The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 18)

[The Sympathetic Nervous System [Anima Mundi] is the Mother of the Cerebrospinal System [Brain.]

The “vestigial” sympathetic nervous system, an apparently fortuitous tangle of ganglionic nodes that regulate the vegetative functions of the body in an astoundingly purposive way, becomes the matrix of the cerebrospinal system, whose crowning miracle, the brain, seems to our fascinated gaze the controller of all bodily processes.

Nay more: the sympathetic system is, for Schleich, the mysterious “cosmic nerve,” the true “ideoplast,” the original and most immediate realization of-giving World Soul, and, ultimately, the architect of the brain, this newest achievement of the pre-existent a body-building and body-sustaining World Soul, which was there before mind and body came into existence.

The Hyliaster of Paracelsus is thus stripped of its unfathomable creative secret. Once again the solidity and tangibility of matter, so fervently believed in and so convincing to the senses, dissolve into Maya, into a mere emanation of primordial thought and will, and all hierarchies and all values are reversed. The intangible, the psyche, becomes the ground and substrate, and the “merely vegetative” sympathetic system the possessor and realizer of unthinkable creative secrets, the vehicle of the life-giving World Soul, and, ultimately, the architect of the brain, this newest achievement of the pre-existent creative will.

What lay modestly hidden beneath the overwhelming grandeur of the cerebrospinal system, which, as the vehicle of consciousness, seems to be identical with the psyche as such—this same sympathetic system is “psyche” in a deeper and more embracing sense than is the interplay of the cortical fields of the cerebrum.

Nothwithstanding its quantitative and qualitative insignificance, it is the exponent of a psyche far excelling consciousness both in depth and scope, and is not, like this, defencelessly exposed to the potions of the endocrine system, but itself creates these magical secretions with single minded purposiveness. ~Carl Jung; The Symbolic Life; Page 464 [Forward to Essays written by Ludwig Schleich.]