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Carl Jung Relationships between Man, Woman, Anima, Animus, Collective Unconscious

Introduction to Jungian Psychology: Notes of the Seminar on Analytical Psychology Given in 1925

Lecture 14

Dr. Jung:

I will continue the discussion begun last time, using a similar diagram (see Diagram 3).

As I have tried to show by the dark and light coloring in a and b, a man has both positive and negative relations to the real woman and to the anima.

Usually if his attitude toward the real woman be positive, then his attitude toward the anima is negative, and vice versa.

But it very often happens that he has a positive and a negative attitude toward the woman at the same time, only the negative is buried and must be sought out from the depths of the unconscious.

It is often to be observed in marriages, for example, that this negative factor starts out as something quite negligible, and then with the years becomes the most patent thing about the relationship, until finally the break comes, though all the while the two people have had the illusion of a most harmonious marriage.

We find the principle of duality in man’s collective conscious, as I have tried to show in the double symbols x and x’.

That is, in general our laws and ideals are good, so when we begin to investigate man’s conscious world, we come first on the positive symbol x.

If we go through history we can be greatly impressed with the scope and magnitude of the things developed in church and state

If we were to speak in terms of primitive men, we would say there was a wise council of elders that had seen to these things.

Let us take as a sample the Catholic Mass.

If we study this we must recognize it to be one of the most perfect things we possess.

Similarly with our laws, there are many aspects of them that must excite our respect and admiration.

But that does not complete the picture; we cannot escape the fact that these things have also a very evil side.

Take the goodness expressed in Christianity, for instance.

That is apparent to us, but get outside of your own skin and into that of a Polynesian native, and Christianity looks very black indeed.

Or ask the Spanish heretics who have been burned for the glory of God what they think of Christianity.

Turning to the side of the unconscious, the duality of the anima figure is obvious.

When a man knows his anima, she is both night and day to him.

As we have so often observed in connection with Rider Haggard’s “She,” the classic anima figure, we can never be too sure either of her goodness or of her evilness; now it is the one, now the other that grips us.

Her potency lies in large measure in the duality of her nature.

A man may, as I have said, know the real woman also as lightness and darkness, but when he sees in a woman the magical quality that is the essence of She, he at once begins tremendous projections of the unconscious upon her.

There is duality also in a man’s relation to the collective unconscious.

Passing through the anima into the collective unconscious one comes to the figure of the wise old man, the shaman or medicine man.

In general, the medicine man has a very beneficent side.

If cattle are lost, he must know how and where to find them; if there is need of rain, he must see that it is made.

Then he must also undertake the cure of disease.

In all these purposes he appears as a positive figure, as I have shown in the diagram by y.

But there is black magic to be taken into account, and this is closely associated with evil, so that one often has y’, which we can call the black magician, split off from y.

This dual aspect in which a man’s collective unconscious can present itself was brought very vividly to my attention through the dream of a young divinity student about whom I was once consulted.

He was in a conflict of doubts as to whether he had chosen right in becoming a minister, as to whether he really believed as he thought he did, etc.

Many of you, however, have heard this dream before, so I do not know that it is worthwhile for me to repeat it.

(It was requested that the dream be repeated.)

Well then, the dreamer found himself in the presence of a very beautiful venerable old man who was clad in a black robe.

He knew this man was the White Magician.

The old man had just finished a sort of discourse, which the dreamer knew was full of fine things, but he could not quite remember what had been said, though he did know the old man had said the Black Magician would be needed.

Just then in came another very beautiful old man dressed in white, and this was the Black Magician.

He wanted to speak to the White Magician but, seeing the young man there, hesitated.

Then the White Magician immediately explained that the young man was “an innocent,” and that the Black Magician could speak quite freely before him.

So the Black Magician related that he came from a country where there was an old king reigning, and this old king, bethinking himself of approaching death, began to look about for a suitable and dignified grave in which he should be buried.

Among some old monuments he came upon a very beautiful tomb, which he caused to be opened and cleaned.

Within they found the grave of a virgin who had lived ages and ages ago.

When they threw out the bones and these came into the sunlight, they immediately formed themselves into a black horse which ran away into the desert and was lost.

The Black Magician said he had heard about this horse and thought it very important to find him, so he went back to the place where all this had taken place, and there he found the horse’s tracks.

These he followed into the desert, and for days and days, until he came to the other side of the desert, and there he found the black horse grazing.

By his side lay the keys to Paradise. With these he had come to the White Magician for help, as he did not know what to do with them.

This was the dream of a man quite untouched by analytical ideas. By himself he had come into problems that activated his unconscious in this way, and because he had an unrecognized poetic faculty, the unconscious content took this form, which without that faculty would not have been possible.

Obviously the dream is full of wisdom, and had I analyzed the young man he would surely have been impressed with that wisdom, and come to have deep respect for the unconscious.

I would like now to try to present to you something about the psychology of women, using this same diagram, with a few changes (see Diagram 4).

We may say that the real man is seen by the woman on his bright side, and that her relationship to the real man is a comparatively exclusive one—that in this respect, it is just the opposite of the average relation of a man to the real woman.

In a man this relationship is not exclusive.

When the average man permits comparison of his wife with other women he says, “She is my wife among women.”

To the woman, though, the object that personifies the world to her (a in our diagram) is my husband, my children, in the midst of a relatively uninteresting world. This “unique” husband has a shadow side for the wife, just as we saw in the case of the man in relation to the real woman.

Similarly the animus has a bright and a dark side, but balancing the unique man in the conscious, we have in the unconscious of woman a multitude of animus figures.

Man understands his relation to his anima as being a highly emotional affair, while woman’s relation to her animus is more in the Logos field.

When a man is possessed by his anima, he is under peculiar feelings, he cannot control his emotions, but is controlled by them.

A woman dominated by her animus is one who is possessed by opinions.

Nor is she too discriminating about these opinions.

She can easily say, “In nineteen hundred and so and so, Papa said this to me,” or, “Some years ago a man with a white beard told me this was true,” and so it remains true for her into eternity.

It is felt as a silent prejudice by a man who meets this phenomenon in a woman.

It is something exceedingly baffling to him, and irritating to a degree through its power and invisibility.

Now then we come to the woman’s relation to the collective conscious.

Since I have not a woman’s feelings, I am perhaps not competent to throw much light on what that relationship is, but inasmuch as the family seems the real basis of a woman’s life, perhaps it would be fair to say that her attitude toward the world of the conscious is that of a mother.

A woman too has a peculiar attitude toward nature, much more trusting than that of a man.

She is always saying, “Oh, well that will come out all right,” just when a man is ready to explode with anxiety.

There must be something like this to account for the fact that there are three times more suicides among men than among women.

But we can always find that, though there is not the marked split in the woman’s relation to the collective conscious that occurs in man, still there is enough of duality to permit us to make a symbol such as x’x. In other words, the woman sees that the dear old god who is going to make everything come out all right has moods of his own, so one must not be too trusting.

This is the element of skepticism, the shadow side.

Men tend to separate x and x’. Women tend to take them together.

If you listen to an argument between men you can always hear them keeping the negative and the positive aspects of the subject distinct; they may discuss now the one, now the other.

But begin an argument with a woman in which the premise carries in it this principle of discrimination, and in about two minutes she has shot through your whole logical structure by bringing the positive right
into the middle field of the negative aspect and vice versa.

Nor can you ever persuade her that she has thus destroyed the logic of the discussion.

To her way of thinking, the two belong very close together.

This struggle for a principle of unity runs through all her psychological processes, just as the opposite principle, that of discrimination, runs through those of man.

Now when it comes to the unconscious of the woman, the picture becomes obscure indeed.

I think there again is to be found the figure of a mother, and again she has a dual aspect, but in a peculiar way. As we saw with man, he has the definite division into good and bad, Cosmos and Chaos, but in woman’s collective unconscious it is a fusion of the human with the animal.

I have been tremendously impressed with the animal character of the unconscious of woman, and I have reason to think that her relation to the Dionysian element is a very strong one. It looks to me as if
man were really further away from the animal than the woman—not that he has not a strong animal likeness in him, but it is not so psychological as in women.

It is as though in men the animal likeness stopped at the spinal cord while in women it extends into the lower strata of the brain, or that man keeps the animal kingdom in him below the diaphragm, while in women it extends throughout her being.

When man sees this fact in women, he immediately assumes that the animal nature of women is exactly like his own, the only difference being that she has more of it.

But that is altogether a mistake, for their animalness contains spirituality, while in the man it is only brute.

The animal side of woman is probably like that we would find in any such an animal as the horse, if we could see such an animal from within itself instead of just from the outside as we do see it.

If we were viewing the psychic life of a horse from within, it would appear very strange to us.

But a man is always looking at an animal from the outside—he has not the psychic animalness in his unconscious that a woman has in hers.

Obviously, I have only been able to give you here an outline of the field of women’s psychology.

There are many questions that can arise in connection with it.

(There followed here a discussion that took two general lines: first the fact that men tended to separate the pairs of opposites, and women to preserve a relative union of them, and secondly, as to whether or not Dr. Jung had done justice to the degree of consciousness that women had achieved in their special world of feeling.

In connection with the first point it was said by Mr. Schmitz that it seemed to him the essential difference between men and women was that the woman had a sense of polarity given her by nature, while man got it through intellect—in other words that the woman was still unconscious and the man conscious, and that this was the basic idea of the presence of Helena, or the figure of an anima, with the old man.)

Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the way it appears to men, but you must always remember that a woman may have a kind of consciousness that a man does not understand, and out of this fact we have the typical mistakes a man makes about women.

Helena is only a man’s woman, she is what a man would wish, but not in the least what a woman would call a true woman—she is an artifact.

A real woman is an altogether different person, and when a man runs against the latter and projects Helena upon her, the thing simply doesn’t fit, and disaster is inevitable.

Mr. Schmitz thought that there was nothing so strange in the kind of consciousness of women, only they had this inevitable tendency to mix things that should be kept separate.

Dr. Jung: But that again is a masculine prejudice.

The kind of consciousness that man has developed tends toward splitting, or discrimination, but the principle of union which the woman holds to is not necessarily merely a state of unconsciousness, as
you would imply, though it is perfectly true that in general women often do show a reluctance to becoming conscious.

•(About the second point, namely as to whether Dr. Jung had done justice to the consciousness women had achieved in the world of feeling, it was said that, while he had shown very clearly the discriminations men had achieved in the field of the collective conscious, when it came to the woman in that field, he had rather left us with the impression that she was a hopelessly amorphous creature.

It seemed to some of the class that, in order to have the picture complete, some more stress should have been laid on the fact that woman had built a world of feeling values in which she discriminated with as much nicety as man in the world of the intellect, and that it was just as confusing to her to have these feeling values trampled underfoot by the unfeeling man as often happened, as it was upsetting to the man to have his intellectual values “messed together” by the unthinking woman.) ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Pages 119 -125

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