Colloquium June 27, 1959

[This colloquium has been recorded live in its entirety. The proceedings have been published in German.]

On Feelings

Ignaz Tauber opened with the following address: “Professor Jung, we are so pleased and thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you are gracing us with your presence in our home again.

We should already have gained wisdom through reading your books, but already

Goethe said, ‘What you don’t feel, you won’t hunt down by art.’

And precisely this is possible for us today when you are with us in person, that we may comprehend with our feelings as well.

And this is why we have chosen as the motto for this afternoon a verse from Friedrich Schiller’s Don Carlos:

[ … ]Tell him, in manhood, he must still revere The dreams of early youth, nor open the heart Of heaven’s all-tender flower to canker-worms Of boasted reason – nor be led astray When, by the wisdom of the dust, he hears Enthusiasm, heavenly-born, blasphemed.

And so, I’d like to put the following question to you: Do you have the impression that there is, in your life, in your experiences and happenings, or in your dreams, a guideline in the sense of this motto?

And, if so, do you feel led by it toward the beyond – as a human being and not as a scientist?”

  1. G. Jung: So, this is the question that is being put to me.

Well, a lot could be said about that, of course, as it is the great drawback in our culture that we are strangely incompetent in realizing our own feelings, that is, to feel the things that concern us.

All too often we see people passing over events or experiences without realizing

what happened to them.

Because they don’t realize that they have a feeling-toned reaction.

For the most part they only feel what we call an affect, an emotion that has physiological side effects.

Such as intensified pulse, increased breathing, physiomotor phenomena -this is what they can sense.

But if it is a feeling reaction, they very often don’t notice it at all, because it is not accompanied by psychophysical phenomena. In my association experiments.

I’ve often seen that someone had a feeling along with a reaction, but when he was

connected to an electrical circuit and the so-called psycho-galvanic phenomenon was investigated, quite possibly one might not notice a significant deflection, or none at all.

At the time I conducted experiments with my original chief psychiatrist, the old Prof. Bleuler.

We investigated precisely the question of how feelings are distinguished from affects.

When I told him something, or when I asked him a question during the experiment – one can ask questions too, one doesn’t have to restrict oneself to the stimulus and response words – so when I mentioned something that we both knew to be an annoying business, then he had a clear reaction.

The psycho-galvanic deflection was positive; there was an augmented stream of electricity going through the body.

On that day, I heard by chance about something that had happened to Bleuler, just such an annoying matter in the asylum, and I knew that he was convinced that no one had any notion of it.

Then I made an allusion to the matter from which he should have clearly noticed that I was informed.

But because he was so convinced that I couldn’t possibly know anything, he didn’t have a deflection, only a minimal reaction.

But then I told him in a way that he could see that I knew what had happened to him – and then he had a colossal deflection!

So, when he is alone with himself he doesn’t know what the thing is actually worth, or how much it matters to him.

But if he is aware that someone else knows about it, then he has the real affect.

As long as we are alone with ourselves we may swallow god knows what kinds of camels and it doesn’t have an effect on us.

As long as we assume that no one else is in on it, we are incapable of evaluating what a particular matter means to us.

This is why I always tell people to also say something about their daily concerns.

Then they realize what they are worth to them.

I always did this in my scientific work, for example.

In this kind of work all sorts of thoughts go through one’s mind, without really knowing what they are worth.

So, then it is advantageous to speak to someone, and here – I must admit – the female gender is especially gifted.

If one says something to a woman and she has an uncontrolled emotion as a consequence, then one knows the value, one knows it for oneself.

To speak to men is, in this respect, not very fruitful because a man in such a case usually fails in a certain way.

Probably for the following reason: “By golly, how does he know this and I didn’t?

So, let’s not show colors.” A false reaction, isn’t it? Or he thinks, “How is that with me?”

So, no, one doesn’t say anything; one doesn’t react, because one is hit somewhere.

Therefore, a conversation with women is very special when it’s about a cluster of insufficiently evaluated ideas.

I’ve received reactions, for example, from female students that told me, “Ah, that hit home, that’s real, now I know what it is worth,”

because the response of the other – a totally unprejudiced reaction – affords the realization of one’s own feeling.

I use to call this the “precipitating effect of feminine conversation It really is amazing.

I had the custom to send patients who needed to realize something to a woman analyst, telling them, “Why don’t you tell her this story for once?” and then they suddenly had a realization.

I vividly remember a certain case: This was a philosopher, a German philosopher, who always was of a great intellectual superiority.

He told me all sorts of stories, and I noticed acutely that he had no idea what he’d actually experienced, or what had happened to him.

So, I told him, “Now, go to Mrs. So-and-so for a session.”

In the evening of the next day, the analyst in question called me and said, “What kind of a man did you send me? What’s wrong with him? He is half-crazy!”

I asked, “What happened?” – “Well, he started to tell me a story and got into such an emotional state that he rolled around on the floor! Is he crazy?” – “No, no, he is a German philosopher; he is not crazy.”

In the presence of this woman he simply realized for the first time that he had great emotion about certain things.

He was hiding this from me (I saw him again later) – because he couldn’t be inferior in the presence of another man.

He simply couldn’t be inferior to me! Whereas it didn’t matter to him with a woman.

This is precisely why men often show their worst side in the company of a woman.

It happens frequently.

I only mention these things to demonstrate how difficult it is to have the right sensations, and how necessary it is to grasp and realize the right feelings, and how this is not possible when one is alone.

If you jail someone on top of Mont Blanc, he cannot realize anything, because the ice and the clouds and the wind don’t tell him what he is. He only knows that he is not cloud, not wind, and not snow.

But when he has another human being with him, then he can realize in what kind of state he is, and in what kind of state the other person is.

And so, it is necessary that the experiences one has first go through a veritable experience process.

You can have any kind of experience, but when you’ve experienced it alone it is as if it hasn’t yet quite arrived. You have to share it with someone, and then you have a chance for a complete realization.

And only then you are capable to see what feeling-toned experiences actually mean to you.

One often observes that in instances where feelings are not realized, things get stuck within us and the strangest phenomena may develop, which, as a consequence, are completely incomprehensible.

I remember an English lady – she was a physician too (just to show you that this doesn’t only happen to men, it can also happen to women!).

She was single, would have had several opportunities to marry, but, floated over it with her studies, then the practice, and so on, without realizing what she should have done, should have realized.

This I noticed, and at some point I said, “You behave exactly like one who is beloved, meaning, like a woman who knows that she is loved by a man.”

She was very astonished and didn’t comprehend it.

I continued, “Wouldn’t it be possible that you once met a man whom you really loved, or of whom you were sure loved you too?”

First she wouldn’t have it, but then it turned out that this was indeed the case, when she was twenty years old.

But because it somehow collided with medical school, she overlooked the situation, didn’t want to acknowledge it.

She simply didn’t realize what she gave up.

From there on, she was blocked, as if she’d been tabooed.

No man could approach her anymore, because she should have married this first lover.

When she realized that, she was astonished indeed.

At the time, she was already forty-five. Later I heard that this man was a widower, and that she reconnected with him.

However, it didn’t quite make it to marriage – only almost.

Now, if I have to talk about myself, necessitated by your question whether I also have had experiences like that, then of course I have to say, yes, I too was once young, and there was much I didn’t realize.

I, too, had to learn in my own life what feelings are, and what kind of enormous importance they have.

For example, I realized only much later what it was that I’d dreamed thirty or forty years earlier.

I can exactly date it historically: At about thirty-six I realized for the first time what it was that I used to do as a boy of about nine.

At that moment, in fact, aged thirty-six, I read a report about prehistoric discoveries at the Burgaschisee.

It was about the so-called moor-settlement or swamp-settlements.

They’d simply put layers of tree trunks down and erected their cabins on top.

There, in front of such a cabin, one discovered a particular arrangement of stones.

Each individual stone – not very big stones, about the size of a fist – was wrapped in birch bark, birch bast, and the stones were set in a regular fashion.

This is a cache of soul-stones.

What this is, one knows from the still living aborigines in central Australia.

They have so-called soul-stones, churingas – they can also be wooden -,which they receive at their male initiation.

Afterwards they hide them in crevasses, hollow trees, or at the mounds of sources, and visit them once in a while, namely under very interesting circumstances: when a man feels that his libido is gone, as we say in our professional slang, meaning, when his vitality diminishes; when he is lacking interest; when he “doesn’t care” anymore; when he is depressed or bored, then the primitive man knows that the time has come to visit his churingas.

Then he goes to his cache and brings them out.

These are most often slabs of stone or wood.

He lays them on his knees and starts rubbing them.

He rubs them for a long time, and, thereby, the poor vital force, the diminished vital force, goes into the stone, and the good vital force that is within the stone – it is stored in the stone; it’s a kind of psychic accumulator – goes into him.

After that, he is well again, and the stone is buried again in its hiding place.

In the same way, our ancestors had such stone settings with precious churinga stones.

A complete cache was found in Arlesheim, in those caves under the castle.

They were painted on one side. One could see that they were cult objects.

When I was a boy, I had – of course without knowing what it meant – a pencil case.

First I carved at one end of a ruler a little manikin with a top hat and painted it black with ink, then sawed it off and put it in my pencil case. In it, I made him a little bed and dressed him with a little coat.

Then I collected flat stones at the shore of the river Rhine, painted them with watercolor, and they too belonged to this manikin.

I put them into the pencil case as well.

Then I locked the thing up and went up to our second-story attic.

It was an old vicarage in the countryside, where we had a two-story attic.

But it was strictly prohibited to go up into the second attic, because it was unsound.

In spite of that, I climbed up there, onto one of the huge beams, and there I hid my box.

That was my secret, and nobody knew about it.

And I only went there when I was sure that no one was watching me.

That was simply part of it.

So, from time to time, I went up there and each time I wrote something on a little piece of paper.

I don’t remember what it was; that hasn’t come back to me.

But I wrote something, then rolled up the piece of paper into a little roll and gave it to the manikin, so it had something to read.

That was his library.

Each time, it was a great satisfaction that I had such a manikin that belonged to me alone, and those stones I couldn’t really make heads or tails of.

That went on until my eleventh year, then I completely forgot about it.

In all the subsequent years I knew nothing about it anymore.

And then, in my thirty-sixth year, I read about this discovery, and in that moment the

whole story came back into my consciousness.

This is, of course, a whole mythology.

As a boy I didn’t have the faintest idea of these things. I constructed this kista with veiled gods in it, these cabiri, with this cache of soul-stones and a cult around them.

So, without any provocation from outside, quite naturally, like a game, it arose from within myself.

So, a whole complex story simply had sunk into oblivion.

Of course, I was interested in finding out under what circumstances this remembrance got so completely lost.

After all, it is possible that this box is still there in its hiding place.

It never came back into my mind.  I absolutely can’t remember having ever taken it down.

It had been a lieu de pelerinage and enormously taboo.

It was a big secret; I really don’t know why. Now this was forgotten because, in my eleventh year, I had a strange experience: I was on my way to school, to the gymnasium Basel.

I always walked along the banks of the river Rhine to Basel. I was alone and – suddenly I was “here!”

I suddenly had the feeling that, “Now I am here!”

Actually, I then had the feeling, “Yes, why here?” as if I had suddenly emerged from a wall of fog.

I asked, “But what was it that had been there?” It was colossally difficult to realize that.

But I had the feeling that within this wall of fog there were all sorts of objects – fathers and mothers and animals and trains and streets and wagons and other people and me.

It all was sort of the same thing.

These were all simply things that were moving or stood still, that simply were in there without being related to each other.

But now I was!

And then I knew that I was I, a human being who now can say, “This is a wagon, and not simply also just an object, but one that has wheels, and I have legs.”

I don’t know whether I’m able to make this clear to you.

It simply was the realization of an ego-consciousness. I then had an ego-consciousness.

Before it was a childlike awareness of objects that were standing, or were lying around, or that walked around, as I did too.

There wasn’t a difference in value; I couldn’t yet realize a feeling of value.

Now I saw for the first time that I was – but, at that moment, the whole previous history had disappeared.

After that there wasn’t anything anymore; the whole magic of that box had disappeared.

Naturally, this was a tremendously archaic matter.

It was also conditioned by my upbringing, because early on it was already evident that I was a bit critical of generally proclaimed truths.

It was at that moment, that such a development evidently began.

Through the dawning of consciousness, one is pushed into a world of consciousness; one arrives at a world of consciousness where one loses the original feeling-values.

One doesn’t know them anymore.

For me, the story with the little manikin was a highly emotional affair.

And with it a whole part of my own being simply went underground, which, however, played an even more important role later when I saw what such archetypal experiences actually mean.

When one studies the anamnesis of people more carefully, one can often hear such weird things.

From these, one can deduce how many feeling values got lost in the development of consciousness.

The development of consciousness is a cultural process, and through the cultural process we are cut off to a high degree from the original world of senses and feelings.

It is a positive loss if we no longer have this.

Because then one is no longer able to correctly evaluate something analogous that happens to one again.

That loss caused me, and played the role in my life, that I chose the intellect exclusively. That was my “force.”

I developed one-sidedly in this direction, let’s say in the scientific direction, which was, of course, to my advantage.

But humanly, it was to my disadvantage. It was acquired at the expense of my humanness.

Because humanness lies within those things.

I only tell you this as an example of how it happens.

After all, you can very well imagine that in the life of this English woman of whom I told you, it was a huge loss that the matter had disappeared so completely without further ado.

From that moment on, she was engaged, meaning, she simply was her whole life the fiancée of an unknown and invisible man and thus gambled that part of her life completely away.

The same happened to me.

This one-sided development of consciousness was unavoidable, because, as I came to see later, I couldn’t effectively realize those feeling values, those strange, archaic feeling

values, at the time.

Later, when I experienced similar things, I said, “Well, yes, 10,000 years ago – or negroes in Africa – do such things.

That’s beside the point, that doesn’t prove anything, that doesn’t matter. That’s old humbug!”

When one devalues one’s own experience – without being aware of it – in the same way, one pushes it even further from oneself.

Precisely through scientific development such experiences are pushed even further away.

Naturally, it took a great deal of work to dig up this continuity afterwards.

I had, for example, a dream at the age of about three. I can prove it, it’s not a fantasy of mine.

This was a dream that I only understood when I was in my sixties, because due to the one-sidedness of development, that whole world of experience had simply disappeared never to be seen again.

It is also difficult to talk about these things, because we all are in this situation of unrealized primal experiences.

And these do belong to the completeness of the personality.

Now, many of these things come up in dreams again, where one often doesn’t recognize them, unless one is quasi focused on it and trained to reconstruct the context of dream contents.

When one can do that, one can also find those primal relations again.

But only very few can do that; hence, most people can only poorly recognize such original material.

And yet it belongs to the wholeness of the personality.

I’d like to answer again the question that Dr. Tauber asked, this time in a different way, namely: Does one notice, or see, that inner conditions or realizations tend to move toward a particular goal? –

Well, there I have to say, one doesn’t realize it for a long time!

Only after accumulating a great amount of inner experiences can one see where it’s actually aimed.

And even then one isn’t sure, because these things have a dual aspect too.

What comes from those primal times, so to speak, has a power that urges forward and holds back at the same time.

One can withdraw into it.

This, for example, is the case with the mentally ill, that they kind of withdraw into primal experiences; they are being drawn back.

They even want to get credit for it, as if this were a special achievement.

For example, they invent a special language; they have these neologisms; they express themselves in an exaggerated manner, like, for example, Heidegger – again, a German philosopher! – and don’t notice that they withdraw into “power-words,” into the magic words of the primitives.

And in that way it is lost in real life.

Whereas another person would be compelled by precisely this primal power to move forward and to translate these things into actual life.

Therefore, I can answer this question only partially in a positive way.

It depends on the individual whether he sees what it means or not.

Whether he takes the trouble to look at these things positively, or whether he is content with an impression, which then pulls him back.

That can cause an equal amount of harm.

This, however, most people don’t realize.

In analytical practice one often has great trouble to teach people a positive regard toward this.

This is exactly why I’m so critical of theologians, because they proclaim an archaic language that one could just as well dream, without pressing for an understanding of what is being said.

If, for example, I ask any patient of mine, possibly a highly educated person, what this actually means: “Through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ we are redeemed from our sins.”

What does it mean? This is a phrase that you can hear every Sunday in church.

Well, what exactly does it mean in reality? What, for God’s sake, does it mean?

Not one of them would be able to say it, because in principal, one doesn’t think about it, and that is humanity’s downfall. These are, in fact, ideas that should lead further.

What happens instead, however, is a sliding back into the past.

One is made unconscious again. Because one doesn’t know what these words mean and thus simply relies on a felt impression.

“The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ” sounds so solemn, and so like Sunday, and so religious – so gloriously religious!

Then one assumes to be somehow justified, and in an especially glorious state, when one can say, or sing, or pray, such a thing, even though one doesn’t know what it is.

During my travels in Kenya I observed, for example, certain rituals with the Elgonyis, my black bodyguards.

I asked them, “What do they mean? Why are you doing this?” They didn’t know.

Then I asked, “Does anyone know what you’re doing here?” – “Yes, the medicine

man, the N’ganga,” they answered, “He knows.”

I went to N’ganga and asked him. He said, “Yes, yes, my father remembered still, but I don’t anymore.”

He didn’t know either, but his father, or, in the last instance, his grandfather, they still knew.

But it doesn’t go any further, because behind grandfather comes Napoleon I, then William Tell, and then Adam, as one Swiss freshman soldier wrote in the recruiting exam.

Where was I? One shouldn’t tell bad jokes in between. Yes, indeed: my negroes.

One of my friends said, “These people are very primitive – God, they don’t even know what they do!”

At that, I said, “Wait a minute, how about the Christmas tree? Do you know why we have a Christmas tree?”

He didn’t know either. Father had done it that way, and so had grandfather. That was all he knew.

But what a Christmas tree means he didn’t know. Partout comme chez nous – we are not better.

In that respect, we are just as primitive. In the same way, most all of religious language is archaic language these days.

We don’t know what it means.  We should be clearly aware of this.

And it is more to people’s ruin than to their advantage, because they are in danger of slide back.

One should know what it means. But in this respect one simply doesn’t think.

There is a huge mental laziness.

It’s not only with us Protestants; it’s with the Catholics too.

I had an interesting experience:

A professor of the Faculty of Theology in Munich came for a visit – a Jesuit, a very scholarly and very intelligent type. With visibly righteous indignation he came into my office and said, “I read your book on Job!”

I said, “Well, then you’ll have something to say.” He responded, “Indeed.

But there is only one question: How can you, as an intelligent European, and a – at least

Protestant – Christian, maintain that Christ and Mary weren’t real human beings?”

Of course, he thought that now I’d be completely beat.

Then I said, “My dear Professor, this is actually very simple, isn’t it?

Look, according to your own church teachings, you are born in the peccatum originate, that is, in the macula peccati, the stain of sin.

I am too, as are all other people. All humans are corrupt and mortal, because the macula peccati burdens them. Christ and Mary don’t have a macula peccati, and therefore they are not human beings. Period.”

There I witnessed for the first time a Jesuit who didn’t have an answer. He didn’t know what else to say. Just imagine, such a calamity!

It’s like asking your physician what pneumonia is and he wouldn’t have an answer.

Exactly like that. It’s an astonishing lack of articulation, because they only take the images, the words, without realizing anything about them.

They don’t realize that they don’t understand it. They really don’t know what it means.

So, when you, for example – honnete! – analyze a phrase such as, “Redeemed

through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ,” you arrive at astounding conclusions.

But that’s never done. In that respect, I received a lesson from my own father.

He told me, “You think too much. You must not think, you must believe!”

Then I told him, “Please, give me this faith!”

He didn’t have it himself, otherwise he could have given it.

One can only give what one has. What one doesn’t have, one cannot give. This, too, he didn’t know.

So, you see, the realization of feelings, which is utterly necessary to get on with life, is a very difficult matter.

In this regard, one cannot assert, or be hopeful, that these experiences unambiguously point to a goal.

One has to have very big experiences, and very many, until one can say, “Most likely it goes in this or that direction.”

Of course, one knows that they point to something important, either in this or the other direction.

Backwards, it regresses to the idea of an archaic deity.

Forward, it goes toward something dark, that which we don’t know yet.

But comparatively, there is a big difference when regressing to an archaic mentality, where we stop thinking at all and fall for absolute suggestion.

One becomes suggestible when one doesn’t have conscious thoughts, only unconscious ones.

Then one is enormously impressionable and falls for all sorts of stupid power words or slogans.

I believe I have now said enough about this question.

Do you have more questions?

Ignaz Tauber: Anyone have a question regarding these issues?

C. G. Jung: You cannot possibly have understood everything, yes?

Just be genuinely naive, otherwise you’ll never realize your feelings!

French, “honestly!” ~Sabi Tauber, Sabi Tauber: Encounters with Jung, Page 188-199