14 May 1930

Mrs. Baynes: You said about this specific case, when you discussed this phase of the dream, that it was as if he were in such close participation mystique with his wife that he could take her as himself subjectively, and it was true that she also was going to be productive.

Dr. Jung: That is it. As you know, this man has practically no relation with his wife, he cannot talk to her because she much prefers to cling to traditional things, to stay in a safe refuge against the chaotic possibilities of the mind, as many a man clings to a safe marriage against erotic possibilities.

This absence of relationship is compensated in the unconscious. You see, when you are living with somebody with whom you have no real relationship, you are unconsciously connected. And that peculiar unconscious relationship produces a psychological condition which could be compared to a sort of continuum where both function, as if they were both in the same tank under water. They are under the same cover, in the same boat, which makes a particular kind of immediate relationship.

This unconscious relationship produces most peculiar phenomena, such as dreams which clearly do not belong to the individual. So when it is a matter of husband and wife, the husband may dream the dreams of the wife, or the other way around; or one of them may be forced to do something which proceeds not from his own psychology but from the psychology of the other. Those are symptoms of such a participation mystique.

Obviously, that man’s conscious relation to his wife is insufficient, so here we can assume an unconscious contamination in which he as well as his wife functions. You see, his wife has a marked resistance against any kind of thinking, as he has against his Eros side. She will not use her mind. A thing must be ready-made and safe, guaranteed for at least two thousand years, backed up by the highest authority, before she will accept it. It must be absolutely water- and air-tight and nothing to be changed.

Of course, that is perfectly unnatural; it is abnormal and machine-like; something has been killed, and it has therefore been compensated in her unconscious, where she produces extraordinary things of which we do not know. There she thinks furiously, there she is busy with all sorts of radical things, perhaps with religion. If we had her dreams we would see that. Her unconscious is in a real turmoil, and it is repressed and cannot boil over into the conscious, but in the night it creeps into the open canals of her husband’s brains.

His mind is open and he speaks it out and shocks her out of her wits, because it is her own stuff he is talking, the stuff she is talking in the night with the devils. And likewise, on the other side, what she says in the conscious is to a great extent brought forth by the unconscious feelings of his anima.

When the patient had this dream I didn’t tell him all this, because at that stage it would have been wrong to preach too much wisdom. It was more important that he should learn to make his own way in analysis, catch the feeling that he could handle the stuff. At first it was very strange to him, but now we shall see his attempts to interpret the dreams coming to the foreground, and I did not want to interfere with that.

In the case of such a man it is very important to be on good terms with his superior function, as in the same way it is wrong to put oneself in opposition to a woman’s Eros. Otherwise one works against a great power, which is too much waste of energy.