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Dream Analysis Seminar

LECTURE II 29 January 1930

The last dream we dealt with was that great philosophical vision.

This next one is entirely different.

Dream [22]

The dream begins with the vision of a peculiar kind of machine, which the patient feels that he himself ought to control.

It seems to be for grinding something, but he doesn’t know what substance.

It is a sort of vehicle which can be driven either by horses or by motor and it is provided with a peculiar roof.

His interest is chiefly concentrated in a big cylinder, around which revolve a number of small cylinders with apparently irregular, globular surfaces.

The main cylinder is not entirely globular.

It has indentations and as the small cylinders rotate, they always fit into the indentations of the big one, and also into those of the small ones on either side,

like the action of a cog-wheel, or perhaps a ball-and-socket joint.

(We call them “Kniegelenke.” In French it is “rotule.”)

He says that he is at once aware that the machine is not working well; something does not function as it should.

So he tries to move each cylinder by itself, to turn each one so that the main globular surface is visible on top.

Then he calls a mechanic, and explains to him, speaking French, that he has changed the position of the rotules of these cylinders and that now the machine will function better.

Associations: Concerning the machine, he says that it seems to be a device for grinding something and that it is to him a sort of metaphor. It is the treadmill of daily routine work, and he adds that this is actual because at that moment his analysis was interrupted by a business trip to a distant country. His business still requires a certain amount of attention, and it is his duty to look after it. He says that he is, in a way, in the relation to his former business as he is in relation to this machine. The business is like a machine which works, but occasionally does not work, and then he must take over the control. So quite obviously the main aspect of the dream is a sort of metaphor which expresses his business, and the language is more or less taken from his business preoccupations.

Then he says that the peculiar arrangement of the cylinders makes him think of a sort of division of time, that time is the same, consisting of a series of units which are all linked up together, but each differing from the others, as days, hours, years, etc. The main part would be the year, and all the little irregularities would be the days, which are long or short or have other different qualities.

Then he says that the irregularities remind him of how teeth behave. When a tooth is pulled out, the teeth opposite have a tendency to fill out the gap. Obviously he means the fitting into these indentations. Now the mechanic. He says that in spite of the fact that there is already a mechanic busy at that machine, he himself tries to get it into working condition. He speaks French with the mechanic, which is not astonishing because, particularly in his business, he speaks as much French as German or more.

He calls the cylinders rotules. In reality it makes little difference whether one speaks of a cogwheel or a rotule, but to him it made a difference, so much so that he mentioned it in his associations. That is the whole dream, a very difficult one. Those who heard the dream before might have a point of view. Where is the link?

Mrs. Fierz: The link is in the end of the last dream. I think there is an analogy between each man working at his own stripe and the fact that the dreamer himself is putting the machine in order.

Dr. Jung: Yes, that is one link.

And his business occupation is a perfectly conscious thing to him, so we can safely assume that his dream has taken the language of that business, according to the old adage that the dog dreams of a bone and the fishes of water.

What is another link?

Mrs. Crowley: The time element is in both dreams.

Dr. Jung: Yes, here we find the time element again in his associations that the irregularities of the small cylinders symbolize the months, days, etc., revolving around the year.

Is there another analogy?

Mrs. Sigg: We have had several dreams of machines and we know that there is a gap in his life. His sexual problem is not solved. The fact of his sex being out of order is the nucleus round which he revolves through all his dreams.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the last dream of a machine was the one where the motor went wrong, where the magneto exploded. In that also is the idea of revolving around a central nucleus.

Before that there was the steamroller dream, also grinding.

It was grinding gravel into the road, and it also was provided with a roof over the engine.

It was making the road, moreover, which turned out to be the mandala design, as the ground plan of this one would be if one imagines it complete.

It would be the flower-mandala motif, like this: So there is again the identity between his own life and time.

I did not stress that analogy to the patient. In practical analysis one is concerned with immediate things, so I only hinted at it.

It seemed more important for him at that time to get his own machine into working order.

He is a very practical man, and his interest in philosophy was a side issue, a sort of pastime.

That is the reason why the unconscious insists again on this , because it is necessary for him to see that peculiar identity of life and time and energy.

When a dream emphasizes a motif, one must go back and pay attention to it.

Of course, there are certain motifs, certain thoughts, that are so profound and far reaching that one can talk for months and not come to the end.

Psychological identity is one of those ideas, and it is better that we go into it.

Mrs. Sigg: It seems natural that the machine cannot work as long as it is only thought of as being a physical mechanism. The dream seems to say that he is a child of his time to dream of his life as a machine, but in reality it is more like a flower, which is organic in its arrangement.

Dr. Jung: There is, of course, the idea of the irrational in it, though it is a machine, and it is sure that this man looks on life in too rationalistic a way.

The dream calls his attention to the fact that life is by no means rational and symmetrical, it is very complicated and irregular.

That is surely a point he would overlook because he always tried to arrange his life according to certain principles and not according to irrational facts.

Therefore his machine is again and again out of order, and he has to return to it.

But this is a side-light, and we must go again to the general situation.

You see, this dream came after a great vision, which suddenly opened his eyes to the real size of his problem.

He never suspected that his dreams would lead him as far as that.

Practically nobody realizes that one has to climb to a very high standpoint in order to see the full extension of the psychological problem.

We all start with the idea that psychology is one small aspect of life.

One even thinks in derogatory terms of it as “nothing but,” only this or that, but when one follows up the royal road of dreams, one after a while discovers that the problem of human psychology is by no means small.

One is impressed by the fact that the unconscious of man is a sort of mirror of great things.

It mirrors the totality of the world-a world of reflex images.

Looked at from the standpoint of the conscious, this world is the reality and that the reflex.

But the reflex is just as living and real, just as big and complicated.

There is even the standpoint that the external world is a reflex of the unconscious.

It is only the Western minority who believe that this is the reality, and that other the mirage, the world of images.

While the whole East, the majority, think the only reality lies in those images, and what we say in reality is just a sort of degenerate phantasmagoria which they call the veil of Maya.

That is Plato’s idea-that the original things are hidden, and the realities of our own conscious life are only imitations of the real thing.

So mankind is split in its judgment about the final point of view to take in these matters, and Western consciousness insists on looking at the unconscious products as merely mirror images.

But if we study the dreams we see that the unconscious conveys its own right, it conveys the idea that that side of reality is not to be neglected.

Otherwise everything goes wrong, and we have all sorts of neuroses which we cannot account for.

Apparently one is living in a perfectly rational world, and then it is practically wiped out by one mood that comes up from the unconscious.

It is there, and there are absolutely no means of removing it.

Even the philosopher who explains it away as “nothing but” might have a neurosis and suicidal fantasies like anybody else.

Now our dreamer, as I said, was at that time still very much under the influence of his rationalism.

That is an egocentric point of view-because I believe, I think, things have to behave according to this law.

If a stone should defy the laws of gravity and suddenly begin to rise, the police would be called because a stone had broken the law, and everybody seeing it would be sent to the lunatic asylum.

Look at the physicists when it was discovered that the atoms didn’t behave according to rule.

The whole learned crowd was so upset that every idea of matter dissolved.

Evidently when a certain degree of smallness has been reached there are no laws.

Human experience is only three months old, and when it is six months old it may be that the stone will rise instead of fall.

The recognition of the essential irrationality of the universe hasn’t yet filtered through into our Western Weltanschauung.

We are still convinced that things are going according to rationalistic rules.

Therefore this dream again insists upon the thought that is contained in that great vision of the river.

The unconscious says to him that whatever he does is illusion, that it is all the play of that great river and his life is but one wave on the surface of it.

He may think that he is changing those stripes, but his life means nothing.

That is the Eastern point of view, where the magnitude of man is instantly dissolved.

He might feel as if he were the whole ocean, but of course he is as little the ocean as one grain of sand is the whole of the Sahara.

Such a vision is apt to annihilate human life to such an extent that one just gives up.

Anybody believing that as the ultimate truth would as himself what was the use of attempting anything.

One would suddenly feel manipulated by greater forces and think it was simply useless to struggle, that it was all perfectly futile.

This is the reason of the Eastern quietism.

The life of the Great One is all that matters, it does not matter whether I am alive or dead.

And that leads almost to a state of semi-consciousness.

Nirvana is being in non-being, or non-being i;, being, a paradoxical state in which consciousness of self is absolutely extinguished, assimilated in the Great One.

But now the same unconscious, in its unprejudiced natural functioning, leads the dreamer right back to his own life, choosing images in the terms of his daily life, bringing him back to his particular task.

It shows him that his machine is not in order and that he should be busy on it.

The two dreams are inconsistent, yet this one is full of allusions to the former, which it seems to contradict.

What was the main theme is now somewhat in a corner, as a more or less irrelevant detail; it is now merely contained in his associations that details of the machine are related to divisions of time.

From this we conclude that the Eastern standpoint is no more an absolute truth than the Western.

Our individual life is not an illusion, it also is valid.

And there you have the enormous conflict between the two Weltanschauungen, the two great aspects of our own psychology.

So in this dream he is taken away from the mood of the world vision.

It is as if the unconscious had reached a culminating point in that great picture and then dropped him to the level of his most personal problem.

One often finds that in dreams-a sudden leap from the heights into the greatest individual misery, perhaps, as if it said, here is a vision a law of life, and, by the way, your machine is out of order.

This is the counterpoint in dreams.

After the most general theme, one suddenly hears the individual note as a sort of contrast.

And since even the unconscious recognizes the necessity of the individual standpoint, brings it in with the same insistence as the general motif, gives it the same value and dignity, that we may therefore assume, I should say that the smallest thing is just as important as the greatest thing.

There would be no Sahara without the grain of sand, and the molecule of water is absolutely indispensable for the ocean.

The individual man is indispensable to the existence of the cosmos, and when we return to the ridiculous shortcomings of his personal life, it is just as interesting a problem as when we are led up to those heights from which we catch glimpses of the full extension of universal life.

Now, you remember that the machine has played a role in former dreams. What conclusions did we reach then?

Dr. Baynes: It is concerned with sexuality.

Dr. Jung: Yes, a mechanism in dreams means a mechanism.

And we speak of a mechanism in man when it functions automatically, in a mechanical law-abiding way, when after this comes that.

One knows exactly how it will take place.

It is a perfectly reliable and regular connection of facts, which of course is what one finds in the realm of automatic processes, of instincts.

One would not find it in the realm of will.

Yet sexuality is not only a machine.

It is connected with many processes of the conscious mind, which are directed by free will, as we call it. Things are far more complicated.

We would never be able to explain the functions of the human mind as mechanisms alone.

Apparently in this case, however, it is the mechanical part, the organic part, which is out of order.

Now that former dream, by expressing sexuality through the symbol of the road-making machine, gives it a certain meaning which we should not fail to see.

The making of the road formed the mandala pattern, which meant that the road of sex is the road of fate, the road of the completion of the individual.

So we could say that without that mechanism we would not be in the clutch of fate.

As a matter of fact, if man were liberated from the compulsion of sexuality, he would not be fastened to the earth, he would be always free, like a bird on the wing.

He never would be limited to any definite fate, because he would escape any obligation.

Sex is the power that binds everyone, and therefore it is the most important and the most dreaded thing.

The neurotic tries to escape it because he wants to escape a fate which doesn’t agree with his childish wishes or his egotism.

The dream, by choosing the symbol of the steamroller, conveys the idea of a Juggernaut, a tremendous weight, an inexorable crushing thing which rolls over man and grinds him flat.

In this machine something is out of order.

In his sexuality this man is not right.

There is something which upsets him, and in fact he is lacking in his relation with his wife.

There you would all agree with him in assuming that such a thing should not be, but be careful in drawing such conclusions.

One can say of nothing that it is right or wrong. How can one judge?

The average truth is that if a certain woman marries a certain man there is a sex relation between them, but there might be something stronger than the power of sexuality bringing them together for entirely different ends.

We must allow for such things, because they really happen, and when one treats those cases one learns an extraordinary tolerance for the manifold ways of fate.

People who have to live a certain fate get neurotic if you hinder them from living it, even if it is appalling nonsense in relation to statistical truth.

It is truth that sometimes the water runs uphill.

It may be wrong from the rational point of view, yet such a thing will happen and we must submit.

We see that these things have a certain purpose, for we have really no standpoint from which we could hinder them.

They contribute to the fullness of life, and life must be lived.

One must not try to teach a tiger to eat apples.

A tiger is a tiger only when he eats flesh; a vegetarian tiger is perfect nonsense.

In this case, however, the lack of relationship with his wife is evidently disturbing, for from the beginning his dreams have pointed out that there was something wrong.

The point is brought up again and again and for one reason.

This man has philosophical interests and is inclined to make them a refuge into which he withdraws to shield himself from this most painful problem.

At first he tried occultism and theosophy, and then he hoped I would have discovered some palace of ice where he could hide from this uncanny thing.

After the heights of the last dream, where naturally he would have been only too glad to stay, the dream puts him down into his own reality.

In the magneto dream, the mechanic had to repair the motor and he himself remained passive.

But this time the dream says he must manipulate the machine himself.

The mechanic is again the doctor from the conscious standpoint, but this dream shows me up as a quantite negligeable.

When people have not only the necessity but the ability to help themselves, they are quite apt to put the analyst into insignificant roles.

But that is not to be taken as enabling the patient to step over the analyst.

The conscious standpoint must be very carefully studied.

Suppose somebody with megalomania comes along, thinking I am a funny chap who is giving him a good time for a while, and then he dreams that I am an ordinary barber or a tailor. In this case it would have an entirely different meaning.

To him I would say, “Your Highness, I am your most obedient servant and only too glad to tie your shoes,” and by that he will learn where his mistake lies.

Or a woman patient might dream of me as a concierge, whom she tips as she goes out.

In consequence I am something beyond the Pope, God himself, to her conscious mind.

The concierge is presented in compensation for an enormous overrating.

So there is no absolute rule in interpreting a dream, it is always relative to the patient’s psychology.

It depends on the conscious point of view; one must know what the dream is trying to compensate.

In the former dream he took me as the master mechanic, while in this one he is a step farther on; before he has even noticed the mechanic he finds that he can put the machine into order himself.

So I am completely depotentiated.

This would be a wish-fulfillment, if you like-what we call in German “Zukunftsmusik” for the dream impresses him with the role that he might play but which he is not yet playing.

It is obvious that the unconscious has the tendency to make me the quantite negligeable and to make him the important man who understands machinery.

That is a great step forward because it helps him to realize his own activity and to rely on his own judgment and his own skill.

lt shows that the unconscious is so far in its development that it enables him to take over a responsible role, and we may assume that if this development continues, he will be able to take
the solution of his problem into his own hands.

When he first came to me he wanted to be told what to do, he wanted a prescription.

If it turned out to be the right one he would make a god of me,

but the next time he blundered, he would say, “Why have you given me such bad advice?”

It is either a failure or I am a god.

Therefore I face him with my utter ignorance and refuse to give him a prescription.

I impress him with the fact that it must be worked out.

Consciously he doesn’t know a solution, he says there is none.

But there are no insoluble problems.

His own unconscious is the great river, and if he can only get into that river the problem will be solved somehow.

Sometimes it does not solve itself with the agreement of the conscious, sometimes a problem knocks one flat and the river rolls over one.

That is also a solution, though naturally one dislikes it.

If he trusts his rational mind only, the river will surely roll over him. It is in a way reasonable to take a modest place and try to work it out with me.

But now, in the development of his analysis it dawns upon him that he must take the whole problem into his own hands, and he has a certain confidence that he can do something with it.

He feels a profound willingness to tackle it in the artistic way in which an expert would handle it-not impulsively, like a Negro who hits the motor to punish it, but wisely, like an expert.

So this is what he is doing in fixing those cylinders.

It is very difficult to elucidate this symbolism, especially the peculiar connection with time.

But if one can express psychological facts in terms of days, months, years, etc., one can say that these units mean psychological constituents, parts of the great river, and then one understands this peculiar arrangement.

Such a mandala would be a sort of map or ground plan of the structure of the psyche or self, the expression of what man is as a psychical entity.

The East would understand it in this way.

The main body or the virtual centre would express the self, and the parts around it would be constituents of the self, as the months or the days are the constituents of the year.

There is an analogy in the early Christian idea that Christ’s body was the Church year; each year repeats the events in the life of Christ.

As Christ has twelve disciples constituting his body, so the year is constituted of twelve months, and so the zodiacal serpent is constituted by twelve zodiacal signs, and this is said to be the Christ again, because he himself said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches. ”

The vine and the branches are indispensable to each other, and so the Church minus the twelve apostles is nonexistent, as the year without the twelve months would be nonexistent.

So man is like the year with its twelve months and so many weeks and days and hours.

He has, let us say, four seasons, four constituents, like the four gates of consciousness in the East and the four functions which I have discriminated.

Again and again we find this system of four turning up.

The typical mandala in Buddhism always contains the square, the so-called courtyard of the monastery, with the four gates of consciousness, portrayed by the colours red, blue, yellow, and green.

And that is what I see every day when my patients begin to draw.

The number of constituents can be increased to any amount, usually it is four, or it may be twelve or twenty-four, but it is always an equal number.

One is quite safe in assuming that something is wrong when a mandala has only three corners.

That would mean that one function was quite lacking.

I saw such a mandala drawing once, made by a man who was in fact almost entirely without the function of sensation.

The quadratura circuli was the problem of the Middle Ages, the problem of psychological completeness.

And this idea of the mandala expressing the totality of the human being and the right position in the universe, is the fundamental idea underlying the motif of the machine.

It is the central fact, the underlying pattern, and it can be nothing else.

Therefore the steamroller, which makes the road, reproduces this pattern.

Now, these constituents of the personality-which one may call functions, or Mendelian units, or the primitives would call them remnants of ancestral souls-these constituents don’t always fit.

They may be irregular, perhaps, on account of some inner friction.

But through the development of life, in the course of years, these constituents ought to function in such a way that there will be in the end a complete synthesis, the integration of human personality.

So many neurotic conditions are due at the beginning to certain incongruities, temporary tendencies that simply won’t blend; fire and water won’t come together, and upon that split the whole neurosis is based.

The neurosis has the purpose of hiding or bridging over that gap.

Analysis has the task of filling it up by a peculiar experience, which might be the cement for fire and water and hold the two resisting things together.

The difficulties in life are nearly always based upon such fissures or incompatibilities, and it seems as if the purpose of psychological life was to let them function together till the irregularities have rubbed off, like the irregularities in the facets of the cog-wheel, so that in the end all the incongruities shall adapt themselves in a smooth functioning.

Our dreamer is trying to do this; his constituents obviously do not work together.

Where have we met this idea before?

Answer: The chicken dream.

Dr. Jung: Yes, one chicken always ran away, One constituent has an evasive tendency and tries to escape.

There is ample reason in his case for such an evasive element, for this is a typical example of the inferior function.

The inferior function is not a welcome fact.

You agree to the superior function and you admit the auxiliary function to help the superior one, but if there is something in you which won’t fit in your machine, which causes you trouble all the time, you naturally help that thing to run away.

Your machine then apparently functions all right, but from time to time there is a crash and you are upset and that is of course the neurotic condition.

The neurotic condition means a state where one is functionally, chronically interfered with.

A little wheel has gone loose in his head, we say in German, or perhaps it has only slipped a cog.

He uses the word “rotule,” which etymologically is perfectly correct.

It comes from a Latin word meaning “little wheel,” but it is the French technical term for this kind of articulation.

A constituent of his personality does not function with the others.

It should come in somewhere, so now he is giving every cog-wheel such a position that the main surface will show; he is mending the trouble, apparently.

What is the meaning of that?

Dr. Deady: A differentiation in consciousness of the elements of personality.

Dr. Jung: Yes, he has apparently done the right thing.

I would myself say that the sex question was not really the fundamental trouble, but the dream says that it will function much better.

It is, in a way, a disappointing dream, we would naturally expect something more startling.

Nothing at all and yet it begins to function.

Mrs. Sigg: He puts the functions in the order of their greatest differentiation.

Dr. Jung: Yes, he tries to arrange these constituents in such a way that they show their most differentiated surfaces.

He takes them at their main value.

Dr. Deady: He arranges them simply so that each cylinder shows.

Dr. Jung: Exactly.

He establishes a consciousness which is aware of the main value of the constituents of his personality.

Merely a change in consciousness.

It looks like nothing, but it is the most important thing. It is like balancing the accounts in a big business.

Before, he was constantly deceived by irregularities, he never had the right idea.

Now he will know that each constituent has such and such an importance and give it due consideration.

What is disturbing him will now come in under its own name.

That is a guarantee of a relative smoothness of functioning.

He will function much better in future. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 444-455