THE COGNITIVE MODE INHERENT IN
Gertrud B. Ujhely, Ph. D., R. N.
from the C. G. Jung Training Center, New York, N. Y.
The case loads of contemporary psychotherapists consist primarily of persons suffering from so-called pre-oedipal psychopathology: borderline syndromes, schizoid phenomena or narcissistic character disorders. Current psychoanalytic literature and professional meetings of psychotherapists from all denominations are devoted to efforts at better understanding these disturbances and finding ways of more effective therapeutic intervention.
As is known by those who have studied philosophy or who at least have read Hillman’s seminal work Emotion (l), Aristotle said that "in order to understand some things completely one must know 1. the material of which they are made, 2. the form or law of their structure, 3. the active agent or agency that effected the imposition of the form upon the matter, and 4. the final purpose or end that the effect is adapted to serve." (2) In other words, one must know their material, formal, efficient and final causes.
A great deal of work has been done on describing the formal cause of pre-oedipal psychopathology. Although there is no agreement among the authors as to differential diagnosis and psychodynamics of these conditions, certain overall outlines of the formal cause are agreed upon.
Persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology generally are able to function quite well in their work life and in interpersonal relations which are not too intimate, and yet they are prey to attacks of intense oral rage which is directed against others or themselves. Their object relationships vacillate between superficiality and clinging dependency and manipulative demandingness. They have little tolerance for stress and are hypersensitive to criticism. They exhibit an outward calm, while inwardly feeling chaotic and inferior, especially with respect to persons in authority. They tend to suffer from any combination of two or more neurotic, seemingly psychotic, psychosomatic or sociopathic symptoms and they tend to complain of diffuse free-floating anxiety, of a pervasive sense of emptiness and of existential despair or of a vague feeling that things are not as they should be with them.
Although there may be transitory experiences of depersonalization and estrangement, especially within the context of the transference, their reality sense is not really impaired, nor does their condition deteriorate in the long run. But there is a certain characteristic ego weakness in all persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology and a lack of superego integration, both of which vary with the developmental level they have been able to achieve. Although parts of the ego may have reached adulthood, there is a fluidity of the ego and a permeability of its boundaries to archaic self and object representations with resulting identity diffusion, occasional regression to primary process thinking and an inability to sublimate impulses. These phenomena are characteristically dealt with by means of splitting into opposites, projective identification, acting out, denial, avoidance and shallowness.
Also characteristic for persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology is a lack of object constancy which goes hand in hand with the phenomenology described above. As a result objects are related to as parts which can be manipulated in accordance with need states and which are both idealized and devalued. The image of absent objects often cannot be evoked, which results in separation anxiety and the inability to mourn. At the basis of the pathology is an inability to integrate aggressive and libidinal drives, or, in light of object relations theory, to unify the positive and negative aspects of object and self. (3)
The efficient cause is attributed to sociocultural, intrafamilial and interpersonal factors, such as the breaking up of not only the extended but also the nuclear family, uncertainty of the future, mobility, affluence and the breaking down of traditional religious and social values. (4) It has been attributed to developmental lags on the part of the parents, especially separation anxiety on the part of the mother. (5) Insufficiently good mothering results in a surplus of aggression in the patient himself which in turn causes the splitting into opposites which is so characteristic for pre-oedipal psychopathology. (6)
The material cause consists of the overwhelming anxiety which is triggered by the experience of envisioned or actual object loss and or the threat of constitutional or induced rage which could destroy the other or oneself. (7) Overwhelming anxiety can also be caused by shame connected with either being the center of attention or with not being seen and hence not existing at all. (8) It can also be caused by the threat of the other’s or one’s own envy. (9) The attempt to ward off this anxiety by splitting or by withdrawing cathexes from one's ego boundaries (10) creates the uncanny affect and reality states characteristic for pre-oedipal psychopathology and a particular kind of cognitive experience. This cognitive experience is equivalent to Gebser's magical structure of consciousness (11), Jung's participation mystique and Piaget's realism. (12)
What about the final cause? Some authors, in particular Balint (l3) and Kohut (l4) see the symptomatology of pre-oedipal conditions as an attempt on the part of the patient to reconnect with the point where his developmental processes have gone awry, so that a new, corrective development can be initiated. All authors agree that the symptoms of ego splitting, feelings of generalized uneasiness and emptiness, and the difficulties in coping and self actualization serve, though not effectively, to preserve the person from disintegrating anxiety and rage.
To my knowledge, none of the authors, including Jungian writers such as Perry (l5), go beyond the idea of magical wish fulfillment in light of almost cosmic helplessness. They do not go beyond the idea of self-preservation or, at most, self-renewal in their search for a final cause of pre-oedipal psychopathology. And yet, one of Jung's greatest contributions to the knowledge of the psyche was his repeated assertion that psychological and sometimes psychopathological phenomena have a final cause, that is, that they have a purpose and a meaning which go well beyond the preservation of the ego.
It is true that pre-oedipal symptomatology and its concomitant cognitive structure represent an arrest of psychological development on a level prior to that required of us in our complicated Western world. To look at this syndrome as a phase which must be overcome and relegated to repression, however, is doing injustice to a layer of the psyche which is crucial to a new psychic totality toward which mankind seems to be moving: that of individuation in the Jungian sense, or that of an integral structure of consciousness which Gebser foresees. Jaynes too attributes to this layer of the psyche, he calls it the bicameral mind (16), a value of its own and also a purpose which goes beyond that of the individual.
Given that there are so many persons nowadays who function from the vantage point of primary process, by whatever name one wishes to call it, the age-old yet ever new question of Parsifal, "To what purpose is your ailment?" is not too farfetched. On the way toward attempting some tentative answers to the above question we must, first, define causa finalis.
From a plethora of statements describing the term (17) I have arrived at the following operational definition:
1. The final cause is determined by its essence (i. e., the causa formalis) which prescribes what a thing is to be.
2. Implied in the term final cause is a sense of forward direction, a goal, a desired purpose.
3. This goal can also be seen as the last stage of a developmental process.
4. The final cause leads toward completion of an inherent pattern (telos) and thus creates and perfects a whole.
5. The force moving the pattern toward its goal, although permeating the phenomena, goes beyond them across space and time and has foreknowledge of what is to be. It is connected with God or the Gods.
6. There is an ulterior purpose to this development which is for the Good, hence contains value.
7. It is this value which gives justification and meaning to the forward process and which answers the question "why," "for the sake of what" it is happening.
Let us now, out of this definition of the final cause, try to formulate questions to which the remainder of this paper will address itself.
1. What is the essence (causa formalis) of the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal psychopathology?
2 What is the aim of this cognitive mode?
3. Of what developmental process is it the last stage?
4. What strands does it contribute to the pattern of wholeness?
5. What forces outside the phenomena are directing their course?
6. What good or value is inherent in the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal conditions?
7. What, therefore, is the meaning of the prevalent pre-oedipal symptomatology? For the sake of what is it occurring?
First, then, to the question: What is the essence of the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal psychopathology?
The cognitive mode of borderline conditions, schizoid phenomena and of narcissistic character disorders, although it differs in severity and although it is usually concomitant with the cognitive mode of mental or ego consciousness, corresponds to the reality plane of primary process, variously called the magical structure of consciousness, participation mystique or realism. By whatever name one might call it (and I shall use primarily Gebser's term), it is none else but the instinctive, dynamic, affective pole of the archetypal psyche (18) and follows its own natural laws. In the so-called primitive and in the child the magical structure coincides with the degree of awareness that can be expected and thus is considered to have legitimate validity. In the contemporary Western adult it is not considered to be a legitimate aspect of the conscious personality, the ego. At best it is allowed to plague the ego as a phenomenon of the unconscious, in the form of shadow, animus, anima or Self, or of a persistent complex from the past.
The magical structure of consciousness is analogous to the mythical son of the mother, who is always at the mercy of her recalling him. It is equivalent to the realm of the servants of the Great Mother: the realm of the cabiroi, the dactyls, the tom thumb and the dwarfs. (19) Just as depicted by these figures the person on the magical level of consciousness is identified with the active pole of being in which one must always be doing (i. e., making something), in which one is concerned with power (might) and in which one is prey to or attempts to exert magic. (20) On this level of consciousness the worth of one's being is measured by the amount and quality of one's performance: success makes one a good person while failure annihilates one's personal worth. Thus, the outcome of any action does not only represent success or failure, winning or losing, but the entire self is at stake. Criticism of one's actions therefore always implies criticism of one's personhood on this level of consciousness, which makes it very difficult to offer up one's work or activities to the scrutiny of others. This in turn lessens the possibility for exchange, learning and development, which is one of the reasons for the tenacity of pre-oedipal states.
One also guards oneself from criticizing the other's actions for fear of arousing a sense of loss of worth in him.* (*Wherever used in this paper, the use of the masculine, i. e., “him,” “his,” etc., shall refer equally to “her,” “hers,” etc.) And so one's displeasure with the other mounts, until it erupts eventually as pure affect and thus, as self-fulfilling prophecy, disrupts the relationship with him.
Not to be able to act is tantamount to being weak and powerless and thus cause for shame. To be the recipient of another's act, whether one of kindness or hostility, is seen as being passive and hence being reprehensible. Receiving forces one into reciprocating in kind: "an eye for an eye," as specified by the talionic law.
There is one exception: in the benevolent presence of a feminine being, whether it be the mother, the woman lover or the man's anima, or one's psychotherapist in any one of these manifestations, a person on the magical level of consciousness can, for brief moments, allow himself to be loved for his essence and not only for what he can do. Such experiences of being valued intrinsically are rare however for such a person. And so he must spend most of his time in being active and, just like the little creatures of the mother realm, in guarding and defending his still undeveloped, vulnerable central treasure, the God within in statu nascendi, his inner worth, in the hope that if he really proves himself, he will be allowed to sink into the bliss of pure being for all eternity.
Although there is a great deal of suffering on this level of consciousness, it happens against one's will. Since suffering has to do with being passive, with having to be receptive to pain and with being under someone’s or something else's power, it is seen as not legitimate and as threatening to one's autonomy. The same goes for receptivity to any kind of experiencing. Without allowing for suffering and experiencing, however, learning and unfolding of the deeper central value cannot occur. Perhaps this is why these mythological figures remain as small as they are.
The magical, pre-oedipal structure of consciousness corresponds to a state of emergence into unity of being out of a state of identity with nature and nonbeing. (21) The "not as yet centered ego is dissipated over the world of manifestations" (22) and consciousness is as yet located in the world and not in oneself. (23) The person residing on that plane of consciousness is still very much in touch with the souls of animals and plants, and even of things. He can communicate with them in their language and experiences their joys and sufferings as if they were his own. He is also in touch with the still nature-close archetypal dimension of human souls, but not with the human, conscious aspect of their personalities. And so plants, animals and things are more akin to, and are perceived as being more human, by someone living on the magical level of consciousness, than are real human beings. For the latter are perceived as powers which must be catered to or warded off. He does not perceive himself as fully human either, nor does he expect others to perceive him as such.
And yet there is a beginning awareness of self, a sense of one's existence as a separate being, which is coupled with terror of annihilation and ensuing return to nothingness. Existence, oneness of self as it emerges out of a state of identity with the environment, can prevail, but only in tandem with a benevolent significant other. Unconditional affirmation by this other is experienced as necessary for being; opposition, or, worse, withdrawal on the other's part amounts to threat of annihilation of self and resultant nothingness.
Although there is awareness of the objective difference between self and other, there is lack of differentiation concerning the subjectivity of each. The person on the magical level of consciousness literally lives in a world of subjectivity, of being subject to and subjected to powers. There is no connection from one human being to another, but everyone and everything is seen as existing in relation to oneself: either as benevolent or malicious. That of which the other is least aware of in himself, i. e., his shadow side and archetypal dimension, exerts a powerful effect on the person residing on the magical level of consciousness and permeates his whole being. In self defense he either attempts to deny the other's subjectivity and thus gain the upper hand, or, if this is impossible, he at least blames the other for victimizing him with it.
This phenomenon of heightened subjectivity is due to the fact that in the magical world there is no sense of three-dimensionality and thus no perspective toward either self or other. It is a two-dimensional world in which self and other are bound together by mutual polarity bonds which hold each of the partners in their grip. This mutual bondage is one of complementarity, analogous to the complementarity of archetypes, with only one pole lodged in each person. Thus, when one person feels or acts as a child, for instance, the mother in the other is mobilized. Yet, at the same time the child in the other becomes active and looks for the mother in the first. What is impossible for a person residing on the magical level of consciousness is to be a mother for his own child or a child for his own mother. Hence one needs and wishes for the other to complement one's unipolar identity and at the same time fears to be drawn into having to complement that of the other.
Similarly there is a complementarity in needs and feeling tones between self and other: if the other is suffering one feels a demand put on oneself to be supportive, while at the same time a desire to be cruel to him is also evoked. One feels oneself forced to perform the demanded action, and must deny to oneself the experience of wanting to resist it, for fear of alienating the other to whom one is tied.
And so one experiences oneself at all times as responsible for or at least to the other, but also experiences the other as responsible to and for oneself. The other's suffering is experienced as being caused by oneself. At least one might have prevented it and therefore it behooves one to do something about the other's suffering. If the other is angry again the cause must be found in oneself. Yet, similarly the other is expected to alleviate one's own suffering and anger, since he is experienced as being their cause. This phenomenon is similar to what Jung has described about a tribe which lived in participation mystique with one another and in which one group provided certain foods to the other group and vice versa, but in which neither group could conceive of providing itself with the foods. (24) At most one can, as described in the manifestation of splitting, flip from one opposite pole into the other, but no connection between the two is seen and one of the poles, depending on one's identification, is considered as a "not me" state.
The polarity bonds thus entail a sense of compulsion, of being forced into a role without having any choice. One has, in fact, no choice, as long as one archetypal pole is lodged in the other and one's own need makes one dependent on the other and as long as the other's need forces one to be tied to him.
Actually need is not experienced as such on the magical level of consciousness, for that would imply weakness which is unacceptable both in oneself and the other. What is experienced is a demand, or, more, a command for action. (25) Non-compliance is tantamount to non-existence. For who does not comply is not who he ought to be; and any negation of the act implies negation of the person who does not perform the act. But also, as we have seen, being depends on validation and unconditional affirmation by the significant other, hence the existence of both is necessary and dislike or criticism of either is dangerous to the survival of both.
What one seeks from the other and is willing to return in kind is love. But love has a particular meaning on the magical level of consciousness. It means self sacrifice. Unless the other sacrifices his needs to prove his love, one continually doubts his sincerity. But also, in order to prove one's own love for the other one must sacrifice one's supreme value to him, which engenders rage on the part of the Self and guilt for being enraged.
More specifically: self-sacrificing love entails a request from the other that one be the most important aspect of the other’s life, that one be available whenever the other needs him and that one not burden the other with his own needs. The other is, of course, prepared to do the same for oneself. But what happens if the other fails to consider the first as of paramount importance, or if he changes his mind, or if he disappears for a while? Then all the parts of oneself which one has discarded in favor of the other rear their ugly heads. There emerges doubt of the other's sincerity. And there emerges self accusation for having made the wrong choice in the other and thus being a fool and serving as the laughing stock of the community. There is no memory left of the former bliss of mutual self-sacrificing love, nor of the bliss of having been the center of attention of the other. What one is left with is hate of the other and self hate and terror of nonbeing through being cut off from the other by one's own destructiveness.
Much as one wants to be free from bondage and thus free to choose, one finds oneself constantly chosen without having asked for it, just as the people of Israel were chosen by Jehovah without having had any say in the matter. One chafes against fate which leaves one no choice of parents and siblings and other relatives. And, although originally one may have chosen one's mate, before too long one finds oneself in a bond of obligation to him.
Although one wants to be free to choose, one cannot really make a choice between alternatives, for two reasons. First, making the wrong choice would reflect on one's personal worth and be cause for shame and expulsion from the good graces of the other. Secondly, and I think that this is the crucial factor, in making a choice one must admit to the existence of duality. But the concept of two is intolerable to a person operating from the vantage point of magical consciousness. Only one can exist on this level, and twoness or multiplicity must be subordinated to the one. Conflict and strife can never be resolved by allowing both to exist and arriving at a possible third solution. Magical consciousness implies one or the other. (26) Since both are necessary for the survival of the one, as we have seen, one cannot conceive of a resolution of the conflict nor even recognize that conflicts are necessary to human growth.
Since there is no capacity for choice, there is also no capacity for commitment on the magical level of consciousness, neither to the other, nor to one's work, nor to an idea. There is only a network of binding obligations in which one finds oneself enslaved. No wonder that a person residing on the magical level of consciousness suffers from constant resentment against his existential state and against those whom he experiences as keeping him locked into it.
This resentment is coupled with a pervasive sense of guilt and fear. One feels guilty about not quite being able to be what the other wants one to be. One feels guilty about the affect which arises in one's depth in defiance against the other's demands for complementarity to him. And one feels guilty for not being able to stand for one's authenticity and for needing the other's affirmation and guidance of one's as yet so weak and childlike Self. Also, one is afraid of one's destructive power and of the other's potential to retaliate. Most of all one is afraid of the ever lurking threat of loss of other and thus disappearance of oneself.
And so the encounter with the other is suffused with color tones of affect switching from blissful love to ice cold non-caring; from the impotent rage of the victim to murderous suspiciousness, from peaceful togetherness to the anticipation of impending doom. The more one tries to extricate oneself from one's bondage, the tighter the knot. One remains a particle in a force field which is colored by affect and by something eerie and numinous, a force field in which one experiences neither oneself nor the other as human, but rather as something which oscillates from the abominable to the sublime and back again. The middle, neutral parts of the spectrum do not exist in this force field in which either oneself or the other is felt to be a mere point or as filling all available space. To use the term projection for this phenomenon would be wrong, for that would imply exteriorization of something that lies within the personality. It resembles rather the motions iron particles have to undergo under the influence of a magnet. It also resembles the power exerted on free or unstable valences to combine with one another.
In this field reaction with the other there is no such thing as cause and effect. Each action is simultaneous, i. e., synchronistic, with each reaction. Thus I may feel offended by your withdrawal from me, but you withdraw because you sense my being offended by you.
Any new encounter or alteration of a previous order which requires adaptation is seen as a potential threat to one's security and status quo of power. Hence it endangers the central, still vulnerable core for whose sake one's power stance exists in the first place. To adapt is seen as being weak and giving way and thus exposing the God's vulnerability to the other's power.
Similarly, since the other and oneself arc only dimly perceived in their suchness, constancy provides for at least some stable points of orientation and thus for some security. Hence a person functioning out of the magical structure of consciousness tends to guide himself not by the ever changing world of phenomena, but rather by laws, regulations and rules. If these are broken, he finds himself resubmerged in the chaos of nonbeing from which his awareness has barely emerged. Any kind of disorder, spontaneity or unpredictable behavior on the part of the environment is met with the flailing and rage of someone who is drowning and fighting for air.
In order to perceive other or self in constancy, each person's many changing facets are denied for the sake of a stable image or idea which represents their essence. Any discrepancy from this central idea or image is either eliminated or else leads to a new image. This new image does not represent a new aspect of the person, but rather the person becomes that which the new image represents. Thus a faux pas on the part of the other who was heretofore seen as a benevolent being is likely to turn one's image of him and hence the other himself into a monster.
If the other refuses to match one's desired image of him, he may be discarded for another "other" who fits the image better. Or else one tries to be satisfied with just the image and renounces the hope to find another who will coincide with it.
No wonder, then, that a person living on the magical level of consciousness feels totally trapped and that he longs for freedom from the bondage to the other, from having to be affirmed by him and from having to pay the price of role complementarity for this affirmation. And yet there is no direction in this longing for freedom. For freedom to implies that both the need and the capacity for its actualization be lodged in the same person and this, as we have seen, is not yet the case in the magical realm.
There is a certain circularity to the magical structure of consciousness, in which thoughts and feelings go round and round and where there is no linearity of progress. What one aspires to is unity, perfection, the absolute and harmony. That is, everyone and everything should harmonize perfectly with one's experience and with one's view of the world in terms of absolute goodness and beauty, without impingement of any dissonance.
On the magical level of consciousness time is also two-dimensional. There is an eternal past and an eternal future, but no sense of now. Good experiences do not count, unless they promise to last for ever. And bad experiences are intolerable because they are not expected to pass.
Two-dimensionality underlies also the law of all or nothing on which the magical structure of consciousness is based. There are no gradations of value and there is no ability to differentiate part from whole or essence from periphery. This fact too makes it so difficult for a person on the magical level consciousness to make choices. Also, it adds to one's inability to be criticized. For, if the other does not like one aspect of oneself, he is experienced as dismissing one's whole being. And, conversely, one cannot afford to dislike one aspect of the other, for fear of denying and thus destroying and hence losing all of him. No wonder that criticism is not negotiable for a person who lives on the magical level of consciousness and that to tell him that he is hypersensitive to it is merely adding insult to injury.
The lack of ability to differentiate also goes for thought and action on this level of awareness. To covet one's neighbor's wife is tantamount to having an affair with her, and hence it is better to dismiss the thought.
Two-dimensionality is furthermore the case with respect to wish and idea, which are seen as the true reality. Their incarnation into a three-dimensional structure, though desirable, is not within the realm of possibility, because it would fall short of the perfection of the blueprint. Hence there is a constant search for finding that which would match the innate image of perfection and a constant frustration and disappointment in the limitations of oneself, the other and the world. Some people on the magical level of consciousness therefore find it better not to harbor ideas and wishes any longer, so that they will not have to suffer ongoing disillusionment. This is reinforced by our contemporary school system in which the mental level, with its denial of any reality other than objective reality, reigns and where subjective reality is pooh-poohed as non-existent.
Will is also two-dimensional, in that it is connected with the wish and idea of what one wants rather than with the limitations of one's own or the object's suchness or with the process that might lead to the desired end. Thus one might will it to remain summer or one might will to be thin yet neglect to change one's ways of eating. (27) Although one realizes that something is wrong between the idea and the follow through on it, one does not revise the idea, but forgets past failures and forever starts anew.
In other words, the reality of the magical level of consciousness is that of one's vision of perfection. Objective reality, though perceived, is not acknowledged as being real but judged for falling short of true reality. One seeks forever that which one's imagination is creating, that which corresponds to one's own image: likeness. The identity of sameness must be overcome, because it threatens one's own barely emerging separate being with becoming swallowed up again. Otherness, on the other hand, is too dangerous, for disagreement or even definition of oneself, would remove the mirroring which one needs in order to belong. What one looks for from the other is acknowledgement of one's perceptions and one's thoughts and feelings, one's body and of the world one has created as being one's own while yet being within the range of possible experiences of the other. This creates likeness between self and other while, at the same time, confirming the separate existence of each.
On the magical level of consciousness the symbol is concrete reality. Hence, words do not denote objects but stand for the object itself. Also, once a word is uttered it can never be taken back or rectified. It has a concrete reality of its own and implies command to or judgment of other or self.
One has to have and to possess what one wants while at the same time being possessed by one's desire. (28) What one wants is also what one needs, only that the concrete object is taken for its symbolic essence.
In itself the magical structure of consciousness is not pathological. On the contrary, it is the creative ground of one's being. It stands for one's central treasure, one's supreme value, the God that is to be actualized by one's particular life. Only when it substitutes for ego consciousness does it become pathological; that is, when the ego is in total identity with the magical layer of the psyche without simultaneously having a perspective to it.
The magical structure of consciousness is always present in a latent state as a layer of the psyche which does not disappear with the emergence of new layers. If, however, one removes the upper layers, by sensory deprivation, for instance, or by an active attempt at introversion, or if they become eroded by constant stress, or if there is an upheaval of the psyche as a result of inner pressure, the lower strata of the psyche will come to the fore. Once in a while the prevailing circumstances are such that the higher layers of the psyche cannot gain a foothold at all. This is usually the case in the pre-oedipal conditions under discussion. In order to preserve himself and his central value against the threat of annihilation by an inimical world which floods him with the intrusiveness of its unowned subjectivity and thus does not recognize his own uniqueness, the individual finds himself forced to cling to his magical ways.
In summary, then, the answer to our first question, What is the essence of the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal psychopathology?, might sound as follows:
It is the instinctive, dynamic, affective pole of the psyche which serves and defends the treasure of the mother realm, i.e., one's inner child, the Self in statu nascendi. It is a state of emergence into being in which there is still a mystic participation between oneself and the subjective aspects of plants, animals and things, as well as the unconscious psyche of humans. It is an active mode of being in which one's worth is determined by one's performance. It takes place in a numinous force field between subject and object, which keeps both in mutual bondage and in which need equals demand, commitment equals obligation and love equals self sacrifice. Freedom, choice and bliss of being are longed for, while one suffers from resentment, guilt and fear.
The magical structure of consciousness is two-dimensional with respect to time, space and gradation of value. Its reality coincides with idea, wish and will, which constitute perfection, the absolute and harmony. Objective reality, though perceived, unless it fully matches one's image of what should be, falls short of one's standards and hence is unacceptable.
On the magical level of consciousness one requires affirmation of one's uniqueness which must, however, involve likeness with others and neither identity with them nor difference. One also requires stability.
The magical structure of consciousness is the creative core of the psyche which springs to the fore whenever the awareness of being comes into existence and which engulfs us whenever ego consciousness is not yet or not anymore at hand.
Two: What is the aim of the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal psychopathology?
In Freudian literature the magical layer of the psyche is seen as one of childishness, of instinct, of wish fulfillment, as one which does not want to come to terms with hard, unpleasant reality. Denial of separateness is seen as characteristic for this level of awareness.
Although there is truth to these assertions, I do not see them as depicting the essential aims of the magical layer of the psyche. From what I have said so far there emerge two central objectives:
1. To have one's uniqueness, one's central value, that of which one is the servant, the mother's child, the Self in statu nascendi, acknowledged and affirmed by the significant other.
2. To be allowed to enter into and belong to the realm of human beings in terms of one's likeness to them while still being separate and unique.
In order to attain these central objectives the following contributory objectives must be met:
1. Love in the form of sacrifice on the part of other and self.
2. Creation and maintenance of a stable, harmonious and secure environment which corresponds to one's ideas of the absolute, perfection and harmony which can be controlled by exercise of idea, wish and will.
3. Outstanding performance in order to attain worth in the eyes of the other and oneself.
4. Finding one's complement in the other while having to allow for having to complement the other for the sake of one's own and the other's needs.
5. Under unfavorable conditions: hiding, guarding and defending one's central treasure by walling oneself off from the disharmony and intrusiveness of the environment or by pitting one's however feeble powers against the threat of anonymity and nothingness.
It is not true, as we can see from this summary of objectives, that the object world and reality are denied on the magical level of consciousness. Instead they are often too painfully in evidence for this level of awareness, as Whitmont has also pointed out. (29) What is sought is that they cease to permeate one's existence in a negative way but come to one's unobtrusive aid. There is awareness of the power of the affective aspect of reality and, rather than a denial of separation, an urgent need for it.
One might say, then, that the magical structure of consciousness aims at separation from the influence of an environment with whose subjective aspect it is as yet too closely and painfully interwoven. It aims at benevolent recognition of one's value, of which it is aware but for which it cannot as yet speak. And it aims at establishing and maintaining its own power and stability through control of an environment which is perceived as overpowering and changing all the time and to which to adapt would, in light of one's incapacity to do so, imply weakness and loss of face.
Here is an example from my clinical practice: a man in his early fifties, probably an introverted feeling type and highly sensitive and creative, was born into a family where the mother was extremely extraverted and the father weak and barely ever present. The mother had been unable to understand the patient's essential nature and was in no way able to validate his qualities. Any progress the patient made as a child, his mother measured in terms of collectively approved standards. When he was unhappy, or angry, or when he tried to exhibit his prowess, his mother would break out into hysterical lamentations and accuse him of wanting to send her into an early grave. This patient learned to build a wall around his core which is virtually impenetrable. At the same time he relates to others in ways in which he thinks others expect him to behave. This wall appeared in his initial dream as an impenetrable barrier behind his face. Beyond the wall was a magnificent garden in which a shy two-year-old played.
This man has earned several higher degrees and has obtained high level positions in his field of endeavor, both in the hope of impressing and pleasing his mother. He has always felt himself to be different from others and feels isolated and shunned by humanity. He despises his differentness and yet would not want to exchange it for the attributes of others. There was once a person who was like him in all respects and the two got along famously. But then there was a misunderstanding followed by a quarrel and the friendship died on the spot and could never be revived again.
In his therapy with me he longs to reveal his treasure, his exceedingly rich inner life, so that it may be affirmed by me. Yet, at the same time, he keeps me at a distance and puts up his wall more often than not, for he fears that I shall intrude into his space and exercise control over it. Besides, I might become witness to his suffering which he sees as weakness and then he would have to destroy me. In the meantime he lets me know in no uncertain terms how I do not correspond to his image of what I should be while at the same time he resents his dependency on me.
Three: Of what developmental process is the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal psychopathology the last stage ?
In most people there is an ascent and descent of consciousness as they traverse the course of their lives. Being in a state of identity with the magical layer of one's psyche is a normal phase of development during early childhood as one emerges from unconsciousness into one's uniqueness as well as into becoming a member of one's community. During the descent of consciousness in old age the magical level represents that stage of development in which the mental level must be abandoned for the sake of a closer reconnection with the beings of nature before one returns to becoming a substance of nature oneself. I think, therefore, that the attachment to birds and homeless cats by older people is not merely a sign of the alienation characteristic of our times, but that it represents a renewed openness toward that of which, before long, one will again become a part.
Normally, on the ascending scale of consciousness, the identification with the magical layer is superseded by the mental or ego level of consciousness which, in turn, will hopefully be replaced by an integral consciousness in which due respect is given to the magical layer along with the archaic, mythical and mental mode. (30) Certain people, more and more in our time, however, do remain in identity with the magical mode of awareness and at most develop defensive structures such as pseudo egos to safeguard it.
Whether on the ascending or descending curve of consciousness, the magical structure must be considered as an interim state of not yet or of not anymore, a state of self (and Self) defense and of self (Self) preservation. It is reminiscent of a spore which can survive in that particular mode of being indefinitely, or at least until it encounters a more clement environment.
Both the soil and the surrounding atmosphere must be conducive toward the spore's imbedding itself and toward the unfolding of its potential. The ground is analogous to the mother in the concrete sense and also in the sense of family matrix. The atmosphere can be seen as analogous to the father and to the climate of the outer world.
In the many cases of persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology with whom I work, neither soil nor atmosphere have been conducive to their Selves' unfolding. Often the parents themselves live on the magical layer of consciousness and look to their children for nurturing and validation. These parents are intrusive and deny their children's subjectivity.
The mother of one particular patient, for instance, herself a motherless child since age two, cannot tolerate any kind of separation move on the part of her son. Only she is permitted to occupy the center of his attention. A happy or problematic event in her son’s life will cause her to make numerous phone calls a day to him in order to remind him of her existence. This particular patient, a highly creative playwright, has not dared to develop his talent for fear of his mother's envious rage.
In another case the father interfered systematically with the patient's original loving attachment to her mother. He belittled not only the mother as a person, but also her and any other woman's femininity and feeling life. This woman, in order to remain in the good graces of her father and not be annihilated by his sarcastic remarks, disowned her own femininity and feeling life and thus never became imbedded in the matrix which she needed for her own development. For the remainder of her life she looked for a foothold for herself in the feminine soil of other women, so that she could learn to be and to become. Yet at the same time she had to remain on her guard for fear of revealing the negative feminine side in herself which had been activated by her father. Although she developed professionally, she made little progress in personal matters. Then she was exposed to a father figure in the form of a male therapist who cherished her femininity without making any demands on it, a mother figure in the form of a female therapist who was totally accepting of her undeveloped sides and a group which represented a new family matrix in which she was accepted for what she was rather than for who she was and for what she could do. It was this three-fold combination which gradually allowed her to emerge from the magical structure of consciousness and to open up to other modes of awareness.
Let us look at the phenomenon of having to remain a spore with respect to collective developments of our time. Why is it that so many people have to remain in this interim state nowadays? Why is there no longer a match between individual and society either in comfortable complementarity as in the tribe described by Jung, or at least in comfortably following in the footsteps of the older generation by the younger as it was the custom only several decades ago? What is different now about the generation gap and the interlocking between individual and collective, both of which are, after all, perennial phenomena?
I think that the older generation with its value system of a collective God out there, with its Protestant work ethic and its distortion of Christ's statement of loving the other as oneself into loving him more than oneself, finds itself baffled by a new generation which seems to value only what it likes to do and not what it has to do, which is not willing to sacrifice present pleasure for uncertain future rewards and which considers its own personhood as more important than anything else. Instead of being able to validate this new generation, the older one must, in light of its own values, deny those of the younger one as selfish and not legitimate. And yet, as we have seen, unless validated by a significant other at first, one cannot take a positive, that is, related stand for one's value.
Furthermore most work situations require that the institutional values and productivity be the determinant for the employee, while today's employee wants recognition for his uniqueness as a person and for the unique contribution he makes to his work. He does not want to conform to role requirements that go with status, neither in behavior, dress, nor length of hair or fingernails.
And so youngsters will refuse to study when their teachers are rude to them, in spite of their parents' admonitions that unless they graduate from high school they will not make it in this world. Adults will refuse to work longer than for a few days in nine-to-five jobs, because they consider them as demeaning and depersonalizing and because they do not want to be part of the commuter herd. Or else they will perform the duties required of them, but their heart is not in their work or in their social interactions and life becomes more and more empty for them. They want to bring out their own individual masterpiece in order to make their imprint on society, but when asked about its nature, they do not have the slightest idea of what it might be.
To put it into other words: Neither the original matrix that is to prepare him for life, nor the later social circumstances are willing or able to validate what the person suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology is trying to stand for and actualize. Hence they cannot provide either soil or climate for him to take root or unfold. He has the choice of sacrificing himself for a collective which does not share his values and to die on the vine as it were, or else of remaining encapsulated in complete identity with his Self. And so his quest remains an unanswered question, an unfulfilled potential which is no longer of the past age, but not yet able to articulate the new.
The Jungian literature has long been familiar with this phenomenon, which is seen as that of puer psychology. (31) The puer does not live and unfold his potential in the present, but keeps talking about future, and sometimes past, accomplishments. I agree with Satinover (32) that work prescriptions are not the answer and that, as Schwartz also says (33), the essential problem lies in a faulty relation between ego and Self. But that is just the problem I have highlighted all along: before the ego can relate to and stand for the Self, the Self needs to be validated by a benevolent significant other. Given that the Self of the new generation is different from that of the preceding one in that it encompasses a different cluster of values, validation cannot occur, since the older generation has its own difficulties with "otherness." Not only parents but also psychotherapists with an outlook of the previous generation, much as they want to be of help, try to mold the person on the magical level of consciousness into pre-existing values and ideas, such as the need for opposition of consciousness to the unconscious and the proscription of inflation in the form of grandiosity.
What is needed from parents and psychotherapists is validation of the emerging individual Self and the teaching of skills of mediating it to others while learning to respect their individual Selves. But more about that later. Let us now return to the sequence of questions raised in the beginning of this paper.
Four: What strands does the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal psychopathology contribute to the pattern of wholeness?
As the energy pole of the human psyche, the magical layer of consciousness makes up the dynamic, instinctual, affective and passionate side of human nature. In some ways the magical structure of consciousness is not yet human at all, but is an aspect of the numinous archetypal layer of the psyche, that of monsters as well as that of the Gods in their most benevolent ways. It is part of the realm of feminine power, of nature itself, of circularity, complementarily, of eternal return and of human and divine sacrifice. So, we might say that the magical layer of consciousness connects us with, indeed keeps us as part of nature, part of its beauty as well as part of its cruelty, part of its coldness as well as part of its passion, part of its monstrosity as well as part of its boundless love.
There is another strand which leads in the opposite direction and that is the strand of order. Although gripped by the passions of nature, and perhaps even because of this, a person on the magical level of consciousness keeps trying to create permanence, stability, predictability and regulations and laws, just as the jealous, vindictive, self-centered God of the fires of Sodom and Gomorrha and of the waters of Noah's flood also created the world out of Tohu Wa Bohu and gave the Jews the Mosaic Law. We might say, then, that the magical structure of consciousness itself stands for the archetype of order which is none other than the Self. (34)
A third strand moves the magical layer onto a more human plane. It grapples with a highly important social psychological issue, that of relative value of other and self. It grapples with this issue in relation to love and sacrifice, freedom and bondage, choice and obligation, fate and autonomy and, last, but not least, the inevitability of guilt toward either the other or oneself.
Finally, the magical structure of consciousness contributes what may be the most important strand of this fourfold pattern of wholeness: that of each human being serving his individual God. Whether he knows it or not, the person residing on this level of awareness is, just by virtue of his subjectivity, subject to, i. e., bound in a religious sense, to his central value. Although he cannot as yet stand openly for his value and mediate it in a related way and can only preserve it by simulated compliance to other values or by rebelling against them, he knows that that to which he is bound exists and that it is different from the existing values and from the collective God. True, he may resent his differentness or the emptiness resulting from his conscious or unconscious concealment of his value. He may even wish fervently and "desperately to be other than himself."
The problem of pre-oedipal psychopathology and its cognitive mode does not lie in the four strands which the magical structure of consciousness contributes to the pattern of wholeness: that of the instinctual nature pole of the archetypal psyche, that of order, that of self - versus social interest, and that of service to an individual God. The problem lies in the ego attitude toward these strands. For what is wrong with persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology is that they either disown these strands or, what amounts to the other side of disowning, that they are in identity with them.
Thus, a person with pre-oedipal psychopathology will come for psychotherapeutic help because he finds himself frequently overcome with rage or passion and feels that he should have an even-tempered personality. He may seek help for being too rigid, too compulsive, or else for not being able to bring himself to do productive work. He may also seek help for having to sell out to others against his better judgment and against his will, or for a chronic inability to get along with them. Usually he complains of a pervasive sense of unease and emptiness.
As one works with these patients it becomes increasingly clear that they become overcome by moods of depression and futility when they have not been able to stand up for what is important to them in relation to significant others or authority figures and that they become filled with divine rage, which more often than not they disown, when their conscious or unconscious value has been ridiculed or in some way put down. But when they are questioned why they do not stand up for their value, they will find innumerable excuses and rationalizations: "I could not do this to her, it would hurt her feelings," or, "It would not be nice, he depends on me," or, "They should know what I am worth, I should not have to tell them." They feel badly about themselves, whether they explode with rage or whether they keep silent, because neither articulates their value in the right way. One minute they believe that they themselves are unrecognized Gods, the next minute they doubt their right to inhabit this planet. They know that they have a contribution to make, but they are afraid that others will belittle it and fear that it will, perhaps rightfully, be taken as foolish, which, as we know from the way the magical level works, will turn them into fools, hence outcasts from society, as well.
The point is that they cannot find the right connection to their own, central value by themselves. They need someone who can see it and acknowledge it and affirm it both in its light and dark manifestation. They need someone who can say yes to this value and who can show it up to them as the most precious aspect of their personality which must be owned and stood for in a positive way. This entails getting permission to be relatively non-caring for the suffering of others and to care for the well-being of oneself. (35) It also entails the learning of skills of communicating this self caring in ways that on the whole are not too hurtful to the other one.
In order to be a helper to persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology one must have relinquished much of collective valuation of oneself and must, as Jung pointed out repeatedly, relinquish all theorizing and labelling. It takes a fine ear to discover the God in statu nascendi who is different from all other Gods in the patient under all the rubble of self deprecation and accusation of others. This God, not the patient himself, must then be adored, and the person harboring Him must gradually be enticed to participate in this adoration. The patient must be taught to serve his God by protecting Him as a lion mother does its young, and by allowing Him to find expression by lending Him his voice, in creative effort as well as vis-à-vis others.
The woman I have mentioned before who had denied her positive feminine Self in compliance with her father’s desires as she perceived them, found herself one day gripped by a flood of fantasies which had to do with feminine sensuality, lust for life, dancing and luscious meals accompanied by wine. These fantasies alternated with others which described arduous wanderings through desert land and lonely mountainsides and solitary work on her writing for weeks on end. Throughout these fantasies a guiding feminine figure initiated her into these sensuous pleasures as well as directing her to go forth on her lonely road.
It took years before this woman dared to share her fantasies with others, for she was terrified that what she considered her ultimate treasure would be ridiculed by them. Besides, she was not sure herself whether her subjective outpourings were not merely sentimental trash when looked at with detached objectivity. She was surprised and relieved when those who read her fantasies found themselves moved to tears and had an inkling of the life force which permeated this piece of writing.
It took several more years before some of the joyous aspects of her fantasies could be allowed to be lived out in real life situations, when mirrored by an outer other. Under such circumstances the woman was able to experience her joyful feminine Self, her life archetype. But she did not yet trust and follow her inner guide when it directed her to resume her solitary wandering and writing. Instead she blamed the outer other for interfering with her needs, which of course, primed the other to make a counterattack on her supreme value. Her neglect of assuming responsibility for the voice within caused hurt of self and hurt of the other.
In learning to integrate the meaning of her fantasies and of the guiding Self figure who governs them, this woman has the opportunity of actualizing a unique kind of existence, which, although it does not follow collective patterns, need not be considered as pathological. She must learn to stand for the fact that she is not the kind of person who spends her life in close proximity and intertwined with that of another. Much of her life must be spent in lonely searching and productivity. On the other hand she must realize that she is not a recluse either, and that she must allow for and participate in the Dionysian aspects of life. Her way is one of alternation of lone searching and work with joyful celebration with others and not one of simultaneity of both. Each side must be honored and stood for and each side must be allowed to be relinquished for the other side when the inner voice says it is time.
Another woman whose mother had been a chronic, self-centered invalid and both parents of whom had mourned the fact that she was not a son, felt herself compelled to deny her individuality when relating to men to the point that she had to take a drink and cloud her awareness before she could go to bed with one of them. She would accede to any demand on the part of her lovers, however inconvenient for her, while at the same time her resentment against the lover and her self loathing would increase steadily. And yet, although she was aware of her resentment and her self loathing, she did not connect these feelings with her behavior toward men. What she complained about was a pervasive sense of emptiness and futility, a desire to produce something worthwhile and yet a feeling that she had nothing whatsoever to offer.
From early on in her life she was told by her mother in the form of a judgment that she was unlike herself but rather like her father's sisters whom the mother detested. So, although quite feminine herself, this woman never dared to take an oppositional stance toward men, for fear of losing the little bit of likeness, of validation of herself, which she could get through compliance.
My efforts to help her to get in touch with her feminine core through introversion, active imagination and meditation were all in vain. They merely served to make her feel more inadequate. Then, one day, she discovered belly dancing. She practiced it for hours without anyone's prompting. And, gradually she developed a center in herself which was both feminine and spiritual. She found herself drawn to Sufism. She still has to make excuses for herself when she must say no to men, but she is able to say no and she has learned to make requests of them on her own behalf without anticipating total rejection.
Another woman was, when she entered adolescence, beaten, berated and ridiculed by her mother and literally cast out of the house just at the point when she graduated from high school. Since then she had a terror of developing herself further professionally, while at the same time considering herself as extraordinarily endowed. Although she could defend her children against negative critics, she shrank away from any potential critic of herself. During the course of her therapy with me she did venture to enter a school of higher learning. She did extremely well, except in that area which corresponded to her inferior sensation function. In her last semester she had a professor who made fun of her poor performance in front of the whole class and who threatened to fail her. As a result she found herself paralyzed for several weeks and unable to complete any of her assignments. Instead, she retreated into bed, every day after school. She considered withdrawing from the program. She even considered changing professions. But something in her would not give in. Finally she approached the professor and told him that she admired him and his knowledge and skills, but that she resented the way he treated her. She told him that he had no right to fail her, for she knew she had a talent which, however, needed guidance and help. She told him that as a teacher it was his duty to help her and to lend her a hand in areas where she felt helpless rather than criticizing her for not performing at the level of his expectations.
I was tremendously moved by her story. Who, in the past, would have confronted a professor in this manner? Who would have told a professor as she did that his belittling her in front of everybody did something to her which made her fall apart and made it impossible for her to actualize the talent which she knew she had? What was important to her was not to win the battle with the teacher, to gain the upper land, but to stand for her value and not to have anyone trample on it again.
By this courageous act, the consequences of which are still in abeyance, this woman, in a situation parallel to that which she experienced with her mother, i. e., one of entrance into life, was able to initiate healing of an old wound. She was now able to take a stand on behalf of her injured value which, as an adolescent, she had lacked the confidence to do.
Five: What forces outside the phenomena are directing their course?
What are the forces, both on the psychological and collective plane that will cause a person to enter, remain on and emerge from the magical level of consciousness? I am not referring to the efficient and material causes of pre-oedipal psychopathology which are not the subject of this paper, but rather to the forces to which the magical level of consciousness is perhaps an appropriate or at least justified response.
We know from our work on ourselves and with our patients that forces are at work with respect to the magical level of awareness which cannot be combatted by will power or reason. Only by recognizing and acknowledging that we are in the grip of the magical layer of our psyches, by virtue of the quality of our experience and by the nature of our thought processes, and by asking what need or value has been injured or put into question, can we extricate ourselves from it.
We know further that evolutionary forces of development will, under auspicious circumstances, bring a child into the magical level of awareness and will gradually lead it out of there toward the mental level of ego consciousness. But to what force does magical consciousness as a kind of entrenchment respond?
It serves as compensation to our contemporary collective mental consciousness which espouses linearity of progress, rationality, individuality and separation in the sense of perspective, objectivity and difference. (36) For, as we have seen, the magical level of consciousness consists of circularity, eternity, subjectivity, the irrational and likeness, and it reanimates a lifeless objectified world.
Also, considering the dissolution of the societal and religious values of our time and the experimentation in role relationships, might not the magical level of consciousness with its rigidity and longing for structure be an attempt to get the threatening chaos under control as exemplified by the appeal of political conservatism? Furthermore, is not the so-called narcissism, i. e., love of self, a compensation for our altruistic pseudo-Christian and also the socialist ethic?
Here is an example of a young woman who came from a family which still existed in the mentality of their Old World peasant origin, while she herself had taken steps toward an open marriage and toward several professional degrees. In many ways her personal development had taken her far away from her matrix, which, besides, she preferred to disown. One of her early dreams had to do with her wanting to travel to a far Eastern land. The man at the toll booth gave her permission to proceed under condition that she take her parents along with her.
And here is another example, this one from the social sphere: I know of a graduate program in one of the healing professions which prided itself on its scientific orientation. It claimed, in fact, to elevate the profession itself to a science and had no patience whatever with any aspect of the healing arts. But, lo and behold, one of the professors became interested in investigating, scientifically, of course, the practice of laying on of hands. By now the program has become famous throughout the country for its contributions to the investigation and practice of faith healing.
The above points allude to forces to which the magical structure of consciousness serves as compensation. Might there be also a force which this mode of awareness, even though in the form of psychopathology, serves to express?
We know that the age of Pisces is nearing its end and that the age of Aquarius is on the horizon. In this new age each one of us will be asked to carry his urn on his own shoulders for the sake of watering his own patch of land. The source of the water for his particular urn is collective, but the responsibility for filling and carrying the urn and for the way of dispersal of its contents is his own. This requires a different kind of psychological make-up from that of the age of Pisces. I am not an expert in astrology, but from what I can gather from the sources at my disposal, there seems to be a certain congruity between the psychology of persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology and that of the Aquarian man.
It seems, then, that in preparation for the impending Aquarius-Leo Age, we need to develop a new kind of ego structure and a new kind of persona, which both arise in filiation to a new kind of Self. Although there will be an awareness of and a commitment to the collective, neither Self, nor ego nor persona will be subjugated to it. It will no longer be our task to "adjust" to the collective, but compared with the values of our time rather to relate to it and to make our individual contribution, whatever that might be. Roles will no longer be fixed, and shadow, anima and animus will no longer be disavowed in favor of a spotless persona, nor will the dark side of the Self be relegated to the realm of the devil. The new task ahead is to experiment with roles in light of the demands of the Collective as well as those of the individual Self in both its light and dark manifestations. The new task will also be to mediate Self, shadow, animus and anima by taking responsibility for them vis-a-vis others while at the same time realizing that one is not identical with them.
Six: What good or value is inherent in the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal conditions?
From the previous section we can see that the magical level of consciousness, however ineffective in the personal sphere and however destructive on the collective arena it may be at times, does have a positive purpose. It attempts to compensate for our overemphasis of ego consciousness by reconnecting us with the natural ground of our being. It serves to reestablish some kind of order out of the disintegration of collective values. And it prepares us for an age in which each individual submits to a higher value in himself which he must articulate to others while respecting their allegiance to their own truth.
We might say, then, that the magical level of consciousness points toward a new value, compared with the values of our time, and yet a value which is in some respects older than those of our current age. It points toward a kind of polytheism, not in Hillman's sense, in which each person worships the pantheon of his psyche (37), but more in Jung's sense, in which each person stands for the Self within and where it is this stance which connects him with the Collective.
While undergoing the training program to become a Jungian analyst I was very much aware of this kind of connection with my fellow trainees. What bound us together was not a collective creed of “the truth” or “the method,” but rather each person's search for his or her own truth which was articulated periodically to others and respected by them.
We may say, then, that the magical level of consciousness, although entrenched in a stance of power, points beyond it to a new value, a value for which the power stance is taken on in the first place. From Jung we know that individual value and valuation is related to feeling. (38) And what we are learning from the new psychotherapy which specializes in working with persons suffering from pre-oedipal psychopathology is that the narcissistic wounds will heal when the patients begin to take a feeling stance for themselves vis-a-vis others, regardless of how immature or enraged the Self may as
We may say, therefore, that the cognitive mode of pre-oedipal conditions points toward the articulation of a new value, the value of the feeling function in its introverted and extraverted senses in a society which heretofore has only affirmed reason or blind faith.
A woman who had always been ashamed of her so-called "moods" and outbursts of angry affect finally learned to stand up for them. She admitted to being defensive and stated that being defensive was a natural response to feeling attacked. She also stood for her subsequent emotional withdrawal from her partner and for a certain coldness in her interaction with him, by explaining that her withdrawal represented a kind of temporary splint which was needed to allow her dismembered Self to organize again. In spite of her "moodiness" and partial aloofness, she did not cut herself off from her partner completely as she had done in the past. Nor did she subsequently apologize to him for her behavior, for fear of losing him. By being true to her affect, while acknowledging its lack of social polish, she was able to risk standing alone and no longer selling her soul for the sake of the relationship. In response to her, the partner in turn was able to articulate the value in him which had been offended by the woman's angry outburst. The woman could understand his point of view and also acknowledge where she went wrong. As a result of this exchange, the relationship moved to a higher level of mutual understanding and trust.
Seven: What is the meaning of the prevalent pre-oedipal psychopathology? For the sake of what is it occurring?
It has often been said that there is a correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm. The changes occurring in mankind are a reflection of the changes occurring in the universe. Similarly, the changes occurring in the individual psyches are a reflection of the changes occurring in mankind as a whole. It is not that one change causes the other. The correspondence of these changes must rather be seen as synchronistic events.
From what we have said so far, we can state, therefore, that the so-called pre-oedipal psychopathology is synchronistic with a new development of collective mankind which, in turn, is synchronistic with the changes occurring in the dominant stellar constellation. The new kind of psychopathology must therefore not be cured in the old sense of the word, but must be recognized as bearing the seed for a new mutation of mankind: that of individual stance for an individual God in a related feeling way.
As Jung has pointed out repeatedly, every affect, every mood, which nowadays includes feelings of unrelated rage, haughtiness, alienation, envy and coldness, must be taken seriously. These manifestations do not come out of the ego, but out of the Self. The ego must realize this, yet take responsibility for them and stand for them via a new kind of persona.
This is by no means an easy task, for these moods, affects and attitudes run counter to every expectation of what a person should be like in our society. It is relatively easy to deny them and to identify with the persona in the older, past generation sense of the word. It is also relatively easy to identify with them and thus to remain on the magical level of consciousness. But to stand for one's value in a related way is both difficult and dangerous. It may bring about the object loss one has always been afraid of or at least criticism of oneself as not being whom the others want one to be. Besides, there is always doubt concerning one's own value, which, by its were nature, stands alone and frequently has never once been validated by a significant other.
Pre-oedipal psychopathology represents this dilemma in characteristic ways: persons with borderline conditions tend to identify with the rage of the injured value; persons with schizoid conditions tend to protect their value from injury by withdrawal; persons with narcissistic character disorders tend to identify with the value itself. Each one needs validation of the value, while getting help with differentiating his ego from it. Each one needs help in learning to use his persona to articulate the value in a related way, while respecting the value of the other. Each one needs to learn a new mode of sacrifice, reminiscent of what Jung has written in his "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass" (39): neither must the Self be sacrificed for the sake of the other or of the Collective, for each Self carries with it the value of the coming age; nor must the ego be sacrificed for the sake of the Self, for the Self needs the ego for its incarnation in the here and now. And yet the ego must learn to make sacrifices on behalf of the Self. It must learn to discriminate between higher and lower values and may have to sacrifice lower values for the sake of the Self. This is the new order of which the magical structure of consciousness serves as the prototype. It is an order based on feeling and emotion, an order which is rooted, as we have seen, in nature itself.
We may say, then, in conclusion, that the magical level of consciousness as manifested in pre-oedipal psychopathology may have to exist for the sake of reconnecting us, in an individual way rather than collectively, with the realm of the emotions and of the feminine and its central treasure, the inner child, the Self in statu nascendi. It may have to exist for the sake of reconnecting us, again individually, with the subjectivity of nature and with the realm of the numinous and absolute. It may have to exist for the sake of our realizing and taking seriously the subjective aspects of our own and others' psyches and their benevolent and destructive effects upon our inner life. The magical level of consciousness may have to exist, further, for the sake of preserving our individual value from disintegration into nothingness in a changing world in which collective values are rapidly disappearing and in which one finds oneself to be anonymous in face of conglomerate powers. It may have to exist for the sake of preparing us for the new order of the Aquarian Age, in which each serves his own value, his own inner God, and stands for it in a feeling way while respecting the values of others. And, finally, the magical level of consciousness may have to exist for the sake of helping us to realize that we shall always need an other who is willing to carry one pole of the opposition until we can integrate both, and who cares enough to validate us in areas in which we are as yet too young to stand for ourselves.
A tabular Appendix highlighting material in this paper under various relevant headings follows the Footnotes and Bibliography.
1. Hillman, James, Emotion. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960.
2. Aristotle, Generation of Animals. Cambridge: The Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University, revised edition, 1953.
3. Chessick, Richard, Intensive Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1977.
4. Kernberg, Otto, Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1975.
Masterson, James, Psychotherapy of the Borderline Adult. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1976.
Chessick, op. cit.
5. Masterson, op cit.
6. Kohut, Heinz, The Analysis of the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1971.
Kohut, Heinz, The Restoration of the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1977.
Kohut, Heinz, The Search for the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1978.
Winnicott, D. W., The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1965.
7. Guntrip, Harry, Schizoid Phenomena, Object-Relations and the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1968.
Kernberg, op. cit.
8. Kohut, op cit.
9. Klein, Melanie, Envy and Gratitude. De la Corte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1975.
10. Federn, Paul, Ego Psychology and the Psychoses. London: Maresfield Reprints, 1977.
11. Gebser, Jean, Ursprung und Gegenwart. Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1956.
12. Droz, R. & Rahmy, M., Understanding Piaget. New York: International Universities Press, 1976.
Piaget, Jean, The Child’s Conception of Physical Casuality. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951.
Piaget, Jean, The Grasp of Consciousness. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976.
13. Balint, Michael, The Basic Fault. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1979.
14. Kohut, op. cit.
15. Perry, John Weir, Roots of Renewal in Myth and Madness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1976.
16. Jaynes, Julian, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977.
17. Aristotle, op. cit.
Aristotle, Metaphysics, Physics, Collected Works, edited by W. D. Ross, Oxford.
Baldwin, James, Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology. New York: Macmillan, 1901.
Hastings, James, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Scribners, 1922.
Hillman, James, op. cit.
Partridge, Eric, Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English Origins. New York: Macmillan, 1966.
18. Whitmont, E. C., “The Magic Layer of the Unconscious,” Spring 1956, pp. 52-80.
21. Gebser, Jean, op cit.
24. Jung, C. G, The Practice of Psychotherapy, Collected Works, vol. 16. New York: Pantheon Books, 1954.
25. Watzlawick, Paul; Beavin, Janet H.; & Jackson, Don D., Pragmatics of Human Communication. New York: W. W. Norton, 1967.
26. Ujhely, Gertrud B., “And Instead of Either Or,” Image 4.3, pp.10-13, 1970-71.
27. Farber, Leslie H., The Ways of the Will. New York: Basic Books,1966.
28. Whitmont, E. C., op. cit.
29. Whitmont, E. C., op. cit.
30. Gebser, Jean, op. cit.
31. Von Franz, Marie Louise, Spiegelungen der Seele. Stuttgart, Germany: Kreuz Verlag, 1978.
32. Satinover, Jeffrey, “Puer/Puella,” Audiocassette, Marcia del Ray, Calif.: Jack Durkee, 1978.
33. Schwartz, Nathan, “Narcissism and Narcissistic Character Disorders: A Jungian View,” Quadrant 12.2, pp. 48-84,1979.
34. Jaffe, Aniela, The Myth of Meaning. New York: Putnam, 197l.
35. Berne, Eric, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? New York: Grove Press, 1977.
36. Gebser, Jean, Op. Cit.
37. Hillman, James, The Dream and the Underworld. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
Hillman, James, The Myth of Analysis. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1972.
38. Jung, C. G., Psychological Types, Collected Works, vol. 6. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press 1971.
39. Jung, C. G. “Transformation Symbolism in the Mass,” Psychology and Religion: West and East, Collected Works, vol. 11. New York: Pantheon Books, 1958.
Aristotle, Generation of Animals. Cambridge: The Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University, revised edition, 1953.
Aristotle, Metaphysics, Physics. Collected Works, edited by W. R.. Ross, Oxford.
Baldwin, James, Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology. New York: Macmillan, 1901.
Balint, Michael, The Basic Fault. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1979.
Berne, Eric, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? New York: Grove Press, 1977.
Chessick, Richard, Intensive Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient. New York: Jason Aronson, 1977.
Droz, R. & Rahmy, M., Understanding Piaget. New York: International Universities Press, 1976.
Farber, Leslie H., The Ways of the Will. New York: Basic Books, 1966.
Federn, Paul, Ego Psychology and the Psychoses. London: Maresfield Reprints, 1977.
von Franz, Marie Louise, Spiegelungen der Seele. Suttgart, Germany: Kreuz Verlag, 1978.
Gebser, Jean, Ursprung und Gegenwart. Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1956.
Guntrip, Harry, Schizoid Phenomena, Object-Relations and the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1968.
Hastings, James, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Scribners, 1922.
Hillman, James, The Dream and the Underworld. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
Hillman, James, Emotion. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960.
Hillman, James, The Myth of Analysis. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1972.
Jaffe, Aniela, The Myth of Meaning. New York: Putnam, 1971.
Jaynes, Julian, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977.
Jung, C. G., Collected Works, Vols. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9i., 9ii, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. New York: Pantheon Books and Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G., The Visions Seminar. Zurich: Spring Publications, 1976.
Kernberg, Otto, Borderline Conditions and Patholgical Narcissism. New York: Jason Aronson, 1975.
Klein, Melanie, Envy and Gratitude. De la Corte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1975.
Kohut, Heinz, The Analysis of the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1971.
Kohut, Heinz, The Restoration of the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1977.
Kohut, Heinz, The Search for the Self. New York: International Universities Press, 1978.
Masterson, James, Psychotherapy of the Borderline Adult. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1976.
Neumann, Erich, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic. New York: Putnam, 1969.
Neumann, Erich, “Die Psyche und die Wandlung der Wirklichkeits ebenen,” Eranos Jahrbuch 21, 1952.
Odier, Charles, Anxiety and Magic Thinking. New York: International Universities Press, 1956.
Partridge, Eric, Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English Origins. New York: Macmillan, 1966.
Perry, John Weir, Roots of Renewal in Myth and Madness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1976.
Piaget, Jean, The Child’s Conception of Physical Causality. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951.
Piaget, Jean, The Grasp of Consciousness. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976.
Radin, Paul, Primitive Man as Philosopher. New York: Appleton, 1927.
Satinover, Jeffrey, “Puer/Puella” Audiocassette. Marcia Del Ray, Calif.: Jack Durkee, 1978.
Schwartz, Nathan, “Narcissism and Narcissistic Character Disorders: A Jungian View,” Quadrant 12.2, pp. 48-84, 1979.
Spotnitz, Hyman, Modern Psychoanalysis of the Schizophrenic Patient. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1969.
Spotnitz, Hyman, Pschotherapy of Preoedipal Conditions. New York: Jason Aronson, 1976.
Ujhely, Gertrud B., “And Instead of Either Or,” Image 4..3, pp. 10-13, 1970-71.
Usdin, Gene (Ed.), Psychoneurosis and Schizophrenia. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1966.
Watzlawick, Paul; Beavin, Janet H.; & Jackson, Don D., Pragmatics of Human Communication. New York: W. W. Norton, 1967.
Werner, Heinz, Comparative Psychology of Mental Development. New York: Science Editions, 1961.
Whitmont, E. C., “Magic and the Psychology of Compulsive States,” Journal of Analytical Psychology 2, pp. 3-32, 1957.
Whitmont, E. C., “The Magic Layer of the Unconscious,” Spring 1956, pp. 52-80.
Winnicott, D. W., The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1956.
Extremes of affect which overwhelm the personality or with which the personality is in identity, e. g., rage or disillusionment.
Shades of feeling tones which are experienced and mediated by the ego, e. g., anger or disappointment.
Synchronistic events, acausal connections (e. g., I am sad - even the sky is overhung; astrological correlations).
Cause and effect relationships (if ... then).
No choice or too many choices.
One desires to choose but instead finds oneself chosen without having asked for it and is unable to refuse for fear of the other's rage and one's own sense of non-being.
(see also Duality)
One chooses in light of a certain value or criterion.
One is able to make choices and to decline the honor of being chosen.
(see also Duality)
One looks for freedom from bondage.
One seeks likeness rather than sameness or otherness.
One has to have and possess what one desires and is possessed by one’s desire (see Affect).
(see also Relationship to Others and Subjective Experience)
One looks for freedom to achieve something.
One seeks (is interested in) the other.
One can experience desire without having to fulfill it (see Affect).
(see also Relationship to Others and Subjective Experience)
One lives in a two-dimensional world where there is no sense of perspective.
(see also Subjective Experience, Duality and Laws Underlying Thought)
One lives in a three-dimensional world which includes a sense of perspective and detachment.
(see also Subjective Experience, Duality and Laws Underlying Thought)
One is unable to lodge both poles of an archetype, such as mother and child, helper and helpee, senex and youth, within oneself.
Duality is I Duality is intolerable, must be reduced to unity. Hence it cannot be held long enough in the dialectical sense of thesis/antithesis to allow for synthesis to emerge.
Conflict is seen as bad: it is intolerable. Harmony is seen as the only desirable state.
Dissonance between fact and belief is likely to be resolved in congruence with the strongest belief (subjectively).
One is able to lodge both poles of an archetype within oneself.
One is able to tolerate duality in the form of conflict, incongruity, dissonance, thesis/antithesis and to hold it until a synthesis emerges (Jung’s Transcendent Function).
Conflict is seen as a desirable challenge for reestablishing harmony on a higher plane.
Dissonance between fact and belief is likely to be resolved in light of the most salient facts (objectively).
Laws Underlying Thought:
There is the law of all or nothing, black or white, yes or no, take it or leave it, etc.
There is concreteness: Words are the object itself and cannot be taken back or rectified. They are commands to the other and directions for action. They are expressions of judgment of the other.
There is stimulus generalization.
Predicative thought (You wear red, hence you are a Communist; I drive poorly, hence I am an inferior person).)
There are cognitive distortions, such as overgeneralizations, mental filters (only the positive or negative is picked from given data), disqualification, a jumping to conclusion (mind reading and fortune telling), magnification and minimalization of events, emotional reasoning (reality is what I feel).
There are gradations, shades of grey, compromises.
Words are symbols for concrete objects or events. They state facts, including one’s subjective state.
There is an ability to discriminate between stimuli..
The value of the subject is not in question with relation to attributes or actions.
Patterns are evaluated in light of objective data as well as subjective reactions to them.
There is no ability to differentiate part from whole or essence from periphery.
Expectations of the future are in light of past experience (Parataxic Distortion; H. S. Sullivan).
One can differentiate part from whole and essence from periphery.
Being open to the future without prejudging it (Syntactic Mode; H. S. Sullivan).
Activity is s Activity is seen as strength, which is the only acceptable state; passivity and receptivity are seen as weakness which is not acceptable.
Performance and its outcome define the value of the person (hence great sensitivity to criticism of one's performance). By yours works shall you be known.
One tends to ascribe willfulness to negative actions, especially on the part of the other.
One must earn happiness, or one is entitled to it. It is contingent on other matters.
Activity and receptivity are acceptable, dependent on circumstances.
The value of the person remains stable regardless of the action and its outcome (hence openness to suggestion and criticism). Value is intrinsic.
One tends to ascribe lack of awareness to negative actions on the part of the other.
Happiness is a concomitant of a certain overall outlook on life.
Wish and idea are seen as the true reality. So-called real life should not be, because it falls short of the perfection of the blueprint.
The symbol is concrete reality.
Reality is that which resists the wish. In the extreme one asks to be pinched if outer reality coincides too much with one's fantasy (this might be called grace). Ideally one separates inner wish from outer reality, considers the wish as a subjective goal according to which one attempts to shape outer reality (including oneself). Or one seeks a reality which would match one’s inner image.
The symbol is the best expression of something that cannot be expressed otherwise.
Relationship to Others:
There must be reciprocity (symmetry), in the positive and negative sense: "I’m much obliged"; "an eye for an eye."
One experiences oneself as the target of the unconscious experiences, expressions and messages (shadow
elements) of others and responds to these rather than to their conscious communications, awareness and intents..
One feels responsible for what happens to the other and holds the other responsible for what happens to oneself, especially in areas of vulnerability (Personalization).
One needs positive validation from the other concerning one's thoughts, perceptions and actions.
There is awareness of the objective differences between self and other, but lack of differentiation concerning the subjectivity of each.
Evaluations of outer happenings and actions by the other are made from a subjective point of which is taken as being universally valid.
Self and other are bound together by mutual polarity bonds in a complementary fashion. (You must do for me; I must do for you; I cannot do for myself, nor can you do for yourself). This agreement is, however, always convert and never overt.
One experiences oneself as the cause of the other's suffering and the other as the cause of one's own. When the other suffers one experiences, therefore, either glee or guilt, or a kind of archetypal compassion (Personalization).
Generally speaking, one denies one's own and the other's right for subjectivity, unless it is benevolence toward self or other.
Love means self sacrifice and has to be proven over and over again. It also means that the loved one has highest priority.
There is a feeling of obligation to the objects and persons one is connected with, a sense of bondage, a lack of choice, a sense of being trapped.
To adapt is seen as being weak and giving way to the other's power.
Outer objects tend to be interchangeable in light of one's image and needs.
(see also Subjective Experience)
One can receive positive and negative gestures and allow oneself to be grateful or hurt.
One relates to the conscious (ego) personality of the other and takes it more or less at face value. At least one checks out perceived shadow aspects of the other with his or her conscious self.
One feels responsible for oneself and expects the other to be responsible for him/herself.
One can trust one's own judgment while inviting feedback from others.
There is differentiation between objective and subjective factors in self and other.
The other's actions and outer happenings are evaluated from a subjective point of view as well as accorded an open mind until sufficient objective data (or subjective data on the part of the other) are collected to arrive at objective criteria for evaluation.
Self and other are separate and relate to each other. Mutual obligations are overt and mutually agreed upon.
One is able to allow the other his/her suffering and is able to experience sympathy. One is able to experience one's own pain without having to blame the other.
One allows oneself and others to have subjective reactions.
Love implies giving from one's fullness or making sacrifices for the sake of the value the relationship or other person is accorded or has for oneself.
There is a feeling of commitment, a voluntary connection over time with those one is close to.
To adapt is seen as a measure of one's knowledge and skill in relation to the other.
Objects remain stable.
(see also Subjective Experience)
Suffering, since seen as an expression of weakness, is not acceptable. It is seen as being one’s own or someone else’s fault.
Need is experienced as weakness and must be denied or disguised into a sense of entitlement, demand or command.
One feels insecure since one is incomplete in oneself and always in the power of the other in the area of one’s greatest vulnerability.
One experiences oneself as a mere point or as filling all available space (no stable ego boundaries).
Constancy is important; hence there is a predilection for laws and rules.
Disorder is experienced as chaos and as extremely threatening.
There is envy and fear of others’ envy (due to constant comparison of self with other).
There is fear of abandonment.
Good experiences do not count unless they promise to last forever. Bad experiences are intolerable, because they are expected to last forever.
There is no ability to differentiate part from whole, essence from periphery or thought from action.
One feels one cannot exist without one or more of the following: approval, achievement, entitlement, love, perfection (dysfunctional attitudes).
There are “shoulds” coupled with a resistance to action (procrastination).
One feels inarticulate, unable to speak on one’s own behalf.
Adaptation and change are experienced as threats to one’s previous sense of security and power and one’s freedom of choice.
Suffering is seen as a necessary component of conflict and pain.
Need is seen as legitimate (cf. Maslow). One sees oneself as responsible for honoring and experiencing the need and for fulfilling it or seeing that it be fulfilled if possible and if not contradictory to a higher value.
One can make an objective appraisal of one’s relative state of security in light of inner and outer resources.
One experiences oneself as being one’s current size with boundaries surrounding one’s body.
Flexibility and change are welcome within an open system.
Disorder represents a challenge to discover the laws that would create order out of it.
There is admiration and emulation of the other, or competition with the other. There is awareness of self and Self in its own right.
There is capacity to be alone.
One enjoys the moment while it lasts and one suffers through the moment in the knowledge that it will pass.
One can separate part from whole, essence from periphery and thought from action.
One may wish for approval, etc. but can exist without them.
One can muster the necessary discipline to perform required tasks, irrespective of one’s feelings about them.
One is able to articulate one’s needs and desires.
Adaptation and change are seen as challenges which can help to stretch one’s current capabilities.
Time consists of an eternal past and an eternal future, but there is no sense of now. In fact, “now” does not count in light of these absolutes.
(See also Subjective Experience )
There is a sense of past and future, while experience is located in the present.
(See also Subjective Experience)
Value: (See Performance)
What the Structures of Consciousness Represent:
It is the creative ground of one’s being and stands for one’s divinity.
It is always present in the psyche.
It is the observing and executive aspect of one’s being and stands for one’s being and stands for one’s unique, limited humanity in its continuity.
It is not always present; it can disappear under stress or when not sufficient energy is available.
Will is identical with one’s wish.
Will is subject to the limitations of one’s power.
I would like to thank the following persons for their critical reading and helpful comments: Dr. Nathan Schwartz, my thesis advisor; Miss Honora Farrell, Mrs. Sylvia Massell and Mrs. Anne B. Matthews. Their encouragement was invaluable for both the progress and the completion of this paper. I would also like to thank my patients for permitting me to include their experiences in the text.