Cut off in the literal age. Owen Barfield & Carl Jung on alienation and political disillusionment

An audio version of this talk can be found at my podcast, Talks and Thoughts, available via podcast feeds.

There is a link between rising levels of mental-ill health and political disillusionment. Feeling cut off is not just an economic and psychological problem, but is a symptom of a wider alienation arising from modern consciousness.

Owen Barfield argued that contemporary political problems are fundamentally due to estrangement not only from others but from ourselves, due to a loss of soul and spirit to materialism and literalism.

As Carl Jung put it, the gods have become diseases – diseases of the collective as well as individual psyche. The pre-political must address this crisis of anthropology if politics is to be restored.

This is the sixth thought in which I’ve turned to a guide to illuminate the overwhelming feeling of malaise in this democratic year. Look at others on my YouTube channel: Plato on beauty, Aristotle on ethics, Jesus on being in the world but not of it, Dante and civilisational decline, and William Blake on the rise of abstraction.