1. The Distinction between
the Personal and the Impersonal Unconscious
Since we parted company with the Viennese school on the question of the interpretive principle in psychoanalysis, namely, whether it be sexuality or simply energy) our concepts have un¬dergone considerable development. Once the prejudice regard¬ing the explanatory cause had been removed by accepting a purely abstract one, the nature of which was not postulated in advance, our interest was directed to the concept of the unconSCIOUS.

1 [First delivered as a lecture to the Zurich School for Analytical Psychology, 1916, and published the same year, in a French translation by M. Marsen, in the Archives de Psychologie (XVI, pp” 152-79) under the title “La Structure de l’inconscient.” The lecture appeared in English with the title “The Conception of the Unconscious” in Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology (2nd edn., 1917), and had evidently been translated from a German MS, which subse¬quently disappeared. For the first edition of the present volume a translation was made by Philip Mairet from the French version. The German MS, titled “Dber das Unbewusste und seine Inhalte,” came to light again only after Jung’s death in 1961. It contained a stratum of revisions and additions, in a later hand of the author’s, most of which were incorporated in the revised and expanded version, titled Die Beziehungen zwischen dem Ich und dem Unbewussten (1928), a trans¬lation of which forms Part. II of the present volume. The MS did not, how¬ever, contain all the new material that was added in the 1928 version. In par¬ticular, section 5 (infra, pars. 480-521) was replaced by Part II of that essay.
[The text that now follows is a new translation from the newly discovered German MS. Additions that found their way into the 1928 version have not been included; additions that are not represented in that version are given in square brackets. To facilitate comparison between the 1916 and the final ver¬sions, the corresponding paragraph numbers of the latter are likewise given in squ:ue brackets. A similar but not identical presentation of the rediscovered MS is given in Vo!. 7 of the Swiss edition.-EolToRs.]

[202) 443 In Freud’s view, as most people know, the contents of the
unconscious are reducible to infantile tendencies which are re¬pressed because of their incompatible character. Repression is a process that begins in early childhood under the moral influence of the environment and continues throughout life. By means of analysis the repressions are removed and the repressed wishes are made conscious again. Theoretically the unconscious would thus find itself emptied and, so to speak, done away with; but in real¬ity the production of infantile-sexual wish-fantasies continues right into old age.


[203) 444 According to this theory, the unconscious would contain
only those elements of the personality which could just as well be conscious, and have in fact been suppressed only through the process of education. It follows that the essential content of the unconscious would be of a personal character. Although from one point of view the infantile tendencies of the unconscious are the most conspicuous, it would none the less be a mistake to de¬fine or evaluate the unconscious entirely in these terms. The unconscious has still another side to it: it includes not only re-pressed contents, but also all psychic material that lies below the threshold of consciousness. It is impossible to explain the sub¬liminal nature of all this material on the principle of repression, for in that case the removal of repression ought to endow a per¬son with a prodigious memory which would thenceforth forget nothing. No doubt repression plays a part, but it is not the only factor. If what we call a bad memory were always only the result of repression, those who enjoy an excellent memory ought never to suffer from repression, nor in consequence be neurotic. But experience shows that this is not the case at all. There are cer¬tainly cases of abnormally bad memory where it is obvious that the lion’s share must be attributed to repression, but these are relatively rare.


[204] 445 We therefore affirm that in addition to the repressed ma-
terial the unconscious contains all those psychic components that have fallen below the threshold, as well as subliminal sense¬perceptions. Moreover, we know, from abundant experience as well as for theoretical reasons, that besides this the unconscious contains all the material that has not yet reached the threshold of consciousness. These are the seeds of future conscious con-

tents. Equally we have every reason to suppose that the uncon¬scious is never quiescent in the sense of being inactive, but pre¬sumably is ceaselessly engaged in the grouping and regrouping of so-called unconscious fantasies. This activity should be thought of as relatively autonomous only in pathological cases; normally it is co-ordinated with consciousness in a compensatory relationship.

[205] 446 It is to be assumed that all these contents are of a personal
nature in so far as they are acquired during the individual’s life. Since this life is limited, the number of acquired contents in the unconscious must also be limited. This being so, it might be thought possible to empty the unconscious either by analysis or by making a complete inventory of the unconscious contents, on the ground that the unconscious cannot produce anything more than what is already known and assimilated into conscious-ness. We should also have to suppose, as we have said, that if one could arrest the descent of conscious contents into the uncon¬scious by doing away with repression, unconscious productivity would be paralysed. This is possible only to a very limited ex¬tent, as we know from experience. We urge our patients to hold fast to repressed contents that have been re-associated with con¬sciousness, and to assimilate them into their plan of life. But this procedure, as we may daily convince ourselves, makes, no im¬pression on the unconscious, since it calmly goes on producing apparently the same infantile-sexual fantasies which, according to the earlier theory, should be the effects of personal repres¬sions. If in such cases the analysis be continued systematically, one uncovers little by little a medley of incompatible wish¬fantasies of a most surprising composition. Besides all the sexual perversions one finds every conceivable kind of criminality, as well as the noblest deeds and the loftiest ideas imaginable, the existence of which one would never have suspected in the sub¬ject under analysis.


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