Zarathustra Seminars

Well, you have answered your question yourself, practically.

That shame is of course a very typical reaction; it is a primitive reaction which clearly shows the distance that exists between the ego consciousness and the original unconsciousness of mere instinct.

As long as man is in a merely instinctive animal condition, there is absolutely no ground for shame, no possibility of shame even, but with the coming of the ego consciousness, he feels apart from the animal kingdom and the original paradise of unconsciousness, and then naturally he is inclined to have feelings of inferiority.

The beginning of consciousness is characterized by feelings of inferiority, and also by megalomania.

The old prophets and philosophers say nothing is greater than man, but on the other side nothing is more miserable than man, for the ego consciousness is only a little spark of light in an immense darkness.

Yet it is the light, and if you pile up a thousand darknesses you don’t get a spark of light, you don’t make consciousness.

Consciousness is the sun in the great darkness of the world.

Man is just a little lantern in the consciousness, naturally you are isolated and become self-conscious you can’t help it-and naturally you no longer possess the absolute
simplicity of nature: you are no longer naive.

It is a great art and a great difficulty to become like unto a child again-or better still, like unto an animal; to become like an animal is then the supreme ideal.

When you have built up your consciousness to a decent degree, you become so separated from nature that you feel it to be a disadvantage; you feel that you have fallen from grace.

This is of course the expulsion from paradise.

Then life becomes ego misery and lawlessness and you must create artificial laws in order to develop a feeling of obedience.

Having ego consciousness means that you have a certain amount of disposable willpower, which of course means arbitrary feelings and decisions, disobedience of natural laws and so on; and that gives you a terrible feeling of being lost, cursed, isolated, and wrong altogether.

And of course this causes feelings of shame. Compare your state of innocence with the innocence of a little child and you have ground for shame; and compared with an animal you are nowhere.

So the dawn of consciousness was naturally a tremendous problem to man; he had to invent a new law-abiding world of obedience, the careful observance of rules; instead of the herd or the natural animal state, he had to invent an artificial state.

He has now succeeded in making of the state a tremendous monster, such as nature probably never would have tolerated, but he had to do it in order to compensate that sentiment d’incompletude, d’insuffisance.

For we should not live instinctively any longer.

We had to invent machines and law books and morals in order to give mankind a feeling of being in order, of being in a decent condition-something similar to paradise where the animals knew how to behave with each other.

You see, the great world seems to be a self-regulating orderliness, an organism that moves and lives in a more or less decent way.

The catastrophes are not too great or too many.

There are not too many diseases-only a decent amount to kill off enough animals.

But we know that we can break out at any time and destroy as no volcano and no epidemic ever destroyed, and we chiefly injure our own species; we would not dream of making an international war against flies or microbes or against whales or elephants-it isn’t worthwhile-but it is worthwhile when it is against man.

That is so much against nature that on the other side, man seeks to protect himself by complicated machines, states, and contracts which he cannot observe.

So this first reaction of shame symbolizes the moment when man felt his tragic difference from paradise, his original condition.

Yet that original condition was also not a very happy one. The primitive man did not feel his unconscious condition to be very satisfactory.

He tried to get away from it.

Of course we have the idea that the original condition was a wonderful paradise, but as a matter of actual fact man has always tried to move away from that unconsciousness.

All his many ceremonies were attempts to create a more conscious condition, and any new positive acquisition in the field of consciousness was praised as a great asset, a great accomplishment.

Prometheus stealing the fire from the immortal gods has become a savior of mankind, and man’s greatest triumph was that God himself incarnated in man in order to illumine the world; that was a tremendous increase of consciousness.

But every increase of consciousness means a further separation from the original animal-like condition, and I don’t know where it will end: it is really a tragic problem.

We have to discover more consciousness, to extend consciousness, and the more it is extended the more we get away from the original condition.

The body is the original animal condition; we are all animals in the body, and so we should have animal psychology in order to be able to live in it.

Yes, if we had no body then we could live with contracts and marvelous laws which everybody could observe and a marvelous morality which everybody could easily fulfil.

But since we have a body it is indispensable that we exist also as an animal, and each time we invent a new increase of consciousness we have to put a new link in the chain
that binds us to the animal, till finally it will become so long that complications will surely ensue.

For when the chain between man and animal has grown so long that we lose sight of the animal, anything can happen in between, the chain will snarl up somewhere.

That has happened already and therefore we doctors have to find in a conscious individual the place where the chain begins; we have to go back to find out where it has been caught or what has happened to the animal at the other end of the line.

Then we have to shorten it perhaps, or disentangle it, in order to improve the relationship between the consciousness that went too far ahead and the animal left behind.

This figure of the chain is not my own invention.

I found it the other day in a book by an old alchemistic doctor, as the so-called symbol of Avicenna;’ the alchemists were mostly doctors and they developed their peculiar kind of psychology by means of very apt symbols.

This one consists of an eagle flying high in the air, and from his body falls a chain which is attached to a toad creeping along on the earth.

The eagle of course represents the air, the spirit, and in alchemy it had a very particular meaning.

The eagle would remind any alchemist of the phoenix, the self-renewing god, an Egyptian inheritance. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 965-968.