Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, November 18, 1917:
You will recall the studies in which we have tried to establish a relationship to the different premises and assertions of modern psychoanalysis. What mattered to me in those studies was to bring clarity into the concept of the “unconscious,” to show that the way in which the concept of the “unconscious” is commonly used in psychoanalysis is essentially unfounded. As long as one is unable to go beyond this concept, a purely negative concept, one cannot say more than that psychoanalysis works with insufficient methods of cognition on an especially challenging phenomenon today. Because the psychoanalysts strive to explore the soul and spirit and, as we have observed, even pursue this soul and spirit into a social life, one must admit that we have here a point of departure that is much more significant than what official academic science is able to offer in this realm. Because analytical psychology tries to intervene in life, however, through pedagogy, therapy, and soon, most likely, social and political means, the dangers related to this matter must be regarded with great concern. The question thus arises what it is essentially that the researchers of today cannot and do not wish to reach. They recognize that there exists a soul nature beyond consciousness; they search for a soul beyond consciousness, but they cannot raise themselves to cognition of the spirit itself. Spirit can in no way be grasped through a concept of the unconscious, because an unconscious spirit is like a human being without a head. I have brought to your attention that there are people who under certain hysterical conditions walk about the streets and see in other human beings only their bodies, not their heads. It is a definite form of illness if one is unable to see a person's head. Among contemporary researchers, there are some who believe they are seeing the whole spirit. Since they represent the spirit as unconscious, however, they show immediately that they themselves have fallen prey to illusion, the illusion that there is an unconscious spirit, a spirit without consciousness.
Source: November 18, 1917
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