The question for today is at the heart of the problem we face as a nation.
It is exactly the same question that was requested for my lectures at the
University of Alabama Conference Center several years ago. I was asked
to explore Carl Jung’s question: “Why are so many millions willing and
eager to turn their lives over to outside authorities?”
Why are so many today, without thinking, willing to turn their mind/brain..soul/spirit…over
to outside individuals, institutions, authorities and ideologies? Whether
it be to Osama bin Laden or whether it be to Christian, Muslim and Jewish
authorities of dogma, or whether it be to Republican or Democratic dogma..or
whatever the outside authority or institution might be that is telling
you what to think, what to believe and how to live your life.
Carl Jung put it this way in his essays: “It is a delusion when the
Christian churches try to rope the individual into some social organization
and reduce him or her to a condition of diminished responsibility, instead
of raising him or her out of the torpid, mindless mass and making it clear
that he, or she, is the one important factor. Resistance to the organized
mass can be effected only by the man, or woman, who is as well organized
in his/her individuality as the mass itself.”
“Once more we see people cutting each other’s throats in support
of childish theories of how to create paradise on earth.”
I devoted my lecture at the University of Alabama to four steps:
1. Begin by taking a hard, critical look at all so-called religious
2. Learn to trust your very own personal experiences and intuition.
Thomas Jefferson said it well to his young nephew: “Your own reason
is the only oracle given to you by God.” Jefferson always used “God”
as a Deist, not as a biblical Christian.
3. Accept the risks that go with taking control of your own life and
4. Enjoy the joys and freedom that are a part of such a new orientation.
The more we depend on outside authorities for direction, the more is our
own growth and creative unfoldment arrested.
And yet, how many still yearn for an outside religious authority to
pat us on the head and tell us we have been ‘good’, or to slap our little
hands and tell us we have been ‘bad’, ensuring that we stay forever emotionally
stunted and dwarfed spiritually.
One of Buckminster Fuller’s most brilliant observations says it all:
“All organized religions of the past were developed as belief’s in secondhand
information. It will be an entirely new era when man finds himself confronted
with direct experience.”
There is a humorous fad, or movement, today among some elements of Christianity.
It serves as a perfect example. It is called WWJD? They have it on T-shirts.
It is to approach every issue and every question by asking “What Would
Jesus Do?” I ask, Jesus is an outside authority, on what?
Jesus is certainly not my authority on any question regarding science.
Any seventh grade child today knows more about the world than did Jesus.
Jesus knew nothing about DNA molecules, Vitamin E or splitting atoms. Jesus
would certainly not be an authority on music, anthropology, archaeology,
history, medicine, law, horticulture, agronomy or philosophy.
When Normin Cousins was writing his wonderful biography of Albert Schweitzer,
he asked Schweitzer this question…“do you think anyone has ever lived
who was as good a person as Jesus?” And Schweitzer replied…“Millions.”
Our obsession with outside authority, whether in individuals or institutions,
ensures that we remain as emotionally and spiritually dwarfed as children.
I had a friend who was a devoted Episcopalian. She never missed a church
service. I asked her one day: “Mary … you recite the Nicene Creed
every Sunday … well, … I graduated from one of the best theological
schools in America and I do not have a clue what the Nicene creed is all
about … or what all that gobble-de gook means ….’very god of very god
… very man of very man … ‘ and all of that psycho babble … so please
explain it to me.” Mary then said this to me: “I don’t know what
it all means … I just recite it because my minister told me I should
and that it was good for me.” I said to her: “Mary … you recite
it back like a parrot … just words that have no meaning to you … because
your minister told you it was important for you to do it …” She said
Human beings, in the mass, sink unconsciously to an inferior moral and
Human beings, in the mass, like sheep, obeying and following outside
authority end up as zeros as individuals who never listen to their inner
voice … their inner intuition … their own reason. And the tragedy of
this for society is that … a million zeros joined together add up to
zero …. and not even to one.
We live today following secondhand information rather than listening
to our own inner voice. When Buckminster Fuller, who is called the Leonardo
da Vinci of our time, was at the point of ending his young life due to
frustration, he heard a voice within that said to him ….“never again
… never … let anyone push you … in any direction … not in harmony
with your own nature …”
And he left that “torpid, mindless mass” of human sheep on that
date and went on to become one of the creative giants of history.
The question for you again: Why are so many millions willing and eager
to turn their mind/brain…soul/spirit their very lives over to outside