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Carl Jung: There were great artists (In Ancient Egypt)


Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1934 – 1939 (2 Volume Set)

Yes, that is most characteristic of the Egyptian civilization.

The people, even the Pharaoh, lived in mud huts, and the gods had the most gorgeous stone buildings which would last through many thousands of years.

The real beings lived in mud huts that completely disappeared, while the unreal beings, as we would say, lived in wonderful palaces built for eternity.

Babylonia was along that line too, but the Greeks, not to speak of later civilizations, built their worldly houses much more solidly.

The creative instinct in Egypt was a matter of the nation; we do not know the name of a single great Egyptian artist.

There were great artists but their names are unknown.

It is a Greek invention that we know the name of Homer, for instance.

Mesopotamia is like Egypt in that respect, the names of their poets and artists are unknown; they had great poetry and great art, but there was no individual expression of it.

We see something of that in Japan where they had certain great names but the disciples of those great fellows like Hiroshige or Hokusai renounced their own names and called themselves simply Hiroshige number two, three, four, etc. hiding themselves, becoming anonymous.

They carried on the name of the master, while they themselves completely disappeared.

That is still a remnant of the ancient consciousness of creative men; they felt so utterly identical with their people that they didn’t even have a name; it created and man was merely an exponent of it.

To create was a sort of craft; he created not even knowing that he was creating something beautiful.

Many an old craftsman who produced a marvelous piece of art was utterly unconscious of the fact.

I am rather convinced that the great composer Bach was such a fellow.

He did not know what he was really producing.

He composed nice chants for the church and other things, but I am very doubtful if he knew that he was the composer Bach.

One would assume that he knew it, but it is just as difficult as to know in what time we are living.

At this point I must always tell the story of that knight in the thirteenth century who was caught by his enemies and thrown into a dungeon for several years.

Finally he got sick of that eternal prison and beating his fists down upon the table he said, “I wonder when these damned Middle Ages will come to an end!”~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 655 – 656

Well, if you don’t call it art, but call it the creative impulse.

Naturally, the creative impulse has always been the maker of the individual.

You see, creative impulse does not appear in everybody in the same strength: certain individuals are picked, they have a particular gift.

They create something which is striking and they are then the innovators, and stick out like old man Prometheus, that great sinner against the gods.

He was an individual and he was punished for it, but he was made to stand out through his creative impulse.

Naturally, the creative impulse is forever the maker of personality and uses that individual form, that distinction.

Therefore it is absolutely necessary that, in the process of individuation, everybody should become aware of his creative instinct, no matter how small it is. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 668.