1934 7 November LECTURE 5 Zarathustra Seminar
Last week Mrs. Baynes asked a question which apparently I did not understand and now she corrects it: “I asked if one could say that from now on, i.e., after the sleep at the foot of the tree, the events could be said to transpire in the collective unconscious.
You understood me to ask if the events were not transpiring in the collective conscious, and you said this was a correct formulation and explained why.”
You see people read the book; it has become conscious matter.
There is nothing unconscious about it.
As a matter of fact, you yourself prove my point here. You say, “Now my argument was this: Nietzsche as a man disappears from the picture, we said, with the burial of the body, and that leaves us with Zarathustra, a disembodied spirit.
He goes to sleep at the foot of the tree and awakens in the world of the collective unconscious.
The sun would then be the midnight sun and the snake and eagle cease to represent instincts, and are symbols of earth and heaven, or nature and spirit, or Yin and Yang.
The rest of the book would then be a record of a night journey under the sea.
I can now see that this is an incorrect view because Zarathustra is attempting to present new values to humanity and a night sea journey would not deal with values, but experience of the inner world.”
That is exactly the case.
Thus Spake Zarathustra is not a series of experiences of the inner world; there are very few of those.
The book mainly consists of the thoughts and values Nietzsche develops from them, the experiences themselves being left pretty much in the dark.
We don’t know exactly what he experienced, because he translated it right away into thoughts and values.
Now, if it were a night sea journey-if Zarathustra were really a disembodied spirit, in other words then a quite different book would have resulted.
If it had been written at all, it would have contained that experience under the sea.
But as a matter of fact, Zarathustra is not a night sea journey.
It is written by a man, Nietzsche. Zarathustra is just not a disembodied spirit.
If he were, Nietzsche would be confronted with Zarathustra, but he is identical with him; and that of course causes the whole trouble.
Nietzsche speaks, yet Zarathustra speaks through the medium of Nietzsche; they are not clearly separated.
You probably have read in my books, in “The Relations between the Ego and unconscious” for instance, that one should make a difference between the conscious ego and the figures of the collective unconscious.’
If the archetype of the wise old man appears, then naturally the ego is just caught-one is always caught by unconscious contents.
Then you find yourself in a peculiar alienated condition; you see things and say things and feel things as you wouldn’t before.
It is a sort of new experience of yourself.
You see yourself in a different light, and people perhaps react to it and make remarks about it, that you look funny or say funny things: “What was the matter with you the other day?”
From such experiences you begin to notice, if you are at all introspective, that something has happened to you.
You begin to reflect about your condition, to think about what you say; and you confront yourself with the question: “Why did I say such a thing?” “Out of what psychology was it said and done?”
And then you come to the conclusion that it was not exactly yourself: you would not speak like that.
!\’ow you can do the same thing with all the contents of the unconscious.
I will tell you a very striking example, this time of the animus, which is also an archetypal figure, of course.
You can take this case as a general, most suitable example, valid for all cases of archetypes.
I once met a lady at a social gathering.
She was my hostess, and she talked to me for about one and a half hours uninterruptedly, so that I had absolutely no opportunity to squeeze a word in between.
Then suddenly she stopped the How of her talk and said: “Now tell me, what did you observe? What do you think of me?” “I think you are a bit nervous.”
“Oh yes, I know that-that is nothing new to me.” So I said, “Well, if you insist on knowing, I must say that you don’t think.”
With this of course she went right up into the air like a sky-rocket, because she had
been telling me very difficult philosophical problems; my head almost burst and I had difficulty in following her.
It was, in a way, intelligent and highly intellectual talk, so that a listener would have said, “God, isn’t she a terror!”
Naturally, it seemed to her simply grotesque that I should say she did not think.
She said, “But you must explain what you mean! We have discussed the most difficult things.” Discussed, you know! That is what women call discussion. It was a complete animus projection.
“Well,” l said, “I can explain it to you: about five minutes ago we ‘discussed’ such and such a problem, and you made the most marvelous formulations about this very difficult question, but I could read what you told me in any philosophical text book or dictionary just as well.”
She said: “But that is the way my mind works. I fix it on a certain spot, and it jumps into my mind ready made.”
l said: “That is all very well, but if you are talking to me, if I am interested at all, I really want to know what you. think, and not what the books say.” And then she said: “If you want to know that, I must think about it first!”
It was perfectly true that it was all ready made; it jumped into her mind in a miraculous way and she simply blurted it out.
It flowed out like a river. But that was not her thought.
It was thought which was floating in the air, in the libraries and philosophical papers and the halls of universities; but it was not what this particular woman had to say about such a problem.
She made no difference whatever between herself and her animus; she naively identified with that river of thought which was flowing out of her.
And that is what Nietzsche does.
He is simply identical with old man Zarathustra, and the flow which comes out of him is Zarathustra himself.
But mind you, while you admit that you are identical with the archetype, obviously imbued with its contents, you must also remember that you are in existence too; and you interpenetrate, you impregnate that spirit with yourself.
You are something, you don’t disappear.
And when you analyse the flow which comes out of you, you will discover not only what the old archetype says, but what you say.
So in all the talk that woman produced, she also was all over the place, but in a way which was absolutely invisible to herself.
She herself talked but through the medium of the archetype.
And so both were wrong; the archetype was wrong and she was wrong, because one was falsifying the other.
Therefore, I say to a man: you must make a difference between yourself and your anima, between yourself and all that is contained, thought, or felt through her influence and emotionality.
To a woman I say: you must make a difference between yourself and the flow of thoughts which goes through your head: don’t assume that things are so because you think so; or don’t assume that other people think like that because that thought is in yourself.
Criticize it and see whether it is your own.
V\’hen a bad animus case produces a marvelous opinion, I say: “Now come! is that yourself? Do you really back up this thought~ Are you convinced that things are like that?” “When I come to think of it, no!” “Then why the devil should you talk like that?
Whose opinion is it?”
Then perhaps she finds out that her father has said it or any other authority; or she has read it in the newspaper.
And so Nietzsche preaches any amount about the body, but ask the man Nietzsche what he thinks about the body and he will tell a different story. It is a possession when people preach things which they don’t make true in their lives.
They simply run away with a disembodied spirit who talks marvelous high stuff, but they are not confronted with it in their lives.
It never becomes a problem.
They never even think of making it true, but simply accept it as a fact and behave entirely differently.
I complain that they talk and think in one way and behave in another, but people are even quite proud that they can think differently from the way they feel.
They don’t see that this is a split which goes through the whole condition, and that it is a morbid condition, a lack of wholeness, a lack of integrity.
It is perfectly true that if Zarathustra were a disembodied spirit, the eagle and the snake would become, as Mrs. Baynes says, world principles.
In man they would be conflicting instincts.
But the difficult thing is that Nietzsche is so interwoven with Zarathustra that it is almost impossible to separate the two.
They are so entangled, so utterly identical, that they influence each other all the time.
You see, the old man would tell him something about the inner world; he would be the psychopompos, the great initiator who would lead Nietzsche to the understanding, or to the vision at least, of pleromatic things, the things which are below our level of consciousness.”
And then Nietzsche might have made a record of what he had experienced and would perhaps have presented it to the world.
But it would then be the story of a traveller on uncharted seas, and not a book of new values or philosophic thought.
Or if he wrote a book of philosophical thought, it would not be Zarathustra who was speaking.
He would say, “Excuse me, my name is Friedrich Nietzsche, and I hold such and such opinions. I judge things in such and such a way.”
And he would take the responsibility for what he said. He does not, however.
He says that Zarathustra is speaking, and there is the entanglement.
This is, of course, most upsetting.
If a case comes to me with such an identification, I consider it my duty to say, “Now look here, you must see what you are doing. It is really better for yourself and for your work if you look at it critically.”
So I might have prevented Nietzsche from writing Zamthustm, but he would certainly have written something else, something entirely different.
He might have written a book where in one chapter he wrote his own ideas, and in another he would have recorded his experiences with the unconscious.
Mr. Baumann: Does such an ideal book exist?
Dr. Jung: No, but we have records of such experiences in the unconscious.
The “Shepherd of Hermas,” for instance, and perhaps the Book of Revelation, to mention old literature.
Prof Reichstein: Could the stories of being tempted by the devil be compared to such experiences?
Dr. Jung: The experiences of the saints?
Well, in those cases there was always the elaboration through the influence of the church, for they would not be recorded if their stuff was not translated into the
language of the church.
If St. Francis had not been taken over and worked out by the church, he would have been stamped out; plenty of saints disappeared in a fire or a dungeon, simply delivered over to oblivion because they either did not like to translate their experiences into the church language or were not able to.
If the church did not agree with them, they were stamped out as heretics.
That collection of mystical confessions published by Buber would be examples of experiences of the unconscious.’
And I quoted a case in The Secret of the Golden Flower.
Edward Maitland, the biographer of Anna Kingsford and himself a mystic, describes such an experience.
There you find a true confession as you can tell from the fact that it is not in agreement
with the dogmatic ideas about the nature of God.
Also in that little book which I have reviewed, the visions of Nicholas von der Flue, the
Swiss mystic, there are a number of visions of the unadulterated kind.
But such experiences are usually translated into the dogmatic conventional languages of the time.
Dr. Schlegel: Is it not more or less the same thing as Faust?-the experience of the unconscious, and the conscious views?
Dr. Jung: Yes, but there we have also a sort of elaboration.
Goethe worked a lifetime on Faust in order to get it into shape, so we are not quite certain about the amount of immediate experience and what he
as a poet put into it.
That will remain in the dark forever.
We have clear indications from Goethe himself, however, that he put many things into it quite intentionally.
We could not know how much original experience there was without making the attempt to analyse very carefully what he could have drawn out of his knowledge of mystical literature, and what he only could have experienced.
There are quite certainly primordial experiences in Faust, but others are taken from his wide mystical reading.
Dr. Schlegel: But is one sure that there is no elaboration in Nietzsche?
Dr. Jung: Oh, there is any amount; we have indications of relatively few cases where we are certain of being confronted by the immediate experience.
That premonition of his own death is a primordial experience; that is a shot from the unconscious and no elaboration.
But Zarathustra is nearly all elaborated; it is just not a record of primordial experience.
Mrs. Sigg: Has not Spitteler in his work very often quite immediate experiences?
Dr. Jung: Well, there also is an enormous amount of elaboration.
A primordial experience was the instigator of the work-all the trouble he took in order to produce it-beyond that it is very difficult to make out.
I analysed his Prometheus and Epimetheus, but I never touched his Olympische Fruhling; only by analysing it as we are analysing Zarathustra,
could we make out which is the genuine experience and which is elaboration.
Mr. Baumann: What about Joyce?
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is a great question!
In Joyce there are indubitably parts which are quite genuine, and besides that there is an unaccountable flow of associations which are drawn from conscious experience.
Nobody could say that they were absolutely genuine.
You see, thought and judgment are entirely excluded: it is chiefly sensation, parts of intellect, also intuition, but there is a complete absence of rational material.
The flow of consciousness is quite certainly the main body of the book, and a certain amount of unconsciousness flows into it.
To use a comparison, we speak of the Rhine valley, in which flows the river Rhine.
Yet it is a double phenomenon really.
The actual Rhine valley where we see the Rhine flowing is a perfectly obvious, visible phenomenon; yet about sixty to ninety meters below is a much older valley
from a former ice age in which another river is still flowing, also the Rhine, but that is completely invisible, and it is usually completely separated from the river above.
You see, that is our condition: our consciousness is like a river, yet underneath another river is flowing which is much older, elating from times immemorial; and in between there is a separation, the threshold of consciousness.
Occasionally, the two waters meet and then they separate again.
Now, Joyce is that river of consciousness, and occasionally you get the idea that another river is underneath, which is in no connection with the river on the surface.
Therefore, Joyce contains very little symbolism, because there is no attempt at synthesis, and if a symbol is anything, it is synthetic.
So he represents the flow; he flows with it, and occasionally some intuitions come
from the depths, but they are not worked into the whole thing, nor is there any confrontation with that material, none whatever.
Therefore, those peculiar things in his book, the relation to the organs of the body for instance; such things only come in with lunatics, and then it is quite against their intention and it causes the most curious associations.
But that can only happen where there is no confrontation with the material, no difference between the author and his material.
He is just the event, utterly identical with it. Joyce appears nowhere.
James Joyce is the flow himself; and Ulysses appears nowhere, the flow is Ulysses.
Prof. Fierz: In his other book also, the biography, the Portrait of [The Artist was a Young Man, nobody appears.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the funny thing: nobody appears, yet the whole thing is always himself.
Well, that is of course a different case; it is not like Zarathustra where we have definite figures.
Joyce is separated by almost a hundred years from Nietzsche, he is after-the-war while Nietzsche is pre-war.
That is the great difference.
It would be an interesting problem for a speculative mind to discover why, before the war, though there was little confrontation, there was at least a certain amount; but since the war there is none whatever: things are simply happening.
If artists are really prophets of the time, then it is a peculiar prophecy.
There is a continuous decrease of confrontation, which means a continuous decrease of reflection, of distance, and a continuous identification with the flow-which means that we are like ants trying to cross a river, who cannot resist the power of the running water.
So perhaps they are all going to drown. Or they may land somewhere, I don’t know.
But for a while everybody will be just floating, drifting, like a log in the river.
And I must say the political development looks exactly like that.
Nobody understands the situation; everybody suffers from profound disorientation.
Things are happening in a completely uncontrolled way.
All the countries are arming themselves.
Everybody wants to prevent war, but it is all talk, talk, talk, and things take their course.
Now we will go on to section 10: This had Zarathustra said to his heart when the sun stood at noon-tide.
Then he looked inquiringly aloft,-for he heard above him the sharp call of a bird. And behold!
An eagle swept through the air in wide circles, and on it hung a serpent, not like a prey, but like a friend: for it kept itself coiled round the eagle’s neck.
“They are mine animals,” said Zarathustra, and rejoiced in his heart.
Here something happens.
Not many things happen in Zarathustra, but occasionally something does happen.
We are informed that the sun is now at noontide.
Why should Zarathustra mention this fact? Is the sun ever at noontide for Zarathustra inasmuch as Zarathustra is the wise old man?
Miss Wolff: No, it would not be for him-he is an eternal figure-but for Nietzsche it is.
Dr. Jung: Exactly. Here we have an example of how these things work practically.
You see, Zarathustra the archetype is typically beyond time.
His wisdom is beyond time. First of all, it is old like the world, and secondly, it is always looking beyond the given moment.
In the descent of the sun he sees midnight, and at midnight he sees the sun rising, because that is the character of wisdom.
As Till Eulenspiegel laughed like mad when he went uphill, and wept when he went downhill.
People could not understand it, for wisdom is never understood by ordinary people, but to him it was perfectly clear.
In going up he thinks of the descent and that makes him laugh.
He rejoices in the idea that soon he will be able to go downhill.
But when he goes downhill he foresees that he will soon have to climb again and he weeps there for.
And that is the nature of Zarathustra.
So it is the man Nietzsche who discovers that he is at the noon of life.
He was born in 1844 so he was just thirty-nine when he started to write Zarathustra,
and that is the noontide, the beginning of the afternoon.
In his case, it was of course particularly important to see that, because he had only six years left before the atrophy of his brain began in 1888.
Now he discovers his two animals, which were formerly explained as symbols of instincts.
Usually the eagle, as an animal living in the air, has the quality of spirit, because spirit is understood to be a winged being, like an angel, a floating volatile being, or like the subtle body of a ghost, a revenant.
Birds live on top of the highest mountains where nobody can go, or travel through the air, and that is always characteristic of the spirit; to become spiritual one must rise out of the depths of heaviness, fast, and lose weight.
And the snake is the symbol for the heaviness of the earth. It has no legs; it cannot jump or fly, but can only creep on its belly in the dust of the earth.
And snakes often live in holes and in rocks, and some are nocturnal animals, uncanny.
They lead a hidden existence and are met with where you expect them least.
So the snake would be a symbol of the earth, for things chthonic.
More psychologically, the eagle is like thought, a messenger of the highest god; thought is also understood to be a winged being and a product of the brain, which is on top of man, on top of the world.
It is Mount Meru where the city of light lies, the light of consciousness.
While the snake, on the other side, chiefly consists of a vertebral column, and is therefore a personification of the lower motor centers of the body, of the spinal cord and the corresponding centers of the brain.
As a personification of the physiological instincts, it is also associated with sexuality, or with the low instinctive cunning of the primitive or animal mind of man.
Zarathustra sees those two animals together, representing pairs of opposites, because spirit is always supposed to be the irreconcilable opponent of the chthonic, eternally fighting against the earth according to the dogmatic idea and the idea of old philosophies in general.
For, wherever you go in the world, if you compare the highest philosophical views of a certain period, say two thousand years ago, you find that nearly everywhere people came to the same conclusion: namely, that matter is low and bad, and spirit is good and beautiful and high-and that matter ought to be subjugated by spirit, and not the reverse.
And from this standpoint, you discover that we went through a peculiar development in Europe as a result of the idea which we invented, that spirit was mind, and that mind was dependent upon the brain and its functions.
We built up a materialistic science, the philosophy of which was the primacy of matter, the predomination of the material principle.
That is in contradiction with the vast majority of philosophical and religious views all over the world, but we cannot criticize these views properly because we belong to the same period of time.
You see, that accounts for the fact that the development of art or science or philosophy, inasmuch as it was contemporaneous, has been along similar lines all over the earth.
Even the Mayan or Aztec civilization developed, as far as we can make out, in a way that was parallel to the development everywhere else in the world.
The classical periods in art are about the same in China as in Europe; Gothic art in China was contemporary with our Gothic art; and our Baroque and Rococo appeared at the time of the same development in China.
These facts show that there tends to be a general synchronicity of events.
So we can only say that in the last two thousand years humanity as a whole has passed
through an age when the spiritual principle predominated over the material principle, or the eagle predominated over the serpent.
And so we come back to our symbolism.
You are probably impressed with the fact that the serpent has coiled itself round the neck of the eagle.
What is the usual presentation of this symbolism?
Mrs. Sigg: That the eagle has the snake in its claws.
Dr. Jung: Yes, showing that the spirit has overcome matter, or that the eagle, personifying the light, has overcome the powers of darkness or the devil.
For instance, you remember having seen the so-called lecterns in churches, sort of reading-desks on which the Bible is supported by an eagle.
The eagle is the symbol of St. John the Evangelist, whose philosophy is the idea of the Logos, the word, or the light that comes from God and shines into the darkness of man.
Antique fantasy ascribed the eagle to John because the eagle was the messenger of Zeus, the god of the sky, the messenger that comes from heaven, the personification of light.
Therefore, the symbolism on the lecterns, where the word of God as given to us in the Bible comes down to the earth supported on the wings of the eagle.
Now, the eagle is in a way predominating here, he carries the snake but not in its claws; the snake is coiled round his neck.
How do you like this picture?
Mrs. Crowley: In the Mandaean Book of .John”‘ there is a very definite picture of the eagle coming down as the messenger of God, but making obeisance to Maria; he becomes her messenger, so he is really the messenger of earth there.
Dr. Jung;: That is the Gnostic idea, but this is a further development of the Gnostic symbolism.
We won’t go into that now, nor into the eagle symbolism in alchemy. Nietzsche had no knowledge of Gnosticism nor of medieval philosophy.
He was a classical philologist and therefore had a profound contempt for anything later than the year one; his paradise was between 6oo and 100 B.C.
Mrs. Jung: Does the snake symbolize the instinctive side of Zarathustra the archetype, too? Does it belong only to Nietzsche the man?
Dr. Jung: Well, that is a question.
As far as I know we have no proof that the eagle and the serpent played a particular role with Zarathustra himself, but it is a fact that Zarathustra was a philosopher or teacher whose aim was to establish the predomination of the spirit.
In the centuries before Christ we find traces everywhere of the effort to make the spirit predominate over matter.
So one could say Zarathustra was already such an eagle, overcoming the earth principle.
Now, the question whether the eagle and the serpent symbolize the instincts of Nietzsche is just what I was asking.
How do you like this symbolism, where the snake appears to be coiled round the neck of the eagle?
This is a very unusual formulation, not at all classical; as far as my knowledge goes, it is usually wriggling in its claws, overcome by the eagle.
Mrs. Baumann: We have seen the picture of Nietzsche as man being overcome completely by the figure of Zarathustra, but this seems to be almost the opposite picture; it is as if the snake were going voluntarily, or as if Nietzsche were going voluntarily with Zarathustra.
Mrs. Mehlich: I think it is a bit paradoxical.
The eagle is the master of the situation. He lifts up the serpent.
But on the other hand he may be overcome.
Dr. Jung: You think it is rather dangerous for the eagle to have such a necktie? It is. I would not like it.
Mrs. Brunner: It is dangerous for the serpent too: it might fall down.
Dr. Jung: Well, if he clings to the neck of the eagle he won’t fall down, but it is not a pleasant situation. I don’t think the serpent likes such airplane stuff.
Mrs. Strong: Is it again the symbolism of suspension before rebirth?
Dr. Jung: There is surely the motif of suspension in it.
Miss Wolff: The image is to me disgusting. Nietzsche says the serpent hung on the eagle, “not like a prey but like a friend.” That is horrid sentimentality, for those two animals just don’t go together; they don’t make a union. It is very much against what they would do in reality, so that must be considered too in the image. It is a very paradoxical situation.
Mrs. Sigg: I think, as Nietzsche was the son of a Protestant minister, he surely would remember that no other animal in the Bible was under a curse; the snake got a special curse from the creator: Thou shalt go on thy belly. Nietzsche is always inclined to react against such things and to say the opposite, so this opposition might have been in the thing too.
Dr. Jung: That is a good point.
Of course, the most impressive thing in this picture is that the snake is lifted up out of her usual abode into a medium in which it depends entirely upon the good will of the eagle.
It is a hellishly uncomfortable situation.
After a while the eagle will certainly become very hungry and eat the snake.
You know the secretary bird-who looks exactly like an eagle only the legs are a bit too long is the classical eater of snakes.
There are many eaglelike birds, in fact, that are the typical enemies of snakes.
So the snake is in a very precarious situation and Mrs. Baumann is quite right when she points out that it is really the image of Nietzsche’s own predicament.
He is just lifted out of the ground, and as a material man, as a man of the earth, he is in the power of that enormous bird.
The eagle is the archetype, you see; the wise old man is the wise old bird.
The Hamsa, the swan, has lifted him up.
Then there is a classical parallel which we must not forget, because Nietzsche is a classical philologist. What is it?
Miss Wolff: Ganymede.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that beautiful boy who was fetched by the eagle of Zeus to serve at the table of the gods-a homosexual interlude, one of the little scandals of Olympus.
So Nietzsche the man is surely portrayed in this picture, and we always notice the personal influence in symbolism when something is not according to rules, not quite right.
In this case it is surely not quite right that the snake is coiled round the neck of the eagle.
The snake might have a fantasy and squeeze his neck so that he couldn’t breathe, which would be very bad for both; it is most risky, it could go wrong in many ways.
That is substantiated by the subsequent remarks of Zarathustra, namely: “More dangerous have I found it among men than among animals; in dangerous paths goeth Zarathustra.”
He finds his peril in the wrong place; he is afraid of the perils amongst men.
Of course there are relatively small perils among men; the perils among beasts, particularly one’s own beasts, are much greater.
But he feels the danger-tension manifested in this peculiar symbolism.
Now, as Mrs. Baumann has also pointed out, the serpent is here represented as a friend of the eagle, and that would be explained from the personal side as a demonstration of the fact that the relation between Nietzsche and Zarathustra is a friendly one.
He doesn’t feel as if he were the victim of Zarathustra; he feels the claws of the eagle as a loving gesture, so one could say that the serpent, by free will, encoils or embraces the neck of the eagle.
This would indicate that it is not at all a hostile situation, but a union, a reconciliation obviously.
The fact remains, however, that the snake is carried up into the air, away from its
usual abode, and this would be the man Nietzsche carried off his feet by the Hamsa, the bird of the archetype, and he doesn’t defend himself against it.
On the contrary, he gives himself voluntarily to that kind of travel.
As we were saying in the beginning, it is the attempt at a journey in the air, not a journey under the sea; whatever flies through the air is visible.
It is absolutely in the open, while a night journey under the sea happens in darkness and is invisible.
So in a way, if looked at from the personal point of view of Nietzsche himself, this vision of Zarathustra is really what Nietzsche also might see and, confronted with the facts, he would ask himself: “Now why does Zarathustra see that picture? What should it convey to Zarathustra-Nietzsche?”
You see, the instincts always come up from the unconscious and give us a hint, perhaps in a dream.
For, suppose I am identical with an archetype; I don’t know it and the archetype of course won’t tell me, because I am already possessed and inundated by the archetype.
If it is the wise old man, he will seek only to express himself, and the human instrument he is actually using, say in the year 1883, doesn’t count at all.
It might be any other century, any other man, any other instrument.
Just as I pay no attention to the hammer I use; I use it and afterwards
I throw it away.
It is not a personal hammer.
That is the way the archetype uses man, simply as an instrument, as a tool of a most transitory kind.
We make a fuss about our lives, but nature makes no fuss whatever; if nature likes to wipe out several million people she quietly does so.
In a war we wipe out the best of men by the million. Well, that is quite natural, that is war.
We can do it because we are used by an archetype: people are all possessed and wiped out by each other.
And that is what nature does.
So the man Nietzsche counts precious little to the archetype. He just happens to be the tool.
But the man is of course in an awful situation. He is possessed, and he cannot defend himself, for he doesn’t even know that he is possessed, and that is a wonderful opportunity for the unconscious.
Inasmuch as everyone has instincts, the archetype of the old man is not the whole unconscious.
It is only one of the many inhabitants, and therefore there are other helpful spirits or powers about, which will appear.
So if a man is possessed and does not know it, he will have perhaps a dream which tells him something, or something will be shown to him which elucidates the situation.
To a man like Nietzsche, for instance, a dream will appear which contains this image of the eagle and the snake.
If such a case should happen in reality, I would explain it in this way: the light of heaven,
the eagle, the divine word has caught you; naturally, how could you resist?
So you gave yourself to it.
But you must know that it is exceedingly dangerous; we don’t know how it will turn out in the future.
I should say it was a precarious situation for that serpent-probably less for the eagle, because the serpent is chiefly under the illusion of friendship.
You see, if the eagle were under that illusion, he would have been persuaded by the serpent to stay on the ground and to hop about while she crept up and sat on his back.
He would have to hop along carrying the snake-or some other grotesque arrangement could be thought of.
But it is clearly the serpent that follows.
It is Nietzsche who follows the insinuation or the intimation of the archetype and is carried into the air.
That is ekstasis; it is the typical miracle of levitation.
These things happen in stories of the saints; during the mass, while they are praying before the altar, they are suddenly lifted up: it is a real ekstasis.
Mr. Baumann: Professor Rousselle showed us symbols like that; he had a whole series of small Tibetan mandalas, and one was a serpent with huge wings flying up into the sky.
And in the next picture the serpent had disappeared and there were only the wings left flying to the sun!’ That is a picture of ekstasis.
Dr. Jung: You bring the discussion to the motif of the plumed serpent, Quetzalcoatl, the Mexican symbol of the so-called savior god.
The plumed or feathered serpent is a union of the bird and serpent, but a sort of organic union: the serpent is flying and creeping at the same time.
We would call it a dragon. The Chinese idea of a dragon is also very much like that.
It is an exceedingly chthonic and aquatic animal, and then it takes to the air and becomes fiery.
We also have legends of flying dragons, sort of feathered serpents.
Mrs. Crowley: And there is the Hindu idea of the cloud serpent that fertilizes the earth.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is also usually represented with wings.
It is, of course, an attempt at the reconciliation of the pairs of opposites, as this vision is also, and as such a symbol would be if it occurred in a dream.
But here the serpent is too much on the side of the eagle, flying through the sky.
Also I should criticize under all conditions this peculiar fact that the snake is coiled around the eagle’s neck; it is again a sort of premonitory picture.
I should not like it.
It is not aesthetical, and it is not according to the rules.
The artist Klinger made a bust of Nietzsche, using this symbol of the eagle and the serpent; the four corners of the bust were shaped like the claws of the eagle, and the eagle holds the snake in its claws.
You see he corrected Zarathustra’s vision, as the artist does; he insisted that the snake was overcome by the eagle because they are eternal enemies.
Whenever we encounter such a disturbance of a traditional age-old symbolism, we must always go back to the individual who uses it, and there we will discover that something has happened which, in a way, is unavoidable.
It should happen, but the way in which it happens is not right.
Zarathustra’s purpose is of course to cure the problem of the time: that is why the old man appears.
As Nietzsche himself says, he took the figure of Zarathustra because the original Zoroaster brought the moral conflict into the world; and as the moral conflict is now at its culmination, he must appear again in order to do something to cure it.
The pairs of opposites which were separated through the moral conflict ought to be brought together again.
So that image is really Zarathustra’s attempt to bring them together. “Beyond good and evil” means beyond eagle and serpent and their moral meanings; by that formula, Zarathustra is trying to mend the trouble of our time.'”
The old moral dissociation has apparently lost its cosmic importance and a new problem has presented itself, the problem of the reconciliation of the pairs of opposites.
Yet the body represented by the serpent is lifted up from the earth.
How would you explain such a case?
Mrs. Crowley: Inflation?
Dr. Jung: No, I would not call that inflation.
When you have to solve such an important problem which is really new to the age, you will be tremendously influenced by the way in which this problem has been answered hitherto-that is the most probable thing.
You hardly can get away from the solution proposed hitherto.
And the solution that was proposed by old Zarathustra was: Let the spirit overcome matter, let Yang overcome Yin, and then the trouble will be settled forever, because the existence of matter will be wiped out.
You see, that was the idea of redemption which really began in Persia, appeared to a certain extent in Egypt, and worked through Judea, particularly in Christianity, where hell-fire comes at the end of our days and the whole world is burnt up, everything that has been matter disappearing for eternity.
Also it appears in the primitive Germanic religions, where in the end the ferocious wolf will appear and the world will be devoured by fire.
The idea that the spirit would win out in the end was the way in which the problem was solved, which accounts for all the conclusions drawn by Christianity concerning the neglect or destruction of the body.
To the saints, everything which was concerned with the body was low or vulgar.
There were special taboos to prove the inferiority of bodily things; and everything that could be called mind or spirit was marvelous, good, divine.
In the course of the centuries, however, we made very much the same discovery which they made in China, where a printed letter or hieroglyph was holy-until they discovered that all sorts of obscenities, vulgar and evil things, could also be printed.
But formerly everything, every scrap of printed or written paper was carefully preserved and protected as sacred; paper carrying the sacred letters should not be touched by the feet.
We have the same notion; there are still people who think a thing is true because it is printed.
We believe in the saving faculties of the mind, of the spirit.
Our belief in science is the same thing: this is the truth, and reason and truth must save us in the end.
This is our savior. You see, it is the same old prejudice.
We don’t know what truth is, and we particularly don’t know how it works; we have only learned that sometimes a lie is as good as the truth.
There is a play in America-not here unfortunately-where for twenty-four hours nothing is spoken but the truth, and it shows what the truth can do.
If you tell the truth for twenty-four hours you create such a hell of a mess in the end that nobody can find his way out of it.
We have grown doubtful obviously; we are confronted with the problem: shall we tell the truth or maintain a certain illusion?-and we know cases where the illusion was surely better than the truth.
Therefore we run into all sorts of collisions of duties; we should tell the truth.
But it is much better to tell a lie in some cases, and then we are all at sea and there is a catastrophe.
Perhaps we discover that what people call sin is sometimes exceedingly decent, or what other people call a virtue can be a most horrible vice-really an infernal thing, most cruel.
So we are shaken by doubts, and have therefore begun to look at things from a different
point of view.
For instance, formerly we thought it was a good thing to punish the criminal, but now we know cases where it is not a good thing.
Or perhaps we know a criminal, and if we study him, we realize that in his situation we would have done pretty much the same.
And people who are careful to avoid something which is not quite correct, quite marvelously get into an awful mess, while people who are not quite correct get along much better, and they are less offensive to human society than the correct people.
Therefore, we cannot help being exceedingly doubtful as to the validity of those two ideas.
Moreover, we know that what we have called matter, stuff, which we thought we could ridicule or despise, is just as spiritual as spirit, and spirit is perhaps as corporeal as matter.
Even there we become exceedingly doubtful as to which principle we should give the greater value.
So the sum total of all these doubts and deliberations has put us up against the question: How can that conflict between Yang and Yin, or between good and bad, spirit
and matter, be solved?
And it is more than natural, if we make an attempt to solve it, that we are strongly influenced by the values of the past.
It is most probable, therefore, that the eagle would take the serpent for a ride in the air; it is a concession, as Nietzsche’s life itself was a concession.
There is little difference between Nietzsche’s life and the life of a saint; he forsook his ordinary life, and went into the woods.
The woods were called Rapallo, the Engadine, Nice, and so on, but he was alone, a hermit. He lived entirely in his books.
He devoted himself to spiritual practices, one could say, and he lost the connection with the world of the flesh.
He really became a sort of modern saint; the spiritual side caught hold of him more than was good for the solution of his moral problem.
For to solve the problem one must give equal value.
We cannot say the side of the spirit is twice as good as the other side; we must bring the pairs of opposites together in an altogether different way, where the rights of the body are just as much recognized as the rights of the spirit. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 219-235