Page 121

operation, which shows that the feeling relationship is not quite right. Or they are not rightly married if she fears losing her husband’s love for beauty reasons. In antiquity, aestheticism was a much stronger bond between the sexes. Here, too, Christianity has brought about some change, but the problem has not been developed and needs more understanding. This problem of beautiful form and its connection and disconnection with inner truth is something we are still up against and here is represented for Psyche as the greatest danger. In this ultimate, tragic moment, Eros comes down from Olympus and wakes Psyche, and, with the help of Zeus, a happy ending occurs in the Beyond. On Olympus, Eros may marry Psyche and have her child, and Venus is reconciled. The story ends suddenly with a beautiful festival, a nice party of the gods on Olympus. From the human standpoint, Olympus means the unconscious. Thus the whole play of fate disappears. There is a solution, but it disappears; it is in the unconscious and not integrated in the human realm. It remains suspended as an open problem. Despite the uncertain ending of our story, it is clear that Psyche had to open the box, otherwise Eros would not have come to free her. This is basically the same problem as in the story of the Garden of Eden. For if Adam and Eve had not eaten the apple we would still be sitting with long tails, scratching ourselves on trees. Therefore the Catholic Church calls the guilt of Adam and Eve a felix culpa, meaning a sin which brought forth the most positive consequences. All such nonallowed deeds in fairy tales and myths are felices culpae, for in the end they lead to a higher consciousness. As far as the problem of the beauty ointment in feminine psychology is concerned, I am convinced that this motif does not apply to woman’s psychology. Women have other problems. The hairdresser, cosmetics, and all these things indeed play an enormous role in a woman’s life, but these have to do with parts of her persona10 and her conscious social personality and not that which comes at the crucial turning point of a deep process of individuation. I am confirmed in this opinion by the fact that the beauty-box problem does not occur in other folktale parallels, whether old or new. So we are justified in assuming that it is an addition from Apuleius and illustrates specifically an anima problem. However, it is also a problem for women, since the anima attitude of a man influences them. It is instinctual in a woman to wish to appear as the man who loves her would want to see her. There is no conscious calculation here. It belongs in a certain way to the essence of

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Advertisement