Visions : Notes of the seminar given in 1930-1934 (2 Volume Set) (Bollingen)

Mr. Baumann: It would be like the Augurs in ancient Rome who read portents and made prophecies from the entrails of the sacrificed animals.
When they met each other in the street, they smiled as if with a secret understanding.

Dr. Jung: On that higher level it would be cynicism, but on a lower level it would be an apotropaic gesture against the forces with which they were dealing.

You know the making of a medicine man is a very painful process, particularly among the Eskimos.

They hang him up by the feet in a leather sack for twenty-four hours, they do all sorts of things to drive him mad in order to force a hole for the unconscious to enter.

Medicine men are really deadly afraid of the unconscious, those unknown psychical powers, but in order to give themselves a certain professional feeling about it as if they were able to control those forces, they assume that the whole thing is nothing but bunk, quite easily dealt with.

Yet at the bottom of their hearts they are most hellishly afraid of the whole procedure.

This is merely one way by which the medicine man, by a sort of tour de force, screws himself up above the dangers of his profession.

One sees something very similar frequently in analysis, in the way certain analysts deal with the problem of the transference in Freudian literature, for instance. “Then comes the stage where the transference will be dissolved”-as if it would be.

Whoever has faced this problem knows that is all bunk, it is simply the smile of the medicine man.

We are allquite above that problem: “It is a perfectly simple thing, we just dissolve it, we know the twist, it is only a sort of tour de passe-passe. ”

But that is all simply getting up courage before the other medicine man and oneself.

You see he believes secretly that I can do it, and I believe secretly that he can do it.

It is like the primitives who know that their own medicine man is very ordinary and can do little, so when anyone is seriously ill, they naturally call in the medicine man of the tribe beyond the mountain.

I know of a case where a white man who was inquiring about magic rituals was actually informed by the tribe that they were not good at magic, it was too difficult for them, but on that island over there they knew all about it.

So he went there and those people said the same thing, that the people on the first island were good at it.

And this happens in these most advanced minds of modern psychology, it is still the same old trick; nobody dares to admit how little he can do, and therefore he must say
that he can do quite a lot, that he can even dissolve a transference in order to raise his consciousness above the problem.

But his consciousness is by no means above it, it is in participation mystique, inasmuch as it is not in the least clear to him how it can be dissolved.

He knows very well that the thing cannot be done in the way he thinks it should be done; he simply makes a sort of doctrine about it that will lift his consciousness just one point above, fortifying it and fastening it there by a certain superior air, in order to defend himself against the difficulties and the dangers of the real problem.

In the second stage where there is more consciousness and therefore less participation mystique, it becomes impossible to work magic because one is no longer in contact with those powers.

That is the case with us, or with any other advanced civilization where people have discovered efficient ways of dealing with the problems of life-with the economic problems, or with disease, war, etc.

They then develop a sort of quiet certainty of consciousness; they live in an established civilization, where everyone with, so they allow themselves to be quite rational; and in the course of centuries, through following a certain routine, they really become so.

We discovered that it paid to be rational, so we got into a sort of positivistic and optimistic attitude which was characteristic of the nineteenth century.

Everything was all right, things were generally in a progressive condition, and as we progress naturally from the good to the better, so in the future things would become still better; we should uproot evil in every form, and even improve the criminal.

We aimed at a more or less perfect condition, it only needed time.

This is the unnatural rationalistic attitude which always develops in times when things seem to run smoothly.

But the moment the unconscious was shaken up so that problems came up which we could not deal with, as in the World War, we became uncertain of our ways, we were no longer so optimistic and we did not believe to the same extent in the powers of good.

And the subsequent events have shown us that there are even much greater powers which do not work for the good-the incredible fact of Soviet Russia, for instance; the incredible fact of the National Socialists in Germany; and the incredible fact that, with all nations wanting disarmament, they still could not make up their minds to disarm.

Nothing was done.

Then there is the utterly miraculous fact that people have learned nothing from the war.

They said, “No more war, we shall do something else, we want to be human,” and now look at the damned thing!

We have now had such a series of miraculous experiences that our consciousness is quite different from what it used to be in the nineteenth century.

We begin-of course very slowly-to open our eyes to the fact that there really are powers of evil and that things do not necessarily progress to a better condition-they may regress to hell, and certainly will if we let them go.

So we have attained a higher consciousness, we have scored one point; we are no longer so certain in our convictions, we now allow the deep shadow of humanity to exist, and that means a certain progress; we have at least got our heads above the mist.

That suggests that we should not only manipulate the powers of good as we said before, but we might also manipulate the powers of evil by a superior consciousness, and thereby work some magic.

I do not believe in magic made by man, magic as made in Germany or in Great Britain or in America; it does not work.

But I firmly believe in the natural magic of facts.

I believe in the rain maker of Kiao Tchou-that one should do the right thing to oneself and by oneself, and wait until the rain falls.

Perhaps when that process of doing the right thing in an individual case has been repeated often enough and by as many people as possible, the rain will actually fall, a result will be reached which could not be reached in any other way.

Then another miracle might happen, disarmament might become possible.

But such a thing will never come to pass as long as one tries to work black magic, to pull the wool over one’s eyes.

Then you cannot help believing that somebody else is doing it to you, for you could never be so foolish as to think that you are the only intelligent gambler in the world; there will be another one on the other side and he will be afraid too.

So well that other fellows are playing the same kind of game, so nobody trusts anybody and naturally they have to keep up their cannons and ammunitions and poison gases, in case it should become clear that the other ones want what they themselves are after.

The mere thought that one could raise oneself above humanity and pull strings is a black-magic thought which I would utterly discourage.

Put yourself below humanity, and see whether you are just as wrong as mankind in general; do the right thing by yourself and then something can happen, then the rain can fall. That would be the right procedure according to my conviction. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Pages 1202-1205