Jung Lexicon

[Carl Jung on Psychosis]


An extreme dissociation of the personality. Like neurosis, a psychotic condition is due to the activity of unconscious complexes and the phenomenon of splitting. In neurosis, the complexes are only relatively autonomous. In psychosis, they are completely disconnected from consciousness.

To have complexes is in itself normal; but if the complexes are incompatible, that part of the personality which is too contrary to the conscious part becomes split off. If the split reaches the organic structure, the dissociation is a psychosis, a schizophrenic condition, as the term denotes. Each complex then lives an existence of its own, with no personality left to tie them together.[“The Tavistock Lectures,” CW 18, par. 382.]

[In schizophrenia] the split-off figures assume banal, grotesque, or highly exaggerated names and characters, and are often objectionable in many other ways. They do not, moreover, co-operate with the patient’s consciousness. They are not tactful and they have no respect for sentimental values. On the contrary, they break in and make a disturbance at any time, they torment the ego in a hundred ways; all are objectionable and shocking, either in their noisy and impertinent behaviour or in their grotesque cruelty and obscenity. There is an apparent chaos of incoherent visions, voices, and characters, all of an overwhelmingly strange and incomprehensible nature.[“On the Psychogenesis of Schizophrenia,” CW 3, par. 508.]

Jung believed that many psychoses, and particularly schizophrenia, were psychogenic, resulting from an abaissement du niveau mental and an ego too weak to resist the onslaught of unconscious contents. He reserved judgment on whether biological factors were a contributing cause.


[Carl Jung on “Karmic Illusion.”]

[Note: Those familiar with “The Red Book” may wish to consider the implications of the statement below which states “The Chonyid state is equivalent to a deliberately induced psychosis” with particular emphasis on the words “deliberately induced psychosis.”]
So far as I know, there is no inheritance of individual prenatal, or pre-uterine, memories, but there are undoubtedly inherited archetypes which are, however, devoid of content, because, to begin with, they contain no personal experiences.

They only emerge into consciousness when personal experiences have rendered them visible. As we have seen, Sidpa psychology consists in wanting to live and to be born. (The Sidpa Bardo is the “Bardo of Seeking Rebirth.”)

Such a state, therefore, precludes any experience of transubjective psychic realities, unless the individual refuses categorically to be born back again into the world of consciousness.

According to the teachings of the Bardo Thodol, it is still possible for him, in each of the Bardo states, to reach the Dharmaya by transcending the four-faced Mount Meru, provided that he does not yield to his desire to follow the “dim lights.”

This is as much as to say that the dead man must desperately resist the dictates of reason, as we understand it, and give up the supremacy of ego-hood, regarded by reason as sacrosanct. What this means in practice is complete capitulation to the objective powers of the psyche, with all that this entails; a kind of symbolical death, corresponding to the Judgment of the Dead in the Sidpa Bardo.

It means the end of all conscious, rational, morally responsible conduct of life, and a voluntary surrender to what the Bardo Thodol calls “karmic illusion.” Karmic illusion springs from belief in a visionary world of an extremely irrational nature, which neither accords with nor derives from our rational judgments but is the exclusive product of uninhibited imagination.

It is sheer dream or “fantasy,” and every well-meaning person will instantly caution us against it; nor indeed can one see at first sight what is the difference between fantasies of this kind and the phantasmagoria of a lunatic. Very often only a slight “abaissement du niveau” mental is needed to unleash this world of illusion.

The terror and darkness of this moment has its equivalent in the experiences described in the opening sections of the Sidpa Bardo. But the contents of this Bardo also reveal the archetypes, the karmic images which appear first in their terrifying form. The Chonyid state is equivalent to a deliberately induced psychosis.~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Psychological Commentary on “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” Pages 519-520; Paragraph 846.