I know that she knows that I know as we both shake our heads at the unbelievable madness of our time. And you know what we are thinking about:
— the climate crisis nearing the point of no return,
— the continuing poisoning of our environment,
— the threat of a large-scale continental, if not world-wide, war,
— the fact that 811 million people in the world go hungry, impacting 9.9% of our global
— US COVID deaths total 900,000 people, while the number has reached 391 million
— our population remains awash in the unbelievable distortion of facts regarding
healthcare and general political zaniness that endangers our physical, emotional,
mental, and spiritual well-being,
— the failure of mainline religious institutions to tell the truth regarding the toxic
pursuit of money, power, and celebrityhood, in which anyone can become a
sensational personality for 15 seconds in the passing parade of TV superstars,
— the threat of collapse of our democratic institutions to be replaced by authoritarian
rulers and a gaggle of impotent followers.
I could go on but there is no need. Let me move on to offer some understanding and hope for the mess we have brewed in our cauldron of imbecility. I want to talk about an archetype of order. "Archetype" is a word that has slipped into our usage to describe what we mean psychologically when we refer to the neurological structure within our brain that gives shape to our behavior, thoughts, feelings, and sensations of our body. When these patterns are recognized by our minds, we call them archetypal images. They are universal and have evolved over the centuries of our time on this earth.
Carl Jung considered the archetypal structures within the brain to be central to human perception, judgement, and action. He went on in his works to name at least twelve archetypal images embedded within the unconscious: sage, jester, hero, outlaw, ruler, lover, law giver, etc. In all societies and cultures, these archetypal patterns appear in one form or another. They form the matrix of our shared humanity that makes communication possible across differences in languages, customs, and religions.
And for the purpose of considering the role of the archetype of order, it is important we consider a major function of the archetype that is often overlooked. This is the function of restoring psychic balance when a person drifts to one extreme or another. In other words, just as we think of our physical body occupying the norms of well-being in terms of body temperature, weight, sleep, and rest/work, so also do we need to maintain a balance in our psychological/spiritual life.
Therefore, when the madness of destruction dominates our lives personally, societally, or culturally, then a response arises from the unconscious in the service of restoring balance. We do not necessarily "see" this; however, there will appear moods, fantasies, thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the body that grab our attention. We might call this the emergence of the archetype of order.
Such an archetype, for example, is what has come to be called The Golden Rule. As it has drifted into our memory, the most-often quoted scripture comes from the Gospel of
Luke 6:31, and says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." However, even though I am quoting from the Christian gospel, The Golden Rule is not the sole property of Christianity. In fact, it belongs to the world, passed on from ancient times in all the world's major religions. Around the world (Egypt, India, China, Greece, Persia, Rome, and others), The Golden Rule shared a prominent place in these peoples' ethical practices. In Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Wicca, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and others, The Golden Rule occupies a vantage point as to how the peoples of the world may respond to each other.
For example, in ancient Zoroastrianism, The Golden Rule proclaims: "Do not do to others what is injurious to yourself." (Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29) In Confucianism, Analects XV.24, we read "never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." In Islam, the texts say, "As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them." (Katib al-Kafi, vol.2, p.146) And within the Babylonian Talmud of Judaism, Hillel the Elder draws from the Old Testament's Leviticus 19:16, to center his teaching concerning The Golden Rule: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is explanation; go and learn." Many more references throughout time, society, and religion may be found online.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
How ennobling stands this centerpiece of ethical practice in our human evolution. It serves as an evocative archetype of order in the midst of our present-day madness of destruction. It gives us hope that order may prevail and preside over the future when we send this most important message to distant stars.