PSYCHOLOGY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS: A STUDY OF THE TRANSFORMATIONS AND SYMBOLISMS OF THE LIBIDO
AN INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOANALYSIS AND ANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY
WHEN Professor Freud of Vienna made his early discoveries in the realm of the neuroses, and announced that the basis and origin of the various symptoms grouped under the terms hysteria and neuroses lay in unfulfilled desires and wishes, unexpressed and unknown to the patient for the most part, and concerned chiefly with the sexual instinct, it was not realized what far-reaching influence this unpopular and bitterly attacked theory would exert on the understanding of human life in general.
For this theory has so widened in its scope that its application has now extended beyond a particular group of pathologic states. It has in fact led to a new evaluation of the whole conduct of human life; a new comprehension has developed which explains those things which formerly were unexplained, and there is offered an understanding not only of the symptoms of a neurosis and the phenomena of conduct but the product of the mind as expressed in myths and religions.
This amazing growth has proceeded steadily in an ever-widening fashion despite opposition as violent as any of which we have knowledge in the past. The criticism originally directed towards the little understood and much disliked sexual conception now includes the further teachings of a psychology which by the application to it of such damning phrases as mystical, metaphysical and sacrilegious, is condemned as unscientific.
To add to the general confusion and misunderstanding surrounding this new school of thought there has arisen a division amongst the leaders themselves, so that there now exist two schools led respectively by Professor Sigmund Freud of Vienna and Dr. Carl Jung of Zurich, referred to in the literature as the Vienna School and the Zurich School.
It is very easy to understand that criticism and opposition should develop against a psychology so difficult of comprehension, and so disturbing to the ideas which have been held by humanity for ages; a psychology which furthermore requires a special technique as well as an observer trained to recognize and appreciate in psychologic phenomena a verification of the statement that there is no such thing as chance, and that every act and every expression has its own meaning, determined by the inner feelings and wishes of the individual.
It is not a simple matter to come out boldly and state that every individual is to a large extent the determiner of his own destiny, for only by poets and philosophers has this idea been put forth -- not by science; and it is a brave act to make this statement with full consciousness of all its meaning, and to stand ready to prove it by scientific reasoning and procedure.
Developed entirely through empirical investigation and through an analysis of individual cases, Freudian psychology seems particularly to belong to that conception of Max Muller's that "An empirical acquaintance with facts rises to a scientific knowledge of facts as soon as the mind discovers beneath the multiplicity of single productions the unity of an organic system." [i]
Psychoanalysis is the name given to the method developed for reaching down into the hidden depths of the individual to bring to light the underlying motives and determinants of his symptoms and attitudes, and to reveal the unconscious tendencies which lie behind actions and reactions and which influence development and determine the relations of life itself. The result of digging down into the hidden psyche has been to produce a mass of material from below the threshold of consciousness, so astonishing and disturbing and out of relation with the previously held values, as to arouse in any one unfamiliar with the process the strongest antagonism and criticism.
Although originally studied only as a therapeutic method for the sick it was soon realized through an analysis of normal people how slight were the differences in the content of the unconscious of the sick and of the normal. The differences observed were seen to be rather in the reactions to life and to the conflicts produced by contending forces in the individual.
These conflicts, usually not fully perceived by the individual, and having to do with objectionable desires and wishes that are not in keeping with the conscious idea of self, produce marked effects which are expressed either in certain opinions, prejudices, attitudes of conduct, faulty actions, or in some definite pathologic symptom. As Dr. Jung says, he who remains healthy has to struggle with the same complexes that cause the neurotic to fall ill.
In a valuable book called "The Neighbor," written by the late Professor N. Shaler of Harvard University, there occurs this very far-reaching statement: "It is hardly too much to say that all the important errors of conduct, all the burdens of men or of societies are caused by the inadequacies in the association of the primal animal emotions with those mental powers which have been so rapidly developed in mankind."
This statement, reached by a process of reasoning and a method of thought and study entirely different from psychoanalysis, nevertheless so completely expresses in brief form the very basis of the postulates developed through psychoanalysis that I quote it here. Such a statement made in the course of a general examination of human relations does not arouse opposition nor seem to be so difficult of acceptance. It appears to be the individual application of these conceptions that has roused such bitter antagonism and violent denunciations.
Rightly understood and used, psychoanalysis may be compared to surgery, for psychoanalysis stands in the same relation to the personality as surgery does to the body, and they aim at parallel results.
It is well recognized that in the last analysis nature is the real physician, the healer of wounds ; but prior to the development of our modern asepsis and surgical technique the healing produced by nature was most often of a very faulty and imperfect type -- hideous scars, distorted and crippled limbs, with functions impaired or incapacitated, resulted from the wounds, or else nature was unable to cope with the hurt and the injured one succumbed.
Science has been steadily working for centuries with the aim of understanding nature and finding means to aid and co-operate with her so that healing could take place with the least possible loss of function or permanent injury to the individual. Marvelous results have rewarded these persistent efforts, as the brilliant achievements of surgery plainly indicate.
Meantime, however, little thought was given to the possibility of any scientific method being available to help man overcome the wounds and conflicts taking place in his soul, hurts which retarded his development and progress as a personality, and which frequently in the struggle resulted in physical pains and symptoms of the most varied character. That was left solely to religion and metaphysics. Now, however, this same assistance that surgery has given to the physical body, psychoanalysis attempts to give to the personality. That it cannot always succeed is as much to be expected, and more, than that surgery does not always succeed, for the analytic work requires much of the individual. No real result can be attained if he has not already developed a certain quality of character and intelligence which makes it possible for him to submit himself to a facing of his naked soul, and to the pain and suffering which this often entails. Here, as in no other relation in life, an absolute truth and an absolute honesty are the only basis of action, since deception of any kind deceives no one but the individual himself and acts as a boomerang, defeating his own aims.
Such deep searching and penetrating into the soul is not something to be undertaken lightly nor to be considered a trivial or simple matter, and the fact is that where a strong compulsion is lacking, such as sickness or a situation too difficult to meet, much courage is required to undertake it.
In order to understand this psychology which is pervading all realms of thought and seems destined to be a new psychological-philosophical system for the understanding and practical advancement of human life, it will be necessary to go somewhat into detail regarding its development and present status. For in this new direction lies its greatest value and its greatest danger.
The beginnings of this work were first published in 1895 in a book entitled "Studien uber Hysteric," and contained the joint investigations into hysteria of Dr. Breuer of Vienna and his pupil Dr. Sigmund Freud. The results of their investigations seemed to show that the various symptoms grouped under the title of hysteria were the result of emotionally colored reminiscences which, all unknown to the conscious waking self, were really actively expressing themselves through the surrogate form of symptoms and that these experiences, although forgotten by the patient, could be reproduced and the emotional content discharged.
Hypnosis was the means used to enable the physician to penetrate deeply into the forgotten memories, for it was found through hypnosis that these lost incidents and circumstances were not really lost at all but only dropped from consciousness, and were capable of being revived when given the proper stimuli. The astonishing part about it was that with the revival of these memories and their accompanying painful and disturbing emotions, the symptoms disappeared. This led naturally to the conclusion that these symptoms were dependent upon some emotional disturbance or psychic trauma which had been inadequately expressed, and that in order to cure the patient one merely had to establish the connection between the memory and the emotions which properly belonged to it, letting the emotion work itself out through a reproduction of the forgotten scene.
With further investigation Freud found that hypnosis was unnecessary for the revival of the forgotten experiences, and that it was possible to obtain the lost emotional material in the conscious and normal state. For this purpose the patient was encouraged to assume a passive, non-critical attitude and simply let his thoughts flow, speaking of whatever came into his mind, holding nothing back. During this free and easy discussion of his life and conditions, directed by the law of association of ideas, reference was invariably made to the experiences or thoughts which were the most affective and disturbing elements. It was seen to be quite impossible to avoid this indirect revelation because of the strength of the emotions surrounding these ideas and the effect of the conscious wish to repress unpleasant feelings. This important group of ideas or impressions, with the feelings and emotions clustered around them which are betrayed through this process, was called by Jung a complex.
However, with the touching of the complex which always contains feelings and emotions so painful or unpleasant as to be unacceptable to consciousness, and which are therefore repressed and hidden, great difficulties appeared, for very often the patient came to a sudden stop and could apparently recall nothing more. Memory gaps were frequent, relations twisted, etc. Evidently some force banished these memories so that the person was quite honest in saying that he could remember nothing or that there was nothing to tell. This kind of forgetfulness was called repression, and is the normal mechanism by which nature protects the individual from such painful feelings as are caused by unpleasant and unacceptable experiences and thoughts, the recognition of his egoistic nature, and the often quite unbearable conflict of his weaknesses with his feelings of idealism.
At this early time great attention was given towards developing a technique which would render more easy the reproduction of these forgotten memories, for with the abandonment of hypnosis it was seen that some unknown active force was at work which not only banished painful memories and feelings, but also prevented their return; this was called resistance. This resistance was found to be the important mechanism which interfered with a free flow of thought and produced the greatest difficulty in the further conduct of the analysis. It appeared under various guises and frequently manifested itself in intellectual objections based on reasoning ground, in criticism directed towards the analyst, or in criticism of the method itself, and finally, often in a complete blocking of expression, so that until the resistance was broken nothing more could be produced.
It was necessary then to find some aid by which these resistances could be overcome and the repressed memories and feelings revived and set free. For it was proven again and again that even though the person was not at all aware of concealing within himself some emotionally disturbing feeling or experience with which his symptoms were associated, yet such was the fact, and that under proper conditions this material could be brought into consciousness. This realm where these unknown but disturbing emotions were hidden was called the "Unconscious" -- the "Unconscious " also being a name used arbitrarily to indicate all that material of which the person is not aware at the given time -- the not-conscious.
This term is used very loosely in Freudian psychology and is not intended to provoke any academic discussion but to conform strictly to the dictionary classification of a "negative concept which can neither be described nor defined." To say that an idea or feeling is unconscious merely means to indicate that the individual is unaware at that time of its existence, or that all the material of which he is unaware at a given time is unconscious.
With the discovery of the significance in relation to hysteria of these varied experiences and forgotten memories which always led into the erotic realm and usually were carried far back into early childhood, the theory of an infantile sexual trauma as a cause of this neurosis developed. Contrary to the usual belief that children have no sexuality and that only at puberty does it suddenly arise, it was definitely shown that there was a very marked kind of sexuality among children of the most tender years, entirely instinctive and capable of producing a grave effect on the entire later life.
However, further investigations carried into the lives of normal people disclosed quite as many psychic and sexual traumas in their early childhood as in the lives of the patients; therefore, the conception of the "infantile sexual trauma" as the etiological factor was abandoned in favor of "the infantilism of sexuality" itself. In other words, it was soon realized that many of the sexual traumas which were placed in their early childhood by these patients, did not really exist except in their own phantasies and probably were produced as a defence against the memories of their own childish sexual activities. These experiences led to a deep investigation into the nature of the child's sexuality and developed the ideas which Freud incorporated in a work called "Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory." He found so many variations and manifestations of sexual activity even among young children that he realized that this activity was the normal, although entirely unconscious, expression of the child's developing life, and while not comparable to the adult sexuality, nevertheless produced a very definite influence and effect on the child's life.
These childish expressions of this instinct he called "polymorphous perverse," because in many ways they resembled the various abnormalities called perversions when found among adults under certain conditions.
In the light of these additional investigations Freud was led to change his formulation, for instead of the symptoms of the neurotic patient being due to definite sexual experiences, they seemed to be determined by his reactions towards his own sexual constitution and the kind of repression to which these instincts were subjected.
Perhaps one of the greatest sources of misunderstanding and difficulty in this whole subject lies in the term sexuality, for Freud's conception of this is entirely different from that of the popular sense. He conceives sexuality to be practically synonymous with the word love and to include under this term all those tender feelings and emotions which have had their origin in a primitive erotic source, even if now their primary aim is entirely lost and another substituted for it. It must also be borne in mind that Freud strictly emphasizes the psychic side of sexuality and its importance, as well as the somatic expression.
Therefore, to understand Freud's theories, his very broad conception of the term sexual must never be forgotten.
Through this careful investigation of the psychic life of the individual, the tremendous influence and importance of phantasy-making for the fate was definitely shown. It was discovered that the indulgence in day-dreams and phantasies was practically universal not only among children but among adults, that even whole lives were being lived out in a phantastic world created by the dreamer, a world wherein he could fulfil all those wishes and desires which were found to be too difficult or impossible to satisfy in the world of reality.
Much of this phantasy thinking was seen to be scarcely conscious, but arose from unrealized wishes, desires and strivings which could only express themselves through .veiled symbols in the form of phantastic structures not understood, nor fully recognized. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the most common human experiences to find "queer thoughts," undesired ideas and images, forcing themselves upon one's attention to such an extent that the will has to be employed to push them out of mind. It is not unusual to discover long-forgotten impressions of childhood assuming a phantastic shape in memory, and dwelt upon as though they were still of importance.
This material afforded a rich field for the searchers into the soul, for through the operation of the law of association of ideas these phantastic products, traced back to their origin, revealed the fact that instead of being meaningless or foolish, they were produced by a definite process, and arose from distinct wishes and desires which unconsciously veiled themselves in these mysterious forms and pictures.
It is conceded that the most completely unconscious product of an individual is his dream, and therefore Professor Freud turned his attention from phantasies and day-dreams to the investigation of the nightly dreams of his patients to discover whether they would throw light upon the painful feelings and ideas repressed out of consciousness, and therefore inaccessible to direct revelation.
This brilliant idea soon led to a rich fruiting, for it became evident that contrary to the usual conception that the dream is a phantastic and absurd jumble of heterogeneous fragments, having no real relation to the life of the individual, it is full of meaning. In fact, it is usually concerned with the problem of life most pressing at the time, which expresses itself not directly, but in symbolic form so as to be unrecognized. In this way the individual gains an expression and fulfilment of his unrealized wish or desire.
This discovery of the symbolic nature of the dream and the phantasy was brought about entirely through the associative method and developed empirically through investigations of the dreams of many people. In this manner it became evident that certain ideas and objects which recurred again and again in the dreams and phantasies of different people were definitely associated with certain unconscious or unrecognized wishes and desires, and were repeatedly used by the mind to express these meanings where a direct form was repressed and unallowed. Thus certain dream expressions and figures were in a general way considered to be rather definite symbols of these repressed ideas and feelings found in the unconscious. Through a comparative and parallel study it soon appeared that there was a similar mechanism at work in myths and fairy tales and that the relationship between the dreams and phantasies of an individual and the myths and folk tales of a people was so close that Abraham could say that the myth is a fragment of the infantile soul life of the race and the dream is the myth of the individual.
Thus through relating his dreams the patient himself furnished the most important means of gaining access to the unconscious and disturbing complexes with which his symptoms were connected.
Besides the dream analysis the patient furnished other means of revelation of his complexes -- his mannerisms and unconscious acts, his opening remarks to his physician, his emotional reactions to certain ideas; in short the whole behavior and verbal expressions of the individual reveal his inner nature and problems.
Through all this work it became clear that in the emotional nature lay the origin not only of the various nervous illnesses themselves, but also of the isolated symptoms and individual idiosyncrasies and peculiarities which are the part of all humanity and that the pathogenic cause of the disturbances lies not in the ignorance of individuals, but in those inner resistances which are the underlying basis of this ignorance.
Therefore the aim of the therapy became not merely the relief of the ignorance but the searching out and combating of these resistances.
It becomes evident from even this brief description of the analytic procedure that we are dealing with a very complex and delicate material, and with a technique which needs to make definite use of all influences available for the help of the patient. It has long been recognized that the relation established between physician and patient has a great effect upon the medical assistance which he is able to render-- in other words, if a confidence and personal regard developed in the patient towards the physician, the latter's advice was just so much more efficacious. This personal feeling has been frankly recognized and made of distinct service in psychoanalytic treatment under the name of transference. It is through the aid of this definite relationship which must be established in the one being analyzed towards the analyst that it is possible to deal with the unconscious and organized resistances which so easily blind the individual and render the acceptance of the new valuations very difficult to the raw and sensitive soul.
Freud's emphasis upon the role of the sexual instinct in the production of the neurosis and also in its determining power upon the personality of the normal individual does not imply that he does not also recognize other determinants at the root of human conduct, as for instance, the instinct for preservation of life and the ego principle itself. But these motives are not so violently forbidden and repressed as the sexual impulse, and therefore, because of that repressive force and the strength of the impulse he considers this primary in its influence upon the human being.
The importance of this instinct upon human life is clearly revealed by the great place given to it under the name of love in art, literature, poetry, romance and all beauty from the beginning of recorded time. Viewed in this light it cannot seem extraordinary that a difficulty or disturbance in this emotional field should produce such far-reaching consequences for the individual. The sexual impulse is often compared with that of hunger, and this craving and need lying in all humanity is called by Freud libido.
THE OEDIPUS PROBLEM
With further investigations into the nature of the repressed complexes a very astonishing situation was revealed. The parental influence on children is something so well recognized and understood that to call attention to it sounds much like a banality. However, here an extraordinary discovery was made, for in tracing out the feelings and emotions of adults it became evident that this influence was paramount not only for children but for adults as well; that the entire direction of lives was largely determined quite unconsciously by the parental associations, and that, although adults, the emotional side of their nature was still infantile in type and demanded unconsciously the infantile or childish relations.
Freud traces out the commencement of the infantile attachment for the parents in this wise.
In the beginning the child derives its first satisfaction and pleasure from the mother in the form of nutrition and care for its wants. In this first act of suckling Freud sees already a kind of sexual pleasure, for he apparently identifies the pleasure principle and the sexual instinct and considers that the former is primarily rooted in the latter. At this early time commence such various infantile actions unconnected with nutrition as thumbsucking, various movements of the body as rubbing, boring, pulling and other manifestations of a definite interest in its own body, a delight in nakedness, the pleasure exhibited in inflicting pain on some object and its opposite, the pleasure from receiving pain. All of these afford the child pleasure and satisfaction, and because they seem analogous to certain perversions in adults they are called by Freud the "polymorphous perverse sexuality" of childhood. The character of these instinctive actions which have nothing to do with any other person, and through which the child attains pleasure from its own body, caused Freud to term this phase of life as autoerotic after Havelock Ellis. However, with the growth of the child there is a parallel development of the psychic elements of its sexual nature and now the mother, the original object of its love, primarily determined by its helplessness and need, acquires a new valuation. The beginnings of the need for a love object to satisfy the craving or libido of the child are early in evidence and, following along sex lines in general, the little son prefers the mother and the daughter the father after the usual preference of the parents.
At this early time children feel deeply the enormous importance of their parents and their entire world is bounded by the family circle. All the elements of the ego which the child possesses have now become manifest; love, jealousy, curiosity, hate, etc., and those instincts are directed in the greatest degree towards the objects of their libido, namely the parents. With the growing ego of the child there is a development of strong wishes and desires demanding satisfaction which can only be gratified by the mother; therefore there is aroused in the small son the feeling of jealousy and anger towards the father in whom he sees a rival for the affection of the mother and whom he would like to replace. This desire in the soul of the child Freud calls the Oedipus complex in recognition of its analogy to the tragedy of King Oedipus who was drawn by his fate to kill his father and win his mother for a wife. Freud presents this as the nuclear complex of every neurosis.
At the basis of this complex, some trace of which can be found in every person, Freud sees a definite incest wish towards the mother which only lacks the quality of consciousness. Because of moral reactions this wish is quickly subjected to repression through the operation of the "incest barrier," a postulate he compares to the incest taboo found among inferior peoples. At this time the child is beginning to develop its typical sexual curiosity expressed by the question, "Where do I come from?" The interest and investigation of the child into this problem, aided by observations and deductions from various actions and attitudes of the parents, who have no idea of the watchfulness of the child, lead him, because of his imperfect knowledge and immature development, into many false theories and ideas of, birth. These infantile sexual theories are held by Freud to be determinative in the development of the child's character and also for the contents of the unconscious as expressed in a future neurosis.
These various reactions of the child and his sexual curiosity are entirely normal and unavoidable, and if his development proceeds in an orderly fashion then, at the time of definite object choice he will pass smoothly over from the limitations of the family attachment out into the world and find therein his independent existence.
However, if the libido remains fixed on the first chosen object so that the growing individual is unable to tear himself loose from these familial ties, then the incestuous bond is deepened with the developing sexual instinct and its accompanying need of a love object, and the entire future of the young personality endangered. For with the development of the incestuous bond the natural repressions deepen because the moral censor cannot allow these disturbing relations to become clear to the individual. Therefore, the whole matter is repressed more deeply into the unconscious, and even a feeling of positive enmity and repulsion towards the parents is often developed in order to conceal and over-compensate for the impossible situation actually present.
This persistence of the attachment of the libido to the original object, and the inability to find in this a suitable satisfaction for the adult need, interferes with the normal development of the psycho-sexual character, and it is due to this that the adult retains that "infantilism of sexuality" which plays so great a role in determining the instability of the emotional life which so frequently leads into the definite neuroses.
These were the conclusions reached and the ground on which Freudian psychology rested, regarding the etiology of the neurosis, and the tendencies underlying normal human mechanisms, when Dr. Carl Jung, the most prominent of Freud's disciples, and the leader of the Zurich school, found himself no longer able to agree with Freud's findings in certain particulars, although the phenomena which Freud observed and the technique of psychoanalysis developed by Freud were the material on which Jung worked and the value of which he clearly emphasizes. The differences which have developed lay in his understanding and interpretation of the phenomena observed.
Beginning with the conception of libido itself as a term used to connote sexual hunger and craving, albeit the meaning of the word sexual was extended by Freud to embrace a much wider significance than common usage has assigned it, Jung was unable to confine himself to this limitation. He conceived this longing, this urge. or push of life as something extending beyond sexuality even in its wider sense. He saw in the term libido a concept of unknown nature, comparable to Bergson's elan vital, a hypothetical energy of life, which occupies itself not only in sexuality but in various physiological and psychological manifestations such as growth, development, hunger, and all the human activities and interests. This cosmic energy or urge manifested in the human being he calls libido and compares it with the energy of physics. Although recognizing, in common with Freud as well as with many others, the primal instinct of reproduction as the basis of many functions and present-day activities of mankind no longer sexual in character he repudiates the idea of still calling them sexual, even though their development was a growth originally out of the sexual. Sexuality and its various manifestations Jung sees as most important channels occupied by libido, but not the exclusive ones through which libido flows.
This is an energic concept of life; and from this viewpoint this hypothetical energy of life or libido is a living power used instinctively by man in all the automatic processes of his functioning; such very processes being but different manifestations of this energy. By virtue of its quality of mobility and change man, through his understanding and intelligence, has the power consciously to direct and use his libido in definite and desired ways.
In this conception of Jung will be seen an analogy to Bergson, who speaks of "this change, this movement and becoming, this self-creation, call it what you will, as the very stuff and reality of our being." [ii]
In developing the energic conception of libido and separating it from Freud's sexual definition, Jung makes possible the explanation of interest in general, and provides a working concept by which not only the specifically sexual, but the general activities and reactions of man can be understood.
If a person complains of no longer having interest in his work or of losing interest in his surroundings, then one understands that his libido is withdrawn from this object and that in consequence the object itself seems no longer attractive, whereas, as a matter of fact, the object itself is exactly the same as formerly. In other words, it is the libido that we bestow upon an object that makes it attractive and interesting.
The causes for the withdrawal of libido may be various and are usually quite different from those that the persons offer in explanation. It is the task of psychoanalysis to discover the real reasons, which are usually hidden and unknown. On the other hand, when an individual exhibits an exaggerated interest or places an over-emphasis upon an idea or situation, then we know there is too much libido here and that we may find as a consequence a corresponding depletion elsewhere.
This leads directly into the second point of difference between Jung's views and those of Freud. This is concerned with those practically universal childish manifestations of sexuality called by Freud "polymorphous perverse" because of their similarity to those abnormalities of sexuality which occur in adults and are called perversions.
Jung takes exception to this viewpoint. He sees in the various manifestations of childhood the precursors or forerunners of the later fully developed sexuality, and instead of considering them perverse he considers them preliminary expressions of sexual coloring. He divides human life into three stages. The first stage up to about the third or fourth year, generally speaking, he calls the presexual stage, for there he sees the libido or life energy occupied chiefly in the functions of nutrition and growth, and he draws an analogy between this period and that of the caterpillar stage of the butterfly.
The second stage includes the years from this time until puberty, and this he speaks of as the prepubertal stage.
The third period is that from puberty onward and can be considered the time of maturity.
It is in the earliest stage, the period of which varies greatly in different individuals, that are fully inaugurated those various manifestations which have so marked a sexual coloring that there can be no question of their relationship, although at that time sexuality in the adult meaning of the word does not exist.
Jung explains the polymorphism of these phenomena as arising from a gradual movement of the libido from exclusive service in the function of nutrition into new avenues which successively open up with the development of the child until the final inauguration of the sexual function proper at puberty. Normally these childish bad habits are gradually relinquished until the libido is entirely withdrawn from these immature phases and with the ushering in of puberty for the first time " appears in the form of an undifferentiated sexual primitive power, clearly forcing the individual towards division, budding, etc."
However, if in the course of its movement from the function of nutrition to the sexual function the libido is arrested or retarded at any phase, then a fixation may result, creating a disturbance in the harmony of the normal development. For, although the libido is retarded and remains clinging to some childish manifestation, time goes on and the physical growth of the child does not stand still. Soon a great contrast is created between the infantile manifestations of the emotional life and the needs of the more adult individual, and the foundation is thus prepared for either the development of a definite neurosis or else for those weaknesses of character or symptomatic disturbances which are not sufficiently serious to be called a neurosis.
One of the most active and important forms of childish libido occupation is in phantasy making. The child's world is one of imagery and make-believe where he can create for himself that satisfaction and enjoyment which the world of reality so often denies. As the child grows and real demands of life are made upon him it becomes increasingly necessary that his libido be taken away from his phantastic world and used for the required adaptation to reality needed by his age and condition, until finally for the adult the freedom of the whole libido is necessary to meet the biological and cultural demands of life.
Instead of thus employing the libido in the real world, however, certain people never relinquish the seeking for satisfaction in the shadowy world of phantasy and even though they make certain attempts at adaptation they are halted and discouraged by every difficulty and obstacle in the path of life and are easily pulled back into their inner psychic world. This condition is called a state of introversion. It is concerned with the past and the reminiscences which belong thereto. Situations and experiences which should have been completed and finished long ago are still dwelt upon and lived with. Images and matters which were once important but which normally have no significance for their later age are still actively influencing their present lives. The nature and character of these phantasy products are legion, and are easily recognized in the emotional attitudes and pretensions, the childish illusions and exaggerations, the prejudices and inconsistencies which people express in manifold forms. The actual situation is inadequately faced; small matters are reacted towards in an exaggerated manner; or else a frivolous attitude is maintained where real seriousness is demanded. In other words, there is clearly manifested an inadequate psychic adaptation towards reality which is quite to be expected from the child, but which is very discordant in the adult.
The most important of these past influences is that of the parents. Because they are the first objects of the developing childish love, and afford the first satisfaction and pleasure to the child, they become the models for all succeeding efforts, as Freud has worked out. This he called the nuclear or root complex because this influence was so powerful it seemed to be the determining factor in all later difficulties in the life of the individual.
In this phase of the problem lies the third great difference between Jung's interpretation of the observed phenomena and that of Freud.
Jung definitely recognizes that there are many neurotic persons who clearly exhibited in their childhood the same neurotic tendencies that are later exaggerated. Also that an almost overwhelming effect on the destiny of these children is exercised by the influence of the parents, the frequent over-anxiety or tenderness, the lack of sympathy or understanding, in other words, the complexes of the parent reacting upon the child and producing in him love, admiration, fear, distrust, hate, revolt. The greater the sensitiveness and impressionability of the child, the more he will be stamped with the familial environment, and the more he will unconsciously seek to find again in the world of reality the model of his own small world with all the pleasures and satisfactions, or disappointments and unhappinesses with which it was filled.
This condition to be sure is not a recognized or a conscious one, for the individual may think himself perfectly free from this past influence because he is living in the real world, and because actually there is a great difference between the present conditions and that of his childish past. He sees all this, intellectually, but there is a wide gap between the intellectual grasp of a situation and the emotional development, and it is the latter realm wherein lies the disharmony. However, although many ideas and feelings are connected with the parents, analysis reveals very often that they are only subjective and that in reality they bear little resemblance to the actual past situation. Therefore, Jung speaks no longer of the real father and mother but uses the term imago or image to represent the father or mother, because the feelings and phantasies frequently do not deal with the real parents but with the distorted and subjective image created by the imagination of the individual.
Following this distinction Jung sees in the Oedipus complex of Freud only a symbol for the "childish desire towards the parents and for the conflict which this craving evokes," and cannot accept the theory that in this early stage of childhood the mother has any real sexual significance for the child.
The demands of the child upon the mother, the jealousy so often exhibited, are at first connected with the role of the mother as protector, caretaker and supplier of nutritive wants, and only later, with the germinating eroticism, does the child's love become admixed with the developing sexual quality. The chief love objects are still the parents and he naturally continues to seek and to find in them satisfaction for all his desires. In this way the typical conflict is developed which in the son is directed towards the father and in the daughter towards the mother. This jealousy of the daughter towards the mother is called the Electra complex from the myth of Electra who took revenge on her mother for the murder of the husband because she was in this way deprived of her father.
Normally as puberty is attained the child gradually becomes more or less freed from his parents, and upon the degree in which this is accomplished depends his health and future well-being.
This demand of nature upon the young individual to free himself from the bonds of his childish dependency and to find in the world of reality his independent existence is so imperious and dominating that it frequently produces in the child the greatest struggles and severest conflicts, the period being characterized symbolically as a self-sacrifice by Jung.
It frequently happens that the young person is so closely bound in the family relations that it is only with the greatest difficulty that he can attain any measure of freedom and then only very imperfectly, so that the libido sexualis can only express itself in certain feelings and phantasies which clearly reveal the existence of the complex until then entirely hidden and unrealized. Now commences the secondary struggle against the unfilial and immoral feelings with a consequent development of intense resistances expressing themselves in irritation, anger, revolt and antagonism against the parents, or else in an especially tender, submissive and yielding attitude which over-compensates for the rebellion and reaction held within.
This struggle and conflict gives rise to the unconscious phantasy of self-sacrifice which really means the sacrificing of the childish tendencies and love type in order to free libido; for his nature demands that he attain the capacity for the accomplishment of his own personal fulfilment, the satisfaction of which belongs to the developed man and woman.
This conception has been worked out in detail by Jung in the book which is herein presented to English readers.
We now come to the most important of Jung's conceptions in that it bears practically upon the treatment of certain types of the neuroses and stands theoretically in direct opposition to Freud's hypothesis. While recognizing fully the influence of the parents and of the sexual constitution of the child, Jung refuses to see in this infantile past the real cause for the later development of the illness. He definitely places the cause of the pathogenie conflict in the present moment and considers that in seeking for the cause in the distant past one is only following the desire of the patient, which is to withdraw himself as much as possible from the present important period.
The conflict is produced by some important task or duty which is essential biologically and practically for the fulfilment of the ego of the individual, but before which an obstacle arises from which he shrinks, and thus halted cannot go on. With this interference in the path of progression libido is stored up and a regression takes place whereby there occurs a reanimation of past ways of libido occupation which were entirely normal to the child, but which for the adult are no longer of value. These regressive infantile desires and phantasies now alive and striving for satisfaction are converted into symptoms, and in these surrogate forms obtain a certain gratification, thus creating the external manifestations of the neurosis. Therefore Jung does not ask from what psychic experience or point of fixation in childhood the patient is suffering, but what is the present duty or task he is avoiding, or what obstacle in his life's path he is unable to overcome? What is the cause of his regression to past psychic experiences?
Following this theory Jung expresses the view that the elaborate phantasies and dreams produced by these patients are really forms of compensation or artificial substitutes for the unfulfilled adaptation to reality. The sexual content of these phantasies and dreams is only apparently and not actually expressive of a real sexual desire or incest wish, but is a regressive employment of sexual forms to symbolically express a present-day need when the attainment of the present ego demand seems too difficult or impossible, and no adaptation is made to what is possible for the individual's capability. [iii]
With this statement Jung throws a new light on the work of analytic psychology and on the conception of the neurotic symptoms, and renders possible of understanding the many apparent incongruities and conflicting observations which have been so disturbing to the critics.
It now becomes proper to ask what has been established by all this mass of investigation into the soul, and what is its value not only as a therapeutic measure for the neurotic sufferer, but also for the normal human being?
First and perhaps most important is the recognition of a definite psychological determinism. Instead of human life being filled with foolish, meaningless or purposeless actions, errors and thoughts, it can be demonstrated that no expression or manifestation of the psyche, however trifling or inconsistent in appearance, is really lawless or unmotivated. Only a possession of the technique is necessary in order to reveal, to any one desirous of knowing, the existence of the unconscious determinants of his mannerisms, trivial expressions, acts and behavior, their purpose and significance.
This leads into the second fundamental conception, which is perhaps even less considered than the foregoing, and that is the relative value of the conscious mind and thought. It is the general attitude of people to judge themselves by their surface motives, to satisfy themselves by saying or thinking "this is what I want to do or say" or "I intended to do thus and so," but somehow what one thought, one intended to say or expected to do is very often the contrary of what actually is said or done. Every one has had these experiences when the gap between the conscious thought and action was gross enough to be observed. It is also a well known experience to consciously desire something very much and when it is obtained to discover that this in no wise satisfied or lessened the desire, which was then transferred to some other object. Thus one became cognizant of the fact that the feeling and idea presented by consciousness as the desire was an error. What is the difficulty in these conditions? Evidently some other directing force than that of which we are aware is at work.
Dr. G. Stanley Hall uses a very striking symbol when he compares the mind to an iceberg floating in the ocean with one-eighth visible above the water and seven-eighths below -- the one-eighth above being that part called conscious and the seven-eighths below that which we call the unconscious. The influence and controlling power of the unconscious desires over our thoughts and acts are in this relative proportion. Faint glimmers of other motives and interests than those we accept or which we believe, often flit into consciousness. These indications, if studied or valued accurately, would lead to the realization that consciousness is but a single stage and but one form of expression of mind. Therefore its dictum is but one, often untrustworthy, approach to the great question as to what is man's actual psychic accomplishment, and as to what in particular is the actual soul development of the individual.
A further contribution of equal importance has been the empiric development of a dynamic theory of life; the conception that life is in a state of flux -- movement -- leading either to construction or destruction. Through the development man has reached he has attained the power by means of his intelligence and understanding of definitely directing to a certain extent this life energy or libido into avenues which serve his interest and bring a real satisfaction for the present day.
When man through ignorance and certain inherent tendencies fails to recognize his needs or his power to fulfil them, or to adapt himself to the conditions of reality of the present time, there is then produced that reanimation of infantile paths by which an attempt is made to gain fulfilment or satisfaction through the production of symptoms or attitudes.
The acceptance of these statements demands the recognition of the existence of an infantile sexuality and the large part played by it in the later life of the individual. Because of the power and imperious influence exerted by the parents upon the child, and because of the unconscious attachment of his libido to the original object, the mother, and the perseverance of this first love model in the psyche, he finds it very difficult, on reaching the stage of adult development and the time for seeking a love object outside of the family, to gain a satisfactory model.
It is exceedingly important for parents and teachers to recognize the requirements of nature, which, beginning with puberty, imperiously demand of the young individual a separation of himself from the parent stem and the development of an independent existence. In our complex modern civilization this demand of nature is difficult enough of achievement for the child who has the heartiest and most intelligent co-operation of his parents and environment -- but for the one who has not only to contend with his own inner struggle for his freedom but has in addition the resistance of his parents who would hold him in his childhood at any cost, because they cannot endure the thought of his separation from them, the task becomes one of the greatest magnitude. It is during this period when the struggle between the childish inertia and nature's urge becomes so keen, that there occur the striking manifestations of jealousy, criticism, irritability all usually directed against the parents, of defiance of parental authority, of runaways and various other psychic and nervous disorders known to all.
This struggle, which is the first great task of mankind and the one which requires the greatest effort, is that which is expressed by Jung as the self-sacrifice motive -- the sacrifice of the childish feelings and demands, and of the irresponsibility of this period, and the assumption of the duties and tasks of an individual existence.
It is this great theme which Jung sees as the real motive lying hidden in the myths and religions of man from the beginning, as well as in the literature and artistic creations of both ancient and modern time, and which he works out with the greatest wealth of detail and painstaking effort in the book herewith presented.
This necessitates a recognition and revaluation of the enormous importance and influence of the ego and the sexual instinct upon the thought and reaction of man, and also predicates a displacement of the psychological point of gravity from the will and intellect to the realm of the emotions and feelings. The desired end is a synthesis of these two paths or the use of the intellect constructively in the service of the emotions in order to gain for the best interest of the individual some sort of co-operative reaction between the two.
No one dealing with analytic psychology can fail to be struck by the tremendous and unnecessary burdens which man has placed upon himself, and how greatly he has increased the difficulties of adaptation by his rigid intellectual .views and moral formulas, and by his inability to admit to himself that he is actually just a human being imperfect, and containing within himself all manner of tendencies, good and bad, all striving for some satisfactory goal. Further, that the refusal to see himself in this light instead of as an ideal person in no way alters the actual condition, and that in fact, through the cheap pretense of being able only to consider himself as a very virtuous person, or as shocked and hurt when observing the "sins" of others, he actually is prevented from developing his own character and bringing his own capacities to their fullest expressions.
There is frequently expressed among people the idea of how fortunate it is that we cannot see each other's thoughts, and how disturbing it would be if our real feelings could be read. But what is so shameful in these secrets of the soul? They are in reality our own egoistic desires all striving, longing, wishing for satisfaction, for happiness; those desires which instinctively crave their own gratification but which can only be really fulfilled by adapting them to the real world and to the social group.
Why is it that it is so painful for man to admit that the prime influence in all human endeavor is found in the ego itself, in its desires, wishes, needs and satisfactions, in short, in its need for self-expression and self-perpetuation, the evolutionary impetus in life?
The basis for the unpleasantness of this idea may perhaps be found in an inner resistance in nature itself which forces man to include others in his scheme, lest his own greedy desires should serve to destroy him. But even with this inner demand and all the ethical and moral teachings of centuries it is everywhere evident that man has only very imperfectly learned that it is to his own interest to consider his neighbor and that it is impossible for him to ignore the needs of the body social of which he is a part. Externally, the recognition of the strength of the ego impulse is objectionable because of the ideal conception that self-striving and so-called selfish seeking are unworthy, ignoble and incompatible with a desirable character and must be ignored at all cost.
The futility of this attitude is to be clearly seen in the failure after all these centuries to even approximate it, as evidenced in our human relations and institutions, and is quite as ineffectual in this realm as in that of sexuality where the effort to overcome this imperious domination has been attempted by lowering the instinct, and seeing in it something vile or unclean, something unspeakable and unholy. Instead of destroying the power of sexuality this struggle has only warped and distorted, injured and mutilated the expression; for not without destruction of the individual can these fundamental instincts be destroyed. Life itself has needs and imperiously demands expression through the forms created. All nature answers to this freely and simply except man. His failure to recognize himself as an instrument through which the life energy is coursing and the demands of which must be obeyed, is the cause of his misery. Despite his possession of intellect and self-consciousness, he cannot without disaster to himself refuse the tasks of life and the fulfilment of his own needs. Man's great task is the adaptation of himself to reality and the recognition of himself as an instrument for the expression of life according to his individual possibilities.
It is in his privilege as a self-creator that his highest purpose is found.
The value of self-consciousness lies in the fact that man is enabled to reflect upon himself and learn to understand the true origin and significance of his actions and opinions, that he may adequately value the real level of his development and avoid being self-deceived and therefore inhibited from finding his biological adaptation. He need no longer be unconscious of the motives underlying his actions or hide himself behind a changed exterior, in other words, be merely a series of reactions to stimuli as the mechanists have it, but he may to a certain extent become a self-creating and self-determining being.
Indeed, there seems to be an impulse towards adaptation quite as Bergson sees it, and it would seem to be a task of the highest order to use intelligence to assist one's self to work with this impulse.
Through the investigation of these different avenues leading into the hidden depths of the human being and through the revelation of the motives and influences at work there, although astonishing to the uninitiated, a very clear and definite conception of the actual human relationship -- brotherhood -- of all mankind is obtained. It is this recognition of these common factors basically inherent in humanity from the beginning and still active, which is at once both the most hopeful and the most feared and disliked part of psychoanalysis.
It is disliked by those individuals who have prided themselves upon their superiority and the distinction between their reactions and motives and those of ordinary mankind. In other words, they attempt to become personalities through elevating themselves and lowering others, and it is a distinct blow to discover that beneath these pretensions lie the very ordinary elements shared in common by all. On the other hand, to those who have been able to recognize their own weaknesses and have suffered in the privacy of their own souls, the knowledge that these things have not set them apart from others, but that they are the common property of all and that no one can point the finger of scorn at his fellow, is one of the greatest experiences of life and is productive of the greatest relief.
It is feared by many who realize that in these painfully acquired repressions and symptoms lie their safety and their protection from directly facing and dealing with tendencies and characteristics with which they feel unable to cope. The repression and the accompanying symptoms indicate a difficulty and a struggle, and in this way are a sort of compromise or substitute formation which permit, although only in a wasteful and futile manner, the activity of the repressed tendencies. Nevertheless, to analyze the individual back to his original tendencies and reveal to him the meaning of these substitute formations would be a useless procedure in which truly "the last state of that man would be worse than the first" if the work ceased there. The aim is not to destroy those barriers upon which civilized man has so painfully climbed and to reduce him to his primitive state, but, where these have failed or imperfectly succeeded, to help him to attain his greatest possibilities with less expenditure of energy, by less wasteful methods than nature provides. In this achievement lies the hopeful and valuable side of this method -- the development of the synthesis. It is hopeful because now a way is opened to deal with these primitive tendencies constructively, and render their effects not only harmless but useful, by utilizing them in higher aims, socially and individually valuable and satisfactory.
This is what has occurred normally in those individuals who seem capable and constructive personalities ; in those creative minds that give so much to the race. They have converted certain psychological tendencies which could have produced useless symptoms or destructive actions into valuable productions. Indeed it is not uncommon for strong, capable persons to state themselves that they knew they could have been equally capable of a wasteful or destructive life. This utilization of the energy or libido freed by removing the repressions and the lifting of infantile tendencies and desires into higher purposes and directions suitable for the individual at his present status is called sublimation.
It must not be understood by this discussion that geniuses or wonderful personalities can be created through analysis, for this is not the aim of the procedure. Its purpose is to remove the inhibitions and restrictions which interfere with the full development of the personality, to help individuals attain to that level where they really belong, and to prepare people to better understand and meet life whether they are neurotic sufferers or so-called "normal people" with the difficulties and peculiarities which belong to all.
This reasoning and method of procedure is only new when the application is made to the human being. In all improvements of plants and animals these general principles have been recognized and their teachings constructively utilized.
Luther Burbank, that plant wizard whose work is known to all the world, says, "A knowledge of the battle of the tendencies within a plant is the very basis of all plant improvement," and "it is not that the work of plant improvement brings with it, incidentally, as people mistakenly think, a knowledge of these forces, it is the knowledge of these forces, rather, which makes plant improvement possible."
Has this not been also the mistake of man regarding himself, and the cause, partly at least, of his failure to succeed in actually reaching a more advanced and stable development?
This recognition of man's biological relationship to all life and the practical utilization of this recognition, necessitates a readjustment of thought and asks for an examination and reconsideration of the facts of human conduct which are observable by any thoughtful person. A quiet and progressive upheaval of old ideas has taken place and is still going on. Analytic psychology attempts to unify and value all of the various phenomena of man which have been observed and noted at different times by isolated investigators of isolated manifestations and thus bring some orderly sequence into the whole. It offers a method whereby the relations of the human being biologically to all other living forms can be established, the actual achievement of man himself adequately valued, and opens a vista of the possibilities of improvement in health, happiness and accomplishment for the human being.
BEATRICE M. HINKLE.
i. "Science of Language," first series, p. 25.
ii. "Creative Evolution."
iii. For a more complete presentation of Jung's views consult his "Theory of Psychoanalysis" in the Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series, No. 19.