Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology/Author's Preface

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This volume contains a selection of articles and pamphlets on analytical psychology written at intervals during the past fourteen years. These years have seen the development of a new discipline, and as is usual in such a case, have involved many changes of view-point, of concept, and of formulation.

It is not my intention to give a presentation of the fundamental concepts of analytical psychology in this book; it throws some light, however, on a certain line of development which is especially characteristic of the Zürich School of psychoanalysis.

As is well known, the merit of the discovery of the new analytical method of general psychology belongs to Professor Freud of Vienna. His original view-points had to undergo many essential modifications, some of them owing to the work done at Zürich, in spite of the fact that he himself is far from agreeing with the standpoint of this school.

I am unable to explain fully the fundamental differences between the two schools, but would indicate the following points: The Vienna School takes the standpoint of an exclusive sexualistic conception, while that of the Zürich School is symbolistic. The Vienna School interprets the psychological symbol semiotically, as a sign or token of certain primitive psychosexual processes. Its method is analytical and causal.

The Zürich School recognises the scientific feasibility of such a conception, but denies its exclusive validity, for it does not interpret the psychological symbol semiotically only, but also symbolistically, that is, it attributes a positive value to the symbol.

The value does not depend merely on historical causes; its chief importance lies in the fact that it has a meaning for the actual present, and for the future, in their psychological aspects. For to the Zürich School the symbol is not merely a sign of something repressed and concealed, but is at the same time an attempt to comprehend and to point out the way of the further psychological development of the individual. Thus we add a prospective import to the retrospective value of the symbol.

The method of the Zürich school is therefore not only analytical and causal, but also synthetic and prospective, in recognition that the human mind is characterised by “causæ” and also by “fines” (aims). The latter fact needs particular emphasis, because there are two types of psychology, the one following the principle of hedonism, and the other following the principle of power. Scientific materialism is pertinent to the former type, and the philosophy of Nietzsche to the latter. The principle of the Freudian theory is hedonism, while that of Adler (one of Freud’s earliest personal pupils) is founded upon the principle of power.

The Zürich School, recognising the existence of these two types (also remarked by the late Professor William James), considers that the views of Freud and Adler are one-sided, and only valid within the limits of their corresponding type. Both principles exist within every individual, but not in equal proportions.

Thus, it is obvious that each psychological symbol has two aspects, and should be interpreted according to the two principles. Freud and Adler interpret in the analytical and causal way, reducing to the infantile and primitive. Thus with Freud the conception of the “aim” is the fulfilment of desire, with Adler it is the usurpation of power. Both authors take the standpoint in their practical analytical work which brings to view only infantile and gross egoistic aims.

The Zürich School is convinced of the fact that within the limits of a diseased mental attitude the psychology is such as Freud and Adler describe. It is, indeed, just on account of such impossible and childish psychology that the individual is in a state of inward dissociation and hence neurotic. The Zürich School, therefore, in agreement with them so far, also reduces the psychological symbol (the phantasy products of the patient) to the fundamental infantile hedonism, or to the infantile desire for power. But Freud and Adler content themselves with the result of mere reduction, according to their scientific biologism and naturalism.

But here a very important question arises. Can man obey the fundamental and primitive impulses of his nature without gravely injuring himself or his fellow beings? He cannot assert either his sexual desire or his desire for power unlimitedly, and the limits are moreover very restricted. The Zürich school has in view also the final result of analysis, and regards the fundamental thoughts and impulses of the Unconscious, as symbols, indicative of a definite line of future development. We must admit there is, however, no scientific justification for such a procedure, because our present-day science is based as a whole upon causality. But causality is only one principle, and psychology essentially cannot be exhausted by causal methods only, because the mind lives by aims as well. Besides this disputable philosophical argument, we have another of much greater value in favour of our hypothesis, namely, that of vital necessity. It is impossible to live according to the intimations of infantile hedonism, or according to a childish desire for power. If these are to be retained they must be taken symbolically. Out of the symbolic application of infantile trends, an attitude evolves which may be termed philosophic or religious, and these terms characterise sufficiently the lines of further development of the individual. The individual is not only an established and unchangeable complex of psychological facts, but also an extremely changeable entity. By exclusive reduction to causes, the primitive trends of a personality are reinforced; this is only helpful when at the same time these primitive tendencies are balanced by recognition of their symbolic value. Analysis and reduction lead to causal truth; this by itself does not help living, but brings about resignation and hopelessness. On the other hand, the recognition of the intrinsic value of a symbol leads to constructive truth and helps us to live. It furthers hopefulness and the possibility of future development.

The functional importance of the symbol is clearly shown in the history of civilisation. For thousands of years the religious symbol proved a most efficacious means in the moral education of mankind. Only a prejudiced mind could deny such an obvious fact. Concrete values cannot take the place of the symbol; only new and more efficient symbols can be substituted for those that are antiquated and outworn, such as have lost their efficacy through the progress of intellectual analysis and understanding. The further development of mankind can only be brought about by means of symbols which represent something far in advance of himself, and whose intellectual meanings cannot yet be grasped entirely. The individual unconscious produces such symbols, and they are of the greatest possible value in the moral development of the personality.

Man almost invariably has philosophic and religious views of the meaning of the world and of his own life. There are some who are proud to have none. These are exceptions outside the common path of mankind; they miss an important function which has proved itself to be indispensable to the human mind.

In such cases we find in the unconscious, instead of modern symbolism, an antiquated archaic view of the world and of life. If a requisite psychological function is not represented in the sphere of consciousness, it exists in the unconscious in the form of an archaic or embryonic prototype.

This brief résumé may show what the reader cannot find in this collection of papers. The essays are stations on the way of the more general views developed above.

January, 1916.