In his memoir, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, the poet Christian Wiman writes: “If you believe at 50 what you believed at 15, then you have not lived—or have denied the reality of your life.” Wiman is talking specifically about religious belief, but the idea applies just as well to politics, culture, and even our food and drink choices as our palate matures from the narrow simple tastes of childhood to the more adventurous, complex range to which adulthood invites us.
Wiman’s line got me wondering what it is that ignites this evolvement, this integration of more range and nuance, subtlety and contradiction, in our lives. Wherefrom this refinement of our sensibilities? What are the Life-Changers that set us on this often stormy and wind-blown path of what psychologist Carl Jung called “individuation?”
I’m going to posit six such Life-Changers, though there may well be more and...Read More