Spirit in Man, Art, & Literature

Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of contradictory qualities.

On the one side he is a human being with a personal life, while on the other he is an impersonal creative process.

As a human being he may be sound or morbid, and his personal psychology can and should be explained in personal terms.

But he can be understood as an artist only in terms of his creative achievement.

We should make a great mistake if we reduced the mode of life of an English gentleman, or a Prussian officer, or a cardinal, to personal factors.

The gentleman, the officer, and the high ecclesiastic function as impersonal officials, and each role has its own objective psychology.

Although the artist is the exact opposite of an official, there is nevertheless a secret analogy between them in so far as a specifically artistic psychology is more collective than personal in character.

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument.

The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.

As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense—he is “collective man,” a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.

That is his office, and it is sometimes so heavy a burden that he is fated to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.

As K. G. Carus says:

“Strange are the ways by which genius is announced, for what distinguishes so supremely endowed a being is that, for all the freedom of his life and the clarity of his thought, he is everywhere hemmed round and prevailed upon by the Unconscious, the mysterious god within him; so that ideas flow to him—he knows not whence; he is driven to work and to create—he knows not to what end; and is mastered by an impulse for constant growth and development he knows not whither.” ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 157