There’s a five-dollar phrase, huh? But what does it mean? I think I can help, provided I grasp properly what I’ve read and researched.
Essentially, the alchemical dictum can be broken down like this:
alchemical – a tranformative or creational process
dictum – an expression of general truth, or in some cases principle
And what does it mean in layman’s terms you ask? Well, Carl Jung apparently had something to say about it, and Jordan Peterson, who quotes him frequently, offered this Latin phrase. Peterson has included the alchemical dictum in various lectures. Jung basically took “In sterquiliniis invenitur” which translates into “in filth, it will be found” and extrapolated this:
What you need most is always to be found where you least wish to look.Carl Jung
Think about that for a while and you’ll find yourself applying it to many facets of your life. Might it help you with the understanding of suffering? What about hard times? Or worse yet, and especially for us all, the nastiness thrust upon us for simply making an effort to improve our culture. Would the alchemical dictum fit there? It sure does for me. But most, I use it while looking in the mirror.
As much as I’d like to correct every injustice I’ve ever encountered or heard of, I’m unable. But, I can chip away at a few. Unfortunately, much like you all, I experience the horror that human beings freely offer one another in the process. And, I have to eat it, digest it, rise above it and love my enemy even when they’re heaping the hate upon me.
The same seems to be true for self-correction and/or self-improvement. The most important and pivotal things I need to conquer in my life are nearly always the hardest. Additionally, they’re usually smothered in my own sins. They’re dirty, wretched, and black as pitch. And I must best them. What I need to address most, can often be found where I least wish to look. Isn’t that true? I must look inside myself, which is can be pretty lousy, identify the parts that should be discarded, get my poop in a group, and recalibrate my compass.
The alchemical dictum, for me, is the undeniable truth of my plight. I cannot deny this. As it is, for me, akin to my sin and the sins of others. It is necessary and healthy that we look at ourselves in retrospect so we can decisively remove the sin, or in many cases suffer the sins of others. But, what isn’t expressed anywhere in the dictum is the universal method to correct the problems we’re finding or experiencing. …And that is Him. He offered us a series of texts grouped together into a Book. Should we decide to read it, ponder, reflect, learn, and not only have our most quintessential questions answered, we can also improve ourselves and possibly others.
I pray I have the strength to wade through the muck, In sterquiliniis invenitur, for myself and others, as I seek to be both salt and light.