My dear Father White,
My answer to your kind letter comes very late indeed! I have a bad conscience. There are certain reasons however, that may excuse my long silence.
For a number of weeks I felt very low on account of a grippe in the head and in the intestines and beside this ailment I was caught in the grips of a book that eats me alive if I don’t write it.
As I must still see certain patients, give consultations, write letters, etc., my time for work is very short.
This evening I shall give a report about the way you conceive of my psychology before a group of doctors, who regularly come to my house every fortnight.
Once I mentioned a parallel you draw between Thomas’ philosophy and my psychology, which remark met with great interest.
They asked me to give them fuller details.
At this occasion I went through your pamphlets again and found a point, which I forgot to mention in my previous letter.
It is in your article “St. Th. Aq. and J’s psych”. Blackfriars XXV, 216: “J’s substitution of indetermined ‘libido’ for Freud’s determined ‘sexuality’ was a challenge” etc. (9th 1. from the bottom).
Your statement as to the transformability of instinct is correct in the main, yet it could give cause to criticism from biological quarters.
Instinct as seen from a biological standpoint is something extremely conservative, so much so that it seems to be almost unalterable.
This is a fact, one should not overlook in talking to a scientist. It is a regular fact in the animal kingdom. It is only
Man that shows a certain unreliability concerning the functioning of his instincts, and it is only civilized Man, who is capable of losing sight of his instincts to a certain extent and under certain conditions.
If he is nothing but instinctive he collides with his civilization, and if he gets a bit too far away from his instinctive basis, he gets neurotic. There is a certain optimum between the two extremes.
Transformation of instinct therefore can only concern a certain small part of it and it takes untold thousands of years until a noticeable change is effectuated.
This is the transformation envisaged by the biologist.
But the kind of transformation, which the psychologist has in mind, is something else and cannot be compared to the biological effect, inasmuch as it is not a “real” change such as one understood by a natural scientist.
It is rather a “psychological” change, namely a change brought about by a psychological superstructure: a relatively small amount of instinctive energy (i.e. energy of the instinct) is led over into another form i.e. a thought – or feeling – form (idea and value) upon the basis and with the help of a preexisting archetype. This is done f.i. by the ritual anamnesis of an archetypal figure.
You can observe this procedure in nearly all renewal or rebirth mysteries: there is an invocation and dramatic representation of the (spiritual) ancestor and his deeds.
This oetKv6μevov 5 and opcoμevov “constellates” ( or stimulates) the latent analogous archetype in the μ6cnm and its inherent fascination causes the instinctive energy (“libido”) to deviate from its original, biological course and to adhere to its spiritual counterpart. Cp. f.i. the hermeneutic conception of the Cantic. Cant.9 where XP10 corresponds to the “spiritual ancestor” or archetype of Man (as “Adam secundus”), while the fundamental instinctive basis is represented through an indubitable erotic situation.
I am most grateful to you for the information about S. Thomas and for the interesting news. I had no idea, that my work should find so much attention. ~Carl Jung, Jung-White Letters, Page 27-28