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connected with a peculiar contrariety within human nature, namely, a certain opposition between consciousness and the unconscious. I mentioned above that collective unconscious factors have a double aspect: on the one hand, they express themselves as “instincts” or “drives”—as behavioral forms such as sexuality, status seeking, child rearing, and territoriality; on the other, they manifest as a peculiarly human religiomythic fantasy world. In this last, Jung saw the primal element of the mind, whose form of expression is the symbolic gesture and the symbolic image. On the archaic level, for example, this is the many “magical” ideas that grow up around instinctive actions.1 Jung observed in Africa, for instance, that the natives living at the foot of Mount Elgon spit in their hands every morning and then held up their open palms to the rising sun. When he asked them about the meaning of this action, they could only say, “We have always done that that way.” They strictly denied praying to the sun. In fact, saliva has the significance everywhere of a “soul substance,” and the oriens, the aurora consurgens, signifies the appearance of the deity. From our psychological point of view, the archetypal gesture of the Elgonyi means something like “O God, we give you our soul as an offering!” However, they were completely unconscious of what they were doing. They knew as little about it as we know why we hide eggs at Easter or at Christmastime put up lights on a tree that we carry into our living room. The instinctive world of the primitive, as Jung pointed out, is by no means simple; rather it is a complex interplay of the action of physiological instincts with taboos, rites, and tribal teachings, which impose formal restrictions on the instinct, prevent all instincts from being acted out in an unbridled, onesided manner, and place them at the service of higher purposes, that is, spiritual activities, which on this level are all part of religion. Thus instinct and mind are ultimately not opposites but rather interact as part of a finely tuned psychic equilibrium. However, all forms of religion have a tendency to become fixated in a rigid form in which the original balance between spiritual form and physiological form turns into a conflict—the spiritual forms rigidify into mere formalisms and poison or suppress the instincts, which then take revenge through an increasing tendency toward unbridled acting out. This seemingly unfavorable development has repeated itself countless times in the course of the history of all peoples. According to Jung, it is not simply a meaningless catastrophe; rather its hidden meaning is that it spurs the development of human consciousness on toward greater differentiation.

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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