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same is true of real creativeness, which also has the aspect of violating the wishes of the ego. It attracts all the energies of the soul for its own purposes, so that in consciousness there remains only a deep melancholy, which then usually cures itself by an enormous creative élan. This mechanism was already known in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. In Marsilio Ficino’s theory about melancholia one finds exactly the same problems described. Ficino suffered from very heavy depressions himself, and therefore he called himself a child of Saturn, and described exactly those states of depression, emptiness, abaissement du niveau mental, and listlessness, which in him always preceded great creative phases. This is also true of the painter Albrecht Dürer. The precreative depressions, if understood rightly, are actually helpful because they drive people into isolation, into their own depths, and into introversion, and therefore bring about favorable conditions from which creative ideas can arise from the unconscious. We can therefore interpret the turning of Lucius into an ass either superficially, as has been done, in that he, so to speak, has an abaissement du niveau mental, becoming completely identified with the sex drive, and by that completely unconscious, and through this being turned into an ass; or we can take it in a deeper way and ask what Lucius repressed. He certainly does not repress his sex drives, but he does repress, to a certain extent, his power drive. There is a lot of power drive and self-preservation in him, looked at from a behavioral aspect, and we shall see later what that and his aggression mean. But I do not think that he is turned into an ass because of this. What he actually represses most, and does not even have the foggiest notion about, is his religious emotionality. Of What one could call being moved by religious contents, he has no idea, and that naturally overshadows his life, and depresses him literally into an ass. Here we must remember that first Lucius rode on a white horse and then he came to Photis and Milo and had all the experiences we have described. Next came Thelyphron’s story, the story of the man devoted to women, who was mutilated by the witch. This, to follow the line of our sketch, gave a slight improvement below the line, and a slight deterioration on the upper level. The depression continues, for he gets into a lower and lower state of mind. Then he gets turned into an ass, and things go rapidly downward, but on the lower level there is a slight improvement. We have here what one always sees in treating a neurotic split in human personality: consciousness becomes weaker and weaker and the unconscious

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

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