Tree of Death

Given the linkages between what are essentially symbols such as the “Holy Father” and “God” and the “Sun” and “Fire” and “Libido” and so forth, it follows that the “Libido” is of a “higher order” to borrow from Jung. Moreover, the fact that the libido can be transformed not only suggests that the origins and roots of the libido are of a higher order, but it also suggests that the libido is a ‘life-force’ that transcends mere sexuality. 

Also, when we contend that statements such as “Christ died on the cross” are symbolic statements rather than literal statements, one might be interested in ascertaining and determining the meaning behind such a symbolic statement, which is that the symbolic “death” of Christ on the cross suggests the death of an earthly life upon the “tree of death” and hence the cross, and it is the cross or “tree of death” which in turn symbolizes the conferring of a second life that is eternal. Hence, the symbolic nature of such religious statements which is often overlooked. 

As mentioned before, the libido is one out of two components of the ‘unconscious’ self, and it is the ‘unconscious’ self which constitutes one’s ‘inner self’ per se. And it is the inner self which is the real and true self. The notion that “society itself would have to adjust to the demands of the inner person” in Western culture stems from Martin Luther’s challenge or protest against the complacency of the Catholic church and its fixation with exoteric and outward religiosity during the latter stages of the medieval age in Europe. It was Luther who prompted “a whole series of social changes in which the individual believer was prioritized over prevailing social structures” to borrow from Fukuyama. 

Both the inner logic of a focus on the inner self over external political and social structures as well as changes in socioeconomic conditions prompted the evolution of thought that led to Luther’s influence and his transformation of Western culture and society. Such logic and changes in socioeconomic conditions are also evident and palpable in the current juncture of Western culture and Western history. Nevertheless, it was Luther who “established” the distinction between the inner and outer self at a critical juncture of Western cultural evolution and history, and in a sense buoyed the inner over the outer. 

And while Luther challenged the Catholic Church, which at that time was the foremost authority and power in the Western world, the belief and notion that faith was at the core and heart of the inner self and that faith had to be established in order for the inner self to truly manifest and take shape was kept intact by Luther. What changed was essentially the prevailing notion that faith was something external and public and that faith had to be affirmed by others. Instead, Luther convinced and persuaded many people that faith could only be rectified by a free act of divine grace on the part of God towards Man, in addition to being rectified by a relationship between Man and God which was personal and private rather than public and outward. 

What is also crucial and important was Luther’s contention that recognition of the inner self on the part of others – while it is desired and is demanded by people in this day and age more than anything else – is not a requirement or necessity for an individual. What mattered to Luther more than anything else was the motives behind an exploration and discovery of the self and thus his challenge and protest against the authorities and powers of his time. And for Luther, recognition from others was not the main driver behind his challenge and protest towards the authorities of his time, nor was it the motive which Luther prioritized. 

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