If victory is measured in slaughtering innocents, Israel is ‘winning the war’ as always. Politically and strategically it is losing badly
he knew that reverting to this “twilight consciousness” was no answer. The Africans he met seemed to lack an ego, and to be moved by impulse and emotion alone. They lacked the ability to reflect on their experience, to intend something, to will, to act independently. They lived and worked as a group, prompted by ritual, beating drums, and shouting. Western man paid heavily for his independence—the coin was alienation from the unconscious—but Jung knew it was indispensable. Yet the attraction to what Jung called “archaic man” remained and would become a central theme in his work.
Western man, Jung saw, always wants to do something, to “get somewhere”; this kind of restlessness is characteristic of us all. A few years later, when Jung met the Pueblo chief Ochwiay Biano during his trip to Taos, he told Jung that the whites were always dissatisfied, and that this led to their cruelty. The kind of consciousness Jung encountered in North Africa was content with what is. At an oasis, Jung felt that “everything here was exactly the way it should be and the way it had always been.”28 Westerners usually feel this only after a few drinks or under the influence of drugs, hence their popularity. We find it inordinately difficult to relax, but what Jung found in North Africa was a consciousness that allowed the ego to slow down and sink into the warm embrace of the unconscious, as if after perpetually treading water, we suddenly discovered we could float.
“Jung’s remarks about how in North Africa he “felt cast back many centuries to an infinitely more naïve world of adolescents who were preparing, with the aid of a slender knowledge of the Koran, to emerge from their original state of twilight consciousness” may seem politically incorrect from our oversensitive perspective, but they highlight the core insight of the trip. Although Jung knew a great deal about mythology and mythological thinking, his own thinking was decidedly Western and rational—he described himself as a “thorough Westerner” and in many ways, Jung was a typical “left-brainer,” with his detestation of “fantasy,” his formality and punctuality, his precision and need to be “scientific.” In his travels in North Africa, and later Taos and Central Africa, Jung was looking for signs of a consciousness not as differentiated from the unconscious matrix—what in the Seven Sermons he called “the Pleroma”—as ours, with its sharp distinction between conscious and unconscious. What Jung found in places such as Tunis, Sousse, Sfax, and the oasis city of Tozeur was a completely different sense of time. Coming from the land of cuckoo clocks and appointment books, this must have been a shock. Jung had entered a “dream of a static, age-old existence,” a kind of perpetual now, a condition associated with the right brain, which lacks a sense of time; there was none of the incessant activity that characterized even a relatively small city like Zürich. Jung enjoyed the contrast, which gave him an opportunity to entertain criticisms of modernity, a practice that would become something of a habit in later years, but he also felt this timelessness was threatened. Thinking of his pocket watch, “the symbol of Europe’s accelerated tempo,” Jung worried that the “god of time” and its demon, progress, would soon “chop into bits and pieces”—hours, minutes, seconds—the “duration” he sensed here and which was the “closest thing to eternity.”