Dark Night of the Soul: God is Dead
The Post-Modern Shadow — Part I: Spiritual Enlightenment
What Do You Mean by Enlightenment?
The Dark Night of the Soul happens after Enlightenment.
~ Ken Wilber
Enlightenment comes in different stages and grades and pieces as there are many Divine archetypes to assimilate and many degrees to which each can be integrated. Nevertheless, there is a consistent and fundamental process and pattern to such integral enlightening, often experienced as a series of insights.
In enlightenment there is a state of insight into the world (3rd person) accompanied by feeling of intimate relationship (2nd Person) with the Divine, Spiritual Essence (1st person). Then, of a sudden, this feeling of the presence of Truth is gone and the world is once again bland and depressingly devoid of spirit and bright presence, and the dark night of the soul is begun.
Integration of Enlightened Insight
O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.
~ St. John of the Cross
One assertion as to what has happened here is that the enlightening insight has been integrated into one’s first person identity, thus appearing as if the love relationship has dissipated and disappeared, leaving one alone in a cold, dark world, devoid of existential character.
Thus Nietzsche may have had an enlightening insight, followed by a dark night of the soul, when he declared that “God is dead”, for that is how it seems upon the loss of relationship with God.
A Psychological View of the Christian Mythos
The One, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, these are what we call the transcendental attributes of Being, because they surpass all the limits of essences and are coextensive with Being.
~ Hans Urs von Balthasar
Of course, the good, the true, and the beautiful, like art, nature, and science, like the Trinity, are representative of first, second, and third person perspectives. So its Jesus as the world — 3rd person, being related to via the Holy Spirit — 2nd person, which is the enlightened state that is integrated with God the Father — 1st person, as one enters the dark night of the soul.
Interestingly, this movement of an aspect of the Self, in the Jungian sense, from 3rd to 2nd to 1st person is the integration of one’s shadow (and is the reverse of the suppression and denial and projection of the shadow aspect into the external world and onto others).
Social Impact and Effect
…if you are not like everybody else, then you are abnormal, if you are abnormal , then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing.
~ Michel Foucault
In our current post-modern society, if you want to work with someone (like a Jungian Analyst, for example) to integrate your shadow, you must first declare yourself mentally ill (to some degree); whereas, I think this sort of stuff should be taught in schools and become part of one’s natural, healthy psychological development. (Stages of psychological maturing coming in a future article.)
If Only We Lived in a Society Where…
… we didn’t want to destroy each other, or other groups, because we’ve projected our shadows, the evil with ourselves. onto them.
… we brought children up to be psychologically healthy and whole.
… we actually spoke to each other.
… individuals would govern themselves instead of us having to elect governments which slowly decay from their corruption.