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I. Dream Analysis in its Practical Application i 

II. Problems of Modern Psychotherapy . 32 

III. Aims of Psychotherapy .... 63 

IV. A Psychological Theory of Types . . 85 

V. The Stages of Life 109 

VI. Freud and Jung — Contrasts . . .132 

VII. Archaic Man 143 

VIII. Psychology and Literature . . . 175 

IX. The Basic Postulates of Analytical 

Psychology ...... 200 

X. The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man 226 

XI Psychotherapists or the Clergy . . 255 



Within the last decade there have been many references 
from varied sources to the fact that the western world 
stands on the verge of a spiritual rebirth, that is, a funda- 
mental change of attitude toward the values of life After 
a long period of outward expansion, we are beginning to 
look within ourselves once more. There is very general 
agreement as to the phenomena surrounding this increasing 
shift of interest from facts as such to their meaning and value 
to us as individuals, but as soon as we begin to analyse the 
anticipations nursed by the various groups in our world 
with respect to the change that is to be hoped for, agreement 
is at an end and a sharp conflict of forces makes itself felt. 

By those who uphold revealed religion, the rebirth that 
seems imminent is thought of as a renaissance of Catholicism 
or Protestantism, as the case may be. They see mankind 
streaming by the million back to the bosom of the Church, 
there to be comforted for the disillusionments and disasters 
of our post-war world, there to be taught the paths that 
will lead out of chaos. Renewal of faith in Christianity, 
they say, will bring us back to a sure way of life and restore 
the inspiration the world has lost 

Another great group of people think that the new attitude 
is to be attained by the total destruction of religion as it 
has up to now been understood. Religion is, they say, 
a relic of superstitious barbarism, and in its place must come 


a new and lasting period of " enlightenment Let man 
but apply his knowledge in the right way, especially his 
knowledge of economics and technology, and all the great 
bogies of poverty, ignorance, greed, etc., will vanish into 
thin air and man will be restored to his lost paradise. To 
them the rebirth is to be in the realm of reason alone, and 
the intellect becomes the arbiter of man’s fate. 

Between these two extremes of traditional faith and 
militant rationalism, every conceivable shade of opinion 
about this great problem of humanity’s next step in psychic 
evolution is to be found. It may be said that the middle 
position is held by those people who know that they have 
outgrown the Church as exemplified in Christianity, but 
who have not therefore been brought to deny the fact that 
a religious attitude to life is as essential to them as a belief 
in the authenticity of science These people have experienced 
the soul as vividly as the body, the body as vividly as 
the soul. And the soul has manifested itself to them in 
ways not to be explained in terms either of traditional 
theology or of materialism. They do not wish to sever the 
real piety they feel within themselves from the body of 
scientific fact to which reason gives its sanction. They are 
convinced that if they can attain to more knowledge of the 
inner workings of their own minds, more information about 
the subtle but none the less perfectly definite laws that 
govern the psyche, they can achieve the new attitude that is 
demanded without having on the one hand to regress to what 
is but a thinly veiled mediaeval theology, or on the other, to 
fall victims to the illusions of nineteenth-century ideology. 

It is to this last group of people that Jung speaks in 
convincing terms He does not evade the difficult task of 
synthesizing his knowledge of the soul, gamed in his many 


years of practice as psychiatrist and analyst, into a fund of 
information available and applicable to everyone. He gives 
those clues to the nature and functioning of the psyche for 
which the modem man is painfully groping. The point 
of view he lays before us is a challenge to the spirit, and 
evokes an active response in everyone who has felt within 
himself an urge to grow beyond his inheritance. 

With one exception , 1 all the essays which make up this 
volume have been delivered as lectures. The German texts 
of four of them have been brought out m separate publica- 
tions * and the others are to be found in a volume * together 
with several other essays which have already appeared in 

We are indebted to Mrs. Violet de Laszlo for many helpful 
suggestions in regard to the essay. Psychotherapists or the 
Clergy. Both Dr. Jung and Mrs Jung have been kind 
enough to read and criticize the translations in part 

Cary F. Baynes. 

Zurich, March 1933 

1 Freud and Jung — Contrasts, was written at the special request of a 
German editor 

* (a) For the German text of Psychology and Literature ( Psychologic und 
die Literaturwissenschaft) see Vie Philosophic der Literaturwissenschaft, by 
Professor Emil Ermatinger, Junker und Dtinnhaut, Berlin, 19Z9 An 
English translation by Eugene Jolas appeared in Transition, 1930. 

(b) Psychotherapists or the Clergy — A Dilemma is in German entitled 
Die Benehungen der Psychotherapie tur Seelsorge, Rascher & Cie, Zflnch, 
193 2 

(c) The Basic Postulates of Analytical Psychology appeared in the 
Europdische Revue for July 1931, under the title. Die Entschleierung der 

(d) Dream Analysts In Its Practical Application appears m the Bencht 
Uber den VI Allgemetnen drtxhchen Kongress fdr Psychotherapie, Dresden, 
April 1930 

* Seclenprobleme der Gegenwart, Rascher & Cie, Ztinch, 1931 



The use of dream-analysis in psychotherapy is still a 
much-debated question Many practitioners find it indis- 
pensable in the treatment of neuroses, and ascribe as much 
importance to the psychic activity manifested m dreams 
as to consciousness itself Others, on the contrary, dispute 
the value of dream-analysis, and regard dreams as a negligible 
by-product of the psyche 

Obviously, if a person holds the view that the unconscious 
plays a leading r61e in the formation of neuroses, he will 
attnbute practical significance to dreams as direct ex- 
pressions of the unconscious. If, on the other hand, he 
denies the unconscious or thinks that it has no part in the 
development of neuroses, he will minimize the importance 
of dream-analysis. It is regrettable that m this year of 
grace 1931, more than half a century since Cams formulated 
the concept of the unconscious, over a century since Kant 
spoke of the “ immeasurable . . . field of obscure ideas ”, 
and nearly two hundred years since Leibniz postulated an 


unconscious psychic activity, not to mention the achieve- 
ments of Janet, Flournoy and Freud — that after all this, 
the actuality of the unconscious should still be a matter 
for controversy. Since it is my intention to deal exclusively 
with questions of practical treatment, I will not attempt in 
this place a defence of the hypothesis of the unconscious, 
though it is obvious enough that dream-analysis stands or 
falls with this hypothesis. Without it the dream appears 
to be merely a freak of nature, a meaningless conglomerate 
of memory-fragments left over from the happenings of the 
day. Were the dream nothing more than this, there would 
be no excuse for the present discussion We must recognize 
the unconscious if we are to treat of dream-analysis at all, 
for we do not resort to it as a mere exercise of the wits, but 
as a method for uncovering hitherto unconscious psychic 
contents which are causally related to the neurosis and 
therefore of importance in its treatment. Anyone who 
deems this hypothesis unacceptable must simply rule out 
the question of the practicability of dream-analysis. 

But since, according to our hypothesis, the unconscious 
plays a causal part in the neurosis, and since dreams are 
the direct expression of unconscious psychic activity, the 
attempt to analyse and interpret dreams is entirely justified 
from a scientific standpoint. Quite apart from therapeutic 
results, we may expect this line of endeavour to give us 
scientific insight mto psychic causality. For the practitioner, 
however, scientific discoveries can at most be a gratifying 
by-product of his efforts in the field of therapy. He will 
not feel called upon to apply dream-analysis to his patients 
on the chance that it may throw light upon the problem 
of psychic causality. He may believe, of course, that the 
insight so gained is of therapeutic value — in which case 



he will regard dream-analysis as one of his professional 
duties. It is well known that the Freudian school is of 
the opinion that important therapeutic effects are achieved 
by throwing light upon the unconscious causal factors — 
that is, by explaining them to the patient and thus making 
him conscious of the sources of his trouble. 

If we assume, for the time bemg, that this expectation 
is borne out by the facts, we can restrict ourselves to the 
questions whether or not dream-analysis enables us to 
discover the unconscious causes of the neurosis, and whether 
it can do this unaided, or must be used in conjunction with 
other methods. The Freudian answer, I may assume, is 
common knowledge. My own experience confirms this view 
inasmuch as I have found that dreams not infrequently bring 
to light in an unmistakable way the unconscious contents 
that are causal factors in a neurosis Most often it is the 
initial dreams that do this— I mean, those dreams that a 
patient reports at the very outset of a treatment. An 
illustration will perhaps be helpful. 

I was consulted by a man who held a prominent position 
in the world. He was afflicted with a sense of anxiety and 
insecurity, and complained of dizziness sometimes resulting 
in nausea, of a heavy head and difficulty in breathing — this 
being an exact description of the symptoms of mountain- 
sickness. He had had an unusually successful career, and 
had risen, with the help of ambition, industry and native 
talent, from a humble origin as the son of a poor peasant. 
Step by step he had climbed, attaining at last an important 
post that offered him every opportunity for further social 
advancement. He had actually reached a place in life 
from which he could have begun his ascent into the upper 
regions, when suddenly his neurosis intervened. At this 



point of his story the patient could not refrain from that 
stereotyped exclamation which begins with the f amili ar 
words . “ And just now, when I . . The fact that he 
had all the symptoms of mountain-sickness was highly 
appropriate to the peculiar situation in which he found 
himself He had brought with him to the consultation two 
dreams of the preceding night. 

The first dream was as follows • “I am once more in 
the small village where I was bom. Some peasant boys 
who went to school with me are standing together in the 
street. I walk past them, pretending not to know them I 
hear one of them, who is pointing at me, say : ‘ He doesn’t 
often come back to our village.’ " No tricks of interpretation 
are needed to recognize and to understand the allusion to 
the humble beginnings of the dreamer’s career. The dream 
says quite clearly . “ You forget how far down you 


Here is the second dream “ I am in a great hurry 
because I am gomg on a journey. I hunt up my baggage, 
but cannot find it. Time flies, and the tram will soon be 
leaving. Finally I succeed in getting all my things together 
I hurry along the street, discover that I have forgotten 
a brief-case containing important papers, dash breathlessly 
back again, find it at last, and then run towards the station, 
but make hardly any headway. With a final effort I rush 
on to the platform only to find the tram steaming out into 
the yards. It is very long, and runs in a curious S-shaped 
curve It occurs to me that if the driver is not careful, and 
puts on full steam when he comes to the straight stretch, 
the rear coaches will still be on the curve and will be thrown 
over by the speed of the train. As a matter of fact the 
driver opens the throttle as I try to shout. The rear coaches 



rock frightfully, and are actually thrown off the rails. There 
is a terrible catastrophe. I awake in terror.” 

Here, too, we can understand without much difficulty 
the situation represented by the dream. It pictures the 
patient’s frantic haste to advance himself still further 
Since the driver at the front of the train goes thoughtlessly 
ahead, the coaches behind him rock and finally overturn — 
that is, a neurosis is developed. It is clear that, at this 
period of life, the patient had reached the highest point 
of his career — that the effort of the long ascent from his 
lowly origin had exhausted his strength. He should have 
contented himself with his achievements, but mstead he 
is dnven by his ambition to attempt to scale heights of 
success for which he is not fitted The neurosis came upon 
him as a warning. Circumstances prevented my treating 
the patient, and my view of his case did not satisfy him 
The upshot was that events ran their course in the way 
indicated by the dream. He tried to exploit the professional 
openings that tempted his ambition and ran so violently 
off the track that the tram-wreck was realized in actual 
hfe The patient’s anamnesis permitted the inference that 
the mountam-sickness pointed to Ins inability to climb any 
further. The inference is confirmed by his dreams which 
present this inability as a fact 

We here come upon a characteristic of dreams that must 
take first place in any discussion of the applicability of 
dream-analysis to the treatment of neuroses The dream gives 
a true picture of the subjective state, while the conscious 
mind denies that this state exists, or recognizes it only 
grudgingly. The patient’s conscious ego could see no 
reason why he should not go steadily forward ; he continued 
his struggle for advancement, refusing to admit the fact 



which subsequent events made all too plain — that he was 
actually at the end of his tether When, m such cases, we 
listen to the dictates of the conscious mind, we are always 
in doubt. We can draw opposite conclusions from the 
patient’s anamnesis After all, the private soldier may 
carry a marshal's baton m his knapsack, and many a son 
of poor parents has achieved the highest success. Why 
should it not be so in my patient’s case ? Smce my judge- 
ment is fallible, why should my own conjecture be more 
dependable than his? At this pomt the dream comes in 
as the expression of an involuntary psychic process not 
controlled by the conscious outlook It presents the 
subjective state as it really is It has no respect for my 
conjectures or for the patient’s views as to how things should 
be, but simply tells how the matter stands. I have therefore 
made it a rule to put dreams on a plane with physiological 
fact If sugar appears in the urine, then the unne contains 
sugar, and not albumen or urobilin or something else that 
I may have been led to expect. This is to say that I take 
dreams as facts that are invaluable for diagnosis 

It is the way of dreams to give us more than we ask, 
and this is true of those I have just cited as illustrations 
They not only allowed us an insight into the causes of the 
neurosis, but afforded a prognosis as well. What is more, 
they showed us at what point the treatment should begin 
The patient must be prevented from going full steam ahead 
This is precisely what he tells himself m the dream. 

For the time being we will content ourselves with this 
hint, and return to the question whether dreams enable 
us to explain the causes of a neurosis. I have cited two 
dreams that actually do this. But I could equally well 
cite any number of initial dreams which do nothing of the 



kind, although they are perfectly transparent. I do not 
wish for the present to consider dreams which call for 
searching analysis and interpretation. 

The point is that there are neuroses whose actual origins 
we discover only at the very end of an analysis, and there 
are also cases m which it is of no benefit to have discovered 
the origin of the neurosis. This brings me back to the 
Freudian view, mentioned above, that for the purposes of 
therapy it is necessary for the patient to become conscious 
of the causal factors m his disturbance — a view that is little 
more than a survival of the old theory of the trauma. I do 
not, of course, deny that many neuroses have a traumatic 
origin , I simply contest the notion that all neuroses are 
of this nature and arise without exception from some 
crucial expenence of childhood. This view of the question 
results in a causalistic approach. The doctor must give 
his whole attention to the patient’s past ; he must always 
ask . “ Why ? ” and neglect the equally pertinent question : 
" What for ? ” This is frequently very harmful to the 
patient, for he is forced to search in his memory — perhaps 
over a course of years — for a hypothetical event in his 
childhood, while things of immediate importance are grossly 
neglected A purely causalistic approach is too narrow to 
do justice to the true significance, either of the dream, or of 
the neurosis A person is biassed who turns to dreams for the 
sole purpose of discovering the hidden cause of the neurosis, 
for he leaves aside the larger part of the dream’s actual 
contribution. The dreams I have cited unmistakably 
present the stiological factors in the neurosis , but it is 
clear that they also offer a prognosis or anticipation of the 
future and a suggestion as to the course of treatment as 
well. We must furthermore bear in mind that a great 


many dreams do not touch upon the causes of the neurosis, 
but treat of quite different matters — among others, of the 
patient’s attitude to the doctor. I should like to illustrate 
this by recounting three dreams of the same patient. She 
consulted three different analysts in turn, and at the 
beginning of each treatment she had one of these dreams. 

Here is the first : “ I must cross the frontier into the 

next country, but no one can tell me where the boundary 
lies, and I cannot find it.” The treatment which followed 
this dream was unsuccessful, and was soon broken off 

The second dream is as follows * " I must cross the 

frontier It is a black night, and I cannot find the custom- 
house. After a long search I notice a small light far away 
and suppose that the frontier lies over there But in order 
to reach it, I must cross a valley and pass through a dark 
wood, in which I lose my sense of direction Then I notice 
that someone is with me. This person suddenly clings to 
me like a madman and I awake m terror.” That treatment 
also was discontinued after a few weeks, the reason being 
that the patient was completely disoriented by the analyst’s 
unconscious identification with her. 

The third dream took place when the patient came into 
my hands. It runs • "I must cross a frontier, or rather, I 
have already crossed it, and find myself in a Swiss custom- 
house. I have only a handbag with me, and believe that 
1 have nothing to declare But the customs official dives 
mto my bag and, to my astonishment, pulls out two full- 
sized mattresses ” The patient manned during the course of 
her treatment with me, but not without a violent resistance 
to this step. The cause of her neurotic resistance came to 
light only after many months, and there is not a hmt of it 
anywhere in these dreams They are without exception 



anticipations of the difficulties she is to have with the 
analysts to whom she has come for treatment. 

I could cite many other dreams to the same effect, but 
these may suffice to show that dreams can be anticipatory 
and, m that case, must lose their particular me aning if 
they are treated in a purely causalistic way These three 
dreams give clear information about the analytical situation, 
and it is extremely important for the purposes of therapy 
that this be rightly understood. The first doctor understood 
the situation and sent the patient to the second. Here she 
drew her own conclusions from her dream, and decided to 
leave My interpretation of her third dream disappointed 
her greatly, but she was distinctly encouraged to go on in 
spite of all difficulties by the fact that it reported the frontier 
already crossed. 

Initial dreams are often amazingly transparent and 
clear-cut But as the work of analysis progresses, the 
dreams in a httle while cease to be clear If they should 
prove exceptional, and keep their clarity, we can be sure 
that the analysis has as yet not touched some important 
part of the personality. As a rule, the dreams become less 
transparent, and more blurred, shortly after the beginning 
of the treatment. It becomes increasingly difficult to 
interpret them, a further reason for this being that a point 
may soon be reached where the doctor is unable, if the truth 
be told, to understand the situation as a whole This is how 
the matter really stands, for to say that the dreams are 
unintelligible is a mere reflection of the doctor’s subjective 
opinion Nothing is unclear to the understanding , it is 
only when we fail to understand that things appear unintel- 
ligible and confused. In themselves, dreams are clear — 
that is, they are just as they must be under the given 



conditions. If we look back at these " unintelligible " 
dreams from a later stage of the treatment or from a distance 
of some years, we are often astounded at our own blindness. 
It is a fact that, as an analysis progresses, we come upon 
dreams that are strikingly obscure in comparison with the 
initial dreams. But the doctor should not be too sure that 
these later dreams are really confused, or be too hasty in 
accusing the patient of deliberate resistance He would do 
better to take the fact as an indication of his own growing 
inability to understand the situation. The psychiatrist 
likewise is prone to call a patient “ confused ” when he 
would do well to recognize the projection and admit his 
own confusion, for it is really his understanding that grows 
confused in face of the patient’s strange behaviour. For 
the purposes of therapy, moreover, it is highly important 
for the analyst to admit his lack of understanding from time 
to time, for nothing is more unbearable for the patient 
than to be always understood The latter in any case 
relies too much upon the mysterious insight of the doctor, 
and, by appealing to his professional vanity, lays a dangerous 
trap for him. By taking refuge m the doctor’s self-confidence 
and " profound ” understanding, the patient loses all sense 
of reality, falls into a stubborn transference, and retards 
the cure. 

Understanding is clearly a subjective process It may 
be very one-sided, m that the physician understands while 
the patient does not In such a case the doctor sometimes 
feels it his duty to convince the patient, and if the latter 
will not allow himself to be convinced, the doctor accuses 
him of resistance. When the understanding is all on my 
side, I find it advisable to stress my lack of understanding. 
It is relatively unimportant whether the doctor understands 



or not, but everything hangs on the patient’s doing so 
What is really needed is a mutual agreement which is the 
fruit of joint reflection. It is one-sided, and therefore 
dangerous, understanding for the doctor to prejudge the 
dream from the standpoint of a certain doctrine and to 
make a pronouncement which may be theoretically sound, 
but does not win the patient’s assent. In so far as the 
pronouncement fails m this respect, it is incorrect in the 
practical sense , and it may also be incorrect in the sense that 
it anticipates and thereby cripples the actual development 
of the patient. We appeal only to the patient’s brain if 
we try to inculcate a truth ; but if we help him to grow 
up to this truth in the course of his own development, we 
have reached his heart, and this appeal goes deeper and 
acts with greater force 

When the doctor’s interpretation is based merely upon 
a one-sided theory or a preconceived opmion, his chances 
of convincing the patient or of achieving any therapeutic 
results depend chiefly upon suggestion And let no one 
deceive himself as to the effects of suggestion. In itself 
suggestion is not to be despised, but it has senous limitations, 
and reacts upon the patient’s mdependence of character 
m a very undesirable way. A practising analyst may be 
supposed to believe m the significance and value of the 
widening of consciousness — I mean by this the procedure 
of bringing to light the parts of the personality which were 
previously unconscious and subjecting them to conscious 
discrimination and criticism. It is an undertaking which 
requires the patient to face his problems, and taxes his 
powers of conscious judgement and decision. It is nothing 
less than a challenge to the ethical sense, a call to arms that 
must be answered by the whole personality. Therefore, 



with respect to personal development, the analytical approach 
is of a higher order than methods of treatment based upon 
suggestion. This is a land of magic that works m the dark 
and makes no ethical demands upon the personality. 
Methods of treatment based upon suggestion are deceptive 
makeshifts , they are incompatible with the principles of 
analytical therapy, and should be avoided. But suggestion 
can of course be avoided only when the doctor is aware of 
the many doors through which it can enter There remains 
in the best of circumstances enough — and more than 
enough — unconscious suggestion. 

The analyst who wishes to rule out conscious suggestion 
must consider any dream interpretation invalid that does 
not win the assent of the patient, and he must search until 
he finds a formulation that does. This is a rule which, 
I believe, must always be observed, especially m dealing 
with those dreams whose obscurity is evidence of lack of 
understanding on the part of the doctor as well as of the 
patient. The doctor should regard every dream as a new 
departure — as a source of information about unknown 
conditions concerning which he has as much to learn as 
the patient. It goes without saying that he should hold 
no preconceived opinions based upon a particular theory, 
but stand ready in every single case to construct a totally 
new theory of dreams. There is still a boundless opportunity 
for pioneer-work in this field. 

The view that dreams are merely imaginary fulfilments 
of suppressed wishes has long ago been superseded. It is 
certainly true that there are dreams which embody sup- 
pressed wishes and fears, but what is there which the 
dream cannot on occasion embody ? Dreams may give 
expression to ineluctable truths, to philosophical pro- 


1 3 

nouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, 
anticipations, irrational experiences, even telepathic visions, 
and heaven knows what besides. One thing we ought 
never to forget : almost the half of our lives is passed in 
a more or less unconscious state. The dream is specifically 
the utterance of the unconscious We may call consciousness 
the daylight realm of the human psyche, and contrast it 
with the nocturnal realm of unconscious psychic activity 
which we apprehend as dreamlike fantasy. It is certain 
that consciousness consists not only of wishes and fears, 
but of vastly more than these, and it is highly probable that 
the unconscious psyche contains a wealth of contents and 
living forms equal to or even greater than does conscious- 
ness, which is characterized by concentration, limitation 
and exclusion 

This being the state of affairs, it is imperative that we 
should not pare down the meaning of a dream to fit some 
narrow doctrine. We must remember that there are not 
a few patients who imitate the technical or theoretical 
jargon of the doctor, and do this even in their dreams 
No language exists that cannot be misused It is hard to 
realize how badly we are fooled by the abuse of ideas , it 
even seems as if the unconscious had a way of strangling 
the physician in the coils of his own theory All this being 
so, I leave theory aside as much as possible in analysing 
dreams. We cannot, of course, dispense with theory 
entirely, for it is needed to make things intelligible. It is 
on the basis of theory, for instance, that I expect dreams 
to have a meaning. I cannot prove m every case that 
dreams are meaningful, for there are dreams that neither 
doctor nor patient understands. But I must regard them 
as hypothetically meaningful in order to find courage to 



deal with them at all. To say that dreams contribute in an 
important way to conscious knowledge, and that a dream 
which fails to do so is a dream which has not been properly 
interpreted — this, too, is a theoretical statement But I 
must adopt this hypothesis in order to make it clear to 
myself why I analyse dreams On the other hand, every 
hypothesis about the nature of the dream, its function and 
structure, is merely a rule of thumb and must be subject 
to constant modifications. We must never forget in dream- 
analysis, even for a moment, that we move on treacherous 
ground where nothing is certain but uncertainty. A 
suitable warning to the dream-interpreter — if only it were 
not so paradoxical — would be : “ Do anything you like, 
only don’t try to understand * ” 

When we take up an obscure dream, our first task is not 
to understand and interpret it, but to establish the context 
with minute care. What I have in mind is not a boundless 
sweep of " free associations ” starting from any and every 
image in the dream, but a careful and conscious illumination 
of those chains of association that are directly connected 
with particular images Many patients have first to be 
educated to this task, for they resemble the doctor in their 
urgent desire to understand and to interpret offhand. This 
is particularly the case when they have already been 
educated — or rather, miseducated — by their reading or by a 
previous analysis that went wrong. They give associations 
in accordance with a theory ; that is, they try to understand 
and interpret, and thus they nearly always get stuck. Like 
the doctor, they wish at once to get behind the dream in 
the false belief that it is a mere fa9ade conce aling the true 
meaning. Perhaps we may call the dream a facade, but 
we must remember that the fronts of most houses by no 



means trick or deceive us, but, on the contrary, follow the 
plan of the building and often betray its inner arrangement. 
The “ manifest ” dream-picture is the dream itself, and 
contains the " latent ” meaning If I find sugar in the 
urine, it is sugar, and not a facade that conceals albumen. 
When Freud speaks of the “ dream-facade ”, he is really 
speaking, not of the dream itself, but of its obscurity, and 
m so doing is projecting upon the dream his own lack of 
understanding. We say that the dream has a false front 
only because we fail to see into it. We would do better to 
say that we are dealing with something like a text that 
is unintelligible, not because it has a facade, but simply 
because we cannot read it. We do not have to get behind 
such a text in the first place, but must learn to read it 
We shall best succeed in reading dreams by establishing 
their context, as already remarked. We shall not succeed 
with the help of free associations, any more than we could 
use that means to decipher a Hittite inscription Free 
associations will help me to uncover all my own complexes, 
but for this purpose I need not start from the dream — I 
might as well take a sentence in a newspaper or a " Keep 
out ” sign. If we associate freely to a dream, our complexes 
will turn up right enough, but we shall hardly ever discover 
the meaning of the dream. To do this, we must keep as 
close as possible to the dream-images themselves. When 
a person has dreamed of a deal table, little is accomplished 
by his associating it with his writing-desk which is not 
made of deal. The dream refers expressly to a deal table. 
If at this point nothing occurs to the dreamer; his hesitation 
signifies that a particular darkness surrounds the dream- 
image, and this is suspicious. We would expect him to 
have dozens of associations to a deal table, and when he 



cannot find a single one, this must have a meaning. In 
such cases we should return again and again to the image 
I say to my patients : " Suppose I had no idea what the 
words ‘ deal table ’ mean. Describe this object and give me 
its history in such a way that I cannot fail to understand 
what sort of thing it is.” We succeed in this way in 
establishing a good part of the context of that particular 
dream-image. When we have done this for all the images 
in the dream, we are ready for the venture of interpretation 

Every interpretation is hypothetical, for it is a mere 
attempt to read an unfamiliar text. An obscure dream, 
taken by itself, can rarely be interpreted with any certainty, 
so that I attach little importance to the interpretation of 
single dreams. With a senes of dreams we can have more 
confidence in our interpretations, for the later dreams 
correct the mistakes we have made m handling those that 
went before. We are also better able, in a dream senes, to 
recognize the important contents and basic themes, and 
I therefore urge my patients to make a careful record of 
their dreams and the interpretations given them. I also 
show them how to work up their dreams in the way I have 
just indicated, so that they can bring me in wnting the 
dream and the matenal that forms the context of the 
dream. In later stages of analysis I let them work out the 
interpretations as well. The patient learns in this way how 
to consult the unconscious without the doctor’s help. 

If dreams did nothing more than inform us about the 
causal factors in a neurosis, we could safely let the doctor 
handle them alone. My way of dealing with them, more- 
over, would be quite superfluous if all that we could expect 
of them were a collection of hints and insights helpful to 
the doctor. But since it is probable, as I have shown in 



a few examples, that dreams contain more than practical 
helps for the doctor, dream-analysis deserves very special 
consideration. Sometimes, indeed, it is a matter of life 
and death. 

Among many cases of this sort, I have been especially 
impressed with one that concerned a colleague of mine 
in Zurich. He was a man somewhat older than myself 
whom I saw from time to time, and who always teased me 
on these occasions about my interest m dream-interpretation. 
I met him one day in the street, and he called out to me : 
" How are things going ? Are you still interpreting dreams ? 
By the way, I’ve had another idiotic dream. Does it mean 
something too ? ” He had dreamed as follows : "I am 
climbing a high mountain over steep, snow-covered slopes. 
I mount higher and higher — it is marvellous weather. The 
higher I climb, the better I feel. I think : ‘ If only I could 
go on climbing hke this for ever 1 ’ When I reach the 
summit, my happiness and elation are so strong that I 
feel I could mount right up into space. And I discover 
that I actually can do this. I go on climbing on empty air. 
I awake in a real ecstasy.” When he had told me his 
dream, I said : “ My dear man, I know you can’t give 
up mountaineering, but let me implore you not to go alone 
from now on. When you go, take two guides, and you 
must promise on your word of honour to follow their 
directions ” “ Incorrigible ' ” he rephed laughing, and said 
good-bye I never saw him again. Two months later came 
the first blow. When out alone, he was buried by an 
avalanche, but was dug out in the nick of time by a military 
patrol which happened to come along. Three months after 
this the end came. He went on a climb accompanied by 
a younger friend, but without guides. An alpinist standing 



below saw him literally step out into the air as he was 
letting himself down a rock wall. He fell on to the head 
of his friend, who was waiting beneath him, and both were 
dashed to pieces far below That was ecstas%s in the full 
meaning of the word. 

No amount of scepticism and critical reserve has ever 
enabled me to regard dreams as negligible occurrences. 
Often enough they appear senseless, but it is obviously we 
who lack the sense and the mgenuity to read the enigmatical 
message from the nocturnal realm of the psyche. When 
we see that at least a half of man’s life is passed in this 
realm, that consciousness has its roots there, and that the 
unconscious operates in and out of waking existence, it 
would seem incumbent upon medical psychology to sharpen 
its perceptions by a systematic study of dreams. No one 
doubts the importance of conscious experience ; why then 
should we question the importance of unconscious hap- 
penings ? They also belong to human life, and they are 
sometimes more truly a part of it for weal or woe than any 
events of the day. 

Dreams give information about the secrets of the inner life 
and reveal to the dreamer hidden factors of his personality. 
As long as these are undiscovered, they disturb his waking 
life and betray themselves only in the form of symptoms 
This means that we cannot effectively treat the patient 
from the side of consciousness alone, but must bring about 
a change in and through the unconscious As far as present 
knowledge goes, there is only one way of doing this : there 
must be a thorough-going, conscious assimilation of 
unconscious contents. By " assimilation ”, I mean a 
mutual interpenetration of conscious and unconscious 
contents, and not — as is too commonly thought — a 



one-sided valuation, interpretation and deformation of 
unconscious contents by the conscious mind As to the 
value and significance cf unconscious contents m general, 
very mistaken views are abroad It is well known that the 
Freudian school presents the unconscious in a thoroughly 
depreciatory light, ]ust as also it looks on primitive man 
as little better than a wild beast Its nursery-tales about 
the terrible old man of the tribe and its teachings about 
the “ mfantile-perverse-cnminal ” unconscious have led 
people to make a dangerous monster out of the unconscious, 
that really very natural thing As if all that is good, reason- 
able, beautiful and worth living for had taken up its abode 
m consciousness 1 Have the horrors of the World War really 
not opened our eyes ? Are we still unable to see that man’s 
conscious mind is even more devilish and perverse than the 
unconscious ? 

I was recently reproached with the charge that my 
teaching about the assimilation of the unconscious, were 
it accepted, would undermine culture and exalt pnmitivity 
at the cost of our highest values. Such an opinion can 
have no foundation other than the erroneous belief that 
the unconscious is a monster. Such a view arises from fear 
of nature and of hfe as it actually is Freud has invented 
the idea of sublimation to save us from the imaginary claws 
of the unconscious But what actually exists cannot be 
alchemistically sublimated, and if anything is apparently 
sublimated, it never was what a false interpretation took 
it to be. 

The unconscious is not a demonic monster, but a thing 
of nature that is perfectly neutral as far as moral sense, 
aesthetic taste and intellectual judgement go. It is dangerous 
only when our conscious attitude towards it becomes 



hopelessly false. And this danger grows in the measure 
that we practise repressions. But as soon as the patient 
begins to assimilate the contents that were previously 
unconscious, the danger from the side of the unconscious 
diminishes. As the process of assimilation goes on, it puts 
an end to the dissociation of the personality and to the 
anxiety that attends and inspires the separation of the two 
realms of the psyche. That which my critic feared — I 
mean the overwhelming of consciousness by the unconscious 
— is most likely to occur when the unconscious is excluded 
from life by repressions, or is misunderstood and depreciated 

A fundamental mistake, and one which is commonly 
made, is this . it is supposed that the contents of the 
unconscious are unequivocal and are marked with plus or 
minus signs that are immutable As I see the question, 
this view is too naive. The psyche is a self-regulating 
system that maintains itself in equilibrium as the body 
does. Every process that goes too far immediately and 
inevitably calls forth a compensatory activity. Without 
such adjustments a normal metabolism would not exist, 
nor would the normal psyche. We can take the idea of 
compensation, so understood, as a law of psychic happening 
Too httle on one side results m too much on the other. 
The relation between conscious and unconscious is com- 
pensatory. This fact, which is easily verifiable, affords a 
rule for dream interpretation. It is always helpful, when 
we set out to interpret a dream, to ask ■ What conscious 
attitude does it compensate ? 

Although compensation may take the form of imaginary 
wish-fulfilment, it generally presents itself as an actuality 
which becomes the more strikingly actual the more we try 
to repress it. We know that we do not conquer thirst by 



repressing it. The dream-content is to be taken in all 
seriousness as something that has actually happened to 
us ; it should be treated as a contributory factor m framing 
our conscious outlook. If we do not do this, we shall keep 
that one-sided, conscious attitude which evoked the uncon- 
scious compensation in the first place. But this way holds 
little hope of our ever judging ourselves correctly or finding 
any balance m life 

If anyone should set out to replace his conscious outlook 
by the dictates of the unconscious — and this is the prospect 
which my critics find so alarming — he would only succeed 
in repressing the former, and it would reappear as an 
unconscious compensation. The unconscious would thus 
have changed its face and completely reversed its position. 
It would have become timidly reasonable, m striking 
contrast to its former tone. It is not generally believed 
that the unconscious operates in this way, yet such reversals 
constantly take place and constitute its essential function. 
This is why every dream is a source of information and 
a means of self-regulation, and why dreams are our most 
effective aids in the task of building up the personality. 

The unconscious itself does not harbour explosive 
materials, but it may become explosive owing to the 
repressions exercised by a self-sufficient, or cowardly, 
conscious outlook. All the more reason, then, for giving 
heed to that side ! It should now be clear why I have made 
it a practical rule always to ask, before trying to interpret 
a dream . What conscious attitude does it compensate ? 
As may be seen, I thus bring the dream into the closest 
possible connection with the conscious state. I even 
maintain that it is impossible to interpret a dream with 
any degree of certainty unless we know what the conscious 



situation is. For it is only in the light of this knowledge 
that we can make out whether the unconscious content 
carries a plus or minus sign. The dream is not an isolated 
psychic event completely cut off from daily kfe. If it seems 
so to us, that is only an illusion that arises from our lack 
of understanding In reality, the relation between con- 
sciousness and the dream is strictly causal, and they interact 
in the subtlest of ways. 

I should like to show with the help of an illustration how 
important it is to find the true value of unconscious contents. 
A young man brought me the following dream : “My 
father is driving away from the house in his new car. He 
drives very clumsily, and I get very excited about his 
apparent stupidity He goes this way and that, forward 
and backward, repeatedly getting the car into a tight place 
Finally he runs into a wall and badly damages the car. 
I shout at him m a perfect rage, telling him he ought to 
behave himself My father only laughs, and then I see 
that he is dead drunk.” There is no foundation in fact 
for the dream The dreamer is convinced that his father 
would never behave m that way, even if he were drunk. 
The dreamer himself is used to cars ; he is a careful driver, 
and very moderate in the use of alcohol, especially when he 
has to drive. Bad driving, and even slight injuries to the 
car, irritate him greatly. The son's relation to his father 
is good He admires him for being an unusually successful 
man We can say, without any attempt at interpretation, 
that the dream presents a very unfavourable picture of 
the father What, then, should we take its meaning to 
be as far as the son is concerned ? Is his relation to his 
father good only in appearance, and does it really consist 
of over-compensated resistances ? If this is so we should 



attribute a plus sign to the dream-content ; we should have 
to tell the young man . " This is your actual relation to 
your father.” But since I could find no thing equivocal or 
neurotic in the facts about the son's relation to his father, 
I had no warrant for disturbing the young man’s feelings 
with such a destructive pronouncement. To do so would 
have prejudiced the outcome of the treatment. 

But if his relation to his father is really excellent, why 
must the dream manufacture such an improbable story to 
discredit the father ? The dreamer’s unconscious must have 
a distinct tendency to produce such a dream. Has the 
young man resistances to his father, after all, which are 
perhaps fed by jealousy or a certain sense of inferiority ? 
But before we go out of our way to burden his conscience — 
and with sensitive young people there is always the risk 
that we do this too lightly — we had better, for once, drop 
the question of why he had this dream, and ask ourselves 
mstead ■ What for ? The answer, in this case, would be 
that his unconscious clearly tries to depreciate his father. 
If we take this as a compensation, we are forced to the 
conclusion that his relation to his father is not only good, 
but even too good. The young man actually deserves the 
French sobriquet of fils d papa. His father is still too 
much the guarantor of his existence, and he is still living 
what I call a provisional life. He runs the risk of failing 
to realize hims elf because there is too much “ father ” on 
every side. This is why the unconscious manufactures a 
kind of blasphemy : it seeks to lower the father and to 
elevate the son. " An immoral business ”, we may be 
tempted to say. Every father who lacks insight would be 
on his guard here. And yet this compensation is entirely 
to the point. It forces the son to contrast himself with his 


father, and that is the only way in which he can become 
aware of himself. 

The interpretation ]ust outlined was apparently the 
correct one, for it struck home It won the spontaneous 
assent of the young man, and did no violence to his feeling 
for his father, or to the father’s feeling for him. But this 
interpretation was only possible when the father-son relation 
had been studied in the light of all the facts that were 
accessible to consciousness. Without a knowledge of the 
conscious situation the true meaning of the dream would 
have remained in doubt. 

It is of the first importance for the assimilation of dream- 
contents that no violence be done to the real values of 
the conscious personality. If the conscious personality is 
destroyed, or even crippled, there is no one left to do the 
assimilating. When we recognize the importance of the 
unconscious we are not embarking upon a Bolshevist 
experiment which puts the lowest on top. This would only 
bring about a return of the situation we are trying to correct. 
We must see to it that the conscious personality remains 
intact, for we can only turn the unconscious compensations 
to good account when the conscious personality co-operates 
in the venture. When it comes to the assimilation of a 
content it is never a question of "this or that", but of 
“ this and that ". 

Just as the interpretation of dreams requires exact 
knowledge of the conscious status quo, so the treatment of 
dream symbolism demands that we take into account the 
dreamer’s philosophical, religious and moral convictions. 
It is far wiser in practice not to regard the dream-symbols 
as signs or symptoms of a fixed character. We should 
rather take them as true symbols — that is to say, as 



expressions of something not yet consciously recognized or 
conceptually formulated. In addition to this, they must 
be considered in relation to the dreamer’s immediate state 
of consciousness. I emphasize that this way of treating 
the dream-symbols is advisable in practice because theoretic- 
ally there do exist relatively fixed symbols whose meaning 
must on no account be referred to anything whose content 
is known, or to anything that can be formulated in concepts. 
If there were no relatively fixed symbols, it would be 
impossible to determine the structure of the unconscious 
There would be nothing in it which could be in any way 
laid hold of or described. 

It may seem strange that I should attribute an indefinite 
content to the relatively fixed symbols But it is the 
indefinite content that marks the symbol as against the 
mere sign or symptom. It is well known that the Freudian 
school operates with hard and fast sexual “ symbols ” , 
but these are just what I should call signs, for they are 
made to stand for sexuality, and this is supposed to be 
something definitive. As a matter of fact, Freud’s concept 
of sexuality is thoroughly elastic, and so vague that it 
can be made to include almost anything The word itself 
is familiar, but what it denotes amounts to an indeter- 
minable or variable x that stands for the physiological 
activity of the glands at one extreme and the highest 
reaches of the spirit at the other. Instead of taking a 
dogmatic stand that rests upon the illusion that we know 
something because we have a familiar word for it, I prefer 
to regard the symbol as the announcement of something 
unknown, hard to recognize and not to be fully determined. 
Take, for instance, the so-called phallic symbols, which are 
supposed to stand for the membrum virile and nothing 



more. Psychologically speaking, the membrum is itself — 
as Kranefeldt has recently pointed out — a symbolic image 
whose wider content cannot easily be determined. As was 
customary throughout antiquity, primitive people today 
make a free use of phallic symbols, yet it never occurs to 
them to confuse the phallus, as a ritualistic symbol, with 
the penis. They always take the phallus to mean the 
creative mana, the power of healing and fertility, " that 
which is unusually potent ”, to use Lehmann’s expression 
Its equivalents in mythology and in dreams are the bull, 
the ass, the pomegranate, the yoni, the he-goat, the lightning, 
the horse’s hoof, the dance, the magical cohabitation in the 
furrow, and the menstrual fluid, to mention only a few of 
many. That which underlies all of these images — and 
sexuality itself — is an archetypal content that is hard to 
grasp, and that finds its best psychological expression m 
the primitive mana symbol. In each of the images given 
above we can see a relatively fixed symbol — %.e. the mana 
symbol — but we cannot for all that be certain that when 
they occur in dreams they have no other meaning 
The practical need may call for quite another inter- 
pretation. To be sure, if we had to interpret dreams m an 
exhaustive way according to scientific principles, we should 
have to refer every such symbol to an archetype. But, in 
practice, this kind of interpretation might be a grave 
blunder, for the patient’s psychological state may require 
anything rather than the giving of attention to a theory 
of dreams. It is therefore advisable, for the purposes of 
therapy, to look for the meaning of symbols as they relate 
to the conscious situation — in other words, to treat them as 
if they were not fixed. This is as much as to say that we 
must renounce all preconceived opinions, however knowing 



they make us feel, and try to discover the meaning of things 
for the patient. If we do this, our interpretations will 
obviously not go very far towards satisfying a theory of 
dreams ; in fact, they may fall very short in this respect. 
But if the practitioner operates too much with fixed symbols, 
there is danger of his falling mto mere routine and dogmatism, 
thus failing to meet the patient's need. It is unfortunate 
that, to illustrate the above, I should have to go into greater 
detail than space here permits, but I have elsewhere published 
illustrative material that amply supports my statements. 

As already remarked, it frequently happens at the very 
beginning of a treatment that a dream reveals to the doctor, 
in a wide perspective, the general direction in which the 
unconscious is moving But, for practical reasons, it may 
not be feasible to make clear to the patient, at this early 
stage, the deeper meaning of his dream. The demands of 
therapy are binding upon us m this way also When the 
doctor gams such a far-reaching insight, it is thanks to his 
experience m the matter of relatively fixed symbols. Such 
insight can be of the very greatest value m diagnosis and 
in prognosis as well. I was once consulted in the case of a 
seventeen-year-old girl One specialist had suggested that 
she might be in the first stages of progressive atrophy of 
the muscles, while another thought that she was a hysteric. 
Because of this second opinion, I was called in. The clinical 
picture made me suspect an organic disease, but the girl 
showed traits of hysteria as well I asked for dreams. The 
patient answered at once : “ Yes, I have terrible dreams 
Just recently I dreamed I was coming home at night. 
Everything is as quiet as death. The door into the living- 
room is half open, and I see my mother hanging from the 
chandelier and swinging to and fro in a cold wind that 


blows in through the open windows. At another time I 
dreamed that a terrible noise breaks out in the house at 
night. I go to see what has happened, and find that a 
frightened horse is tearing through the rooms. At last it 
finds the door into the hall, and jumps through the hall 
window from the fourth floor down mto the street. I was 
terrified to see it lying below, all mangled.” 

The way in which these dreams allude to death is enough 
to give one pause. But many persons have anxiety dreams 
now and then. We must therefore look more closely mto 
the meaning of the outstanding symbols, " mother ” and 
“ horse ”. These figures must be equivalent one to the 
other, for they both do the same thing . they commit 
suicide The mother symbol is archetypal and refers to 
a place of origin, to nature, that which passively creates, 
hence to substance and matter, to material nature, the lower 
body (womb) and the vegetative functions It connotes 
also the unconscious, natural and instinctive hfe, the 
physiological realm, the body in which we dwell or are 
contained, for the “ mother ” is also a vessel, the hollow 
form (uterus) that carries and nourishes, and it thus stands 
for the foundations of consciousness. Being within some- 
thing or contained in something suggests darkness, the 
nocturnal — a state of anxiety With these allusions I am 
presenting the idea of the mother in many of its mythological 
and etymological transformations , I am also giving an 
important part of the yin concept of Chinese philosophy. 
All this is dream-content, but it is not something which 
the seventeen-year-old girl has acquired in her individual 
existence ; it is rather a bequest from the past. On the 
one hand it has been kept alive by the language, and on 
the other hand it is inherited with the structure of the 



psyche and is therefore to be found in all times and among 
all peoples. 

The familiar word “ mother ” refers apparently to the 
best-known of mothers in particular — to “ my mother 
But the mother symbol points to a darker meaning which 
eludes conceptual formulation and can only be vaguely 
apprehended as the hidden, nature-bound hfe of the body. 
Yet even this expression is too narrow, and excludes too 
many pertinent side-meanings The psychic reality which 
underlies this symbol is so mconceivably complex that we 
can only discern it from afar off, and then but very dimly 
It is such realities that call for symbolic expression. 

If we apply our findings to the dream, its meaning will 
be the unconscious hfe destroys itself That is the dream’s 
message to the conscious mind of the dreamer and to 
everyone who has ears to hear 

“ Horse ” is an archetype that is widely current in 
mythology and folk-lore. As an animal it represents the 
non-human psyche, the sub-human, animal side, and 
therefore the unconscious This is why the horse in folk- 
lore sometimes sees visions, hears voices, and speaks. As 
a beast of burden it is closely related to the mother- 
archetype ; the Valkyries bear the dead hero to Valhalla 
and the Trojan horse encloses the Greeks. As an animal 
lower than man it represents the lower part of the body and 
the animal drives that take their rise from there The horse 
is dynamic power and a means of locomotion , it carries 
one away like a surge of instinct It is subject to panics 
like all instinctive creatures who lack higher consciousness. 
Also it has to do with sorcery and magical spells — especially 
the black, night horse which heralds death 

It is evident, then, that “ horse ” is the equivalent of 



“ mother ” with a slight shift of meaning. The mother 
stands for life at its origin, and the horse for the merely 
animal life of the body. If we apply this meaning to the 
dream, it says : the animal life destroys itself. 

The two dreams make nearly the same assertion, but, as 
is usually the case, the second is more specific. The peculiar 
subtlety of the dream is brought out in both instances . 
there is no mention of the death of the individual. It is 
notorious that one often dreams of one’s own death, but 
that is no serious matter. When it is really a question of 
death, the dream speaks another language Both of these 
dreams, then, point to a serious, and even fatal, organic 
disease. The prognosis was shortly after borne out in fact 

As for the relatively fixed symbols, this example gives a 
fair idea of their general nature There are a great many 
of them, and they may differ in individual cases by subtle 
shifts of meaning. It is only through comparative studies 
in mythology, folk-lore, religion and language that we can 
determine these symbols in a scientific way. The evolu- 
tionary stages through which the human psyche has passed 
are more clearly discernible in the dream than in conscious 
ness. The dream speaks in images, and gives expression 
to instincts, that are derived from the most primitive levels 
of nature. Consciousness all too easily departs from the 
law of nature ; but it can be brought again into harmony 
with the latter by the assimilation of unconscious contents 
By fostering this process we lead the patient to the 
rediscovery of the law of his own being. 

I have not been able, in so short a space, to deal with 
anything but the elements of the subject. I could not put 
together before your eyes, stone by stone, the edifice that 
is reared in every analysis from the materials of the 



unconscious and finds its completion in the restoration of 
the total personality The way of successive assimilations 
reaches far beyond the curative results that specifically 
concern the doctor. It leads in the end to that distant 
goal (which may perhaps have been the first urge to hfe), 
the bringing into reality of the whole human being— that is, 
individuation. We physicians are without doubt the first 
scientific observers of these obscure processes of nature. 
As a rule we see only a pathological phase of the development, 
and lose sight of the patient as soon as he is cured. But 
it is only when the cure has been effected that we are in 
a position to study the normal process of change, itself 
a matter of years or decades. If we had some knowledge 
of the ends towards which unconscious, psychic growth is 
tending, and if our psychological insight were not drawn 
exclusively from the pathological phase, we should have 
a less confused idea of the processes revealed by dreams 
and a clearer recognition of what it is that the symbols 
point to In my opinion, every doctor should be aware of 
the fact that psychotherapy in general, and analysis in 
particular, is a procedure that breaks into a purposeful and 
continuous development, now here and now there, and 
thus singles out particular phases which may seem to follow 
opposing courses. Since every analysis by itself shows only 
one part or aspect of the deeper course of development, 
nothing but hopeless confusion can result from casuistic 
comparisons. For this reason I have preferred to confine 
myself to the rudiments of the subject and to practical 
considerations. It is only in actual contact with the facts as 
they occur that we can come to anything like a satisfactory 


Psychotherapy, or the treatment of the mind by psycho- 
logical methods, is identified in popular thought today with 
“ psychoanalysis This word is now so widely accepted 
that everyone who uses it seems at the same time to grasp 
its meaning ; yet it is seldom that a layman knows precisely 
what it covers. 

According to the intention of its creator, Freud, it can 
be appropriately applied only to his own particular method 
of explaining psychic symptoms in terms of certain repressed 
impulses Inasmuch as this technique is the consequence 
of a particular approach to life, the idea of psychoanalysis 
mcludes certain theoretical assumptions, among them the 
Freudian theory of sexuality. The founder of psychoanalysis 
himself explicitly insists upon this circumscription. But, 
Freud notwithstanding, the layman apphes the concept of 
psychoanalysis to every land of modem endeavour to 
probe the mind by scientific methods. Thus Adler's school 
must submit to being labelled " psychoanalytic ” despite 
the fact that Adler’s view-point and method are apparently 
in irreconcilable opposition to those of Freud. Because 
of this contrast, Adler himself does not cedi his teaching 
“ psychoanalysis ”, but " individual psychology ” ; while I 
prefer to call my own approach " analytical psychology ”. 
I wish the term to stand for a general conception embracing 


both “ psychoanalysis " and “ individual psychology ”, as 
well as other efforts in this field. 

Since the mind is common to mankind it may seem to the 
layman that there can be only one psychology, and he may 
therefore suppose the divergences between the schools to 
be either subjective quibbling, or else a commonplace 
disguise for the efforts of mediocrities who seek to exalt 
themselves upon a throne. I could easily lengthen the 
list of " psychologies ” by mentioning other systems that 
are not to be included under the head of “ analytical 
psychology ” There are, in fact, many methods, stand- 
points, views and convictions which are all at war with one 
another — the main reason for this being that, smce they 
fail to be mutually comprehensible, none of them can grant 
the validity of any other The many-sidedness and variety 
of psychological opinions in our time is nothing less than 
astonishing, and it is confusing for the layman that no 
general survey of them can be made. 

When we find the most diverse remedies prescribed in 
a text-book of pathology for a given disease, we may con- 
fidently assume that none of these remedies is particularly 
efficacious. So, when many different ways of approaching 
the psyche are recommended, we may rest assured that 
none of them leads with absolute certainty to the goal, 
least of all those advocated in a fanatical way. The very 
number of present-day “ psychologies ” amounts to a 
confession of perplexity. The difficulty of gaining access to 
the mind is gradually borne in upon us, and the mind itself 
is seen to be, to use Nietzsche’s expression, a “ homed ” 
problem It is small wonder therefore that efforts to attack 
this elusive riddle are multiplied, first from one side and 
then from another. The variety of contradictory standpoints 


and opinions of which we have spoken is the inevitable 

The reader will doubtless agree that in discussing psycho- 
analysis we should not limit ourselves to its narrower 
definition, but deal in general with the results and failures 
of the various contemporary endeavours to solve the problem 
of the psyche — endeavours which we have agreed shall all 
be embraced in the concept of analytical psychology. 

And moreover, why is there suddenly so much interest 
in the human psyche as something to be experienced ? 
This has not been the case for thousands of years I wish 
merely to raise this apparently irrelevant question, and 
will not try to answer it. It is in reality not irrelevant, 
because this mterest underlies all such modem movements 
as theosophy, occultism, astrology and so forth 

All that is embraced today in the layman’s idea of 
" psychoanalysis ” originated in medical practice ; and 
consequently most of it is medical psychology. It bears 
the unmistakable imprint of the physician’s consulting- 
room — a fact which is evident not only in its terminology, 
but also in its framework of theory. We constantly come 
upon postulates which the physician has taken over from 
natural science and in particular from biology. This fact 
has largely contributed to the hostility between modem 
psychology and the academic fields of philosophy, history 
and classical learning. Modem psychology is empirical 
and close to nature, while these studies are grounded m the 
intellect. The distance between nature and mind, diffi cult 
to bridge at best, is increased by a medical and biological 
nomenclature which sometimes appears of practical utility, 
but more often severely taxes our good-will. 

In view of the confusion of concepts that exists, I have 


felt it necessary to indulge in the foregoing general remarks. 
I should hke now to turn to the task in hand and consider 
the actual achievements of analytical psychology. Since 
the various endeavours embraced by this term are so 
heterogeneous, it is extremely difficult to take up a generally 
mclusive standpoint. If, then, with regard to the aims and 
results of these endeavours, I try to distinguish certain 
classes, or rather stages, I do it with some reservation. 
I regard it as a merely provisional arrangement, and grant 
that it may seem as arbitrary as a surveyor’s triangulation 
of a country. Be that as it may, I venture to arrange the 
sum-total of findings under the four heads of confession, 
explanation, education, and transformation. I shall now 
proceed to discuss the meaning of these somewhat unusual 

The first beginnings of all analytical treatment are to be 
found in its prototype, the confessional Since, however, 
the two practices have no direct causal connection, but 
rather grow from a common psychic root, it is difficult for 
an outsider to see at once the relation between the ground- 
work of psychoanalysis and the religious institution of the 

As soon as man was capable of conceiving the idea of 
sm, he had recourse to psychic concealment — or, to put 
it in analytical language, repressions arose Anything that 
is concealed is a secret. The maintenance of secrets acts 
like a psychic poison which alienates their possessor from 
the community. In small doses, this poison may actually 
be a pnceless remedy, even an essential preliminary to the 
differentiation of the individual. This is so much the case 
that, even on a primitive level, man has felt an irresistible 
need to invent secrets , their possession saves him from 


dissolving in the unconsciousness of mere community life, 
and thus from a fatal psychic injury. As is well known, the 
many ancient mystery cults with their secret rituals served 
this instinct for differentiation Even the Christian sacra- 
ments were looked upon as mysteries in the early Church, 
and, as in the case of baptism, were celebrated in private 
apartments and only referred to under a veil of allegory. 

However beneficial a secret shared with several persons 
may be, a merely private secret has a destructive effect 
It resembles a burden of guilt which cuts off the unfortunate 
possessor from communion with his fellow-beings. Yet if 
we are conscious of what we conceal, the harm done is 
decidedly less than if we do not know what we are repressing 
— or even that we have repressions at all. In the latter 
case we not merely keep a content consciously private, but 
we conceal it even from ourselves. It then splits off from 
consciousness as an independent complex, to lead a separate 
existence m the unconscious, where it can be neither 
corrected nor interfered with by the conscious mind. The 
complex is thus an autonomous portion of the psyche which, 
as experience has shown, develops a peculiar fantasy-life 
of its own What we call fantasy is simply spontaneous 
psychic activity ; and it wells up whenever the repressive 
action of the conscious mind relaxes or ceases altogether, 
as in sleep. In sleep this activity shows itself in the form 
of dreams. And we continue to dream m waking life 
beneath the threshold of consciousness, especially when 
this activity is conditioned by a repressed or otherwise 
unconscious complex It should be said in passing that 
unconscious contents are by no means exclusively such as 
were once conscious and, by being repressed, have later 
grown into unconscious complexes. Quite otherwise, the 


unconscious has contents peculiar to itself which, slowly 
growing upward from the depths, at last come into conscious- 
ness. We should therefore in no wise picture the unconscious 
psyche to ourselves as a mere receptacle for contents discarded 
by the conscious mind. 

All psychic contents which either approach the threshold 
of consciousness from below, or have sunk only slightly 
beneath it, have an effect upon our conscious activities. 
Since the content itself is not conscious, these effects are 
necessarily indirect. Most of our lapses of the tongue, 
of the pen, of memory, and the like, are traceable to these 
disturbances, as are likewise all neurotic symptoms These 
are nearly always of psychic origin, the exceptions being 
shock effects from shell-explosions and other causes The 
mildest forms of neurosis are the “ lapses ” already referred 
to — blunders of speech, the sudden forgetting of names 
and dates, unexpected clumsiness leading to injuries or 
accidents, misunderstandings of personal motives or of what 
we have heard or read, and so-called hallucinations of 
memory which cause us to suppose erroneously that we 
have said or done this or that. In all these cases a thorough 
investigation can show the existence of a content which m 
an indirect and unconscious way has distorted the conscious 

In general, therefore, an unconscious secret is more 
harmful than one that is conscious I have seen many 
patients in difficult situations of life which might have 
driven weaker natures to suicide. These patients had at 
times a tendency towards suicide, but, on account of their 
inherent reasonableness, would not allow the suicidal urge 
to come mto consciousness. But it remained active m the 
unconscious, and brought about all kinds of dangerous 


accidents — as for instance an attack of faintness or hesitation 
in front of an advancing motor-car, the swallowing of 
corrosive sublimate in the belief that it was a cough mixture, 
a sudden zest for dangerous acrobatics, and so forth When 
it was possible to make the suicidal leaning conscious, 
common-sense could helpfully intervene ; the patients could 
then recognize and avoid those situations that tempted them 
to self-destruction. 

As we have seen, every personal secret has the effect of 
a sin or of guilt — whether or not it is, from the standpoint 
of popular morality, a wrongful secret Now another form 
of concealment is the act of " withholding ” — it being 
usually emotions that are withheld. As in the case of 
secrets, so here also we must make a reservation self- 
restraint is healthful and beneficial ; it is even a virtue. 
This is why we find self-disciphne to have been one of man’s 
earliest moral attainments Among primitive peoples it 
has its place in the initiation ceremonies, chiefly in the 
forms of ascetic continence and the stoical endurance of 
pain and fear Self-restraint, however, is here practised 
within the secret society as something undertaken in com- 
pany with others But if self-restraint is only a pnvate 
matter, and perhaps devoid of any religious aspect, then it 
may be as harmful as the personal secret. From this kind 
of self-restraint come our well-known ugly moods and the 
irritability of the over-virtuous. The emotion withheld is 
also something we conceal — something which we can hide 
even from ourselves — an art in which men particularly 
excel, while women, with very few exceptions, are by nature 
averse to doing such violence to their emotions. When 
emotion is withheld it tends to isolate and disturb us quite 
as much as an unconscious secret, and is equally guilt-laden. 


Just as nature bears us ill-will, as it were, if we possess a 
secret to which mankind has not attained, so also has she 
a grudge against us if we withhold our emotions from our 
fellow-men Nature decidedly abhors a vacuum in this 
respect, m the long run nothing is more unbearable than 
a tepid harmony m personal relations brought about by 
withholding emotion The repressed emotions are often of 
a kind we wish to keep secret. But more often there is no 
secret worthy of the name , there are merely quite avowable 
emotions which, from being withheld at some important 
juncture, have become unconscious 

It is probable that one form of neurosis is conditioned 
by the predominance of secrets, and another by the pre- 
dominance of restrained emotions At any rate the 
hysterical subject, who is very free with his emotions, is 
most often the possessor of a secret, while the hardened 
psychasthenic suffers from inability to digest his emotions. 

To cherish secrets and to restrain emotions are psychic 
misdemeanours for which nature finally visits us with 
sickness — that is, when we do these thmgs in private 
But when they are done m communion with others they 
satisfy nature and may even count as useful virtues It is 
only restraint practised m and for oneself that is unwhole- 
some. It is as if man had an inalienable right to behold 
all that is dark, imperfect, stupid and guilty in his fellow- 
beings — for such of course are the things that we keep 
private to protect ourselves. It seems to be a sin m the 
eyes of nature to hide our insufficiency — just as much as to 
hve entirely on our inferior side There appears to be a 
conscience in mankind which severely punishes the man 
who does not somehow and at some time, at whatever cost 
to his pride, cease to defend and assert himself, and instead 


confess himself fallible and human Until he can do this, an 
impenetrable wall shuts him out from the living experience 
of feeling himself a man among men. Here we find a key 
to the great significance of true, unstereotyped confession — 
a significance known in all the initiation and mystery cults 
of the ancient world, as is shown by a saying from the 
Greek mysteries . “ Give up what thou hast, and then thou 
wilt receive 

We may well take this saying as a motto for the first 
stage in psychotherapeutic treatment It is a fact that the 
beginnings of psychoanalysis were fundamentally nothing 
else than the scientific rediscovery of an ancient truth ; even 
the name catharsis (or cleansing), which was given to the 
earliest method of treatment, comes from the Greek initiation 
rites. The early method of catharsis consisted in putting 
the patient, with or without hypnotic aid, in touch with 
the hinterland of his mind — that is to say, into that state 
which the Eastern yoga systems describe as meditation or 
contemplation In contrast to the meditation found in 
yoga practice, the psychoanalytic aim is to observe the 
shadowy presentations — whether in the form of images or 
of feelings — that are spontaneously evolved in the uncon- 
scious psyche and appear without his bidding to the man 
who looks within. In this way we find once more things 
that we have repressed or forgotten Painful though it 
may be, this is m itself a gam — for what is inferior or even 
worthless belongs to me as my shadow and gives me 
substance and mass. How can I be substantial if I fail to 
cast a shadow ? I must have a dark side also if I am to 
be whole , and inasmuch as I become conscious of my 
shadow I also remember that I am a human bemg like any 
other. In any case, when I keep it to myself, this rediscovery 


of that which makes me whole restores the condition which 
preceded the neurosis or the splitting off of the complex. In 
keepmg the matter private I have only attained a partial 
cure — for I still continue in my state of isolation It is 
only with the help of confession that I am able to throw 
myself into the arms of humanity freed at last from the 
burden of moral exile. The goal of treatment by catharsis 
is full confession — no merely intellectual acknowledgement 
of the facts, but their confirmation by the heart and the 
actual release of the suppressed emotions 

As can easily be imagined, such confessions have a great 
effect with simple people, and their curative results are 
often astonishing Yet I do not wish to point to the fact 
that some patients are cured as being the mam achievement 
of psychotherapy at this level , what I wish to call attention 
to is the systematic emphasis given to the significance of 
confession It is this which strikes home to all of us For 
we are all m some way or other kept asunder by our secrets , 
and instead of seeking through confession to bridge the 
abysses that separate us from one another, we choose the 
easy by-way of deceptive opinions and illusions. In saying 
this, however, I am far from wishing to enunciate a general 
maxim It would be hard to go too far in condemning the 
bad taste of a common, mutual confession of sins. The fact 
established by psychology is simply this : we are dealing 
here with a delicate matter. We cannot handle it directly or 
by itself, for it offers us a problem with unusually “ pointed 
horns.” A consideration of the next stage — that of explana- 
tion — will make this clear. 

It is evident enough that the new psychology would have 
remained at the stage of confession had catharsis proved 
itself a panacea. First and foremost, it is not always possible 


to bring certain patients close enough to the unconscious 
to enable them to perceive the shadows. Indeed, there 
are many patients, for the most part complicated, highly 
conscious persons, who are so firmly anchored in conscious- 
ness that nothing can pry them loose They often develop 
the most violent resistances whenever an attempt is made 
to push consciousness aside , they wish to talk with the 
physician of things about which they are fully conscious — 
to make their difficulties intelligible and to discuss them. 
They already have quite enough to confess, they say , they 
do not have to turn to the unconscious for that For such 
patients a complete technique for effecting the approach 
to the unconscious is needed 

This is one fact which at the outset seriously restricts us 
m applying the method of catharsis The other limitation 
is revealed later on, and its discussion at once leads us to 
the problems of the second stage — the stage of explanation. 
Let us suppose that in a given case the confession demanded 
by the method of catharsis has taken place — that the 
neurosis has disappeared, or that the symptoms at least 
have vanished The patient could now be dismissed as 
cured if it depended on the physician alone. But he — or 
especially she — cannot get away. The patient seems bound 
to the physician by the act of confession If this apparently 
meaningless attachment is forcibly severed, there is a bad 

It is both curious and significant that there are cases 
where no attachment develops. The patient goes away 
apparently cured — but he is now so fascinated by the 
hinterland of his own mind that he contmues to practise 
catharsis by himself at the expense of his adaptation to 
life He is bound to the unconscious — to himself — not to 


the physician. He has obviously shared the experience of 
Theseus and his comrade Pirithous in their descent to 
Hades to bring back the goddess of the underworld Tiring 
on the way, they sat down to rest for a while, only to find 
that they had grown to the rocks and could not rise 
These curious and unexpected occurrences must be 
explained to the patients, while the first-mentioned cases 
who were inaccessible to catharsis must also be handled by 
the method of explanation In spite of the fact that the 
two classes of patients are apparently quite different, it is 
at the same point that explanation is called for — that is, 
where the problem of fixation arises, as was recognized by 
Freud This fixation is evident enough in patients who 
have undergone catharsis, and it is especially clear m those 
who remain attached to the physician. Something similar 
has already been observed as an unpleasant result of 
hypnotic treatment, but the inner mechanism of such a tie 
was not understood. It now appears that the questionable 
bond essentially corresponds to the relation between father 
and child The patient falls into a sort of childish dependence 
from which he cannot protect himself even by reason and 
insight. The fixation is at times astonishingly strong — so 
much so that one suspects it of being fed by forces quite out 
of the common. But since the process of transference is 
an unconscious one, the patient is unable to give any 
information about it We are obviously dealing with a 
new symptom — a neurotic formation directly induced by 
the treatment. The question therefore arises : How is 
this new difficulty to be met ? The unmistakable outward 
sign of the situation is that the memory-image of the father 
with its accent of feeling is transferred to the physician. 
Inasmuch as the latter willy-nilly appears m the rdle of 


father, the patient slips into a childish relation He has 
not, of course, been made childish by this relation , there 
was always something childish about him, but it was 
suppressed. Now it comes to the surface, and — the long-lost 
father being found again — it tries to reproduce the family 
situation of childhood. Freud gave to this symptom the 
appropriate name of “ transference ” A certain dependence 
upon the physician who has helped you is of course normal 
and understandable enough What is abnormal and un- 
expected is the unusual obstinacy of the transference and 
its inaccessibility to conscious correction. 

It is one of Freud’s outstanding achievements to have 
explained the nature of this tie — at least in the light of 
man’s personal history — and so to have cleared the way 
for an important advance in psychological knowledge It 
has today been put beyond a doubt that it is caused by 
unconscious fantasies. These fantasies have m the main 
what we may call an “ incestuous ” character , and this 
seems adequately to explain the fact that they remain 
unconscious and cannot be expected to turn up m the most 
thorough confession Although Freud always speaks of 
incest-fantasies as if they were repressed, further experience 
shows us that in many cases they have never been conscious 
or have been sensed only in the vaguest way — for which 
reason they could not be intentionally repressed. More 
recent research seems to show that the incest-fantasies 
are usually unconscious and so remain till they are dragged 
to light in analytical treatment. By this I do not mean 
that pulling them up from the unconscious is an interference 
with nature which we should avoid ; I merely wish to 
suggest that the procedure is almost as drastic as a surgical 
operation. But it is wholly unavoidable in that the analytical 


procedure induces a transference which is abnormal, and 
can only be dealt with by reaching the incest-fantasies. 

While the method of catharsis restores to the ego such 
contents as are accessible to consciousness and are normally 
included in it, the process of clearing up the transference 
brings to light contents which, because of their nature, were 
almost inaccessible to consciousness This is the main 
difference between the stage of confession and the stage 
of explanation. 

We have discussed above two sets of cases • those of such 
patients as do not lend themselves to the method of catharsis, 
and those for whom it gives results We have moreover 
just treated of those whose fixation takes the form of a 
transference Besides these there are those people we have 
also mentioned who develop no attachment to the physician, 
but rather one to their own unconscious, in which they 
become entangled as in a web. In these cases the parental 
image is not transferred to a human object It is seen as 
a fantasy, and yet it exerts the same power of attraction 
and produces the same attachment as does the transference 

The patients who cannot give themselves without reserve 
to treatment by catharsis can be understood in the light 
of Freudian research We can see that, even before coming 
to the doctor, they had identified themselves with their 
parents, and derive from this identification that force of 
authority, that independence and critical power which 
enables them to offer a successful resistance to the treatment. 
These are chiefly cultivated and differentiated persons 
While others become the helpless victims of the unconscious 
parental image, these draw strength from it by unconsciously 
identifying themselves with their parents 

In the matter of the transference, we can get nowhere 


with the help of confession. It was this which drove Freud 
to a fundamental renovation of Breuer’s original technique 
of catharsis, and to what he himself called the “ inter- 
pretative method This further step necessarily follows, 
for the relationship produced by the transference especially 
requires explanation. The layman can hardly appreciate 
the importance of this , but the doctor who finds himself 
suddenly entangled in a web of incomprehensible and 
fantastic notions sees it all too clearly He must interpret 
the transference to the patient — that is, explain to him 
what it is that he projects upon his doctor. Since the 
patient himself does not know what it is, the physician is 
forced to subject what scraps of fantasy he can obtain from 
the patient to analytical interpretation. It is first and 
foremost our dreams which furnish this important material. 
While investigating the suppression of wishes which are 
incompatible with our conscious standpoint, Freud studied 
dreams in search of these wishes, and m the process dis- 
covered the incestuous contents of which I have spoken. 
These were of course not the only materials revealed by 
the investigation; he discovered all the filth of which 
human nature is capable — and it is notorious that it would 
require a lifetime to make even a rough inventory of it. 

The end-product of the Freudian method of explanation 
is a detailed elaboration of man’s shadow-side such as had 
never been carried out before. It is the most effective 
antidote imaginable to all idealistic illusions about the 
nature of man ; and it is therefore no wonder that there 
arose on all sides the most violent opposition to Freud and 
his school. We could expect nothing else of those who 
believe in illusions on principle , but I maintain that there 
are not a few among the opponents of the method of 


explanation who have no illusions as to man’s shadow-side, 
and who yet object to a biassed portrayal of man from the 
shadow-side alone. After all, the essential thing is not the 
shadow, but the body which casts it. 

Freud’s method of interpretation rests upon " reductive ” 
explanations which unfailingly lead backward and downward, 
and it has a destructive effect if it is used in an exaggerated 
and one-sided way. Nevertheless psychology has profited 
greatly from Freud’s pioneer work , it has learned that 
human nature has also a black side, and that not man alone 
possesses this side, but his works, his institutions, and his 
convictions as well. Even our purest and holiest beliefs 
can be traced to the crudest origins This way of lookmg at 
things even has its justification, for the beginning of all 
living organisms is simple and lowly , we build our 
houses from the foundation up. No thoughtful person will 
deny that Salomon Reinach’s explanation of the Last Supper 
m terms of primitive totemism is fraught with meaning , 
nor will he object to the mcest-theme being pointed out in 
the myths of the Greek divinities It is painful — there is 
no denying it — to interpret radiant things from the shadow- 
side, and thus in a measure reduce them to their origins m 
dreary filth. But it seems to me to be an imperfection m 
things of beauty, and a weakness in man, if an explanation 
from the shadow-side has a destructive effect. The horror 
which we feel for Freudian interpretations is entirely due 
to our own barbaric or childish naivete, which believes that 
there can be heights without corresponding depths, and 
which blinds us to the really “ final ” truth that, when 
carried to extremes, opposites meet Our mistake would he 
in supposing that what is radiant no longer exists because 
it has been explained from the shadow-side. This is a 


regrettable error into which Freud himself has fallen Yet 
the shadow belongs to the light as the evil belongs to the 
good, and vice versa. Therefore I cannot regret the shock 
that was felt at the exposure of our occidental illusions and 
pettiness ; on the contrary, I welcome this exposure and 
attach to it an almost incalculable significance It is one 
of those swings of the pendulum which, as history has so 
often shown, set matters right again. It forces us to accept 
a present-day philosophical relativism such as has been 
formulated by Einstein for mathematical physics, and which 
is fundamentally a truth of the far East whose ultimate 
effects upon us we cannot foresee. 

Nothing influences our conduct less than do intellectual 
ideas. But when an idea is the expression of psychic 
experience which bears fruit m regions as far separated and 
as free from historical relation as East and West, then we 
must look into the matter closely. For such ideas represent 
forces that are beyond logical justification and moral 
sanction ; they are always stronger than man and his 
brain. Man believes indeed that he moulds these ideas, but 
m reality they mould h i m and make him their unwitting 

To return again to the problem of fixation, I should like 
now to deal with the effects of the process of explanation 
The patient becomes aware of the unsoundness of his 
position with respect to the doctor when his transference 
has been traced back to its dark origins , he cannot avoid 
seeing how inappropriate and childish his claims are If he 
has been inflated by a sense of authority, he will exchange 
his elevated position for one that is more modest, and will 
accept an insecurity which may prove very wholesome 
If he has not yet renounced his infantile claims upon the 


doctor, he will now recognize the inescapable truth that to 
make claims on others is a childish self-indulgence which 
must be replaced by a greater sense of his own responsibility. 
The man of insight will draw his own moral conclusions 
Convinced of his own deficiencies, he will use this knowledge 
as a means of protection ; he will plunge into the struggle 
for existence and consume in progressive work and experience 
that force of longing which has caused him to cling obstinately 
to a child’s paradise or at least to look back at it over his 
shoulder. A normal adaptation and patience with his own 
shortcomings will become his guiding moral principles, and 
he will try to free himself from sentimentality and illusion. 
The inevitable result will be that he turns away from the 
unconscious as from a source of weakness and temptation — 
the field of moral and social defeat 
The problem which now faces the patient is that of being 
educated as a social being, and with this we come to the 
third stage Mere insight into themselves is sufficient for 
morally sensitive persons who have enough driving force 
to carry them forward , for those with little imagination 
for moral values, however, it does not suffice Without the 
spur of external necessity, self-knowledge is ineffective for 
them even when they are deeply convinced — to say nothing 
of those who have been struck by the analyst’s interpretation 
and yet doubt it after all. These last are mentally disciplined 
people who grasp the truth of a “ reductive ” explanation, 
but cannot accept it when it merely invalidates their hopes 
and ideals In these cases also mere insight is insufficient. 
It is a weakness of the method of explanation that it succeeds 
only with sensitive persons who can draw independent 
moral conclusions from their understanding of themselves. 
It is true that we can get further with explanation than with 


uninterpreted confession alone, for it at least trains the 
mind, and therefore may awaken sleeping powers which 
can intervene in a helpful way. But the fact remains that 
the most thorough explanation leaves the patient m many 
cases an intelligent but still incapable child. The trouble 
is that Freudian explanations in terms of pleasure and its 
satisfaction are one-sided and therefore insufficient, especially 
when applied to the later stages of development. This 
viewpoint will not account for everybody , for even if 
everyone possesses this side, it is not always the most 
important. A hungry artist prefers bread to a beautiful 
painting, and a man in love prefers a woman to his pubhc 
career , yet the painting may be of the greatest importance 
to the one and pubhc office to the other. On the average, 
those who easily achieve social adaptation and social position 
are better accounted for by the pleasure principle than are 
the unadapted whose social shortcomings leave them with 
a craving for power and importance The older brother 
who follows in the footsteps of his father and attains a 
commanding position, may be tortured by his desires , but 
the younger brother who feels repressed and overshadowed 
by the other two, may be goaded by ambition or the craving 
for respect. He may even yield so completely to this passion 
that nothing else is vital to him. 

At this point we become aware that Freud’s explanation 
of things falls short, and it is precisely here that his former 
pupil, Adler, comes forward to fill the gap Adler has shown 
convincingly that many cases of neurosis can be more 
satisfactorily explained on the ground of an urge to power 
than by the pleasure principle. His interpretation therefore 
is designed to show the patient that he " arranges ” his 
symptoms and exploits his neurosis to attain a fictitious 


importance; that even his transference and his other 
fixations serve his will to power, and thus represent a 
" masculine protest ” against a fancied subjection. Adler 
obviously has his eye on repressed and socially unsuccessful 
people whose one passion is for self-assertion. These people 
are neurotic because they always imagine themselves 
oppressed and tilt at the windmills of their own fancies, 
thus putting the goal they most desire quite out of reach. 

In essentials, Adler’s method begins at the second stage , 
he explains the symptoms m the sense just indicated, and 
to this extent appeals to the patient’s understanding. Yet 
it is characteristic of Adler that he does not expect too 
much of understanding, but, taking a further step, has 
clearly recognized the need for social education. While 
Freud is an investigator and interpreter, Adler is chiefly 
an educator. In refusing to leave the patient in a childish 
condition, helpless for all his valuable understanding, and 
in trying by every device of education to make him a 
normally adapted person, Adler modifies Freud’s procedure 
He does all this apparently in the conviction that social 
adaptation and normalization are indispensable — that they 
are even the most desirable goals and the most suitable 
fulfilment for a human being. The widespread social 
influence of Adler’s school is a consequence of this outlook — 
as also its neglect of the unconscious, which on occasions, it 
seems, amounts to complete denial. This is probably a 
swing of the pendulum — an inevitable reaction to Freud’s 
emphasis on the unconscious, which corresponds to the 
natural aversion for it which we have noted in patients 
who are struggling for adaptation and health. For if 
the unconscious is held to be a mere receptacle for all 
the evil shadow-things in human nature, including even 


primeval slime-deposits, we really do not see why we should 
still linger on the edge of this swamp into which we once 
fell. The investigator may see in the mud-puddle a world 
full of wonders, but to the ordinary man it is something 
upon which he prefers to turn his back. Just as early 
Buddhism recognized no gods because it had to free itself 
from an inheritance of nearly two million gods, so must 
psychology, if it is to develop further, renounce so essentially 
negative an approach to the unconscious as Freud’s. 

The Adlerian school, with its educational intent, begins 
at the very pomt where Freud leaves off, and thus helps 
the patient who has learned to see into himself to find the 
way to normal hfe It is obviously not enough for him to 
know how and why he fell ill, for to understand the causes 
of an evil does very httle towards curing it We must 
never foiget that the crooked paths of a neurosis lead to 
as many obstinate habits, and that, despite any amount 
of understanding, these do not disappear until they are 
replaced by other habits But habits are only won by 
exercise, and appropriate education is the sole means to this 
end. The patient must be, as it were, prodded mto other 
paths, and this always requires an educating will We can 
therefore see why it is that Adler’s approach has found 
favour chiefly with clergymen and teachers, while Freud’s 
school has its advocates among physicians and intellectuals, 
who one and all are bad nurses hnd educators. 

Every stage in our psychic development has something 
peculiarly final about it. When we have experienced 
catharsis with its wholesale confession we feel that we have 
reached our goal at last ; all has come out, all is known, 
every anxiety has been lived through and every tear shed ; 
now things will go as they ought. After the work of 


explanation we are equally persuaded that we now know 
how the neurosis arose. The earhest memories have been 
unearthed, the deepest roots dug up ; the transference was 
nothing but the wish-fulfilling fantasy of a child’s paradise 
or a regression to the old family situation ; the way to a 
normally disillusioned life is now open. But then comes 
the period of education, which makes us realize that no 
confession and no amount of explaming will make the 
ill-formed tree grow straight, but that it must be trained 
with the gardener’s art upon the trellis before normal 
adaptation can be attained. 

The curious sense of finality which attends every stage of 
development accounts for the fact that there are people 
using catharsis today who have apparently never heard 
of dream interpretation ; Freudians who do not understand 
a word of Adler, and Adlenans who do not wish to hear 
any mention of the unconscious Each is deceived by the 
sense of finality peculiar to the stage of development at which 
he stands, and this gives rise to that confusion of opinions and 
views which makes it so hard for us to find our bearings. 

But what causes this sense of finality which evokes such 
bigoted obstinacy in all directions ? I can only explain it 
to myself on the ground that each stage of development 
is summed up in a basic truth, and that therefore cases 
frequently recur which demonstrate this truth m a striking 
way. Our world is so exceedingly rich in delusions that 
a truth is priceless, and no one will let it slip because of 
a few exceptions with which it cannot be brought into 
accord. Whoever doubts this truth is of course looked upon 
as a faithless reprobate, while a note of fanaticism and 
intolerance creeps into the discussion on all sides. 

And yet each of us can carry the torch of knowledge 


but a part of the way, until another takes it from him. 
Could we but accept this in an impersonal way — could we 
but grasp the fact that we are not the personal creators 
of our truths, but only their exponents who thus make 
articulate the psychic needs of our day — then much of the 
poison and bitterness might be spared and we should be 
able to perceive the profound and super-personal continuity 
of the human mind. 

We generally take too little account of the fact that the 
doctor who uses catharsis as a mode of treatment is some- 
thing more than the embodiment of an abstract idea which 
automatically produces nothing but catharsis. He is also 
a man His thinking, to be sure, may be limited to his 
special field, but in his behaviour he exerts the influence of 
a complete human being. Without being clearly conscious 
of it or giving it a name, he unwittingly does a great deal in 
the way of explanation and education , and other analysts 
do as much m the way of catharsis without raising it to the 
level of a principle. 

The three stages of analytical psychology so far dealt 
with are by no means of such a nature that the last can 
replace the first or the second. All three qmte properly 
co-exist and are salient aspects of one and the same 
problem ; they no more invalidate each other than do 
confession and absolution. And the same is true of the 
fourth — the stage of transformation * it must not claim to 
be the finally-achieved and only valid truth. Its part is to 
make up a deficit left by the previous stages ; it comes to 
meet an additional and still unsatisfied need. 

In order to make clear what this fourth stage has in view, 
and to throw some light on the curious term " trans- 
formation ”, we must first take account of those psychic 


needs of man which were not given a place in the other 
stages In other words, we must ascertain what could 
seem more desirable or lead further than the claim to be 
a normally adapted, social being Nothing is more useful 
or fitting than to be a normal human being , but the very 
notion of a “ normal human being ” suggests a restriction 
to the average — as does also the concept of adaptation. It 
is only a man who, as things stand, already finds it difficult 
to come to terms with the everyday world who can see 
m this restriction a desirable improvement : a man, let 
us say, whose neurosis unfits him for normal hfe. To be 
“ normal ” is a splendid ideal for the unsuccessful, for all 
those who have not yet found an adaptation. But for 
people who have far more ability than the average, for 
whom it was never hard to gam successes and to accomplish 
then- share of the world’s work — for them restriction to 
the normal signifies the bed of Procrustes, unbearable 
boredom, infernal sterility and hopelessness. As a conse- 
quence there are many people who become neurotic because 
they are only normal, as there are people who are neurotic 
because they cannot become normal For the former the 
very thought that you want to educate them to normality 
is a nightmare , their deepest need is really to be able to 
lead “ abnormal ” fives. 

A man can hope for satisfaction and fulfilment only in 
what he does not yet possess , he cannot find pleasure in 
something of which he has already had too much. To be 
a socially adapted being has no charms for one to whom 
to be so is mere child’s play. Always to do what is right 
becomes a bore for the man who knows how, whereas the 
eternal bungler cherishes the secret longing to be right for 
once m some distant future. 


The needs and necessities of individuals vary. What sets 
one free is for another a prison — as for instance normality 
and adaptation. Although it is a biological dictum that 
man is a herd animal and is only healthy when he lives as 
a social being, yet the first case we observe may seem to 
upset this statement, and to prove that man is only healthy 
when leading an abnormal and unsocial hfe. It is a terrible 
misfortune that practical psychology can offer no generally 
valid recipes and norms. There are only individual cases 
whose needs and demands are totally different — so different 
that we really cannot foresee what course a given case will 
follow. It is therefore wise of the physician to renounce 
all premature assumptions. This does not mean that he 
should throw all his assumptions overboard, but that he 
should regard them in any given case as hypothetical. 

Yet it is not the doctor’s whole task to instruct or convince 
his patient ; he must rather show him how the doctor 
reacts to his particular case. For twist and turn the matter 
as we may, the relation between physician and patient 
remains personal within the frame of the impersonal, 
professional treatment. We cannot by any device bring it 
about that the treatment is not the outcome of a mutual 
influence in which the whole being of the patient as well 
as that of the doctor plays its part. Two primary factors 
come together in the treatment — that is, two persons, 
neither of whom is a fixed and determinable magnitude. 
Their fields of consciousness may be quite clearly defined, 
but they bring with them besides an indefinitely extended 
sphere of unconsciousness. For this reason the personalities 
of the doctor and patient have often more to do with the 
outcome of the treatment than what the doctor says or 
thinks — although we must not undervalue this latter factor 


as a disturbing or healing one. The meeting of two per- 
sonalities is hke the contact of two chemical substances : 
if there is any reaction, both are transformed. We should 
expect the doctor to have an influence on the patient in 
every effective psychic treatment ; but this influence can 
only take place when he too is affected by the patient 
You can exert no influence if you are not susceptible to 
influence. It is futile for the doctor to shield himself from 
the influence of the patient and to surround himself with 
a smoke-screen of fatherly and professional authority If 
he does so he merely forbids himself the use of a highly 
important organ of information, and the patient influences 
him unconsciously none the less. The unconscious changes 
in the doctor which the patient thus brings about are well 
known to many psychotherapists; they are disturbances, 
or even injuries, peculiar to the profession, which illustrate 
in a striking way the patient’s almost “ chemical ” influence 
One of the best known of them is the counter-transference 
which the transference evokes But the effects are often 
more subtle, and their nature is best conveyed by the old 
idea of the demon of sickness According to this a sufferer 
transmits his disease to a healthy person whose powers 
subdue the demon — but not without a negative influence 
upon the well-being of the healer. 

In the relation between doctor and patient we meet with 
imponderable factors which bring about a mutual trans- 
formation In this exchange, the more stable and the 
stronger personality will decide the final issue. But I have 
seen many cases in which the patient has proved stronger 
than the doctor in defiance of all theory and the doctor’s 
intention ; and where this has happened it has most often, 
though not always, been to the disadvantage of the doctor. 


The fact of mutual influence and all that goes with it 
underlies the stage of transformation More than a quarter 
of a century of wide practical experience was needed for 
the clear recognition of these manifestations. Freud himself 
has admitted their importance and has therefore seconded 
my demand that the analyst himself be analysed. 

But what is the wider meaning of this demand ? It 
means nothing less than that the doctor “is just as much 
in analysis ” as the patient. He is as much a part of the 
psychic process of the treatment as is the patient, and is 
equally exposed to the transforming influences Indeed, if 
the doctor is more or less inaccessible to this influence, he 
is correspondingly robbed of his influence over the patient , 
if he is influenced only unconsciously, he shows a defect of 
consciousness which prevents him from seemg the patient 
correctly. In both cases the result of the treatment is 

The physician, then, is called upon himself to face that 
task which he wishes the patient to face. If it is a question 
of becoming socially adapted, he himself must become so — 
or, in the reverse case, appropriately non-adapted There 
are of course a thousand different aspects of this requirement 
in therapy, according to the situation in a given case. One 
doctor believes in overcoming infantilism — and therefore 
he must have overcome his own infantilism Another 
believes in the abreaction of all emotion — and so he must 
have abreacted all his own emotions A third beheves in 
complete consciousness — so that he must have reached an 
advanced state of consciousness himself. At all events 
the doctor must consistently try to meet his own therapeutic 
demands if he wishes to assure himself of a proper influence 
on his patient. All these guiding principles in therapy 


confront the doctor with important ethical duties which 
can be summed up in the single rule be the man through 
whom you wish to influence others. Mere talk has always 
been considered hollow, and there is no tnck, however 
cunning, by which one can evade this simple rule for long 
The fact of being convinced, and not the subject-matter of 
conviction — it is this which has always carried weight 

The fourth stage of analytical psychology, then, demands 
not only the transformation of the patient, but also the 
counter-application to himself by the doctor of the system 
which he prescribes in any given case. And m dealing with 
himself the doctor must display as much relentlessness, 
consistency and perseverance as in dealing with his patients 
To work upon himself with an equal concentration is truly 
no small achievement ; for he brings to bear all the 
attentiveness and critical judgement he can summon m 
showing his patients their mistaken paths, their false con- 
clusions and infantile subterfuges No one pays the doctor 
for his introspective efforts ; and moreover, we are generally 
not interested enough in ourselves Again, we so commonly 
undervalue the deeper aspects of the human psyche that 
we hold self-examination or preoccupation with ourselves 
to be almost morbid We evidently suspect ourselves of 
harbouring rather unwholesome things all too reminiscent 
of a sick-room. The physician must overcome these 
resistances in himself, for who can educate others while 
himself uneducated ? Who can enlighten his fellows while 
still in the dark about himself, and who can purify if he is 
himself unclean ? 

The step from educating others to self-education is 
demanded of the doctor in the stage of transformation. It 
is the corollary of the demand that the patient transform 


himself and thus complete the earlier stages of the treatment. 
This challenge to the doctor to transform himself in order 
to effect a change in the patient meets with scant popular 
approval, for three reasons First of all it seems unpractical , 
secondly, there is a prejudice against being occupied with 
ourselves ; and thirdly, it is sometimes very painful to make 
ourselves live up to everything that we expect of the patient. 
This last is the strongest reason for the unpopularity of the 
demand that the doctor examine himself, for if he con- 
scientiously “ doctors ” himself he will soon discover things 
in his nature which are completely opposed to normalization, 
or which continue to haunt him in the most disturbing way 
in spite of exhaustive explanations and thorough abreaction. 
What will he do about these things? He always knows 
what the patient should do about them — it is his professional 
duty to do so. But what will he in all sincerity do about 
them when they involve himself or perhaps those who stand 
nearest to him ? If he examines himself he will discover 
some inferior side which brings him dangerously near to 
his patient and perhaps even blights his authority. How 
will he handle this tormenting discovery ? This somewhat 
“ neurotic ” question will touch him on the quick, no matter 
how normal he deems himself to be. He will also discover 
that the ultimate questions which oppress him as well as his 
patients cannot be solved by any amount of “ treatment ". 
He will let them see that to expect solutions from others is 
a way of remaining childish ; and he will see for himself 
that, if no solutions can be found, these questions must only 
be repressed again. 

I will not discuss further the matter of self-examination 
and the many problems it raises, because the great obscurity 
which still surrounds our study of the psyche allows of 


little interest in them. I would rather emphasize what has 
already been said : that the newest developments of analytical 
psychology confront us with the imponderable elements of 
human personality , that we have learned to place in the 
foreground the personality of the doctor himself as a curative 
or harmful factor ; and that we have begun to demand his 
own transformation — the self-education of the educator. 
Everything that happened to the patient must now happen 
to the doctor, and he must pass through the stages of 
confession, explanation and education so that his personality 
will not react unfavourably on the patient The physician 
may no longer slip out of his own difficulties by treating the 
difficulties of others. He will remember that a man who 
suffers from a running abscess is not fit to perform a surgical 

Just as the discovery of the unconscious shadow-side 
once forced the school of Freud to deal even with questions 
of religion, so the latest advance of analytical psychology 
makes an unavoidable problem of the doctor’s ethical 
attitude. The self-cnticism and self-examination demanded 
of him radically alter our view of the human psyche This 
cannot be grasped from the standpoint of natural science , 
it is not only the sufferer but the physician as well ; not 
only the object but also the subject , not only a function 
of the brain, but the sine qua non of consciousness itself. 

What was formerly a method of medical treatment now 
becomes a method of self-education, and therewith the 
horizon of our modem psychology is immeasurably widened. 
The medical diploma is no longer the crucial thing, but 
human quality instead. This is a significant step. All the 
implements of psychotherapy developed in clinical practice, 
refined and systematized, are now put at our service and 


can be used for our self-education and self-perfectioning. 
Analytical psychology is no longer bound to the consulting- 
room of the doctor ; its chains have been severed. We 
might say that it transcends itself, and now advances to 
fill that void which hitherto has marked the psychic 
insufficiency of Western culture as compared with that of 
the East. We Occidentals had learned to tame and subject 
the psyche, but we knew nothing about its methodical 
development and its functions. Our civilization is still 
young, and we therefore required all the devices of the 
animal-tamer to make the defiant barbarian and the savage 
m us in some measure tractable. But when we reach a 
higher cultural level, we must forgo compulsion and turn 
to self-development For this we must have knowledge of 
a way or a method — and so far we have known of none 
It seems to me that the findings and experiences of analytical 
psychology can at least provide a foundation ; for as soon 
as psychotherapy requires the self-perfecting of the doctor, 
it is freed from its clinical origins and ceases to be a mere 
method for treating the sick. It is now of service to the 
healthy as well, or at least to those who have a right to 
psychic health and whose illness is at most the suffering 
that tortures us all. For this reason we may hope to see 
analytical psychology become of general use — more so even 
than the methods which constitute its preliminary stages 
and which severally carry a general truth But between 
the realization of this hope and the actual present there 
lies an abyss over which no bridge is to be found. We have 
yet to build it stone by stone. 



It is generally agreed today that neuroses are functional 
psychic disturbances and are to be cured by psychic methods 
of treatment. But when we come to the questions of the 
formation of the neurosis and of the basic principles of 
therapy, all agreement ends, and we have to acknowledge 
that we have as yet no fully satisfactory conception of the 
nature of the neurosis nor of the principles of treatment 
While it is true that two trends or schools of thought have 
gamed a special hearing, their teachings by no means exhaust 
the numerous divergent opinions that have come to be 
expressed in our time. There are also many non-partisans 
who, amid the general conflict of opmion, have formulated 
their own views If, therefore, we sought to paint a com- 
prehensive picture of the situation, we should have to match 
upon our palette the subtle colour-gradations of the rainbow. 

I would gladly paint such a picture if it lay in my power, 
for I have always felt the need of comparing the numerous 
viewpoints. I have never succeeded m the long-run m not 
giving divergent opinions their due. Such opmions could 
never arise — much less secure a following — if they did not 
correspond to some special disposition, some special character, 
some fundamental psychic expenence that is more or less 
prevalent. If we were to exclude such opinions as simply 
wrong and worthless, we should be rejecting this particular 


disposition or this particular experience as a misinterpretation 
— that is, we should be doing violence to our own empirical 
material. The wide approval which greeted Freud’s ex- 
planation of the neuroses in terms of sexual causation, and 
his view that the happenings m the psyche turn essentially 
upon infantile pleasure and its satisfaction, should be 
instructive to the psychologist. It shows him that this 
manner of thinking and feeling coincides with a relatively 
widespread tendency or spiritual current which, quite apart 
from Freud’s theory, has appeared in other places, in other 
circumstances, in various minds and in different forms I 
should call it a manifestation of the collective psyche. Let 
me point first to the works of Havelock Ellis and Auguste 
Forel and the contributors to Anthropophyteta ; also to 
the attitude to sexuality in Anglo-Saxon countries during 
the post-Victonan period, as well as to the widespread 
discussion of sexual matters in general literature which had 
already set in with the French realists Freud is one of the 
exponents of a present-day psychic predisposition that has 
a special history of its own ; but for obvious reasons we 
cannot go into that history here. 

The approbation which Adler, no less than Freud, has 
met with on both sides of the ocean, permits the same 
inference. It is undemable that a great many people find 
satisfaction in explaining their troubles in terms of an urge 
to power arising from a sense of inferiority. Nor can it be 
disputed that this view accounts for actual psychic happen- 
ings which are not given their due in the Freudian system. 
I need hardly mention in detail the forces of the collective 
psyche and the social factors which underlie the Adlerian 
view and call for precisely this theoretical formulation. 
These matters are sufficiently obvious. 


It would be an unpardonable error to overlook the element 
of truth in both the Freudian and Adlenan viewpoints, but 
it would be no less unpardonable to take either of them as 
the sole truth. Both truths correspond to psychic realities. 
There are actual cases which, m the mam, are best described 
and explained by one or other of the two theories. I can 
accuse neither of these investigators of error , on the 
contrary, I try to apply both hypotheses as far as possible, 
because I fully accept their relative validity. It would 
certainly never have occurred to me to depart from Freud’s 
path if I had not stumbled upon facts which forced me to 
modify his theory , and the same is true of my relation to 
the Adlerian viewpoint It seems hardly necessary to add 
that I hold the truth of my own views to be equally relative, 
and regard myself also as the exponent of a certain pre- 

It is in applied psychology, if anywhere, that today we 
should be modest and grant validity to a number of 
apparently contradictory opinions ; for we are still far from 
having anything like a thorough knowledge of the human 
psyche, that most challenging field of scientific enquiry. 
For the present we have merely more or less plausible 
opinions that defy reconciliation When, therefore, I 
undertake to present my views in a general way, I hope I 
shall not be misunderstood. I am not recommending a 
novel truth ; still less am I heralding an ultimate gospel 
I can speak only of attempts to throw light upon psychic 
facts that are obscure to me, or of efforts to overcome 
therapeutic difficulties. 

And it is just with this last question that I should like to 
begin, since it is here that we find the most pressing need 
for modifications. As is well known, one can get along for 


quite a time with an inadequate theory, but not with in- 
adequate therapeutic methods. In my psychotherapeutic 
practice covering nearly thirty years, I have met with 
a fair number of failures which were far more impres- 
sive to me, than my successes. Almost anybody, from 
the primitive medicine-man and the prayer-healer up, 
can gain successes in psychotherapy. But the psycho- 
therapist learns little or nothing from his successes. They 
mainly confirm him in his mistakes, while his failures, on 
the other hand, are priceless experiences in that they not 
only open up the way to a deeper truth, but force him to 
change his views and methods. 

I certainly recognize how much my work has been furthered 
first by Freud and then by Adler ; and whenever possible 
I apply their standpoints to my practical treatment of 
patients. Nevertheless I insist upon the fact that I have 
met with failures which I feel could have been avoided had 
I taken into consideration those empirical data which later 
forced me mto modifications of their views It is impossible 
to describe all the situations with which I was confronted, 
and I must content myself with singling out a few typical 
cases. It was with older patients that I had the greatest 
difficulties — that is, with persons over forty. In handling 
younger people I generally find the familiar viewpoints of 
Freud and Adler apphcable enough, for they offer a treat- 
ment which brings the patient to a certain level of adaptation 
and normality, apparently without leaving any disturbing 
after-effects. With older people, according to my experience, 
this is often not the case. It seems to me that the elements 
of the psyche undergo in the course of life a very marked 
change — so much so, that we may distinguish between a 
psychology of the morning of life and a psychology of its 


afternoon. As a rule, the life of a young person is charac- 
terized by a general unfolding and a striving toward concrete 
ends ; his neurosis, if he develops one, can be traced to his 
hesitation or his shrinking back from this necessity. But 
the life of an older person is marked by a contraction of 
forces, by the affirmation of what has been achieved, and 
the curtailment of further growth. His neurosis comes 
mainly from his clinging to a youthful attitude which is 
now out of season Just as the youthful neurotic is afraid 
of hfe, so the older one shrinks back from death. What was 
a normal goal for the young man, inevitably becomes a 
neurotic hindrance to the older person In the case of the 
young neurotic, what was once a normal dependence on his 
parents inevitably becomes, through his hesitation to face 
the world, an incest-relation which is inimical to hfe. It 
must be remembered that, despite all similarities, resistance, 
repression, transference, " guiding fictions ” and so forth, 
have one meaning when we find them in young people, 
while m older persons they have quite another. The ai ms 
of therapy should undoubtedly be modified to meet this 
fact The age of the patient seems to me, therefore, a 
most important indicium. 

But there are also various indicia which we should note 
within the period of youth itself Thus, according to my 
view, it is a blunder m technique to treat from the Freudian 
standpoint a patient of the type to whom the Adlerian 
psychology apphes, that is, an unsuccessful person with an 
infantile need for self-assertion. Conversely, it would be a 
gross error to force the Adlerian viewpoint upon a successful 
man whose motives can be understood in terms of the 
pleasure principle. In doubtful cases the resistances of the 
patient may serve as valuable signposts. I am inclined at 



the start to take deep-seated resistances seriously, strange 
as this may sound. For I am convinced that the doctor 
is not necessarily in a better position to know what is wanted 
than is the patient’s own psychic constitution, which may 
be quite unconscious to the patient himself. This modesty 
on the part of the doctor is altogether appropriate in view 
of the situation today Not only have we as yet no generally 
valid psychology, but what is more, the variety of psychic 
constitutions is untold, and there also exist more or less 
individual psyches which refuse to fit into any general 

As to this question of psychic constitution, it is well 
known that I postulate two different basic attitudes in 
accordance with the typical differences already suspected 
by many students of human nature — the extraverted and 
the introverted attitudes These attitudes also I take to 
be important indicia, as likewise the predominance of 
a particular psychic function over other functions. The 
great variability of individual hfe necessitates constant 
modifications of theory which are often applied by the 
doctor quite unconsciously, but which m principle do not 
at all coincide with his theoretical creed. 

While we are on this question of psychic constitution, I 
must not fail to point out that there are some people whose 
attitude is essentially spiritual and others whose attitude 
is essentially materialistic. It must not be assumed that 
such an attitude is accidentally acquired or springs from 
some misunderstanding. These attitudes show themselves 
as ingrained passions which no criticism or persuasion can 
stamp out ; there are even cases where an apparently 
outspoken materialism has its source in the denial of a 
religious disposition. Cases of the reverse type are better 



known today, although they are not more frequent than the 
others. These attitudes also are indicia which, m my 
opinion, ought not to be overlooked. 

When we use the word indicium it might appear to mean, 
as in medical parlance generally, that this or that treatment 
is indicated. Perhaps this should be the case, but psycho- 
therapy has assuredly reached no such degree of certainty 
— for which reason our indicia are unfortunately not much 
more than mere warnings against one-sidedness. 

The human psyche is highly equivocal In every single 
case we must consider the question whether an attitude or 
a so-called habitus exists in its own right, or is perhaps only 
a compensation for the opposite. I must confess that I 
have so often been mistaken m this matter, that m any 
concrete case I am at pains to avoid all theoretical pre- 
suppositions as to the structure of the neurosis and as to 
what the patient can and ought to do. As far as possible, 
I let pure experience decide the therapeutic aims This 
may perhaps seem strange, because it is usually assumed 
that the therapist should have an aim But it seems to 
me that in psychotherapy especially it is advisable for the 
physician not to have too fixed a goal He can scarcely 
know what is wanted better than do nature and the will-to- 
hve of the sick person. The great decisions of human hfe 
have as a rule far more to do with the instincts and other 
mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and 
well-meaning reasonableness The shoe that fits one person 
pinches another , there is no recipe for living that suits 
all cases. Each of us carries his own life-form — an in- 
determinable form which cannot be superseded by any 

None of these considerations, of course, prevents our 



doing everything possible to make the lives of patients 
normal and reasonable. If this bnngs about a satisfactory 
result, then we can let it go at that ; but if it is insufficient, 
then, for better or for worse, the therapist must be guided 
by the data presented through the patient’s unconscious. 
Here we must follow nature as a guide, and the course the 
physician then adopts is less a question of treatment than of 
developing the creative possibilities that lie in the patient 

What I have to say begins with the point where treatment 
ceases and development sets in. My contribution to psycho- 
therapy is confined to those cases in which rational treatment 
yields no satisfactory results. The clinical matenal at my 
disposal is of a special nature : new cases are decidedly in 
the minority. Most of my patients have already gone 
through some form of psychotherapeutic treatment, usually 
with partial or negative results About a third of my cases 
are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from 
the senselessness and emptiness of their hves It seems to 
me, however, that this can well be described as the general 
neurosis of our time. Fully two-thirds of my patients have 
passed middle age 

It is difficult to treat patients of this particular kind by 
rational methods, because they are in the mam socially 
well-adapted individuals of considerable ability, to whom 
normalization means nothing. As for so-called normal 
people, I am even worse off in their regard, for I have no 
ready-made life-philosophy to hand out to them. In the 
majority of my cases, the resources of consciousness have 
been exhausted ; the ordinary expression for this situation 
is : “lam stuck.” It is chiefly this fact that forces me to 
look for hidden possibilities. For I do not know what to 



say to the patient when he asks me : " What do you advise ? 
What shall I do ? ” I do not know any better than he. I 
know only one thing • that when to my conscious outlook 
there is no possible way of going ahead, and I am therefore 
“ stuck ”, my unconscious will react to the unbearable 

This commg to a standstill is a psychic occurrence so 
often repeated in the evolution of mankind, that it has become 
the theme of many a fairy-tale and myth. We are told of 
the Open Sesame to the locked door, or of some helpful 
animal who finds the hidden way We might put it in this 
way : “ gettmg stuck ” is a typical event which, m the course 
of time, has evoked typical reactions and compensations. 
We may therefore expect with a certain degree of probability 
that something similar will appear in the reactions of the 
unconscious, as, for example, m dreams. 

In such cases, therefore, my attention is directed more 
particularly to dreams. This is not because I am tied to the 
notion that dreams must always be called to the rescue, or 
because I possess a mysterious dream-theory which tells me 
how everything must shape itself , but quite simply from 
perplexity. I do not know where else to go for help, and so 
I try to find it m dreams ; these at least present us with 
images pointing to something or other, and that is at any 
rate better than nothing. I have no theory about dreams , 
I do not know how dreams arise. I am altogether in doubt 
as to whether my way of handling dreams even deserves 
the name of “ method ”. 

I share all my readers’ prejudices against dream inter- 
pretation as being the quintessence of uncertainty and 
arbitrariness. But, on the other hand, I know that if we 
meditate on a dream sufficiently long and thoroughly — if 



we take it about with us and turn it over and over — some- 
thing almost always comes of it. This something is of course 
not of such a land that we can boast of its scientific nature 
or rationalize it, but it is a practical and important hint 
which shows the patient in what direction the unconscious 
is leading him. I even may not give first importance to the 
question whether our study of the dream gives a scientifically 
verifiable result , if I do this, I am following an exclusively 
personal aim, and one which is therefore auto-erotic I 
must content myself with the fact that the result means 
something to the patient and sets his life into motion again. 
I may allow myself only one criterion for the validity of my 
interpretation of the dream — and this is that it works. As 
for my scientific hobby — my desire to know why it is that 
the dream works — this I must reserve for my spare tame. 

The contents of the initial dreams are infinitely varied — 
I mean those dreams which the patient relates to me at the 
beginning of the treatment. In many cases they point 
directly to the past and bring to mind what is forgotten and 
lost to the personality It is from these very losses that 
one-sidedness results, and this causes the standstill and 
consequent disorientation. In psychological terms, one- 
sidedness may lead to a sudden loss of libido. All our 
previous activities become uninteresting, even senseless, and 
the goals towards which we strove lose their value. What 
in one person is merely a passing mood may m another 
become a chronic condition. In these cases it often happens 
that other possibilities of development of the personality 
lie somewhere or other in the past, and no one, not even the 
patient, knows about them. But the dream may reveal the 
clue. In other cases the dream points to present facts, as 
for example marriage or social position, which have never 


been consciously accepted as sources of problems and 

These possibilities fall within the scope of rational explana- 
tion, and it is not difficult to make such initial dreams 
plausible. The real difficulty begins when dreams, as is 
often the case, do not point to anything tangible — especially 
when they show a kind of foreknowledge of the future. I do 
not mean that such dreams are necessarily prophetic, but 
that they anticipate or “ reconnoitre Such dreams 
contain inklings of possibilities, and therefore can never be 
made plausible to an outsider. They are often not plausible 
even to me, and then I say to my patients . " I don’t believe 
it, but follow up the clue ” As I have said, the stimulating 
effect is the sole criterion, and it is by no means necessary 
that we should understand why such an effect takes place 
This is especially true of dreams containing mythological 
images which are sometimes incredibly strange and baffling. 
These dreams contain something like “ unconscious meta- 
physics ” , they are expressions of undifferentiated psychic 
activity which may often contain the germs of conscious 
thought. 1 

In a long initial dream of one of my “ normal ” patients, 
the illness of his sister’s child played an important part. She 
was a little girl of two. Some time before, this sister really 
had lost a boy through illness, but otherwise none of her 
children were ill. The image of the sick child m the dream 
at first proved baffling to him — undoubtedly because it m 
no way fitted in with the facts Since there was no direct 
and close connection between the dreamer and his sister he 

1 Plato’s vision of the cave is an imaginative anticipation of the 
problem of knowledge which was to occupy philosophers for centuries tj* 
come Dreams and fantasies on occasion show a philosophic msig$i 
which is comparable to such a vision (Trans ) 


could find in this image little that was personal to him. Then 
suddenly it occurred to him that two years earlier he had 
taken up the study of occultism, and that it was this which 
had led him to psychology. The child was evidently his 
interest m the things of the psyche, an idea which I should 
never have hit upon of my own accord. Looked at from 
the side of theory, this dream-image can mean anything or 
nothing For that matter, does a thing or a fact ever mean 
anything in and of itself ? We can only be sure that it is 
always the human being who interprets, that is, gives 
meaning to a fact. And that is the gist of the matter for 
psychology. It impressed the dreamer as a new and interest- 
ing idea that the study of occultism might have something 
sickly about it Somehow the thought struck home And 
this is the decisive point * the interpretation works, however 
we may elect to account for its working For the dreamer 
this thought contained a criticism, and through it a certain 
change m attitude was brought about. By such slight 
changes, which one could never think out rationally, things 
begin to move and the dead point is overcome 

In commenting upon this example I could say in a figure 
of speech that the dream meant that the occult studies of 
the dreamer had something sickly about them. And in 
this sense I may also speak of " unconscious metaphysics ”, 
if the dreamer is brought by his dream to this very thought. 
But I go still further ; I not only give the patient an oppor- 
tunity to see what occurs to him m connection with his 
dream, but I allow myself to do the same. I give him the 
benefit of my guesses and opinions. If, in doing this I 
should open the door to so-called " suggestion ”, I see no 
occasion for regret ; it is well known that we are susceptible 
only to those suggestions with which we are already secretly 



in accord. No harm is done if now and then one goes astray 
in this riddle-reading. Sooner or later the psyche rejects 
the mistake, much as an organism does a foreign body 
I need not try to prove that my dream interpretation is 
correct, which would be a somewhat hopeless undertaking, 
but must simply help the patient to find what it is that 
activates him — I was almost betrayed into saying what is 

It is of especial importance for me to know as much as 
possible about primitive psychology, mythology, archaeology 
and comparative religion, for the reason that these fields 
afford me priceless analogies with which I can enrich the 
associations of my patients Working together, we are then 
able to find the apparently irrelevant full of meaning and 
vastly increase the effectiveness of the dream Thus to 
enter a realm of immediate experience is most stimulating 
for those who have done their utmost in the personal and 
rational spheres of life and yet have found no meaning and 
no satisfaction there. In this way, too, the matter-of-fact 
and the commonplace come to wear an altered countenance, 
and can even acquire a new glamour For it all depends 
on how we look at things, and not on how they are m them- 
selves. The least of things with a meaning is worth more in 
life than the greatest of things without it. 

I do not think that I underestimate the risk of this under- 
taking. It is as if one began to build a bridge out into space. 
Indeed, one might even allege — as has often been done — that 
in following this procedure the doctor and his patient are 
both together indulging in mere fantasies. And I do not 
consider this an objection, but quite to the point. I even 
make an effort to second the patient in his fantasies. Truth 
to tell, I have a very high opinion of fantasy. To me, it is 



actually the maternally creative side of the masculine spirit. 
When all is said and done, we are never proof against fantasy. 
It is true that there are worthless, madequate, morbid and 
unsatisfying fantasies whose sterile nature will be quickly 
recognized by every person endowed with common-sense ; 
but this of course proves nothing against the value of creative 
imagination. All the works of man have their origin in 
creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate 
imagination ? In the ordinary course of things, fantasy does 
not easily go astray ; it is too deep for that, and too closely 
bound up with the tap-root of human and animal instinct. 
In surprising ways it always rights itself agam The creative 
activity of the imagination frees man from his bondage to 
the " nothing but ” and hberates in him the spirit of play. 
As Schiller says, man is completely human only when he is 

My aim is to bring about a psychic state m which my 
patient begins to experiment with his own nature — a state 
of fluidity, change and growth, in which there is no longer 
anything eternally fixed and hopelessly petrified. It is of 
course only by stating its general principles that I can 
present my technique here. In handling a dream or a 
fantasy I make it a rule never to go beyond the meaning 
which has an effect upon the patient ; I merely strive in 
each case to make this meaning as conscious to him as 
possible, so that he can also become aware of its supra- 
personal connections. This is important, for when some- 
thing quite universal happens to a man and he supposes it 
to be an experience peculiar to himself, then his attitude 
is obviously wrong, that is, too personal, and it tends to 
exclude him from human society. We require not only a 
present-day, personal consciousness, but also a supra- 



personal consciousness which is open to the sense of historical 
continuity. However far-fetched it may sound, experience 
shows that many neuroses are caused by the fact that people 
blind themselves to their own religious promptings because 
of a childish passion for rational enlightenment. The 
psychologist of today ought to realize once and for all that 
we are no longer dealing with questions of dogma and creed 
A religious attitude is an element m psychic hfe whose 
importance can hardly be overrated. And it is precisely 
for the religious outlook that the sense of historical continuity 
is indispensable. 

To return to the question of my technique, I ask myself 
to what extent I am indebted to Freud In any case I 
learned it from Freud’s method of free association, and I 
regard my technique as a further development of this 

As long as I help the patient to discover the effective 
elements in his dream, and as long as I try to show him the 
general meaning of his symbols, he is still, psychologically 
speaking, m a state of childhood For the time being he 
depends on his dreams and is always asking himself whether 
the subsequent dream will give him new light or not More- 
over, he is dependent on my having ideas about his dreams 
and on my ability to mcrease his insight through my know- 
ledge Thus he is still m an undesirably passive condition 
in which everything is uncertain and questionable ; neither 
he nor I know the journey’s end. Often it is not much more 
than a groping about in Egyptian darkness. In this condition 
we must not expect any very marked effects, for the un- 
certainty is too great. Moreover we constantly run the 
risk that what we have woven by day, the night will unravel. 
The danger is that nothing comes to pass ; that nothing 



keeps its shape. It not infrequently happens in these 
circumstances that the patient has an especially colourful 
or curious dream, and says to me : “ Do you know, if only 
I were a painter I would make a picture of it ” Or the 
dreams treat of photographs, of paintings, drawings or 
illuminated manuscripts, or perhaps of the films. 

I have turned these hints to practical account, and I now 
urge my patients at such times actually to paint what they 
have seen in dream or fantasy As a rule, I am met with 
the objection : “ I am not a painter.” To this I usually 
reply that neither are modem painters — for which very 
reason modem painting is absolutely free — and that it is 
anyhow not a question of the beautiful, but merely of the 
trouble one takes with the picture How httle my way of 
painting has to do with “ art ” I saw recently in the case of 
a talented portraitist ; she had to begin all over again with 
pitiably childish efforts — literally as if she had never 
had a brush in her hand. To paint what we see before 
us is a different matter from painting what we see 

Many of my more advanced patients, then, begin to paint. 
I can well understand that everyone will consider this as an 
utterly futile sort of dilettantism However, it must be 
remembered that we are speaking not of people who have 
still to prove their social usefulness, but of those who can 
no longer find significance in their value to society, and who 
have come upon the deeper and more dangerous question of 
the meaning of their individual fives. To be a particle in a 
mass has meaning and charm only for the man who has not 
yet advanced to that stage, but none for the man who has 
experienced it to satiety. The importance of individual life 
may always be denied by the “ educator ” whose pride it is 



to breed mass-men. But any other person will sooner or 
later be driven to find this meaning for himself. 

Although from time to time my patients produce artistic- 
ally beautiful creations which might very well be shown 
in modem “ art ” exhibitions, I nevertheless treat them as 
wholly worthless according to the tests of senous art. It is 
even essential that no such value be allowed them, for 
otherwise my patients might imagine themselves to be 
artists, and this would spoil the good effects of the exercise. 
It is not a question of art — or rather it should not be a 
question of art — but of something more, something other 
than mere art • namely the living effect upon the patient 
himself. The meaning of individual life, whose importance 
from the social standpoint is negligible, is here accorded the 
highest value, and for its sake the patient struggles to give 
form, however crude and childish, to the inexpressible 

But why do I encourage patients to express themselves 
at a certain stage of development by means of brush, pencil 
or pen ? My purpose is the same here as in my handling of 
dreams : I wish to produce an effect In the childish con- 
dition described above, the patient remains in a passive 
state , but now he begins to play an active part. At first 
he puts on paper what has come to him in fantasy, and there- 
by gives it the status of a deliberate act He not only talks 
about it, but he is actually dotng something about it Psycho- 
logically speaking, it is one thing for a person to have an 
interesting conversation with his doctor twice a week — the 
results of which hang somewhere or other in mid-air — and 
quite another thing to struggle for hours at a time with 
refractory brush and colours, and to produce in the end 
something which, at its face value, is perfectly senseless 
Were his fantasy really senseless to him, the effort to paint 


it would be so irksome that he could scarcely be brought 
to perform this exercise a second time But since his 
fantasy does not seem to him entirely senseless, his busying 
hims elf with it increases its effect upon him. Moreover, the 
effort to give visible form to the image enforces a study of it 
in all its parts, so that in this way its effects can be com- 
pletely experienced. The discipline of drawing endows the 
fantasy with an element of reality, thus lending it greater 
weight and greater driving power. And actually these 
crude pictures do produce effects which, I must admit, are 
rather difficult to describe When a patient has seen once 
or twice how he is freed from a wretched state of mind by 
working at a symbolical picture, he will thenceforward turn 
to this means of release whenever things go badly with him. 
In this way something invaluable is won, namely a growth 
of independence, a step towards psychological maturity. The 
patient can make himself creatively independent by this 
method — if I may call it such. He is no longer dependent 
on his dreams or on his doctor’s knowledge, but can give 
form to his own inner expenence by painting it. For what 
he paints are active fantasies — it is that which activates 
him. And that which is active within is himself, but not 
in the sense of his previous error when he mistook his 
personal ego for the self ; it is himself in a new sense, for 
his ego now appears as an object actuated by the life-forces 
within. He strives to represent as fully as possible in his 
picture-senes that which works within him, only to discover 
in the end that it is the eternally unknown and alien — the 
hidden foundations of psychic life. 

I cannot possibly picture to you the extent to which these 
discoveries change a patient’s standpoint and values, and 
how they shift the centre of gravity of the personality. It 



is as though the ego were the earth, and it suddenly dis- 
covered that the sun (or the self) was the centre of the 
planetary orbits and of the earth’s orbit as well. 

But have we not always known all this to be so ? I myself 
beheve that we have always known it. But I may know 
about something with my head which the other man in me 
is far from knowing, and I may in fact live as though I did 
not know it Most of my patients knew the deeper truth, 
but did not live it And why did they not hve it ? Because 
of that bias which makes us all put the ego m the centre of 
our hves — and this bias comes from the over-valuation of 

It is highly important for a young person who is still 
unadapted and has as yet achieved nothing, to shape the 
conscious ego as effectively as possible — that is, to educate 
the will. Unless he is positively a genius he even may not 
believe in anything active within himself that is not identical 
with his will He must feel himself a man of will, and he 
may safely depreciate everything else within himself or 
suppose it subject to his will — for without this illusion he can 
scarcely bring about a social adaptation. 

It is otherwise with the patient in the second half of life 
who no longer needs to educate his conscious will, but who, 
to understand the meaning of his individual life, must learn 
to experience his own inner being. Social usefulness is no 
longer an aim for him, although he does not question its 
desirability. Fully aware as he is of the social unimportance 
of his creative activity, he looks upon it as a way of working 
out his own development and thus benefiting himself. This 
activity likewise frees him progressively from a morbid 
dependence, and he thus wins an mner firmness and a new 
trust in himself. These last achievements in turn serve to 



further the patient in his social existence For an inwardly 
sound and self-confident person will be more adequate to his 
social tasks than one who is not on good terms with his 

I have purposely avoided weighting down my essay with 
theory, for which reason many things must remain obscure 
and unexplained. But m order to make intelligible the 
pictures produced by my patients, certain theoretical points 
must at least be mentioned. A feature common to all these 
pictures is a primitive symbolism which is conspicuous both 
in the drawing and in the colouring The colours are usually 
quite barbanc in their mtensity ; often, too, an archaic 
quality is present. These peculiarities pomt to the nature 
of the creative forces which have produced the pictures 
They are non-rational, symbolistic currents in the evolution 
of man, and are so archaic that it is easy to draw parallels 
between them and similar manifestations m the fields of 
archaeology and comparative religion. We may therefore 
readily assume that these pictures originate chiefly in that 
realm of psychic life which I have called the collective 
unconscious By this term I designate an unconscious 
psychic activity present in all human beings which not only 
gives rise to symbolical pictures today, but was the source 
of all similar products of the past. Such pictures spring 
from — and satisfy — a natural need. It is as if, through these 
pictures, we bring to expression that part of the psyche 
which reaches back into the primitive past and reconcile it 
with present-day consciousness, thus mitigating its disturbing 
effects upon the latter. 

It is true, I must add, that the mere execution of the 
pictures is not all that is required. It is necessary besides to 
have an intellectual and emotional understanding of them ; 


they must be consciously integrated, made intelligible, and 
morally assimilated. We must subject them to a process of 
interpretation. But despite the fact that I have so often 
travelled this path with individual patients, I have not yet 
succeeded in making the process clear to a wider circle 
and in working it up in a form suitable for publication 
This has so far been accomplished only in a fragmentary 

The truth is, we are here on perfectly new ground, and 
a ripening of experience is the first requisite For very 
important reasons I should like to avoid over-hasty con- 
clusions We are dealing with a region of psychic life 
outside consciousness, and our way of observing it is indirect. 
As yet we do not know what depths we are trying to plumb 
As I indicated above, it seems to me to be a question of 
some kind of centring process, for many pictures which 
patients feel to be decisive point in this direction It is a 
process which brings mto being a new centre of equilibrium, 
and it is as if the ego turned in an orbit round it. What 
the aim of this process may be remains at first obscure. 
We can only remark its important effect upon the conscious 
personality. From the fact that the change heightens the 
feeling for life and maintains the flow of hfe, we must 
conclude that a peculiar purposefulness is inherent in it. 
We might perhaps call this a new illusion — but what is 
illusion ? By what criterion do we ]udge something to be 
an illusion ? Does there exist for the psyche anything 
which we may call “ illusion ” ? What we are pleased to 
call such may be for the psyche a most important factor of 
life — something as indispensable as oxygen for the organism — 
a psychic actuality of prime importance. Presumably the 
psyche does not trouble itself about our categories of reality. 



and it would therefore be the better part of wisdom for us 
to say : everything that acts is actual. 

He who would fathom the psyche must not confuse it 
with consciousness, else he veils from his own sight the 
object he wishes to explore. On the contrary, to recognize 
the psyche, even, he must learn to see how it differs from 
consciousness. It is highly probable that what we call 
illusion is actual for the psyche • for which reason we cannot 
take psychic actuality to be commensurable with conscious 
actuality. To the psychologist there is nothing more stupid 
than the standpoint of the missionary who pronounces the 
gods of the “ poor heathen ” to be illusions. But unfor- 
tunately we keep blundering along in the same dogmatic 
way, as if what we call the real were not equally full of 
illusion. In psychic life, as everywhere in our experience, 
all things that act are actual, regardless of the names man 
chooses to bestow on them. To understand that these 
happenings have actuality — that is what is important to 
us ; and not the attempt to give them one name instead 
of another. To the psyche the spirit is no less the spirit 
even though it be called sexuality. 

I must repeat that the various technical terms and the 
changes rung upon them never touch the essence of the 
process described above. It cannot be compassed by the 
rational concepts of consciousness any more than life itself. 
It is because they feel the whole force of this truth that 
my patients turn to symbolical expression. In the repre- 
sentation and interpretation of symbols they find something 
more effective and adequate to their needs than rational 



Character is the fixed individual form of a human being 
Smce there is a form of body as well as of behaviour or 
mind, a general characterology must teach the significance 
of both physical and psychic features. The enigmatic 
oneness of the living being has as its necessary corollary 
the fact that bodily traits are not merely physical, nor 
mental traits merely psychic. The continuity of nature 
knows nothing of those antithetical distinctions which the 
human intellect is forced to set up as helps to understanding. 

The distinction between mind and body is an artificial 
dichotomy, a discrimination which is unquestionably based 
far more on the peculiarity of intellectual understanding 
than on the nature of things. In fact, so intimate is the 
intermingling of bodily and psychic traits that not only 
can we draw far-reaching inferences as to the constitution 
of the psyche from the constitution of the body, but we can 
also infer from psychic peculiarities the corresponding bodily 
characteristics. It is true that the latter process is more 
difficult ; but this is surely not because there is a greater 
influence of the body over the mind than vice versa, but for 
quite another reason. In taking the mind as our starting- 
point we work our way from the relatively unknown to the 
known ; while in the opposite case we have the advantage of 
starting from something known, that is, from the visible 


body. Despite all the psychology we think we possess 
today, the psyche is still infinitely more obscure to us than 
the visible surface of the body. The psyche is still a foreign, 
almost unexplored country of which we have only indirect 
knowledge , it is mediated by conscious functions that are 
subject to almost endless possibilities of deception. 

This being so, it appears safer for us to proceed from the 
outer world inward, from the known to the unknown, from 
the body to the mind. Therefore all attempts at charac- 
terology have started from the outside world , astrology, 
in ancient times, turned even to stellar space in order to 
determine those lines of fate whose beginnings are contained 
in man himself. To the same class of interpretations from 
outward signs belong palmistry, Gall’s phrenology, Lavater’s 
study of physiognomy, and more recently, graphology, 
Kretschmer’s physiological study of types and Rorshach’s 
klexographic method. As we can see, there are any number 
of paths leading from without inward, from the physical 
to the psychic, and it is necessary that research should follow 
this direction until certain elementary psychic facts are 
established with sufficient certainty But once having 
established these facts, we can reverse the procedure We 
can then put the question : What are the bodily correlatives 
of a given psychic condition ? Unfortunately we are not 
yet far enough advanced to answer this question even 
roughly. The first requirement is to establish the primary 
facts of psychic hfe, and this has by no means as yet been 
accomplished. Indeed, we have only just begun the work 
of compiling an inventory of the psyche, and our results 
have not always been successful. 

Merely to establish the fact that certain people have this 
or that appearance is of no significance if it does not allow 


us to infer a psychic correlative. We have learned something 
only when we have determined what mental attributes go 
with a given bodily constitution. The body means as little 
to us without the psyche as the latter without the body. 
When we try to derive a psychic correlative from a physical 
characteristic, we are proceeding — as already stated — from 
the known to the unknown 

I must, unfortunately, stress this point, since psychology 
is the youngest of all the sciences, and therefore the one 
that suffers most from preconceived opinions. The fact 
that we have only recently discovered psychology shows 
plainly enough that it has taken us all this time to make 
a clear distinction between ourselves and the contents of 
our minds Until this could be done, it was impossible to 
study the psyche objectively. Psychology, as a natural 
science, is actually our most recent acquisition ; up to 
now it has been just as fantastic and arbitrary as was 
natural science in the Middle Ages. Heretofore it has been 
thought that psychology could dispense with empirical data 
and be created as it were by decree — a prejudice under 
which we are still labouring. Yet the events of psychic 
life are what is most immediate to us, and apparently what 
we know most about. Indeed, they are more than familiar 
to us, we yawn over them We are amazed at the banality 
of these everlasting commonplaces ; m short, we actually 
suffer under the immediacy of our psychic life and do 
everything in our power to avoid thinking about it. The 
psyche, then, being immediacy itself, and we ourselves 
being the psyche, we are almost forced to assume that we 
know it through and through in a way that cannot be 
questioned. This is why each of us has his own private 
opinion about psychology and is even convinced that he 


knows more about it than anyone else. Psychiatrists, 
because they must struggle with their patients’ families and 
guardians whose “ understanding ” is proverbial, are 
perhaps the first as a professional group to become aware 
of that blind prejudice which encourages every man to 
take himself as his own best authority m psychological 
matters. But this of course does not prevent the psychiatrist 
also from becoming a “ know-all ”. One of them went so 
far as to confess : " There are only two normal people in 
this city — Professor B is the other.” 

Since this is how matters stand in psychology today, we 
must admit that what is closest to us is the very thing we 
know least about, although it seems to be what we know 
best of all Furthermore, we must admit that everyone else 
probably understands us better than we do ourselves. At 
any rate, as a starting-point, this would be a most useful 
heuristic principle As I have said, it is just because the 
psyche is so close to us that psychology has been discovered 
so late. Being still in its initial stages as a science, we lack 
the concepts and definitions with which to grasp the facts. 
If concepts are lacking to us, facts are not ; on the contrary 
we axe surrounded — almost buried — by these facts This 
is a striking contrast to the state of affairs in other sciences 
where the facts have first to be unearthed. Here the 
classification of primary data results in the formation of 
descriptive concepts covering certain natural orders, as, for 
example, the grouping of the elements m chemistry and of 
genera in botany. But it is quite different in the case of 
the psyche. Here an empirical and descriptive standpoint 
leaves us at the mercy of the unchecked stream of our own 
subjective experiences, so that whenever any sort of inclusive 
generalization emerges from this welter of impressions, it 


is usually nothing more than a symptom Because we 
ourselves are psyches, it is almost impossible for us to give 
free rein to psychic happenings without being practically 
dissolved m them and thus robbed of our ability to recognize 
distinctions and to make comparisons 

This is one difficulty The other lies in the circumstance 
that the more we turn from special phenomena and come to 
deal with the spaceless psyche, the more impossible it 
becomes to determine anything by exact measurement It 
becomes difficult even to establish facts If, for example, 
I want to emphasize the unreality of something, I say that 
I merely thought it. I say : “ I would never even have 
had this thought unless so-and-so had happened , and 
besides, I never think things like that ” Remarks of this 
kind are quite usual, and show how nebulous psychic facts 
are, or rather how vague they are on the subjective side — in 
reality they are just as objective and as definite as historical 
events. The truth is that I actually did think thus and thus, 
regardless of the conditions and stipulations I may attach 
to this fact Many people have to wrestle with themselves in 
order to make this perfectly obvious admission, and it often 
costs them a great moral effort These, then, are the diffi- 
culties we encounter when we draw inferences about the state 
of affairs m the psyche from the things we observe outside. 

Now my more limited field of work is not the clinical 
determination of external characteristics, but the investiga- 
tion and classification of the psychic data which can be 
inferred from them. The first result of this work is a 
descriptive study of the psyche, which enables us to formulate 
certain theories about its structure. From the empirical 
application of these theories there is finally developed a 
conception of psychological types. 


Clinical studies are based upon the description of symptoms, 
and the step from this to the descriptive study of the psyche 
is comparable to the step from a purely symptomatic 
pathology to the pathology of the cell and of metabolism. 
That is to say that the descriptive study of the psyche 
brings into view those psychic processes in the hinterland 
of the mind which produce the clinical symptoms. As 
we know, this insight is gained by the application of 
analytical methods. We have today a substantial knowledge 
of those psychic processes which produce the neurotic 
symptoms, for our descriptive study of the psyche has 
advanced far enough to enable us to determine the com- 
plexes. Whatever else may be taking place within the 
obscure recesses of the psyche — and there are notoriously 
many opinions as to this matter — one thing is cert am • it 
is first and foremost the so-called complexes (emotionally 
toned contents having a certain amount of autonomy) 
which play an important part there The expression 
“ autonomous complex ” has often met with opposition, 
although, as it seems to me, un]ustifiably. The active 
contents of the unconscious do behave in a way I cannot 
describe better than by the word “ autonomous ”. The 
term is used to indicate the fact that the complexes offer 
resistance to the conscious intentions, and come and go 
as they please. According to our best knowledge about 
them, complexes are psychic contents which are outside the 
control of the conscious mind. They have been spht off 
from consciousness and lead a separate existence in the 
unconscious, being at all times ready to hinder or to reinforce 
the conscious intentions. 

A further study of the complexes leads inevitably to the 
problem of their origin, and as to this a number of different 



theories are current. Apart from theories, experience shows 
us that complexes always contain something like a conflict — 
they are either the cause or the effect of a conflict At 
any rate, the characteristics of conflict — that is, shock, 
upheaval, mental agony, inner strife — are peculiar to the 
complexes They have been called in French bites noires, 
while we refer to them as " skeletons in the cupboard 
They are “ vulnerable points ” which we do not like to 
remember and still less to be reminded of by others, but 
which frequently come back to mind unbidden and m the 
most unwelcome fashion They always contain memories, 
wishes, fears, duties, needs, or views, with which we have 
never really come to terms, and for this reason they con- 
stantly interfere with our conscious life in a disturbing and 
usually a harmful way. 

Complexes obviously represent a land of inferiority m 
the broadest sense — a statement I must at once qualify 
by saying that to have complexes does not necessarily 
indicate inferiority It only means that something incom- 
patible, unassimilated, and conflicting exists — perhaps as 
an obstacle, but also as a stimulus to greater effort, and so, 
perhaps, as an opening to new possibilities of achievement. 
Complexes are therefore, in this sense, focal or nodal points 
of psychic hfe which we would not wish to do without. 
Indeed they must not be lacking, for otherwise psychic 
activity would come to a fatal standstill. But they indicate 
the unresolved problems of the individual, the points at 
which he has suffered a defeat, at least for the time being, 
and where there is something he cannot evade or overcome — 
his weak spots in every sense of the word. 

Now these characteristics of the complex throw a significant 
light on its genesis. It obviously arises from the clash 


between a requirement of adaptation and the individual’s 
constitutional inability to meet the challenge. Seen in this 
light, the complex is a symptom which helps us to diagnose 
an individual disposition. 

Experience shows us that complexes are infinitely varied, 
yet careful comparison reveals a relatively small number of 
typical primary patterns, all of which have their origins in 
the first experiences of childhood. This must necessarily 
be so, because the individual disposition is already a 
factor in childhood ; it is innate, and not acquired m the 
course of life. The parental complex is therefore nothing 
but the first manifestation of a clash between reality 
and the individual's constitutional inability to meet the 
requirements it demands of him. The first form of the 
complex cannot be other than a parental complex, because 
the parents are the first reality with which the child comes 
into conflict 

The existence of a parental complex therefore tells us 
little or nothing about the peculiar constitution of the 
individual. Practical experience soon teaches us that the 
crux of the matter does not lie in the presence of a parental 
complex, but rather in the special way in which the complex 
works itself out in the life of the individual. As to this we 
observe the most striking variations, and only a very small 
number can be attributed to the special traits of parental 
influence. There are often several children who are exposed 
to the same influence, and yet each reacts to it in a totally 
different way. 

I have turned my attention to these very differences, 
because I believe that it is through them that specifically 
individual dispositions can be recognized. Why, in a 
neurotic family, does one child react with hysteria, another 


with a compulsion neurosis, the third with a psychosis, and 
the fourth apparently not at all ? This problem of the 
“ choice of the neurosis ”, with which Freud also was 
confronted, robs the parental complex as such of all 
aetiological meaning, and shifts the enquiry to the reacting 
individual and his special disposition 

Although Freud’s attempts to solve this problem leave 
me entirely unsatisfied, I am myself unable to answer the 
question. Indeed, I think the time is not yet ripe for raising 
this question of the choice of the neurosis. Before we take 
up this extremely difficult problem, we must know a great 
deal more about the way in which the individual reacts 
The question is • How does a person react to an obstacle ? 
For instance, we come to a brook where there is no bridge 
The stream is too broad to step across, and we must jump. 
To make this possible, we have at our disposal a complicated 
functional system, namely, the psycho-motor system It 
is completely developed and needs only to be released 
But before this happens, something of a purely psychic 
nature takes place, that is, the decision is made about what 
is to be done. This is followed by activities which settle 
the issue in some way and are different for each individual. 
But, significantly enough, we rarely, if ever, recognize these 
events as characteristic, for we cannot as a rule see ourselves 
at all, or only at the very end. This is to say that, just as 
the psycho-motor apparatus is automatically at our disposal, 
so there is an exclusively psychic apparatus ready for our 
use m the making of decisions which works also by habit 
and therefore unconsciously. 

Opinions differ very widely as to what this apparatus is 
like. It is certain only that every individual has his 
accustomed way of meeting decisions and of dealing with 



difficulties. One person will say he jumped the brook for 
the fun of the thing ; another that it was because there 
was no alternative ; a third that every obstacle he meets 
challenges him to overcome it. A fourth person did not 
jump the brook because he hates useless effort, and a fifth 
refrained because he saw no urgent necessity for crossing 
to the other side. 

I have purposely chosen this commonplace example in 
order to show how irrelevant these incentives seem. They 
appear so futile, indeed, that we push them all to one side 
and are inclined to substitute our own explanation And 
yet it is just these variants that furnish us with valuable 
insight into the individual systems of psychic adaptation. 
If we examine, in other situations of life, the person who 
crossed the brook because it gave him pleasure to jump, 
we shall probably find that for the most part what he does 
and omits to do can be explained in terms of the pleasure 
it gives him. We shall observe that the one who sees no 
other means of getting across, goes through life carefully, 
but unwillingly, always making reluctant decisions In 
all these cases special psychic systems are in readiness to 
carry out decisions offhand We can easily imagine that 
the number of these attitudes is legion. The particular 
variations are certainly as innumerable as the variations of 
crystals which nevertheless may be recognized as belonging 
to one or another system. But just as crystals show basic 
uniformities which are relatively simple, so do these personal 
attitudes show certain fundamental traits which allow us to 
assign them to definite groups 
Since the earliest times, attempts have repeatedly been 
made to classify individuals according to types and thus to 
bring order into what was confusion. The oldest attempt 


of this sort known to us was made by oriental astrologers 
who devised the so-called trigons of the four elements, air, 
water, earth and fire The tngon of the air as it appears 
in a horoscope consists of the three “ aerial ” signs of the 
zodiac, Aquarius, Gemini and Libra ; the trigon of fire is 
made up of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. According to this 
age-old view, whoever is bom in these trigons shares in their 
aerial or fiery nature and reveals a corresponding disposition 
and destiny. This ancient cosmological scheme is the parent 
of the physiological type-theory of antiquity according to 
which the four dispositions correspond to the four humours 
of the body What was first represented by the signs of 
the zodiac was later expressed in the physiological terms of 
Greek medicine, giving us the classification into phlegmatic, 
sanguine, choleric, and melancholic These are merely 
terms for the supposed humours of the body As is well 
known, this classification lasted nearly seventeen centuries. 
As for the astrological type-theory, to the astonishment of the 
enlightened, it remains mtact today, and is even enjoying 
a new vogue 

This historical retrospect may set our minds at rest as 
to the fact that our modem efforts to formulate a theory of 
types axe by no means new and unprecedented, even if our 
scientific conscience no longer permits us to revert to these 
old, intuitive ways of handling the question We must 
find our own answer to this problem — an answer which 
satisfies the demands of science 

And here we meet the chief difficulty of the problem of 
types — that is, the question of standards or criteria. The 
astrological criterion was simple , it was given by the 
constellations As to the way in which the elements of 
human character could be ascribed to the zodiacal signs and 


the planets, this is a question which reaches back into the 
grey mists of prehistory and remains unanswerable The 
Greek classification according to the four physiological 
dispositions took as its criteria the appearance and behaviour 
of the individual, exactly as is done today in the case of 
modern physiological types But where shall we seek our 
criterion for a psychological theory of types ? Let us return 
to the previously mentioned instance of the vanous indi- 
viduals who had to cross a brook How, and from what 
standpoint, should we classify their habitual incentives ? 
One person does it from pleasure, another acts because not 
to act is more troublesome, a third does not act because he 
has second thoughts, and so forth. The list of possibilities 
seems both endless and useless for purposes of classification 

I do not know how other people would set about the 
task. I can therefore only tell you how I myself have 
approached the matter, and I must submit to the reproach 
that my way of solving the problem is the outcome of my 
individual prejudice. Indeed, this objection is so entirely 
true, that I should not know how to meet it I might, 
perhaps, content myself by referring to Columbus, who, 
by using subjective assumptions, a false hypothesis, and a 
route abandoned by modem navigation, nevertheless dis- 
covered America. Whatever we look at, and however we look 
at it, we see only through our own eyes For this reason 
a science is never made by one man, but by many. The 
individual merely offers his contribution, and in this sense 
only do I dare to speak of my way of seeing things. 

My profession has always forced me to take account of 
the peculiarities of individuals. This has made it necessary 
for me to establish certain average truths, as also has the 
circumstance that in the course of many years I have had 



to treat innumerable married couples and have been faced 
with the task of making the standpoints of husband and 
wife mutually plausible. How many times, for example, 
have I not had to say : “ Look here, your wife has a very 
active nature, and it cannot be expected that her whole 
existence should centre round housekeeping.” This is the 
beginning of a type-theory, a sort of statistical truth : there 
are active natures and passive ones. But this time-worn 
truth did not satisfy me Therefore I next tned to say that 
there were some persons given to reflection, and others who 
were unreflective, because I had observed that apparently 
passive natures are in reality not so much passive as given 
to forethought They first consider a situation and then 
act ; and because they do this habitually they miss oppor- 
tunities where immediate action without forethought is 
called for, thus coming to be stigmatized as passive. The 
persons who did not reflect always seemed to me to jump 
into a situation without any forethought, only perhaps to 
observe afterwards that they had landed in a swamp. Thus 
they could be considered “ unreflective ”, and this seemed 
a more appropnate designation than "active ”. Forethought 
is in certain cases a very important form of activity, just as 
it is a reasonable course of action m contrast to the 
effervescence of the person who must act at once at all 
costs. But I very soon discovered that the hesitation of 
the one was by no means always forethought, and that the 
quick action of the other was not necessarily want of 
reflection. The hesitation of the former often arises 
from habitual timidity, or at least from something like a 
customary shrinking backward as if faced with too heavy 
a task , while the immediate activity of the second is 
frequently made possible by a predominating self-confidence 


with respect to the object. This observation caused me to 
formulate these typical distinctions m the following way : 
there is a whole class of men who at the moment of reaction 
to a given situation at first draw back a little as if with 
an unvoiced " No ”, and only after that are able to react ; 
and there is another class who, in the same situation, come 
forward with an immediate reaction, apparently confident 
that their behaviour is obviously right. The former class 
would therefore be characterized by a certain negative 
relation to the object, and the latter by a positive 

As we know, the former class corresponds to the intro- 
verted and the second to the extraverted attitude. But with 
these two terms in themselves as httle is gamed as when 
Moh^re’s bourgeois gentilhomme discovered that he ordinarily 
spoke in prose. These distinctions attain meaning and value 
only when we realize all the other characteristics that go 
with the type. 

One cannot be introverted or extraverted without being 
so m every respect. By the term “ introverted ” we mean 
that all psychic happenings take place in the way we posit 
as true of introverted people. Thus also, to establish the 
fact that a certain individual is extraverted would be as 
irrelevant as proving that his height is six feet, or that 
he has brown hair, or is brachycephahc. These statements 
bring httle more to light than the bare fact they express. 
But the expression “ extraverted ” claims to have more 
meaning. It states that, when a person is extraverted, his 
consciousness as well as his unconscious have definite 
qualities ; that his general behaviour, his relation to people, 
and even the course of his life, show certain typical 



Introversion or extraversion, as a typical attitude, means 
an essential bias which conditions the whole psychic process, 
establishes the habitual reactions, and thus determines not 
only the style of behaviour, but also the nature of subjective 
experience. And not only so, but it also denotes the kind 
of compensatory activity of the unconscious which we may 
expect to find. 

When the habitual reactions are determined, we can feel 
fairly certain of having hit the mark, because they govern 
external behaviour on the one hand, and on the other 
mould specific experience. A certain kind of behaviour 
brings corresponding results, and the subjective under- 
standing of these results gives rise to the experiences which 
in turn influence behaviour, and thus close the circle of an 
individual's destmy. 

Although there need be no doubt that with the habitual 
reactions we touch upon a decisive matter, there remains 
the dehcate question as to whether we have satisfactorily 
characterized them There can be an honest difference of 
opinion about this even among persons with an equally 
intimate knowledge of the special field. In my book on 
types 1 I have gathered together all that I could find in 
support of my conception, but I have made it very clear 
that I do not hold mine to be the only true or possible 
type-theory. This theory is simple enough, consisting as 
it does in the contrast between introversion and extra- 
version , but simple formulations are unfortunately most 
open to doubt They all too easily cover up the actual 
complexities, and so deceive us. I speak here from my own 
experience, for scarcely had I published the first formulation 
of my criteria, when I discovered to my dismay that somehow 

1 Psychological Types, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co , London 


or other I had been taken in by it. Something was out of 
gear. I had tried to explain too much in too simple a way, 
as often happens in the first ]oy of discovery. 

What struck me now was the undeniable fact that while 
people may be classed as introverts or extraverts, these 
distinctions do not cover all the dissimilarities between the 
individuals in either class. So great, indeed, are these 
differences that I was forced to doubt whether I had observed 
correctly in the first place. It took nearly ten years of 
observation and comparison to clear up this doubt. 

The question as to the great variation observable among 
the members of each class entangled me in unforeseen 
difficulties which for a long time I could not master. To 
observe and recognize the differences gave me comparatively 
little trouble, the root of my difficulties being now, as before, 
the problem of criteria. How was I to find the right terms 
for the characteristic differences ? Here I realized for the 
first time and to the full extent how young psychology 
really is. It is still little more than a chaos of arbitrary 
opinions, the better part of which seems to have been produced 
in the study and consulting-room by spontaneous generation 
from the isolated and therefore Jovian brains of learned 
scholars. Without wishing to be irreverent, I cannot refrain 
from confronting the Professor of Psychology with the 
mentality of women, of the Chinese, and of Austr alian 
Negroes. Our psychology must embrace all life, otherwise 
we simply remain enclosed in the Middle Ages. 

I have realized that no sound criteria are to be found in 
the chaos of contemporary psychology. They have first to 
be made — not out of whole cloth, of course, but on the basis 
of the invaluable preparatory work done by many men whose 
names no history of psychology will pass over in si fp nc e . 


Within the limits of an essay, I cannot possibly mention 
all the separate observations that led me to pick out certain 
psychic functions as criteria for the designation of the 
differences under discussion. I wish only to show how they 
appear to me as far as I have been able to grasp them. 
We must realize that an introvert does not simply draw 
back and hesitate before the object, but that he does so 
in a very definite way. Moreover he does not behave in 
all respects like every other introvert, but in a particular 
manner. Just as the hon strikes down his enemy or his 
prey with his fore-paw, in which his strength resides, and 
not with his tail like the crocodile, so our habitual reactions 
are normally characterized by the application of our most 
trustworthy and efficient function ; it is an expression of 
our strength However, this does not prevent our reacting 
occasionally in a way that reveals our specific weakness 
The predominance of a function leads us to construct or to 
seek out certain situations while we avoid others, and 
therefore to have experiences that are peculiar to us and 
different from those of other people. An intelligent man will 
make his adaptation to the world through his intelligence, 
and not in the manner of a sixth-rate pugilist, even though 
now and then, in a fit of rage, he may make use of his fists. 
In the struggle for existence and adaptation everyone 
instinctively uses his most developed function, which thus 
becomes the criterion of his habitual reactions 
The question now becomes ■ How is it possible to subsume 
all these functions under general concepts, so that they can 
be distinguished in the welter of merely contingent events ? 
In social life a rough grouping of this sort has long ago come 
about, and as a result we have types like the peasant, the 
worker, the artist, the scholar, the warrior, and so forth 


down the list of the various professions. But this sort of 
typifi cation has very little to do with psychology, because — 
as a well-known scholar has maliciously remarked — there 
are savants who are merely “ intellectual porters 
A type-theory must be more subtle. It is not enough, 
for example, to speak of intelligence, for this is too general 
and too vague a concept. Almost any behaviour can be 
called intelligent if it works smoothly, quickly, effectively 
and to a purpose. Intelligence, like stupidity, is not a 
function but a modality ; the term tells us nothing more 
than how a function works. The same holds true of moral 
and aesthetic cntena. We must be able to designate what it 
is that functions outstandingly in the individual's habitual 
way of reacting. We are thus forced to resort to something 
which at first glance alarmingly resembles the old faculty 
psychology of the eighteenth century ; in reality, however, 
we are only returning to current ideas in daily speech, 
perfectly accessible and comprehensible to everyone. When, 
for instance, I speak of " thinking ”, it is only the philosopher 
who does not know what I mean , no layman will find it 
incomprehensible. He uses this word every day, and always 
in the same general sense, though it is true enough that he 
is not a little embarrassed if he is called upon suddenly to 
give an unequivocal definition of thinking. The same is 
true of " memory ” or " feeling ”. However difficult it 
is to define such notions scientifically and thus make of 
them psychological concepts, they are easily intelligible in 
current speech. Speech is a storehouse of images founded 
on experience, and therefore concepts which are too abstract 
do not easily take root in it, or quickly die out again for 
lack of contact with reality. But thinking and feelin g are 
so obtrusively real that every language above the primitive 


level has absolutely unmistakable expressions for them- 
We can therefore be sure that these expressions coincide 
with perfectly definite psychic facts, no matter what the 
scientific definitions of these complex facts may be Everyone 
knows, for example, what consciousness is, and nobody 
doubts that the concept covers a definite psychic condition, 
however far science may be from defining it satisfactorily. 

So it came about that I simply formed my concepts of 
the psychic functions from the notions expressed in current 
speech, and used them as my criteria in judging the dif- 
ferences between persons of the same attitude-type For 
example, I took thinking as it is generally understood, 
because I was struck by the fact that many persons habitually 
do more thinking than others, and accordingly give more 
weight to thought when making important decisions. They 
also use them thinking m trying to understand and adapt 
themselves to the world, and whatever happens to them is 
subjected to consideration and reflection, or at least reconciled 
with some principle sanctioned by thought Other people 
conspicuously neglect thinking in favour of emotional 
factors, that is, feehng They mveterately follow a " policy " 
dictated by feehng, and it takes an extraordinary situation 
to make them reflect. These persons exhibit a striking and 
unmistaka ble contrast to the former This difference is 
most patent when, for example, a person of one kind is the 
partner in business or marriage of a person of the other 
kind. Now a man may give preference to thinking whether 
he be extraverted or introverted, but he always uses it in 
the way that is characteristic of his attitude-type. 

However, the predominance of one or the other of these 
functions does not explain all the differences to be found 
What I call the thinking or feelrng types embrace two groups 


of persons who again have something in common which I 
cannot designate except by the word rationality. No one 
will dispute the statement that thinking is essentially 
rational, but when we come to feeling, certain objections 
may be raised which I do not want simply to overrule ; on 
the contrary I freely admit that this problem of feeling has 
been one over which I have racked my brains. Yet, not 
to burden this essay with the various existing definitions 
of this concept, I shall confine myself briefly to my own 
view. The chief difficulty hes in the fact that the word 
“ feeling ” can be applied in all sorts of different ways 
This is especially true in the German language, but is 
noticeable to some extent m English and French as well 
First of all, then, we must make a careful distinction between 
the concepts of feeling and sensation, the latter bemg taken 
to cover the sensory processes And in the second place 
we must recognize that a feeling of regret is something quite 
different from a “ feeling ” that the weather will change 
or that the price of our aluminium shares will go up. I 
have therefore proposed using the term " feeling ” m the 
first instance, and dropping it — so far as psychological 
terminology is concerned — in the other two instances 
Here we should speak of “ sensation ” when the sense 
organs are involved, and of intuition if we are dealing with 
a kind of perception which cannot be traced directly to 
conscious sensory experience. I have therefore defined 
sensation as perception through conscious sensory processes, 
and intuition as perception by way of unconscious contents 
•and connections. 

Obviously we could argue until Doomsday about the 
fitness of these definitions, but the discussion eventually 
turns upon a mere question of terms. It is as if we debated 


whether to call a certain animal a puma or a mountain-lion, 
when all that is needed is to know what we wish to designate 
in a given way. Psychology is an unexplored field of study, 
and its particular idiom must first be fixed. It is well known 
that temperature can be measured according to Reaumur, 
Celsius or Fahrenheit, but we must indicate which system 
we are using 

It is evident, then, that I take feehng as a function in 
itself and distinguish it from sensation and intuition. 
Whoever confuses these last two functions with feehng 
in this narrower sense, can obviously not acknowledge the 
rationality of feeling. But if they are separated from 
feehng, it becomes quite clear that feeling values and feehng 
judgements — that is to say, our feelings— are not only 
reasonable, but are also as discriminating, logical and 
consistent as thinking Such a statement seems strange to 
a man of the thinking type, but we can understand this when 
we realize that in a person with a differentiated thinking 
function, the feeling function is always less developed, more 
primitive, and therefore contaminated with other functions 
— these being precisely the functions which are not rational, 
not logical, and not evaluating, namely, sensation and 
intuition. These two last are by their very nature opposed 
to the rational functions When we think, it is m order to 
judge or to reach a conclusion, and when we feel it is in 
order to attach a proper value to somethmg ; sensation and 
intuition, on the other hand, are perceptive — they make us 
aware of what is happening, but do not interpret or evaluate 
it. They do not act selectively according to principles, but 
are simply receptive of what happens. But “ what happens " 
is merely nature, and therefore essentially non-rational. 
There are no modes of inference by which it can be proved 


that there must be so many planets, or so many species 
of warm-blooded animals of this or that sort. Lack of 
rationality is a vice where thinking and feeling are called 
for — rationality is a vice where sensation and intuition 
should be trusted. 

Now there are many persons whose habitual reactions 
are non-rational, because they are based chiefly upon 
sensation or intuition. They cannot be based upon both at 
once, because sensation is just as antagonistic to intuition 
as thinking is to feeling When I try to assure myself with 
my eyes and ears of what actually occurs, I cannot at the 
same time give way to dreams and fantasies as to what lies 
round the comer. As this is just what the intuitive type 
must do in order to give free play to the unconscious or to 
the object, it is easy to see that the sensation type is at 
the opposite pole to the intuitive Unfortunately, I cannot 
here take up the interesting variations which the extraverted 
or introverted attitude produces m non-rational types 

Instead, I prefer to add a word about the effects regularly 
produced upon the other functions when preference is given 
to one. We know that a man can never be everything at 
once, never complete ; he always develops certain qualities 
at the expense of others, and wholeness is never attained. 
But what happens to those functions which are not developed 
by exercise and are not consciously brought into daily use ? 
They remain in a more or less primitive and infantile state, 
often only half-conscious, or even quite unconscious These 
relatively undeveloped functions constitute a specific in- 
feriority which is characteristic of each type and is an 
integral part of the total character. The one-sided emphasis 
on thinking is always accompanied by an inferiority in 
feeling, and differentiated sensation and intuition are 


mutually injurious. Whether a function is differentiated or 
not may easily be recognized from its strength, stability, 
constancy, trustworthiness and service in adaptedness. 
But inferiority in a function is often not so easily described 
or recognized. An essential criterion is its lack of self- 
sufficiency, and our resulting dependence on people and 
circumstances ; furthermore, its disposing us to moods and 
undue sensitivity, its untrustworthiness and vagueness, and 
its tendency to make us suggestible We are always at a 
disadvantage m using the inferior function because we 
cannot direct it, bemg in fact even its victims 
Smce I must restnct myself here to a mere sketch of the 
basic ideas of a psychological theory of types, I must 
unfortunately forego a detailed description of individual 
traits and actions m the hght of this theory. The total 
result of my work in this field up to the present is the 
presentation of two general types covering the attitudes 
which I call extraversion and introversion Besides these, 
I have worked out a fourfold classification corresponding to 
the functions of thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. 
Each of these functions varies according to the general 
attitude, and thus eight variants are produced. I have been 
asked almost reproachfully why I speak of four functions 
and not of more or fewer. That there are exactly four is a 
matter of empirical fact. But as the following consideration 
will show, a certain completeness is attained by these four. 
Sensation establishes what is actually given, thinking enables 
us to recognize its meaning, feeling tells us its value, 
and finally intuition points to the possibilities of the whence 
and whither that lie within the immediate facts. In this 
way, we can orientate ourselves with respect to the immediate 
world as completely as when we locate a place geographically 


by latitude and longitude. The four functions are somewhat 
like the four points of the compass ; they are just as 
arbitrary and just as indispensable. Nothing prevents our 
shifting the cardinal points as many degrees as we like in 
one direction or the other, nor are we precluded from giving 
them different names. It is merely a question of convention 
and comprehensibility. 

But one thing I must confess : I would not for anything 
dispense with this compass on my psychological journeys of 
discovery. This is not merely for the obvious, all-too-human 
reason that everyone is in love with his own ideas. I value 
the type-theory for the objective reason that it offers a 
system of comparison and orientation which makes possible 
something that has long been lacking, a critical psychology 



To discuss the problems connected with the stages of human 
development is an exacting task, for it means nothing less 
than unfolding a picture of psychic life in its entirety from 
the cradle to the grave Within the narrow frame of this 
essay the task can be earned out only on the broadest lines, 
and it must be well understood that no attempt will be 
made to describe the normal psychic occurrences within the 
vanous stages. We shall rather restrict ourselves and deal 
only with certain " problems ’’ ; that is, with things that 
are difficult, questionable or ambiguous ; in a word, with 
questions which allow of more than one answer — and, more- 
over, answers that are always open to doubt For this reason 
there will be much to which we must add a question-mark 
in our thoughts. And — worse still — there will be some things 
which we must accept on faith, while now and then we must 
even indulge in speculations. 

If psychic hfe consisted only of overt happenings — which 
on a primitive level is still the case — we could content 
ourselves with a sturdy empiricism. The psychic life of 
civilized man, however, is full of problems ; we cannot even 
think of it except in terms of problems. Our psychic pro- 
cesses are made up to a large extent of reflections, doubts 
and experiments, all of which are almost completely foreign 
to the unconscious, instinctive mind of primitive man. 




It is the growth of consciousness which we must thank for 
the existence of problems ; they are the dubious gift of 
civilization. It is just man’s turning away from instinct — 
his opposing himself to instinct — that creates consciousness 
Instinct is nature and seeks to perpetuate nature ; while 
consciousness can only seek culture or its denial Even 
when we turn back to nature, inspired by a Rousseauesque 
longing, we “ cultivate ” nature. As long as we are still 
submerged m nature we are unconscious, and we hve in the 
security of instinct that knows no problems Everything 
in us that still belongs to nature shrinks away from a 
problem ; for its name is doubt, and wherever doubt holds 
sway, there is uncertainty and the possibility of divergent 
ways. And where several ways seem possible, there we 
have turned away from the certain guidance of instinct 
and are handed over to fear. For consciousness is now 
called upon to do that which nature has always done for 
her children — namely, to give a certain, unquestionable and 
unequivocal decision. And here we are beset by an all-too- 
human fear that consciousness — our Promethean conquest — 
may in the end not be able to serve us in the place of nature 
Problems thus draw us into an orphaned and isolated 
state where we are abandoned by nature and are driven 
to consciousness. There is no other way open to us , we 
are forced to resort to decisions and solutions where we 
formerly trusted ourselves to natural happenings. Every 
problem, therefore, brings the possibility of a widening of 
consciousness — but also the necessity of saying good-bye 
to childlike unconsciousness and trust in nature. This 
necessity is a psychic fact of such importance that it 
constitutes one of the essential symbolic teachings of the 
Christian religion. It is the sacrifice of the merely natural 


man — of the unconscious, ingenuous being whose tragic 
career began with the eating of the apple in Paradise The 
biblical fall of man presents the dawn of consciousness as 
a curse. And as a matter of fact it is m this light that we 
first look upon every problem that forces us to greater 
consciousness and separates us even further from the paradise 
of unconscious childhood. Every one of us gladly turns 
away from his problems , if possible, they must not be 
mentioned, or, better still, their existence is denied We 
wish to make our hves simple, certain and smooth — and 
for that reason problems are tabu We choose to have 
certainties and no doubts — results and no experiments — 
without even seemg that certainties can arise only through 
doubt, and results through experiment The artful denial 
of a problem will not produce conviction , on the contrary, 
a wider and higher consciousness is called for to give us 
the certainty and clarity we need 
This mtroduction, long as it is, seemed to me necessary 
in order to make clear the nature of our subject When we 
must deal with problems, we instinctively refuse to try 
the way that leads through darkness and obscurity We 
wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely 
forget that these results can only be brought about when 
we have ventured mto and emerged again from the darkness. 
But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the 
powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer ; as 
I have already said, we must even indulge in speculations. 
For in treating of the problems of psychic life we perpetually 
stumble over questions of principle belonging to the private 
domains of the most different branches of knowledge. We 
disturb and anger the theologian no less than the philosopher, 
the physician no less than the educator ; we even grope 



about in the field of the biologist and of the historian. This 
extravagant behaviour is not to be charged to our arrogance, 
but to the circumstance that man’s psyche is a unique 
combination of factors which also make up the special 
subjects of far-reaching lines of research. For it is out of 
himself and out of his peculiar constitution that man 
produced his sciences. They are symptoms of his psyche. 

If, therefore, we ask ourselves the unavoidable question : 
" Why does man, in obvious contrast to the animal world, 
have problems ? ” — we run into that inextricable tangle 
of thoughts which many thousands of mcisive minds have 
brought about m the course of centuries. I shall not perform 
the labours of a Sisyphus upon this masterpiece of confusion, 
but will try to present quite simply my contnbution toward 
man’s attempt to answer this basic question 

There are no problems without consciousness. We must 
therefore put the question in another way * In what way 
does consciousness arise ? Nobody can say with certainty , 
but we can observe small children in the process of becoming 
conscious. Every parent can see it, if he pays attention. 
And this is what we are able to observe . when the child 
recognizes someone or something — when he “ knows ” a 
person or a thing — then we feel that the child has conscious- 
ness. That, no doubt, is also why in Paradise it was the 
tree of knowledge which bore such fateful fruit. 

But what is recognition or knowledge m this sense ? We 
speak of “ knowing ” something when we succeed m linking 
a new perception to an already established context m such 
a way that we hold in consciousness not only the new 
perception but this context as well. “ Knowing ” is based, 
therefore, upon a conscious connection between psychic 
contents. We cannot have knowledge of disconnected 



contents, and we cannot even be conscious of them. The 
first stage of consciousness, then, which we can observe 
consists in a mere connection between two or more psychic 
contents. At this level, consciousness is merely sporadic, 
being limited to the representation of a few connections, and 
the content is not remembered later on It is a fact that in 
the early years of hfe there is no continuous memory ; at 
the most there are islands of consciousness which are like 
single lamps or lighted objects in the far-flung darkness 
But these islands of memory are not the same as those 
initial connections between psychic contents , they contain 
something more and something new. This something is 
that highly important senes of related contents which 
constitutes the so-called ego. The ego — quite hke the 
lmtial content-senes — is an object m consciousness, and for 
this reason the child speaks of itself at first objectively, in 
the third person. Only later, when the ego-contents have 
been charged with energy of their own (very hkely as a 
result of exercise), does the feeling of subjectivity or 
" I-ness ” arise. This is no doubt the moment when the 
child begins to speak of itself in the first jjerson At this 
level the continuity of memory has its beginning Essentially, 
therefore, it is a continuity in the ego-memones. 

In the childish stage of consciousness there are as yet 
no problems ; nothing depends upon the subject, for the 
child itself is still wholly dependent upon its parents. It is 
as though it were not yet completely bom, but were still 
enclosed in the psychic atmosphere of its parents. Psychic 
birth, and with it the conscious distinction of the ego from 
the parents, takes place in the normal course of things at 
the age of puberty with the eruption of sexual life. The 
physiological change is attended by a psychic revolution. 



For the various bodily manifestations give such an emphasis 
to the ego that it often asserts itself without stmt or measure. 
This is sometimes called “ the unbearable age 

Until this period is reached the psychic life of the individual 
is essentially governed by impulse, and few or no problems 
are met with. Even when external limitations oppose the 
subjective impulses, these restraints do not put the individual 
at variance with himself. He submits to them or circumvents 
them, remaining quite at one with himself. He does not yet 
know the state of inner tension which a problem brings 
about This state only arises when what was an external 
limitation becomes an inner obstacle , when one impulse 
opposes itself to another. Resorting to psychological terms 
we would say the state induced by a problem — the state 
of being at variance with oneself — arises when, side by side 
with the senes of ego-contents, a second senes of equal 
mtensity comes into being. This second series, because of 
its energy-value, has a functional significance equal to that 
of the ego-complex ; we might call it another, second ego 
which in a given case can wrest the leadership from the 
first. This bnngs about an estrangement from oneself — 
the state that betokens a problem. 

With reference to what was said above we can epitomize 
as follows : the first stage of consciousness which consists 
of recognizing or “ knowing ” is an anarchic or chaotic 
state The second — that of the developed ego-complex — 
is a monarchic or monistic phase. The third is another step 
forward in consciousness, and consists in the awareness of 
one’s divided state ; it is a dualistic phase. 

And here we take up our actual theme, namely the question 
of the stages of hfe. First of all we must deal with the 
period of youth. It extends roughly from the years just 



after puberty to middle life, which itself begins between 
the thirty-fifth and fortieth year. 

I might well be asked why I choose to begin with the 
second period of human existence. Are there no difficult 
questions connected with childhood ? The complex psychic 
life of the child is of course a problem of the first magnitude 
to parents, educators and physicians , but when normal, the 
child has no real problems of its own. It is only when a 
human being has grown up that he can have doubts about 
himself and be at variance with himself. 

We are all thoroughly familiar with the sources of the 
problems which arise m the period of youth. For most 
people it is the demands of life which harshly put an end 
to the dream of childhood If the individual is sufficiently 
well prepared, the transition to a professional career may 
take place smoothly. But if he clings to illusions that 
contradict reality, then problems will surely arise No one 
takes the step into life without making certain presup- 
positions — and occasionally they are false That is, they 
may not fit the conditions into which one is thrown It is 
often a question of exaggerated expectations, of under- 
estimation of difficulties, of unjustified optimism or of a 
negative attitude One could compile quite a list of the 
false presuppositions which give nse to the earliest, conscious 

But it is not always the contrast of subjective presupposi- 
tions with external facts that gives rise to problems , it may as 
often be inner, psychic disturbances. They may exist even 
when things run smoothly enough in the outer world. Very 
often it is the disturbance of the psychic equilibrium by the 
sexual impulse , and perhaps just as often it is the feeling 
of inferiority which springs from an unbearable sensitivity. 



These inner difficulties may exist even when adaptation to 
the outer world has been achieved without apparent effort. 
It even seems as if young people who have had to struggle 
hard for their existence are spared inner problems, while 
those for whom adaptation for some reason or other is 
made easy, run into problems of sex or conflicts growing 
from the sense of inferiority. 

People whose own temperaments offer problems are often 
neurotic, but it would be a senous misunderstanding to 
confuse the existence of problems with neurosis. There is 
a marked distinction between the two in that the neurotic 
is ill because he is unconscious of his problems , while the 
man with a difficult temperament suffers from his conscious 
problems without being ill 

If we try to extract the common and essential factors 
from the almost inexhaustible variety of individual problems 
found in the period of youth, we meet in nearly all cases 
with a particular feature . a more or less patent clinging 
to the childhood level of consciousness — a rebellion against 
the fateful forces in and around us which tend to involve 
us in the world. Something in us wishes to remain a child ; 
to be unconscious, or, at most, conscious only of the ego ; 
to reject everything foreign, or at least subject it to our 
will ; to do nothing, or m any case indulge our own craving 
for pleasure or power. In this leaning we observe something 
like the inertia of matter ; it is persistence in a hitherto 
existing state whose level of consciousness is smaller, 
narrower and more egoistic than that of the duabstic stage. 
For in the latter the individual finds himself compelled to 
recognize and to accept what is different and strange as a 
part of his own life — as a kind of " also-I 

It is the extension of the horizon of life which is the 



essential feature of the dualistic stage — and to which 
resistance is offered. To be sure, this enlargement — or this 
diastole, to use Goethe’s expression — had started long before 
this. It begins at birth, when the child abandons the narrow 
confinement of the mother’s womb ; and from then on it 
gains steadily untd it reaches a critical point in that phase 
when, beset by problems, the individual begins to struggle 
against it. 

What would happen to him if he simply changed himself 
into that other, foreign, “ also-I ”, and allowed the earlier 
ego to vanish into the past ? We might suppose this to be 
a quite practicable course The very aim of religious 
education, from the exhortation to put off the old Adam, 
backward in time to the rebirth ntuals of primitive races, 
is to transform a human being into a new — a future — man, 
and to allow the old forms of life to die away. 

Psychology teaches us that, in a certain sense, there is 
nothing in the psyche that is old , nothing that can really, 
definitively die away. Even Paul was left with a sting in 
his flesh. Whoever protects himself against what is new 
and strange and thereby regresses to the past, falls into the 
same neurotic condition as the man who identifies himself 
with the new and runs away from the past The only 
difference is that the one has estranged himself from the 
past, and the other from the future In principle both are 
doing the same thing ; they are salvaging a narrow state 
of consciousness. The alternative is to shatter it with the 
tension inherent in the play of opposites — in the dualistic 
stage — and thereby to build up a state of wider and higher 

This outcome would be ideal if it could be brought about 
in the second stage of life — but here is the rub. For one 



thing, nature cares nothing whatsoever about a hi g her level 
of consciousness ; quite the contrary. And then society 
does not value these feats of the psyche very highly ; its 
prizes are always given for achievement and not for per- 
sonality — the latter being rewarded, for the most part, 
posthumously. This being so, a particular solution of the 
difficulty becomes compulsive : we are forced to limit 
ourselves to the attainable and to differentiate particular 
aptitudes, for in this way the capable individual discovers 
his social being. 

Achievement, usefulness and so forth are the ideals which 
appear to guide us out of the confusion of crowding problems 
They may be our lode-stars in the adventure of extending 
and solidifying our psychic existences — they may help us 
in striking our roots in the world , but they cannot guide 
us m the development of that wider consciousness to which 
we give the name of culture. In the period of youth, at 
any rate, this course is the normal one and in all circum- 
stances preferable to merely tossing about m the welter of 

The dilemma is often solved, therefore, in this way : 
whatever is given to us by the past is adapted to the possi- 
bilities and the demands of the future. We limit ourselves 
to the attainable, and this means the renunciation of all 
other potentialities One man loses a valuable piece of his 
past, another a valuable piece of his future. Everyone can 
call to mind friends or schoolmates who were promising and 
idealistic youngsters, but who, when met with years later, 
seemed to have grown dry and cramped in a narrow mould 
These are examples of the solution given above. 

The serious problems of hfe, however, are never fully 
solved. If it should for once appear that they are, this 



is the sign that something has been lost. The meaning and 
design of a problem seem not to lie m its solution, but m 
our working at it incessantly. This alone preserves us from 
stultification and petrifaction. So also with that solution 
of the problems of the period of youth which consists in 
restricting ourselves to the attainable . it is only temporarily 
valid and not lasting in a deeper sense. Of course, to win 
for oneself a place in society and so to transform one’s nature 
that it is more or less fitted to this existence, is m every 
instance an important achievement. It is a fight waged 
within oneself as well as outside, comparable to the struggle 
of the child to defend his ego. This struggle, we must grant, 
is for the most part unobserved because it happens in the 
dark , but when we see how stubbornly childish illusions, 
presuppositions and egoistic habits are still clung to in later 
years we are able to realize the energy it took to form them. 
And so it is also with the ideals, convictions, guiding ideas 
and attitudes which in the penod of youth lead us out mto 
life — for which we struggle, suffer and win victories : they 
grow together with our own beings, we apparently change 
into them, and we therefore perpetuate them at pleasure 
and as a matter of course, just as the child asserts its ego 
in the face of the world and in spite of itself — occasionally 
even to spite itself 

The nearer we approach to the middle of life, and the 
better we have succeeded in entrenching ourselves in our 
personal standpoints and social positions, the more it appears 
as if we had discovered the right course and the right ideals 
and principles of behaviour. For this reason we suppose 
them to be eternally valid, and make a virtue of unchangeably 
clinging to them We wholly overlook the essential fact 
that the achievements which society rewards are won at 



the cost of a diminution of personality. Many — far too many 
— aspects of life which should also have been experienced 
lie m the lumber-room among dusty memories. Sometimes, 
even, they are glowing coals under grey ashes. 

Statistical tables show a rise in the frequency of cases of 
mental depression in men about forty. In women the 
neurotic difficulties generally begin somewhat earlier. We 
see that in this phase of life — between thirty-five and forty — 
a significant change in the human psyche is in preparation. 
At first it is not a conscious and striking change , it is rather 
a matter of indirect signs of a change which seems to take 
its rise from the unconscious. Often it is something hke 
a slow change in a person’s character ; in another case 
certain traits may come to light which had disappeared in 
childhood , or again, inclinations and interests begin to 
weaken and others arise to take their places. It also 
frequently happens that the convictions and principles which 
have hitherto been accepted — especially the moral prin- 
ciples — commence to harden and to grow increasingly rigid 
until, somewhere towards the age of fifty, a period of 
intolerance and fanaticism is reached. It is then as if 
the existence of these principles were endangered, and it 
were therefore necessary to emphasize them all the 

The wine of youth does not always clear with advancing 
years ; oftentimes it grows turbid. All the manifestations 
mentioned above can be most clearly seen in rather one-sided 
people, turning up sometimes sooner and sometimes later. 
In my opinion, their appearance is often delayed by the 
fact that a person’s parents are still alive. It is then as 
if the period of youth were unduly continued. I have seen 
this especially in the cases of men whose fathers were long- 



lived. The death of the father then has the effect of a n 
overhurried — an almost catastrophic — ripening 

I know of a pious man who was a churchwarden and 
who, from the age of forty onward, showed a growing and 
finally unbearable intolerance in things of morality and 
religion. At the same time his disposition grew visibly 
worse. At last he was nothing more than a darkly lowering 
“ pillar of the church ” In this way he got along until 
his fifty-fifth year when suddenly, one mght, sitting up in 
bed, he said to his wife : “ Now at last I’ve got it • As 
a matter of fact I’m ]ust a plain rascal.” Nor did this 
self-realization remain without results. He spent his 
declining years in riotous living and in wasting a goodly 
part of his fortune. Obviously quite a likeable person, 
capable of both extremes > 

The very frequent neurotic disturbances of adult years 
have this in common, that they betray the attempt to 
carry the psychic dispositions of youth beyond the threshold 
of the so-called years of discretion Who does not know 
those touching old gentlemen who must always warm up 
the dish of their student days, who can fan the flames of 
life only by reminiscences of their heroic youth — and who 
for the rest, are stuck in a hopelessly wooden philistinism ? 
As a rule, to be sure, they have this one ment which it would 
be wrong to undervalue • they are not neurotic, but only 
boring or stereotyped The neurotic is rather a person 
who can never have things as he would like them m the 
present, and who can therefore never enjoy the past. 

As formerly the neurotic could not escape from childhood, 
so now he cannot part with his youth. He shrinks from the 
grey thoughts of approaching age ; and, feeling the prospect 
before him unbearable, is always straining to look behind 



him. Just as a childish person shrinks back from the 
unknown in the world and in human existence, so the grown 
man shrinks back from the second half of life. It is as if 
unknown and dangerous tasks were expected of him ; or 
as if he were threatened with sacrifices and losses which he 
does not wish to accept , or as if his life up to now seemed 
to him so fair and so precious that he could not do without it. 

Is it perhaps at bottom the fear of death ? That does 
not seem to me very probable, because as a rule death is 
still far m the distance, and is therefore regarded somewhat 
in the light of an abstraction Experience shows us rather 
that the basis and cause of all the difficulties of this transition 
are to be found in a deep-seated and peculiar change within 
the psyche In order to characterize it I must take for 
comparison the daily course of the sun — but a sun that is 
endowed with human feeling and man’s limited conscious- 
ness In the morning it arises from the nocturnal sea of 
unconsciousness and looks upon the wide, bright world 
which hes before it in an expanse that steadily widens the 
higher it climbs in the firmament In this extension of its 
field of action caused by its own rising, the sun will discover 
its significance ; it will see the attainment of the greatest 
possible height — the widest possible dissemination of its 
blessings — as its goal. In this conviction the sun pursues 
its unforeseen course to the zenith ; unforeseen, because its 
career is unique and individual, and its culminating pomt 
could not be calculated in advance. At the stroke of noon 
the descent begins. And the descent means the reversal of 
all the ideals and values that were cherished in the morning 
The sun falls into contradiction with itself. It is as though 
it should draw in its rays, instead of emitting them. Light 
and warmth decline and are at last extinguished. 



All comparisons are lame, but this simile is at least not 
lamer than others. A French aphorism sums it up with 
cynical resignation : St jeunesse savatt, si vteiUesse pouvait. 

Fortunately we men are not rising and setting suns, for 
then it would fare badly with our cultural values. But 
there is something sunlike within us ; and to speak of the 
morning and spring, of the evening and autumn of hfe is 
not mere sentimental jargon. We thus give expression to 
a psychological truth, even more, to physiological facts ; 
for the reversal at noon changes even bodily characteristics. 
Especially among southern races one can observe that 
older women develop rough and deep voices, incipient 
moustaches, hard facial expressions and other masculine 
traits. On the other hand, the masculine physique is toned 
down by feminine features, as for instance adiposity and 
softer facial expressions. 

There is an interesting report m ethnological literature 
about an Indian wamor-chief to whom m middle age the 
Great Spirit appeared m a dream The spirit announced 
to him that from then on he must sit among the women 
and children, wear women’s clothes and eat the food of 
women He obeyed the dream without suffering a loss of 
prestige This vision is a true expression of the psychic 
revolution of hfe’s noon — of the beginning of hfe’s decline 
Man’s values and even his body tend to undergo a reversal 
into the opposite. 

We might compare masculinity and femininity with their 
psychic components to a particular store of substances of 
which, in the first half of life, unequal use is made. A man 
consumes his large supply of masculine substance and has 
left over only the smaller amount of feminine substance, 
which he must now put to use. It is the other way round 



with a woman ; she allows her unused supply of masculinity 
to become active. 

This transformation weighs more heavily still in the 
psychic realm than in the physical. How often it happens 
that a man of forty or fifty years winds up his business, and 
that his wife then dons the trousers and opens a little shop 
where he sometimes performs the duties of handyman. 
There are many women who only awake to social responsi- 
bility and to social consciousness after their fortieth year. 
In modem business life — especially in the United States — 
nervous breakdown in the forties or after is a very common 
occurrence. If one studies the victims a little closely one 
sees that the thing which has broken down is the masculine 
style of hfe which held the field up to now ; what is left 
over is an effeminate man. Contrariwise, one can observe 
women in these self-same business spheres who have 
developed in the second half of life an uncommon masculinity 
and an incisiveness which push the feelings and the heart 
aside. Very often the reversal is accompanied by all sorts 
of catastrophes in marriage ; for it is not hard to imagine 
what may happen when the husband discovers his tender 
feelings, and the wife her sharpness of mind. 

The worst of it all is that intelligent and cultivated people 
have these leanings without even knowing of the possibility 
of such transformations. Wholly unprepared, they embark 
upon the second half of hfe. Or are there perhaps colleges 
for forty-year-olds which prepare them for their coming 
life and its demands as the ordinary colleges introduce our 
young people to a knowledge of the world and of life ? No, 
there are none. Thoroughly unprepared we take the step 
into the afternoon of hfe ; worse still, we take this step with 
the false presupposition that our truths and ideals will serve 



us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life 
according to the programme of life's morning — for what was 
great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in 
the morning was true will at evening have become a he. 
I have given psychological treatment to too many people 
of advancing years, and have looked too often into the 
secret chambers of their souls, not to be moved by this 
fundamental truth. 

Ageing people should know that their lives are not 
mounting and unfolding, but that an inexorable inner 
process forces the contraction of life For a young person 
it is almost a sin — and certainly a danger — to be too much 
occupied with himself ; but for the ageing person it is a 
duty and a necessity to give serious attention to himself. 
After having lavished its light upon the world, the sun 
withdraws its rays in order to illumine itself Instead of 
doing likewise, many old people prefer to be hypochondriacs, 
niggards, doctrinaires, applauders of the past or eternal 
adolescents — all lamentable substitutes for the illumination 
of the self, but inevitable consequences of the delusion that 
the second half of life must be governed by the principles 
of the first 

I said just now that we have no schools for forty-year- 
olds. That is not quite true. Our religions were always 
such schools in the past, but how many people regard them 
as such today ? How many of us older persons have really 
been brought up in such a school and prepared for the second 
half of life, for old age, death and eternity ? 

A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy 
or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the 
species to which he belongs. The afternoon of human life 
must also have a significance of its own and cannot be 



merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning. The significance 
of the morning undoubtedly lies in the development of the 
individual, our entrenchment in the outer world, the pro- 
pagation of our kind and the care of our children. This 
is the obvious purpose of nature. But when this purpose 
has been attained — and even more than attained — shall the 
earning of money, the extension of conquests and the 
expansion of life go steadily on beyond the bounds of all 
reason and sense ? Whoever carries over into the afternoon 
the law of the morning — that is, the aims of nature — must 
pay for so doing with damage to his soul just as surely as 
a growing youth who tries to salvage his childish egoism 
must pay for this mistake with social failure. Money- 
making, social existence, family and posterity are nothing 
but plain nature — not culture. Culture hes beyond the 
purpose of nature Could by any chance culture be the 
meaning and purpose of the second half of life ? 

In primitive tnbes we observe that the old people are 
almost always the guardians of the mysteries and the laws, 
and it is in these that the cultural heritage of the tribe is 
expressed. How does the matter stand with us ? Where 
is the wisdom of our old people — where are their precious 
secrets and their visions ? For the most part our old people 
try to compete with the young. In the United States it is 
almost an ideal for the father to be the brother of his sons, 
and for the mother if possible to be the younger sister of 
her daughter. 

I do not know how much of this confusion comes as a 
reaction to an earlier exaggeration of the dignity of age, 
and how much is to be charged to false ideals. These 
undoubtedly exist, and the goal of those who hold them lies 
behind, and not in front. Therefore they are always striving 



to turn back. We have to grant to these persons that it is 
hard to see what other goal the second half of life can offer 
than the well-known goal of the first Expansion of hfe, 
usefulness, efficiency, the cutting of a figure in social life, 
the shrewd steering of offspring into suitable marriages and 
good positions — are not these purposes enough ? Unfor- 
tunately this is not enough meaning or purpose for many 
persons who see in the approach of old age a mere diminution 
of hfe, and who look upon their earlier ideals only as some- 
thing faded and worn out. Of course, if these persons had 
filled up the beaker of hfe earlier and emptied it to the lees, 
they would feel quite differently about everything now , 
had they kept nothing back, all that wanted to catch fire 
would have been consumed, and the quiet of old age would 
be very welcome to them. But we must not forget that 
only a very few people are artists in hfe , that the art of hfe 
is the most distinguished and rarest of all the arts. Who 
ever succeeded in draining the whole cup with grace ? So 
for many people all too much unhved hfe remains over — 
sometimes potentialities which they could never have hved 
with the best of wills , and so they approach the threshold 
of old age with unsatisfied claims which inevitably turn 
their glances backward 

It is particularly fatal for such people to look backward 
For them a prospect and a goal in the future are indis- 
pensable. This is why all great religions hold the promise 
of a hfe beyond , it makes it possible for mortal man to 
live the second half of hfe with as much perseverance and 
aim as the first For the man of today the enlargement of 
life and its culmination are plausible goals ; but the idea 
of life after death seems to him questionable or beyond 
belief. And yet hfe’s cessation, that is, death, can only be 



accepted as a goal when existence is so wretched that we 
are glad for it to end, or when we are convinced that the 
sun strives to its setting — " to illumine distant races ” — 
with the same perseverance it showed in rising to the zenith. 
But to believe has become today such a difficult art, that 
people, and particularly the educated part of humanity, 
can hardly find their way there. They have become too 
accustomed to the thought that, with regard to immortality 
and such questions, there are many contradictory opmions 
and no convincing proofs Since “ science ” has become 
the catchword which carries the weight of conviction in 
the contemporary world, we ask for “ scientific ” proofs. 
But educated people who can think, know that proof of this 
kind is out of the question We simply know nothing 
whatever about it 

May I remark that, for the same reasons, we cannot know 
whether anything happens to a person after he is dead ? 
The answer is neither yes nor no. We simply have no 
definite scientific proofs about it one way or another, and 
are therefore m the same position as when we ask whether 
the planet Mars is inhabited or not And the inhabitants 
of Mars, if there are any, are certainly not concerned whether 
we affirm or deny their existence. They may exist or not. 
And that is how it stands with so-called immortality — with 
which we may shelve the problem. 

But here my physician’s conscience awakes and urges me 
to say a word which is essential to this question I have 
observed that a directed life is m general better, richer and 
healthier than an aimless one, and that it is better to go 
forwards with the stream of time than backwards against 
it. To the psychotherapist an old man who cannot bid 
farewell to life appears as feeble and sickly as a young man 



who is unable to embrace it. And as a matter of fact, in 
many cases it is a question of the selfsame childish covetous- 
ness, of the same fear, the same obstinacy and wilfulness, in 
the one as in the other. As a physician I am convinced that 
it is hygienic — if I may use the word — to discover in death 
a goal towards which one can strive ; and that shrinking 
away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which 
robs the second half of life of its purpose. I therefore 
consider the religious teaching of a life hereafter consonant 
with the standpoint of psychic hygiene. When I hve in a 
house which I know will fall about my head within the next 
two weeks, all my vital functions will be impaired by this 
thought ; but if on the contrary I feel myself to be safe, 
I can dwell there in a normal and comfortable way. From 
the standpoint of psychotherapy it would therefore be 
desirable to think of death as only a transition — one part 
of a life-process whose extent and duration escape our 

In spite of the fact that by far the larger part of mankind 
does not know why the body needs salt, everyone demands 
it none the less because of an instinctive need. It is the 
same in the things of the psyche. A large majority of people 
have from time immemorial felt the need of believing in 
a continuance of hfe. The demands of therapy, therefore, 
do not lead us mto any bypaths, but down the middle of 
the roadway trodden by humankind. And therefore we 
are thinking correctly with respect to the meaning of life, 
even though we do not understand what we think. 

Do we ever understand what we think ? We only under- 
stand that thinking which is a mere equation, and from which 
nothing comes out but what we have put in That is the 
working of the intellect. But beyond that there is a thinking^ 


in primordial images — in symbols which are older than 
historical man ; which have been ingrained in him from 
earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, 
still make up the groundwork of the human psyche It is 
only possible to hve the fullest life when we are m harmony 
with these symbols ; wisdom is a return to them. It is 
neither a question of belief nor of knowledge, but of the 
agreement of our thinking with the primordial images of 
the unconscious. They are the source of all our conscious 
thoughts, and one of these primordial thoughts is the idea 
of life after death. Science and these symbols are incom- 
mensurables. They are indispensable conditions of the 
imagination ; they are primary data — the materials whose 
expediency and warrant to exist science cannot deny offhand 
It can only treat of them as given facts, much as it can 
explore a function like that of the thyroid gland, for example 
Before the nineteenth century the thyroid was regarded as 
a meaningless organ, merely because it was not understood. 
It would be equally short-sighted of us today to call the 
primordial images senseless For me these images are 
something like psychic organs, and I treat them with the 
very greatest care. It happens sometimes that I must say 
to an older patient : " Your picture of God or your idea of 
immortality is atrophied , consequently your psychic 
metabolism is out of gear.” The ancient athanasias 
phartnakon, the medicament of immortality, is more profound 
and meaningful than we supposed. 

In this place I would like to return again for a moment 
to the comparison with the sun The one hundred and 
eighty degrees of the arc of life are divisible into four parts. 
The first quarter, lying to the east, is childhood — that state 
in which we are a problem for others, but are not yet 



conscious of any problems of our own. Conscious problems 
fill out the second and third quarters , while in the last — 
in extreme old age — we descend again into that condition 
where, unworried by out state of consciousness, we again 
become something of a problem for others. Childhood and 
extreme old age, to be sure, are utterly different, and yet 
they have one thing in common : submersion in unconscious 
psychic happenings. Since the mind of a child grows out 
of the unconscious, its psychic processes — though not easily 
accessible — are not as difficult to discern as those of a very 
old person who has plunged again mto the unconscious, and 
who progressively vanishes within it. Childhood and old 
age are the stages of hfe without any conscious problems, 
for which reason I have not taken them into consideration 



The difference between Freud's views and my own ought 
really to be dealt with by someone who stands outside the 
circles of influence of those ideas which go under our 
respective names. Can I be credited with sufficient impar- 
tiality to rise above my own ideas ? Can any man do this ? 
I doubt it. If I were told that someone had rivalled Baron 
Munchausen by accomplishing such a feat, I should feel 
sure that his ideas were borrowed ones. 

It is true that widely accepted ideas are never the personal 
property of their so-called author ; on the contrary, he is 
the bond-servant of his ideas. Impressive ideas which are 
hailed as truths have something peculiar to themselves 
Although they come into being at a definite time, they are 
and have always been timeless ; they arise from that realm 
of procreative, psychic life out of which the ephemeral mind 
of the single human being grows like a plant that blossoms, 
bears fruit and seed, and then withers and dies. Ideas 
spring from a source that is not contained within one man's 
personal life. We do not create them ; they create us. To 
be sure, when we deal in ideas we inevitably make a con- 
fession, for they bring to the light of day not only the best 
that in us lies, but our worst insufficiencies and personal 
shortcomings as well. This is especially the case with ideas 
about psychology. Whence should they come except from 




the most subjective side of life ? Can experience with the 
objective world save us from subjective prejudgements ? 
Is not every experience, even m the best of circumstances, 
to a large extent subjective interpretation ? On the other 
hand, the subject also is an objective fact, a piece of the 
world. What issues from it comes, after all, from the 
universal soil, just as the rarest and strangest organism is 
none the less supported and nourished by the earth which 
we all share in common. It is precisely the most subjective 
ideas which, bemg closest to nature and to the living being, 
deserve to be called the truest. But what is truth ? 

For the purposes of psychology, I think it best to abandon 
the notion that we are today in anything like a position to 
make statements about the nature of the psyche that are 
“ true ” or " correct The best that we can achieve is 
true expression. By true expression I mean an open avowal 
and a detailed presentation of everything that is subjectively 
noted. One person will stress the forms into which this 
material can be worked, and will therefore believe that he 
has created what he finds within himself. Another will 
lay most weight upon the fact that he plays the part of 
an observer ; he will be conscious of his receptive attitude, 
and insist that his subjective material presents itself 
to him. The truth lies between the two. True expression 
consists in giving form to what is observed. 

The modem psychologist, however unbounded his hopes, 
can hardly claim to have achieved more than the right sort 
of receptivity and a reasonable adequacy of expression. The 
psychology we at present possess is the testimony of a few 
individuals here and there regarding what they have found 
within themselves. The form in which they have cast it 
is sometimes adequate and sometimes not. Since each 



individual conforms more or less to a type, his testimony 
can be accepted as a fairly valid description of a large 
number of people. And since those who conform to other 
types belong none the less to the human species, we may 
conclude that the description applies, though less fully, to 
them too. What Freud has to say about sexuality, infantile 
pleasure, and their conflict with the “ principle of reality ”, 
as well as what he says about incest and the like, can be 
taken as the truest expression of his own psychic make-up 
He has given adequate form to what he has noted m hims elf. 
I am no opponent of Freud’s ; I am merely presented in 
that hght by his own short-sightedness and that of his 
pupils. No experienced psychotherapist can deny having met 
with dozens of cases at least which answer in all essentials 
to Freud’s descriptions. By his avowal of what he has 
found in himself, Freud has assisted at the birth of a great 
truth about man. He has devoted his hfe and his strength 
to the construction of a psychology which is a formulation 
of his own being 

Our way of looking at things is conditioned by what we 
are And smce other people are differently constituted, they 
see things differently and express themselves differently 
Adler, one of Freud’s earliest pupils, is a case in pomt. 
Working with the same empirical material as Freud, he 
approached it from a totally different standpoint His way 
of looking at things is at least as convincing as Freud’s, 
because he also represents a well-known type. I know that 
the followers of both schools flatly assert that I am in the 
wrong, but I may hope that history and all fair-minded 
persons will bear me out Both schools, to my way of 
thinking, deserve reproach for over-emphasizing the patho- 
logical aspect of life and for interpreting man too exclusively 



in the light of his defects. A convincing example of this 
in Freud’s case is his inability to understand religious 
experience, as is clearly shown in his book : The Future of 
an Illusion. For my part, I prefer to look at man in the 
light of what in him is healthy and sound, and to free the 
sick man from that point of view which colours every page 
Freud has written. Freud’s teaching is definitely one-sided 
in that it generalizes from facts that are relevant only to 
neurotic states of mind ; its validity is really confined to 
those states. Within these limits Freud’s teaching is true 
and valid even when it is in error, for error also belongs to 
the picture, and carries the truth of a true avowal In any 
case, Freud’s is not a psychology of the healthy mind 

The morbid symptom in Freud’s psychology is this . it 
is based upon a view of the world that is uncnticized, or 
even unconscious, and this is apt to narrow the field of 
human expenence and understanding to a considerable 
extent It was a great mistake on Freud’s part to turn his 
back on philosophy. Not once does he criticize his premises 
or even the assumptions that underlie his personal outlook. 
Yet to do so was necessary, as may be inferred from what 
I have said above , for had he critically examined his 
assumptions, he would never have put his peculiar mental 
disposition naively on view, as he has done in The Interpre- 
tation of Dreams At all events, he would have had a taste of 
the difficulties which I have met with I have never refused 
the bitter-sweet drink of philosophical criticism, but have taken 
it with caution, a little at a time. All too httle, my opponents 
will say , almost too much, my own feeling tells me. All 
too easily does self-criticism poison one’s naivete, that 
priceless possession, or rather gift, which no creative man 
can be without. At any rate, philosophical criticism has 


helped me to see that every psychology — my own included 
— has the character of a subjective confession. And yet I 
must prevent my critical powers from destroying my 
creativeness. I know well enough that every word I utter 
carries with it something of myself — of my special and 
unique self with its particular history and its own particular 
world. Even when I deal with empirical data, I am 
necessarily speaking about myself. But it is only by 
accepting this as inevitable that I can serve the cause of 
man’s knowledge of man — the cause which Freud also wished 
to serve, and which, in spite of everything, he has served. 
Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also. 

It is perhaps here, where the question arises of accepting 
the fact that every psychological teaching which is the work 
of one man is subjectively coloured, that the hne between 
Freud and myself is most sharply drawn. 

A further difference seems to me to consist in this, that 
I try to free myself from all unconscious and therefore 
uncriticized assumptions as to the world m general I say 
“ I try ”, for who can be sure that he has freed himself 
from all his unconscious assumptions ? I try to save myself 
at least from the crassest prejudices, and am therefore 
inclined to recognize all manner of gods provided only that 
they are active in the human psyche I do not doubt that 
the natural instincts or drives are forces of propulsion in 
human life, whether we call them sexuality or the will to 
power ; but I also do not doubt that these instincts come 
into collision with the spirit, for they are continually 
colliding with something, and why should not this something 
be called spirit ? I am far from knowing what spirit is in 
itself, and equally far from knowing what instincts are. The 
one is as mysterious to me as the other, yet I am unable 



to dismiss the one by explaining it in terms of the other. 
That would be to treat it as a mere misunderstanding. The 
fact that the earth has only one moon is not a misunder- 
standing There are no misunderstandings in nature ; they 
are only to be found in the realms that man calls “ under- 
standing Certainly instinct and spirit are beyond my 
understanding They are terms that we allow to stand for 
powerful forces whose nature we do not know. 

As may be seen, I attribute a positive value to all religions. 
In their symbolism I recognize those figures which I have 
met with m the dreams and fantasies of my patients In 
their moral teachings I see efforts that are the same as or 
similar to those made by my patients, when, guided by 
their own insight or inspiration, they seek the right way of 
dealing with the forces of the inner hfe Ceremonial, ritual, 
initiation ntes and ascetic practices, in all their forms and 
variations, interest me profoundly as so many techniques 
for bringing about a proper relation to these forces. I 
likewise attribute a positive value to biology, and to the 
empiricism of natural science in general, in which I see a 
herculean attempt to understand the human psyche by 
approaching it from the outer world. I regard the gnostic 
religions as an equally prodigious undertaking in the opposite 
direction ■ as an attempt to draw knowledge of the cosmos 
from within. In my picture of the world there is a vast 
outer realm and an equally vast inner realm , between these 
two stands man, facing now one and now the other, and, 
according to his mood or disposition, taking the one for the 
absolute truth by denying or sacrificing the other. 

This picture is hypothetical, of course, but it offers a 
hypothesis which is so valuable that I will not give it up. 
I consider it heuristically and empirically verified ; and. 


what is more, it is supported by the consensus gentxum. 
This hypothesis certainly came to me from an inner source, 
though I might imagine that empirical findings had led to 
its discovery. Out of it has come my theory of types, and 
also my reconciliation with views as different from my own 
as those of Freud. 

I see in all happening the play of opposites, and derive 
from this conception my idea of psychic energy. I hold 
that psychic energy involves the play of opposites in much 
the same way as physical energy involves a difference of 
potential, which is to say, the existence of such opposites 
as warm and cold, high and low. Freud began by taking 
sexuality as the only psychic driving power, and only after 
my break with him did he grant an equal status to other 
psychic activities as well. For my part, I have subsumed 
the various psychic drives or forces under the concept of 
energy in order to avoid the arbitrariness of a psychology 
that deals with drives or impulses alone I therefore speak, 
not of separate drives or forces, but of " value intensities ” 1 
By what has just been said I do not mean to deny the 
importance of sexuality in psychic life, though Freud 
stubbornly maintains that I do deny it. What I seek is to 
set bounds to the rampant terminology of sex which threatens 
to vitiate all discussion of the human psyche , I wish to 
put sexuality itself in its proper place. Common-sense will 
always return to the fact that sexuality is only one of the 
life-instmcts — only one of the psycho-physiological functions 
— though one that is without doubt very far-reaching and 

Beyond all question, there is a marked disturbance today 

1 Compare the essay "On Psychical Energy" m Contributions to 
Analytical Psychology, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co , London, 1928 


in the realms of sexual life. It is well known that when we 
have a bad toothache, we can think of nothing else. The 
sexuality which Freud describes is unmistakably that sexual 
obsession which shows itself whenever a patient has reached 
the point where he needs to be forced or tempted out of 
a wrong attitude or situation It is an over-emphasized 
sexuality piled up behind a dam ; and it shrinks at once to 
normal proportions as soon as the way to development is 
opened. It is being caught in the old resentments against 
parents and relations and in the boring emotional tangles of 
the family situation which most often brings about the 
damming-up of the energies of life And it is this stoppage 
which shows itself unfailingly in that kind of sexuality which 
is called “ infantile It is really not sexuality proper, but 
an unnatural discharge of tensions that belong to quite 
another province of life This bemg so, what is the use of 
paddling about in this flooded country ? Surely, straight 
thinking will grant that it is more important to open up 
drainage canals We should try to find, in a change of 
attitude or in new ways of hfe, that difference of potential 
which the pent-up energy requires. If this is not achieved 
a vicious circle is set up, and this is in fact the menace 
which Freudian psychology appears to offer. It points no 
way that leads beyond the inexorable cycle of biological 
events This hopelessness would drive one to exclaim with 
Paul : “ Wretched man that I am, who will dehver me from 
the body of this death ? ” And our man of intellect comes 
forward, shaking his head, and says in Faust’s words . 
“ Thou art conscious only of the single urge ”, namely of 
the fleshly bond leading back to father and mother or 
forward to the children that have sprung from our flesh — 
“ incest ” with the past and “ incest ” with the future, the 


original sin of the perpetuation of the family situation. 
There is nothing that can free us from this bond except that 
opposite urge of life, the spirit. It is not the children of 
the flesh, but the " children of God ” who know freedom. 
In Ernst Barlach’s tragic novel of family life, Der Tote Tag, 
the mother-daemon says at the end : “ The strange thing 
is that man will not learn that God is his father.” That is 
what Freud would never learn, and what all those who 
share his outlook forbid themselves to learn. At least, they 
never find the key to this knowledge. Theology does not 
help those who are looking for the key, because theology 
demands faith, and faith cannot be made : it is in the 
truest sense a gift of grace. We modems are faced with 
the necessity of rediscovering the life of the spirit ; we must 
experience it anew for ourselves. It is the only way in which 
we can break the spell that binds us to the cycle of biological 

My position on this question is the third point of difference 
between Freud’s views and my own Because of it I am 
accused of mysticism. I do not, however, hold myself re- 
sponsible for the fact that man has, everywhere and always, 
spontaneously developed religious forms of expression, and 
that the human psyche from time immemorial has been 
shot through with religious feelings and ideas. Whoever 
cannot see this aspect of the human psyche is blind, and 
whoever chooses to explain it away, or to “ enlighten ” it 
away, has no sense of reality. Or should we see in the 
father-complex which shows itself in all the members of 
the Freudian school, and in its founder as well, convincing 
evidence of any release worth mentioning from the inexorable 
family situation ? This father-complex, fanatically defended 
with such stubbornness and over-sensitivity, is a cloak for 


religiosity misunderstood ; it is a mysticism expressed in 
terms of biology and the family relation. As for Freud’s 
idea of the " super-ego ”, it is a furtive attempt to smuggle 
in his time-honoured image of Jehovah in the dress of 
psychological theory. When one does things like that, it 
is better to say so openly. For my part, I prefer to call 
things by the names under which they have always been 
known. The wheel of history must not be turned back, 
and man’s advance toward a spiritual life, which began with 
the primitive ntes of initiation, must not be denied. It is 
permissible for science to divide its field of enquiry and to 
set up limited hypotheses, for science must work in that 
way ; but the human psyche may not be parcelled out. It 
is a whole which embraces consciousness, and is the mother 
of consciousness. Scientific thought, being only one of its 
functions, can never exhaust all the possibilities of life. 
The psychotherapist must not allow his vision to be coloured 
by the glasses of pathology , he must never allow himself to 
forget that the ailing mind is a human mind, and that, for 
all its ailments, it shares in the whole of the psychic life of 
man. The psychotherapist must even be able to admit 
that the ego is ill for the very reason that it is cut off from 
the whole, and has lost its connection with mankind as well 
as with the spirit. The ego is indeed the “ place of fears ”, as 
Freud says in The Ego and the Id, but only so long as it has 
not returned to the " father ” and “ mother ”. 1 Freud ship- 
wrecks on the question of Nicodemus . " Can a man enter 
his mother's womb a second time and be bom again ? ” To 
compare small things with great, we might say that history 
repeats itself here, for the question once more comes to the 
front today in a domestic quarrel of modem psychology. 

1 I e , spirit and nature ( Trans ) 



For thousands of years, rites of initiation have been 
teaching spiritual rebirth ; yet, strangely enough, man 
forgets again and again the meaning of divine procreation. 
This is surely no evidence of a strong life of the spirit ; and 
yet the penalty of misunderstanding is heavy, for it is 
nothing less than neurotic decay, embitterment, atrophy and 
sterility. It is easy enough to drive the spirit out of the 
door, but when we have done so the salt of life grows flat — 
it loses its savour. Fortunately, we have proof that the 
spirit always renews its strength in the fact that the central 
teaching of the ancient initiations is handed on from 
generation to generation. Ever and again human beings 
arise who understand what is meant by the fact that God 
is our father. The equal balance of the flesh and the spirit 
is not lost to the world 

The contrast between Freud and myself goes back to 
essential differences in our basic assumptions. Assumptions 
are unavoidable, and this being so, it is wrong to pretend 
that we have made no assumptions. That is why I have 
dealt with fundamental questions ; with these as a starting- 
point, the manifold and detailed differences between Freud’s 
views and my own can best be understood. 



The word " archaic ” means primal — original While it is 
one of the most difficult and thankless of tasks to say any- 
thing of importance about civilized man of today, we are 
apparently in a more favourable position with regard to 
archaic man. In the first case we try to reach a commanding 
point of view, but actually are caught in the same pre- 
suppositions and blinded by the same prejudices as are 
those about whom we wish to speak. In the case of the 
archaic man, however, we are far removed from his world 
in time, and our mental capacities are more differentiated 
than his. It is therefore apparently possible for us to occupy 
a pomt of vantage from which we can overlook his world 
and the meaning it held for him 

This sentence delimits the subject to be covered in the 
present essay. Save by restricting myself to the psychic 
hfe of archaic man, I could hardly paint his picture in so 
small a space I shall confine myself to the task of making 
this picture sufficiently inclusive, and shall not consider 
the findings of anthropology with regard to primitive races. 
When we speak of man in general, we do not have his anatomy 
— the shape of his skull or the colour of his skin — in mind, 
but mean rather his psychic world, his state of consciousness 
and his mode of life. Since all this belongs to the subject- 
matter of psychology, we shall be dealing here chiefly with 



archaic or primitive mentality. Despite this limitation it 
turns out that we have actually widened our theme, because 
it is not only primitive man whose psychic processes are 
archaic. The civilized man of today shows these archaic 
processes as well, and not merely in the form of sporadic 
" throw-backs ” from the level of modem social life On 
the contrary, every civilized human being, whatever his 
conscious development, is still an archaic man at the deeper 
levels of his psyche. Just as the human body connects us 
with the mammals and displays numerous relics of earlier 
evolutionary stages going back even to the reptilian age, so 
the human psyche is likewise a product of evolution which, 
when followed up to its origins, shows countless archaic 

When first we come into contact with primitive peoples 
or read about primitive mentality in scientific works, we 
cannot fail to be deeply impressed with the strangeness of 
archaic man. Levy-Bruhl himself, an authority in the 
field of the psychology of primitive societies, never weanes 
of insisting upon the striking difference between the “ pre- 
logical ” state of mmd and our conscious outlook. It seems 
to him, as a civilized man, inexplicable that the primitive 
should disregard the obvious lessons of experience, should 
flatly deny the most evident causal connections, and instead 
of accounting for things as accidents or on reasonable 
grounds, should simply take their “ collective representa- 
tions ” to be valid offhand. By “collective representations " 
L^vy-Bruhl means widely current ideas whose truth is held 
to be self-evident, such as the primitive ideas regarding 
spirits, witchcraft, the power of medicines, and so forth. 
While it is perfectly understandable to us that people die 
of advanced age or as the result of diseases that are 



recognized to be fatal, this is not the case with primitive 
man. When old persons die, he does not believe it to be 
as a result of age. He argues that there are persons who 
have grown much older. Likewise, no one dies as the result 
of disease, for there have been other people who recovered 
from the same disease, or never contracted it To him, 
the real explanation is always magic. Either a spirit has 
killed the man, or sorcery has done so. Many primitive 
tribes recognize death in battle as the only natural death 
Still other tribes regard even death in battle as unnatural, 
holding that the adversary who brought it about must 
either have been a sorcerer or have used a charmed weapon. 
This grotesque idea can on occasions take an even more 
impressive form. For instance, two anklets were found in 
the stomach of a crocodile shot by a European The natives 
recognized the anklets as the property of two women who, 
some time before, had been devoured by a crocodile At 
once the charge of witchcraft was raised, for this quite 
natural occurrence, which would never have aroused the 
suspicions of a European, was given an unexpected inter- 
pretation in the light of one of those presuppositions which 
L6vy-Bruhl calls “ collective representations ” The natives 
said that an unknown sorcerer had summoned the crocodile 
and had bidden it to bring him the two women The crocodile 
had carried out the command. But what about the anklets 
in the beast’s stomach ? The natives maintained that 
crocodiles never ate people unless bidden to do so. The 
crocodile had received the anklets from the sorcerer as 
a reward. 

This story is a perfect example of that capricious way of 
accounting for things which is a feature of the “ pre-logical ” 
state of mind. We call it pre-logical, because to us such an 



explanation seems absolutely illogical. But it only strikes 
us in this way because we start from assumptions wholly 
different from those of primitive man. If we were as con- 
vinced as he is of the existence of sorcerers and of mystenous 
powers, instead of believing in so-called natural causes, his 
inferences would seem to us perfectly reasonable. As a 
matter of fact, primitive man is no more logical or illogical 
than we are. His presuppositions are not the same as ours, 
and that is what distinguishes him from us. His thinking 
and his conduct are based on assumptions other than our 
own. To all that is in any way out of the ordinary and 
that therefore disturbs, frightens or astonishes him, he 
ascribes what we should call a supernatural origin For 
him, of course, these things are not supernatural , on the 
contrary, they belong to his world of experience We feel 
we are statmg a natural sequence of events when we say 
this house was burned down because the lightning struck it. 
Primitive man senses an equally natural sequence when he 
says • a sorcerer has used the lightning to set fire to this 
particular house There is nothing whatever within the 
experience of primitive man — provided that it is at all 
unusual or impressive — that will not be accounted for on 
similar grounds. In explaining things in this way he is 
just like ourselves : he does not examine his assumptions. 
To him it is an unquestionable truth that disease and other 
ills are caused by spirits or witchcraft, just as for us it is 
a foregone conclusion that an illness has a natural cause. 
We would no more lay it down to sorcery than he to natural 
causes. His mental activity does not differ in any funda- 
mental way from ours. It is, as I have said, his assumptions 
alone that set him apart from ourselves. 

It is often supposed that primitive man has other feelings 



than we, and another moral outlook — that the “ pre- 
logical ” state of mind differs from ours in these respects 
also. Undoubtedly he has a different code of morals. When 
questioned as to the distinction between good and bad 
a negro chieftain declared : " When I steal my enemy’s 
wives, it is good, but when he steals mine, it is bad ” In 
many regions it is a terrible insult to tread upon a person’s 
shadow, and m others it is an unpardonable sin to scrape 
a sealskin with an iron knife instead of a flint one. But 
let us be honest Do we not think it sinful to eat fish with 
a steel knife, for a man to keep his hat on in a room, or to 
greet a lady with a cigar in his mouth ? With us, as well as 
with primitive man, such things have nothing to do with 
ethics There are true and loyal head-hunters, and there 
are men who piously and conscientiously practise cruel 
ntes, or commit murder from righteous conviction Primitive 
man is no less prompt than we are to value an ethical 
attitude His good is just as good as ours, and his evil is 
just as bad as ours Only the forms under which good and 
evil appear are different , the process of ethical judgement 
is the same 

It is likewise thought that primitive man has keener 
sense-organs than we, or that they somehow differ from ours. 
But his highly refined sense of direction or of hearing and 
vision is entirely a question of his occupations If he is 
confronted with situations that are foreign to his experience, 
he is amazingly slow and clumsy. I once showed some 
native hunters, who were as keen-sighted as hawks, 
magazine pictures in which any of our children would have 
instantly recognized human figures But my hunters 
turned the pictures round and round until one of them, 
tracing the outlines with his finger, finally exclaimed: 


" These are white men.” It was hailed by all as a great 


The incredibly accurate sense of locality shown by many 
natives is a matter of practice. It is absolutely necessary 
that they should be able to find their way in forests and 
jungles. Even the European, after a short while m Africa, 
begins to notice things he would never have dreamed of 
noticing before ; he does it out of the fear of going hopelessly 
astray in spite of his compass. 

Nothing goes to show that primitive man thinks, feels, 
or perceives in a way that differs fundamentally from ours. 
His psychic functioning is essentially the same — only his 
primary assumptions are different Compared to this it 
is a relatively unimportant fact that he has, or seems to 
have, a smaller area of consciousness than we, and that he 
is not very capable, or is quite incapable, of concentrated 
mental activity. This last, it is true, strikes the European 
as strange. For instance, I could never hold a palaver for 
longer than two hours, since by that time the natives always 
declared themselves tired. They said it was too difficult, 
and yet I had only asked quite simple questions in a 
desultory way. These same natives showed an astonishing 
concentration and endurance when out hunting or on a 
journey. My letter-carrier, for instance, could run seventy- 
five miles at a stretch. I saw a woman in her sixth month 
of pregnancy, carrying a baby on her back and smoking a 
long pipe of tobacco, dance almost the whole night through 
round a blazing fire when the temperature was 95 0 , without 
collapsing. It cannot be denied that primitive people are 
capable of concentrating upon things that interest them. 
If we try to give our attention to uninteresting matters, we 
soon notice how feeble our powers of concentration are. 



We ourselves, like them, are dependent upon emotional 

It is true that primitive man is simpler and more childlike 
than we, in good and evil alike. This in itself does not 
impress us as strange. And yet, when we approach the 
world of archaic man, we have the feeling of something 
prodigiously strange. As far as I have been able to analyse 
it, this feeling comes mainly from the fact that the primary 
assumptions of archaic man differ essentially from ours — 
that he hves, if I may use the expression, in a different 
world. Until we come to know his presuppositions, he is a 
riddle hard to read, but when we know them, all is relatively 
simple. We might equally well say that primitive man 
ceases to be a riddle when we have come to know our own 

It is a rational presupposition of ours that everything has 
a natural and perceptible cause. We are convinced of this. 
Causality, so understood, is one of our most sacred dogmas. 
There is no legitimate place in our world for invisible, 
arbitrary and so-called supernatural forces — unless, indeed, 
we follow the modem physicist in his scrutiny of the minute 
and secret world of the atom wherein, as it appears, curious 
things come to pass. But that lies far from the beaten 
track. We distinctly resent the idea of invisible and arbitrary 
forces, for it is not so long ago that we made our escape 
from that frightening world of dreams and superstitions, 
and constructed for ourselves a picture of the cosmos worthy 
of rational consciousness — that latest and greatest achieve- 
ment of man. We are now surrounded by a world that is 
obedient to rational laws. It is true that we do not know 
the causes of everything, but they will in time be discovered, 
and these discoveries will accord with our reasoned expecta- 



tions. That is our hope, and we take it as much for granted 
as primitive man does his own assumptions. There are 
also chance occurrences, to be sure, but these are merely 
accidental, and we have granted them a causality of their 
own. Chance occurrences are repellent to the mind that 
loves order. They have a laughable and therefore irritating 
way of throwing out of gear the predictable course of events. 
We resent the idea of chance occurrences as much as that 
of invisible forces, for they remind us too much of Satanic 
imps or of the capnce of a deus ex machina. They are the 
worst enemies of our careful calculations and a continual 
threat to all our undertakings. Being admittedly contrary 
to reason, they deserve contempt, and yet we should not 
fail to give them their due. The Arab shows them greater 
respect than we He writes on every letter Insha-allah, “ If 
if please God ”, for only then will the letter arrive. In spite 
of our reluctance to admit chance, and in spite of the fact 
that events run true to general laws, it is undeniable that 
we are always and everywhere exposed to incalculable 
accidents And what is more invisible and arbitrary than 
chance ? What is more unavoidable and more annoying ? 

If we consider the matter, we might as well say that the 
causal connection of events according to general laws is 
a theory which is borne out about half the time, while for 
the rest the demon of chance has his way. A chance 
occurrence also has its natural causes, and we must often 
discover to our sorrow that they are commonplace enough. 
It is not the fact that the cause of the accidents is unknown 
to us that annoys us ; the irritating thing about them is 
that they befall us here and now in an apparently arbitrary 
way. That is how it strikes us, at least. An accident is 
always irritating, and even the most dyed-in-the-wool 



rationalist may be moved to curse it. However we interpret 
an accidental event, we cannot alter the fact that it has 
the power to affect us The more the conditions of existence 
become subject to regulation, the more is chance excluded 
and the less do we need to protect ourselves against it. 
None the less, everyone takes account of the possibility of 
accidental occurrences, or counts upon them, even though 
the official " credo ” does not countenance this belief. 

It is our assumption, amounting to a positive conviction, 
that everything has causes which we call natural and which 
we at least suppose to be perceptible Primitive man, on 
the other hand, assumes that everything is brought about 
by invisible, arbitrary powers — in other words, that every- 
thing is chance. Only he does not call it chance, but 
intention. Natural causation is to him a mere semblance 
and not worthy of mention If three women go to the river 
to draw water, and a crocodile seizes the one m the centre 
and pulls her under, our view of things leads us to the 
verdict that it was pure chance that that particular woman 
was seized The fact that the crocodile seized her seems to 
us natural enough, for these beasts occasionally do eat human 
beings For primitive man such an explanation completely 
obhterates the facts, and accounts for no aspect of the 
whole exciting story Archaic man is right in holding our 
view of the matter to be superficial or even absurd, for the 
accident might not have happened and still the same inter- 
pretation would fit the case. The prejudice of the European 
does not allow him to see how little he really explains things 
in such a way. 

Primitive man expects more of an explanation. What 
we call chance is to him arbitrary power It was therefore 
the intention of the crocodile — as everyone could observe — 



to seize the woman who stood between the other two. If it 
had not had this intention it would have taken one of the 
others. But why did the crocodile have this intention ? 
These animals do not ordinarily eat human beings. This 
assertion is correct — quite as correct as the statement that 
there is no rainfall in the Sahara. Crocodiles are really 
timid animals, and are easily frightened. Considering their 
numbers, they kill astonishingly few people, and it is an 
unexpected and unnatural event when they devour a man. 
Such an event calls for explanation. Of his own accord 
the crocodile would not take a human life. By whom, then, 
was he ordered to do so ? 

It is on the facts of the world around him that primitive 
man bases his verdicts. When the unexpected occurs he 
is justifiably astonished and wishes to know the specific 
causes. To this extent he behaves exactly as we do. But 
he goes further than we. He has one or more theories about 
the arbitrary power of chance. We say . Nothing but 
chance. He says : Calculating intention. He lays the chief 
stress upon the confusing and confused breaks m the chain 
of causation — upon those occurrences that fail to show the 
causal connections which science expects, and that constitute 
the other half of happenings in general. He has long ago 
adapted himself to nature in so far as it conforms to general 
laws ; what he fears is unpredictable chance whose power 
makes him see m it an arbitrary and incalculable agent. 
Here again he is right. It is quite understandable that 
everything out of the ordinary should frighten him. Ant- 
eaters are fairly numerous in the regions south of Mount 
Elgon where I stayed for some time. The anteater is a shy, 
nocturnal animal that is rarely seen. If one happens to be 
seen by day, it is an extraordinary and unnatural event 



which astonishes the natives as much as the discovery of a 
brook that occasionally flows uphill would astonish us. If 
we knew of actual cases in which water suddenly overcame 
the force of gravity, such knowledge would cause us no 
little anxiety. We know that tremendous masses of water 
surround us, and can easily imagine what would happen 
if water no longer conformed to gravitational law. This is 
the situation in which primitive man finds himself with 
respect to the happenings in his world. He is thoroughly 
familiar with the habits of anteaters, but when one of them 
transgresses the laws of nature it acquires an incalculable 
sphere of action. Primitive man is so strongly impressed 
by things as they are, that a transgression of the laws of his 
world exposes him to unforeseen possibilities. Such an 
exception is a portent, an omen, comparable to a comet or 
an eclipse. Since in his view such an unnatural event as 
the appearance of an anteater by day can have no natural 
causes, some m visible power must be behind it And the 
alarming manifestation of a power which can annul cosmic 
laws calls of course for extraordinary measures of placation 
or self-defence. The neighbouring villages must be aroused, 
and the anteater must be dug up with the utmost pains, 
and killed. The oldest maternal uncle of the man who saw 
the anteater must then sacrifice a bull. The man descends 
into the sacrificial pit and receives the first piece of the 
animal’s flesh, whereupon the uncle and the other partici- 
pants m the ceremony also eat. In this way the dangerous 
caprice of nature is expiated 

As for us, we should certainly be alarmed enough if water 
began to run uphill for unknown reasons, but are not when 
an anteater is seen by day, or an albino is bom, or an eclipse 
takes place. We know the meaning and the sphere of action 



of such happenings, while primitive man does not. Ordinary 
events constitute for him a coherent whole in which he and 
all other creatures are embraced. He is therefore extremely 
conservative, and does what others have always done. If 
something happens, no matter where, to break the coherence 
of this whole, he feels there is a rift in his well-ordered world. 
Then anything may happen — heaven knows what. All 
occurrences that are m any way striking are at once brought 
into connection with the unusual event For instance, a 
missionary set up a flagstaff in front of his house so that he 
could raise the Union Jack on Sundays But this innocent 
pleasure cost him dear It was a singular and disturbing 
action, and when shortly afterwards a devastating storm 
broke out, the flagstaff was of course made responsible. 
This sufficed to start a general uprising against the missionary. 
It is the regularity of common occurrences that assures 
primitive man of a sense of security in his world Every 
exceptional event seems to him the threatening act of an 
arbitrary power that must be expiated. It is not only a 
momentary interruption of the ordinary course of things, 
but also the portent of other untoward events. 

This strikes us as nothing less than absurd inasmuch as 
we forget how our grandparents and our great-grandparents 
still felt about the world. A calf is bom with two heads and 
five legs. In the next village a cock has laid an egg. An 
old woman has had a dream, a comet appears in the sky, 
there is a great fire in the nearest town, and the following 
year a war breaks out. In this way history was always 
written from remote antiquity on down to the eighteenth 
century. This juxtaposition of facts, so meaningless to 
us, is significant and convincing to primitive man. And, 
contrary to all expectation, he is right to find it so. His 



powers of observation can be trusted. From age-old 
experience he knows that such connections actually exist. 
What seems to us a wholly senseless heaping-up of single, 
haphazard occurrences — because we pay attention only to 
single events and their particular causes — is for primitive 
man a completely logical sequence of omens and of happenings 
indicated by them. It is a fatal outbreak of demonic power 
showing itself in a thoroughly consistent way. 

The calf with two heads and the war are one and the 
same, for the calf was only an anticipation of the war. 
Primitive man finds this connection so unquestionable and 
convincing because the capnce of chance seems to him a 
far more important factor in the happenings of the world 
than regularity and conformity to laws Thanks to his 
close attention to the unusual he has preceded us in dis- 
covering that chance events arrange themselves in groups 
or senes The law of the duphcation of cases is known to 
all doctors engaged in clinical work. An old professor of 
psychiatry at Wurzburg always used to say of a particularly 
rare clinical case : “ Gentlemen, this is an absolutely umque 
case — tomorrow we shall have another just like it.” I have 
myself often observed the same thing during my eight 
years’ practice in an insane asylum On one occasion a 
person was committed for a rare twilight-state of conscious- 
ness — the first case of this kind I had ever seen. Within 
two days we had a similar case, and that was the last. 
“ Duphcation of cases ” is with us a joke of the clinics, but 
it has also been, from time immemorial, a fact of primitive 
science A recent investigator has ventured the statement : 
” Magic is the science of the jungle.” Astrology and other 
methods of divination may undoubtedly be called the science 
of antiquity. 



What happens regularly is easily observed because we 
are prepared for it. Knowledge and skill are only needed 
in situations where the course of events is arbitrarily dis- 
rupted in a way hard to fathom Generally it is one of the 
cleverest and shrewdest men of the tribe who is entrusted 
with the observation of events. His knowledge must suffice 
to explain all unusual occurrences, and his art to combat 
them. He is the scholar, the specialist, the expert on the 
subject of chance occurrences, and at the same time the 
keeper of the archives of the tribe’s traditional lore. Sur- 
rounded by respect and fear, he enjoys great authority, 
yet not so great but that his tribe is secretly convinced that 
their neighbours have a sorcerer who is stronger than theirs. 
The best medicine is never to be found close at hand, but 
as far away as possible. I stayed for a time with a tribe 
who held their old medicine-man in the greatest awe. 
Nevertheless he was consulted only for the minor ailments 
of cattle and men. In all serious cases a foreign authority 
was called in — a M’ganga (sorcerer) who was brought at a 
high price from Uganda — just as with us 

Chance events occur most often in larger or smaller series 
or groups. An old and well-tried rule for foretelling the 
weather is this, that when it has rained for several days it 
will also rain tomorrow. A proverb says • " Misfortunes 
never come singly.” Another has it that “ It never rains 
but it pours.” Such proverbial wisdom is primitive science. 
The people believe it and hold it in awe, while the educated 
man smiles at it — until something unusual happens to him . 
I will tell you a disagreeable story. A woman I know was 
awakened one morning by a peculiar tinkling on her night- 
table. After looking about her for a while she discovered 
the cause : the rim of her tumbler had snapped off in a ring 



about a quarter of an inch wide. This struck her as peculiar, 
and she rang for another glass About five minutes later 
she heard the same tinkling, and again the rim of the glass 
had broken off. This time she was greatly disquieted, and 
had a third glass brought. Within twenty minutes the rim 
broke off again with the same noise Three such accidents 
in immediate succession were too much for her. She gave 
up her belief in natural causes on the spot, and brought out 
m its place a “ collective representation ” — the conviction 
that an arbitrary power was at work Something hke this 
happens to many modem people — provided they are not 
too hard-headed — when they are confronted with events 
which natural causation fails to explain We naturally 
prefer to deny such occurrences They are unpleasant 
because they disrupt the orderly course of our world and 
make anything seem possible. Their effect upon us shows 
that the primitive mmd is not yet dead 

Primitive man’s belief in arbitrary power does not arise 
out of thin air, as was always supposed, but is grounded in 
experience What we have always called his superstition is 
justified by the grouping of chance occurrences. There is 
a real measure of probability that unusual events will 
coincide in time and place. We must not forget that our 
experience is not fully to be trusted in this regard Our 
observation is inadequate because our point of view leads 
us to overlook these matters. For instance, in a serious 
mood it would never occur to us to take the following events 
as a sequence : in the morning a bird flies into your room, 
an hour later you witness an accident in the street, in the 
afternoon a relative dies, in the evening your cook drops 
the soup tureen, and, on coming home late at night, you 
find that you have lost your key. Primitive man would 



not have overlooked a single item in this chain of events, 
for every new link would have answered to his expectations 
And he is right — he is much more nearly right than we are 
willing to admit. His anxious expectations are justified 
and serve a purpose. Such a day, he holds, is ill-omened, 
and on it nothing should be undertaken. In our world this 
would be reprehensible superstition, but in the world of 
primitive man it is highly appropriate shrewdness In 
that world man is far more exposed to accidents than we 
in our protected and well-regulated existence When you 
are in the wilderness you dare not take too many chances 
The European soon comes to appreciate this. 

When a Pueblo Indian does not feel in the right mood, 
he stays away from the men’s council When an ancient 
Roman stumbled on the threshold as he left his house, he 
gave up his plans for the day. This seems to us senseless, 
but under primitive conditions of life such an omen inclines 
one at least to be cautious. When I am not in full control 
of myself, my bodily movements may be under a certain 
constraint ; my attention is easily distracted ; I am some- 
what absent-minded. As a result I knock against something, 
stumble, let something fall or forget something Under 
civilized conditions these are mere trifles, but in the primeval 
forest they mean mortal danger It is fatal to make a false 
step upon the rain-soaked trunk of a tree that serves as 
a bridge high over a river teemmg with crocodiles. Suppose 
I lose my compass in the deep grass, or forget to load my 
rifle and blunder into a rhinoceros trail in the jungle. If I 
am preoccupied with my thoughts, I may tread upon a 
puff-adder. At nightfall I forget to put on my mosquito- 
boots in time, and eleven days later I die from an onset of 
tropical malaria. To forget to shut one’s mouth while 



bathing suffices to bring on a fatal attack of dysentery. 
For us a distracted state of mind is the natural cause of 
such accidents. For primitive man they are objectively 
conditioned omens, or sorcery. 

But it may be more than a question of inattention. In 
the Kitoshi region south of Mount Elgon I went for an 
excursion into the Kabras forest There, in the thick grass, 
I nearly stepped on a puff-adder, and only managed to 
jump away just m time In the afternoon my companion 
returned from a hunt, deathly pale and trembling m every 
limb. He had almost been bitten by a seven-foot mamba 
which darted at his back from a termite hill Without a 
doubt he would have been killed had he not been able at 
the last moment to wound the animal with a shot At 
nine o’clock that mght our camp was attacked by a pack 
of ravenous hyenas which had surprised and mauled a man 
in his sleep the day before In spite of the fire they swarmed 
into the hut of our cook who fled screaming over the stockade 
Thenceforth there were no accidents throughout the whole 
of our journey Such a day gave our negroes food for 
thought For us it was a simple multiplication of accidents, 
but for them the inevitable fulfilment of an omen that had 
occurred upon the first day of our journey into the wilds. 
It so happened that we had fallen, car, bridge and all, into 
a stream we were trying to cross Our boys had exchanged 
glances on that occasion as if to say : “ Well, that’s a fine 
start.” To cap the chmax a tropical thunderstorm blew up 
and soaked us so thoroughly that I was prostrated with 
fever for several days On the evening of the day when my 
friend had had such a narrow escape out hunting, I could 
not help saying to him as we white men sat looking at one 
another : “It seems to me as if the trouble had begun 


still further back. Do you remember the dream you told 
me in Zurich just before we left ? ” At that time he had 
had a very impressive nightmare. He dreamed that he 
was hunting in Africa, and was suddenly attacked by a 
huge mamba, so that he woke up with a cry of terror The 
dream had greatly disturbed him, and he now confessed to 
the thought that it had portended the death of one of us 
He had of course assumed that I was to die, because we 
always hope it is the " other fellow But it was he who 
later fell ill of a severe malarial fever that brought him to 
the edge of the grave. 

To read of such a conversation in a comer of the world 
where there are no snakes and no malaria-bearing mosquitoes 
means very httle One must imagine the velvety blue of 
a tropical night, the overhanging black masses of gigantic 
trees standing in a virgin forest, the mysterious voices of 
the nocturnal spaces, a lonely fire with loaded rifles stacked 
beside it, mosquito-nets, boiled swamp-water to drink, and 
above all the conviction expressed by an old Afrikander 
who knew what he was saying . “ This isn’t man’s country — 
it’s God’s country.” There man is not king ; it is rather 
nature — the animals, plants and microbes. Given the mood 
that goes with the place, one understands how it is that we 
found a dawning significance in things that anywhere else 
would provoke a smile. That is the world of unrestrained, 
capricious powers with which primitive man has to deal 
day by day. The extraordinary event is no joke to him. 
He draws his own conclusions. “ It is not a good place ” — 
” The day is unfavourable ” — and who knows what dangers 
he avoids by following such warnings ? 

“ Magic is the science of the jungle.” A portent effects the 
immediate modification of a course of action, the abandon- 



ment of a planned undertaking, a change of psychic attitude. 
These are all highly expedient reactions in view of the fact 
that chance occurrences tend to fall in sequences and that 
primitive man is wholly unconscious of psychic causality. 
Thanks to our one-sided emphasis upon so-called natural 
causation, we have learned to distinguish what is subjective 
and psychic from what is objective and “ natural ”. For 
primitive man, on the contrary, the psychic and the objective 
coalesce m the external world. In the face of something 
extraordinary it is not he who is astonished, but rather the 
thing which is astonishing It is mana — endowed with 
magic power. What we would call the powers of imagination 
and suggestion seem to him invisible forces which act upon 
him from without. His country is neither a geographical 
nor a political entity It is that territory which contains his 
mythology, his religion, all his thinking and feeling m so far 
as he is unconscious of these functions His fear is localized 
m certain places that are “ not good The spirits of the 
departed inhabit such or such a wood. That cave harbours 
devils which strangle any man who enters. In yonder 
mountam lives the great serpent , that hill is the grave of 
the legendary king , near this spring or rock or tree every 
woman becomes pregnant ; that ford is guarded by snake- 
demons ; this towering tree has a voice that can call certain 
people. Primitive man is unpsychological Psychic happen- 
ings take place outside him in an objective way. Even the 
things he dreams about seem to him real ; that is his only 
reason for paying attention to dreams. Our Elgonyi porters 
seriously maintained that they never had dreams — only the 
sorcerer had them. When I questioned the sorcerer, he 
declared that he had stopped having dreams when the 
British entered the land. His father had still had “ big ” 



dreams, he told me, and had known where the herds strayed. 
Where the cows took their calves, and when there was going 
to be a war or a pestilence. It was now the District Com- 
missioner who knew everything, and they knew nothing. 
He was as resigned as certain Papuans are who believe that 
the crocodiles have in good part gone over to the Bntish 
Government. It happened that a native convict had escaped 
from the authorities and been badly mangled by a crocodile 
while trying to cross a river. They therefore concluded that 
it must have been a police crocodile. God now speaks in 
dreams to the British, and not to the medicine-man of the 
Elgonyi, he told me, because it is the British who have the 
power Dream activity had emigrated. Occasionally the 
souls of the natives emigrate, and the medicine-man catches 
them in cages as if they were birds ; or strange souls 
immigrate and cause diseases. 

This projection of psychic happenings naturally gives 
rise to relations between men and men, or between men and 
animals or things, that to us are inconceivable A white 
man shoots a crocodile. At once a crowd of people come 
running from the nearest village and excitedly demand 
compensation. They explain that the crocodile was a 
certain old woman in their village who had died at the 
moment when the shot was fired. The crocodile was 
obviously her bush-soul. Another man shot a leopard that 
was lying in wait for his cattle. Just then a woman died m 
a neighbouring village. She and the leopard were one and 
the same. 

Ldvy-Briihl has coined the expression participation 
mystique for these curious relationships. It seems to me that 
the word " mystical ” is not well chosen. Primitive man does 
not see anything mystical in these matters, but considers them 



perfectly natural. It is only we who find anything strange 
about them, and the reason is that we seem to know nothing 
about such psychic phenomena . 1 In reality, however, they 
occur in us too, but we give them more civilized forms of 
expression. In daily life it happens all the time that we 
presume that the psychic processes of other people are the 
same as ours We suppose that what is pleasmg or desirable 
to us is the same to others, and that what seems bad to us 
must also seem bad to them It is only of late that our 
courts of law have adopted a psychological standpoint and 
admitted the relativity of guilt in pronouncing sentence 
Unsophisticated people are still moved to rancour by the 
tenet quod licet Jovt non licet bovi. Equality before the law 
still represents a great human achievement ; it has not yet 
been superseded And we still attribute to "the other 
fellow ” all the evil and inferior qualities that we do not 
like to recognize in ourselves That is why we have to 
criticize and attack him What happens in such a case, 
however, is that an inferior " soul ” emigrates from one 
person to another. The world is still full of bites noires and 
of scapegoats, just as it formerly teemed with witches and 

Psychic projection is one of the commonest facts of 
psychology It is the same as that participation mystique 
which Levy-Bruhl remarked as a peculiar trait of primitive 
man. We merely give it another name, and as a rule deny 
that we are guilty of it. Everything that is unconscious in 
ourselves we discover in our neighbour, and we treat him 
accordingly. We no longer subject him to the test of drinking 
poison ; we do not bum him or put the screws on him ; but 
we injure him by means of moral verdicts pronounced with 

1 I.e. dissociation and projection ( Trans ) 


the deepest conviction. What we combat m him is usually 
our own inferior side. 

The simple truth is that primitive man is somewhat more 
given to projection than we because of the undifferentiated 
state of his mind and his consequent inability to criticize 
himself. Everything to him is perfectly objective, and his 
language reflects this in a radical way. With a touch of 
humour we can picture to ourselves a leopard woman. We 
often represent a person as a goose, a cow, a hen, a snake, 
an ox, or an ass As uncomplimentary epithets these images 
are familiar to us all. But when primitive man attributes 
a bush-soul to a person, the poison of the moral verdict is 
absent. Archaic man is too naturalistic for that , he is too 
much impressed by things as they are to pass judgement 
readily, and is therefore much less prone to do so than we. 
The Pueblo Indians declared m a matter-of-fact way that I 
belonged to the Bear Totem — in other words, that I was a 
bear — because I did not come down a ladder frontwards 
like a man, but backwards, using my hands like a bear. If 
a European said that I had the nature of a bear this would 
come to much the same thing, with perhaps a slightly different 
shade of meaning The theme of the bush-soul, which seems 
so strange when we meet with it in primitive societies, has 
become with us, like so much else, a mere figure of speech. 
If we take our metaphors in a concrete way we return to a 
primitive point of view. For instance we have the medical 
expression to " handle a patient In concrete terms this 
means to lay the hands upon — to work at with the hands. 
And this is precisely what the medicine-man does with his 

We find the bush-soul hard to understand because we are 
baffled by such a concrete way of looking at things. We 



cannot conceive of a “ soul ” as an entity that emigrates and 
takes up its abode in a wild animal. When we describe 
someone as an ass, we do not mean that he is in every respect 
the quadruped called an ass. We mean that he resembles 
an ass in some particular respect. As far as the person in 
question is concerned, we isolate a part of his personality or 
psyche and concretize this part of him m the image of an 
ass. So, for primitive man, the leopard-woman is a human 
being, and only her bush-soul is a leopard. Since all un- 
conscious psychic life is concrete and objective for archaic 
man, he supposes that a person descnbable as a leopard has 
the soul of a leopard. If the concretizing goes further, he 
assumes that such a soul lives in the bush in the form of a 
real leopard 

These identifications, brought about by the projection of 
psychic happenings, create a world in which man is contained 
not only physically, but psychically as well To a certain 
extent he coalesces with it. In no way is he master of this 
world, but rather its component Primitive man, in Africa 
for instance, is still far from the glorification of human 
powers. He does not dream of regarding himself as the lord 
of creation. His zoological classification does not culminate 
in homo sapiens, but in the elephant. Next comes the lion, 
then the python or the crocodile, then man and the lesser 
beings. It never occurs to him that he might be able to rule 
nature ; it is civilized man who strives to dominate nature 
and therefore devotes his greatest efforts to the discovery of 
natural causes which will give him the key to nature’s secret 
laboratory. That is why he strongly resents the idea of 
arbitrary powers and denies them Their existence would 
amount to proof that his attempt to dominate nature is 
futile after all. 



Summing up, we may say that the outstanding trait of 
archaic man is his attitude towards the capriciousness of 
chance which he considers a far more important factor m 
cosmic happening than natural causes Chance occurrences 
have two aspects ; on the one hand it is a fact that they 
tend to take place in series, and on the other that they 
are endowed with an apparent purposefulness through the 
projection of unconscious psychic contents — in other words 
by " participation mystique Archaic man, to be sure, 
does not draw this distinction, for he projects psychic 
happenings so completely that they coalesce with physical 
events. An accident seems to him to be an arbitrary and 
intentional act — an interference by an animated being — 
because he does not realize that unusual events move him 
only in so far as he invests them with the force of his own 
astonishment or fear. Here, it is true, we move on treacherous 
ground. Is a thing beautiful because I attribute beauty to 
it ? It is well known that great minds have wrestled with 
the question whether it is the glorious sun that illumines the 
worlds, or whether it is the human eye by virtue of its relation 
to the sun. Archaic man beheves it to be the sun, and 
civilized man believes it is the eye — so far, at any rate, as 
he reflects at all and does not suffer from the disease of 
poets. He must strip nature of psychic attributes in order 
to dominate it ; to see his world objectively he must take 
back all his archaic projections. 

In the primitive world everything has psychic qualities. 
Everything is endowed with the elements of man’s psyche 
— or let us say, of the human psyche, of the collective un- 
conscious, for there is as yet no individual psychic life. Let 
us not forget, in this connection, that what the Christian 
sacrament of baptism purports to do is of the greatest 


importance for the psychic development of mankind 
Baptism endows the human being with a unique soul I 
do not mean, of course, the baptismal rite in itself as a 
magical act that is effective at one performance. I mean 
that the idea of baptism lifts a man out of his archaic 
identification with the world and changes him into a being 
who stands above it. The fact that mankind has risen to 
the level of this idea is baptism in the deepest sense, for it 
means the birth of spiritual man who transcends nature. 

It is an axiom m the study of the unconscious that every 
relatively independent, psychic content is personified when- 
ever the opportunity arises. We find the clearest instances 
of this in the hallucinations of the insane and in mediumistic 
communications. An invisible person arises wherever and 
whenever an autonomous psychic component is projected 
This explains the spirits of an ordinary spiritualistic stance and 
the ghosts which appear to primitive man. If an important 
psychic content is projected upon a human being, he becomes 
mana — that is, endowed with the power of producing unusual 
effects. He or she becomes a sorcerer, a witch, a werewolf, 
or the like. The primitive belief that the medicine-man 
catches the souls that have wandered away by night and 
puts them into cages like birds, strikingly illustrates this. 
Psychic projections endow the medicine-man with mana , 
they cause animals, trees and stones to speak , because they 
are psychic activities, they compel the individual to obey 
them. For this reason an insane person is hopelessly at the 
mercy of his voices. That which is projected is his own 
psychic activity Without knowing it, he is the one who 
speaks through his voices, just as he is the one who hears, 
sees and obeys. 

From the psychological point of view, primitive man’s 



belief that the arbitrary power of chance answers to the 
intentions of spirits and of sorcerers is perfectly natural, 
because it is an unavoidable inference from the facts as he 
sees them. And let us not delude ourselves m this connection. 
If we explain our scientific views to an intelligent native 
he will credit us with a ludicrous superstitiousness and a 
disgraceful want of logic He believes that the world is 
lighted by the sun, and not by the human eye. My friend 
Mountain Lake, a Pueblo chief, once called me sharply to 
account because I had given voice to the Augustiman tenet . 
Non est hie sol Dominus nosier, sed qut lUum fecit. Pointing 
to the sun, he declared indignantly • “He who goes there 
is our father. You can see him From him comes all hght, 
all life — there is nothing that he has not made ” He became 
greatly excited, struggled for words, and finally exclaimed ■ 
“ Even a man in the mountains who goes alone cannot 
make his fire without him.” The archaic standpoint can 
hardly be more beautifully expressed than by these words. 
The f>ower that rules us comes from the external world, and 
through it alone are we permitted to live. With us, religious 
thought still keeps alive the archaic state of mind, even 
though our time is bereft of gods. Untold millions of people 
still think m this way. 

In speaking of primitive man’s outlook upon the caprice 
of chance, I expressed the view that this attitude serves a 
purpose, and therefore has a meaning. Shall we, for the 
moment at least, venture the hypothesis that the primitive 
belief in arbitrary powers is justified by the facts and not 
merely from a psychological point of view ? This sounds 
alarming, but I have no intention of jumping from the 
frying-pan into the fire and trying to prove that witchcraft 
actually exists. I wish only to consider the conclusions to 



which we shall be led if we follow primitive man in supposing 
that all light comes from the sun, that things are beautiful 
in themselves and that a human part-soul is a leopard. In 
doing this we accept the primitive idea of mana. According 
to this idea, the beautiful moves us, and it is not we who 
create beauty A certain person is a devil — we have not 
projected our own evil upon him and in this way made a 
devil out of him. There are people — mana personalities — 
who are impressive in their own right, and in no way thanks 
to our imagination. The mana conception has it that there 
exists something like a widely distributed force in the 
external world that produces all those effects which are out 
of the common Everything that exists, acts, for otherwise 
it would not be actual. It is only actual thanks to its 
inherent energy Being is a field of force The primitive 
mana conception, as we can see, is of the nature of a crude 
theory of energy 

So far we can easily follow this primitive idea The 
difficulty arises when we try to carry its implications further, 
for they reverse the process of psychic projection of which I 
have spoken These implications are as follows : it is not 
my imagination or my awe that makes a sorcerer of the 
medicine-man , on the contrary, he ts a sorcerer and projects 
his magical powers upon me Ghosts are not hallucinations 
of my mind, but appear to me of their own volition Al- 
though such statements are logical derivatives of the mana 
idea, we hesitate to accept them and begin to look around 
us for our comfortable theory of psychic projection The 
question is nothing less than this : does the psychic in 
general — that is, the spirit, or the unconscious — arise in us ; 
or is the psyche, in the early stages of consciousness, actually 
outside us in the form of arbitrary powers with intentions of 



their own, and does it gradually come to take its place 
within us in the course of psychic development ? Were 
the dissociated psychic contents — to use our modem terms — 
ever parts of the psyches of individuals, or were they rather 
from the beginning psychic entities existing in themselves 
according to the primitive view as ghosts, ancestral spirits 
and the like ? Were they only by degrees embodied by man 
in the course of development, so that they gradually con- 
stituted in him that world which we now call the psyche ? 

This whole idea strikes us as dangerously paradoxical, and 
yet we are able to conceive something of the kind Not 
only the religious teacher, but the pedagogue as well, assumes 
that it is possible to implant in the human psyche something 
that was not previously there. The power of suggestion and 
influence is a fact , even the most modem behaviourism 
expects far-reaching results from this quarter. The idea of 
a complicated building-up of the psyche is expressed in 
primitive form m many widespread beliefs — for instance, 
possession, the incarnation of ancestral spirits, the im- 
migration of souls, and so forth When someone sneezes, 
we still say • “ God bless you ”, and mean by it * “I hope 
your new soul will do you no harm ” When in the course 
of our own development we grow out of many-sided con- 
tradictions and achieve a unified personality, we experience 
something hke a complicated growing-together of the 
psyche. Smce the human body is built up by inheritance 
out of a number of Mendelian units, it does not seem 
altogether out of the question that the human psyche is 
similarly put together. 

The materialistic views of our day have a tendency which 
we can discern in archaic thought. Both lead to the conclu- 
sion that the individual is a mere resultant ; in the first 



case, he is the resultant of natural causes, and in the second, 
of chance occurrences. According to both accounts, human 
individuality is nothing m its own right, but rather the 
accidental product of forces contained in the objective 
environment. This is through and through the archaic 
conception of the world according to which the single human 
being is never considered unique, but always interchangeable 
with any other and easily dispensable. By way of a narrow 
view of causahty, modem materialism has returned to the 
standpoint of archaic man But the materialist is more 
radical, because he is more systematic, than primitive man. 
The latter has the advantage of being inconsistent , he 
makes an exception of the mana personality. In the course 
of history these mana personalities were exalted to the 
position of divine figures , they became heroes and kings 
who shared m the immortality of the gods by eating of their 
rejuvenating food This idea of the immortality of the 
individual and of his imperishable worth is to be found in 
primitive societies, first of all in the belief in ghosts, and then 
m myths of the age when death had not yet gained an entrance 
into the world through human carelessness or folly. 

Primitive man is not aware of this contradiction in his 
views. Our negro porters assured me that they had no 
idea what would happen to them after death According 
to them a man is simply dead , he does not breathe any 
longer, and the corpse is carried into the bush where the 
hyenas eat it. That is what they think about it by day, 
but the night teems with the spirits of the dead who bring 
diseases to cattle and man, who attack and strangle the 
nocturnal traveller and indulge in other forms of violence. 
The primitive mind is full of such contradictions They 
could worry a European out of his skm, and it would never 


occur to him that something quite similar is to be found in 
our civilized midst. We have universities where the idea 
of divine intervention is considered beneath dispute — but 
where theology is a part of the curriculum. A research 
worker in natural science may hold it obscene to attribute 
the smallest variation of an animal species to an act of God, 
but may have another drawer in his mind in which he keeps 
a full-blown Christian faith which he likes to parade on 
Sundays. Why should we excite ourselves about primitive 
inconsistency ? 

It is not possible to derive any philosophical system from 
the elementary thoughts of primitive man. They furnish 
us only with antinomies And yet it is just these which are 
the inexhaustible source of all mental effort and provide the 
problems of thought m all tunes and m all civilizations 
Are the " collective representations ” of archaic man really 
profound, or do they only seem so ? I cannot answer this 
most difficult of questions, but I can tell of an observation 
which I made among the mountain tribe of the Elgonyi. 
I searched and enquired far and wide for traces of religious 
ideas and ceremonies, and for weeks on end I discovered 
nothing. The natives let me see everything and were free 
with their information. I could talk with them without the 
hindrance of an interpreter, for many of the old men spoke 
Swahili. At first they were reluctant enough, but when the 
ice was broken, I was cordially received. They knew nothing 
of religious customs. But I never gave up, and finally, at 
the close of one of many fruitless palavers, an old man 
exclaimed : "In the morning, when the sun comes up, we 
leave our huts, spit in our hands, and hold them up to the 
sun.” I got them to perform the ceremony for me and 
describe it exactly. They hold their hands before their 



mouths and spit or blow into them vigorously. Then they 
turn their hands round and hold the palms toward the sun. 
I asked them the meaning of what they did — why they blew 
or spat in their hands. My question was futile. “ That is 
how it has always been done ”, they said It was impossible 
to get an explanation, and I was perfectly convinced that 
they knew only what they did, and not why they did it 
They see no meaning in their action. They greet the new 
moon with the same gestures 

Let us suppose that I am a total stranger m Zurich and 
have come to this city to explore the customs of the place. 
First I settle down in the outskirts near some suburban 
homes, and come into neighbourly contact with their owners. 
I then say to Messrs Muller and Meyer • “ Please tell me 
something about your religious customs.” Both gentlemen 
are taken aback. They never go to church, know nothing 
about it, and emphatically deny that they practise any such 
customs. One morning I surprise Mr Muller at a curious 
occupation He is busily running about the garden, hiding 
coloured eggs and setting up peculiar rabbit idols. I have 
caught him m flagrante delicto. " Why did you conceal this 
highly interesting ceremony from me ? ” I ask him. " What 
ceremony ? ” he retorts. “ This is nothing Everybody 
does this at Eastertime ” “ But what is the meaning of 

these idols and eggs — and why do you hide them ? ” Mr. 
Muller is stunned. He does not know, and just as little does 
he know the meaning of the Christmas-tree. And yet he 
does these things. He is just like primitive man. Did the 
distant ancestors of the Elgonyi know what they did ? It 
is highly improbable Archaic man does what he does — and 
only civilized man knows what he does. 

What is the meaning of the Elgonyi ceremony just cited ? 



Clearly it is an offering to the sun which for these natives is 
tnungu — that is, tnatia, or divine — only at the moment of 
rising. If they have spittle on their hands, this is the 
substance which, according to primitive belief, contains the 
personal tnana, the force that cures, conjures and sustains 
life. If they breathe upon their hands, breath is wind and 
spirit — it is roho, in Arabic ruch, in Hebrew ruach, and in 
Greek pneuma. The action means : I offer my living spirit 
to God. It is a wordless, acted prayer, which could equally 
well be spoken “ Lord, into thy hands I commend my 
spirit.” Does this merely happen so, or was this thought 
already incubated and purposed before man existed ? I 
must leave this question unanswered. 



It is obvious enough that psychology, being the study of 
psychic processes, can be brought to bear upon the study of 
literature, for the human psyche is the womb of all the 
sciences and arts. We may expect psychological research, 
on the one hand, to explain the formation of a work of art, 
and on the other to reveal the factors that make a person 
artistically creative The psychologist is thus faced with 
two separate and distinct tasks, and must approach them 
in radically different ways. 

In the case of the work of art we have to deal with a 
product of complicated psychic activities — but a product 
that is apparently intentional and consciously shaped In 
the case of the artist we must deal with the psychic apparatus 
itself. In the first instance we must attempt the psychological 
analysis of a definitely circumscribed and concrete artistic 
achievement, while in the second we must analyse the 
living and creative human being as a unique personality. 
Although these two undertakings are closely related and even 
interdependent, neither of them can yield the explanations 
that are sought by the other. It is of course possible to 
draw inferences about the artist from the work of art, and 
vtce versa, but these inferences are never conclusive. At 
best they are probable surmises or lucky guesses. A know- 
ledge of Goethe’s particular relation to his mother throws 



some light upon Faust’s exclamation : “ The mothers — 
mothers — how very strange it sounds 1 ” But it does not 
enable us to see how the attachment to his mother could 
produce the Faust drama itself, however unmistakably we 
sense in the man Goethe a deep connection between the 
two Nor are we more successful in reasoning in the reverse 
direction. There is nothing in The Ring of the Ntbelungs 
that would enable us to recognize or definitely infer the fact 
that Wagner occasionally liked to wear womanish clothes, 
though hidden connections exist between the heroic masculine 
world of the Nibelungs and a certain pathological effeminacy 
in the man Wagner. 

The present state of development of psychology does not 
allow us to establish those rigorous causal connections which 
we expect of a science. It is only m the realm of the psycho- 
physiological instincts and reflexes that we can confidently 
operate with the idea of causality. From the point where 
psychic life begins — that is, at a level of greater complexity 
— the psychologist must content himself with more or less 
widely ranging descriptions of happenings and with the 
vivid portrayal of the warp and weft of the mind in all its 
amazing intricacy. In doing this, he must refrain from 
designating any one psychic process, taken by itself, as 
“ necessary ”. Were this not the state of affairs, and could 
the psychologist be relied upon to uncover the causal connec- 
tions within a work of art and in the process of artistic 
creation, he would leave the study of art no ground to stand 
on and would reduce it to a special branch of his own science. 
The psychologist, to be sure, may never abandon his claim 
to investigate and establish causal relations m comphcated 
psychic events. To do so would be to deny psychology the 
right to exist. Yet he can never make good this claim 


1 77 

in the fullest sense, because the creative aspect of life which 
finds its clearest expression in art baffles all attempts at 
rational formulation. Any reaction to stimulus may be 
causally explained ; but the creative act, which is the 
absolute antithesis of mere reaction, will for ever elude the 
human understanding. It can only be described in its 
manifestations ; it can be obscurely sensed, but never 
wholly grasped. Psychology and the study of art will always 
have to turn to one another for help, and the one will not 
invalidate the other It is an important principle of 
psychology that psychic events are derivable. It is a 
principle in the study of art that a psychic product is some- 
thing in and for itself — whether the work of art or the 
artist himself is in question Both principles are valid in 
spite of their relativity 

The Work of Art 

There is a fundamental difference of approach between the 
psychologist’s examination of a literary work, and that of 
the literary critic. What is of decisive importance and 
value for the latter may be quite irrelevant for the former. 
Literary products of highly dubious merit are often of the 
greatest interest to the psychologist. For instance, the 
so-called “ psychological novel ” is by no means as rewarding 
for the psychologist as the literary-minded suppxse. Con- 
sidered as a whole, such a novel explains itself. It has done 
its own work of psychological interpretation, and the 
psychologist can at most criticize or enlarge ujxm this. The 
important question as to how a particular author came to 
write a particular novel is of course left unanswered, but I 


wish to reserve this general problem for the second part of 
my essay. 

The novels which are most fruitful for the psychologist are 
those in which the author has not already given a psycho- 
logical interpretation of his characters, and which therefore 
leave room for analysis and explanation, or even invite it by 
their mode of presentation. Good examples of this kind of 
writing are the novels of Benoit, and English fiction in the 
manner of Rider Haggard, including the vein exploited by 
Conan Doyle which yields that most cherished article of 
mass-production, the detective story Melville’s Moby Dick, 
which I consider the greatest American novel, also comes 
within this class of writings. An exciting narrative that is 
apparently qmte devoid of psychological exposition is just 
what interests the psychologist most of all Such a tale is 
built upon a groundwork of implicit psychological assump- 
tions, and, in the measure that the author is unconscious of 
them, they reveal themselves, pure and unalloyed, to the 
critical discernment. In the psychological novel, on the 
other hand, the author himself attempts to reshape his 
material so as to raise it from the level of crude contingency 
to that of psychological exposition and illumination — a 
procedure which all too often clouds the psychological sig- 
nificance of the work or hides it from view. It is precisely to 
novels of this sort that the layman goes for "psychology”, 
while it is novels of the other kind that challenge the 
psychologist, for he alone can give them deeper meaning. 

I have been speaking in terms of the novel, but I am dealing 
with a psychological fact which is not restricted to this 
particular form of literary art. We meet with it in the works 
of the poets as well, and are confronted with it when we com- 
pare the first and second parts of the Faust drama. The 



love-tragedy of Gretchen explains itself , there is nothing 
that the psychologist can add to it that the poet has not 
already said in better words. The second part, on the other 
hand, calls for explanation. The prodigious richness of the 
imaginative material has so overtaxed the poet’s formative 
powers that nothing is self-explanatory and every verse adds 
to the reader’s need of an interpretation The two parts of 
Faust illustrate by way of extremes this psychological 
distinction between works of literature 

In order to emphasize the distinction, I will call the one 
mode of artistic creation psychological, and the other 
visionary. The psychological mode deals with materials 
drawn from the realm of human consciousness — for instance, 
with the lessons of hfe, with emotional shocks, the experience 
of passion and the crises of human destmy m general — all of 
which go to make up the conscious life of man, and his feeling 
hfe in particular. This material is psychically assimilated 
by the poet, raised from the commonplace to the level of 
poetic experience, and given an expression which forces the 
reader to greater clarity and depth of human insight by 
bringing fully mto his consciousness what he ordinarily 
evades and overlooks or senses only with a feeling of dull 
discomfort The poet’s work is an interpretation and 
illumination of the contents of consciousness, of the in- 
eluctable expenences of human life with its eternally re- 
current sorrow and joy. He leaves nothing over for the 
psychologist, unless, mdeed, we expect the latter to expound 
the reasons for which Faust falls in love with Gretchen, or 
which drive Gretchen to murder her child ! Such themes go 
to make up the lot of humankind ; they repeat themselves 
millions of times and are responsible for the monotony of 
the police-court and of the penal code. No obscurity 


whatever surrounds them, for they fully explain them- 

Countless literary works belong to this class : the many 
novels dealing with love, the environment, the family, 
crime and society, as well as didactic poetry, the larger 
number of lyrics, and the drama, both tragic and comic. 
Whatever its particular form may be, the psychological 
work of art always takes its materials from the vast realm 
of conscious human experience — from the vivid foreground 
of life, we might say I have called this mode of artistic 
creation psychological because in its activity it nowhere 
transcends the bounds of psychological intelligibility. Every- 
thing that it embraces — the experience as well as its artistic 
expression — belongs to the realm of the understandable 
Even the basic experiences themselves, though non-rational, 
have nothing strange about them ; on the contrary, they 
are that which has been known from the beginning of time — 
passion and its fated outcome, man’s subjection to the turns 
of destiny, eternal nature with its beauty and its horror. 

The profound difference between the first and second parts 
of Faust marks the difference between the psychological and 
the visionary modes of artistic creation. The latter reverses 
all the conditions of the former. The experience that 
furnishes the material for artistic expression is no longer 
familiar. It is a strange something that derives its existence 
from the hinterland of man’s mind — that suggests the abyss 
of time separating us from pre-human ages, or evokes a 
super-human world of contrasting light and darkness. It is 
a primordial experience which surpasses man’s understanding, 
and to which he is therefore in danger of succumbing. The 
value and the force of the experience are given by its enor- 
mity. It arises from timeless depths ; it is foreign and cold. 


many-sided, demonic and grotesque. A grimly ridiculous 
sample of the eternal chaos — a crimen laesae majestatis 
humanae, to use Nietzsche’s words — it bursts asunder our 
human standards of value and of aesthetic form The dis- 
turbing vision of monstrous and meaningless happenings 
that in every way exceed the grasp of human feeling and 
comprehension makes quite other demands upon the powers 
of the artist than do the experiences of the foreground of 
hfe. These never rend the curtain that veils the cosmos ; 
they never transcend the bounds of the humanly possible, 
and for this reason axe readily shaped to the demands of art, 
no matter how great a shock to the individual they may be. 
But the primordial experiences rend from top to bottom the 
curtain upon which is painted the picture of an ordered 
world, and allow a glimpse into the unfathomed abyss of 
what has not yet become. Is it a vision of other worlds, or 
of the obscuration of the spirit, or of the beginning of things 
before the age of man, or of the unborn generations of the 
future ? We cannot say that it is any or none of these 

Shaping — re-shaping — 

The eternal spirit’s eternal pastime 1 

We find such vision in The Shepherd of Her mas, in Dante, 
in the second part of Faust, in Nietzsche’s Dionysian 
exuberance, in Wagner’s Ntbelungenrtng, in Spitteler’s 
Olympischer Friihhng, in the poetry of William Blake, in 
the Ipnerotomachia of the monk Francisco Colonna, and in 
Jacob Boehme’s philosophic and poetic stammerings. In a 
more restricted and specific way, the primordial experience 
furnishes material for Rider Haggard in the fiction-cycle 

1 Gestaltung, Umgestaltung, 

Dts ew'gen Stnnes ew’ge Unterhaltung (Goethe.) 


that turns upon She, and it does the same for Benoit, chiefly 
in L’Ailanitde, for Kubrn in Die Anderc Sate, for Meynnk in 
Das Griine Gesicht — a book whose importance we should 
not undervalue — for Goetz m Das Retch ohne Raum, and for 
Barlach in Der Tote Tag. This list might be greatly extended. 

In dealing with the psychological mode of artistic creation, 
we never need ask ourselves what the material consists of 
or what it means. But this question forces itself upon us as 
soon as we come to the visionary mode of creation We are 
astonished, taken aback, confused, put on our guard or even 
disgusted — and we demand commentaries and explanations. 
We are reminded in nothing of everyday, human hfe, but 
rather of dreams, night-time fears and the dark recesses of 
the mind that we sometimes sense with misgiving. The 
reading pubhc for the most part repudiates this kind of 
writing— unless, mdeed, it is coarsely sensational— and even 
the literary critic feels embarrassed by it. It is true that 
Dante and Wagner have smoothed the approach to it. The 
visionary experience is cloaked, in Dante’s case, by the 
introduction of historical facts, and, in that of Wagner, by 
mythological events — so that history and mythology are 
sometimes taken to be the materials with which these poets 
worked. But with neither of them does the moving force 
and the deeper significance he there. For both it is con- 
tained in the visionary experience. Rider Haggard, pardon- 
ably enough, is generally held to be a mere inventor of 
fiction. Yet even with him the story is primarily a means 
of giving expression to significant material. However much 
the tale may seem to overgrow the content, the latter 
outweighs the former in importance. 

The obscurity as to the sources of the material in visionary 
creation is very strange, and the exact opposite of what we 

find in the psychological mode of creation. We are even 
led to suspect that this obscurity is not unintentional. We 
are naturally inclined to suppose — and Freudian psychology 
encourages us to do so — that some highly personal experience 
underlies this grotesque darkness. We hope thus to explain 
these strange glimpses of chaos and to understand why it 
sometimes seems as though the poet had intentionally con- 
cealed his basic experience from us. It is only a step from 
this way of looking at the matter to the statement that we 
are here dealing with a pathological and neurotic art — a 
step which is justified in so far as the material of the visionary 
creator shows certain traits that we find in the fantasies of 
the insane The converse also is true ; we often discover 
m the mental output of psychotic persons a wealth of mean- 
ing that we should expect rather from the works of a genius. 
The psychologist who follows Freud will of course be inclined 
to take the writings in question as a problem in pathology. 
On the assumption that an intimate, personal experience 
underlies what I call the “ primordial vision ” — an ex- 
perience, that is to say, which cannot be accepted by the 
conscious outlook — he will try to account for the curious 
images of the vision by calling them cover-figures and by 
supposing that they represent an attempted concealment of 
the basic experience. This, according to his view, might be 
an experience in love which is morally or aesthetically 
incompatible with the personality as a whole or at least 
with certain fictions of the conscious mind. In order that 
the poet, through his ego, might repress this experience and 
make it unrecognizable (unconscious), the whole arsenal of 
a pathological fantasy was brought into action. Moreover, 
this attempt to replace reality by fiction, being unsatisfactory, 
must be repeated in a long series of creative embodiments. 

x8 4 


This would explain the proliferation of imaginative forms, all 
monstrous, demonic, grotesque and perverse. On the one 
hand they are substitutes for the unacceptable experience, 
and on the other they help to conceal it. 

Although a discussion of the poet's personality and psychic 
disposition belongs strictly to the second part of my essay, I 
cannot avoid taking up in the present connection this 
Freudian view of the visionary work of art For one thing, 
it has aroused considerable attention. And then it is the 
only well-known attempt that has been made to give a 
“ scientific ” explanation of the sources of the visionary 
material or to formulate a theory of the psychic processes 
that underlie this curious mode of artistic creation. I 
assume that my own view of the question is not well known 
pr generally understood. With this preliminary remark, I 
will now try to present it briefly. 

If we insist on deriving the vision from a personal ex- 
perience, we must treat the former as something secondary — 
as a mere substitute for reality. The result is that we strip 
the vision of its primordial quality and take it as nothing but 
a symptom. The pregnant chaos then shrinks to the pro- 
portions of a psychic disturbance. With this account of 
the matter we feel reassured and turn again to our picture 
of a well-ordered cosmos. Since we are practical and 
reasonable, we do not expect the cosmos to be perfect ; we 
accept these unavoidable imperfections which we call 
abnormalities and diseases, and we take it for granted that 
human nature is not exempt from them. The frightening 
revelation of abysses that defy the human understanding is 
dismissed as illusion, and the poet is regarded as a victim and 
perpetrator of deception. Even to the poet, his primordial 
experience was " human — all too human ”, to such a degree 


that he could not face its meaning but had to conceal it 
from himself. 

We shall do well, I think, to make fully exphcit all the 
implications of that way of accounting for artistic creation 
which consists in reducmg it to personal factors. We should 
see clearly where it leads. The truth is that it takes us away 
from the psychological study of the work of art, and confronts 
us with the psychic disposition of the poet himself. That 
the latter presents an important problem is not to be denied, 
but the work of art is something in its own right, and may 
not be conjured away. The question of the significance to 
the poet of his own creative work — of his regarding it as a 
trifle, as a screen, as a source of suffering or as an achieve- 
ment — does not concern us at the moment, our task being 
to interpret the work of art psychologically For this 
undertaking it is essential that we give serious consideration 
to the basic experience that underlies it — namely, to the 
vision. We must take it at least as seriously as we do the 
experiences that underlie the psychological mode of artistic 
creation, and no one doubts that they are both real and 
serious It looks, indeed, as if the visionary experience were 
something quite apart from the ordinary lot of man, and for 
this reason we have difficulty in believing that it is real. It 
has about it an unfortunate suggestion of obscure meta- 
physics and of occultism, so that we feel called upon to 
intervene in the name of a well-intentioned reasonableness. 
Our conclusion is that it would be better not to take such 
things too seriously, lest the world revert again to a be- 
nighted superstition. We may, of course, have a predilection 
for the occult ; but ordinarily we dismiss the visionary 
experience as the outcome of a rich fantasy or of a poetic 
mood — that is to say, as a kind of poetic licence psycho- 



logically understood. Certain of the poets encourage this 
interpretation in order to put a wholesome distance between 
themselves and their work. Spitteler, for example, stoutly 
maintained that it was one and the same whether the poet 
sang of an Olympian Spring or to the theme : “ May is 
here ! ” The truth is that poets are human beings, and that 
what a poet has to say about his work is often far from being 
the most illuminating word on the subject. What is required 
of us, then, is nothing less than to defend the importance of 
the visionary experience against the poet himself. 

It cannot be denied that we catch the reverberations of 
an initial love-experience in The Shepherd of Hernias, in the 
Dtvtne Comedy and m the Faust drama — an experience 
which is completed and fulfilled by the vision. There is no 
ground for the assumption that the second part of Faust 
repudiates or conceals the normal, human experience of the 
first part, nor are we justified in supposing that Goethe was 
normal at the time when he wrote Part I, but m a neurotic 
state of mind when he composed Part II Hernias, Dante 
and Goethe can be taken as three steps in a sequence covering 
nearly two thousand years of human development, and in 
each of them we find the personal love-episode not only 
connected with the weightier visionary experience, but 
frankly subordinated to it. On the strength of this evidence 
which is furnished by the work of art itself and which throws 
out of court the question of the poet’s particular psychic 
disposition, we must admit that the vision represents a 
deeper and more impressive experience than human passion. 
In works of art of this nature — and we must never confuse 
them with the artist as a person — we cannot doubt that the 
vision is a genuine, primordial experience, regardless of 
what reason-mongers may say. The vision is not something 


derived or secondary, and it is not a symptom of something 
else. It is true symbolic expression — that is, the expression 
of something existent m its own right, but imperfectly known. 
The love-episode is a real experience really suffered, and the 
same statement applies to the vision. We need not try to 
determine whether the content of the vision is of a physical, 
psychic or metaphysical nature. In itself it has psychic 
reality, and this is no less real than physical reality. Human 
passion falls within the sphere of conscious experience, 
while the subject of the vision lies beyond it. Through our 
feelings we experience the known, but our intuitions point 
to thmgs that are unknown and hidden — that by their very 
nature are secret. If ever they become conscious, they are 
intentionally kept back and concealed, for which reason they 
have been regarded from earliest times as mysterious, 
uncanny and deceptive. They are hidden from the scrutiny of 
man, and he also hides himself from them out of deistdae- 
monta He protects himself with the shield of science and the 
armour of reason. His enlightenment is bom of fear; m the 
day-time he believes in an ordered cosmos, and he tries to 
maintain this faith against the fear of chaos that besets him 
by night What if there were some living force whose sphere 
of action lies beyond our world of every day ? Are there 
human needs that are dangerous and unavoidable ? Is 
there something more purposeful than electrons ? Do we 
delude ourselves in thin long that we possess and command 
our own souls ? And is that which science calls the " psyche ” 
not merely a question-mark arbitrarily confined within the 
skull, but rather a door that opens upon the human world 
from a world beyond, now and again allowing strange and 
unseizable potencies to act upon man and to remove him, as 
if upon the wings of the night, from the level of common 


humanity to that of a more than personal vocation ? When 
we consider the visionary mode of artistic creation, it even 
seems as if the love-episode had served as a mere release — 
as if the personal experience were nothing but the prelude 
to the all-important “ divine comedy 

It is not alone the creator of this kind of art who is in 
touch with the night-side of life, but the seers, prophets, 
leaders and enlighteners also. However dark this nocturnal 
world may be, it is not wholly unfamiliar. Man has known 
of it from time immemorial — here, there, and everywhere ; 
for primitive man today it is an unquestionable part of his 
picture of the cosmos. It is only we who have repudiated it 
because of our fear of superstition and metaphysics, and 
because we strive to construct a conscious world that is 
safe and manageable in that natural law holds m it the 
place of statute law in a commonwealth. Yet, even in our 
midst, the poet now and then catches sight of the figures 
that people the night-world — the spirits, demons and gods. 
He knows that a purposiveness out-reaching human ends is 
the life-giving secret for man ; he has a presentiment of 
incomprehensible happenings in the pleroma In short, he 
sees something of that psychic world that strikes terror into 
the savage and the barbarian. 

From the very first beginnings of human society onward 
man’s efforts to give his vague intimations a binding form 
have left their traces. Even m the Rhodesian cliff-drawings 
of the Old Stone Age there appears, side by side with the 
most amazingly life-like representations of animals, an 
abstract pattern — a double cross contained in a circle. This 
design has turned up in every cultural region, more or less, 
and we find it today not only in Christian churches, but in 
Tibetan monasteries as well. It is the so-called sun-wheel. 


and as it dates from a time when no one had thought of 
wheels as a mechanical device, it cannot have had its source 
in any experience of the external world. It is rather a symbol 
that stands for a psychic happening ; it covers an experience 
of the inner world, and is no doubt as lifelike a representation 
as the famous rhinoceros with the tick-birds on its back. 
There has never been a primitive culture that did not possess 
a system of secret teaching, and in many cultures this system 
is highly developed. The men’s councils and the totem-clans 
preserve this teaching about hidden things that lie apart from 
man’s daytime existence — things which, from primeval 
times, have always constituted his most vital experiences 
Knowledge about them is handed on to younger men in the 
rites of initiation. The mysteries of the Gneco-Roman 
world performed the same office, and the rich mythology of 
antiquity is a relic of such experiences in the earliest stages 
of human development. 

It is therefore to be expected of the poet that he will 
resort to mythology in order to give his experience its most 
fitting expression. It would be a serious mistake to suppose 
that he works with materials received at second-hand The 
primordial experience is the source of his creativeness ; it 
cannot be fathomed, and therefore requires mythological 
imagery to give it form In itself it offers no words or 
images, for it is a vision seen “ as in a glass, darkly It 
is merely a deep presentiment that strives to find expression. 
It is hke a whirlwind that seizes everything within reach 
and, by carrying it aloft, assumes a visible shape. Since 
the particular expression can never exhaust the possibilities 
of the vision, but falls far short of it in richness of content, 
the poet must have at his disposal a huge store of materials 
if he is to communicate even a few of his intimations. What 



is more, he must resort to an imagery that is difficult to 
handle and full of contradictions in order to express the 
weird paradoxicality of his vision. Dante’s presentiments 
are clothed in images that run the gamut of Heaven and 
Hell ; Goethe must bring in the Blocksberg and the infernal 
regions of Greek antiquity ; Wagner needs the whole body 
of Nordic myth ; Nietzsche returns to the hieratic style and 
recreates the legendary seer of prehistoric times , Blake 
invents for himself indescribable figures, and Spitteler 
borrows old names for new creatures of the imagination. 
And no intermediate step is missing in the whole range from 
the ineffably sublime to the perversely grotesque. 

Psychology can do nothing towards the elucidation of this 
colourful imagery except bring together materials for com- 
parison and offer a terminology for its discussion. According 
to this terminology, that which appears in the vision is the 
collective unconscious. We mean by collective unconscious, 
a certain psychic disposition shaped by the forces of heredity ; 
from it consciousness has developed. In the physical 
structure of the body we find traces of earlier stages of 
evolution, and we may expect the human psyche also to 
conform in its make-up to the law of phylogeny. It is a 
fact that in eclipses of consciousness — in dreams, narcotic 
states and cases of insanity — there come to the surface 
psychic products or contents that show all the traits of 
primitive levels of psychic development. The images 
themselves are sometimes of such a primitive character that 
we might suppose them derived from ancient, esoteric 
teaching. Mythological themes clothed in modem dress also 
frequently appear. What is of particular importance for 
the study of literature in these manifestations of the 
collective unconscious is that they are compensatory to the 


conscious attitude. This is to say that they can bring a 
one-sided, abnormal, or dangerous state of consciousness 
into equilibrium in an apparently purposive way. In dreams 
we can see this process very clearly in its positive aspect. 
In cases of m sanity the compensatory process is often 
perfectly obvious, but takes a negative form There are 
persons, for instance, who have anxiously shut themselves 
off from all the world only to discover one day that their 
most intimate secrets are known and talked about by 
everyone. 1 

If we consider Goethe’s Faust, and leave aside the 
possibility that it is compensatory to his own conscious 
attitude, the question that we must answer is this : In 
what relation does it stand to the conscious outlook of his 
time ? Great poetry draws its strength from the life of 
mankind, and we completely miss its meaning if we try to 
derive it from personal factors Whenever the collective 
unconscious becomes a living experience and is brought to 
bear upon the conscious outlook of an age, this event is a 
creative act which is of importance to everyone living m that 
age. A work of art is produced that contains what may 
truthfully be called a message to generations of men. So 
Faust touches something in the soul of every German So 
also Dante’s fame is immortal, while The Shepherd of Her mas 
just failed of inclusion in the New Testament canon. Every 
period has its bias, its particular prejudice and its psychic 
ailment. An epoch is like an individual ; it has its own 
limitations of conscious outlook, and therefore requires a 
compensatory adjustment. This is effected by the collective 
unconscious m that a poet, a seer or a leader allows himself 

1 See my article " Mind and the Earth ”, in Contributions to Analytical 
Psychology Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co , London, 1928 


to be guided by the unexpressed desire of his times and shows 
the way, by word or deed, to the attainment of that which 
everyone blindly craves and expects — whether this attain- 
ment results m good or evil, the healing of an epoch or its 

It is always dangerous to speak of one’s own times, because 
what is at stake in the present is too vast for comprehension. 
A few hints must therefore suffice. Francesco Colonna's 
book is cast in the form of a dream, and is the apotheosis of 
natural love taken as a human relation , without countenanc- 
ing a wild indulgence of the senses, he leaves completely 
aside the Christian sacrament of marriage. The book was 
written in 1453. Rider Haggard, whose life coincides with 
the flowenng-time of the Victorian era, takes up this subject 
and deals with it m his own way ; he does not cast it m the 
form of a dream, but allows us to feel the tension of moral 
conflict. Goethe weaves the theme of Gretchen-Helen- 
Mater-Gloriosa like a red thread into the colourful tapestry 
of Faust. Nietzsche proclaims the death of God, and 
Spitteler transforms the waxing and waning of the gods mto 
a myth of the seasons. Whatever his importance, each of 
these poets speaks with the voice of thousands and ten 
thousands, foretelling changes in the conscious outlook of 
his time. 


The Poet 

Creativeness, like the freedom of the will, contains a secret. 
The psychologist can describe both these manifestations as 
processes, but he can find no solution of the philosophical 
problems they offer. Creative man is a nddle that we 



may try to answer in various ways, but always in vain, 
a truth that has not prevented modem psychology from 
turning now and again to the question of the artist and his 
art Freud thought that he had found a key in his procedure 
of deriving the work of art from the personal experiences of 
the artist . 1 It is true that certain possibilities lay in this 
direction, for it was conceivable that a work of art, no less 
than a neurosis, might be traced back to those knots in 
psychic life that we call the complexes It was Freud’s 
great discovery that neuroses have a causal origin m the 
psychic realm — that they take their rise from emotional 
states and from real or imagined childhood experiences. 
Certain of his followers, like Rank and Stekel, have taken 
up related lines of enquiry and have achieved important 
results It is undeniable that the poet's psychic disposition 
permeates his work root and branch Nor is there anything 
new in the statement that personal factors largely influence 
the poet’s choice and use of his materials. Credit, however, 
must certainly be given to the Freudian school for showing 
how far-reaching this influence is and in what curious ways 
it comes to expression 

Freud takes the neurosis as a substitute for a direct 
means of gratification He therefore regards it as something 
inappropriate — a mistake, a dodge, an excuse, a voluntary 
blindness. To him it is essentially a shortcoming that should 
never have been Since a neurosis, to all appearances, 
is nothing but a disturbance that is all the more irritating 
because it is without sense or meaning, few people will 
venture to say a good word for it. And a work of art is 
brought into questionable proximity with the neurosis 
when it is taken as something which can be analysed in 
1 See Freud’s essay on Jensen’s Gradwa and on Leonardo da Vina. 


terms of the poet’s repressions. In a sense it finds itself in 
good company, for religion and philosophy are regarded in 
the same light by Freudian psychology. No objection can 
be raised if it is admitted that this approach amounts to 
nothing more than the elucidation of those personal deter- 
minants without which a work of art is unthinkable. But 
should the claim be made that such an analysis accounts for 
the work of art itself, then a categorical denial is called for. 
The personal idiosyncrasies that creep into a work of art 
are not essential ; in fact, the more we have to cope with 
these peculiarities, the less is it a question of art. What is 
essential in a work of art is that it should rise far above the 
realm of personal life and speak from the spirit and heart of 
the poet as man to the spirit and heart of mankind The 
personal aspect is a limitation — and even a sin — in the realm 
of art When a form of “ art ” is primarily personal it 
deserves to be treated as if it were a neurosis There may be 
some validity in the idea held by the Freudian school that 
artists without exception are narcissistic — by which is 
meant that they are undeveloped persons with infantile and 
auto-erotic traits The statement is only valid, however, 
for the artist as a person, and has nothing to do with the 
man as an artist. In his capacity of artist he is neither 
auto-erotic, nor hetero-erotic, nor erotic in any sense. He 
is objective and impersonal — even inhuman — for as an 
artist he is his work, and not a human being. 

Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of con- 
tradictory aptitudes. On the one side he is a human being 
with a personal life, while on the other side he is an im- 
personal, creative process. Since as a human being he may 
be sound or morbid, we must look at his psychic make-up 
to find the determinants of his personality. But we can 



only understand him in his capacity of artist by looking at 
his creative achievement. We should make a sad mistake if 
we tried to explain the mode of life of an English gentleman, 
a Prussian officer, or a cardinal in terms of personal factors. 
The gentleman, the officer and the clenc function as such in 
an impersonal rdle, and their psychic make-up is qualified 
by a peculiar objectivity. We must grant that the artist 
does not function in an official capacity — the very opposite 
is nearer the truth. He nevertheless resembles the types I 
have named in one respect, for the specifically artistic dis- 
position involves an overweight of collective psychic hfe as 
against the personal Art is a kmd of innate drive that 
seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The 
artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his 
own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes 
through him. As a human being he may have moods and 
a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is "man” in a 
higher sense — he is " collective man ” — one who carries and 
shapes the unconscious, psychic hfe of mankind. To 
perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him 
to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth 
living for the ordinary human bemg. 

All this bemg so, it is not strange that the artist is an 
especially interesting case for the psychologist who uses an 
analytical method. The artist’s life cannot be otherwise 
than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him — 
on the one hand the common human longing for happiness, 
satisfaction and security m hfe, and on the other a ruthless 
passion for creation which may go so far as to override 
every personal desire The lives of artists are as a rule so 
highly unsatisfactory — not to say tragic — because of their 
inferiority on the human and personal side, and not because 



of a sinister dispensation. There are hardly any exceptions 
to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine 
gift of the creative fire It is as though each of us were 
endowed at birth with a certain capital of energy. The 
strongest force in our make-up will seize and all but 
monopolize this energy, leaving so little over that nothing 
of value can come of it. In this way the creative force can 
drain the human impulses to such a degree that the personal 
ego must develop all sorts of bad qualities — ruthlessness, 
selfishness and vanity (so-called " auto-erotism ”) — and even 
every kind of vice, in order to maintain the spark of life and 
to keep itself from being wholly bereft The auto-erotism 
of artists resembles that of illegitimate or neglected children 
who from their tenderest years must protect themselves from 
the destructive influence of people who have no love to give 
them — who develop bad qualities for that very purpose and 
later maintain an invincible egocentrism by remaining all 
their hves infantile and helpless or by actively offending 
against the moral code or the law How can we doubt that 
it is his art that explains the artist, and not the insufficiencies 
and conflicts of his personal life ? These are nothing but 
the regrettable results of the fact that he is an artist — that is 
to say, a man who from his very birth has been called to a 
greater task than the ordinary mortal A special ability 
means a heavy expenditure of energy m a particular direction, 
with a consequent drain from some other side of life. 

It makes no difference whether the poet knows that his 
work is begotten, grows and matures with him, or whether 
he supposes that by taking thought he produces it out of the 
void His opinion of the matter does not change the fact 
that his own work outgrows him as a child its mother. The 
creative process has feminine quality, and the creative work 



arises from unconscious depths — we might say, from the 
realm of the mothers. Whenever the creative force pre- 
dominates, human life is ruled and moulded by the un- 
conscious as against the active will, and the conscious ego is 
swept along on a subterranean current, being nothing more 
than a helpless observer of events. The work in process 
becomes the poet’s fate and determines his psychic develop- 
ment. It is not Goethe who creates Faust, but Faust which 
creates Goethe And what is Faust but a symbol ? By this 
I do not mean an allegory that points to something all too 
familiar, but an expression that stands for something not 
clearly known and yet profoundly alive Here it is something 
that hves in the soul of every German, and that Goethe has 
helped to bring to birth. Could we conceive of anyone but 
a German writing Faust or Also sprach Zarathustra ? Both 
play upon something that reverberates in the German soul 
— a “ primordial image ”, as Jacob Burckhardt once called 
it — the figure of a physician or teacher of mankind. The 
archetypal image of the wise man, the saviour or redeemer, 
lies buried and dormant in man’s unconscious since the 
dawn of culture ; it is awakened whenever the times are out 
of joint and a human society is committed to a serious 
error When people go astray they feel the need of a guide 
or teacher or even of the physician. These primordial 
images are numerous, but do not appear in the dreams of 
individuals or in works of art until they are called into 
being by the waywardness of the general outlook. When 
conscious hfe is characterized by one-sidedness and by a 
false attitude, then they are activated — one might say, 
" instinctively ” — and come to light m the dreams of in- 
dividuals and the visions of artists and seers, thus restoring 
the psychic equilibrium of the epoch. 



In this way the work of the poet comes to meet the 
spiritual need of the society in which he lives, and for this 
reason his work means more to him than his personal fate, 
whether he is aware of this or not. Being essentially the 
instrument for his work, he is subordinate to it, and we have 
no reason for expecting him to interpret it for us. He has 
done the best that in him lies in giving it form, and he must 
leave the interpretation to others and to the future A 
great work of art is like a dream , for all its apparent obvious- 
ness it does not explain itself and is never unequivocal. A 
dream never says : “ You ought ”, or : “ This is the truth ”. 
It presents an image m much the same way as nature allows 
a plant to grow, and we must draw our own conclusions If 
a person has a nightmare, it means either that he is too 
much given to fear, or else that he is too exempt from it ; 
and if he dreams of the old wise man it may mean that he is 
too pedagogical, as also that he stands in need of a teacher. 
In a subtle way both meanings come to the same thing, as 
we perceive when we are able to let the work of art act upon 
us as it acted upon the artist. To grasp its meaning, we must 
allow it to shape us as it once shaped him Then we under- 
stand the nature of his expenence. We see that he has 
drawn upon the healing and redeeming forces of the collective 
psyche that underlies consciousness with its isolation and 
its painful errors ; that he has penetrated to that matrix 
of life in which all men are embedded, which imparts a 
common rhythm to all human existence, and allows the 
individual to communicate his feeling and his striving to 
mankind as a whole. 

The secret of artistic creation and of the effectiveness of 
art is to be found in a return to the state of participation 
mystique — to that level of experience at which it is man who 



lives, and not the individual, and at which the weal or woe 
of the single human being does not count, but only human 
existence. This is why every great work of art is objective 
and impersonal, but none the less profoundly moves us each 
and all And this is also why the personal life of the poet 
cannot be held essential to his art — but at most a help or a 
hindrance to his creative task. He may go the way of a 
Philistine, a good citizen, a neurotic, a fool or a criminal. 
His personal career may be inevitable and interesting, but 
it does not explain the poet. 



It was universally believed in the Middle Ages as well as in 
the Graeco-Roman world that the soul is a substance . 1 
Indeed, mankind as a whole has held this belief from its 
earliest beginnings, and it was left for the second half of the 
nineteenth century to develop a “ psychology without the 
soul ” 2 Under the influence of scientific materialism, 
everything that could not be seen with the eyes or touched 
with the hands was held in doubt , such things were even 
laughed at because of their supposed affinity with meta- 
physics Nothing was considered " scientific ” or admitted 
to be true unless it could be perceived by the senses or traced 
back to physical causes This radical change of view did 
not begin with philosophical materialism, for the way was 
being prepared long before When the spiritual catastrophe 
of the Reformation put an end to the Gothic Age with its 
impetuous yearning for the heights, its geographical con- 
finement, and its restricted view of the world, the vertical 
outlook of the European mind was forthwith intersected by 
the horizontal outlook of modern times. Consciousness 
ceased to grow upward, and grew instead in breadth of 

1 Substance . * t that which has independent existence ( Trans ) 

1 " Psychology ohne Seele " — compare the works of F A Lange (1828- 
1875) It is to be noted that the German word Seele means psyche as well 
as soul. (Trans ) 



view, as well as in knowledge of the terrestrial globe. This 
was the period of the great voyages, and of the widening of 
man’s ideas of the world by empirical discoveries. Belief 
in the substantiality of the spirit yielded more and more to 
the obtrusive conviction that material things alone have 
substance, till at last, after nearly four hundred years, the 
leading European thinkers and investigators came to regard 
the mind as wholly dependent on matter and material 

We are certainly not justified in saying that philosophy or 
natural science has brought about this complete volte-face. 
There were always a fair number of intelligent philosophers 
and scientists who had enough insight and depth of thought 
to accept this irrational reversal of standpoint only under 
protest ; a few even resisted it, but they had no following 
and were powerless against the popular attitude of un- 
reasoned, not to say emotional, surrender to the all-import- 
ance of the physical world Let no one suppose that so 
radical a change in man’s outlook could be brought about 
by reasoning and reflection, for no chain of reasoning can 
prove or disprove the existence of either mind or matter. 
Both these concepts, as every intelligent man today may 
ascertain for himself, are mere symbols that stand for 
something unknown and unexplored, and this something is 
postulated or denied according to man’s mood and dis- 
position or as the spirit of the age dictates. There is nothing 
to prevent the speculative intellect from treating the psyche, 
on the one hand, as a complicated biochemical phenomenon, 
and at bottom a mere play of electrons, or, on the other, 
from regarding the unpredictable behaviour of electrons as 
the sign of mental life even in them 

The fact that a metaphysics of the mind was supplanted 


in the nineteenth century by a metaphysics of matter, is a 
mere trick if we consider it as a question for the intellect ; 
yet regarded from the standpoint of psychology, it is an 
unexampled revolution in man’s outlook upon the world. 
Other-worldliness is converted into matter-of-factness ; 
empirical boundaries are set to man’s discussion of every 
problem, to his choice of purposes, and even to what he 
calls " meaning Intangible, inner happenmgs seem to 
have to yield place to things in the external, tangible world, 
and no value exists if it is not founded on a so-called fact. 
At least, this is how it appears to the simple mmd 

It is futile, indeed, to attempt to treat this unreasoned 
change of opinion as a question of philosophy We had 
better not try to do so, for if we maintain that mental 
phenomena arise from the activity of glands, we are sure of 
the thanks and respect of our contemporaries, whereas if we 
explain the break-up of the atom in the sun as an emanation 
of the creative Weltgeist, we shall be looked down upon as 
intellectual freaks. And yet both views are equally logical, 
equally metaphysical, equally arbitrary and equally symbolic 
From the standpoint of epistemology it is just as admissible 
to derive animals from the human species, as man from 
animal species. But we know how ill Professor Daque 
fared in his academic career because of his sin against the 
spirit of the age, which will not let itself be trifled with It 
is a religion, or — even more — a creed which has absolutely 
no connection with reason, but whose significance hes in the 
unpleasant fact that it is taken as the absolute measure of 
all truth and is supposed always to have common-sense upon 
its side. 

The spirit of the age cannot be compassed by the processes 
of human reason. It is an inclination, an emotional tendency 


that works upon weaker minds, through the unconscious, with 
an overwhelming force of suggestion that carries them along 
with it To think otherwise than our contemporaries think 
is somehow illegitimate and disturbing ; it is even indecent, 
morbid or blasphemous, and therefore socially dangerous for 
the individual He is stupidly swimming against the social 
current. Just as formerly the assumption was unquestionable 
that everything that exists takes its rise from the creative 
will of a God who is spirit, so the nineteenth century dis- 
covered the equally unquestionable truth that everything 
arises from material causes. Today the psyche does not 
build itself a body, but on the contrary, matter, by chemical 
action, produces the psyche This reversal of outlook would 
be ludicrous if it were not one of the outstanding features of 
the spirit of the age. It is the popular way of thinking, and 
therefore it is decent, reasonable, scientific and normal. 
Mind must be thought to be an epiphenomenon of matter. 
The same conclusion is reached even if we say not " mind ” 
but " psyche ”, and in place of matter speak of brain, 
hormones, instmcts or drives To grant the substantiality 
of the soul or psyche is repugnant to the spirit of the age, 
for to do so would be heresy. 

We have now discovered that it was intellectually un- 
justified presumption on our forefathers’ part to assume 
that man has a soul ; that that soul has substance, is of 
divine nature and therefore immortal , that there is a 
power inherent in it which builds up the body, supports its 
life, heals its ills and enables the soul to hve independently 
of the body ; that there are incorporeal spirits with which the 
soul associates ; and that beyond our empirical present there 
is a spiritual world from which the soul receives knowledge 
of spiritual things whose origins cannot be discovered in 


this visible world But people who are not above the 
general level of consciousness have not yet discovered that 
it is just as presumptuous and fantastic for us to assume 
that matter produces spirit , that apes give rise to human 
beings ; that from the harmonious interplay of the drives 
of hunger, love, and power Kant’s Critique of Pure 
Reason should have arisen ; that the brain-cells manufacture 
thoughts, and that all this could not possibly be other than 
it is. 

What or who, indeed, is this all-powerful matter ? It is 
once more man’s picture of a creative god, stripped this 
time of his anthropomorphic traits and taking the form of a 
universal concept whose meaning everyone presumes to 
understand. Consciousness today has grown enormously 
in breadth and extent, but unfortunately only in spatial 
dimensions ; its temporal reach has not increased, for were 
that the case we should have a much more living sense of 
history. If our consciousness were not of today only, but 
had historical continuity, we should be reminded of similar 
transformations of the divine principle in Greek philosophy, 
and this might dispose us to be more critical of our present 
philosophical assumptions. We are, however, effectively 
prevented from indulging in such reflections by the spirit 
of the age. It looks upon history as a mere arsenal of 
convenient arguments that enables us, on occasion, to say : 
" Why, even old Aristotle knew that.” This being the 
state of affairs, we must ask ourselves how the spirit of the 
age attains such an uncanny power. It is without doubt a 
psychic phenomenon of the greatest importance — at all 
events a prejudice so deeply rooted that until we give it 
proper consideration we cannot even approach the problem 
of the psyche. 


As I have said, the irresistible tendency to account for 
everything on physical grounds corresponds to the horizontal 
development of consciousness in the last four centuries, and 
this horizontal perspective is a reaction against the ex- 
clusively vertical perspective of the Gothic Age It is a 
manifestation of the crowd-mind, and as such is not to be 
treated m terms of the consciousness of individuals. Re- 
sembling in this the primitives, we are at first wholly 
unconscious of our actions, and only discover long afterwards 
why it was that we acted m a certain way. In the meantime, 
we content ourselves with all sorts of rationalized accounts 
of our behaviour, all of them equally inadequate 

If we were conscious of the spirit of the age, we should 
know why we are so inclined to account for everything on 
physical grounds , we should know that it is because, up 
till now, too much was accounted for m terms of the spirit. 
This realization would at once make us critical of our bias 
We should say • most hkely we are now making as serious 
an error on the other side We delude ourselves with the 
thought that we know much more about matter than about 
a “ metaphysical ” mind, and so we overestimate physical 
causation and believe that it alone affords us a true explana- 
tion of hfe. But matter is just as inscrutable as mmd. As 
to the ultimate we can know nothing, and only when we 
admit this do we return to a state of equilibrium. This is 
m no way to deny the close connection of psychic happenings 
with the physiological structure of the bram, with the glands, 
and the body in general We are once for all deeply con- 
vinced of the fact that the contents of consciousness are to 
a large part determined by our sense-perceptions. We 
cannot fail to recognize that unalterable characteristics of a 
physical as well as a psychic nature are unconsciously in- 


grained in us by heredity, and we are deeply struck by the 
power of the instincts which inhibit or reinforce or otherwise 
modify our mental capacities. Indeed, we must admit that 
as to cause, purpose and meaning, the human psyche — 
however we approach it — is first and foremost a close reflec- 
tion of everything we call corporeal, empirical and mundane. 
And finally, in the face of all these admissions, we must ask 
ourselves if the psyche is not after all a secondary manifesta- 
tion — an epiphenomenon — and completely dependent upon 
the body. In the light of reason and of our commitments as 
practical men to an actual world, we say yes It is only our 
doubts as to the omnipotence of matter which could lead us 
to examine in a critical way this verdict of science upon the 
human psyche. 

The objection has already been raised that this approach 
reduces psychic happenings to a kind of activity of the 
glands ; thoughts are regarded as secretions of the brain, 
and so we achieve a psychology without the psyche. From 
this standpoint, it must be confessed, the psyche does not 
exist m its own right , it is nothing in itself, but is the mere 
expression of physical processes. That these processes have 
the qualities of consciousness is just an irreducible fact — 
were it otherwise, so the argument runs, we could not speak 
of the psyche at all ; there would be no consciousness, and 
so we should have nothing to say about anything. Conscious- 
ness, therefore, is taken as the stne qua non of psychic hfe 
— that is to say, as the psyche itself. And so it comes about 
that all modem " psychologies without the psyche ” are 
studies of consciousness which ignore the existence of 
unconscious psychic life. 

Yet there is not one modem psychology — there are several. 
This is curious enough when we remember that there is only 


one science of mathematics, of geology, zoology, botany and 
so forth. But there are so many psychologies that an 
American University was able to publish a thick volume 
under the title : Psychologies of 1930 I believe there are 
as many psychologies as philosophies, for there is also no 
one single philosophy, but many. I mention this for the 
reason that philosophy and psychology are linked by in- 
dissoluble bonds which are kept m being by the inter-relation 
of their subject-matters. Psychology takes the psyche for 
its subject-matter, and philosophy — to put it briefly — takes 
the world. Until recently psychology was a special branch 
of philosophy, but now we are commg to something which 
Nietzsche foresaw — the ascendance of psychology in its own 
right It is even threatening to swallow philosophy. The 
inner resemblance of the two disciplines consists in this, 
that both are systems of opinion about subject-matter which 
cannot be fully experienced and therefore cannot be compre- 
hended by a purely empirical approach. Both fields of study 
thus encourage speculation, with the result that opinions are 
formed in such variety and profusion that heavy volumes 
are needed to contain them all, whether they belong to the 
one field or to the other. Neither discipline can do without 
the other, and the one always furnishes the implicit — and 
frequently even unconscious — primary assumptions of the 

The modem preference for physical grounds of explanation 
leads, as already remarked, to a “ psychology without the 
psyche ” — I mean, to the view that the psyche is nothing 
but a product of biochemical processes As for a modem, 
scientific psychology which starts from the mind as such, 
there simply is none. No one today would venture to 
found a scientific psychology upon the postulate of an 


independent psyche that is not determined by the body. 
The idea of spirit in and for itself, of a self-contained world- 
system of the spirit that is the only adequate postulate for 
the belief in autonomous, individual souls, is extremely 
unpopular with us, to say the least. But I must remark that, 
in 1914, I attended at Bedford College, London, a joint 
session of the Aristotelian Society, the Mmd Association 
and the British Psychological Society, at which a symposium 
was held on the question : Are individual mmds contained 
in God or are they not ? Should anyone in England dispute 
the scientific standing of these societies, he would not receive 
a very cordial hearing, for their membership includes the 
outstanding mmds of the country. And perhaps I was the 
only person in the audience who listened with surprise to 
arguments that had the ring of the thirteenth century This 
instance may serve to show that the idea of an autonomous 
spmt whose existence is taken for granted has not died 
out everywhere m Europe or become a mere fossil left over 
from the Middle Ages 

If we keep this in mind, we can perhaps summon up the 
courage to consider the possibility of a “ psychology with 
the psyche ” — that is, of a field of study based on the assump- 
tion of an autonomous psyche. We need not be alarmed at 
the unpopularity of such an undertaking, for to postulate 
mind is no more fantastic than to postulate matter Since 
we have literally no idea of the way in which what is psychic 
can arise from physical elements, and yet cannot deny the 
reality of psychic events, we are free to frame our assumptions 
the other way about for once, and to hold that the psyche 
arises from a spiritual principle which is as inaccessible to 
our understanding as matter. To be sure, this will not be a 
modem psychology, for to be modem is to deny such a 


possibility. For better or worse, therefore, we must turn 
back to the teachings of our forefathers, for they it was who 
made such assumptions. The ancient view held that spirit 
was essentially the life of the body, the life-breath, or a 
kind of life-force which assumed spatial and corporeal form 
at birth or after conception, and left the dying body again 
after the final breath. The spirit in itself was considered as 
a being without extension, and because it existed before 
taking corporeal form and afterwards as well, it was con- 
sidered as timeless and hence immortal. From the stand- 
point of modem, scientific psychology, this conception is of 
course pure illusion. But as it is not our intention to indulge 
in “ metaphysics ”, even of a modem variety, we will 
examine this time-honoured notion for once m an un- 
prejudiced way and test its empirical justification 

The names people give to their experiences are often 
quite enlightening What is the origin of the word Seele ? 
Like the English word soul, it comes from the Gothic samala 
and the Old German saiwalo, and these can be connected with 
the Greek atolos, mobile, coloured, iridescent The Greek 
word psyche also means butterfly. Saiwalo is related on the 
other side to the old Slavonic word sila, meaning strength 
From these connections light is thrown on the original 
meaning of the word Seele . it is moving force, that is, 

The Latin words animus, spirit, and anima, soul, are the 
same as the Greek anemos, wind. The other Greek word for 
wind, pneuma, means also spirit. In Gothic we find the 
same word in us-anan, to breathe out, and in Latin an-helare, 
to pant. In Old High German, spintus sanctus was rendered 
by alun, breath. In Arabic, wind is rih, and ruh is soul, 
spirit. There is a quite similar connection with the Greek 


psyche, which is related to psycho, to breathe, psychos, cool, 
psychros, cold, and phusa, bellows. These affinities show 
clearly how in Latin, Greek and Arabic the names given to 
the soul are related to the notion of moving air, the “ cold 
breath of the spirit And this also is why the primitive 
point of view endows the soul with an invisible breath-body 

It is quite evident that, since breath is the sign of hfe, 
breath is taken for life, as are also movement and moving 
force. According to another primitive view the soul is 
regarded as fire or flame, because warmth also is a sign of 
life. A very curious, but by no means rare, primitive con- 
ception identifies the soul with the name. The name of an 
individual is his soul, and hence arises the custom of using 
the ancestor’s name to reincarnate the ancestral soul in the 
new-born child We can infer from this that the ego- 
consciousness was recognized as an expression of the soul. 
Not infrequently the soul is identified with the shadow, for 
which reason it is a deadly insult to tread upon a person’s 
shadow. For the same reason, noon-day, the ghost-hour of 
southern latitudes, is considered threatening ; the shadow 
then grows small, and this means that life is endangered. 
This conception of the shadow contains an idea which was 
indicated by the Greeks m the word synopados, " he who 
follows behind ”. They expressed in this way the feeling 
of an intangible, living presence — the same feeling which 
led to the belief that the souls of the departed were shadows. 

These indications may serve to show how primitive man 
experienced the psyche. To him the psyche appears as the 
source of hfe, the prime mover, a ghost-like presence which 
has objective reality. Therefore the primitive knows how 
to converse with his soul ; it becomes vocal within him 
because it is not he himself and his consciousness. To 


primitive man the psyche is not, as it is to us, the epitome 
of all that is subjective and subject to the will ; on the 
contrary, it is something objective, contained in itself, and 
living its own life. 

This way of looking at the matter is empirically justified, 
for not only on the primitive level, but with civilized man 
as well, psychic happenmgs have an objective side. In large 
measure they are withdrawn from our conscious control. We 
are unable, for example, to suppress many of our emotions ; 
we cannot change a bad mood into a good one, and we cannot 
command our dreams to come or go The most intelligent 
man may at times be obsessed with thoughts which he 
cannot drive away with the greatest effort of will The 
mad tncks that memory plays sometimes leave us in helpless 
amazement, and at any time unexpected fantasies may run 
through our minds We only beheve that we are masters in 
our own house because we like to flatter ourselves. Actually, 
however, we are dependent to a startling degree upon the 
proper functioning of the unconscious psyche, and must 
trust that it does not fail us. If we study the psychic 
processes of neurotic persons, it seems perfectly ludicrous 
that any psychologist could take the psyche as the equivalent 
of consciousness. And it is well known that the psychic 
processes of neurotics differ hardly at all from those of so- 
called normal persons — for what man today is quite sure 
that he is not neurotic ? 

This being so, we shall do well to admit that there is 
justification for the old view of the soul as an objective 
reality — as something independent, and therefore capricious 
and dangerous The further assumption that this being, so 
mysterious and terrifying, is at the same time the source 
of life, is also understandable in the light of psychology. 


Experience shows us that the sense of the “ I ” — the ego- 
consciousness — grows out of unconscious hfe. The small 
child has psychic hfe without any demonstrable ego- 
consciousness, for which reason the earliest years leave 
hardly any traces in memory. Where do all our good and 
helpful flashes of intelligence come from ? What is the 
source of our enthusiasms, inspirations, and of our heightened 
feeling for hfe ? The primitive senses in the depths of his 
soul the springs of life , he is deeply impressed with the 
life-dispensing activity of his soul, and he therefore believes 
in everything that affects it — in magical practices of every 
kind. That is why, for him, the soul is hfe itself He does 
not imagine that he directs it, but feels himself dependent 
upon it m every respect 

However preposterous the idea of the immortality of the 
soul may seem to us, it is nothing extraordinary to the 
primitive. After all, the soul is something out of the common 
While everything else that exists takes up a certain amount 
of room, the soul cannot be located in space. We suppose, 
of course, that our thoughts are in our heads, but when it 
comes to our feelings we begin to be uncertain , they appear 
to dwell m the region of the heart. Our sensations are 
distributed over the whole body. Our theory is that the 
seat of consciousness is m the head, but the Pueblo Indians 
told me that Americans were mad because they believed 
their thoughts were in their heads, whereas any sensible 
man knows that he thinks with his heart. Certain negro 
tribes locate their psychic functioning neither in the head 
nor in the heart, but in the belly. 

To this uncertainty about the localization of psychic 
functions another difficulty is added. Psychic contents in 
general ore non-spa tiai except in the particular realm of 


sensation. What bulk can we ascribe to thoughts ? Are 
they small, large, long, thin, heavy, fluid, straight, circular, 
or what ? If we wished to form a vivid picture of a non- 
spatial being of the fourth dimension, we should do well to 
take thought, as a being, for our model 

It would all be so much simpler if we could only deny the 
f existence of the psyche. But here we are with our immediate 
experiences of something that ts — something that has taken 
root in the midst of our measurable, ponderable, three- 
dimensional reality, that differs bafflingly from this in every 
respect and in all its parts, and yet reflects it. The psyche 
may be regarded as a mathematical point and at the same 
time as a universe of fixed stars. It is small wonder, then, 
if, to the unsophisticated mind, such a paradoxical being 
borders on the divme. If it occupies no space, it has no 
body. Bodies die, but can something invisible and in- 
corporeal disappear ? What is more, life and psyche existed 
for me before I could say “ I ”, and when this “ I ” dis- 
appears, as in sleep or unconsciousness, life and psyche still 
go on, as our observation of other people and our own 
dreams inform us. Why should the simple mind deny, m the 
face of such experiences, that the “ soul ” lives in a realm 
beyond the body ? I must admit that I can see as little 
nonsense m this so-called superstition as in the findings 
of research regarding heredity or the basic instincts. 

We can easily understand why higher and even divine 
knowledge was formerly ascribed to the psyche if we remem- 
ber that in ancient cultures, beginning with primitive times, 
man always resorted to dreams and visions as a source of 
information. It is a fact that the unconscious cont ains 
subliminal perceptions whose scope is nothing less than 
astounding. In recognition of this fact, primitive societies 


used dreams and visions as important sources of information 
Great and enduring civilizations like those of the Hmdus and 
Chinese built upon this foundation and developed from 
it a discipline of self-knowledge which they brought 
to a high pitch of refinement both in philosophy and in 

A hi gh regard for the unconscious psyche as a source of 
knowledge is by no means such a delusion as our Western 
rationalism likes to suppose. We are inclined to assume 
that, in the last resort, all knowledge comes from without. 
Yet today we know for certain that the unconscious contains 
contents which would mean an immeasurable mcrease of 
knowledge if they could only be made conscious Modem 
investigation of animal instinct, as for example m insects, 
has brought together a rich fund of empirical findings which 
show that if man acted as certain insects do he would possess 
a higher intelligence than at present. It cannot, of course, 
be proved that insects possess conscious knowledge, but 
common-sense cannot doubt that their unconscious action- 
patterns are psychic functions. Man’s unconscious likewise 
contains all the patterns of life and behaviour inherited 
from his ancestors, so that every human child, prior to 
consciousness, is possessed of a potential system of adapted 
psychic functioning In the conscious life of the adult, as 
well, this unconscious, instinctive functioning is always 
present and active In this activity all the functions of the 
conscious psyche are prepared for. The unconscious per- 
ceives, has purposes and intuitions, feels and thinks as does 
the conscious mind We find sufficient evidence for this 
in the field of psycho-pathology and the investigation of 
dream-processes. Only m one respect is there an essential 
difference between the conscious and the unconscious 


functioning of the psyche. While consciousness is intensive 
and concentrated, it is transient and is directed upon the 
immediate present and the immediate field of attention ; 
moreover, it has access only to material that represents one 
individual’s experience stretching over a few decades. A 
wider range of “ memory ” is artificially acquired and consists 
mostly of printed paper But matters stand very differently 
with the unconscious. It is not concentrated and intensive, 
but shades off into obscurity ; it is highly extensive and can 
juxtapose the most heterogeneous elements in the most 
paradoxical way. More than this, it contains, besides an 
indeterminable number of subliminal perceptions, an im- 
mense fund of accumulated inheritance-factors left by one 
generation of men after another, whose mere existence 
marks a step in the differentiation of the species If it were 
permissible to personify the unconscious, we might call it a 
collective human being combining the characteristics of both 
sexes, transcending youth and age, birth and death, and, 
from having at his command a human experience of one or 
two million years, almost immortal. If such a being existed, 
he would be exalted above all temporal change , the present 
would mean neither more nor less to him than any year in 
the one hundredth century before Christ , he would be a 
dreamer of age-old dreams and, owing to his immeasurable 
experience, he would be an incomparable prognosticator 
He would have lived countless times over the life of the 
individual, of the family, tribe and people, and he would 
possess the living sense of the rhythm of growth, flowering 
and decay. 

Unfortunately — or rather let us say, fortunately — this 
being dreams. At least it seems to us as if the collective 
unconscious, which appears to us in dreams, had no con- 


sciousness of its own contents — though of course we cannot 
be sure of this, any more than we are in the case of insects. 
The collective unconscious, moreover, seems not to be a 
person, but something like an unceasing stream or perhaps 
an ocean of images and figures which drift into consciousness 
in our dreams or in abnormal states of mind 

It would be positively grotesque for us to call this immense 
system of experience of the unconscious psyche an illusion, 
for our visible and tangible body itself is just such a system. 
It still carries within it the discernible traces of primeval 
evolution, and it is certainly a whole that functions pur- 
posively — for otherwise we could not live. It would never 
occur to anyone to look upon comparative anatomy or 
physiology as nonsense. And so we cannot dismiss the 
collective unconscious as illusion, or refuse to recognize and 
study it as a valuable source of knowledge. 

Looked at from without, the psyche appears to us to be 
essentially a reflection of external happenings — to be not 
only occasioned by them, but to have its origin m them. 
And it also seems to us that the unconscious can be under- 
stood only from without and from the side of consciousness. 
It is well known that Freud has attempted an explanation 
from this side — an undertaking which could only succeed 
if the unconscious were actually something which came into 
being with the existence and consciousness of the individual. 
But the truth is that the unconscious is always there before- 
hand as a potential system of psychic functioning handed 
down by generations of man. Consciousness is a late-born 
descendant of the unconscious psyche. It would certainly 
show perversity if we tried to explain the lives of our 
ancestors in terms of their late descendants ; and it is just 
as wrong, in my opinion, to regard the unconscious as a 


derivative of consciousness. We are nearer the truth if we 
put it the other way round. 

But this was the standpoint of past ages, which always 
held the individual soul to be dependent upon a world- 
system of the spirit. They could not fail to do so, because 
they were aware of the untold treasure of experience lying 
hidden beneath the threshold of the transient consciousness 
of the individual These ages not only formed an hypothesis 
about the world system of the spirit, but they assumed 
without question that this system was a being with a will 
and consciousness — was even a person — and they called this 
being God, the quintessence of reality. He was for them the 
most real of beings, the first cause, through whom alone the 
soul could be understood. There is psychological justifica- 
tion for this supposition, for it is only appropriate to call 
divine an almost immortal being whose experience, compared 
to that of man, is nearly eternal 

In the foregomg I have shown where the problems he 
for a psychology that does not explain everything upon 
physical grounds, but appeals to a world of the spirit whose 
active principle is neither matter and its qualities nor any 
state of energy, but God. We might be tempted at this 
juncture by modem philosophy to call energy or the dan 
vital God, and thus to blend into one spirit and nature. As 
long as this undertaking is restricted to the misty heights 
of speculative philosophy, no great harm is done But if 
we should operate with this idea in the lower realm of 
practical psychology, where our way of explaining things 
bears fruit in daily conduct, we should find ourselves involved 
in the most hopeless difficulties We do not profess a 
psychology shaped to the academic taste, or seek explanations ■ 
that have no bearing on life. What we want is a practical 


psychology which yields approvable results — one which helps 
us to explain things in a way that is justified by the outcome 
for the patient. In practical psychotherapy we strive to fit 
people for life, and we are not free to set up theories which 
do not concern our patients or which may even injure them. 
Here we come to a question which is often attended by 
mortal danger — the question whether we base our explana- 
tions upon matter or upon spirit. We must never forget 
that everything spiritual is illusion from the naturalistic 
standpoint, and that the spirit, to ensure its own existence, 
must often deny and overcome an obtrusive, physical fact. 
If I recognize only naturalistic values, and explain every- 
thing in physical terms, I shall depreciate, hinder or even 
destroy the spiritual development of my patients And if I 
hold exclusively to a spiritual interpretation, then I shall 
misunderstand and do violence to the natural man m his 
right to existence as a physical being. More than a few 
suicides in the course of psycho-therapeutic treatment are 
to be laid at the door of such mistakes. Whether energy is 
God, or God is energy, concerns me very little, for how, in 
any case, can I know such things > But to give appropriate 
psychological explanations — this I must be able to do. 

The modem psychologist occupies neither the one position 
nor the other, but finds himself between the two, dangerously 
committed to “ this as well as that ” — a situation which 
invitingly opens the way to a shallow opportunism. This 
is undoubtedly the danger of the coinctdentta opposttorum — 
of intellectual liberation from the opposites. How should 
anything but a formless and aimless uncertainty result from 
giving equal value to contradictory postulates ? In contrast 
to this, we can readily appreciate the advantage of an 
explanatory principle that is unequivocal. It allows of a 


standpoint which can serve as a point of reference. Un- 
doubtedly we are confronted here with a very difficult 
problem. We must be able to appeal to an explanatory 
principle founded on reality, and yet it is no longer possible 
for the modem psychologist to believe exclusively in the 
physical aspect of reality when once he has given the spiritual 
aspect its due Nor will he be able to put weight on the 
latter alone, for he cannot ignore the relative validity of a 
physical interpretation. 

The following train of thought shows my way of attempting 
the solution of this problem. The conflict of nature and mind 
is itself a reflection of the paradox contained in the psychic 
being of man. This reveals a material and a spiritual aspect 
which appear a contradiction as long as we fail to under- 
stand the nature of psychic life. Whenever, with our human 
understanding, we must pronounce upon something that we 
have not grasped or cannot grasp, then — if we are honest — 
we must be willing to contradict ourselves, and we must 
pull this something mto its antithetical parts in order to 
deal with it at all. The conflict of the material and spiritual 
aspects of hfe only shows that the psychic is in the last 
resort an incomprehensible something. Without a doubt 
psychic happenings constitute our only, immediate ex- 
perience All that I experience is psychic. Even physical 
pain is a psychic event that belongs to my experience My 
sense-impressions — for all that they force upon me a world 
of impenetrable objects occupying space — are psychic images, 
and these alone are my immediate experience, for they alone 
are the immediate objects of my consciousness. My own 
psyche even transforms and falsifies reality, and it does this 
to such a degree that I must resort to artificial means to 
determine what things are like apart from myself. Then I 


discover that a tone is a vibration of the air of such and such 
a frequency, or that a colour is a wave-length of light of such 
and such a length. We are in all truth so enclosed by psychic 
images that we cannot penetrate to the essence of things 
external to ourselves. All our knowledge is conditioned 
by the psyche which, because it alone is immediate, is 
superlatively real. Here there is a reality to which the 
psychologist can appeal — namely, psychic reality. 

If we go more deeply into the meaning of this concept, it 
seems to us that certain psychic contents or images are 
derived from a material environment to which our bodies 
also belong, while others, which are m no way less real, 
seem to come from a mental source which appears to be very 
different from the physical environment Whether I picture 
to myself the car I wish to buy, or try to imagine the state 
in which the soul of my dead father now is — whether it is an 
external fact or a thought that occupies me — both happen- 
ings are psychic reahty. The only difference is that one 
psychic happening refers to the physical world, and the 
other to the mental world. If I change my concept of 
reality in such a way as to admit that all psychic happenings 
are real — and no other use of the concept is valid — this puts 
an end to the conflict of matter and mind as contradictory 
explanatory principles. Each becomes a mere designation 
for the particular source of the psychic contents that crowd 
into my field of consciousness. If a fire bums me I do not 
question the reality of the fire, whereas if I am beset by the 
fear that a ghost will appear, I take refuge behind the 
thought that it is only an illusion. But just as the fire is the 
psychic image of a physical process whose nature is unknown 
so my fear of the ghost is a psychic image from a mental 
source ; it is just as real as the fire, for my fear is as real as 


the pain caused by the fire As for the mental process that 
finally underlies my fear of the ghost — it is as unknown to 
me as the ultimate nature of matter. And just as it never 
occurs to me to account for the nature of fire except by the 
concepts of chemistry and physics, so I would never think 
of trying to explain my fear of ghosts except in terms of 
mental processes. 

The fact that all immediate experience is psychic and that 
immediate reality can only be psychic, explains why it is 
that primitive man puts the appearance of ghosts and the 
effects of magic on a plane with physical events. He has not 
yet tom his naive experiences mto their antithetical parts 
In his world mind and matter still interpenetrate each other, 
and his gods still wander through forest and field He is like 
a child, only half-bom, still enclosed in a dream-state within 
his own psyche and the world as it actually is, a world not 
yet distorted by the difficulties m understanding that beset 
a dawning intelligence When the primitive world dis- 
integrated mto spirit and nature, the West rescued nature 
for itself It was prone to a belief in nature, and 
only became the more entangled m it with every painful 
effort to make itself spiritual The East, on the contrary, 
took mind for its own, and by explaining away matter els 
mere illusion (may a), continued to dream in Asiatic filth and 
misery But smce there is only one earth and one mankind. 
East and West cannot rend humanity into two different 
halves. Psychic reality exists in its original oneness, and 
awaits man’s advance to a level of consciousness where he 
no longer believes in the one part and denies the other, but 
recognizes both as constituent elements of one psyche. 

We may well point to the idea of psychic reality as the 
most important achievement of modem psychology, though 


it is scarcely recognized as such. It seems to me only a 
question of time for this idea to be generally accepted. It 
must be accepted, for it alone enables us to do justice to 
psychic manifestations in all their variety and uniqueness. 
Without this idea it is unavoidable that we should explain 
our psychic experiences m a way that does violence to a 
good half of them, while with it we can give its due to that 
side of psychic experience which expresses itself in super- 
stition and mythology, religion and philosophy And this 
aspect of psychic life is not to be undervalued. Truth that 
appeals to the testimony of the senses may satisfy reason, 
but it offers nothing that stirs our feelings and expresses 
them by giving a meaning to human hfe. Yet it is most 
often feeling that is decisive in matters of good and evil, 
and if feeling does not come to the aid of reason, the latter 
is usually powerless. Did reason and good intentions save 
us from the World War, or have they ever saved us from 
any other catastrophic nonsense ? Have any of the great 
spiritual and social revolutions sprung from reasoning — let 
us say the transformation of the Graeco-Roman world into 
the age of feudalism, or the explosive spread of Islamic 
culture ? 

As a physician I am of course not directly concerned with 
these world-questions , my duties lie with people who are 
ill. Medicine has until recently gone on the supposition 
that illness should be treated and cured by itself , yet voices 
are now heard which declare this view to be wrong, and 
demand the treatment of the sick person, and not of the 
illness. The same demand is forced upon us in the treatment 
of psychic suffering. More and more we turn our attention 
from the visible disease and direct it upon the man as a 
whole. We have come to understand that psychic suffering 


is not a definitely localized, sharply delimited phenomenon, 
but rather the symptom of a wrong attitude assumed by the 
total personality. We can therefore not hope for a thorough 
cure to result from a treatment restricted to the trouble 
itself, but only from a treatment of the personality as a 

I am reminded of a case which is very instructive in this 
connection. It concerns a highly intelligent young man who 
had worked out a detailed analysis of his own neurosis after 
a senous study of medical literature. He brought me his 
findings in the form of a precise and well-written monograph 
fit for publication, and asked me to read the manuscript and 
to tell him why he was not cured He should have been 
according to the verdict of science as he understood it 
After reading his monograph I was forced to grant him 
that, if it were only a question of insight into the causal 
connections of a neurosis, he should in all truth be cured. 
Smce he was not, I supposed this must be due to the fact 
that his attitude to life was somehow fundamentally wrong 
— though I had to admit that his symptoms did not betray 
it In reading his account of his life I had noticed that he 
often spent his winters at St Moritz or Nice. I therefore 
asked him who paid for these hohdays, and it thereupon 
came out that a poor school-teacher who loved him had 
cruelly deprived herself to mdulge the young man in these 
visits to pleasure-resorts. His want of conscience was the 
cause of his neurosis, and it is not hard to see why scientific 
understanding failed to help him. His fundamental error 
lay in his moral attitude. He found my way of looking at 
the question shockingly unscientific, for morals have nothing 
to do with science He supposed that, by invoking scientific 
thought, he could spirit away the immorality which he 


himself could not stomach He would not even admit that 
a conflict existed, because his mistress gave him the money 
of her free will. 

We can take what scientific position we choose, there 
remains the fact that the large majonty of civilized persons 
simply cannot tolerate such behaviour The moral attitude 
is a real factor in life with which the psychologist must 
reckon if he is not to commit the gravest errors. The 
psychologist must also remember that certain religious 
convictions not founded on reason are a necessity of life 
for many persons. It is again a matter of psychic realities 
which can cause and cure diseases. How often have I heard 
a patient exclaim • “ If only I knew that my life had some 
meaning and purpose, then there would be no silly story 
about my nerves 1 ’’ Whether the person in question is 
rich or poor, has family and social position or not, alters 
nothing, for outer circumstances are far from giving his life 
a meaning. It is much more a question of his unreasoned 
need of what we call a spiritual life, and this he cannot obtain 
from universities, libraries, or even churches He cannot 
accept what these have to offer because it touches only 
his head, and does not stir his heart. In such cases, the 
physician’s recognition of the spiritual factors in their true 
light is vitally important, and the patient’s unconscious 
helps him in his need by producing dreams whose contents 
are undeniably religious. Not to recognize the spiritual 
source of such contents means faulty treatment and failure. 

General conceptions of a spiritual nature are indispensable 
constituents of psychic life. We can point them out among 
all peoples whose level of consciousness makes them in some 
degree articulate. Their relative absence or their denial by 
a civilized people is therefore to be regarded as a sign of 


degeneration Whereas in its development up to the present 
psychology has dealt chiefly with psychic processes in the 
light of physical causation, the future task of psychology 
will be the investigation of their spiritual determinants But 
the natural history of the mind is no further advanced today 
than was natural science m the thirteenth century. We 
have only begun to take scientific note of our spiritual 

If modem psychology can boast of having removed any 
of the coverings which concealed the picture of the human 
psyche, it is only that one which hid from the mvestigator 
its biological aspect We may compare the present situation 
with the state of medicine in the sixteenth century, when 
people began to study anatomy but had not as yet even the 
faintest idea of physiology The spiritual aspect of the 
psyche is at present known to us only in a fragmentary way. 
We have learned that there are spiritually conditioned 
processes of transformation in the psyche which underlie, 
for example, the well-known initiation rites of primitive 
peoples and the states induced by the practice of Hmdu 
yoga But we have not yet succeeded m determining their 
particular uniformities or laws. We only know that a large 
part of the neuroses arise from a disturbance in these pro- 
cesses Psychological research has not as yet drawn aside 
all the many veils from the picture of the human psyche , 
it remains as unapproachable and obscure as all the deep 
secrets of hfe. We can speak only of what we have tried 
to do, and what we hope to do m the future, in the way of 
attempting a solution of the great riddle 



The spiritual problem of modem man is one of those ques- 
tions which belong so intimately to the present m which we 
are living that we cannot judge of them fully. The modem 
man is a newly formed human being , a modem problem is 
a question which has just arisen and whose answer lies in 
the future. In speaking, therefore, of the spiritual problem 
of modem man we can at most state a question — and we 
should perhaps put this statement in different terms if we 
had but the famtest inkling of the answer. The question, 
moreover, seems rather vague ; but the truth is that it has 
to do with something so universal that it exceeds the grasp 
of any single human being. We have reason enough, there- 
fore, to approach such a problem with true moderation and 
with the greatest caution. I am deeply convinced of this, 
and wish it stressed the more because it is just such problems 
which tempt us to use high-sounding words — and because 
I shall myself be forced to say certain things which may 
sound immoderate and incautious 

To begin at once with an example of such apparent lack 
of caution, I must say that the man we call modem, the man 
who is aware of the immediate present, is by no means the 
average man. He is rather the man who stands upon a 

1 The author has made some changes in this essay since its publication 
in German (Trans ) 



peak, or at the very edge of the world, the abyss of the future 
before him, above him the heavens, and below him the 
whole of mankind with a history that disappears in primeval 
mists. The modem man — or, let us say again, the man of 
the immediate present — is rarely met with. There are few 
who hve up to the name, for they must be conscious to a 
superlative degree Since to be wholly of the present means 
to be fully conscious of one’s existence as a man, it requires 
the most mtensive and extensive consciousness, with a 
minimum of unconsciousness. It must be clearly understood 
that the mere fact of living in the present does not make a 
man modem, for in that case everyone at present alive would 
be so. He alone is modem who is fully conscious of the 

The man whom we can with justice call “ modem ” is 
solitary. He is so of necessity and at all times, for every 
step towards a fuller consciousness of the present removes 
him further from his original “ participation mystique ” 
with the mass of men — from submersion m a common 
unconsciousness Every step forward means an act of 
tearing himself loose from that all-embracing, pristine 
unconsciousness which claims the bulk of mankind almost 
entirely. Even in our civilizations the people who form, 
psychologically speaking, the lowest stratum, live almost as 
unconsciously as primitive races Those of the succeeding 
stratum manifest a level of consciousness which corresponds 
to the beginnings of human culture, while those of the 
highest stratum have a consciousness capable of keeping step 
with the life of the last few centuries. Only the man who is 
modem in our meaning of the term really lives in the present ; 
he alone has a present-day consciousness, and he alone finds 
that the ways of life which correspond to earlier levels pall 


upon him The values and strivings of those past worlds 
no longer interest him save from the historical standpoint. 
Thus he has become “ unhistorical ” in the deepest sense and 
has estranged himself from the mass of men who live entirely 
within the bounds of tradition. Indeed, he is completely 
modem only when he has come to the very edge of the world, 
leaving behind him all that has been discarded and outgrown, 
and acknowledging that he stands before a void out of which 
all things may grow. 

These words may be thought to be but empty sound, and 
their meaning reduced to mere banality Nothing is easier 
than to affect a consciousness of the present. As a matter 
of fact, a great horde of worthless people give themselves 
the air of being modem by overleaping the various stages 
of development and the tasks of hfe they represent. They 
appear suddenly by the side of the truly modem man 
as uprooted human beings, bloodsucking ghosts, whose 
emptiness is taken for the unenviable loneliness of the 
modem man and casts discredit upon him He and his 
kind, few m number as they are, are hidden from the un- 
disceming eyes of mass-men by those clouds of ghosts, the 
pseudo-modems. It cannot be helped ; the “ modem ” 
man is questionable and suspect, and has always been so, 
even in the past. 

An honest profession of modernity means voluntarily 
declaring bankruptcy, taking the vows of poverty and 
chastity in a new sense, and — what is still more painful — 
renouncing the halo which history bestows as a mark of its 
sanction. To be " unhistorical ” is the Promethean sm, 
and in this sense modem man lives in sin. A higher level 
of consciousness is like a burden of guilt. But, as I have said, 
only the man who has outgrown the stages of consciousness 


belonging to the past and has amply fulfilled the duties 
appointed for him by his world, can achieve a full conscious- 
ness of the present. To do this he must be sound and pro- 
ficient in the best sense — a man who has achieved as 
much as other people, and even a little more It is these 
qualities which enable him to gain the next highest level 
of consciousness. 

I know that the idea of proficiency is especially repugnant 
to the pseudo-modems, for it reminds them unpleasantly 
of their deceits. This, however, cannot prevent us from 
taking it as our criterion of the modem man. We are even 
forced to do so, for unless he is proficient, the man who claims 
to be modem is nothing but an unscrupulous gambler. He 
must be proficient in the highest degree, for unless he can 
atone by creative ability for his break with tradition, he is 
merely disloyal to the past It is sheer juggling to look 
upon a denial of the past as the same thing as consciousness 
of the present. “ Today ” stands between “ yesterday ” 
and “ tomorrow ”, and forms a link between past and 
future ; it has no other meaning. The present represents 
a process of transition, and that man may account himself 
modem who is conscious of it m this sense. 

Many people call themselves modem — especially the 
pseudo-modems. Therefore the really modem man is often 
to be found among those who call themselves old-fashioned 
He takes this stand for sufficient reasons. On the one hand 
he emphasizes the past in order to hold the scales against 
his break with tradition and that effect of guilt of which I 
have spoken. On the other hand he wishes to avoid being 
taken for a pseudo-modem. 

Every good quality has its bad side, and nothing that is 
good can come into the world without directly producing 


a corresponding evil. This is a painful fact. Now there is 
the danger that consciousness of the present may lead to an 
elation based upon illusion : the illusion, namely, that we 
are the culmination of the history of mankind, the fulfilment 
and the end-product of countless centuries. If we grant 
this, we should understand that it is no more than the proud 
acknowledgement of our destitution we are also the dis- 
appointment of the hopes and expectations of the ages. 
Think of nearly two thousand years of Christian ideals 
followed, instead of by the return of the Messiah and the 
heavenly millennium, by the World War among Christian 
nations and its barbed-wire and poison-gas What a 
catastrophe in heaven and on earth ! 

In the face of such a picture we may well grow humble 
again. It is true that modem man is a culmination, but 
tomorrow he will be surpassed , he is indeed the end- 
product of an age-old development, but he is at the same 
time the worst conceivable disappointment of the hopes of 
humankind. The modem man is aware of this. He has 
seen how beneficent are science, technology and organization, 
but also how catastrophic they can be He has likewise seen 
that well-meaning governments have so thoroughly paved 
the way for peace on the principle “ in time of peace prepare 
for war ”, that Europe has nearly gone to rack and ruin. 
And as for ideals, the Christian church, the brotherhood of 
man, international social democracy and the "solidarity” 
of economic interests have all failed to stand the bap- 
tism of fire — the test of reality. Today, fifteen years 
after the war, we observe once more the same optimism, 
the same organization, the same political aspirations, the 
same phrases and catch-words at work. How can we but 
fear that they will inevitably lead to further catastrophes ? 


Agreements to outlaw war leave us sceptical, even while we 
wish them all possible success. At bottom, behind every 
such palliative measure, there is a gnawing doubt. On the 
whole, I believe I am not exaggerating when I say that 
modem man has suffered an almost fatal shock, psycho- 
logically speaking, and as a result has fallen into profound 

These statements, I believe, make it clear enough that my 
being a physician has coloured my views. A doctor always 
spies out diseases, and I cannot cease to be a doctor But 
it is essential to the physician’s art that he should not dis- 
cover diseases where none exists I will therefore not make 
the assertion that the white races in general, and occidental 
nations in particular, are diseased, or that the Western 
world is on the verge of collapse. I am in no way competent 
to pass such a judgement. 

It is of course only from my own experience with other 
persons and with myself that I draw my knowledge of the 
spiritual problem of modem man I know something of the 
intimate psychic hfe of many hundreds of educated persons, 
both sick and healthy, coming from every quarter of the 
civilized, white world , and upon this experience I base my 
statements No doubt I can draw only a one-sided picture, 
for the things I have observed are events of psychic life , 
they he within us — on the inner side, if I may use the 
expression. I must point out that this is not always true of 
psychic life , the psyche is not always and everywhere to 
be found on the inner side. It is to be found on the outside 
in whole races or periods of history which take no account 
of psychic life as such As examples we may choose any of 
the ancient cultures, but especially that of Egypt with its 
imposing objectivity and its naive confession of sins that 


have not been committed 1 We can no more feel the 
Pyramids and the Apis tombs of Sakkara to be expressions 
of personal problems or personal emotions, than we can feel 
this of the music of Bach 

Whenever there is established an external form, be it 
ritual or spiritual, by which all the yearnings and hopes of 
the soul are adequately expressed — as for instance in some 
living religion — then we may say that the psyche is outside, 
and no spiritual problem, stnctly speaking, exists In 
consonance with this truth, the development of psychology 
falls entirely within the last decades, although long before 
that man was introspective and intelligent enough to 
recognize the facts that are the subject-matter of psychology. 
The same was the case with technical knowledge The 
Romans were familiar with all the mechanical principles and 
physical facts on the basis of which they could have con- 
structed the steam-engine, but all that came of it was the 
toy made by Hero of Alexandria There was no urgent 
necessity to go further. It was the division of labour and 
specialization in the nineteenth century which gave rise to 
the need to apply all available knowledge So also a 
spiritual need has produced in our time our "discovery” of 
psychology There has never, of course, been a time when 
the psyche did not manifest itself, but formerly it attracted 
no attention — no one noticed it People got along without 
heeding it But today we can no longer get along unless 
we give our best attention to the ways of the psyche. 

It was men of the medical profession who were the first 
to notice this ; for the pnest is concerned only to establish 

1 According to Egyptian tradition, when the dead man meets his judges 
m the underworld, he makes a detailed confession of the crimes he has not 
committed, but leaves unmentioned his actual sins {Trans ) 


an undisturbed functioning of the psyche within a recognized 
system of behef As long as this system gives true expression 
to life, psychology can be nothing but a technical adjuvant 
to healthy living, and the psyche cannot be regarded as a 
problem in itself While man still lives as a herd-being he 
has no “ things of the spirit ” of his own , nor does he need 
any, save the usual belief in the immortality of the soul. 
But as soon as he has outgrown whatever local form of 
religion he was bom to — as soon as this religion can no 
longer embrace his life m all its fulness — then the psyche 
becomes something in its own right which cannot be dealt 
with by the measures of the Church alone It is for this 
reason that we of today have a psychology founded on 
experience, and not upon articles of faith or the postulates 
of any philosophical system. The very fact that we have 
such a psychology is to me symptomatic of a profound 
convulsion of spiritual hfe Disruption in the spiritual life 
of an age shows the same pattern as radical change m an 
individual. As long as all goes well and psychic energy finds 
its application in adequate and well-regulated ways, we are 
disturbed by nothing from within No uncertainty or doubt 
besets us, and we cannot be divided against ourselves But 
no sooner are one or two of the channels of psychic activity 
blocked, than we are reminded of a stream that is dammed 
up. The current flows backward to its source , the inner 
man wants something which the visible man does not want, 
and we are at war with ourselves Only then, in this distress, 
do we discover the psyche , or, more precisely, we come upon 
something which thwarts our will, which is strange and even 
hostile to us, or which is incompatible with our conscious 
standpoint. Freud’s psychoanalytic labours show this 
process m the clearest way. The very first thing he discovered 


was the existence of sexually perverse and criminal fantasies 
which at their face value are wholly incompatible with the 
conscious outlook of a civilized man. A person who was 
activated by them would be nothing less than a mutineer, 
a criminal or a madman 

We cannot suppose that this aspect of the unconscious or 
of the hinterland of man’s mind is something totally new 
Probably it has always been there, in every culture Each 
culture gave birth to its destructive opposite, but no culture 
or civilization before our own was ever forced to take these 
psychic undercurrents in deadly earnest. Psychic hfe always 
found expression in a metaphysical system of some sort 
But the conscious, modem man, despite his strenuous and 
dogged efforts to do so, can no longer refrain from acknow- 
ledging the might of psychic forces. This distinguishes our 
time from all others We can no longer deny that the dark 
stirrings of the unconscious are effective powers — that 
psychic forces exist which cannot, for the present at least, 
be fitted in with our rational world-order We have even 
enlarged our study of these forces to a science — one more 
proof of the earnest attention we bring to them Previous 
centuries could throw them aside unnoticed , for us they 
are a shirt of Nessus which we cannot strip off. 

The revolution in our conscious outlook, brought about 
by the catastrophic results of the World War, shows itself 
in our inner hfe by the shattering of our faith in ourselves 
and our own worth. We used to regard foreigners — the 
other side — as political and moral reprobates ; but the 
modem man is forced to recognize that he is politically and 
morally just like anyone else. Whereas I formerly believed 
it to be my bounden duty to call other persons to order, I 
now admit that I need calling to order myself. I admit this 


the more readily because I realize only too well that I am 
losing my faith m the possibility of a rational organization 
of the world, that old dream of the mille nnium , in which 
peace and harmony should rule, has grown pale. The modem 
man’s scepticism regarding all such matters has chilled his 
enthusiasm for politics and world-reform , more than that, 
it does not favour any smooth application of psychic energies 
to the outer world Through his scepticism the modem man 
is thrown back upon himself, his energies flow towards 
their source and wash to the surface those psychic contents 
which are at all times there, but he hidden in the silt as long 
as the stream flows smoothly in its course. How totally 
different did the world appear to mediaeval man ! For him 
the earth was eternally fixed and at rest m the centre of the 
universe, encircled by the course of a sun that solicitously 
bestowed its warmth. Men were all children of God under 
the loving care of the Most High, who prepared them for 
eternal blessedness , and all knew exactly what they should 
do and how they should conduct themselves in order to rise 
from a corruptible world to an incorruptible and joyous 
existence. Such a life no longer seems real to us, even in 
our dreams. Natural science has long ago tom this lovely 
veil to shreds. That age lies as far behind as childhood, 
when one’s own father was unquestionably the handsomest 
and strongest man on earth 

The modem man has lost all the metaphysical certainties 
of his mediaeval brother, and set up in their place the ideals 
of material security, general welfare and humaneness But 
it takes more than an ordinary dose of optimism to make it 
appear that these ideals are still unshaken Material security, 
even, has gone by the board, for the modem man begins 
to see that every step in material “progress” adds just so 


much force to the threat of a more stupendous catastrophe. 
The very picture terrorizes the imagination. What are we 
to imagine when cities today perfect measures of defence 
against poison-gas attacks and practise them m “ dress 
rehearsals ” ? We cannot but suppose that such attacks 
have been planned and provided for — again on the principle 
" in time of peace prepare for war ”, Let man but accumu- 
late his materials of destruction and the devil within him 
will soon be unable to resist putting them to then: fated use. 
It is well known that fire-arms go off of themselves if only 
enough of them are together. 

An intimation of the law that governs blind contingency, 
which Heraclitus called the rule of enantiodromia (conversion 
into the opposite), now steals upon the modem man through 
the by-ways of his mind, chilling him with fear and paralysing 
his faith m the lasting effectiveness of social and political 
measures in the face of these monstrous forces. If he turns 
away from the terrifying prospect of a blind world in which 
building and destroying successively tip the scale, and if he 
then turns his gaze inward upon the recesses of his own mind, 
he will discover a chaos and a darkness there which he would 
gladly ignore. Science has destroyed even the refuge of the 
inner life. What was once a sheltering haven has become a 
place of terror. 

And yet it is almost a relief for us to come upon so much 
evil in the depths of our own minds We are able to believe, 
at least, that we have discovered the root of the evil in 
mankind Even though we are shocked and disillusioned at 
first, we yet feel, because these things are manifestations of 
our own minds, that we hold them more or less in our own 
hands and can therefore correct or at least effectively suppress 
them We like to assume that, if we succeeded in this, we 


should have rooted out some fraction of the evil in the world. 
We like to think that, on the basis of a widespread knowledge 
of the unconscious and its ways, no one could be deceived 
by a statesman who was unaware of his own bad motives ; 
the very newspapers would pull him up “ Please have 
yourself analysed , you are suffering from a repressed 

I have purposely chosen this grotesque example to show 
to what absurdities we are led by the illusion that because 
something is psychic it is under our control It is, however, 
true that much of the evil in the world is due to the fact 
that man in general is hopelessly unconscious, as it is also 
true that with increasing insight we can combat this evil at 
its source in ourselves As science enables us to deal with 
injuries inflicted from without, so it helps us to treat those 
arising from within. 

The rapid and world-wide growth of a “ psychological ” 
interest over the last two decades shows unmistakably that 
modem man has to some extent turned his attention from 
material things to his own subjective processes. Should we 
call this mere curiosity ? At any rate, art has a way of 
anticipating future changes m man’s fundamental outlook, 
and expressionist art has taken this subjective turn well in 
advance of the more general change 

This " psychological ” interest of the present time shows 
that man expects something from psychic hfe which he has 
not received from the outer world something which our 
religions, doubtless, ought to contain, but no longer do 
contain — at least for the modem man The various forms of 
religion no longer appear to the modem man to come from 
within — to be expressions of his own psychic hfe ; for him 
they are to be classed with the things of the outer world. 


He is vouchsafed no revelation of a spirit that is not of this 
world ; but he tries on a number of religions and convictions 
as if they were Sunday attire, only to lay them aside again 
like worn-out clothes. 

Yet he is somehow fascinated by the almost pathological 
manifestations of the unconscious mind. We must admit 
the fact, however difficult it is for us to understand that 
something which previous ages have discarded should 
suddenly command our attention. That there is a general 
interest in these matters is a truth which cannot be denied, 
their offence to good taste notwithstanding. I am not 
thinking merely of the interest taken in psychology as a 
science, or of the still narrower mterest in the psychoanalysis 
of Freud, but of the widespread interest m all sorts of psychic 
phenomena as manifested m the growth of spiritualism, 
astrology, theosophy, and so forth. The world has seen 
nothing like it since the end of the seventeenth century. 
We can compare it only to the flowering of Gnostic thought 
in the first and second centuries after Christ. The spiritual 
currents of the present have, in fact, a deep affinity with 
Gnosticism. There is even a Gnostic church in France 
today, and I know of two schools in Germany which openly 
declare themselves Gnostic. The modem movement which 
is numerically most impressive is undoubtedly Theosophy, 
together with its continental sister, Anthroposophy ; these 
are pure Gnosticism in a Hindu dress. Compared with these 
movements the interest in scientific psychology is negligible. 
What is striking about Gnostic systems is that they are 
based exclusively upon the manifestations of the unconscious, 
and that their moral teachings do not baulk at the shadow- 
side of life. Even in the form of its European revival, the 
Hindu Kundaltni-Yoga shows this clearly. And as every 


person informed on the subject of occultism will testify, the 
statement holds true in this field as well. 

The passionate interest in these movements arises un- 
doubtedly from psychic energy which can no longer be 
invested in obsolete forms of religion. For this reason such 
movements have a truly religious character, even when they 
pretend to be scientific It changes nothing when Rudolf 
Steiner calls his Anthroposophy " spiritual science ”, or 
Mrs. Eddy discovers a “ Christian Science These attempts 
at concealment merely show that religion has grown suspect 
— almost as suspect as politics and world-reform. 

I do not believe that I am going too far when I say that 
modem man, in contrast to his nineteenth-century brother, 
turns his attention to the psyche with very great expecta- 
tions ; and that he does so without reference to any tradi- 
tional creed, but rather in the Gnostic sense of religious 
experience We should be wrong m seeing mere caricature 
or masquerade when the movements already mentioned try 
to give themselves scientific airs , their domg so is rather an 
indication that they are actually pursuing “ science ” or 
knowledge instead of the faith which is the essence of Western 
religions. The modem man abhors dogmatic postulates 
taken on faith and the religions based upon them He holds 
them valid only in so far as their knowledge-content seems 
to accord with his own experience of the deeps of psychic 
life He wants to know — to expenence for himself Dean 
Inge of St. Paul’s has called attention to a movement in the 
Anglican Church with similar objectives. 

The age of discovery has only just come to a close in our 
day when no part of the earth remains unexplored , it 
began when men would no longer believe that the Hyper- 
boreans inhabited the land of eternal sunshine, but wanted 


to find out and to see with their own eyes what existed 
beyond the boundaries of the known world. Our age is 
apparently bent on discovering what exists in the psyche 
outside of consciousness. The question asked in every 
spiritualistic circle is : What happens when the medium 
has lost consciousness ? Every Theosophist asks : What 
shall I experience at higher levels of consciousness ? The 
question which every astrologer puts is this : What are the 
effective forces and determinants of my fate beyond the 
reach of my conscious intention ? And every psychoanalyst 
wants to know : What are the unconscious drives behind 
the neurosis ? 

Our age wishes to have actual experiences in psychic life. 
It wants to experience for itself, and not to make assumptions 
based on the experience of other ages. Yet this does not 
preclude its trying anything m a hypothetical way — for 
instance, the recognized religions and the genuine sciences. 
The European of yesterday will feel a slight shudder run down 
his spme when he gazes at all deeply mto these delvmgs 
Not only does he consider the subject of this research all too 
obscure and uncanny, but even the methods employed seem 
to him a shocking misuse of man’s finest intellectual attain- 
ments. What can we expect an astronomer to say when he 
is told that at least a thousand horoscopes are drawn today 
to one three hundred years ago ? What will the educator 
and the advocate of phdosophical enlightenment say to the 
fact that the world has not been freed of one single super- 
stition since Greek antiquity ? Freud himself, the founder 
of psychoanalysis, has thrown a glaring light upon the dirt, 
darkness and evil of the psychic hinterland, and has presented 
these things as so much refuse and slag , he has thus taken 
the utmost pains to discourage people from seeking anything 


behind them. He did not succeed, and his warning has even 
brought about the very thing he wished to prevent • it has 
awakened in many people an admiration for all this filth. 
We are tempted to call this sheer perversity , and we could 
hardly explain it save on the ground that it is not a love of 
dirt, but the fascination of the psyche, which draws these 

There can be no doubt that from the beginning of the 
nineteenth century — from the memorable years of the French 
Revolution onwards — man has given a more and more 
prominent place to the psyche, his increasing attentiveness 
to it being the measure of its growing attraction for him. 
The enthronement of the Goddess of Reason in Notre Dame 
seems to have been a symbolic gesture of great significance 
to the Western world — rather like the hewmg down of 
Wotan’s oak by the Christian missionaries For then, as at 
the Revolution, no avenging bolt from heaven struck the 
blasphemer down. 

It is certainly more than an amusing coincidence that just 
at that time a Frenchman, Anquetil du Perron, was living 
m India, and, in the early eighteen-hundreds, brought back 
with him a translation of the Oupnek’hat — a collection of 
fifty Upamshads — which gave the Western world its first 
deep insight into the baffling mind of the East To the 
historian this is mere chance without any factors of cause 
and effect But in view of my medical experience I cannot 
take it as accident. It seems to me rather to satisfy a 
psychological law whose validity m personal life, at least, is 
complete. For every piece of conscious life that loses its 
importance and value — so runs the law — there arises a 
compensation in the unconscious. We may see in this an 
analogy to the conservation of energy in the physical world. 


for our psychic processes have a quantitative aspect also. 
No psychic value can disappear without being replaced by 
another of equivalent intensity. This is a rule which finds 
its pragmatic sanction in the daily practice of the psycho- 
therapist ; it is repeatedly verified and never fails. Now the 
doctor in me refuses point blank to consider the life of a 
people as something that does not conform to psychological 
law. A people, in the doctor’s eyes, presents only a some- 
what more complex picture of psychic life than the individual 
Moreover, taking it the other way round, has not a poet 
spoken of the “ nations ” of his soul ? And quite correctly, 
as it seems to me, for in one of its aspects the psyche is not 
individual, but is derived from the nation, from collectivity, 
or from humanity even. In some way or other we are part 
of an all-embracing psychic life, of a single " greatest ” man, 
to quote Swedenborg. 

And so we can draw a parallel just as m me, a single 
human being, the darkness calls forth the helpful light, so 
does it also in the psychic life of a people In the crowds 
that poured into Notre Dame, bent on destruction, dark and 
nameless forces were at work that swept the individual off 
his feet ; these forces worked also upon Anquetil du Perron, 
and provoked an answer which has come down in history. 
For he brought the Eastern mind to the West, and its 
influence upon us we cannot as yet measure. Let us beware 
of underestimating it 1 So far, indeed, there is httle of it 
to be seen in Europe on the intellectual surface • some 
orientalists, one or two Buddhist enthusiasts, and a few 
sombre celebrities hke Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant 
These manifestations make us think of tiny, scattered 
islands in the ocean of mankind ; in reality they are like 
the peaks of submarine mountain-ranges of considerable 


size The Philistine believed until recently that astrology 
had been disposed of long since, and was something that 
could be safely laughed at. But today, rising out of the 
social deeps, it knocks at the doors of the universities from 
which it was banished some three hundred years ago. The 
same is true of the thought of the East ; it takes root in the 
lower social levels and slowly grows to the surface Where 
did the five or six million Swiss francs for the Anthroposophist 
temple at Domach come from? Certainly not from one 
individual. Unfortunately there are no statistics to tell us 
the exact number of avowed Theosophists today, not to 
mention the unavowed But we can be sure that there are 
several millions of them To this number we must add a 
few million Spiritualists of Christian or Theosophic leanings 
Great innovations never come from above ; they come 
invariably from below , just as trees never grow from the 
sky downward, but upward from the earth, however true 
it is that their seeds have fallen from above The upheaval 
of our world and the upheaval m consciousness is one and 
the same. Everything becomes relative and therefore 
doubtful. And while man, hesitant and questioning, con- 
templates a world that is distracted with treaties of peace 
and pacts of friendship, democracy and dictatorship, 
capitalism and Bolshevism, his spirit yearns for an answer 
that will allay the turmoil of doubt and uncertainty. And 
it is just people of the lower social levels who follow the 
unconscious forces of the psyche ; it is the much-derided, 
silent folk of the land — those who are less infected with 
academic prejudices than great celebrities are wont to be. 
All these people, looked at from above, present mostly a 
dreary or laughable comedy ; and yet they are as im- 
pressively simple as those Galileans who were once called 


blessed. Is it not touching to see the refuse of man’s psyche 
gathered together m compendia a foot thick ? We find 
recorded in Anthropophyteia with scrupulous care the 
merest babblings, the most absurd actions and the wildest 
fantasies, while men like Havelock Ellis and Freud have 
dealt with the like matters m serious treatises which have 
been accorded all scientific honours Their reading public 
is scattered over the breadth of the civilized, white world. 
How are we to explain this zeal, this almost fanatical worship 
of repellent things ? In this way • the repellent things 
belong to the psyche, they are of the substance of the psyche 
and therefore as precious as fragments of manuscript salvaged 
from ancient ruins Even the secret and noisome things of 
the inner life are valuable to modem man because they 
serve his purpose. But what purpose ? 

Freud has prefixed to his Interpretation of Dreams the 
citation : Flectere si nequeo super os Acheronta movebo — “ If I 
cannot bend the gods on high, I will at least set Acheron in 
uproar ”. But to what purpose ? 

The gods whom we are called to dethrone are the idolized 
values of our conscious world It is well known that it was 
the love-scandals of the ancient deities which contributed 
most to their discredit ; and now history is repeating itself 
People are laying bare the dubious foundations of our 
belauded virtues and incomparable ideals, and are calling 
out to us in triumph : “ There are your man-made gods, 
mere snares and delusions tainted with human baseness — 
whited sepulchres full of dead men’s bones and of all un- 
cleanness ”. We recognize a familiar strain, and the Gospel 
words, which we never could make our own, now come to 
life again. 

I am deeply convinced that these are not vague analogies. 


There are too many persons to whom Freudian psychology 
is dearer than the Gospels, and to whom the Russian Terror 
means more than civic virtue. And yet all these people are 
our brothers, and in each of us there is at least one voice 
which seconds them — for in the end there is a psychic hfe 
which embraces us all 

The unexpected result of this spiritual change is that an 
uglier face is put upon the world It becomes so ugly that 
no one can love it any longer — we cannot even love ourselves 
— and m the end there is nothing in the outer world to draw 
us away from the reality of the hfe within. Here, no doubt, 
we have the true significance of this spiritual change. After 
all, what does Theosophy, with its doctrines of karma and 
reincarnation, seek to teach except that this world of 
appearance is but a temporary health-resort for the morally 
unperfected 7 It depreciates the present-day world no less 
radically than does the modem outlook, but with the help 
of a different technique ; it does not vilify our world, but 
grants it only a relative meaning in that it promises other 
and higher worlds The result is in either case the 

I grant that all these ideas are extremely “ unacademic ”, 
the truth being that they touch modem man on the side 
where he is least conscious. Is it again a mere coincidence 
that modem thought has had to come to terms with Einstein’s 
relativity theory and with ideas about the structure of the 
atom which lead us away from determinism and visual 
representation ? Even physics volatilizes our material 
world. It is no wonder, then, in my opinion, if the modem 
man falls back upon the reality of psychic life and expects 
from it that certainty which the world demes him 

But spiritually the Western world is in a precarious 


situation — and the danger is greater the more we blind 
ourselves to the merciless truth with illusions about our 
beauty of soul. The Occidental bums incense to himself, 
and his own countenance is veiled from him in the smoke. 
But how do we strike men of another colour ? What do 
China and India think of us ? What feelings do we arouse 
in the black man ? And what is the opimon of all those 
whom we deprive of their lands and exterminate with rum 
and venereal disease ? 

I have a Red Indian fnend who is the governor of a pueblo. 
When we were once speaking confidentially about the white 
man, he said to me : " We don’t understand the whites , 

they are always wanting something — always restless — 
always looking for something. What is it ? We don’t 
know. We can’t understand them. They have such sharp 
noses, such thin, cruel lips, such lrnes in their faces. We 
think they are all crazy.” 

My friend had recognized, without being able to name it, 
the Aryan bird of prey with his msatiable lust to lord it in 
every land — even those that concern him not at all. And 
he had also noted that megalomania of ours which leads us 
to suppose, among other things, that Christianity is the only 
truth, and the white Christ the only Redeemer. After 
setting the whole East in turmoil with our science and 
technology, and exacting tribute from it, we send our 
missionaries even to China. The stamping out of polygamy 
by the African missions has given rise to prostitution on 
such a scale that in Uganda alone twenty thousand pounds 
sterling is spent yearly on preventatives of venereal infection, 
not to speak of the moral consequences, which have been of 
the worst. And the good European pays his missionaries 
for these edifying achievements ! No need to mention also 


the story of suffering in Polynesia and the blessings of the 
opium trade. 

That is how the European looks when he is extricated 
from the cloud of his own moral incense No wonder that 
to unearth buried fragments of psychic life we have first to 
dram a miasmal swamp. Only a great idealist like Freud 
could devote a lifetime to the unclean work This is the 
beginning of our psychology. For us acquaintance with the 
realities of psychic life could start only at this end, with all 
that repels us and that we do not wish to see. 

But if the psyche consisted for us only of evil and worthless 
things, no power m the world could induce a normal man to 
pretend to find it attractive. This is why people who see in 
Theosophy nothing but regrettable intellectual superficiality, 
and in Freudian psychology nothing but sensationalism, 
prophesy an early and inglorious end for these movements. 
They overlook the fact that they derive their force from the 
fascination of psychic life No doubt the passionate mterest 
that is aroused by them may find other expressions ; but it 
will certainly show itself m these forms until they are replaced 
by something better. Superstition and perversity are after 
all one and the same. They are transitional or embryonic 
stages from which new and nper forms will emerge. 

Whether from the intellectual, the moral or the aesthetic 
viewpoint, the undercurrents of the psychic life of the West 
present an uninviting picture We have built a monumental 
world round about us, and have slaved for it with unequalled 
energy. But it is so imposing only because we have spent 
upon the outside all that is imposing in our natures — and 
what we find when we look within must necessarily be as 
it is, shabby and insufficient. 

I am aware that in saying this I somewhat anticipate the 


actual growth of consciousness. There is as yet no general 
insight into these facts of psychic life. Westerners are only 
on the way to a recognition of these facts, and for quite 
understandable reasons they struggle violently against it. 
Of course Spengler’s pessimism has exerted some influence, 
but this has been safely confined to academic circles. As 
for psychological insight, it always trespasses upon personal 
hfe, and therefore meets with personal resistances and 
denials I am far from considering these resistances meaning- 
less ; on the contrary I see in them a healthy reaction to 
something which threatens destruction Whenever relativism 
is taken as a fundamental and final principle it has a 
destructive effect When, therefore, I call attention to the 
dismal undercurrents of the psyche, it is not in order to sound 
a pessimistic note ; I wish rather to emphasize the fact that 
the unconscious has a strong attraction not only for the sick, 
but for healthy, constructive minds as well — and this in 
spite of its alarming aspect. The psychic depths are nature, 
and nature is creative hfe. It is true that nature tears down 
what she has herself built up — yet she builds it once again. 
Whatever values m the visible world are destroyed by 
modem relativism, the psyche will produce their equivalents. 
At first we cannot see beyond the path that leads downward 
to dark and hateful things — but no hght or beauty will 
ever come from the man who cannot bear this sight. Light 
is always bom of darkness, and the sun never yet stood still 
in heaven to satisfy man’s longing or to still his fears. Does 
not the example of Anquetil du Perron show us how psychic 
life survives its own eclipse ? China hardly believes that 
European science and technology are preparing her ruin. 
Why should we believe that we must be destroyed by the 
secret, spiritual influence of the East ? 


But I forget that we do not yet realize that while we are 
turning upside down the material world of the East with our 
technical proficiency, the East with its psychic proficiency 
is throwing our spiritual world into confusion We have 
never yet hit upon the thought that while we are overpower- 
ing the Orient from without, it may be fastemng its hold 
upon us from within Such an idea strikes us as almost 
insane, because we have eyes only for gross material connec- 
tions, and fail to see that we must lay the blame for the 
intellectual confusion of our middle class at the doors of 
Max Muller, Oldenberg, Neumann, Deussen, Wilhelm and 
others like them What does the example of the Roman 
Empire teach us ? After the conquest of Asia Minor, Rome 
became Asiatic , even Europe was infected by Asia, and 
remains so today Out of Cilicia came the Mithraic cult — 
the religion of the Roman army — and it spread from Egypt 
to fog-bound Britain Need I point to the Asiatic origin of 
Christianity ? 

We have not yet clearly grasped the fact that Western 
Theosophy is an amateurish imitation of the East We are 
just taking up astrology again, and that to the Oriental is 
his daily bread. Our studies of sexual hfe, originating in 
Vienna and in England, are matched or surpassed by Hindu 
teachings on this subject. Oriental texts ten centuries old 
introduce us to philosophical relativism, while the idea of 
indetermination, newly broached in the West, furnishes the 
very basis of Chmese science. Richard Wilhelm has even 
shown me that certain comphcated processes discovered by 
analytical psychology are recognizably described in ancient 
Chinese texts. Psychoanalysis itself and the lines of 
thought to which it gives rise — surely a distinctly Western 
development — are only a beginner's attempt compared to 


what is an immemorial art in the East. It should be 
mentioned that the parallels between psychoanalysis and 
yoga have already been traced by Oskar A. H. Schmitz. 

The Theosophists have an amusing idea that certain 
Mahatmas, seated somewhere in the Himalayas or Tibet, 
inspire or direct every mind in the world. So strong, m fact, 
can be the influence of the Eastern belief in magic upon 
Europeans of a sound mind, that some of them have assured 
me that I am unwittingly inspired by the Mahatmas with 
every good thing I say, my own inspirations being of no 
account whatever This myth of the Mahatmas, widely 
circulated and firmly believed in the West, far from being 
nonsense, is — hke every myth — an important psychological 
truth. It seems to be quite true that the East is at the bottom 
of the spiritual change we are passing through today. Only 
this East is not a Tibetan monastery full of Mahatmas, but 
in a sense lies within us. It is from the depths of our own 
psychic life that new spiritual forms will arise , they will 
be expressions of psychic forces which may help to subdue 
the boundless lust for prey of Aryan man. We shall perhaps 
come to know something of that circumscription of life which 
has grown in the East into a dubious quietism ; also some- 
thing of that stability which human existence acquires when 
the claims of the spirit become as imperative as the necessities 
of social life. Yet in this age of Americanization we are 
still far from anything of the sort, and it seems to me that 
we are only at the threshold of a new spiritual epoch. I 
do not wish to pass myself off as a prophet, but I cannot 
outline the spiritual problem of modem man without giving 
emphasis to the yearning for rest that arises in a period of 
unrest, or to the longing for security that is bred of in- 
security. It is from need and distress that new forms of 


life take their rise, and not from mere wishes or from the 
requirements of our ideals. 

To me, the crux of the spiritual problem of today is to be 
found in the fascination which psychic hfe exerts upon 
modem man. If we are pessimists, we shall call it a sign of 
decadence ; if we are optimistically inclined, we shall see 
in it the promise of a far-reaching spiritual change in the 
Western world. At all events, it is a significant manifesta- 
tion. It is the more noteworthy because it shows itself in 
broad sections of every people ; and it is the more important 
because it is a matter of those imponderable psychic forces 
which transform human hfe m ways that are unforeseen and 
— as history shows — unforeseeable These are the forces, 
still invisible to many persons today, which are at the bottom 
of the present “ psychological ” interest. When the attrac- 
tive power of psychic hfe is so strong that man is neither 
repelled nor dismayed by what he is sure to find, then it has 
nothing of sickliness or perversion about it. 

Along the great highroads of the world everything seems 
desolate and outworn Instinctively the modem man leaves 
the trodden ways to explore the by-paths and lanes, just as 
the man of the Graeco-Roman world cast off his defunct 
Olympian gods and turned to the mystery-cults of Asia. 
The force within us that impels us to the search, turning 
outward, annexes Eastern Theosophy and magic ; but it 
also turns inward and leads us to give our thoughtful atten- 
tion to the unconscious psyche. It inspires in us the self- 
same scepticism and relentlessness with which a Buddha 
swept aside his two million gods that he might come to the 
pristine experience which alone is convincing. 

And now we must ask a final question. Is what I have said 
of the modem man really true, or is it perhaps the result of 


an optical illusion ? There can be no doubt whatever that 
the facts I have cited are wholly irrelevant contingencies in 
the eyes of many millions of Westerners, and seem only 
regrettable errors to a large number of educated persons. 
But I may ask . What did a cultivated Roman think of 
Christianity when he saw it spreading among the people of 
the lowest classes ? The biblical God is still a living person 
in the Western world — as living as Allah beyond the 
Mediterranean. One kind of believer holds the other an 
ignoble heretic, to be pitied and tolerated if he cannot be 
changed What is more, a clever European is convinced 
that religion and such things are good enough for the masses 
and for women, but are of little weight compared to 
economic and political affairs 

So I am refuted all along the hne, like a man who predicts 
a thunderstorm when there is not a cloud in the sky Perhaps 
it is a storm beneath the horizon that he senses — and it may 
never reach us But what is significant in psychic life is 
always below the horizon of consciousness, and when we 
speak of the spiritual problem of modem man we are dealing 
with things that are barely visible — with the most intimate 
and fragile things — with flowers that open only in the night 
In daylight everything is clear and tangible ; but the night 
lasts as long as the day, and we live m the night-time also. 
There are persons who have bad dreams which even spoil 
their days for them. And the day’s life is for many people 
such a bad dream that they long for the night when the 
spirit awakes. I even believe that there are nowadays a 
great many such people, and this is why I maintain that the 
spiritual problem of modem man is much as I have presented 
it. I must plead guilty, indeed, to the charge of one-sided- 
ness, for I have not mentioned the modem spirit of commit- 


ment to a practical world about which everyone has much to 
say because it lies in such full view We find it in the ideal 
of internationalism or supemationalism which is embodied 
m the League of Nations and the hke , and we find it also 
in sport and, very expressively, in the cinema and in jazz 

These are certainly characteristic symptoms of our time , 
they show unmistakably how the ideal of humanism is made 
to embrace the body also Sport represents an exceptional 
valuation of the human body, as does also modem dancing 
The cinema, on the other hand, like the detective story, 
makes it possible to experience without danger all the 
excitement, passion and desirousness which must be re- 
pressed in a humanitarian ordering of hfe It is not difficult 
to see how these symptoms are connected with the psychic 
situation. The attractive power of the psyche brings about 
a new self-estimation — a re-estimation of the basic facts of 
human nature We can hardly be surprised if this leads to 
the rediscovery of the body after its long depreciation in the 
name of the spirit We are even tempted to speak of the 
body’s revenge upon the spirit. When Keyserhng sarcasti- 
cally singles out the chauffeur as the culture-hero of our time, 
he has struck, as he often does, close to the mark. The 
body lays claim to equal recognition ; like the psyche, it 
also exerts a fascination If we are still caught by the old 
idea of an antithesis between mind and matter, the present 
state of affairs means an unbearable contradiction ; it may 
even divide us against ourselves But if we can reconcile 
ourselves with the mysterious truth that spirit is the living 
body seen from within, and the body the outer manifestation 
of the living spirit — the two being really one — then we can 
understand why it is that the attempt to transcend the 


present level of consciousness must give its due to the body. 
We shall also see that belief in the body cannot tolerate an 
outlook that denies the body in the name of the spirit. These 
claims of physical and psychic life are so pressing compared 
to similar claims in the past, that we may be tempted to see 
in this a sign of decadence Yet it may also signify a 
rejuvenation, for as Hfilderlin says : 

Danger itself 

Fosters the rescuing power . 1 

What we actually see is that the Western world strikes up 
a still more rapid tempo — the American tempo — the very 
opposite of quietism and resigned aloofness An enormous 
tension arises between the opposite poles of outer and inner 
life, between objective and subjective reality. Perhaps it is 
a final race between ageing Europe and young America , 
jjerhaps it is a desperate or a wholesome effort of conscious 
man to cheat the laws of nature of their hidden might and 
to wrest a yet greater, more heroic victory from the sleep of 
the nations. This is a question which history will answer. 

In coming to a close after so many bold assertions, I 
would like to return to the promise made at the outset to 
be mindful of the need for moderation and caution Indeed, 
I do not forget that my voice is but one voice, my experience 
a mere drop in the sea, my knowledge no greater than the 
visual field in a microscope, my mind’s eye a mirror that 
reflects a small comer of the world, and my ideas— a 
subjective confession. 

1 Wo Gefahr tst, 

Wichst das Retlsnde auck. (Holderliii ) 



It is the urgent psychic problems of patients, much more 
than the questions put by scientific workers, which have 
given effective impetus to the newer developments m medical 
psychology and psychotherapy The science of medicine 
has avoided all contact with strictly psychic problems. It 
has held to this position m spite of the patient’s urgent needs, 
but on the partly justified assumption that psychic problems 
belong to other fields of study. And yet it has been forced 
to widen its scope so as to mclude experimental psychology, 
just as it has been driven time and time again — in view of 
man’s biological homogeneity — to borrow from such branches 
of science as chemistry, physics and biology. 

It was natural that a new direction should be given to 
these adopted branches of science We can characterize 
the change by saying that instead of being regarded as ends 
m themselves, they were valued because of their possible 
application to human beings Psychiatry, for example, 
helped itself out of the treasure-chest of experimental 
psychology and funded its borrowings in that inclusive body 
of knowledge called psychopathology — a general name for 
the study of complex psychic manifestations. Psycho- 
pathology is built for one part upon the findings of psychiatry 
in the strict sense of the term, and for the other upon the 
findings of neurology — a field of study which originally 


embraced the so-called psychogenetic neuroses, and still 
does so in academic parlance. In practice, however, a gulf 
has opened in the last few decades between the trained 
neurologist and the psychotherapist, this nft being traceable 
to the first researches in hypnotism There was no preventing 
this divergence, for neurology is the study of organic nervous 
diseases in particular, while the psychogenetic neuroses are 
not organic diseases in the usual sense of the term Nor do 
these neuroses fall within the realm of psychiatry, whose 
particular field of study is the psychoses, or mental diseases 
— for the psychogenetic neuroses are not mental diseases 
as this term is commonly understood Rather do they 
constitute a spiecial field by themselves which has 
no hard and fast boundaries, and they show many 
transitional forms which point in two directions towards 
mental disease on the one hand, and disease of the nerves 
on the other. 

The unmistakable feature of the neuroses is the fact that 
their causes are psychic, and that their cure depends entirely 
up>on psychic methods of treatment The attempts to 
delimit and to explore this spiecial field — both from the 
side of psychiatry and from that of neurology — have led to 
a discovery which is very unwelcome to the science of medi- 
cine • namely, the discovery that the psyche is an aetio- 
logies! or causal factor in disease. In the course of the 
nineteenth century medicine shaped its methods and theory 
m such a way as to become one of the disciplines of natural 
science, and it also adopted that primary assumption of 
natural science : material causation. For medicine the psyche 
did not exist in its own right, and experimental psychology 
also did its best to constitute itself a psychology without 
the psyche. 


Investigation, however, has established beyond a doubt 
that the crux of the psycho-neuroses is to be found in the 
psychic factor ; that this is the essential cause of the patho- 
logical state, and must therefore be recognized m its own 
right along with other admitted pathogemc factors such as 
inheritance, disposition, bacterial infection, and so forth. 
All attempts to explain the psychic factor in terms of more 
elementary physical factors were doomed to failure There 
was more promise in the attempt to delimit the psychic 
factor by the concept of the drive or instinct 1 — a 
concept taken over from biology. It is well known that 
instincts are observable physiological urges which are 
traceable to the functioning of the glands, and that, as 
experience shows, they condition or influence psychic 
processes What could seem more plausible, therefore, than 
to seek the specific cause of the psycho-neuroses, not in the 
mystical notion of the “ soul ”, but in a disturbance of the 
impulses which might possibly be curable in the last resort 
by medicinal treatment of the glands ? As a matter of 
fact, this is Freud’s standpoint when establishing his well- 
known theory which explains the neuroses m terms of 
disturbances of the sexual impulse. Adler likewise resorts 
to the concept of the drive, and explains the neuroses 
in terms of disturbances of the urge to power We must 
admit, indeed, that this concept is further removed from 
physiology, and is of a more psychic nature, than that of 
the sexual drive. 

The concept of instinct is anything but well defined in the 
scientific sense. It applies to a biological manifestation of 
great complexity, and is not much more than a notion of 
quite indefinite content standing for an unknown quantity. 

1 The German word Trxeb covers both. (Trans ) 



I do not wish to enter here upon a critical discussion of the 
concept of instinct. Instead I will consider the possibility 
that the psychic factor is just a combination of instincts 
which for their part may again be reduced to the functioning 
of the glands. We may even discuss the possibility that 
everything that is usually called psychic is embraced in the 
sum-total of instincts, and that the psyche itself is therefore 
only an instinct or a conglomerate of instincts, being in the 
last analysis nothing but the functioning of the glands A 
psycho-neurosis would thus be a glandular disease. This 
statement, however, has not been proved, and no glandular 
extract that will cure a neurosis has as yet been found On 
the other hand, we have been taught by all too many 
mistakes that organic medicine fails completely in the 
treatment of neuroses, while psychic methods cure them. 
These psychic methods are just as effective as we might 
suppose the glandular extracts would be So far, then, as 
our present experience goes, neuroses are to be influenced 
or cured by considering them, not from the side of their 
irreducible elements, the glandular secretions, but from that 
of psychic activity, which must be taken as a reality. For 
example, a suitable explanation or a comforting word to the 
patient may have something like a healing effect which may 
even influence the glandular secretions The doctor’s words, 
to be sure, are " only ” vibrations in the air, yet they con- 
stitute a particular set of vibrations corresponding to a 
particular psychic state in the doctor. The words are 
effective only in so far as they convey a meaning or have 
significance. It is their meaning which is effective. But 
" meaning ” is something mental or spiritual. Call it a 
fiction if you like. None the less it enables us to influence 
the course of the disease in a far more effective way than 


with chemical preparations We can even influence the 
biochemical processes of the body by it. Whether the 
fiction arises in me spontaneously, or reaches me from 
without by way of human speech, it can make me ill or cure 
me. Nothing is surely more intangible and unreal than 
fictions, illusions and opinions ; and yet nothing is more 
effective in the psychic and even the psychophysical realm. 

It was by recognizing these facts that science discovered 
the psyche, and we are now in honour bound to admit its 
reality. It has been shown that the drive, or instinct, is a 
condition of psychic activity, while at the same time 
the psychic processes seem to condition the instincts. 

It is no reproach to the Freudian and Adlerian theories 
that they are based upon the drives ; the only trouble is 
that they are one-sided The land of psychology they 
represent leaves out the psyche, and is suited to people who 
believe that they have no spiritual needs or aspirations In 
this matter both the doctor and the patient deceive them- 
selves Although the theories of Freud and Adler come much 
nearer to getting at the bottom of the neuroses than does 
any earlier approach to the question from the side of medicine, 
they still fail, because of their exclusive concern with the 
drives, to satisfy the deeper spiritual needs of the patient 
They are still bound by the premises of nineteenth-century 
science, and they are too self-evident — they give too httle 
value to fictional and imaginative processes In a word, they 
do not give meaning enough to life. And it is only the 
meaningful that sets us free. 

Everyday reasonableness, sound human judgement, and 
science as a compendium of common sense, certainly help 
us over a good part of the road ; yet they do not go beyond 
that frontier of human life which surrounds the commonplace 

260 psychotherapists or the clergy 

and matter-of-fact, the merely average and normal. They 
afford, after all, no answer to the question of spiritual 
suffering and its innermost meaning A psycho-neurosis 
must be understood as the suffering of a human being who 
has not discovered what life means for him But all creative- 
ness in the realm of the spirit as well as every psychic advance 
of man arises from a state of mental suffering, and it is 
spiritual stagnation, psychic sterility, which causes this state. 

The doctor who realizes this truth sees a territory opened 
before him which he approaches with the greatest hesitation. 
He is now confronted with the necessity of conveying to his 
patient the healing fiction, the meaning that quickens — for 
it is this that the patient longs for, over and above all that 
reason and science can give him. The patient is looking for 
something that will take possession of him and give meaning 
and form to the confusion of his neurotic mind. 

Is the doctor equal to this task ? To begin with, he will 
probably hand over his patient to the clergyman or the 
philosopher, or abandon him to that perplexity which is the 
special note of our day. As a doctor he is not required to have 
a finished outlook on hfe, and his professional conscience 
does not demand it of him. But what will he do when he 
sees only too clearly why his patient is ill ; when he sees 
that it arises from his having no love, but only sexuality ; 
no faith, because he is afraid to grope in the dark , no hope, 
because he is disillusioned by the world and by life ; and 
no understanding, because he has failed to read the me aning 
of his own existence ? 

There are many well-educated patients who flatly refuse 
to consult the clergyman. With the philosopher they will 
have even less to do, for the history of philosophy leaves 
them cold, and intellectual problems seem to them more 


barren than the desert And where are the great and wise 
men who do not merely talk about the meaning of life and 
of the world, but really possess it ? Human thought cannot 
conceive any system or final truth that could give the patient 
what he needs m order to live : that is, faith, hope, love and 

These four highest achievements of human effort are so 
many gifts of grace, which are neither to be taught nor 
learned, neither given nor taken, neither withheld nor earned, 
since they come through experience, which is something 
given, and therefore beyond the reach of human caprice 
Experiences cannot be made. They happen — yet fortunately 
their independence of man’s activity is not absolute but 
relative. We can draw closer to them — that much hes 
within our human reach. There are ways which bring us 
nearer to living experience, yet we should beware of calling 
these ways " methods ”. The very word has a deadening 
effect The way to experience, moreover, is anything but a 
clever trick ; it is rather a venture which requires us to 
commit ourselves with our whole being. 

Thus, in trying to meet the demands made upon him, 
the doctor is confronted by a question which seems to 
contain an insuperable difficulty How can he help the 
sufferer to attain the liberating experience which will bestow 
upon him the four great gifts of grace and heal his sickness ? 
We can of course advise the patient with the very best 
intentions that he should have true love, or true faith, or 
true hope , and we can admonish him with the phrase : 
“ Know thyself ”. But how is the patient, before he has 
come to experience, to obtain that which only experience 
can give him ? 

Saul owed his conversion neither to true love, nor to true 


faith, nor to any other truth. It was solely his hatred of 
the Christians that set him upon the road to Damascus, 
and to that decisive experience which was to decide the 
whole course of his life. He was brought to this experience 
by following with conviction the course in which he was 
most completely mistaken. This opens up for us an 
approach to the problems of life which we can hardly take 
too seriously. And it confronts the psychotherapist with 
a question which brings him shoulder to shoulder with the 
clergyman : the question of good and evil 

It is in reality the priest or the clergyman, rather than the 
doctor, who should be most concerned with the problem of 
spiritual suffering. But in most cases the sufferer consults 
the doctor in the first place, because he supposes himself 
to be physically ill, and because certain neurotic symptoms 
can be at least alleviated by drugs. But if, on the other hand, 
the clergyman is consulted, he cannot persuade the sick man 
that the trouble is psychic As a rule he lacks the special 
knowledge which would enable him to discern the psychic 
factors of the disease, and his judgement is without the 
weight of authority. 

There are, however, persons who, while well aware of the 
psychic nature of their complaint, nevertheless refuse to 
turn to the clergyman They do not believe that he can 
really help them Such persons distrust the doctor for the 
same reason, and they are justified by the fact that both 
doctor and clergyman stand before them with empty hands, 
if not — what is even worse — with empty words We can 
hardly expect the doctor to have anything to say about the 
ultimate questions of the soul. It is from the clergyman, 
not from the doctor, that the sufferer should expect such 
help. But the Protestant clergyman often finds himself 


face to face with an almost impossible task, for he has to 
cope with practical difficulties that the Catholic priest is 
spared Above all, the priest has the authority of his 
Church behmd him, and his economic position is secure and 
independent This is far less true of the Protestant clergy- 
man who may be married and burdened with the respon- 
sibility of a family, and cannot expect, if all else fails, to be 
supported by his community or taken into a monastery. 
But the priest, if he is also a Jesuit, even has at his disposal 
the psychological teaching of the present day. I know, for 
instance, that my own writings were seriously studied in 
Rome long before any Protestant pastor thought them 
worthy of a glance 

We have come to a serious pass. The exodus from the 
German Protestant Church is only one of many symptoms 
which should make it plain to the clergy that mere admoni- 
tions to believe, or to perform acts of charity, do not give 
modem man what he is looking for. The fact that many 
clergymen seek support or practical help from Freud’s 
theory of sexuality or Adler’s theory of power is astonishing, 
inasmuch as both these theories are hostile to spiritual 
values, being, as I have said, psychology without the psyche. 
They are rational methods of treatment which actually 
hinder the realization of meaningful experience. By far the 
larger number of psychotherapists are disciples of Freud or 
of Adler This means that the great majority of patients 
are necessarily alienated from a spiritual standpoint — a fact 
which cannot be a matter of indifference to one who has the 
realization of spiritual values much at heart. The wave of 
interest in psychology which at present is sweeping over 
the Protestant countries of Europe is far from receding. It 
is coincident with the general exodus from the Church. 


Quoting a Protestant minister, I may say : " Nowadays 
people go to the psychotherapist rather than to the 

I am convinced that this statement is true only of relatively 
educated persons, not of mankind in the mass. However, 
we must not forget that it will be some twenty years before 
the ordinary run of people begin to think the thoughts of 
the educated person of today. For instance, Buchner’s 
work. Force and Matter, became one of the most widely 
read books in German public libraries about twenty years 
after educated persons had begun to forget about it. I am 
persuaded that what is today a vital interest in psychology 
among educated persons will tomorrow be shared by 

I should like to call attention to the following facts. 
During the past thirty years, people from all the civilized 
countnes of the earth have consulted me I have treated 
many hundreds of patients, the larger number being 
Protestants, a smaller number Jews, and not more than five 
or six believing Catholics. Among all my patients in the 
second half of life — that is to say, over thirty-five — there 
has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not 
that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say 
that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which 
the living religions of every age have given to their followers, 
and none of them has been really healed who did not 
regain his religious outlook This of course has nothing 
whatever to do with a particular creed or membership of a 

Here, then, the clergyman stands before a vast horizon. 
But it would seem as if no one had noticed it. It also looks 
as though the Protestant clergyman of today was in- 


sufficiently equipped to cope with the urgent psychic needs 
of our age It is indeed high tune for the clergyman and 
the psychotherapist to jom forces to meet this great spiritual 

Here is a concrete example which goes to show how 
closely this problem touches us all Somewhat more than 
two years ago the leaders of the Christian Students’ 
Conference at Aarau (Switzerland) laid before me the question 
whether people in spiritual distress prefer nowadays to 
consult the doctor rather than the clergyman, and what are 
the causes of their choice. This was a very direct and 
concrete question. At that time I knew nothing more 
than the fact that my own patients obviously had con- 
sulted the doctor rather than the clergyman. It seemed 
to me to be open to doubt whether this was generally the 
case or not. At any rate, I was unable to give a definite 
reply. I therefore set on foot an enquiry, through acquain- 
tances of mine, among people whom I did not know , I 
sent out a questionnaire which was answered by Swiss, 
German, and French Protestants, as well as by a few 
Catholics. The results are very interesting, as the following 
general summary shows. Those who decided for the doctor 
represented 57 per cent, of the Protestants and only 25 per 
cent of the Catholics, while those who decided for the 
divine formed 8 per cent of the Protestants and 58 per cent, 
of the Catholics. These were the unequivocal decisions. 
There were some 35 per cent, of the Protestants who could 
not make up their minds, while only 17 per cent of the 
Catholics were undecided. 

The reason given for not consulting the minister of the 
church was generally his lack of psychological knowledge 
and insight, and this covered 52 per cent, of the answers. 


Some 28 per cent, were to the effect that he was prejudiced 
in his views and showed a dogmatic and traditional bias. 
Curiously enough, there was even one clergyman who 
decided for the doctor, while another made the irritated 
retort : " Theology has nothing to do with the treatment of 
human beings ”. All the relatives of clergymen who 
answered my questionnaire pronounced themselves against 
the clergy. 

In so far as this enquiry was restricted to educated persons, 
it is only a straw in the wind I am convinced that the 
uneducated classes would have reacted differently But I am 
inclined to accept the results as a more or less valid indication 
of the views of educated people, the more so as it is a well- 
known fact that their indifference in matters of the Church 
and religion is steadily growing. And we must not forget 
that truth of social psychology to which I have already 
referred : that it takes about twenty years for a general 
outlook upon life to percolate down from the educated class 
to the uneducated masses. Who, for instance, would have 
dared to prophesy twenty years ago, or even ten, that Spain, 
the most Catholic of European countries, would undergo the 
unexampled spiritual transformation we are witnessing 
today ? And yet it has broken out with the violence of a 

It seems to me, that, side by side with the decline of 
religious life, the neuroses grow noticeably more frequent. 
There are as yet no statistics which enable us to prove this 
increase in actual numbers. But of one thing I am sure, 
that everywhere the mental state of European man shows 
an alarming lack of balance. We are living undeniably in 
a period of the greatest restlessness, nervous tension, 
confusion and disorientation of outlook. Among my patients 


from many countries, all of them educated persons, there 
is a considerable number who came to see me, not because 
they were suffering from a neurosis, but because they could 
find no meaning m hfe or were torturing themselves with 
questions which neither present-day philosophy nor religion 
could answer. Some of them perhaps thought that I knew 
of a magic formula, but I was soon forced to tell them that 
I, too, had no answer to give. And this brings us to practical 

Let us take for example that most ordinary and frequent 
of questions What is the meaning of my hfe, or of hfe in 
general ? Men to-day beheve that they know only too well 
what the clergyman will say — or, rather, must say — to this. 
They smile at the very thought of the philosopher’s answer, 
and in general do not expect much of the physician But 
from the psychotherapist who analyses the unconscious — 
from him one might doubtless learn something He has 
perhaps dug up from the depths of his mind, among other 
things, a meaning for hfe which could be bought for a fee ! 
It must be a rehef to every serious-minded person to hear 
that the psychotherapist also does not know what to say. 
Such a confession is often the beginning of the patient’s 
confidence m him 

I have found that modem man has an ineradicable aversion 
for traditional opinions and inherited troths. He is a 
Bolshevist for whom all the spiritual standards and forms 
of the past have lost their validity, and who therefore wants 
to experiment in the world of the spirit as the Bolshevist 
experiments with economics When confronted with this 
modem attitude, every ecclesiastical system is in a parlous 
state, be it Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist or Confucian. 
Among these moderns there are of course certain of those 


denigrating, destructive and perverse natures — unbalanced 
eccentrics — who are never satisfied anywhere, and who 
therefore flock to every new banner, much to the hurt of 
these movements and undertakings, in the hope of finding 
something for once which will atone at a low cost for their 
own insufficiency. It goes without saying that, in my 
professional work, I have come to know a great many 
modem men and women, and such pathological pseudo- 
modems among them. But I prefer to leave these aside. 
Those of whom I am thinking are by no means sickly 
eccentrics, but are most often exceptionally able, courageous 
and upright persons who have repudiated our traditional 
truths for honest and decent reasons, and not from wicked- 
ness of heart. Every one of them has the feeling that our 
religious truths have somehow or other grown empty. 
Either they cannot reconcile the scientific and the religious 
outlooks, or Christian tenets have lost their authority and 
their psychological justification People no longer feel 
themselves to have been redeemed by the death of Christ , 
they cannot believe — they cannot compel themselves to 
believe, however happy they may deem the man who has a 
belief. Sin has for them become something quite relative . 
what is evil for the one, is good for the other. After all, 
why should not Buddha be in the right, also ? 

There is no one who is not familiar with these questions 
and doubts. Yet Freudian analysis would brush all these 
matters aside as irrelevant. It holds the position that the 
basic problem is that of repressed sexuality, and that philo- 
sophical or religious doubts only mask the true state of 
affairs. If we closely examine the individual case, we do 
actually discover peculiar disturbances in the sexual sphere 
as well as in the sphere of the unconscious impulses in general. 


It is Freud’s way to see in these disturbances an explanation 
of the psychic disturbance as a whole ; he is interested only 
in the causal interpretation of the sexual symptoms. He 
completely overlooks the fact that, m certain cases, the 
supposed causes of the neurosis were always present, but 
had no pathological effect until a disturbance of the conscious 
attitude set m and led to a neurotic upset. It is as though, 
when a ship was sinking because of a leak, the crew only 
interested itself in the chemical constitution of the water 
that was pouring m Disturbances in the sphere of the 
unconscious drives are not primary, but secondary pheno- 
mena When conscious life has lost its meaning and promise, 
it is as though a panic had broken loose and we heard the 
exclamation " Let us eat and dnnk, for tomorrow we die ' ” 
It is this mood, bom of the meaninglessness of hfe, that 
causes the disturbance in the unconscious and provokes the 
painfully curbed impulses to break out anew. The causes of 
a neurosis lie m the present as well as in the past ; and only 
a still existing cause can keep a neurosis active. A man is 
not tubercular because he was mfected twenty years ago 
with bacilli, but because foci of infection are still active today. 
The questions when and how the infection took place are even 
quite irrelevant to his present condition. Even the most 
accurate knowledge of the previous history of the case cannot 
cure tuberculosis. And the same holds true of the neuroses. 

This is why I regard the religious problems which the 
patient brings before me as relevant to the neurosis and as 
possible causes of it. But if I take them seriously, I must 
admit to the patient that his feelings are justified " Yes, 
I agree, Buddha may be right as well as Jesus. Sm is only 
relative, and it is difficult to see how we can feel ourselves 
in any way redeemed by the death of Christ.” As a doctor 


I can easily admit these doubts, while it is hard for the 
clergyman to do so The patient feels my attitude to be 
one of understanding, while the pastor’s hesitation strikes 
him as a traditional prejudice, which estranges them from 
one another. He asks himself . " What would the pastor 
say if I began to tell him of the painful details of my sexual 
disturbances ? ” He rightly suspects that the pastor’s 
moral prejudice is even stronger than his dogmatic bias. 
In this connection there is a good story about the American 
president, “ silent Cal ” Coolidge When he returned after 
an absence one Sunday morning his wife asked him where 
he had been. " To church ”, he replied " What did the 
minister say ? ” “ He talked about sin.” “ And what did 
he say about sm ? ” ” He was against it ” 

It might be supposed that it is easy for the doctor to show 
understanding m this respect. But people forget that even 
doctors have moral scruples, and that certain patients’ 
confessions are hard even for a doctor to swallow. Yet the 
patient does not feel himself accepted unless the very worst 
in him is accepted too No one can bring this about by mere 
words , it comes only through the doctor’s sincerity and 
through his attitude towards himself and his own evil side 
If the doctor wants to offer guidance to another, or even to 
accompany him a step of the way, he must be in touch with 
this other person's psychic life He is never in touch when he 
passes judgement. Whether he puts his judgements mto 
words, or keeps them to himself, makes not the shghtest 
difference. To take the opjjosite position, and to agree with 
the patient offhand, is also of no use, but estranges him as 
much as condemnation. We can get in touch with another 
person only by an attitude of unprejudiced objectivity. This 
may sound like a scientific precept, and may be confused with 


a purely intellectual and detached attitude of mind, But 
what I mean to convey is something quite different. It is a 
human quality — a kind of deep respect for facts and events 
and for the person who suffers from them — a respect for the 
secret of such a human life. The truly religious person has 
this attitude He knows that God has brought all sorts of 
strange and inconceivable things to pass, and seeks in the 
most curious ways to enter a man’s heart He therefore 
senses in everything the unseen presence of the divine will 
This is what I mean by “ unprejudiced objectivity.” It is 
a moral achievement on the part of the doctor, who ought 
not to let himself be repelled by illness and corruption. We 
cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation 
does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the 
person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer. I do 
not m the least mean to say that we must never pass judge- 
ment in the cases of persons whom we desire to help and 
improve. But if the doctor wishes to help a human being 
he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this 
in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself 
as he is 

Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are 
always the most difficult In actual life it requires the 
greatest discipline to be simple, and the acceptance of 
oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the epitome 
of a whole outlook upon life. That I feed the hungry, that 
I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of 
Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I 
do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. 
But what if I should discover that the least amongst them 
all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all 
the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within^ 


me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own 
kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — 
what then ? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then 
reversed ; there is no longer any question of love or long- 
suffering ; we say to the brother within us “ Raca ”, and 
condemn and rage against ourselves We hide it from the 
world , we refuse to admit ever having met this least among 
the lowly in ourselves. Had it been God himself who drew 
near to us in this despicable form, we should have denied 
him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed. 

The man who uses modem psychology to look behind the 
scenes not only of his patients’ lives but more especially of 
his own — and the modem psychotherapist must do this if 
he is not to be merely an unconscious fraud — will admit 
that to accept himself in all his wretchedness is the hardest 
of tasks, and one which it is almost impossible to fulfil 
The very thought can make us livid with fear We therefore 
do not hesitate, but lightheartedly choose the comphcated 
course of remaining in ignorance about ourselves while 
busying ourselves with other people and their troubles and 
sins. This activity lends us an air of virtue, and we thus 
deceive ourselves and those around us. In this way, thank 
God, we can escape from ourselves There are countless 
people who can do this with impunity, but not everyone 
can, and these few break down on the road to Damascus 
and succumb to a neurosis. How can I help these persons 
if I am myself a fugitive, and perhaps also suffer from the 
morbus sacer of a neurosis ? Only he who has fully accepted 
himself has “ unprejudiced objectivity But no one is 
justified in boasting that he has fully accepted himself. 
We can point to Christ, who offered his traditional bias as 
a sacrifice to the god in himself, and so lived his life as it was 


to the bitter end without regard for conventions or for the 
moral standards of the Pharisees. 

We Protestants must sooner or later face this question : 
Are we to understand the “ imitation of Chnst ” in the sense 
that we should copy his life and, if I may use the expression, 
ape his stigmata ; or m the deeper sense that we are to live 
our own proper hves as truly as he lived his in all its im- 
plications ? It is no easy matter to live a life that is modelled 
on Christ’s, but it is unspeakably harder to live one’s own 
life as truly as Christ hved his Anyone who did this would 
run counter to the forces of the past, and though he might 
thus be fulfilling his destmy, would none the less be mis- 
judged, derided, tortured and crucified He would be a 
kind of mad Bolshevist who deserved the cross We there- 
fore prefer the historically sanctioned imitation of Christ 
which is transfigured by holiness I should never disturb 
a monk in his practice of identifying himself with Christ, 
for he deserves our respect. But neither I nor my patients 
are monks, and it is my duty as a physician to show my 
patients how they can live their lives without becoming 
neurotic. Neurosis is an inner cleavage — the state of being 
at war with oneself. Everything that accentuates this 
cleavage makes the patient worse, and everything that 
mitigates it tends to heal the patient. What drives people 
to war with themselves is the intuition or the knowledge 
that they consist of two persons m opposition to one another. 
The conflict may be between the sensual and the spiritual 
man, or between the ego and the shadow. It is what Faust 
means when he says . “ Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast 
apart ”. A neurosis is a dissociation of personality. 

Healing may be called a religious problem In the sphere 
of social or national relations, the state of suffering may be 


civil war, and this state is to be cured by the Christian virtue 
of forgiveness for those who hate us That which we try 
with the conviction of good Christians to apply to external 
situations, we must also apply to the inner state in the 
treatment of neurosis. This is why modem man has heard 
enough about guilt and sin. He is sorely enough beset by 
his own bad conscience, and wants rather to learn how he 
is to reconcile himself with his own nature — how he is to 
love the enemy in his own heart and call the wolf his 

The modem man, moreover, is not eager to know in what 
way he can imitate Christ, but in what way he can live his 
own individual hfe, however meagre and uninteresting it 
may be. It is because every form of imitation seems to him 
deadening and sterile that he rebels against the force of 
tradition that would hold him to well-trodden ways. All 
such roads, for him, lead in the wrong direction. He may 
not know it, but he behaves as if his own individual life were 
instinct with the will of God which must at all costs be 
fulfilled. This is the source of his egoism, which is one of 
the most tangible evils of the neurotic state. But the person 
who tells him he is too egoistic has lost his confidence, and 
rightly so, for that person has driven him still further into 
his neurosis. 

If I wish to effect a cure for my patients I am forced to 
acknowledge the deep significance of their egoism. I should 
be blind, indeed, if I did not recognize in it the true will of 
God. I must even help the patient to prevail in his egoism ; 
if he succeeds in this, he estranges himself from other people. 
He drives them away, and they come to themselves — as 
they should, for they were seeking to rob him of his " sacred ” 
egoism This must be left to him, for it is his strongest and 


healthiest power , it is, as I have said, a true will of God, 
which sometimes drives him into complete isolation. How- 
ever wretched this state may be, it also stands him in good 
stead, for in this way alone can he take his own measure and 
learn what an invaluable treasure is the love of his fellow- 
beings. It is, moreover, only m the state of complete 
abandonment and loneliness that we experience the helpful 
powers of our own natures. 

When one has several times seen this development take 
place one can no longer deny that what was evil has turned 
to good, and that what seemed good has kept alive the forces 
of evil The archdemon of egoism leads us along the royal 
road to that ingathering which religious experience demands. 
What we observe here is a fundamental law of hfe — en- 
anitodromta — the reversal mto the opposite ; and this it is 
that makes possible the reumon of the wamng halves of the 
personality and thereby brings the civil war to an end. 

I have taken the neurotic’s egoism as an example because 
it is one of his most common symptoms. I might equally 
well have taken any other characteristic symptom to show 
what attitude the physician must adopt towards the short- 
comings of his patients, and how he must deal with the 
problem of evil. 

No doubt this also sounds very simple. In reality, however, 
the acceptance of the shadow-side of human nature verges 
on the impossible Consider for a moment what it means to 
grant the right of existence to what is unreasonable, senseless 
and evil ! Yet it is just this that the modem man insists 
upon. He wants to live with every side of himself — to know 
what he is. That is why he casts history aside. He wants 
to break with tradition so that he can experiment with his 
life and determine what value and meaning things have in 


themselves, apart from traditional presuppositions. Modem 
youth gives us astonis hing examples of this attitude. To 
show how far this tendency may go, I will instance a 
question addressed to me by a German society. I was asked 
if incest is to be reprobated, and what facts can be adduced 
against it ! 

Granted such tendencies, the conflicts into which people 
may fall are not hard to imagine I can well understand that 
one would like to leave nothing untried to protect one’s 
fellow-beings from such adventures But curiously enough 
we find ourselves without means to do this. All the old 
arguments against unreasonableness, self-deception and 
immorality, once so potent, have lost their effectiveness 
We are now reaping the fruit of nineteenth-century education. 
Throughout that period the Church preached to young 
people the merit of blind faith, while the universities in- 
culcated an intellectual rationalism, with the result that 
today we plead in vain whether for faith or reason. Tired 
of this warfare of opinions, the modem man wishes to find 
out for himself how things are. And though this desire 
opens bar and bolt to the most dangerous possibilities, we 
cannot help seeing it as a courageous enterprise and giving 
it some measure of sympathy. It is no reckless adventure, 
but an effort inspired by deep spiritual distress to bring 
meaning once more into life on the basis of fresh and un- 
prejudiced experience. Caution has its place, no doubt, 
but we cannot refuse our support to a serious venture which 
calls the whole of the personality into the field of action. 
If we oppose it, we are trying to suppress what is best in 
man — his daring and his aspiration. And should we succeed, 
we should only have stood in the way of that invaluable 
experience which might have given a meaning to life What 


would have happened if Paul had allowed himself to be 
talked out of his ]oumey to Damascus ? 

The psychotherapist who takes his work seriously must 
come to grips with this question. He must decide in every 
single case whether or not he is willing to stand by a human 
being with counsel and help upon what may be a daring 
misadventure. He must have no fixed ideas as to what is 
right, nor must he pretend to know what is right and what 
not — otherwise he takes something from the richness of 
the experience He must keep in view what actually happens 
— and only that which acts, is actual. If something which 
seems to me an error shows itself to be more effective than 
a truth, then I must first follow up the error, for in it he 
power and life which I lose if I hold to what seems to me 
true. Light has need of darkness — otherwise how could it 
appear as light ? 

It is well known that Freudian psychoanalysis is limited 
to the task of making conscious the shadow-side and the 
evil within us. It simply brings into action the civil war 
that was latent, and lets it go at that. The patient must 
deal with it as best he can Freud has unfortunately over- 
looked the fact that man has never yet been able single- 
handed to hold his own against the powers of darkness — 
that is, of the unconscious Man has always stood in need of 
the spiritual help which each individual’s own religion held 
out to him. The opening up of the unconscious always means 
the outbreak of intense spiritual suffering ; it is as when a 
flourishing civilization is abandoned to invading hordes of 
barbarians, or when fertile fields are exposed by the bursting 
of a dam to a raging torrent. The World War was such an 
irruption which showed, as nothing else could, how thin are 
the walls which separate a well-ordered world from lurking 


chaos. But it is the same with every single human being 
and his reasonably ordered world. His reason has done 
violence to natural forces which seek their revenge and only 
await the moment when the partition falls to overwhelm 
the conscious life with destruction. Man has been aware 
of this danger since the earliest times, even in the most 
primitive stages of culture. It was to arm himself against 
this threat and to heal the damage done, that he developed 
religious and magical practices. This is why the 
medicine-man is also the priest ; he is the saviour of the 
body as well as of the soul, and religions are systems of 
healing for psychic illness. This is especially true of the 
two greatest religions of man, Christianity and Buddhism 
Man is never helped m his suffering by what he thinks for 
himself, but only by revelations of a wisdom greater than his 
own. It is this which lifts him out of his distress. 

Today this eruption of destructive forces has already 
taken place, and man suffers from it in spirit. That is why 
patients force the psychotherapist mto the role of a priest, 
and expect and demand of him that he shall free them from 
their distress. That is why we psychotherapists must 
occupy ourselves with problems which, strictly speaking, 
belong to the theologian. But we cannot leave these ques- 
tions for theology to answer ; the urgent, psychic needs of 
suffering people confront us with them day after day. Since, 
as a rule, every concept and viewpoint handed down from 
the past fails us, we must first tread with the patient the 
path of his illness — the path of his mistake that sharpens 
his conflicts and increases his loneliness till it grows un- 
bearable — hoping that from the psychic depths which cast up 
the powers of destruction the rescuing forces will come also. 

When first I took this direction I did not know where it 


would lead. I did not know what lay hid in the depths of 
the psyche — that region which I have since called the 
“ collective unconscious ”, and whose contents I designate 
as “ archetypes Since time immemorial, eruptions of the 
unconscious have taken place, and ever and again they have 
repeated themselves. Consciousness did not exist from the 
beginning, and in every child it has to be built up anew in 
the first years of life. Consciousness is very weak in this 
formative period, and history shows us that the same is 
true of mankind — the unconscious easily seizes power. 
These struggles have left their marks To put it in scientific 
terms : instinctive defence-mechanisms have been developed 
which automatically intervene when the danger is greatest, 
and their coming into action is represented in fantasy by 
helpful images which are meradicably fixed in the human 
psyche. These mechanisms come into play whenever the 
need is great. Science can only establish the existence of 
these psychic factors and attempt a rational explanation by 
offering an hypothesis as to their sources. This, however, 
only thrusts the problem a stage back and in no way answers 
the riddle. We thus come to those ultimate questions : 
Whence does consciousness come ? What is the psyche ? 
And at this point all science ends 

It is as though, at the culmination of the illness, the 
destructive powers were converted into healing forces. This 
is brought about by the fact that the archetypes come to 
independent life and serve as spiritual guides for the 
personality, thus supplanting the inadequate ego with its 
futile willing and striving. As the religious-minded person 
would say . guidance has come from God. With most of 
my patients I have to avoid this formulation, for it reminds 
them too much of what they have to reject I must express 

280 psychotherapists or the clergy 

myself in more modest terms, and say that the psyche has 
awakened to spontaneous life And indeed this formula 
more closely fits the observable facts. The transformation 
takes place at that moment when in dreams or fantasies 
themes appear whose source in consciousness cannot be 
shown. To the patient it is nothing less than a revelation 
when, from the hidden depths of the psyche, something 
arises to confront him — something strange that is not the 
" I ” and is therefore beyond the reach of personal caprice 
He has gained access to the sources of psychic life, and this 
marks the beginning of the cure. 

This process, if it is to be made clear, should undoubtedly 
be discussed with the help of suitable examples But it is 
almost impossible to find one or more convincing illustrations, 
for it is usually a most subtle and complicated matter. That 
which is so effective is often simply the deep impression 
made on the patient by the independent way m which his 
dreams treat of his difficulties Or it may be that his fantasy 
points to something for which his conscious mind was quite 
unprepared. Most often it is contents of an archetypal 
nature, connected in a certain way, that exert a strong 
influence of their own whether or not they are understood 
by the conscious mind. This spontaneous activity of the 
psyche often becomes so intense that visionary pictures are 
seen or inner voices heard. These are manifestations of the 
spirit directly experienced today as they have been from 
time immemorial. 

Such experiences reward the sufferer for the pains of the 
labyrinthine way. From this point forward a light shines 
through his confusion ; he can reconcile himself with the 
warfare within and so come to bridge the morbid split in his 
nature upon a higher level. 


The fundamental problems of modem psychotherapy are 
so important and far-reaching that their discussion in an 
essay precludes any presentation of details, however desirable 
this might be for clarity’s sake. My main purpose was to 
set forth the attitude of the psychotherapist in his work. 
A proper understanding of this is after all more rewarding 
than to cull a few precepts and pointers as to methods of 
treatment, for these are m any case not effective unless they 
are applied with the right understanding The attitude of 
the psychotherapist is infinitely more important than the 
theories and methods of psychotherapy, and that is why I 
have been concerned to make this attitude known I 
believe that I have given a trustworthy account As for 
the questions m what way and how far the clergyman can 
join the psychotherapist m his efforts and endeavours, I 
can only impart information which will allow others to 
decide I also believe that the picture I have drawn of the 
spiritual outlook of modern man corresponds to the actual 
state of affairs — though, of course, I make no claim to 
infallibility In any case, what I have had to say about the 
cure of the neuroses, and the problems involved, is the 
unvarnished truth. We doctors would naturally welcome 
the sympathetic understanding of the clergy in our en- 
deavours to heal psychic suffering, but we are also fully 
aware of the fundamental difficulties which stand in the way 
of a full cooperation. My own position is on the extreme 
left wing of the congress of Protestant opinion, yet I would 
be the first to warn people against generalizing from then- 
own experience in an injudicious way. As a Swiss, I am an 
inveterate democrat, yet I recognize that nature is aristo- 
cratic and, what is even more, esoteric Quod licet Jovi, non 
licet born is an unpleasant but an eternal truth. Who are 


forgiven their many sins ? Those who have loved much. 
But as to those who love httle, their few sins are held against 
them. I am firmly convinced that a vast number of people 
belong to the fold of the Catholic Church and nowhere else, 
because they are most suitably housed there I am as much 
persuaded of this as of the fact, which I have myself observed, 
that a primitive religion is better suited to primitive people 
than Christianity, which is so incomprehensible to them and 
so foreign to their blood that they can only ape it m a dis- 
gusting way. I believe, too, that there must be protestants 
against the Catholic Church, and also protestants against 
Protestantism — for the manifestations of the spirit are truly 
wondrous, and as varied as Creation itself. 

The living spirit grows and even outgrows its earlier 
forms of expression ; it freely chooses the men in whom it 
lives and who proclaim it This living spirit is eternally 
renewed and pursues its goal m manifold and inconceivable 
ways throughout the history of mankind Measured against 
it, the names and forms which men have given it mean httle 
enough ; they are only the changing leaves and blossoms 
on the stem of the eternal tree.