For instance, a native was carving his canoe with the utmost love and care, and he spent so much time on it that when he came to the stern of the boat, the bow was already rotten.
The boat said: “I want to be carved”; so he carved and carved, and in the meantime the parts he did first were decaying.
If he were the master he would surely be able to do just so much carving, he could do what he liked.
But no, the boat is his superior and tells him what he must do, so he goes on for years, and in the meantime the boat is gradually rotting away.
That shows what the animation of the object means.
I am convinced that primitive inventions were also made in that way, and that many poisonous or healing plants were discovered, not by experience but by the suggestion of the objects.
For when primitives say that the trees tell them this and that, it is apt to be the truth; perhaps not in one sense, but it is remarkable what the primitive unconscious can do when it is absolutely outside in the object.
One sees the same thing in mediums or in very sensitive people; they have one door still open, one part of their mind is not theirs, it is outside in an object and it knows what the object knows.
Such a fellow is able to produce one’s own thoughts, as if he were in possession of one’s goods, so to speak; and from such experiences one can draw conclusions about those early conditions where the human mind was still in objects.
Then man had only to perceive and apply what was suggested to him by the things themselves.
One hears similar remarks from artists even now, if they are a bit primitive-that certain materials suggest such and such forms or creations. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 453
[Image Courtesy of Craig Nelson]