Modern Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Lectures at the ETH Zürich, 1933-1941

Lecture I 3rd May, 1935

I will give you a short resume of the themes which were treated in the lectures which I have given during the last year.

We spoke principally of methods, and first amongst these of association tests, intended to find the feeling toned complexes in the unconscious.

Complexes are autonomous; their autonomy is shown by the way they influence and change conscious intentions.

They cause:

1) Forgetfulness: We forget a word, usually a name. It is kept back by its relation in the unconscious to the complex. I am not
speaking of common forgetfulness which is quite a different thing, but of abnormal forgetfulness.

2) Lapsus linguae: using the wrong word in the wrong place. The complex often plays the role of the little devil in this respect.

3) Misunderstanding: if we are speaking of anything in the neighbourhood of a complex we must take great care that we are not misunderstood, for the complex will use its language instead of ours if it possibly can.

4) Involuntary facial expressions : most people cannot control their facial expressions, only a skilled actor can do this. If a complex
is touched our faces, or perhaps our hands, betray us.

5) Emotion: when a feeling toned complex is touched, people become upset emotionally. When we do not understand our emotion we feel quite innocent about it, but its cause can usually be traced to the complex. Such reactions can take place without our conscious knowledge, or, perhaps we recognise the emotion at the beginning, but then another long wave of affect takes place unnoticed which is expressed in bodily reactions, such as perspiration.

These experiments make it possible for us to get some idea of unconscious affects and complexes.

Patients come to analysis knowing nothing whatever about these; it is impossible to make a direct approach but if I ask them, for instance, what they think I think they usually become very eloquent! Complexes can also
be called fragmentary souls.

Secondly we spoke of dreams and, as we did so, it became apparent that dreams have something of the quality of autonomous complexes.

The complex often appears quite nakedly in a dream as it never does in the conscious, but it is always expressed in curious and indirect language.

We saw that we must find the associations in order to widen the field of the dream and to see where it connects with consciousness.

It is also necessary to pay attention to the psychic atmosphere of the dream images.

By these means we can arrive at its meaning.

All dreams originate in the unconscious though occasionally a dream can be induced by suggestion or hypnosis.

Dreams can spring from physical or psychic causes, a dream can be caused by hunger, fever, cold, et cetera, but even then the dreams themselves are made of psychic material.

Many dreams come from split off psychic contents, if I try to dissociate myself from something I am very likely to dream of it.

People with a narrow consciousness often have meaningful dreams, especially those who have great trouble in seeing who they are and where they belong; many people spend their entire lives without being able to discover this.

It sometimes happens that such people identify with a content in a dream that belongs to a fate which it is far beyond their capacity to live, and this may cause a bad split, or even a psychosis.

Some dreams spring from contact with basic archetypal contents of the unconscious, contents which have never been anywhere near consciousness.

I will give you some diagrams to make this clearer.

Diagram I

Diagram I.

a) is the circle of consciousness;
b) is an unpleasant content which has been made taboo, what the English call a “skeleton in the cupboard”.
It is driven out, and made autonomous.

Diagram II.

Here the reverse process has taken place;

b) the complex, has remained fixed and a) the conscious, has moved away from it.

This is a question of two different types.

The type represented in the first diagram is more hysterical, and the second appears to be more normal for he keeps the abnormal thing out of his everyday life, but unintentionally he is always affected by it.

Diagram III.

Everyone has complexes, there is nothing to be ashamed of in that; it would in fact be highly suspicious if we found someone who had no complexes, for these are the fires of the psyche.

This diagram is of a normal man who knows the positive and negative aspects of his conscious,

a), but who does not reckon with the fact that his conscious is contained in a far larger unconscious which has its own complexes,

b). People who deny their complexes become separated from their energy because there is no energy without complexes.

If all the conflict is in the archetypes, then the energy is all in the unconscious; this state of things continues until life produces a situation which constellates the archetype in us.

When this happens the complex takes on a tremendous growth.

It is, of course, essential to become conscious of what is happening and by this we can gain a heightened consciousness; if we do not gain this consciousness the energy is lost, it disappears into the unconscious again.

Miracles are symbols for a heightened understanding of life; learning to fly without wings, telepathy, Yoga practices, etc., all belong psychologically to this heightened consciousness.

I did not say very much about the mechanism of dreams, I will give you some main points on that subject now.

  1. Contamination.

This is the central point which relates innumerable things to each other.

It consists of unlimited contact with all possible images that are drawn from thousands of things which we would never have thought of putting together.

I will give you an example in the form of a task.

Choose some simple thing, a table, for example.

The wood that it is made of, its size and such facts come to our mind at once; but the whole world stands in some relation or other to it.

A cloth, for instance, has a direct relation to it, but it seems a far cry from a table to Julius Caesar, the sequence, however, leads us there quickly if we know it.

The famous German word “Zug”, of which Mark Twain complains, connects an amazingly long and various list of things.

The understanding is inactive while we dream; if we take hold of one piece of the fabric of contamination, any of the innumerable things with which it is connected may come up with it.

In the conscious we concentrate on the meaning of the word, and we prevent ourselves from giving it too wide a meaning.

But this is reversed in the unconscious, so that not only the one word is brought up, but all words in its proximity.

You can see this very clearly in psychotic states.

I will give you some examples.

I had a patient in an asylum who always called herself “die Lorelei”.

I asked her why, and she replied that she had been in the asylum for a long time and that each time she told the doctor she should be let out, because she was the Czar, the Grand Mogul, or some such person, he always replied “Ich weiss nicht was solidas bedeuten” so of course she must be the Lorelei!

She also called herself the silver island and had a dream of an island consisting of a silver mountain.

She explained this by saying “Silence is golden and speech is silver” and that she talked a lot so she
was silver.

You can really say anything when you begin to think in this way.

Another patient said that he was Socrates’ representative, because like him he h a d suffered for many years in prison – the asylum.

We sometimes get dreams in which we cannot form the content, and what happens to us while asleep, happens to the insane while they are awake.

  1. Condensation.

This is a stronger form of contamination, it does not only connect but condenses innumerable things.

The crab-lizard monster, which we spoke of last year, is such an image.

  1. Doubling, or multiplication, is the opposite of condensation.

Certain people, or experiences, appear doubled, or multiplied.

  1. Concretizing.

It is as if the unconscious could not think logically so that it expresses itself in little stories; it often, for instance, represents complexes by people, who can be either real or imaginary. In our conscious life we often pick out a friend or enemy to be our bete noire, he has the qualities we do not wish to see in ourselves and we stick very closely to him.

  1. Dramatizing.
    This is a mechanism which dramatizes everything that happens.

  2. Archaic Mechanism.

This is translating things into archaic forms, into animals which app ear in fairy tales and the such like. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 1May1935, Pages 201-204.