'The Lost World of the Kalahari' by Laurens van der Post (1958)

"I feel myself to have become a kind of improvised footbridge across the widening chasm between Europe and Africa.""To me it was simply that the older I got, the more and more I felt that we had lost, there was a bushman in everybody, and we'd lost contact with that side of ourselves. And we must learn again from the bushman. Trying to find out what is that side about.
          I thought how strange it was that people were digging up old ruins -- archeologists excavating to find out what archaic man was like, and here he was walking about in our midst. Why didn't we ask him? That really is at the back of it: the fact that the bushman personified an aspect of natural man which we all have, but with which we've increasingly lost contact and that has impoverished us and endangered us.
          And when I spoke to Jung about it he said this is not an extravagant thought at all. He said every human being has a 2 million year-old man within himself. And if he loses contact with that 2 million year-old self he loses his real roots. So this question of why modern man is in search of his soul and has lost his religious roots had a lot to do with my interest in the bushman.
          Because I found that the difference between this naked little man in the desert, who owned nothing, and us was that he is and we have, but no longer are. We have. We've exchanged having for being.
          So if the bushman goes, through what one knew of him, his stories, and his art, he would still be important to us. He must live on through these things. And that's what I've tried, merely tried, to bring back -- to use him as a bridge between the world in the beginning, with which we've lost touch, and the now."

A selection from Laurens van der Post's The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958.

As well as the author of numerous books on the Bushman of Africa, Laurens van der Post was a good friend of Prince Charles and is Prince William's godfather.

Note: for a few excerpts from other of van der Post's writings see the Appendix below:


‘This is the story of a journey in a great wasteland [Kalahari desert] and a search for some pure remnant of the unique and almost vanished First People of my native land, the Bushmen of Africa.

...no sooner did I become aware of myself as a child than my imagination slipped… into a profound pre-occupation with the little Bushman and his terrible fate.

I was born near the Great River, in the heart of what for thousands of years had been great Bushman country. The Bushmean himself as a coherent entity had already gone, but I was surrounded from birth by so many moving fragments of his race and culture that he felt extraordinarily near. [...] Beside the open hearth on cold winters’ nights on my mother’s farm…, or round the camp fire with the jackals' mournful bark raising an apprehensive bleat from a newly-lambed ewe in the flock kraaled nearby and with the night-plover wailing over the black plain like a bosun's pipe, there the vanished Bushman would be vividly at the centre of some hardy pioneering reminiscence; a Bushman gay, gallant, mischievous, unpredictable, and to the end unrepentant and defiant. Though gone from the land, he still stalked life and reality in the mixed blood of the coloured peoples as subtly as he ever stalked the multitudinous game of Africa. He was present in the eyes of one of the first women to nurse me, her shining gaze drawn from the first light of some unbelievably antique African day. Here a strain of Bushman blood would give an otherwise good Bantu face an odd Mongolian slant; there would... break out, like a spark of electricity, in the clicks of onomatopoeic invention which the Bushman had forced on an invader's sonorous tongue.
The older I grew the more I resented that I had come too late on the scene to know him in the flesh. for many years I could not accept that the door was closed for ever on the Bushman. I went on seeking for news and information of him as if preparing for the moment when the door would open and he would reappear in our midst.

They said… there had never been anyone who could run like him over the veld… When he laughed, which he did easily, his face broke into innumerable little folds…

Whenever my mother read us a fairy-tale with a little man performing wonders in it, he was immediately transformed in my imagination into a Bushman. Perhaps this life of ours, which begins as a quest of the child for the man, and ends as a journey by the man to rediscover the child, needs a clear image of some child-man, like the Bushman, wherein the two are firmly and lovingly joined in order that our confused hearts may stay at the centre of their brief round of departure and return’ (pp.11-13).

‘He [the Bushman] and his needs were committed to the nature of Africa and the swing of its wide seasons as a fish to the sea. He and they all participated so deeply of one another’s being that the experience could almost be called mystical. For instance, he seemed to know what it actually felt like to be an elephant, a lion, an antelope, a steenbuck, a lizard, a striped mouse, mantis, baobab tree, yellow-crested cobra, or starry-eyed amaryllis, to mention only a few of the brilliant multitudes through which he so nimbly moved. Even as a child it seemed to me that his world was one without secrets between one form of being and another’ ( p.21).

‘Wherever he [the Bushman] went he contained, and was contained, deeply within a symmetry of the land. His spirit was naturally symmetrical…And there is proof too of the balance and rough justice of his arrangements in the fact that when my ancestors landed on the southern tip of the continent three hundred years ago, Africa was largely bursting its ancient seams with riches of life not found in any other land on earth. Even I who came on the scene so long after the antique lock was picked and the treasure largely plundered, can still catch my breath at the glimpses I get, from time to time, of the riches that remain’ (ibid. p.22).

‘One of the most moving aspects of life is how long the deepest memories stay with us. It is as if individual memory is enclosed in a greater which even in the night of our forgetfulness stands like an angel with folded wings ready, at the moment of acknowledged need, to guide us back to the lost spoor [the track, trail, droppings or scent of an animal] of our meanings’ (ibid. p.62).

‘I felt that the encounter [with a Buffalo] had for a moment made me immediate, and had, all too briefly, closed the dark time-gap in myself. With our twentieth century selves we have forgotten the importance of being truly and openly primitive. We have forgotten the art of our legitimate beginnings. We no longer know how to close the gap between the far past and the immediate present in ourselves. We need primitive nature, the First Man in ourselves, it seems, as the lungs need air and the body food and water; yet we can only achieve it by a clinking often shameful, back-door entrance. I thought finally that of all the nostalgias that haunt the human heart the greatest of them all, for me, is an everlasting longing to bring what is youngest home to what is oldest, in us all’ (ibid. p.151)
I have always had a profound respect for aboriginal superstition, not as formulations of literal truth, but as a way of keeping the human spirit obedient to aspects of reality that are beyond rational articulation.

'Life begins as a quest of the child for the man and ends as a journey by the man to rediscover the child' [editors note: not sure where this quote fits into the text, but include it as the theme recurs]


From Venture to the Interior (1953):

The African belongs to the night. He is a child of darkness, he has a certain wisdom, he knows the secrets of the dark. He goes to the night as if to a friend, enters the darkness as if it were his home, as if the black curve of the night were the dome of his hut. [...] We hate the native in ourselves; we scorn and despise the night in which we have our being, the base degree by which we ascend into the day. The wholeness and the split, both are within us. [...] We turn our hate on the native, the dark people of the world, from Tokyo to Tierra del Fuego, because we have trampled on our own dark natures. We have added to our unreality, made ourselves less than human so that that dark side of ourselves, our shadowy twin, has to murder or be murdered. If we could but make friends with our inner selves, come to terms with our own darkness, then there would be no trouble from without. But before we can close our split natures, we must forgive ourselves, we must forgive our European selves for what we have done to the African within us.

From The Dark Eye of Africa (1955):

‘I spoke to you earlier on of this dark child of nature, this other primitive man within each one of us with whom we are at war in our spirit’ ( p.154)

Race Prejudice as Self Rejection (1957):
Note: Early in December, 1956, the Workshop for Cultural Democracy brought together at the Carnegie Endowment International Center in New York City forty men and women for an all-day Seminar on the overall subject "The Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Group Conflict."  This publication is a consolidation of his lectures at the public meeting and the Seminar, taken from tape recordings.

I have always wanted to come to America, and this is my very first time here. I have wanted to come because I have felt that if I came we would be able to talk together in a way in which I could not talk in Europe. I felt that here, as in my own great continent of Africa, you have what was in the beginning a transplanted European community, which started with people who had been persecuted, who had suffered for their convictions, and who had come to a great natural country with a great primitive content of its own, and had tried to make a new way of life here. This is precisely, in a sense, what three hundred years ago my ancestors did when they left Holland to settle at the Cape of Good Hope. And somehow I felt that if we came together there ought, to take place some kind of exchange which would be of immense value.

As I walked about Africa I realized one day that what we are having in Africa is the most dramatic presentation of a world situation. It is almost as if what is going on in Africa is a kind of Greek drama in which you see two apparent opposites in conflict. As in the Greek theater, the actors in the drama are always dressed in the classical colors of fate, in black and in white. And I think it is because the situation in Africa represents the world situation that it is of such interest to the world.           
Now what is that situation? I think the situation is that because of the lack of the awareness which I have mentioned, modern man is a deeply and profoundly displaced person. We all live in an age of essentially displaced people. [...] We have lost the inner sense of belonging because we have been so extremely one-sided in our development.
In Africa you get this problem of displacement in its most dramatic form. We call it detribalization there, and I speak to you now as one who is perhaps more detribalized than most.
Detribalization is the phenomenon in the modern world which is at once one of the most hateful, and one of the most depressing of all human phenomena. It is known by all of us who have become aware of modern life as it is.

We all feel that there is something in ourselves that needs expression and changing, and our communities somehow do not express this changing thing in us.
I think the reason why our communities are failing to express that is because we have completely lost track of the natural person inside ourselves. We have completely lost track of what I call the dark person inside ourselves. The black person in Africa, whom we persecute, is the natural, the spontaneous, the instinctive person. We are in a state of profound civil war, and one of the most terrible things to me, as I look back upon the history of Africa and the world, is that I see that this spiritual damage which we have done to ourselves is a spiritual damage that we have also done to Africa. One of the greatest mistakes that we made was to think that the natural man is not a spiritual man.
Actually, the natural man in Africa is a truly spiritual man. [...] He sees it in the trees, he sees it in all the objects which surround him. The tragedy is that we walked into this immense primitive spiritual world of Africa and treated it as if it had no spirit at all. I do not want to take things out of their context, out of their time context, but the things that we have done in Africa, the harm that we have done and the harm that we continue to do, is essentially a spiritual harm. Materially, Africa is better off every day. The roads get better, the hospitals get better, the medical services get better. But the spiritual injury to the man, the first man of Africa, remains. It never occurred to my ancestors, or to anyone, that this person had a natural first spirit of his own. It never for one minute occurred to them that here already was a sense of religion on to which our own sense of religion could be grafted. The early missionaries, the Jesuits first, followed by the Protestant missionaries, all wrote off the natural beliefs of man in Africa as pure superstition. They all laughed at them, and they scorned the whole lot of them.
The administrator did exactly the same thing. [...] This enormous unknowingness has led to an utter and complete incomprehension of the man of Africa.

The result is tragic. I do not want to go into the politics of it here. [...] I just would like you to see it as essentially a problem of the world and of our time, a deeply spiritual problem.  [...] I just would like you to see it as essentially a problem of the world and of our time, a deeply spiritual problem.
An old hunter I knew as a boy said to me: "This conflict that you have in Africa is caused by only one thing, and that is that the natural man of Africa, the primitive man, is, and the white, the European man, has." Those are the two things that are at war in the modern world today. It is this problem of having and this problem of being. It is the having which is fighting the being in Africa.
I will not now go into the question of why color adds such a particular point to it, because important as it is, it is not important for the general realization that this is the problem of the modern man. He is in a state of civil war. We are in a state of war against that part of ourselves which has got fastened onto this materialistic world, against that part of us which is. We in Africa have to live it by coming to terms, as soon as possible, with the dark people in our society, and we can only do it, I think, by coming to terms first with the spirit in ourselves, with this natural person in ourselves. I do not think there is any escape. We have to take on the situation in which we live, first upon ourselves as individuals. The whole world must take on the question of displacement, and go to the place inside ourselves where we truly belong.

 It seems to me that the most important matter before us at this moment is to find a way of fighting against evil in such a manner that we do not become just another aspect of the thing we are fighting against, which seems to be going on all over the world. I have seen this happen so much in my own lifetime. I have seen people fight against what they call colonialism and imperialism and get their way, merely to become another form of the colonialism and the imperialism they are fighting against. The problem is to fight against evil in such a way that we do not become the evil itself. There is a very old French proverb, and a very wise one, which says that all human beings tend to become the things they oppose [editors note: it was an old saying also that people resemble the things that they love, glow with its light]. [...] That is our immense dilemma at the moment. I think that the only answer is to turn to these spiritual sources in our natural selves, to turn to the source where we find the dream, a good dream. The primitive people of Africa say that there is a dream dreaming us. It is a good dream. The only trouble is we live it badly.
You can find the dream in the natural part of yourself. If you turn to it you will find that in it there is no sense of displacement. That is where you belong. If you can somehow transcend the kind of civil war from which we are all suffering, the war between our natural selves and our so-called civilized selves, you will lose your sense of displacement. Above all is the very fact that we can share our sense of displacement. The minute you realize that you are not the only one, you realize that you are not displaced, because you belong to something which in a sense does not yet exist. You belong to a community which is coming. At once you are at home. To me the most exciting thing in the world today is that the moment one speaks of these matters, one finds that he really is not alone.

How do we reconcile the various aspects of ourselves, at a time when we are so dreadfully divided against ourselves ?
What is the split, the fateful split? [...] ...it is because there is this gap between the natural instinctive person and the extremely cold, calculating, materialistic person we have made of ourselves. It is of the utmost importance that the gap be closed. But, the moment you close that gap the chances are you will be in a state of profound revolution, not in the Marxist sense, but in the New Testament sense. You will be a revolutionary example and you will be utterly at home, because you will have that feeling of belonging.
          The great need of our time is somehow to get rid of the pretence, this awful secrecy in life, where people profess to be one thing and live another. Somehow that has to be brought out in the open, so that we will stop pushing the natural part of ourselves into a corner. We have slums in the spirit just as we have them in cities We have the despised black person in ourselves just as we have despised black people in Africa. That is where it starts, I am firmly convinced. It starts because we resent this dark person in ourselves, and then we get it mixed up with the dark person in society. The way to put it right is to see, for instance, the black man in Africa for what he really is. He does not feel himself to be black. He feels just as light as we are, just as full of light as any of us. 

The thing that I can never get people in Africa to see is that black people have exactly the same values about black and white as we have. When the Zulus talk about a man who is a great tyrant and extremely unpleasant, they say he has a black heart. In other words, he is different from the ordinary Zulu because he has a black heart. And I think this is the way we have to start and the way to start is to think about ourselves in a new way; to get rid of the ideas and things that are not proper to our experience. We want to turn from dogma and doctrine to our own living experience; to the dream which is behind all experience. Here we will find a sense of belonging, a sense of meaning, and a sense of direction.
There is an immense meaning, a meaningful activity, in all of us which transcends words, and even transcends action. That activity is presented to us in terms of images. And these images are always greater and more powerful than the use to which we can put them, and the expression which we can give to them. I think that is absolutely basic. There is this immense world of images that comes up and there is this image of the shadow. And a human being is not truly real unless he has a shadow. When human beings acknowledge that, they see it instinctively. If only we could come back to this natural side of ourselves, to see meaning instinctively as well as intellectually! The old Chinese recognized it.
We are always less than the vast cosmic activity which is in us, and we can only select certain aspects of it from moment to moment, and reject others. And the shadow is the image of the ones we reject.
          I think that in this inevitable rejection, in this process of selection and rejection, is the price we pay for consciousness. It is not easy to be conscious; it is a serious battle to be a conscious, aware human being, one's own human being is really being in the fire. In the process of selection in which we are inevitably involved, we are also involved in a process of rejection.
          What is it in our time, in our age, that we particularly reject? What is this aspect of the shadow that we have, this darkness? Well, it happens to be everything that the natural man stands for at this moment in time. The things we have rejected are the things which the dark man, the black man, implicitly accepts as basic. In Africa, and in the world, we have produced an extraordinary kind of hatred and a kind of love for this dark image in the human mind. (To me it is striking that the world-wide movement for the abolition of slavery, which was a recognition of the wrongness of that rejection, started at the same time as the idea of the "noble savage," that came out of the mind of Rousseau.)

I am certain that in my own country it is not black people as such that we are legislating against. It is not the black man as he is in our society that we are legislating against. It is a projection of this rejection inside ourselves of the natural man. That is what we are doing in my country; I am absolutely convinced of it.

Our whole way of living is so much a rejection of the natural, the feeling, the warm, the human being, that we keep nature in a little box of its own. And we confuse this shadow that we throw with the black man without. We see confusion with the image in our own minds, and until one comes to that point and to that realization, we are not really free of what I call color prejudice. Once you have seen it, once you have realized it, the whole thing goes up in smoke. Immediately you become free... .
But we must face up first of all to what it is in ourselves that we reject that makes us reject a person who mirrors our own rejection in the outer world. This to my mind is the real problem in this kind of race relationship, because it is not like other race relationships. We must face up to it because it contains the color element. It is not like the problem we have with the Russians, for instance. It is not at all like it. There we have a race problem too, or if you like, a national problem. You had it in Germany with the Jews. Darkness was tragically mixed up in the German mind. The problem was and today is the acceptance of the image of the dark, of the darkness, of the darkness in ourselves.

But we fight against it as bad, even though we are secretly attracted to it. And since the dark-skinned man has it more than we do, we fight against him and what he represents. And we let our inner image of black as the symbol of the devil, the unknown, and evil in general, project itself in hatred on to the "black" races.

          Secretly, my countrymen hate or are afraid of the black man in Africa because we could like him too much. In a sense we love his indifference to our values. In a sense be does threaten us, because he provokes the natural in us, and we are terrified of the natural. We are terrified of going black in the spiritual sense, not in the physical sense. When we say we are afraid we will all go dark, and must preserve white civilization, what we really mean is we are afraid of going dark spiritually, going into our own shadow, taking up this thing that we have rejected, and to which we owe so much. And that is what happens.
          There comes a moment in the history of the world when you have to come to terms with yourself in order to be a complete person, to be a complete society, to be an integrated society. You have to come to terms with what you've rejected. You have to bring that up and take it in. And that is why we are frightened -- the day of reckoning must come. We are frightened because we might feel too free. Heaven knows what we are going to do next when we let life in on that scale. We might even stop going into Parliament! One might just like to sit in the sun all day. One might become so natural he might love everybody. It would be disastrous. So we push it, we fight it, we push it away all the time.

 The interesting thing is that this imagery works very clearly in the minds of the black people of Africa. They have the same image of darkness we have. When they feel threatened by the unknown, it is dark, it is black. They do not feel dark at all. They feel just as light as anyone else in the world. Some of them are more full of light than any of us. When they speak of Chaka, the great Zulu tyrant, they say, "Ach, be had a black heart." And when the "black" man sees the "white" man as his enemy, he sees him as very black. In the mythology of Africa the children of the Spirit are white. And that is where the mixup came. We white men started with a very unfair mythological advantage, when we went into Africa, going there in this image of whiteness.
  If black and white do not get together and meet inwardly and outwardly on friendly terms, there may occur an event on a world scale symbolized by the story of the white and the black knights in King Arthur's Court:

There were two brothers, the Black Knight and the White Knight and they set off on a quest, each on his own, one going north and one south. After many years they met in a dark wood and did not recognize each other. They immediately assumed they were enemies and when both were lying bleeding to death on the grass, they undid their helmets and recognized they were brothers. God grant that our own act of recognition comes before the contest, and not after.
This legend, I feel, illustrates in its deepest sense the problem of rejection -- a rejection in ourselves, in society, and in civilization. Perhaps the mythological aspects of this machinery of rejection will help further to illuminate the situation.

I think perhaps the best myth I can take is our own myth.
I find it so tragic and ironical that the age in which we live should regard the word "myth" and "illusion" as synonymous, in view of the fact that the myth is the real history, is the real event of the spirit. It is this immense world of meaning with which the image links us. The myth is the tremendous activity that goes on in humanity all the time, without which no society has hope or direction, and no personal life has a meaning. We all live a myth whether we know it or not. We live it by fair means or we live it by foul. Or we live it by a process or a combination of both.

The sense of a journey must always be expressed in the most contemporary way in the material, in the circumstances of one's life, in what is first and oldest in the human spirit. This is beautifully told in the opening phrase of our own Judeo-Christian myth. In the Bible, the opening journey is concerned with the first great discovery, the discovery of laws:  with the lawfulness of life. Then you get a period where the people try to stand still in that lawfulness.

 Then comes the second phase in the myth, where God comes down to the world to become a human being. He is no longer aloof. He is no longer separated. He has actually become flesh and blood.

Consider what Christ was from the little history that we have of the event. The myth starts straight away with rejection. He was born outside the law.

That is the flight to Egypt. That is the land of bondage [out of which the myth first emerged]. It is a return to the very beginning of the myth, as it were, in order to make it reality. It goes right back to Egypt. There is the mysterious disappearance into Egypt before it re-emerges and there we have to deal with the God who has become... the rejected aspect of that society. And what is this rejection? It brings something which the law, important as it was, has ignored: the discovery of love. It is the discovery of forgiveness... . Life could not move on because it could not forgive itself. It stood still in this law. It was pinned down, and the human mind, the human spirit, could not move on until there was this discovery of the reality of forgiveness.
          This forgiveness is not a cerebral, soft or sentimental thing. It is not a kiss against the sunset. The new, immensely heroic reality which is God's Son brings a sword. But it has this extraordinary basis:   the capacity of forgiveness. And this, in a world drunk and obsessed with law. It is the Roman might and power which this rejected being, this rejected God, discovers as He makes a wonderful remark already prophesied in the Psalm which He refers to when He says, "The stone which the builders have rejected shall be the cornerstone of the building to come." Thus there is a resumption of the journey, and the resumption starts with the acceptance of the rejected aspect of society.
          From that time, 2,000 years ago, until now we have refused to go on with the journey. We have not, in a sense, many of us, even come as far as this mechanism of forgiveness. Spiritually and intellectually, we have tried to limit that myth to a particular event. In the meantime, another kind of rejection was piling up because this great discovery of the new, Christian reality has also brought about the rejection of the natural, primitive, instinctive man. The imperative of our time is that the journey must go on again. We have to strike our tents and be on the march and come to a new aspect of ourselves. We have to deal with this new kind of rejection.
I feel there has also been a third great discovery in the mechanism of man. It links closely with what is implied in the process of man becoming God. This discovery owes an enormous amount to Carl Gustav Jung. He has found that by delving into dreams and into the rejected aspects of the psyche there is found the godlike mythological activity in the human being, a sort of master image which, if you can get hold of it, can deal with the mechanism of rejection.
In each of us there is a transcendent image that can reconcile these opposites; bring them together and make it possible for us to move on again. This is the phase at which we stand today. This is the opening, and I think it is a turning point in the history of the human mind. This is the facing up to the mechanism of rejection in ourselves, the realization that the thing we reject in order to become what we are, unless we meet it as a friend, comes one day knife in hand, demanding to sacrifice that which sacrificed it. That is an absolute law. That is how it works, whether we like it or not. That is how it works in us, how it works in groups, how it works in the world. We have had disastrous illustrations of it from time to time, particularly in this generation in which we live. Twice already have we seen the sacrificed aspects coming knife in band, being dealt with by foul means because we would not deal with by fair means.

And here we have a fact of tremendous religious importance. But it is not being dealt with in our religious life if we allow dogma and doctrine to destroy the sense of journey in human beings, this sense of becoming... .

 If we look into ourselves, we find mirrored in our society the vagaries of our lives. We have slums in our minds before we have slums in our streets. We have these prejudices inside our minds before we have them in our societies.

 This is what the natural people of Africa do. They attach great importance to their own myth, through which they know their shadow. They live their myth, which is the natural language of the spirit... .

That is difficult for us to do; besides, it is very dangerous to give up a concept -- to break it down and build it up again. Yet it is a necessary task to be done at all times. The Bushman's saga is told in images, and illustrates how among the earliest human beings the god himself had to be renewed always. That is, the image we have of God has to be renewed from time to time in true contemporary terms. It cannot be pinned down indefinitely. If it is not renewed, we do not have the power to move forward as individuals, even as the Bushman does in his saga.

Here in Stone Age language is pointed up the necessity to do what we have to do today to deal with the shadow, to deal with the All-Devourer and to move to a new, a truly contemporary statement of ourselves. Because that is what is lacking -- there are no modern people in the world today. There is no truly contemporary expression of all these old things in our nature.

We, too, need to have access again to these spiritual well-springs. We need to come again, as we once did as children into the wonderment of this mythological process that we have been educated out of, so to speak. We must find its meaning and express it through our lives.

Our great technological advances need not be a barrier to this aspect of our being, particularly as science itself, at the moment, has taken a significant turn. Modern physics has altered the whole approach of the scientist who once attached so much importance to the object, the extreme object. He has now gone into the object so deeply he has found that that which is so solid, at the other end of his electronic microscope vanishes and he is again faced with stars and moons and with atoms and particles that behave mythologically. The deeper he goes the less lawful becomes the behavior of the matter that he is dealing with. These objects that are so solid, on deeper examination are such stuff as dreams are made of. They vanish at the outer edge. So the scientist stands in the presence again of a great and wonderful mystery, as do all men.
We are lucky that in Africa we have this fine, preserved mirror of the past in primitive man, to show us how the spirit was felt in the beginning. Can we take hold of it and carry it forward and give these things a contemporary expression?

From The Heart of the Hunter (1961):

‘There was a great lost world to be rediscovered and rebuilt, not in the Kalahari but in the wasteland of our spirit where we had driven the first things of life, as we had driven the little Bushman into the desert of southern Africa. There was indeed a cruelly denied and neglected first child of life, a Bushman in each of us. I remembered how audiences all over the world reacted when I spoke about the Bushman. Without exception their imaginations were, at the first description of his person, immediately alert. [...] I felt the Bushman could not have excited the interest of them all unless he represented some elemental common denominator... .’ (p.126).

We live in a sunset hour of time. We need to recognize and develop that aspect of ourselves of which the moon bears the image. It is our own shy intuitions of renewal, which walk in our spiritual night as Porcupine walked by the light of the moon, that need helping on the way. It is as if I hear the wind bringing up behind me the voice of Mantis, the infinite in the small, calling from the stone age to an age of men with hearts of stone, commanding us with the authentic voice of eternal renewal: “You must henceforth be the moon. You must shine at night. By your shining shall you lighten the darkness until the sun rises again to light up all things for men”’ (p.233).

From The Hunter and the Whale (1967): 

I am not suggesting that the crew of the Kurt Hansen suffered from the kind of highly organized colour prejudice from which so many of my countrymen suffered. They were remarkably free of it and happily shared their quarters, ate at the same mess table with 'Mlangeni and shook hands with him as they did with one another. Yet his blackness did make a difference to them. Had he been white he would not, I am certain, have excited the constant curiosity that he did. Yet I had already learnt that there are many Europeans who are curious about primitive peoples not in order to understand them better, but just to laugh them out of the way. There had become something frightening to me about the European laughter over Africans and African practices. It was significant how, once the crew knew I spoke 'Mlangeni's language, they could never see the two of us in conversation without being drawn to us, like iron filings towards a magnet, to demand what we were discussing.
          I suppose black is the natural colour of what is strange and secret in the human spirit. It is the uniform of the unknown. Somehow 'Mlangeni through his blackness and his nearness to nature, was a personification of those aspects of the Kurt Hansen's blond crew which were hidden, or estranged from them; a living mirror wherein they saw the dark face of all that was rejected and out of reach in them themselves.
          Unfortunately therefore since the process of acquiring self-knowledge is by no means painless or without humiliation their natural curiosity had an undertow of suspicion and apprehension. It seems an a priori condition of our so-called success in civilizing ourselves that what is to be rejected must in itself be proved to be something discreditable. Consequently the crew were both attracted and repulsed by 'Mlangeni. Not, I stress, because of anything in his character but because unknowingly they associated him with their own. (
pp.88-89 )

From Jung and the Story of Our Time (1975):

History was written in a way that did not explain history and threw no light on its latent meaning. The legends and myths in which it has its roots and of which the dreaming process seemed so dynamic an element, as I had concluded in my amateur way. There seemed an underworld of history filled with forces far more powerful than the superficial ones that it professed to serve. Until this world was brought out into the light of day, recognised, and understood, I believed, an amply discredited pattern of self-inflicted death and disaster would continue to reiterate itself and dominate the human scene. [...] We assumed that "without" and "objective" were one and the same thing, as were "subjective" and "within." I believed that they were by no means synonymous and that there was something as objective within the human being as great as the objective without, and that men were subject to two great objective worlds, the physical world without and a world within, invisible except to the sensibilities of the imagination.'

The lesson I had learned in childhood that no one could subject dreams to his own will or fancy had gone deep enough in me to make that at last clear. Dreams had a will of steel and a way of their own in their role as direct manifestations of this other objectivity. They were incapable of any falsehood; only our reading of them was liable to error, and I had an inkling that they and the prompting of this other objective within, and not even Freud's psychosexuality at its subtlest and inspired best, were the true source of mythology, religion, legend, and art, seeking and reseeking recognition and expression through our several histories. If denied those by fair means, they sought them by foul. Refused admission with a bland "not at home" at the front door of the spirit, they came in by force or stealth at the rear. [editors note: 'psychosis'] ' (pp.20-21)


'Coincidences have never been idle for me, instinctively, but as meaningful as I was to find they were to Jung. I have always had a hunch that they are a manifestation of a law of life of which we are inadequately aware and which in terms of our short life are unfortunately incapable of total definition, and yet however partial the meaning we can extract from them, we ignore it, I believe, at our peril. For as well as promoting some cosmic law, coincidences, I suspect, are some sort of indication to what extent the evolution of our lives is obedient or not obedient to the symmetry of the universe.
          Coincidence is nothing if not an expression of a symmetry of meaning... .'

'I was finding as we talked that Jung, although he had not walked literally so far and wide as I had done, understood African aboriginal patterns of life even better than I and, if anything, revered them more. The whole tone of his speech became warmer and more animated and his turn of expression more poetic and almost lyrical when he spoke about it. He had always, as I came to call it, a special "African" voice.
          Although there were moments when I felt a little abashed that a Swiss, however eminent, should know my native continent quintessentially better than I did, any possibility of resentment was cancelled by the confirmation and support he gave to my own intuitions and feelings about it and their wider significance for the life of our time. It would warm me like wine to hear him too imply that the balance between the primitive and the civilised, the Jacob and Esau of which I have spoken, had never been honourably struck, and that a great deal of the troubles of modern man came from the fact that he himself had a deep, warm, caring, trusting, instinctive, primitive self from which he had not only allowed himself to be divorced but had gone on to despise and repress with a deadly ruthlessness.'  (pp. 47-48)

From Testament to the Bushmen (1984):

 ‘This shrill, brittle, self-important life of today is by comparison a graveyard where the living are dead and the dead are alive and talking in the still, small, clear voice of a love and trust in life that we have for the moment lost…[there was a time when] All on earth and in the universe were still members and family of the early race seeking comfort and warmth through the long, cold night before the dawning of individual consciousness in a togetherness which still gnaws like an unappeasable homesickness at the base of the human heart’ (pp.127–128).