to know how the human spirit would behave if deprived of all preconditioning and left entirely to itself. He had an intuition that no real beginning would be possible unless he had some experience of what mind and imagination did if allowed to act naturally and freely on their own. And he was about to find out in a way which a world which does not recognise the reality of “these mountains of the mind and their cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed” of which Manley Hopkins had spoken, cannot measure. His whole spirit must have Page 245 of
Print Edition reeled with an inverted vertigo and horror of what he was about to do. He put it to me once, without hint of laughter. “I said to myself ‘Well Jung, here you go.’ And it was as if the ground literally gave way under me and I let myself drop.” That was the greatest of his many moments of truth, and so far did he fall and so unfamiliar and frightening was the material that he found as a result, that there were many moments when indeed it looked as if insanity might have overcome sanity’ (pp.153-156 of 275).
Sir Laurens van der Post described how Jung had to return to his pre-resigned childhood state in order to reconnect with the truthful world. He also acknowledges that to allow his ‘mind and imagination’ to think ‘naturally and freely’, Jung had to abandon the ‘preconditioning’ of the resigned world of evasion and denial.
It is now possible to understand this observation Sir Laurens made in Jung and the Story of Our Time: ‘Few of us to this day recognise the imperative of courage in the life of the imagination and how it alone can make us free from fear and open to the fullness of reality. Its “cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed” demand a heart as brave as that of any soldier going into battle or any mountaineer pioneering a new way up Everest.’ To look into the human condition was a frighteningly dangerous and therefore almost impossibly difficult task for most people; however, there were rare individuals for whom this was not the case. As is explained more fully in other essays in this book, those rare individuals who could confront the issue of the human condition with relative safety have historically been referred to as ‘prophets’. Prophets were people who were sufficiently loved or nurtured in their upbringing, and also sufficiently sheltered from corrupt reality during that upbringing that, as a result, their ‘child within’ or soul or instinctive self escaped being hurt/ damaged/ corrupted. They remained sufficiently ‘innocent’ that when they entered adolescence they did not feel overly criticised and depressed by the cooperative ideals of life and thus did not have to resign to a life of living in denial of those ideals; they did not have to live in denial of the issue of the human condition. (Note, I said above that Jung had to ‘return into his pre-resigned state to reconnect with the truthful world’. The implication is that Jung was a resigned individual and yet in the Plato essay he was named as a prophet. This apparent anomaly will be clarified shortly when resigned and unresigned prophets are explained.)
Denial-free, unevasive thinkers or prophets could look into and think truthfully about human life. What was needed to look into the Page 246 of
Print Edition human condition was not courage, but innocence, with all its soundness and security of self. Where the unresigned, denial-free thinkers or prophets needed courage was to defy the almost universal practice of denial and endure the persecution that the resigned world subjected them to for exposing its resigned, corrupted, false state.
The reason for including these quotes about Jung’s terrifying journey into the ‘unconscious counterposition’ is to illustrate just how justifiably fearful most adults have been of that ‘counterposition’—how fearful they have been of the pre-resigned, truthful world of our integrative-meaning-orientated original instinctive self or soul. It is a world that historically has been associated with terrifying self-confrontation, condemnation and thus depression. Considering almost all adults learnt to live in total denial of the truthful world that surrounds them it is little wonder that young, pre-resigned adolescents were abandoned by the adult world and left alone with their truthful thoughts.
A measure of the extent of this block-out or denial is the way in which resigned adults swagger about confidently imposing their superficiality on everybody and everything; the more deluded amongst them spouting esoteric, intellectual truthlessness everywhere they went, as if they were not living in a state of fraudulent dishonesty at all. The deluded arrogance or hubris of resigned adults has often been immense. The denial-free, unevasive thinker or prophet, Jesus Christ, described such extreme delusion thus: ‘They like to walk round in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the market-place and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely’ (Luke 20:46). Delusion/ alienation/ denial will not be ‘punished’ with the arrival of the understanding of the human condition because at base there was a valid and understandable reason for it, but thankfully denial and its manifestations now become unnecessary in human life.
Until now, resigned adults have been justifiably terrified of looking inwards. Just how afraid many people have been is revealed in the extreme negativity of this response to the possibility of self-confrontation: ‘If you spend too much time with your head up your bum in search of existential angst, all you’ll find is dark and dirty’ (Dr Don Edgar, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 2000). When it comes to psychology and looking into ourselves, most adults have had the attitude of Albert the alligator in the old Pogo comic strip: ‘The inner me? Naw, got no time fer him. Ah got trouble enough with the me whut’s out cheer whar Ah kin get Page 247 of
Print Edition mah hands on ’im. Ez fer the inner me, he goes his way, Ah go mine’ (mentioned in Charlton Heston’s autobiography, In The Arena, 1995).
Resigned adults feared the issue of the human condition for good reason. For most people virtually any thinking would bring them into depressing confrontation with the issue of the human condition—as the Australian comedian Rod Quantock once said, ‘Thinking can get you into terrible downwards spirals of doubt’—so it was almost better not to think at all, or at least remain extremely superficial in thought, which is in fact what most people have done and why human discourse has been so immensely shallow. The only subject that has been safe to talk about has been the weather. Unless you were sufficiently innocent not to have had to resign, trying to confront the fundamental issue in human life of the human condition was extremely depressing and thus dangerous.
A measure of how dangerous it has been to confront the human condition is that even prophets encountered danger if they were not exceptionally sound and secure—as Plato once observed ‘Even the friends of ideas [even people who are relatively comfortable thinking deeply] are subject to a kind of madness’ (mentioned in Great lives, Great Deeds, 1966, p.386 of 448). The fact that only a few prophets could fully confront the issue of the human condition shows just how perilous it has been.
The following are some examples of the risks that prophets faced confronting the dilemma of the human condition.
In her review of Ronald Hayman’s aforementioned book, Life of Jung, Jean Curthoys, stated that Jung believed himself to be ‘a prophet’ (and he has often been described as a ‘true prophet’, such as in a review in the British Observer newspaper reproduced on the back cover of the Flamingo 1983 edition of Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections), and referred to Jung’s ‘journey into the collective unconscious’ as having ‘been a paradigmatic journey through the dark night of the soul’ (Weekend Australian, 18-19 Mar. 2000). The ‘dark night of the soul’ is a good description of what humans experience when they try to confront the soul’s cooperative-meaning-expecting, truthful world. According to Curthoys, it took Jung ‘about three years to recover from the breakdown’, his journey into the dark night of the soul caused.
Jung’s early mentor was the Austrian physician, Sigmund Freud. Known as the father of modern psychoanalysis and also frequently referred to as a prophet, Freud similarly dared to plumb the depths of the issue of the human condition. R.D. Laing recognised the ‘stark terrors’ Freud faced with this task, saying: ‘The greatest psychopathologist Page 248 of
Print Edition has been Freud. Freud was a hero. He descended to the “Underworld” and met there stark terrors. He carried with him his theory as a Medusa’s head which turned these terrors to stone. We who follow Freud have the benefit of the knowledge he brought back with him and conveyed to us. He survived. We must see if we now can survive without using a theory that is in some measure an instrument of defence’ (The Divided Self, 1960, p.25 of 218).
Interestingly, immediately after paraphrasing Gerard Manley Hopkins’ ‘mountains of the mind and their cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer’ to describe Jung’s exploration of the mind in Jung and the Story of Our Time, Sir Laurens van der Post went on to describe how the Italian poet, Dante, made a similar prophet-like, dangerously confronting expedition into the truth about the human condition, as documented in his famous 1321 poem, The Divine Comedy. On this terrifying expedition Dante, like Freud, was able to employ help in the form of the inspiration of the face of a beautiful woman. Sir Laurens says that Dante ‘had to go down into a netherworld to its uttermost depths’ and that on this expedition Dante ‘had as an overall guide and protector his love of a woman whose face, once seen when a boy in the streets of Florence, changed the course of his whole life. All that this woman and this face evoked in him grew into a love that was total, universal, and outside space and time. It became a power in his spirit that made Dante always feel firmly directed and safe. As a result, even at moments when Virgil, who was Dante’s immediate guide on the descent into hell, was full of fear, yet Dante could declare without a tremor of doubt, “I have no fear because there is a noble lady in Heaven who takes care of me”’ (p.157 of 275). This is a marvellous illustration of how inspiring the beauty of women can be to men.
In a newspaper article by journalist Gary Kamiya the exceptionally unevasive thinker or prophet, Friedrich Nietzsche, is described as ‘a terrifying Old Testament prophet’, who was ‘a desperately lonely man, poor and largely unread, plagued by bad health, who went mad at the age of 44’. Kamiya said that ‘What was great in Nietzsche was not, I began to see, his holiness, maybe not even his wisdom. It was his courage’ (Australian Financial Review, 11 Feb. 2000). Like Jung, Nietzsche courageously allowed himself to face the issue of the human condition and in doing so paid the price, which in his case was madness. (Incidentally the word ‘holy’, often used to describe prophets has the same origins as the Saxon word ‘whole’, which means ‘well, entire, intact’, thus confirming the prophets’ wholeness or soundness or lack of alienation.)
In attempting to plumb the depths of the dilemma of the human Page 249 of
Print Edition condition, Jung faced ‘insanity’; Freud and Dante, while they were saved by protectors, respectively ‘met stark terrors’ and ‘descended into hell’. Nietzsche did go mad and Eugène Marais and Arthur Koestler, two other exceptionally denial-free, honest thinkers or prophets, suicided. Arthur Koestler was the author of many books that dared to bring the issue of the human condition into focus. He was quoted in the Plato essay as courageously acknowledging the truth of integrative meaning, and the reader will see many of his extraordinarily truthful insights quoted in Beyond. In a review of a television program about Koestler called Hours By The Window, the journalist said in recognition of Koestler’s remarkable ability to confront the human condition that, ‘It’s undeniable that Koestler had one of the most highly developed messiah complexes of the twentieth century’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Dec. 1986). The reference to ‘messiah’ is a reference to the ability to confront the human condition because only by confronting the human condition could liberating understanding of the human condition ever be found. ‘Messiah’ means ‘liberator’. You cannot ascertain the truth from lies, from a position of denial. Eugène Marais was the first person to study primates in the wild and wrote the exceptionally unevasive books, The Soul of the White Ant (1937), My Friends the Baboons (1939) and The Soul of the Ape (written in the 1930s, first published in 1969). In his Introduction to The Soul of the Ape, anthropologist Robert Ardrey referred to Marais as a ‘prophet’ (p.33 of 170). Despite being exceptionally sound it is thought that even Plato may have experienced a crisis in the latter part of his life. To quote from the Plato entry in the 1979 edition of A Dictionary of Philosophy: ‘Changes in outlook which accompany the change of style [in the third or latter period of Plato’s writing] may reflect a profound crisis in Plato’s life’ (p.270 of 380). In the great Arthurian legend of King Arthur, the prophet Merlin eventually went mad.
R.D. Laing, who was regularly referred to as a ‘prophet’ (for example in Life magazine in October 1971), self-destroyed with alcohol, drugs and reckless behaviour and eventually died of a heart attack. In his 1994 biography, R.D. Laing A Biography, Adrian Laing described his father’s circumstances 18 months before his death in August 1989 thus: ‘He was sixty years old, the father of a new-born baby, with no reliable income, no home, a serious drinking problem and a debilitating feeling of depression bordering on despair’ (p.235 of 248). Throughout his life R.D. Laing cultivated honesty over denial, and the resulting transparency of the falseness in the world around him led him to a state Page 250 of
Print Edition of lonely despair. Towards the end of his life, R.D. Laing realised that what he needed in order to keep his equilibrium and do something truly constructive about the madness and suffering in the world that his honesty allowed him to see so clearly, was to find the source reason for the madness. In a 1989 documentary, Didn’t You Used To Be R.D. Laing?, Laing said: ‘I would like to be able to explore the reaches of the human mind, heart and soul, find out what we are doing here, where we have come from, where we are going to etc, etc, etc. I would like to spend the next time that I have got before I die enjoying that exploration without any contention’ (Third Mind Productions Inc. Vancouver, Canada). Tragically, by the time he realised that the only way to bring about any real change was to address the issue of the human condition he was too spent and weary for the task.
Unless you are extraordinarily innocent you cannot easily face the issue of the human condition without the protection imparted by the actual, biological understanding of the human condition. Confrontation with the issue of the human condition has to be accompanied by understanding of the human condition. As was emphasised in the Introduction, the evidence that understanding of the human condition has at last been found is that the subject is being discussed here so freely and openly, and that so many resigned adults in the WTM are successfully confronting the subject. Humanity would not have had the determination that it has had to find understanding of the human condition had it not known that when it finally did, that humans of that time would be able to confront the issue.
In passing I might make comment here about Sir Laurens van der Post’s ability to live so extraordinarily close to the truth about the human condition. While a few prophets in history, in particular Buddha, Moses, Zarathustra, Christ and Mohammed, were so extraordinarily sound that they were able to live in the presence of the truth about the human condition without the support of understanding of it (they were able to confront God ‘face to face’ as Moses said), Sir Laurens was not quite in this league. While Sir Laurens did grapple with the human condition it was always slightly obliquely, never quite head on. He was certainly much sounder than Carl Jung who, as previously described, struggled mightily even to begin to grapple with the human condition and had to employ dreams and observations of the extremely psychotic in order to access the truths that our soul knows. (Evidently Jung was confronted by this difference between Page 251 of
Print Edition himself and Sir Laurens, because he apparently came to view Sir Laurens as ‘a pea that had grown too big for his pod’ [interview with J.D.F. Jones, ABC Radio, Late Night Live, 25 Feb. 2002].) While Sir Laurens was significantly sounder than prophets such as Jung, he was not completely sound and so it is surprising that Sir Laurens never suffered a psychological crisis during his 90-odd years living so close to the truth about the human condition.
Since the publication of J.D.F. Jones’ alleged biography, Storyteller: the many lives of Laurens van der Post (2001), there has been much media attention focused upon Jones’ accusations that Sir Laurens van der Post exaggerated the closeness of his relationship with Japanese acquaintances in the pre-war years, and with Lord Mountbatten and Carl Jung after the war. Jones also questioned Sir Laurens’ abilities as a farmer, his rank as a lieutenant-colonel in the army (although he was undoubtedly a half-colonel), and his accounts of his war experiences and behind-the-scenes role in the Rhodesian settlement of 1979—80. (With regard to the Rhodesian settlement, if Sir Laurens had overstated his role in those events it certainly did not affect Lady Thatcher, who was Prime Minister of England at the time of settlement, for she recently described Sir Laurens van der Post as ‘the most perfect man I have ever met’ [interview with J.D.F. Jones, ABC Radio, Late Night Live, 25 Feb. 2002].)
I want to first examine Jones’ accusations that Sir Laurens exaggerated events surrounding his imprisonment by the Japanese and his association with those Japanese he met in South Africa before the war. While I am not familiar with the details of these events, what I do know from Sir Laurens’ writing is that he was an exceptionally sound, unresigned individual. Knowing that resigned people are too familiar with, and accepting of, corrupt behaviour to have the defiance and uncompromising courage unresigned people have towards corrupt behaviour, I know Sir Laurens would have behaved extraordinarily strongly towards his Japanese captors and that he would have behaved extraordinarily courageously in the prisoner of war camps he was in. Also, with an appreciation of Sir Laurens’ soundness, his room within himself, I know that he would have behaved most generously towards any Japanese that he met in South Africa.
With regard to the general accusation that Sir Laurens exaggerated his achievements, it needs to be appreciated that the fundamental problem for a prophet is having to live without any reinforcement. When all of humanity is living in an all-pervading Page 252 of
Print Edition and dominating world of denial, prophets live in an entirely different, denial-free world. Standing up to, and alone against, such an overwhelmingly different state is extremely difficult. In terms of positive support and feedback it amounts to living in a vacuum. Christ succinctly described the loneliness of the life of prophets when he said, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man [the uncorrupted expression of the Godly, integrative state] has no place to lay his head’ (Matt. 8:20). The coercion to give in and join everyone else is immense and all prophets have to counter that coercion is their love of the true world. In a scene in Inherit the Wind—a movie about the Monkey Trial in Tennessee, USA in 1925, where a school master named John Scopes was prosecuted for teaching Darwinian theory—Scopes’ attorney empathised with his client’s isolation in his community, saying: ‘I know what you are going through. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world. It’s like walking down an empty street listening to your own footsteps. But all you have to do is to knock on any door and say “if you’ll let me in I’ll live the way you want me to live and I’ll think the way you want me to think” and all the blinds will go up and all the doors will open and you will never be lonely ever again.’ This analogy gives some idea of the estrangement and loneliness experienced by an individual whose immediate community ostracises him. The loneliness from having to live in defiance of your whole race is infinitely greater. When, on the evening before he was arrested, Christ said ‘I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33), the ‘world’ that he had ‘overcome’ was the world of denial. This comment suggests that even for Christ it was an achievement, something that had not been easy. Apart from the words of a few other prophets, acknowledgment of denial-free thinking is nowhere to be found. The essential psychological problem a prophet struggled with while he was growing up was the false world’s inability to respond and acknowledge the soundness of his thoughts and behaviour. In fact, not only did the resigned, denial-complying world not respond, it normally actively rejected the sound thinking and behaviour of the prophet because the thinking and behaviour was confronting and exposing of its unsound thinking and behaviour. Until a prophet was older and had finally gained an understanding, or at least an appreciation, of why the false world could not respond and acknowledge his sound thinking and behaviour, it was a continual struggle to comprehend why sound thinking and behaviour did not receive a reinforcing response, in fact why it was not embraced and encouraged. Prophets were like children in the sense Page 253 of
Print Edition that children suffered from the same problem of not receiving the reinforcement that their true thinking and relatively innocent, uncorrupted behaviour deserved from the adults around them. It was not a case of children or prophets being egocentric, they were not looking for ‘a win’, only fair acknowledgment. To resigned people living in insecurity it has been self-evident to them why other people behaved insecurely, but to an unresigned person it was a complete mystery. A prophet’s fundamental struggle was to avoid being overcome by the coercion to believe that their truthful thinking and true way of behaving was wrong or unworthy. The essential problem they faced was to survive a dysfunctional world. If they were exceptionally secure, that is, exceptionally nurtured in infancy and reinforced in childhood, they would be able to survive the dysfunctional world. However, if they were a little less than completely secure they would either succumb to becoming uncertain of their own truth and worth, or would have to find some way of resisting the implication that what they said and did was not true and worthy. It is possible Sir Laurens van der Post was not completely secure and so had to find a way of surviving and the way he did that was simply to tell his own story, rather than wait or depend on others to tell it. That part of Sir Laurens’ writing that his detractors have so denigrated is his self-descriptions, his accounts of what he achieved, the so-called larger than life image that he cast of himself. It is his apparently necessary self-description that has been misrepresented as insecure, egocentric exaggeration by his detractors.
It also has to be appreciated that Sir Laurens had a responsibility to find support for his denial-free world; he had to somehow counter society’s denial of prophets and the immensely valuable truths they reveal. I think it is possible that Sir Laurens found for himself the reinforcement he needed for himself, and the necessary support for his work, by using his extraordinary soundness, and thus extraordinary personality, to gain the admiration and support of people in high places. It was only people who reached positions of great achievement in the insecure, resigned, egocentric world who had the room in themselves, the generosity, to acknowledge someone as sound as Sir Laurens; everyone else was threatened by his soundness. It is no coincidence that a Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was able to acknowledge Sir Laurens as ‘the most perfect man I have ever met’. Sir Laurens van der Post did receive very significant reinforcement through the acceptance and acclaim of his 24 books, however, it could Page 254 of
Print Edition be that he had to create additional reinforcement through self-promotion, or find himself unable to do the work he did. If he is guilty of self-promotion for this reason then he took the courageous option, because history will record that Sir Laurens van der Post played a pivotal role in saving the human race.
I am not in a position to know if, in searching for reinforcement of his denial-free way of living, Sir Laurens ever went beyond truthful self-acknowledgment to some untruthful embellishment in his stories. However, it has to be remembered that if Sir Laurens is guilty of any small lies then those small lies are minuscule compared to the massive lie that humanity’s denial of the human condition represents, and which J.D.F. Jones has desperately tried to defend by his attack on Sir Laurens. The essential truth is that Jones has acted as an agent for the world of denial. The true story is that Sir Laurens van der Post revealed a galaxy of truth to this planet of lies, and for doing so Jones sought to ‘crucify’ him, just as Christ was crucified for exposing all the lying in his day. It is a classic example of a reverse-of-the-truth lie to call Sir Laurens van der Post a liar. Sir Laurens was a truthsayer of the highest order, a foremost prophet amongst prophets.
I should also comment here about the accusation that Sir Laurens van der Post ‘romanticised’ the Bushmen people of the Kalahari. J.D.F. Jones said in an interview, ‘the academic experts on the Kalahari [Bushmen] are absolutely berserk with rage about the things he [Sir Laurens van der Post] said, because, if you read The Lost World of the Kalahari [Sir Laurens’ immensely popular book], you must not believe that this is the truth about the Bushmen; it’s not’ (ABC Radio, Late Night Live, 25 Feb. 2002). As has been explained in detail in the Plato essay, the issue of the human condition and all the important truths that bring it into focus—in particular the existence of our soul’s innocent, true world, and humans’ alienated state of denial of that world—has been an anathema to humans. Science has been mechanistic not holistic and, like humanity, has not tolerated acknowledgment of the different states of alienation amongst races, genders, ages, generations and individuals. The reason people such as myself have loved Sir Laurens so much is because he defied the almost universal denial and let the truth out about our soul’s true world. Whether mechanistic scientists like it or not, the truth is the Bushmen people are relatively innocent compared to most other existing races, and in them we can see something of what has been denied and repressed Page 255 of
Print Edition in the rest of the human race. Of all the books in my library, my copies of Sir Laurens’ books about the Bushmen, The Lost World of the Kalahari (1958) and its sequel, The Heart of the Hunter (1961), are the most tattered from use. If I quote the last few lines from The Heart of the Hunter the reader will know just how devastatingly honest these books are: ‘All this became for me, on my long journey home by sea, an image of what is wanted in the spirit of man today. We live in a sunset hour of time. We need to recognize and develop that aspect of ourselves of which the moon bears the image. It is our own shy intuitions of renewal, which walk in our spiritual night as Porcupine walked by the light of the moon, that need helping on the way. It is as if I hear the wind bringing up behind me the voice of Mantis, the infinite in the small, calling from the stone age to an age of men with hearts of stone, commanding us with the authentic voice of eternal renewal: “You must henceforth be the moon. You must shine at night. By your shining shall you lighten the darkness until the sun rises again to light up all things for men”’ (p.233 of 233).
I might mention that even though I have the benefit of the biological understanding of the human condition to protect me both from any doubts about the fundamental worth of humans and any intimidation from the world of denial, I still find it helpful to use quotes from other denial-free thinkers to confirm every step I have taken in my thinking. The road that I have cut through the jungle of denial I have paved with quotes to help both the reader and myself. Considering Christ did not have the benefit of the biological understanding of the human condition, it is not surprising that he also had his ‘stepping stones’; the confirmatory statements from the prophets who preceded him, those rare individuals of the Old Testament who were sound enough to deeply penetrate humanity’s psychosis/ denial/ alienation. Obviously he studied closely the Old Testament because he frequently referred to it. For example, in The Great Exodus: From the horror and darkness of the human condition, the reader will see that when Christ was unmasking the lie of pseudo-idealism he used the deadly accurate description offered by the Old Testament prophet Daniel, ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ (Matt. 24:15).
It was mentioned above that Sir Laurens van der Post was much sounder than Jung. In the coming essay in this book, The Demystification Of Religion, under the heading ‘Prophets and the concept of the “Virgin Mother” demystified’, it will be explained in detail that there are two classes of prophets, those who are unresigned and those who are resigned. Briefly, individuals who were sufficiently Page 256 of
Print Edition nurtured and thus secure in self to avoid having to resign to a life of denial are the unresigned prophets. Resigned prophets, on the other hand, were individuals who had resigned during adolescence but who had later been able to find their way back to a sufficiently denial-free way of thinking to be considered a prophet.
I should note that in the next section it will be described how some artists could so develop their capacity to bring out the beauty that exists on Earth—and by association bring into focus all the deeper human-condition-related issues that such purity raises—that they could take themselves to the brink of suicidal depression. In the case of one of the greatest artists, Van Gogh became so tormented he did end up taking his life. The point is if a resigned person happened to take up a path that led back to the world of the soul and all the confronting truths that reside there, and had the courage, determination and gifts to pursue that extremely difficult path far enough, they could manage to reveal sufficient truth to be recognised as a denial-free thinker or prophet. However, as has been described, the price resigned prophets paid for such heroic return-trips to the world of truth was often as high as suicide. The problem is that if someone had become resigned during their adolescence then they cannot have been sound enough to face the truth without being suicidally depressed by it. Resigned people fought their way back to the truth at their peril.
Clearly Sir Laurens van der Post was an unresigned prophet, while Carl Jung was a resigned prophet.