Zarathustra Seminar

1934 21 November LECTURE 7 Zarathustra Seminar

Dr. Jung:

I have still another contribution to the symbol of the eagle and the serpent. I happened to come across it in the Gilgamesh epic.

It is a different kind of symbolism, yet the meaning is particularly clear.

You probably remember the two important figures of the Gilgamesh epic.

There is the hero Gilgamesh, two thirds of whose nature are divine and one third human.

He is a sort of superhuman being with a tremendous spirit of power. In building his town, called Uruk, he forces everybody to join in slave work, so the women complain to the gods who proceed to do something about it.

They create a peculiar counterfigure to Gilgamesh, a man of equal size and strength, also a sort of superhuman creature, named Enkidu.

(These names are not quite certain because proper names are particularly difficult to decipher in the cuneiform character on account of not having the comparative material

which they could accumulate for other words. Formerly, one read Gilgamesh as Izdubar, and Enkidu was read as Eabani. It was always explained as a sort of conventional rendering; they did not know exactly how to read them so they were named rather arbitrarily in order to give them a name.)

That new creation of the gods was half animal, his hair long; he lived and fed with the animals, and he drank from the same water holes as the gazelles.

He was caught by the aid of a hierodulr, a temple prostitute.

He is an inferior man, a sort of ape-man, a shadow but of equal strength. He simply personifies the inferior psyche of man.

One could say that inasmuch as Gilgamesh represents the will, consciousness, the spiritual attitude,

Enkidu represents the lower parts of the psyche as expressed in the sympathetic nervous system-for instance, by the lower centers of the brain and the spinal cord.

It would be the motor quality of the mind, the corporeal or bodily aspect of the psyche. In contradistinction to Gilgamesh, there is a highly physical quality in Enkidu.

He is very emotional and tremendously subject to moods and intuitions.

He suffers from various conditions, and he has bad dreams or very intuitive dreams.

There is even a passage where Gilgamesh puts Enkidu to sleep intentionally and asks the gods to give him a dream to advise them about one of their heroic feats-killing the

terrible giant Humbaba, who watches the mountain of the gods.

Then Gilgamesh himself had a premonitory dream which showed him that he would in the end conquer that enemy, that inimical brother, who had been created by the gods in revenge in order to overcome him.

Enkidu being overcome by Gilgamesh would mean, then, the lower mind or psyche overcome by consciousness and will, and thus it is a representation of a problem which in those centuries was, of course, of the highest importance to man.

The myth itself is of a very great age.

The form in which it is handed down to us in the Gilgamesh epic was established in the seventh century B.C.

It was excavated in the so-called library of Assur-bani-pal, a king of that time.

But there is ample evidence that it is of very much earlier date, probably about 2500 to 3000 B.C.

This is before Hammurabi, the great law-giver of Babylon, who lived about 2000 B.C. That was the age of the second month of the great Platonic year, the month of Aries, the ram, and the dawn of consciousness took place at the beginning of the month before, the month of Taurus, the bull.

Taurus is the spring sign, and it was also the springtime of consciousness, for we date consciousness from the time of written records.

You see, there can be no consciousness without continuity.

If continuity is lost, consciousness is practically valueless; it is a mere representation of the moment.

Without the continuity of memory, there are no means of comparison and therefore no possibility of judgment.

That may be seen in people who have so-called progressive amnesis, where the memory fades so that there is no recollection of anything farther back than a few days.

Also in senile atrophy of the brain or in general paralysis of the insane, where memory fails progressively, the unconscious condition is such that conscious judgment becomes utterly impossible on account of the lack of comparative material.

One can only judge by comparing situations.

If former judgments cannot be remembered, if nothing remains of consciousness but a little memory of present conditions, no judgment can be passed, and one feels that people in such a condition are practically unconscious.

For instance, I remember the case of an old woman of about eighty. I called her by name

and, as if offended, she replied: “But that is not my name. I am Miss Smith.” She was many times a grandmother in reality, so I suggested that that was her maiden name, but she insisted that she was not married. “But you have grandchildren.” “You are quite wrong. I am Miss Smith.”

Then I asked her if she had known Mr. So-and-So, which was the name of her husband, and she blushed but said she didn’t know him. “But that is your husband.” “Oh no, what do you think!”-and she became coquettish. “Don’t you know him? Haven’t you heard of

him?” I asked. “Yes, I saw him the other day.” “But how is that?” I said, “I thought he was dead.” “No, no, he is not dead, and I am in love with him.” “Ah! Will it be an engagement?” “Yes.”

I  found out that she was engaged when she was not quite twenty, so her memory had faded down to nineteen years of age-she returned to that  consciousness and from there on backwards her memory was continuous, but all the later years were gone: she could remember nothing.

She was of course unconscious; that a woman of eighty should have the consciousness of nineteen means that she is unconscious of her condition.

In those early days of history, therefore, it was important that the continuity should be established, that people should have a conscious memory.

They should know how old they were, for instance.

It is still a great difficulty with primitives to establish their age.

I asked a girl in Africa of about seventeen how old she was, and she got very much embarrassed and said she was four.

I was a hundred years old to them because I had white hair.

Nobody could tell me his age because they cannot count years, which of course gives them a sort of unconsciousness,

a lack of orientation about themselves.

Now, in the past when enough people were able to count their years, to be thus far conscious of their continuity, they began to realize that humanity should have a continuous memory, that they should have written records, in other words.

So writing was invented, and that was at the beginning of the first month of consciousness, the age of the bull, about 4200 B.C.; the oldest traces of writing we possess date from about that time.

Soon after this, in about the third or fourth century B.C., would be the origin of the Gilgamesh epic.

And there the divine mind is the one who has will and intention and energy and can dispose of his own libido, concentrate upon a work, having the ability of carrying a thing through in a reckless way.

But he is an offence to the gods and they take their revenge in trying to break that Luciferian or Promethean hybris.

So they invented the figure of Enkidu, which means that they caused the conflict to be personified in the man Gilgamesh, the conflict between his mind, soaring on high, and the lower inferior man in himself, Enkidu.

Now, those two heroes working together performed a series of tremendous feats for a while, but more and more Enkidu had uncanny dreams and suffered from his civilized condition-from his subjugation to his superior will, that is-and finally, immediately after their greatest triumph, he had this dream, which is on the seventh tablet.

(The story is printed in cuneiform characters upon clay tablets which are actually preserved in the British Museum.)

The German text says that Enkidu is reclining, resting after their deeds, and has these

dream-visions.

Whereupon he gets up and narrates them to Gilgamesh

thus:

“Why have the great gods come together in council? Why are they planning my path? Oh friend, it was a peculiar dream which I saw and its end foretold misfortune. An eagle took me with iron claws and flew upward for four hours. Then he said to me: ‘Look down upon the earth, what seeth thou? Look down upon the sea, how doth it appear to thee?’ And the earth was like a mountain and the sea looked like a small body of water.

Again for four hours he flew higher and then he said to me: ‘Look down upon the earth, what seeth thou? Look down upon the sea, how doth it appear to thee?’ And the earth was like a garden and the sea was like a water course in a garden. [An irrigation canal.]

And again for four hours he flew higher and then he said to me: ‘Look down upon the earth, look down upon the sea, how do they appear to thee?’ And the earth looked like dough made of flour, and the sea looked like a trough full of water.

Then he flew higher for two hours, and then he dropped me and I fell and fell and finally I lay upon the earth crushed. This is the dream, and hot with terror I woke up.” And when Gilgamesh heard the words of Enkidu his looks became dark and he said to Enkidu his friend: “An evil spirit will take thee with his claws, woe unto thee, the great gods have decided upon misfortune. Lie down because thy head is hot.”

And Enkidu went to bed and a demon leaned over him, an evil spirit of fever took him by his head and he became delirious, and on the twelfth day he said to his friend: “Utnapishtim, the Lord of the living water has cursed me, oh my friend, like one who in the middle of the battle, curses his enemy. Oh my friend, whoever is slain in battle is

dead. I was slain in the battle.”

You see, here we have that symbolism.

The lower inferior man is taken by the iron claws of the spirit like consciousness which is detached from the ordinary corporeal human being, and is carried up into the air very high, but in the end he is dropped and killed.

This is exactly the fate of Zarathustra, or Nietzsche, as you know; this is the rope-dancer who behaves as if he could not fall, as if he were a bird upon the rope, winged, but he is pushed down by an evil spirit that comes upon him and he lands upon the earth crushed.

Enkidu is of course a human figure, but he could also be represented by a snake, for the serpent symbol is a concretization of the inferior psyche.

Inasmuch as it only reaches the lower ganglia of the brain, it is a sort of vertebral mind or psyche.

You know, the brain is a relative conception; in former periods of the earth there were animals like the megalosaurians, for example, where the size of the lumbar intumescence of the nervous matter was bigger than the brain.

The brain would measure about three inches in diameter while the lumbar region of the spinal cord was four or five times that size, which means that the brain-if you can speak of a brain at all in such animals-was in the lumbar region instead of in the skull.

The psychical life was largely an accumulation of motor reflexes.

r\ow, inasmuch as we have still a spinal cord we have a psyche, and it has a certain independence which is usually concretized as the serpent.

Then the eagle on the wing is something like a representation of the brain, which is united in the center by that famous commissure consisting of fibers that spread out into the two hemispheres of the brain.

Many of these symbols are due to introspection, and that can go so far that inner anatomical formations, certain anatomical details, can be perceived by sensitive people.

For instance, the Visionary of Prevorst who has been described by Kerner, perceived by introspection the crossing of the optical nerve, the so-called chiasma which is behind the eyes.”

Such symbolism is always peculiarly apt and expressive.

You see, the most impressive thing about the snake is its elongated form, which is exactly like the spinal cord.

And that the seat of consciousness, which is practically identical with the cortex of the hemispheres of the brain, should be represented as a bird, is also a very apt symbol, particularly because of the commissure which functionally unites them.

That would be the body of the bird, because you don’t feel the two hemispheres, you feel only one consciousness.

The characteristic of consciousness is that it is a unit, a particular oneness; you have only one ego, you never think of having a double consciousness.

Of course you can find that empirically-it is a pathological fact-but then you are astonished and speak of a person with a dual consciousness as remarkable; it is a duplicity of consciousness.

The normal fact is the oneness of the conscious, and that oneness is the body of the bird, it is the commissure.

Consciousness really has its seat-supposing always that there is such a thing as a seat of consciousness-in the commissure, the bridge that connects the two halves of the brain, as if the naive human mind had had an intuition of the oneness inside the two hemispheres.

You see, you would not feel so much the actual anatomical detail, as we see it from without in the spreading wings or the two halves of a brain.

Through introspection, you would get into a different kind of body, namely, into a living functional body that consisted, not of anatomical detail, but of the function of the brain; so you would get a different picture, not exactly of the brain, but of the functioning of the brain.

It is of course a fact that the two halves do function together in such a way that you don’t perceive that your brain consists of two parts.

You are not in the least conscious, for instance, that your speech is chiefly directed

by the left side of the brain; you think you speak out of the whole if you speak out of the brain at all.

(Well, that is also a question you know; certain people don’t speak out of the brain: some speak out of the heart, and some out of the belly.)

So Enkidu would be a more developed form of the serpent, and it is interesting that when the gods saw that Enkidu had failed, they then made an animal, a horrible heavenly bull, which they sent against Gilgamesh.

That means a step lower.

It is also interesting that no serpent appears in the whole Gilgamesh epic until the end, when it finally defeats the hero.

Do you remember what happens there?

Miss Wolff: Gilgamesh tries to find the plant of eternal life and finally does so, but then the serpent comes and takes it away from him.

Dr. Jung: Yes, in the end the serpent appears.

Now after Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh feels a horrible loss; you see, he would then be in the position of a man who consists of consciousness only.

And that is something which we feel in our civilization: we suffer very much from the

fact that we consist of mind and have lost the body.

So suddenly, when he is left by Enkidu, Gilgamesh begins to realize the fear of death.

He says: “Now I also, I myself, shall die like Enkidu; my innermost is perturbed by pain, I grow afraid of death, and therefore hasten to the prairies. [He is riding over the prairies on his horse.]

I take my way now to the powerful Utnapishtim, the one that has found eternal life, I hasten to reach him.

When I see lions on the prairies in the night, I become fearful; I lift my head and pray to Sin, the moon, and to Nin Urum, the lady of the castle of life, the luminous one among the gods.

To her my prayers are going. Preserve my life unharmed!”

You see, he feels instantly the lack of life and grows afraid of death.

And that also is very characteristic of our civilization.

You will find in studying the psychology of other civilizations that those people are far less afraid of death than we are.

They take things in a different way; they don’t put so much store on life as we do.

To them, life and death are a matter of course; to us, it is awful that there could be such a thing as death.

The white man in Europe is afraid of death because he has lost the body he has lost his friend Enkidu.

Now, when everything else fails, the brain of man invents a way.

Gilgamesh knows of Utnapishtim, the Babylonian form of Noah.

(That is a myth of immense age, dating from more than a thousand years before the Bible.)

Utnapishtim was a mortal who crossed over the waters of death and landed in the blissful western land where he lived the divine life as an immortal.

And Gilgamesh really succeeds in reaching the western land where he finds Utnapishtim who gives him the herb of eternal life, a sort of pharmakon athanasias, a medicine of immortality; so he returns believing that he possesses the means by which to be immortal, thus cured of the fear of death.

(The pharmakon athanasias means there exactly what the Host means in the Christian church.)

But then the snake comes and steals the herb from him while he is sleeping, so death becomes inevitable.

It is again the inferior man that takes his revenge; he must finally come down to him.

So he is now dwelling in Hades, in the bowels of the earth.

That is a parallel to Zarathustra, so you can see what an enormous problem Nietzsche dealt with.

It is a problem which has extended over thousands of years, the problem of the origin and fate of consciousness, which is absolutely synonymous with civilization, or with the psyche, or with human existence in general.

For civilization is nothing but a widening out or intensification of consciousness, and the fate of increasing consciousness is threatening everybody.

Now Mr. Allemann has just drawn my attention to the fact that the bird-form symbolizing the supremacy of consciousness is visible in other symbols which have

very much the same significance; for instance, in the famous Egyptian symbol, the winged disc of the sun which was declared by Amenhotep IV to be the supreme symbol of the deity.:’

And another similar symbol is the Ajna chakra, the center of supreme consciousness in the Tantric system of the chakras.

There the division into halves is not anatomical, however; the two wings are two petals of the lotus, but the main value is still in the center.

Ajna is the counterpart to muladhara where the god is absolutely dormant; he is there hidden by maya, the building material of the world, while in ajna he is white, radiant, which means that he is visible as supreme divine consciousness, detached consciousness which is not dependent upon illusion.

Well now, I think we can go on with our text. You know, in the introductory section of the Prologue there was a good deal of actual performance, showing how Zarathustra first liberates himself from humanity, and then from his own isolation.

He returns to humanity and

is then up against his real task.

For then, of course, comes the question: What are you going to say?

You know, he talked to the people before as if he could simply tell them, and he made the discovery that you cannot tell people.

Of course, everybody says they want to be told, but if you try, you discover that you are wholly mistaken, for you find no ears, so you must find another way.

And then it is as if he found that Christ also could not tell people; only the fishes he miraculously created found their way into the bellies of the people, not his words, so he had to be content with his twelve disciples.

He had to make up his mind to find friends, helpers, who would take his meaning.

That, of course, restricted the number of ears considerably, and moreover it brought about a peculiar necessity, which is also inevitable.

You know, when a man is in the most fortunate condition of being able to say something which will be accepted by everybody, when he can tell something to a great crowd and they lap it up, then he is liberated from a certain most odious task which would come to him if he had only a few listeners.

And what is that?

Miss I Iannah: That he must understand and act upon it himself.

Dr. Jung: Well, the problem comes to himself, for they will look him over.

When he appears before a public of two thousand pairs of ears, wearing a tail coat and cutting a very nice figure in the pulpit no matter what he says, then he can be what he damn well pleases.

He only needs to be a voice and people lap it up and think he must be a hell of a fellow;

and nobody sizes him up because the distance is too great.

But if he only talks to a few people, if they are not complete fools or hypnotized, they will most probably size him up, and then he must not only tell them what he has in mind, he needs must be it-and that is, of course, very difficult. It is much easier to preach.

Therefore, so many people preach in order to escape being.

Therefore, we all want to be is the Ajna chakra, the center of supreme consciousness in the Tantric system of the chakras.

There the division into halves is not anatomical, however; the two wings are two petals of the lotus, but the main value is still in the center.

Ajna is the counterpart to muladhara where the god is absolutely dormant; he is there hidden by maya, the building material of the world, while in ajna he is white, radiant, which means that he is visible as supreme divine consciousness, detached consciousness which is not dependent upon illusion.

Well now, I think we can go on with our text.

You know, in the introductory section of the Prologue there was a good deal of actual performance, showing how Zarathustra first liberates himself from humanity, and then from his own isolation.

He returns to humanity and is then up against his real task.

For then, of course, comes the question: What are you going to say?

You know, he talked to the people before as if he could simply tell them, and he made the discovery that you cannot tell people.

Of course, everybody says they want to be told, but if you try, you discover that you are wholly mistaken, for you find no ears, so you must find another way.

And then it is as if he found that Christ also could not tell people; only the fishes he miraculously created found their way into the bellies of the people, not his words, so he had to be content with his twelve disciples.

He had to make up his mind to find friends, helpers, who would take his meaning.

That, of course, restricted the number of ears considerably, and moreover it brought about a peculiar necessity, which is also inevitable.

You know, when a man is in the most fortunate condition of being able to say something which will be accepted by everybody, when he can tell something to a great crowd and they lap it up, then he is liberated from a certain most odious task which would come to him if he had only a few listeners.

And what is that?

Miss Hannah: That he must understand and act upon it himself.

Dr. Jung: Well, the problem comes to himself, for they will look him over.

When he appears before a public of two thousand pairs of ears, wearing a tail coat and cutting a very nice figure in the pulpit no matter what he says, then he can be what he damn well pleases.

He only needs to be a voice and people lap it up and think he must be a hell of a fellow;

and nobody sizes him up because the distance is too great.

But if he only talks to a few people, if they are not complete fools or hypnotized, they will most probably size him up, and then he must not only tell them what he has in mind, he needs must be it-and that is, of course, very difficult.

It is much easier to preach.

Therefore, so many people preach in order to escape being.

Therefore, we all want to be In reading this you must keep in mind that he is talking to himself; it is a sort of admonition.

He introduces himself thus to the idea of his task, as in a difficult situation you would say to yourself more or less unconsciously: “Well, you must realize that the strength of the spirit demands the heaviest burdens.”

Or, more likely, you speak like that to your friends in trouble: “You must make up your mind to deal with this difficult situation; yes, it will be a very heavy task.

You will find it exceedingly tiresome.” And so on.

If you listen to your internal conversations, you will hear such things.

Nietzsche brings this to the daylight here; it is a sort of dealing with one’s own willingness, or with one’s own unconscious wisdom.

You see, every one of these sentences contains an important aspect of his own task.

There is the idea, for instance, that the task means abasing or humiliating oneself, chastising one’s pride.

Nietzsche thinks what he is going to say might be something like folly, and probably it is good to mock one’s own wisdom:

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it celebrateth its triumph? To ascend high mountains to tempt the tempter? Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer of soul?

That is the result of the emptiness of a new condition; when you get to a new point of view, you come as it were into a new country with no means of support.

Or is it this: To be sick and dismiss comforters, and make friends of the deaf, who never hear thy requests?

That is a doubt of the friends.

Or is it this: To go into foul water when it is the water of truth, and not disclaim cold frogs and hot toads?

Here comes in that idiosyncrasy from which Nietzsche suffered; he always was obsessed by the idea that he ought to swallow a toad.

You remember he once told a lady at a dinner table of his dream that his hand was transparent-the sinews and nerves and muscles were beautifully clean and clear-and then suddenly a toad stood upon his hand and he had to swallow it.

That idea often occurred to him: it is the expression of the loathsomeness of life, or of the lower man.

Frogs and toads are a first attempt of nature towards making something like man-a most ridiculous, absurd attempt, of course-so they are symbols for human transformation.

First there is the transformation from tadpoles, and then it is a tailless animal with arms and legs, and that, of course, impresses itself very much upon the naive mind.

You know when a baby is in the bathtub the mother sometimes calls it in a tender way her little frog.

The meaning of the frog to Nietzsche was of course the inferior man living in the swamp or mire.

And it is quite clear that he feels the connection with that primitive man here, because he is going to face again the conflict with the interior man; it is still the same problem of the rope-dancer.

Or is it this: To love those who despise us, and give one’s hand to the phantom when it is going to frighten us?

All these heaviest things the load-bearing spirit taketh upon itself: and like the camel, which, when laden, hasteneth into the wilderness, so hasteneth the spirit into its wilderness.

In this passage it becomes clear that the camel means a certain attitude which he should adopt in order to accept the heavy task.

And it will lead him into the desert because, through its acceptance, his spirit will become like a camel that is meant to travel in the desert.

It is an exceedingly frugal animal. It has that famous double stomach where it stores water and is therefore independent of water to a great extent; so it is needed for transport there.

It is a sterile place where nothing grows, and where people are threatened by thirst and starvation.

Translated into psychological language, it means a dangerous expedition which demands much endurance and strength, and where one is quite alone, deserted.

That was so in reality.

When Nietzsche published Zarathustra, instantly people began to squirm and pull away

from him; only a few rather morbid characters cocked their ears.

Zarathustra came out when Nietzsche was very much connected with Basel, and of course everybody spoke of it and I know what the reaction was then.

But in the loneliest wilderness happeneth the second metamorphosis: here the spirit becometh a lion; freedom will it capture, and lordship in its own wilderness.

Its last Lord it here seeketh: hostile will it be to him, and to its last God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon.

What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God? “Thou-shalt,” is the great dragon called.

But the spirit of the lion saith, “I will.”

There is a theme in these passages referring to the camel which remains the same throughout.

What is this characteristic idea, the thread which leads through all of these sentences beginning: “Or is it this?”

Mrs. Crowley: The opposites?

Dr. Jung: Well, there is always a question of accepting the opposites.

We have to love those who despise us, for instance, or to shake hands with the ghosts that cause the fear, meaning the thing you would naturally run away from.

Throughout, there is the idea of overcoming a resistance, accepting the thing which is loathsome, difficult, terrifying.

But what does that mean-if you translate it into more psychological language, if you take it out of this moralistic style?

Mr. Allemann: The acceptance of one’s own shadow.

Dr. Jung: Of course. It is the famous theme of the negative shadow, the opposite, the other side of the story.

You see, consciousness is always the upper end of the pillar; the upper end is ajna and the lower end is muladhara, which is dark and in every way contrary to the clearness and radiance of complete detached consciousness.

So he realizes here that he should burden his camel with a load which is very difficult to accept.

One has to accept one’s own negation, the side which is against one.

Now, how does he come to such a conclusion?

Well, you remember at the end of the introductory chapter, he realizes that he is

going on a dangerous way where he will need guidance, and the old man in the wood, who withdrew from life, comes to his mind.

But Zarathustra wants to go forward, so he is immediately confronted with the task of the time.

And what is that?

Is it that consciousness should continue to overcome more and more the shadow or the lower man?

Miss Hannah: No, it is accepting the animal, the lower man.

Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the only thing possible.

We have come to an end on the side of consciousness and will power and concentration and intention and so on; we cannot go on in the same course, so we must find something else.

And we can only find that which is beyond all that characterizes the former condition, and naturally whatever is beyond or behind the present condition is the shadow; that is absolutely unavoidable if you step beyond our actual world in any way.

Suppose, for instance, that you are a scientist and go in for further research; then you must go out of the known into the unknown, out of the light into the shadow.

If you are religious or philosophical, and can no longer believe in the hitherto valid values of your life, you leave the recognized truth for the absolutely unknown.

It would be easy to step out of a known truth if the other truth were already known, but it is just not known.

There is nothing: you step into empty space and it is dark and cold.

You touch nothing, you see nothing, nothing meets you; it is just as if you were emigrating from your own country to an unknown undiscovered land.

That is what he describes here.

He burdens his camel with the task of accepting the thing of which one is really afraid, for we are naturally afraid of the things we don’t want to accept.

But if you are through with the things you have believed in, if your life has become

sterile, if your ideals don’t feed you any longer, then you must make them something else, and that something else is what you fear you step right into what you fear.

In the Catholic church you have the light, the symbol-everything is provided for you-and if that is no longer satisfactory and you go beyond, into what do you step?

Of course, you can step into Protestantism, but if you are born in Protestantism, what do you do then?

Well, you can step into Buddhism, say, or theosophy, or something of the sort; and if that leaves you dissatisfied, what remains?

Nothing but your shadow, all the things you don’t like.

And because there is nothing else, the darkness that is in you, round you, is the only thing you can see.

Everywhere it is dark.

So Nietzsche mentions things here which might mean the regular food of science, for instance-the regular truth-and beyond is starvation.

It may seem quite nice and beautiful here, perhaps things are fairly acceptable; then if you have to step beyond, you come to things that are unacceptable, inevitably: it is a sort of enantiodromia.

Therefore, you should be very careful to declare yourself satisfied with existing conditions, because otherwise you burden the camel with the task of bearing you into the desert.

If you are not satisfied with the porridge you eat at home, you have to eat sand in the Sahara.

Now, if you have made up your mind to do that, you are something of a hero. Zarathustra is a hero.

He makes up his mind to go into uncharted country where he is free, but quite alone.

Yes, there is no limitation; you can do what you please in the Sahara and quite alone, but nothing will please you very much, not even yourself.

When he has accepted that role of the camel, then he can travel into the desert.

And there he is liberated from all restrictions; there he realizes that he becomes a devouring animal, a lion.

When you step beyond a given order of things, you are naturally in the utmost freedom, but you are isolated; you can say you are god in your own desert, or that you are a victim.

If you are courageous, you say you are the lord of your own desert.

Nietzsche says he seeks his last lord there; he no longer wants to be a subject, he doesn’t want anything beyond or above himself.

He really wants to overcome everything by himself, even a god.

So he will fight his last god, the great dragon.

You see, God would be the last enemy, the last thing above himself; and God is the great dragon.

Then he asks: “What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God?” And he explains that this dragon is ‘Thou-shalt.”

That gives us the key, but it is really difficult to understand the symbolism.

It is again a passage which one reads through smoothly without realizing what it means.

You take it as a sort of speech metaphor which just slips down, and afterwards you don’t

know why you have some disturbance in your digestive tract.

You don’t know what you have swallowed.

I read Zarathustra for the first time with consciousness in the first year of the war, in November 1914, twenty years ago; then suddenly the spirit seized me and carried me to a desert country in which I read Zarathustra.

I did not understand really, but I made marks with my pencil at every place where I slightly stumbled, and I felt that it grated a bit when I went over the dragon.

Something was not quite smooth there, but I didn’t know what.

There are still those marks in my German edition, and invariably I have found that these places are things that grate, that don’t go down really.

Now what do you know of this?

Miss Hannah: Is it not the need of the projected god, of the possibility of obeying?

Dr. Jung: Very much so. But. can you explain it?

Intuitions are nice but the human mind doesn’t live on intuitions alone.

Sometimes one needs more substantial food.

Mrs. Baynes: Could you not say that the Christian religion can be summed up as “thou-shalt” as it has been crystallized in the church, and “thou-shalt” will consume you if you pay attention to it?

Dr. Jung: Well, in a metaphoric way you can say that the principle of “thou-shalt” is characteristic for a certain mental attitude, which can become a dragon that devours you.

But you can also say it is an avalanche which will finally cover you, or a flood, or an oppressive weight that will eventually crush you, or a lion that will eat you, or a tyrant.

You can use any other kind of symbolism where one is overcome by “thou-shalt.”

So we must go a bit further; we must keep in mind that the dragon is a specific symbol and that Nietzsche has not invented that metaphor merely in order to express the idea that somebody was overcome.

The selection of just that word was not a conscious intention of Nietzsche himself: it was an unconscious choice as it is in dreams.

We never can assume that the dream says a thing quite accidentally and that it cannot be explained; that simply shows that one is only on the surface with one’s explanation.

One really ought to understand why that symbolism is nothing else, why the symbol the unconscious has chosen is the very word which should be pronounced in that place.

So we must put the question: why does he say dragon?-why would not anything else do equally well?

That predominating “thou-shalt” could be expressed in many different ways; the dragon symbol gives some characteristics which ought not to be overlooked.

Mrs. Baumann: Are there not two “thou-shalts”-the dogma of the church and the inner law of the self? The dragon would be coming up because Nietzsche does not see that it has another significance in the personal individual law of “thou-shalt.”

Dr. Jung: Well, we cannot assume that there are two “thou-shalts” here; it is a psychological truth that anything can say, “thou-shalt,” and we speak chiefly of a traditional “thou-shalt” and the individual “thou shalt.”

But Nietzsche makes no such difference here.

Only we have an indication in the dragon of another power which one cannot connect with the “thou-shalt” of the Christian church.

Mr. Baumann: I think the dragon means the entire past, because he is a mixture of animal, fish, amphibian, all kinds of things.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the dragon is a mythological monster.

Mr. Baumann: And out of the past comes this “thou-shalt.” Whether it is Christianity or another belief does not matter-anything-but out of the past comes a command and he opposes this. The lion spirit says: “I will, I don’t care what the dragon says; it is not what I shall do but what I will do.”

Dr. Jung: Yes. Well, the situation is this: he obviously tries to establish a condition in which he is free to say, “I will,” over against that “thou shalt.”

And that “thou-shalt” is put equal to the dragon, and the dragon is equal to God; and naturally he means the God of the Christian church.

When the priest says “thou-shalt,” he surely means to speak with the voice of God, for where would he get the competence to say that otherwise?

Only God’s law can say “thou-shalt”; it is a superior command, which must always come from an authoritative source.

The authority of the church and the authority of the Holy Scriptures are the word of God, and he compares that word of authority to the dragon.

Mrs. Zinno: Is it not the power of the archetype?

Dr. Jung: It is an archetypal figure, a monster sure enough, but why is it expressed by that archetype?

Mrs. Baynes: Could it not be that he is making again one of those cycles that he likes to make? For instance, in the Christian tradition St. George killed the dragon and that time the dragon was Satan. Now he says God has become Satan.

Dr. Jung: Exactly. It is an enantiodromic cycle.

The thing which has been good has become bad, the thing which has been true has become untrue. Now when he makes that equation: God “equals” the dragon, the dragon “equals” “thou-shalt,” he is affirming that the standpoint which was considered the supreme moral principle and identical with God has now become Satan himself.

For a dragon is the leviathan in the sea according to the Book of Job, or the devil in hell.

Satan is an old dragon, a destructive power.

In other words, it means that the authoritative principle of the church, or the principle of any traditional morality or ethics or conviction, has become a devil to us.

So this God has transformed into the old dragon.

You see, the dragon is specific symbolism because it is the counterpart of God; the dragon with us is definitely a symbol of evil.

Of course, it is not so in China; there the dragon is the symbol of heaven.

Mr. Baumann: I don’t understand why you limit this dragon to Christianity. It can be any traditional power.

Dr. Jung: Yes, but we must reckon with Nietzsche.

To Nietzsche the idea of God is essentially Christian.

He was a parson’s son, and wherever you find passages that refer to God or anything spiritual, it always means a kind of Protestant Christianity.

That is quite definite.

You know, anybody with a mystical understanding of God never would say “thou-shalt.”

It has nothing to do with the life of the spirit.

All mystics have, therefore, entirely different conceptions of God.

I can tell you a funny story about a cousin of mine who suddenly had qualms about his

life and went to consult the son of old Pastor Blumhardt.

You know Blumhardt was a famous man in his day.

He once healed a case of spirit possession, a very interesting case.

And the son continued the ways of the father and was the spiritual medicine-man for all the theologians of my set and my time.

Well, my cousin had a very bad conscience and made a full general confession, told Blumhardt all his sins.

Then he looked at him expectantly and thought now the lightning would descend upon him, that the great man would say something.

And the great man said: “Do you really think God takes notice of your dirt?”

That was all he said.

You see, he had a different conception of God; to him God was not at all “thou-shalt,” but something entirely different.

This “thou-shalt” is always a codified divine word. It is traditional morality which is of the devil.

Once before the war I treated a Lutheran pastor, a pretty hard analysis.

He was very typically theological, and I did not know what would become of that fellow.

Then the war came and I did not see him.

After  the war, I met him again and asked him how he was getting along with the church, and he said: “Oh, of course the church is the work of the devil, but if you want to live you must even make use of the devil.”

Now that was a parson! You see, he very much believed in the living god that is not a “thou-shalt” in that sense: he is not codified.

But anybody who is on the standpoint of an artificial code of morality, who thinks that people only keep in form on account of “thou-shalt,” will naturally identify the principle of “thou-shalt” with God.

Then God is nothing but a taskmaster, or a ruler that helps one to make straight lines, something hard and stiff and unnatural, but nothing living.

In the case of that Lutheran pastor the real reason for his neurosis was a great inner rebellion against that principle of the straight line, and the devil got loose in him and literally raised hell with him.

He fought me like the devil himself, but finally he came round.

He left before he could tell me what had really happened, and also it was not clear to him.

It took him a year to digest everything he had heard in analysis, and then he slowly worked round that terrible block and came to the conclusion that neither the decalogue nor any other code of morality could be identified with God.

Most theologians know exactly what it is all about.

They tell you that God can only be good and such damned nonsense.

They deny his omnipotence therefore.

Well, Nietzsche says “thou-shalt” is the name of the great dragon, and over against that he tries to acquire the quality of the lion, the royal animal that says “I will.”

He creates a new moral standpoint; over against the traditional prison which only creates unfree immoral creatures, he invents a responsible morality, the morality of the ego that says: “I will”-and takes the responsibility.

Of course, he does not mean a sort of arbitrary, meaningless wishing or willing: he means a will or a decision which includes responsibility.

You know, Nietzsche was not a mean mind or an absolute fool. He was a highly gifted man, and you can see on every page of Zarathustra that his morality is a thousand times sharper than the traditional morality of the pulpit.

A thief that is in prison is not less a thief because he cannot steal; let him be the cashier of a great bank and see what happens.

If he doesn’t steal then you can say he is probably not a thief.

So “thou-shalt” is a sort of prison where people hold to a certain rule, but are always thinking: “If I were rid of that rule I would do God knows what!”

They never know what they would do if they were free.

There is no morality, no moral decision, without freedom.

There is only morality when you can choose, and you cannot choose if you are forced. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 246-262