23 May 1934 LECTURE 4
I have here a question by Mrs. Bailward: “l understood you to say last time that the powers in us, which we call God, are powers of self renewal.
I suppose if this renewal process can take place, inflation does not?”
Yes, inflation is a pathological symptom and it only takes place when
the actual creative self-renewal does not come to pass; that is perfectly
obvious: an inflation is always a symptom of an inherited creative process.
Then there are two questions by Mr. Baumann.
The first is: “Why is dancing a symbol for creation and destruction? Does it mean to be in the body and in time (time as the fourth dimension)? Materia or form moving and changing in time is creation, or destruction?”
You are asking really for a justification for the interpretation of the creative forces as destructive forces, why dancing for instance, should be a symbol for both creation and destruction.
It is because ritual dancing under primitive circumstances is symbolic; it is always a representation of the creative powers in our unconscious.
Therefore it often means the sexual act, or the fertilization of the earth, or it is for the production of a certain effect, whether constructive or destructive.
And as a representation of the creative act, dancing necessarily symbolizes both destruction and construction.
It is impossible to create without destroying: a certain previous condition must be destroyed in order to produce a new one.
The most synthetic creation is inevitably also an act of destruction.
The typical Hindu god of the creative forces is Shiva who dances in the burial grounds; he is the great destroyer because he is creative life, and as such both creative and destructive.
You may have seen those Indian dancers who have been in Zurich; they represented the creative act in a most marvelous way.
The many arms of the deity express of course his extraordinary efficiency; he works not with two hands, but with many.
Then if you look at it psychologically, the life of a creative individual contains any amount of destruction, even of self-destruction.
Mrs. Crowley: In that case would not the inflation also be part of that creative process, even though it is destructive in a sense?
Dr. Jung: Inflation is something abnormal and it is not necessarily a part of the creative process, though unfortunately it happens of course to be connected with it very often.
But a creative artist, for instance, can create without imagining himself to be a creator.
He can create just because it is his damned duty to do so, or because he cannot help doing it.
That is, a creative person without self-consciousness.
As soon as self consciousness comes in, there is inflation: you imagine that you are the creator and then you are God, because you feel, of course, like ten thousand dollars if you have time to think of it.
If you have time, you have already split off from the creative process; you look at yourself and say: “Hell, what a fellow! Isn’t he grand?”
And then you are in for it, you are already living in your biography, you see it printed: In the year so and so, on such a day, he had such and such an inspiration.
Then you have spoiled your creative process, but you have a most healthy inflation.’
Mrs. Crowley: You spoke of the tremendous archetypal forces in Nietzsche. How could he produce Zarathustra without identifying if the archetypes worked in him?
Dr. Jung: Ah yes, but they would not be working in him, he would be working in them: that is the natural point of view.
Jilin. Crowley: Do you mean in the sense of a dance?
Dr. Jung: Of course. They have you on the string and you dance to their whistling, to their melody.
But inasmuch as you say these creative forces are in Nietzsche or in me or anywhere else, you cause an inflation, because man does not possess creative powers, he is possessed by them.
That is the truth.
If he allows himself to be thoroughly possessed by them without questioning, without looking at them, there is no inflation, but the moment he splits off, when he thinks, “I am the fellow,” an inflation follows.
Question: Can it be avoided?
Dr. Jung: Only by obeying completely without attempting to look at yourself. You must be quite naive.
Mrs. Baumann: It happens automatically?
Dr. Jung: It happens automatically that you become conscious of yourself and then you are gone; it is as if you had touched a high-tension wire.
Mrs. Baumann: You cannot escape it?
Dr. Jung: If you are simple enough.
Nietzsche of course could not help looking at the thing and then he was overwhelmed with resentments, because the creative powers steal your time, sap your strength, and what is the result?
A book perhaps.
But where is your personal life? All gone.
Therefore, such people feel so terribly cheated; they mind it, and everybody ought to kneel down before them in order to make up for that which has been stolen by God.
The creative forces have taken it out of them, and therefore they would like to personify them, to imagine that they are Shiva, in order to have the delight of being creative.
But if you know you are creative and enjoy being creative, you will be crucified afterwards, because anybody identified with God will be dismembered.
An old father of the church, the Bishop Synesius, said that the spiritus phantasticus, man’s creative spirit, can penetrate the depths or the heights of the universe like God or like a great demon, but on account of that he will also have to undergo the divine punishment.”
That would be the dismemberment of Dionysos or the crucifixion of Christ.
We shall come presently to the same problem in Zarathustra.
Mr. Baumann’s next question is: “Establishing relation to the crowd requires going down to a lower psychological level.
Is it necessary to go into unconscious, medial relation with people, a kind of identification or participation mystique with the crowd,: or has one only to show that one has inferior parts?”
One does not need to show that one has inferior parts, you know; that is generally known.
You may be sure that there are people round you who are quite convinced that they see where you are inferior.
People have the lovely quality of seeing the shortcomings of other people very well; they only fail to see their own.
So we need never be too self conscious in that respect; our shortcomings are noticed; we don’t need to show them particularly.
We only need to show them to ourselves; we are the audience that never hears or sees.
Now, that going down is only possible if somebody has been on a higher level.
You see, Zarathustra is the man or the spirit that, after his going down through the course of the centuries, has now begun to rise.
The old man we met in the woods is the traditional Christian spirit that slowly receded into nature where it seemed as if it would finally disappear, but the spirit will not recede into nature entirely as long as there is man in whom to manifest.
Therefore, in receding he emerges and the oncoming part of the spirit is Zarathustra.
When the other one goes down, the personification of a new spirit comes up.
So it is essentially the same spirit.
Zarathustra has been up on the mountain and now he is coming down to the level of general mankind.
If we reduce this phenomenon to Nietzsche’s personal psychology, it would run about as follows: Nietzsche was a professor in Basel for about ten years, then he withdrew from his profession and lived in Venice and Rapallo, and in Sils Maria in the Engadine; and much of the mountain symbolism in Zarathustra comes from such geographical surroundings.
He used to walk in the mountains, and he wrote some very beautiful poems about them.
So it is a part of his imagination that he felt himself as being isolated on the top of a high mountain where he could look far into the future of mankind, or where he could see life below at his feet.
There he gained that new insight, a new gospel as it were.
And then he came down like Moses from Sinai, to bring it to people.
That is the way Nietzsche felt it, but inasmuch as he did not do it naively, without knowing what he was doing, he was identical with the creative spirit; he knew too much about it and therefore got an inflation.
So there is a partial identification with Zarathustra.
Now how can such a partially inflated man get clown to mankind?
Only in the form of a preacher who stands on a hillock and preaches.
In that first sermon he is standing on a pedestal talking clown to them, saying one
should, thereby showing that his sermon is really inefficient because he is not on the same level.
If he were naive he would not notice his message, but he would simply talk to the next fellow on the street, say how do you do and so on; and in the course of their talk he naturally would mention what his heart was interested in, and the other fellow would be shot to pieces.
Then he would have had an effect.
But you can say the grandest thing and if you are talking clown it reaches nobody; it makes no impression because you talk in such a grand style that only the wrong people get you.
So when Zarathustra was read in the beginning, only the wrong people understood what he really meant; all the cranks of Europe were filled with Zarathustra and nothing came from it at all.
You see, it is not inapt that we are only now attempting an analysis of Zarathustra; we need all the preparation of our psychology in order to understand what it really means.
The second part of Faust, also, was understood by nobody; it takes a long and most painstaking preparation to get the gist of it: it is most prophetic.
And we need the experience of the war and of the post-war social and political phenomena to get an insight into the meaning of Zarathustra.
Know, if Nietzsche had been unconscious of what he did, he would have been able to come clown to earth.
But it is not worthwhile really to speak of the man Nietzsche, for he was robbed; he lived only that Zarathustra might speak, and when it came to his own life, it was as poor and miserable as possible, a sick neurotic existence in the pensions of the Riviera and the Engadine, and finally in Turin where the devil caught him for good.
Here is a contribution from Miss Cornford: “Zarathustra comes as a dancer since that represents the exact opposite of the Christian monk.
Instead of ‘mortifying the flesh’ as the monk is taught to do, he lives in his body, is fully conscious of it, and makes use of it.
So while the ascetic stands like an iron stake planted in the stream of life, the dancer is a plant that responds to every movement of the water.
Thus it is natural that the preacher of the new religion should come as a dancer, since he brings movement instead of rigidity.”
Yes, the movement in contrast to rigidity is also a point of view, it is another opposition, a pair of opposites which plays its role.
There are of course many such sidelights, but they would lead a bit too far.
Then we have a question by Miss Hannah: “I had always thought of the self as a kind of objective though individual God, whom I hoped to discover; but when you say ‘create something beyond ourselves’ [Well, that is what Zarathustra says, I don’t give myself the credit of having invented such a very apt formula], do you mean the self? And if so is it
created by rebirth? Is rebirth submitting ourselves to a process of nature by will, or it is a still more active process?”
What do you understand by “still more active process?”
Miss Hannah: I meant, have we got to do something about it or is it done to us?
Dr. Jung: It is a more passive process.
Miss Hannah: If you submit to it, it is passive, isn’t it?
Dr. Jung: Yes, but you can also submit by will and very actively.
Well now, let us assume that the Superman would be Nietzsche’s formulation for the self.
He understands that by creating beyond yourself you create the Superman, by will as it were; he even says one should will it, which shows very clearly that the Superman to him is an active creation by man.
But we cannot create beyond ourselves; we would have to be gods to do that.
You see, this confusion comes from the fact that he identifies in his language with the creative process.
The right perspective in which to see it is that the creative process in you is not your own doing.
It simply takes you and uses you; it is a different will from your own.
Then you understand that it is something else, something beyond yourself that is creative. It is necessarily beyond yourself, because the creative forces were before and after the act of creation.
They were when you were not, when you were unconscious; and what you produce
is necessarily beyond yourself because those forces are beyond yourself.
You cannot rule them; they create what they choose.
Of course, you can identify with it more or less, but that is really childish; then you are like a naughty boy who in spite of your warnings not to climb onto the chair, insists upon doing so and of course falls down.
You say: “Now you see!” And he says: “But I wanted to!”
It is an illusion when one identifies with these processes.
So creating something beyond ourselves is only a formulation which comes from the idea that we are creating.
We are not creating.
We are only instrumental in the creative process: it creates in us, through us.
Now we will continue the third chapter where the rope-dancer is first mentioned. Zarathustra says here: “Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?”
How do you understand this peculiar expression? In how far is the wisest of mankind hitherto a hybrid of plant and ghost?
Mrs. Baynes: Is he speaking there of the wisest among the preceding Christian wise men or the whole of humanity?
Dr. Jung: It would be the wisest of the people of that crowd, the people of our time.
He characterizes the particular kind of wisdom which has been preached to them, and I want to know in how far that is a hybrid of plant and ghost.
Mr. Vitali-Smith: Inasmuch as the earthly and spiritual are divided, people are not unified.
Dr. Jung: But a hybrid is not divided.
The point is that it is a oneness but consisting of two things; a hybrid plant is a mixture, but it is a oneness, as a hybrid word consisting of Latin and Greek words is drawn
together into one.
Hunnarlc It is just a oneness of the vegetative and the spirit.
Dr. Jung: But he does not say spirit, he says ghost.
Mrs. Adler: The animal is not between, it is missing.
Dr. Jung: The animal would be the contrast, the opposite.
Nietzsche will speak later on of the blond beast; that is his idea, the Superman in contradistinction to the plant and ghost-wisdom.
But I should like to know why just plant and ghost.
You see, he says even the wisest is only a discord, or disharmony, and discord is Entzweiung in German, which means something that does not fit exactly.
A hybrid is a united discord, so it is an objectionable sort of union of opposites.
The plant is completely unconscious and the ghost has no flesh, no body, so it is an absolutely metaphysical ghost connected with a plant and forming a unit, something utterly unconscious and close to matter.
Mrs. Baumann: Doesn’t the plant life usually mean spiritual development symbolically?-and insofar as it is plant life, it has natural life, and insofar as it is a ghost it is dead, too far away.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the flesh dies and then it becomes a ghost.
So that hybrid consists in a natural growth on one side, perfectly sound, yet something died in between, the animal man: the flesh died, and only the ghost remains.
The original natural spirit, anima naturaliter Christiana, that flesh in which this natural Christian soul once lived, then vanished; and what remains is this hybrid of plant, a sound beginning, and a ghost, a sad end of human life.
I call your attention to this peculiar metaphor because Nietzsche inserts the middle part, he preaches the Hash again.
In other words, the blond beast comes to fill the gap there, so that the plant and the ghost are united once more, and he then concentrates upon the middle part which was lacking before.
So Nietzsche’s whole philosophy can often be seen in the smallest detail of his metaphors.
Now we will continue the text.
Here he begins with his real philosophy, interpreting the Superman as the meaning of the earth. “Let your will say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth.” He makes it imperative-you shall make him so.
For the earth of course could have other meanings; that the Superman is the meaning of the earth is not the most obvious conclusion to draw.
Biological science drew very different conclusions in the clays when Nietzsche wrote, for instance.
Now, in how far is the Superman the meaning of the earth? How do you understand it?
Mrs. Crowley: The earth is what man makes it; it is what it means to man.
Dr. Jung: That is the implication, that it is left to man to create the meaning of the earth-man should show us that the Superman is the meaning.
But why should the earth be given such a meaning?
Mrs. Crowley: Because from his point of view it is a sort of embryonic form; it is always to be renewed, it is a potential.
Dr. Jung: No, you see the question is really: what is Zarathustra’s relation to the earth?
Dr. Escher: It is the same as between plant and ghost. In the middle is the earth, flesh.
Dr. Jung: Yes, instead of calling it flesh or animal he calls it the earth, and the earth is the body.
So the body is the mediator between the plant and the ghost.
You see, the plant is not yet an animal body and the ghost is no longer; the animal body of man is in between.
As you know from dream symbols, the meaning of the earth is essentially the body; matter always means something like the bowels or the lower parts of the body. Now, in how far is the Superman the body?
We were supposing that Superman to be the self.
Miss Hannah: The meaning is always in what you have lost, and Zarathustra has lost the body, has he not?-he is too high.
Dr. Jung: Well, the one who lost the body is surely the man who receded into the woods. He withdrew, lost the earth; and Zarathustra is going to seek and to preach it.
The man Nietzsche, of course, lost his body to a considerable extent.
But it is Zarathustra here, so it is a general kind of spirit; our general spirit has lost the earth, lost weight.
For the body is a terribly awkward thing and so it is omitted; we can deal with things spiritually so much more easily without the despicable body.
If you understand the Superman as the self, then, how does the self express itself-or, if you are only spirit how can you express yourself?
Miss Hannah: The body is the only way in which the spirit can be seen.
Dr. Jung: Of course.
You can be anything if you are a spirit, because you have no form, no shape, you are just gas.
You can assume any form; you can be this or that; you can transform at will quite arbitrarily into God knows what.
“But you should not think like that,” or: “You should believe something, that will save you.”
Believe if you can! You see, that is just the trouble. And why can’t you?
Because you have a body. If you were a spirit you could be anywhere, but the damnable
fact is that you are rooted just here, and you cannot jump out of your skin; you have definite necessities.
You cannot get away from the fact of your sex, for instance, or of the color of your eyes, or the health or the sickness of your body, your physical endurance.
Those are definite facts which make you an individual, a self that is just yourself and nobody else.
If you were a spirit you could exchange your form every minute for another one, but being in the body you are caught; therefore, the body is such an awkward thing: it is a definite nuisance.
All people who claim to be spiritual try to get away from the fact of the body; they want to destroy it in order to be something imaginary, but they never will be that, because the body denies them; the body says otherwise.
They think they can live without sex or feeding, without the
ordinary human conditions; and it is a mistake, a lie, and the body denies their convictions.
That is what Nietzsche means here. The Superman,
the self, is the meaning of the earth; it consists of the fact that we are made of earth.
Therefore, when you study symbols of individuation, you always find that no individuation can take place-I mean symbolically-without the animal, a very dark animal, coming up from primordial slime,
enters the region of the spirit; that one black spot, which is the earth, is absolutely indispensable on the bright shield of spirituality.
people have the fantasy that the self consists of particles or molecules
of iron or lead or any other heavy substance.
That is the same
idea; all those heavy metals are the very soul of the earth.
The center of the earth consists of heavy metals, and so they become the symbol for the elements that constitute the self.
The essences of the body, then, constitute the self.
There is no other limitation, and as soon as you enter the world of the spirit, your self evaporates-looked at from the human point of view.
Of course, from the other point of view it is eternal and cannot evaporate, but the personal Atman in Hindu teaching is really personal; it is the spirit of this particular body, and it is the body that makes this thing particular.
It is the essential metaphysical meaning of the earth that it gives specification to things, that it makes things distinct.
Objects only become distinct in space and time, where they form a mass with different chemical or physical qualities by which they can be distinguished.
Otherwise, you can be aware of nothing that exists or is supposed to exist.
They say in the East that God was all alone in the beginning, and he didn’t feel well at all because he didn’t know Who he was; so he created the universe in order to see who he was.
He created distinct beings in which he could mirror himself.
For you never know who you are unless you can look at yourself from without: you need a mirror to see what your face is like, how you look.
If you live somewhere in the desert
where you have no mirror, and where you never meet anybody who
mirrors you, how can you know who you are?
The old philosophers
always supposed of God that he was without an opposite, without the second one; but he needs that in order to become aware of himself.
Then that means separation, distinctness of things in time and space.
And really the essence of differentiation, the idea of the self, could not exist for one single moment if there were not a body to create and maintain that distinctness.
We may suppose that if the body vanishes and disintegrates, the self in a Way disintegrates, for it loses its confines.
You can observe such things in participation mystique inasmuch as your consciousness is then not fully a ware of the reality of your body and all its given facts, your spirit or your psyche overlaps the body and is mixed with other psyches.
And then you don’t know exactly who you are; you might be something else just as well-you are a bit in doubt.
Experience tells us that in many respects we behave as if we were somebody else, our mother or father or brother or anybody else with whom
we happen to be in more or less intimate contact.
People who are not consciously aware of the body suffer from a certain unreality of life in that inter-relatedness through participation mystique;
they don’t know when they are hungry, and they neglect the simple
functions of the body.
I had a case, a girl of twenty-eight, who no
longer heard her steps when she walked in the street.
That frightened her and she came to me.
She dreamt that she was riding in a balloon not in the basket but on top, high up in the air-and there she saw me with a rifle shooting at her from below.
I finally shot her down.
She was that girl I have told you about who never had seen her body.
I suggested that she must bathe once in a while, and then she told me she had been brought up in a nunnery where the nuns taught her that the sight of the body was sin, that she should always cover her bath tub with a linen, so she never saw herself.
I said: “Now go home and undress and stand before your long mirror and look at yourself.”
And when she came back, she said: “It was not so bad after all, only I think my legs are a bit too hairy!”
That is the truth, that is the way people think and feel when they have such symptoms.
Now we will go on to the next paragraph: “I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth.”
What does he mean by remaining true to the earth?
Miss Hannah: It is just what you were saying, that you can be anything but you must stay in your body.
Dr. Jung: Yes, he is talking here of superterrestrial hopes, and that is of course an attempt to divert attention from the real individual life to spiritual possibilities beyond.
The spirit consists of possibilities-one could say the world of possibilities was the world of the spirit.
The spirit can be anything, but the earth can only be something definite.
So remaining true to the earth would mean maintaining your conscious relationship to the body.
Don’t run away and make yourself unconscious of bodily facts, for they keep you in real life and help you not to lose your way in the world of mere possibilities where you are simply blindfolded.
This is of course a somewhat one-sided teaching, and to a person who is nothing but the body, it is all wrong.
You must not forget that by far the majority of people are nothing but body.
This teaching, therefore, is only valid for those who have lost it, who have been deceived by the spirit-like Klages, for instance, who defined the spirit as the enemy of the soul, the soul being the life of the body, because he assumed that most people had lost the reality of the body as he had lost it.”
But as a matter of fact there are plenty of people who are entirely in the body, and to those one ought to preach early Christianity, or heathen gods at least, because they haven’t an idea of a spiritual possibility.
You know, a truth is never generally a truth.
It is only a truth when it
works, and when it doesn’t work it is a lie, it is not valid.
and religion are just like psychology in that you never can state a definite
principle: it is quite impossible, for a thing which is true for one stage of development is quite untrue for another.
So it is always a question of development, of time; the best truth for a certain stage is perhaps poison for another.
In such matters nature shows that it is thoroughly aristocratic and esoteric.
It is nothing that our liberal minds would hope or wish it to be: that one thing is true and the same everywhere, and such nonsense.
There is an extreme uncertainty about truth; we are confronted with the utter impossibility of creating anything which is generally true.
I often think, when I am analyzing, that if another patient should hear what I was saying to this one, he would jump right out of his skin: he could not stand it.
I talk stuff that is complete blasphemy to the other, and they often come just after one an other.
So I have to turn right round and talk black instead of white.
But it is absolutely necessary.
I learned long ago that there are steps, stages of evolution, a sort of ladder.
There are different capacities and one has to teach accordingly.
If you teach generally you must be mighty careful to put things in such a way that they are either not understood, of if they are, that the understanding tumbles over on the right instead of the wrong side.
But even that does not always help.
Therefore, it is
not a grateful mortier to teach philosophy or religion or psychology.
Mr. Baumann: Could one not say that new spiritual life has to come
out of the natural mind in a way? The natural mind, I understand, comes out of the earth.
Dr. Jung: Well, Zarathustra has something to say about that.
He is merely critical here: he says one should not listen to those who preach superterrestrial hopes.
But what the Superman says is another question, and he is very strong on this point.
He says the most terrible thing is to blaspheme against the earth and to overvalue the unknowable over against things as they are, which is the meaning of the earth.
The individuality of the earth lies in things being just so and nothing else.
You see, only one who has been too long under the spell of the delusion that things can be quite different from what they are, feels the impact of Zarathustra’s message.
Only a real Christian mind or an essential spiritualist-no matter whether he confesses Christianity or not can feel the extraordinary novelty of such a message.
And of course he does not welcome it, he hates it.
He thinks it is sheer blasphemy against the spirit to say that one should be true to the earth, or that one should value the body more than the spirit.
But it is perfectly logical that after
an age that has exhausted the importance of the spirit, the flesh should
have its revenge and conquer the spirit-perhaps overcome it for a
Of course we express these things by the terms spirit and matter, not knowing exactly what we designated by those words.
In Chinese classical philosophy you would use the terms Yang and Yin, and say it was according to the rules of heaven that they changed their positions.
Yang eats the Yin, and from the Yang, Yin is reborn; it bursts forth again, and then Yin envelopes the Yang, and so on.
That is the course of nature. The Chinese are not so upset, because they have watched this peculiar natural process for a much longer time.
But our history is not old enough, so we are astonished to see that the spirit eats the flesh, and then the flesh eats the spirit.
It is exactly the same process.
We were taught that God sent his son to overcome the flesh by the spirit as a unique event in history; and now we learn the reverse truth that the flesh eats the spirit.
And we still cannot believe it, though it becomes still more obvious than when it first appeared in the time of the Reformation.
Dr. Reichstein: You said that the spirit consisted of kind of indefinite
possibilities. But the spirit can also be a very definite law which establishes
quite definite facts. I think this kind of spirit here is something
that has degenerated.
Dr . .Jung: We are speaking of spirit in the pure essence.
The spirit that creates definite laws is a human spirit, not the spirit as it exists in our unconscious, where it really consists of absolutely indefinite possibilities.
You know, even if one creates quite a number of definite laws and the number is restricted-there are very few which will not be overthrown in a short time.
Also there is an enormous possibility of new laws, new discoveries-new points of view which are latent in us,
and that really makes the life of the spirit.
It does not consist in a law which is definite forever; the life of the spirit consists of a new life which is forever creating.
Dr. Reichstein: I did not mean a definite law valid for the moment.
Dr. Jung: Can you give me an example so that I can see more clearly what you mean?
Dr. Reichstein: For instance, the Christian spirit had its validity in its time: it chose out of a number of possibilities just one.
Dr . .Jung: Oh yes, quite so. Of course that is spirit.
There is no doubt
that the spirit has its validity but it is a relative validity, and it is either
supplanted by another kind of spirit, or it can be supplanted by the
Yin, the opposite principle.
It can be completely subdued until it disappears almost completely.
There was such a time of complete obscurity between the fourth and eight centuries A.D., and there have probably
been other times in history.
We are little informed about the time that followed and the time that went before the downfall of great empires;
we suddenly discover a new civilization, and the events in the preceding period of time are hidden in deep obscurity.
Well now, Nietzsche often speaks of contempt.
Here he says: “Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing.”
This idea of contempt is rather strange.
It is almost a technical term.
He means by “contempt” a negative attitude dramatically expressed.
The negative attitude of Christianity was against the flesh-that the flesh should be overcome was the highest ideal even.
But he says it reached even the soul; the soul itself became meager, hideous, and famished because it lost the body.
That statement does not coincide with the Christian teaching at all, where the more you overcome the body, the more you are supposed to become beautiful and fat in heaven.
But psychologically you find that the soul really becomes thin because it loses its raison d’etre.
What becomes beautiful and big and fat is a certain system of ideas called “a belief,” “a conviction,”
but your soul lives in such a system of ideas only as long as the thing is new, as long as you see the danger from which you escape.
as if you had passed the mountains with very bad roads and had
reached the plain, and you say, “What a beautiful plain!” having in
mind still those high mountains behind you.
And whenever you think the plain is not particularly interesting, you look back and realize that it was very rough there and the plain is at least a smooth road.
But lose sight of those mountains and you will long for them, because the scenery was much more beautiful than the plain, which is horrible, and you are thoroughly sick of it.
And when you come to the first foothills where you can climb up instead of going on the level all the time, you praise the moment.
So it is with such a truth.
As long as the system of Christian ideas worked, the soul lived.
The soul itself produced them because those formulations were needed.
One should try to imagine the actual conditions of late antique civilization, the Greek and Roman civilizations for instance, and what their leading ideas were.
Usually one has very little knowledge of it, so we cannot value the sayings of Jesus, because we don’t know to whom he spoke.
We cannot understand certain things at all, because we are unable to reconstruct the conditions in which those words were said.
has been pointed out with a sort of surprise that in the Hinayana Buddhism-
the original small school of Indian Buddhism-there were no
But if you know that Buddha’s first teaching was over against a pantheon of two million Hindu gods, you quite understand why he did not feel the need of inventing new ones.
He was already sick of all those gods so he ceased talking of them.
Just as a person who hears every day of God, in prayers and all sorts of allusions, will get tired of it; so if one has grown up in pious surroundings, one cannot even say the word Jesus without a feeling of disgust and contempt.
And Nietzsche was the son of a parson.
He heard those words all the time, and that explains why he used the word contempt.
The early influences of his youth are of course very important.
So you must not only keep in mind the condition of the world to which the prophet spoke, but also the condition in which he was himself as a child.
Prophets coincide in a way with their time. He would not have gotten the full impact of the spirit of our time if he had not been the son of a parson, the representative of a dying system and a dying spirit.
He could taste the thing in its purest substance: he got the essence of his time.
Nietzsche’s idea, that with all that theological talk the soul is not fed, is perfectly plain: only the mind eats and the soul is far from being properly fed. On the contrary she is famished and therefore eager for a change, for a new idea that really would give her food.
And the new
idea came because the original condition, in which the Christian teaching
was entirely right, had vanished into an antique world.
Out of the
background of the Christian medieval world the new idea was necessary in order to feed the soul against the time when the spirit had been over-valued: a teaching was needed that emphasized the body and the flesh again.
There is a new book by Keyserling, La Revolution Mondiale Pt la Responsabilite de l’Esprit, in which he speaks of the revolte des forces telluriques, the forces of the earth, and he says that man himself consists of 8o or go percent of forces telluriques.
His idea is that this revolution ought to be quenched by the spirit; the spirit should settle that force tellurique.
Now this is exactly the Christian idea: the spirit says, you ought, but “hflas! avec combien peu de succes.”
He says himself that it won’t help at all, but nevertheless he follows that spirit.
What he sees quite truly, however, is the complete reversal: all the spiritual values come down, and up comes the earth and man as he is, not as he ought to be or as we would like him to be. He comes up as he is, inexorably, and if we suppress him he becomes worse, and this being claims recognition.
That is the task, and it will lead to an entirely new valuation of man and an entirely new religious idea: the recognition of man as he really is
and of the world as it really is over against a background of illusions and projections.
And that will last until the world as it is has been more or less accepted, and then that truth will become dry, most uninteresting-and something else will follow.
These waves make the periodicity of history.
Presumably they follow
the months of the Platonic year, but we have only had the experience
of about three months, and that is very little indeed in comparison with
the fact that each Platonic year contains twenty-six thousand ordinary years.
But man of course has existed for quite a number of Platonic years.
The consciousness of man goes back for many hundred thousand years, of which twenty-six thousand is only a small part; so he has gone many a time in a more or less conscious condition through all the seasons of the Platonic year and has therefore the experience of those seasonal changes in his bones.
For instance, we have now the change from the spring into the winter sign.
That has nothing to do with the stars. It is merely a projection of a peculiar periodicity in man that probably shows itself in this change of religious and ethical values; also probably in a change of temperament or something like that, a change in the constellation of the unconscious.
Nietzsche thought it was a duty, our highest moral obligation, to produce the Superman, that man higher than ourselves.
This does not exhaust his idea of the Superman of course, as we shall see later on.
Here he gives us a new idea. He says the Superman is the sea: “in him can your great contempt be submerged.”
What does he denote by this comparison of the Superman with the sea? in the constellation of the unconscious.
Now, a bit further on in this chapter Zarathustra says: “Is your soul not poverty and pollution and despicable ease?”
What does he mean by “despicable ease”?
That is not
the translation in the book by the way. There it is “wretched self-complacency.”
Airs. Baynes: He means that people prefer to sleep rather than to take
Dr . .Jung: Exactly. It is the tendency of people to live and not to bother, and he was confronted with a world which was thoroughly materialistic.
It was the eighth century and they did not like to be bothered-as the world never likes to be bothered; it always likes to take things as easily as possible.
And people who don’t realize this despicable ease never can understand the meaning of the Superman.
Nietzsche thought it was a duty, our highest moral obligation, to produce the Superman, that man higher than ourselves.
This does not exhaust his idea of the Superman of course, as we shall see later on.
Here he gives us a new idea.
He says the Superman is the sea: “in him can your great contempt be submerged.”
What does he denote by this comparison of the Superman with the sea?
Dr. Reichstein: All life comes from the ocean.
It is the collective unconscious.
Dr . .Jung: Yes, the ocean is always the symbol of the collective unconscious.
It is an all-embracing general symbol, and the self, the Superman,
is also the ocean, according to Zarathustra.
So the self is the whole collective unconscious, the origin and the end of life, the origin of rain and of all rivers, of the whole universe, the end of all distinctness.
Mrs. Baumann: Is it not the same as “smaller than small yet greater than great”?
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the formula of the self: there is a peculiar correspondence with smallness and greatness. The self is all-embracing yet the smallest-a paradoxical concept which is beyond our grasp, as it needs must be.
Well, that shows that Nietzsche does not understand the Superman as a higher, more differentiated sort of man.
We are the ape-man, for instance, which would be more human.
Often it looks as if he meant just that, but he had intuitions about it, and in such a passage we see that the thing is far more complicated. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 56-72