Modern Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Lectures at the ETH Zürich, 1933-1941

[…did you have always the sense of being in control of your tools?”]

Lecture 5

Questions and Discussion

No written questions were handed in.

The following verbal question was asked:

“When you were in the process of investigating the unconscious, as you described it last time, did you have always the sense of being in control of your tools?”

Dr. Jung:

It was as if my tools were activated by my libido.

But there must be tools there to be activated, that is, animated images, images with libido in them; then the additional libido that one supplies brings them up to the surface.

If I had not given this additional libido with which to bring them to the surface, the activity would have gone on just the same, but would have sucked my energy down into the unconscious.

By putting libido into it, one can increase the speaking power of the unconscious.

Mr. Aldrich: Is that tapas?

Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the Indian term for that type of concentration.

A further elaboration of the method might be put in this way: Suppose someone has a fantasy of a man and a woman moving about in a room.

He gets just that far with it and no further; in other words, he drops that fantasy and proceeds to another—let us say he comes upon a deer in a wood, or sees birds fluttering about.

But the technical rule with regard to fantasy is to stick to the picture that comes up until all its possibilities are exhausted.

Thus if I conjured up that man and woman, I would not let them go till I had found out what they were going to do in that room.

Thus one makes the fantasy move on.

Usually, however, one has a resistance to doing this, that is, to following the fantasy.

Something is sure to whisper in one’s ear that it is all nonsense; in fact, the conscious is forced to take a highly depreciatory attitude toward the unconscious material in order to become conscious at all, for example, a person making the effort to break away from an outgrown faith can usually be found ridiculing it; he throws out cogs to keep from slipping back into his unconscious acceptance.

This is the reason it is so difficult to get at the unconscious material.

The conscious is forever saying, “Keep away from all that,” and it is always tending to increase rather than reduce the resistance to the unconscious.

Similarly, the unconscious pits itself against the conscious, and it is the special tragedy of man that in order to win consciousness he is forced into dissociation with nature.

He is either under the complete sway of the enantiodromia, or play of nature’s forces, or he is too far away from nature.

Going back to the question of fantasizing, if once the resistance to free contact with the unconscious can be overcome, and one can develop the power of sticking to the fantasy, then the play of the images can be watched.

Any artist is doing that quite naturally, but he is getting only the esthetic values out of it while the analyst tries to get at all the values, ideational, esthetic, feeling, and intuitional.

When one watches such a scene one tries to figure out its special meaning for oneself.

When the figures animated are very far away from the conscious trend, then it may happen that they break forth arbitrarily as in cases of dementia praecox.

The eruption then splits the conscious and tears it to bits, leaving each content with an independent ego, hence the absolutely inadequate emotional reaction of these cases.

If there is a certain amount of ego left there may be some reaction—thus a voice in the unconscious may denounce one as crazy, but another may arise to counter it.

But, aside from dementia praecox cases, so-called normal people are very fragmentary—that is, they produce no full reactions in most cases.

That is to say, they are not complete egos.

There is one ego in the conscious and another made up of unconscious ancestral elements, by the force of which a man who has been fairly himself over a period of years suddenly falls under the sway of an ancestor.

I think the fragmentary reactions and inadequate emotions people so often display are best explained along these lines.

Thus you may have a person who sees always and only the dark side of life; he perhaps is forced into this one-sidedness through ancestor possession, and quite suddenly another portion of the unconscious may get on top and change him into an equally one-sided optimist.

Many cases are described in the literature which show these sudden character changes, but of course they are not explained as ancestor possession, since this latter idea remains as a hypothesis for which there is no scientific proof as yet.

Following these ideas a little further, it is an interesting fact that there is no disease among primitives which cannot be caused by ghosts, which of course are ancestral figures.

There is a physiological analogy for this theory of ancestor possession which may make the idea a little clearer.

It is thought that cancer may be due to the later and anarchical development of embryonic cells folded away in the mature and differentiated tissues.

Strong evidence for this lies in the finding, for example, of a partially developed fetus in the thigh of an adult man, say, in those tumors known as teratomata.

Perhaps a similar thing goes on in the mind, whose psychological makeup may be said to be a conglomerate.

Perhaps certain traits belonging to the ancestors get buried away in the mind as complexes with a life of their own which has never been assimilated into the life of the individual, and then, for some unknown reason, these complexes become activated, step out of their obscurity in the folds of the unconscious, and begin to dominate the whole mind.

I am inclined to describe the historical character of the images from the unconscious in this way.

Often there occur details in these images that cannot by any stretch of the imagination be explained in terms of the personal experience of the individual.

It is possible that a certain historical atmosphere is born with us by means of which we can repeat strange details almost as if they were historical facts.

Daudet has developed a similar idea (L’Hérédo and Le Monde des images), which he calls “auto-fécondation.”

Whatever the truth of these speculations, they certainly fall within the frame of the notion of the collective unconscious.

Another way of putting these ideas of ancestor possession would be that these autonomous complexes exist in the mind as Mendelian units, which are passed on from generation to generation intact, and are unaffected by the life of the individual.

The problem then becomes this: Can these psychological Mendelian units be broken up and assimilated in a way to protect the individual from being victimized by them?

Analysis certainly makes a fair attempt to do this.

It may not achieve the complete assimilation of the complex, or unit, into the rest of the mind, but at least it points out a way of dealing with it.

In this way analysis becomes an orthopedic method analogous to that used in a disease like tabes, for example.

The disease remains the same, but certain adjustments can be developed to compensate for the kinesthetic disturbance—the tabetic can learn to control his body movements in walking, through his eye movements, and thus achieve a substitute for his lost tactile sense.

I would like today to speak further about the background for the book on the types.

As soon as one begins to watch one’s mind, one begins to observe the autonomous phenomena in which one exists as a spectator, or even as a victim.

It is very much as if one stepped out of the protection of his house into an antediluvian forest and was confronted by all the monsters that inhabit the latter.

One is naturally a little reluctant to reverse the machinery and get into this situation.

It is as though one gave up one’s freedom of will and offered oneself up as a victim, for with this reversal of the machinery, an entirely different attitude from that of directed thinking grows up.

One is swept into the unknown of this world, not just into a psychological function.

In a way the collective unconscious is merely a mirage because unconscious, but it can be also just as real as the tangible world.

I can say this is so, this thing I am experiencing, but it does no good.

One must be willing to accept the reality for the time being, to risk going a long way with the unconscious in other words.

I once read some stories by the German author Hoffmann, who wrote at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

He wrote in the vein of Poe, and in the midst of writing these stories he would become so gripped by the reality of the fantasies that he would shout for help and have people running to his rescue.

In fairly normal cases there is no danger, but it cannot be denied that the unconscious is overwhelmingly impressive.

The first observation I made began before I really had begun any systematic attempt to examine my unconscious—before I was fully aware of the full significance of the problem.

You remember what I told you of my relation to Freud.

When I was still writing the Psychology of the Unconscious, I had a dream which I did not understand—perhaps I only fully understood it last year, if then. This was the dream: I was walking on a road in
the country and came to a crossing. I was walking with someone, but did not know who it was—today I would say it was my shadow.

Suddenly I came upon a man, an old one, in the uniform of an Austrian customs official. It was Freud.

In the dream the idea of the censorship came to my mind.

Freud didn’t see me but walked away silently. My shadow said to me, “Did you notice him?

He has been dead for thirty years, but he can’t die properly.”

I had a very peculiar feeling with this.

Then the scene changed and I was in a southern town on the slopes of mountains.

The streets consisted of steps going up and down the steep slopes.

It was a medieval town and the sun was blazing in full noon, which as you know is the hour when spirits are abroad in southern countries.

I came walking through the streets with my man, and many people passed us to and fro.

All at once I saw among them a very tall man, a Crusader dressed in a coat of mail with the Maltese cross in red on the breast and on the back.

He looked quite detached and aloof, not in any way concerned with the people about him, nor did they pay any attention to him.

I looked at him in astonishment and could not understand what he was doing walking about there.

“Did you notice him?” my shadow asked me.

“He has been dead since the twelfth century, but he is not yet properly dead.

He always walks here among the people, but they don’t see him.”

I was quite bewildered that the people paid no attention, and then I awoke.

This dream bothered me a long time.

I was shocked at the first part because I did not then anticipate the trouble with Freud.

“What does it mean that he is dead and so depreciated?” is the question I asked myself, and why did I think of the principle of the censor in these terms when, as a matter of fact, it seemed to me then the best theory available?

I realized the antagonism between the figure of the Crusader and that of Freud, and yet I realized that there was also a strong parallelism.

They were different, and yet both were dead and could not die properly.

The meaning of the dream lies in the principle of the ancestral figure; not the Austrian officer—obviously he stood for the Freudian theory—but the other, the Crusader, is an archetypal figure, a Christian symbol living from the twelfth century, a symbol that does not really live today, but on the other hand is not wholly dead either.

It comes out of the times of Meister Eckhart, the time of the culture of the Knights, when many ideas blossomed, only to be killed then, but they are coming again to life now.

However, when I had this dream, I did not know this interpretation.

I was oppressed and bewildered. Freud was bewildered too, and could find no satisfactory meaning for it.

That was in 1912.

Then I had another dream that showed me again very clearly the limitations of the conceptions about dreams which Freud held to be final.

I had been looking on the unconscious as nothing but the receptacle of dead material, but slowly the idea of the archetypes began to formulate itself in my mind, and at the end of 1912 came this dream, which was the beginning of a conviction that the unconscious did not consist of inert material only, but that there was something living down there.

I was greatly excited at the idea of there being something living in me that I did not know anything about.

I dreamed that I was sitting in a very beautiful Italian loggia, something like the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

It was most luxurious, with columns, floor, and balustrade of marble.

I was sitting in a golden chair, a Renaissance chair, in front of a table of green stone like emerald.

It was of an extraordinary beauty.

I was sitting looking out into space, for the loggia was on top of a tower belonging to a castle.

I knew that my children were there too.

Suddenly a white bird came flying down and gracefully alighted on the table.

It was like a small gull, or a dove.

I made a sign to the children to keep quiet, and the dove suddenly became a little girl with golden hair, and ran away with the children.

As I sat pondering over this, the little girl came back and put her arm around my neck very tenderly.

Then all at once she was gone, and the dove was there and spoke slowly with a human voice.

It said, “I am allowed to transform into a human form only in the first hours of the night, while the male dove is busy with the twelve dead.”

Then it flew away into the blue sky and I awoke.

The dove had used a peculiar word when speaking of the male dove. It is Tauber in German, and not often used, but I remembered hearing an uncle of mine use it.

But what should a male pigeon be doing with twelve dead?

I felt alarmed.

Then there flashed across my mind the story of the Tabula smaragdina, or emerald table, which is part of the legend of the Thrice Great Hermes.

He is supposed to have left a table on which was engraved all the wisdom of the ages, formulated in the Greek words: “Ether above, Ether below, Heaven above, Heaven below, all this above, all this below,
take it and be happy.”

All this, as I say, was very alarming to me.

I began to think of the twelve Apostles, the twelve months of the year, the signs of the Zodiac, etc.

I had just written about the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the Psychology of the Unconscious.

Finally, I had to give it up, I could make nothing out of the dream except that there was a tremendous animation of the unconscious.

I knew no technique of getting at the bottom of this activity; all I could do was just wait, keep on living, and watch the fantasies.

This was at Christmastime in 1912.

In 1913 I felt the activity of the unconscious most disagreeably. I was disturbed, but knew nothing better to do than to try to analyze my infantile memories.

So I began to analyze these most conscientiously, but found nothing.

I thought, “Well then, I must try to live through these experiences again,” so I made then the effort to recover the emotional tone of childhood.

I said to myself that if I should play like a child I could recover this.

I remembered that when I was a boy I used to delight in building houses of stone, all sorts of fantastic castles, 6 2012: In 1913, Jung noted this dream as follows: “I dreamt at that time (it was shortly after Christmas 1912), that I was sitting with my children in a marvelous and richly furnished castle apartment—an open columned hall—we were sitting at a round table, whose top was a marvelous dark green stone.

Suddenly a gull or a dove flew in and sprang lightly onto the table.

I admonished the children to be quiet, so that they would not scare away the beautiful white bird.

Suddenly this bird turned into a child of eight years, a small blond girl, and ran around playing with my children in the marvelous columned colonnades.

Then the child suddenly turned into the gull or dove.

She said the following to me: ‘Only in the first hour of the night can I become human, while the male dove is busy with the twelve dead.’ With these words the bird flew away and I awoke” (cited in Liber Novus, 198).

“For Heaven’s sake,” I said to myself, “is it possible that I have to get into this nonsense for the sake of animating the unconscious?”

That year I did all sorts of idiotic things like this, and enjoyed them like a fool.

It raised a lot of inferior feelings in me, but I knew of no better way.

Towards autumn I felt that the pressure that had seemed to be within me was not there anymore but in the air.

The air actually seemed darker than before.

It was just as if it were no longer a psychological situation in which I was involved, but a real one, and that sense became more and more weighty.

In October 1913 I was travelling in a train and had a book in my hand that I was reading.

I began to fantasize, and before I knew it, I was in the town to which I was going.

This was the fantasy: I was looking down on the map of Europe in relief.

I saw all the northern part, and England sinking down so that the sea came in upon it.

It came up to Switzerland, and then I saw that the mountains grew higher and higher to protect Switzerland.

I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress, towns and people were destroyed, and the wrecks and dead bodies were tossing about on the water.

Then the whole sea turned to blood.

At first I was only looking on dispassionately, and then the sense of the catastrophe gripped me with tremendous power.

I tried to repress the fantasy, but it came again and held me bound for two hours.

Three or four weeks later it came again, when I was again in a train.

It was the same picture repeated, only the blood was more emphasized.

Of course I asked myself if I was so unfortunate as to be spreading my personal complexes all over Europe.

I thought a great deal about the chances of a great social revolution, but curiously enough never of a war.

It seemed to me all these things were becoming frightfully uncanny, then it occurred to me, there was something I could do, I could write down all of it in sequence.

While I was writing once I said to myself, “What is this I am doing, it certainly is not science, what is it?”

Then a voice said to me, “That is art.”

This made the strangest sort of an impression upon me, because it was not in any sense my conviction that what I was writing was art.

Then I came to this, “Perhaps my unconscious is forming a personality that is not me, but which is insisting on coming through to expression.”

I don’t know why exactly, but I knew to a certainty that the voice that had said my writing was art had come from a woman.

A living woman could very well have come into the room and said that very thing to me, because she would not have cared anything about the discriminations she was trampling underfoot.

Obviously it wasn’t science; what then could it be but art, as though those were the only two alternatives in the world.

That is the way a woman’s mind works.

Well, I said very emphatically to this voice that what I was doing was not art, and I felt a great resistance grow up within me.

No voice came through, however, and I kept on writing.

Then I got another shot like the first: “That is art.”

This time I caught her and said, “No it is not,” and I felt as though an argument would ensue.

I thought, well, she has not the speech centers I have, so I told her to use mine, and she did, and came through with a long statement.

This is the origin of the technique I developed for dealing directly with the unconscious contents. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Lecture 5, Pages 37-45.