Zarathustra Seminars

Mrs. Jung: In the German text it is Gedanke which is not the same as concept, it is something more living. Would it not be rather translated
by “idea”?

Prof. Jung: That is true, Gedanke is milder; concept is much too sharp, too definite.

It is less offensive in the German text; you can leave it as it is. Gedanke is wide enough.

You see, conceptus means something that is completely caught, a concept, a thing you have grasped, while Gedanke is not necessarily: you can have Gedanke, ideas, which you have not grasped; as a rule our ideas are like free birds in the air which we have not yet caught or grasped.

Mrs. Crowley: It is “thought” in this translation. Would “your highest thought” be the equivalent in English.

Prof. Jung: Yes, “thought” is acceptable.

Mrs. Crowley: May I ask what you mean by Zarathustra being the self of everybody-doesn’t that make him collective?

Prof. Jung: Well, inasmuch as Zarathustra is Nietzsche’s Superman, or Nietzsche’s self, and inasmuch as we accept the idea that man has a
self and that “Zarathustra” is an apt expression for the self, we can say that “Zarathustra” might symbolize the self of everybody.

For instance, instead of calling Zarathustra the self, call him Nietzsche’s genius, or god; then inasofar as we accept the possibility that everybody has a relation to God we can say he is the God of everybody.

Mrs. Crowley: Yes, I can see it that way, but not in the way of command.

Prof Jung: Well, if there is a god, you will be under a command; otherwise it is not a god.

So if you accept the idea of the self you are under the command of the self because your ego is only a part.

Mrs. Crowley: You mean of a self, not the self. How could everybody be under the command of the same self?

Prof. Jung: The point is that we don’t know how far that self reaches.

Inasmuch as we agree that Zarathustra is very modern and vital, we can be in doubt whether “Zarathustra” does not express, at least to a
certain degree, the self under whose command we are actually living.

The last sentences are mere rhetoric:

So live your life of obedience and of war! What matter about long life! What warrior wisheth to be spared!

I spare you not, I love you from my very heart, my brethren in war!

Now, we come to the chapter called, “The New Idol,” and that new idol, as you will have seen in the first verse, is the state. What is the transition?

How does the chapter on war and warriors lead over to the new idol, the state?

You see, we are just following the steps of history.

Mrs. Baumann: If the chapter we have just finished is dealing with the individual, as it seems to be, then the next thing will probably be a
collective consideration.

Prof Jung: Yes, if it is dealing with individuals, but I am afraid that it is not just dealing with individuals.

The two aspects are confusing.

You see, Nietzsche’s intuition is right as applied to the individual, but through the identification of the human individual Nietzsche with the
archetype Zarathustra, it becomes generalized and has also a collective aspect.

So he anticipates the possibility, which for us is already a historical fact, that what ought to be taking place in the individual is happening
collectively in a nation, and not only in one nation but in several.

It is as if the process of individuation, which is now constellated, were happening on a lower story, on the lowest story of collectivity, where it is not the business of one individual but the business of a whole group.

We already have spoken of that; it is a sort of compromise between the individual and humanity.

You see, humanity is universal, not even a matter of a group; but what actually is happening is very clearly a matter of national groups, namely, the idea of autarkia, the autonomy and self-sufficiency of nations.

That has become the leading idea instead of individuation.

It is just as if God himself were split up from a universal existence into a national existence, so there is a god of France, a god of
Italy, a god of Germany, a god of England.

Nietzsche says God himself has become a Jew, and one could say God himself had become German or Italian; that is expressed by a leader, whether they call him Duce or Fuhrer is all the same.

Miss Wolff: War is always made by a state or a monarch, and the warrior means the army, so in the very idea of war the state is implied.

Prof. Jung: That is perfectly true: the very idea of warriors, or soldiers, presupposes a general will above them, a monarch or a general or
a state. That would be the cause of the existence of warriors, but the question is, how do we progress from the idea of warriors and war to
the state?

Mrs. Fierz: When the kind of individuation which he describes here is taking place in collectivity, the state is a sort of persona, the incarnation of this individuation, and the change taking place will be described as happening within that form or that personality, the individuating collectivity.

Prof. Jung: Yes, but that is all expressed in my interpretation of the chapter about the warriors.

I want to know how we can make the transition in Nietzsche’s language, and we have always seen that the very end of the preceding chapter is really an answer to the main issue.

Dr. Elliot: One has the sense that in talking about the warriors, one is not clear about the way war is going to happen, whether it would be
individual or collective. If collective, the state would have to follow.

Prof. Jung: But why does the state follow? Why nothing else?

The state would be the new idol, the thing that is going ahead, but why just the state?

Mrs. Jung: War and warriors mean an outburst of primitive libido which calls for order and law, and that is what the state stands for.

Prof Jung: Yes, it becomes clear in the end of the chapter that some sort of authority is wanted. And why?

Mrs. Jung: Because the instincts are aroused.

Prof. Jung: Exactly.

The chapter is about war and warriors, about people participating in war, and war is disorder, a wild upheaval of instincts, and naturally that calls for order.

If it is collective, it must be a collective organization; if it is individual, then what is wanted?

Mrs. Crowley: Individuation.

Prof Jung: Well, individuation as a condition of order, and how does that express itself?

Mrs. Jung: In limitation.

Prof. Jung: Well yes, that would be a result. But how does it express
itself?

Dr. Strong: By the symbol.

Prof. Jung: Yes, the symbolic way; the expression through the symbol is the way of individuation.

That is indispensable: it always expresses itself in a symbol, and that is again the ambiguity.

Therefore Nietzsche does not call the next chapter “About the State,” but calls it, “The New Idol.” So what he really means is that this whole situation of war and warriors, of instincts, disorder, conflagrations and catastrophes-all this needs an answer, say a principle of order or control.

It would need an idol. And what is an idol?

An idol is a symbol which possesses authority, which is mana. In the individual case, if it is a question of individuation, the symbol creates order; but if it is a question of collective events, it must be an organization, and then it is no longer a symbol.

Then the symbol becomes an idol.

For one only uses the word idol to depreciate the symbol; as long as a picture or a monument is a symbol, it works, it lives, but the moment it becomes an idol it is dead.

A symbol that is dead is called an idol and the worship of it is idolatry.

But one never would call the symbolic use of such a thing idolatry, because it is working through itself, it is living. That is just the difference between a living symbol and a dead idol.

In this title you can see that ambiguity going on; it is as if Zarathustra or Nietzsche were feeling the right thing, feeling that it ought to be a symbol and not an idol.

So the New Idol would mean the new-old error, always that collective so-called symbol which is nothing but an idol.

And now instead of what we had before, we have a state.

Mind you, we experience history in our time-we are actually living history, and that is no small matter; formerly people read history, now
they live it.

Of course we always had a state in Christianity, the church, but we did not live in the time when the church was the idol.

The church then had the so-called totalitarian claim, she was the ultimate authority, with no authority beyond.

As we know, the Catholic church has greater authority than the Holy Scriptures, because there was a church long before the Evangels were written.

St. Paul, for instance, lived in a time when the Evangels were not considered to be books of revelation; even after his time they were only thought to be quite useful books.

So the church, because she is older, always declares that she is the only competent interpreter of the Scriptures.

The worldly power has always tried to liberate itself from the totalitarian claim of the church, and now the church has lost prestige to such an extent that the claim has had to change its abode. You see, that totality claim always exists.

That is the need of the symbol, or the idol: somewhere we must have that supreme authority.

For a time, it was invisible and we were seeking it everywhere.

Of course we had the illusion that people didn’t need a supreme idol, but secretly science began to flirt with the idea that perhaps science or rationalism was the idol.

H. G. Wells has just published four articles in the Manchester Guardian about his recent trip to the United States, and if you want to read the story of a true adherent to the idol of science and rationalism, read H. G. Wells.

He believes that if we had a science of money and property, and if there were better universities, if certain learned men only would speak, then the world could be improved.

That is like thinking that if we would only hear the word of God, everything would be all right, as they formerly thought.

Now you see that totality claim, after having had a short flirtation with science, has, not very proudly, appeared on the scene of the
world in the totalitarian claim of the state, first in Russia to the horror of the world, then in Italy, then in Germany, and perhaps it will go further. ~Zarathustra Seminars, Page  571-575