Carl Jung’s Structure of the Psyche (notes by illixaxis)

The psyche, as a reflection of the world and man, is a
thing of such infinite complexity that it can be observed
and studied from a great many sides. It faces us with the
same problem that the world does: because a systematic
study of the world is beyond our powers, we have to
content ourselves with mere rules of thumb and with aspects
that particularly interest us. Everyone makes for himself
his own segment of world and constructs his own private
system, often with air-tight compartments, so that after a
time it seems to him that he has grasped the meaning and
structure of the whole. But the finite will never be able to
grasp the infinite. Although the world of psychic phenomena
is only a part of the world as a whole, it may seem
easier to grasp precisely for that reason. But one would
be forgetting that the psyche is the only phenomenon that
is given to us immediately and, therefore, is the sine qua
non of all experience.

The only things we experience immediately are the con-
tents of consciousness. In saying this I am not attempting
to reduce the “world” to our “idea” of it. What I am
trying to emphasize could be expressed from another point
of view by saying: Life is a function of the carbon atom.
This analogy reveals the limitations of the specialist point
of view, to which I succumb as soon as I attempt to say
anything explanatory about the world, or even a part of it.

My point of view is naturally a psychological one, and
moreover that of a practising psychologist whose task it is
to find the quickest road through the chaotic muddle of
complicated psychic states. This view must needs be very
different from that of the psychologist who can study an
isolated psychic process at his leisure, in the quiet of his
laboratory. The difference is roughly that between a surgeon
and an histologist. I also differ from the metaphysician,
who feels he has to say how things are “in themselves,” and
whether they are absolute or not. My subject lies wholly
within the bounds of experience.

My prime need is to grasp complicated conditions and be
able to talk about them. I must be able to differentiate
between various groups of psychic facts. The distinctions
so made must not be arbitrary, since I have to reach an
understanding with my patient. I therefore have to rely on
simple schemata which on the one hand satisfactorily reflect
the empirical facts, and on the other hand link up with
what is generally known and so finds acceptance.

If we now set out to classify the contents of consciousness,
we shall begin, according to tradition, with the
prosition: Nihil est in intellectu quod non antea fuerit in

Consciousness seems to stream into us from outside in
the form of sense-perceptions. We see, hear, taste, and
smell the world, and so arc conscious of the world.
Senseperceptions tell us that something is. But they do not tell
us what it is. This is told us not by the process of percep-
tion but by the process of apperception, and this has a
highly complex structure. Not that sense-perception is
anything simple; only, its complex nature is not so much
psychic as physiological. The complexity of apperception,
on the other hand, is psychic. We can detect in it the co-
operation of a number of psychic processes. Supposing we
hear a noise whose nature seems to us unknown. After a
while it becomes clear to us that the peculiar noise must
come from air-bubbles rising in the pipes of the central
heating: we have recognized the noise. This recognition
derives from a process which we call thinking. Thinking
tells us what a thing is.

I have just called the noise “peculiar.” When I characterize
something as “peculiar,” I am referring to the special
feeling-tone which that thing has. The feeling-tone implies
an evaluation.

The process of recognition can be conceived in essence
as comparison and differentiation with the help of
memory. When I see a fire, for instance, the light-stimulus
conveys to me the idea “fire.” As there are countless
memory-images of fire lying ready in my memory, these
images enter into combination with the fire-image I have
just received, and the process of comparing it with and
differentiating it from these memory-images produces the
recognition; that is to say, I finally establish in my mind
the peculiarity of this particular image. In ordinary speech
this process is called thinking.

The process of evaluation is different. The fire I see
arouses emotional reactions of a pleasant or unpleasant
nature, and the memory-images thus stimulated bring with
them concomitant emotional phenomena which are known
as feeling-tones. In this way an object appears to us as

pleasant, desirable, and beautiful, or as unpleasant,
disgusting, ugly, and so on. In ordinary speech this process is
called feeling.

The intuitive process is neither one of sense-perception,
nor of thinking, nor yet of feeling, although language
shows a regrettable lack of discrimination in this respect.
One person will exclaim: “I can see the whole house burning
down already!” Another will say: “It is as certain as
two and two make four that there will be a disaster if a
fire breaks out here.” A third will say: “I have the feeling
that this fire will lead to catastrophe.” According to their
respective temperaments, the one speaks of his intuition
as a distinct seeing, that is, he makes a sense-perception
of it. The other designates it as tliinking: “One has only
to reflect, and then it is quite clear what the consequences
will be.” The third, under the stress of emotion, calls his
intuition a process of feeling. But intuition, as I conceive
it, is one of the basic functions of the psyche, namely,
perception of the possibilities inherent in a situation. It is
probably due to the insufficient development of language
that “feeling,” “sensation,” and “intuition” are still con-
fused in German, while sentiment and sensation in French,
and “feeling” and “sensation” in English, are absolutely
distinct, in contrast to sentiment and “feeling,” which are
sometimes used as auxiliary words for “intuition.” Recently,
however, “intuition” has begun to be commonly used in
English speech.

As further contents of consciousness, we can also distinguish
volitional processes and instinctual processes. The
former are defined as directed^ impulses, based on apperception,
which are at the disposal of so-called free will. The
latter are impulses originating in the unconscious or
directly in the body and are characterized by lack of freedom
and by compulsiveness.

Apperceptive processes may be either directed or
undirected. In the former case we speak of “attention,” in the
latter case of “fantasy” or “dreaming.” The directed proc-
esses are rational, the undirected irrational. To these last-
named processes we must add — as the seventh category
of contents of consciousness — dreams. In some respects
dreams are like conscious fantasies in that they have an
undirected, irrational character. But they differ inasmuch
as their cause, course, and aim are, at first, very obscure.
I accord them the dignity of coming into the category of
conscious contents because they are the most important
and most obvious results of unconscious psychic processes
obtruding themselves upon consciousness. These seven
categories probably give a somewhat superficial survey of
the contents of consciousness, but they are sufficient for
our purpose.

There are, as we know, certain views which would
restrict everything psychic to consciousness, as being identical
with it. I do not believe this is sufficient. If we assume
that there is anything at all beyond our sense-perception,
then we are entitled to speak of psychic elements whose
existence is only indirectly accessible to us. For anybody
acquainted with the psychology of hypnotism and somnam-
bulism, it is a well-known fact that though an artificially
or morbidly restricted consciousness of this kind does not
contain certain ideas, it nevertheless behaves exactly as if
it did. For instance, there was an hysterically deaf patient
who was fond of singing. One day the doctor unobtrusively
sat down at the piano and accompanied the next verse in
another key, whereupon the patient went on singing in the
new key. Another patient always fell into “hystero-
epileptic” convulsions at the sight of a naked flame. He
had a markedly restricted field of vision, that is, he suffered
from peripheral blindness (having what is known
as a “tubular” field of vision). If one now held a lighted
match in the blind zone, the attack followed just as if he
had seen the flame. In the symptomatology of such states
there are innumerable cases of this kind, where with the
best will in the world one can only say that these people
perceive, think, feel, remember, decide, and act uncon-
sciously, doing unconsciously what others do consciously.
These processes occur regardless of whether consciousness
registers them or not.

These unconscious psychic processes also include the not
inconsiderable labour of composition that goes into a
dream. Though sleep is a state in which consciousness is
greatly restricted, the psyche by no means ceases to exist
and to act. Consciousness has merely withdrawn from it
and, lacking any objects to hold its attention, lapsed into a
state of comparative unconsciousness. But psychic life obvi-
ously goes on, just as there is unconscious psychic activity
during the waking state. Evidence for this is not difficult
to find; indeed, Freud has described this particular field
of experience in The Psycho pathology of Everyday Life,
He shows that our conscious intentions and actions are
often frustrated by unconscious processes whose very existence
is a continual surprise to us. We make slips of the
tongue and slips in writing and unconsciously do things
that betray our most closely guarded secrets — which are
sometimes unknown even to ourselves. “Lingua lapsa
verum dicit,” says an old proverb. These phenomena can
also be demonstrated experimentally by the association
tests, which are very useful for finding out things that
people cannot or will not speak about.

But the classic examples of unconscious psychic activity
arc to be found in pathological states. Almost the whole
symptomatology of hysteria, of the compulsion neuroses,
of phobias, and very largely of schizophrenia, the commonest
mental illness, has its roots in unconscious psychic
activity. We are therefore fully justified in speaking of an
unconscious psyche. It is not directly accessible to observa-
tion—otherwise it would not be unconscious — but can only
be inferred. Our inferences can never £0 beyond: “it is as

The unconscious, then, is part of the psyche. Can we
now, on the analogy of the different contents of
consciousness, also speak of contents of the unconscious?

That would be postulating another consciousness, so to
speak, in the unconscious. I will not go into this delicate
question here, since I have discussed it in another connection,
but will confine myself to inquiring whether we can
differentiate anything in the unconscious or not. This
question can only be answered empirically, that is, by the
counter-question whether there are any plausible grounds
for such a differentiation.

To my mind there is no doubt that all the activities ordinarily
taking place in consciousness can also proceed in the
unconscious. There are numerous instances of an intel-
lectual problem, unsolved in the waking state, being solved
in a dream. I know, for instance, of an expert accountant
who had tried in vain for many days to clear up a fraudu-
lent bankruptcy. One day he had worked on it till midnight,
without success, and then went to bed. At three in the
morning his wife heard him get up and go into his study.
She followed, and saw him industriously making notes
at his desk. After about a quarter of an hour he came
back. In the morning he remembered nothing. He began
working again and discovered, in his own handwriting, a
number of notes which straightened out the whole tangle
finally and completely.

In my practical work I have been dealing with dreams
for more than twenty years. Over and over again I have
seen how thoughts that were not thought and feelings that
were not felt by day afterwards appeared in dreams, and
in this way reached consciousness indirectly. The dream
as such is undoubtedly a content of consciousness, otherwise
it could not be an object of immediate experience. But
in so far as it brings up material that was unconscious
before, we are forced to assume that these contents already
had some kind of psychic existence in an unconscious state
and appeared to the “remnant* 1 of consciousness only in
the dream. The dream belongs to the normal contents of
the psyche and may be regarded as a resultant of uncon-
scious processes obtruding on consciousness.

Now if, with these experiences in mind, we are driven
to asume that all the categories of conscious contents can
on occasion also be unconscious, and can act on the conscious
mind as unconscious processes, we find ourselves
faced with the somewhat unexpected question whether
the unconscious has dreams too. In other words, are there
resultants of still deeper and — if that be possible — still
more unconscious processes which infiltrate into the dark
regions of the psyche? I should have to dismiss this para-
doxical question as altogether too adventurous were there
not, in fact, grounds which bring such an hypothesis
within the realm of possibility.

We must first see what sort of evidence is required to
prove that the unconscious has dreams. If we wish to prove
that dreams appear as contents of consciousness, we have
simply to show that there are certain contents which, in
character and meaning, are strange and not to be compared
with the other contents which can be rationally explained
and understood. If we are to show that the unconscious
also has dreams, we must treat its contents in a similar way.
It will be simplest if I give a practical example:

The case is that of an officer, twenty-seven years of age.
He was suffering from severe attacks of pain in the region
of the heart and from a choking sensation in the threat,
as though a lump were stuck there. He also had piercing
pains in the left heel. There was nothing organically the
matter with him. The attacks had begun about two months
previously, and the patient had been exempted from mili-
tary service on account of his occasional inability to walk.
Various cures had availed nothing. Close investigation into
the previous history of his illness gave no clue, and he
himself had no idea what the cause might be. He gave the
impression of having a cheerful, rather light-hearted nature,
perhaps a bit on the tough side, as though saying theatri-
cally: “You can’t keep us down.” As the anamnesis revealed
nothing, 1 asked about his dreams. It at once became
apparent what the cause was. Just before the beginning of

his neurosis the girl with whom he was in love jilted him
and got engaged to another man. In talking to me he
dismissed this whole story as irrelevant — “a stupid girl, if
she doesn’t want me it’s easy enough to get another one.
A man like me isn’t upset by a thing like that.” That was
the way he treated his disappointment and his real grief.
But now the affects came to the surface. The pains in his
heart soon disappeared, and the lump in his throat vanished
after a few bouts of weeping. “Heartache” is a poeticism,
but here it became an actual fact because his pride would
not allow him to suffer the pain in his soul. The “lump in
the throat,” the so-called globus hystericus, comes, as
everyone knows, from swallowed tears. His consciousness
had simply withdrawn from contents that were too painful
to him, and these, left to themselves, could reach
consciousness only indirectly, as symptoms. All this was a
rationally understandable and perfectly intelligible process,
which could just as well have passed off consciously, had
it not been for his masculine pride.

But now for the third symptom. The pains in the heel
did not disappear. They do not belong in the picture we
have just sketched, for the heart is in no way connected
with the heel, nor does one express sorrow through the
heel. From the rational point of view, one cannot see why
the other two syndromes should not have sufficed.
Theoretically, it would have been entirely satisfactory if the
conscious realization of the repressed psychic pain had
resulted in normal grief and hence in a cure.

As I could get no clue to the heel symptom from the
patient’s conscious mind, I turned once more to the pre-
vious method — to the dreams. The patient now had a
dream in which he was bitten in the heel by a snake and
instantly paralyzed. This dream plainly offered an inter-
pretation of the heel symptom. His heel hurt him because
he had been bitten there by a snake. This is a very strange
content, and one can make nothing of it rationally. We
could understand at once why his heart ached, but that
his heel should ache too is beyond all rational expectation.
The patient was completely mystified.

Here, then, we have a content that propels itself into
the unconscious zone in a singular manner, and probably
derives from some deeper layer that cannot be fathomed
rationally. The nearest analogy to this dream is obviously
the neurosis itself. When the girl jilted him, she gave
him a wound that paralyzed him and made him ill. Further
analysis of the dream elicited something from his previous
history that now became clear to the patient for the first
time: He had been the darling of a somewhat hysterical
mother. She had pitied him, admired him, pampered him
so much that he never got along properly at school because
he was too girlish. Later he suddenly swung over to the
masculine side and went into the army, where he was able
to hide his inner weakness by a display of “toughness.”
Thus, in a sense, his mother too had lamed him.

We are evidently dealing here with that same old serpent
who had been the special friend of Eve. “And I will put
enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy
seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt
bruise his heel,” runs the saying in Genesis, an echo of the
much more ancient Egyptian hymn that used to be recited
or chanted for the cure of snake-bite:

The mouth of the god trembled with age,

His spittle fell to the earth,

And what he spat forth fell upon the ground.

1 hen Isis kneaded it with her hands

Together with the earth which was there;

And she made it like a spear.

She wound not the living snake about her face,

But threw it in a coil upon the path

Where the great god was wont to wander

At his pleasure through his two kingdoms.

The noble god stepped forth in splendour,

1 he gods serving Pharaoh bore him company,

And he went forth as was each day his wont.

Then the noble worm stung him . .

His jawbones chattered,
He trembled in all his limbs,
And the poison invaded his flesh
As the Nile invades his territory.

The patient’s conscious knowledge of the Bible was at a
lamentable minimum. Probably he had once heard of the
serpent biting the heel and then quickly forgotten it. But
something deep in his unconscious heard it and did not
forget; it remembered this story at a suitable opportunity.
This part of the unconscious evidently likes to express it-
self mythologically, because this way of expression is in
keeping with its nature.

But to what kind of mentality does the symbolical or
metaphorical way of expression correspond? It corresponds
to the mentality of the primitive, whose language possesses
no abstractions but only natural and “unnatural” analogies.
This primeval mentality is as foreign to the psyche that
produced the heartache and the lump in the throat as a
brontosaurus is to a racehorse. The dream of the snake
reveals a fragment of psychic activity that has nothing
whatever to do with the dreamer as a modern individual.
It functions at a deeper level, so to speak, and only the
results of this activity rise up into the upper layer where
the repressed affects lie, as foreign to them as a dream is
to waking consciousness. Just as some kind of analytical
technique is needed to understand a dream, so a knowledge
of mythology is needed in order to grasp the meaning of
a content deriving from the deeper levels of the psyche.

The snake-motif was certainly not an individual acquisition
of the dreamer, for snake-dreams are very common
even among city-dwellers who have probably never seen
a real snake.

It might be objected that the snake in the dream is
nothing but a concretized figure of speech. We say of
certain women that they arc treacherous as snakes, wily as
serpents; wc speak of the snake of temptation, etc. This
objection does not seem to me to hold good in the present
instance, though it would be difficult to prove this because
the snake is in fact a common figure of speech. A more
certain proof would be possible only if we succeeded in
finding a case where the mythological symbolism is neither
a common figure of speech nor an instance of cryptomnesia
— that is to say, where the dreamer had not read, seen, or
heard the motif somewhere, and then forgotten it and
remembered it unconsciously. This proof seems to me of
great importance, since it would show that the rationally
explicable unconscious, which consists of material that
has been made unconscious artificially, as it were, is only
a top layer, and that underneath is an absolute unconscious
which has nothing to do with our personal experience.
This absolute unconscious would then be a psychic activity
which goes on independently of the conscious mind and is
not dependent even on the upper layers of the unconscious,
untouched — and perhaps untouchable — by personal
experience. It would be a kind of supra-individual psychic
activity, a collective unconscious, as I have called it, as
distinct from a superficial, relative, or personal uncon-

But before we go in search of this proof, I would like,
for the sake of completeness, to make a few more remarks
about the snake-dream. It seems as if this hypothetical
deeper layer of the unconscious — the collective unconscious,
as I shall now call it — had translated the pa-
tient’s experiences with women into the snake-bite dream
and thus turned them into a regular mythological motif.
The reason— or rather, the purpose— of this is at first
somewhat obscure. But if we remember the fundamental
principle that the symptomatology of an illness is at the
same time a natural attempt at healing— the heartaches,
for example, being an attempt to produce an emotional
outburst— then we must regard the heel symptom as an
attempt at healing too. As the dream shows, not only the
recent disappointment in love, but all other disappoint-
ments, in school and elsewhere, are raised by this symptom
to the level of a mythological event, as though this would
in some way help the patient.

This may strike us as flatly incredible. But the ancient
Egyptian priest-physicians, who intoned the hymn to the
Isis-serpent over the snake-bite, did not find this theory
at all incredible; and not only they, but the whole world
believed, as the primitive today still believes, in magic by
analogy or “sympathetic magic.”

We are concerned here, then, with the psychological
phenomenon that lies at the root of magic by analogy. We
should not think that this is an ancient superstition which
we have long since outgrown. If you read the Latin text
of the Mass carefully, you will constantly come upon the
famous “sicut”; this always introduces an analogy by
means of which a change is to be produced. Another striking
example of analogy is the making of fire on Holy Saturday
day. In former times, the new fire was struck from the
stone, and still earlier it was obtained by boring into a
piece of wood, which was the prerogative of the Church.
Therefore in the prayer of the priest it is said: 4fc Deus, qui
per Filium tuum, angularem scilicet lapidem, claritatis tuae
fidelibus ignem contulisti productum ex silice, nostris
profuturum usibus, novum hunc ignem sanctifica.” — “O God,
who through thy Son, who is called the cornerstone, hast
brought the fire of thy light to the faithful, make holy
for our future use this new fire struck from the firestone.”
By the analogy of Christ with the cornerstone, the firestone
is raised to the level of Christ himself, who again kindles
a new fire.

The rationalist may laugh at this. But something deep
in us is stirred, and not in us alone but in millions of
Christian men and women, though we may call it only a
feeling for beauty. What is stirred in us is that faraway
background, those immemorial patterns of the human
mind, which we have not acquired but have inherited from
the dim ages of the past.

If this supra-individual psyche exists, everything that is
translated into its picture-language would be depersonal-
ized, and if this became conscious would appear to us
sub specie aetemitatis. Not as my sorrow, but as the
sorrow of the world; not a personal isolating pain, but a pain
without bitterness that unites all humanity. The healing
effect of this needs no proof.

But as to whether this supra-individual psychic activity
actually exists, I have so far given no proof that satisfies all
the requirements. I should now like to do this once more
in the form of an example. The case is that of a man in
his thirties, who was suffering from a paranoid form of
schizophrenia. He became ill in his early twenties. He had
always presented a strange mixture of intelligence, wrong-
headedness, and fantastic ideas. He was an ordinary clerk,
employed in a consulate. Evidently as a compensation for
his very modest existence he was seized with megalomania
and believed himself to be the Saviour. He suffered from
frequent hallucinations and was at times very much dis-
turbed. In his quiet periods he was allowed to go unat-
tended in the corridor. One day I came across him there,
blinking through the window up at the sun, and moving
his head from side to side in a curious manner. He took
me by the arm and said he wanted to show me something.
He said I must look at the sun with eyes half shut, and
then I could see the sun’s phallus. If I moved my head
from side to side the sun-phallus would move too, and
that was the origin of the wind.

I made this observation about 1906. In the course of
the year 19 10, when I was engrossed in mythological studies,
a book of Dictericrfs came into my hands. It was part
of the so-called Paris magic papyrus and was thought by
Dicterich to be a liturgy of the Mithraic cult.-‘* It consisted
of a series of instructions, invocations, and visions. One of
these visions is described in the following words: “And
likewise the so-called tube, the origin of the ministering
wind. For you will see hanging down from the disc of the
sun something that looks like a tube. And towards the re-
gions westward it is as though there were an infinite east
wind. But if the other wind should prevail towards the
regions of the east, you will in like manner see the vision
veering in that direction.” The Greek word for “tube,”
cu’Ao?, means a wind-instrument, and the combination

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