Notes while reading Jung’s 1922 essay “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry.” The following includes phrases borrowed from Jung’s text, assembled while reading with certain questions in mind.
There are parallels in process, but a psychological approach when it comes to art or religion is permissible only with emotions and symbols. The essential nature of each is another matter and can’t be touched by psychology. Artistic, scientific, and religious propensities may yet slumber together in the small child, when the distinctions between fields of activity in the mind remain invisible. A work of art and a neurosis may swell from the same soil, but to link them causally would be a mistake. In tracing common lines, let’s not be like moles with our noses buried in the dirt. To be so reductive is to strip the gods of their robes and mock their naked forms, extinguishing the sheen of creation.
The subterranean background is not to be conflated with the art. To study well demands ridding oneself of medical prejudice. Art is not disease, and it would be a mistake for a botanist to assume they know a plant just because they have studied its habitat. Art is a creation, not a personality; its special significance comes from having escaped the limitations of the personal.
Is it like a tree in soil or a child in a womb? All comparisons, in the end, are lame.
Divine frenzy comes perilously close to pathological state, but the two are different. Speaking of which, consider the difference between a body of flesh and blood and any abstract frame.