Quadrant Fall 1985

Guest Editorial — Jerome S. Bernstein

I believe that the advent of nuclear weaponry has irretrievably ruined war as an acceptable means for asserting national and regional power ambitions and settling disputes, or as an instrument for the evolution of civilization. The age of Clausewitz and his philosophy that “war is the pursuit of policy by other means” is moribund. In the nuclear age any war, no matter how small, no matter who the antagonists, is a potential trigger for a much larger confrontation that will ultimately involve the superpowers and the risk of nuclear exchange. War no longer just threatens nations: it threatens the survival of life itself. …

Power and Politics in the Thermonuclear Age: A Depth-Psychological Approach — Jerome S. Bernstein

The Soviet Union and the United States are two halves of a psychic whole. The Soviet Union represents the primitive, collective, repressive, instinctual shadow of the United States; the United States represents a material and ideological Utopia, and its drive for national and personal individuation, of the Soviet Union. Because of the unconsciousness on both sides of this coniunctio oppositorum, the world faces an unprecedented dilemma in which the two thermonuclear superpowers, against their wishes and wills, risk destroying the world and life as we know it.

But, as Jung taught, that which threatens to destroy can also be the source of new life. …

Imagining Apocalypse: Godlike Power and Human Care — Charles H. Taylor

In pondering the threat of nuclear extinction to which we are now awaking, we speak often of the end of the world as “the apocalypse.” Yet apocalypse is an image of what will be done by God, and we are referring to the catastrophe man himself may bring about.

Why do we unconsciously equate ourselves with God? Only in ancient images of the end of the world in old mythologies, or the books of the Bible, do we find accounts of a destructiveness that compares with what we may do to ourselves today. Lacking historical antecedents for our plight, we need to contemplate these old images of divine destructiveness, for we have no other analogies on the required scale. …

Individual Transformation and Personal Responsibility — Edward Whitmont

This essay is a psychological evaluation which offers a diagnosis and modest therapeutic suggestions for a possible healing of our world. While the following reflections do not exclude social, political, or meditational approaches, these are not the primary focus. The central contention is that failure to take into account underlying unconscious psychological dynamics tends to render ineffective even the best approaches. …

Psychological Reflections on the Nuclear Threat — Hans Dieckmann

…There is no doubt that the collective consciousness of our time is characterized by feelings and emotions which we encounter in our daily life as symptoms of psychic disease. Anxiety, depression, hopelessness, regression into privacy, negative attitudes toward the future, and an increasing meaninglessness take progressive possession of the collective consciousness, especially in the rich and prosperous industrial nations of both the West and the East. The question is whether it is really useful even with the best of intentions to increase fears and anxieties in such a situation, when the result might be panic reactions that could produce exactly what we are trying to prevent. Viewed from an analytical standpoint, there is certainly one accurate aspect of this statement: In order to get patients out of the senseless destructiveness of a neurosis or a symptom formation, it is necessary — after having stabilized their egos — to lead them carefully but persistently into the midst of their fears and anxieties, helping them to bear them and confront them. …

Fire From the Gods: How Will Prometheus Be Bound? — Donald E. Kalsched

The fact that mankind has developed enough power to qualify as a major protagonist (playing opposite the Creator Himself) in a cosmic drama whose final act can decide the fate of all life on earth, is an unprecedented reality in the sweep of human history. It shakes the foundations of life and throws the fundamental paradox of the human condition into disturbingly sharp relief. On the one hand, this accumulation of power represents the ultimate triumph of Man’s Promethean spirit — the exaltation of his imaginative and intellectual capacities, his restless, defiant, and incorrigible will to know. … On the other hand, this power burdens man with an awesome responsibility — and with the guilt-ridden awareness that unless he finds a way to bind, suffer, and embody this terrible knowledge, it will run amok and, like the Fenris Wolf of Scandinavian legend, devour the sun. …

Book Reviews

The Structure of Biblical Myths: The Ontogenesis of the Psyche— Heinz Westman. Dallas, Texas: Spring Publications. 1983. Reviewed by Ann Belford Ulanov.

The Astrology of Fate— Liz Greene. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1984. Reviewed by Julie Bresciani LeSassier.

Reviewed together by Richard W. Thurn:

The New Gnosis: Heidegger, Hillman, and Angels— Robert Avens. Dallas, Texas: Spring Publications. 1984.

The Bezels of Wisdom— Ibn al-Arabi. Translation and Commentary by R.W.J. Austin. New York: Paulist Press. 1980.

Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Al-Arabi— Henry Corbin. Translated by Ralph Manheim. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1969.

Vico’s Science of Imagination— Donald Phillip Verene. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. 1981.

Dream Analysis: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928-1930.— C. G. Jung. Edited by William McGuire. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1984. Bolingen Series XCIX. Reviewed by James A. Hall.

Hags and Heroes: A Feminist Approach to Jungian Psychotherapy With Couples— Polly Young-Eisendrath. Toronto: Inner City Books. 1984. Reviewed by Joseph P. Wagenseller.

When. A poem by Sharon Olds

I wonder now only when it will happen,
when the yong mother will hear the
noise like somebody’s pressure cooker …

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