I embarked on the adventure of my intellectual development by becoming a psychiatrist In all innocence I began observing mental patients, clinically, from the outside, and thereby came upon psychic processes of a striking nature.
I noted and classified these things without the slightest understanding of their contents, which were considered to be
adequately evaluated when they were dismissed as “pathological.”
In the course of time my interest focused more and more upon cases in which I experienced something understandable
that is, cases of paranoia, manic-depressive insanity, and psychogenic disturbances.
From the start of my psychiatric career the studies of Breuer and Freud, along with tie work of Pierre Janet, provided me with a wealth of suggestions and stimuli.
Above all, I found that Freud’s technique of dream analysis and dream interpretation cast a valuable light upon schizophrenic
forms of expression.
As early as 1900 1 had read Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.
1 had laid the book aside, at the time, because I did not yet grasp it.
At the age of twenty-five I lacked the experience to appreciate Freud’s theories.
Such experience did not come until later.
In 1903 1 once more took up The Interpretation of Dreams and discovered how it all linked up with my own ideas.
What chiefly interested me was the application to dreams of the concept of the repression mechanism, which was derived from the psychology of the neuroses.
This was important to me because I had frequently encountered repressions in my experiments with word association; in response to certain stimulus words the patient either had no associative answer or was unduly slow in his reaction time.
As was later discovered, such a disturbance occurred each time the stimulus word had touched upon a psychic lesion or conflict.
In most cases the patient was unconscious of this.
When questioned about the cause of the disturbance, he would often answer in a peculiarly artificial manner.
My reading of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams showed me that the repression mechanism was at work here, and that the facts I had observed were consonant with his theory.
Thus I was able to corroborate Freud’s line of argument.
The situation was different when it came to the content of the repression.
Here I could not agree with Freud.
He considered the cause of the repression to be a sexual trauma.
From my practice, however, I was familiar with numerous cases of neurosis in which the question of sexuality played a subordinate part, other factors standing in the foreground for example, the problem of social adaptation, of oppression by tragic circumstances of life, prestige considerations, and so on.
Later I presented such cases to Freud; but he would not grant that factors other than sexuality could be the cause.
That was highly unsatisfactory to me.
At the beginning it was not easy for me to assign Freud the proper place in my life, or to take the right attitude toward him.
When I became acquainted with his work I was planning an academic career, and was about to complete a paper that was
intended to advance me at the university.
But Freud was definitely persona non grata in the academic world at the time, and any connection with him would have been damaging in scientific circles.
“Important people” at most mentioned him surreptitiously, and at congresses he was discussed only in the corridors, never on the floor.
Therefore the discovery that my association experiments were in agreement with Freud’s theories was far from pleasant to me.
Once, while I was in my laboratory and reflecting again upon these questions, the devil whispered to me that I would be justified in publishing the results of my experiments and my conclusions without mentioning Freud.
After all, I had worked out my experiments long before I understood his work.
But then I heard the voice of my second personality: “If you do a thing like that, as if you had no knowledge of Freud, it would be a piece of trickery. You cannot build your life upon a lie.”
With that, the question was settled.
From then on I became an open partisan of Freud’s and fought for him.
I first took up the cudgels for Freud at a congress in Munich where a lecturer discussed obsessional neuroses but studiously
forbore to mention the name of Freud.
In 1906, in connection with this incident, I wrote a paper for the Munchner Medizinische Wochenschrift on Freud’s theory of the neuroses, which had contributed a great deal to the understanding of obsessional neuroses.
In response to this article, two German professors wrote to me, warning that if I remained on Freud’s side and continued to defend him, I would be endangering my academic career.
I replied: “If what Freud says is the truth, I am with him. I don’t give a damn for a career if it has to be based on the premise of restricting research and concealing the truth.”
And I went on defending Freud and his ideas.
But on the basis of my own findings I was still unable to feel that all neuroses were caused by sexual repression or sexual traumata.
In certain cases that was so, but not in others.
Nevertheless, Freud had opened up a new path of investigation, and the shocked outcries against him at the time seemed to me absurd.
I had not met with much sympathy for the ideas expressed in “The Psychology of Dementia Praecox.”
In fact, my colleagues laughed at me.
But through this book I came to know Freud.
He invited me to visit him, and our first meeting took place in Vienna in March 1907.
We met at one o’clock in the afternoon and talked virtually without a pause for thirteen hours.
Freud was the first man of real importance I had encountered; in my experience up to that time, no one else could compare with him.
There was nothing the least trivial in his attitude.
I found him extremely intelligent, shrewd, and altogether remarkable.
And yet my first impressions of him remained somewhat tangled; I could not make him out.
What he said about his sexual theory impressed me.
Nevertheless, his words could not remove my hesitations and doubts.
I tried to advance these reservations of mine on several occasions, but each time he would attribute them to my lack of experience.
Freud was right; in those days I had not enough experience to support my objections.
I could see that his sexual theory was enormously important to him, both personally and philosophically.
This impressed me, but I could not decide to what extent this strong emphasis upon sexuality was connected with subjective
prejudices of his, and to what extent it rested upon verifiable experiences.
Above all, Freud’s attitude toward the spirit seemed to me highly questionable.
Wherever, in a person or in a work of art, an expression of spirituality (in the intellectual, not the supernatural sense) came to light, he suspected it, and insinuated that it was repressed sexuality.
Anything that could not be directly interpreted as sexuality he referred to as “psychosexuality.”
I protested that this hypothesis, carried to its logical conclusion, would lead to an annihilating judgment upon culture.
Culture would then appear as a mere farce, the morbid consequence of repressed sexuality.
“Yes,” he assented, “so it is, and that is just a curse of fate against which we are powerless to contend.”
I was by no means disposed to agree, or to let it go at that, but still I did not feel competent to argue it out with him.
There was something else that seemed to me significant at that first meeting.
It had to do with things which I was able to think out and understand only after our friendship was over.
There was no mistaking the fact that Freud was emotionally involved in his sexual theory to an extraordinary degree.
When he spoke of it, his tone became urgent, almost anxious, and all signs of his normally critical and skeptical manner vanished.
A strange, deeply moved expression came over his face, the cause of which I was at a loss to understand.
I had a strong intuition that for him sexuality was a sort of numinosum.
This was confirmed by a conversation which took place some three years later (in 1910), again in Vienna.
I can still recall vividly how Freud said to me, “My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark.”
He said that to me with great emotion, in the tone of a father saying, “And promise me this one thing, my dear son: that you will go to church every Sunday.”
In some astonishment I asked him, “A bulwark against what?”
To which he replied, “Against the black tide of mud” and here he hesitated for a moment, then added “of occultism.”
First of all, it was the words “bulwark” and “dogma” that alarmed me; for a dogma, that is to say, an undisputable confession of faith, is set up only when the aim is to suppress doubts once and for all.
But that no longer has anything to do with scientific judgment; only with a personal power drive.
This was the thing that struck at the heart of our friendship.
I knew that I would never be able to accept such an attitude*
What Freud seemed to mean by “occultism” was virtually everything that philosophy and religion, including the rising contemporary science of parapsychology, had learned about the psyche.
To me the sexual theory was just as occult, that is to say, just as unproven an hypothesis, as many other speculative views.
As I saw it, a scientific truth was a hypothesis which might be adequate for the moment but was not to be preserved as an
article of faith for all time.
Although I did not properly understand it then, I had observed in Freud the eruption of unconscious religious factors.
Evidently he wanted my aid in erecting a barrier against these threatening unconscious contents.
The impression this conversation made upon me added to my confusion; until then I had not considered sexuality as a precious and imperiled concept to which one must remain faithful.
Sexuality evidently meant more to Freud than to other people.
For him it was something to be religiously observed. In the face of such deep convictions one generally becomes shy and reticent.
After a few stammering attempts on my part, the conversation soon came to an end.
I was bewildered and embarrassed.
I had the feeling that I had caught a glimpse of a new, unknown country from which swarms of new ideas flew to meet me.
One thing was clear: Freud, who had always made much of his irreligiosity, had now constructed a dogma; or rather, in the place of a jealous God whom he had lost, he had substituted another compelling image, that of sexuality.
It was no less insistent, exacting, domineering, threatening, and morally ambivalent than the original one.
Just as the psychically stronger agency is given “divine” or “daemonic” attributes, so the “sexual libido” took over the
role of a deus absconditus, a hidden or concealed god.
The advantage of this transformation for Freud was, apparently, that he was able to regard the new numinous principle as scientifically irreproachable and free from all religious taint.
At bottom, however, the numinosity, that is, the psychological qualities of the two rationally incommensurable opposites Yahweh and sexuality remained the same.
The name alone had changed, and with it, of course, the point of view: the lost god had now to be sought below, not above.
But what difference does it make, ultimately, to the stronger agency if it is called now by one name and now by another?
If psychology did not exist, but only concrete objects, the one would actually have been destroyed and replaced by the other.
But in reality, that is to say, in psychological experience, there is not one whit the less of urgency, anxiety, compulsiveness, etc.
The problem still remains: how to overcome or escape our anxiety, bad conscience, guilt, compulsion, unconsciousness, and instinctuality.
If we cannot do this from the bright, idealistic side, then perhaps we shall have better luck by approaching the problem from the dark, biological side.
Like flames suddenly flaring up, these thoughts darted through my mind.
Much later, when I reflected upon Freud’s character, they revealed their significance.
There was one characteristic of his that preoccupied me above all: his bitterness.
It had struck me at our first encounter, but it remained inexplicable to me until I was able to see it in connection with his attitude toward sexuality.
Although, for Freud, sexuality was undoubtedly a numinosum, his terminology and theory seemed to define it exclusively as a biological function.
It was only the emotionality with which he spoke of it that revealed the deeper elements reverberating within him.
Basically, he wanted to teach or so at least it seemed to me that, regarded from within, sexuality included spirituality and had an intrinsic meaning.
But his concretistic terminology was too narrow to express this idea.
He gave me the impression that at bottom he was working against his own goal and against himself; and there is, after all, no harsher bitterness than that of a person who is his own worst enemy.
In his own words, he felt himself menaced by a “black tide of mud” he who more than anyone else had tried to let down his buckets into those black depths.
Freud never asked himself why he was compelled to talk continually of sex, why this idea had taken such possession of him.
He remained unaware that his ”monotony of interpretation” expressed a flight from himself, or from that other side of him which might perhaps be called mystical
So long as he refused to acknowledge that side, he could never be reconciled with himself.
He was blind toward the paradox and ambiguity of the contents of the unconscious, and did not know that everything which arises out of the unconscious has a top and a bottom, an inside and an outside.
When we speak of the outside and that is what Freud did we are considering only half of the whole, with the result that a countereffect arises out of the unconscious.
There was nothing to be done about this one-sidedness of Freud’s.
Perhaps some inner experience of his own might have opened his eyes; but then his intellect would have reduced any such experience to “mere sexuality” or “psychosexuality.”
He remained the victim of the one aspect he could recognize, and for that reason I see him as a tragic figure; for he was a great man, and what is more, a man in the grip of his daimon.
After that second conversation in Vienna I also understood Alfred Adler’s power hypothesis, to which I had hitherto paid
Like many sons, Adler had learned from his “father” not what the father said, but what he did.
Instantly, the problem of love (Eros) and power came down upon me like a leaden weight.
Freud himself had told me that he had never read Nietzsche; now I saw Freud’s psychology as, so to speak, an adroit move on the part of intellectual history, compensating for Nietzsche’s deification of the power principle.
The problem had obviously to be rephrased not as “Freud versus Adler” but “Freud versus Nietzsche.”
It was therefore, I thought, more than a domestic quarrel in the domain of psychopathology.
The idea dawned on me that Eros and the power drive might be in a sense like the dissident sons of a single father, or the products of a single motivating psychic force which manifested itself empirically in opposing forms, like positive and
negative electrical charges, Eros as a patiens, the power drive as an agens, and vice versa.
Eros makes just as great demands upon the power drive as the latter upon the former.
Where is the one drive without the other?
On the one hand man succumbs to the drive; on the other hand, he tries to master it.
Freud shows how the object succumbs to the drive, and Adler how man uses the drive in order to force his will upon the object.
Nietzsche, helpless in the hands of his destiny, had to create a “superman” for himself. Freud, I concluded, must himself
be so profoundly affected by the power of Eros that he actually wished to elevate it into a dogma aere perennius like a religious numen.
It is no secret that “Zarathustra” is the proclaimer of a gospel, and here was Freud also trying to outdo the church and to canonize a theory.
To be sure, he did not do this too loudly; instead, he suspected me of wanting to be a prophet.
He made his tragic claim and demolished it at the same time.
That is how people usually behave with numinosities, and rightly so, for in one respect they are true, in another untrue.
Numinous experience elevates and humiliates simultaneously.
If Freud had given somewhat more consideration to the psychological truth that sexuality is numinous both a god and a
devil he would not have remained bound within the confines of a biological concept.
And Nietzsche might not have been carried over the brink of the world by his intellectual excesses if he had only held more firmly to the foundations of human existence.
Wherever the psyche is set violently oscillating by a numinous experience, there is a danger that the thread by which one hangs may be torn.
Should that happen, one man tumbles into an absolute affirmation, another into an equally absolute negation, Nirdvandva (freedom from opposites) is the Orient’s remedy for this.
I have not forgotten that.
The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
The numinosum is dangerous because it lures men to extremes, so that a modest truth is regarded as the truth and a minor mistake is equated with fatal error.
Tout passe yesterday’s truth is today’s deception, and yesterday’s false inference may be tomorrow’s revelation.
This is particularly so in psychological matters, of which, if truth were told, we still know very little.
We are still a long way from understanding what it signifies that nothing has any existence unless some small and h, so transitory consciousness has become aware of it.
My conversation with Freud had shown me that he feared that the numinous light of his sexual insights might be extinguished by a ‘”black tide of mud.
Thus a mythological situation had arisen: the struggle between light and darkness.
That explains its numinosity, and why Freud immediately fell back on his dogma as a religious means of defense/In my next book, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, which dealt with the hero’s struggle for freedom, Freud’s curious reaction prompted me to investigate further this archetypal theme and its mythological background.
What with the sexual interpretation on the one hand and the power drive of dogma on the other I was led, over the years, to
a consideration of the problem of typology.
It was necessary to study the polarity and dynamics of the psyche.
And I also embarked upon an investigation extending over several decades of “the black tide of mud of occultism” that is to say, I tried to understand the conscious and unconscious historical assumptions underlying our contemporary psychology.
It interested me to hear Freud’s views on precognition and on parapsychology in general.
When I visited him in Vienna in 1909 I asked him what he thought of these matters.
Because of his materialistic prejudice, he rejected this entire complex of questions as nonsensical, and did so in terms of so shallow a positivism that I had difficulty in checking the sharp retort on the tip of my tongue.
It was some years before he recognized the seriousness of parapsychology and acknowledged the factuality of “occult” phenomena.
While Freud was going on this way, I had a curious sensation.
It was as if my diaphragm were made of iron and were becoming red-hot a glowing vault.
And at that moment there was such a loud report in the bookcase, which stood right next to us, that we both started up in alarm, fearing the thing was going to topple over on us.
I said to Freud: “There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorization phenomenon.”
“Oh come,” he exclaimed. “That is sheer bosh.”
“It is not,” I replied. “You are mistaken, Herr Professor.
And to prove my point I now predict that in a moment there will be another such loud report!”
Sure enough, no sooner had I said the words than the same detonation went off in the bookcase.
To this day I do not know what gave me this certainty.
But I knew beyond all doubt that the report would come again.
Freud only stared aghast at me.
I do not know what was in his mind, or what his look meant.
In any case, this incident aroused his mistrust of me, and I had the feeling that I had done something against him, I never afterward discussed the incident with him.
The year 1909 proved decisive for our relationship.
I had been invited to lecture on the association experiment at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Independently, Freud had also received an invitation, and we decided to travel together.
We met in Bremen, where Ferenczi joined us.
In Bremen the much-discussed incident of Freud’s fainting fit occurred.
It was provoked indirectly by my interest in the “peat-bog corpses.”
I knew that in certain districts of Northern Germany these so-called bog corpses were to be found.
They are the bodies of prehistoric men who either drowned in the marshes or were buried there.
The bog water in which the bodies lie contains humic acid, which consumes the bones and simultaneously tans the skin, so that it and the hair are perfectly preserved.
In essence this is a process of natural mummification, in the course of which the bodies are pressed flat by the weight of the peat.
Such remains are occasionally turned up by peat diggers in Holstein, Denmark, and Sweden.
Having read about these peat-bog corpses, I recalled them when we were in Bremen, but, being a bit muddled, confused
them with the mummies in the lead cellars of the city.
This interest of mine got on Freud’s nerves.
“Why are you so concerned with these corpses?” he asked me several times.
He was inordinately vexed by the whole thing and during one such conversation, while we were having dinner together, he suddenly fainted.
Afterward he said to me that he was convinced that all this chatter about corpses meant I had death-wishes toward him.
I was more than surprised by this interpretation.
I was alarmed by the intensity of his fantasies so strong that, obviously, they could cause him to faint.
In a similar connection Freud once more suffered a fainting fit in my presence.
This was during the Psychoanalytic Congress in Munich in 1912.
Someone had turned the conversation to Amenophis IV (Ikhnaton).
The point was made that as a result of his negative attitude toward his father he had destroyed his father’s cartouches on the steles, and that at the back of his great creation of a monotheistic religion there lurked a father complex.
This sort of thing irritated me, and I attempted to argue that Amenophis had been a creative and profoundly religious
person whose acts could not be explained by personal resistances toward his father.
On the contrary, I said, he had held the memory of his father in honor, and his zeal for destruction had been directed only against the name of the god Amon, which he had everywhere annihilated; it was also chiseled out of the cartouches of his father Amon-hotep.
Moreover, other pharaohs had replaced the names of their actual or divine forefathers on monuments and statues by their own, feeling that they had a right to do so since they were incarnations of the same god.
Yet they, I pointed out, had inaugurated neither a new style nor a new religion.
At that moment Freud slid off his chair in a faint.
Everyone clustered helplessly around him.
I picked him up, carried him into the next room, and laid him on a sofa.
As I was carrying him, he half came to, and I shall never forget the look he cast at me.
In his weakness he looked at me as if I were his father.
Whatever other causes may have contributed to this faint the atmosphere was very tense the fantasy of father-murder was
common to both cases.
At the time Freud frequently made allusions indicating that he regarded me as his successor.
These hints were embarrassing to me, for I knew that I would never be able to uphold his views properly, that is to say, as he intended them.
On the other hand I had not yet succeeded in working out my criticisms in such a manner that they would carry any weight with him, and my respect for him was too great for me to want to force him to come finally to grips with my own ideas.
I was by no means charmed by the thought of being burdened, virtually over my own head, with the leadership of a party.
In the first place that sort of thing was not in my nature; in the second place I could not sacrifice my intellectual independence; and in the third place such luster was highly unwelcome to me since it would only deflect me from my real aims.
I was concerned with investigating truth, not with questions of personal prestige.
The trip to the United States which began in Bremen in 1909 lasted for seven weeks.
We were together every day, and analyzed each other’s dreams.
At the time I had a number of important ones, but Freud could make nothing of them.
I did not regard that as any reflection upon him, for it sometimes happens to the best analyst that he is unable to unlock the riddle of a dream.
It was a human failure, and I would never have wanted to discontinue our dream analyses on that account.
On the contrary, they meant a great deal to me, and I found our relationship exceedingly valuable.
I regarded Freud as an older, more mature and experienced personality, and felt like a son in that respect.
But then something happened which proved to be a severe blow to the whole relationship.
Freud had a dream I would not think it right to air the problem it involved.
I interpreted it as best I could, but added that a great deal more could be said about it if he would supply me with some additional details from his private life, Freud’s response to these words was a curious look a look of the utmost suspicion.
Then he said, “But I cannot risk my authority!”
At that moment he lost it altogether.
That sentence burned itself into my memory; and in it the end of our relationship was already foreshadowed, Freud was placing personal authority above truth.
As I have already said, Freud was able to interpret the dreams I was then having only incompletely or not at all.
They were dreams with collective contents, containing a great deal of symbolic material.
One in particular was important to me, for it led me for the first time to the concept of the “collective unconscious”
and thus formed a kind of prelude to my book, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido.
This was the dream. I was in a house I did not know, which had two stories. It was “my house.”
I found myself in the upper story, where there was a kind of salon furnished with fine old pieces in rococo style.
On the walls hung a number of precious old paintings.
I wondered that this should be my house, and thought, “Not bad.”
But then it occurred to me that I did not know what the lower floor looked like.
Descending the stairs, I reached the ground floor.
There everything was much older, and I realized that this part of the house must date from about the fifteenth or sixteenth century.
The furnishings were medieval; the floors were of red brick.
Everywhere it was rather dark.
I went from one room to another, dunking, “Now I really must explore the whole house.”
I came upon a heavy door, and opened it.
Beyond it, I discovered a stone stairway that led down into the cellar.
Descending again, I found myself in a beautifully vaulted room which looked exceedingly ancient.
Examining die walls, I discovered layers of brick among the ordinary stone blocks, and chips of brick in the mortar.
As soon as I saw this I knew that the walls dated from Roman times.
My interest by now was intense.
I looked more closely at the floor.
It was of stone slabs, and in one of these I discovered a ring.
When I pulled it, the stone slab lifted, and again I saw a stairway of narrow stone steps leading down into the depths.
These, too, I descended, and entered a low cave cut into the rock.
Thick dust lay on the floor, and in the dust were scattered bones and broken pottery, like remains of a primitive culture.
I discovered two human skulls, obviously very old and half disintegrated.
Then I awoke.
What chiefly interested Freud in this dream were the two skulls.
He returned to them repeatedly, and urged me to find a wish in connection with them.
What did I think about these skulls? And whose were they?
I knew perfectly well, of course, what he was driving at: that secret death-wishes were concealed in the dream.
“But what does he really expect of me?” I thought to myself. Toward whom would I have death-wishes?
I felt violent resistance to any such interpretation.
I also had some intimation of what the dream might really mean.
But I did not then trust my own judgment, and wanted to hear Freud’s opinion.
I wanted to learn from him.
Therefore I submitted to his intention and said, “My wife and my sister-in-law” after all, I had to name someone whose death was worth the wishing!
I was newly married at the time and knew perfectly well that there was nothing within myself which pointed to such wishes.
But I would not have been able to present to Freud my own ideas on an interpretation of the dream without encountering
incomprehension and vehement resistance.
I did not feel up to quarreling with him, and I also feared that I might lose his friendship if I insisted on my own point of view.
On the other hand, I wanted to know what he would make of my answer, and what his reaction would be if I deceived him by saying something that suited his theories.
And so I told him a lie.
I was quite aware that my conduct was not above reproach, but la guerre, comme a la guerre!
It would have been impossible for me to afford him any insight into my mental world.
The gulf between it and his was too great.
In fact Freud seemed greatly relieved by my reply.
I saw from this that he was completely helpless in dealing with certain kinds of dreams and had to take refuge in his doctrine.
I realized that it was up to me to find out the real meaning of the dream.
It was plain to me that the house represented a kind of image of the psyche that is to say, of my then state of consciousness,
with hitherto unconscious additions.
Consciousness was represented by the salon.
It had an inhabited atmosphere, in spite of its antiquated style.
The ground floor stood for the first level of the unconscious.
The deeper I went, the more alien and the darker the scene became.
In the cave, I discovered remains of a primitive culture, that is, the world of the primitive man within myself a world
which can scarcely be reached or illuminated by consciousness.
The primitive psyche of man borders on the life of the animal soul, just as the caves of prehistoric times were usually inhabited by animals before men laid claim to them.
During this period I became aware of how keenly I felt the difference between Freud’s intellectual attitude and mine, I had
grown up in the intensely historical atmosphere of Basel at the end of the nineteenth century, and had acquired, thanks to
reading the old philosophers, some knowledge of the history of psychology.
When I thought about dreams and the contents of the unconscious, I never did so without making historical comparisons; in my student days I always used Krug’s old dictionary of philosophy.
I was especially familiar with the writers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
Theirs was the world which had formed the atmosphere of my first-story salon.
By contrast, I had the impression that Freud’s intellectual history began with Buchner, Moleschott, Du Bois-Reymond, and
The dream pointed out that there were further reaches to the state of consciousness I have just described: the long uninhabited ground floor in medieval style, then the Roman cellar, and finally the prehistoric cave.
These signified past times and passed stages of consciousness.
Certain questions had been much on my mind during the days preceding this dream.
They were: On what premises is Freudian psychology founded? To what category of human thought does it belong? What is the relationship of its almost exclusive personalism to general historical assumptions?
My dream was giving me the answer.
It obviously pointed to the foundations of cultural history a history of successive layers of consciousness.
My dream thus constituted a kind of structural diagram of the human psyche; it postulated something of an altogether impersonal nature underlying that psyche.
It “clicked,” as the English have it and the dream became for me a guiding image which in the days to come was to be corroborated to an extent I could not at first suspect.
It was my first inkling of a collective a priori beneath the personal psyche.
This I first took to be the traces of earlier modes of functioning.
Later, with increasing experience and on the basis of more reliable knowledge, I recognized them as forms of instinct, that is, as archetypes.
I was never able to agree with Freud that the dream is a “facade” behind which its meaning lies hidden a meaning already
known but maliciously, so to speak, withheld from consciousness.
To me dreams are a part of nature, which harbors no intention to deceive, but expresses something as best it can, just as a
plant grows or an animal seeks its food as best it can.
These forms of life, too, have no wish to deceive our eyes, but we may deceive ourselves because our eyes are shortsighted.
Or we hear amiss because our ears are rather deaf but it is not our ears that wish to deceive us.
Long before I met Freud I regarded the unconscious, and dreams, which are its direct exponents, as natural processes to which no arbitrariness can be attributed, and above all no legerdemain.
I knew no reasons for the assumption that the tricks of consciousness can be extended to the natural processes of the unconscious.
On the contrary, daily experience taught me what intense resistance the unconscious opposes to the tendencies of the conscious mind.
The dream of the house had a curious effect upon me: it revived my old interest in archaeology.
After I had returned to Zurich I took up a book on Babylonian excavations, and read various works on myths.
In the course of this reading I came across Friedrich Creuzer’s Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Volker and that fired me!
I read like mad, and worked with feverish interest through a mountain of mythological material, then through the Gnostic writers, and ended in total confusion.
I found myself in a state of perplexity similar to the one I had experienced at the clinic when I tried to understand the meaning of psychotic states of mind.
It was as if I were in an imaginary madhouse and were beginning to treat and analyze all the centaurs, nymphs, gods, and goddesses in Creuzer’s book as though they were my patients.
While thus occupied I could not help but discover the close relationship between ancient mythology and the psychology of primitives, and this led me to an intensive study of the latter.
In the midst of these studies I came upon the fantasies of a young American altogether unknown to me, Miss Miller.
The material had been published by my revered and fatherly friend, Theodore Flournoy, in the Archives de Psychologie (Geneva).
I was immediately struck by the mythological character of the fantasies.
They operated like a catalyst upon the stored-up and still disorderly ideas within me.
Gradually, there formed out of them, and out of the knowledge of myths I had acquired, my book Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido.
While I was working on this book, I had dreams which presaged the forthcoming break with Freud.
One of the most significant had its scene in a mountainous region on the Swiss-Austrian border.
It was toward evening, and I saw an elderly man in the uniform of an Imperial Austrian customs official.
He walked past, somewhat stooped, without paying any attention to me.
His expression was peevish, rather melancholic and vexed.
There were other persons present, and someone informed me that the old man was not really there, but was the ghost of a customs official who had died years ago.
“He is one of those who still couldn’t die properly.”
That was the first part of the dream.
I set about analyzing this dream.
In connection with “customs” I at once thought of the word “censorship.”
In connection with “border” I thought of the border between consciousness and the unconscious on the one hand, and between Freud’s views and mine on the other.
The extremely rigorous customs examination at the border seemed to me an allusion to analysis.
At a border suitcases are opened and examined for contraband.
In the course of this examination, unconscious assumptions are discovered.
As for the old customs official, his work had obviously brought him so little that was pleasurable and satisfactory that he took a sour view of the world.
I could not refuse to see the analogy with Freud.
At that time Freud had lost much of his authority for me.
But he still meant to me a superior personality, upon whom I projected the father, and at the time of the dream this projection
was still far from eliminated.
Where such a projection occurs, we are no longer objective; we persist in a state of divided judgment.
On the one hand we are dependent, and on the other we have resistances.
When the dream took place I still thought highly of Freud, but at the same time I was critical of him.
This divided attitude is a sign that I was still unconscious of the situation and had not come to any resolution of it.
This is characteristic of all projections.
The dream urged upon me the necessity of clarifying this situation.
Under the impress of Freud’s personality I had, as far as possible, cast aside my own judgments and repressed my criticisms.
That was the prerequisite for collaborating with him. I had told myself, “Freud is far wiser and more experienced than you.
For the present you must simply listen to what he says and learn from him.”
And then, to my own surprise, I found myself dreaming of him as a peevish official of the Imperial Austrian monarchy, as a defunct and still walking ghost of a customs inspector.
Could that be the death-wish which Freud had insinuated I felt toward him?
I could find no part of myself that normally might have had such a wish, for I wanted at all costs to be able to work with Freud, and, in a frankly egotistic manner, to partake of his wealth of experience.
His friendship meant a great deal to me.
I had no reason for wishing him dead.
But it was possible that the dream could be regarded as a corrective, as a compensation or antidote for my conscious high opinion and admiration.
Therefore the dream recommended a rather more critical attitude toward Freud.
I was distinctly shocked by it, although the final sentence of the dream seemed to me an allusion to Freud’s potential immortality.
The dream had not reached its end with the episode of the customs official; after a hiatus came a second and far more
I was in an Italian city, and it was around noon, between twelve and one o’clock.
A fierce sun was beating down upon the narrow streets.
The city was built on hills and reminded me of a particular part of Basel, the Kohlenberg.
The little streets which lead down into the valley, the Birsigtal, that runs through the city, are partly flights of steps. In the dream, one such stairway descended to Barfiisserplatz.
The city was Basel, and yet it was also an Italian city, something like Bergamo.
It was summertime; the blazing sun stood at the zenith, and everything was bathed in an intense light.
A crowd came streaming toward me, and I knew that the shops were closing and people were on their way home to dinner.
In the midst of this stream of people walked a knight in full armor.
He mounted the steps toward me.
He wore a helmet of the kind that is called a basinet, with eye slits, and chain armor.
Over this was a white tunic into which was woven, front and back, a large red cross.
One can easily imagine how I felt: suddenly to see in a modern city, during the noonday rush hour, a crusader coming toward
What struck me as particularly odd was that none of the many persons walking about seemed to notice him.
No one turned his head or gazed after him.
It was as though he were completely invisible to everyone but me.
I asked myself what this apparition meant, and then it was as if someone answered me but there was no one there to speak: “Yes, this is a regular apparition.
The knight always passes by here between twelve and one o’clock, and has been doing so for a very long time [for centuries, I gathered] and everyone knows about it.”
The knight and the customs official were contrasting figures.
The customs official was shadowy, someone who “still couldn’t die properly” a fading apparition.
The knight, on the other hand, was full of life and completely real.
The second part of the dream was numinous in the extreme, whereas the scene on the border had been prosaic and in itself not impressive; I had been struck only by my reflections upon it.
In the period following these dreams I did a great deal of thinking about the mysterious figure of the knight.
But it was only much later, after I had been meditating on the dream for a long time, that I was able to get some idea of its meaning.
Even in the dream, I knew that the knight belonged to the twelfth century.
That was the period when alchemy was beginning and also the quest for the Holy Grail.
The stories of the Grail had been of the greatest importance to me ever since I read them, at the age of fifteen, for the first time.
I had an inkling that a great secret still lay hidden behind those stories.
Therefore it seemed quite natural to me that the dream should conjure up the world of the Knights of the Grail and their quest
for that was, in the deepest sense, my own world, which had scarcely anything to do with Freud’s.
My whole being was seeking for something still unknown which might confer meaning upon the banality of life.
To me it was a profound disappointment that all the efforts of the probing mind had apparently succeeded in finding nothing
more in the depths of the psyche than the all too familiar and “all-too-human” limitations.
I had grown up in the country, among peasants, and what I was unable to learn in the stables I found out from the Rabelaisian wit and the untrammeled fantasies of our peasant folklore.
Incest and perversions were no remarkable novelties to me, and did not call for any special explanation.
Along with criminality, they formed part of the black lees that spoiled the taste of life by showing me only too plainly the ugliness and meaninglessness of human existence.
That cabbages thrive in dung was something I had always taken for granted.
In all honesty I could discover no helpful insight in such knowledge.
“It’s just that all of those people are city folks who know nothing about nature and the human stable,” I thought, sick and tired of these ugly matters.
People who know nothing about nature are of course neurotic, for they are not adapted to reality.
They are too naive, like children, and it is necessary to tell them the facts of life, so to speak to make it plain to diem that they are human beings like all others.
Not that such enlightenment will cure neurotics; they can only regain their health when they climb up out of the mud of the commonplace.
But they are only too fond of lingering in what they have earlier repressed.
How are they ever to emerge if analysis does not make them aware of something different and better, when even theory holds them fast in it and offers them nothing more than the rational or “reasonable” injunction to abandon such childishness?
That is precisely what they cannot do, and how should they be able to if they do not discover something to stand on?
One form of life cannot simply be abandoned unless it is exchanged for another.
As for a totally rational approach to life, that is, as experience shows, impossible, especially when a person is by nature as unreasonable as a neurotic.
I now realized why Freud’s personal psychology was of such burning interest to me.
I was eager to know the truth about his “reasonable solution,” and I was prepared to sacrifice a good deal in order to obtain the answer.
Now I felt that I was on the track of it.
Freud himself had a neurosis, no doubt diagnosable and one with highly troublesome symptoms, as I had discovered on our voyage to America.
Of course he had taught me that everybody is somewhat neurotic, and that we must practice tolerance.
But I was not at all inclined to content myself with that; rather, I wanted to know how one could escape having a neurosis.
Apparently neither Freud nor his disciples could understand what it meant for the theory and practice of psychoanalysis
if not even the master could deal with his own neurosis.
When, then, Freud announced his intention of identifying theory and method and making them into some kind of dogma, I could no longer collaborate with him; there remained no choice for me but to withdraw.
When I was working on my book about the libido and approaching the end of the chapter “The Sacrifice,” I knew in
advance that its publication would cost me my friendship with Freud.
For I planned to set down in it my own conception of incest, the decisive transformation of the concept of libido, and various other ideas in which I differed from Freud.
To me incest signified a personal complication only in the rarest cases.
Usually incest has a highly religious aspect, for which reason tie incest theme plays a decisive part in almost all cosmogonies and in numerous myths.
But Freud clung to the literal interpretation of it and could not grasp the spiritual significance of incest as a symbol.
I knew that he would never be able to accept any of my ideas on this subject.
I spoke with my wife about this, and told her of my fears.
She attempted to reassure me, for she thought that Freud would magnanimously raise no objections, although he might not accept my views.
I myself was convinced that he could not do so.
For two months I was unable to touch my pen, so tormented was I by the conflict.
Should I keep my thoughts to myself, or should I risk the loss of so important a friendship?
At last I resolved to go ahead with the writing and it did indeed cost me Freud’s friendship.
After the break with Freud, all my friends and acquaintances dropped away.
My book was declared to be rubbish; I was a mystic, and that settled the matter.
Riklin and Maeder alone stuck by me.
But I had foreseen my isolation and harbored no illusion about the reactions of my so-called friends.
That was a point I had thoroughly considered beforehand.
I had known that everything was at stake, and that I had to- take a stand for my convictions.
I realized that the chapter, “The Sacrifice” meant my own sacrifice.
Having reached this insight, I was able to write again, even though I knew that my ideas would go uncomprehended.
In retrospect I can say that I alone logically pursued the two problems which most interested Freud: the problem of “archaic
vestiges/’ and that of sexuality.
It is a widespread error to imagine that I do not see the value of sexuality.
On the contrary, it plays a large part in my psychology as an essential though not the sole expression of psychic wholeness.
But my main concern has been to investigate, over and above its personal significance and biological function, its spiritual aspect and its numinous meaning, and thus to explain what Freud was so fascinated by but was unable to grasp.
My thoughts on this subject are contained in “The Psychology of the Transference” and the Mysterium Coniunctionis.
Sexuality is of the greatest importance as the expression of the chthonic spirit.
That spirit is the “other face of God,” the dark side of the God-image.
The question of the chthonic spirit has occupied me ever since I began to delve into the world of alchemy.
Basically, this interest was awakened by that early conversation with Freud, when, mystified, I felt how deeply stirred he was by the phenomenon of sexuality.
Freud’s greatest achievement probably consisted in taking neurotic patients seriously and entering into their peculiar individual psychology.
He had the courage to let the case material speak for itself, and in this way was able to penetrate into the real psychology of his patients.
He saw with the patient’s eyes, so to speak, and so reached a deeper understanding of mental illness than had hitherto been possible.
In this respect he was free of bias, courageous, and succeeded in overcoming a host of prejudices.
Like an Old Testament prophet, he undertook to overthrow false gods, to rip the veils away from a mass of dishonesties
and hypocrisies, mercilessly exposing the rottenness of the contemporary psyche.
He did not falter in the face of the unpopularity such an enterprise entailed.
The impetus which he gave to our civilization sprang from his discovery of an avenue to the unconscious.
By evaluating dreams as the most important source of information concerning the unconscious processes, he gave back to mankind a tool that had seemed irretrievably lost.
He demonstrated empirically the presence of an unconscious psyche which had hitherto existed only as a philosophical postulate, in particular in the philosophies of C. G. Cams and Eduard von Hartmann.
It may well be said that the contemporary cultural consciousness has not yet absorbed into its general philosophy the
idea of the unconscious and all that it means, despite the fact that modern man has been confronted with this idea for more
than half a century.
The assimilation of the fundamental insight that psychic life has two poles still remains a task for the future. ~Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Pages 146-169