“If only man would act rationally, perhaps wars and depressions and insanity could be avoided; but unfortunately, man does not seem to be any more capable of acting sanely now that he was a thousand years ago. We are still confronted with man’s own irrational behavior and the untamed forces within his psyche.” ~M. Esther Harding, Psychic Energy, pp.202-3
The troubled waters of society are the natural result of troubled waters within the human psyche. Until we free ourselves from our instinctive drives, each of us, from the most powerful leader to the most vulnerable victim, will add to the turbulence of our time. And the waters will not grow calm until our basic needs for survival, health and safety are met.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s President Franklin Roosevelt signed the original Social Security Act into law amidst great turbulence and opposition. At the time, poverty rates among senior citizens exceeded 50 percent.
“Opponents, however, decried the proposal as socialism. In a Senate Finance Committee hearing, the Democratic Oklahoma Senator Thomas Gore asked Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, “Isn’t this socialism?” She said that it was not, but he continued, “Isn’t this a teeny-weeny bit of socialism?” Since then, “Changes in Social Security have reflected a balance between promoting “equality” and efforts to provide “adequate” and affordable protection for low wage workers.” Wikipedia
Affordable. Health. Care. Eighty years later opponents of government’s involvement in the lives of its citizens still fear “socialism.” Proponents still promote “equality” and “adequate” affordable protection. Those whose lives have been made easier by the Social Security Act don’t really care what you call it. They’re too busy being grateful for Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security pensions. For the freedom to enjoy their latter years in relative comfort and health without unduly burdening their children.
And what of their children? They are the baby boomers, some of whom are now running the government. Here’s what Wikipedia says of them…of many of us:
“In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.
As a group, they were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income; therefore, they could reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even “midlife crisis” products. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive.“
And “socialism” is still a bogeyman, even to some who have benefitted most from widespread government subsidies. And we still quibble and fear and fret over this issue; the untamed forces within our psyches still stir the waters.
I was surprised to learn from this site how many countries already have universal health care. Switzerland and Singapore have the two must successful systems and “have achieved universal health insurance while spending a fraction of what the U.S. spends.”
This Forbes article says “Many American conservatives oppose universal health insurance because they see it as fundamentally antithetical to a free society. ‘If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price,’ wrote a guest editorialist in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. But according to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage. It turns out that the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.”
So if “the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom,” what’s preventing us from devising and implementing “the right kind of health reform?”
The untamed forces within our psyches.
Many people I’ve spoken to since beginning this series tell me the Affordable Care Act is the best thing that ever happened to them. But it has problems. And my friend is trapped by a particularly unjust one.
I have no answers. But one thing is sure: the troubled waters in the US will not grow calm until the basic needs of our citizens—survival, health and safety—are met. And this will not happen until the privileged few at the top of our governmental hierarchy willingly place the untamed forces within their psyches under the microscope of consciousness.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”~Carl Jung
My thanks to all of you who enriched this dialogue with your many insightful comments. May the dialogue continue until the waters grow calm.
Image Credits: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,Wikipedia. Turbulent waters: earth data.nasa.gov
Jean Raffa’s “The Bridge to Wholeness” and “Dream Theatres of the Soul” are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. “Healing the Sacred Divide” can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.
Reblogged this on lampmagician.
Thank you, lampmagician.
I’m curious. One of my friends supposedly researched Denmark’s benefits for the people. Yes, the health care was free but the taxation to pay for all the benefits was out of sight. The cost of gas is way up in Europe compared to the U.S. So, my question is… IS free healthcare and other benefits REALLY beneficial to our people. Did your receive responses from Europeans on this issue?
Thanks for ALL your work and educational posts!
It is true. Our gas prices would be much higher too except for the fact that the federal government subsidizes the oil and gas industry by over $50 Billion per year. And the reason that won’t change is because that pays for a lot of lobbyists and colossal bonuses for the executives. We need to wake up to how we’re being fleeced!
Thanks for answering this question, Skip. I haven’t researched this.
You’re welcome, Gwynn. I don’t know the facts on these issues at all,but thanks for asking. Hopefully somebody else knows!
I’m a poet not a politician, yet know ‘within’ the politician rules supreme. Ha-ha! I’m working on this.
“And the waters will not grow calm until our basic needs for survival, health and safety are met.”
I agree whole-heartedly! Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ is brilliant, and makes so much sense. The solution may be discovered by turning back to the beginning of our lives and revisiting those unmet physiological needs for the world’s ENTIRE population. Yes, I wrote ‘entire’ because I feel that we also have a duty of ‘health care’ for the birds, and animal populations, as well as the wondrous lakes, mountains and forests of our beautiful planet blue.
I’m going off topic I know (tis the poet’s way for sure) yet feel it’s important to share William Blake’s prophetic words … ‘For everything that lives is Holy.’ Those who study Jung slowly grow to learn, and over time love that to be a human being is to be a movement between two opposite poles … rich/poor, good/bad, masculine/feminine, gay/straight, black/white, spirit/matter, self-actualised/or otherwise … divide it up how you will, no matter really, because in essence, we are all these and more as a member of the sacred human family.
And despite the contrary, many enlightened souls have throughout planet blue’s history, uncovered their own ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ with deep, rich wisdom and presented their long and short years of philosophical, creative, reflective study to many, if not all of the world’s governments by way of art, literature, poetry and philosophy … and alas, their words, images, and prophesies have fallen upon deaf ‘political’ ears … as is often the case when you try to tell others (shadow) of the great treasure you possess within.
Rarely are these ‘bogeymen’ (however defined) believed, more likely they will be cruelly rejected by the very society that they have spent their entire life, thus far, desperately trying to help. In the meantime all we can do is work with as much enthusiasm as we can muster to meet our own individual basic needs. For until we have attended these we will not be equipped to help others in deep, satisfactory ways.
For me, I’m slowly realising that the tension of the opposites between poet and politician is not to be avoided but to be warmly embraced. Why? Because they are the ‘day’ and ‘night’ of the very world I live in. Another great post Jeanie, and I fully appreciate Jung’s quote at the end, pitch-perfect! Thank you so much for helping me look within and integrate that little bit further. Blessings, Deborah.
“For me, I’m slowly realising that the tension of the opposites between poet and politician is not to be avoided but to be warmly embraced. Why? Because they are the ‘day’ and ‘night’ of the very world I live in.”
Deborah, this is beautifully said. It’s a truth I’ve been slow to grasp; however I too, am on the way now. Poet and politician are two excellent names for the basic archetypes of King and Magician. We all contain both, but most of us tend to favor one over the other. In the outer world, good Kings have always had a wise Fool or Magician, or some other kind of advisor/philosopher to remind them of the value of the inner life as well as the outer, and the other as well as oneself. Yes, you and I have certainly favored the Poet/Magician side, but of what good is a wise fool who ignores the state of the outer world and keeps his/her foolish wisdom to her/himself?
Thank you for sharing your inspiring thoughts here. Stay conscious, my sister.
Thank you for this post reconciling the question of inner work and outer compassion. Or for asking the question of how to do so.
Yes, we have to start with the questions don’t we? Is what I do enough? Is there more I can do while remaining true to my purpose and gifts? I appreciate having this venue to which I can bring these questions, and am so grateful for you and many others for your thoughtful and insightful comments. Thank YOU.
Jeanie, some years ago I mentioned to you that I think asking the questions might be the way to go. Your site has always been extremely valuable to me as it is, but I think that asking the questions is also very important. As I continue to study Dr. Jung’s collected works, line by line and day by day (it’s tedious but necessary), one theme he always comes back to is that the answers have to come from the individual’s inner Self, not from group-think. In that spirit, it seems to me that when we ask questions we guide the reader to look back on what they really think themselves, rather than always being led around by the nose by psychic epidemics and group-think. Keep asking questions! I think it is a very useful approach. BUT, that has to be with the kind of guidance that you provide as you talk about the archetypal issues we all face.
Thanks, Skip. I agree.
My response to your post, Jeanie. Precisely!
Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience here, Skip. And for your excellent site, http://www.archetypeinaction.com, which provides valuable insights into so many other political issues of vital importance to us all.
Thank you for this series, Jeanie. As a scholarship kid in the 1960s, I benefited from the Great Society. Now I see the importance of caring for the infirm and elderly as I watch opportunities dry up for my children and your grandchildren. Surely the most important job of government is about taking care of people, being stewards of the earth, educating, and giving creating health and equal opportunity rather than escalating more war abroad. This coming election will be an interesting one with the two sides so strongly opposed. I know that what is clear and positive to me is a dark and alarming shadow for someone else. My prayer at this moment is that we learn to talk to one another again.
I was a scholarship kid in the 1960’s too. I paid it back by teaching in the public school system for four years. I have absolutely no doubt that without that gift from the Great Society, neither my books nor this blog would ever have been imagined, let alone written. I can’t help but be enormously grateful, and to want others to have the same opportunities you and I did. Yet your observation, “I know that what is clear and positive to me is a dark and alarming shadow for someone else,” is absolutely true. And I totally get that. Here’s to shadow and light, shadow and light, and to healing the divide between them.