The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)

[The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious are not subject to our will and are to be regarded not a objects but as subjects with laws of their own.]

I would go a step further and say that the statements made in the Holy Scriptures are also utterances of the soul even at the risk of being suspected of psychologism.

The statements of the conscious mind may easily be snares and delusions, lies, or arbitrary opinions, but this is certainly not true of the statements of the soul: to begin with they always go over our heads because they point to realities that transcend consciousness.

These entia are the archetypes of the collective unconscious, and they precipitate complexes of ideas in the form of mythological motifs.

Ideas of this kind are never invented, but enter the field of inner perception as finished products, for instance in dreams.

They are spontaneous phenomena which are not subject to our will, and we are therefore justified in ascribing to them a certain autonomy.

They are to be regarded not only as objects but as subjects with laws of their own. From the point of view of consciousness, we can, of course, describe them as objects, and even explain them up to a point, in the same measure as we can describe and explain a living human being.

But then we have to disregard their autonomy. If that is considered, we are compelled to treat them as subjects; in other words, we have to admit that they possess spontaneity and purposiveness, or a kind of consciousness and free will.

We observe their behaviour and consider their statements.

This dual standpoint, which we are forced to adopt towards every relatively independent organism, naturally has a dual result.

On the one hand it tells me what I do to the object, and on the other hand what it does (possibly to me).

It is obvious that this unavoidable dualism will create a certain amount of confusion in the minds of my readers, particularly as in what follows we shall have to do with the archetype of Deity.

Should any of my readers feel tempted to add an apologetic “only” to the God-images as we perceive them, he would immediately fall foul of experience, which demonstrates beyond any shadow of doubt the extraordinary numinosity of these images.

The tremendous effectiveness (mana) of these images is such that they not only give one the feeling of pointing to the Ens realissimum, but make one convinced that they actually express it and establish it as a fact.

This makes discussion uncommonly difficult, if not impossible.

It is, in fact, impossible to demonstrate God’s reality to oneself except by using images which have arisen spontaneously or are sanctified by tradition, and whose psychic nature and effects the naive-minded person has never separated from their unknowable metaphysical background.

He instantly equates the effective image with the transcendental x to which it points.

The seeming justification for this procedure appears self-evident and is not considered a problem so long as the statements of religion are not seriously questioned.

But if there is occasion for criticism, then it must be remembered that the image and the statement are psychic processes which are different from their transcendental object; they do not posit it, they merely point to it. In the realm of psychic processes criticism and discussion are not only permissible but are unavoidable. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Answer to Job, Paragraph 557.