11 October 1933 Visions Seminar LECTURE II
We are still in the middle of this most puzzling vision of the moving skyscrapers, and I think we shall have to look at it once more.
You remember the patient is on her way home, and she had this vision while on board the steamer which brought her to New York harbor.
It is obviously an anticipation of life in New York or any other American town, and it is not a very positive anticipation.
Such a chaotic vision-reminding one of a modern picture-where even buildings assume the most extraordinary shapes, denotes panic, or a sort of negation, a defense against the impressions of reality; as the turmoil and madness of this multitude of men and women who are cutting themselves and each other with knives would denote a panic.
Now I should like to hear your views about that symbolism.
What does it mean that they cut each other with knives?
First of all, it is obviously a continuation of the motif of the bleeding birds, wounded by the clashing skyscrapers; that was a mere anticipation, one could say, of the main interest, such as often happens in dreams.
You dream that a certain fact happens to somebody else at a distance, and in the continuation of the dream the same fact comes closer to you, and finally you yourself are in the mess.
So here the motif of wounding each other, the bleeding, is first presented by those birds and then by the human beings. But what does it mean?
Mrs. Crowley: Perhaps one ought to go back a little to a previous condition. In the last lecture of the spring seminar there was a sort of prevision of the Self, where you spoke of the freedom of the Self, and now in coming back to America she finds a misconception of the idea of freedom, they are wounding themselves. So this would be the enantiodromia of that, which was more a conscious realization of freedom, while this is a kind of abandoned unconscious relationship.
Dr. Jung: Yes. You see the realization of the Self means finding one’s center of gravity-it would amount to a sort of cosmos, an orderly concentrated state of things where everything is in its place.
But if that state is exploded by a panic, for instance, one falls into a disintegrated condition where nothing is in order, and everybody turns against everybody else.
But what do you think about the causes of such a condition?
Dr: Reichstein: She had to leave the mandala, and here she is told how the place looks to which she is going. It is just a picture of the outer world where cruel people cut each other with knives.
Dr: Jung: Well, the explanation is exceedingly simple.
That happens to practically everybody who has been in analysis for a while, where he has had ample opportunity to become concentrated, to get himself into order.
Then he steps out into his world where there is no father and mother, no mandalas, where he is not bathed and fed every day, but quite exposed to anything that may happen.
For the world, as we experience it every day, is utterly chaotic, there is very little order; even the traffic in the streets obeys no particular order, it comes rolling on in chaotic lumps, and you might be hurt at any time if you don’t look out.
Whether you step out into the jungle, or into the sea, or into the streets of a great city, it is the same; if you don’t look out for yourself, nothing and nobody will take care of you.
So she is being confronted by New York, and you Americans know what that means, particularly when you have to live there; it is no joke.
But even the smallest town under those conditions is chaotic, because you drop into the past.
A person coming from a small town goes back to an entirely peaceful place where there is no disorder and no cause for fear.
Yet he will be assailed by disorder and fear because he goes back to his former condition, he will be torn apart by associating with this condition, or whatever it was that brought him to analysis; instantly it is as if all the old troubles were returning.
And they do return and it would be unnatural if they did not.
Of course, in the first moment people ask what has been the good of analysis if all the difficulties come back again.
Naturally, when they go back into their former situation, the real fight begins.
You see, the mere fact that a proper weapon has been put into your hands does not mean that the enemy won’t shoot, their guns will go off just as they always did.
Then naturally you will have to apply what you have learned.
That is exactly the situation of our patient.
She goes back into her former world which is as it always has been and always will be, and she is now exposed to apparently merciless conditions; in those streets where people are wounding each other, she will be exposed to the same dangers.
Now what would you call such a condition? Be naïve.
Say you step out into the street and see knives flashing and a hell of a row going on.
Dr. Strong: A revolution.
Mr. Allemann: A chaotic, emotional condition.
Answer: A brain storm.
Dr. Jung: A brain storm I should say, it is an insane condition.
But how does it happen that her unconscious represents the whole of New York in a state of insanity? Or it could be London or Paris or any other town just as well.
Mrs. Crowley: She now sees collectivity in a new light. Before she was a part of it. It is the difference between an individual attitude and a collective one. It shows she is a little removed, detached enough to see it.
Dr. Jung: But is it really a state of madness?
Miss Hannah: Collectivity is pretty crazy, as far as one can see from modern art.
Dr. Jung: Yes, but let us remain for the moment in the simple sphere of this person. What then?
Would you say it was justifiable that she sees things like that?
Dr. Strong: For a person who has just come out of a mandala I should say it was very natural.
Dr. Jung: But is it certain that it is chaos?
There are many reasonable beings outside of you, even if you have dwelt for a while in a mandala.
Remark: In herself there is a bit of madness.
Dr. Jung: You take it as entirely a projection of her own condition.
Even the state of things in New York is not exactly madness; at all events it is perfectly certain that the skyscrapers don’t move or they would fall down in no time, it would mean the destruction of the whole city.
So it is quite obvious that she projects that uncanny life into the skyscrapers and into
the people; it appears to her like this, as if she were seeing through the veil of her own madness a distortion of real things.
But what does it mean, wounding each other with knives?
You see, on the one hand we have this projection and we could take this as quite justifiable, because people do behave in that way.
One must always have a peg-a black spot in the white-on which to hang the projection, and there must be an element of madness in a crowd.
So we can deal with this symbolism as if it were reality, and then ask:
Are people really wounding themselves and each other like that? Does that really portray an element in human society?
Or on the other hand, if it is nothing but a projection of her panicky, subjective condition, we can ask what it means that the constituents of that emotional condition are fighting each other?
This question is of course far more difficult than the first.
The one is handling the problem on the objective stage and the other on the subjective stage.
First we will talk of the objective stage, as if this were a true statement, and I admit
that there is truth in it, there must be something like that going on.
Mrs. Fierz: All these visions are seen from the point of view of the unconscious, so it might be just the opposite in reality. One might say that in reality those people in New York have very clear conventions and are awfully nice with each other, they know exactly what to do. And if she returns she will fall back into that convention; yet she won’t quite be able to, and then her madness would come up again.
Dr. Jung: Not her madness but her reason would come up, she would become exceedingly reasonable, and that is the danger.
You see, we should be capable of a certain amount of madness.
We have to be very careful not to be too healthy-minded, for things then get too dangerous; we should not disregard the presence of a certain amount of madness in
But this is complicating the problem a little, though it is entirely to the point.
Naturally in such a vision the problem is envisaged from the standpoint of the unconscious, but we can arrive at the same results when we omit that possibility.
We will remain for the time being with the statement that people are wounding each other, that life in collectivity is something like that.
Now how do you explain it?
Sure enough, it is the opposite of love, it is a state in which there is no sign of love, only hatred, misunderstanding, aggressiveness, selfishness, cruelty, perversity even.
And that is a terribly negative aspect.
Dr.: Shaw: Is that not the Kundalini yoga concept dvesa?
Dr. Jung: Yes. It is the shadow aspect of the life of collectivity, an absolutely negative aspect of human society; she perceives in the vision the negative side of human relationships.
And as the negative side is the opposite of what people consciously assume, we arrive at the conclusion that when they love each other in the conscious, in the unconscious just the opposite sentiment prevails.
In the conscious is the light, and in the unconscious is the shadow.
So by looking into the unconscious, she sees that of which people are not aware, and of which her own conscious is not aware.
Her conscious would say: “Oh, these nice people are all together in one boat and everybody is trying to do their best by their neighbor.”
That is what people assume.
You see the healthy-minded optimist considers the evil things to be just mistakes, the fact being that we all love one another and are all working together for our mutual good.
But in reality that is not quite true; very often it is not true at all.
Now a vision that presents things in such an unconscious light always has a purpose.
It is not understood if one tries to explain it only causally; one must always ask: For what purpose does the unconscious present such a fantasy?
Mrs. Baumann: To warn her.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is a possibility, not to be too optimistic, too healthy minded about things, but to become aware of the shadow.
It is as if she had had a bad dream.
Suppose the night before you enter upon a new situation, you have a very negative dream about whatever you are going to do the next day.
Naturally that will cast a shadow upon your expectation, which you dislike because you have had a very positive image of it.
And if one is wise one says to oneself: “Look out, don’t be too optimistic, look on the other side, because nothing is so good in the world that there would not be a snag somewhere.”
So the obvious teleological meaning of this vision is to arrest her attention, to dampen
her optimism, to impress her with the fact that she is going into a world of terrors, a negative world.
For if she does not realize it she will fall a victim to a sort of shallow surface consciousness, where everyone gets on well, without conflict, and everything is clear and understood.
This is of course a ridiculous assumption because it is not so in reality, and she should realize that there is something very strange in her which doesn’t fit into such a surface world.
But this is an exceedingly disagreeable realization, so the whole thing takes place in the unconscious.
We dislike to think that there is something horrible in us which will not fit into society, into our beautiful and agreeable world, something which is utterly unacceptable, utterly incompatible.
We even hate to admit that it is in other people, despite the fact that this dark thing is
always in our neighbor: “I am perfectly clear, there is nothing seriously wrong in myself, it is in those other people.”
We hate to admit that because evil would then be somewhere in the world.
Therefore what is known as healthy-mindedness tries to deny the existence of the darkness, to insist that it is just an absence of light, simply a mistake in the good: “I attempted something very good and unfortunately I made a little mistake and committed a crime, but I didn’t mean to because man is really good.”
Now this is to help us to skim along on the surface, but the darkness falls and the catastrophe follows; we are confronted with hell not only in ourselves but in the world everywhere, and then the problem begins.
So the general teleological purpose of the vision is, as I said, to impress our patient with the fact that she is entering an evil world, also to impress her with the fact that because she is human there is evil in herself.
Nothing is reconciled, nobody will ever be redeemed, because the meaning of the world is that we suffer the world, we suffer whatever is here; otherwise we would not live.
Now she obviously does not understand the condition in which she finds herself, so she first asks that mother of God who is au-dessus de la melee, and then she asks a woman, and finally she asks a man what it is all about and why they are inflicting wounds upon each other.
She does not understand the fact of that abysmal evil in the world.
This easily happens to people in analysis; they learn many interesting and beautiful things and see how well ordered things might be-until they clash with reality.
They even think that if everybody were analyzed it would be heaven.
They think it should be preached and great analytical missions created, that everybody ought to be analyzed when babies and continue throughout their lives, and the world would then be perfect.
I have observed such optimism often, it is absolutely ineradicable in certain people.
And it is good that it cannot be completely extirpated because it is also a truth that we can do something, we can work towards a better understanding.
But we could not work towards it if there were not the opposing evil of chaos and misunderstanding, which is equally strong.
So we never know exactly which is ruling the world, the god of good or the god of evil, we don’t know whether we belong to hell or to heaven because the whole thing is just in between.
We shall now see whether the patient gets anything from her investigation of the people who inflict wounds upon each other.
She took that woman by the neck and asked what it was all about, and the woman explained: “We stab men in the back because they must know us.”
And I said that we often project the things we ought to do into our fellow beings, with the expectation that they will do what we are loathe to do.
A certain tribe of the red Indians, for example, has one single word consisting of fourteen syllables which expresses exactly what I am trying to explain, namely, the expectation that somebody else will do what I am too lazy or too irresponsible to do.
The word means literally: sitting in a circle, looking at one another, expecting someone else to do what one does not want to do oneself.
The one word expresses that typical situation in any gathering.
The primitives are quite psychological in that instance, they recognized that situation and found a suitable name for it.
Unfortunately it cannot be used in everyday speech.
Dr. Harding: We have an American expression: sitting with your mouth open, expecting that somebody will drop a word in.
Dr. Barker: Or passing the buck!
Dr. Jung: Yes, those contain the idea more or less.
Now the patient asked: “How can you bear so many wounds and still live?” And the woman answered: “I will show you,” and pulled from her throat knives, spears, and a poisonous black snake.
This symbolism is not well worked out, it is superficial like a bad dream which doesn’t contain much libido; it is utterly inartistic, but it does contain thought.
Now why all these knives out of the throat?
Dr. Harding: The throat means speech.
Dr. Jung: So the knives they use are chiefly words, they stab by words.
And the black snake is the principle of darkness, of the poisonous evil that stings; it is really a visualized proverbial expression.
Then she said: “The men believe these can be destroyed and so they cut us.”
How do you understand this?
Mrs. Fierz: They believe in discussion.
Dr. Jung: Yes, a man believes that such things can be reasonably dealt with. He says: “But really, my dear, you mean so-and-so.” And she says: “No, not at all!” “Or perhaps you want to convey such and such a meaning.” “Oh no, not at all!”
He believes that he can wipe out the poisonous stabbing words by reason and by argument.
But that is impossible because on the next occasion the same spears and knives and poisonous snakes will again appear.
You see, one cannot argue with evil, it is no help; evil cannot be destroyed because it is necessary, in spite of all that well-meaning people believe.
Well-meaning people believe that evil can be uprooted, they believe that Satan can be locked into the abyss for eternity.
But alas, in our world it is not possible, evil has its place and there is no argument against it.
This remark obviously dampens her optimism again-what William James calls healthy-mindedness, an excellent expression, healthy-mindedness being the mother of muscular and joyous Christians.
Then the vision goes on: “I walked in disgust back to the crowd.”
She is disgusted with that point of view, and thinks if the woman cannot explain the situation, a man may.
So she says: I seized a man and said to him: ‘Tell me what all this is. You are covered with wounds. You wound yourself in the breast and women have wounded your back.”
He said: “We must be strong. There is much to seek. Blood will give us strength.” I said: “Oh you fool. Do you know nothing? Heal your wounds in the fire and become strong.” He said: “I have put my head in the fire and behold it is without wounds. To destroy the body is strength.”
We must try to get at the meaning of the man’s point of view.
Stabbing in the back is of course the attack from the unconscious, from the weak side.
That is the way of Freudian analysis, for instance: one attacks people on the dark side, in those places in their psychology where they have no eyes, when all sorts of things may be lying about over which they have no control.
And that is the way a woman’s animus can attack a man.
But the men are wounding themselves in the breast, which means in the heart region; they injure their own feelings by the same means that women use to stab them in the back.
You see, wounding one’s own feelings means doing wrong to them. Now how can one do wrong to one’s own feelings?
Dr. Harding: By being too reasonable. A man’s attitude really injures his feelings sometimes.
Dr. Jung: Of course. He kills his own feeling in order to be able to argue.
First he suppresses his feeling and then he comes out with an argument, and that is particularly irritating to women.
They understand it better when he comes out with his feeling first; to argue such a thing is foolish in itself, but to kill feelings in order to argue is the comble of nonsense.
It is difficult to understand why he does so, but this is the general way of the world; things happen like that.
The man’s point of view is that he does it in order to be strong.
Naturally, a man should be strong in this world, otherwise he can do nothing, but how does wounding his feeling add to his strength?
Mrs. Baumann: He makes a tremendous effort to put all his libido into his head.
Dr. Jung: You see this is all proverbial, it is what one has heard a thousand times; it is simply visualized here and put into naive words, so one doesn’t recognize it.
A man with feelings is supposed to be weak, a strong man is of iron and has no feelings, he doesn’t allow himself to feel; a man might weep terribly, but that does not happen to the real man, who is supposed to be of stone or concrete and entirely without feeling.
It is the average man speaking here, who despises what he calls weakness in order to have strength.
Feeling and emotion must be suppressed, strong men have nothing of the kind, they are detached.
Look at the strong men at a public gathering and you will see.
Only the Homeric heroes had emotions; since that time men have not been allowed
to have them-or only what I would call theatrical emotions-nothing else.
Now this man says: “We must be strong, there is much to seek,” as if the strength were somehow connected with the seeking. What does that mean?
Dr. Bahadury: Killing the feeling and developing thought.
Dr. Jung: You mean that by killing the feeling, you transform the libido which was in the feeling, by that famous process of sublimation, into thought?
But that kind of thought is disorder.
When libido is taken out of its natural form of application, it instantly changes into a feeling of dissatisfaction, of hunger or thirst, because it has not found its proper satisfaction in its mode of application.
To deny sight to your eyes, for instance, would be nonsense; if, instead of seeing, you must hear, you force that expectation into your ears, and then have a feeling of woe in
your ears, they cannot get enough sound, because one thing is repressed and forced into another.
If you kill feeling and transform it into something else it becomes thirst, an appetite, an unrest.
Thought can never satisfy feeling, nor can feeling satisfy thought.
With women it is the reverse, of course; they take a thought and force it into feeling. “One must not feel like that about one’s husband, one must have kind feelings, I love my husband.”
But it is an empty love, unsatisfactory, selfish, there is nothing in it; it is forever hungry and thirsty because that appetite can only be satisfied by right thought.
Therefore women often improve tremendously when they are allowed to think all the disagreeable things which they denied themselves before.
So killing the feeling means seeking how to satisfy that libido which has not found its proper application or its proper answer.
All the time that I have been speaking now, I have been thinking of my old friend Mountain Lake, the Pueblo chief.
When I met him first he thought I was an American, but I said, “No, I come from a cattle tribe, high up in the mountains like yours,” and then he felt all right about me and talked.
He said: “We don’t understand these Americans, we don’t understand what they are after. They have such thin noses, so many lines on their faces, and thin cruel lips; and they are always restless, always seeking something. What do they want?” Then he said: “We think all Americans are crazy because they believe that they think in the head; we think in the heart.” You see, he had observed the connection.
It is a general idea in all Anglo-Saxon countries that to show feeling is a weakness.
The national ideal is the man of iron, so feeling all goes to the head, and therefore there is no end to their seeking, seeking possibilities, money, or land, or women, or drink, but not fulfilling the libido where it belongs.
And that leads into madness, for when the libido does not flow in the channels that are naturally given to it, disorder follows, and disorder in the mind means mental derangement .. Naturally to those Pueblo people who are still thinking in the heart-in the center where there is also feeling-all white men who wound the feeling must necessarily appear crazy.
Now the man in the vision says: “Blood will give us strength.” That confirms what we have been saying.
The blood is the sacrificial blood, he naturally bleeds when he wounds his breast, and he supposes this to be a sort of sacrifice which gives him magic strength.
This is true to a certain extent-it is surely true when one gives way to emotions, believing them to be feelings.
For the average man understands feelings to be emotions, weakness, indulgence, and in giving way to that, of course he is weak, he is swayed by anything.
And as long as a man is in such a state, in manipura, this sacrifice is absolutely necessary in order to arrive in anahata.
As I have often said, man’s ideals or aspirations have in general arrived at a realization of the anahata condition, namely, at the possibility of psychological objectivity.
The mere fact that we have a psychology dealing with personal complexities proves that we have arrived collectively in anahata.
It is generally recognized that one can say, I think, I feel, so it is true that many human beings are out of manipura-in average normal circumstances at least, as long as the cook does not make a mistake, or one’s neighbor do something wrong.
As long as things are going along smoothly and nothing particularly outrageous happens, one has a realization of anahata.
Of course, nobody is only in anahata, even the saints do not claim to be wholly there.
For each stage has its own perfection.
There can be a culture or an art of the emotions, for instance, as one sees in Italy and Spain.
Only people who have a sort of chronic inclination to redemption could say that they had been redeemed to anahata; I myself don’t believe in redemption, we are still in the body.
So this proverbial idea that blood gives strength means that sacrifice gives strength.
But one must always know what should be sacrificed, or what has been sacrificed. In anahata, manipura is sacrificed, for instance, and that is right; it does give strength to sacrifice a merely emotional condition for the sake of the idea that one is able to do it, that one can say, I know that I am emotional.
Thus far one is above the emotion.
There is justification for wounding oneself, then, but it may go too far.
If one wounds the abdominal region in order to create the anahata psychology, it is right; but if one wounds the heart region in order to be in anahata, it is a mistake.
The air region, the heart, will be wounded when one is meant to attain to the next center, vishuddha, where the “I,” the ego, and the “I do” play no role.
That Christ was wounded in the breast region is the symbolic representation of that idea; that is the traditional image of the wounded god.
And that is of course not only a Christian idea; in Germanic tradition, for instance, Odin was pierced by the spear when hanging on the tree.
We have here an anticipation of the necessity of the sacrifice of anahata, that condition having been arrived at chiefly through Christianity.
Christianity accounts for the rising up from manipura to anahata, but the god that represents this achievement by man, Christ himself, is already wounded because he anticipates the next stage, vishuddha, where the ego character is meant to disappear.
Amfortas wounded by the spear in seeking the Holy Grail is another example.
This is rather complicated, but it is necessary in order to elucidate that man’s particular statement.
It is true historically that the sacrifice of the blood meant strength inasmuch as the manipura state of psychology has been sacrificed.
But when one has arrived in anahata, to continue to wound the breast is a vital mistake.
So this statement can be taken this way or that way, and our patient sees it in a negative light, for she answers: “Oh you fool, do you know nothing,” as if she knew of something better than anahata, as if she had an anticipation of a state where the wound is healed, where the breast is not injured, where Christ is no longer sick and wounded, he is whole.
Then she advises the man to heal his wounds in the fire and become strong. What does that refer to?
Mrs. Baumann: Strengthening means rebirth, and fire refers to the emotions also.
Dr. Jung: Yes. You remember in the previous vision she had to put the Mexican image into the fire in order to make it strong.
Now whatever is done to the image is of course meant for man, the image is an anticipation of what man is meant to be, or what he must become.
So when the image is held in the flames in order to strengthen it magically, or to
purify it-which amounts to the same thing-it indicates that man ought to be strengthened, he should be passed through the fire.
There is the same idea in the Divine Comedy.
When Dante was approaching the heavenly sphere of paradise, on the last circle Virgil, his guide, led him up to the purifying flames and Dante had to pass through them.
But Virgil could not because he still belonged to purgatory.
He was a pagan after all, despite the fact that he was a prophet of Christ; in his four
Eclogues he prophesied the coming of the Child, according to the medieval tradition, but that is a disputed point.
So Dante had to pass through that pure flame in which all earthly admixture, all ego desirousness, was burned out of him.
That would be the sacrificial fire, and only the one who has passed through that fire can be absolutely whole and strong and enter the supreme condition.
Now if you take these states as stages of psychology, the lowest place described by Dante is muladhara; then comes the middle region, purgatory, which would be the region of the diaphragm; and then the upper region would be called hell in Christian projected psychology-or mythology; purgatory was always characterized by the purifying fire, and that would be the manipura center.
And this fire is the anticipation of a complete condition in which there is no
wounding, no dissociation; but nobody can attain to that condition unless he has passed through the flames of desire; in other words, until he has fulfilled what the specific desires of his nature are or have been.
If they are fulfilled, he is burned through by the flame and the next stage can begin.
Our patient evidently has in mind the overcoming of the anahata region, and she tries to teach that man not to be such a fool as to continue the sacrifice-which was once necessary in order to make the step from nzanipura to anahata-because it would now have no point.
On the contrary, one should not wound the feelings any longer, one should listen to
You see, as long as an animal is stronger than you and can destroy you, sure enough you must fight and overcome or kill it.
But if you are stronger you can domesticate it, there is no point in destroying it; to domesticate animals is a much better scheme than simply to exterminate them.
To deny oneself everything, or to exterminate the instincts
of humanity, is not the highest idea of morality; it only makes sense as long as your instincts are stronger than you and playing their game with you.
But if you are strong enough to control them, if you have ample proof of that, you can then consider living with them, for that is a much higher moral task than exterminating them.
It is awfully nice of certain people to be teetotallers, for instance, not to smoke or to drink, and to live very hygienically, but better than that is moderation, self-control, not self-abnegation.
It is just what Buddha said in his famous sermon about the two ways: the way of the world, fulfillment of desires without inhibition, and the way of asceticism or self-mortification.
Both ways are wrong.
But there is a middle path which avoids those two extremes and leads to the higher wisdom.
This is “the noble eight-fold path: right views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and the right contemplation. ”
Now this man apparently understands what our patient means and he says: “I have put my head in the fire.”
But mind you, not the body. What does that indicate?
Mrs. Baumann: That he has thought it out intellectually.
Dr: Jung: Yes. The fire burns through and purifies everything, so thinking out a certain problem is as if one were permeating it by the flame of intelligence, or by logical thought.
And that is what we have done; we have thought about many things which we have never done, nor would ever dream of doing.
There are any number of systems which tell exactly what should be done, but nobody does it; even the man who preaches it does not apply it.
Everywhere one sees, in greater or lesser degree, that the head always remains the head, and when reality comes one is far from it.
People usually behave like the Jewish rabbi who taught his disciples that a dog that barks does not bite.
He was imparting this wisdom they came to a village, where a big black dog rushed out and barked furiously at them, whereupon the rabbi took up his skirts and ran.
Then after a while, when they had stopped running, one of the disciples said: “But you told us that a dog that barks does not bite, so why did you run away?” And the rabbi replied: “My son, I know very well that a dog that barks does not bite, but I don’t know whether that dog knows it too!”
So man can think of a state in which he is whole, without any wound, but on the other hand he holds the conviction that to deny the body means strength.
When it comes to the body all his advanced thought and his advanced morality is suspended, because the old principle that destroying the body gives strength is still alive, still valid.
Then she asked that man: Why do you wound the women? He answered me: “To take from them their poison.” I said: “But their poison must be taken from their back.” He said, in indignation: “Oh no, the back is pure and sacred in women.”
Wounding the women in order to remove their poison means uprooting the evil which appears in the evil, wounding words of women.
It seems to a man that he can uproot it by argument, by reasoning things out; at all events he makes the attempt at times to uproot it in that way, but that is not possible, it will always come again.
And in trying to uproot it, he wounds the woman most seriously, because that snake quality, or shadow quality, is an intrinsic quality of nature and therefore of woman.
Of course you can speak from the opposite point of view: you can say the same about men, it is not true of women only, but since a man is speaking here, it would naturally be women.
You see, to uproot that poison would mean that one would be able to uproot the evil of the world, but one would thereby take the juice out of everything and the salt out of one’s bread, because there is nothing without a shadow.
To deprive the world of evil would be to deprive it of shadows, and what would a world without shadows be?
It would be painted on the wall, flat; instead of having three dimensions, it would be a two-dimensional world, no bodies, it would be like the movies.
Then she tries to show him that if men want to uproot women’s poison, they should take it from their backs. What does that mean?
Mrs. Crowley: The unconscious.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the shadow is supposed to be behind you.
If something happens to your back in a dream, it means the unconscious.
And the demon that is always with you is the shadow following after you, and it is always where your eyes are not.
The unconscious begins at the boundary line of the field of vision, and back of that is invisibility, where the demon is supposed to lurk.
So the poison comes naturally from that region and not from the region of argument.
But the man protests and says: “Oh no, their back is pure and sacred.” To what does that refer?
Dr. Harding: To the idealization of women.
Dr. Jung: Exactly. That is typical, not only of individual women, but of whole categories, beginning with sacred motherhood, the purity and chastity of women, and so on.
It is a typical healthy-minded mistake, it is a form of optimism, and a most destructive form.
You see, in her conversations with that woman, and with the man as well, our patient brings in something which is again proverbial, again collective psychology, the average truth, which causes no end of mistakes between human beings.
A very negative statement, I admit, but a true statement of the state of affairs as they really are when you look at them with a somewhat merciless eye.
Now here we reach a sort of culmination in the vision.
It now has a negative aspect, all its foundations in traditional superstitions are laid bare, and one might leave it at that-with that aspect of a world full of problems and differences.
For the thought of all these differences and mistakes between men and women opens up a nearly endless chapter which leads us right into the greater problems of our time.
Apparently the feeling now prevails in the vision that something should happen, something new ought to come in, an entirely different point of view.
That is often the case when one is talking with somebody who is in trouble: he gives a full exposition of all his troubles, and naturally he tries to continue, to add this and that, till finally one gets impatient and says: “That comes in also of course, but we can be thoroughly satisfied with the fact that the situation is very badly messed up; the point is, how do we get out of it.” “But I wanted to say”-and on he goes to a greater amplification of all the details of a complicated mess.
And the more he does so, the more one gets the feeling that something now ought to
happen, because as a rule, when confronted with such a situation, one doesn’t know what to say and feels that whatever one says is nonsense.
One can advise this and that, but it is by no means adequate in the face of the situation.
Therefore the wisest thing to say is: “I don’t know what to do about this, I don’t know what the ultimate issue will be, but we shall see what the unconscious can tell us.” Or: “Perhaps something is going to happen out of all that.”
For occasionally the unconscious does not produce an opinion about a situation, it keeps perfectly quiet, not even a dream; either the dreams are incomprehensible or they really contain nothing.
And in such a case one is absolutely certain that something will happen in reality; the solution of the problem will be exteriorized.
It may lie in other people, not only in the patient himself.
One must always take into account in practical analysis that one has not only to deal with the patient, but with the reality in which he is embedded; parts of the human being are not only in himself, they may be somewhere else, projected.
One often wonders about certain peculiarities in people until one discovers their cache; they have hidden themselves away, an important part of them is invested somewhere else, and perhaps they don’t even know it.
I remember a very striking case, a single woman of about forty, and I always had the impression that she was either married or most certainly in love or loved by someone, because she was so inaccessible and safe.
You know how those people are, entirely self-sufficient, you can go to hell whenever you please, knowing that au fond7 it doesn’t matter.
Perfectly nice and charming but only half in the situation, the other half one doesn’t know where.
So I concluded that there must be something absolutely real the matter with her.
But she gave me her word of honor-which was indubitable-that there was nobody about, no man for her.
I could not believe it, and through a dream very much later, I discovered a love affair that was twenty years old, and it turned out that the man was still among the living and still really in love with her.
She had repressed the whole thing on account of an animus notion and was not aware that she was in love, but it was all going on in the unconscious.
Something in her conscious atmosphere was lacking because it was invested in the relationship with that man, so it did not appear on the surface.
You could tell from the lack of something, a peculiarly sterilized air, that there must be some psychological cache.
Some people are two dimensional because the father or the mother are still alive, their cache is in them, something important is still left behind with them, the whole of their reality is not here in the world.
That explains a peculiar unreality in the individual-an absence of shadow.
Such cases cannot be dealt with by reason, or by analysis, or by any kind of thought; something must happen in reality.
Now here we are at such a situation.
We need another point of view, because out of that mess we get nothing. It is a sort of
vicious circle, a snake that bites its own tail, and a third factor must come in.
She says: He stopped speaking and I saw brought into the market place a great bull. (In comes an animal, a mythological factor.) Its feet were tied and over it was a strong net.
Nobody would have expected a bull just at this moment; I would never have arrived at that idea, it is too fantastic.
But there it is, and we ought to know why that bull has appeared.
You see, this unconscious situation leaves one most dissatisfied, so something must happen that compensates such an attitude, and here is the bull.
Mrs. Crowley: She must have got back to a sort of antique attitude.
Dr: Jung: Exactly. The compensating element in this case is something from the animal kingdom, strong, even violent; therefore its feet are tied and a strong net is over him.
Moreover, that is obviously a sacrificial bull, which means a god at the same time; it is an antique god, or the equivalent, an antique point of view. It is a regression, one could say, to the antique point of view, and in the following sentence she says: “They gave it milk to drink and threw white flowers at it.”
So her unconscious introduces now, as a counter poison against this unconscious aspect, the antique idea of the animal sacrifice or the animal cult.
Mrs. Sigg: The white colors and the flowers and milk are symbols of innocence.
Dr: Jung: Yes, but what about the bull? Why should it be fed or worshipped by innocence?
Dr. Harding: The bull stands for desirousness, the creator who stands for what he wants.
Dr. Jung: Well, for impulses without inhibition-the violence of the bull.
Dr: Barker: He seems here highly conventional, like the strong man dressed up in a dress suit.
Dr: Jung: Because he has his net on and his feet tied?
You are quite right in calling attention to this fact because it is not the way one would introduce an antique god, that would be a grave outrage to the power and the dignity of the god; they would not dare to bind his feet.
Dr.: Schlegel: Would the bull not be an erotic symbol?
Dr.: Jung: It is not a particularly erotic symbol, it is more a symbol of brute sexual force.
Remark: Because the man injured his feelings, an inferior state comes up.
Dr.: Jung: Yes, the bull would represent an inferior feeling, an emotional condition, in other words.
For instance, the herd of buffalo that appeared before is the bull in its natural state of violent emotion.
When you are in for an outburst of trouble, when you are threatened, or when you have repressed something, you dream of bulls that persecute you.
You are tremendously afraid of such impulsive manipura emotions, because they threaten your anahata achievements.
So to dream of bulls means simply an impulsive force that overruns you, it can be any passion; it can be sexuality but it is not necessarily that.
Dr.: Adler: The bull had to appear because she has tried to be too healthy minded, too normal; the bull now comes as the contrary.
Dr.: Jung: Yes, in the meaning we have just elaborated, the bull is a symbol quite opposite to her conscious positive and optimistic attitude, for which the unconscious attitude was already a compensation.
We have now these pairs of opposites: on the one side that optimistic aspect of
the human sociable world where everybody lives in nice houses, with nice families, nice relationships and so on; on the other side just the contrary, far from loving each other, they hate each other.
That pair of opposites, the conscious and the unconscious world-the world as it is in its shadow aspect-are not reconciled, and the reconciling symbol for this particular conflict, according to the vision, is the bull.
You see, the bull surely represents something lower than anahata, it is a symbol for
manipura, it is an animal, not a human condition.
Anahata is really the first human condition, manipura is just animal psychology.
That would be in a way the negative aspect.
But the positive aspect is that the bull is a power of fertility, a tremendous strength, it even symbolizes the godhead or the sun. It is a symbol that contains both sides, the bright as well as the dark side, it is very concrete, very materialistic, yet on the other side highly symbolical through tradition.
So the bull is a reconciling symbol for this conflict of the positive and the negative aspects of the world, though it is not quite easy to see why. Have you an idea?
Mrs. Crowley: Did you not really answer it before when you spoke about the instincts? You cannot overcome them but if you domesticate them they are of value. That simply shows your power over them and not their power over you. In this case the bull is in a sense domesticated because his feet are tied and there is a net over him. And people throw flowers at him.
Dr: Jung: Yes, that is a true aspect and would be satisfactory as far as the bull is merely an animal, with wild uncontrolled impulses and so on.
The bull tied and under a strong net means to us self-control-we have such impulses yet they are controlled. But it means more, and that is supported by what follows: a peculiar-looking sun appears afterwards in connection with the bull.
The bull, then, is simply the anticipation of the sun that follows after, so obviously the bull is mythological. It would not be a satisfactory symbol otherwise.
To have the bull under a net and its feet tied is not the idea, for it is an animal that should not be tortured, it should be able to charge, to tear about.
This would be a most unpleasant condition for the proud bull.
Moreover, that it had its feet tied would seem to be a bad symbol, an antique god whose arms or legs were tied would not be impressive.
So there must be another aspect which functions as a reconciling symbol.
Dr: Adler: There is a bull in the Mithraic cult whose sacrifice makes the sun rise.
Dr: Jung: Yes, there is the connection between the god and the bull, and between the sun and the bull, or the sun-or Helios-and Mithra.
But there is another important aspect.
The point is, that in looking at things from an optimistic point of view, we simply follow a natural penchant, a sort of general good feeling, everything is all right, there is nothing dangerous and evil and we are all very nice people; it is an instinctive attitude of general well being, a sort of illusion.
And the negative aspect is also such an emotional temperamental affair, without inhibitions.
Just as you go on embracing everybody and are everybody’s brother or sister, so you can be the enemy of everybody or everybody is your enemy, you hate the world and always assume the blackest things about it.
You can be driven by moods and emotions in other words.
Here the idea is suggested: now how would it be if you could get rid of your emotions-meaning your impulses, your moods-by assuming that they are not what you do, but what you are made to do by a superior power which is symbolized by the bull?
The bull does it, the bull is forcing you to look at the world in that unconcerned optimistic way.
Or the bull is that force which makes you grumble and get irritable about everything,
which makes you hate people.
For the bull is a violent beast that symbolizes a lack of control, exactly what you are when you simply follow your emotions.
But if you can go behind your emotions, you arrive at the so-called divine metaphysical transcendent principle, which can be symbolized as a god in the form of an animal; whenever you are threatened with being overwhelmed by such emotions or moods, it means that the god has seized you.
This would be in the antique sense, mind you, where the god is neither good nor bad.
No antique man ever said: “Thus I fell in love.”
He was hit by an Eros projectile, the arrow of Eros reached him.
He felt very clearly that his emotion was not his doing, but that a stronger power, a god, had caused it.
This idea is introduced here again, and we shall see how it works out. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1097-1115