Monday, 7 November 2016

Jung and art

Then a voice said to me, "That is art." C.G. Jung, Notes of the Seminars, 1925 :
"It seemed to me all these [visions] were becoming frightfully uncanny, then it occurred to me, there was something I could do, I could write down all of it in sequence. While I was writing once I said to myself, “What is this I am doing, it certainly is not science, what is it?” Then a voice said to me, “That is art.” This made the strangest sort of an impression upon me, because it was not in any sense my conviction that what I was writing was art. Then I came to this, “Perhaps my unconscious is forming a personality that is not me, but which is insisting on coming through to expression.” I don’t know why exactly, but I knew to a certainty that the voice that had said my writing was art had come from a woman. A living woman could very well have come into the room and said that very thing to me, because she would not have cared anything about the discriminations she was trampling underfoot. 

Obviously it wasn’t science; what then could it be but art, as though those were the only two alternatives in the world. That is the way a woman’s mind works. Well, I said very emphatically to this voice that what I was doing was not art, and I felt a great resistance grow up within me. No voice came through, however, and I kept on writing. Then I got another shot like the first: “That is art.” This time I caught her and said, “No it is not,” and I felt as though an argument would ensue. I thought, well, she has not the speech centers I have, so I told her to use mine, and she did, and came through with a long statement. This is the origin of the technique I developed for dealing directly with the unconscious contents."

MDR , pp. 185ff./178ff., following several pages in which Jung describes other dreams and visions. At this point he wrote, “I knew for a certainty that the voice had come from a woman. I recognized it as the voice of a patient, a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me.” 2012 : The woman in question was actually Maria Moltzer, and not, as some assumed, Sabina Spielrein (see my introduction, Liber Novus , p. 199, and Cult Fictions: C. G. Jung and the Founding of Analytical Psychology [London: Routledge, 1998]). The discussions Jung refers to here are not noted in the Black Books a study of the chronology suggests that he is referring to the entries between November and December 1913 in Black Book 2, which are partially reproduced in Liber Primus in Liber Novus .

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