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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Carl Jung: The Trinitarian archetype seems to characterize all man's conscious constructs,

To Max Imboden

Dear Professor Imboden, 30 January 1958

First of all, I must thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to study your essay "Die Struktur des Staates als Symbol und als Wirklichkeit."

I must apologize for the delay in returning it to you, together with my answer.

At my age, unfortunately, everything goes rather slowly, and I always have to wait for a favourable moment amid the flux of my intensive work in order to collect the thoughts that come to me after my reading.

Your essay is uncommonly stimulating and leads down into the depths.

I entirely agree with your conception of the symbolic character of the threefold structure of the State.

Seen in historical perspective, this does in fact have its origin in the trinity motif.

But since I, as a psychologist, am mainly concerned with the trinitarian archetype, it seems to me that the historical sequence of events merely gives the appearance of a causal nexus and that in reality the trinitarian archetype is always present everywhere and consequently forms the basis of every triad that manifests itself in human constructs.

Originally it may well be that the triad was at the same time a religious as well as a political configuration.

We can still see this in the ancient Egyptian idea of the triunity of God, ka-mutef, and Pharaoh.

Historically, too, this configuration was the model for God the Father, the Holy Ghost or procreator, and the Son = man on the religious level.

On other levels it underlies all trinitarian doctrines.

The Trinitarian archetype seems to characterize all man's conscious constructs, in strange contrast to the fact that this archetype is really a quaternity which historically is very often represented as 3+1, three equal elements being conjoined with an unequal Fourth.

(In alchemy this is known as the "Axiom of Maria,"4 where the fourth element signifies at the same time the unity of them all.)

As a human construct it is only natural that the political structure should take on a trinitarian form intended and created by man.

But from the standpoint of the natural psyche this structure is not a totality, since it lacks a Fourth.

As a triad it is not a natural form but is artificially carved out of Nature.

Something is missing. In the case of the religious triad the Fourth is obviously the devil, a metaphysical figure missing in the Trinity.

If a totality of sorts can be ascribed to the triad, the same is also true of the Fourth.

That is to say, the so-called "upper," b right, conscious triad is opposed by another, "lower" triad, examples of which would be the three-headed Hecate or Dante's Satan.

The Fourth therefore appears as an inversion of the Three-an inversion of God's or the State's sovereignty.

In the purely psychological domain, four functions characterize the orientation of consciousness.

We know from experience that these functions are variously differentiated in the individual.

Dream symbolism shows that three of them are capable of becoming conscious, but the fourth function remains torpid in the darkness and eludes conscious differentiation, or else it offers the greatest resistance.

In its unconscious condition it is contaminated with the collective unconscious, and if, in order to put it to some conscious use, one tries to drag it out of its unconsciousness, the whole archaic background of the psyche is pulled up along with it, since the two cannot be separated.

This reminds one of the myth of Hercules who went down to the underworld to free Theseus.

But Theseus had grown fast to the rocks, so that when Hercules tried to wrench him free he caused a mighty earthquake.

This myth, it seems to me, describes the world situation today.

With the Fourth it's always the whole that's at stake.

To the world as a whole one can only hold out a unitary view of the world, and that's what we lack today.

The result is the great schism between West and East.

The West has its trinitarian, constitutional State, the East its archaic lawlessness under a chieftain.

I was quite particularly interested to see that you substitute the "people" for the Fourth.

In psychological parlance, this would correspond to the collective unconscious, and the political situation in Russia would mean an invasion by the collective unconscious.

In psychopathology this means a psychosis.

Your inclusion of the people, as you rightly emphasize, logically involves the necessity of integrating the whole within the individual.

Without this the people would be nothing but an a morphous mass, like the inarticulate plebs of Russia.

You know how deeply we are agreed on this point.

Again with best thanks and kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 411-413