Carl Jung, Psychology, Science and Fantasy:
It is not only intelligible, but absolutely necessary, that all sciences have excluded both the standpoints of feeling and of phantasy. They are sciences for that very reason. But how does it stand with psychology? If it is to be regarded as a science, it must do the same. But will it then do justice to its material?
Every science ultimately seeks to formulate and express its material in abstractions; thus psychology could, and indeed does, lay hold of the processes of feeling, sensation, and phantasy in the form of intellectual abstractions. This treatment certainly establishes the right of the intellectual-abstract standpoint, but not the claims of other quite possible psychological points of view. These other possible standpoints can obtain only a bare mention in a scientific psychology ; they cannot emerge as the independent principles of a science.
Science, under all circumstances, is an affair of the intellect, and the other psychological functions are submitted to it in the form of objects. The intellect is sovereign of the scientific realm. But it is another matter when science steps across into the realm of practical application. The intellect, which was formerly king, is now merely a resource, a scientifically perfected instrument it is true, but still only an implement no more the aim itself, but merely a condition.
The intellect, and with it science, is now placed at the service of creative power and purpose. Yet this is still ” psychology ” although no longer science : it is a psychology in a wider meaning of the word, a psychological activity of a creative nature, in which creative phantasy is given priority. Instead of using the term “creative phantasy”, it would be just as true to say that in a practical psychology of this kind the leading rule is given to life, for on the one hand, it is undoubtedly phantasy, procreating and productive, which uses science as a resource, but on the other, it is the manifold demands of external reality which prompt the activity of creative phantasy.
Science as an end in itself is assuredly a high ideal, but its accomplishment brings about as many ” ends in themselves ” as there are sciences and arts. Naturally this leads to a high differentiation and specialization of the particular functions concerned, but it also leads to their aloofness from ‘ the world and from life, and an inevitable multiplication of specialized terrains, which gradually lose all connection with each other.
The result of this is an impoverishment and stagnation that is not merely confined to the specialized terrains, but also invades the psyche of the man, who is thus differentiated up or reduced down to the specialist level. By this token must science prove her value to life; it is not enough that she be mistress she must also be the maid. By so doing she in no way dishonors herself.
Although science has already led us to recognize the disproportions and disorders of the psyche, thus deserving our profound respect for her intrinsic intellectual gifts, it is nevertheless a grave mistake to concede her an absolute aim which would incapacitate her for her role as an instrument of life.
For when we approach the province of actual living with the intellect and its science, we realize at once we are in a confined space that shuts us out from other, equally real provinces of life. We are, therefore, compelled to acknowledge the universality of our ideal as a limitation, and to look around us for a spiritus rector which from the standpoint and claims of a complete life, can offer us a greater guarantee of psychological universality than the intellect alone can compass.
When Faust exclaims “feeling is everything”, he is expressing merely the antithesis to the intellect, and therefore only reaches the other extreme ; he does not achieve that totality of life and of his own psyche in which feeling and thought are joined in a third and higher principle. This higher third, as I have already indicated, can be understood either as a practical goal or as the phantasy which creates the goal. This aim of totality can be recognized neither by the science, whose end is in itself, nor by feeling, which lacks the faculty of vision belonging to thought. The one must lend itself as auxiliary to the other, yet the contrast between them is so great that we need a bridge.
This bridge is already given us in creative phantasy. It is not born of either, for it is the mother of both nay, further, it is pregnant with the child, that final aim which reconciles the opposites. If psychology remains only a science, we do not reach life we merely serve the absolute aim of science. It leads us, certainly, to a knowledge of the actual state of affairs, but it always resists every other aim but its own. The intellect remains imprisoned in itself just so long as it does not willingly sacrifice its supremacy through its recognition of the value of other aims.
It recoils from the step which takes it out of itself, and which denies its universal validity; since from the standpoint of intellect everything else is nothing but phantasy. But what great thing ever came into existence that was not first phantasy? Just in so far as the intellect rigidly adheres to the absolute aim of science is it insulated from the springs of life. It interprets phantasy as nothing but a wish-dream, wherein is expressed that depreciation of phantasy which for science is both welcome and necessary.
It is inevitable that science should be regarded as an absolute aim so long as the development of science is the sole question at issue. But this at once becomes an evil when it is a question of life itself demanding development Thus it was an historical necessity in the Christian process of culture that unfettered phantasy activity should be kept under; and, similarly, though for different reasons, it was also a necessity that phantasy should be suppressed in our age of natural science. It must not be forgotten that creative phantasy, if not restrained within just bounds, can also degenerate into a most pernicious luxuriance. But these bounds are never those artificial limitations set by the intellect or by reasonable feeling; they are boundaries governed by necessity and incontestable reality. ~Carl Jung, Psychological Types