1934 20 June LECTURE VII Zarathustra Seminar
I read last time the part in which Zarathustra deals with the most contemptible last man, and I want to ask you how you are impressed by that fellow. Do you like him?
I heard a rather interesting reaction about him the other day.
Mrs. Baynes: I thought he was contemptible.
Miss Hannah: I thought that he was all right as a piece of an individual but not as a whole.
Mrs. Baumann: I thought he was the boring side of the banal existence of man.
Dr. Jung: Well, somebody who is a great enthusiast about Nietzsche told me that he found the last man not so contemptible after all; he thought he was a fairly acceptable individual and that his ideas were not so bad.
For instance, Zarathustra says: “Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who stumbleth over stones or men!”
I would not contradict that. “One still loveth his neighbour and rubbeth against him, for one needeth warmth.”
That is a perfectly tenable truth.
And having regard for health, I should say was not too bad when you remember what Zarathustra says about the valuation and appreciation of the body.
Later on there is a chapter where he curses those who despise the body, and these last men surely have high regard for health, which means the functioning of the body.
So that last man is a very ordinary and quite reasonable individual, with nothing particularly excessive.
Then he says: “One no longer becometh poor or rich; both are too burdensome.”
Again a very reasonable standpoint.
If people did not follow such ideals the world would be even more a hell of a chaos than it is today.
If people would he a bit more reasonable, with less passion for being very poor or very rich, perhaps things in general would be quieter and better.
You see, he is cursing a fairly normal human being, and if Nietzsche had accepted
that man in himself as an indispensable fragment, at least, of his make-up, he would have been better perhaps.
He would not have been so excessive, and he would not have injured himself.
Another allusion which is characteristic is: “One still worketh, for work is a pastime.
But one is care fullest the pastime should hurt one.”
They don’t overwork apparently.
Nietzsche, on the other hand, was a man who passionately wasted his energies and no doubt injured his brain through a most uncanny intensity.
Of course one can say that if that intensity had not been one of his characteristics, we would not have had Zarathustra nor any of his other books.
But obviously the two things are true, not only the one.
Now while Zarathustra is delivering that sermon, he again has to realize that it doesn’t reach the ears of his audience, and the next chapter begins:
Then, however, something happened which made every mouth mute and every eye fixed.
In the meantime, of course, the ropedancer had commenced his performance: …
How do you understand the fact that the rope-dancer has begun his task while Zarathustra was still talking about the most contemptible of men?
That is a bit of psychological causality.
We must think of the whole procedure here as a process in one person.
Dr. Reichstein: If we take this rope-dancer as the Superman, it would be a contradictory point of view, a contrast to this last man, who is quite entangled in matter, most materialistic.
Dr. Jung: You think that a sort of compensatory process is now beginning.
Yes, the sermon is getting thin, one almost feels it.
First of all he doesn’t reach his audience; then, what he says is pretty thin because it is unjust.
He really curses the man on whom he lives, the ordinary man.
He lives on health for instance, and he is making just that thing in himself most contemptible.
So what he says is contradicted from within by the facts; he says something which has no longer anything to do with the facts.
And then whatever one says is thin and ordinary, as if it had been emptied of libido.
There is no power in it, or there is only willpower, that miserably small amount of disposable libido which constitutes the so-called willpower of man.
It is as if pressed out of him by a concentrated effort of will, but it is not supported by the instinctive truth, by the deeper layers of his personality.
They then begin to proceed by themselves, to become automatic; they appear in the ropedancer in an activity which is no longer Zarathustra’s activity.
But the rope-dancer is also in a way Zarathustra himself.
That does not mean Zarathustra as he is here in the book, where everything is split up into different figures, but it is a drame interieur of the author himself.
While he is talking in the form of Zarathustra, somebody else is going to work in the form of the rope-dancer. Then what kind of figure would the rope-dancer be in Nietzsche, looked at from this basis? Have we any category into which we could put him?
Here is Zarathustra and the figure of the old wise man, and now we come to the passage where that terrible jester appears, the buffoon.
There are a number of figures.
Mr. Allemann: It is that part of Nietzsche which goes over the gulf to become the Superman.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the rope-dancer is Nietzsche’s attempt to become the Superman.
You see, that was doomed to come off; he burns his bridge talking about the last man, telling the people they are utterly contemptible in forgetting to become Supermen.
Naturally they then want to see the Superman.
They call for the rope-dancer, because they cannot believe that it is possible to cross over the gulf, to walk on that thin rope over the abyss which separates them from the Superman.
He should show them how one becomes a Superman: that is the urgent question.
You see they can say: Tout cela est bien dit mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.
It is like the sort of empty talk which is going on now in the world.
It is in every newspaper and book.
They all say, one ought to, one must, but nobody shows how the thing can be done.
There are even people who say it would be quite simple to regulate prices, for instance; we have ten thousand good propositions but nobody shows the way to carry them out.
They say; if only people did so and so, but we have to deal with man as he is, we cannot make a system or a scheme where everybody is doing his duty to the utmost.
It never has been done.
Well, there have been some particular enthusiasts or particular blessed fools who did their duty to the utmost; they were either great fools or marvelous beings whose pictures were put into chapels and worshipped.
But people in general would never come to the conclusion that they ought to do their duty to the utmost, because it has already been done by one and that is enough.
Be careful not to imitate it; that is their morality.
So of course when Zarathustra talks of the Superman, people are interested in the rope-dancer who is actually going to perform the great feat.
This is the reality test.
Tout cela est bien dit, but now let us see how the thing is done.
And Nietzsche comes to an end; he doesn’t know, for he is the figure that lives in ideas.
Now, that is the archetype of the wise old man, who is a system of beautiful ideas.
He consists of a tissue of the most marvelous ideas that have ever been visualized, but nowhere is it said how to do it.
It is only sometimes put before you as a sort of ethical program; one ought to.
But as soon as you begin to apply it, there is only a spasmodic attempt of willpower.
It means a terrible effort, and you feel that it is unreal.
Therefore, it is unavoidable, when the sermon becomes thin, that there should be libido running over into another system, a practical system which will show how the thing is done-or how it fails perhaps.”
I will read the text: he had come out at a little door, and was going along the rope which was stretched between two towers, so that it hung above the marketplace and the people.
When he was just midway across, the little door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed fellow like a buffoon sprang out, and went rapidly after the first one.
“Go on, halt-foot,” cried the frightful voice, “go on, lazy-bones, interloper, sallow-face!-lest I tickle thee with my heel!
What dost thou here between the towers?
In the tower is the place for thee, thou shouldst be locked up; to one better than thyself thou blockest the way!’
And with every word he came nearer and nearer the first one.
And what kind of system in Nietzsche would the rope-dancer be?
Miss Hannah: It is the shadow. Nietzsche does not do it himself, the shadow makes an effort.
Dr. Jung: That is a possibility.
The rope-dancer could be the shadow, as we said before, but we must have evidence for such a diagnosis.
Have you any evidence?
Miss Hannah: It seemed to me that he was the shadow, because the attempt failed; attempts that one leaves to the unconscious always do, because they are too fragmentary.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that could be called evidence.
It is obviously an attempt that is destined to fail and insofar one could say it was a shadow attempt, an attempt left to the unconscious.
The whole man is not in it.
Mrs. Baumann: I had an idea that it must be the last man as it is in Nietzsche, because that is the thing which has been left out.
Dr. Jung: Yes, we were dealing with the last man just before, so it is very probable that that figure would play a role here too.
The first part is simply the mapping out of the task, making a program, and then the
question arises about how that is to be carried out, and here the way is being shown.
Sure enough, Nietzsche means: get up, ye last men, and try to cross over the gulf; and these so-called last men, these most contemptible
ordinary men, are now trying to get across.
Now, they are surely shadows. They are not heroic in the least.
They are utterly inconspicuous, and chiefly characterized by more or less negative qualities.
All heroic attempt has vanished, apparently; you would not call them especially positive natures.
It is quite generally true that our consciousness is chiefly in the foreground-our attempts are chiefly conscious-at least we like to say so.
Therefore, we call the person behind our backs our shadow, and the assumption is that no particular heroic attempts will be made by this person.
The conscious ego is the one for that.
The shadow figure has no body; it is relatively inefficient, and we assume that efficiency, willpower, energy, and all that, are in the conscious.
So this more or less inadequate rope-dancer would about fulfil the role of the shadow also.
And what about that terrible fellow who comes out after him?
Miss Wolff: Is there not a certain complication in this case?
Nietzsche’s real shadow, that is, the ordinary man in him, was not at all included in the problem.
So the rope-dancer is like a sort of surrogate figure.
At the same time, the image of the rope-dancer looks to me like a reflection and a criticism on the whole situation.
It means to say that the way Zarathustra has just proclaimed of how to become the Superman is an unreal one. It is acrobatic, a sort of circus-stunt.
It is a dangerous unreality, and therefore a catastrophe is bound to happen.
Dr. Jung: Quite. So it would be a symbolic demonstration of Zarathustra’s psychology; it is performed as a sort of symbol before the crowd.
Under ordinary circumstances that rope-dancer would have gone across as he has often done, and it is merely that Zarathustra has made his appearance in the place this disaster happens.
He is interfering with the rope-dancer by his presence.
Mrs. Jung: I should have thought that the rope-dancer was the mind or intellect of Nietzsche insofar as Nietzsche is identified with it, and the buffoon would be the shadow who jumps over him.
For, that Nietzsche’s mind broke clown is really the whole tragedy. I cannot see how the rope-dancer can be the last man.
It seems to me he is the opposite, because the last man is here described as not at all daring, taking no risks: he would not fall down.
But Nietzsche himself fell down really.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that could be true too.
Well, as a matter of fact it is exceedingly difficult to judge from the beginning as to the real nature of the rope-dancer.
We have to anticipate a little.
Later on, we see that the rope-dancer is killed and Zarathustra takes care of his body, but before he dies he says to him: Thy soul will be dead even sooner than thy body.
This is the prophetic word, it prophesies Nietzsche’s fate.
His soul died in 1888 when his general paralysis began, but he lived on for eleven years more.
His body lived but his soul was dead.
So the fate of that rope-dancer symbolically anticipates the fate that overcame
Nietzsche: Nietzsche himself is the rope-dancer and the same fate will befall him.
One could say it was Nietzsche’s mind or his consciousness; or I think I would say this rope-dancer symbolizes Nietzsche himself, though in a way he is much less than Nietzsche, insofar as he is a shadow only.
Of course, the whole event here is a sort of play of shadows or a writing projected against the wall, which forecasts the fate that Nietzsche the man will experience.
So we can say that under the disguise of the rope-dancer, Nietzsche himself appears as a real man who tries to go across that rope.
And in that case, who would the buffoon be?
Dr. Reichstein: That is the real demoniacal force which Nietzsche thought the first rope-dancer to be. I think the first rope-dancer was the conscious part of what Nietzsche preaches, and the real demoniacal force which we saw in the speech comes here in the form of the buffoon.
Dr. Jung: Indubitably, this figure that comes out after the ropedancer is a demoniacal figure; he is characterized as such.
We hear nothing more of him here-whether he really goes across the rope.
For the moment he seems to vanish into thin air.
The whole attention then concentrates upon the body, the accident.
So it is evidently not the purpose of the buffoon to show how one gets across.
His task seems to be to kill the rope-dancer. That figure returns later on, however.
But if the rope-dancer is Nietzsche himself, then what would the hostile figure be?
Mrs. Baynes: Could he not be taken as the negative feeling that
Nietzsche has created in the crowd, which makes the crowd determined to thwart his effort?
Dr. Jung: That is indirectly true, but I think this figure really arises from Nietzsche himself.
It would be the active shadow, a shadow whose power has been underrated.
This shadow takes its origin really in those most harmless last men.
Therefore the whole catastrophe is predicted in the last sentence of the chapter before: “But they think me cold, and a mocker with terrible jests.”
They already see in him the terrible jester, this buffoon that will eventually kill the rope-dancer, because they hold that what he says of the Superman is well-nigh impossible, and if anybody should try to carry it out, he would fall dead, which happens in fact immediately after.
So the buffoon could be called an active shadow.
The shadow is as a rule inactive, a mere background, or an indication that somebody has body-three dimensions-since a thing that has not three dimensions casts no shadow.
If a person is more or less complete, his shadow is visible; if it is not, you feel that person is as if painted flat upon the wall.
With more or less shadow, there is more or less negation or contradiction, and without that nobody is complete.
People who have only two dimensions are identical with a sort of persona or mask which they carry in front of themselves and behind which they hide.
The persona in itself casts no shadow.
It is a perfectly clear picture of a personality that is above board, no blame, no spot anywhere; but when you notice that there is no shadow, you know it is a mask and the real person is behind that screen.
Mr. Baumann: Is that thin quality not expressed by the scene?
There is a marketplace and two windows and a rope, but it leads nowhere in particular.
I mean, if there were a river or an abyss that one had to go over, it would make the whole thing real, but a rope goes over nothing.
Dr. Jung: That is due to the fact that the whole thing is simply a symbolic show.
You think you have gone across an abyss but you have merely crossed the stage, you have gone nowhere.
You think you have crossed the Red Sea perhaps, but it is only a symbolic performance, like a play in a theater.
Miss Wolff What I meant to say is that Nietzsche, in as far as he identifies with Zarathustra, is a rope-dancer. Zarathustra has just preached that man ought to grow beyond himself into the Superman. But Nietzsche does not grow, he does not take roots by assimilating his shadow. Instead, he identifies with his vision, and so it all becomes a sort of trick, like walking on air. The buffoon is the shadow which is left behind, “the last man,” the ordinary man, and because it is left behind, in the end it overtakes Nietzsche.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the psychology of it; that is just what I mean.
Dr. Reichstein: Is not the symbol of the rope-dancer very unusual for this situation? I think it never could be in itself a symbol for a real surpassing of difficulties.
Dr. Jung: Well, it is a great risk, and for that the rope-dancer is an excellent picture.
Mrs. Crowley: He is able to hold the balance also.
Dr. Reichstein: I think that a symbol must be more connected with the earth than a rope-dancer. in order to fit into a real situation.
Dr. Jung: But that the thing is not connected with reality is exactly the trouble; therefore, the rope-dancer is such an excellent symbol, or an arrow over another.
Airs. Baynes: It is because he himself has to find the Superman.
Dr. Jung: Yes. You see the idea of bridging a gap is most characteristic for this affair of the Superman.
And then, as Mrs. Crowley points out, the necessity of keeping the balance between the two sides.
Mrs. Bailey: Is it the balance between the opposites?
Dr. Jung: Exactly, it is the crossing from one condition to another, which is a symbol of the pairs of opposites, and the way by which one gets to the Superman.
And the opposites are connected by the transcendent function; that is beautifully demonstrated by the rope stretched between the two towers.
Of course, that the whole thing is in the air is characteristic too.
Mrs.. Crowley: I think there is another reason for the symbol.
Nietzsche is always referring to the bridge without a goal, and this is just a bridge: there is no goal.
Dr. Jung: Yes, he says man is a bridge between two banks.
So the picture is very much to the point in every respect.
Dr. Reichstein: Perhaps in a teleological way it might mean to show Nietzsche that what he wants is not good for him, that he is not on the real way; the symbol would mean that the whole thing is in the air, circuslike, not real.
Dr. Jung: Well, it is like dream symbolism.
When a dream picture is impossible or absurd, it conveys the idea that what one does is absurd, but at the same time it shows the way.
If one takes it concretely, as it stands in the vision, of course it is absurd, and then of course the catastrophe is due.
But if Nietzsche only could abstract it, dissolve it; if he could say, ah, a rope stretched between two towers, pairs of opposites which should be connected, and walk from one side to the other, then he would be on the right way.
Then he could say, “I have the conflict in myself, a dilemma, and I should bridge that gulf,” and then he would discover the problem of the pairs of opposites.
This is an exceedingly important point, because Nietzsche in a way continues the discussion which was begun by Friedrich Schiller, the first of the German philosophers. Schiller is to me a philosopher.
I think little of his poetry, but I think a great deal of his philosophy.
He was the first German to become aware of the problem of the opposites in human nature; that psychological split became manifest to him probably under the influence of the impressions of the French Revolution, which was a sheer horror to the people of that time.
It was the first time in history that the Christian god was dethroned.
Notre Dame was desecrated and la deesse Raison put upon the throne and worshipped
instead of the Christian god.
There was wholesale slaughter, heads cut off by the score-and killing the most Christian king was a thing simply unheard of.
You see, values began rattling downlike anything, as they are today, and as they were during the great war.
Sensitive, thinking people were tremendously shaken by all those events in France, and it was under the immediate impression of those events that Schiller discovered that problem of the pairs of opposites: the problem that man, on the one side, is a fairly civilized being, and on the other, quite barbarous.
He sought a way of overcoming that condition, a way that might lead to a sort of reasonable state; and the only medicine he found was in the vision of beauty, the idea that in the contemplation of beauty you can be united with yourself.
Curiously enough, as an example of beauty he chose the Juno Ludovist, an antique bust that has nothing particularly interesting about it. If he had said Apollo, or a head of Zeus, or Homer, it would be more understandable, but just that] uno Ludovist is perfectly foolish.
I think he must have had such a bust in his study, and he probably contemplated it and thought it a most marvelous face.
So that if everybody would do something of the sort-if they could behold beauty-they could unite the pairs of opposites.
Now this problem apparently went to sleep again, but once touched upon it never goes to sleep really; it keeps on causing bad dreams, and Nietzsche took it up again.
After Schiller, the line goes through Schopenhauer, but Schopenhauer was entirely pessimistic as to its solution; also he did not see it in just such a light.
He was convinced that the world was a tremendous error.
He felt that split as being, not psychological, but as a split in the world, as if there was somewhere a profound mistake in the calculation of the world; and he came to the conclusion that the evil was ineradicable.
He felt that the world was merely incidental, that there was an unconscious will through which in the course of eternity, at an absolutely unaccountable moment, the world came to pass; that it had not developed historically, but came into existence as a dream image of the blind will.
There was no foresight, no intention in the making; it simply happened.
He went further than the Gnostics who assumed that there was a creator, the Demiurgos, who was at least half-conscious; Schopenhauer was absolutely pessimistic.
But though to him the split was projected into the world and not into man, it is very much the same thing; he unites the pairs of opposites.
Then he said it also happened that man developed an intellect which was able to mirror itself.
He must hold this mirror before the intellect and it will see its own face and say, “No more of this, we will stop that whole show, make it invalid-and return to Nirvana by a complete denial of life in general.”
That is what you do when you project a problem into your relations or friends, for instance: you help them to annihilate each other, to do all sorts of damage to each other, in order to settle your own problem.
One represents one side of your character and the other another side, and you try to get them to meet either in a friendly way or to fight each other. This explains the intrigues that always surround neurotic people; they are embedded in a tissue of intrigue.
They suffer of course terribly from poisonous projections, but they always cause them; they even instigate them.
Other people seem to be sort of actors in their private theater: one laughs and another weeps, and they tell this or that story to put those people against each other-and there they have the play they want.
Of course, they pay the expenses in the long run, but the others do too if they are fools enough to fall into the trap.
Also, in the history of a patient who is still embedded in his family, you will see that he usually succeeds in getting members of his family into pairs of opposites, dressing them up to play different roles.
The daughter projects into the father and mother, for instance, or the parents into the children.
Or in political groups, they even project their problems into the political parties.
The next figure to deal with the opposites after Schopenhauer was Nietzsche, who was also a sort of moral philosopher, and in Zarathustra he is actually at grips with the problem.
His other works, The Will to Power and The Genealogy of Morals, for instance, are chiefly criticisms of our civilization-of course always with a view to the dark shadow behind.
So Nietzsche is really a modern psychologist. In our days, he would have made a famous analyst, for he had an ingenious flare for the dark background and the secret motivations; he has anticipated a great deal of Freud and Adler.
But Nietzsche had by no means a merely critical mind.
He had, of course, a critical intellect, like those French aphorists of the eighteenth century, but he did not get stuck in mere criticism.
He was beyond that; he was positive, and in Zarathustra he also made the heroic attempt to settle the conflict.
And here he encounters the shadow, which he has already clearly shown in his other works.
He tries to build up an attitude or a system by which one can overcome that terrible shadow which undermines everything and checks every movement, and it is interesting to watch the development.
In Schiller, it was a sort of aesthetic solution, very weak, as if he had not realized the length and the depth of the problem.
To try to solve it by the vision of beauty is like trying to put out a great fire with a bottle of lemonade.
Schopenhauer made a more heroic attempt, but he annihilates the whole world; he annuls all existence in order to settle the conflict of man, and that is going too far.
It is like cutting one’s head off because one has a headache.
Nietzsche came more truly and more specifically to grips with the psychology of man; therefore, his critical work was chiefly psychological, and he felt that the regeneration of man was needed, a readjustment.!
He makes this attempt, and you see it is not only a personal whim of Nietzsche’s very personal neurosis; it is really a secular attempt of the human mind to deal with that problem.
It has, of course, been dealt with in history many times before in other ways.
Up to the time of Schiller it had been sufficiently dealt with by the church, which simply
took the whole domain of the unconscious, the shadow part of humanity, and expressed it in symbols; and they represented the whole thing as settled once and forever.
If there should be any disturbance, there were the means of grace of the church.
It was, and is still, a most elaborate magic system by which to settle every question.
But the moment when that system becomes invalid through historical events like the
French Revolution, the problem appears in the psychology of man.
People who are still really in the Catholic church have no unconscious.
For instance, a book has just appeared, by a Catholic, called Das Dunkle Reich in Uns, The Dark Kingdom in Us, which is about the psychological problem; and the author says that there is no proof of the existence of the unconscious-that there really is no unconscious-it is merely imagination.
Of course, almost any man nowadays in his normal senses, as we must assume he is, is simply unable to make such a statement; but a Catholic can easily, because he really has no unconscious.
It is in the church.
I have talked to very intelligent people in France about this question, and the Protestants and Jews understood what I meant, but the normal French Catholic does not understand at all, because for him the unconscious doesn’t exist.
Even if he doesn’t believe in the church, he is at least an atheist, which means a good Catholic.
I once treated a patient who was considered most conservative, the blackest of Catholics-she even had very close relations with the cardinals in Rome-but after I had known her for ten years she told me, “I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in the Pope, in the immortality of the soul, in Christ, in the forgiveness of sins. I believe nothing of all that, yet I shall die in the church.”
You see, such a person has no unconscious.
It is a most remarkable fact, which we can hardly understand.
Then a very educated and intelligent Catholic with an academic training said to me,
“I really cannot see why you take such trouble with psychology; if there is any question, I ask my bishop and he tells me what to think about it; and if he doesn’t know he writes to Rome and there in the Propaganda Fide they tell him exactly; for two thousand years they have sat there and unraveled these matters.”
Now even if it were true that the Propaganda Fide could answer certain questions, if I didn’t understand it, if it did not express myself, I could not accept it.
But they can accept it because it has never been in them.
It is exactly as if it were a matter of some detail in the life of the Polar Eskimos.
I never have seen the Polar Eskimos, but I know there is such a tribe and I know a man who knows about them; so if I want to know what the Polar Eskimos eat for their
midday meal, I simply write a letter to that man and he tells me they eat walrus steak, and I think he must know and accept it because I never was in the country.
So these Catholics have never had any experience of the unconscious; they were never concerned with it, so they easily can accept what they say about it in Rome.
But the Propaganda Fide is in the church, you know, and funnily enough it remains there.
Even if they don’t believe the whole dogma of the church, they still have it there; they just put an a before it: if only a negation, it remains.
Those fellows to whom I talked were convinced atheists.
Therefore, Bernard Shaw makes that joke about a man in the extremity of doubt who finally breaks down and says: I am absolutely shaken in my atheistic belief.
Mrs. Case: Is it not a very immoral position, leaving all those questions to other people?
Dr. Jung: I should say so. Such people ought to be punished.
It is really very mean, particularly for other people who get the bad end of it.
I\ ow, we are still concerned with the buffoon, and we concluded that this was really an active shadow.
Ordinarily, the shadow is not an active figure, but is only a sort of passive appendage, a background, a mere exponent of the fact that there is a three dimensional body.
In itself the shadow has no existence; it follows very closely where the body goes, and that is of course the normal condition, as it should be.
But as soon as there is a split, a disagreement with the negative qualities of man, the shadow takes a form, and it even goes so far as to separate itself from the person.
That excellent film The Student of Prague is an illustration.
You remember, he detached from his shadow which then committed awful crimes.
The man himself kept his word, he was a man of honor; but his shadow broke his word, and that led to a terrible entanglement and a catastrophic denouement.
It is a demonstration of a certain psychological condition, where the conscious is merely persona-like, painted on the wall as two-dimensional only.
Then the shadow is set apart and leads a life of its own.
This is always the case when one does not realize what one is doing.
You know, some people don’t realize themselves; they don’t know what they are doing.
And other people know themselves but they don’t know what is happening around them-the two types of course.
That is the unconsciousness of the shadow.
The shadow is indispensable for making the whole of a personality; nobody is whole without negative qualities.
This is lightly said, but in reality it is an enormous problem, looked at from an ethical point of view.
It is so difficult that one knows no other solution practically than to shut one’s eyes; if one doesn’t look at it, one can live.
But the moment one sees it, it is almost impossible, an insupportable conflict.
If one takes the moral conflict seriously, it becomes insoluble.
Therefore, people choose the way of the church or something like that, in order to escape the terrible responsibility.
There the church steps in with her means of grace, or with the conviction that somebody has dealt with the problem of our sin, or is going to deal with it, so we are relieved of that awful problem.
Numerous have been the attempts of man in that direction.
The Gnostics, for instance, made very interesting attempts, but I won’t go into that now, as we are here concerned with a very modern problem.
If the shadow is separated from consciousness, it always has body, reality: it is a spontaneous and active agency.
And inasmuch as the separation of the ego consciousness and the shadow prevents the integration of the whole of the personality-individuation-the shadow also contains the self.
Behind the shadow looms up the self, but then in a negative form. In that case, the shadow has a most destructive power; that is the origin of the demoniacal forces of the shadow.
Therefore, it is so important to have the right way with it.
For without the integration of the shadow there is no individuation, and no reconciliation of the pairs of opposites, because the shadow is the opposite.
Mrs. Baumann: There is an interesting picture in Bamberger’s Apocalypse of a man who is connected with the devil: they are back to back.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is of course the problem. In medieval psychology it is the innocent little man with a huge devil behind him.
Mrs. Case: That would be connected with the problem of the freeing of the will, wouldn’t it?
Dr. Jung: Yes. Inasmuch as you cannot integrate the shadow, of course the libido invested in the shadow is not disposable.
Mrs. Case: So individuation is really very much bound up with the freedom of the will?
Dr. Jung: Well, the problem of the will is also connected with it, but that is a side issue.
It is one of the handicaps of the individuation process that the more you are split, the less you have free will, and then the process of individuation is inhibited.
First, you must gain a certain amount of freedom, and you only gain that by the assimilation of the shadow.
You must learn to deal with the shadow to a certain extent at least, and then proportionately you acquire free will.
One has no free will in a state of complete dilemma, of complete dissociation or disintegration; that is obvious.
So the demoniacal power of this buffoon is due to the fact that, being with the shadow, it is activated by the superior power of the wholeness of the self.
For the self is the concept which expresses the totality of conscious and unconscious, and inasmuch as the unconscious is a limitless, indefinable, and irrational concept, the self is necessarily also an only partially rational concept; it covers something which cannot be defined fully.
You can define the ego, the extent of consciousness, but you cannot define the unconscious, because it is infinite.
You cannot establish a definite borderline which would separate the conscious clearly from everything that is non-ego; you can only say that your consciousness comes to an end here, and there begins the unconscious.
But how far the unconscious extends, nobody knows.
So the self is an indefinable concept because it covers the whole, the conscious and the unconscious; and inasmuch as the unconscious contains an extraordinary power, the self is an expression of that power.
Therefore, one could say in this case, that inasmuch as the shadow, this terrible jester, is a tremendous problem, he must have a tremendous power.
N ow, under what conditions does the shadow appear in such a terrible form?
Mrs. Fierz: Is it not connected with the appearance of Zarathustra?
In a figure like Zarathustra you see only its positive side, so the shadow would be enriched by the unconscious side, the shadow of Zarathustra.
Dr. Jung: That would explain why he appears in such a terrible form, but why should it be so destructive?
Mrs. Fierz: Because the self is so dangerous.
Dr. Jung: And why is it so dangerous?
Mrs. Crowley: Because he has not recognized it, as he must. He has been far away from the shadow, preaching the Superman, and it is as if that lightning had two sides, the constructive and destructive.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the conscious is very far away; it is identified, as Mrs. Fierz pointed out, with the figure of Zarathustra, the wise old man, with an all-embracing, benevolent truth, very beautiful, very meaningful and all that.
Apparently there is no shadow in the wise old man, so there is a great distance between that figure and the shadow, naturally.
But why should the shadow be so hellishly destructive?
Miss Hannah: It seems to me to have something to do with the will of the heart, which in spite of all disarmament attempts is stronger than we. In the same way, when he talks about destructive powers, he doesn’t fully realize.
Dr. Jung: Obviously, because it is then not so bad; one can say that just because we don’t realize the destructive powers of the shadow, it appears in a particularly dangerous way.
It is so terrible because we are far away and underrate it.
It might seem to be a mere appearance, not real, but this case proves that it is real, because it is the anticipation of Nietzsche’s fate. It is as if this whole scene had performed itself in Nietzsche’s life.
Now, assuming that the shadow has jumped over him and killed him, why would that be? Have we evidence for the fact that the other side of the self is so exceedingly dangerous?
Mrs. Bailward: Has it something to do with the former inflation that you talked about?
Dr. Jung: Well, if anyone has a one-sided identity with a certain figure, it causes a certain inflation; that simply expresses the distance from the shadow.
Mrs. Baumann: I think that, inasmuch as it is a part which he cannot accept or get connected with, that part rises up and says: “If you do not accept me I will kill you.”
Dr. Jung: Yes, but do you think it is necessary to put the pistol upon his chest? Could it not be said more civilly?
Mrs. Baumann: I was taking it for granted that it had been said many times before.
Dr. Jung: As a matter of fact, these things are said once and not many times.
Mrs. Baynes: Would it not be so dangerous because the shadow carries part of the god powers of the self?
Dr. Jung: Exactly.
The point is, inasmuch as you are not Zarathustra or anything like him, inasmuch as you are a rational well-meaning normal being, you are convinced that you choose your life, pick your way in a more or less reasonable way, with a sort of virtuous effort and good intentions, and make something quite nice of it.
And you don’t reckon with the fact that while you are thinking like that, you are for getting that you are under an inexorable law which is a thousand times stronger than man.’
You see, we have experienced that.
We make contracts with each other and they work for a while, so we make them a bit more certain; we increase the safety of our way of existence still more, until in the end we exclude every kind of interference.
And the more we work along that line, the greater our safety becomes; but the greater also the chance that if anything happens, it will be a terrible mess.
We increase the size of the ships on the ocean, we increase their means of safety, their speed, and all that, so of course an ordinary storm means nothing; but if there is a catastrophe, which never can be prevented, it is a most horrible one.
We try to prevent wars, we make our situation as safe as possible, but of course we create by that the best chance for having a war.
We gather a large army and enormous heaps of ammunition to prevent anybody from attacking us, but the other side is doing the same for their own defence, and finally everybody is defending themselves and this means a war with the most wholesale slaughter.
Former wars were just Sunday evening rows in comparison with what we can do now with all our means of safety.
Thus, our good intentions are always double-crossed by an unaccountable, unforeseen power which one calls chance or something like that.
And we call everybody superstitious who is afraid of chance, who assumes that something ought to be done against it; we don’t believe that anything can really interfere, because we don’t see it.
Yet the primitive man is always hellishly afraid of chance, for he knows that whatever he does can be double-crossed by whatever this cunning chance may devise.
Some demon may interfere, and therefore he takes quite extraordinary measures of precaution.
Certain things which might offend the demons must not be done, for they would take a terrible revenge.
This consciousness has become obliterated in us, so we never really think whether God will interfere with us or not.
As a matter of fact, he does and we call it chance, but that is simply another name for the same old thing.
Mr. Baumann: “His Majesty, Chance.”
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is a recognition of this extraordinary power.
Of course, we try to break its power by saying it is blind, it just happens, but if you study it carefully, you finally reach the conclusion that chance is a very peculiar thing.
It is as if it had analysed that particular case and put this thing just in the right place, like the wasp that in order to lay its eggs in that place, lames the caterpillar without killing it by putting its poisonous sting into the third dorsal ganglia, knowing much better where the motor center is than the zoologists.
Zoologists have to work for years to find out.
One could say it was mere chance, but unfortunately these things don’t happen as if they were chance.
There is regularity and enormous teleology. It is the same with the unconscious.
In the words you speak by chance, the truth is what you just blurt out.
We first think the interfering factor has to do with the shadow; we make a slip of the tongue or something else happens to us and we recognize it and say, “Oh well, that was the shadow, it is due to such and such a complex.”
And we think we can unravel and eradicate it, and then it will stop and not bother us again.
But the further we go, the more we see that behind that shadow is a much greater power, and finally we see it is that totality of conscious and unconscious.
Then we again think that we have now come to something which is circumscribed,
something tangible, within the reach of human reason.
But the self is just as far-reaching as the unconscious; we don’t know how far it reaches.
We get into an enormous continuity with life in general, not only life in the present; it contains all the ancestral life of the past and intimations of the things to come-all of humanity.
So we arrive at a conception of the self which is worldwide, a sort of conglomerate and
accumulation of individual minds, and that is simply a conception of a god.
Then when you have arrived at such a conclusion, you naturally begin to realize all the things that humanity in former ages used to think, that the god is very dangerous, exceedingly sensitive, most susceptible to any kind of offence.
(I don’t speak of the Christian God now, but the god generally.)
You must tread very warily in order not to disturb his peace, and you cannot cheat him; you must fulfil his laws, you have to observe all the necessary rites, you must be very ceremonious in the presence of god because he could take a terrible revenge.
And it is a psychological fact that the self, the whole of man, is an exceedingly dangerous proposition.
Every single individual believes in his own absolute importance, in spite of his weaknesses, his dullness, his unimportance; and we forget that through each human being that universal being is working and can produce the most horrible results.
We should learn fear again.
We suffer from fear in all sorts of phobias, but the reason that so many people suffer from phobias is because their fear is not in the right place.
In the Old Testament, the very first principle is the fear of God. ‘
It has been overcompensated in the New Testament by the idea that God is love and one should not be afraid of him.
But God is the one and the other.
The New Testament is just a compensation for the terrible truth of the Old Testament that in the beginning was the fear of God.
If you arrive at the idea that he is also benevolent, it is a sort of secondary experience.
Naturally, it depends upon our attitude.
We can assume, for instance, that if we fulfil the demands of the terrible god; we don’t need to be afraid of him any longer; then he will give us his grace, he will be kind to us.
Or we can assume just as well that God is a kind father provided we fulfil what he in his terrible form has demanded of us.
:t\ow this whole aspect is lacking in Zarathustra because his god is dead. And then god appears in the place where one would expect him the least, and that is in the shadow.
The shadow is by definition something which seems to be utterly impotent, trailing just behind the body of man, an appendage, entirely dependent upon his existence.
It is a most absurd and improper place for anything to appear, and therefore we don’t recognize its uncanny power.
Of course you can say the shadow in itself is not powerful, but simply an accumulation of all sorts of bad qualities in man; you can always depreciate it.
But the curious thing is that if the god is dead and so appears in the shadow, then the
negative qualities of the shadow become the armor of a new and terrible god.
That is the experience which is still waiting for us.
That is just the thing we are going to experience-that God appears to us from the most unaccountable and unexpected quarter.
And so this buffoon who suddenly jumps out of the tower after the rope-dancer, represents to us something completely unexpected, nobody would have thought that out of the shadow such a horror could come.
We are quite certain in this assumption because later on the buffoon says to Zarathustra that the next time he will jump over him too, degrading Zarathustra to the role of the rope-dancer.
This substantiates our interpretation that the rope-dancer is Nietzsche himself in his own form or in the form of Zarathustra; and the buffoon is the part of the shadow that holds divine power, the power over death and life.
If he chooses to jump over Zarathustra, he will do so and Zarathustra will be killed in no time, just in order to show Nietzsche himself that he is dealing here with a power as great as any god’s power. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 110-128