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Jung's act of matricide

Jung took the position that if he viewed his fantasies as art (associated with femininity), they would carry no more conviction than visual perceptions of the surface. Moral obligation and integrity would be lost. “The anima might then have easily seduced me into believing that I was a misunderstood artist, and that my so-called artistic nature gave me the right to neglect reality” (1965: 186). This seduction will result in his diminishment. Jung imagines that if he allows himself to be influenced by her thoughts, she will undermine his authority and power. He proves his own theory on the anima’s projective functions with the thought “If I had followed her voice, she would in all probability have said to me one day, ‘Do you imagine the nonsense you’re engaged in is really art? Not a bit.’ ” Thus, he concludes, “the insinuations of the anima, the mouthpiece of the unconscious, can utterly destroy a man. In the final analysis the decisive factor is always consciousness, and (one must) take up a position toward them” (1965: 187).

In his confrontation, one of the ways Jung attempts to gain control over his dreams and visions was to make his images scientifically comprehensible and relevant. This meant drawing concrete conclusions from his insights, thus trespassing on the line between reality and psychosis - just the place where the succubus resides. Jung was driven to defend his conscious, ego, patriarchal male power, and wrote to his anima every evening so that her negativity could not get into his fantasies and “twist them into intrigues:”

What I did then to get at this inferior, unconscious side of me was to make at night an exact reversal of the mental machinery I had used in the day. That is to say, I turned all libido within in order to observe the dreams that were going on.

(1965: 186)

Jung determined that the only way to “strip the power” from unconscious contents was to bring them into relationship to consciousness. One gets the feeling that Jung’s determination not to be blindsided by the anima’s deep cunning, and his need to maintain power over her, became its own kind of enslavement.

In Memories, Jung fails to mention that the argument contains important personal referents to himself and his “psychopathic patient” during a time when analysis and fantasy, incest and myth, had started to merge into each other. First and foremost, “art” (and poetry) was a metaphor which had special meaning known only to Jung and Spielrein; from their writings, we know only that they came very close to “poetry,” Spielrein’s word for “what happens when a couple, both enamored of mysticism, move backward from it to a sexual realization - and keep psychoanalyzing” (Kerr, 1993: 227). Spielrein also defines the terms in her inner dialogues:

The dissolution of a complex through empathic sharing (with attendant sexual attraction) is but one of the avenues open to the instinct for transformation. Other are “art” and “science,” both ways of objectifying complexes; art in particular allows complexes “to express themselves to the utmost.”

(p. 197)

It is no wonder, then, that Spielrein’s voice becomes the voice of Jung’s anima.

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