Psychology of the Unconscious [NOOK Book]


In this, his most famous and influential work, Jung made a dramatic break with the Freudian psychoanalytic tradition. Rather than focusing on psychopathology and its symptoms, the Swiss psychiatrist studied dreams, mythology, and literature to define the universal patterns of the psyche. It foreshadows his development of the theory of collective unconscious.
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Psychology of the Unconscious

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In this, his most famous and influential work, Jung made a dramatic break with the Freudian psychoanalytic tradition. Rather than focusing on psychopathology and its symptoms, the Swiss psychiatrist studied dreams, mythology, and literature to define the universal patterns of the psyche. It foreshadows his development of the theory of collective unconscious.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486119205
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 570
  • Sales rank: 745,339
  • File size: 2 MB

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Psychology of the Unconscious

By Carl Gustav Jung, Beatrice M. Hinkle

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2002 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11920-5



IT is a well-known fact that one of the principles of analytic psychology is that the dream images are to be understood symbolically; that is to say, that they are not to be taken literally just as they are presented in sleep, but that behind them a hidden meaning has to be surmised. It is this ancient idea of a dream symbolism which has challenged not only criticism, but, in addition to that, the strongest opposition. That dreams may be full of import, and, therefore, something to be interpreted, is certainly neither a strange nor an extraordinary idea. This has been familiar to mankind for thousands of years, and, therefore, seems much like a banal truth. The dream interpretations of the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and the story of Joseph who interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, are known to every one, and the dream book of Artemidorus is also familiar. From countless inscribed monuments of all times and peoples we learn of foreboding dreams, of significant, of prophetic and also of curative dreams which the Deity sent to the sick, sleeping in the temple. We know the dream of the mother of Augustus, who dreamt she was to be with child by the Deity transformed into a snake. We will not heap up references and examples to bear witness to the existence of a belief in the symbolism of dreams. When an idea is so old, and is so generally believed, it is probably true in some way, and, indeed, as is mostly the case, is not literally true, but is true psychologically. In this distinction lies the reason why the old fogies of science have from time to time thrown away an inherited piece of ancient truth; because it was not literal but psychologic truth. For such discrimination this type of person has at no time had any comprehension. From our experience, it is hardly conceivable that a God existing outside of ourselves causes dreams, or that the dream, eo ipso, foresees the future prophetically. When we translate this into the psychologic, however, then the ancient theories sound much more reconcilable, namely, the dream arises from a part of the mind unknown to us, but none the less important, and is concerned with the desires for the approaching day. This psychologic formula derived from the ancient superstitious conception of dreams, is, so to speak, exactly identified with the Freudian psychology, which assumes a rising wish from the unconscious to be the source of the dream.

As the old belief teaches, the Deity or the Demon speaks in symbolic speech to the sleeper, and the dream interpreter has the riddle to solve. In modern speech we say this means that the dream is a series of images, which are apparently contradictory and nonsensical, but arise in reality from psychologic material which yields a clear meaning.

Were I to suppose among my readers a far-reaching ignorance of dream analysis, then I should be obliged to illustrate this statement with numerous examples. Today, however, these things are quite well known, so that one must proceed carefully with every-day dream material, out of consideration for a public educated in these matters. It is a special inconvenience that no dream can be recounted without being obliged to add to it half a life's history which affords the individual foundations of the dream, but there are some few typical dreams which can be told without too great a ballast. One of these is the dream of the sexual assault, which is especially prevalent among women. A girl sleeping after an evening happily spent in dancing, dreams that a robber breaks open her door noisily and stabs through her body with a lance. This theme, which explains itself, has countless variations, some simple, some complicated. Instead of the lance it is a sword, a dagger, a revolver, a gun, a cannon, a hydrant, a watering pot; or the assault is a burglary, a pursuit, a robbery, or it is some one hidden in the closet or under the bed. Or the danger may be illustrated by wild animals; for instance, a horse which throws the dreamer to the ground and kicks her in the body with his hind foot; lions, tigers, elephants with threatening trunks, and finally snakes in endless variety. Sometimes the snake creeps into the mouth, sometimes it bites the breast like Cleopatra's legendary asp, sometimes it comes in the role of the paradisical snake, or in the variations of Franz Stuck, whose pictures of snakes bear the significant titles "Vice," "Sin," "Lust." The mixture of lust and anxiety is expressed incomparably in the very atmosphere of these pictures, and far more brutally, indeed, than in Mörike's charming poem.

    The Maiden's First Love Song

    What's in the net?
    But I am afraid,
    Do I grasp a sweet eel,
    Do I seize a snake?
    Love is a blind
    Tell the child
    Where to seize.
    Already it leaps in my hands.

    Oh, Pity, or delight!
    With nestlings and turnings
    It coils on my breast,
    It bites me, oh, wonder!
    Boldly through the skin,
    It darts under my heart.
    Oh, Love, I shudder!

    What can I do, what can I begin?
    That shuddering thing;
    There it crackles within
    And coils in a ring.
    It must be poisoned.
    Here it crawls around.
    Blissfully I feel as it worms
    Itself into my soul
    And kills me finally.

All these things are simple, and need no explanation to be intelligible. Somewhat more complicated, but still unmistakable, is the dream of a woman; she sees the triumphal arch of Constantine. A cannon stands before it, to the right of it a bird, to the left a man. A shot flashes out of the tube; the projectile hits her; it goes into her pocket, into her purse. There it remains, and she holds her purse as if something very precious were in it. The image disappears, and she continues to see only the stock of the cannon, and over that Constantine's motto, "In hoc signo vinces."

These few references to the symbolic nature of dreams are perhaps sufficient. For whomsoever the proof may appear insufficient, and it is certainly insufficient for a beginner, further evidence may be found in the fundamental work of Freud, and in the works of Stekel and Rank which are fuller in certain particulars. We must assume here that the dream symbolism is an established fact, in order to bring to our study a mind suitably prepared for an appreciation of this work. We would not be successful if we, on the contrary, were to be astonished at the idea that an intellectual image can be projected into our conscious psychic activity; an image which apparently obeys such wholly other laws and purposes than those governing the conscious psychic product.

Why are dreams symbolic? Every "why" in psychology is divided into two separate questions: first, for what purpose are dreams symbolic? We will answer this question only to abandon it at once. Dreams are symbolic in order that they can not be understood; in order that the wish, which is the source of the dream, may remain unknown. The question why this is so and not otherwise, leads us out into the far-reaching experiences and trains of thought of the Freudian psychology.

Here the second question interests us, viz., How is it that dreams are symbolic? That is to say, from where does this capacity for symbolic representation come, of which we, in our conscious daily life, can discover apparently no traces?

Let us examine this more closely. Can we really discover nothing symbolic in our every-day thought? Let us follow our trains of thought; let us take an example. We think of the war of 1870 and 1871. We think about a series of bloody battles, the siege of Strassburg, Belfort, Paris, the Treaty of Peace, the foundation of the German Empire, and so on. How have we been thinking? We start with an idea, or super-idea, as it is also called, and without thinking of it, but each time merely guided by a feeling of direction, we think about individual reminiscences of the war. In this we can find nothing symbolic, and our whole conscious thinking proceeds according to this type.

If we observe our thinking very narrowly, and follow an intensive train of thought, as, for example, the solution of a difficult problem, then suddenly we notice that we are thinking in words, that in wholly intensive thinking we begin to speak to ourselves, or that we occasionally write down the problem, or make a drawing of it so as to be absolutely clear. It must certainly have happened to any one who has lived for some time in a foreign country, that after a certain period he has begun to think in the language of the country. A very intensive train of thinking works itself out more or less in word form; that is, if one wants to express it, to teach it, or to convince any one of it. Evidently it directs itself wholly to the outside world. To this extent, this directed or logical thinking is a reality thinking, having a real existence for us; that is to say, a thinking which adjusts itself to actual conditions, where we, expressed in other words, imitate the succession of objectively real things, so that the images in our mind follow after each other in the same strictly causal succession as the historical events outside of our mind.

We call this thinking, thinking with directed attention. It has, in addition, the peculiarity that one is tired by it, and that, on this account, it is set into action only for a time. Our whole vital accomplishment, which is so expensive, is adaptation to environment; a part of it is the directed thinking, which, biologically expressed, is nothing but a process of psychic assimilation, which, as in every vital accomplishment, leaves behind a corresponding exhaustion.

The material with which we think is language and speech concept, a thing which has been used from time immemorial as something external, a bridge for thought, and which has a single purpose—that of communication. As long as we think directedly, we think for others and speak to others.

Speech is originally a system of emotional and imitative sounds—sounds which express terror, fear, anger, love; and sounds which imitate the noises of the elements, the rushing and gurgling of water, the rolling of thunder, the tumults of the winds, the tones of the animal world, and so on; and, finally, those which represent a combination of the sounds of perception and of affective reaction. Likewise in the more or less modern languages, large quantities of onomatopoetic relics are retained; for example, sounds for the movement of water,—

Rauschen, risseln, rûschen, rinnen, rennen, to rush, ruscello, ruisseau, river, Rhein.

Wasser, wissen, wissern, pissen, piscis, fisch.

Thus language is originally and essentially nothing but a system of signs or symbols, which denote real occurrences, or their echo in the human soul.

Therefore one must decidedly agree with Anatole France, when he says,

"What is thought, and how do we think? We think with words; that alone is sensual and brings us back to nature. Think of it! The metaphysician has only the perfected cry of monkeys and dogs with which to construct the system of the world. That which he calls profound speculation and transcendent method is to put end to end in an arbitrary order the natural sounds which cry out hunger, fear, and love in the primitive forests, and to which were attached little by little the meanings which one believed to be abstract, when they were only crude.

"Do not fear that the succession of small cries, feeble and stifled, which compose a book of philosophy, will teach us so much regarding the universe, that we can live in it no longer."

Thus is our directed thinking, and even if we were the loneliest and furthest removed from our fellows, this thinking is nothing but the first notes of a long-drawn-out call to our companions that water had been found, that we had killed the bear, that a storm was approaching, or that wolves were prowling around the camp. A striking paradox of Abélard's which expresses in a very intuitive way the whole human limitation of our complicated thinking process, reads,—"Sermo generatur ab intellectu et generat intellectum."

Any system of philosophy, no matter how abstract, represents in means and purpose nothing more than an extremely cleverly developed combination of original nature sounds. Hence arises the desire of a Schopenhauer or a Nietzsche for recognition and understanding, and the despair and bitterness of their loneliness. One might expect, perhaps, that a man full of genius could pasture in the greatness of his own thoughts, and renounce the cheap approbation of the crowd which he despises; yet he succumbs to the more powerful impulse of the herd instinct. His searching and his finding, his call, belong to the herd.

When I said just now that directed thinking is properly a thinking with words, and quoted that clever testimony of Anatole France as drastic proof of it, a misunderstanding might easily arise, namely, that directed thinking is really only "word." That certainly would go too far. Language should, however, be comprehended in a wider sense than that of speech, which is in itself only the expression of the formulated thought which is capable of being communicated in the widest sense. Otherwise, the deaf mute would be limited to the utmost in his capacity for thinking, which is not the case in reality. Without any knowledge of the spoken word, he has his "language." This language, considered from the standpoint of history, or in other words, directed thinking, is here a descendant of the primitive words, as, for instance, Wundt expresses it.

"A further important result of that co-operation of sound and sign interchange consists in the fact that very many words gradually lose altogether their original concrete thought meaning, and turn into signs for general ideas and for the expression of the apperceptive functions of relation and comparison and their products. In this manner abstract thought develops, which, because it would not be possible without the change of meaning lying at the root of it, is indeed a production of that psychic and psychophysical reciprocal action out of which the development of language takes place."

Jodl denies the identity of language and thought, because, for one reason, one and the same psychic fact might be expressed in different languages in different ways. From that he draws the conclusion that a "super-language thinking" exists. Certainly there is such a thing, whether with Erdmann one considers it "hypologisch," or with Jodl as "super-language." Only this is not logical thinking. My conception of it agrees with the noteworthy contribution made by Baldwin, which I will quote here word for word.

"The transmission from pre-judgmental to judgmental meaning is just that from knowledge which has social confirmation to that which gets along without it. The meanings utilized for judgment are those already developed in their presuppositions and applications through the confirmation of social intercourse. Thus, the personal judgment, trained in the methods of social rendering, and disciplined by the interaction of its social world, projects its content into that world again. In other words, the platform for all movement into the assertion of individual judgment—the level from which new experience is utilized—is already and always socialized; and it is just this movement that we find reflected in the actual results as the sense of the 'appropriateness' or synomic character of the meaning rendered.

"Now the development of thought, as we are to see in more detail, is by a method essentially of trial and error, of experimentation, of the use of meanings as worth more than they are as yet recognized to be worth. The individual must use his own thoughts, his established knowledges, his grounded judgments, for the embodiment of his new inventive constructions. He erects his thought as we say 'schematically'—in logic terms, problematically,' conditionally, disjunctively; projecting into the world an opinion still peculiar to himself, as if it were true. Thus all discovery proceeds. But this is, from the linguistic point of view, still to use the current language, still to work by meanings already embodied in social and conventional usage.


Excerpted from Psychology of the Unconscious by Carl Gustav Jung, Beatrice M. Hinkle. Copyright © 2002 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Relation of the Incest Phantasy to the Oedipus Legend
Moral revulsion over such a discovery
The unity of the antique and modern psychology
Followers of Freud in this field
The need of analyzing historical material in relation to individual analysis
Antiquity of the belief in dreams
"Dream-meanings psychological, not literal"
They concern wish-fulfilments
A typical dream: the sexual assault
What is symbolic in our everyday thinking?
"One kind of thinking: intensive and deliberate, or directed"
Directed thinking and thinking in words
Origin of speech in primitive nature sounds
The evolution of speech
Directed thinking a modern acquisition
"Thinking, not directed, a thinking in images: akin to dreaming"
Two kinds of thinking: directed and dream or phantasy thinking
Science an expression of directed thinking
The discipline of scholasticism as a forerunner
Antique spirit created not science but mythology
Their world of subjective phantasies similar to that we find in the childmind of to-day; or in the savage
The dream shows a similar type
Infantile thinking and dreams a re-echo of the prehistoric and the ancient
The myths a mass-dream of the people: the dream the myth of the individual
Phantastic thinking concerns wishes
"Typical cases, showing kinship with ancient myths"
Psychology of man changes but slowly
Phantastic thinking tells us of mythical or other material of undeveloped and no longer recognized wish tendencies in the soul
The sexual base
"The wish, because of its disturbing nature, expressed not directly, but symbolically"
Miss Miller's unusual suggestibility
Identifying herself with others
Examples of her autosuggestibility and suggestive effect
"Not striking in themselves, but from analytic viewpoint they afford a glance into the soul of the writer"
Her phantasies really tell of the history of her love
Miss Miller's description of a sea-journey
"Really a description of "introversion"
A retreat from reality into herself
The return to the real world with erotic impression of officer singing in the night-watch
The undervaluing of such erotic impressions
Their often deep effect
"The succeeding dream, and poem"
The denied erotic impression usurps an earlier transference: it expresses itself through the Father-Imago
Analysis of the poem
"Relation to Cyrano, Milton and Job"
The attempt to escape the problem by a religious and ethical pose
Contrast with real religion
"Escape from erotic by transference: "To a God or Christ"
"This made effective by mutual transference: "Love one another"
"The erotic spiritualized, however"
The inner conflict kept conscious by this method
"The modern, however, represses the conflict and so becomes neurotic"
The function of Christianity
Its biological purpose fulfilled
Its forms of thought and wisdom still available
The double rôle of Faust: creator and destroyer
"I came not to send peace, but a sword"
The modern problem of choice between Scylla of world-renunciation and Charybdis of world-acceptance
"The ethical pose of The Hymn of Creation having failed, the unconscious projects a new attempt in the Moth-Song"
"The choice, as in Faust"
The longing for the sun (or God) the same as that for the ship's officer
"Not the object, however: the longing is important"
God is our own longing to which we pay divine honors
"The failure to replace by a real compensation the libido-object which is surrendered, produces regression to an earlier and discarded object"
A return to the infantile
The use of the parent image
"It becomes synonymous with god, sun, fire"
Sun and snake
Symbols of the libido gathered into the sun-symbol
The tendency toward unity and toward multiplicity
One God with many attributes: or many gods that are attributes of one
Phallus and sun
"The sun-hero, the well-beloved"
Christ as sun-god
"Moth and sun" then brings us to historic depths of the soul"
The sun-hero creative and destructive
Hence: Moth and Flame: burning one's wings
The destructiveness of being fruitful
"Wherefore the neurotic withdraws from the conflict, committing a sort of self-murder"
Comparison with Byron's Heaven and Earth
A backward glance
The sun the natural god
Comparison with libido
"Libido, "sun-energy"
The sun-image as seen by the mystic in introversion
The phallic symbol of the libido
Faust's key
Mythical heroes with phallic attributes
These heroes personifications of the human libido and its typical fates
"A definition of the word "libido"
Its etymological context
A widening of the conception of libido
New light from the study of paranoia
The impossibility of restricting the conception of libido to the sexual
A genetic definition
The function of reality only partly sexual
"Yet this, and other functions, originally derivations from procreative impulse"
The process of transformation
"Libido, and the conception of will in general"
Examples in mythology
The stages of the libido: its desexualized derivatives and differentiations
Sublimation vs. repression
Splittings off of the primal libido
Application of genetic theory of libido to introversion psychoses
Replacing reality by archaic surrogates
Desexualizing libido by means of phantastic analogy formations
Possibly human consciousness brought to present state in this manner
"The importance of the little phrase: "Even as"
An example of transition of the libido
Act of boring with forefinger: an infantile presexual activity
Similar activities in patient's early childhood
Outcome in dementia præcox
Its phantasies related to mythological products: a reproduction of the creations of a
The psychological compulsion for such transitions of the libido based on an original division of the will
Regression to incestuous
Prohibition here sends incestuous component of libido back to pre-sexual
Character of its application here
The substitution of Mother-Earth for the parent
Also of infantile boring
Leading then to discovery of fire
An example in Hindoo literature
The sexual significance of the mouth
Its other function: the mating call
The regression which produced fire through boring also elaborated the mating call
The beginnings of speech
Example from the Hindoo
Speech and fire the first fruits of transformation or libido
"The fire-preparation regarded as forbidden, as robbery"
The forbidden thing onanism
Onanism a cheating of sexuality of its purpose
The ceremonial fire-production a substitute for the possibility of onanistic regression
Thus a transformation of libido ensues
The cause of introversion
The forward and backward flow of the libido
The abnormal third
The conflict rooted in the incest problem
"The "terrible mother"
Miss Miller's introversion
An internal conflict
Its product of hypnagogic vision and poem
The uniformity of the unconscious in all men
The unconscious the object of a true psychology
The individual tendency with its production of the hero cult
The love for the hero or god a love for the unconscious
A turning back to the mother of humanity
Such regressions act favorably within limits
Miss Miller's mention of the Sphinx
Theriomorphic representations of the libido
Their tendency to represent father and mother
The sphinx represents the fear of the mother
Miss Miller's mention of the Aztec
Analysis of this figure
The significance of the hand symbolically
The Aztec a substitute for the Sphinx
The name Chi-wan-to-pel
The connection of the anal region with veneration
"Chiwantopel and Ahasver, the Wandering Jew"
The parallel with Chidher
Heroes generating themselves through their own mothers
Analogy with the Sun
"Setting and rising sun: Mithra and Helios, Christ and Peter, Dhulqarnein and Chidher"
The fish symbol
The two Dadophores: the two thieves
The mortal and immortal parts of man
The Trinity taken from phallic symbolism
Comparison of libido with phallus
Analysis of libido symbolism always leads back to the mother incest
The hero myth the myth of our own suffering unconscious
The crowd as symbol of mystery
The city as symbol of the mother
"The motive of continuous "union"
The typical journey of the sun-hero
A longing for rebirth through the mother
"The compulsion to symbolize the mother as City, Sea, Source, etc."
The city as terrible mother and as holy mother
The relation of the water-motive to rebirth
Of the tree-motive
Tree of life a mother-image
The bisexual character of trees
"Such symbols to be understood psychologically, not anatomically"
"The incestuous desire aims at becoming a child again, not at incest"
It evades incest by creating myths of symbolic rebirth
The libido spiritualized through this use of symbols
To be born of the spirit
This compulsion toward symbolism brings a release of forces bound up in incest
This process in Christianity
Christianity with its repression of the manifest sexual the negative of the ancient sexual cult
The unconscious transformation of the incest wish into religious exercise does not meet the modern need
"A conscious method necessary, involving moral autonomy"
Replacing belief by understanding
The history of the symbolism of trees
The rise of the idea of the terrible mother a mask of the incest wish
The myth of Osiris
Related examples
"The motive of "devouring"
The Cross of Christ: tree of death and tree of life
Lilith: the devouring mother
The Lamias
The conquering of the mother
Snake and dragon: the resistance against incest
The father represents the active repulse of the incest with of the son
He frequently becomes the monster to be overcome by the hero
The Mithraic sacrificing of the incest wish an overcoming of the mother
A replacing of archaic overpowering by sacrifice of the wish
The crucified Christ an expression of this renunciation
Other cross sacrifices
"Cross symbol possesses significance of "union"
Child in mother's womb: or man and mother in union
Conception of the soul a derivative of mother imago
The power of incest prohibition created the self-conscious individual
It was the coercion to domestication
The further visions of Miss Miller
The appearance of the hero Chiwantopel on horseback
Hero and horse equivalent of humanity and its repressed libido
"Horse a libido symbol, partly phallic, partly maternal, like the tree"
It represents the libido repressed through the incest prohibition
The scene of Chiwantopel and the Indian
Recalling Cassius and Brutus: also delirium of Cyrano
Identification of Cassius with his mother
His infantile disposition
Miss Miller's hero also infantile
Her visions arise from an infantile mother transference
Her hero to die from an arrow wound
The symbolism of the arrow
The onslaught of unconscious desires
The deadly arrows strike the hero from within
It means the state of introversion
A sinking back into the world of the child
The danger of this regression
It may mean annihilation or new life
Examples of introversion
The clash between the retrogressive tendency in the individual unconscious and the conscious forward striving
Willed introversion
The unfulfilled sacrifice in the Miller phantasy means an attempt to renounce the mother: the conquest of a new life through the death of the old
"Minnehaha, t
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2004

    Jung's First 'Interesting' Book

    This is the first book Jung wrote to establish himself as an independent thinker, rather than a student of Freud. Jung was to pursue, and wrestle with, some of the themes in this book for his entire working life; other themes and concepts that appear here he later revised or dropped. The book appears, heavily revised, in the Complete Works as 'Symbols of Transformation' but it is well worth exploring the earlier edition, infused with a confidence in progress and rational understanding of the psyche that the disasters of the First World War would subsequently put to shame. I think this book is a fine example of the unique combination of articulate 'scientistic' rationality and quasi-metaphysical wackiness that typifies Jung at his best. I enjoyed it.

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