Symbols of Transformation CW 5

These words show that the libido has now sunk to a depth where “the danger is great” (Faust, “The Mothers”).

There God is near, there man would find the maternal vessel of rebirth, the seeding-place where he could renew his life.

For life goes on despite loss of youth; indeed it can be lived with the greatest intensity if looking back to what is already moribund does not hamper your step.

Looking back would be perfectly all right if only it did not stop at externals, which cannot be brought back again in any case; instead, it ought to consider where the fascination of the past really springs from.

The golden haze of childhood memories arises not so much from the objective facts as from the admixture of magical images which are more intuited than actually conscious.

The parable of Jonah who was swallowed by the whale reproduces the situation exactly.

A person sinks into his childhood memories and vanishes from the existing world.

He finds himself apparently in deepest darkness, but then has unexpected visions of a world beyond.

The “mystery” he beholds represents the stock of primordial images which everybody brings with him as his human birthright, the sum total of inborn forms peculiar to the instincts.

I have called this “potential” psyche the collective unconscious.

If this layer is activated by the regressive libido, there is a possibility of life being renewed, and also of its being destroyed.

Regression carried to its logical conclusion means a linking back with the world of natural instincts, which in its formal or ideal aspect is a kind of prima materia.

If this prima materia can be assimilated by the conscious mind it will bring about a reactivation and reorganization of its contents.

But if the conscious mind proves incapable of assimilating the new contents pouring in from the unconscious, then a dangerous situation arises in

which they keep their original, chaotic, and archaic form and consequently disrupt the unity of consciousness.

The resultant mental disturbance is therefore advisedly called schizophrenia, since it is a madness due to the splitting of the mind. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 631