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I always take the invention of writing as the criterion for when responsible consciousness came into existence.

f1495 language

The Red Book

Professor Jung:

Yes, I always take the invention of writing as the criterion for when responsible consciousness came into existence. That’s a particular period in the development of consciousness itself, mind you.
We must completely abandon the idea of finding out when that began. That goes back to God knows when.

But we may say that the beginning of writing shows the moment when reflection began.

No other consciousness can justifiably be called human.

There is an element in reflection, a divine element, so to speak, that elevates at least part of the human being out of the general “natural soup.” When can we date that beginning?

Participant: In the Age of Taurus 4500 B.C.

Professor Jung: The oldest written monuments date back to 4200-4100 BC.

The first texts in cuneiform writing and hieroglyphs are from about the same period.

Since then for about six thousand years, that is, we can speak of human consciousness.

One may think that this isn’t such an enormous period of time.

It is a relatively short span in the whole history of mankind. Se we may say that we have come quite a considerable distance.

But in view of what is perhaps still possible, very little.

So if someone should say that our consciousness has not gotten anywhere yet, he may be right. In any case, I see infinite possibilities for human consciousness.

We always think we have reached a certain level, but we are nowhere near the summit yet.

So I would say that the unconscious constitutes the greater part. ~Interpretation of Dreams Ancient and Modern, Chapter VI, Page 236.

Image: Letter sent by the high-priest Lu’enna to the king of Lagash (maybe Urukagina), informing him of his son’s death in combat, c. 2400 BC, found in Telloh (ancient Girsu).

[Note: For those familiar with “The Red Book” great correspondences in the material contained in “Interpretation of Dreams Ancient and Modern” may be found in “The Red Book.”

For example:

When the month of the Twins had ended, the men said to their shadows: “You are I,” since they had previously had their spirit around them as a second person.

Thus the two became one, and through this collision the formidable broke out, precisely that spring of consciousness that one calls culture and which lasted until the time of Christ.

But the fish indicated the moment when what was united split, according to the eternal law of contrasts, into an underworld and upper world.

If the power of growth begins to cease, then the united falls into its opposites. Christ sent what is beneath to Hell, since it strives toward the good. That had to be.

But the separated cannot remain separated forever. It will be united again and the month of the fish will soon be over.

We suspect and understand that growth needs both, and hence we keep good and evil close together. Because we know that too far into the good means the same as too far into evil, we keep them both together. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Pages 314-315.]