人格面具 2

a. Regressive Restoration of the Persona
254 A collapse of the conscious attitude is no small matter. It
always feels like the end of the world, as though everything had tumbled back into original chaos. One feels delivered up, disori¬ented, like a rudderless ship that is abandoned to the moods of the elements. So at least it seems. In reality, however, one has fallen back upon the collective unconscious, which now takes over the leadership. We could multiply examples of cases where, at the critical moment, a “saving” thought, a vision, an “inner voice,” came with an irresistible power of conviction and gave life a new direction.


Probably we could mention just as many cases where the collapse meant a catastrophe that destroyed life, for at such moments morbid ideas are also liable to take root, or ideals wither away, which is no less disastrous. In the one case some psychic oddity develops, or a psychosis; in the other, a state of disorientation and demoralization. But once the unconscious contents break through into consciousness, filling it with their uncanny power of conviction, the question arises of how the in¬dividual will react. Will he be overpowered by these contents? Will he credulously accept them? Or will he reject them? (I am disregarding the ideal reaction, namely critical understanding.)


The first case signifies paranoia or schizophrenia; the second may either become an eccentric with a taste for prophecy, or he may revert to an infantile attitude and be cut off from human society; the third signifies the regressive restoration of the per¬sona. This formulation sounds very technical, and the reader may justifiably suppose that it has something to do with a complicated psychic reaction such as can be observed in the course of analytical treatment. It would, however, be a mistake to think that cases of this kind make their appearance only in analytical treatment.




The process can be observed just as well, and often better, in other situations of life, namely “in all those careers where there has been some violent and destructive intervention of fate. Everyone, presumably, has suffered adverse turns of for¬tune, but mostly they are wounds that heal and leave no crip¬pling mark. But here we are concerned with experiences that are destructive, that can smash a man completely or at least crip¬ple him for good. Let us take as an example a businessman who takes too great a risk and consequently becomes bankrupt.


If he does not allow himself to be discouraged by this depressing ex-perience, but, un dismayed, keeps his former daring, perhaps with a little salutary caution added, his wound will be healed without permanent injury. But if, on the other hand, he goes to pieces, abjures all further risks, and laboriously tries to patch up his social reputation within the confines of a much more limited personality, doing inferior work with the mentality of a scared child, in a post far below him, then, technically speaking, he will have restored his persona in a regressive way. He will as a result of his fright have slipped back to an earlier phase of his person¬ality; he will have demeaned himself, pretending that he is as he was before the crucial experience, though utterly unable even to think of repeating such a risk. Formerly perhaps he wanted more than he could accomplish; now he does not even dare to attempt what he has it in him to do.


55 Such experiences occur in every walk of life and in every
possible form, hence in psychological treatment also. Here again it is a question of widening the personality, of taking a risk on one’s circumstances or on one’s nature. What the critical experi¬ence is in actual treatment can be seen from the case of our phi¬losophy student: it is the transference. As I have already indi¬cated, it is possible for the patient to slip over the reef of the transference unconsciously, in which case it does not become an experience and nothing fundamental happens.


The doctor, for the sake of mere convenience, might well wish for such patients. But if they are intelligent, the patients soon discover the exist¬ence of this problem for themselves. If then the doctor, as in the above case, is exalted into the father-lover and consequently has a flood of demands let loose against him, he must perforce think out ways and means of parrying the onslaught, without himself getting drawn into the maelstrom and without injury to the pa¬tient. A violent rupture of the transference may bring on a com¬plete relapse, or worse; so the problem must be handled with great tact and foresight. Another possibility is the pious hope that “in time” the “nonsense” will stop of its own accord. Cer¬tainly everything stops in time, but it may be an unconscionably long time, and the difficulties may be so unbearable for both sides that one might as well give up the idea of time as a healing factor at once.


256 A far better instrument for “combatting” the transference
would seem to be offered by the Freudian theory of neurosis. The dependence of the patient is explained as an infantile sex¬ual demand that takes the place of a rational application of sex-
. uality. Similar advantages are offered by the Adlerian theory,1 which explains the transference as an infantile power-aim, and as a “security measure.” Both theories fit the neurotic mentality so neatly that every case of neurosis can be explained by both theories at once.2 This highly remarkable fact, which any un¬prejudiced observer is bound to corroborate, can only rest on the circumstance that Freud’s “infantile eroticism” and Adler’s “power drive” are one and the same thing, regardless of the clash of opinions between the two schools. It is simply a frag¬ment of uncontrolled, and at first uncontrollable, primordial in¬stinct that comes to light in the phenomenon of transference. The archaic fantasy-forms that gradually reach the surface of consciousness are only a further proof of this.


257 We can try both theories to make the patient see how infan-
tile, impossible, and absurd his demands are, and perhaps in the end he will actually come to his senses again. My patient, how¬ever, was not the only one who did not do this. True enough, the doctor can always save his face with these theories and extri¬cate himself from a painful situation more or less humanely.


There are indeed patients with whom it is, or seems to be, unre¬warding to go to greater lengths; but there are also cases where these procedures cause senseless psychic injury. In the case of my student I dimly felt something of the sort, and I therefore abandoned my rationalistic attempts in order-with ill-concealed mistrust-to give nature a chance to correct what seemed to me to be her own foolishness. As already mentioned, this taught me something extraordinarily important, namely the existence of an unconscious self-regulation.


2 Cf. supra, pars. 44ff., for an example of such a case.

Not only can the unconscious “wish,” it can also cancel its own wishes. This realization, of such immense importance for the integrity of the personality, must remain sealed to anyone who cannot get over the idea that it is simply a question of infantilism. He will turn round on the threshold of this realization and tell himself: “It was all non¬sense of course. I am a crazy visionary! The best thing to do would be to bury the unconscious or throw it overboard with all its works.”

The meaning and purpose he so eagerly desired he will see only as infantile maunderings. He will understand that his longing was absurd; he learns to be tolerant with himself, resigned. What can he do? Rather than face the conflict he will turn back and, as best he can, regressively restore his shattered persona, discounting all those hopes and expectations that had blossomed under the transference. He will become smaller, more limited, more rationalistic than he was before. One could not say that this result would be an unqualified misfortune in all cases, for there are all too many who, on account of their notori¬ous ineptitude, thrive better in a rationalistic system than in freedom. Freedom is one of the more difficult things. Those who can stomach this way out can say with Faust:


This earthly circle I know well enough. Towards the Beyond the view has been cut off; Fool-who directs that way his dazzled eye, Contrives himself a double in the sky!
Let him look round him here, not stray beyond; To a sound man this world must needs respond. To roam into eternity is vain!
What he perceives, he can attain.
Thus let him walk along his earthlong day; Though phantoms haunt him, let him go his way.3


258 Such a solution would be perfect if a man were really able to
shake off the unconscious, drain it of its energy and render it inactive. But experience shows that the unconscious can be de
prived of its energy only in part: it remains continually active, for it not only contains but is itself the source of the libido from which the psychic elements flow.


¬3 Faust, trans. by Louis MacNeice, p. 283 (Part 11, Act V).

It is therefore a delusion to think that by some kind of magical theory or method the uncon¬scious can be finally emptied of libido and thus, as it were, elim¬inated. One may for a while play with this delusion, but the day comes when one is forced to say with Faust:


But now such spectredom so throngs the air
That none knows how to dodge it, none knows where. Though one day greet us with a rational gleam,
The night entangles us in webs of dream.
We come back happy from the fields of spring¬
And a bird croaks. Croaks what? Some evil thing. Enmeshed in superstition night and morn,
It forms and shows itself and comes to warn.
And we, so scared, stand without friend or kin,
And the door creaks-and nobody comes in.4


Nobody, of his own free will, can strip the unconscious of its effective power. At best, one can merely deceive oneself on this point. For, as Goethe says:


Unheard by the outward ear
In the heart I whisper fear;
Changing shape from hour to hour
I employ my savage power.5


Only one thing is effective against the unconscious, and that is hard outer necessity. (Those with rather more knowledge of the unconscious will see behind the outer necessity the same fac~ which once gazed at them from within.) An inner necessity can change into an outer one, and so long as the outer necessity is real, and not just faked, psychic problems remain more or less ineffective. This is why Mephisto offers Faust, who is sick of the “madness of magic,” the following advice:

4 Ibid., p. 281 (Part 11, Act V).
5 Ibid., p. 282 (Part 11, Act V), modified.


Right. There is one way that needs
No money, no physician, and no witch.
Pack up your things and get back to the land
And there begin to dig and ditch;
Keep to the narrow round, confine your mind, And live on fodder of the simplest kind,
A beast among the beasts; and don’t forget
To use your own dung on the crops you set! 6


It is a well-known fact that the “simple life” cannot be faked, and therefore the unproblematical existence of a poor man, who really is delivered over to fate, cannot be bought by such cheap imitations. Only the man who lives such a life not as a mere possibility, but is actually driven to it by the necessity of his own nature, will blindly pass over the problem of his soul, since he lacks the capacity to grasp it. But once he has seen the Faustian problem, the escape into the “simple life” is closed for ever. There is of course nothing to stop him from taking a two-room cottage in the country, or from pottering about in a garden and eating raw turnips. But his soul laughs at the deception. Only what is really oneself has the power to heal.


!59 The regressive restoration of the persona is a possible course
only for the man who owes the critical failure of his life to his own inflatedness. With diminished personality, he turns back to the measure he can fill. But in every other case resignation and self-belittlement are an evasion, which in the long run can be kept up only at the cost of neurotic sickliness. From the con¬scious point of view of the person concerned, his condition does not 109k like an evasion at all, but seems to be due to the impos¬sibility of coping with the problem. Usually he is a lonely figure, with little or nothing to help him in our present-day culture. Even psychology has only purely reductive interpretations to offer, since it inevitably underlines the archaic and infantile character of these transitional states and makes them unaccept¬able to him. The fact that a medical theory may also serve the purpose of enabling the doctor to pull his own head more or less elegantly out of the noose does not occur to him. That is pre¬cisely why these reductive theories fit the essence of neurosis so beautifully-because they are of such great service to the doctor.



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