Psychology of the Unconscious/Part I/Chapter III
THE HYMN OF CREATION
The second chapter in Miss Miller's work is entitled, "Gloire à Dieu. Poème onirique."
When twenty years of age, Miss Miller took a long journey through Europe. We leave the description of it to her:
"After a long and rough journey from New York to Stockholm, from there to Petersburg and Odessa, I found it a true pleasure1 to leave the world of inhabited cities—and to enter the world of waves, sky and silence—I stayed hours long on deck to dream, stretched out in a reclining chair. The histories, legends and myths of the different countries which I saw in the distance, came back to me indistinctly blended together in a sort of luminous mist, in which things lost their reality, while the dreams and thoughts alone took on somewhat the appearance of reality. At first, I even avoided all company and kept to myself, lost wholly in my dreams, where all that I knew of great, beautiful and good came back into my consciousness with new strength and new life. I also employed a great part of my time writing to my distant friends, reading and sketching out short poems about the regions visited. Some of these poems were of a very serious character."
It may seem superfluous, perhaps, to enter intimately into all these details. If we recall, however, the remark made above,—that when people let their unconscious speak, they always tell us the most important things of their intimate selves—then even the smallest detail appears to have meaning. Valuable personalities invariably tell us, through their unconscious, things that are generally valuable, so that patient interest is rewarded.
Miss Miller describes here a state of "introversion." After the life of the cities with their many impressions had been absorbing her interest (with that already discussed strength of suggestion which powerfully enforced the impression) she breathed freely upon the ocean, and after so many external impressions, became engrossed wholly in the internal with intentional abstraction from the surroundings, so that things lost their reality and dreams became truth. We know from psychopathology that certain mental disturbances2 exist which are first manifested by the individuals shutting themselves off slowly, more and more, from reality and sinking into their phantasies, during which process, in proportion as the reality loses its hold, the inner world gains in reality and determining power.3 This process leads to a certain point (which varies with the individual) when the patients suddenly become more or less conscious of their separation from reality. The event which then enters is the pathological excitation: that is to say, the patients begin to turn towards the environment, with diseased views (to be sure) which, however, still represent the compensating, although unsuccessful, attempt at transference.4 The methods of reaction are, naturally, very different. I will not concern myself more closely about this here.
This type appears to be generally a psychological rule which holds good for all neuroses and, therefore, also for the normal in a much less degree. We might, therefore, expect that Miss Miller, after this energetic and persevering introversion, which had even encroached for a time upon the feeling of reality, would succumb anew to an impression of the real world and also to just as suggestive and energetic an influence as that of her dreams. Let us proceed with the narrative:
"But as the journey drew to an end, the ship's officers outdid themselves in kindness (tout ce qu'il y a de plus empressé et de plus aimable) and I passed many amusing hours teaching them English. On the Sicilian coast, in the harbor of Catania, I wrote a sailor's song which was very similar to a song well known on the sea, (Brine, wine and damsels fine). The Italians in general all sing very well, and one of the officers who sang on deck during night watch, had made a great impression upon me and had given me the idea of writing some words adapted to his melody. Soon after that, I was very nearly obliged to reverse the well-known saying, 'Veder Napoli e poi morir,'—that is to say, suddenly I became very ill, although not dangerously so. I recovered to such an extent, however, that I could go on land to visit the sights of the city in a carriage. This day tired me very much, and since we had planned to see Pisa the following day, I went on board early in the evening and soon lay down to sleep without thinking of anything more serious than the beauty of the officers and the ugliness of the Italian beggars."
One is somewhat disappointed at meeting here, instead of the expected impression of reality, rather a small intermezzo, a flirtation. Nevertheless, one of the officers, the singer, had made a great impression (il m'avait fait beaucoup d'impression). The remark at the close of the description, "sans songer à rien de plus sérieux qu'à la beauté des officiers,' and so on, diminishes the seriousness of the impression, it is true. The assumption, however, that the impression openly influenced the mood very much, is supported by the fact that a poem upon a subject of such an erotic character came forth immediately, "Brine, wine and damsels fine," and in the singer's honor. One is only too easily inclined to take such an impression lightly, and one admits so gladly the statements of the participators when they represent everything as simple and not at all serious. I dwell upon this impression at length, because it is important to know that an erotic impression after such an introversion, has a deep effect and is undervalued, possibly, by Miss Miller. The suddenly passing sickness is obscure and needs a psychologic interpretation which cannot be touched upon here because of lack of data. The phenomena now to be described can only be explained as arising from a disturbance which reaches to the very depths of her being.
"From Naples to Livorno, the ship travelled for a night, during which I slept more or less well,—my sleep, however, is seldom deep or dreamless. It seemed to me as if my mother's voice wakened me, just at the end of the following dream. At first I had a vague conception of the words, 'When the morning stars sang together,' which were the praeludium of a certain confused representation of creation and of the mighty chorals resounding through the universe. In spite of the strange, contradictory and confused character which is peculiar to the dream, there was mingled in it the chorus of an oratorio which has been given by one of the foremost musical societies of New York, and with that were also memories of Milton's 'Paradise Lost.' Then from out of this whirl, there slowly emerged certain words, which arranged themselves into three strophes and, indeed, they seemed to be in my own handwriting on ordinary blue-lined writing paper on a page of my old poetry book which I always carried around with me; in short, they appeared to me exactly as some minutes later they were in reality in my book."
Miss Miller now wrote down the following poem, which she rearranged somewhat a few months later, to make it more nearly, in her opinion, like the dream original.
"When the Eternal first made Sound
A myriad ears sprang out to hear,
And throughout all the Universe
There rolled an echo deep and clear:
All glory to the God of Sound!
"When the Eternal first made Light
A myriad eyes sprang out to look,
And hearing ears and seeing eyes
Once more a mighty choral took:
All glory to the God of Light!
"When the Eternal first gave Love
A myriad hearts sprang into life;
Ears filled with music, eyes with light;
Pealed forth with hearts with love all rife:
All glory to the God of Love!"
Before we enter upon Miss Miller's attempt to bring to light through her suppositions5 the root of this subliminal creation, we will attempt a short analytic survey of the material already in our possession. The impression on the ship has already been properly emphasized, so that we need have no further difficulty in gaining possession of the dynamic process which brought about this poetical revelation. It was made clear in the preceding paragraphs that Miss Miller possibly had not inconsiderably undervalued the importance of the erotic impression. This assumption gains in probability through experience, which shows that, very generally, relatively weak erotic impressions are greatly undervalued. One can see this best in cases where those concerned, either from social or moral grounds, consider an erotic relation as something quite impossible; for example, parents and children, brothers and sisters, relations (homosexual) between older and younger men, and so on. If the impression is relatively slight, then it does not exist at all for the participators; if the impression is strong, then a tragic dependence arises, which may result in some great nonsense, or be carried to any extent. This lack of understanding can go unbelievably far; mothers, who see the first erections of the small son in their own bed, a sister who half-playfully embraces her brother, a twenty-year-old daughter who still seats herself on her father's lap, and then has "strange" sensations in her "abdomen." They are all morally indignant to the highest degree if one speaks of "sexuality." Finally, our whole education is carried on with the tacit agreement to know as little as possible of the erotic, and to spread abroad the deepest ignorance in regard to it. It is no wonder, therefore, that the judgment, in puncto, of the importance of an erotic impression is generally unsafe and inadequate.
Miss Miller was under the influence of a deep erotic impression, as we have seen. Because of the sum-total of the feelings aroused by this, it does not seem that this impression was more than dimly realized, for the dream had to contain a powerful repetition. From analytic experience, one knows that the early dreams which patients bring for analysis are none the less of especial interest, because of the fact that they bring out criticisms and valuations of the physician's personality, which previously, would have been asked for directly in vain. They enrich the conscious impression which the patient had of his physician, and often concerning very important points. They are naturally erotic observations which the unconscious was forced to make, just because of the quite universal undervaluation and uncertain judgment of the relatively weak erotic impression. In the drastic and hyperbolic manner of expression of the dream, the impression often appears in almost unintelligible form on account of the immeasurable dimension of the symbol. A further peculiarity which seems to rest upon the historic strata of the unconscious, is this—that an erotic impression, to which conscious acknowledgment is denied, usurps an earlier and discarded transference and expresses itself in that. Therefore, it frequently happens, for example, that among young girls at the time of their first love, remarkable difficulties develop in the capacity for erotic expression, which may be reduced analytically to disturbances through a regressive attempt at resuscitation of the father image, or the "Father-Imago."6
Indeed, one might presume something similar in Miss Miller's case, for the idea of the masculine creative deity is a derivation, analytically and historically psychologic, of the "Father-Imago,"7 and aims, above all, to replace the discarded infantile father transference in such a way that for the individual the passing from the narrow circle of the family into the wider circle of human society may be simpler or made easier.
In the light of this reflection, we can see, in the poem and its "Praeludium," the religious, poetically formed product of an introversion depending upon the surrogate of the "Father-Imago." In spite of the incomplete apperception of the effectual impression, essential component parts of this are included in the idea of compensation, as marks, so to speak, of its origin. (Pfister has coined for this the striking expression, "Law of the Return of the Complex.") The effectual impression was that of the officer singing in the night watch, "When the morning stars sang together." The idea of this opened a new world to the girl. (Creation.)
This creator has created tone, then light, and then love. That the first to be created should have been tone, can be made clear only individually, for there is no cosmogony except the Gnosis of Hermes, a generally quite unknown system, which would have such tendencies. But now we might venture a conjecture, which is already apparent, and which soon will be proven thoroughly, viz., the following chain of associations: the singer—the singing morning stars—the God of tone—the Creator—the God of Light—(of the sun)—(of the fire)—and of Love.
The links of this chain are proven by the material, with the exception of sun and fire, which I put in parentheses, but which, however, will be proven through what follows in the further course of the analysis. All of these expressions, with one exception, belong to erotic speech. ("My God, star, light; my sun, fire of love, fiery love," etc.) "Creator" appears indistinct at first, but becomes understandable through the reference to the undertone of Eros, to the vibrating chord of Nature, which attempts to renew itself in every pair of lovers, and awaits the wonder of creation.
Miss Miller had taken pains to disclose the unconscious creation of her mind to her understanding, and, indeed through a procedure which agrees in principle with psychoanalysis, and, therefore, leads to the same results as psychoanalysis. But, as usually happens with laymen and beginners, Miss Miller, because she had no knowledge of psychoanalysis, left off at the thoughts which necessarily bring the deep complex lying at the bottom of it to light in an indirect, that is to say, censored manner. More than this, a simple method, merely the carrying out of the thought to its conclusion, is sufficient to discover the meaning. Miss Miller finds it astonishing that her unconscious phantasy does not, following the Mosaic account of creation, put light in the first place, instead of tone.
Now follows an explanation, theoretically constructed and correct ad hoc, the hollowness of which is, however, characteristic of all similar attempts at explanation. She says:
"It is perhaps interesting to recall that Anaxagoras also had the Cosmos arise out of chaos through a sort of whirlwind, which does not happen usually without producing sound.8 But at this time I had studied no philosophy, and knew nothing either of Anaxagoras or of his theories about the 'νοῦς,' which I, unconsciously, was openly following. At that time, also, I was equally in complete ignorance of Leibnitz, and, therefore, knew nothing of his doctrine 'dum Deus calculat, fit mundus.'"
Miss Miller's references to Anaxagoras and to Leibnitz both refer to creation by means of thought; that is to say, that divine thought alone could bring forth a new material reality, a reference at first not intelligible, but which will soon, however, be more easily understood.
We now come to those fancies from which Miss Miller principally drew her unconscious creation.
"In the first place, there is the 'Paradise Lost' by Milton, which we had at home in the edition illustrated by Doré, and which had often delighted me from childhood. Then the 'Book of Job,' which had been read aloud to me since the time of my earliest recollection. Moreover, if one compares the first words of 'Paradise Lost' with my first verse, one notices that there is the same verse measure.
"'Of man's first disobedience . . .
"'When the Eternal first made sound.'
"My poem also recalls various passages in Job, and one or two places in Handel's Oratorio 'The Creation,' which came out very indistinctly in the first part of the dream."9
The "Lost Paradise" which, as is well known, is so closely connected with the beginning of the world, is made more clearly evident by the verse—
"Of man's first disobedience"
which is concerned evidently with the fall, the meaning of which need not be shown any further. I know the objection which every one unacquainted with psychoanalysis will raise, viz., that Miss Miller might just as well have chosen any other verse as an example, and that, accidentally, she had taken the first one that happened to appear which had this content, also accidentally. As is well known, the criticism which we hear equally from our medical colleagues, and from our patients, is generally based on such arguments. This misunderstanding arises from the fact that the law of causation in the psychical sphere is not taken seriously enough; that is to say, there are no accidents, no "just as wells." It is so, and there is, therefore, a sufficient reason at hand why it is so. It is moreover true that Miss Miller's poem is connected with the fall, wherein just that erotic component comes forth, the existence of which we have surmised above.
Miss Miller neglects to tell which passages in Job occurred to her mind. These, unfortunately, are therefore only general suppositions. Take first, the analogy to the Lost Paradise. Job lost all that he had, and this was due to an act of Satan, who wished to incite him against God. In the same way mankind, through the temptation of the serpent, lost Paradise, and was plunged into earth's torments. The idea, or rather the mood which is expressed by the reference to the Lost Paradise, is Miss Miller's feeling that she had lost something which was connected with satanic temptation. To her it happened, just as to Job, that she suffered innocently, for she did not fall a victim to temptation. Job's sufferings are not understood by his friends;10 no one knows that Satan has taken a hand in the game, and that Job is truly innocent. Job never tires of avowing his innocence. Is there a hint in that? We know that certain neurotic and especially mentally diseased people continually defend their innocence against non-existent attacks; however, one discovers at a closer examination that the patient, while he apparently defends his innocence without reason, fulfils with that a "Deckhandlung," the energy for which arises from just those impulses, whose sinful character is revealed by the contents of the pretended reproach and calumny.11
Job suffered doubly, on one side through the loss of his fortune, on the other through the lack of understanding in his friends; the latter can be seen throughout the book. The suffering of the misunderstood recalls the figure of Cyrano de Bergerac—he too suffered doubly, on one side through hopeless love, on the other side through misunderstanding. He falls, as we have seen, in the last hopeless battle against "Le Mensonge, les Compromis, les Préjugés, les Lâchetés et la Sottise.—Oui, Vous m'arrachez tout le laurier et la rose!"
"God delivereth me to the ungodly,
And casteth me into the hands of the wicked,
I was at ease, and he brake me asunder;
Yea, he hath taken me by the neck, and dashed me to pieces:
"He hath also set me up for his mark.
His archers compass me round about;
He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare;
He poureth out my gall upon the ground.
He breaketh me with breach upon breach;
He runneth upon me like a giant."—Job xvi: 11-15.
The analogy of feeling lies in the suffering of the hopeless struggle against the more powerful. It is as if this conflict were accompanied from afar by the sounds of "creation," which brings up a beautiful and mysterious image belonging to the unconscious, and which has not yet forced its way up to the light of the upper world. We surmise, rather than know, that this battle has really something to do with creation, with the struggles between negations and affirmations. The references to Rostand's "Cyrano" through the identification with Christian, to Milton's "Paradise Lost," to the sorrows of Job, misunderstood by his friends, betray plainly that in the soul of the poet something was identified with these ideas. She also has suffered like Cyrano and Job, has lost paradise, and dreams of "creation,"—creation by means of thought—fruition through the whirlwind of Anaxagoras.12
We once more submit ourselves to Miss Miller's guidance:
"I remember that when fifteen years old, I was once very much stirred up over an article, read aloud to me by my mother, concerning the idea which spontaneously produced its object. I was so excited that I could not sleep all night because of thinking over and over again what that could mean.
"From the age of nine to sixteen, I went every Sunday to a Presbyterian Church, in charge of which, at that time, was a very cultured minister. In one of the earliest memories which I have retained of him, I see myself as a very small girl sitting in a very large pew, continually endeavoring to keep myself awake and pay attention, without in the least being able to understand what he meant when he spoke to us of Chaos, Cosmos and the Gift of Love (don d'amour)."
There are also rather early memories of the awakening of puberty (nine to sixteen) which have connected the idea of the cosmos springing from chaos with the "don d'amour." The medium in which these associations occur is the memory of a certain very much honored ecclesiastic who spoke those dark words. From the same period of time comes the remembrance of that excitement about the idea of the "creative thought" which from itself "produced its object." Here are two ways of creation intimated: the creative thought, and the mysterious reference to the "don d'amour."
At the time when I had not yet understood the nature of psychoanalysis, I had a fortunate opportunity of winning through continual observation a deep insight into the soul of a fifteen-year-old girl. Then I discovered, with astonishment, what the contents of the unconscious phantasies are, and how far removed they are from those which a girl of that age shows outwardly. There are wide-reaching phantasies of truly mythical fruitfulness. The girl was, in the split-off phantasy, the race-mother of uncounted peoples.13 If we deduct the poetically spoken phantasy of the girl, elements are left which at that age are common to all girls, for the unconscious content is to an infinitely greater degree common to all mankind than the content of the individual consciousness. For it is the condensation of that which is historically the average and ordinary.
Miss Miller's problem at this age was the common human problem: "How am I to be creative?" Nature knows but one answer to that: "Through the child (don d'amour!)." "But how is the child attained?" Here the terrifying problem emerges, which, as our analytic experience shows, is connected with the father,14 where it cannot be solved; because the original sin of incest weighs heavily for all time upon the human race. The strong and natural love which binds the child to the father, turns away in those years during which the humanity of the father would be all too plainly recognized, to the higher forms of the father, to the "Fathers" of the church, and to the Father God,15 visibly represented by them, and in that there lies still less possibility of solving the problem. However, mythology is not lacking in consolations. Has not the logos become flesh too? Has not the divine pneuma, even the logos, entered the Virgin's womb and lived among us as the son of man? That whirlwind of Anaxagoras was precisely the divine νοῦς which from out of itself has become the world. Why do we cherish the image of the Virgin Mother even to this day? Because it is always comforting and says without speech or noisy sermon to the one seeking comfort, "I too have become a mother,"—through the "idea which spontaneously produces its object."
I believe that there is foundation enough at hand for a sleepless night, if those phantasies peculiar to the age of puberty were to become possessed of this idea—the results would be immeasurable! All that is psychologic has an under and an over meaning, as is expressed in the profound remark of the old mystic: οὐρανὸς ἄνω, οὐρανὸς κάτω, αἰθέρα ἄνω, αἰθέρα κάτω, πᾶν τοῦτο ἄνω, πᾶν τοῦτο κάτω, τοῦτο λαβὲ καί εὐτυχει—
We would show but slight justice, however, to the intellectual originality of our author, if we were satisfied to trace back the commotion of that sleepless night absolutely and entirely to the sexual problem in a narrow sense. That would be but one-half, and truly, to make use of the mystic's expression, only the under half. The other half is the intellectual sublimation, which strives to make true in its own way the ambiguous expression of "the idea which produces its object spontaneously,"—ideal creation in place of the real.
In such an intellectual accomplishment of an evidently very capable personality, the prospect of a spiritual fruitfulness is something which is worthy of the highest aspiration, since for many it will become a necessity of life. Also this side of the phantasy explains, to a great extent, the excitement, for it is a thought with a presentiment of the future; one of those thoughts which arise, to use one of Maeterlinck's expressions,16 from the "inconscient superieur," that "prospective potency" of subliminal combinations.17
I have had the opportunity of observing certain cases of neuroses of years' duration, in which, at the time of the beginning of the illness or shortly before, a dream occurred, often of visionary clarity. This impressed itself inextinguishably upon the memory, and in analysis revealed a hidden meaning to the patient which anticipated the subsequent events of life; that is to say, their psychologic meaning.18 I am inclined to grant this meaning to the commotion of that restless night, because the resulting events of life, in so far as Miss Miller consciously and unconsciously unveils them to us, are entirely of a nature to confirm the supposition that that moment is to be considered as the inception and presentiment of a sublimated aim in life.
Miss Miller concludes the list of her fancies with the following remarks:
"The dream seemed to me to come from a mixture of the representation of 'Paradise Lost,' 'Job,' and 'Creation,' with ideas such as 'thought which spontaneously produces its object': 'the gift of love,' 'chaos, and cosmos.'"
In the same way as colored splinters of glass are combined in a kaleidoscope, in her mind fragments of philosophy, æsthetics and religion would seem to be combined—
"under the stimulating influence of the journey, and the countries hurriedly seen, combined with the great silence and the indescribable charm of the sea. 'Ce ne fut que cela et rien de plus.' 'Only this, and nothing more!'"
With these words, Miss Miller shows us out, politely and energetically. Her parting words in her negation, confirmed over again in English, leave behind a curiosity; viz., what position is to be negated by these words? "Ce ne fut que cela et rien de plus"—that is to say, really, only "le charme impalpable de la mer"—and the young man who sang melodiously during the night watch is long since forgotten, and no one is to know, least of all the dreamer, that he was a morning star, who came before the creation of a new day.19 One should take care lest he satisfy himself and the reader with a sentence such as "ce ne fut que cela." Otherwise, it might immediately happen that one would become disturbed again. This occurs to Miss Miller too, since she allowed an English quotation to follow,—"Only this, and nothing more," without giving the source, it is true. The quotation comes from an unusually effective poem, "The Raven" by Poe. The line referred to occurs in the following:
"While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door—
Tis some visitor,' I muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door'—
Only this, and nothing more."
The spectral raven knocks nightly at his door and reminds the poet of his irrevocably lost "Lenore." The raven's name is "Nevermore," and as a refrain to every verse he croaks his horrible "Nevermore." Old memories come back tormentingly, and the spectre repeats inexorably "Nevermore." The poet seeks in vain to frighten away the dismal guest; he calls to the raven:
"'Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend,' I shrieked, upstarting—
'Get thee back into the tempest and the night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken, quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'"
That quotation, which, apparently, skips lightly over the situation, "Only this, and nothing more," comes from a text which depicts in an affecting manner the despair over the lost Lenore. That quotation also misleads our poet in the most striking manner. Therefore, she undervalues the erotic impression and the wide-reaching effect of the commotion caused by it. It is this undervaluation, which Freud has formulated more precisely as "repression," which is the reason why the erotic problem does not attain directly conscious treatment, and from this there arise "these psychologic riddles." The erotic impression works in the unconscious, and, in its stead, pushes symbols forth into consciousness. Thus, one plays hideand-seek with one's self. First, it is "the morning stars which sing together"; then "Paradise Lost"; then the erotic yearning clothes itself in an ecclesiastical dress and utters dark words about "World Creation" and finally rises into a religious hymn to find there, at last, a way out into freedom, a way against which the censor of the moral personality can oppose nothing more. The hymn contains in its own peculiar character the marks of its origin. It thus has fulfilled itself—the "Law of the Return of the Complex." The night singer, in this circuitous manner of the old transference to the Father-Priest, has become the "Eternal," the "Creator," the God of Tone, of Light, of Love.
The indirect course of the libido seems to be a way of sorrow; at least "Paradise Lost" and the parallel reference to Job lead one to that conclusion. If we take, in addition to this, the introductory intimation of the identification with Christian, which we see concludes with Cyrano, then we are furnished with material which pictures the indirect course of the libido as truly a way of sorrow. It is the same as when mankind, after the sinful fall, had the burden of the earthly life to bear, or like the tortures of Job, who suffered under the power of Satan and of God, and who himself, without suspecting it, became a plaything of the superhuman forces which we no longer consider as metaphysical, but as metapsychological. Faust also offers us the same exhibition of God's wager.
- What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him
- If unto me full leave you give
- Gently upon my road to train him!
- But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.—Job i: ii.
While in Job the two great tendencies are characterized simply as good and bad, the problem in Faust is a pronouncedly erotic one; viz., the battle between sublimation and eros, in which the Devil is strikingly characterized through the fitting rôle of the erotic tempter. The erotic is lacking in Job; at the same time Job is not conscious of the conflict within his own soul; he even continuously disputes the arguments of his friends who wish to convince him of evil in his own heart. To this extent, one might say that Faust is considerably more honorable since he openly confesses to the torments of his soul.
Miss Miller acts like Job; she says nothing, and lets the evil and the good come from the other world, from the metapsychologic. Therefore, the identification with Job is also significant in this respect. A wider, and, indeed a very important analogy remains to be mentioned. The creative power, which love really is, rightly considered from the natural standpoint, remains as the real attribute of the Divinity, sublimated from the erotic impression; therefore, in the poem God is praised throughout as Creator.
Job offers the same illustration. Satan is the destroyer of Job's fruitfulness. God is the fruitful one himself, therefore, at the end of the book, he gives forth, as an expression of his own creative power, this hymn, filled with lofty poetic beauty. In this hymn, strangely enough, two unsympathetic representatives of the animal kingdom, behemoth and the leviathan, both expressive of the crudest force conceivable in nature, are given chief consideration; the behemoth being really the phallic attribute of the God of Creation.
"Behold now behemoth, which I made as well as thee;
He eateth grass as an ox.
Lo, now; his strength is in his loins,
And his force is in the muscles of his belly.
He moveth his tail like a cedar:
The sinews of his thighs are knit together.
His bones are as tubes of brass;
His limbs are like bars of iron.
He is the chief of the ways of God:
He only that made him giveth him his sword. ...
Behold, if a river overflow, he trembleth not;
He is confident though a Jordan swell even to his mouth.
Shall any take him when he is on the watch.
Or pierce through his nose with a snare?
Canst thou draw leviathan with a fish-hook?
Or press down his tongue with a cord? ...
Lay thy hand upon him;
Remember the battle and do no more.
None is so fierce that dare stir him up:
Who then is he that can stand before me?
Who hath first given unto me, that I should repay him?
Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine."
—Job xl: 15-20, 23-24; xli: 1, 8, 10-11.
God says this in order to bring his power and omnipotence impressively before Job's eyes. God is like the behemoth and the leviathan; the fruitful nature giving forth abundance,—the untamable wildness and boundlessness of nature,—and the overwhelming danger of the unchained power.20
But what has destroyed Job's earthly paradise? The unchained power of nature. As the poet lets it be seen here, God has simply turned his other side outwards for once; the side which man calls the devil, and which lets loose all the torments of nature on Job, naturally for the purpose of discipline and training. The God who created such monstrosities, before whom the poor weak man stiffens with anxiety, truly must hide qualities within himself which are food for thought. This God lives in the heart, in the unconscious, in the realm of metapsychology. There is the source of the anxiety before the unspeakably horrible, and of the strength to withstand the horrors. The person, that is to say his conscious "I," is like a plaything, like a feather which is whirled around by different currents of air; sometimes the sacrifice and sometimes the sacrificer, and he cannot hinder either. The Book of Job shows us God at work both as creator and destroyer. Who is this God? A thought which humanity in every part of the world and in all ages has brought forth from itself and always again anew in similar forms; a power in the other world to which man gives praise, a power which creates as well as destroys, an idea necessary to life. Since, psychologically understood, the divinity is nothing else than a projected complex of representation which is accentuated in feeling according to the degree of religiousness of the individual, so God is to be considered as the representative of a certain sum of energy (libido). This energy, therefore, appears projected (metaphysically) because it works from the unconscious outwards, when it is dislodged from there, as psychoanalysis shows. As I have earlier made apparent in the "Bedeutung des Vaters," the religious instinct feeds upon the incestuous libido of the infantile period. In the principal forms of religion which now exist, the father transference seems to be at least the moulding influence; in older religions, it seems to be the influence of the mother transference which creates the attributes of the divinity. The attributes of the divinity are omnipotence, a sternly persecuting paternalism ruling through fear (Old Testament) and a loving paternalism (New Testament). These are the attributes of the libido in that wide sense in which Freud has conceived this idea empirically. In certain pagan and also in certain Christian attributes of divinity the maternal stands out strongly, and in the former the animal also comes into the greatest prominence.21 Likewise, the infantile, so closely interwoven with religious phantasies, and from time to time breaking forth so violently, is nowhere lacking.22 All this points to the sources of the dynamic states of religious activity. These are those impulses which in childhood are withdrawn from incestuous application through the intervention of the incest barrier and which, especially at the time of puberty, as a result of affluxes of libido coming from the still incompletely employed sexuality, are aroused to their own peculiar activity. As is easily understood, that which is valuable in the God-creating idea is not the form but the power, the libido. The primitive power which Job's Hymn of Creation vindicates, the unconditional and inexorable, the unjust and the superhuman, are truly and rightly attributes of libido, which "lead us unto life," which "let the poor be guilty," and against which struggle is in vain. Nothing remains for mankind but to work in harmony with this will. Nietzsche's "Zarathustra" teaches us this impressively.
We see that in Miss Miller the religious hymn arising from the unconscious is the compensating amend for the erotic; it takes a great part of its materials from the infantile reminiscences which she re-awakened into life by the introversion of the libido. Had this religious creation not succeeded (and also had another sublimated application been eliminated) then Miss Miller would have yielded to the erotic impression, either to its natural consequence or to a negative issue, which would have replaced the lost success in love by a correspondingly strong sorrow. It is well known that opinions are much divided concerning the worth of this issue of an erotic conflict, such as Miss Miller has presented to us. It is thought to be much more beautiful to solve unnoticed an erotic tension, in the elevated feelings of religious poetry, in which perhaps many other people can find joy and consolation. One is wrong to storm against this conception from the radical standpoint of fanaticism for truth.
I think that one should view with philosophic admiration the strange paths of the libido and should investigate the purposes of its circuitous ways.
It is not too much to say that we have herewith dug up the erotic root, and yet the problem remains unsolved. Were there not bound up with that a mysterious purpose, probably of the greatest biological meaning, then certainly twenty centuries would not have yearned for it with such intense longing. Doubtless, this sort of libidian current moves in the same direction as, taken in the widest sense, did that ecstatic ideal of the Middle Ages and of the ancient mystery cults, one of which became the later Christianity. There is to be seen biologically in this ideal an exercise of psychologic projection (of the paranoidian mechanism, as Freud would express it).23 The projection consists in the repressing of the conflict into the unconscious and the setting forth of the repressed contents into seeming objectivity, which is also the formula of paranoia. The repression serves, as is well known, for the freeing from a painful complex from which one must escape by all means because its compelling and oppressing power is feared. The repression can lead to an apparent complete suppression which corresponds to a strong self-control. Unfortunately, however, selfcontrol has limits which are only too narrowly drawn. Closer observation of people shows, it is true, that calm is maintained at the critical moment, but certain results occur which fall into two categories.
First, the suppressed effect comes to the surface immediately afterwards; seldom directly, it is true, but ordinarily in the form of a displacement to another object (e.g. a person is, in official relations, polite, submissive, patient, and so on, and turns his whole anger loose upon his wife or his subordinates).
Second, the suppressed effect creates compensations elsewhere. For example, people who strive for excessive ethics, who try always to think, feel, and act altruistically and ideally, avenge themselves, because of the impossibility of carrying out their ideals, by subtle maliciousness, which naturally does not come into their own consciousness as such, but which leads to misunderstandings and unhappy situations. Apparently, then, all of these are only "especially unfortunate circumstances," or they are the guilt and malice of other people, or they are tragic complications.
One is, indeed, freed of the conscious conflict, nevertheless it lies invisible at one's feet, and is stumbled over at every step. The technic of the apparent suppressing and forgetting is inadequate because it is not possible of achievement in the last analysis—it is in reality a mere makeshift. The religious projection offers a much more effectual help. In this one keeps the conflict in sight (care, pain, anxiety, and so on) and gives it over to a personality standing outside of one's self, the Divinity. The evangelical command teaches us this:
"Cast all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you."—I Peter v:7.
"In nothing be anxious; but in every thing by prayer and supplication ... let your requests be made known unto God."—Phil. iv:6.
One must give the burdening complex of the soul consciously over to the Deity; that is to say, associate it with a definite representation complex which is set up as objectively real, as a person who answers those questions, for us unanswerable. To this inner demand belongs the candid avowal of sin and the Christian humility presuming such an avowal. Both are for the purpose of making it possible for one to examine one's self and to know one's self.24 One may consider the mutual avowal of sins as the most powerful support to this work of education ("Confess, therefore, your sins one to another."—James v:16). These measures aim at a conscious recognition of the conflicts, thoroughly psychoanalytic, which is also a conditio sine qua non of the psychoanalytic condition of recovery. Just as psychoanalysis in the hands of the physician, a secular method, sets up the real object of transference as the one to take over the conflicts of the oppressed and to solve them, so the Christian religion sets up the Saviour, considered as real; "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. ..." (Eph. i:7 and Col. i:14.)25 He is the deliverer and redeemer of our guilt, a God who stands above sin, "who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth" (Pet. ii:22). "Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree" (Pet. ii:24). " Therefore Christ has been sacrificed once to take away the sins of many" (Heb. ix:28). The God, thus thought of, is distinguished as innocent in himself and as the self-sacrificer. (These qualities are true also for that amount of energy—libido—which belongs to the representation complex designated the Redeemer.) The conscious projection towards which the Christian education aims, offers, therefore, a double benefit: first, one is kept conscious of the conflict (sins) of two opposing tendencies mutually resistant, and through this one prevents a known trouble from becoming, by means of repressing and forgetting, an unknown and therefore so much more tormenting sorrow. Secondly, one lightens one's burden by surrendering it to him to whom all solutions are known. One must not forget that the individual psychologic roots of the Deity, set up as real by the pious, are concealed from him, and that he, although unaware of this, still bears the burden alone and is still alone with his conflict. This delusion would lead infallibly to the speedy breaking up of the system, for Nature cannot indefinitely be deceived, but the powerful institution of Christianity meets this situation. The command in the book of James is the best expression of the psychologic significance of this: "Bear ye one another's burdens."26
This is emphasized as especially important in order to preserve society upright through mutual love (Transference); the Pauline writings leave no doubt about this:
"Through love be servants one to another."—Gal. v:13.
"Let love of the brethren continue."—Heb. xiii:i.
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and
good works. Not forgetting our own assembling together as is the custom of some, but exhorting one another."—Heb. x:24-25.
We might say that the real transference taught in the Christian community is the condition absolutely necessary for the efficacy of the miracle of redemption; the first letter of John comes out frankly with this:
"He that loveth his brother abideth in the light."—I John ii:10.
"If we love one another, God abideth in us."—I John iv:12.
The Deity continues to be efficacious in the Christian religion only upon the foundation of brotherly love. Consequently, here too the mystery of redemption is the unresisting real transference.27 One may properly ask one's self, for what then is the Deity useful, if his efficacy consists only in the real transference? To this also the evangelical message has a striking answer:
"Men are all brothers in Christ."
"So Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time apart from sin to them that wait for him unto salvation."—Heb. ix:28.
The condition of transference among brothers is to be such as between man and Christ, a spiritual one. As the history of ancient cults and certain Christian sects shows, this explanation of the Christian religion is an especially important one biologically, for the psychologic intimacy creates certain shortened ways between men which lead only too easily to that from which Christianity seeks to release them, namely to the sexual relation with all those consequences and necessities under which the really already highly civilized man had to suffer at the beginning of our Christian era. For just as the ancient religious experience was regarded distinctly as a bodily union with the Deity,28 just so was worship permeated with sexuality of every kind. Sexuality lay only too close to the relations of people with each other. The moral degeneracy of the first Christian century produced a moral reaction arising out of the darkness of the lowest strata of society which was expressed in the second and third centuries at its purest in the two antagonistic religions, Christianity on the one side, and Mithracism on the other. These religions strove after precisely that higher form of social intercourse symbolic of a projected "become flesh" idea (logos), whereby all those strongest impulsive energies of the archaic man, formerly plunging him from one passion into another,29 and which seemed to the ancients like the compulsion of the evil constellations, as είμαρμένη, and which in the sense of later ages might be translated as the driving force of the libido,30 the δύναμις κινητική of Zeno, could be made use of for social preservation.31
It may be assumed most certainly that the domestication of humanity has cost the greatest sacrifices. An age which produced the stoical ideal must certainly have known why and against what it was created. The age of Nero serves to set off effectually the famous extracts from the forty-first letter of Seneca to Lucilius:
"One drags the other into error, and how can we attain to salvation when no one bids us halt, when all the world drives us in deeper?"
"Do you ever come across a man unafraid in danger, untouched by desires, happy in misfortune, peaceful in the midst of a storm, elevated above ordinary mortals, on the same plane as the gods, does not reverence seize you? Are you not compelled to say, 'Such an exalted being is certainly something different from the miserable body which he inhabits'? A divine strength rules there, such an excellent mind, full of moderation, raised above all trivialities, which smiles at that which we others fear or strive after: a heavenly power animates such a person, a thing of this kind does not exist without the coöperation of a deity. The largest part of such a being belongs to the region from which he came. Just as the sun's rays touch the earth in reality and yet are at home only there from whence they come, so an eminent holy man associates with us. He is sent to us that we may learn to know the divine better, and although with us, still really belongs to his original home. He looks thither and reaches towards it; among us he walks as an exalted being."
The people of this age had grown ripe for identification with the λόγος (word) "become flesh," for the founding of a new fellowship, united by one idea,32 in the name of which people could love each other and call each other brothers.33 The old vague idea of a μεσίτης (Messiah), of a mediator in whose name new ways of love would be created, became a fact, and with that humanity made an immense step forward. This had not been brought about by a speculative, completely sophisticated philosophy, but by an elementary need in the mass of people vegetating in spiritual darkness. The profoundest necessities had evidently driven them towards that, since humanity did not thrive in a state of dissoluteness.34 The meaning of those cults—I speak of Christianity and Mithracism—is clear; it is a moral restraint of animal impulses.35 The dynamic appearance of both religions betrays something of that enormous feeling of redemption which animated the first disciples and which we today scarcely know how to appreciate, for these old truths are empty to us. Most certainly we should still understand it, had our customs even a breath of ancient brutality, for we can hardly realize in this day the whirlwinds of the unchained libido which roared through the ancient Rome of the Cæsars. The civilized man of the present day seems very far removed from that. He has become merely neurotic. So for us the necessities which brought forth Christianity have actually been lost, since we no longer understand their meaning. We do not know against what it had to protect us.36 For enlightened people, the so-called religiousness has already approached very close to a neurosis. In the past two thousand years Christianity has done its work and has erected barriers of repression, which protect us from the sight of our own "sinfulness." The elementary emotions of the libido have come to be unknown to us, for they are carried on in the unconscious; therefore, the belief which combats them has become hollow and empty. Let whoever does not believe that a mask covers our religion, obtain an impression for himself from the appearance of our modern churches, from which style and art have long since fled.
With this we turn back to the question from which we digressed, namely, whether or not Miss Miller has created something valuable with her poem. If we bear in mind under what psychologic or moral conditions Christianity came into existence; that is to say, at a time when fierce brutality was an every-day spectacle, then we understand the religious seizure of the whole personality and the worth of that religion which defended the people of the Roman culture against the visible storms of wickedness. It was not difficult for those people to remain conscious of sin, for they saw it every day spread out before their eyes. The religious product was at that time the accomplishment of the total personality. Miss Miller not only undervalues her "sins," but the connection between the "depressing and unrelenting need" and her religious product has even escaped her. Thus her poetical creation completely loses the living value of a religious product. It is not much more than a sentimental transformation of the erotic which is secretly carried out close to consciousness and principally possesses the same worth as the manifest content of the dream37 with its uncertain and delusive perishableness. Thus the poem is properly only a dream become audible.
To the degree that the modern consciousness is eagerly busied with things of a wholly other sort than religion, religion and its object, original sin, have stepped into the background; that is to say, into the unconscious in great part. Therefore, today man believes neither in the one nor in the other. Consequently the Freudian school is accused of an impure phantasy, and yet one might convince one's self very easily with a rather fleeting glance at the history of ancient religions and morals as to what kind of demons are harbored in the human soul. With this disbelief in the crudeness of human nature is bound up the disbelief in the power of religion. The phenomenon, well known to every psychoanalyst, of the unconscious transformation of an erotic conflict into religious activity is something ethically wholly worthless and nothing but an hysterical production. Whoever, on the other hand, to his conscious sin just as consciously places religion in opposition, does something the greatness of which cannot be denied. This can be verified by a backward glance over history. Such a procedure is sound religion. The unconscious recasting of the erotic into something religious lays itself open to the reproach of a sentimental and ethically worthless pose.
By means of the secular practice of the naïve projection which is, as we have seen, nothing else than a veiled or indirect real-transference (through the spiritual, through the logos), Christian training has produced a widespread weakening of the animal nature so that a great part of the strength of the impulses could be set free for the work of social preservation and fruitfulness.38 This abundance of libido, to make use of this singular expression, pursues with a budding renaissance (for example Petrarch) a course which outgoing antiquity had already sketched out as religious; viz., the way of the transference to nature.39 The transformation of this libidinous interest is in great part due to the Mithraic worship, which was a nature religion in the best sense of the word;40 while the primitive Christians exhibited throughout an antagonistic attitude to the beauties of this world.41 I remember the passage of St. Augustine mentioned by J. Burkhardt:
"Men draw thither to admire the heights of the mountains and the powerful waves of the sea—and to turn away from themselves."
The foremost authority on the Mithraic cult, Franz Cumont,42 says as follows:
"The gods were everywhere and mingled in all the events of daily life. The fire which cooked the means of nourishment for the believers and which warmed them; the water which quenched their thirst and cleansed them; also the air which they breathed, and the day which shone for them, were the objects of their homage. Perhaps no religion has given to its adherents in so large a degree as Mithracism opportunity for prayer and motive for devotion. When the initiated betook himself in the evening to the sacred grotto concealed in the solitude of the forest, at every step new sensations awakened in his heart some mystical emotion. The stars that shone in the sky, the wind that whispered in the foliage, the spring or brook which hastened murmuring to the valley, even the earth which he trod under his feet, were in his eyes divine; and all surrounding nature a worshipful fear of the infinite forces that swayed the universe."
These fundamental thoughts of Mithracism, which, like so much else of the ancient spiritual life, arose again from their grave during the renaissance are to be found in the beautiful words of Seneca:43
"When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and whose boughs are so closely interwoven that the sky cannot be seen, the stately shadows of the wood, the privacy of the place, and the awful gloom cannot but strike you, as with the presence of a deity, or when we see some cave at the foot of a mountain penetrating the rocks, not made by human hands, but hollowed out to great depths by nature; it fills the mind with a religious fear; we venerate the fountain-heads of great rivers; the sudden eruption of a vast body of water from the secret places of the earth, obtains an altar: we adore likewise the springs of warm baths, and either the opaque quality or immense depths, hath made some lakes sacred."
All this disappeared in the transitory world of the Christian, only to break forth much later when the thought of mankind had achieved that independence of the idea which could resist the æsthetic impression, so that thought was no longer fettered by the emotional effects of the impression, but could rise to reflective observation. Thus man entered into a new and independent relation to nature whereby the foundation was laid for natural science and technique. With that, however, there entered in for the first time a displacement of the weight of interest; there arose again real-transference which has reached its greatest development in our time. Materialistic interest has everywhere become paramount. Therefore, the realms of the spirit, where earlier the greatest conflicts and developments took place, lie deserted and fallow; the world has not only lost its God as the sentimentalists of the nineteenth century bewail, but also to some extent has lost its soul as well. One, therefore, cannot wonder that the discoveries and doctrines of the Freudian school, with their wholly psychologic views, meet with an almost universal disapproval. Through the change of the centre of interest from the inner to the outer world, the knowledge of nature has increased enormously in comparison with that of earlier times. By this the anthropomorphic conception of the religious dogmas has been definitely thrown open to question; therefore, the present-day religions can only with the greatest difficulty close their eyes to this fact; for not only has the intense interest been diverted from the Christian religion, but criticism and the necessary correction have increased correspondingly. The Christian religion seems to have fulfilled its great biological purpose, in so far as we are able to judge. It has led human thought to independence, and has lost its significance, therefore, to a yet undetermined extent; in any case its dogmatic contents have become related to Mithracism. In consideration of the fact that this religion has rendered, nevertheless, inconceivable service to education, one cannot reject it "eo ipso" today. It seems to me that we might still make use in some way of its form of thought, and especially of its great wisdom of life, which for two thousand years has been proven to be particularly efficacious. The stumbling block is the unhappy combination of religion and morality. That must be overcome. There still remain traces of this strife in the soul, the lack of which in a human being is reluctantly felt. It is hard to say in what such things consist; for this, ideas as well as words are lacking. If, in spite of that, I attempt to say something about it, I do it parabolically, using Seneca's words:44
"Nothing can be more commendable and beneficial if you persevere in the pursuit of wisdom. It is what would be ridiculous to wish for when it is in your power to attain it. There is no need to lift up your hands to Heaven, or to pray the servant of the temple to admit you to the ear of the idol that your prayers may be heard the better. God is near thee; he is with thee. Yes, Lucilius, a holy spirit resides within us, the observer of good and evil, and our constant guardian. And as we treat him, he treats us; no good man is without a God. Could any one ever rise above the power of fortune without his assistance? It is he that inspires us with thoughts, upright, just and pure. We do not, indeed, pretend to say what God; but that a God dwells in the breast of every good man is certain."
- The heaven above, the heaven below, the sky above, the sky below, all things above, all things below, decline and rise.
- Power for putting in motion.