Critics have sometimes accused me outright of “philosophical” or even “theological” tendencies, in the belief that I want to explain everything “philosophically” and that my psychological views are “metaphysical.” But I use certain philosophical, religious, and historical material for the exclusive purpose of illustrating the psychological facts. If, for instance, I make use of a God-concept or an equally metaphysical concept of energy, I do so because they are images which have been found in the human psyche from the beginning. I find I must emphasize over and over again that neither the moral order, nor the idea of God, nor any religion has dropped into man’s lap from outside, straight down from heaven, as it were, but that he contains all this in nuce within himself, and for this reason can produce it all out of himself. It is therefore idle to think that nothing but enlightenment is needed to dispel these phantoms.

The ideas of the moral order and of God belong to the ineradicable substrate of the human soul. That is why any honest psychology, which is not blinded by the garish conceits of enlightenment, must come to terms with these facts. They cannot be explained away and killed with irony.

In physics we can do without a God-image, but in psychology it is a definite fact that has got to be reckoned with, just as we have to reckon with “affect,” “instinct,” “mother,” etc. It is the fault of the everlasting contamination of object and imago that people can make no conceptual distinction between “God” and “God-image,” and therefore think that when one speaks of the “God-image,” one is speaking of God and offering “theological” explanations.

It is not for psychology, as a science, to demand a hypostatization of the God-image. But, the facts being what they are, it does have to reckon with the existence of a God-image. In the same way it reckons with instinct but does not deem itself competent to say what “instinct” really is. The psychological factor thereby denoted is clear to everyone, just as it is far from clear what that factor is in itself.

It is equally clear that the God-image corresponds to a definite complex of psychological facts, and is thus a quantity which we can operate with; but what God is in himself remains a question outside the competence of all psychology.

I regret having to repeat such elementary truths.