'Modern Man in Search of a Soul' by Carl Jung (1932)

A selection from Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Jung, 1932.

Dream Analysis

The use of dream-analysis in psychotherapy is still a much debated question. Many practitioners find it indispensable in the treatment of neuroses, and ascribe as much importance to the psychic activity  manifested in 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 ['a meaningless conglomerate of memory-fragments left over from the happenings of the day'].

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 dream comes... as the expression of an involuntary psychic process not controlled by the conscious outlook. It presents the subjective state as it reall is. It has no respect for... the patient's views as to how things should be, but simply tells how the matter stands.

...dreams... present the aetiological factors in the neurosis; but... they also offer a prognosis or anticipation of the future and a suggestion as to the course of treatment as well.

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 unconsicous. We may call consciousness the daylight realm of the human psyche, and contrast it with the nocturnal realm of unconsicous psychic activity which we apprehend as dreamlike fantasy. ...the unconscious psyche contains a wealth of contents and living forms equal to or even greater than does consciousness, 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. [...] I leave theory aside as much as possible in analysing dreams. 

...at least a half of man's life is passed in [the nocturnal] realm,... consciousness has its roots there, and... the unconscious operates in and out of waking existence.

...we cannot effectively treat the patient from the side of consciousness alone, but must bring about a change in and through the unconscious. In the light of our present knowledge this can be achieved only by the thorough and 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. [...] The Freudian school presents the unconscious in a thoroughly deprecatory light, just as also it looks on primitive man as little better than a wild beast [he cites other tropes associated in psychoanalysis with the unconscious like 'infantile-perverse-criminal', a 'dangerous monster', etc.]. [...] 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 primitivity at the cost of our highest values. Such an opinion can have no foundation other than the... belief that the unconscious is a monster. Such a view arises from fear of nature and of life... .
The unconscious is not a demonic monster, but a thing of nature... . It is dangerous only when our conscious attitude towards it becomes hopelessly false. And this danger grows in the measure that we practice repressions. [...] 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 [in particular the ego] by the unconscious- is most likely to occur when the unconscious is excluded from life by repressions, or misunderstood and depreciated.
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.
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. [...] If we do not [assimilate the contents of the dream], we shall keep that one-sided, conscious attitude which evoked the unconscious compensation in the first place.
The unconscious itself does not harbour explosive materials, but it may become explosive owing to the repressions exercised by a self-sufficient... conscious outlook. All the more reason, then, for giving heed to that side. [...] The dream is not an isolated psychic event completely cut off from daily life. If it seems so to us, that is only an illusion that arises from our lack of understanding.

It is... advisible, for the purposes of therapy,... to treat [dream symbols] as if they were not fixed. [...] ...if the practitioner operates too much with fixed symbols, there is a danger of his falling into mere routine and dogmatism, thus failing to meet the patients need.

...it frequently happens at the very beginning of a treatment that a dream reveals..., in a wide perspective, the general direction in which the unconscious is moving.

The familiar wod "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 life of the body.

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.

Problems of Modern Psychotherapy

The first beginnings of all analytical treatment are to be found in its prototype, the confessional.

Anything that is concealed is a secret. The mainenance of secrets... alienates their possessor from the community.

...their possession saves him from dissolving in the unconsciousness of mere community life, and thus from a fatal psychic injury [editors note: here we might recall the vital role which Jung confessed his secret life played in Dreams, Memoires and Reflections].

However beneficial a secret shared with several persons may be, a merely private secret has a destructive effect. It resembles a burdon 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 seperate existence in 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... develops a peculiar fantasy-life of its own. [...] And we continue to dream in waking life beneath the threshold of consciousness.

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.

...another form of cocealment 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 virtue. ...chiefly in the forms of ascetic continence and the stoical endurance of pain and fear. [...] From this kind of self-restraint come our well-known ugly moods and the irritability of the over-virtuous. [...] When emotion is withheld it tends to isolate and disturb us quite as much as an unconscious secret. [...] The repressed emotions are often of a kind we wish to keep secret.

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 form the living experience of feeling himself a man among men.

...my shadow... 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... . ...this rediscovery of that which makes me whole restores the condition which preceded the neurosis or the splitting off of the complex. In keeping the matter private I have only attained a partial cure-- for I still continue in my state of isolation.

For we are all in some way or other kept asunder by our secrets; and instead of seeking through confession to bridge the abysses that separate us form one another, we choose the easy by-way of deceptive opinions and illusions.

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.

Adler obviously has his eye on repressed and socially unsuccessful people whose one passion is for self-assertion.

If [the doctor] examines himself he will discover some... side which brings him dangerously near to his patient and perhaps even blights his authority.

What was formerly a method of medical treatment now becomes a method of self-education, and therewith the horizon of our modern psychology is immeasurably widened. [...] 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 h~therto 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 in us in some measure tractable. But when we reach a higher cultural level, we must forgo compulsion and turn to self-development. ...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... .

The Aims of Psychotherapy

There are... 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 freequent than the others.

About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. It seems to me, however, that this can well be described as the general neurosis of our time. 

In the majority of my cases, the resources of consciousness have been exhausted; the ordinary expression for this situation is "I am 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 standstill.

In such cases, therefore, my attention is directed more particularly to dreams.

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 whcih I can enrich the associations of my patients. Working together, we are then able to find the apparently irrelevent full of meaning and vastly increase the effectiveness of the dream.

I do not think that I underestimate the risk of this undertaking. 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, inadequate, morbid and unsatisfying fantasies whose sterile nature will be quickly recognized by every person endowed with commonsense; 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 again.

My aim is to bring about a psychic state... --a state of fluidity, change and growth, in which there is no longer anything eternally fixed and hopelessly petrified. [...] ...when something 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, to 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 in psychic life whose importance can hardly be overrated. And it is precisely for the religious outlook that the sense of historical continuity is indispensable.

...I now urge my patients at such times actually to paint what they have seen in dream or fantasy.

Although from time to time my patients produce artistically beautiful creations which might very well be shown in modern "art" exhibitions, I nevertheless treat them as wholly worthless according to the tests of serious art. It is even essential that no such value be allowed them... .

He... can give form to his own inner experience by painting it. For what he paints are active fantasies-- it is that which activates him. And that which is active within himself 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-series 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 discovered that the sun (or the self) was the centre of the planetary orbits and of the earth's orbit as well.

Most of my patients knew the deeper truth, but did not live it. And why did they not live it? Because of that bias which makes us all put the ego in the centre of our lives-and this bias comes from the over-valuation of consciousness.

I should like to avoid overhasty conclusions. 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... . [...] It is a process which brings into being a new centre of equilibrium, and it is as if the ego turned in an orbit round it. [...] By what criterion do we judge 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.

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 unfortunately 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.

Archaic Man

Primitive man is unpsychological. Psychic happenings take place outside him in an objective way. 

In the primitive world everything has psychic qualities. [...] Let us not forget... 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. [...] ...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 trascends nature. 

Psychology and Literature

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, ... a primordial experience which surpasses man's understanding, ... arises from timeless depths, ... makes quite other demands upon the powers of the artist than do the experiences of the foreground of life. [...] It is a vision of other worlds,... of the beginning of things before the age of man, or of the unborn generations of the future... .
...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 in the mental output of psychotic persons a wealth of meaning that we should expect rather from the works of a genius.
...we strip the vision of its primordial quality and take it as nothing but a symptom. The pregnant chaos then shrinks to the proportions of a psychic disturbance. With this account of the matter we feel reassured and turn again to our picture of a well-ordered cosmos. [...] 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.
...the visionary experience [is] 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 metaphysics 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 benighted superstition.
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.
...the seers, prophets, leaders and enlighteners... are in touch with the night-side of life. However dark this nocturnal world may be, it is not wholly unfamiliar. Man has known of it from time immemorial... .
...we... 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.. . 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.
The primordial experience... 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 like a whirlwind that seizes everything within reach and, by carrying it aloft, assumes a visible shape.
The Basic Postulates of Analytic Psychology


It was universally believed in the Middle Ages as well as in the Græco-Roman world that the soul is a substance. 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". [the German Seele = soul or psyche] 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 metaphysics. Nothing was considered "scientific" or admitted to be true unless it could be perceived by the senses or traced back to physical causes. [...] When the spiritual catastrophe of the Reformation put an end to the Gothic Age with its impetuous yearning for the heights, its geographical confinement, 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 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 causation.
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 discovered 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. [...] To grant the substantiality of the soul or psyche is repugnant to the spirit of the age, for to do so would be heresy.
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.
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 exclusively vertical perspective of the Gothic Age.
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 in terms of the spirit. This realisation would at once make us critical of our bias. We should say: most likely we are now making as serious an error on the other side.
The modern 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 modern, 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 ancient view held that spirit was essentially the life of the body... . 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 considered  as timeless and hence immortal. From the standpoint of modern, scientific psychology, this conception is of course pure illusion.

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 saiwala and the Old German saiwalo, and these can be connected with the Greek aiolos, 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, life-force.
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, spiritus sanctus was rendered by atun, 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.

These indications many serve to show how primitive  man experienced the psyche. To him the psyche appears as the source of life, the prime mover, a ghost-like presence which has objective reality.

The sense of the "I"-- the ego-consciousness-- grows out of unconscious life.

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.

...primitive societies used dreams and visions as important sources of information.

A high regard for the unconscious psyche as a source of knowledge is by no means such a delusion as our Western rationalism likes to suppose.

While consciousness is intensive and concentrated, it is transient and is directed upon the immediate present and the immediate field of attention; moveover, it has access only to material that represents one individuals experience stretching over a few decades. A wider range of "memory" is artifically 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 heterogenous elements  in the most paradoxical way.  [...] If it were permissible to personify the unconscious [Editors note: see Pascal's personification in the preface to his Treatise on the Vacuum], 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.

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 such a system. [...] ...it... seems to us that the unconscious can be understood 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 was actually something which came into being with the existence and consciousness of the individual. [...] Consciousness is a late-born descendent of the unconscious psyche.

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 everything in physical terms, I shall depreciate, hinder or even destroy the spiritual development of my patients.

If I change my concept of reality in such a way as to admit that all psychic happenings are real this puts an end to the conflict of matter and mind as contradictory explanatory principles.

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 magin on a plane with physical events. [...] 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-born, still enclosed in a dream-state within his own psyche and the world as it actually is... .

...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.

General conceptions of a spiritual nature are indispensable constituents of psychic life. [...] Their relative absence or their denial by a civilized people is... to be regarded as a sign of degeneration.

The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man

The spiritual problem of modern man is one of those questions which belong so intimately to the present in which we are living that we cannot judge of them fully. The modern man is a newly formed human being; a modern problem is a question which has just arisen and whose answer lies in the future.

...the man we call modern, 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 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. [...] He alone is modern who is fully conscious of the present. 

The man whom we can with justice call "modern" 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 in 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.

[Proficiency is] our criterion of the modern man. [...] 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. [...[ The present represents a process of transition, and that man may account himself modern who is conscious of it in this sense.

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 disappointment of the hopes and expectations of the ages.

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. [...] But no sooner are one or two of the channels of psychic activity blocked, that 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. [...] The very first thing [Freud] 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.

Psychic life always found expression in a metaphysical system of some sort. But the conscious, modern man, despite his strenuous and dogged efforts to do so, can no longer refrain from acknowledging the might of psychic forces. This distinguishes our time from all others. We can no longer deny... that psychic forces exist which cannot... 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. ... 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 life by the shattering of our faith in ourselves... . [...] ...the possibility of a rational organization of the world, that old dream of the millennium, in which peace and harmony should rule, has grown pale. The modern 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... . Through his scepticism the modern man is thrown back upon himself; his energies flow towards their source and wash to the surface those psychic contents which... lie hidden in the silt... .

The various forms of religion no longer appear to the modern man to come from within-- to be expressions of his own psychic life; for him they are to be classed with the things of the outer world.

Yet he is somehow fascinated by the almost pathological manifestations of the unconscious mind. [...] That there is a general interest in these matters is a truth which cannot be denied, their offence to good taste not-withstanding. I am not thinking merely of the interest taken in psychology as a science, or of the still narrower interest in the psychoanalysis of Freud, but of widespread interest in all sorts of psychic phenomena as manifested in the growth of spiritualism, astrology, theosophy, and so forth. The world has seen nothing like it since the end of the seventeenth century [i.e., alchemy]. 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.

The passionate interest in these movements arises undoubtedly from psychic energy which can no longer be invested in obsolete forms of religion.

Our age is apparently bent on discovering what exists in the psyche outside of consciousness.

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 hewing 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 in India, and, in the early eighteen-hundreds, brought back with him a... collection of fifty Upanishads which gave the Western world its first deep insight into the... 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 in 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... . [...] 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 doctors eyes, presents only a somewhat more complex picture of psychic life than the individual.
And so we can draw a parallel: just as in 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! So far, indeed, there is little of it to be seen in Europe on the intellectual surface: some orientalists, one or two Buddhist enthusiasts, and a few sombre celebrities like 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 occidental burns incense to himself, and his own countenance is veiled from him in the smoke. But how do we strike men of another colour?

I have a Red Indian friend 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 lines 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 insatiable lust to lord it in every land... . And he had also noted that megalomania of ours which leads us to suppose, among other things, that... the white Christ [is] the only Redeemer.

That is how the European looks when he is extricated from the cloud of his own moral incense.

...people who seen 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 interest that is aroused by them may find other expressions; but it will certainly show itself in 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 riper forms will emerge.

...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...  When... I call attention to the dismal undercurrents of the psyche, it is not in order to sound a pessimistic note... . The psychic depths are nature, and nature is creative life. [...] Does not the example of Anquetil du Perron show us how psychic life survives its own eclipse?

We have never yet hit upon the thought that while we are overpowering the Orient from without, it may be fastening its hold upon us from within. [...] After the conquest of Asia Minor, Rome became Asiatic. [...] Need I point to the Asiatic origin of Christianity?

It is from the depths of our own psychic life that new spiritual forms will arise... . [...] 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 modern 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 insecurity. 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 life exerts upon modern 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 manifestation. It is the more noteworthy because it shows itself in broad sections of people; and it is the more important because it is a matter of those imponderable psychic forces which transform human life in ways that are unforeseen and-- as history shows-- unforeseeable.

Instinctively the modern 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.

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?

So I am refuted all along the line, 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 modern 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 in 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.

The cinema... makes it possible to experience without danger all the excitement, passion and desirousness which must be repressed in a humanitarian ordering of life. [...] We can hardly be surprised if this [attraction of the psyche] leads to the rediscovery of the body after its long deprecation in the name of spirit. We are even tempted to speak of the body's revenge upon the spirit. [...] 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.

Psychotherapists or the Clergy

The kind of psychology they [Freud and Adler] 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 themselves. 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... .

A psycho-neurosis must be understood as the suffering of a human being who has not discovered what life means for him. But all creativeness 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... .

...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 meaning of his own existence?

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.

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.

The fact that many clergymen seek support or practical help trom 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.

During the past thirty years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me.[...]  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.

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 insufficiently equipped to cope with the urgent psychic needs of our age. It is indeed high time for the clergyman and the psychotherapist to join forces to meet this great spiritual task.

It seems to me, that, side by side with the decline of religious life, the neuroses grow noticeably more frequent. [...] ...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.

I have found that modern man has an ineradicable aversion for traditional opinions and inherited truths. 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.

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

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," [
Raca, a Biblical term of Aramaic origin used in Matthew 5:22. Its meaning is a word of contempt towards an object that is depised] 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.

...to accept himself in all his wretchedness is the hardest of tasks...  . The very thought can make us livid with fear. We therefore do not hesitate, but lightheartedly choose the complicated 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. [...] Only he who has fully accepted himself has "unprejudiced objectivity."

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 in 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. [...] ...modern 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 brother.
The modern man, moreover, is not eager to know in what way he can imitate Christ, but in what way he can live his own individual life, 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.
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 life- enantiodromia- the reversal into the opposite; and this it is that makes possible the reunion of the warring 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. [...] 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 modern 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. Modern youth gives us astonishing examples of this attitude.

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 unprejudiced experience. Caution has its place,. no doubt but we cannot refuse our support to a senous 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 journey to Damascus?

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. [...] The World War was such an irruption which showed, as nothing else could, how thin are the walls which separate a wellordered 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.
...patients force the psychotherapist into 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. [...] ...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 unbearable-- hoping that from the psychic depths which cast up the powers of destruction the rescuing forces will come also.

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 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.

That which is so effective is often simply the deep impression made on the patient by the independent way in 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. [...] 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 shmes 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 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 in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind. Measured against it, the names and forms which men have given it mean little enough; they are only the changing leaves and blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree.