Carl Jung on “Primitive” “Primitives” – Anthology

 

The will is a psychological phenomenon that owes its existence to culture and moral education, but is largely lacking in the primitive mentality. ~Carl Jung,  CW 6, para 844.

 

The sun is the only truly “rational” image of God, whether we adopt the standpoint of the primitive savage or of modern science ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 176

 

The dammed-up instinctual forces in civilized man are immensely destructive and far more dangerous than the instincts of the primitive, who in a modest degree is constantly living out his negative instincts.  Consequently no war of the historical past can rival in grandiose horror the wars of civilized nations. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 230

 

Nothing is so apt to challenge our self-awareness and alertness as being at war with oneself. One can hardly think of any other or more effective means of waking humanity out of the irresponsible and innocent half-sleep of the primitive mentality and bringing it to a state of conscious responsibility. ~Carl Jung; CW 6; Page 964.

 

The picture thus presented is an altogether primitive idea which we find in similar forms elsewhere, as for instance in the West African myth where Obatala and Odudua, the first parents (heaven and earth), lie together in a calabash until a son, man, arises between them.

 

For the primitive anything strange is hostile and evil. This line of division serves a purpose, which is why the normal person feels under no obligation to make these projections conscious, although they are dangerously illusory. War psychology has made this abundantly clear: everything my country does is good, everything the others do is bad. The centre of all iniquity is invariably found to lie a few miles behind the enemy lines. Because the individual has this same primitive psychology, every attempt to bring these age-old projections to consciousness is felt as irritating. Naturally one would like to have better relations with one’s fellows, but only on the condition that they live up to our expectations—in other words, that they become willing carriers of our projections. Yet if we make ourselves conscious of these projections, it may easily act as an impediment to our relations with others, for there is then no bridge of illusion across which love and hate can stream off so relievingly, and no way of disposing so simply and satisfactorily of all those alleged virtues that are intended to edify and improve others. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 517

 

Our admiration for great organizations dwindles when once we become aware of the other side of the wonder: the tremendous piling up and accentuation of all that is primitive in man, and the unavoidable destruction of his individuality in the interests of the monstrosity that every great organization in fact is. The man of today, who resembles more or less the collective ideal, has made his heart into a den of murderers. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 240

 

A man is a philosopher of genius only when he succeeds in transforming the primitive and wholly natural vision into an abstract idea belonging to the common stock of consciousness. This achievement, and this alone, constitutes his personal value, for which he may take credit without necessarily succumbing to inflation. . . . The personal value lies entirely in the philosophical achievement, not in the primary vision. To the philosopher this vision comes as so much increment, and is simply a part of the common property of mankind, in which, in principle, everyone has a share. The golden apples drop from the same tree, whether they be gathered by an imbecile locksmith’s apprentice or by a Schopenhauer. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 229

 

Primitive superstition lies just below the surface of even the most tough-minded individuals, and it is precisely those who most fight against it who are the first to succumb to its suggestive effects. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Page 25.

 

The Bataks and many other primitives therefore say that when a man dies his character deteriorates, so that he is always trying to harm the living in some way ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 598

 

The primitive atmosphere in which the word “spirit” came to birth exists in us still, though of course on a psychic level somewhere below consciousness. But as modern spiritualism shows, it needs very little to bring that bit of primitive mentality to the surface ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 628

 

No wonder, then, that the primitive mind sees in this the activity of a strange invisible being, a spirit. Spirit in this case is the reflection of an autonomous affect, which is why the ancients, very appropriately, called the spirits imagines, `images’ ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 628

 

According to a primitive view the soul is a fire or flame, because warmth is likewise a sign of life. ~Carl Jung,  CW 8, Para 665

 

The fact that all immediate experience is psychic and that immediate reality can only be psychic explains why it is that primitive man puts spirits and magical influences on the same plane as physical events. He has not yet torn his original experience into antithetical parts. In his world, spirit and matter still interpenetrate each other, and his gods still wander through forest and field. He is like a child, only half born, still enclosed in his own psyche as in a dream, in a world not yet distorted by the difficulties of understanding that beset a dawning intelligence. When this aboriginal world fell apart into spirit and nature, the West rescued nature for itself. It was prone by temperament to a belief in nature, and only became the more entangled in it with every painful effort to make itself spiritual. The East, on the other hand, took spirit for its own, and by explaining away matter as mere illusion—Maya—continued to dream in Asiatic filth and misery. But since there is only one earth and one mankind. East and West cannot rend humanity into two different halves. Psychic reality still exists in its original oneness, and awaits man’s advance to a level of consciousness where he no longer believes in the one part and denies the other, but recognizes both as constituent elements of one psyche. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 682

 

It is characteristic that dreams never express themselves in a logical, abstract way but always in the language of parable or simile. This is also a characteristic of primitive languages, whose flowery turns of phrase are very striking. If we remember the monuments of ancient literature, we find that what nowadays is expressed by means of abstractions was then expressed mostly by similes.  Even a philosopher like Plato did not disdain to express certain fundamental ideas in this way. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 474

 

Even the well-nigh unconscious primitive can adapt and assert himself, but only in his primitive world, and that is why under other conditions he falls victim to countless dangers which we on a higher level of consciousness can avoid without effort. True, a higher consciousness is exposed to dangers undreamt of by the primitive, but the fact remains that the conscious man has conquered the earth and not the unconscious one. Whether in the last analysis, and from a superhuman point of view, this is an advantage or a calamity we are not in a position to decide. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 695

 

If psychic life consisted only of self-evident matters of fact—which on a primitive level is still the case—we could content ourselves with a sturdy empiricism. The psychic life of civilized man, however, is full of problems; we cannot even think of it except in terms of problems. Our psychic processes are made up to a large extent of reflections, doubts, experiments, all of which are almost completely foreign to the unconscious, instinctive mind of primitive man. It is the growth of consciousness which we must thank for the existence of problems; they are the Danaan gift of civilization, ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 750

 

While we are all agreed that murder, stealing, and ruthlessness of any kind are obviously inadmissible, there is nevertheless what we call a “sexual question.”  We hear nothing of a murder question or a rage question; social reform is never invoked against those who wreak their bad tempers on their fellow men. Yet these things are all examples of instinctual behaviour, and the necessity for their suppression seems to us self-evident. Only in regard to sex do we feel the need of a question mark. This points to a doubt —the doubt whether our existing moral concepts and the legal institutions founded on them are really adequate and suited to their purpose. No intelligent person will deny that in this field opinion is sharply divided. Indeed, there would be no problem at all if public opinion were united about it. It is obviously a reaction against a too rigorous morality. It is not simply an outbreak of primitive instinctually; such outbreaks, as we know, have never yet bothered themselves with moral laws and moral problems. There are, rather, serious misgivings as to whether our existing moral views have dealt fairly with the nature of sex. From this doubt there naturally arises a legitimate interest in any attempt to understand the nature of sex more truly and deeply. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 105

 

The name’s people give to their experiences are often very revealing. What is the origin of the word Seele? Like the English word soul, it comes from the Gothic saiwalu and the old German saiwalô, and these can be connected etymologically with the Greek aiolos, ‘quick-moving, twinkling, iridescent’. The Greek word psyche also means ‘butterfly’. Saiwalô is related on the other side in the Old Slavonic sila, ‘strength’. These connections throw light on the original meaning of the word soul; it is moving force, that is, life-force. The- Latin words animus, ‘spirit’, and anima, ‘soul’, arc the same as the Greek anemos, ‘wind’. The other Greek word for ‘wind’, pneuma , also means ‘spirit’. In Gothic we find the same word in us-anan, ‘to breathe out’, and in Latin it is anhelare, ‘to pant’. In Old High German, spiritus sanctus was rendered by atum,‘breath’. In Arabic, ‘wind’ is rih, and rüh is ‘soul, spirit’. The Greek word psyche has similar connections; it is related to psychein, ‘to breathe’, psychos, ‘cool’, psychros, ‘cold, chill’, and physa, ‘bellows’. These connections show clearly how in Latin, Greek, and Arabic the names given to the soul are related to the notion of moving air, the “cold breath of the spirits.” And this is probably the reason why the primitive view also endows the soul with an invisible breath-body. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Paras 663-664)

 

Reduction to the natural condition is neither an ideal state nor a panacea. I£ the natural state were really the ideal one, then the primitive would be leading an enviable existence.But that is by no means so, for aside from all the other sorrows and hardships of human life the primitive is tormented by  superstitions, fears, and compulsions to such a degree that, if he lived in our civilization, he could not be described as other than profoundly neurotic, if not mad. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 94

 

In his classic study of mana Lehmann defines it as something “extraordinarily effective. We cannot escape the impression that the primitive view of mana is a forerunner of our concept of psychic energy and, most probably, of energy in general ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 128

 

The primitive mentality does not invent myths, it experiences them. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 261.

 

One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, para 221.

 

The primitive mentality does not invent myths, it experiences them. Myths are original revelations of the preconscious psyche, involuntary statements about unconscious psychic happenings, and anything but allegories of physical processes. Such allegories would be an idle amusement for an unscientific intellect. Myths, on the contrary, have a vital meaning. Not merely do they represent, they are the mental life of the primitive tribe, which immediately falls to pieces and decays when it loses its mythological heritage, like a man who has lost his soul. A tribe’s mythology is its living religion, whose loss is always and everywhere, even among the civilized, a moral catastrophe. But religion is a vital link with psychic processes independent of and beyond consciousness, in the dark hinterland of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 261

 

The mass is swayed by participation mystique, which is nothing other than an unconscious identity. Supposing, for example, you go to the theatreglance meets glance, everybody observes everybody else, so that all those who are present are caught up in an invisible web of mutual unconscious relationship. If this condition increases, one literally feels borne along by the universal wave of identity with others. It may be a pleasant feeling—one sheep among ten thousand! Again, if I feel that this crowd is a great and wonderful unity, I am a hero, exalted along with the group. When I am myself again, I discover that I am Mr. So-and-So, and that I live in such and such a street, on the third floor. I also find that the whole affair was really most delightful, and I hope it will take place again tomorrow so that I may once more feel myself to be a whole nation, which is much better than being just plain Mr. X. Since this is such an easy and convenient way of raising one’s personality to a more exalted rank, mankind has always formed groups which made collective experiences of transformation—often of an ecstatic nature—possible. The regressive identification with lower and more primitive states of consciousness is invariably accompanied by a heightened sense of life. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 226

 

Archetypes were, and still are, living psychic forces that demand to be taken seriously, and they have a strange way of making sure of their effect. Always they were the bringers of protection and salvation, and their violation has as its consequence the “perils of the soul” known to us from the psychology of primitives. Moreover, they are the infallible causes of neurotic and even psychotic disorders, behaving exactly like neglected or maltreated physical organs or organic functional systems. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 266

 

How else could it have occurred to man to divide the cosmos, on the analogy of day and night, summer and winter, into a bright day-world and a dark night-world peopled with fabulous monsters, unless he had the prototype of such a division in himself, in the polarity between the conscious and the invisible and unknowable unconscious? Primitive man’s perception of objects is conditioned only partly by the objective behaviour of the things themselves, whereas a much greater part is often played by intrapsychic facts which are not related to the external objects except by way of projection. This is due to the simple fact that the primitive has not yet experienced that ascetic discipline of mind known to us as the critique of knowledge. To him the world is a more or less fluid phenomenon within the stream of his own fantasy, where subject and object are undifferentiated and in a state of mutual interpenetration. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 187

 

The primitive cannot assert that he thinks; it is rather that “something thinks in him.” The spontaneity of the act of thinking does not lie, causally, in his conscious mind, but in his unconscious. Moreover, he is incapable of any conscious effort of will; he must put himself beforehand into the “mood of willing,” or let himself be put—hence his rites d’entree et de sortie. His consciousness is menaced by an almighty unconscious hence his fear of magical influences which may cross his path at any moment; and for this reason, too, he is surrounded by unknown forces and must adjust himself to them as best he can. Owing to the chronic twilight state of his consciousness, it is often next to impossible to find out whether he merely dreamed something or whether he really experienced it. The spontaneous manifestation of the unconscious and its archetypes intrudes everywhere into his conscious mind, and the mythical world of his ancestors—for instance, the aljira or bugari of the Australian aborigines—is a reality equal if not superior to the material world. It is not the world as we know it that speaks out of his unconscious, but the unknown world of the psyche, of which we know that it mirrors out empirical world only in part, and that, for theother part, it moulds this empirical world in accordance with its own psychic assumptions. The archetype does not proceed from physical facts but describes how the psyche experiences the physical fact, and in so doing the psyche often behaves so autocratically that it denies tangible reality or makes statements that fly in the face of it. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 260

 

Affects usually occur where adaptation is weakest, and at the same time they reveal the reason for its weakness, namely a certain degree of inferiority and the existence of a lower level of personality. On this lower level with its uncontrolled or scarcely controlled emotions one behaves more or less like a primitive, who is not only the passive victim of his affects but also singularly incapable of moral judgment. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 15

 

Primitive man, being closer to his instincts, like the animal, is characterized by fear of novelty and adherence to tradition. To our way of thinking he is painfully backward, whereas we exalt progress. But our progressiveness, though it may result in a great many delightful wish-fulfillments, piles up an equally gigantic Promethean debt, which has to be paid off from time to time in the form of hideous catastrophes. For ages man has dreamed of flying, and all we have got for it is saturation bombing! We smile today at the Christian hope of a life beyond the grave, and yet we often fall into chiliasms a hundred times more ridiculous than the notion of a happy Hereafter. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 276

 

But if we step through the door of the shadow we discover with terror that we are the objects of unseen factors. To know this is decidedly unpleasant, for nothing is more disillusioning than the discovery of our own inadequacy. It can even give rise to primitive panic, because, instead of being believed in, the anxiously guarded supremacy of consciousness which is in truth one of the secrets of human success-is questioned in the most dangerous way. But since ignorance is no guarantee of security, and in fact only makes our insecurity still worse, it is probably better despite our fear to know where the danger lies. To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem. At any rate we then know that the greatest danger threatening us comes from the unpredictability of the psyche’s reactions. Discerning persons have realized for some time that external historical conditions, of whatever kind, are only occasions, jumping-off grounds, for the real dangers that threaten our lives. These are the present politico-social delusional systems. We should not regard them causally, as necessary consequences of external conditions, but as decisions precipitated by the collective unconscious. ~Carl Jung CW 9i, Para 49

 

The dream has for the primitive an incomparably higher value than it has for civilized man.  Not only does he talk a great deal about his dreams, he also attributes an extraordinary importance to them, so that it often seems as though he were unable to distinguish between them and reality. To the civilized man dreams as a rule appear valueless, though there are some people who attach great significance to certain dreams on account of their weird and impressive character. As against Freud’s view that the dream is essentially a wish-fulfillment, I hold . . . that the dream is a spontaneous self-portrayal, in symbolic form, of the actual situation in the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 9 Para 505

 

[In America] the men and women are giving their vital energy to everything except the relation between themselves. In that relation all is confusion. The women are the mothers of their husbands as well as of their children, yet at the same time there is in them the old primitive desire to be possessed, to yield, to surrender. And there is nothing in the man for her to surrender to except his kindness, his courtesy, his generosity, his chivalry. His competitor, his rival in business must yield, but she need not. ~Carl Jung, NY Times, 30 Sept 1912

 

So far mythologists have always helped themselves out with solar, lunar, meteorological, vegetal, and other ideas of the kind. The fact that myths are first and foremost psychic phenomena that reveal the nature of the soul is something they have absolutely refused to see until now. Primitive man is not much interested in objective explanations of the obvious, but he has an imperative need—or rather, his unconscious psyche has an irresistible urge—to assimilate all outer sense experiences to inner, psychic events. It is not enough for the primitive to see the sun rise and set; this external observation must at the same time be a psychic happening the sun in its course must represent the fate of a god or hero who, in the last analysis, dwells nowhere except in the soul of man. All the mythologized processes of nature, such as summer and winter, the phases of the moon, the rainy seasons, and so forth, are in no sense allegories of these objective occurrences; rather they are symbolic expressions of the inner, unconscious drama of the psyche which becomes accessible to man’s consciousness by way of projection—that is, mirrored in the events of nature. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 7

 

All kinds of objects and signs mark these places, and pious awe surrounds the marked spot. Thus does primitive man dwell in his land and at the same time in the land of his unconscious. Everywhere his unconscious jumps out at him, alive and real. How different is our relationship to the land we dwell in! ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 44

 

Feelings totally strange to us accompany the primitive at every step. Who knows what the cry of a bird means to him, or the sight of that old tree! A whole world of feeling is closed to us and is replaced by a pale aestheticism ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 44

 

Nevertheless, the world of primitive feeling is not entirely lost to us; it lives on in the unconscious. The further we remove ourselves from it with our enlightenment and our rational superiority, the more it fades into the distance, but is made all the more potent by everything that falls into it, thrust out by our one-sided rationalism ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 44

 

The primitives I observed in East Africa took it for granted that “big” dreams are dreamed only by “big” men – medicine-men, magicians, chiefs, etc. This may be true on a primitive level. But with us these dreams are dreamed also by simple people, more particularly when they have got themselves, mentally or spiritually, in a fix. ~Carl Jung. CW 10, Page 324.

 

It is impossible to derive any philosophical system from the fundamental thoughts of primitive man. They provide only antinomies, but it is just these that are the inexhaustible source of all spiritual problems in all times and in all civilizations. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 144

 

Whether primitive or not, mankind always stands on the brink of actions it performs itself but does not control. The whole world wants peace and the whole world prepares for war, to take but one example. Mankind is powerless against mankind, and the gods, as ever, show it the ways of fate. Today we call the gods “factors,” which comes from facere, ‘to make.’ The makers stand behind the wings of the world-theatre. It is so in great things as in small. In the realm of consciousness we are our own masters; we seem to be the “factors” themselves. But if we step through the door of the shadow we discover with terror that we are the objects of unseen factors.  ~Carl Jung CW 10 Para 49

 

One would do well to treat every dream as though it were a totally unknown object. Look at it from all sides, take it in your hand, carry it about with you, let your imagination play round it, and talk about it with other people. Primitives tell each other impressive dreams, in a public palaver if possible, and this custom is also attested in late antiquity, for all the ancient peoples attributed great significance to dreams. Treated in this way, the dream suggests all manner of ideas and associations which lead us closer to its meaning. The ascertainment of the meaning is, I need hardly point out, an entirely arbitrary affair, and this is where the hazards begin. Narrower or wider limits will be set to the meaning, according to one’s experience, temperament, and taste. Some people will be satisfied with little, for others much is still not enough. Also the meaning of the dream, or our interpretation of it, is largely dependent on the intentions of the interpreter, on what he expects the meaning to be or requires it to do. In eliciting the meaning he will involuntarily be guided by certain presuppositions, and it depends very much on the scrupulousness and honesty of the investigator whether he gains something by his interpretation or perhaps only becomes still more deeply entangled in his mistakes. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 320

 

It is not only primitive man whose psychology is archaic. It is the psychology also of modern, civilized man, and not merely of individual “throw-backs” in modern society. On the contrary, every civilized human being, however high his conscious development, is still an archaic man at the deeper levels of his psyche. Just as the human body connects us with the mammals and displays numerous vestiges of earlier evolutionary stages going back even to the reptilian age, so the human psyche is a product of evolution which, when followed back to its origins, shows countless archaic traits. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 105

 

The primitive form of conscience is paradoxical to burn a heretic is on the one hand a pious and meritorious act as John Hus himself ironically recognized when, bound to the stake, he espied an old woman hobbling towards him with a bundle of faggots, and exclaimed, “O sancta simplicitas!”— and on the other hand a brutal manifestation of ruthless and savage lust for revenge, ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 845

 

All kinds of objects and signs mark these places, and pious awe surrounds the marked spot. Thus does primitive man dwell in his land and at the same time in the land of his unconscious. Everywhere his unconscious jumps out at him, alive and real. How different is our relationship to the land we dwell in! ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 44

 

Feelings totally strange to us accompany the primitive at every step. Who knows what the cry of a bird means to him, or the sight of that old tree! A whole world of feeling is closed to us and is replaced by a pale aestheticism ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 44

 

Nevertheless, the world of primitive feeling is not entirely lost to us; it lives on in the unconscious. The further we remove ourselves from it with our enlightenment and our rational superiority, the more it fades into the distance, but is made all the more potent by everything that falls into it, thrust out by our one-sided rationalism ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 44

 

There are just as many neurotics among primitives as among civilized Europeans. Hysterical Africans are by no means rare in Africa. These disagreeable manifestations of the unconscious account in large measure for the primitive fear of demons and the resultant rites of propitiation ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 26

 

We carry our past with us, to wit, the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions, and it is only with an enormous effort that we can detach ourselves from this burden. If it comes to a neurosis, we invariably have to deal with a considerably intensified shadow. And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 132

 

If the repressed tendencies, the shadow as I call them, were obviously evil, there would be no problem whatever. But the shadow is merely somewhat inferior, primitive, unadapted, and awkward; not wholly bad. It even contains childish or primitive qualities which would in a way vitalize and embellish human existence, but—convention forbids. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 134

 

Our modern attitude looks back arrogantly upon the mists of superstition and of medieval or primitive credulity, entirely forgetting that we carry the whole living past in the lower storeys of the skyscraper of rational consciousness. Without the lower storeys our mind is suspended in mid air. No wonder it gets nervous. The true history of the psychic organism of every individual. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 56

 

Side by side with the biological, the spiritual, too, has its inviolable rights. It is assuredly no accident that primitive peoples, even in adult life, make the most fantastic assertions about well-known sexual processes, as for instance that coitus has nothing to do with pregnancy. From this it has been concluded that these people do not even know there is such a connection.  But more accurate investigation has shown that they know very well that with animals copulation is followed by pregnancy. Only for human beings is it denied—not known, but flatly denied—that this is so, for the simple reason that they prefer a mythological explanation which has freed itself from the trammels of concretism. It is not hard to see that in these facts, so frequently observed among primitives, there lie the beginnings of abstraction, which is so very important for culture. We have every reason to suppose that this is also true of the psychology of the child. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 79

 

There are many people who are only partially conscious. Even among absolutely civilized Europeans there is a disproportionately high number of abnormally unconscious individuals who spend a great part of their lives in an unconscious state. They know what happens to them, but they do not know what they do or say. They cannot judge of the consequences of their actions. These are people who are abnormally unconscious, that is, in a primitive state. What then finally makes them conscious? If they get a slap in the face, then they become conscious; something really happens, and that makes them conscious. They meet with something fatal and then they suddenly realize what they are doing. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 6

 

The world is as it ever has been, but our consciousness undergoes peculiar changes. First, in remote times (which can still be observed among primitives living today), the main body of psychic life was apparently in human and in nonhuman objects it was projected, as we should say now. Consciousness can hardly exist in a state of complete projection. At most it would be a heap of emotions. Through the withdrawal of projections, conscious knowledge slowly developed. Science, curiously enough, began with the discovery of astronomical laws, and hence with the withdrawal, so to speak, of the most distant projections. This was the first stage in the despiritualization of the world. One step followed another already in antiquity the gods were withdrawn from mountains and rivers, from trees and animals.Modern science has subtilized its projections to an almost unrecognizable degree, but our ordinary life still swarms with them. You can find them spread out in the newspapers, in books, rumours, and ordinary social gossip. All gaps in our actual knowledge are still filled out with projections. We are still so sure we know what other people think or what their true character is. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 140

 

In this way the archetype of the imperfect demiurge, who had enjoyed official recognition in Gnosticism, reappeared in altered guise. (The corresponding archetype is probably to be found in the cosmogonic jester of primitive peoples.) With the extermination of the heretics that dragged on into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, an uneasy calm ensued, but the Reformation thrust the figure of Satan once more into the foreground. I would only mention Jakob Böhme, who sketched a picture of evil which leaves the privatio boni pale by comparison. The same can be said of Milton. He inhabits the same mental climate. As for Böhme, although he was not a direct descendant of alchemical philosophy, whose importance is still grossly underrated today, he certainly took over a number of its leading ideas, among them the specific recognition of Satan, who was exalted to a cosmic figure of first rank in Milton, even emancipating himself from his subordinate role as the left hand of God (the role assigned to him by Clement). Milton goes even further than Böhme and apostrophizes the devil as the true principium individuationis, a concept which had been anticipated by the alchemists some time before ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 470

 

In this way the archetype of the imperfect demiurge, who had enjoyed official recognition in Gnosticism, reappeared in altered guise. (The corresponding archetype is probably to be found in the cosmogonic jester of primitive peoples.) With the extermination of the heretics that dragged on into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, an uneasy calm ensued, but the Reformation thrust the figure of Satan once more into the foreground. I would only mention Jakob Böhme, who sketched a picture of evil which leaves the privatio boni pale by comparison. The same can be said of Milton. He inhabits the same mental climate. As for Böhme, although he was not a direct descendant of alchemical philosophy, whose importance is still grossly underrated today, he certainly took over a number of its leading ideas, among them the specific recognition of Satan, who was exalted to a cosmic figure of first rank in Milton, even emancipating himself from his subordinate role as the left hand of God (the role assigned to him by Clement). Milton goes even further than Böhme and apostrophizes the devil as the true principium individuationis, a concept which had been anticipated by the alchemists some time before ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 470

 

The ideology of this mysterium, [the mystical effect of God-man’s self-sacrifice], is anticipated in the myths of Osiris, Orpheus, Dionysus, and Hercules and in the conception of the Messiah among the Hebrew prophets. These anticipations go back to the primitive hero-myths where the conquest of death is already an important factor. The projections upon Attis and Mithras, more or less contemporary with the Christian one, are also worth mentioning. The Christian projection differs from all these manifestations of the mystery of redemption and transformation by reason of the historical and personal figure of Jesus. The mythical event incarnates itself in Him and so enters the realm of world history as a unique historical and mystical phenomenon ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 416

 

For medieval man, however, analogy was not so much a logical figure as a secret identity, a remnant of primitive thinking which is still very much alive. An instructive example of this is the rite of hallowing the fire on the Saturday before Easter (fig. 191) . The fire is “like unto” Christ, an imago Christi. The stone from which the spark is struck is the “cornerstone”another imago; and the spark that leaps from the stone is yet again an imago Christi ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 451

 

I do not underestimate the psyche in any respect whatsoever, nor do I imagine for a moment that psychic happenings vanish into thin air by being explained. Psychologism represents a still primitive mode of magical thinking, with the help of which one hopes to conjure the reality of the soul out of existence, after the manner of the “Proktophantasmist” in Faust: Are you still there? Nay, it’s a thing unheard. Vanish at once!  We’ve said the enlightening word. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 750

 

Our material is, however, fully in accord with the widespread, primitive shamanistic conceptions of the tree and the heavenly bride, who is a typical anima projection. She is the ayami (familiar, protective spirit) of the shaman ancestors. Her face is half black, half red. Sometimes she appears in the form of a winged tiger. Spitteler also likens the “Lady Soul” to a tiger. The tree represents the life of the shaman’s heavenly bride, and has a maternal significance. Among the Yakuts a tree with eight branches is the birthplace of the first man. He is suckled by a woman the top part of whose body grows out of the trunk. ~Carl Jung,  CW 13, Para 460

 

The Latin translation “serpent” for “witch” is connected with the widespread primitive idea that the spirits of the dead are snakes. This fits in with the offering of goat’s blood, since the sacrifice of black animals to the chthonic numina was quite customary. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Par 78.

 

A person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire. It is as though each of us was born with a limited store of energy. In the artist, the strongest force in his make-up, that is, his creativeness, will seize and all but monopolize this energy, leaving so little over that nothing of value can come of it. The creative impulse can drain him of his humanity to such a degree that the personal ego can exist only on a primitive or inferior level and is driven to develop all sorts of defects—ruthlessness, selfishness (“autoeroticism”), vanity, and other infantile traits. These inferiorities are the only means by which it can maintain its vitality and prevent itself from being wholly depleted. ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 158

 

Assimilation of the shadow gives a man body, so to speak; the animal sphere of instinct, as well as the primitive or archaic psyche, emerge into the zone of consciousness and can no longer be repressed by fictions and illusions. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 452

 

Since dreams provide information about the hidden inner life and reveal to the patient those components of his personality which, in his daily behaviour, appear merely as neurotic symptoms, it follows that we cannot effectively treat him from the side of consciousness alone, but must bring about a change in and through the unconscious. In the light of our present knowledge this can be achieved only by the thorough and conscious assimilation of unconscious contents. “Assimilation” in this sense means mutual penetration of conscious and unconscious, and not-as is commonly thought and practised-a one-sided evaluation, interpretation, and deformation of unconscious contents by the conscious mind. As to the value and significance of unconscious contents in general, very mistaken views are current. It is well known that the Freudian school presents the unconscious in a thoroughly negative light, much as it regards primitive man as little better than a monster. Its nursery-tales about the terrible old man of the tribe and its teachings about the “infantile-perverse-criminal” unconscious have led people to make a dangerous ogre out of something perfectly natural. As if all that is good, reasonable, worth while, and beautiful had taken up its abode in the conscious mind! Have the horrors of the ‘World War done nothing to open our eyes, so that we still cannot see that the conscious mind is even more devilish and perverse than the naturalness of the unconscious?  ~Carl Jung CW 16, Paras 326-327

 

The remarkable potency of unconscious contents always indicates a corresponding weakness in the conscious mind and its functions. It is as though the latter were threatened with impotence. For primitive man this danger is one of the most terrifying instances of “magic.” So we can understand why this secret fear is also to be found among civilized people. In serious cases it is the secret fear of going mad; in less serious, the fear of the unconscious—a fear which even the normal person exhibits in his resistance to psychological views and explanations. This resistance borders on the grotesque when it comes to scouting all psychological explanations of art, philosophy, and religion, as though the human psyche had, or should have, absolutely nothing to do with these things. The doctor knows these well-defended zones from his consulting hours they are reminiscent of island fortresses from which the neurotic tries to ward off the octopus. (“Happy neurosis island,” as one of my patients called his conscious state!) The doctor is well aware that the patient needs an island and would be lost without it. It serves as a refuge for his consciousness and as the last stronghold against the threatening embrace of the unconscious. The same is true of the normal person’s taboo regions which psychology must not touch. But since no war was ever won on the defensive, one must, in order to terminate hostilities, open negotiations with the enemy and see what his terms really are. Such is the intention of the doctor who volunteers to act as a mediator.  He is far from wishing to disturb the somewhat precarious island idyll or pull down the fortifications.  On the contrary, he is thankful that somewhere a firm foothold exists that does not first have to be fished up out of the chaos, always a desperately difficult task. He knows that the island is a bit cramped and that life on it is pretty meagre and plagued with all sorts of imaginary wants because too much life has been left outside, and that as a result a terrifying monster is created, or rather is roused out of its slumbers.  He also knows that this seemingly alarming animal stands in a secret compensatory relationship to the island and could supply everything that the island lacks. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 374

 

The evolutionary stratification of the psyche is more clearly discernible in the dream than in the conscious mind. In the dream, the psyche speaks in images, and gives expression to instincts, which derive from the most primitive levels of nature. Therefore, through the assimilation of unconscious contents, the momentary life of consciousness can once more be brought into harmony with the law of nature from which it all too easily departs, and the patient can be led back to the natural law of his own being. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 351

 

So often among so-called “primitives” one comes across spiritual personalities who immediately inspire respect, as though they were the fully matured products of an undisturbed fate. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 336

 

The wheel of history cannot be put back; we can only strive towards an attitude that will allow us to live out our fate as undisturbedly as the primitive pagan in us really wants. Only on this condition can we be sure of not perverting spirituality into sensuality, and vice versa; for both must live, each drawing life from the other. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 336

 

Modern psychology can affirm that for many people this problem arises in the second half of life, when the unconscious often makes itself felt in a very insistent way. The unconscious is the land of dreams, and according to the primitive view the land of dreams is also the land of the dead and of the ancestors. From all we know about it, the unconscious does in fact seem to be relatively independent of space and time, nor is there anything objectionable in the idea that consciousness is surrounded by the sea of the unconscious, just as this world is contained in “Orthos.” The unconscious is of unknown extent and is possibly of greater importance than consciousness. At any rate, the role which consciousness plays in the life of primitives and primates is insignificant compared with that of the unconscious. The events in our modern world, as we see humanity blindly staggering from one catastrophe to the next, are not calculated to strengthen anyone’s belief in the value of consciousness and the freedom of the will. Consciousness should of course be of supreme importance, for it is the only guarantee of freedom and alone makes it possible for us to avoid disaster. But this, it seems, must remain for the present a pious hope. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para  754

 

Although we are still far from having overcome our primitive mentality, which enjoys its most signal triumphs just in the sphere of sex where man is made most vividly aware of his mammalian nature, certain ethical refinements have nevertheless crept in which permit anyone with ten to fifteen centuries of Christian education behind him to progress towards a slightly higher level. On this level the spirit—from the biological an incomprehensible psychic phenomenon—plays a not unimportant role psychologically. It had a weighty word to say on the subject of Christian marriage and it still participates vigorously in the discussion whenever marriage is doubted and depreciated. It appears in a negative capacity as counsel for the instincts, and in a positive one as the defender of human dignity. Small wonder, then, that a wild and confusing conflict breaks out between man as an instinctual creature of nature and man as a spiritual and cultural being. The worst thing about it is that the one is forever trying violently to suppress the other in order to bring about a so-called harmonious solution of the conflict. Unfortunately, too many people still believe in this procedure, which is all-powerful in politics; there are only a few here and there who condemn it as barbaric and would like to set up in its place a just compromise whereby each side of man’s nature is given a hearing. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para xii

 

Surely the times of primitive Christianity were bad too, but not as bad as the world is now. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 346.

 

It should be noted that music is a primitive means of putting people into a state of frenzy; one has only to think of the drumming at the dances of shamans and medicine-men, or of the flute-playing at the Dionysian orgies. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 331.

 

There are beautiful examples of this in the Arabian art which went hand in hand with the psychic reorientation of a primitive society under the influence of Islam. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 387.

 

He still thinks in terms of mass-hygiene and has nightmares about mass killing. Why should he learn about the unconscious, the mother of the future?! Man still hopes, in a primitive way, that not knowing, not naming, not seeing a danger would remove it. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 496.

 

The archetypality of Communism is on the one hand the common ownership of goods, as in primitive societies, and on the other hand the unlimited power of the tribal chieftain. Ostensibly all goods belong to all. Everybody has his share. But since all are represented by one man, the chieftain, only one man has control of everything. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 513

 

From what we know of genuine primitives today, the stars play an astonishingly small role in their lives, a fact which may justify the assumption that the projection of the constellations and their interpretation coincided with the beginnings of a reflecting consciousness, i.e., with the first steps in civilization. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 563.

 

The naïve primitive doesn’t believe in God, he knows, because the inner experience rightly means as much to him as the outer. He still has no theology and hasn’t yet let himself be befuddled by booby trap concepts. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 4.

 

Anthropologists have often described what happens to a primitive society when its spiritual values are exposed to the impact of modern civilization. Its people lose the meaning of their lives, their social organization disintegrates, and they themselves morally decay. We are now in the same condition. ~Carl Jung; Man and His symbols; Page 84

 

Primitive man was much more governed by his instincts than are his “rational” modern descendants, who have learned to “control” themselves. ~Carl Jung; Man and His symbols; Page 36.

 

Myths go back to the primitive storyteller and his dreams, to men moved by the stirring of their fantasies. These people were not very different from those whom later generations called poets or philosophers. ~Carl Jung; Man and His Symbols; Page 78

 

I started with the primitive idea of the flowing out and the flowing in of energy, and from this I constructed the theory of the introverted and extraverted types. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 86

 

Such things can happen: a projection is a very tangible thing, a sort of semi-substantial thing which forms a load as if it had real weight. It is exactly as the primitives understand it, a subtle body. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 1495.

 

Primitives show a much more balanced psychology than we do for the reason that they have no objection to letting the irrational come through, while we resent it. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 114

 

The very primitive animal layers are supposed to be inherited through the sympathetic system, and the relatively later animal layers belonging to the vertebrate series are represented by the cerebrospinal system. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 140

 

We would say one got strength from God through prayer, but the primitive gets strength from God by work. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 32

 

He felt the need to represent his innermost thoughts in stone and to build a completely primitive dwelling: “Bollingen was a great matter for me, because words and paper were not real enough. I had to put down a confession in stone.” ~Sonu Shamdasani, Introduction 1925 Seminar, Page xiii

 

Consequently, the sight of a child or a primitive will arouse certain longings in adult, civilized persons longings which relate to the unfulfilled desires and needs of those parts of the personality which have been blotted out of the total picture in favor of the adapted persona. ~Carl Jung, MDR, Page 244

 

Again one has only to think of the craze for Negro dances, for the Charleston and jazz—they are all symptoms of the great longing of the mass psyche for this more complete—development of the powers immanent within us which primitives possess to a higher degree than we do. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 38-46

 

I have no trouble talking to primitives. When I talk of the Great Man, or the equivalent, they understand. The Great Man is something that reacts. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 359-364

 

I have landed in the Eastern sphere through the waters of the unconscious, for the truths of the unconscious can never be thought up, they can be reached only by following a path which all cultures right down to the most primitive level have called the way of initiation. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 87.

 

The “duality” of the ruler is based on the primitive belief that the placenta is the brother of the new-born child, which as such often accompanies him throughout life in ghostly fashion, since it dies early and is ceremonially buried. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 259-260

 

On the primitive level the totemistic rite of renewal is always a reversion to the half animal, half human condition of prehistoric times. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 260

 

Depending on the peculiar nature of the case the most primitive therapeutic methods can achieve even better results than the most refined. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 324

 

I can only agree with you when you equate St. Francis with the essence of primitive religiosity, but even so a special illumination is needed for a person living in more highly developed centuries to become as simple again as a primitive. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 118

 

By removing yourself from the dogma you get into the world which is increasingly chaotic and primitive, in which you must find or create a new orientation.  ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 905

 

But such a thing [Individuation] is only possible if the individual in every moment of existence fulfills his complete being, lives the primitive pattern, fulfills all the expectations that he was originally born with. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Pages 760-761

 

I analysed dreams of Somali Negroes as if they were people of Zurich, with the exception of certain differences of languages and images. Where the primitives dream of crocodiles, pythons, buffaloes, and rhinoceroses, we dream of being run over by trains and automobiles. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 70

 

The primitives say the real scale of values begins with the elephant, lion, eagle, perhaps cobra, then man and monkey. They recognize the fact that man is one of the animals. To say that man is on top is megalomaniac. ~Carl Jung; Cornwall Seminar; Page 24.

 

But the real anima of a man is shown by psychological experience to be like the primitive idea of soul; something between earth and heaven, as black as it is white; ghostlike; ill defined. ~Carl Jung, Cornwall Lecture, Page 25.

 

I started with the primitive idea of the flowing out and the flowing in of energy, and from this I constructed the theory of the introverted and extraverted types. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 86

 

Primitives show a much more balanced psychology than we do for the reason that they have no objection to letting the irrational come through, while we resent it. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 114

 

The very primitive animal layers are supposed to be inherited through the sympathetic system, and the relatively later animal layers belonging to the vertebrate series are represented by the cerebrospinal system. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 140

 

We would say one got strength from God through prayer, but the primitive gets strength from God by work. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 32

 

He felt the need to represent his innermost thoughts in stone and to build a completely primitive dwelling: “Bollingen was a great matter for me, because words and paper were not real enough. I had to put down a confession in stone.” ~Sonu Shamdasani, Introduction 1925 Seminar, Page xiii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the same way one can withhold the material content of primitive myths from a child but not take from him the need for mythology, and still less his ability to manufacture it for himself. One could almost say that if all the world’s traditions were cut off at a single blow, the whole of mythology and the whole history of religion would start all over again with the next generation. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 30

 

The God-concept is not only an image, but an elemental force. The primitive power which Job’s Hymn of Creation vindicates, absolute and inexorable, unjust and superhuman, is a genuine and authentic attribute of the natural power of instinct and fate which “leads us into life,” which makes “all the world become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19), and against which all struggle is in vain. ~Carl Jung,  CW 5, Para 89

 

We can understand at once the fear that the child and the primitive have of the great unknown. We have the same childish fear of our inner side, where we likewise touch upon a great unknown world. All we have is the affect, the fear, without knowing that this is a world-fear—for the world of affects is invisible. We have either purely theoretical prejudices against it, or superstitious ideas.  One cannot even talk about the unconscious before many educated people without being accused of mysticism. The fear is legitimate in so far as our rational Weltanschauung with its scientific and moral certitudes—so hotly believed in because so deeply questionable—is shattered by the facts of the other side. ~Carl Jung, CW 4, Para 324

 

Has mankind ever really got away from myths? Everyone who has his eyes and wits about him can see that the world is dead, cold, and unending. Never yet has he beheld a God, or been compelled to require the existence of such a God from the evidence of his senses. On the contrary, it needed the strongest inner compulsion, which can only be explained by the irrational force of instinct, for man to invent those religious beliefs whose absurdity was long since pointed out by Tertullian. In the same way one can withhold the material content of primitive myths from a child but not take from him the need for mythology, and still less his ability to manufacture it for himself. One could almost say that if all the world’s traditions were cut off at a single blow, the whole of mythology and the whole history of religion would start all over again with the next generation. ~Carl Jung, CW 4, Para 30