In Alan Watts’s book, The Wisdom of Insecurity, he writes:
“The miracles of technology cause us to live in a hectic, clockwork world that does violence to human biology, enabling us to do nothing but pursue the future faster and faster.”
He also writes:
“The perfect “subject” for the aims of this economy is the person who continuously itches his ears with the radio, preferably using the portable kind which can go with him at all hours and in all places. His eyes flit without rest from television screen, to newspaper, to magazine, keeping him in a sort of orgasm-with-out-release through a series of teasing glimpses of shiny automobiles, shiny female bodies, and other sensuous surfaces, interspersed with such restorers of sensitivity–shock treatments–as “human interest” shots of criminals, mangled bodies, wrecked airplanes, prize fights, and burning buildings.”
Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? And this is from a book published in 1951!
I could easily update the second quote with cell phones, tablets, and computers and leave the rest of the quote in tact. It basically shows that Western Civilization has not changed.
“Yet in this age of Americanization we are still far from anything of the sort [He’s talking about a quiet state of spiritual realization earlier in the paragraph]; it seems to me that we are only at the threshold of a new spiritual epoch. I do not wish to pass myself off as a prophet, but one can hardly attempt to sketch the spiritual problem of modern man without mentioning the longing for rest in a period of unrest, the longing for security in an age of insecurity.”
It’s all so very familiar isn’t it, and Jung was writing this in 1928.
And people are still saying the same thing about a coming new spiritual age, although Jung is much wiser than most, as he finishes the above paragraph with:
“It is from need and distress that new forms of existence arise, and not from idealistic requirements or mere wishes.”
So you see, we are still where we have been in the past.
Using the Moment to Turn Inwards
But we can use the pressures of the moment to inspire us towards our inner work. We can learn to bring up the unconscious attachments within us and to become conscious of them. Then we can release them and become free of them. If every individual makes this choice, social change is possible. If not, the cycles that were pointed out in 1928 and 1951 and by other people in other times will continue.
If you are new to spiritual inner work and want to do your part in changing the tide of society, then let me recommend the following resources as well as my ebook:
If you have already read lots of spiritual teachers and done a lot of intellectual work, it’s time to move on to the heart and body.
For those who are working with the mind, here are links to the two books I’ve mentioned. The Civilizations in Transition essay was part of a larger book about Jung linked below.
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
The Portable Jung edited by Joseph Campbell
As usual, the links to the two above books are not affiliate links. I don’t earn anything by suggesting them. I have read them and found them valuable. As far as suggested content, I get royalty money for my ebook sales.