Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious CW 9i

The hallmarks of spirit are, firstly, the principle of spontaneous movement and activity; secondly, the spontaneous capacity to produce images independently of sense perception; and thirdly, the autonomous and sovereign manipulation of these images.

This spiritual entity approaches primitive man from outside; but with increasing development it gets lodged in man’s consciousness and becomes a subordinate function, thus apparently forfeiting its original character of autonomy.

That character is now retained only in the most conservative views, namely in the religions.

The descent of spirit into the sphere of human consciousness is expressed in the myth of the divine νοϋς caught in the embrace of φύσις.

This process, continuing over the ages, is probably an unavoidable necessity, and the religions would find themselves in a very forlorn situation if they believed in the attempt to hold up evolution.

Their task, if they are well advised, is not to impede the ineluctable march of events, but to guide it in such a way that it can proceed without fatal injury to the soul.

The religions should therefore constantly recall to us the origin and original character of the spirit, lest man should forget what he is drawing into himself and with what he is filling his consciousness.

He himself did not create the spirit, rather the spirit makes him creative, always spurring him on, giving him lucky ideas, staying power, “enthusiasm” and “inspiration.”

So much, indeed, does it permeate his whole being that he is in gravest danger of thinking that he actually created the spirit and that he “has” it.

In reality, however, the primordial phenomenon of the spirit takes possession of him, and, while appearing to be the willing object of human intentions, it binds his freedom, just as the physical world does, with a thousand chains and becomes an obsessive idee-force.

Spirit threatens the naive-minded man with inflation, of which our own times have given us the most horribly instructive examples.

The danger becomes all the greater the more our interest fastens upon external objects and the more we forget that the differentiation of our relation to nature should go hand in hand with a correspondingly differentiated relation to the spirit, so as to establish the necessary balance.

If the outer object is not offset by an inner, unbridled materialism results, coupled with maniacal arrogance or else the extinction of the autonomous personality, which is in any case the ideal of the totalitarian mass state. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 393