Archives for posts with tag: memories dreams reflections

Anima and Animus: Personification of the feminine nature of a man’s unconscious and the masculine nature of a woman’s. This psychological bisexuality is a reflection of the biological fact that it is the large number of male (or female) genes which is the decisive factor in the determination of sex. The smaller number of contrasexual genes seems to produce a corresponding contrasexual character, which usually remains unconscious. Anima and animus manifest themselves most typically in personified form as figures in dreams and fantasies (“dream girl,” “dream lover”), or in irrationalities of a man’s feeling and a woman’s thinking. As regulators of behavior they are two of the most influential archetypes.

C.G. Jung:

Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definitive feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, a hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system of the man, an imprint or ‘archetype’ of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were ,of all the impressions ever made by a woman . . . Since this image is unconscious, it is always unconsciously projected upon the person of the beloved, and is one of the chief reasons for passionate attraction or aversion. (The Development of Personality, CW 17, p. 198)

In its primary ‘unconscious’ form the animus is a compound of spontaneous, unpremeditated opinions which exercise a powerful influence on the woman’s emotional life, while the anima is similarly compounded of feelings which thereafter influence or distort the man’s understanding (‘she has turned his head’). Consequently the animus likes to project itself upon ‘intellectuals’ and all kinds of ‘heroes,’ including tenors, artists, sporting celebrities, etc. The anima has a predilection for everything that is unconscious, dark, equivocal, and unrelated in woman, and also for her vanity, frigidity, helplessness, and so forth. (The Practice of Psychotherapy, CW 16, par. 521)

. . . no man can converse with an animus for five minutes without becoming the victim of his own anima. Anyone who still had enough sense of humor to listen objectively to the ensuing dialogue would be staggered by the vast number of commonplaces, misapplied truisms, cliches from newspapers and novels, shop-soiled platitudes of every description interspersed with vulgar abuse and brain-splitting lack of logic. It is a dialogue which, irrespective of its participants, is repeated millions and millions of times of all languages of the world and always remains essentially the same. (Aion, CW 9, ii, p. 15)

The natural function of the animus (as well as of the anima) is to remain in [their] place between individual consciousness and the collective unconscious; exactly as the persona is a sort of stratum between the ego-consciousness and the objects of the external world. The animus and the anima should function as a bridge, or a door, leading to the images of the collective unconscious, as the persona should be a sort of bridge into the world. (Unpublished Seminar Notes. “Visions” I, p. 116)


The concept of the archetype . . . is derived from the repeated observation that, for instance, the myths and fairytales of world literature contain definite motifs which crop up everywhere. We meet these same motifs in the fantasies, dreams, deliria, and delusions of individuals living today. These typical images and associations are what I call archetypal ideas. T he more vivid they are, the more they will be coloured by particularly strong feeling-tones . . . They impress, influence, and fascinate us. They have their origin in the archetype, which in itself is an irrepresentable, unconscious, pre-existent form that seems to be part of the inherited structure of the psyche and can therefore manifest itself spontaneously anywhere, at any time. Because of its instinctual nature, the archetype underlies the feeling-toned complexes and shares their autonomy. (Civilization in Transition, CW 10, par. 847)

Again and again I encounter the mistaken notion than an archetype is determined in regard to its content, in other words that it is a kind of unconscious idea. It is necessary to point out once more that archetypes are not determined as regards their content, but only as regards their form and then only to a very limited degree. A primordial image is determined as to its content only when it has become conscious and is therefore filled out with the material of conscious experience. The representations themselves are not inherited, only the forms, and in that respect they correspond in every way to the instincts, which are also determined in form only. The existence of the instincts can no more be proved than the existence of the archetypes, so long as they do not manifest themselves concretely. (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, i, pp. 79 f.)


Complexes are psychic fragments which have split off owing to traumatic influences or certain incompatible tendencies. As the association experiments prove, complexes interfere with the intentions of the will and disturb the conscious performance; they produce disturbances of memory and blockages in the flow of associations; they appear and disappear according to their own laws; they can temporarily obsess consciousness, or influence speech and action in an unconscious way. In a word, complexes behave like independent beings, a fact especially evident in abnormal states of mind. In the voices heard by the insane they even take on a personal ego-character like that of the spirits who manifest themselves through automatic writing and similar techniques. (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psy9che, CW 8, p. 121)


The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost recesses of the psyche, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness may extend . . . All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of the primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so childish, grotesque, and immoral. (Civilization in Transition, CW 10, pars. 304 f.)


The process by which a person becomes a psychological ‘in-dividual,’ that is, a separate, indivisible unity or ‘whole.’ (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, i, p. 275)

Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realization.’  (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, CW 7, par. 266)

But again and again I note that the individuation process is confused with the coming of the ego into consciousness and that the ego is in consequences identified with the self, which naturally produces a hopeless conceptual muddle. Individuation is then nothing but ego-centredness and autoeroticism. But the self comprises infinitely more than a mere ego . . . It is as much one’s self, and all other selves, as the ego. Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself. (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, CW 8, p. 226)

Numinosum: Rudolf Otto’s term for the inexpressible, mysterious, terrifying, directly experienced and pertaining only to the divinity.

Persona: Originally, the mask worn by an actor.

C.G. Jung:

The persona . . . is the individual’s system of adaptation to, or the manner he assumes in dealing with, the world. Every calling or profession has its own characteristic persona. . . . Only, the danger is that [people] become identical with their personas–the professor with his textbook, the tenor with his voice. . . . One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is. (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, i., pp. 122 f.)

Shadow: The inferior part of the personality; sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life and therefore coalesce into a relatively autonomous “splinter personality” with contrary tendencies in the unconscious.The shadow behaves compensatorily to consciousness; hence i ts effects can be positive as well as negative. In dreams, the shadow figure is always of the same sex as the dreamer.

C.G. Jung:

The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly–for instance, inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies. (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, I, pp. 284 f.)

Synchronicity: A term coined by Jung to designate the meaningful coincidence or equivalence (a) of a psychic and a physical state or event which have no causal relationship to one another. Such synchronistic phenomena occur, for instance, when an inwardly perceived event (dream, vision, premonition, etc.) is seen to have a correspondence in external reality: the inner image of premonition has “come true”; (b) of similar or identical thoughts, dreams, etc. occurring at the same time in different places. Neither the one nor the other coincidence can be explained by causality, but seems to be connected primarily with activated archetypal processes in the unconscious.

C.G. Jung:

Synchronicity is no more baffling or mysterious than the discontinuities of physics. It is only the ingrained belief in the sovereign power of causality that creates intellectual difficulties and makes it appear unthinkable that causeless events exist or could ever occur. . . . Meaningful coincidences are thinkable as pure chances. But the more they multiply and the greater and more exact the correspondence is, the more their probability sinks and their unthinkability increases, until they can no longer be regarded as pure chance but, for lack of a causal explanation, have to be thought of as meaningful arrangements. . . . Their ‘inexplicability’ is not due to the fact that the cause is unknown, but to the fact that a cause is not even unthinkable in intellectual terms. (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, CW 8)

Unconscious, the:

Theoretically, no limits can be set to the field of consciousness, since it is capable of indefinite extension. Empirically, however, it always finds its limit when it comes up against the unknown. This consists of everything we do not know, which, therefore, is not related to the ego as the centre of the field of consciousness. The unknown falls into two groups of objects: those which are outside and can be experienced by the senses, and those which are inside and are experienced immediately. The first group comprises the unknown in the outer world; the second the unknown in the inner world. We call this latter territory the unconscious. (Aion, CW 9, ii, p. 3)

. . . everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness: all this is the content of the unconscious. (The Structue and Dynamics of the Psyche, CW 8)

Besides these we must include all more or less intentional repressions of painful thoughts and feelings. I call the sum of all these contents the ‘personal unconscious.’ But, over and above that, we also find in the unconscious qualities that are not individually acquired but are inherited, e.g., instincts as impulses to carry out actions from necessity, without conscious motivation. In this ‘deeper’ stratum we also find the . . . archetypes . . .The instincts and archetypes together form the ‘collective unconscious.’ I call it ‘collective’ because unlike the personal unconscious, it is not made up of individual and more or less unique contents but of those which are universal and are of regular occurrence.


Unfortunately, the mythic side of man is given short shrift nowadays. He can no longer create fables. As a result, a great deal escapes him; for it is important and salutary to speak also of incomprehensible things. Such talk is like the telling of a good ghost story, as we sit by the fireside and smoke a pipe.

We cannot visualize another world ruled by quite other laws, the reason being that we live in a specific world which has helped to shape our minds and establish our basic psychic conditions. We are strictly limited by our innate structure and therefore bound by or whole being and thinking to this world of ours. Mythic man, to be sure, demands a “going beyond all that,” but scientific man cannot permit this. To the intellect, all my mythologizing is futile speculation. To the emotions, however, it is a healing and valid activity; it gives existence a glamour which we would not like to do without. Nor is there any good reason why we should.

But when one follows the path of individuation, when one lives one’s own life, one must take mistakes into the bargain; life would not be complete without them. There is no guarantee–not for a single moment–that we will not fall into error or stumble into deadly peril. We may think there is a sure road. But that would be the road of death. Then nothing happens any longer–at any rate, not the right things. Anyone who takes the sure road is as good as death.

The predominantly rationalistic European finds much that is human alien to him, and he prides himself on this without realizing that his rationality is won at the expense of his vitality, and that the primitive part of his personality is consequently condemned to a more or less underground existence.

“See,” Ochwiay Biano said, “how cruel the whites look. Their lips are thin, their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think they are mad.”

I asked him why he thought the whites were all mad.

“They say that they think with their heads,” he replied.

“Why of course. What do you think with?” I asked him in surprise.

“We think here,” he said, indicating his heart.

What we from our point of view call colonization, missions to the heathen, spread of civilization, etc., has another face–the face of a bird of prey seeking with cruel intentness for distant quarry–a face worthy of a race of pirates and highwaymen. All the eagles and other predatory creatures that adorn our coats of arms seem to me apt psychological representatives of our true nature.”

What nature leaves imperfect, the art perfects,” say the alchemists. Man, I, in an invisible act of creation put the stamp of perfection on the world by giving it objective existence. This act we usually ascribe to the Creator alone, without considering that in doing so we view life as a machine calculated down to the last detail, which, along with the human psyche, runs on senselessly, obeying foreknown and predetermined rules. In such a cheerless clockwork fantasy there is no drama of man, world, and God; there is no “new day” leading to “new shores,” but only the dreariness of calculated processes.

Now I knew what it was, and knew even more: that man is indispensable for the completion of creation; that, in fact, he himself is the second creator of the world, who alone has given to the world its objective existence–without which, unheard, unseen, silently eating, giving birth, dying heads nodding through hundreds of millions of years, it would have gone on in the profoundest night of non-being down to its unknown end. Human consciousness crated objective existence and meaning, and man found his indispensable place in the great process of being.

In India I was principally concerned with the question of the psychological nature of evil. I had been very much impressed by the way this problem is integrated in Indian spiritual life, and I saw it in a new light. In a conversation with a cultivated Chinese I was also impressed, again and again, by the fact that these people are able to integrate so-called “evil” without “losing face.” In the West we cannot do this. For the Oriental the problem of morality does not appear to take first place, as it does for us. To the Oriental, good and evil are meaningfully contained in nature, and are merely varying degrees of the same thing.

I saw that Indian spirituality contains as much of evil as of good. The Christian strives for good and succumbs to evil; the Indian feels himself to be outside good and evil, and seeks to realize this state by meditation or yoga. My objection is that, given such an attitude, neither good nor evil takes on any real outline, and this produces a certain stasis. One does not really believe in evil, and one does not really believe in good. Good or evil are then regarded at most as my good or my evil, as whatever seems to me good or evil–which leaves us with the paradoxical statement that Indian spirituality lacks both evil and good, or is so burdened by contradictions that it needs nirdvandva, the liberation from opposites and from ten thousand things.

The Indian’s goal is not moral perfection, but the condition of nirdvandva. He wishes to free himself from nature; in keeping with this aim, he seeks in meditation the condition of imagelessness and emptiness. I, on the other hand, wish to persist in the state of lively contemplation of nature and of the psychic images. I want to be freed neither from human beings, nor from myself, nor from nature; for all these appear to me the greatest of miracles. Nature, the psyche, and life appear to me like divinity unfolded–and what more could I wish for? To me the supreme meaning of Being can consist only in the fact that it is, not that it is not or is no longer.

To me there is no liberation a tout prix. I cannot be liberated from anything that I do not possess, have not done or experienced. Real liberation becomes possible for me only when I have done all that I was able to do, when I have completely devoted myself to a thing and participated in it to the utmost. If I withdraw from participation, I am virtually amputating the corresponding part of my psyche. Naturally, there may be good reasons for my not immersing myself in a given experience. But then I am forced to confess my inability, and must know that I may have neglected to do something of vital importance. In this way I make amends for the lack of a positive act by the clear knowledge of my incompetence.

A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. They then dwell in the house next door, and at any moment a flame may dart out and set fire to his own house. Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force.

Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the “discontents” of civilization and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up. We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.

The book on types yielded the insight that every judgment made by an individual is conditioned by his personality type and that every point of view is necessarily relative. This raised the question of the unity which must compensate this diversity, and it led me directly to the Chinese concept of Tao.

A subject with which I had been deeply concerned ever since my book Psychology of the Unconscious was the theory of the libido. I conceived the libido as a psychic analogue of physical energy, hence as a more or less quantitative concept, which therefore should not be defined in qualitative terms. My idea was to escape from the prevailing concretism of the libido theory–in other words, I wished no longer to speak of the instincts of hunger, aggression, and sex, but to regard all these phenomena as expressions of psychic energy.

In physics, too, we speak of energy and its various manifestations, such as electricity, light, heat, etc. The situation in psychology is precisely the same. Here, too, we are dealing primarily with energy, that is to say, with measures of intensity, with greater or lesser quantities. It can appear in various guises. If we conceive of libido as energy, we can take a comprehensive and unified view. Qualitative questions as to the nature of the libido–whether it be sexuality, power, hunger, or something else–recede into the background. What I wished to do for psychology was to arrive at some logical and thorough view such as is provided in the physical sciences by the theory of energetics. This is what I was after in my paper “On Psychic Energy” (1928). I see man’s drives, for example, as various manifestations of energic processes and thus as forces analogous to heat, light, etc. Just as it would not occur to the modern physicist to derive all forces from, shall we say, heat alone, so the psychologist should beware of lumping all instincts under the concept of sexuality. This was Freud’s initial error which he later corrected by his assumption of “ego-instincts.” Still later he brought in the superego, and conferred virtual supremacy upon it.

As I worked with my fantasies, I became aware that the unconscious undergoes or produces change. Only after I had familiarized myself with alchemy did I realize that the unconscious is a process, and that the psyche is transformed or developed by the relationship of the ego to the contents of the unconscious. In individual cases that transformation can be read from dreams and fantasies. In collective life it has left its deposit principally in the various religious systems and their changing symbols. Through the study of these collective transformation processes and through understanding of alchemical symbolism I arrived at the central concept of my psychology: the process of individuation.

Man always has some mental reservation, even in the face of divine decrees. Otherwise, where would be his freedom? And what would be the use of that freedom if it could not threaten Him who threatens it?

Student Years

I realized that one gets nowhere unless one talks to people about the things they know. The naive person does not appreciate what an insult it is to talk to one’s fellows about anything that is unknown to them. They pardon such ruthless behavior only in a writer, journalist, or poet. I came to see that a new idea, or even just an unusual aspect of an old one, can be communicated only by facts. Facts remain and cannot be brushed aside; sooner or later someone will come upon them and know what he has found.

Sigmund Freud

The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong. The numinosum is dangerous because it lures men to extremes, so that a modest truth is regarded as the truth and a minor mistake is equated with fatal error. Tout passe–yesterday’s truth is today’s deception, and yesterday’s false inference may be tomorrow’s revelation. This is particularly so in psychological matters, of which, if truth were told, we still know very little. We are still a long way fro understanding what it signifies that nothing has any existence unless some small-and oh, so transitory–consciousness has become aware of it.

One form of life cannot simply be abandoned unless it is exchanged for another.

Confrontations with the Unconscious

The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.

The autobiography of the esteemed, and in my opinion, most important psychologist to have ever lived, C. G. Jung, is first and foremost a subjective spiritual primer.

I find that all my thoughts circle around God like the planets around the sun, and are as irresistibly attracted by Him. I would feel it to be the grossest sin if I were to oppose any resistance to this force.

The autobiography was scribed by Aniela Jaffe, longtime friend and colleague. She writes:

In his scientific works Jung seldom speaks of God; there he is at pains to use the term “the God-image in the human psyche.” This is no contradiction. In the one case his language is subjective, based upon inner experience; in the other it is the objective language of scientific inquiry. As a scientist, Jung is an empiricist. When Jung speaks of his religious experiences in this book, he is assuming that his readers are willing to enter into his point of view. His subjective statements will be acceptable only to those who have had similar experiences–or, to put it another way, to those in whose psyche the God-image bears the same or similar features.

Jung quips:

I have guarded this material all my life, and have never wanted it exposed to the world; for if it is assailed, I shall be affected even more than in the case of my other books. I have suffered enough from incomprehension and from the isolation one falls into when one says things that people do not understand. The ‘autobiography’ is my life, viewed in the light of the knowledge I have gained from my scientific endeavors. Both are one, and therefore this book makes great demands on people who do not know or cannot understand my scientific ideas.

My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole. I cannot employ the language of science to trace this process of growth in myself, for I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem.

Jung, like literally every other scientist whose writings I am familiar with, writes in a painstaking, laborious manner, often repeating himself. He is a very good writer, no doubt, but it clashes with my “less is more” style. As a result there is a lot of material to transcribe.

Yet I would be remiss to allow that laziness to prevent me from perusing the breadth and depth of this man’s contributions and discoveries of the world. This autobiography has inspired me to — long overdue, but better late than never — comb over as many as of Jung’s Collected Works I can get my hands on.