18 March 1931 Visions Seminar LECTURE VIII
Last time we were talking about the black snake.
Today we are going to look into its further fate.
After our patient had swallowed the snake, she emerged from the cave, which means that she came up from the darkness of the unconscious where that happened.
The relation to the snake is a chthonic mystery.
I told you a similar rite was celebrated at Eleusis where the initiate had to kiss the snake, and in the antique mysteries of Sabazios the snake was passed through the garment at the neck and pulled out below, symbolizing the same procedure-swallowing the snake, the descent of the snake through the body.
Now we are not sure what should happen to that snake, whether it should remain in the body, or whether it should be digested, pass through the body and come out again.
It would then be a sort of rebirth mystery such as is celebrated in India to cure a sick man: a cow is made
Of leather, and the man is pushed into the mouth of the cow and pulled through the belly and out again, so he is reborn.
It is like that sort of rebirth clinic which still exists in Cornwall: there are two menhirs standing about as far apart as the length of this room, and in between is a huge slab of rock with a manhole in it, big enough for me to just squeeze myself through.
And it still happens that in the night of the new moon, farmers draw their sick babies through the hole in order to cure them.
That is a rite of rebirth which is used as a cure, as sick people were given new names for that purpose.
And there was a case in north Germany where two trees had grown together in such a way that a Yoni-shaped space was in between them, through which a sick person was pulled.
Or he was pulled through a hole made in the wall at the head of his bed.
And to cure cattle disease, they drove the cattle between two oak poles that were on fire.
So the human individual might in this case be called the birthplace of the snake.
That black snake is the earth factor in man, and we might assume that it is seeking rebirth, or perhaps it penetrates the body as a sort of phallic demon in order to impregnate it, or to transform it.
There are several possibilities-we do not know how the thing will develop.
We cannot find out from Zarathustra because the shepherd did not digest the serpent.
But now we shall see what happened to the serpent
in this vision. She says: “I emerged from the cave, the goat and the white snake accompanying me.
We came upon a brilliant disk of gold lying on the ground.”
You remember we said that the disk or the pool of gold was presumably below the roots of the tree, so we could assume that we are here somewhere near the tree.
You also remember that descent from the image of the deity down into the golden pool in the ground symbolizing the sun above.
This is the same golden disk and she says: “The black snake which I had swallowed leapt from my throat and fell upon the golden disk.”
The snake comes out all by itself. She does not say that she intentionally vomited the serpent; it simply leapt out of her and fell upon the golden disk where, she says: “Instantly it was transformed in to a handful of ashes.”
Now what can we conclude from that concerning the nature of the golden disk?
Dr. Baynes: It is fire.
Dr. Jung: Yes, it is the flaming sun or the equivalent of the sun.
Then what about this interesting behavior of the serpent?-that it leapt out of her itself.
Dr. Baynes: It was attracted by the sun.
Dr. Jung: Yes, it was so attracted by that disk of gold that it jumped out of her body.
T he procedure before was a painful swallowing of the snake, and it seems to have been all in vain.
But obviously it was not in vain because the mystery happened underground, and she carried the snake up to the surface.
It is a transitus.
Here the symbolism is a bit doubtful.
One might easily assume that this snake did not leave the body through the mouth; for instance, it might have left the body through another natural opening.
With civilized people one is never quite sure; for the sake of good taste they omit such a detail.
I remember something very similar in my own case where I was tempted to falsify history, and only the fact that I am a natural scientist saved me.
I had to confess that my first vision was really shocking, and I had to accept it.
So here it is possible that, though swallowing the snake is apt symbolism, it might have been a bit different, it might have been more phallic, more typically sexual.
We have evidence that in more primitive times the assimilation
of the snake was symbolized by cohabitation with an animal.
For instance, the worship of the ram in the Egyptian city of Mendes meant prostitution with the animal.
And the high priestesses of the Apis cults were buried in cohabitation with the bull-god; the phallus of a bull was put into the genitals of the dead high priestess, and there they were found-meaning that she was buried in an eternal embrace with the god, a very beautiful idea but of course represented in a terribly naïve way.
As naive as the way la petite sainte de Lourdes! was rep resented.
When she died a huge crucifix was put upon her body because she was the bride of the Lord and so was celebrating her wedding with the Lord in death.
So we are here on uncertain ground.
I suppose that swallowing the snake was a concession to good taste, because more and more in the course of history people tried to save their gods from the consequences of their shocking behavior.
I have repeatedly told you that what broke the necks of the old pagan gods was their scandalous love affairs. Jupiter, for instance, had many love affairs in all sorts of disgusting disguises: once he was a swan, and then a bull; he had intercourse with all sorts of things.
And Venus was involved in similar scandals.
Naturally people were more and more shocked; it got on their nerves when they became civilized and sophisticated.
Therefore their rites and dogmas became more metaphorical; they made metaphors
The old naive sexual symbolism was replaced by more sophisticated symbolism, in order to wipe out the prejudice which was attached to such scandals.
When the Christian religion first started, the fact that obscene rites had been celebrated in certain antique cults became a very serious argument against them.
So even if the snake was really swallowed, if it was really digested in this case, it is possible that some improvement occurred when it came to the natural consequences.
That the snake jumped out of the mouth again would be equally satisfactory and a bit mitigated; and the mouth or the stomach would have served as a womb in which the snake was brought up to the surface.
Then it beheld the disk of gold and was attracted. Now why was that?
Prof Demos: So far, we have had the descent of the patient into the earth, and now we have the reverse process, the ascent of the chthonic into the spiritual. As the serpent was lifted up by Moses, so the chthonic
element needs to be spiritualized.
Dr. Jung: Yes, this is the beginning of the reverse movement, the development of the chthonic element towards the spiritual, or the transformation of the ignoble material of the earth.
The lead is now rising.
You may have come across the Chinese expression “the lead of the water region” in The Golden Flower.
The water region in Chinese or in the Indian yoga philosophy is generally the lower part of the abdomen, or the bladder; lead is the heaviest substance and not of a noble nature, it has a very chthonic, passive quality, the inertia of the earth; it is really death in inorganic matter.
The snake symbolizes the peculiar life of that matter, the life in the inertia of the body.
That element is now coming up, and since it falls into the fire it will presumably be transformed.
This was called the process of sublimation by the old alchemists.
What one usually understands by sublimation is only a repression: say there is some sex fantasy-one represses it and plays the piano instead.
But that is a mere neurotic substitute.
The real sublimation is the acceptance of the sexual fantasy and trying to put the sexual fact into one’s life as well as one can understand it; then one will be pregnant with the black snake.
And the black snake will eventually leap into the disk of the sun because it is not seeking matter again, it seeks the fire of the sun in order to transform.
That is the real sublimation. Now the snake here, inasmuch as it is body,
is transformed into ashes. What do the ashes mean, translated into a
Prof Demos: The phoenix rises out of the ashes.
Dr. Jung: Yes, it is the phoenix miracle.
It is the utter destruction of the specific life of the snake and what is left is just the inorganic matter of the body.
Like the phoenix when he had burned up his nest with himself in it; the end is a heap of ashes, with apparently no life left whatever.
But besides the old myth of the phoenix rising from the ashes, we have one that is more specific, a Persian myth of the bird Semenda.
This bird is also a phoenix and is said to transform himself into a heap of ashes; then after a while out of the ashes comes a worm, a serpent, and the serpent again transforms into a bird.
It is like the caterpillar being transformed into a butterfly-then the bird again but making a transitus through the form of the snake.
That is more primitive than the Egyptian phoenix myth.
Now the vision continues:
Seeing this, the white snakes coiled up beside the disk and the goat also stood there. I walked on alone until I came to a black wall. Upon the wall I saw a star and an eye. I walked along it seeking for some way to penetrate it and pass beyond.
This is the last of this particular series of images.
She leaves the animals at the pool of gold and passes on beyond, obviously upward be cause the movement is from below up to the surface and then beyond.
Then she comes to the black wall, which always symbolizes an obstacle; a black wall excludes the view, it means utter darkness in which one sees nothing at all.
But in that wall is a star and an eye.
The star could be explained by the idea of a black screen which is pierced in one place so that the light behind shows through.
This would be a possible explanation, especially since that was the primitive conception about the stars
that there was some sort of envelope built over the earth, in which holes were pierced through which, from this dark side of the world, one could see the very heavens.
The stars were nothing but holes through which the fires of the empyreum glowed.
Then the eye is another well-known symbol.
Mrs. Sawyer: Would that not mean understanding?
Dr: Jung: It might mean understanding, because if you understand, you say, I see.
But in that case it would be your own eye that understands, and she sees an eye.
Mrs. Crowley: Does the eye symbolize the sun?
Dr. Jung: Well, it is just an eye, and the sun would be more like the star, for the star is supposed to emit light while the eye receives it.
Of course there was an old idea that the eye emits light, Lucretiuss had the idea that man emits light from his eyes, a very royal idea, but unfortunately it doesn’t hold water.
You see, the eye would be the opposite of the star the star emits light and the eye receives it.
She is seeking the way to penetrate the wall, to pass through it.
The star would not be a way, but the eye might be a way. Why is that?
Dr. Baynes: Like the eye of a needle.
Dr. Jung: That is very apt. You know the pupil of the eye is an exceedingly small hole, yet one can see a human figure in it.
The Latin word pupilla means a little girl, and, indirectly, it means the black of the eye in which the image of the spectator is reflected.
That black aperture in the iris leads to the background of the eye, and the light penetrating it, produces sight.
This is very peculiar symbolism.
She is seeking a way through the wall and the only way seems to be an eye.
I remember the case of a woman, a contemporary of this patient, who also had a strange fantasy.
She had not been able to approach the unconscious at all.
She was a sensation type and therefore wedded to tangible facts, and she had been simply unable to find any access to the unconscious.
She always felt as if she were staring at a wall on which was nothing, till once she discovered a little aperture, a tiny hole, and then she had the fantasy of creeping, squeezing into that hole, and once inside she became aware that she was in a huge eye.
After that the vision developed, there were a lot of images.
Obviously that idea of penetrating the eye has occurred to more than one individual.
There is the eye of Horus. Perhaps she can only go through the world after she recognizes the inner world.
Yes, here we come to the symbolism of the eye in general.
The eye of Horus played a very great role in Egyptian mysticism, but unfortunately we have no records of what it meant.
It was all very esoteric and the meaning is lost; we only know that Horus sacrificed one eye for his father.
When his father, the god Ra, perceived Set in the shape of a black pig, he had a piercing pain in one eye and became instantly blind.
The mere sight of the devil, of the black substance of the earth, was enough to put out one eye of the god.
Then Horus the son sacrificed one of his own eyes to Ra, so his sight was restored, but Horus then had only one eye.
Like Wotan, who sacrificed one eye to Mimir, the speaking fountainhead of the underworld-the unconscious, in other words-in return for a draft of the wisdom-giving water; and thereafter he had connection with the wisdom of the earth.
Now the eye in the Egyptian myth is pierced by the black factor; Set penetrates almost by magic, by the evil eye, one could say, into the eye of the god and destroys it.
And then Horus has the one eye; Horus is the sun, and the sun is the one eye emitting light.
Another remarkable Egyptian myth is that a certain day in the autumn is called the day on which the left eye of the goddess is prepared for the reception of the god-when the god comes to penetrate it.
In the autumn the sun is returning into the womb, and it returns through the left eye of the goddess.
In that case the eye would be the entrance of the dark underworld, as my other patient went in through the eye to the vision of the unconscious.
These fantasies and mythological parallels may show you something about the way in which this woman is going to penetrate that wall.
What is forcing her into the eye?
Yes, it has apparently vanished, it is now a heap of ashes, but its spirit is living in my patient and forces her to follow the original intention of the snake-to seek further transformation, or to arrive at a certain goal.
The disk of the sun was not a goal, it was only a place where the snake was burned up; and now it wanders on as a spirit, one could say, and forces her up against the black wall which she must penetrate.
Now that eye of Horus is obviously a circle, it is an orbit, which leads us to the idea of the mandala.
Horus himself is the one eye of the sun, and in certain Egyptian representations he is shown in the middle of a picture and in the four corners are his famous four sons.
They played no role whatever, we know nothing about them except their names, which convey practically nothing as far as I can see.
But there is one important factor concerning them: as a rule, three of them are represented with animal heads and only one with a human head.
That points to the idea of the four sons of Horus being representations of the four functions.
And that is represented in the Christian symbol again, Christ is in the center, and in the corners are an angel and three animals; the angel has a human head and the animals are a lion, an eagle, and an ox, the symbolic animals of the Evangelists.
They are probably a new edition of that old idea. So penetrating the eye was leading into the center of a
That seems to be what the snake is after.
The disk of gold already suggests a mandala but inasmuch as it is chthonic, still lying on the ground, it is apparently insufficient; the serpent evidently wants to go further, it is crawling up higher and higher on the tree of life.
What is it reaching for?
Dr. Jung: No, something far more human. Consciousness.
For it is at the same time the thing which happens in ourselves, a thing that is almost physiological.
Therefore Hindu philosophy holds that there is such a snake in the human body that creeps up the spinal cord and seeks to attain the light of wisdom, or consciousness.
That it wants to be recognized in the light, in consciousness, would be the psychological interpretation.
Of course, in reality the thing is not so simple, because that process is connected with all sorts of mystical phenomena.
People call me a mystic, but we really are chock full of mysticism; that word covers a large area of facts which we cannot understand.
For instance, you heard this gentleman speak of immortality-that is such a regrettable piece of mysticism.
But I must say that becoming conscious of the snake really has to do with the psychological problem of immortality.
It has nothing to do with the question whether there is such a thing as immortality.
It has only to do with the fact that people speak of immortality; that is simply a psychological necessity.
And they always will talk about it, if only to try to disprove it, and that is what we are concerned with.
At least, I myself am really concerned with the question whether it is so, but I cannot decide whether it is so, or whether people only talk about it.
So I am chiefly concerned with the fact that they do talk about it, which is quite enough.
For in the long run it is absolutely indifferent whether one has a sort of illusion or imagination, or whether it is a fact-it has ruled one’s life in either case.
Therefore the fact that rules my life, or that influences my life to a great extent, is the psychological fact,
whether it is true in an objective way or not, whether the vision one has had is an actuality which can really be seen or whether it is an hallucination.
That simply does not matter. The point that matters is that it matters psychologically.
In the history of mankind, what could be called the most abstruse illusions when looked at from a certain angle, have caused the greatest havoc and produced the greatest part of history.
Think of the history of Islam, of Christianity, or of Buddhism.
Those are historical facts, and one could say, brought about by illusions.
An illusion only has effect if the people who believe it, believe it to be reality.
Dr: Jung: If they did not believe it, it would not exist.
Prof Eaton: I mean that the question whether it is a reality or not is extremely important, not for the psychologist but for the people themselves, for if they once get the idea that God is merely a psychological
phenomenon, that might destroy their belief in God.
Dr: Jung: Well, I have a queer idea in that respect.
I think that is a barbarous assumption.
We can never decide whether God is or not, but we make a mistake when we say “merely a psychological phenomenon.”
Do you know what that is?
To say a thing is merely psychological is extremely modest, for a miserable little thought might be greater than the greatest power on earth.
Prof Eaton: Then one goes back to the original religious point of view.
Dr: Jung: Yes, why not?
Prof Eaton: Then one goes back to the metaphysical point of view.
Dr.Jung: No, that is again a barbarous assumption.
Excuse me, I would not go as far as that.
I would say humbly: for myself it is a psychical fact without which I cannot deal with my psychology.
People say: “I don’t believe, it is, it is not, we cannot prove it.” I say: “Yes, I admit all that, I am
sorry we cannot prove it, it is or perhaps it is not, but I think it is a much higher intellectual and philosophical point of view to doubt than to believe that one possesses the one truth.”
Prof Demos: It is also a psychological fact that one wants the truth and is not satisfied with merely an idea.
As a psychologist you have to take account of that also-that one is not satisfied in having merely an idea.
Dr: Jung: In that case I would say that truth is paradoxical, that it is and it is not. We can never decide.
Our mind is absolutely incapable of establishing an ultimate truth.
Prof Demos: The point is that we have a progressive movement towards truth. It is not that truth is impossible, but it is a long job.
Dr: Jung: I say the greatest truth we know is the paradox that truth both is and is not; the ultimate truth must needs be an antinomy.
Prof Demos: But we do go beyond the idea that our ideas are merely psychological ideas.
Dr: Jung: I am sorry for that fact, but I see no way of going beyond.
No matter what you say, it is an idea in your mind.
Therefore it is a psychological fact, and therefore all your philosophy is nothing more than a psychological fantasy.
I am deeply convinced of the fact that even a philosopher has a psychology.
Prof Eaton: So has a psychologist.
Dr: Jung: I live and die upon that belief. But the psychologist admits it.
Prof Eaton: But when a man considers his ideas as purely psychological fantasies, they have no effect at all. He must really believe them as true if they are to be effective.
Dr: Jung: Absolutely. That is why I admit any kind of criticism.
If so, how can there be any truth in the psychologist’s theories?
Dr: Jung: No more than in the philosopher’s.
When you come to that question, nothing is quite true, and even that is not quite true, as the Dutch psychologist said.
We hate the idea of a paradoxical statement yet I don’t see how we can ever get beyond it; at least it transcends my imagination.
Dr: Barker: It has to be decided outside the mind of man?
Dr. Jung: Yes, it should be; a philosophy is merely the reflection of one’s individual psychology.
Prof Eaton: Well, possibly one’s psychology is the reflection of one’s individual psychology.
Prof Demos: And also a reflection of one’s philosophy. You have said that we have psychological facts. Now why can we catch truth in psychology and nowhere else? Is that not too absolute and is not that a danger?
Dr: Jung: Not in the least absolute. You can catch truth anywhere, but never a truth beyond man.
Prof Demos: But if psychology is one way of getting knowledge, there are also other ways. The truth can be reached by all roads, by the way of religion or art or science or philosophy, all equally good roads toward the truth, but none complete. If we can know whether we are conscious or unconscious, which is knowledge, why cannot we know whether there is a God or not?
Dr. Jung: I don’t know how you do it, though as a psychologist I know exactly my ideas of that.
Prof Demos: You are saying that we can know only what psychology teaches, but then psychology would be the only gateway to knowledge.
Dr. Jung: Well, Nietzsche said that the time would come when one would not talk any more about scientia ancilla theologiae, but scientia an cilla psychologiae.
Prof Demos: That is, psychology becomes the queen of knowledge.
Dr. Jung: I would not say that, but I would say that the only way in which we are able to perceive anything that has anything whatever to do with religious experience must be in the soul.
Prof Demos: Naturally, but that does not mean that psychology is the only aspect.
Dr. Jung: That is perfectly true, and that is the reason why I recognize any kind of criticism.
Prof Demos: But you don’t recognize any criticism except through psychological methods.
Dr. Jung: I recognize any kind of knowledge when it is as evident as a psychological fact.
For instance, the experience of God is a psychological fact.
It is a fact that people have such experience.
Now if the philosopher gives me a similar simple fact, I am perfectly satisfied.
Prof Demos: I think that is like a physicist who wants everything to be explained in terms of atoms and molecules. So you want everything to be in psychological conceptions. But there are all sorts of patterns and
why not others-like religious patterns?
Dr. Jung: Yes, I admit all that, if you make philosophy a science of human conditions, for instance.
But if a philosopher is sure that God exists, I would criticize him. How does he know? He must prove it to us.
Prof Demos: But by psychological methods?
Dr. Jung: No, he might have any methods, but he must show them as I show my methods.
If anybody says God is an established fact out of philosophical reasons, he has to prove them.
Prof Demos: a matter of fact, he does show his method just as much as you show your method.
Dr. Jung: But how can we get outside ourselves to find the truth?
Prof Demos: We are always getting outside ourselves; life is essentially self-transcendence.
Dr. Jung: But then we would have no criticism.
Then when a lunatic said he was Christ, I would be forced to agree.
Schopenhauer tells us that the substance of the world is will and representation.
Of course he had very good reasons for that.
Prof Demos: The first point is that man can and does rise beyond him self. The next point is that you have to use criteria by which to judge whether an idea is a genuine reflection of reality. And that is where the
philosopher is distinguished from the lunatic as more universal and more rational.
Dr. Jung: Yet inasmuch as he makes a metaphysical assertion, he is as good as a lunatic.
Prof Demos: And better!
Dr.Jung: And even worse! Well, it is of course a most baffling problem.
I don’t know whether we should spend time upon this domestic fight between psychology and philosophy.
I am always waiting for that ultimate decision, but I should say it was a mistake to fight about it.
For myself it is merely a question of experience.
I have never seen a case where a human mind has overreached itself. Surely not by our intellect.
No human being can establish anything beyond himself through his intellect-or I have never seen that.
Man can grow, he can develop, and then further insight would naturally grow upon his tree, but it would not
be due to the function of his intellect.
For instance, take scholasticism and the seven qualities of God of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Inasmuch as this was the result of intellect-I don’t even dare to decide that, but let us assume it to be the result of such speculation-if you believe it as objective truth, it then becomes a metaphysical assertion.
Or let us take Dionysius Areopagita with his hierarchies, or still worse, Valentinus with his aeons and archai and God knows what, that whole heavenly arithmetic.
That might be a true psychological experience, and then I would believe it, but if the intellect has tampered with it, I don’t believe it, because I know it is then only a metaphysical assertion which I hold to be hubris
and illusion. If it grows naturally upon the tree of life it is plausible; otherwise I mistrust it.
Frau von Morawetz says that it is quite possible that the intellect is often merely instrumental for a certain unconscious process.
That is quite certain.
Many people have believed that they were producing a rational system when it was nothing but a huge
Then they think they have invented it, they rationalize it afterwards.
For instance, scholasticism was probably like that.
I should be inclined to explain St. Thomas from such a point of view-that he really had a vision and rationalized it afterwards.
Prof Demos: How do you differ from the exclusive physicist who says: Only what I see through my physical instrument is true? I mean, you are saying that only that is true which can be grasped by psychological
Dr: Jung: It is perfectly true that there is no difference between the vision or the experience of the world by a scholasticist and, for instance, a modern materialist.
Of course, my way of envisaging things is my way, and I confess it.
When I make a psychological statement I admit that anybody can say it is merely a psychological statement. Yet for the individual a psychological experience is a definite and ultimate thing which cannot be wiped out. If one had said to Paul, after his vision on the way to Damascus, that it was a hallucination or that it was due to a certain repression of sexual libido, it wouldn’t have touched him.
To him it was the truth even if it was not rationalized.
You see, my purpose in psychology is not to elaborate a certain psychological system, or what one might
call a science, it is only a sort of method to free the way for individual experience, for that fact which to each individual will be decisive.
Dr: Adler: But what about the relation between chance and the working of psychology? By your statement of chance, is not a hole left, through which other things, metaphysical things, for instance, can penetrate?
Dr: Jung: If you define psychology as a method for the release and realization of experience, it is incommensurable with the idea of science hitherto, which has to exclude chance.
But experience cannot exclude chance, it has to consider it.
Certain experiences, which are not systematized, can never exclude chance; and particularly in supreme psychological experiences one should be very careful not to exclude chance.
That, of course, removes the psychological intention from the laboratory experiment, which lives on the principle of excluding chance; otherwise the experiment doesn’t count.
Therefore the purpose I have given to my psychology, to put it quite modestly, is not a scientific purpose, because the scientific purpose would not be concerned with chance.
But for psychology it is absolutely indispensable, since chance is really the free working of all things that move in the world.
Anything that you two philosophers have said about psychology is based upon the assumption that psychology is a science.
Inasmuch as psychology is a science of the laboratory the two are commensurate, but what! am doing is not science.
There is a fundamental difference between science and psychology.
Prof Demos: The conclusions of modern physicists are based on the theory of chance within the atom, so I think there is not really such a distance as you are assuming.
Dr: Jung: You are quite right-within the atom-but as soon as you leave the atom you are under the law.
It is practically true that we are dealing with the psychology of the individual atom where there Is chance, but there is no possibility of a case of chance in science outside the atom.
Prof Demos: But modern physicists conclude that chance is a factor from the facts within the atom.
Dr: Jung: Yes, but they cannot possibly conclude that from the facts without the atom.
I discussed that with a mathematical physicist in Vienna, and he confirmed my impression that all that jerk business which goes on in the atom is really confined to what is within.
Of course, you can only explain the quality of the atom through the behavior of the electrons, which behave like physical and psychic units, but that is within the atom.
Outside the atom there is law, and there you have to conform, because you have never seen a case where water was running uphill by chance.
All those speculations of the physicists that one might come across a violin lying on Mount Everest, made of snow, which they say ought to be possible; or Sir James Jeans’s idea that a couple of monkeys running over the keyboard of a piano for several eternities might bring out the Eroica by chance; or cats dancing on a typewriter might by chance in the course of eternities bring out Macbeth or Hamlet-all that is of course absurd.
That is simply a speculation as to what happens within the confines of the atom, where I am quite certain no science is possible.
Science must work on the assumption of law.
Now, you will have noticed, at least those among you with an analytical spirit, that no sooner are we trying to penetrate the eye than a domestic fracas occurs between the psychologist and the philosopher.
From that you can draw a very interesting conclusion.
You see I willingly indulged in this discussion, I wanted to give it full swing, because it is part of the discussion in general.
For while we are discussing these visions some thing happens in us.
We are all following this visionary, we are all trying to penetrate the eye, and naturally, once in a while there will be a manifestation of something of that process happening in us.
This is a very critical point where we almost come to cross-purposes.
Do you know why? What has this eye to do with our philosophical discussion?
You know there is still that doubt in our mind whether this is the eye that receives the light, or whether it is the eye that emits light.
Dr. Schlegel: The eye is a symbol of understanding.
Dr. Jung: Well, yes, the eye means insight, so that when you understand a thing you say, I see.
But the eye is not only a symbol of understanding in that sense, meaning that light is penetrating the eye.
The eye is also a symbol of that which emits light.
Dr. Barker: It is the symbol of individuality, the clash in the individual between light coming in and light going out.
Dr. Jung: Yes, but cannot you formulate it a bit more closely?
Mrs. Sigg: The eye is a symbol of insight; therefore it means insight into the very last truth.
Dr. Jung: Yes, it has something to do with the ideas of philosophy.
Prof Eaton: Has it something to do with the idea of a point of view? That each person has his own point of view about life? One penetrates into life through one’s point of view, so to speak, and the psychologist’s
point of view is not the philosopher’s.
Dr. Jung: Well, the eye usually symbolizes the point of view.
The question is: is it a point of view given through the light piercing or penetrating
the eye, or is it the point of view that is created by the emanation of the eye?
Prof Eaton: It depends on whether you take the philosophical or the psychological point of view.
Dr.Jung: Exactly. Now you have the whole thing in a nutshell, and that accounts for this discussion.
Prof Eaton: But I don’t think it does, Dr. Jung, because vision is the synthesis of the two, of the light emanating from the eye or the person alit going out, and the sun, the light, coming into the personality. Thevision of reality is the synthesis of these two things.
Dr: Jung: Now you become very metaphysical. We must ask Professor Demos about it.
Prof Demos: I agree with him.
Dr: Jung: Well, you are very bad transcendentalists.
Then you ultimately conclude that whether the light comes in or goes out is all the same.
Prof Eaton: No, I say that vision is a synthesis of two things: the light which emanates from the eye to the object, and the light which emanates from the object into the eye. Psychology is the study of light from
the first aspect, and science studies light from the second aspect.
Dr: Jung: But you see that light emanating from the eye is a theory which is not proved.
We have no evidence whatever that the eye emits light. That is an entirely symbolic point of view.
If that is the case, you must reckon with the eye as being a very curious kind of organ, for the
ordinary eye, from the scientific point of view, is surely an organ that merely receives light, and a point of view deduced from that fact will be scientific.
But if you assume that the eye is a mystical organ that emits light, it becomes something else; it is the creator of the world.
Prof Eaton: Exactly, the philosopher admits both, which is beyond both natural science and psychology. Natural science has the point of view that the eye does not exist, it is a mere function of environment.
Philosophy is the point of view that vision is the synthesis of the two, and that both are only partial taken separately.
Dr: Jung: I quite agree with that. I was assuming that you were including the Eastern standpoint that the eye really creates the world, so we had better remain with your first statement that the psychological point
of view is the thing from within to without, and that the other is from without to within. Your definition of philosophy would cover this end, but you have not spoken of that end.
Prof Eaton: But it covers that end too.
Dr: Jung: No, it doesn’t, excuse me. You see that end says the eye creates; it is not a synthesis, it creates the whole show.
Now this is, of course, entirely metaphysical-but this is the idea of the East.
Prof Eaton: That I would reject.
Dr. Jung: Yes, you would reject it naturally because our Western standpoint would reject it.
Remark: The Westerner puts the eye outside and the Easterner puts it inside.
Dr. Jung: Well, it would be within the eye, but the East makes it deeper than within-behind the eye, on the other side.
This discussion should again show us that we are entering here an exceedingly difficult field, we are here confronted with a dividing point between, one could almost say, two psychological ways, if we leave aside the philosophical implication for a while, which we must do for the sake of the psychological argument.
The psychological argument would be that the eye looked at from the scientific point of view is an organ that receives light, and then the source of activity would be outside; the sun would produce the light which the eye receives.
The other point of view is that the eye is a creator, or it is the expression of the creator and is therefore symbolic.
It is the expression or the apt symbolism that covers the creative fact within, the creative fact that produces the sun, that makes it shine.
That is the Eastern point of view, and it is also to a certain extent the standpoint of our unconscious.
Now this is entirely psychological.
I suppose we can give up now our philosophical discussion, as that would lead us really too far.
We must deal with this complicated symbolism for the time being as an entirely psychological discussion, where we simply recognize the fact that the mind of the Hindu, for instance, knows that the world is created
from within, while the Western mind knows that the world was, as it were, created from without.
Strictly speaking, the psycho-physical synthesis in the optic apparatus has nothing to do with the argument just mentioned.
We see light or colors that do not exist, they are wavelengths; we hear sounds that do not exist, they are vibrations of the air.
Our eye or our ear synthesizes the psychical Factor with the phenomena.
Now that is a synthesis, but that is exactly what l do not mean.
The real point is whether the eye receives the light or creates the light, and that has nothing to do with philosophy.
We cannot prove by philosophy that it has to be so, itis simply true that man thinks in those two ways, and that expresses itself, in fact, in the extraverted and the introverted points of view.
The introvert will always rather tend to see things as emanating from within, and the extravert sees things as starting from without and producing facts in the individual.
Therefore, the extravert would rather explain from without-by the milieu, heredity, etc.-while the introvert makes a tremendous fuss over the freedom of the will, because his point of view seems to derive from the fact that, according to the Eastern meaning, the whole world starts from within, from an energic point which they call the Shiva bindu, the point of unextended intensity.
That is just one point, which here would correspond more or less to the pupil, or the focus of the lens, out of which life emanates, and round which, they say, is coiled the Kundalini snake.
That is the symbol for the beginning of things-that everything has originated from that center-which is the
point of view that everything really starts from the subjective factor.
For example, in the Upanishads there are such passages as: From the words of the sage worlds have arisen.
That is perfect nonsense from a Western point of view; you must credit the mind with extraordinary elasticity in even trying to explain such sayings from the standpoint of Western philosophy.
But the Hindu mind thinks of it in an absolutely different way.
To him the world is an ever-existing illusion, but always created from the central point of energy.
Prof Demos: So the patient is making a further stage in her pilgrimage; she has been to Greece and is now going to India.
Dr. Jung: No, excuse me, she is now coming up to Christianity, and I told you that Christianity had occupied such a place in her thought that it is quickly passed through, and she is now facing the absolute blackness
of the future where nothing is to be seen, a star in the distance and an eye through which she hopes to penetrate.
That is the idea of this vision.
There is a guiding star, the individual star, the hope of the seamen who are navigating on the dark seas of the future.
And there is the eye.
Now we can look at it, for instance, in this way: we can say one needs a point of view, un point de depart, and one gets it through the view, but you see that would mean from a certain philosophy or a religious dogma.
But the vision says nothing of the kind; the vision says an eye and puts the emphasis upon the organ by which you receive sight or produce it, and we are entirely uncertain how we should interpret it.
Now I will read you something which gives one an idea; here is your great American mind, Emerson:
The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.
It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world.
St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose center was every where
and its circumference nowhere.
We are all our lifetime reading the copious sense of this first of forms.
One moral we have already deduced in considering the circular or compensatory character of every human action.
Another analogy we shall now trace, that every action admits of being outdone.
Our life is an apprentice ship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
Now we conclude from that that the creative eye, which is in everybody, is the same everywhere, because that creative point of Shiva bindu is the world itself reduced to a nonspatial intensity-that is the way the Eastern mind looks at the enigma of the world.
To us the world is in infinity.
Here Emerson is linking up the idea of that little orbit, or the pupil through which we perceive the world, with the symbol of God, which would practically amount to the fact that it is the equivalent of God.
That is a strange idea to us, though St. Augustine used the symbol of the circle for the same purpose, the circle being the most perfect figure.
But in the light of Eastern philosophy you see what we encounter here: we come to the extraordinary statement that in penetrating the eye, you either lose your self in the subjective factor of perception; that is, you lose yourself in a merely subjective fantasy, or you come into the heart of God, you enter God, the creator of worlds.
That is now the dilemma. Is that plain?
Of course it is not philosophically plain, but as a vision. You hear what he says, he puts it really point blank.
Emerson was a grand introvert.
Miss Wolff In Catholic churches one often sees the Trinity with the eye of God in the center.
Dr. Jung: Yes, you see that in every Catholic church practically.
It is the eye of Horus again. It is the creative eye that sees everything and creates everything.
The first cosmogonic myth was the creation of light, the seeing-out of the eye of God came the first light.
So when we enter the pupil we come into a great philosophical problem: is that thing into which I am entering my own eye, or is it the creative womb of the world?
That expresses itself next in the question which every patient will put to me: is that merely my eye, or is it creative substance?
Is it a psychological fantasy or is it substantial life? Is it true or not?
If it is subjective psychology, it is not true; if it is creative imagination, we can credit it with some thing,
then we are likely to create something.
You see, this question is simply the great philosophical problem whether our psyche is merely a perceptive organ, nothing but a derivation or an appendix to physical processes, or something akin to a cosmogonic factor.
Now we will go a bit farther unless there is any question about the argument as far as it goes.
But, please, we won’t go into philosophy, we must reduce our discussion to the level of psychology for the time being.
Dr. Reichstein: I think the eye is meant here also as being the male and female principle, and in her case she must go through the female principle.
Dr. Jung: That is perfectly true.
The star being the emitting symbol would be in Chinese the Yang principle, and the eye the Yin principle.
But the star is a cosmic factor while the eye is a physiological factor.
The eye is human, living, warm, it is a part of the body; when this women enters that eye, she enters a part of the body, and one could say it was nothing but a subjective fantasy, if it were not that in just this psychological fact we are opening the door to the star, to completion.
Then there is another interesting aspect: suppose that these two, the eye and the star, belong to the same face.
Then one would see two different eyes, the one bright and the other dark; that is, the function of the two eyes would be reversed in relation to each other.
One would be a normal eye that receives the light, and the other an abnormal eye that emits it.
One also could express it as the one eye turned to the world and the other eye turned inward, opening to the empyreum, or the fire of the empyreum shining through; that would be a creative eye into which one cannot penetrate, but to which one finally gets by the way of the receiving eye.
Of course that is not explained yet; that is dark.
What I expect of you is that you understand the fantasy as far as it has gone and everything that has happened today, our discussion for instance, because here we really come into tremendous conflict.
I will define it again.
The question is: is fantasy a mere derivative effect to be explained as deriving from causes within and without, or is it essentially a creative process and thus substantial?
You understand the difference.
In the one case, you must reduce your fantasy; you must say this is nothing but a fantasy due to sex or power, pointing to such and such a thing in your known world, and therefore causing pictures to appear or
certain personal memories.
In the other case, you must give dignity to your image as a life-giving factor, you must know that your imagination is capable of something, that it is able to create, no matter what its apparent antecedents were.
One point of view means explaining a human being from the parents and the whole clan, environment, inherited conditions, education, etc., making the individual a mere conglomeration of more or less incidental effects.
The other says: never mind how or from where that fellow came, we want to see how he works, what he does, what he can produce, taking him as an original unit of creative power.
That would be another way of looking at it. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 290-308