14 February 1934 Visions Seminar LECTURE IV
We are still concerned with the end of the vision called “The Ghosts.”
We discussed the last scene, where the figure of the Self was threatened by dismemberment, and we saw that she became whole again and led the patient on to the narrow path beyond.
Are there further questions about the psychology of those threatening Titanic forces?
Miss Hannah: I feel awfully unclear about the harpies that were clutching at her.
Dr. Jung: That was an allusion to the harpies in Greek mythology. What were they?
Mrs. Baumann: Are they not half bird and half human? Something like succubi?
Dr. Jung: They are thought of as being females. I would call them vampires.
They are sort of vulturelike demons who devour human flesh.
Greek mythology is exceedingly masculine, so the harpy would be a particularly lovely woman who devours a man.
An animus hound would perhaps correspond to a harpy, but of course in a man’s mind the harpy is the anima picture, or symbol-one of the dismembering powers, in other words.
Now to what extant can a man be the victim of the dismembering powers of the anima?
Mrs. Sigg: She can keep him away from his creative work.
Dr. Jung: Oh, men are devoured by harpies even if they are not particularly creative; they might even be protected against them by creative work.
Well, it must be a very strange field of experience that you have such difficulty in realizing these figures!
A very delicate matter, the harpies seem to be untouchable ones.
Sure enough one hates to talk of such beasts, for when you are their prey you can neither talk nor think properly.
And if you are no longer their prey, you are convinced that they have never existed, that somebody else played a trick on you, probably a woman; if you are a real man, you think a woman cast a spell over you.
It may be suggested that you were in a rather bad mood yesterday. “Oh no,
I was not, I was never in a better mood!” That is the way you talk.
Therefore it seems hardly dignified to make harpies the objects of a serious psychological discussion-they don’t belong to the intellectual sphere, which is like a big library where nobody makes any noise; such things only happen in your home, in your personal and private dealings, and have nothing to do with an official world.
That is the reason why these things are taboo.
A man is as much hampered by the dismembering tendencies of the anima as a woman dislikes the idea of having an animus.
The animus also does not exist, for when the animus is there the woman is not, the animus has eaten her up completely and nobody is there to judge about the situation; so she is unconscious of it, the animus seems to her a most mystical conception, utterly beyond comprehension.
But the animus or the anima as phenomena are only too clear to the neighbors and fellow beings, because you are just as much an object for psychological criticism when unconscious as when you are conscious; you don’t cease to exist when you are unconscious, you still exist as a sort of living corpse in your surroundings.
Well then, these harpies in the case of a man are animae, in the case of a woman they are animi, they are simply symbols for the dismembering powers-carrion eaters, the specters of the burial grounds, the destructive forces in the Lamaistic mandalas.
Then the patient’s remark that “others were beautiful and voluptuous, making sweet sound,” refers to what kind of mythological figures?
Mrs. Baumann: Sirens.
Dr. Jung: Yes, and they are quite similar, for just as you can be dismembered by inimical forces, you can also be dismembered by the forces of attraction, they can dissociate you just as much; beauty, voluptuousness, or an aesthetical attitude, for instance, can make you forget yourself completely.
Ugliness and beauty can have the same dismembering influence inasmuch as they pull you out of your own skin, so that you yourself are nothing but your own sensation.
“Others had pinched and haggard faces,” you remember: they are ugly obviously, but they are just as attractive inasmuch as hatred and love are both attractions; you can be bound by hatred as much as by love.
In any case where the desirousness oversteps a certain limit, you are dismembered, dissociated, you become identical with your desire.
That is why Buddha after very long meditation came to the conclusion that desirousness, concupiscentia, was at the basis of the suffering of the world.
The Christian philosophers also discovered that to be the primordial evil.
Mr. Baumann: What does it mean that Orpheus was dismembered at the end of his life by the maenads?
Dr. Jung: It is the same as the dismemberment of Zagreus.
Orpheus symbolizes the faculty of man to charm his unconscious powers; he made such sweet music that all the wild animals became tame and gathered round him.
That means that we ourselves are capable of making such sweet music that we can gather all our wild animals round us, we can charm all our instincts and impulses.
Then it looks as if we were nothing but sugar, ninety-nine percent, at least; but it is black magic in a way: you can only do it when you have enough imagination to deceive yourself into thinking that you are wholly good.
If you can imagine that, it looks exactly as if you were wholly good and that is a great asset-for a while.
We have tried for two thousand years to be wholly good, to imagine that we were, and mind you, we are in a way, we can be anything.
We can imagine it for a certain length of time, until something black occurs, and then the imagination snaps and up come all the devils.
That is the reason why Orpheus was dismembered by the maenads, and Zagreus by the Titans.
It shows a certain superior attitude of man, which, aided by his imagination, for a while makes him believe that he can walk upon the water; and he really can, the power of imagination is very great indeed.
But mankind invented these myths, and I am quite sure that the whole of Greek mythology was once tribal knowledge, instruction in the initiations-as the law of primitive tribes is entirely contained in the mystery teaching administered in the course of initiation.
Probably all the Greek myths were such mystery teachings originally, which were finally
given away to strangers, and then poets took possession of them; it was very imaginative stuff, they made songs about them, and thus they got out among the general public.
All myths of all peoples have the point in common that they teach important psychological truths.
So the myths of Zagreus and Orpheus teach that for a certain length of time almost miraculous effects can be produced by the strength of the imagination, by the exercise of the right kind of art, by the beauty and measure and proportion of music, for example, the art of feeling.
But in the end you will lose your soul as Orpheus lost Eurydice, he was unable to bring her up from the underworld; by doing the right things in the right way and having the right imagination, he lost his soul.
And the soul contains the mystery of individuation, the mystery of the creation of eternal life.
You see, the maenads tearing the living flesh out of the deer and the goat are like the
Titans in the life of Dionysus Zagreus, the mystery of the dismemberment of the god is repeated; it is the dismemberment of the only conscious attitude, the superior function, which must return to the life of the earth, or to the cauldron to be made over.
Therefore the myth of the dismemberment of Zagreus was followed by the myth of his rebirth.
When Zeus saw what had happened to Zagreus, he sent his thunderbolts and killed the Titans.
They had already put the living heart of Zagreus into the cooking pot, and Zeus rescued it in the nick of time and ate it himself, and then gave it rebirth.
That is one version.
Another version is that he sewed the heart into his own thigh.
There is a particular word for this, merhorhaphes, meaning one that is sewn into the thigh in order to be reshaped, refashioned by Zeus.
So this old wisdom shows the limitations of such notions as being perfectly good; that is the imagination, it is a tremendous attempt which is bound to fail, and the first symptom of it, according to the
Orpheus myth, is that you lose your soul, you lose Eurydice in the underworld.
And what does the loss of the soul mean?
Mrs. Baumann: Psychologically would it not mean that the animus or anima had gone into the unconscious?
Dr. Jung: Obviously. They get lost down there, they lose connection with the outer world, one cannot contact them any longer. But why is that?
Mr. Allemann: Such consciousness is one-sided, all on the side of the good, so the libido of the unconscious goes down to the wrong side, the underworld.
Dr. Jung: Yes, into the darkness.
Therefore the anima or the animus are representatives of the unconscious; when you try to be all light, you naturally repress the shadow and naturally the animus and anima disappear with the rest.
The more you imagine that you are ninety-nine percent saintliness, the more you become progressively unable to see where you could possibly be wrong, and particularly when you identify with the superior function.
It is amazing what people assume about their superior function, to them it is just god, utterly infallible.
Once I had a discussion with a philosopher who remarked that thinking could never be wrong. I was dumbfounded naturally.
The man was identical with his thinking function, and his conviction that that was without fault influenced him to the point of thinking that he himself was in a perfect condition, and not only himself but his wife, his marriage; like Midas, everything he touched turned into gold.
That got my goat of course because I never feel all right.
I am always afraid that somebody may give me feelings of inferiority, and the fellow was just about to insinuate such feelings.
You see, whenever I meet the perfect being, it means that my ideas, my whole philosophy must be wrong, because I hold that that cannot be; so if it nevertheless seems to be true, I have to investigate the case on all sides.
Now I happened to know a man who knew a woman friend of the wife of my perfect man.
He was a doctor and the woman friend was his patient, who, I also happened to know, had a transference to him, so I was sure that she would tell him everything that was unfavorable about her friend, even if she knew that he did not know her.
The mere fact that he should inquire about her friend would be a cause of suspicion, and to prevent his knowing her she would tell him the truth, together with all the other unfavorable things that came into her mind as soon as he mentioned her name.
So I asked the doctor to ask her about the wife of the philosopher, which he did, and out came promptly: “A very peculiar woman, you mustn’t have anything to do with her because”-and then out came the whole story.
While my friend the philosopher was preaching to me about his most perfect condition, his wife was abroad with a young student with whom she entertained very intimate relations.
So I thought: “Oh poor man, whose thinking is never wrong!”
But the next time I saw him, he explained that that too was exactly right and just as it had to happen.
He belonged to the set of people who have such beautiful dispositions that whatever they do is always right.
So I tell you to do the same and you will always be happy!
Mr. Baumann: Why does Eurydice disappear when Orpheus looks at her? He tries to get her back from Hades and just in that moment she vanishes again.
Dr. Jung: Oh, she was not such a fool as to go back with him, she was bright enough to know what would follow-it was ever so much more fun down in Hades than in this beautiful world where he was playing the flute all day long, with bears and lions sitting round.
That was no fun for Eurydice, it was far nicer in the underworld apparently.
She was like Mrs. Lot, who did the same thing; it was far more fun not to go with the old man so she remained behind.’
Orpheus was surely a most ideal creature, but his soul was bored to extinction.
These tribal secrets are very human wisdom, it is exceedingly helpful to know that Orpheus made such beautiful music that his soul got lost in the underworld and he was
You may be sure that the same thing will happen to you if you always make music.
It was old Socrates who tried to make most rational music all day long and Xanthippe did not like it at all, she gave him hell for it, he would have been very glad if she had returned to the underworld.
Mr. Allemann: Has Christ’s crucifixion also the meaning of dismemberment?
Dr. Jung: Well, that is the complete sacrifice of the divine to the earth.
The myth of Dionysus has of course other philosophical aspects which were already realized in antiquity, namely, that through the dismemberment of Dionysus the divine spark got into everything, the divine soul entered the earth.
So it is quite legitimate that the crucifixion should be the culmination of the mission of Christ; he was sent by God to redeem the world, and as he succeeded in getting crucified he was apparently completely wiped out, dismembered by the worldly powers; but in that case, hidden in every worldly power, would be the spark of light.
For when the Yin has succeeded in swallowing the Yang, then in every Yin there is a spark of Yang, then there is a chance of resurrection.
That is like the Christian redemption, one aspect of the complicated Christian dogma which surely contains great psychological truth.
It was also the mystery teaching that if the light is put out completely by apparently
inimical forces, there still remains a hidden spark of light, which is the condition that guarantees a later resurrection.
So we should never consider a thing as permanently lost; it may seem to be extinguished, but it has simply transformed into a sort of dormant or incubating condition, which means the inauguration of a new change.
These ideas were in classical Chinese philosophy, and they are very helpful in the elucidation of such symbolic wisdom.
The dismemberment motif in the Christian myth is also beautifully suggested in that
great scene belonging to the crucifixion symbolism, where the soldiers tore Christ’s garment into pieces, and then cast dice for it and divided it amongst themselves; the garment would mean his form, his shape, so it is also a sort of communion.
The communion itself is a dismemberment, Christ is dismembered into innumerable parts; by his own volition he is present in the Host and in the wine and he is eaten in that form.
And the dismemberment of Zagreus by the Titans is the communion myth, it is the devouring of the totem animal; in those totemic rites the Christian dogma is anticipated.
Are there other questions concerning
Mrs. Briner: How about the relation to schizophrenia? Is it the same process?
Dr. Jung: It is not exactly the same because schizophrenia is most certainly a pathological fact.
But you can understand a pathological occurrence as a sort of exaggeration of normal processes.
There is a normal dissociation which can happen in a state of emotion, normal because it does not last, it does not become congealed; after a while the dissociation is put together again. In schizophrenia that is not the case; the vessel is so badly broken that the pieces cannot be joined together, it will remain in pieces.
But in the beginning it is very much the same thing, and is also due as a rule to, a too narrow mental condition, like people who try to be quite correct and so do everything wrong; meticulous to the last they finally become completely unjust with all their scrupulosity.
Such people erect a sort of stiff structure in which they move, and every movement is according to certain rules and principles, terribly narrow minded.
Then if any emotion comes along, or something which is strange to them, that most ridiculous and complicated and clumsy structure yields no access nor any method of adaptation, so the whole thing is blasted to bits, those people simply go crazy.
You know there are people who think that the world is a sort of garden in suburbia with nice little cottages to live in, and then suddenly a murder occurs, or perhaps someone wants to marry them or something else happens which doesn’t fit into suburbia, something unlikely, not foreseen, and then they go crazy because their own idea of the world has been knocked to pieces.
If people with normal minds get a bit upset it is a healthy emotion; even if terribly upset, even if the whole apple cart has been upset, they can gather up the apples which have rolled over the road.
But when there is nobody any longer to gather up the apples, it is schizophrenia; if somebody has really exploded and is lying scattered on the road, sure enough there is no coming together again.
And that is surely due, as I said, to a certain peculiar narrowness of mind and outlook which does not grant infinite possibilities to the deity, a mind which thinks God can be only good and therefore the world must be good because he has made it, and anything evil is only a mistake.
Such foolish ideas. Well, that woman leads our patient to a narrow path.
What does that symbolize?
Miss Hannah: The individual way.
Dr.: Jung: Yes, and it is usually an exceedingly difficult way; it is individual because only one can walk on it at a time.
The patient obviously could not understand how they could possibly escape from that horrible danger, and the woman said there was a way out because she was with her.
“Had you entered alone you would have been lost.”
The patient surely would have been dismembered, exploded, if the Self had not been present.
So the Self assumes a protective role.
Now how much psychologically would the Self be a protection against dismemberment?
We come now to the opposite of the dismembering forces, to the forces which emphasize the duration of the individual.
Mrs. Allemann: Because the Self is the union of the opposites, it brings everything to the center.
Dr. Jung: Yes, for if there is dismemberment or an explosion-the centrifugal movement-there must also be a center; that is a more or less philosophical or logical conclusion.
But we should know how much the Self, or the uniqueness of an individual, can be protected.
Dr. Reichstein: It is protected in the moment when it acquires some protective power. It is the same situation perhaps as formerly when she worshipped the star; only by worshipping the star could· it have these forces.
Dr. Jung: That would be the mythological origin but how would you formulate it psychologically?
Dr. Reichstein: The moment when one feels or sees that there is something like the Self, it gets this power.
Dr. Jung: You mean it is necessary to be conscious of the presence of the Self?
For the Self to be operative or helpful, there would be the necessity of consciousness as an indispensable condition? That is perfectly true. Otherwise what would happen to the individual?
Dr. Reichstein: The individual would identify with any wrong collective power which came up.
Dr. Jung: Yes, he would at once identify with the state in which he finds himself.
If an individual is not conscious of the Self, he is only conscious of the contents which are actually present, say an emotion or a mood, and he goes to hell with the mood, he is lost as long as it lasts.
Then a new mood comes along and the former individual is gone and there is a new individual.
One observes this in primitives, and in all civilized men who are primitive; they are different individuals in different ‘moods.
Such people take on the character of one particular mood and you think you have to do with a definite character; they are true actors and represent that mood with a finished art.
So it is difficult to know what the real character of a primitive may be-in fact you never find out because they have none, they have only the character of the mood, they are born actors and cannot help impersonating it; in other words, the mood possesses them and enacts itself, it personifies itself in the human being.
It is amazing to see the difference in the conduct and behavior of those people, in the smallest detail they are different.
Now in such cases the Self is not there, there is no consciousness of the Self so the individual has absolutely no protection against being transformed into anything else.
That is the explanation of those myths about people who have been magically transformed into trees, plants, or watercourses, or all sorts of animals and
human beings; there is a great truth in them.
Insofar as one is possessed by the mood of a certain plant or animal or a certain event in nature, one loses one’s identity, one is just that mood.
So one can say that on the primitive level people really can be transformed into something else.
This explains certain cases of schizophrenia also.
In Malay, for instance, they have a good deal of dementia praecox, and the most common symptom of those exotic forms of schizophrenia is called echopraxia; that is, they imitate every movement and sound that is made.
If you lift up your arm they do so also and hold it up as long as you do; and if you
change to the other arm they also change, and they repeat your words; they are identical with the actual mood of the moment and can be transformed into anything they happen to see. In bad cases of melancholia people are transformed into animals; they bark, and display all sorts of likenesses to animals.
A famous old gentleman whose name I don’t remember, a physicist who had something to do with the discovery of electricity, was convinced in his old age that he had become a grain of wheat, and he never dared to go out into the street for fear the hens would eat him.
Richelieu developed the idea that he was a horse, and he used to gallop up and down his long corridors and neigh like a stallion; he was transformed into that animal naturally for the sake of a certain compensation.
I don’t know Richelieu’s psychology but there must have been a reason for his becoming a stallion.
In witchcraft also transformations played a very great role, they were transformed into black cats and werewolves, for instance.
All this is simply a psychological statement about the condition in which people are unaware of or not yet associated with the Self.
The question is now, why does the consciousness of the Self protect against dismemberment through the onslaught of unconscious powers? How would you explain it?
Miss Hannah: Because you lose your Self if you identify with things and enter into them; if you are aware of your Self it is something quite separate.
Dr. Jung: You mean that if you are aware of your Self, you cannot identify ith anything that is not your Self? Are you sure that a mood or an emotion or a situation is not your Self?
Miss Hannah: It may be an ingredient, but it is not your Self.
Dr. Jung: Suppose you are suddenly in a very bad mood. Is that you yourself? Does that mood belong to you?
Mr. Allemann: If you go into the mood, you are not aware of your Self.
You are too unconscious, you are not conscious of the separateness of the Self from the mood.
Dr. Jung: Well, as soon as you are conscious of your Self as separate from the mood, the Self helps you to protect yourself against dismemberment by the following fact: you are confronted with two things, the mood or the emotion or whatever it is on the one side, and the Self on the other.
You must be conscious of two things, of what you are and what the mood is.
You can say: “This mood is myself, it belongs to me,” and then you lose sight of the Self, you are identical with the mood and you are gone, you are away, and quite unprotected.
Or you can say: “Yes, this mood belongs to me, it is part of myself, but I am also conscious of the Self,” and then you are protected.
So it is a subtle mental operation in that you are conscious of two things.
One is always inclined to be conscious of one thing only, just the thing which is actually there.
Now it is of course very important to be able to realize what is there, to be able to put yourself wholeheartedly into a situation and fill it with your whole being; yet you must never forget your Self, you must always keep your Self in mind.
And that seems to be a superior condition.
Why is it a superior condition to think of two things instead of one?
Mrs. Baumann: It means being detached for one thing, one cannot be in both at the same time.
Dr.; Jung: Exactly, you are necessarily detached.
Your consciousness is then as if it were between two things, so you dissociate a certain amount of energy from the situation, the mood, or the emotion.
By that energy you feed the Self, you create that position of the Self, and this peculiar
dissociation proves to be a most efficient protection against the primitive phenomenon of becoming completely identical with the mood.
It has been a tremendous achievement in the history of mankind that man could think of two things at the same time.
It amounts to a widening out of consciousness, it is really the beginning of a sort of detachment of consciousness.
The progress of civilization chiefly consists of this widening and detachment of consciousness; not only should you be aware of two things but also of three or four things, of many things, and the more things you are capable of being aware of at the same time, the more your consciousness is detached and protected.
Mr. Allemann: If one were detached entirely it would be nirvana, no more life.
Dr. Jung: Yes, because there you simply come to an end.
Those people who strive after nirvana get into a sort of quietism where they simply vanish; so nothing comes of it.
The life of a Buddhist saint is exceedingly sterile.
Obviously that is not the point of life; the point of life is that you are the fool of life, that you play the role, that you make all sorts of attempts, that you suffer.
You play that role in a most unsatisfactory way, you create a lot of nuisance or suffering or even catastrophes, if you identify with it.
Therefore you must divide yourself and think of the Self.
There is an Eastern saying: Play the role of the king, the beggar, and the thief, not forgetting the gods.
Even if you acknowledge that you are a thief, remember that it is a role you are playing-we are called upon to do strange things in this existence.
Or even if you are a king, you must reserve a sphere of freedom, something beyond, where you are detached, where you disagree; you are as little the king as the actor at
Oberammergau is Christ.
The gods of course are only appearances of the Self, but in Eastern philosophy Atman or Brahman is the Self, the very breath of all the gods.
Mr. Baumann: Could not the Self be compared with a kind of organizing or crystallizing power? One could say that the moods were material or substances, and as soon as there is attraction in them, a blind will to be put into form, the Self would organize them.
Dr. Jung: Yes, you could say that the Self was a certain scheme or law of crystallization, a law of order, because it is quite certain that identification with moods is chaos.
The Self is an exceedingly intuitive conception, and all the symbology of the Self is really a thing in itself; it is a Grenzbegriff, as Kant says.
You cannot say this is the Self, but it is a necessary structure, like the idea of an atom, or an electron, or ether; it is a sort of auxiliary structure, in order that we may be able to play with it in our minds at all.
In psychological symbology, the Self is always expressed by a geometrical pattern, which means order.
For instance, Brahman is expressed by the city of Brahman on the mountain of Meru, which is a mathematical pattern, four mountains, four gates and so on; it is like a sort of molecule, or an atom of carbon with the four elements.
Well then, if you are conscious of the Self, you cannot lose yourself completely in emotion.
There is always the danger that desires are so utterly contradictory that after a while you don’t know what you want; now you want this and now that and you never find a solution, so you finally become quite crazy.
But if you are conscious of the Self, you have a certain balance; then you know you cannot do certain things because they are too far away from the thing that you are.
That usually prevents people from doing unheard-of things, they feel that they are too remote, too strange and uncanny.
But if they are not conscious of themselves, how can they know?
Then nothing is strange to them, for they have no measure.
So the knowledge of the Self is a sort of limitation of one’s possibilities; one knows what belongs to oneself and what does not.
There is always a possibility of judgment because you have that Archimedean point outside the earth, as it were, the place you are to stand on; if you are on your own level, you have a possibility for comparison, which means a possibility of judgment.
Therefore the symbolism in primitive initiations is also the individuation symbolism.
Take the very simple idea of the totem of a tribe or a clan or a family.
The totem is an individuation symbol, it is the one unique thing from which you come and to which you belong; it means your uniqueness or unique belongings, and it is surrounded by most severe taboos.
If you belong to the water totem, for instance, you are not allowed to drink water unless somebody gives it to you; or you cannot pronounce certain vowels or consonants; or you cannot marry a certain woman because she belongs to another unity.
Of course it is expressed collectively, but if you take the whole tribe or clan as one individual, the totem animals express the uniqueness of that individual.
There are individual totems also.
You see, it gives a sort of moral consciousness to think: I am a frog and therefore I cannot eat certain things, and I cannot marry a frog woman, I can only marry an eagle woman.
That brings the Self into being.
So this consciousness of the Self is taught already on very low levels of civilization.
And the mystery initiations in primitive life are also the teaching of individuation, an attempt of man to produce consciousness of the Self, because it was instinctively felt that this was the most important means of protection against the original chaotic state, in which nobody was ever sure that he would not be the next moment the prey of an emotion, upsetting not only the life of the tribe but his own life; he might even destroy what he loved the most.
Primitives have reason to be afraid of each other and of themselves, and therefore they
have evolved most elaborate systems of politeness; our politeness is nothing in comparison with theirs; they are exceedingly careful not to touch raw spots, it is very impressive to see.
And if you live for a while among them, you know why they are so polite and you become polite too.
Mrs. Sigg: Could it perhaps be that one has a bad mood because one has had a bad dream in the night, and the mood would be the cause of this identification?
Dr. Jung: Oh well, anything can be the cause of the mood.
It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it may come from anywhere; we never shall know where a mood comes from, and it is better so because otherwise we would simply rationalize it.
One can really be too analytical.
Now if there are any more questions concerning the Self, please ask them now.
Mrs. Baynes: I don’t understand the idea of the Self throwing one back into the conflict. I always thought that one had to think of the Self as the place where the conflict was harmonized for the moment.
Dr. Jung: But you have to think of the conflict.
Mrs. Baynes: But I thought life gave the conflict and the Self harmonized it.
Dr. Jung: Life does not necessarily give the conflict because one need only be conscious of one side of a thing and then there is no trouble, then only other people are wrong.
Of course there may be a battle outside, but that doesn’t need to be a conflict in oneself.
The psychological conflict is a pretty modern acquisition, you know.
Formerly people did not have such things, they were peculiarly objective, quite identical with one side.
But the result is that the devils are then living across the street and if you can get at them and burn them up and kill them, you call it good.
But they are saying the same of you and trying to get at you.
Our psychological conflicts exist only since we have discovered that other human beings are not necessarily devils, that even the devilish things they do are not exactly what we suppose them to be.
It is when we become aware of this, when we achieve so much objectivity, that the conflict arises, because we then cannot deny that there is perhaps something wrong in ourselves too.
That is consciousness of the Self, and then it looks as if the Self had brought on the battle.
For example, a person may be merely bewildered by the fact that everybody is against her, that nobody understands her, and she has always wanted to do her best and is such a blessing to the whole family.
But funnily enough they don’t like her for all her merits.
Now such a case must be led into a conflict for she has none, it is merely that the family are all wrong and she is all right; then perhaps there is something wrong with her stomach and the doctor says she is nervous, so she comes to me.
She is not conscious of the Self, she is conscious of only one side of her life, and then analysis leads her into the conflict.
And after a while she curses me, she says she was formerly so happy, at one with herself, and now she cannot trust herself, it is even possible that she has a bad motive somewhere.
You see the process of individuation leads her inexorably into conflict.
Therefore I made the parallel with Christ’s saying that he brought a sword.
He brought dissociation, because he is the principle of individuation in that sense.
To think of two things seems to be an offense against our fundamental rights of existence.
Everybody is fighting against it: I can do what I please, I don’t need to think what the effect of my words and actions will be on other people, I am king in my own house and can shout whatever I like out of my window.
Mrs. Crowley: In the effort to get into contact with the Self, would there be the possibility of reaching it only at times? Or if you once contact it, does it mean that you never slip back into the unconscious state? Or is it like everything else, is there an enantiodromia which is also part of the reality of the Self?
Dr. Jung: Your question opens up the whole drama of the relation to the Self and that is a chapter in itself.
Many myths and images are concerned with the relation to the Self, the lost jewel, for instance, or the precious stone which fell out of the crown and vanished, or the recovery of the treasure.
These are myths which have grown out of the fact that when that precious substance of the Self is lost, it must be sought for, and eventually, after many adventures it is discovered again.
Then there is the possibility that in reaching the Self, you identify with it and immediately there is a terrible catastrophe; you recover the lost treasure and think, now everything is all right, but then a tremendous storm breaks loose and all sorts of awful things happen.
That is usually true.
As soon as there is a certain consciousness of the Self, there is an enantiodromia because of the identification with it, a God-almighty likeness.
According to the Eastern definition, the Self is the supreme principle, the supreme oneness of being, which would be Atman, Purusha, Brahman; so to identify with the Self means that you are inflated, and inflation is always threatened with a downfall.
Therefore whenever the Self turns up you soon have a reaction; it is as if you yourself had to perform the Titanic dismemberment as a sort of reaction against the Self.
One who identifies with the Self is really calling for trouble.
You see it gives you a peculiar feeling of safety, of certainty, it is like finally reaching a harbor, you feel definite and beautifully protected; and then in the next moment you
play the devil against yourself in order to destroy that security.
Nobody should want to be in security forever because security is a self-deception;
to want to stay in the security even of the Self is a sort of abuse or blasphemy against the movement of life; nobody shall remain in security, it is immoral, it arrests the movement of life.
Therefore you yourself will upset that order again.
You must always keep in mind that the extreme identity with a mood, the absolute experience of an emotion or an adventure on one side, and the Self on the other, are simply poles of the psychical life, and your life, your consciousness, takes place in between the two; it can be neither one nor the other.
If it is one or the other, in either case you cease to exist; in the one case you are exploded into bits, and in the other you are gathered up with the whole of creation into the one supreme being, the superhuman consciousness or unconsciousness of the deity.
The two conditions are pretty much the same.
Mrs. Crowley: Then the very fact that the unconscious attempt toward breaking up is part of the ritual of the Self makes it a part of the solidifying or the crystallizing.
Dr. Jung: Exactly the ritual of the mystery cults.
It is the communion ritual, the breaking of the bread, and the distribution of the mantle, and the tearing to pieces of the living flesh in the Dionysian mysteries.
A fragment, a verse only, from Euripides has been discovered, in which he quotes a phrase from a sort of mystical confession by the mystei: “After I had finished the meals of raw meat.”
This refers to such a dismemberment ritual, where the god was eaten in the form of the animal, as Zagreus was killed, not in the human form but only when he had assumed the form of a bull.
So the dismemberment is part of the ritual, which is necessary for the becoming real of the Self.
The Self is so intangible, almost a magical existence, that it needs ritual to solidify it; it is as if the Self were such a tender point that it could hardly come into existence.
Now we go on to the next vision. The same scene continues.
Here again I must remind you of the fact that it is questionable what this patient is going to do, whether she will continue the way of individuation or whether she will readapt with the loss of the soul-that is, by a conventional readaptation without consciousness of the Self.
So we must look at what follows in a very critical way and ask ourselves whether there is progress or whether it is more a regression, a return to a more primitive level of adaptation.
In other words, is she going to adapt with the Self or without it? This series is called “The Red Pyramid.” She is again referring to the Self:
The woman said: “Descend now with me.” She led me down many steps and I felt dizzy and afraid. I saw that the steps were faces made of small pieces of enamel of different colors. (Human faces but made of small pieces of enamel.) I said to the woman: “I walk upon faces.” She answered: “Yes, that must be so.”
What is going to happen now? Why did she meet the Self at all? What was the trouble before? What is the intention of the patient?
Well, the general intention is of course her actual problem, how to readapt to New York reality; that is the trouble, the real question.
Obviously she is afraid and does not know in what kind of disguise to adapt.
After an analysis people often don’t know upon which leg they really should stand, or whether they should walk on their heads.
Because they have been analyzed, they think they must behave in a peculiarly stupid way; because that is such an unheard-of condition they think they must show it in the most idiotic fashion imaginable.
So naturally she is baffled and concerned as to what kind of feathers should stick out of her, how she should wobble and talk.
She thinks that she is already in heaven and all the others are making for hell, and just there is the danger that she will do something most stupid and lose herself entirely upon a more primitive level.
That is why the Self appears and says: “Be yourself, just be yourself.”
But she is clumsy and fantastic, so the instruction goes on, the woman leads her along, accompanies her into her world, always trying to tell her: “Buck up, don’t play the fool”-which is most reasonable.
Self-conscious people are always trying to be themselves, yet they avoid it most carefully; self-consciousness is a sort of illness of the consciousness of the Self. What can one say to a person who is self-conscious? You cannot be better than you are, why should you be self-conscious?
You are just foolish.
I have to say the same thing to myself too of course, and I know very well why I need it.
Everybody is sick for a time with that self-conscious business.
Now here the woman takes her hand and says: “Come on, let us proceed on the narrow road where one can be nothing but oneself, let us now step out into the world, let us try how it feels.”
You see that underworld place in which they are moving is muladhara, Forty-second Street perhaps.
And there naturally she sees many faces, and they seem to be staring and making faces at her because, being analyzed, she has horns; she is much too conscious of that fact and thinks she ought to tread on those artificial faces of enamel.
So it means handling the people in the world as if they were painted faces, which is a complete depreciation of the surroundings-it means that the whole thing is unreal.
That is just what Socrates was trying to point out to the young man Alcibiades, who was going to make a public speech to the Athenians and had stage fright about it.
They were walking along the street together-in those days they had no end of time-and they came to a blacksmith, and Socrates said: “Are you afraid of that man?” “No, I am not afraid of him.” Then they came to a shoemaker. “Are you afraid of this man?” “No, I am not.” And so on.
Finally Socrates buttonholed his young man and said: “Then why should you be afraid of the people of Athens? They consist of those people, they are nothing but faces.”
He said that because his young friend was concentrating too much of his libido into the object, it jumped out of him and made the object much too important.
It does not matter what other people think, even in analysis it matters very little what other people think, it does not matter how you behave, they can think what they please.
And that is what the Self wants to insinuate here by this very peculiar symbolism.
She says that the patient must walk upon those artificial faces of people, treading them under her feet, understanding that they are not real. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1291-1307