Spirit in Man, Art, & Literature

Analysis of artists consistently shows not only the strength of the creative impulse arising from the unconscious, but also its capricious and wilful character.

The biographies of great artists make it abundantly clear that the creative urge is often so imperious that it battens on their humanity and yokes everything to the service of the work, even at the cost of health and ordinary human happiness.

The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature that achieves its end either with tyrannical might or with the subtle cunning of nature herself, quite regardless of the personal fate of the man who is its vehicle.

The creative urge lives and grows in him like a tree in the earth from which it draws its nourishment.

We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche.

In the language of analytical psychology this living thing is an autonomous complex.

It is a split-off portion of the psyche, which leads a life of its own outside the hierarchy of consciousness.

Depending on its energy charge, it may appear either as a mere disturbance of conscious activities or as a supraordinate authority which can harness the ego to its purpose.

Accordingly, the poet who identifies with the creative process would be one who acquiesces from the start when the unconscious imperative begins to function.

But the other poet, who feels the creative force as something alien, is one who for various reasons cannot acquiesce and is thus caught unawares. ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 115