FOR MANY YEARS, THE INTELLECTUAL REPUTATION AND DISCOVERIES of the psychologist Carl G. Jung lay hidden in the shadow cast by his former colleague, collaborator, and co-explorer of the unconscious, Sigmund Freud.
(One is reminded of James Joyce’s punning line about being “Jung and easily Freudened.”)
Some people—many of whom had obviously read few of his close to fifty major works—imagined Jung to be some kind of dotty Swiss doctor who dabbled in and promulgated occult and mystical ideas and who spent his time absorbed in theorizing about ESP and flying saucers.
In fact, Jung was the first person to introduce and develop the concepts and notions of “individuation- ( what psychologists after him were to call “self-realization” and “self-actualization”); the “complex- (an affectively charged group of ideas or images); “the collective unconscious” (the myth-creating aspect of the mind); the “archetypes” (the
collective universal images and motifs of myths and dreams); the terms “extrovert/introvert” and “anima/animus” (the latter referring to the unconscious female and male components of men’s and women’s personalities); the four psychological “types” (thinking, feeling, intuition, sensation); the “active imagination” (the writing or painting of one’s unconscious fantasies and one’s response to them); “synchronicity” (“A connecting principle/Linked to the invisible/Almost imperceptible.)
Something inexpressible,” to quote the lines of the Police’s song “Synchronicity I”); and the “Self- (the archetypal, ideal center of one’s being, about which Jung beautifully wrote: “Somewhere there was once a Flower, a Stone, a Crystal, a Queen, a King, a Palace, a Lover, and his Beloved, and this was long ago on an Island somewhere in the ocean five thousand years ago. . . . Such is Love, the Mystic Flower of the Soul. This is the Center, the Self”).
With the proper understanding and help of these concepts, Jung believed, one could set out upon an interior journey, returning and bringing back to the light of consciousness the projections and shadow components of one’s unconscious life in order to create a harmony between one’s inner and outer realities.
Taking this journey, Jung thought, was not merely some indulgent holiday outing but a vital necessity, lest our unexamined, darker life energies lead us inescapably to a self-willed and self-destructive worldwide catastrophe.
But Jung also saw that in the human psyche was a divine inner nucleus, the eternal essence of God, which could not die. And over the door of his home in Switzerland, he inscribed the ancient oracular saying: VOCATUS ATQUE NON VOCATUS DEUS ADERIT (“Called or not, the god will be there”).
A recent and fascinating two-hour film titled Matter of Heart (made by Mark and Michael Whitney and George and Suzanne Wagner) presents interviews with twenty-one of Jung’s former students, colleagues, patients, and friends—all of them in their seventies and eighties.
And of these many extraordinary people, probably the most remarkable is the Swiss analyst, lecturer, and writer Marie-Louise von Franz, who was, at different periods, Jung’s patient and close collaborator.
When an ancient Chinese Buddhist monk once asked his teacher whether there was any difference between the message of the Patriarchs and that of the Buddha, the teacher replied, “When you cup water in your hands, it reflects the moon; when you gather flowers, your robe absorbs the fragrance.”
And it is in this sense that one might well say that Marie-Louise von Franz is probably Carl Jung’s most important living disciple, her work fully embodying the essence of his teachings.
But in her own right, she is an original, continually surprising, and provocative thinker, as manifested in her many astonishingly perceptive books* about such subjects as fairy tales (“They are the wisdom of cosmic matter out of which we are made”); creation myths (“The story of the origin of the world and the origin of the awareness of the world are absolutely coinciding factors”); the pier aeternus (the “eternal child” archetype as seen in her brilliant, path-breaking analysis of Saint-Exupery’s classic story The Little Prince): alchemy (her major elaboration of Jung’s notion of this subject as both a “chemical” and a “psychological” process); time (an investigation of the various and contradictory ways it has been conceived—as flux, as eternal return, and as a universal pattern of synchronous events); and projection (“11 we could see through all our projections down to the last traces, our personality would be extended to cosmic dimensions-).
Marie-Louise von Franz resides, practices, and writes in a book-filled house on a hilly street overlooking Lake Zurich in the town of Kusnacht, Switzerland, where Jung himself had also lived.
She is a softspoken, commonsensible, and strong-minded person whose presence, like her work, is simultaneously challenging and healing.
The following conversation took place in the study of her home in early 1984.
You once mentioned that the first time you metJung. he told you about one of his patients who felt that she had actually been on the moon.
I met Jung when I was eighteen, and at that time he told me about a vision that one of his patients had had of being on the moon, and then the man on the moon grabbed her with his black wings and didn’t let her go. She was possessed by this black figure, you see.
And Jung talked as if this weren’t just a vision but actually as if she really had been on the moon.
So, having a rational nature, I got irritated and said, “But she wasn’t on the real moon. That was just a vision.”
And Jung looked at me seriously and replied, “She was on the moon.” And I said, “Wait a minute. It can’t be.
She wasn’t on that satellite of the planet earth, she wasn’t up there.- I pointed to the sky and he just looked at me again, penetratingly, and repeated, “She was on the moon.”
Then I got angry and thought, “Either this man’s crazy or I’m stupid.”
And then I slowly began to realize that Jung meant that what happens psychologically is
the real reality—I started to comprehend his concept of the reality of the psyche. And that was a big revelation.
Does this have something to do with the comment you once made that “There are indications that physical energy and psychic energy may be but two aspects of one and the same underlying reality”?
Yes, and that’s really an idea that Jung developed toward the end of his life and one that I have only worked out a bit more.
It’s possible, for instance, that what the physicists call “energy” may in fact be the less
intense frequencies of something that, in higher frequencies and at higher degrees of intensity, manifests itself as psyche.
So that in the future, science may well begin to speak of only one energy that has different modes of manifestation.
The brain probably transforms energies in such a way that we experience everything in a three-dimensional space.
But we know from physics, too, that there are many more dimensions.
Not long ago, a medical doctor published a paper about a woman, a simple woman who woke up one morning in her hospital bed and told the nurse that she had had the following dream: She saw a candle on the windowsill that was burning down, and it began to flicker and she got terrible anxiety and felt the great darkness coming.
Then there was a moment of blackout, and again she saw a light; this time, however, the candle was outside the window, the wick burning quietly.
She didn’t comment on it, but four hours later she died. . . . The reality, you see, was that the light went out, but in another medium, it burned on.
In one of the Gnostic Gospels, Jesus says: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
That’s just it. Jung once said that you can cure a psychotic patient if you can make him creative.
In other words, if what is destroying him within can be brought forth in writing or painting or some other form, then he can be cured.
What we try to do is to help people bring forth the Self.
That means their latent true personality or, in Gnostic terms, the God image in man.
And if one creatively works that out by drawing on one’s unconscious and following one’s own path, then one is saved; and that very same thing undermines and destroys us if we don’t do it. So that saying of Jesus is completely to the point.
I wanted to contrast this with a comment by Janet Malcolm who, writing about Freudian psychoanalysis, states: “The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the. Examined life is impossible to live for more than a few moments at a time. To fully accept the idea of unconscious motivation is to cease to be human. . . . To ‘make the unconscious conscious’ . . , is to pour water into a sieve. The moisture that remains on the surface of the mesh is the benefit of analysis.”
That’s because psychoanalytical theory is such a narrow sieve that it can’t catch much of the unconscious.
If you have preconceived ideas about childhood traumas and so on and don’t allow for miracles, then you’re going to bring up very little.
Jung approached the unconscious much more openly, realizing that it’s the unknown psyche, as big as the cosmos, and that we should really look at what’s there.
And at the end of his life he was still certain that there was more and more to discover.
In your own work. I’ve noticed that you tend to observe psychic events and phenomena with a very wide and open perspective. By that I mean that when you examine conflicts, you don’t brush over or overlook one aspect in favor of another. In your hook Puer Aeternus, for instance, you suggest that the child archetype—the image of the eternal adolescent—represents charm. spontaneity, creativity, and risk-taking; but at the same time you remark that it can also reflect a destructive form of infantilism and one’s entrapment in a negative mother complex. As you write: “ln analysis, one tries to disentangle and definitely destroy what is really childish and fat the same time attempt to save] creativity and the future life. But practically, this is something which is immensely subtle and difficult to accomplish.” How, in fact, do you go about this?
It’s very difficult to talk and make a theory about; you just have to work at it with your feeling function.
Let’s say, for instance, that a purr case comes into your office and tells you that he has a new obsession—wind surfing, say.
At first you might think, “Oh Lord, another of those childish, risky sports where he’ll break his neck!”
But then from the tone in his voice you might suddenly have another feeling, which would tell you, “No, there’s something to it. There’s life and liveliness in it. It’s meaningful to him.”
Then you get into the same conflict that he’s in—now you are in a conflict. So you say nothing.
You listen to the dreams, and then, through dream interpretation—the decisive factor is the last sentence of the dream—you deduce whether it’s rather more childish or rather more constructive, and then you go with that . . . all the while holding back your own feelings that are battling within you.
And in that way you allow for many more unexpected things to happen.
So the word “should” should be excluded from psychology.
Jung said when you use the word “should” it means you’re helpless.
You’ve said that when a person is in a painful, unresolvable situation. he or she will often have to remain in that situation without recourse to “shoulds” or escapes or false solutions
Yes, in order to let things happen whereby the unconscious has a say.
When you’re in such a situation, that’s the moment that your ego must abdicate and admit, “1 don’t know what to do.”
And the analyst must also be honest enough to say, “I don’t know either. But now let’s look at what the unconscious psyche suggests.”
And then you generally find that it teaches us unexpected ways of getting out of a conflict—not directly, but in a tortuous manner.
The unconscious is like a snake. Somebody comes in and tells you about a terrible conflict.
And then he or she dreams about something completely different, as if the conflict were completely unimportant.
So I just go along with that and say, “Well, let’s not discuss your problem. Let’s discover what the unconscious proposes. It says that you should do more painting on Saturday.”
“No, I have to decide whether to get a divorce or not,” the patient will exclaim. And I’ll say, “No, let’s postpone that decision. The unconscious suggests you should do a painting.”
You see, it’s a very good strategy, it wants to loosen up the ego and get it to be more open, and then it will clarify the issue.
You once wrote about a patient who came to see you, suffering from sexual impotence, but you treated him by analyzing his creative block instead.
I used that case to illustrate what I mean by the tortuous ways of the unconscious.
That patient came with his impotence and complained that he had already tried all sorts of more direct methods—hormone injections and whatnot—and that nothing had helped.
And then I said, “Let’s see what your dreams say,” and his dreams only talked about how his paintings weren’t right and about how he should paint differently.
So he said, “I’ve come to you for my impotence, not for that. Don’t interfere with my paintings!”
And I replied, “Well, I’m very sorry, but the snake makes a detour; your dreams point to something else.”
So I finally got him to paint differently, which released his whole emotional life; and with that, sex functioned again.
In a way, I’m reminded of that Eskimo dance drama in which one “good” and one “bad” shaman play out their magical arts against each other. First, one emerges the victor, then the other; and if one gets “killed,” his adversary brings him back to life, while forgoing his own life for a moment so that both can be in balance.
Exactly. Life is a play of opposites, and thus there is never a one-sided victory.
That kind of victory is a catastrophe, really, because then one of the opposites is wiped out; but it will certainly come back destructively if you don’t evoke it once more.
That’s why Jung said you never solve a conflict, you only outgrow it.
It brings you to the next level of growth, to a higher form of consciousness, and then suddenly you say, “Funny, now I have another conflict, that previous conflict doesn’t bother me anymore.”
Freud tended to see in neurosis the relics of one’s unresolved past. whereas I gather that Jung thought that it contained possibilities of future growth.
Yes, Jung even spoke of the blessing of the neurosis.
For him, it was a chance for growth and individual development. You see, there are two kinds of suffering.
One belongs to life, which always contains a certain amount of suffering.
But there’s also a childish suffering that is unnecessary.
If you have the wrong conscious attitude, the unconscious will work against you, and you become like the dog that tries to catch its tail and runs about in circles meaninglessly.
It sometimes seems as if an ever increasing number of people are running around in these circles.
Yes. Everybody talks about nuclear war and pollution, but our real problem is overpopulation.
That’s really the villain, but human beings don’t like to face that.
The unconscious thinks of genocide because there are too many people in the world.
Before his death, Jung often said that he saw great catastrophes ahead. He had very dark forebodings.
Certainly the world’s situation doesn’t look good.
But one must give nature credit because it might invent something new, you see.
At the time when Christianity came about, for instance, a wise politician in Rome would probably have had a very gloomy view about everything, too.
Nine out of ten persons were slaves. The culture was at point zero, the economy was in an awful crisis.
But he would certainly not have imagined that in Palestine a man would turn up who would change things with a new message.
So maybe something of the kind will happen again today, and perhaps the unconscious will produce some saving movement.
In 1910 Jung wrote a letter to Freud in which he stated: “Only the wise are ethical from sheer intellectual presumption, the rest of us need the eternal truth of myth. . . . Two thousand years of Christianity can only be replaced by something equivalent.”
Yes, that’s what I was driving at. Maybe a new myth will arise in the most unexpected corner of the world.
Jung always thought, for instance, that a black man would be the next Savior.
So in some corner of Africa, perhaps a man will stand up and proclaim the new myth.
You’ve pointed out that in fairy tales. before a hero or heroine is born, there’s often a period of sterility and depression during which the Queen cannot give birth. And you’ve talked about the idea of depression in the sense of the ego pressing down into the unconscious.
Depression can be a very salutary thing, if one knows how to handle it.
I myself was terribly depressed when I first went into Jungian analysis.
I complained about it, and Jung just smiled and said, “Well, ‘depression’ comes from the Latin word deprimere. so if you’re sad, just sit down and go into your sadness until something comes up from it. If you’re depressed, you’re too high up in your mind.”
And sometimes I’d sit for a whole afternoon just staring ahead of me.
And then suddenly I had fantasies. Jung encouraged me to write them down, and the creative now began.
You’ve written a wonderful book about creation myths that is, in fact, about the creative process itself and in that book you state that the many stories of the origins of the universe and the origins of our awareness of the universe are absolutely coinciding factors. That’s a fascinating and certainly a true idea. since we don’t really know what happened before the beginning of creation.
The only thing we can describe is when we woke up to our awareness of the universe.
And that’s the moment when it became real.
There are thousands of creation myths, and they’re all variations and different facets of this basic process.
You write about myths that conceive of a creation-from-above or a creation-from-below, which reminds me of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus’ statement that “The way up and the way down are one and the same.”
Only when it comes from the below you have the experience that a creative idea or painting or whatever you are doing comes out of your belly.
And when it comes from above, it seems as if it drops from the sky into your head—it’s inspired from above, so to speak.
But these are only qualitatively different feelings, they’re the same thing, really.
You’ve asserted that “Where there is a creative constellation in the unconscious, that is, when the unconscious has conceited a child, if we do not put it out in the form of creative work-, we get possessed by it instead.”
People get absolutely intolerable when they have a creative idea in their womb and can’t bring it out.
They’re neurotic, aggressive, irritable, and depressed. So then one has to help them bring the child out.
You’ve also said that “Every step forward toward building up more consciousness destroys a previous living balance.”
I had in mind the fact that medieval man, in spite of all the horrors of the times, was at home in an explained world.
He was contained in the revealed truth of the Catholic Church; and even if he was against it, he still believed in it.
The birth of science, however, made man a homeless wanderer.
It was necessary, it was a kind of progress, but it destroyed something.
You once pointed out that among the Australian aborigines. when the rice crop shows signs of failure, the women go into the rice field, bend down, and tell the grains of rice the story of their origins.
We have to have a conception of where we come from and where we are going—a wider conception—and then we can be at home in the world.
And that’s why historical and mythological knowledge is so important.
In The Book of Enoch we read how angels had intercourse with human women and created giants.
The angels taught the giants about magic, natural sciences, and technology, and then they nearly destroyed the earth.
For this was a too rapid invasion of new creative contents into the conscious world, and people suffered from inflated notions and ideas.
Just like today. I recently read, for example, that soon we’ll be putting electrodes into the brains of children so that they can learn better in school. Imagine that inflated idea!
I don’t know. If someone told me that with those electrodes implanted
in me I’d be able to speak any language in the world, 1 might be tempted!
If that were possible. But there would undoubtedly be drawbacks.
You might be able to speak, but your memory might not be able to store things.
Or maybe, suddenly one day, you’d develop terrible headaches and all sorts of side effects.
You can see how with modern medicines people die from these effects.
The medical world doesn’t save more people nowadays than it did before.
You once wrote that when the ego identifies with the Self and begins to think.
“Forgot the message! I’ve got the true meaning!” one winds up with pathological demagogues and pseudo prophets. You mention Hitler, Charles Manson. and others as examples. stating, “They have inflicted infinite damage on the world because they have transformed normal inner experiences of the unconscious into morbid poison through inflated identification with them.”
I think it’s indisputable that Hitler was destructive, and Charles Manson, too. step further and you’d meet them in the lunatic asylums.
In the asylums you have a lot of so-called gifted people who have invented the perpetuum rnohde and answered the world riddles and so on.
I sometimes get letters from inhabitants of such clinics always have the great idea, but when you look at it it’s completely hazy, completely fuzzy haven’t worked it out.
There are some young people who identify with the unconscious and fall into the world of dreams and neglect to build up their actual personal lives, while some others believe that with terrorism they can change the world.
You can never do that without the help of the unconscious.
You have to keep your critical mind intact, you can’t just be naïve with the unconscious.
That’s why, for instance, in shamanism the young apprentice always needs a teacher, because if he stepped into the ghost world alone, he would fall for all sorts of traps.
The unconscious doesn’t want to trap us, it’s not wicked. it is difficult to deal with, and it’s sometimes very hard to find out what it really wants to say.
You ‘ye made a connection between the psychotherapist and the shaman.
and hate said that a shaman has to have been wounded in order for him to heal. Since you’re a therapist, perhaps you were wounded, too.
In my childhood I hated my mother and didn’t get on with her.
Perhaps she wasn’t as bad as I thought, but she was extremely different from me, a very powerful person who wanted to make me what she thought should be.
She was a smashing extrovert and I’m a deep introvert.
So depressions and that difficulty with my mother, I probably wouldn’t have gone into Jungian psychology and learned about the unconscious, which released my creativity and which enabled me to help other people.
If it hadn’t been for the trouble with my mother, I would probably just have done what she wanted me to do, which was to marry a rich man and have children.
You’ve said that “People who don’t know much about Jungian psychology think it is something esoteric and aristocratic. They don’t realize that the process moves in two directions: a) becoming more individual and less identical with the emotions, and moving upward to greater differentiation; but also b) integrating the man in the street.”
Yes. And that’s why Jung could talk to anybody, even to half-wits. They adored him, and he gave them analytical hours.
Once, for instance, a parson sent him a farmer’s girl from a mountain village.
She couldn’t sleep, she hadn’t slept for a whole year, and even pills hadn’t helped.
And when she turned up in his office, Jung saw at once that she was a half-wit and completely uneducated, and he couldn’t do any therapy with her.
So he took her on his knees and rocked her and sang her lullabies. And from then on, she slept.
When the parson wrote to Jung asking, “How did you cure her?” Jung replied, “I couldn’t talk to her, so I sang her some lullabies.”
And the parson was furious because he thought Jung was lying!
You see, we still have Stone Age people and we have medieval people, and it’s much better that they get cured in a style appropriate to them.
I once, for instance, sent a patient to an exorcist.
And if someone goes to a voodoo doctor in Haiti, it may very well help.
Certain people are on that level, and they need to be cured on that level.
Recently, both Jung and Freud have come under attack for their so-called sexual adventures or misadventures—as if these somehow negated all their theories and teachings.
It’s so naive that I can only laugh at it.
And since Freud taught that one shouldn’t repress sexuality, then he shouldn’t have repressed his sexuality either.
And for the same reason I always smile when Freudians attack Jung over the Spielrein affair [Sabina Spielrein, one of Jung’s first patients, was cured by Jung and became his lover].
Jung and Freud had theoretical differences. Their disagreement wasn’t only a personal affair. Not at all.
And now Jung is becoming more and more known.
I mean, the number of Jungian analysts increases every year, the interest in Jung increases, the sales of his books increase—everything increases—and so, naturally, the opposition increases, too.
For a while I noticed the Freudians were no longer against Jung.
They thought he was passé, finished. So they weren’t aggressive anymore about him.
But now that terrible snake is raising its head again, to speak their language, so one has to stamp it out.
But young people are discovering Jung all over the world.
I get a lot of letters from sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds who have begun to read Jung or my work, and they want to know more about it.
Freud, you know, was terrified of the flood of occultism, his attitude being that one should not provoke it.
And it is true that nowadays there is a certain turning toward the unconscious, with the misuse of drugs, that is thoroughly unhealthy.
Many people also sit absolutely dazed in front of the TV for hours and hours—and that’s a kind of falling into the unconscious.
But we need the unconscious.
It’s only a question of dealing with it in a healthy manner, though there will always be a ertain number of individuals who’ll do it the wrong way.
You’ve said that the first dream that one recalls from one’s childhood “often sets forth in symbolic form the essence of an entire life or of the first part of life, It reflects, so to speak, a piece of the ‘inner fate’ into which the individual was born.”
And when I’ve asked friends of mine to recount their first remembered dreams, they’ve always been extraordinary.
They are amazing.
You should read the four volumes of seminars that Jung gave on such dreams that adults remember from their childhood, and also a few dreams that little children have told their parents.
Jung interprets them. And they’re fascinating.
I remember one dream he talks about in which a little girl saw herself lying in her bed and Jack Frost came in and pinched her in the belly.
And Jung interpreted that as being most dangerous because the girl had no reaction when the demon of cold and winter was pinching her in the seat of emotions, the fire center. And do you know what happened?
She eventually became schizophrenic, took a pistol, and shot herself in the belly.
That’s how she died. She executed herself. The cold hand of death.
So there was a bit of fate anticipated already in the childhood make many more studies about them.
What about the idea of synchronicity?
The recent rock and roll album by the Police is deeply involved with that idea.
I think it’s one of Jung’s key concepts, and one that will have great importance in the future.
As you know, synchronicity is the simple coincidence of two factors that are connected, not causally but rather through meaning.
Have you heard about the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in physics?
To put it in simple words is very difficult, but let’s say you have two particles that have once been connected but are then separated.
And let’s say one is in New York City and the other is in Tokyo. Now, at the moment you alter the spin of the one in New York, the spin of the other in Tokyo appears altered, too—so quickly that even a light signal couldn’t have been exchanged.
In other words, one particle knows what the other one, thousands of kilometers away, is doing.
This reveals the so-called inseparability of the universe. The same is true in psychology.
The ancient Chinese said that a person sitting alone in his room thinking the right thoughts will he beard a thousand miles away.
Yes. Confucius said that, and that is synchronicity.
Everything is contained in the oneness such that everything is connected with everything else in a meaningful way.
And the physicists are actually getting at it now from their angle.
Jung and you often refer to the fourfold structure of the psyche, and to the fact that each person contains an anima and an animus.
Yes. There’s the feminine nature in man and the masculine nature in woman, so there are four of us in this room right now.
And that fourfold structure—you find it in basic physical theories, in myths, in fairy tales, and endlessly in dreams and in art.
I mean, think of all those fourfold mandalas and pyramids.
I think that’s a just-so story that we can’t explain. The meaning of one has to do with the spiritual oneness of everything.
Two has to do with polarity—yin and yang.
Three generally is concerned with dynamic movement and processes, such that in fairy tales you read about three giants or coming upon three rivers.
And with four, you arrive at completion: One, two, three, four. And that gives the feeling of complete reality.
Jung’s formulation of the four functional “types”—thinking, feeling, intuition, sensation—has been criticized as fairly naive and reductive, but it seems to make sense to me as a way of seeing certain strengths and weaknesses in a person.
Practically, I use them all the time.
For me they’re the great peacemaking instrument, because you can settle hundreds of quarrels by telling someone:
“Now look here, you’re a sensation type and have no fantasy, while your friend’s an intuitive type and has no sensation, and that’s why you clashed.”
You can always make peace between people by revealing that to them.
A lot of friction and marriage troubles and troubles in offices are in fact typological misunderstandings.
Jung also posited the notion of “active imagination.” What is that?
You have it out with a fantasy.
Let’s say you do a painting of a black fox; then you hang it over your bed and you talk to it and say, “Black fox, why have you come to me? What’s your message?”
And then you listen to what it says.
This is a two-way process, not only to let it out as fantasy but then to let it in again by integration.
What about the notion of the “complex”?
Jung discovered the “complex,” by which he meant a cluster of emotionally tuned representations generally surrounding an archetypal kernel.
Quite simply, if you have a money complex, then with anything that has to do with money, you get emotional—people begin to tremble when they have to take change out of their pockets, for example.
Or there’s the inferiority complex. That’s another one. There are many complexes.
What is interesting is that whenever something touches the complex, people get cold or sweaty hands, say. There’s a psychic and physiological reaction to it.
And if you want to find out what complexes a person has, all you have to do is just remain absolutely silent and let the other person talk and talk and talk and you’ll always end up with the complex.
If you make an empty space, the complex walks in.
You yourself have dealt with subjects as diverse as alchemy, fairy tales, time, and number. I assume that your classical education made that possible.
When I was young, I didn’t know what I should study.
I hesitated between mathematics, medicine, and classical languages.
And then one night I dreamt that I was sitting on the Acropolis as a wanderer, with no money and a knapsack between my knees.
The sun was shining, and suddenly, from the right, all the Olympic gods entered in a big procession, and they begged—they stretched out their hands begging.
I opened my sack and wanted to give them something, but I had nothing except a loaf of bread.
So I cut the loaf into bits, and I gave every god a piece, apologizing and saying, “I’m very sorry, but that’s all I have.-
And after that, I decided to study classical languages, because the gods wanted something from me.
What gods appeared to you?
All of them—Zeus and Hera and Hermes and Aphrodite. The whole bunch.
Which one do you feel most connected to now?
I’ve changed. It used to be Hermes. Now I’m interested in Aphrodite.
A very jealous goddess.’
Yes. That’s one of her less good traits.
But she also has sublime love and erotic love, she has a whole scale and range.
For me, now, this goddess has become dominant.
There are no “shoulds- about it. I just try to follow the stream of life, and where there’s the most life and energy, that’s where I try to be. [Kusnacht, Switzerland, 1984] ~Visions and Voices, Conversation with Marie-Louise von Franz, Page 53-67