Jung: His Life and His Work

 

The First World War  1914–1918

Although Jung was profoundly moved by the suffering and terror that had broken over Europe, he was naturally much relieved when he got back to his home on the lake after his difficult journey because the fear concerning his own sanity had been cast off.

This fear, of course, had hampered him in his task of exploring the unconscious, but as he said:

“Now my task was clear: I had to try to understand what had happened and to what extent my own experience coincided with that of mankind in general. Therefore my first obligation was to probe the depths of my own psyche . . . . This work took precedence over everything else.”

It will probably be difficult for those who have had no experience of the “depths of their own psyche” to understand what a perilous adventure this represents.

To return to the diagram on page 17, Jung was now engaged in exploring the lower levels common to all mankind.

Although he was by no means the first to enter these layers, they had not yet been taken into account by contemporary psychology, which at that time had stopped short at the first layer under consciousness, the layer Jung afterward called the “personal unconscious.”

He did not know it at that time, but a well-known compatriot of his, Paracelsus, had already explored those layers nearly four hundred years before.

Almost thirty years after the time we are considering, Jung gave two lectures on Paracelsus on the occasion of the four-hundredth anniversary of the death in 1541 of this famous Swiss doctor and alchemist.

In the second of these, delivered to a crowded hall in Einsiedeln on the evening of October 5, 1941, he said:

 

I do not know how many or how few people today can imagine what “coming to terms with the unconscious” means. I fear they are only too few. But perhaps it will be conceded that the second part of Goethe’s Faust presents only incidentally and in doubtful degree an aesthetic problem, but primarily and in far greater degree a human one. It was a preoccupation that accompanied the poet right into old age, an alchemical encounter with the unconscious, comparable to the labor Sophiae of Paracelsus. It is on the one hand an endeavour to understand the archetypal world of the psyche, on the other hand a struggle against the sanity-threatening danger of fascination by the measureless heights and depths and paradoxes of psychic truth. The denser, concretistic,

daytime mind here reaches its limits. . . . Here the human mind is confronted with its origins, the archetypes, the finite consciousness with its archaic foundations; the mortal ego, with the immortal Self, Anthropos, purusha, atman, or whatever else be the names that human speculation has given to that collective preconscious state from which the individual ego arose. Kinsman and stranger at once, it recognizes and yet does not recognize that unknown brother who steps towards it, intangible yet real. . . . Here we must feel our way with Paracelsus into a question that was never openly asked before in

our culture, and was never clearly put, partly from sheer unconsciousness, partly from holy dread. Moreover, the secret doctorine of the Anthropos was dangerous because it had nothing to do with the teachings of the Church, since from that point of view Christ was a reflection—and only a reflection—of the inner Anthropos. Hence there were a hundred good reasons for disguising this figure in indecipherable secret names.

 

At the time, however, when Jung was exploring the depths of his own psyche, the only parallel journey that he knew of those mentioned in this excerpt was Goethe’s Faust.

 

We know that he had read this great drama from beginning to end while he was still at school and that it had poured into his soul “like a miraculous balm.”

 

But I do not know whether it was ever in his mind during his own “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

I never heard him say that it was, and so far no one whom I have asked did either.

 

I think it is more probable that he realized that the second part of Faust is such a confrontation only after he had studied alchemy, which he did not do until nearly twenty years after the time we are considering.

 

At all events, he told me more than once that the first parallels he found to his own experience were in the Gnostic texts, that is, those reported in the Elenchos of Hippolytus.

 

Before the outbreak of war—in that terribly dark time—Jung had written down his fantasies and learned to hold onto one fantasy and gradually to take an active part in his fantasies himself.

 

Now he made the further discovery that he could talk to the figures he encountered and find out what they wanted to tell him or what they wanted of him.

 

He told me that at this time he made it a rule never to let a figure or figures that he encountered leave until they had told him why they had appeared to him.

 

This requires a tremendous effort, for figures in fantasies are like autonomous figures in dreams and will disappear or change into something else with the utmost ease.

 

But if consciousness concentrates on them sufficiently it is possible to hold them fast.

 

There is a classical example of how this can be done in the fourth book of Homer’s Odyssey.

 

Telemachus, wearied of his home by the outrageous behavior of the suitors of his mother, Penelope, goes out to search for his father, Ulysses, who has not yet returned from Troy.

 

The second place at which he inquires is Sparta, the home of Menelaus.

 

The latter says that he will tell Telemachus without “concealment or reserve every word I heard myself from the infallible lips of the Old Man of the Sea” (Proteus).

 

He then tells him that he (Menelaus) left Troy too quickly, without making the due sacrifices to the gods, so that he found himself becalmed on the island of Pharos, off the mouth of the Nile.

 

Food was short, and Menelaus, knowing only that he “had offended the immortals,” was entirely at a loss how to make reparation.

 

One day while walking on the sands he met a beautiful woman, Eidothee, the daughter of Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea.

 

After chiding him for his inaction, she promised to tell him all he needed to know.

 

She then informed him that the island was the haunt of Proteus, “who owes allegiance to Poseidon and knows the sea in all its depths,” and who could tell him just how he could surmount all his difficulties.

 

But Proteus would have to be forced to do so.

 

Eidothee then explained how this could be done and promised to help Menelaus (thus revealing herself as a most helpful anima figure). Every day at high noon Proteus emerged from “his native salt” and took a midday sleep in the shelter of a cave, having first counted his seals as a shepherd counts his sheep. Menelaus must meet her there with his three best men the next morning, and she then enlightened him as to how to deal with her father.

 

The next morning they met the goddess at dawn.

 

After having scooped out lairs for them in the sand, she covered each with the skin of a freshly flayed seal and gave them sweet-smelling ambrosia to enable them to endure the intolerable stench!

 

Soon the seals came up thick and fast from the sea and lay down all around them.

 

At midday Proteus himself emerged, and after unsuspiciously counting them with the rest of his seals, he lay down to sleep.

 

Following Eidothee’s directions, they first woke him with a shout, then the four strong men held him fast.

 

As the goddess had foreseen, he immediately began a series of transformations: he changed rapidly into a lion, then into a snake, a panther, a giant boar.

 

He even changed into running water and a great tree in leaf.

 

But at last he grew tired of his “magic repertory” and, resuming his original shape, broke into speech.

 

This was the moment for which the goddess had told them to wait, because now at last he was willing to answer questions.

 

He not only told Menelaus to return to Egypt and how then to propitiate the angry gods with the sacrifices he had omitted before (so that he could then sail home with a favorable breeze), but most interesting of all to Telemachus, he unwillingly told him the fate of his countrymen still in Troy, when he himself

left so hurriedly with Helen.

 

The first two he spoke of(including Agamemnon, Menelaus’s brother) had met with disaster, to the great grief of Menelaus.

 

But the third, Odysseus, the father of Telemachus, was still alive, captive on the island of the nymph Calypso.

 

This story shows us most plastically how to deal with the figures we meet on our “confrontation with the unconscious”—almost exactly the method Jung discovered for himself.

 

He told me, for example, that one day at this time, his fantasy led him into a remote valley, evidently inhabited by primitive people.

 

A tall and rather impressive medicine man figure was silently beside him, watching his every step and movement.

 

Jung came on some writing carved on a rock, which he wanted to read, but found that it was in a language quite unknown to him.

 

Since it was also rather illegible, he took a chisel and hammer and began carefully deepening the letters in the stone.

 

The medicine man came close, watching him even more intently, until he suddenly complained that a splinter of stone had got into his eye.

 

He commanded Jung to take it out, but the latter, seeing his opportunity, refused to do so until the medicine man had read and translated the inscription for him!

 

The man was unwilling to do so, but Jung held onto him and waited, just as Menelaus and his companions had done, until at last he read the text of the whole inscription. Then the fantasy ended and everything disappeared.

 

However, Jung could remember and write down the inscription, which was evidently the point of the whole fantasy.

 

Jung had no doubt read the Odyssey, for he learned Greek as well as Latin at the Basel Gymnasium, but he had evidently not noticed the analogy to his own experience.

 

He was, at all events, much struck and interested when Marie-Louise von Franz called his attention to this classical example as a parallel to active imagination.

 

I mention it here because, in my lectures on active imagination, I have found that it helps greatly to show how such figures can be dealt with,

and I hope it might also help the reader to get some idea of what Jung was up against in his exploration of the unconscious.

 

One of his first attempts to talk to such figures was with an old man and a girl who surprised him by telling him that they were Elijah and Salome.

 

Jung thought it the strangest combination, but Elijah assured him that they had belonged together through all eternity.

 

Later he found other examples of such couples in many myths: Klingsor and Kundry, Lao-tzu and the dancing girl, the Gnostic tradition of Simon Magus, who was always with a young girl he had picked up in a brothel who was said to be a reincarnation of Helen of Troy, and many others.

 

Elijah and Salome were accompanied by a large black snake that took a great fancy to Jung.

 

Elijah seemed to Jung the most reasonable and intelligent of the three.

 

This trio was with him for some time and gradually the figure of Philemon developed from Elijah. (We will return later to Philemon, the

most important figure in all Jung’s exploration.)

 

This pair—the young girl with the old man—was destined to have a far-reaching effect on Jung’s fate, for—at much the same time as the fantasy—he made the extraordinary discovery that of all his friends and acquaintances only one young girl was able to follow his extraordinary experiences and to accompany him intrepidly on his Nekyia to the underworld.

 

Toni Wolff was actually only thirteen years younger than Jung.

 

He was only about forty at the time, but, as we know, his schoolfellows at the gymnasium had already called him “Father Abraham,” and I think anyone who knew them both well, and often saw them together, would agree that, while he seemed the prototype of the wise old man, she had a quality of eternal youth.

 

It was anything but easy at first for him to find a modus vivendi by which she could give him her extraordinary gift—it would not be an exaggeration to call it her genius—for companionship in the “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

As we saw in the preceding chapter, Toni Wolff was brought by her mother to Jung because of her depression, accentuated after the sudden death of her father.

 

There had been no preparation for this event, for Herr Wolff was taken ill at his club, was brought home, and died a few hours later.

 

I do not know exactly how long the analysis lasted but I think about three years.

 

It was followed by a period during which they did not see each other at all.

 

Jung had already realized her amazing gift, and now he found that his feeling for Toni added to rather than diminished his affection and devotion for his wife and family.

 

The reality of his family and home were an absolute necessity to him, especially during this time of facing the unconscious, and we must remember that his problem of how to include Toni Wolff in his life fell within the same period.

 

He said on the subject of his family:

 

It was most essential for me to have a normal life in the real world as a counterpoise to that strange inner world. My family and my profession remained the

base to which I could always return, assuring me that I was an actually existing, ordinary person. The unconscious contents could have driven me out of my wits . . .[but family and profession] were actualities which made demands on me and proved to me again and again that I really existed, that I was not a blank page whirling about in the winds of the spirit, like Nietzsche. Nietzsche had lost the ground under his feet because he possessed nothing more than the inner world of his thoughts—which incidentally possessed him more than he it. He was uprooted and hovered above the earth, and therefore he succumbed to exaggeration and irreality. For me, such irreality was the quintessence of horror, for I aimed, after all, at this world and this life. No matter how deeply absorbed and how blown about I was, I always knew that everything I was experiencing was ultimately directed at this real life of mine. I meant to meet its obligations and fulfill its meanings. My watchword was Hic Rhodos, hic salta! Thus my family and my profession always remained a joyful reality, and a guarantee that I also had a normal existence.

 

It seems hard that, just at the time he was tried to the uttermost by his “confrontation with the unconscious,” Jung had also to deal with perhaps the most difficult problem a married man ever has to face: the fact that he can love his wife and another woman simultaneously.

 

But the one problem belonged to the other and they were really two facets of the same problem.

 

Although he had not yet recognized the archetype of the anima, this figure is the nearest to a man of all the inner figures and she is above all the bridge to, and the mediator between, the man and his unconscious.

 

Jung also did not yet know that the anima frequently projects herself into a real woman and that this projection endows that woman with the whole numinous quality of the unconscious—yes, she even has the fascination of a goddess.

 

We have already seen a first appearance of the anima, when Jung was still a boy, in the girl he met near Sachseln on his way back from visiting the hermitage of Niklaus von der Flüe.

 

Although that encounter was only a mild foretaste, yet it had made an indelible impression upon him.

 

It is interesting that on that occasion there was also a connection between the wise old man, Brother Klaus, whose cell he had just visited, and the young girl whom he met immediately afterward.

 

Toni Wolff was perhaps—of all the “anima types” I have ever known—the most fitted to carry the projection of this figure.

 

She was not beautiful in the strictly classical sense, but she could look far more than beautiful, more like a goddess than a mortal woman. She had an

extraordinary genius for accompanying men—and some women too, in a different way—whose destiny it was to enter the unconscious.

 

Indeed, she learned of this gift through her relation to Jung, but she afterward showed the same gift when she became an analyst; in fact, it was her

most valuable quality as an analyst.

 

Curiously enough, she did not ever enter the unconscious on her own account.

 

Many years afterward—during Jung’s long illness in 1944—she asked me if I could teach her how to do active imagination, because she had never really done it at all! (I was amazed, for I knew she had helped many people with the method and as a rule it is quite impossible to do this unless one has already gone through the experience oneself.)

 

But I soon found out that not only had she no ability to do active imagination, she had not the slightest wish (except for a dim feeling that she really ought to) to experience the unconscious at first hand.

 

She had no doubt whatever of its objective existence, but no inclination to go into it herself.

 

She could unhesitatingly accept whatever genuine experiences other people had there, and give them the firmest support by her calm attitude toward the most irrational, even incredibly strange, phenomenon.

 

I have never seen anyone else in the least like her in this respect, but then, people with a touch of genius are usually unique.

 

During the time of separation, Toni fell back into her original depression, not so badly, but unmistakably.

 

Jung still hesitated to see more of her outside analysis, however, for he knew how drawn he was to her and he was most reluctant to inflict any suffering on his wife and family.

 

He once told Marie-Louise von Franz and me that, curiously enough, it was his family that had given him the final impetus to seek a modus vivendi, whatever it might cost.

 

He knew from his practice how necessary this was, for he had already seen all too often the untold damage that fathers can do to their daughters by not living the whole of their erotic life, which is seldom completely contained in marriage, and the father’s unlived life is then unconsciously displaced

onto the daughters.

 

He told us that this fear had kept him awake a whole night, a night during which he slowly realized that if he refused to live the outside attraction that had come to him entirely from the unconscious against his will, he would inevitably ruin his daughters’ Eros.

 

That he succeeded in his endeavor is witnessed by the fact that all of his four daughters married young, which is exceedingly rare when the father is an outstanding personality.

 

Jung was able to succeed in his effort to build his friendship with Toni into his life primarily because of his own scrupulous fairness to all parties.

 

Of course there were the most painful difficulties for everyone concerned, especially before a modus vivendi was reached.

 

Jealousy is a human quality that is never missing in any complete human being, but, as Jung often said: “The kernel of all jealousy is lack of love.”

 

What saved the situation was that there was no “lack of love” in any of the three.

 

Jung was able to give both his wife and Toni a most satisfactory amount, and both women really loved him.

 

Therefore, although for a long while they were at times most painfully jealous of each other, love always won out in the end and prevented any

destructive action on either side.

 

Emma Jung even said years later: “You see, he never took anything from me to give to Toni, but the more he gave her, the more he seemed able to give

me.”

 

Of course, this amazing insight was not reached easily or without suffering, but that it was reached at all is the amazing thing when one thinks of the possessive attitude of most wives.

 

Toni also overcame the besetting sin of so many single women, the desire somehow to destroy the marriage and marry the man herself.

 

Toni told me once it had cost her more than anything in her life to learn that she must not give way to this almost universal feminine instinct. It was a

characteristic of Toni to learn facts slowly—she was an intuitive type—but once she had learned them, she knew them forever and never wavered again.

 

She also realized later that Jung’s unswerving loyalty to his marriage gave her more than she could possibly have had without it.

 

It was of the greatest possible help to Jung to have the companionship of Toni, with her unfailing sympathy and understanding, during the greater part of his “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

He once told me years afterward that even if—as was far from being the case—she had never done anything more for him, he could never forget what she did for him then.

 

He said: “Either she did not love me and was indifferent concerning my fate, or she loved me—as she certainly did—and then it was nothing short of heroism.

 

Such things stand forever, and I shall be grateful to her in all eternity.”

 

I think he was doubtful that he could have survived this most difficult of all journeys had he been entirely alone in it.

 

At all events, in the comparatively few cases when a patient of his evidently had a vocation for having it out with the unconscious and he advised him to attempt the journey into it in active imagination, he always made it a condition of the venture that he have a firm relationship with someone who would understand.

 

(This role is often but not always taken by the analyst.) It is far too dangerous without such a relationship and must never be attempted.

 

Jung’s own account of his “confrontation with the unconscious” can be read in the chapter of that title in Memories, but I should like to remind the reader of a few especially important points.

 

The reader will recall the extraordinary events that occurred in Jung’s home while he was still at Basel University when the seventy-year-old walnut dining table suddenly split, with a loud report, from the .rim to beyond the center, and when a fortnight later the flawless steel bread knife shattered.

 

In 1916 (most of his work on his own unconscious was done in the year before and during World War I) some events of the same kind started taking place in his house at Küsnacht.

 

Blankets were suddenly snatched away, one of his daughters saw a white figure passing through her room and so on.

 

The series culminated one Sunday afternoon when the whole family and the two maids heard the front-door bell ringing frantically. Jung not only heard

it but saw the bell moving.

 

But although they investigated while the bell was still ringing violently, there was no one there.

 

No longer able to stand the impossibly thick atmosphere of the house (felt by everyone in it), Jung went to his study and allowed the unconscious to express

itself through his pen. In three evenings the strange document Septem Sermones ad Mortuosd was produced.

 

He said “As soon as I took up the pen, the whole ghostly assemblage evaporated. The room quieted and the atmosphere cleared. The haunting was over.”

 

This was, I believe, the first time he experienced the fact that such parapsychological phenomena often take place when there is something in the unconscious that is striving, as it were, to become conscious.

 

Later, Jung often experienced such phenomena (loud reports in the furniture, for example) as a pre-stage to a creative effort (usually they occurred before he realized what he was going to write).

 

This is also probably the reason why parapsychological phenomena (in the form of poltergeists) are particularly frequent in the neighborhood of

adolescents who have not yet become conscious of the great change that is taking place in them.

 

One wonders whether the particularly violent phenomena (table and knife) during his time as an undergraduate had anything to do with the fact that he was not yet conscious of his destiny as a psychiatrist and “an explorer of the human soul and its hidden depths.”

 

The fact that the whole uncanny phenomena and thick atmosphere in the house vanished the moment he took up his pen made an enormous impression on Jung.

 

It was a great encouragement in continuing the work on the unconscious, for he saw that any neglect of this affected his whole environment adversely.

 

It was at bottom the same incentive as that which had led him finally to face all the difficulties of his friendship with Toni Wolff: not to accept the promptings of the unconscious had a negative effect on his surroundings.

 

Not that he ever obeyed these blindly, but he learned always to take them seriously and to come to terms with them, taking the point of view of both conscious and unconscious into account.

 

Many years later, but a considerable time before Jung went to India, a highly cultivated Indian told him that his own guru was Shankaracharya, the commentator on the Vedas who died centuries ago.

 

Jung then discovered that, although most Indians have a living guru, there are always some who have a spirit for their teacher.

 

This was one of those confirmations of his own experience during the years of his “confrontation with the unconscious” which were always so welcome to Jung: when you have experiences that most Europeans condemn right away as “mystical” or even as crazy, it is an enormous comfort to find other people who, entirely independently, have had exactly the same experience, and in this case even to find that in cultured Indian circles it is, or was then in the early thirties, regarded as just as natural to have a spirit teacher as to be the pupil of a living guru.

 

This had been Jung’s experience exactly.

 

He would have been only too glad to have a living guide to the unconscious.

 

He had clung long to the hope that Freud would be such a guide—this was perhaps the real reason he had such difficulty in sacrificing the relationship—but from the beginning Freud’s “attitude toward the spirit seemed highly questionable.”

 

As he slowly learned that there was nothing to be done about this one-sided attitude, he was forced to turn to the unconscious itself and to find guidance in it. (Indispensable as Toni Wolff’s never-failing sympathy and understanding were to him, she had, of course, neither the experience nor the knowledge to be in any way a guide.)

 

He found this guidance in a figure he called Philemon, who slowly developed out of the original figure of Elijah and who taught him far more about the

unconscious than any of the other figures he encountered.

 

Philemon was, in short, a spiritual guru, exactly similar to those found in India, but at least fifteen years before Jung had any idea of the existence of the latter.

 

The main thing Philemon taught him, which really gave him the key to his whole psychology, was the reality of the psyche.

 

He did this in a very plastic way.

 

He told him that he (Jung) regarded his own thoughts as if he had made them himself (which is indeed the usual Western prejudice).

 

But Philemon said that to him thoughts were much more like animals in the forest or people in a room and added:

 

“If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.”

 

It was through Philemon that Jung learned the objectivity and reality of the psyche, its absolutely independent existence.

 

We can explore it, but we can influence it only in an exceedingly limited degree, in fact often not at all.

 

I think this is a crucial point, for it is just here that most of the misunderstandings regarding Jungian psychology arise.

 

Investigations of the unconscious are exactly like any other science; you can investigate only what is there, the particular animals that appear in your forest, to borrow Philemon’s illustration.

 

But just as many people walk through forests unaware of the animals that are there (often watching them intently), so many people—even, alas, the great majority—never see or hear anything from the unconscious.

 

It is a general human characteristic for people to assert that what they cannot sense does not exist, so they deny the objective existence of the unconscious.

 

Then they think themselves justified in calling statements of these facts, which they do not see, “mystical,” “esoteric,” anything but the scientific statements they really are.

 

Another vitally important discovery Jung made at this time was the figure of the anima in men.

 

He had long wondered what became of the female genes in a man and the masculine genes in a woman, and of course he knew that the soul of man was usually regarded as feminine.

 

But he first learned practically of the existence of this figure by a sudden interference in his work on the unconscious by a voice asserting that what he was doing was art. (He painted a great deal of what he saw, as well as keeping a careful written account.

 

He had considerable innate talent for painting, as anyone who has seen some of his paintings will agree, so a more credulous man might easily have believed this insinuation.)

 

He knew at once beyond doubt that the voice came from a woman, and also immediately wondered if the unconscious was forming a personality in him—not his conscious ego—who wanted to express herself.

 

Unlike the male figures he encountered, this woman seemed to have difficulty in expressing herself—beyond her repeated assertion that it was art—so Jung had to offer her the use of his own means of expression and she immediately took advantage of the offer.

 

Jung said:

 

I was greatly intrigued by the fact that a woman should interfere with me from within. My conclusion was that she must be the “soul,” in the primitive sense, and I began to speculate on the reasons why the name “anima” was given to the soul. Why was it thought of as feminine? Later I came to see that this inner feminine figure plays a typical, or archetypal, role in the unconscious of a man, and I called her the “anima.” The corresponding figure in the unconscious of woman I called the “animus.”  At first it was the negative aspect of the anima that most impressed me. I felt a little awed by her. It was like the feeling of an invisible presence in the room.

 

As a rule it is the negative aspect of the anima or animus that first makes itself felt, usually as a real opposition to what one wants in the conscious.

 

Emma Jung once gave me an example from her own girlhood, before she knew her husband and many years before he discovered either anima or animus. (She also gave me permission to quote this example in my lectures on the animus.)

 

When she was a girl in her teens, her family moved into a new house and for the first time she had a room of her own.

 

She was proud of this room, furnished it with the greatest care, and was especially proud of her toilet set.

 

She was so afraid of something being broken that she allowed no maid in the room but did all the cleaning herself.

 

Then one morning she dropped and broke the jug belonging to her cherished set.

 

Her mother tried to console her by promising an exact replacement, but she was inconsolable for, as she told me, she now knew beyond all doubt that there was something in herself that worked against and not for her.

 

This experience must have helped her to realize the objectivity of the unconscious many years later, for as a sensation type Emma Jung found it especially difficult to accept anything she had not experienced.

 

Jung who also always needed experience before he could accept anything, had this in mind when he made his much quoted remark: “I don’t believe, I know.”

 

John Freeman had asked him (in the B.B.C. television interview in 1959) whether he believed in God.

 

Jung answered with that famous remark, which aroused a veritable storm of comment at the time.

 

But this was exactly how it was: as a child he had naturally been told what to believe; he tried very hard but, like most honest children who have been much connected with the Church, failed entirely; then he experienced God and then of course he knew.

 

So when Philemon told him of the objectivity of the unconscious—that all he had thought about it was more like seeing animals in a forest than any invention of his own—he was able to accept it at once, for it was a plastic description of exactly what he had experienced even before his confrontation with the unconscious.

 

Nothing had been more unexpected, more completely removed from being any invention of his own, than this sudden interference of the anima trying to persuade him that everything he was so carefully recording was art.

 

It is interesting that he tells us that he recognized the voice “as the voice of a patient, a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me. She had become a living figure within my mind.”

 

As far as I know, this was the first time Jung became aware of the phenomenon of projection, and of withdrawing it.

 

Projection is a term that—like the objectivity of the psyche—is commonly misunderstood.

 

People are always inclined to think that we project actively, even consciously.

 

Nothing could be farther from the truth, as the term is used in Jungian psychology.

 

Things we do not see in ourselves project themselves wherever they can find a suitable hook, i.e., a certain resemblance between the person or thing into which they project themselves and the inner content that has not yet been seen.

 

In the case we are considering, for example, Jung was still unaware of the figure of the anima within himself, so she projected herself into this woman, as it were, and used her voice.

 

Jung was thus able to recognize that something he had so far seen in this woman really belonged to an inner figure in himself.

 

The projected element is clear, for he said later that the patient herself, an aesthetic lady, “stubbornly maintained that the fantasies arising from my unconscious had artistic value and should be considered art.”

 

If he had believed any such thing, he would have gone right off the track, as this very anima figure would later have delighted in telling him!

 

The man who believes such insinuations of the negative aspect of the anima becomes anima possessed.

 

Just as the anima can be most positive as a function or bridge between the man and his unconscious, so she is always negative if she interferes between the man and his conscious world, and when she acts —instead of the man himself—we speak of “anima possession.”

 

Of course the positive aspect of the anima was also largely projected into Toni Wolff during the earlier stages of the “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

Later, when he saw the figure of the anima as an inner figure, both in her positive and negative aspects, more and more clearly, he became less dependent on the mediation of the outer woman in the unconscious and was able to face it entirely alone.

 

But taking back projections and becoming less dependent does not mean becoming less related.

 

On the contrary, real individual relationship—in its highest sense—is possible only when projections are seen as such; for, naturally, projections of bits that really belong to ourselves blind us to seeing the other persons as they really are, and dependence prevents us from granting the other persons their freedom.

 

Therefore, as Jung saw the inner anima and made the tremendous effort to come to terms with her, so he was set free more and more for real individual relationships.

 

It also enabled him to see his women patients as they really were and is the secret of his unparalleled genius as an analyst.

 

Seeing and coming to terms with the anima is the hardest task a man ever meets, even harder than that of a woman with her animus.

 

Jung once explained this fact by saying that since the beginning of recorded history man has had to deal with the outer world.

 

In the primitive camp man had to stand on the earthworks around the camp and watch the surrounding country intently for the slightest sign of the approach of an enemy.

 

Woman, on the other hand, was protected in the camp, looking after the fire, the cooking, and the children.

 

She could therefore afford fantasies; men could not, which makes it much more difficult for man to realize his inner figures, for there is a strong primeval

instinct which forbids him to do so.

 

I remember once when Jung was angry with the anima-possessed behavior of one of his men assistants, I tried to ask if he was not being overly severe.

 

He replied that was quite true, but did I admit that he (Jung) had managed to come to terms with his own anima?

 

Of course, I admitted it wholeheartedly, for I knew it to be the truth.

 

“Well,” retorted Jung, “then I have a right to be angry with these young men who don’t even try, or I have to say that in coming to terms with my anima I achieved something impossible and then I can be sorry for them! But I will not be so presumptuous as to think anything I have done was impossible.”

 

I have often wondered since then, when I have seen how few men succeed in this task, which is the truth.

 

Anyway, we can see what a tremendous achievement it was when Jung faced up to this task during his “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

Toward the end of the war most of the work on the unconscious was done and never had to be repeated.

 

Then another symbol came up, the most important of all.

 

Throughout the war Jung repeatedly had periods of military service, which he performed with great enthusiasm.

 

To him one of the drawbacks of getting old was that he was over the age for military service in World War II, although he was still quite well and active enough until his severe illness in 1944.

 

In World War I he was often stationed on the Gotthard Pass, for which he always retained a peculiarly warm feeling.

 

He said once that he wrote his paper The Transcendent Function during one of these periods of military services on the Gotthard.

 

In 1917–18 Jung had a long period of military service in Château-d’Oex as commandant of the British internees.

 

When prisoners of war escaped and made their way into Switzerland, as a neutral country she accepted them but was bound to intern them so that they could not make their way back to their own country and fight again.

 

By the end of the war there were quite a large number of these escaped prisoners collected into camps of different nationalities.

 

Jung was in charge of the British and always spoke warmly of this time, during which he was joined at Château-d’Oex by most of his family.

 

It was during this period—after he had emerged from the dark of the unconscious—that the new vitally important symbol engrossed his attention.

 

I must explain to the reader who is not familiar with mandalas why they represent the crown of all symbols, so to speak.

 

All over the world and in all ages, when people have tried to find a symbol for the totality of man, they have used either a circular or a square form as the most satisfying expression they could find for a totality that stretched far beyond their own comprehension.

 

Such symbols have reached their highest flowering in India, where in Sanskrit they are called mandalas, a term Jung borrowed. Just as the people of early ages—the Mayan culture, for instance—used this form instinctively, without troubling about what it meant, so Jung had already often used it in his paintings, without thinking much about its possible meaning.

 

But in Château-d’Oex he found himself moved every morning to sketch a new circular drawing in a small notebook which seemed to correspond to his “inner situation at the time.”

 

At the same time he felt a great need to understand mandala drawings.

 

If he got upset, or out of himself, the mandala drawing showed signs of disturbance; in extreme cases. the periphery even burst open and its symmetry was destroyed.

 

He said: “Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: ‘Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation.’”

 

And that is the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deception.

 

The archetype of the totality—which really contains all the other archetypes—was the crown and culmination of Jung’s whole “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

He said of this time between 1918 and 1920 that he began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self.

 

There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self.

 

Uniform development exists, at most, only at the beginning; later, everything points toward the center.

 

This insight gave me stability, and gradually my inner peace returned.

 

I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the Self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.

 

Perhaps someone else knows more, but not 1.

 

Jung wrote of this whole period:

 

The years when I was pursuing my inner images were the most important in my life —in them everything essential was decided. It all began then; the later details are only supplements and clarifications of the material that burst forth from the unconscious, and at first swamped me. It was the prima materia for a lifetime’s work.

 

We see here the tremendous importance that Jung gave to his inner life during these years while he was exploring the unconscious.

 

I often heard him say that it was incomparably the hardest task he ever undertook.

 

If in later years he was hard pressed by anything, he might say that it reminded him of the years he was struggling with his work on the unconscious, but he

would always add: “But that was worse, far worse.”

 

He also used to tell his students and patients, when their inner lives were difficult for them, that once they had really touched rock bottom they would find stability because they would know nothing could ever be worse.

 

Usually, if they suggested that such a time had now come for them, he would say kindly but firmly: “Now I wonder what makes you think that!” Only a few know what it is to experience the depths where Jung at last touched rock bottom and eventually found the crowning symbol: “the mandala as an

expression of the Self” which restores “inner peace.”

 

Because of its vital crowning importance in Jung’s life and because he gave it “precedence over anything else” during the war, I also have put his inner situation first and foremost during these years.

 

But perhaps it is difficult for many Western readers to realize the paramount importance of Jung’s inner life (also to his patients and the people around him) when the outer world was in the throes and agonies of the war.

 

Richard Wilhelm, who became a great friend of Jung, brought back the story of an experience of his own in China that Jung used to think explained this phenomenon better to Western ears than anything else.

 

He even advised me never to give a course of lectures without relating it.

 

Richard Wilhelm was in a remote Chinese village which was suffering from a most unusually prolonged drought.

 

Everything had been done to put an end to it, and every kind of prayer and charm had been used, but all to no avail.

 

So the elders of the village told Wilhelm that the only thing to do was to send for a rainmaker from a distance.

 

This interested him enormously and he was careful to be present when the rainmaker arrived. He came in a covered cart, a small, wizened old man. He got out of the cart, sniffed the air in distaste, then asked for a cottage on the outskirts of the village. He made the condition that no one should disturb him and that his food should be put down outside the door. Nothing was heard of him for three days, then everyone woke up to a downpour of rain. It even snowed, which was unknown at that time of year. Wilhelm was greatly impressed and sought out the rainmaker, who had now come out of his seclusion. Wilhelm asked him in wonder: “So you can make rain?” The old man scoffed at the very idea and said of course he could not. “But there was the most persistent drought until you came,” Wilhelm retorted, “and then—within three days—it rains?” “Oh,” replied the old man, “that was something quite different. You see, I come from a region where everything is in order, it rains when it should and is fine when that is needed, and the people also are in order and in

themselves. But that was not the case with the people here, they were all out of Tao and out of themselves. I was at once infected when I arrived, so I had to be quite alone until I was once more in Tao and then naturally it rained!”

 

This story well repays the most careful consideration, different as it is in standpoint from our modem, rational, Western notions.

 

In the Middle Ages there were people in Europe who thought in a similar way.

 

For example, the people in her environment were all convinced that Saint Gertrude of Magdeburg could influence the weather by her prayers.

 

And, if we come to think of it, the first necessity of praying the right prayer is to be in oneself, in Tao as the Chinese call it.

 

In our own rational age, however, I hardly dare even point out that Jung’s own inner peace was restored at the same time as peace came in the First World War!

 

He himself, as far as I know, never noticed this “coincidence” and I admit I have only just recently noticed it myself.

 

But if

one can think synchronistically for a moment instead of causally, it becomes clear that this had to be: it was the moment in time when the archetype of peace was constellated and therefore, naturally, peace came to Jung and to the world at one and the same time.

 

As mentioned earlier, Jung had wondered, before he resumed his work on the depths of his own psyche after war broke out, how far his own experience (in his encounter with the unconscious) “coincided with that of mankind in general.”

 

He never mentioned this question again but I think perhaps we may assume —from the fact that both ordeals ended at the same time—that they probably coincided considerably.

 

One of the most impressive things I ever heard Jung say was much along the lines of his favorite rainmaker story.

 

About 1954 he was asked at a discussion in the Zürich Psychological Club, whether he thought there would be an atomic war and if so what would happen.

 

He replied:

 

“I think it depends on how many people can stand the tension of the opposites in themselves. If enough can do so, I think the situation will just hold, and we shall be able to creep around innumerable threats and thus avoid the worst catastrophe of all: the final clash of opposites in an atomic war. But if there are not enough and such a war should break out, I am afraid it would inevitably mean the end of our civilization as so many civilizations have ended in

the past but on a smaller scale.”

 

What a meaning and dignity this suggestion of Jung’s gives to every individual!

 

He can try to face the opposites in the depths of his own psyche, and thus perhaps place a grain on the scales of fate.

 

Although his inner struggle took precedence over everything else in these years of the First World War, Jung in no way neglected his outer life.

 

In fact, it was his conviction that he could not help his patients with the fantasies they were bringing him without first knowing where his own were leading which was often his strongest motive for persevering with his inner work.

 

How could he ask them to do something he did not dare to do himself?

 

And he realized then that all he had to help them with were “a few theoretical prejudices of dubious value.”

 

He added: “This idea—that I was committing myself to a dangerous enterprise not for myself alone, but also for the sake of my patients—helped me over several critical phases.”

 

The welfare of his pupils and patients worried Jung in another way.

 

He felt that particularly the foreigners among them were much too isolated and had little or no opportunity to meet other people with the same interests.

 

Though there were, of course, fewer foreigners than in peacetime, when the frontiers were open and traveling was comparatively easier, until the United States entered the war quite a few Americans risked the journey in spite of the many difficulties, and there were a few foreigners who stayed in Switzerland right through the war.

 

But Jung’s Swiss pupils and patients—although they were not uprooted like the foreigners—also felt a great need to meet people who shared their interest in psychology.

 

Although the Swiss as a whole were probably the last nation to recognize the life-giving quality of Jungian psychology (“a prophet is not without honor save in his own country” remains eternally true), yet there were always individuals who were more discerning, and Jung’s practice increased steadily throughout the war.

 

As the group around him increased, it became a problem how to give it some corporate life.

 

For the most part the individuals of the group did not even know each other.

 

They were mainly, though not entirely, pupils and patients of Jung, but they naturally never met, except occasionally in his waiting room.

 

Nevertheless, they were joined together in the unconscious by their common interest in psychology.

 

Jung increasingly felt that they needed a social group as a reality basis for what they were learning in psychology.

 

He did not agree with the Freudian analysts who—at least at that time—avoided all social contact with their patients outside analysis, and he began to

feel the need for opportunities to get to know his patients and their reactions in a setting nearer to outer life than the consulting room and the analytical hour.

 

He often felt that he could learn much more about certain aspects of his patients by seeing them in a group than by what they told him during their hours.

 

To prevent misunderstanding, it must be emphasized, however, that Jung always strongly disapproved of any form of “group analysis.”

 

Analysis is essentially an individual thing and has no meaning except in the individual.

 

The need to find some kind of social group or life for his patients was entirely in order to prevent them from getting too isolated or cut off from life.

 

He always said later: “You cannot individuate on Mt. Everest!” The people in analysis badly needed a place where they were not alone but could meet other people with the same interests, where they could exchange views and find companionship.

 

He also arranged for lectures on psychology and kindred subjects and encouraged his pupils and patients to try out their own ability to lecture.

 

These were the main reasons which led Jung to found the Psychological Club in 1916.

 

He was greatly assisted in this enterprise by Mrs. Harold McCormick, an American who was in Zürich, analyzing with Jung and studying philosophy with Emil Abegg during the whole war, in fact from 1913 to 1923.

 

Edith McCormick, besides being the wife of a rich man (Harold McCormick was also helpful in founding the club and both he and his wife were founder

members), was the daughter of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and so was in a position to endow the club at the beginning with a considerable fortune.

 

In fact, Toni Wolff told me it started off on too luxurious lines, rather like an American club, and thus its restaurant and rooms proved too expensive for anyone to be able to use them!

 

But this slightly unreal start, in the most expensive site in the center of Zürich, was soon given up and a comparatively modest house was bought in the Gemein-destrasse, a much quieter but also more pleasant part of the town.

 

The club was accommodated on the ground floor, with a large room for lectures and parties and three or four smaller rooms for the library and other social purposes, while the upper floors were let as residential apartments.

 

This building still stands, practically unchanged, with the club still on the ground floor and the C. G. Jung Institute now on the upper.

 

Although Jung was necessarily the central figure and inspiration of the club, he steadily refused the role of president or to play any leading part in its management, leaving this side entirely to the other members.

 

Both Emma Jung and Toni Wolff told me many lively stories of the early days of the club, which were anything but smooth, but full of life and conflict.

 

As Jung had known when he founded the club, the majority of the founder members, being his pupils and patients, were used to seeing him alone, with his whole attention fixed on them, as it must be in analysis, and were anything but pleased to learn to share him with a group of other such people.

 

It did just what he had hoped; it confronted them with reality and with unexpected sides of themselves.

 

Unconscious jealousy is one of the most destructive forces that exist, whereas jealousy that is realized, known, and suffered from becomes relatively harmless.

 

This was only one of such unrealized aspects of the various members that came to light in the early days of the club, and only the hopelessly un-self-critical failed to learn a great deal, especially as Jung was always ready to discuss such experiences with them in their next analytical hour.

 

It gradually grew into a highly valuable community and for many years, in spite of the most lively conflicts, did everything Jung had hoped for when he founded it.

 

If Jung was the spiritual center of the Club, Toni Wolff was certainly its greatest support.

 

As an extreme introvert, she found the club difficult at first, but as the years went on she gave more and more of her energy to it and was by far the best president the club ever had.

 

The club also owes more to her than to anyone except Jung himself.

 

She was devoted to it and always thought of new activities for it; in short, the Psychological Club owes its most flourishing years, and the support and companionship it gave to many lonely people, almost as much to Toni as to Jung.

 

During the Second World War, the sympathy of the Swiss people throughout Switzerland, with the exception of a very small fifth column, was with the Allies and strongly anti-German.

 

But in the First World War, I am told, it was much more divided.

 

German Switzerland was inclined to sympathize with its next-door neighbor, Germany, and French Switzerland with its own neighbor, France.

 

I once asked Jung how he had felt in the 1914 war.

 

He replied that his sympathies were divided—he was sorry for the Germans but he never wanted them to win.

 

At the time he wrote a letter in which he said that he hoped the Germans would not win, because it was their soul that was precious and that should not get lost.

 

In fact, in the First World War his sympathies were almost as neutral as is the four-hundred-year-old tradition of his country, whereas in the Second, although he and all his countrymen were wholly against Switzerland taking an active part in the war, he and they never for a moment wavered in their whole-hearted sympathy with the Allies.

 

He once told me of a very curious experience he had had in the middle of the First World War (it must have been about 1916).

 

He had a whole series of dreams in which he tried to persuade the German Kaiser to make peace!

 

But the Kaiser always refused, and at last—as Jung said—the unconscious gave up the attempt.

 

He said the dreams felt strangely objective and he had sometimes wondered whether the unconscious had made any similar attempt with the Kaiser

himself.

 

He might, for instance, have dreamed that an unknown man was attempting to persuade him to give up his ambitious schemes and make the best peace he still could.

 

With his patients, and other people with whom Jung could discuss dreams, he did check on such things, sometimes with interesting and unexpected results.

 

Jung not only faced the unconscious during the First World War, but he was also deeply preoccupied with the problem of types. In the Foreword to the first German edition of Psychological Types (dated spring 1920) he wrote:

 

This book is the fruit of nearly twenty years’ work in the domain of practical psychology. It is a gradual intellectual structure, equally compounded of numberless impressions and experiences in the practice of psychiatry and nervous maladies, and of intercourse with men of all social levels; it is a product, therefore, of my personal dealings with friend and with foe; and finally it has a further source in the criticism of my own psychological particularity.

 

Jung here dates his first experiences which taught him that human beings are different in type from one another to the beginning of his work at Burghölzli in 1900.

 

But the problem became acute only when he began comparing the psychologies of Freud and Adler.

 

The final break between these two took place in 1911, but it had been in preparation for some time.

 

Freud explained every case by sexuality, whereas Adler found power to be the guiding force of everyone.

 

Jung quickly found that some of his cases fitted into the one category, others into the other.

 

The mistake on each side was making its principle the one and only and applying it to every case.

 

When—soon after Freud’s break with Adler if not before—Jung saw that his own break with Freud was inevitable, the problem of types became still more acute; Jung was scrupulously honest in criticizing himself and  e wondered whether a difference in type was not responsible for the fact that he had been unable to make his discovery of the collective unconscious palatable to Freud. (We saw that types must also have played a role in the religious discussions with his own father, although at that time he had as yet no inkling of the problem of types.)

 

But, as mentioned in the excerpt from the spring 1920 Foreword of Psychological Types, he regarded the book as the outcome of his own “personal dealings with friend and with foe,” and the criticism of his own “psychological particularity.”

 

He always taught his pupils that their own mistakes were their chief concern.

 

I remember him once saying to me when I was telling him about a dispute I had had with a friend:

 

“Look here, even if it is ninety percent his fault, and ten percent your own, you will have nothing from considering the ninety percent, because you cannot do a thing about it, whereas you will be able to learn most valuable things from your own ten percent.”

 

And, as mentioned before, Jung’s most convincing characteristic was never to ask anything of other people that he had not first asked of himself.

 

I think that this was one of the main reasons for the confidence, respect, and even devotion he inspired in so many people.

 

So we may be certain that his own shortcomings were one of, if not the main, reason for the volume on typology.

 

Later, after he had written Psychological Types and had considerably more experience of people, Jung was able to speak the “language” of every type.

 

Just as he took a lot of trouble to learn the languages of his patients (English, French, and so on), so he learned to put things into the language of the psychological type to whom he was talking.

 

Not that people can be classified in sharply defined types, but if someone is always concerned with what a thing means (thinking) he just does not understand if you speak in terms of values (feeling), for example.

 

Long before, when Jung had had the discussions on religion with his father, he naturally had talked in the language of his then prevailing type (thinking), whereas the meaning of anything was taboo to his father!

 

If Jung had then been able to speak in terms of values (feeling) he might have been able to convey his own conviction of the immediate experience of God to his father, as he so urgently longed to do.

 

But it seems to me that, even if he had already had sufficient knowledge to speak Freud’s “language” instead of his own, he could probably have made no headway against Freud’s idée fixe: that everything must be explained by his own theory of sexuality.

 

Jung often said that he wrote the book in order to understand the dissensions in Freud’s circle.

 

By the time he had written it, the pain of the separation with Freud was already overcome and wholly accepted.

 

I do not think he ever regretted the separation in later years.

 

He saw it as absolutely inevitable, for, though he always acknowledged his debt to Freud, he also saw their friendship as a transition that had to be passed through and not held onto.

 

Although the book was published only after the war (Jung always dated his prefaces when he had finished the book, so it was completed by the spring of 1920), all the research and most of the writing was done during the war.

 

It is interesting that his one long volume that is concerned mainly with conscious psychology was conceived at the time of his “confrontation with the

unconscious.”

 

But, again, the one belongs to the other, for, as Jung used to emphasize later, it is impossible to face the strange world of the unconscious unless the foundations of consciousness are well and truly laid.

 

We have already seen how important Jung’s normal life was to him in these years (his family, profession, military service) and one can also understand how helpful it must have been to work on the history and consolidation of consciousness at one and the same time as he was experiencing the depths of his own psyche and the collective unconscious.

 

In later years he always said that people should be well and truly rooted in the conscious world before they try to explore the unconscious, that such an anchor is indispensable, and we see how well anchored he was himself.

 

Although in a way it was a matter of two separate fields of study, yet they had already met in the book Psychological Types itself, in what he said of inferior functions, for instance, and the necessary transformation of consciousness.

 

With the discovery of the mandala as the symbol of the Self, the totality of the psyche, Jung reached the conclusion of his “confrontation with the unconscious.”

 

This discovery, and most of the preparation of Psychological Types, brings us to the end of World War I.

 

Before we proceed, we must consider the changes that had taken place in Jung himself in what was roughly the first decade of his fifty-two years in Küsnacht, for undoubtedly, of all the decades of his life, it was the most important, the time in which, to quote his own words, “everything essential was

decided.”

 

It is difficult, if not impossible, to overestimate the change that took place in Jung during this decade for, little as people realize it now, it is above all the journey into the deep unconscious that makes the difference between the mana personality (the outstanding human being) and ordinary people.

 

Mankind has not always been so unaware of this point as modern man has unfortunately become.

 

Even today in unspoiled primitive tribes, who continue to live as their and our own ancient forefathers did, we find that the most revered man of the tribe, more respected even than the chief, is the shaman or medicine man who has made the journey into the depths of the unconscious in some form or other.

 

It \s only through this dreaded venture that the shaman is qualified to undertake the function of spiritual guide to his tribe.

 

The medicine man undertakes this journey, as it were, to ascertain the will and reach the guidance of his gods and in order thus to help both the individual and the tribe to greater health and prosperity.

 

It is unfortunately also possible to undertake this journey for purely egotistical reasons, in order to gain power over other people and to exploit the tribe for purely personal gain.

 

This latter class of “medicine man” is composed of the so-called black magicians, who are hated and feared more than anyone else in the tribe.

 

But even so, such a man stands out from other people because he knows and has experienced far more, but he uses his knowledge destructively and for his own egotistical purposes and always in the long run comes to a bad end.

 

It was partly—if not mainly—for this reason that Jung used to say that a sensitive sense of morality was essential in anyone who wished to go through the process of individuation.

 

He used to point out that this was the quality that far too many pupils of Lao-tzu lacked.

 

Therefore, even before the master’s death, many of his pupils deserted the essentials in his teaching and caused it to degenerate into mere magic.

 

Unfortunately, the same fate, in a modem form, overtook too many of Jung’s own patients and pupils, a fact that greatly saddened his last years.

 

He used sometimes to say sorrowfully: “He (or she) has given up Jungian psychology and is practicing prestige psychology instead.”

 

On occasion he said it of a whole group.

 

Another way of describing the “confrontation with the unconscious” is to view it as an enormous gain in self-knowledge. The realization of the importance of self-knowledge did not, of course, begin with Jung.

 

The words “know thyself” were written on the walls of the Delphic oracle temple in early days and since then have been revived from time to time by wise and farseeing men all over the world.

 

Perhaps one of the clearest descriptions of the value of selfknowledge is to be found in the writings of Richard de St. Victor (a Scotsman), one of the most

famous and learned monks of the Victorine order in the twelfth century, who, in his book Beniamin Minor, wrote:

 

The first and fundamental task of the mind, which strives to climb the summit of knowledge, must be to know itself. It is the summit of knowledge to know that one knows oneself completely.

 

The complete knowledge of the reasonable mind is a great and high mountain.

 

It is higher than the peaks of all worldly knowledge, it looks down from above on all the wisdom of the world, and on all the knowledge in the world.

 

Richard de St. Victor continued by pointing out the weakness of philosophy in this respect and said:

 

What has Aristotle found of this kind, what has Plato found, what of such things has the great multitude of the philosophers found? Verily and without doubt, if they had been able to climb this mountain of their penetrating mind, their effort would have sufficed to find themselves; had they known themselves perfectly, they would have never inclined to the hill of things created, they would never have lifted their head against the creator. Here the searchers failed in the search. Here, I say did they fail, and therefore it was impossible for them to climb the mountain. “Man lifts himself on high

in his innermost and God is uplifted.” (Ps. 63). Learn to meditate, O man, learn to meditate on thyself, and thou wilt ascend in thine innermost. The more thou improves daily in self knowledge, the more thou wilt climb above thyself. He, who reaches perfect self knowledge, has already reached the top of the mountain.

 

Anyone who knew Jung well will have realized that it was just this knowing himself that made him what he was.

 

There are no empty theories in his psychology; everything is founded on rock-bottom experience and is genuine through and through.

 

It is thus—in my experience at least —the one thing in life that never proves disappointing.

 

Naturally, the mountain of self-knowledge that Richard de St. Victor praised so highly is not mere ego knowledge, not just personal psychology, as Richard makes very clear when he quoted the Sixty-third Psalm: “Man lifts himself on high in his innermost and God is uplifted.”

 

Richard is saying the same thing here, in medieval Christian language, that Jung said seven hundred years later in different words:

 

As to this self knowledge, this real penetrating knowledge of our own being, do not make the mistake of thinking that it means seeing through the ego. To understand the ego is child’s play, but to see through the self is something totally different. The real difficulty lies in recognizing the unknown. No one need remain ignorant of the fact that he is striving for power, that he wants to become very rich, that he would be a tyrant if he had the chance, that he is pleasure seeking, envious of other people and so on. Everyone can know such things about him- or herself, because they are mere ego knowledge. But self knowledge is something completely different; it is learning to know of the things that are unknown.

 

It was in recognizing the unknown in himself that Jung most excelled and as a result laid the foundation for his whole psychology during the decade we are considering.

 

I think Richard de St. Victor would have said that he reached the “top of the mountain” as few, if any, had done before him.

 

Nor would Richard have accused him of inclining “to the hill of things created” or of lifting “his head against the creator,” as he does not scruple to accuse the philosophers of doing, even such famous men as Aristotle and Plato.

 

This is all the more remarkable when we remember that Jung grew up in the last quarter of the nineteenth century when the whole spirit of the age was

turning more and more toward materialism.

 

In spite of their great achievements in the field of personal psychology, both Freud and Adler succumbed to this trend and were unable to see beyond the material and personal.

 

So it must have been particularly difficult for Jung to swim right against the current of his time and never “incline to the hills of things created.”

 

And, as the reader knows, the spirit of the time was also dead against the value of the individual, and turned more and more to sinking the individual in the mass.

 

Even in those countries where some rights are still left to the individual, all introspection or self-examination is dismissed as morbid, yet Jung never wavered but remained faithful all his life to “climbing the mountain of self-knowledge” and thus, as Richard said, not only saw all the wisdom and knowledge of the world spread out before him but saw far beyond to the eternal man in us or, in his own language, to the No. 2 personality, the Self.

 

But climbing the mountain of self-knowledge and, above all, getting a clear, objective view of the Self entails having it out with the opposites.

 

It is easy enough to accept these intellectually and to talk of the really scalding hot pair of opposites—good and evil—as if they were dark and light, hot and cold, or any other natural pair of opposites.

 

But Jung was a parson’s son and I remind the reader of his experience when he was only eleven of God and Basel Cathedral, which shows as nothing else can the agonizing problem that the opposites of good and evil represented all his life.

 

Some seventy years later in Memories, in the chapter “Late Thoughts,” Jung wrote on the same subject:

 

Light is followed by shadow, the other side of the Creator. This development reached its peak in the twentieth century. The Christian world is now truly confronted by the principle of evil, by naked injustice, tyranny, lies, slavery, and coercion of conscience. This manifestation of naked evil has assumed apparently permanent form in the Russian nation; but its first violent eruption came in Germany. That outpouring of evil revealed to what extent Christianity has been undermined in the twentieth century. In the face of that, evil can no longer be minimized by the euphemism of the privation boni. Evil has become a determinant reality. It can no longer be dismissed from the world by a circumlocution. We must learn how to handle it, since it is there to stay. How we can live with it without terrible consequences cannot for the present be conceived. When one thinks of the state of the world and of evil as a collective problem, it can still in no way be conceived how we can live with it and survive.

 

But, as Jung emphasized again and again, it is only in the individual that any important problem can be solved and, in his own individual psychology, Jung certainly searched for, especially during his “confrontation with the unconscious,” and found a way to live with the dark side of himself and with that of the Creator.

 

He once told me that the experience of God and Basel Cathedral had been the guiding line of his whole life.

 

He realized then, once and for all, that God at times demands evil of us and that then we must obey whatever it costs us.

 

To do evil—or good, either, for that matter—lightly, without making the utmost efforts to ascertain the kairos (the opportune and decisive moment), is indeed purely destructive; but to do evil consciously and when it is asked by the Self, as Jung thought that blasphemous thought to the end, is purely creative.

 

Probably enough has been said to show the reader why this first decade in his house by the lake changed Jung through and through.

 

The work on the unconscious was completed and never had to be repeated. From then on Jung knew he had to live with the opposites and could never

again indulge himself in living merely as a “good man.”

 

But, naturally, he still had to learn how to live with evil for many decades, for although we all thought at the end of the First World War that evil had reached and even perhaps passed its summit, how wrong we were and what an awakening was still in store for us.

 

As we saw in the chapters on Basel University and Burghölzli, Jung had fulfilled the task set him by his dream at the end of his school days.

 

He had faced outer life in his No. 1 personality and kept his little lamp burning.

 

And in this chapter and the preceding one we have witnessed his turning around once more and facing his No. 2 personality.

 

From then on he once again had to live both personalities but differently from before.

 

As a child he had mainly done so unconsciously and, when he at times became aware of it, he experienced it as a terrible conflict.

 

But now he was fully conscious of the problem, and after finding the mandala as the symbol of the Self, he was able to do so harmoniously and no longer felt tom in half by it. Saint Paul had obviously found something of the same phenomenon when he said: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

 

Indeed, to oversimplify, we may say that after these years Jung still lived his No. 1 personality and accepted all the responsibilities involved, but his real life was lived, not by himself, but by his greater No. 2 personality.

 

Or, as he once expressed it, “One could say that every evening I go to the bottom of the river where the meaningful life is lived, but in the morning I get up and put on the persona of Dr. Jung and try to live that also as fully as possible.”

 

He learned more and more, as the years went on, that this is essentially not two but one. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Pages 83-101

Advertisements
Liked it? Take a second to support Mr. Purrington on Patreon!