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B: The Separation of the Systems

Neumann, Erich Karnac Books ePub

B. The Separation of the Systems

(MYTHOLOGICAL STAGES: SEPARATION OF THE WORLD PARENTS AND DRAGON FIGHT)

Centroversion and Differentiation

THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT of personality is determined by the splitting into two systems of the conscious and the unconscious, or rather by their separation, for it is only in the later development of Western consciousness that the separation takes the more dangerous form of a split. This development is mythologically depicted in the stages of the separation of the World Parents and the Hero Myth, the latter stage being partially contained in the former.

Through the separation of the World Parents heaven and earth are distinguished from one another, polarity is created, and the light set free. It is a mythological representation of the ego, poised between the lower, feminine world of earth and body, and the higher, masculine world of heaven and spirit. But since consciousness and the ego always experience themselves as masculine, this lower earth-world is taken to be the world of the Great Mother, and consequently hostile to the ego, while heaven is sensed as the ego-friendly world of the spirit, later personified as the All-Father.

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C: The Transformation Myth

Neumann, Erich Karnac Books ePub

I. THE CAPTIVE AND THE TREASURE

II. TRANSFORMATION, OR OSIRIS

Nature rules over nature.

THE MYTHOLOGICAL GOAL of the dragon fight is almost always the virgin, the captive, or, more generally, the “treasure hard to attain.” It is to be noted that a purely material pile of gold, such as the hoard of the Nibelungs, is a late and degenerate form of the original motif. In the earliest mythologies, in ritual, in religion, and in mystical literature as well as in fairy tales, legend, and poetry, gold and precious stones, but particularly diamonds and pearls,1 were originally symbolic carriers of immaterial values. Likewise the water of life, the healing herb, the elixir of immortality, the philosophers’ stone, miracle rings and wishing rings, magic hoods and winged cloaks, are all symbols of the treasure.

There is one phenomenon which is of great importance in psychological interpretation, and this phenomenon we would call the typological dual focus of myth and symbol. This only means that it is the nature of myths and fairy tales to work in equal measure, though in different ways, upon contrary psychological types.2 That is to say, the extravert as well as the introvert finds “himself” portrayed and addressed in the myth. For this reason the myth must be interpreted on the objective level for the extravert and on the subjective level for the introvert,3 but both interpretations are necessary and meaningful.

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5. The Stages in the Child's Ego-Development

Neumann, Erich Karnac Books ePub

Though up to this point we have concerned ourselves with the matriarchal phase of child development and the beginning of the child’s release from it, we have constantly borne in mind the development of the ego. But this ego development was so much under the domination of the mother that our chief concern has been the relation, not of the ego but of the child’s total Self to body, mother, and mother as representative of the world. That is why the erogenous zones of the child’s body discovered by Freud have played so important a role in our discussion, although the significance of these zones has been placed in a different context than in Freud and importance has been attached not so much to their erogenous, pleasure-accented aspect as to their gnoso-genous aspect of experience. But both the infant’s attachment to its body and its attachment to its mother are an expression of the fact that at this stage the body-totality, the body-Self, is of greater importance than the ego, which is configured only gradually.

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3. Disturbances of the Primal Relationship and their Consequences

Neumann, Erich Karnac Books ePub

A decisive step in the development of the child within the primal relationship is the formation of a positive-integral ego, an ego that is able to assimilate and integrate even the negative or unpleasant qualities of the outer and inner worlds, such as deprivations, pain, etc. The mother, as compensatory Self, sees to it — as far as the circumstances of her life permit — that the negative factors should not predominate and that they should be replaced and overshadowed as quickly as possible by positive factors. This compensation extends not only to objective factors such as cold, hunger and frustration, which are all experienced by the infant as world factors, but gradually also to all negative experiences that come to the child from within but are at first also experienced as pressing in from outside, such as fear, rage and pain. Through the maternal function of compensation and appeasement, the child invests in its ego the positive integral tendency which the mother exemplifies and which she embodies over and over again in her contact with the child. In this way there arises a positive-integral ego capable of integrating positive and negative factors in such a way that the unity of the personality is guaranteed and is not split into antagonistic parts. Thus — to use an abbreviated formulation — there arises a positive tolerance on the part of the ego which, on the basis of its attitude of security and confidence toward the mother, is capable of accepting the world and itself, because it has a constant experience of positive tolerance and acceptedness through the mother.

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A: The Original Unity

Neumann, Erich Karnac Books ePub

A. The Original Unity

(MYTHOLOGICAL STAGES: UROBOROS AND GREAT MOTHER)

Centroversion and Ego Formation

THE SECOND PART of this work is an attempt to evaluate, in the light of analytical psychology, the processes whose mythological projection we described in the first part. We have now to demonstrate the significance of myth for modern Western man and to show how it has assisted the growth of his personality.

Besides summing up the psychological developments dealt with in the first part, we here put forward a piece of speculative “metapsychology” by way of supplementing and amplifying our theme. The fragmentariness and known limitations of our experience should not prevent us from trying to take temporary stock of the situation and to discover the unifying evolutionary aspect which alone will give our individual findings their proper place and value. This is merely one among many other possible and necessary aspects of analytical psychology; but we believe that the evolutionary aspect of the archetypal stages is of importance not only for the theory but also for the practice of psychotherapy. The stadial psychology we are seeking to outline offers more than a contribution to the psychology of individual personality; for the psychological approach to culture, which puts the humanistic significance of Jung's depth psychology in its proper setting, would not have been possible had not analytical psychology advanced beyond the personalistic sphere into collective psychology. Before the stadial development of the ego discussed in Part I is subjected to psychological interpretation, we must make a few introductory remarks about the concept of the ego, about the stages, and about our interpretative method.

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