LECTURE IX 20 March 1929
We haven’t finished the collective symbolism of the last dream.
But first are there any questions from the last seminar?
Mr. Gibb: What about the fact that the dreamer’s wife brings in the bread, and not he himself?
Dr. Jung: Yes that is important, it belongs to the personal part of the dream.
Mr. Gibb: His wife in reality is rather apathetic, why does she bring in the food in the dream?
Dr. Jung: In the patient’s associations he explains this by saying that his wife brought the wrong food, so Eros goes away.
Mr. Gibb: The wife seems to have brought a considerable variety of food.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the statement of the dream is against this fact.
You-remember I brought that that point in the last seminar.
The wife brought the white bread too, which the child ate, so the husband’s statement is not quite just.
We had better go through the dream again.
This is a difficult dream because there are two very different elements in it, first, the personal concrete situation of the dreamer, the lack of sex, of Eros in his marriage.
But secondly there is something else introduced: the supernatural intervention which complicates the personal concrete aspect of the situation.
On the personal level it is apparently an insoluble problem.
Often people who suffer from certain symptoms that appear to be personal are not able to solve their problems on that level, because their importance is due to a collective fact.
A personal situation can be upset by the general conviction that the things which cause the particular problem ought to be so and so.
So long as people suffer from the idea that certain situations are due to their own personal mistakes they cannot be corrected.
It is as though they would build a house lightly and there comes a very cold winter so that the house cannot be heated properly; they think it was their fault, in the way they built the house, while
the real difficulty is that the winter was unusually cold.
It is not their fault.
The same thing is true of opinions.
General convictions can be the cause of individual trouble.
People in India have queer religious ideas that are not at all hygienic, so their individual troubles are due to the general mistake.
If you ask the people why they share such ideas, you ask them why they are moral and religious, because these ideas are their religion.
They injure themselves by a sort of idealistic attitude.
The good which must be considered as a virtue may be the cause of the worst consequences.
The very thing that makes it a virtue produces the unhappy consequences.
In the interpretation of his dream, if we do not consider the collective character of the Eros symbolism we cannot understand it.
We will try to get as far as we can with the personal interpretation.
You remember that the dreamer is in an intimate situation in the bedroom with his wife.
Then the supernatural comes in.
The door opens and no one enters.
But when the man goes into the next room there is the little naked boy.
He brings the boy into the bedroom, and thus far one could say surely love is lacking; but that is not so, for in a way he loves his wife, and his wife loves him.
It is sex that does not work.
Ordinarily people make little difference between sex and love and the two words are interchangeable. “Faire l’amour” in France means having sexual intercourse.
So one could say that the Eros figure in the dream is sex, because that is obviously what is lacking in the marriage.
Yet when the man embraces the boy he notices that his feeling is not sexual, he feels the satisfaction of a different kind of love.
The dream points this out, therefore the boy cannot be sex.
Then comes the statement in the dream that the wife is bringing something for the child to eat, mostly white and black bread, and he refuses the black bread, but eats the white.
Then the dreamer assumes that the child goes away because his wife has not given him the right kind of food.
ln his assumption that the boy means sex, he can say that, as his wife is rather negative in that respect, she does not give the right kind of food to Eros and so he goes away.
Obviously his personal interpretation gets him nowhere, so we must go into the dream more deeply.
First of all you remember that I have told you that this patient is a thinking type, there.fo re he makes interpretative associations.
It is the only way for his type to associate.
Some analysts refuse such interpretations and say to their patients, “You must give simple facts, not explanations.”
If a thinking type tries to give this kind of associations he will get way off and not connect the right facts at all, and this will falsify his associations.
So you must accept his explanatory way, his associations may not fit, but that is true of the irrational type as well; they may give facts and feelings that lead the analyst
astray, he must take all this into account.
The dreamer does however associate the little naked boy with an antique figure, which we can call Eros; but that is a Greek idea that is capable of many interpretations, it cannot be taken as sex alone.
The man’s feeling in the dream is a feeling of love.
He says in his associations, “There was no sex in it at all,” so even in his dream he expected something sexual. That is to be expected in the unnatural relation with his wife, his nonsexual relation.
The man really loves his wife as he understands love, and his wife loves him; you cannot expect of people anything beyond their understanding.
The man does as much as he can do with the exception of sex.
The dream says that the wife is doing what she can to feed the child, so his explanation that his wife does not give the child the proper food does not apply at all.
We could rather conclude from the dream that his wife is doing as well as he is.
He and his wife are together in their room at night, and a miraculous situation develops, the door opens and no one comes in.
This would make even the most hardboiled intellectual shiver but the man courageously goes into that room and finds the boy and brings him over into the bedroom, then his wife
does her share and brings the child food.
This shows hospitality in the true primitive form, but it does not work either, and the child disappears out of the window.
It is as though he said to them, “You are both doing what you can, but sex doesn’t work.”
So this boy is something else. What is he?
He is not sex because the facts of the dream contradict it.
He may be love, he surely is not sex alone.
We have another hint in the dream which helps: the boy is naked, why should he be?
The dreamer says that it is the traditional way in which Eros is represented, hence his association points to the idea of a deity.
Do not be alarmed when I speak of a deity.
People think that with a metaphysical hook I am getting something down from Olympus.
Thinking a thing does not mean that it is true, nor that it exists.
We can think an hypothesis.
We are here concerned with an idea, an inherited psychical fact.
The tendency of the mind is to function as it always has functioned, and it is far more probable that it will continue to function as it did five or ten thousand years ago, rather than in a way it never has functioned.
Those ideas that have been alive through the centuries are most likely to return and to be operative.
They are archetypes, the historical way of functioning, and so the general way.
Meteorologists infer weather prognoses according to what the last few days have brought; when there is a series of bad days your most probable prognosis for the next day will be that it will be bad again.
Continuity is natural from inertia, and so it is with our mentality.
When the mind of man has functioned in the same way for centuries it is most probable that it will continue to function in the same way.
When the dream introduces a deity to the dreamer’s consciousness, it means nothing to him except a sort of figure of speech.
I can say of a wine, “Isn’t it divine,” as a sort of speech metaphor, an exaggerated way of praising the wine; it doesn’t mean that the god dwells in it.
And so Eros is here introduced in a metaphorical way, as a poetic personification of the thing called love.
Yet to the unconscious the concept of the coming in of a deity is a divine fact with all the paraphernalia of the deity.
When the idea of deity appears in the functioning of the mind, what the Greeks called the dei