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

Lecture X 29th June, 1934

We will proceed with our investigation of family psychology.

The list of 15 qualities comes first, which will serve to show us how to group the reactions.

  1. Co-ordination.
    2 . Sub and supra-ordination.
  2. Contrast.
  3. Predicate expressing a personal judgment.
  4. Simple predicate.
    6 . Relations of the verb to the subject or complement.
  5. Designation of time, etc.
  6. Definition.
    9 . Coexistence.
  7. Identity.
  8. Motor-speech combination.
  9. Composition of words.
  10. Completion of words.
  11. Clang associations.
  12. Defective reactions.

A list of 10 complex symptoms comes next.

1 . Long pause before the reaction comes.
2. More than one word used a s reaction.
3 . Rep eating the test word.
4. Misunderstanding.
5. Mistakes.
6. Slips of the tongue.
7. Peculiar words, such as foreign words .
8. Mimicking, laughing, & c .
9 . Exclamations.
10. Reproduction disturbances.

When you have the results of the word qualities and those of the complex symptoms you can make charts.

This chart is that of a family.

The mother, a woman of about 40 [broken line); the father, a drunkard [dotted line); the little girl of 9 [black line) was deeply identified with her mother.

The result of the tests though quite natural for the type to which the mother belonged was highly unnatural for the child, yet as much as thirty percent of all associations were identical words showing that this child, 9 years old, had the whole problem of the mother on her shoulders and was already a woman terribly disappointed in life.

She would inevitably grow up with this attitude towards life, for this mold always persists, and her husband will be forced to
become a drunkard.

For things to go at all there is only one answer that a man can make to a woman with such an attitude, and that is to
become a drunkard, or a ne’er-do-well in some form.


This is a chart of a husband and wife who are n early identical.

The wife comes from the family of Chart IV in the last lecture.

In this case the attitude was reversed, the husband will be forced to become a teetotaler in order to adapt to his wife.

The husband is only forced to adapt in a marriage where the wife is the container, that is, the stronger in the relationship, which is the case in about 50 per cent of marriages.


Chart III is that of a widower (broken line] with two daughters (dotted and black lines).

The daughters had taken the place of the dead wife and all three lines show an astonishing identity.

The daughters had adapted to the father and both had strong father complexes.

I will now give you some surprising statistics.

The figures represent the difference in reaction between people who are not related to each other and between those in various relationships.

Between unrelated people
related men
related women
fathers and children
mothers and children
fathers and sons
fathers and daughters
mothers and sons
mothers and daughters
brothers and brothers
sisters and sisters (including
married sisters]
sisters and sisters (unmarried]
husbands and wives
average difference 6

The difference, being more accentuated between men who are related to each other than that between similarly related women, is accounted for by the fact that men go out into the world earlier, while women remain more in the family.

The child is more like its mother than its father because it is usually with her.

The father lives more on the edge of the nest and flies away oftener.

There is more resemblance between fathers and sons than between fathers and daughters.

This accounts for the primitives’ belief that sons are the fathers reborn.

In India the son must b end over the bed of his dying father and breathe in his last breath.

The soul leaves the father then and it will enter the son if he is able to inhale that last breath.

The identity between fathers and sons is so complete among the primitives that a bushman once cried out in rage against his son: “There he goes with my body and does not even obey me”.

He thought of his son as himself, and there are still fathers among us who take it for granted that their sons will follow their profession.

Daughters resemble their mothers much more closely than sons do.

This is mainly because women are far more closely bound in the family, which also shows in the fact that they retain the family speech peculiarities and the village dialect longer, for they have fewer opportunities for getting out into the world.

The difference between husbands and wives is higher than one might expect.

This is the case because in many marriages no identification takes place, but all differences on the contrary are underlined and accentuated.

A wife, for instance, may be a fresh air fiend, and the husband may like sitting by the fire all the summer.

In such cases there is a very striking difference in word reactions which puts up the average.

Word association tests bring out other phenomena connected with speech.

When a complex, especially an unconscious one, is touched, it always brings up a certain kind of emotion which shows itself in some kind of persistence, the persistence of a vowel for example.

Every reaction word may have an “a” in it, or there is a tendency to rhyme, or to some form of alliteration;
poetry is often composed from complexes.


This chart shows the persistence of the letter “A”.

In languages where there are no fixed vowels , a consonant of some distinctive sound will persist instead.

The primitive is only conscious when emotion makes him so, otherwise everything remains on one level.

He sits around, not even thinking, but when emotion is at its height it forces a certain way of speech.

Complexes can be conscious or unconscious.

The breathing becomes disturbed when they are touched by an association experiment.

The next four charts represent the first seven breaths taken after a test word.


In Chart V the conscious complex has been touched, the breathing goes down a little, there is just a sigh, but in Chart VI an unconscious complex has been touched and there is a real disturbance, the breathing is inhibited.


Chart VII is the breathing after an indifferent word, and VIII after a word which has touched a complex.

The principal result of all these experiments is to learn about the existence and contents of complexes.

As a general rule complexes are unconscious, they have the character of conflict because they are not woven into the web of the personality, but disturb and break through it – in short – they are autonomous.

They are, as it were, foreign bodies which cannot be ruled by the will, they have their own spontaneous character and torment and disturb us.

When a complex is touched memory is almost invariably affected, a word vanishes or we remember it too well, it keeps recurring.

A complex always induces unconsciousness.

If we think of the conscious (black line) as a straight line, Diagram IX shows the effect of a complex (broken line) coming up.

The complex rises and takes command and consciousness sinks as it does so.

There is an “abaissement du niveau mental”.

When the level of consciousness sinks there is no energy left in the will; the complex rules us, we are possessed by it.

We drop from an active state into that of a passive sufferer.

Ideas of ghosts arise from this and it appears in the very language, in such expressions as:

“He is out of himself ” or “the devil is riding him”.

Primitives, though they have no analysts and are not conscious of their complexes, understand this state very well.

They often feel alienated from themselves and then know that they have lost one of their five or six souls.

These souls are not under their control so it is very easy for one to go astray and the primitive then performs ceremonies in order to regain it.

Witch doctors are very helpful in this respect.

Perhaps the primitive goes to the witch doctor and says

“Have you seen a soul flying by ”

The witch doctor goes to a tree covered in bird cages, some empty with open doors, and others with birds in them.

He examines the cages and may say: “Yes, I have your soul bird here.”

Then the primitive lies down and the witch doctor lays a trail in grains of rice from the cage to the
head of the bereaved one.

When the door is opened the bird, eating grain by grain; arrives at the head where he belongs and is once more integrated and the matter is in order.

In our language this is the integration of an unconscious content.

If we were only simple and objective we should see these things much as the primitives

These autonomous contents are often possessed of the liveliest energy; a man beats his wife or

ill-treats his children, someone else gets hysterics, or a neurosis, the primitives call it all being
possessed by a devil.

At the moment we call the devils complexes and it is a matter of indifference to him by what name we call him, his effect is much the same in any case, but some modern people understand much better if you use primitive language to them and ask them to find out what it is that is possessing them.

When we are in a rage we must be objective about it and ask ourselves what is making us so angry.

A complex is a most objective thing and the only thing we can do is to be objective about it.

The cleverest intelligence cannot master a complex.

A professor with an anxiety mania can classify it and perhaps banish it during the day, but directly he gets into bed out comes the complex and he cannot sleep for terror.

To say “It is only a neurosis” has no effect on it whatever, for it is like a bad ghost following him.

If we assume that we are just egos and can make out our own bills, we have “Made out the bill without the host” and are likely to find that it has been scratched through.

Complexes have to be taken seriously, they have dynamic force, they live in our psyche and they seem to be bad things, yet it is these very complexes which bring us our fate.

Each complex has its given quantity of energy but as it crosses the border of consciousness and takes command of us, it seizes our energy to increase its own and our consciousness sinks down powerless
and helpless.

This process will persist in a family for generation after generation.

The energy possessed by each complex means a reduction of the energy which is at our disposal.

We may say that they are independent units and that we pay the costs of their maintenance, they rob our life of its continuity.

The ego is also a complex and Diagram X shows it (1) in the centre with other autonomous pieces (2) (3) etc.,


The question is: have these autonomous pieces a consciousness of their own, and if so, what sort of a consciousness is it?

They definitely have, but probably it is a lower consciousness than our own, an unpleasant consciousness.
~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture X 29June1934, Pages 127-131