Jung says that our greatest threats are not natural crises but psychic ones. Our nation is not nearly as likely to "die a natural death" (like being overcome by a greater culture) as to fall by means of our own psychic failure to recognize and deal with our reality. If in fact we are overcome by nature in the end it will not be because nature turned nasty but because we refused to live conscious of the real dangers we faced. The challenge for our time is to grow more conscious. And as events overtake our ability to respond intelligently to them, the stakes grow.
I feel that the most crucial growth we can undertake– as individuals and nations– is to learn to see what really is before us. The psychic reality is the REAL reality. Our culture, wooed by the power of the scientific mindset, tends to peg our sense of what is real in what is literal. But "literal" only refers to what we conceive of as most deeply true. I'm soon teaching a course in figure drawing, which is a great practice for learning to draw the person that is really before you instead of what your mind tells you is there. People are always surprised– myself included– to really SEE something that is right before them. If we had SEEN what 9/11 presented us, we could have used it to usher in a much more civilized world... But we do have the capacity to learn from our mistakes. I wonder what we'll do with that?