The Prometheic society and its enemies:
“the other” as the awakener of the spirit in the shadow
Paper presented (originally in English) at the XXI Congress of the International Association of Analytical Psychology held in August 2019 in Vienna (Austria)
Damián Ruiz López
Institut Carl G. Jung
At this moment in time, we are in a global, social era, where there is a conflict between a model of man, rooted to a community, beliefs and tradition, and a new paradigm of human being, the postmodern man, who is constituted as a unique individual in all of it’s dimensions. A human being who no longer has a fixed or stable identity but rather a fluid identity; who can adapt to new circumstances by adaption and mimicking. This is a type of man or woman who can decide to dispense of their cultural tradition, any type of religious belief, their community of origin, sexual identity, and even gender; who may come to feel as changeable.
These two models of human beings live in parallel all over the planet. Whilst the great majority of countries continue to be rooted in the traditional paradigm, others, especially in Western Europe, and on both coasts of the United States, have started the transition towards this new form of Promethean human being. A technological being, absolutely individualistic, atomized from any traditional spectrum. A human being who, apparently, has the capacity to define themselves, or even redefine themselves as many times as they wish. A global citizen; of apparent cosmopolitan and multicultural vision, with the capacity to transform their ethnicity through different medical techniques; with a fluid sexual identity, mutable gender and without a sense of belonging beyond what is considered instrumental in each moment and circumstance.
This is a type of man who, in the recent past, in a much reduced version than that of today, was reserved almost exclusively to the cultural and economic elite. They had the capabilities to travel, to experience, and even live in different countries; but still recognised and felt belonging to a cultural identity. This was probably the only approximation to this new model of human being.
This new man draws dangerously nearer to the next generation of robots which, seemingly, in not too long a time, will be present in our daily lives. We will see them walking the streets or as assistants, substituting humans in the workplace. Perhaps in the not too distant future, they will have the capacity, through their intelligence circuits, to restructure themselves, in search of a better way to integrate with the outside world; by the means that, until now, was humanity’s domain.
So, my question is: “Is there a portion of the world’s population, who live in the geographical regions previously mentioned, moving ever closer to a robotic human; an advanced robot, capable of reconfiguring itself?”
My next question is: “is it possible for this to happen without suffering, metaphorically, the wrath of the Gods?”
Prometheus was a titan.
The titans, defeated by the gods of Olympus, were imprisoned in Tartarus, the deepest region of the Underworld. One might say, “The Titan”, symbolically speaking, subsists in the deepest part of our psyche. This is an allegory for disproportionate ambition which, could awaken, and appear in the moment where we believe ourselves, individually or collectively, capable of challenging the totality of our psychic configurations; dispensing with intrinsic aspects of our identity and aspects of the collective unconscious, which are integrated within ourselves, such as cultural identity, religious tradition, symbols of a communal history, or at a closer level, a family to which you belong, or to a nation.
Said Titanism, reminiscent of Nietzscheanism, translated into the idea of a new Promethean man, is nothing more than a ridiculous and adolescent attempt to transcend; ignoring the essential, spiritual aspects of human beings, as well as an identity based on a profound connection with the evolutionary and phylogenetic aspects of our being.
Prometheanism does not challenge the idea of God, instead it directly considers it dead.
God is not understood as anything other than an invention of reason, a supernatural thinking which served man, through fear and the hope for life after death, and to develop different codes of conduct and symbols which united them in a process of collective civilization. Here, the reptilian brain was progressively shrunk, and relieved by cortical areas of the brain, which gave them sufficient “understanding”; an absurd illusion, as if to consider that all was possible through the use of logical reasoning.
The logos detaches itself from mystery and from all that usurps the lineal mechanism of deductive reasoning. From there science is born, and from it a new religion; Scientism.
But Scientism, for me, is no more, and as Paul Feyerabend said, is “one of the forms of thought created by man, although not necessarily the best “.
Prometheanism is the titanic application of scientism; it’s the use of science and it’s physical element, technology, to challenge the essential, self-evident nature of the human being.
It’s the creation of an artificial spawn which requires perpetual punishment. Not only did each day, an eagle, sent by Zeus, eat his liver, though regenerating again, but that, once freed by Hercules, he had to wear a ring, with a piece of the rock to which he had been chained attached to it. That is to say, chained to matter.
Slavery to matter is implicit in Prometheanism; with the impossibility of a real spiritual evolution of man. The punishment of matter implies the use of matter as a remedy. Man, distanced from transcendence, endures in their lowest state, with the belief of having reached the pinnacle of their freedom, by renouncing God and all that which transcends their individual desire to exist. But in reality they can only come to configure themselves as a narcissistic, psychopathic caricature of their true nature.
- Prometheanism and Post-modernity
Post-modernity replaces the ties which represent certain compromises to family, community and nation, with vague ideas which can be short-lived and unsubstantial, but serve as an ethical conscience to reason. Ideas like the defence of egalitarianism in all its dimensions, of multiculturalism on course, not to empower different cultures but to dilute them; and of Animalism, which in place of defending the ethical rights of animals, converts itself into a sophism of complete correspondence between them and humans. Also, the ideology of gender as a project to dissolve the sexes, with all the consequences that would entail, such as eliminating the natural, biological distinctions between women and men; or of a more radical, extreme feminism which, beyond fighting for the necessary equality in rights between sexes, aims to castrate all type of instinctively expressed masculinity, however appropriate this might be, that which in practice supposes the annulment of male spontaneity and of it’s necessary submission to social criteria based exclusively in the functioning of the female brain, with all the biological blockage this supposes.
Contemporary post-modernity not only defends equality in difference, but understanding that difference could be misinterpreted ideologically, goes on to defend absolute equality, that is to say negating all differences, this even demonstrated by the Scientism that serves them, between man and woman, between sexual diversity, between ethnicities, between culture or between, most recently, human beings and animals.
These differences should in no case be placed on a scale of superiority or inferiority, because the differences do not suppose a progression of better or worse; or perhaps, only between man and animal. However, they should, for Prometheanism, be radically annulled so that they do not serve as a justification for those who intend to continue believing in a non-liquid vision of the world, ie; a “collage” vision, where everything has the same value and existence is only a great mosaic of stimulating colours to know and experience it in its most superficial aspects.
In my city, Barcelona, for example, the city council promotes, one day every year, a ‘night of religions’, in which every citizen can attend any place of worship: synagogues, mosques, catholic churches, orthodox churches; with the sole intention to strengthen tolerance and exoticism; although evidently not a deep understanding of the symbols and mysteries pertaining to each religious tradition. This is dangerous. Every religious or mystical tradition contains part of mankind’s secrets, and to blur them together in the name of tolerance, in reality, would be depriving them of their sacred character.
Once everything has been turned to a clean slate and, therefore, susceptible to modification and manipulation by social engineering and the means of mass communication, there is established in the individual and society, a “soft” idealism, which permits the great values to be experienced, though always under those which sustain Prometheanism: equality, tolerance and solidarity. This last value is the great illusory sedative of narcissistic egotism, which impregnates the majority of members of this new society.
Solidarity, in the postmodern community, is the great value of Prometheanism. It is an instrumental, short lived value, and requires a condition: it must be exercised by another and, therefore, the subject-object of solidarity needs to be distant from the direct action of this. Or in any case, said solidarity can come to be exercised as a punctual “experience”, which brings a high level of sensory stimulation and even a certain adrenal fight in the face of adversity; for example, spending holidays in a third world country or labouring in certain tasks. We could say that we require the necessity of others to calm a salvific conscience, accustomed to living in egotism.
- Prometheanism and its psychological consequences
The so desired “Death of God”, in reality, would not be more than the desire to integrate all forms of pleasure, and therefore of desire, into daily life, in a structural way and without internal or external enemies, for example, the conscience of evil or taking into account the inherent spiritual or divine part of human nature.
If we are able to wishfully contribute all our unconscious psychic apparatus, through logical reasoning and through it’s external ally, technology, we can conceive of a self-made individual, with no more references than the icons presented by the “mass media” as cultural models to imitate. The new “Golden Calves” need to represent, perform and transmit all this ephemeral life, full of liquid relations, “liquid love” as Bauman describes, and stimulating experiences; they need to do all of this whilst also adding values of solidarity, tolerance and egalitarianism.
It is for this reason that in Promethean societies, Cognitivism and Behaviourism, in all their variants, are the predominant psychological streams, because in reality, beyond the theoretical complexity which sustains some of the authors of these theories and therapeutic practices, there exists a vision of the human being, so radically egalitarian that one is disposed to ignore all the constructs to which the individual pertains; be it to sex, ethnicity, culture or nationality. That is to say, there is nothing more pertinent than socio-economic status, which happens to be the great conditioning factor of the realization of an individual.
- What Prometheanism means for the individual?
The idea of uprooting the human being, a necessary element for the configuration of a Promethean society, will settle progressively more in those of the collective who are more psychologically vulnerable: the youth. To deepen the uprooting, the Promethean society, as well as offering entertainment on a massive scale: cinema, music, video games, internet downloads, online television platforms, as well as easy, no strings attached sex; offers them a discourse of sufficiently neuroticising values, so as to leave them paralysed without the ability to react.
“Solidarity, tolerance and equality”; already mentioned as concepts constantly suggested by the mass media, produce a blockage of vital processes derived from the conflict between the instinctive tendencies produced by the reptilian brain, and the tyranny of a repressive morality, substituted from the previous religious moral conditioning in it’s most restrictive vision.
From it’s empire, Prometheanism also requires scientific thought. It’s seal of approval is increasingly necessary to validate any kind of idea or thought; independent of what said validation requires of studies which could be easily refutable a short time later.
When we talk of matter and of the construction of matter, technical verification is logical. When we talk of psychism, scientific reductionism supposes, in fact, the annulment of the complexity of the psychic apparatus, because the measurable factors which intervene in any of the rational, emotional and behavioural aspects of the human being are tiny, compared to all those which, from a Jungian perspective, lie deep within the unconscious.
Thus, defenceless as we Jungian analysts and therapists are, in the face of a socially vacuous model, which advances unstoppably in the aforementioned areas of our planet; we have to work for the reconstruction of the wounded identities of many of our patients.
- “The other” for the Prometheans, “the other” for the enemies of Prometheanism.
Prometheanism necessarily entails the decadence of a society. Firm values pass to be instrumental; identities are diluted; families are broken; baby-making stops; the elderly abandon themselves to loneliness; children are often diagnosed with attention deficit disorder; half the population are drugged (legally or illegally), the body is an object in a permanent exchange of pleasure; love is eternal infatuation (otherwise producing frustration) and there are high levels of anxiety and depression.
And, facing all of this, who is the other? Who perceives the Prometheans as enemies?
Order, structure, institution, transcendence; or in other words: the Apollonian, Yang, the sky, the spirit, the Logos connected to the spirit; identity and tradition. Definitively: the innate human being. But also the Dionysian, who escapes from the control of morality for the weak, which watches and controls the Promethean society.
And the opposers of Prometheanism, who do they perceive as the enemy? Erroneously, the members of other ethnicities and cultures which are found on Promethean territory. That is to say, human beings rooted in their tradition.
This is to say, the “man” tied to a culture and tradition, be it native or foreign, is the great enemy of liquid societies.
- “The other” in the shadows, in the Self
But this “other”, this so derided “rooted” man, so embattled, remains inherent in our psyche, it has latent elements in some and lies within the Shadow. In others, perhaps the majority, it subsists in the Self that links with the collective unconscious of humanity. This Phylogenetic man, loaded with symbols, with mystery, with humanity and of a certain portion, for the believers, with divinity; this man to whom Jung, in one of his last interviews, envisioned as atomised in a near future; that transcendent being survives in each one of us, and also in the Prometheans, already caught up in triviality, by technification and relativism.
But this “being”, hidden in the unconscious, is much more powerful, even therapeutically speaking, than that which is the invention of a man created “a la carte”; who sustains himself by his massively valuable presence to the mass media.
This model of human beings, much like clay models constructed on the artifice of so-called absolute freedom, the reactive search for pleasure, for narcissism and egomania, is nothing more than a “ghost” which can lead to the psychological sickening of a person.
- What am I? What do I want?
I direct a Psychological institute in Barcelona, specialising in the treatment of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. A significant number of our patients are heterosexual people who have developed obsessive doubt over their sexual orientation, but compared to other sectors, they are less in number to people who doubt as to whether they love their partners or not, or if they have the impulse to cause damage to someone or towards themselves, or if they are living under the permanent sensation of being contaminated or being able to contaminate others.
Departing from the basis that homosexuality is a “normal” condition, in so far that it is part of human nature, and that approximately 10% of the world population has said condition; that any person can have a crisis in their relationship; that everyone, or the great majority, have been able to feel occasional aggressive impulses which they have stopped, fortunately, to harbour, or that each one of us can be more or less wary of germs and bacteria; the question is that, beyond the key elements by which an obsessive disorder is developed, and understanding that it is not the subject of this paper, the question lies in the variable of “Promethean” conditioning that these patients suffer. This is to say, they are subjected to environmental pressure in which everything seems to be relative, in which there seems to exist a capacity of each individual, as I have written in previous paragraphs, to configure oneself in the way that best suits them.
This “Prometheanism” is certain to liberate this sector of the population who find themselves in uncertain territory between the sexes and genders, because it permits them, fortunately, to decide who they want to be, but in the majority of identities which are clearly defined and of a determined sexual orientation, this produces an extreme confusion since the sexual instinct is confused with the aesthetic impression, and also with the affectivity between people of the same sex, generating a situation of discomfort, of uncertainty, and in those most vulnerable, activating neurotic ideas.
But this new paradigm that is spreading in some parts of the planet also supposes the annulment of spontaneity. This new, artificial human being, that certain monopolistic commercial and political powers are trying to impose, with the intention of creating said Promethean society, and whose end purpose I do not know; will be ever more obliged to think before acting; therefore not being able to follow their more spontaneous instincts and emotions. They will be obliged to follow guidelines of political correctness, making them not only much easier to subject and control but also to lose any inkling of transcendence and spirituality. The end goal is not only to finish with the essential human elements: emotion, drive and instinct, but also to submit greater dimensions like faith, hope or love (in its most wide and universal definition), and to put them to service of the Logos; a tyrannical logos, which atomises each individual, and submits them to a new form of morality: Promethean morality.
- Totalitarianism in the shadow of “Prometheanism”
This new paradigm of human beings will have the power, under massive media influence and “Promethean” political power, to create itself, always when this configuration would be compatible with the other individual configurations. It would accommodate in it’s psychic unconscious the history of an identity, a nesting, cultural and symbolic history, joined with the reptilian elements of its brain, in a dormant state; in Jungian terms, in the Shadow. And it will remain there, waiting for the conflict generated by the discord between the natural and historic essence of each individual and the generated artifice, to start to manifest itself in the form of psychic suffering.
The imposture of a mask, created “a la carte” which, also, necessarily leads to the isolation of individuals, owing to the fault of a shared identity and of the virtual social networks, could come to produce, will produce, psychopathic states of greater or lesser severity which could only be “anaesthetised” through the use of advanced psycho-pharmaceuticals. This can lead to the alienation of individuals and therefore of societies.
“Promethean” liberty implicates the punishment of matter, a perpetual chaining to the rock.
But there exists an even greater danger.
When an individual is deprived of their identity, and, therefore, of their phylogenetic memory, which includes diachronic, symbolic elements regarding it’s permanence through the centuries, in a given geographical scope; when one is deprived of their connection with the collective unconscious, and therefore of their connection with the unconscious instances of their psyche, there exists the danger that these will end up manifesting, like the certainty that “that which one is” sooner or later will end up rebelling because the psychic cost of the negation is much greater than the integration.
The “real” individual aspects that survive in the Shadow and that symbolize and signify to this particular man or woman who have been configured as an impostor, as much as the deeper aspects of the Self or of the collective unconscious, can erupt in a violent manner claiming a collective and totalitarian form, a form of political and social fascism: annihilator of all dissidence of this self-evident truth, that resides in the essential nature of things.
But this self-evident truth was not the primal one. Centuries of civilizations and cultures have generated new men and women. Distanced from this homogenous primitivism; evolution has raised a good part of humanity to a level of refinement and civic sophistication. Today, more than ever, there exists a sector of the planet’s population who have developed a certain level of awareness in respect to the other, to others, to the environment and to nature. So, why force natural evolution? Why lead humanity into isolation and atomisation, generated by a lack of individual and collective identity produced by Promethean artificialization?
- Rebellion and the rejection of the other, of the others
Continuing with the thesis that I am defending, the possibility of discomfort, before Promethean subjugation, can make that these unconscious instances, where the essential being and collective identity nests, start, owing to psychic discomfort, to project their dissatisfaction, their hate of others. Let’s call these ‘others’ immigrants or refugees of other ethnicities and cultures, people of homosexual orientation, free-spirited men and women and the rebellion against the imposed social and individual artifice focused in these social sectors. Apparently beneficiaries of this new society, they are in reality only the evolutionary products of a social and ethical humanism, of a transcendent world-view, for those who are spiritual, like me; of humanity.
- Prometheus Liberated
According to legend, Hercules, the son of Zeus, freed Prometheus by firing an arrow and killing an eagle which, each day devoured his liver; and that Zeus, feeling proud of his son’s achievement, allowed Prometheus to go free, on the condition that he would always wear a ring with a shard of the rock to which he had been chained attached to it.
Zeus, the supreme God of Olympus, in a largely spiritually alchemical manner, and minimally material manner, permitted he who dared to steal fire from the gods to be free from torment and torture.
There is always a possibility to return to a humble position, as an individual and collective, and recognise that which naturally exists: two sexes, with many minorities, a majority heterosexual orientation and many more established, different minorities, all of them, in an innate form or in very early ages, a physical and biochemical difference in the brains and bodies of men and women, as well as clearly differentiated, collective spiritual and cultural identities in which we can learn to understand each other and come together in harmony.
In no case should these differences be considered unequal in terms of rank, this is all that they are, differences.
To destroy everything in order to create, artificially, a unique prototype of human being at a universal level would mean to displace all this reality to unconscious, psychic instances, with the danger previously mentioned, that they come to violently rebel.
- The Other
The “Other”, in the case that we remain as integrated beings in a determined culture, in a tradition, open, but traditional, in a gender and in a stable sexual orientation, be this the majority or minority, awakens our curiosity, inclusive of the effect which awakes for the evolved souls, the discovery of mystery which nests in the different individual and collective identities of humanity.
Obliged, as we begin to be, to assume the Promethean spawn and the ideological dictatorship which sustains it, we can begin to project in “the other”, in “the others”, the hate which can begin to nest in unconscious moments, to see us deprived of our roots, of all ties, of all essence.
Relativism and Prometheanism, are the doorway to fascism.
Tradition, the self-evident truths of humanity, and the defence of stable, individual and collective identities, are the guarantee of self-respect, and by extension, respect of the other.
Democracy, humanism and the respect of a calm, dignified evolution, and of the different cultures are the guarantee of conscious and unconscious equilibrium, and therefore of internal equilibrium, and outward peace.
Social engineering, which I have called Prometheanism, product of human Titanism, will sooner or later be defeated, metaphorically, by the Gods.
Let us hope that they are not too late in taking up the battle.
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