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THE SELF-AFFIRMATION OF MAN AND WOMAN A General Problematic Illustrated by Fairy Tales A GREAT PART OF THE PROBLEM in the self-affirmation of man and woman is a general human problem, coinciding with that involved in any kind of selfaffirmation. Primarily it is a problem of degree: to what extent is it “legitimate” to defend one’s own personal life potential against the pressure of other people’s power complexes or the pressure of the collective; and at what point does this defense itself start to become tyranny in relation to others? In what follows, I would like to concentrate on the problem of personal self-affirmation in the relationship with the opposite sex, for here specific complications tend to crop up that are deserving of particular attention. C. G. Jung rightly pointed out that such a powerful attraction as man and woman exercise on each other is only possible where there also exists an equally strong antagonism. For according to the Bible, it was not only that enmity was put between Eve and the serpent, but the curse also extended to the relationship between the sexes. Jung says, “Primal guilt lies between them, a broken state of enmity, and this appears unreasonable only to our rational mind but not to our psychic nature.”1 To reason, especially with its present-day materialistic perspective, the union of the sexes seems to be the sensible instinct. However, a more spiritual point of view would just as strongly require discrimination; for only where there is detachment and genuine conscious discrimination is a relationship of feeling in a deeper sense possible. The specific complication I alluded to earlier that makes the relationship of man and woman and the problem of self-affirmation of one vis-à-vis the other so difficult, consists in a nutshell in this: both the man and the woman have, not only in their body but also in their mind, opposite-sex components, of which, however, they are at first usually not conscious. Because these components are not consciously developed and cultivated, they have a relatively primitive quality and even a quality of inferiority. It is as though, for example, women have a petty, stiff, primitive man they carry around in them, and men an ambivalent, sensual, somewhat inferiority-

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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