Showing posts from June, 2015

Eleanor, secular saint

When I was growing up, I heard the name Eleanor Roosevelt spoken with loathing. I didn’t know the reason for my dad’s animus toward her, but his prejudice disposed me against her through my early adulthood. Then I read about Eleanor Roosevelt’s tireless advocacy for social causes, her efforts to help poor and marginalized people, her visits to GI’s around the world during World War II, her exceptional achievement at the U.N. Paeans to her competed with my earlier conditioned attitude. Now I call Eleanor a saint because, as much as any, she models the process of transformation through a dark night of the soul to resurrection. She overcame excruciating suffering. As a child she heard her mother worrying about her homeliness . The only unconditional love she got came from her father, a drunk. Her husband betrayed her in an affair, and at the end of his life another betrayal came from her daughter, who conspired to have his paramour there when he was dying. Eleanor was not able

Jung on religion

In Memories, Dreams, Reflections , Carl Jung expresses disappointment upon taking his first Communion, a ritual in his church signaling transition to adulthood, for which he got a new black felt hat and a new suit with a pocket in the jacket that allowed “a grownup, manly gesture.” His father was the minister at the church and worked hard to prepare his son for the occasion. During the ceremony, writes Jung, The atmosphere was the same as that of all other performances in church—baptisms, funerals, and so on. I had the impression that something was being performed here in the traditionally correct manner. My father, too, seemed to be chiefly concerned with going through it all according to rule, and it was part of this rule that the appropriate words were read or spoken with emphasis. I knew that God could do stupendous things to me, things of fire and unearthly light; but this ceremony contained no trace of God—not for me, at any rate. I had hoped for an experience of grace a