Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group
Consciousness and the Unconscious: Lectures Delivered at ETH Zurich, Volume 2: 1934
Introduction to Volume 2 by Ernst Falzeder
When Jung started lecturing for his second semester at ETH Zurich, on 20 April 1934, he had a full workload amid the turbulent times in the world surrounding him.
Apart from his clinical practice, and the time he devoted to the preparation and delivery of these lectures, he ended the Visions seminar on 21 March 1934 (Jung, 1977) and a few weeks later, on 2 May 1934, started a new seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra Jung, 1988).
He had also become engaged in the Eranos meetings in Ascona, organized by Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn.
He had given a talk at its first meeting, in August 1933 (Jung, 1933a), and would do so at its second meeting the following year.
In general, these years were marked by his turn to the intense study of alchemy (see below), as he embarked on a new area of investigation that occupied more and more of his time.
In addition, he published, in 1934, The Reality of the Soul: Applications and Advances of Modern Psychology, an anthology with contributions from Hugo Rosenthal, Emma Jung, and W. M. Kranefeldt (Jung et al., 1934), and a number of smaller texts, including his rejoinder to Gustav Bally (Bally, 1934; Jung, 1934e); “The state of psychotherapy today”
(Jung, 1934a); “The soul and death” (Jung, 1934c); “Archetypes of the collective unconscious” (his Eranos lecture; Jung, 1934d); and a number of greetings, forewords and afterwords, and reviews.
Hardly anything of these activities, however, is reflected in the lectures.
Instead of sharing his interests at the time with his audience, he went back to his beginnings.
As he had already pointed out at the beginning of the first semester, any questions addressed to him (which were to be sent to him through the post) should be strictly “within the scope of these lectures, rather than broaching the future of European currencies, for instance, or the prospects of National Socialism, etc.” (Jung, 2018, p. 2).
He wanted to present himself as an “objective” university professor, limiting himself to psychology and its history sensu stricto.
He had, in the first semester, given an overview of the field and presented various
Theories and systems of thought in a historical survey, as well as discussing in detail two historic case histories, thus setting the background for his own views, and situating himself in a line of pre-eminent thinkers over the centuries.
He was now ready to cautiously move toward an elucidation of his own theories, which he did by retracing his own steps in developing them.
He was in his late fifties, and would turn fifty-nine on 26 July.
He had long since gained an independent standpoint vis-à-vis the theories of his
erstwhile teachers and mentors, such as Théodore Flournoy, Pierre Janet, Eugen Bleuler, and Sigmund Freud.
In an “Address on the occasion of the founding of the C. G. Jung Institute,” on 24 April 1948, Jung gave a succinct summary of his own development (1948, § 1130):
As you know, it is nearly fifty years since I began my work as a psychiatrist.
. . . Freud and Janet had just begun to lay the foundations of methodology and clinical observation, and Flournoy in Geneva had made his contribution to the art of psychological biography. . . .
With the help of Wundt’s association experiment, I was trying to evaluate the peculiarities of neurotic states of mind . . .
my purpose was to investigate what appeared to be the most subjective and most complicated psychic process of all, namely, the associative reaction. . . .
This work led directly to a new question, namely the problem of attitude. . . .
From these researches there emerged a psychological typology . . . and four function-types.
. . . From the beginning . . . [this] went hand in hand with an investigation of unconscious processes.
This led, about 1912, to the actual discovery of the collective unconscious. . . .
This expansion found expression in the collaboration with the sinologist Richard Wilhelm and the Indologist Heinrich Zimmer.
In short, he had extensively and intensively traveled both the inner and outer worlds.
Starting from humble origins, he had become a world-renowned, if highly controversial, figure, scientifically as well as politically.
And now, after having resigned from his lectureship at the University of Zurich in 1913 as a Privatdocent, he was reentering the world of academia, and would shortly become a full university professor at ETH in 1935.
One can say that he had arrived at the zenith of his career.
His old rival and erstwhile friend, Sigmund Freud, still cast a long shadow, however.
Although Jung had secured the highest academic position, had gathered a large international followership around him, had developed an all-encompassing psychological theory that was much talked about, had become a sought-after interview partner in international media, had acquired friends and donors among the famous, rich, and mighty in finance, politics, nobility, academia and science, literature and the arts, and had become a household name in many circles all over the world—still his name was often mentioned only in connection with Freud.
Even today, as Sonu Shamdasani observed, Freud and Jung are the two “names that most people first think of in connection with psychology” (in Jung, 2009, p. 193).
More often than not they were not named as equals, however, but Jung was portrayed as Freud’s former disciple and follower, as someone, like Alfred Adler (who often completed the trio), who had further developed Freud’s theory and method, and was either praised or criticized for it, but was still perceived as coming second after Freud, the “original” innovator who had opened up a whole new field of psychological investigation and treatment.
The number of his followers, the “Jungians,” never surpassed a quarter of the membership of Freud’s International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA), and they were also much more loosely and less effectively organized (cf. Falzeder, 2012).
This was especially so in Germany, where Jung for obvious reasons also wanted to create a strong foothold and not be eclipsed by Freud and the Freudians.
As he still wrote in a letter of 1932, even if with a bit of coquettish understatement: “I am just beginning to get known in German speaking countries” (1972, p. 151). Or even, in 1933: “as a matter of fact, there are only few people who have realized that I am saying something other than Freud. Unfortunately, I am unknown in Germany. . . . I also want to correct the impression that I emerged from Freud’s school” (ibid., p. 161).
It was his conviction, however, that the development of psychotherapy in Germany would be decisive for its future in general.
Shortly before the start of the term, on 28 March 1934, he wrote to Max Guggenheim:
“Freud once told me quite accurately: ‘The fate of psychotherapy will be decided in Germany.’
At first it was absolutely doomed, because it was regarded as completely Jewish. This prejudice I have stopped through my intervention” (ibid., p. 203).
But even if Jung was successful in gaining some ground among psychotherapists in Germany, and had also succeeded in having bylaws passed that individual members of the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy (IGMSP)—that is, German Jews who were banned from membership in the German chapter of the IGMSP by the Nazis—could become individual members, this affected primarily the practical psychotherapeutic application of analytical psychology.
The members of the IGMSP, as psychotherapists, were mostly practicing medical doctors, and only a few of them did important
theoretical work or had ties to academia.
Here, at ETH, in his new role as a university professor, he faced a different challenge.
Freud had been appointed Professor extraordinarius at the University of Vienna in 1902.
This was a merely nominal title, but apart from giving prestige and being bound to attract patients, it also gave him the right to give lectures.
After having lectured there for thirty years, he gave his last lecture series in the winter terms of 1915/1916 and 1916/1917, which were then published in 1917 under the title Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (Freud, 1916–1917). This became “Freud’s most popular book.” Writing in 1955, Ernest Jones listed “five German editions, in addition to several pocket ones issued. . . . It was translated into sixteen languages. . . .
There have been five English editions and two American ones” (Jones, 1955, p. 218).
In March 1932, Freud began writing a new series of his Introductory Lectures, which appeared in book form on 6 December 1932 (Freud, 1933; Freud and Eitingon, 2004, p. 841).
These were actually not held at the university, and were written mainly to help the floundering Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, to which he donated his royalties.
These Lectures did, however, keep the dialogue format and continued the numbering of the previous Lectures.
Both sets of lectures were not specifically addressed to analysts but to the, now imagined, “multitude of educated people” (ibid., p. 6), and presented to them “what novelties, and what improvements it may be, the intervening time has introduced into
psycho-analysis” (ibid., p. 7).
Jung was well aware of this and had indeed obtained a copy of the New Introductory Lectures. How did he himself try to address “the multitude of educated people,” his own wider audience?
What were his own “Introductory Lectures on Analytical Psychology”?
He had all but completed his own mature theoretical edifice.
Nearly all the elements were there: theory of complexes, the collective unconscious and the archetypes, persona, shadow, anima/animus, the self, individuation, symbology, circumambulation, enantiodromia, dream theory, typology and the four functions, active imagination (“transcendent function”), and so forth, and the germs of synchronicity (see, e.g., pp. 20–30).
After having found in 1928, through Wilhelm, what he thought was an independent
Confirmation (outside the field of psychiatry) of his views and experiences, he took up the comparative study of Eastern texts, first in collaboration with Jakob Hauer and Heinrich Zimmer (cf. Jung, 1996; in prep. ).
And after having identified the Secret of the Golden Flower as an “alchemical treatise,” he embarked on his immersion into alchemy and the mysterium coniunctionis: “it was the text of the Golden Flower that first put me on the right track. For in medieval alchemy we have the long-sought connecting link between Gnosis and the processes
of the collective unconscious that can be observed in modern man” (Jung, 1938, p. 4).
And indeed he spent the rest of his life studying the psychology of Western alchemy and Christian symbolism.
Barbara Hannah dates the beginning of his serious study of alchemy to the spring of 1934. It was at this time that he engaged Marie-Louise von Franz as a research assistant to work on alchemy, as his Greek and Latin were rusty (Hannah, 1976, p. 229).
On 2 November 1928, he was invited by Carl Murchison, editor of a series of overviews on the “psychologies” for each year, published by Clark University, to contribute a chapter on his own psychology for the 1930 volume (ETH Archives).
Jung knew of the series and had mentioned it at the beginning of the previous term as an example of the “incredible chaos of opinions” in the field (2018, p. 1) and again at the start of this, the next semester, in similar terms (p. 1).
At the time, in 1928, Jung declined to contribute, and suggested Helton Godwin (“Peter”) Baynes instead.
In the end, no chapter on Jung was included.
The section on “analytical psychologies” (Murchison, 1930; part XI) contained three articles: by Pierre Janet on his analyse psychologique, by John C. Flugel on (Freudian) psychoanalysis, and by Alfred Adler on individual psychology.
Jung’s name was mentioned only four times, twice in connection with his association experiments (ibid., pp. 47, 386) and twice in passing in conjunction with Freud and/or Adler (ibid., pp. 32, 461).
In contrast to Freud, Jung was very much at ease and willing to speak in public.
He was quite comfortable in giving interviews for newspapers, journals, radio, and eventually TV; he gave public talks and university lectures, held seminars, and enjoyed talking to opinion leaders and politicians.
In fact, “Jung could never, or only when he was physically weakened, resist whenever a journalist asked him to give an interview” (Jaffé, 1968, p. 132; my trans.).
In the early and mid-1930s, and in addition to his ETH lectures, he gave a number of basic, partly overlapping overviews of his theory in different settings.
Apart from various single presentations, he lectured for a week each in Basel, Switzerland (1–6 October 1934) (Jung, 1935 ) and in Ammersfoort, Netherlands (April 1935), on “Basic concepts and methods of analytical psychology,” and from 30 September to 4 October 1935 he delivered the well-known Tavistock Lectures (Jung, 1936 ).
The by far most detailed, accessible, and inclusive account, however, he presented at the university.
This can be viewed as an attempt not only to take stock and review the path he himself had taken but also to meet and challenge Freud by presenting his own version of depth psychology in an academic setting and by establishing a foothold as a professor in academic psychology and psychiatry.
In the previous semester, at the restart of his lectureship at the university, Jung had taken great pains to present himself as a scientist aligning himself with a great number of prestigious thinkers over the centuries, and trying to confront his audience with simple but at the same time strange and peculiar facts, taken from famous historic case histories.
This approach had not been an unqualified success, however.
Many listeners, especially the younger ones, had been disappointed that the topics Jung addressed in great detail were not the ones they had come to hear him speak about.
“There are quite a number of reactions from younger members of the audience,” said Jung at the beginning of his ninth lecture on 15 December 1933, “that have confirmed my worst fears.
I would have spoken over the top of their heads, and they could not imagine for which
reasons I have discussed at length such a curious case as that of the Seeress, which evidently dates from the last century!” (2018, p. 71).
This probably referred to some reactions of students, gathered and summarized by a participant named Otto (ETH Archives; undated).
They concurred that the lectures did not meet their expectations, specifically, that the topics had been too far-fetched and historical, and that Jung would not talk about contemporary problems and his own psychological theory.
Jung again mentioned similar complaints four lectures later: “I have received a few reactions, probably from some of the younger members of the audience, wishing me to present fewer case histories, and instead give you more of my own point of view . . . but you must bear in mind that I set out to give a course of lectures on modern psychology, and I cannot claim that modern psychology is identical with myself” (ibid., p. 106).
Perhaps also as a reaction to this feedback, in the second semester Jung did talk much more about his own method and theory.
He did this by sharing with his audience the path he himself had taken; nota bene, not by recounting his experiences of recording and assessing what he had encountered in his own inner world, but by dealing with experiments and concepts that had earned him scientific renown, beginning with his association experiments, and how he himself discovered “the” unconscious, eventually leading up to various methods of getting to know its contents, in particular, dream analysis.
What Jung did not do, for the time being, was to enter into a discussion of the theoretical and methodological differences between his own views and those
of Freud (or Adler).
Indeed, he did not even mention the name of Freud at all in this particular semester, which in itself seems to be a conspicuous omission, since without doubt Freud played a crucial role in the very development he was describing.
With hindsight, however, we can see this as a strategy to prepare his audience for a detailed discussion of and comparison with those differences later
on, which he did indeed undertake in the following terms.
Now that we can see what he was leading up to, we can also appreciate how much an underlying, but still implicit, rivalry with Freud was behind this.
As this will become much clearer in the third volume of this series (forthcoming), a commentary on their different approaches and Jung’s way of presenting them will be reserved until we consider Jung’s specific lectures on this issue.
However, here I already want to point out the underlying rationale of Jung’s strategy, in which—besides other motives—the long shadow that Freud still cast seems indeed to have played a major role.
Jung began his first lecture by saying, “In my experience, it was in general the basic terms which caused difficulty. I have therefore decided to discuss simpler matters this semester, namely basic terms and methods, with the help of which I hope to explain to you how the notions with which I work came into being.”
The first question he addressed is a seemingly simple one: What is psychology?
This leads to further questions: What is the present state of psychology?
What is its subject? How subjective is it, and how objective can it be?
Jung was a dedicated psychologist, and what he mentioned in the seventh lecture could be taken as a motto for his whole enterprise: “[T]he human being is the noblest task of science, towering above all its other tasks. It is the highest and most interesting task, in my unauthoritative opinion.”
This is reminiscent of Nietzsche, who had demanded “that psychology again be recognized as queen of the sciences, and that the rest of the sciences exist to serve and prepare for it” (1886 , p. 24).
It seemed to be more than a rhetorical question when Jung had asked, in 1930, will
“Nietzsche be proved right in the end with his ‘scientia ancilla psychologiae’ [science is the handmaid of psychology]?” (Jung, 1930a, Introduction).
“Psychology is . . . first of all about what is valid in general,” he stated, notwithstanding one’s own “psychology,” but it is also subjective; it is about what occurs to us directly.
Its subject is “what is called the soul,” das was man Seele nennt.
And not only is “everything we experience psychic” but “everything was once psychic, there is nothing that had not been psychic before, such as the fantasy of an artist or an engineer.
Take a railway bridge, or a work of art—or indeed this lectern.
Everything that we learn and experience is at first psychic.
The only thing that is immediately given and perceptible is something psychic, that is, a psychic image.
This is the first and only basis of experience. ‘I sense [empfinde]’ is the first truth.”
Thus, psychology is both a general phenomenon and something subjective, an almost personal matter.
Jung stressed, however, that it was not an arbitrary matter but rather “a phenomenology, a symptomatology.” This led him to the question of how the various
views of psychology in its history, which he had presented in the first semester, had been generated, and later to account for national differences in ideas and outlook, in particular to reflect on the question of language, social and religious convictions, institutions, and geographical differences (soil, climate) in general, and on the different characteristics and difficulties of the English, French, and German languages when it came to expressing psychological materials in particular.
“Psychology is . . . dealing with a great number of facts,” he noted. “But it is extremely difficult to accept these facts as they really are.”
Once we do accept these facts, there arises the next difficulty, that is, the representation of the material, which is a great difficulty indeed:
“[I]t is almost impossible to faithfully convey the facts of the matter.”
“[T]he fundamental psychological truths can never be couched in delineated terms,” because “the sharper a psychological term, the less it designates.”
Therefore we would have “to learn the art of coming up with terms that are quite general and indeterminate, and yet are still able to convey something.” We always have to bear in mind that we are dealing with the totality of a person. It is no use “to isolate a psychic process” for the purpose of study, because then we will have “killed the psychic life in that process.”
“There is nothing simple in the psyche.”
The psyche that reacts to something simple is never simple itself. Each of us perceives differently, so how do we construct a fact or evidence?
And how do we faithfully convey the facts we experience? For example, “what do I mean when I assert: ‘I’m feeling fine’ ”?
An external observer might register something we are unaware of. “The difficulties arising in this connection were among the reasons,” according to Jung, “that led to the recognition of the unconscious as an interfering factor.”
This gave Jung the opening to enter into a discussion of the concepts of consciousness and the unconscious, and their respective characteristics, which he illustrated with various examples, whether from everyday life, from his clinical experience, from his travels, from the literature, or, quite frequently, from what he still called “primitives.”
He described the conscious and unconscious states alternately, stressing their difference but also their interdependence and interrelationship.
Consciousness, for instance, “needs an effort, demands energy and work, and thus tires us.” It is also “very limited” and “very narrow[,] and excludes a good many ideas.” The unconscious, on the other hand, “is present at all times” and “the primordial condition of mankind.”
“The unconscious is always dreaming.”
It is also always “active at work, and I am completely dependent on this work.” “[C]onsciousness swims on the unconscious world like a round disc, or is like a small island in the ocean.
Consciousness can never be identical with the soul, it is only a part, perhaps a very small part, of the soul. The soul is the whole.”
“Consciousness is to all intents and purposes an organ, an eye or an ear of the soul.”
The unconscious, on the other hand, “has a fabulous memory.
There are things we never knew, so to speak, but that existed nonetheless” and had a discernible effect on us.
Having introduced this basic differentiation between consciousness and the unconscious, he then proceeded to discuss consciousness as a “perceptual” or “orientation organ,” and “those functions of consciousness that serve our orientation toward the inside,” or the “inner sphere.”
Leaving aside his distinction between introverted and extraverted types for the time being, he introduced the well-known four functions that, according to Jung, guide this orientation—sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition— and, as always in these lectures, illustrated them and how they are “curiously interrelated” with the help of many examples.
We also hear more about his distinctions between rational and irrational functions, and developed (superior) and underdeveloped (inferior) functions.
Sensation tells us what a thing is, thinking what it means, feeling how we valuate it, and intuition gives us “the invisible aura that surrounds the thing,” something best rendered as Ahnung (presentiment, premonition, inkling, hunch, foreboding).
“In effect, the latter is an excellent term while ‘intuition’ allows for many different meanings.”
It is a “function of perception by unconscious means.”
The intuitive “does not look at things, but sees,” and simultaneously has “a truly remarkable capacity for non-observation.”
Foreshadowing his concept of synchronicity, Jung spoke about the “law of the series” and the “laws of coincidence.”
“Since intuitions are never completely conscious, intuition is a strange borderline function . . . that is never really tangible, and we know as much of it as we do of the fourth dimension.
Therefore, my definition of intuition is somewhat makeshift, and in fact a declaration of scientific bankruptcy.”
In fact, we find here probably the most detailed and simultaneously most accessible discussion of the intuitive function in Jung’s work.
At the center of the functions there is the “I,” and all functions relate to it.
The I usually has a main thought and a large number of secondary thoughts that it keeps to itself, “for otherwise there would be no individuality.”
“These secondary thoughts make the I the keeper of the great seal of all secrets.”
Although functions are subject to the will and can be directed, they can occur involuntarily in consciousness or can also proceed unconsciously.
This unconscious course of our functions “is . . . a very comforting fact.
For it allows us to expect with some certainty that what we do not think, perceive, and intuit with our consciousness, will be done for us by the unconscious.”
Jung stressed that these “functions were not discovered by myself, I only stumbled on this treasure trove, for the functions are an ancient fact.”
“In Lamaism, this theory of functions is developed to a significant extent. There, it is called ‘mandala.’ ”
All of this is a reformulation of views he had already expounded elsewhere, most famously in Psychological Types (1921), but here in layman’s terms and in an easily accessible form, and as such already a valuable addition to the Jungian oeuvre, or even, with only slight exaggeration, a Jung for Beginners by the man himself.
In addition, however, we also find bits and pieces, snippets and asides, which may open up new perspectives.
For instance, he introduced still another “function” that is particularly characteristic of consciousness and “a distinct cultural phenomenon”: “the function of the volitional faculty [Funktion des Willensvermögens], in short, the will.
If it were on a par with the other functions, we might call it a fifth function, but it is better to see it as a superordinate, central function of the I.
It reflects the fact that a certain amount of energy is freely available in consciousness, like a mobile division or reserve unit.
This psychically available energy stands at the disposal of consciousness.”
Jung then turned to a more detailed discussion of the so-called unconscious,
personal and collective. “Unconscious” simply means “that which we do not know.”
“It is not even possible to prove that these things exist when they are in the unconscious, for the essential character of the latter is that it is unknown.”
The unconscious is thus “a negative boundary term, one which indicates: it is dark there.
We have no knowledge of what actually happens there.
We postulate, however, that the things of which we are not conscious at this moment somehow nevertheless exist.”
As to his distinction between personal and collective unconscious, he stated that
There is “nothing mythical about it, for it is really a very practical idea.”
“The unconscious evidently comprises psychic processes that have either already become lost to consciousness and become forgotten, or ones that do not yet exist and have not yet been born.”
“What emerges from the personal unconscious is ‘my business’; what emerges from the collective unconscious are matters related to humanity in general and therefore not my business in this sense.”
“[T]heir personal aspect is only a metaphor.”
Filling a lacuna in his earlier accounts, he gave a detailed map of the differentiation and stratification of its contents, in particular as regards cultural and so-called racial differences.
There follows an exposition of methods for rendering accessible the contents of the unconscious.
From early on, Jung had looked for additional methods to do so, apart from the “only rule that psychoanalysis lays down in this respect is: let the patient talk about anything that comes into his head,” because, apart from conscious resistances, the patient’s “not
talking to the point [danebenreden] does not prove that the patient is consciously concealing certain painful contents; it can also occur quite unconsciously.”
In these cases, “the analyst has to resort to other measures.
One of these is the association experiment. . . . A second expedient is the analysis of dreams; this is the real instrument of psychoanalysis” (1913, §§ 531–533).
And this is exactly what Jung did in these lectures, giving a detailed exposition of these measures.
Thus, he first turned to the association experiment and the psycho-galvanic method, with many examples, including their use for Tatbest andsdiagnostik or diagnosis of evidence in forensics, or how a detailed account of the study of associations in families enables the psychic structure of families, the spiritus familiaris, to be revealed.
All of this is further evidence, by the way, of how important these researches remained to him, and how useful he continued to find them for didactic purposes.
“The main finding” of these experiments was “the insight into the existence of complexes.”
“Complexes have to be taken seriously, they have dynamic energy, they live in our psyche, and they seem to be bad things, yet it is these very complexes which lead us to our fate.”
Or: “Complexes are so to speak our family ghosts.”
And: “For the complex has the unpleasant characteristic that one forever does what tempts one, thereby inducing a kind of vicious circle.”
It is possible, however, that “complexes can be made to disappear by taking certain provisions . . . through atonement or a confession, either by the patient resuming a reasonable life style, or through reintegration into the community.”
“There is still another way of ridding oneself of a complex, namely by getting into some kind of continuity that commits the same sin.” Gradually, however, Jung came to realize that a quasi-objective measure of complexes, with the stopwatch in hand, as it were, is not possible.
The subject’s response depends on what they think this is about and on who is asking.
A sobering and embarrassing experience for Jung must have been his expert opinion in the trial of one Hans Näf in November 1934, accused of murdering his wife, in which Jung concluded, on the basis of the Tatbestandsdiagnostik arrived at through the association experiment he had conducted with him, that “the subject’s psychological situation, as revealed by the experiment, in no way corresponds to what one would empirically expect in an innocent person” (Jung, 1937 , § 1388).
Näf was found guilty and sentenced to lifelong imprisonment. Jung even used this case, in an interview with the Daily Mail in 1935, as evidence for the soundness of his method.
A retrial in 1938 revealed, however, that Näf was in fact innocent of the charges and resulted in his acquittal.
The fact that the experiment was not an objective measure surely contributed
to Jung’s turning away from it—although he continued, as here, to use it for didactic purposes—and instead to concentrate on psychological analysis.
The semester—and the book—concludes with an overview of the topic of dreams and the study of several of them.
It “occurred to me early on that dreams are simply complexes.”
Both represent “an invasion of the unconscious.”
Dreams “are actually like association experiments turned inside out.
In these experiments, we have stimulus words that strike the complex and elicit it to emerge, whereas dreams themselves produce the test words. . . .
If you emphasize these words and certain motifs that often recur in dreams, it is really revealing when you ask: ‘What comes to your mind about this?’ ”
This is reminiscent of Freud’s method of free association, but with one crucial difference.
Whereas the Freudian analysand is asked to associate on and on, to “go off on a tangent,” string-wise, as it were, from A to B, from B to C, from C to D, and so on, in the expectation that the associations will ultimately lead to the hidden meaning of the dream, a postulated X, which had been distorted and rendered unintelligible by the
mechanisms of censorship and dream-work, Jung started out by using “controlled association.”
The dreamer is asked to approach the motifs and images of a dream in a circumambulatory manner, so to speak, and not to lose sight of them, because
they are not distortions or “compromise formations” of opposed forces within the psyche. According to Jung, dreams are “spontaneous products of the unconscious soul. They are pure nature, and therefore convey an unadulterated, natural truth.” They represent a “communication or message of the unconscious, of the all-one soul of humankind” (Jung, 1933b, §§ 317–318; my trans.).
“But nature is not, in herself, a guide,” as he noted elsewhere, “for she is not there
For man’s sake.
Ships are not guided by the phenomenon of magnetism.
We have to make the compass a guide.”
Thus, products of the unconscious, such as dreams, have to be used “with the necessary conscious correction that has to be applied to every natural phenomenon in order to make it serve our purpose” (1918, § 34).
The “compass” he gave to his listeners sounds simple enough: “A dream should always be written down at once, otherwise we inevitably lie to ourselves. It is best to note it down on a sheet of paper that one divides into three columns: The first column is for the text; the second is for the context, that is, comments on the keyword and associations we have to it, as if this were a complex word. In the third column we can note the interpretation. This is the way to work on a dream humbly, by oneself, when
There is no accomplished analyst at hand to do it for one.”
The deciphering of dreams, and reading and accepting the message from the unconscious, however, is not just a party game.
The lectures break off with the analysis of one particular dream, the interpretation of which “did not enlighten the dreamer. He learned nothing from it and refused to accept my explanation of this dream.
So, unfortunately, he went on following his ambitions and a disastrous situation followed.”
Obviously, there was more to be said on the topic, and so Jung started the following,
third semester (forthcoming) by saying: “Those of you who attended last summer’s lectures will remember that they dealt with methods for revealing the inside of the human psyche.
We spoke of the word association method, combined with breathing, of the psycho-galvanic method, and finally of dream analysis.
This semester we will proceed along the same path and study the psychology of dreams.
The investigation of the inner psyche is a practical possibility for doctors; it is the investigation of the unknown motive.
Just to know that a thing exists is not enough, one must know what it is and all about it. The human psyche is the most important object of all.”
It is to this quest that Jung devoted his lifelong work—the sum total of which up to that point he was now ready to convey to a general audience of “educated people” in these lectures at a prestigious university.
Welcome to what could be called his own Introductory Lectures to Analytical Psychology. ~Consciousness and the Unconscious: Lectures Delivered at ETH Zurich, Volume 2: 1934, Page xlvii-lx