I went on in the previous blog to acknowledge how in times of stress these archetypal energies burst through our "normal" capacity to restrain the unconscious forces and modulate the conflicting "push and pull" of our thinking, our feelings, and our behavior. I described how we are living in a time of great stress when darkness gathers around us in threats shaped by religious wars, environmental fragmentation, and economic collapse.
However, I do not want to leave the matter with the threat of destructive archetypal powers only. Indeed not. Archetypes are not essentially negative. In fact, the archetypal energies basically strive for the flowering of life and the emergence of creation in a drive toward life.
An example of this is given to us in recent and ancient descriptions of life's movement toward fulfillment. One such example is the prologue in the Gospel of John. Written somewhere between 90-110 A.D., this magnificent and archetypal affirmation of life very likely drew from more ancient sources. However that may be, it comes to us in its present form as a prologue to the fourth gospel in the Christian Bible.
It is indeed a "strange voice" in these days of conflict, war, hostility, and irrational terrorism. I take pleasure in sharing this "prologue to the Gospel of John" as a voice of hope, an affirmation in keeping with this season of the year.
PROLOGUE TO THE GOSPEL OF JOHN (1:1-5)
In the beginning* was the Logos*:
The Logos was with God
and the Logos was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came into being,
not one thing came into being except through him.
What has come into being in him was life*,
life that was the light* of men;
and light shines in the darkness,
and darkness could not overpower it.
(Adapted from The New Jerusalem Bible)
* Prologue to the Gospel of John.The full prologue (1:1-18) was probably an ancient hymn adopted by the writer and modified to express the writer’s experience of Jesus the Christ as the eternal logos of God.
* beginning. The Greek word arche may be translated as “beginning” or as “the ultimate source of reality.” Note that it is also a root word for archetype.
* logos. Heraclitus defines logos as the divine animating principle of the universe. It therefore carries something of the same meaning as sophia (Wisdom), a Hebrew concept and word for the eternally present creating power (feminine) that joined with God in the creation of the world. As such, logos, though masculine, partakes of feminine connotations and came to be a name for the pre-existent, cosmic Christ. Logos frequently is translated as “word,” the agency that calls things into being, names them and functions as what Cardinal Ratzinger referred to as “the creative word that is love.” It is not bound by birth nor death.
* light. This Greek word (phos) may be summarized in this case as the moral consciousness made possible by the Logos.
* life. Zoe, Greek for life as John is using the word, is more than biological existence. John is deepening the meaning to describe “authentic existence.” This is a person’s true identity and way of being that is made possible by the Logos who calls persons to refuse to base their life on the world (of economies, politics, group identity, tribal loyalties, etc.) but rather on intangible and ultimate realities. This enlightened authentic existence renounces a self-centered security; it opens existence to the future and enables one to live in the world “as if not,” a phrase coined by Rudolf Bultmann, to describe non-attachment to the world, as well as freedom from the states of possession, bewitchment, conformity and enmeshment.