Does he [Nietzsche] not mean consciousness by this “I”?
Mrs. Jung: Does he [Nietzsche] not mean consciousness by this “I”? I think that in this conception he is influenced by Schopenhauer.
Prof. Jung: Yes, the justification in Nietzsche’s case is of course not only an empirical one; it is also dependent upon Schopenhauer’s philosophy, where the “I” is the indispensable mediator for the redemption of the world.
For if there were not an “I” capable of some ideas of its own, there would be no mirror to be held up to the face of the primordial
will, in which to behold his own countenance and the nonsense he had created.
And also, as you say, “I” means man’s consciousness. What is “I”? Merely awareness, it is consciousness.
When something is a reality to myself, or when I know there are contents which are related to a center, then I can say ‘T’-I do, or I think, or I hear, for instance-then only have I an awareness of myself.
This ego consciousness is to Schopenhauer the turning point of the whole history or development of the world; if that did not exist, the world could never be redeemed.
So Schopenhauer introduced an important change in the conception of the world.
And it is interesting that he is really a Buddhist missionary, the first influence from the East, which is changing our conceptions in the most extraordinary way.
Then after Schopenhauer comes Nietzsche with the background of natural science, materialism.
The whole metaphysical importance has now shifted onto man, but one could say it was really the Buddhistic influence upon the West; by that subtle and secret infection the idea is brought in that man is capable of doing something for himself.
Of course we have an idea in the West that man is capable of a certain independence; the Catholic church assumes that, but the strict Protestant church assumes that everything is dependent upon the grace or the mercy of God.
If man does not encounter the grace of heaven, there is nothing within him but darkness.
Inasmuch as the Protestant theologian assumes that man can do something towards his redemption, even in the most modest way-that he has at least a certain capacity in himself to receive the grace of heaven-then it is already an approach to Catholicism.
But even in Catholicism it needs the means of grace, the holy communion, and so on.
Miss Wolff: I would say that in Catholicism he has a disposition to get saved but he can do nothing without the grace of the church; it goes
further than the Protestant point of view.
Prof. Jung: You see, the Catholic church believes in the justification through work; thus far the Catholic church gives a possibility to man.
While the strict Protestant, Karl Barth for example, denies absolutely that man can do anything for himself; if the grace of God doesn’t descend upon him, nothing doing.
This is the actual conflict between Brunner and Karl Barth; Brunner compromises but Karl Barth makes no compromise.
Psychologically, I am on the side of Karl Barth.
Not philosophically of course-! am no theologian-but psychologically I think that is right: the Protestant ought to insist upon man himself as a being absolutely devoid of all means vis vis God.
That is psychologically very important.
Miss Wolff: Doesn’t Nietzsche go a step beyond Schopenhauer? For Schopenhauer emphasizes merely the mind or the intellect, including
art or anything which is a cultural achievement of man, while with Nietzsche there is apparently consciousness or awareness of the body,
of the earth.
Prof Jung: Ah yes, with Nietzsche we come into a new sphere; Schopenhauer is really a classical philosopher while Nietzsche is something
else: with Nietzsche it becomes drama.
You see, Schopenhauer’s philosophy had little to do with his own existence, while with Nietzsche, the man, his life and his philosophy were tragically the same. Schopenhauer makes a wonderful philosophy about the suffering of the world, and then every day he goes to his hotel and has an excellent lunch.
Of course, with such a philosophy, one should deny existence, one should vanish into Nirvana.
Some people once watched Schopenhauer while he was taking a walk on a hill behind Frankfurt.
He was walking up and down, always murmuring to himself, and they thought he must have great secret thoughts in his mind.
Then somebody went up behind and listened to him, and to his great amazement he heard: If only I had married Ann So-and-So fifty years ago!
Nobody knew that name but they investigated and found out that this Miss So-and-So was the daughter of a druggist who had sold the best pills against cholera, and with his death the recipe was lost.
Voila! That is Schopenhauer.
Miss Wolff: There was a story about one of his landladies. She was really very mean and he went to all possible courts, finally to the Supreme Court, in order to fight her. But he did not get his rights, and that was terribly important to him.
Prof Jung: Yes, he was full of contradictions.
His human existence was quite apart from his philosophy, while in Nietzsche the two began to come together and in a very tragic way.
So he goes really further than Schopenhauer whose philosophy is merely a mental affair, while Nietzsche feels that it concerns the whole man; to him it was his own immediate reality.
It is impossible to be this on the one side and something entirely different on the other, to have a philosophy which has nothing to do with one’s reality.
Schopenhauer’s philosophy is in a way also a Christian philosophy, because he accepted the likeness of Buddhism and Christianity where they coincide in the conviction that this world is a futility, the thing that should be overcome, and that the other world is the reality-whether it is called heaven or the positive non-being in Nirvana.
He still believed in the non-importance of this world.
But Nietzsche begins to emphasize the importance of the body by losing his belief in other worlds.
As soon as the transcendent goal of life fails, the whole importance is of course in the ego consciousness
and in the personal life.
That is inevitable.
And this most upright existence, the ego-it speaketh of the body, and still implieth the body, even when it museth and raveth and ftuttereth with broken wings. Always more uprightly learneth it to speak, the ego; and the more it learneth, the more doth it find titles, and honours for the body, and the earth.
A new pride taught me mine ego, and that teach I unto men: no longer to thrust one’s head into the sand of celestial things, but to
carry it freely, a terrestrial head, which giveth meaning to the earth.
Here he continues to attribute the essential reality to the “I,” and the reality of the “I” consists in the obvious reality of the body.
The body is the truest thing; this is indubitable and undeniable even if it should fabricate poetry and philosophy or other illusions and delusions-the fluttering with broken wings.
Dr. Escher: The “I” of Schopenhauer is the conscious “I,” and the “I” of which Nietzsche speaks is between our psychological “I” and the
Prof. Jung: Ah yes, but just wait!
In the next move Nietzsche gives a new definition of the “I,” but for the time being we must share his insufficient formulation-especially since this is the mistake which has also been made historically.
As you know, with the collapse of metaphysical convictions, the “I” of man really became important.
That was the age of individualism.
Individualism has nothing to do with individuation; individualism is an inflation of the ego of man, because suddenly the ego finds himself in the position of the Kontra-punkt of God himself.
You see, the great ego of the world was God and we were nothing but the thoughts of God, and now we find that God is a thought of man.
Therefore, man in all his modesty becomes a cosmic factor of the very first order, because he is the maker even of gods.
And mind you, man is forever in the funny position of the religious atheist, whose psychology has been beautifully characterized by Bernard Shaw in one of his plays: the atheist complains and laments over the fact that he has lost his atheistic belief–all his highest convictions have been lost, he can no longer believe in atheism.
Of course, it is exactly the same whether a man is a theist or an atheist; it is only plus and minus.
But that has been the preoccupation of man forever.
You see, Nietzsche speaks here according to the prejudice of his time, the materialistic individualism of the eighties: if the ego has
everything it wants, everything is all right.
Our modern socialistic philosophy is still that; Karl Marx is of that time.
It is the enlightened individualism called socialism, the idea being merely that every individual should be granted a decent existence.
That is the individualistic ideal sure enough, because if all individuals are not granted a decent existence one doesn’t feel well.
If I have no friends with decent homes, I cannot be invited to dine with them, and if I have not a decent home I cannot give them nice dinners.
So it is assumed that a certain number of human beings must have nice homes.
Now inasmuch as that formulation of the “I” is a mistake due to the inflation of the ego, at the end of the nineteenth century it began to be overcome.
Soon Nietzsche brought an entirely new point of view which was more up-to-date.
He was, in a way, a prophet. “Always more uprightly learneth it to speak, the ego; and the more it learneth, the more doth it find titles and honours for the body and the earth.”
That is, the more you enter the mood of this ego consciousness, the more you will find how important the body is for that reality.
You see, the ego consciousness is exceedingly narrow; it contains only a few things in the moment and all the rest is unconscious.
You need to gallop from one continent to another in order to have a survey.
And you must make abstractions in order to have a total vision of things, because you cannot imagine all the details of things and at the same time have a view of their totality.
Your consciousness is so restricted that you must economize, make abstractions; it is really the exact opposite to what people suppose to be the universal consciousness of the deity.
One could say that man has come home to himself after travelling in God’s consciousness in the cosmos, and finds that the origin of the whole business is the very small and narrow house of the human mind, the narrowness and restriction of consciousness.
And he finds that the reason for that restriction is very obviously the body.
You cannot be conscious of many things simply because you are not where they are; I am not conscious of what is happening in the library,
for instance, and I cannot hear what somebody says in the library because my ears are here and not there.
If I could do without my body, then my ears might be anywhere in New York or Stockholm. I could hear and see all things, God knows what.
But as a matter of fact there is the body and the body is in time and space; if it were not, there would not be that restriction of consciousness.
Also, if there were no restriction, there would be no consciousness, for if you are conscious of millions of things as it seems to you, you are conscious of nothing: your consciousness is then exceedingly blurred.
And the distinction, the real essence of consciousness, is exclusiveness.
You must be able to exclude many things in order to be absolutely conscious.
So restriction is the very being, the very character, of consciousness.
And the reason for that distinctness, that particular capacity of acuteness of consciousness, is the body, which restricts you to a certain place in space and a certain moment in time.
It protects you against the elemental quality of cosmic indistinctness.
Without consciousness, how can anything be distinguished, how can anything happen?
There can be no world if nobody is aware of it.
If there is nobody to speak of the existence of a world there is none.
And how can there be an acute consciousness without the restriction of the body?
So it comes home to us that the body is the ultimate reason of everything which can be represented in and by consciousness.
The great realization of the end of the nineteenth century is that the body is extremely important, at the bottom of the whole business, and any change which happens to the body will influence the mind.
People believed that even hysteria had to do with the body, and that there was no such thing as a psyche.
This was, of course, the extreme reaction against the metaphysics of the preceding time.
“A new pride taught me mine ego, and that teach I unto men: no longer to thrust one’s head into the sand of celestial things, but to carry it freely, a terrestrial head, which giveth meaning to the earth!”
That is exactly what I meant: it is the head of earth which gives meaning to the earth.
The body is the guarantee of consciousness, and consciousness is the instrument by which the meaning is created.
There would be no meaning if there were no consciousness, and since there is no consciousness without body, there can be no meaning without the body.
A new will teach I unto men: to choose that path which man hath followed blindly, and to approve of it-and no longer to slink aside from it, like the sick and perishing!
This means: Since man-or his ego consciousness-is a living body, his body is ultimate reality. And that is right: it has to go its own path. It is
a good path, and any deviation from it is wrong, just morbidity wrongness in the biological sense. You seC:’ here something very important.
This passage would justify the criticism one often hears of Nietzsche, particularly of Zarathustra, that he preaches a ruthless egotism
If Nietzsche had written nothing else but this sentence, that surely would be true: one could accuse him of it.
But it all comes from the fact that he speaks the language of his time.
He says “I,” the ego consciousness, without clearly examining that concept of the “I.”
He never asks what the “I” is really, he has no psychological criticism.
The moment he began to criticize it psychologically, he would see that the statement “I,” or the expression “ego consciousness,” is too limited, it is a mistaken concept; it is wrong.
The sick and perishing-it was they who despised the body and the earth, and invented the heavenly world, and the redeeming blood-drops; but even those sweet and sad poisons they borrowed from the body and the earth!
To what do these blood drops refer?
Miss Hannah: To the communion.
Prof Jung: Yes, the redeeming blood-drops would be the blood of Christ. And he says they drew even those from the body and the earth.
Mrs. Jung: Wouldn’t it be the bread and the wine?
animated living things. You will then observe what the German philosopher tells about the And the more you curse die Tilcke des Objekts. them, the more you use speech figures which insinuate life into them.
For instance, “Where has that book hidden itself now? It has walked off and concealed itself somewhere.”
Or, “The devil is in that watch, where has it gone ?”
Objects really take on dangerous qualities with people who are particularly impatient with them: they jump into your eyes, they bite your legs, they creep onto a chair and stick up a point upon which you sit-such things.
You will find many beautiful examples in that book by Vischer.
What spectacles can do, for instance! If there is a chair with a concealing pattern, my spectacles will seek it and become invisible, the contours merging with the pattern.
And, of course, buttered toast will never fall on the unbuttered side.
And the coffee jug will most certainly try to get its spout under the handle of the milk pot, so that when you lift the coffee pot you pour out the milk.
But such things only happen to people who are impatient with objects- then the devils go into the objects and play the most extraordinary stunts.
Prof. Jung: Yes, the red wine is the blood, and the substance of the earth is the bread, and that is the body and the blood of Christ.
He calls them sweet and poisonous, because he says our morbidity comes from the fact that we live by the metaphysical instead of the physical principle- we live by the spirit but the spirit is nothing but our imagination.
There again he is lacking in psychological criticism, for what is imagination?
From their misery they sought escape, and the stars were too remote for them.
Then they sighed:.
“0 that there were heavenly paths by which to steal into another existence and into happiness!”
Then they contrived for themselves their by-paths and blood draughts!
This is of course a blasphemous desecration of the communion.
Beyond the sphere of their body and this earth they now fancied themselves transported, these ungrateful ones.
But to what did they owe the convulsion and rapture of their transport? To their body and this earth.
That is plain.
They were not grateful to the body, allowing themselves to be transported in their ekstasis away from this earth to a heavenly place.
But the very ekstasis is due a convulsion of their humble servant to the body. If the body did not help them, they would not have an
How can an ekstasis be brought about otherwise? If they are in the body, then they can step out of it; the body indirectly helps the ekstasis.
And of course if you ill-treat the body, it can throw you out of the house entirely, out of your body.
It is like ill-treating objects. You know, objects are inanimate things; they lie about heavily, have no legs or wings, and people are often quite impatient with them. For instance, this book would like it very much better,
I am sure, if it were lying near the center of the table where it is safe, but I have put it on the edge.
It is an awkward position for that poor creature of a book. It may fall down and get injured. If I am impatient, if I touch them in an awkward way,
it is a lamentable plight for the poor objects.
Then they take their revenge on me.
Because I ill treat them they turn against me and become contradictory in a peculiar way.
I say, “Oh, these damned objects, dead things, despicable!” and instantly they take on life.
They begin to behave as if they were
Gentle is Zarathustra to the sickly. Verily, he is not indignant at their modes of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and overcomers, and create higher bodies for themselves! Neither is Zarathustra indignant at a convalescent who looketh
tenderly on his delusions, and at midnight stealeth round the grave of his God; but sickness and a sick frame remain even in his tears.
Many sickly ones have there always been among those who muse, and languish for God; violently they hate the discerning ones, and the latest of virtues, which is uprightness.
Here we see much of the personal experience of Nietzsche himself.
You know, when you have overcome a prejudice, for instance, you are inclined to be tolerant.
You say, “Oh, God, yes, one can understand things that way; people don’t know yet.”
But those people who remain in a prejudice, with their half knowledge that it is a prejudice, get quite resentful against those who have given it up.
Backward they always gaze toward dark ages: then, indeed, were delusion and faith something.
Raving of the reason was likeness to God, and doubt was sin. Too well do I know these godlike ones: they insist on being believed
in, and that doubt is sin. Too well, also, do I know what they themselves most believe in. Verily, not in backworlds and redeeming blood-drops: but in the body do they also believe most; and their own body is for them the thing-in-itself.
What does he mean by the godlike ones?
Mrs. Brunner: He means the priests who think they know what is right.
Prof Jung: Ah yes, but why are they godlike? Or why should they behave like that?
Miss Wolff: I think he means the people who in a certain drunkenness thought they knew what godlikeness was; he speaks of the Middle
Ages or the old times.
Prof Jung: Well, it is sure that they are looking back towards dark times, obviously the Middle Ages, when their delusion and belief was a
So the mania of reason could be understood as a disoriented state of mind. I think that interpretation is right-a disordered reason is God Almighty-likeness, and doubt is sin.
And that is perfectly true. He means by those godlike ones, then, people with a medieval mind. But why should he think that they are godlike?
There must be a sort of psychological justification for calling them godlike.
Prof Reichstein: Perhaps he means that they live in the other world; he speaks here of the godlike people, and of the people who live in this
Prof. Jung: Yes, the psychological justification for such an attribute is that the condition in which such people live is a godlikeness.
If you assume that there is a metaphysical god and that people live a metaphysical existence, then they are like God; and psychologically the metaphysical place would be the unconscious.
People who live in the unconscious are like the unconscious; they are also unconscious.
So, in as far as you can call the reality of the unconscious the deity, they are like the deity: they are like unto God.
This shows itself in reality through the fact that they have a peculiar self-evidence in life, they feel justified; it is certain that their way is right-or wrong.
There is no doubt about it: they have the natural self-evidence of an animal.
Therefore, an animal is godlike in a way, because it fulfils the meaning of its pattern.
And this is a metaphysical thing to the animal. It is not conscious of its pattern-as little as the Pueblos know that they are living in a Pueblo, or the elephant knows that he is an elephant-though he knows perhaps better that he is an elephant inasmuch as he has to do with man.
But we usually do not know what we are.
You know, perhaps the story of the knight in the thirteenth century, who was caught by his enemies and put into a dark dungeon, and finally, after years of suffering in that cave, he got impatient and beat his fists upon the table, saying, “If only these damned Middle Ages would come to an end!”
Miss Wolff: Doesn’t Nietzsche here make an allusion to certain historic facts when he uses this word Gottahnlich? He means those who believe in God are Gottahnlich. There must be the association of epileptic people here, who were considered to be particularly in touch with God, as the dancing dervishes and such people were also, according to those medieval beliefs. So I think he probably compares the godlike people to them-since those who were mad, who had no ego, who were dissolved, were supposed to be particularly near to God.
Prof Jung: According to primitive people, crazy people are possessed by spirits.
Miss Wolff: Yes, and as he puts the emphasis on consciousness and the ego, he criticizes them particularly.
Prof Jung: But now he says, “Verily, not in backworlds and redeeming blood-drops: but in the body do they also believe most; and their
own body is for them the thing-in-itself.”
You see even for those other-worldlings, the body is the absolute thing, even they believe most in the body. We were assuming just the contrary. How is that?
Miss Hannah: That is just true. Nobody worries over his health like a theologian.
Prof Jung: Well, there is something in the idea that people who are too metaphysical are bothered by their bodies.
For the more the mentality or the psyche leaves the body to itself, the more the body goes wrong. The two ought to live together.
That explains the bad state of health of intuitive people who don’t even need to be metaphysical; it is enough that they are a bit too intuitive.
They live too much in mere possibilities, and then the digestion begins to suffer, they get chronic diseases, ulcers of the stomach or the duodenum, for instance.
Or they may get other disturbances of the body of an infectious nature; many organic diseases are due to this peculiar lack of attention.
People who have lived too much upon spiritual ideas should bring their attention back to their bodies.
So one can say it is always a wise thing when you discover a new metaphysical truth, or find an answer to a metaphysical problem, to try it out for a month or so, whether it upsets your stomach or not; if it does, you can always be sure it is wrong.
It is necessary to have metaphysical ideas-we cannot do without them-but it is also necessary to submit them very seriously to the test whether they agree with the human being: a good metaphysical idea does not spoil one’s stomach.
For instance, if I hold a metaphysical conviction that we live on after death for fifty thousand years instead of fifty million-if that is a solution-! try what it means if I believe in fifty thousand years only; perhaps that is good for my digestion-or bad.
You see, I have no other criterion.
Of course, it sounds funny, but I start from the conviction that man has also a living body and if something is true for one side, it must be true for the other. For what is the body?
The body is merely the visibility of the soul, the psyche; and the soul is the psychological experience of the body. So it is really one and the same thing.
Therefore, a good truth must be true for the whole system, not only for half of it.
According to my imagination, something seems to be good-it f-its in with my imagination-but it proves to be entirely wrong for my body.
And something might apparently be quite nice for the body, but it is very bad for the experience of the soul, and in that case I have a metaphysical enteritis.
So I must be careful to bring the two systems together; the only criterion is that both are balanced.
When life flows, then I can say it is probably all right, but if I get upset I know something must be wrong, out of order at least.
Therefore, people with one-sided convictions of a decidedly spiritual nature are forced by the body to pay attention to it.
I have seen many people who suffered from all sorts of ailments of the body simply on account of wrong convictions.
But it is a sickly thing to them, and gladly would they get out of their skin. Therefore hearken they to the preachers of death, and
themselves preach backworlds.
Hearken rather, my brethren, to the voice of the healthy body; it is a more upright and pure voice. More uprightly and purely speaketh the healthy body, perfect and square built; and it speaketh of the meaning of the earth.
Here you have it. He trusts to the reaction of the healthy body.
The healthy body is the healthy life, and the healthy life is the life of the soul of man as much as his body, because soul and body are not two things. They are one. ~Zarathustra Seminar, Page 345-355