Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Psychoanalysis in the Light of Anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, November 10, 1917:

Considering on this occasion the lectures which I am having to give just now in Zürich, [Anthroposophy and the Science of the Soul (Nov. 5), Anthroposophy and Spiritual Science (Nov. 7), Anthroposophy and Natural Science (Nov. 12), Anthroposophy and Social Science (Nov. 14)] I am freshly reminded that one can hardly come into touch with the spiritual life of that city in any broad sense at present without giving some attention to what is now called analytical psychology, or psychoanalysis. And various considerations connected with this realization have decided me to introduce what I have to say today with a short enumeration of certain points in analytical psychology, in psychoanalysis. We shall link it then with further remarks.
We have often noted how important it is for the researcher in the field of anthroposophical spiritual science, to connect his considerations with what is offered by the moving forces of our own age. It may be said that all sorts of people who feel drawn to psychoanalysis today are earnestly searching for the spiritual foundations of existence, for the inner realities of the soul of man. And it may be called a curious characteristic of our own time that so many of our contemporaries are becoming aware of quite definite, and most peculiar forces in the human soul. The psychoanalysts belong to those who, simply through the impulses of the age, are forced to hit upon certain phenomena of soul life.
It is especially important also not to remain entirely oblivious of this movement, because the phenomena of which it takes cognizance are really present, and because in our own time they intrude themselves for various reasons upon the attention of human beings. Today they must become aware of such phenomena.
On the other hand it is a fact that the people who concern themselves with these things today lack the means of knowledge required for the discussion and, above all, for the understanding of them. So that we may say: psychoanalysis is a phenomenon of our time, which compels men to take account of certain soul processes, and yet causes them to undertake their consideration by inadequate methods of knowledge. This is particularly important because this investigation, by inadequate methods of knowledge, of a matter that quite obviously exists and challenges our present human cognition leads to a variety of serious errors, inimical to social life, to the further development of knowledge, and to the influence of this development of knowledge upon social life.
It may be said that even less than half-truths are, under certain circumstances, more harmful than complete errors. And what the psychoanalysts bring to light today can be regarded only as an assortment of quarter-truths.
Let us consider a few excerpts from the research magazine of the psychoanalysts. What is called psychoanalysis today had its origin in a medical case observed by a Vienna interne, a Dr. Breuer, in the eighteen-eighties. Dr. Breuer, with whom I was acquainted, was a man of extraordinarily delicate spirituality besides what he was as a physician. He was interested to a high degree in all sorts of aesthetic, and general human problems. With his intimate manner of handling disease, it was natural thatone case, which came under his observation in the eighties, was particularly interesting to him.
He had to treat a woman who seemed to be suffering from a severe form of hysteria. Her hysterical symptoms consisted of an occasional paralysis of one arm, dreamy conditions of various kinds, reduction of consciousness, a deep degree of sleepiness, and besides all this, forgetfulness of the usual language of her every day life. She had always been able to speak German; it was her native language, but under the influence of her hysteria could no longer do so; she could speak and understand only English.
Breuer noticed that when this woman was in her dreamy condition she could be persuaded, by a more intimate medical treatment, to speak of a certain scene, a very trying past experience. Now I will make clear to you from the description of the case given by the Breuer school, how the woman in her half-conscious condition, sometimes artificially induced, gave the impression that her hysteria was connected with a severe illness of her father, through which he had passed a long time before. Breuer could easily hypnotize a patient, and when he had placed her under hypnosis and encouraged her to speak of it, she told of an experience she had had during her father's illness. She had helped with the nursing, and always came back to this definite experience. I will quote from the report: [The following quotations are translations of passages from C. G. Jung's Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse. Ein Ueberblick über die moderne Theorie und Methode der analytischen Psychologie, Zürich, 1917.]
“On one occasion she was watching at night in great anxiety and tension, for the sick man had a high fever, and a surgeon was expected from Vienna to perform an operation. Her mother had left her for a time, and Anna (the patient) sat by the sickbed, her right arm across the back of the chair. She fell into a kind of waking dream, and saw, as if issuing from the wall, a black snake approaching, to bite her father. ...”
Men of the present day are always stricken by materialism, so we find in the report at this point the following suggestion, which is of no value whatever:
(“It is very probable that in the meadow behind the house there were a few snakes which had frightened the girl previously, and which now furnished material for the hallucination.”)
That is only an interpolated remark, to which you may attach importance, or not — it does not matter. The point is that the snake seemed to her to come out of the wall to bite her father.
“She wanted to fight off the creature, but was as if paralyzed; the right arm hanging over the back of the chair had gone to sleep and became anaesthetized and paralyzed and, as she looked at it, the fingers changed into little snakes tipped with skulls.”
All this was beside her father's sick bed.
“She probably tried to chase away the snake with the lamed right hand, and so associated the anaesthesia and lameness with the snake hallucination. When this had disappeared she wished, in her fright, to pray, but every language failed her. At last she remembered an English nursery rhyme, and could continue to think and pray in this language.”
The whole illness originated from this experience. From it there had remained the paralysis of one hand, reduction of consciousness in varying degrees, and inability to express herself in any language but English. Dr. Breuer then noticed that the condition was ameliorated whenever he had her tell this story, and he based his treatment upon this fact. By means of hypnosis he drew from her little by little all the details, and really succeeded in bringing about a marked improvement in her condition. The patient got rid of the matter, as it were, by uttering and communicating it to another.
Breuer and his collaborator Freud, in Vienna, who were both influenced, as was natural at this period, by the school of Charcot [Jean Martin Charcot, French M.D. (1825-1893).] in Paris, diagnosed this case as a psychic trauma, a psychic wound, what is called in England a “nervous shock.” The psychic shock was supposed to consist of this experience at her father's bedside, and to have had an effect upon the soul similar to that of a physical wound upon the body.
It must be noted that from the beginning Breuer conceived the whole affair as a soul illness, as a matter of the inner life. He was convinced from the beginning that no anatomical or physiological changes could have been shown, no causes, for example, such as changes in the nerves leading from the arm to the brain. He was convinced from the start that he was dealing with a fact within the soul.
They were inclined in these early days to regard these cases as induced by wounds of the soul, shocks, etc. Very soon, however, because of Dr. Freud's active interest, theories took on a different character. With Freud's further development of the subject Dr. Breuer was never fully in accord. Freud felt that the theory of soul wounds would not do, did not cover these cases, and thus far Breuer agreed with him. I will remark in parenthesis that Dr. Breuer was a very busy practicing physician, thoroughly grounded in science, an excellent pupil of Nothnagel [Hermann Nothnagel, M.D. (1841-1905).] and because of external circumstances alone never became a professor. We may well believe that if Breuer, instead of remaining one of the busiest physicians in Vienna, with little time for scientific research, had obtained a professorship and so been able to follow up this problem, it might have assumed a very different form!
But from then on Dr. Freud took especial interest in the matter. He said to himself: the theory of trauma does not explain these cases. We need to determine under what conditions such a soul wound develops. For it might be said with justice that many girls had sat beside a father's sickbed with equally deep feelings, but without producing the same results. The unscientific layman deals with such problems promptly by the extraordinarily profound explanation that one is predisposed to such symptoms while another is not. Although very “profound,” this is the most absurd solution that can be arrived at, is it not? For if you explain things that occur on the basis of predisposition, you can easily explain everything in the world. You need only say: the predisposition for a certain thing exists.
Of course serious thinkers did not concern themselves with such ideas, but sought the real conditions. And Freud believed that he had discovered them in cases like the following. You will find innumerable similar cases in the literature of the psychoanalysts today, and it may be admitted that an immense amount of material has been collected in order to decide this or that point within this field. I will describe this one case, making it as comprehensible as possible. Its absolute historical accuracy is not important to us.
There was a woman with other guests at an evening party, a gathering of friends to bid good-bye to the mistress of the house, who had become nervous and was about to leave for a health resort abroad. She was to leave on that evening, and after the party had broken up, and the hostess departed, the woman whose case we are describing was going with other supper guests along the street when a cab came around the corner behind them (not an automobile — a cab with horses), driven at a great pace. In the smaller cities people returning home at night often walk in the middle of the street instead of on the sidewalk. (I do not know if you have noticed this). As the cab rushed towards them the supper guests scattered to right and left on to the sidewalks, with the exception of this one woman whom we are considering. She ran along the street in front of the horses, and all the driver's cursing and swearing and the cracking of his whip could not deflect her. She ran until she came to a bridge where she tried to throw herself into the water in order to avoid being run over. She was rescued by passersby, and returned to her party, being thus preserved from a serious accident.
This performance was of course connected with the woman's general condition. It is due, undoubtedly, to hysteria if a person runs along the middle of the street in front of horses, and the cause of such an action had to be discovered. Freud, in this and similar cases, examined the previous life back to childhood. If, even at an early age, something happened that was not assimilated by the soul, it could create a tendency which might be released later by any sort of shock.
And in fact such an experience was found in the childhood of the woman in question. She was taken driving as a child, and the horses became frightened and ran away. The coachman could not control them, and when they reached the river bank he sprang off, ordering the child to jump too, which it did, just before the horses plunged into the river. Thus the shocking incident was there, and a certain association of horse with horse. At the moment when she realized her danger from the horses she lost control of herself, and ran frantically in front of them instead of turning aside — all this as an after-effect of the childhood experience. You see that the psychoanalysts have a scientific method, according to present-day scientific ideas. But are there not many who have some such experience in childhood without such a reaction, even with the association of horse with horse? To this single circumstance something must be added to produce a “predisposition” to run in front of horses, instead of avoiding them.
Freud continued his search, and actually found an interesting connection in this case. The woman was engaged to be married, but was in love with two men at the same time. One was the man to whom she was engaged, and she was sure that she loved him best; but she was not quite clear about that, only halfway so; she loved the other also, this other being the husband of her best friend, whose farewell supper had taken place that evening. The hostess, who was somewhat nervous, took her departure, and this woman left with the other guests, ran in front of the horses, was rescued, and brought back quite naturally into the house she had just left. Further inquiry elicited the fact that in the past there had existed a significant association between the lady and this other man, the husband of her best friend. The love affair had already taken on “certain dimensions,” let us say, which accounted for the nervousness of her friend, as you may easily imagine. The physician brought her to this point in the story, but had difficulty in persuading her to continue. She admitted at last that when she came to herself in her friend's house, and was again normal, the husband declared his love to her. Quite a “remarkable case,” as you see!
Dr. Freud went after similar cases, and his researches convinced him that the hysterical symptoms, which had been attributed to a psychic “trauma” or wound, were due instead to love, conscious or unconscious. His examination of life experiences showed that circumstances might greatly differ, indeed in the most characteristic cases, that these love stories might never have risen into the consciousness of the patient at any time.
So Freud completed what he called his neurosis theory or sexual theory. He considered that sexuality entered into all such cases. But such things are extraordinarily deceptive. To begin with, there is everywhere at the present time an inclination to call sex to your aid, for the solution of any human problem. Therefore we need not wonder that a doctor who found it to be a factor in a certain number of cases of hysteria set up such a theory.
But on the other hand, since analytical psychology is carrying on a research with inadequate tools, this is the point at which the greatest danger begins. The matter is dangerous first, because this longing for knowledge is so extremely tempting, tempting because of present circumstances, and because it may always be proved that the sex connection is more or less present. Yet the psychoanalyst Jung, who wrote Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse (see the above quotations that are translations of passages from C. G. Jung's Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse. Ein Ueberblick über die moderne Theorie und Methode der analytischen Psychologie, Zürich, 1917.), Professor Jung of Zürich does not share the opinion that Freud's sexual “neurosis theory” covers these cases. He has instead another theory.
Jung noted that Freud has his opponents. Among them is a certain Adler. This Adler takes a quite different viewpoint. Just as Freud tested large numbers of cases, and settled upon sex as the original cause (you can read it all in Jung's book), so Adler approached the problem from another side, and decided that this side is more important than the one that Freud has placed in the foreground.
Adler — I will only generalize — found that there was another urge that played quite as important a role in the human being as the sexual impulse emphasized by Freud. This was the desire for power, power over one's environment, the desire for power in general. The “will to power” is even regarded by Nietzsche as a philosophical principle, and as many cases may be found to support the power-impulse theory as Freud found for his sexual theory.
One need only begin “analyzing” hysterical women to find that such cases are not at all rare. Assume for example that a woman is hysterical and has spasms — heart spasms are a favorite in such cases — as well as all sorts of other conditions. The home is stirred up, the whole environment, everything possible is done, doctors are summoned, the patient greatly pitied. In short, she exercises a tyrannical power over her environment. A reasonable person knows that in such a case there is really nothing the matter, even though such patients are aware of their condition and suffered from it. They are in reality perfectly healthy — but ill when they wish to be. You may diagnose them as well and ill at the same time. They do of course fall down when they faint in a heart spasm, but they fall as a rule on the rug, not on the bare floor! These things may be observed.
Now this subconscious lust for power leads very easily to hysterical conditions. Adler investigated the cases at his disposal from this particular standpoint, and found everywhere when hysterical symptoms appeared that somehow the lust for power had been aroused and driven into unhealthy extremes. Jung said to himself: “Oh well, one cannot say that Freud is wrong; what he observed is there, and one cannot say that Adler is wrong; what he observed is also there. So it is probably sometimes one way, and sometimes the other!”
That is quite reasonable; it is sometimes one way and sometimes another. But Jung built upon this a special theory. This theory is not uninteresting if you do not take it abstractly, simply as a theory, but see in it instead the action of our present-day impulses, especially the feebleness of our present knowledge and its inadequacy. Jung says: there are two types of people. In one type feeling is more developed, in the other thinking.
Thus an “epoch-making” discovery was made by a great scholar. It was something that any reasonable man could make for himself within his own immediate environment, for the fact that men are divided into thinking men and feeling men is sufficiently obvious. But scholarship has a different task: it must not regard anything as a layman would, and simply say: in our environment there are two types of people, feeling people and intellectuals — it must add something to that. Scholarship says in such a case: the one who feels his way into things sends out his own force into objectivity; the other draws back from an object, or halts before it and considers. The first is called the extroverted type, the other the introverted. The first would be the feeling man, the second the intellectual one. This is a learned division, is it not? ingenious, brilliant, really descriptive up to a point — that is not to be denied!
Then Jung goes on to say; In the case of the extraverted type (that of the man who lives preferably in his feelings), there exist very frequently in the subconscious mind intellectual concepts, and he finds himself in a collision between what is in his consciousness and the intellectual concepts that float about subconsciously within him. And from this collision all sorts of conditions may arise, conditions mainly characteristic of the feeling type.
In the case of those who occupy themselves more with the mind, the men of reason, the feelings remain down below, swarm in the subconscious, and come into collision with the conscious life. The conscious life cannot understand what is surging up. It is the force of the subconscious feelings, and because man is never complete, but belongs to one of these two types, circumstances may arise that cause the subconscious mind to revolt against the conscious, and may frequently lead to hysterical conditions.
Now we must say that Jung's theory is simply a paraphrase of the trivial idea of the feeling and the reasoning man, and adds nothing to the facts. But from all this you needs must realize that men of the present are at least beginning to notice all sorts of psychic peculiarities, and so concern themselves that they ask what goes on within a man who shows such symptoms. And they are at least so far along that they say to themselves: These are not due to physiological or anatomical changes. They have already outgrown bare materialism, in that they speak of psychic phenomena. So this is certainly one way in which people try to emerge from materialism, and to reach some knowledge of the soul.
It is, however, very peculiar, when you look at the subject more closely, to see into what strange paths people are led by the general inadequacy of their means of cognition. But I must emphatically point out that men do not realize into what they are being driven, and neither do their supporters, readers, and contemporaries. Thus, rightly regarded, the matter has actually a very dangerous side, because so much is not taken into consideration. In the subconscious mind itself there is a commotion, it is the theories which agitate in the subconscious. It is really strange. People set up a theory in regard to the subconscious, but their own subconsciousness is agitated by it. Jung pursues the matter as a physician, and it is important that psychological questions should be handled from that standpoint, therapeutically, and that many should be striving to carry over the matter into pedagogy. We are no longer confronted by a limited theory, but by the effort to make it into a cultural fact.
It is interesting to see how someone like Jung, who handles this matter as a physician, and has observed, treated, and apparently even cured all sorts of cases, is driven further and further. He says to himself: when such abnormal psychological symptoms are found, a search must be made in order to discover any incidents of childhood which may have made such an impression on the human soul life as to produce after-effects. That is something especially sought for in this field: after-effects of something that happened in childhood. I have cited an example which plays quite a role in the literature of psychoanalysis: the association of horse and horse.
Later, however, Jung came upon the fact that in many of the cases of genuine illness it cannot be proved, even if you go back to his earliest childhood, that the patient as an individual is suffering from any such after-effects. If you take into consideration everything with which he has come in contact, you find the conflict within the individual, but no explanation of it. So Jung was led to distinguish two subconsciousnesses: first the individual subconsciousness, concealed within the human being. If in her childhood the young woman jumped out of a carriage and received a shock, the incident has long since vanished from her consciousness, but works subconsciously. If you consider this subconscious element (made up of innumerable details), you get the personal or individual subconsciousness. This is the first of Jung's differentiations.
But the second is the superpersonal subconsciousness. He says: There are things affecting the soul life which are neither in the personality nor in the matter of the outside world, and which must be assumed therefore as present in a soul world.
The aim of psychoanalysis is to bring such soul contents into consciousness. That is supposed to be the healing method: to bring everything into consciousness. Thus the physician must undertake to extract from the patient, not only what he has experienced individually from his birth on, but also something that was not in the outside world and is of a soul nature. This has driven the psychoanalysts to say that a man experiences, not only what he goes through after his physical birth, but also all sorts of things that preceded his birth — and that all this creates disorder within him. A man who is born today experiences thus subconsciously the Oedipus Saga. He not only learns it in school; he experiences it. He experiences the Greek gods, the whole past of mankind. The evil of this consists in the fact that he experiences it subconsciously. The psychoanalyst must therefore say — and he does go so far — that the Greek child also experienced this but, since he was told about it, he experienced it consciously. Man experiences it today, but it only stirs within him — in the thoughts of the extraverted man, in the subconscious feelings of the introverted type. It growls like demons.
Now consider the necessity that confronts the psychoanalyst if he is true to his theory. He would have to take these things seriously and say simply that when a man grows up and may be made ill by his relation to that which stirs within him — a relation of which he knows nothing — that this connection must become conscious, and it must be explained to him that there is a spiritual world inhabited by different gods. For the psychoanalyst goes so far as to say that the human soul has a connection with the gods, but it is a cause of illness in that the soul knows nothing of it.
The psychoanalyst seeks all sorts of expedients, sometimes quite grotesque. Let us assume that a patient comes and displays this or that hysterical symptom, because he is afraid of a demon — let us say — a fire demon. Men of earlier periods believed in fire demons, had visions of them, knew about them. Present-day people still have connections with them (the psychoanalyst admits that), but these connections are not conscious; no one explains that there are fire demons, so they become a cause of illness.
Jung however goes so far as to assert that the gods, to whom man is unconsciously related, become angry and revenge themselves, this revenge showing itself as hysteria. Very well, it amounts then to this: such a present-day man who is mistreated by a demon in his subconscious mind, does not know that there are demons, and cannot achieve any conscious relation with them because — that is superstition! What does the poor modern man do then, if he becomes ill from this cause? He projects it outwardly, that is to say he looks up some friend whom he had liked quite well, and says: This is the one who is persecuting and abusing me! He feels this to be true, which means that he has a demon which torments him, and so projects it into another man.
Often psychoanalysts, in treating such a case, deflect this projection upon themselves. Thus it often happens that patients, in a good or evil sense, make the doctor into a god or a devil.
So you see the physician of the present day is forced to say to himself: Men are tormented by spirits, and because they are taught nothing about them, cannot take possession of them in consciousness, they become therefore tormenting spirits among themselves, project their demons outwardly, persuade one another of all sorts of demoniacal nonsense, etc. And how disastrous this is assumed to be by the psychoanalysts is shown by the following case which Jung describes. He says: “Certain of my colleagues claim that the soul energies that spring from such torment, must be deflected into another channel.” Let us turn back then to one of the elementary cases of psychoanalysis. A patient comes, whose illness was caused, according to her psychoanalytical confession, by her having been in love, many years before, with a man whom she did not get. This had remained with her. Of course she might be annoyed by a demon, but in most cases observed by the doctors it turns out that something has happened in the individual subconsciousness, which they classify separately from the super-personal subconscious. The doctors try to divert this immature fantasy or to transform it. If a love-thirsty soul can be persuaded to make use of her accumulated affections in humanitarian services, perhaps as head of a charitable institution, it may turn out well. But Jung himself says: “It is not always possible thus to divert this energy. Energies so implanted in the soul have often a certain definite potential which cannot be directed.” Very well, I have no objection to this expression, but wish only to point out that it is a translation of what the layman often discusses, and the way in which he often expresses himself. But Jung describes a case which is interesting, and a good example of the fact that these potentials cannot always be directed.
An American, a typical man of today, a self-made man, the efficient head of a business that he had built up, having devoted himself to his work and achieved a great success, thought then: I shall soon be forty-five, and have done my bit! Now I will give myself a rest. So he decided to retire, bought himself an estate with autos and tennis courts, and everything else that belonged to it, intending to live in the country, and simply to draw his dividends from the business. But when he had been for a time on his estate he ceased to play tennis or to drive his car, or to go to the theater. He took no pleasure in the gardens that were laid out, but sat in his room alone, and brooded. It hurt him there, and thereeverything hurt him. Actually his head hurt, then his chest, and then his legs. He could not endure himself, ceased from laughter, was tired, strung up, had continual headache — it was horrible. There was no illness that a doctor could diagnose! It is often that way with men of the present, is it not? They are perfectly healthy, and yet ill. The doctor said: "This trouble is psychic. You have adapted yourself to business conditions, and your energies will not readily take another course. Go back to business. That is the only suggestion that I can make.” The man in question grasped this, but found that he was no longer any good at business! He was just as ill there as at home.
From this Jung rightly concludes that you cannot easily deflect energy from one potential to another, nor even turn it back again when you have failed. This man came to him for treatment. (You know many people come to Switzerland bringing such illnesses and non-illnesses!) But he could not help this American. The trouble had taken too strong a hold; it should have been handled earlier.
You see from this that the therapy of deflection has also its difficulties, and Jung himself offers this example. Important facts are met everywhere which — I now may say — will be successfully dealt with only by spiritual science or Anthroposophy, in accordance with exact knowledge. But there they are, and people notice them. The questions are there. It will be discovered that the human being is complicated, and not the simple creature presented to us by the science of the 19th century. The psychoanalyst is confronted by a remarkable fact which is quite inexplicable by the science of today. In Anthroposophy, together with the information given in my lectures, you will easily find an explanation, but I can come back to the point in case you do not find it. It may happen, for example, that someone becomes hysterically blind, that is, his blindness is an hysterical symptom. This is possible. There are hysterically blind people, who could see, yet do not — who are psychically blind. Now such people are sometimes partially cured — partially; they begin to see again, but do not see everything. Sometimes such an hysterically blind man recovers sufficient sight to see people, all but their heads! Such a half-cured person goes along the streets, and sees everyone without a head. That really occurs, and there are even stranger symptoms.
All this may be dealt with by spiritual science — anthroposophically oriented spiritual science — and in a lecture that I gave here last year you may find an explanation of the inability to see the heads of people. [Lecture given at Dörnach, August 5, 1916.] But the present psychoanalyst is faced by all these phenomena. And so much confronts him that he says to himself: It may be quite disastrous for a man to be connected with the superpersonal unconscious; but for God's sake (the psychoanalyst does not say ‘for God's sake,’ but perhaps ‘for science's sake’) do not let us take the spiritual world seriously! It does not enter their minds to consider the spiritual world seriously. Thus something very peculiar happens. Very few notice what strange phenomena appear under the influence of these things. I will call to your attention something in Jung's book Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse, [see the above quotations that are translations of passages from C. G. Jung's Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse. Ein Ueberblick über die moderne Theorie und Methode der analytischen Psychologie, Zürich, 1917.] recently published, which will show you where the psychoanalyst lands today. I shall have to read you a passage.
“According to this example” (these are examples showing that a man has within him, not only the contents of his present personal life, but far-back connections with all sorts of demonic, divine, or spiritual forces, etc.) — “According to this example of the genesis of new ideas from the store of the primeval pictures” — (here he does not call them ‘gods’ but ‘primeval pictures’) — “we will take up the further description of the transference processes. We saw that the libido, in those apparently preposterous and curious fantasies, had seized upon its new object, namely the contents of the absolute unconscious.” (The absolute unconscious is the superpersonal unconscious, not the personal.) “As I have already said, the uncomprehended projection of the primeval pictures upon the physician involves a danger for the further treatment that must not be under-estimated.” (The patient transfers his demons to the doctor. That is one danger.) “The pictures contain not only the best and greatest of all that mankind has thought and felt, but also every infamous and devilish deed of which men have been capable.”
Just think! Jung has come so far as to perceive that a man has subconsciously within him all the most fiendish crimes, as well as the most beautiful of all that mankind has been able to think and feel. These people cannot be persuaded to speak of Lucifer and Ahriman, [Compare Rudolf Steiner, The Luciferic and Ahrimanic Influences in their Relation to Man, 1918, reprinted in Anthroposophie, Vol. 17, Book 2, p. 159.] but they agree upon the preceding statement, which I shall read to you once more:
“The pictures contain not only the best and greatest of all that mankind has thought and felt, but also every infamous and devilish deed of which men have been capable. If the patient cannot distinguish the personality of the physician from these projections, then every possibility of mutual understanding is lost, and the human relationship becomes hopeless. If, however, the patient avoids this Charybdis he falls into the Scylla of the introjection of these pictures, that is to say that he attributes their qualities not to the physician but to himself.” (Then he himself is the devil.) “This danger is equally serious. In projection he staggers between an extravagant and morbid adulation and a hateful contempt for his physician. In introjection he falls into a ridiculous self-deification, or a moral self-laceration. The mistake that he makes each time is in attributing to himself the contents of the absolute unconscious. So he makes himself into a god or a devil. Here lies the psychological reason why men have always needed demons, and were never able to live without gods — except a few particularly clever Western specimens of yesterday and the day before, supermen whose god being dead, have made gods of themselves, rationalistic pocket size gods with thick skulls and cold hearts.”
Thus you see, the psychoanalyst is driven to say: The human soul is so made that it needs gods, that gods are necessary to it, for it becomes ill without them. Therefore it has always had them. Men need gods. The psychoanalyst ridicules men, saying that when they lack other gods they make gods of themselves, but “rationalistic pocket size gods with thick skulls and cold hearts. The idea of God” (he says further), “is simply a necessary psychological function of an irrational nature. ...”
To describe the necessity of the God-concept in these terms is as far as one can go by the methods of natural science! Man must have a God; he needs him. The psychoanalyst knows that. But let us read to the end of the sentence:
“The idea of God is simply a necessary psychological function of an irrational nature, which has nothing to do with the question of the actual existence of God.”
When you read the complete sentence you run upon the great dilemma of the present day. The psychoanalyst proves to you that man becomes ill and useless without his God, but says that this need has nothing to do with the existence or non-existence of God. And he continues:
“For this latter question” (namely, of the existence of God,) “belongs to the most stupid questions that can be framed. Man knows well enough that he cannot conceive a God, much less imagine that he really exists, or that there can be any occurrence not conditioned by natural causes.”
Now I beg of you, here you find — here you are standing at the point where you may catch at things. The things are there, knocking upon the doors of knowledge. Seekers are also there. They admit an absolute necessity, but when that necessity is stated as a serious question they consider it one of the stupidest that can be suggested.
You see, you have there one of the points in the cultural life of today from which you may note exactly what is always avoided. I can assure you that, in their examination and knowledge of the soul, these psychoanalysts are far ahead of what is offered in current psychiatry by the universities. They are not only far beyond ordinary university psychiatry and psychology, but in a certain sense they are right to look down upon this dreadful so-called science. But one may catch them in any such passage, showing as it does what mankind is actually facing in the attitude of contemporary science.
Many do not recognize this. They do not realize the force of belief in authority. There has never been such faith in authority, nor has it ever reigned so absolutely as in the subconscious mind today. One asks again and again: Just what do you do as physicians when you handle hysterical cases? You seek something in the subconscious mind that is not solved within consciousness. Yes, but you find repeatedly just such a subconscious content in the case of the theorists. If you lift it into full consciousness it turns out to be exactly what has been murmuring in the subconsciousness of the modern doctors and their patients. And all our literature is so saturated with it that you are in daily and hourly danger of imbibing it. And since it is only through spiritual science that men may become aware of these things, many take them up unknowingly, draw them into their subconsciousness, where they remain.
This psychoanalysis has at least pointed out that the reality of the soul is to be accepted as such. They do that. But the devil is everywhere at their heels; I mean that they are neither able nor willing to approach spiritual reality. Therefore you find in all sorts of places the most incredible statements. But present humanity has not the degree of attention necessary to perceive them. We should naturally expect any reader of Jung's book to fall off his chair under the table at certain sentences, but men of the present do not do that; so only think how much of it must lie in the subconsciousness of modern humanity. Yet for this very reason, because these psychoanalysts see how much there is in the subconscious — and they do see it — they look upon many things differently from other people. In his Preface Jung says something, for example, part of which is not bad.
“The psychological processes which accompany the present war, above all the incredible depravity of public opinion, the mutual calumnies, the undreamed of fury of destruction, the flood of lies, and men's inability to halt the bloody demon, are all adapted to set before the eyes of thinking humanity the problem of the restlessly slumbering, chaotic realm of the subconscious. This war has shown pitilessly to the cultured man that he is still a barbarian, and at the same time what an iron rod of correction awaits him should it again occur to him to hold his neighbor responsible for his own bad character. The psychology of the single individual corresponds to the psychology of the nations.”
And now comes a sentence which makes you wonder what to do with it.
“What the nations do is done by each individual, and so long as the individual does it the nation will do it too. Only a change in the attitude of the individual can bring about a change in the psychology of the nation.”
These sentences, placed side by side, show how destructively this thinking works. I ask you if it is sensible to say: “What the nations do is done by each individual?” It would be equally reasonable to ask: Could an individual do it without nations doing it too? It is nonsense, is it not, to say things like that. The unfortunate thing is that even prominent thinkers are impressed by it. And this sort of thinking is not only to become therapy, but take the lead in pedagogy. This again is founded upon the justifiable longing to introduce into pedagogy a new soul and spiritual element. Are conclusions to be accepted which were reached by entirely inadequate methods of cognition? These are nowadays the important questions.
We shall return to the matter from the standpoint of anthroposophical orientation, and throw light upon it from a broader horizon. Then we shall see that one must set about it in a much bigger way, in order to succeed with these things at all. But they must be handled concretely. The problems which as yet have been investigated only by the old, inadequate methods, must be placed in the light of anthroposophical knowledge.
Take, for example, the problem of Nietzsche. Today I will only suggest it; tomorrow we shall consider such problems more thoroughly. We know already from former lectures: [Lectures given at Dörnach, October 14, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28; November 2, 3, 4, 1917.] from 1841 to 1879 battle of spirits above; from 1879 on, the fallen spirits in the human realm. In future such and similar things must of necessity play a role whenever a human life is studied. For Nietzsche was born in 1844. For three years before he descended to earth his soul was in the spiritual realm in the midst of the spirit battle. During his boyhood Schopenhauer was still living, but died in 1860, and only after his death did Nietzsche devote himself to the study of Schopenhauer's writings. The soul of Schopenhauer cooperated from above in the spiritual world. That was the real relationship. Nietzsche was reading Schopenhauer, and while he was absorbing his writings Schopenhauer was working upon his thoughts.
But how was Schopenhauer situated in the spiritual realm? From 1860 through the years when Nietzsche was reading his books, Schopenhauer was in the midst of the spiritual battle that was still being fought out on that plane. Therefore Schopenhauer's inspiration of Nietzsche was colored by what he himself gathered from the battle of spirits in which he was involved. In 1879 these spirits were cast down from heaven upon the earth. Up to 1879 Nietzsche's spiritual development had followed very curious paths. They will be explained in the future as due to the influence of Schopenhauer and of Wagner. In my book Friedrich Nietzsche, a Fighter against his Time, you may find many supporting details. Wagner had up to that time no particular influence except that he was active on earth. For Wagner was born in 1813; the battle of spirits only began in 1841. But Wagner died in 1883, and Nietzsche's spiritual development took its peculiar direction when Wagner's influence began. Wagner entered the spiritual world in 1883, when the battle of spirits was over, and the defeated spirits had been cast to earth. Nietzsche was in the midst of things when the spirits began to roam around here on earth. Wagner's post mortem influence upon Nietzsche had an entirely different object from that of Schopenhauer.
Here begin the super-personal but definite influences, not those abstract demonic ones, of which the psychoanalyst speaks. Humanity must resolve to enter this concrete spiritual world, in order to comprehend things which are obvious if only the facts are tested. In the future Nietzsche's biography will state that he was stimulated by that Richard Wagner who was born in 1813, and took part up to 1879 everything that led to the brilliant being whom I described in my book; that he had the influence of Schopenhauer from his sixteenth year, but that Schopenhauer was involved in the spiritual battle that was fought upon the super-physical plane before 1879; that he was exposed to Wagner's influence after Wagner had died and entered the spiritual world, while Nietzsche was still here below, where the spirits of darkness were ruling.
Jung considers this a fact: that Nietzsche found a demon, and projected it without upon Wagner. Oh well — projections, potentials, introverted or extraverted human types — all words for abstractions, but nothing about realities! These things are truly important. This is not agitation for an anthroposophical world-conception for which we are prejudiced. On the contrary, everything outside of anthroposophy shows how necessary this conception is for present-day humanity!

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