Carl Jung "Night Sea Journey." Lexicon

Night sea journey:

An archetypal motif in mythology, psychologically associated with depression and the loss of energy characteristic of neurosis.
The night sea journey is a kind of descensus ad inferos–a descent into Hades and a journey to the land of ghosts somewhere beyond this world, beyond consciousness, hence an immersion in the unconscious.[“The Psychology of the Transference,” CW 16, par. 455.]

Mythologically, the night sea journey motif usually involves being swallowed by a dragon or sea monster. It is also represented by imprisonment or crucifixion, dismemberment or abduction, experiences traditionally weathered by sun-gods and heroes: Gilgamesh, Osiris, Christ, Dante, Odysseus, Aeneas. In the language of the mystics it is the dark night of the soul.

Jung interpreted such legends symbolically, as illustrations of the regressive movement of energy in an outbreak of neurosis and its potential progression.

The hero is the symbolical exponent of the movement of libido. Entry into the dragon is the regressive direction, and the journey to the East (the “night sea journey”) with its attendant events symbolizes the effort to adapt to the conditions of the psychic inner world. The complete swallowing up and disappearance of the hero in the belly of the dragon represents the complete withdrawal of interest from the outer world. The overcoming of the monster from within is the achievement of adaptation to the conditions of the inner world, and the emergence (“slipping out”) of the hero from the monster’s belly with the help of a bird, which happens at the moment of sunrise, symbolizes the recommencement of progression.[“On Psychic Energy,” CW 8, par. 68.]

All the night sea journey myths derive from the perceived behavior of the sun, which, in Jung’s lyrical image, “sails over the sea like an immortal god who every evening is immersed in the maternal waters and is born anew in the morning.[“Symbols of the Mother and of Rebirth,”CW 5, par. 306.] The sun going down, analogous to the loss of energy in a depression, is the necessary prelude to rebirth. Cleansed in the healing waters (the unconscious), the sun (ego-consciousness) lives again.

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Carl Jung on “Meditation.” Lexicon

Meditation:

A technique of focused introspection.

Jung distinguished between meditation practiced in the East or in traditional Western religious exercises, and its use as a tool for self-understanding, particularly in the realization of projections.

If the ancient art of meditation is practised at all today, it is practised only in religious or philosophical circles, where a theme is subjectively chosen by the meditant or prescribed by an instructor, as in the Ignatian Exercitia or in certain theosophical exercises that developed under Indian influence. These methods are of value only for increasing concentration and consolidating consciousness, but have no significance as regards affecting a synthesis of the personality. On the contrary, their purpose is to shield consciousness from the unconscious and to suppress it.[“The Conjunction,” CW 14, par. 708.]

When meditation is concerned with the objective products of the unconscious that reach consciousness spontaneously, it unites the conscious with contents that proceed not from a conscious causal chain but from an essentially unconscious process. . . . Part of the unconscious contents is projected, but the projection as such is not recognized. Meditation or critical introspection and objective investigation of the object are needed in order to establish the existence of projections. If the individual is to take stock of himself it is essential that his projections should be recognized, because they falsify the nature of the object and besides this contain items which belong to his own personality and should be integrated with it.[Ibid., par. 710.]

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Carl Jung on "Suicide."

Carl Jung’s to “Mrs. N.”, a 47 year old woman concerned about the impact of her suicide attempt at age 21. This statement is contained in a letter dated 13 October 1951.

“It isn’t possible to kill part of your “self” unless you kill yourself first. If you ruin your conscious personality, the so-called ego-personality, you deprive the self of its real goal, namely to become real itself. The goal of life is the realization of the self. If you kill yourself you abolish that will of the self to become real, but it may arrest your personal development inasmuch it is not explained. You ought to realise that suicide is murder, since after suicide there remains a corpse exactly as with any ordinary murder. Only it is yourself that has been killed.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 2, Page 25.

Carl Jung in a Letter wrote dated 10 July, 1946, to a correspondent regarding suicide.

“The idea of suicide, understandable as it is, does not seem commendable to me. We live in order to gain the greatest possible amount of spiritual development and self-awareness. As long as life is possible, even if only in a minimal degree, you should hang onto it, in order to scoop it up for the purpose of conscious development. To interrupt life before its time is to bring to a standstill an experiment which we have not set up. We have found ourselves in the midst of it and must carry it through to the end.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, 1973, Page 434.

( 25 July, 1946) Carl Jung in a letter to Eleanor Bertine concerning Kristine Mann’s death dated 25 July 1946.

“It is really a question whether a person affected by such a terrible illness should or may end her life. It is my attitude in such cases not to interfere. I would let things happen as they were so, because I’m convinced that if anybody has it in himself to commit suicide, then practically the whole of his being is going that way. I have seen cases where it would have been something short of criminal to hinder the people because according to all rules it was in accordance with the tendency of their unconscious and thus the basic thing. So I think nothing is really gained by interfering with such an issue. It is presumably to be left to the free choice of the individual. Anything that seems to be wrong to us can be right under certain circumstances over which we have no control and then end of which we do not understand. If Kristine Mann had committed suicide under the stress of unbearable pain, I should have thought that this was the right thing. As it was not the case, I think it was in her stars to undergo such a cruel agony for reasons that escape out understanding. Our life is not made entirely by ourselves. The main bulk of it is brought into existence out of sources that are hidden to us. Even complexes can start a century or more before a man is born. There is something like karma.” ~Carl (Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 435-436.

Carl Jung to a terminally ill person 19 Nov. 1955.

“The reason for such an “unreasonable” attitude with me is that I am not at all sure what will happen to me after death. I have good reasons to assume that things are not finished with death. Life seems to be an interlude in a long story.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 279.

Letter from Carl Jung to Alice Lewisohn Crowley suggesting Suicide:

My Dear Mrs. Crowley,

I begin to feel my age and whenever I get a bit too tired I also feel my heart and that is decidedly disagreeable and makes me cross with the whole world, which is damnable anyhow. I went through a period of black depression during the first 4 days. Only yesterday I began to feel human again. And then your situation in Europe came back to me with a bang!

I beg you to consider your life. If they are going to send you to Poland, you only can suicide yourself. Please forgive this crudeness! It is my anxiety for your life which makes me say such things. Remember, I warned you before America went to war. It is urgent that you do something and quick! Europe is in a desperate situation.

I am sorry and I am helpless.

Yours affectionately, C.G. Jung

Note: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

Carl Jung on “Neurosis.” Lexicon

Neurosis:

A psychological crisis due to a state of disunity with oneself, or, more formally, a mild dissociation of the personality due to the activation of complexes. (See also adaptation, conflict and self-regulation of the psyche.)
Any incompatibility of character can cause dissociation, and too great a split between the thinking and the feeling function, for instance, is already a slight neurosis. When you are not quite at one with yourself . . . you are approaching a neurotic condition.[“The Tavistock Lectures,” CW 18, par. 383.]

Every neurosis is characterized by dissociation and conflict, contains complexes, and shows traces of regression and abaissement.[“Analytical Psychology and Education,” CW 17, par. 204.]

Jung’s view was that an outbreak of neurosis is purposeful, an opportunity to become conscious of who we are as opposed to who we think we are. By working through the symptoms that invariably accompany neurosis-anxiety, fear, depression, guilt and particularly conflict-we become aware of our limitations and discover our true strengths.

In many cases we have to say, “Thank heaven he could make up his mind to be neurotic.” Neurosis is really an attempt at self-cure. . . . It is an attempt of the self-regulating psychic system to restore the balance, in no way different from the function of dreams-only rather more forceful and drastic.[“The Tavistock Lectures,” CW 18, par. 389.]

I myself have known more than one person who owed his entire usefulness and reason for existence to a neurosis, which prevented all the worst follies in his life and forced him to a mode of living that developed his valuable potentialities. These might have been stifled had not the neurosis, with iron grip, held him to the place where he belonged. [“The Problem of the Attitude-Type,” CW 7, par. 68.]

In any breakdown in conscious functioning, energy regresses and unconscious contents are activated in an attempt to compensate the one-sidedness of consciousness.

Neuroses, like all illnesses, are symptoms of maladjustment. Be-cause of some obstacle-a constitutional weakness or defect, wrong education, bad experiences, an unsuitable attitude, etc.-one shrinks from the difficulties which life brings and thus finds oneself back in the world of the infant. The unconscious compensates this regression by producing symbols which, when understood objectively, that is, by means of comparative research, reactivate general ideas that underlie all such natural systems of thought. In this way a change of attitude is brought about which bridges the dissociation between man as he is and man as he ought to be. [“The Philosophical Tree,” CW 13, par. 473.]

Jung called his attitude toward neurosis energic or final since it was based on the potential progression of energy rather than causal or mechanistic reasons for its regression. The two views are not incompatible but rather complementary: the mechanistic approach looks to the past for the cause of psychic discomfort in the present; Jung focused on the present with an eye to future possibilities.

I no longer seek the cause of a neurosis in the past, but in the present. I ask, what is the necessary task which the patient will not accomplish?[“Psychoanalysis and Neurosis,” CW4, par. 570.]

In psychic disturbances it is by no means sufficient in all cases merely to bring the supposed or real causes to consciousness. The treatment involves the integration of contents that have become dissociated from consciousness.[“The Philosophical Tree,” CW 13, par. 464.]

Jung did not dispute Freudian theory that Oedipal fixations can manifest as neurosis in later life. He acknowledged that certain periods in life, and particularly infancy, often have a permanent and determining influence on the personality. But he found this to be an insufficient explanation for those cases in which there was no trace of neurosis until the time of the breakdown.

Freud’s sexual theory of neurosis is grounded on a true and factual principle. But it makes the mistake of being one-sided and exclusive; also it commits the imprudence of trying to lay hold of unconfinable Eros with the crude terminology of sex. In this respect Freud is a typical representative of the materialistic epoch, whose hope it was to solve the world riddle in a test-tube.[“The Eros Theory,” CW 7, par. 33.]

If the fixation were indeed real [i.e., the primary cause] we should expect to find its influence constant; in other words, a neurosis lasting throughout life. This is obviously not the case. The psychological determination of a neurosis is only partly due to an early infantile predisposition; it must be due to some cause in the present as well. And if we carefully examine the kind of infantile fantasies and occurrences to which the neurotic is attached, we shall be obliged to agree that there is nothing in them that is specifically neurotic. Normal individuals have pretty much the same inner and outer experiences, and may be attached to them to an astonishing degree without developing a neurosis.[“Psychoanalysis and Neurosis,” CW4, par. 564.]

What then determines why one person becomes neurotic while another, in similar circumstances, does not? Jung’s answer is that the individual psyche knows both its limits and its potential. If the former are being exceeded, or the latter not realized, a breakdown occurs. The psyche itself acts to correct the situation.

There are vast masses of the population who, despite their notorious unconsciousness, never get anywhere near a neurosis. The few who are smitten by such a fate are really persons of the “higher” type who, for one reason or another, have remained too long on a primitive level. Their nature does not in the long run tolerate persistence in what is for them an unnatural torpor. As a result of their narrow conscious outlook and their cramped existence they save energy; bit by bit it accumulates in the unconscious and finally explodes in the form of a more or less acute neurosis.[“The Function of the Unconscious,” CW 7, par. 291.]

Jung’s view of neurosis differs radically from the classical reductive approach, but it does not substantially change what happens in analysis. Activated fantasies still have to be brought to light, because the energy needed for life is attached to them. The object, however, is not to reveal a supposed root cause of the neurosis but to establish a connection between consciousness and the unconscious that will result in the renewed progression of energy.

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Carl Jung on “Myth.” Lexicon

Myth:

An involuntary collective statement based on an unconscious psychic experience.

The primitive mentality does not invent myths, it experiences them. Myths are original revelations of the preconscious psyche . . . . Many of these unconscious processes may be indirectly occasioned by consciousness, but never by conscious choice. Others appear to arise spontaneously, that is to say, from no discernible or demonstrable conscious cause.[“The Psychology of the Child Archetype,” par. 261.]

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Carl Jung on “Mother Complex.” Lexicon.

Mother complex:

A group of feeling-toned ideas associated with the experience and image of mother.

The mother complex is a potentially active component of everyone’s psyche, informed first of all by experience of the personal mother, then by significant contact with other women and by collective assumptions. The constellation of a mother complex has differing effects according to whether it appears in a son or a daughter.

Typical effects on the son are homosexuality and Don Juanism, and sometimes also impotence [though here the father complex also plays a part]. In homosexuality, the son’s entire heterosexuality is tied to the mother in an unconscious form; in Don Juanism, he unconsciously seeks his mother in every woman he meets.[“Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype,” CW 9i, par. 162.]

A man’s mother complex is influenced by the contrasexual complex, the anima. To the extent that a man establishes a good relationship with his inner woman (instead of being possessed by her), even a negative mother complex may have positive effects.

[He] may have a finely differentiated Eros instead of, or in addition to, homosexuality. . . . This gives him a great capacity for friendship, which often creates ties of astonishing tenderness between men and may even rescue friendship between the sexes from the limbo of the impossible. . . .In the same way, what in its negative aspect is Don Juanism can appear positively as bold and resolute manliness; ambitious striving after the highest goals; opposition to all stupidity, narrow-mindedness, injustice, and laziness; willingness to make sacrifices for what is regarded as right, sometimes bordering on heroism; perseverance, inflexibility and toughness of will; a curiosity that does not shrink even from the riddles of the universe; and finally, a revolutionary spirit which strives to put a new face upon the world.[Ibid., pars 164f.]

In the daughter, the effect of the mother complex ranges from stimulation of the feminine instinct to its inhibition. In the first case, the preponderance of instinct makes the woman unconscious of her own personality.

The exaggeration of the feminine side means an intensification of all female instincts, above all the maternal instinct. The negative aspect is seen in the woman whose only goal is childbirth. To her the husband is . . . first and foremost the instrument of procreation, and she regards him merely as an object to be looked after, along with children, poor relations, cats, dogs, and household furniture.[Ibid., par. 167.]

In the second case, the feminine instinct is inhibited or wiped out altogether.

As a substitute, an overdeveloped Eros results, and this almost invariably leads to an unconscious incestuous relationship with the father. The intensified Eros places an abnormal emphasis on the personality of others. Jealousy of the mother and the desire to outdo her become the leitmotifs of subsequent undertakings.[Ibid., par. 168.]

Alternatively, the inhibition of the feminine instinct may lead a woman to identify with her mother. She is then unconscious of both her own maternal instinct and her Eros, which are then projected onto the mother.

As a sort of superwoman (admired involuntarily by the daughter), the mother lives out for her beforehand all that the girl might have lived for herself. She is content to cling to her mother in selfless devotion, while at the same time unconsciously striving, almost against her will, to tyrannize over her, naturally under the mask of complete loyalty and devotion. The daughter leads a shadow-existence, often visibly sucked dry by her mother, and she prolongs her mother’s life by a sort of continuous blood transfusion.[ Ibid., par. 169.]

Because of their apparent “emptiness,” these women are good hooks for men’s projections. As devoted and self-sacrificing wives, they often project their own unconscious gifts onto their husbands.

And then we have the spectacle of a totally insignificant man who seemed to have no chance whatsoever suddenly soaring as if on a magic carpet to the highest summits of achievement.[Ibid., par. 182.]

In Jung’s view, these three extreme types are linked together by many intermediate stages, the most important being where there is an overwhelming resistance to the mother and all she stands for.

It is the supreme example of the negative mother-complex. The motto of this type is: Anything, so long as it is not like Mother! . . . All instinctive processes meet with unexpected difficulties; either sexuality does not function properly, or the children are unwanted, or maternal duties seem unbearable, or the demands of marital life are responded to with impatience and irritation.[Ibid., par. 170.]

Such a woman often excels in Logos activities, where her mother has no place. If she can overcome her merely reactive attitude toward reality, she may later in life come to a deeper appreciation of her femininity.

Thanks to her lucidity, objectivity, and masculinity, a woman of this type is frequently found in important positions in which her tardily discovered maternal quality, guided by a cool intelligence, exerts a most beneficial influence. This rare combination of womanliness and masculine understanding proves valuable in the realm of intimate relationships as well as in practical matters.[Ibid., par. 186.]

At the core of any mother complex is the mother archetype, which means that behind emotional associations with the personal mother, both in men and in women, there is a collective image of nourishment and security on the one hand (the positive mother), and devouring possessiveness on the other (the negative mother).

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Carl Jung on “Meditation.” Lexicon

Meditation:

A technique of focused introspection.

Jung distinguished between meditation practiced in the East or in traditional Western religious exercises, and its use as a tool for self-understanding, particularly in the realization of projections.

If the ancient art of meditation is practised at all today, it is practised only in religious or philosophical circles, where a theme is subjectively chosen by the meditant or prescribed by an instructor, as in the Ignatian Exercitia or in certain theosophical exercises that developed under Indian influence.

These methods are of value only for increasing concentration and consolidating consciousness, but have no significance as regards affecting a synthesis of the personality. On the contrary, their purpose is to shield consciousness from the unconscious and to suppress it.[“The Conjunction,” CW 14, par. 708.]

When meditation is concerned with the objective products of the unconscious that reach consciousness spontaneously, it unites the conscious with contents that proceed not from a conscious causal chain but from an essentially unconscious process. . . .

Part of the unconscious contents is projected, but the projection as such is not recognized. Meditation or critical introspection and objective investigation of the object are needed in order to establish the existence of projections.

If the individual is to take stock of himself it is essential that his projections should be recognized, because they falsify the nature of the object and besides this contain items which belong to his own personality and should be integrated with it.[Ibid., par. 710.]

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