Eleanor Bertine is yet another of the great Depth Psychology pioneers who is largely unknown or forgotten yet she made monumental contributions to Depth Psychology. Her book “Jung’s Contribution to Our Time” is a fine book both for those knowledgeable about Dr. Jung’s work but it is written in a language that a layperson can find enjoyable and informative reading.

Below are some Eleanor Bertine Quotations:

“All down the ages the existence of a supreme value has
been attested by religious and mystical people, but Jung’s
gift to his generation is the discovery that this value
lies within the human psyche itself. Moreover, he has
elaborated a method by which it can be sought there,
without the necessity of any dogma or belief, and in
addition can be formulated in terms consonant with the
best of modern science.” –Eleanor Bertine

“In the multiplicity of impressions and reactions which
form the content of human life, man has always sought some
principle of order. This search involves finding a point
of reference to which each fragmentary experience can be
related – into whose lines of force it can be fitted – in
such a way that the chaos of event and circumstance takes
on a pattern and so finds coherence and meaning. … That
which is unknown, shifting, changing, always produces a
sense of dread, of insecurity. He who would venture into
strange and unexplored realms, either inner or outer,
desires at least a thread of Ariadne to guarantee an
unbroken connection with his known and familiar world, and,
when the adventure is finished, the promise of a way back.
Psychologically, when this connection is lost and in
consequence the person comes to feel that things are strange
and uncanny, there arises such a flood of terror that he
believes himself, perhaps not without reason, to be on the
verge of madness.” –Eleanor Bertine

“This age seems to be particularly cut off from the sense of
any such accepted central truth which would give coherence
and meaning to the concerns of the individual. … For the
primitive, too, there was of course a vast unknown, but it
was adequately explainable to himself. The void was largely
filled by well-organized projections, which Levy-Bruhl calls
representations collectives… The world of sound and sense
is experienced as ultimate and demonstrable reality, which
fact would not occur to the simple mind to question, unless
that mind were to assume that the validity of appearances
had been distorted by magic. Yet, though the reality of the
primitive was contaminated almost beyond recognition by the
projection of the whole content of his unknown and
unsuspected psychic life, his naive non-realization of that
fact saved him from doubting his world. The sights and
sounds of dreams were to him no less convincing than those
of the waking state.” –Eleanor Bertine

“In contrast, we moderns are not convinced of the ultimate
reality of anything at all, not of matter, of the soul, or
God. … The solid rock itself has come to have no solidity,
at least in our thinking, for we know it to be but the
impression made upon us by vortices of energy. Our world –
what is it?” –Eleanor Bertine

“Religion, when a living experience, embodies the final point
of reference, the absolute to which all else is relative. To
put it theologically, God becomes the focal point in one’s
universe. Psychologically expressed – and this is as far as
our capacity to know extends – God may be defined as that
which is the center and ordering-point of one’s life, that
which Jung called the unconditional value, the consideration
which, if it conflict with any other, whatsoever it be, will
be given precedence.” –Eleanor Bertine

“The power of the archetype, the God-value, does not vanish
from a life even though the religion into which it had been
projected is forsworn and no other accepted in its stead. On
the other hand, if it does really vanish from sight and no
recognized holder of the supreme value is left, chaos will
rule, one part-soul after another holding sway with no
central organizing principle to give meaning or a consistent
purpose to the whole.” –Eleanor Bertine

“This disintegration of the central value brings about a
deterioration of the whole level of being. Instead of the
august and inspiring image of the triune God, the evil and
banal totalitarian state may arise to take its place.
Popular ‘isms’ then draw fanatical support. Pleasure or
power, money (the root of all evil exactly because of its way
of assuming central place), prestige, popularity, even a mere
avoidance of pain may be elevated to the position of ruling
principle by people who would be quite horrified to realize
what had happened. Indeed, when there is not a consciously
accepted unconditional value, there is always danger that
some one-sided drive, some man-made idea or goal may usurp
the central authority and become what Jung has called a
regular demon-possession. The more ardent the nature, the
greater the danger.” –Eleanor Bertine

“Perhaps it is no accident that practically the whole group
of modern artists – cubists, surrealists, post impressionists,
and the rest – who gathered in and around Paris about the
turn of the century expressed the disintegration of the age,
not only in their art but in their living also, which seemed
to lack exactly the central guiding point in reference to
which some discipline and order might have been established.
Their lives were crammed with excesses accepted without
resistance if not actually hailed as somehow heroic –
alchohol, women, even murder and suicide – the same protest
and destructiveness which are expressed in their painting.
The ‘meaning of the times’ seems to be the collapse of an
era, with a freeing of the scene from encumbrance by old
outworn forms, which, however useful in their day, are no
longer valid if they cannot now manifest the spirit of the
new age. In brief, on the psychological side disintegration
moves toward nihilism and chaos, so that this phase of a
culture is peculiarly perilous to the soul.” –Eleanor Bertine

“At a time like this conscience is no adequate criterion of
value. … For conscience, after all, is only collective
morality and has developed with the sanctions and in the lines
of force of the current or most recent religious orientation.
It is a part of the prevailing civilization… Conscience will
work well enough in a thoroughly known situation, where the
average truth is adequate. But if any new or individual
element comes in, then conscience is either impotent or
misleading.” –Eleanor Bertine

“Jung, however, discovered something of the structure and
laws of the unconscious, and found that it does actually
contain the integrating, ordering principle for which the
artists had been groping. He found symbols of a supreme
value, of a center to which everything else is relative.
Here was a clue to the answer to that great need of the
age, an absolute, a final point of reference. … Jung
called this psychological absolute the Self in order to
be able to talk about it at all. But he realized that,
until the end of time or until the ocean of the
unconscious should be drained, it would be unknowable in
its entirety. … For it belonged to the unconscious as
well as to the conscious; it embodied ultimate mystery as
well as demonstrable truth. Hence it could fittingly
express the whole, but itself could be expressed only in
a symbol, which turns one face toward the day, where it
is easily visible, and one toward the night, where it is
utterly dark. Yet for this very reason it will be suspect
as an adequate guiding principle to some people, who will
demand that it be entirely embraceable by the rational
mind. These people will continue to adhere exclusively to
the chosen light side of the pairs of opposites, only to
be continually ambushed by the other.” –Eleanor Bertine

“The Self as the central point is to be realized in no
easy way, but only by tearing apart and reuniting or
reconciling one antimony after another. This means
experiencing the terrific strain and tension of the inner
opposites, which threaten to explode the frail psychic
organization. To be sure the operation of the principle
which Jung has called individuation is not limited to the
psychological life of man, but is found universally
effective in nature also. It is simply the unconscious
tendency of every living thing to fulfill its own unique
potential.” –Eleanor Bertine

“But with the rise of ego-consciousness the opposites are
cleft asunder, one pulling one way and one the other. To
the naive mind, if you are this, you cannot also be its
thoroughly inconsistent opposite. So half of the original
components of the psyche tend to be suppressed or otherwise
disposed of in order to preserve some semblance of unity.
Consciousness has split open the world and the soul, has
polarized them and involved them in a civil war. At this
stage it is impossible even to think about individuation,
for individuation is the reconciliation of a paradox in
which one is at the moment submerged up to the eyes, and
thought is powerless. In the tormenting grip of these
eternally clashing antitheses, it is easy to look back to
the paradisaical unity of unconsciousness as to a higher
as well as more complete state, and to envy the natural
dignity and self-agreement of one upon whom the conflict
has not yet dawned. But when once the conscious and the
unconscious have been differentiated, as they have for
civilized man, the wholeness enjoyed by the primitive is
no longer possible, for it does not contain the hard-won
fruits of conscious struggle, and this early state is less
than totality for modern man. Hence a primitive man in
civilization is evil in a way that no real savage ever
is.” –Eleanor Bertine

“Only an honest living through of the conflict until the
reconciling symbol appears and lifts the individual above
the warring elements can restore the wholeness rent
asunder when the opposites were differentiated by
consciousness. Duality and its resulting conflict must
be met in one situation after another – one pair of inner
opposites after another must find reconciliation. This is
the very process of psychological individuation. …the
process must involve a high stage of consciousness. It
begins at the point at which the ego turns to the
unconscious as to its own necessary counterpart and
complement and seems to find in it the guiding indications
for the way of integration.” –Eleanor Bertine

“This process of integration may be started in a successful
Jungian analysis. But it also may happen in the course of
life if the individual seeks his own reality ahead of
everything else, noting his reaction to all the experiences
that come to him. … The constant consideration of the
data of the deeper levels guards against the false starts
which offer such illusory promise.” –Eleanor Bertine

“There are many people, for example, who pride themselves
that they are expressing the real Self when they are only
riding high, wide, and handsome on some lusty libido
drive to which they are at the moment identified, though
this drive may never have been synthesized with other
important values which have been rudely shoved out of the
way.” –Eleanor Bertine

“There seem to be indications that the lodestar to which
the single person turns for orientation lies itself in a
larger line of force to which he also becomes oriented by
orienting himself to its manifestation in his own psyche.
But we are by our very nature finite beings, and it is
quite beyond our power to know the absolute guiding
principle of the universe. Let it suffice us to seek the
determining point in the microcosm of the individual human
soul.” –Eleanor Bertine

Advertisements