Feb 13, 2020
Recent severe environmental events have made facing climate change urgent. We talk with Jeffrey Kiehl, PhD, climate scientist, Jungian analyst, and author, about bringing a psychological perspective to our present situation and the process of change. (Kiehl’s book is listed below.)
The modern myth of infinite growth and limitless natural resources has led to equating consumerism with personal fulfillment. This belief underlies environmental imbalance; a new attitude is needed to restore right relationship with the earth. Kiehl draws on a tale Jung loved: a Chinese village struck by drought sent for the rainmaker, but right after he arrived he retreated to a secluded hut outside the village.
Three days later, it rained. The rainmaker explained that the villagers had been so out of balance that he became infected. He then had to withdraw in order to return to Tao—and then, quite naturally, it rained. The rainmaker—and Jung—knew that one’s inner life and wholeness is the foundation for external change.
Kiehl underscores the importance of a lived relationship with Nature and the unconscious, sources of wholeness and harmony. If we engage in the rainmaker’s work we can infect—and affect—the external world.
The Myth of Erysichthon
In lieu of an individual dream, a myth, a dream from the collective, is analyzed.
Have you had a dream that you feel relates to our global climate emergency? This Jungian Life is collecting such dreams. You can share yours with us here.
Kiehl, Jeffrey. Facing Climate Change: An Integrated Path to the Future (Amazon).
Ovid. The Metamorphoses (Amazon).
McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary (Amazon).