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Creative Power is Greater than its Possessor


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The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 17: The Development of Personality

Prematurely conceived theories are not without their dangers.

Thus the theory of repression, whose validity in a definite field of pathology is incontestable—up to the point where it has to be reversed!—has been extended to creative processes, and the creation of culture relegated to second place, as a mere ersatz product.

At the same time the wholeness and healthiness of the creative function is seen in the murky light of neurosis, which
is of course an undoubted product of repression in many cases.

In this way creativity becomes indistinguishable from morbidity, and the creative individual immediately suspects himself of some kind of illness, while the neurotic has lately begun to believe that his neurosis is an art, or at least a source of art.

These would-be artists, however, develop one characteristic symptom: they one and all shun psychology like

the plague, because they are terrified that this monster will gobble up their so-called artistic ability.

As if a whole army of psychologists could do anything against the power of a god! True productivity is a spring that can never be stopped up.

Is there any trickery on earth which could have prevented Mozart or Beethoven from creating? Creative power is mightier than its possessor.

If it is not so, then it is a feeble thing, and given favourable conditions will nourish an endearing talent, but no more.

If, on the other hand, it is a neurosis, it often takes only a word or a look for the illusion to go up in smoke.

Then the supposed poet can no longer write, and the painter’s ideas become fewer and drearier than ever, and for all
this psychology is to blame.

I should be delighted if a knowledge of psychology did have this sanative effect and if it put an end to the neuroticism
which makes contemporary art such an unenjoyable problem.

Disease has never yet fostered creative work; on the contrary, it is the most formidable obstacle to creation.

No breaking down of repressions can ever destroy true creativeness, just as no analysis can ever exhaust the unconscious. Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 206