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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Carl Jung on "She."





“She”

As we assume that behind our image of the external world there is an absolute entity, so necessarily we must assume that behind the perceiving subject there is an entity; and when we start our consideration from that end, we must

At the preceding meeting of the class, Mr. Radin presented the story of She, together with a sketch of the characters involved.

The analysis was postponed till the next meeting, which is recorded here.

Dr. Harding, who gave the analysis, said the committee had decided to treat the book as presenting the material of an anamnesis, and then to take Holly as the conscious side of Haggard, and to analyze Holly through the material given in the story.

A very thorough analysis was given, of which the following is only an outline summary.

Holly has come to the time of life when he should have settled down to academic life; that is, he is about to give himself up to the absolute one-sidedness of an intellectual.

Just then comes the call from the unconscious.

All the other sides of life that he has discarded mobilize themselves for a last effort to get his attention.

The knock at the door, this stirring of the unconscious, brought an enigmatic thing that could not be touched then, and also a live thing, Leo, who forced him into a new orientation to life.

The enigmatic thing lies dormant for twenty years, and then is taken up again.

The casket is opened.

He consents to consider his unconscious contents, and he goes through them layer by layer, till he comes to the sherd and the scarab.

The casket reveals Holly’s problem as it has been relived throughout the ages, that is, conventional morality over against the thing that means life.

Holly and Leo, the youthful side of Holly, struggling now to come into being, set out for the land of Kor—that is, Holly will go deeper and deeper into the unconscious until he finds the anima figure, “She,” who rules over all the things he has denied admittance into his mind.

When “She” is found, and finally loved by Holly, he is for a moment on the verge of madness.

He speculates on the possibility of imposing his unconscious symbol upon the external world.

That is, can “She” be taken to England?

The innumerable adventures in the land of Kor, all of them important mileposts on the way of Holly’s psychological development, culminate in the great test of burning in the pillar of flame.

They, Holly and Leo, wisely decide not to risk the test.

Holly is not ready for the fundamental change of attitude demanded of him.

But he can never again be the commonplace person he started out as; something of the inner meaning of life has been found by him.

Dr. Jung: I have to thank the committee and Dr. Harding for their presentation of She.

They have brought out some brilliant ideas, and I have enjoyed their report very much.

Now I would like to make a few criticisms.

Why did you think of Holly as the hero?

At any rate, some other views of this point are possible.

I think that the author certainly intended Leo as the hero.

This fact is brought out with perfect definiteness in the second volume, where Leo, much developed as a personality, is the pivotal character.

But of course it is a problem as to whether the author succeeds in his intention in this volume we are discussing, or whether it simply is his viewpoint, and the fact that Dr. Harding has found Holly to be
the hero suggests that Haggard has not succeeded.

Dr. Harding: Isn’t the point whether Leo is the hero of the story or psychologically the hero?

Dr. Jung: Of course the whole thing is a fantasy of Haggard’s, and inasmuch as Haggard has more of himself in Holly probably than in Leo, one might say that Holly is the hero, but nonetheless he is trying to make Leo the hero of the story.

Because Haggard is too much Holly in reality, Leo remains a shadowy, relatively undeveloped figure; he has not lived Leo, in other words.

Unfortunately the Tauchnitz edition of She does not contain a poem which appears in the English edition, and which really gives a clue to Haggard’s relationship to the story.

In this poem dedicated to “She,” he says that it is not in the land of Kor and its caves, nor in any mysterious land, but in the heart that the grave of the lost love is to be found, and that there dwells “She.”

This shows what he intended She to be. It is a love story, his own love story let us say, but it is not given from the conscious side, but instead from the unconscious side, as a repercussion from the conscious experience, whatever it was.

This, of course, is the habit of the introverted writer.

So She is valuable to us as bringing out these unconscious reactions.

The author has evidently had a peculiar love affair which he never quite settled to his satisfaction.

It left him with the problem of She, and the same problem follows him through most of his books.

Perhaps it happened to him in Africa.

We could treat Holly as one unconscious figure and Leo as another, then different aspects of Haggard’s character.

When you took Holly as the hero, you were not so far from one sense of the book, as we said; since, as we noted, Haggard has identified with Holly.

He, like Holly, has probably not seen the importance of his love affair, and when that happens, when a person has an emotional experience and refuses to take it seriously enough, it means a piling up of material in the unconscious.

This has been the case with Haggard evidently.

Now there are a few details I would like to discuss.

Have you any idea why this ancient material comes up?

Miss Corrie: It is out of the collective unconscious.

Dr. Jung: Yes, but why does it come up?

Miss Corrie: It always does with introverts sooner or later.

Dr. Jung: No, not necessarily.

Mr. Schmitz: Could not She be taken as a revolt on the part of Haggard to the whole Victorian age, and especially to the Victorian woman?

Rider Haggard traveled a great deal in foreign countries and was especially well fitted to overthrow the ridiculous idea of a woman that had grown up in England, and to develop the fact that every woman should have some of “She” in her.

Dr. Jung: Part of what you say brings us to the point.

That is, if Rider Haggard had not traveled in primitive countries, the collective unconscious would not have been activated in the peculiar way it was.

It would not have been so dynamic in its reaction.

Of course, there is another way in which the collective unconscious can be strongly stimulated.

A man has had a psychosis, there has been formed a hole in his unconscious so to speak, and there is always a chance of the collective breaking through.

But that was not the case with Haggard, his unconscious was animated by contact with the primitive life about him.

It is very interesting indeed to observe the effect of life in primitive countries upon civilized men coming to them.

It is said of many of the officials that return to England from India that they come home with burned brains.

But of course it has nothing to do with the climate.

Their vitality has simply been sucked away in that alien atmosphere.

These men try to keep up the standards to which they have been trained, in a country where everything is set in the opposite direction, and the strain breaks them.

I have treated several cases of men returning from the colonies after long association with native women.

They cannot love European women after this experience.

They come with all sorts of symptoms, of indigestion, etc., but in reality they have been dissociated by the native women.

A primitive would say they have lost a soul.

There is a very good story illustrating this in an otherwise very poor book by Algernon Blackwood.

The book is called Incredible Adventures,10 and the story is “Descent into Egypt.”

The man simply fades out, he is gone as a European.

This then is the reason for the tremendous welling up of the collective unconscious in Rider Haggard.

The fact that it comes about through his contact with the primitive complicates the love problem.

But how could his love problem be complicated by the fact of his life in Africa?

Mr. Schmitz: Perhaps “She” is such a complete opposite to the women of Dickens, let us say, that she can be taken as a wish-fulfillment.

Of course he would not want such a woman as “She,” and yet he would understand that in part “She” is necessary; that is, that a woman must have a primitive side in order to be complete, just as in the case of a man.

Dr. Jung: But if he had such an idea of what a woman ought to be, it should have helped him in his problem.

Mr. Schmitz: He was not clear about it, so the unconscious produced this desire.

Dr. Jung: It is out of this groping about in his unconscious that She developed.

But why should a man in Africa be less able to handle a love problem?

Mr. Robertson: Isn’t it because the African situation makes it hard for him to handle his feelings in the old way?

Dr. Jung: Yes, if you don’t look at it in too special a way, it could be put in those terms.

That is, the man’s attitude toward the love problem changes, and it becomes really a terrible problem for him.

Mr. Bacon: Does not the problem consist in his projecting a primitive anima on a non-primitive woman?

Dr. Jung: Yes, that is exactly it, and when that happens, the non-primitive woman becomes perfectly hysterical under it.

The whole problem of the projection of the anima is a most difficult subject.

If a man cannot project his anima, then he is cut off from women. It is true he may make a thoroughly respectable marriage, but the spark of fire is not there, he does not get complete reality into his life.

Coming back now to the story: how do you understand the father of Leo?

Dr. Harding: Except as one of the former heroes in the legend, we did not attempt to interpret him.

Dr. Jung: He is certainly not a strong character, in fact he is just fading out when the story begins.

But that is important in itself, for psychologically we know the father must fade when the hero comes, otherwise the development of the hero is seriously hindered.

I mention this because it is of great importance in the Egyptian religion around which this fantasy of Haggard’s plays.

Thus Osiris fades into a ghost who rules over the dead, and his son Horus becomes the rising sun.

It is an eternal theme.

Mr. Schmitz: An excellent example of the need of the son for having the father out of his way before he can come into his own is seen in the case of Frederick the Great, who was markedly effeminate
up to the very day of his father’s death.

Kubin, too, never wrote at all until after his father died.

Dr. Jung: It is truly a critical moment in a man’s life.

Often instead of being released for life by the death of the father, the son becomes neurotic.

Mythology takes note of the fact that it is so critical a moment; in fact, all these great moments of life have been embodied in mythology, because the latter sets forth the average solution found by humanity in its problems.

I think you have interpreted the chest quite properly.

The fact that there is a chest within a chest suggests a process of involution.

When it comes to the love of Kallicrates, we find the whole story anticipated in remotest times.

Why is that so?

Dr. Bertine: It is because it is not an individual story but repeats an archetypal pattern.

Dr. Jung: Quite so. It is an eternal truth.

It says that man is to play this role over and over again.

This is another cause for the coming up of the unconscious material.

But which archetype is it that is reawakened?

It is the myth of Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys.

The myth says that Osiris was in the womb of his mother Nut together with Isis the queen of the day and Nephthys the queen of night, and while in the womb he had sexual intercourse with his two sisters.

Here is an ever-recurring motive, the conflict between the two for the love of the hero.

Therefore we have the conflict between “She” and Amenartis.

In the Return of She the conflict comes up again, this time between “She” and the Tartar queen who wants to marry Leo.

Again it is the conflict between day and night, only this time “She” impersonates Isis, and the other is Nephthys.

This is the archetype aroused in Haggard by Africa.

Haggard was a thoroughly “respectable” man and no doubt his marriage a thoroughly conventional one, but one can read between the lines of She that he loved another woman in all probability.

Who is Leo in the author?

Holly is relatively an old man, he has come into the age of wisdom where he is really too old to take on the risks the problem involves.

Therefore he creates the youthful figure of Leo.

The latter is hardly more than a youthful fool, but he is altogether a gentleman.

Through his youth he compensates the old Holly and allows the latter to play safe.

It is always Leo that takes the risks even to the point of being almost hot-potted.

Do you know what is the significance of hot-potting?

Mr. Schmitz: I should think it would mean the heat of the passions taking the head.

Dr. Jung: And what does that mean? Insanity—all over the place, as the saying is.

I have scarcely seen anyone who did not have that reaction to the collective unconscious.

At first the past looks dead, but as we get closer it gets us.

Take for example an old house.

One is at first so delighted at its antiquity, and then little by little an atmosphere of mystery gathers about it, and then before we know it, we have “ghosts” on our hands.

Something about the house has activated the unconscious in us.

Just give a little libido to it and the collective unconscious takes on an enormous attraction for us.

Just look at the power of history over our minds as another example.

Mr. Radin: Walter Scott is a case of the past swallowing a man’s conscious adaptation, for when he moved into Abbotsford and began to live into history, so to speak, he lost all his money, and all power of directing his life.

Miss Corrie: “She” said her kingdom was of the imagination.

Dr. Jung: Yes, when you give yourself to the imagination, you are in effect lost to this world.

Soon you can no longer explain yourself and then the way to the lunatic asylum is clear.

That is why, when the collective unconscious is near, one must learn some form of expression so as to create a bridge to reality.

Otherwise there is nothing to hold to, and the individual is a prey to the forces released.

When people are lost in the collective and you can providea form in which they can cast their ideas, they can come over into sanity again.

That, then, is the danger in hot-potting.

It is done by the primitive.

The primitive layers are so thick they can easily overcome you.I think your interpretation of Job the correct one—that is, the commonplace, correct man happily gets lost.

This amounts to saying that Holly can never be a don again.

Offsetting the loss of Job is Leo’s receiving the cloak of “She.”

Leo gets into shape, he receives something from “She” but only after Holly gives up his conventional aspect, i.e., Job.

You said nothing about Ustane.

Dr. Harding: That was because there was already too much to be said, and she seemed relatively unimportant.

Dr. Jung: Yes, she was in fact dead.

I think you have got Noot,

Billali, and Holly rightly placed, that is, as figures of the wise old man.

Holly is the most human of them.

Haggard is inclined to identify himself with the wise old man through Holly, but there is more of pedantry than real wisdom in the figure of Holly.

It is rather typical that Holly should have explored the graves while Leo was about to die.

You spoke of a passage about a unicorn and a goose, where was that?

Dr. Harding: No, not a unicorn, but a goose that was shot after the fight between the Lion and the Crocodile.

The goose had a spur on its head and I said it associated to the unicorn.

Dr. Jung: The killing of the goose is surely the same motive as that in the Grail story, as you indicated.

It is an omen or presage of coming events.

The ancients always thought of coming events as having shadows cast in front of them.

Here we have an animal killed, a mythological animal in fact—that is, instinct.

When it is killed, someone will become conscious. In the story of Parcival, the unconscious hero Parcival becomes conscious through the shooting of the swan.

In She the heroes awake to a realization of the extraordinary things ahead of them.

A bird is a mind animal, symbolically, so the unconsciousness is in the mind.

One word more on the theme of immortality.

It is intimately linked up with the anima question.

Through the relation to the anima one obtains the chance of greater consciousness.

It leads to a realization of the self as the totality of the conscious and the unconscious functions.

This realization brings with it a recognition of the inherited plus the new units that go to make up the self.

That is to say, when we once grasp the meaning of the conscious and the unconscious together, we become aware of the ancestral lives that have gone into the making of our own lives.

You will then come into a realization not only of your human pre-stages, but of the animal also.

This feeling of the collective unconscious brings with it a sense of the renewal of life to which there is no end.

It comes down from the dim dawn of the world, and continues.

So when we obtain a complete realization of self, there comes with it the feeling of immortality.

Even in analysis such a moment may come.

It is the goal of individuation to reach the sense of the continuation of one’s life through the ages.

It gives one a feeling of eternity on this earth.

As Dr. Harding pointed out, these men are not ready for the pillar of fire.

The whole phenomenon of “She” has not yet been assimilated, the task is still before them, and they must have a new contact with the unconscious.~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Pages 146-154

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