Lecture by Dr. C. G. Jung, Zьrich
(translated from the German by Gary V. Hartman)
During the 1930’s and1940’s, Jung’s writings primarily took the form of lectures: theTavistock Lectures, the Terry Lectures, and the presentations he madeat the Eranos Conferences in Ascona beginning in 1933. The lectureformat (as Sigmund Freud discovered with his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis)conveys a level of immediacy and understanding unmatched by otherformats. Jung subsequently revised and expanded his Eranos lectures,frequently sacrificing immediacy for completeness. Unfortunately forthe reader of Jung, the original lectures were either not translatedinto English or the early translations are not readily available. Thefour lectures in The Integration of the Personality (1939) translated by W. Stanley Dell are a case in point. They subsequently were published in Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, where it is impossible to recognize the original lectures.
The 1940 Eranos Lecture,"On the Psychology of the Concept of the Trinity," has never beentranslated into English. The expanded version in Psychology and Religion: West and East,CW 11, runs ninety-three pages as opposed to the thirty-four of theoriginal lecture. The additions Jung made, primarily in the Forewordand the section on the Trinity, obscure his argument and threaten tolose the reader in a welter of scholarly amplifications. The secondsection of the lecture in The Collected Works, "The Problem ofthe Fourth," is essentially identical to the original lecture. Although the following translation is a new one, R. F. C. Hull’sversion from Psychology and Religion: West and East has been consulted.
In deciding to use R. F. C. Hull’s as the "one voice" for English translations of Jung’s writings, the editors of The Collected Works sacrificed a vital aspect of Jung’s style. Early translators, Beatrice Hinkle (The Psychology of the Unconscious), H. G. Baynes (Psychological Types), and Cary F. Baynes ("Commentary," The Secret of the Golden Flower),were members of Jung’s circle and familiar with Analytical Psychologyfrom their own experience. R. F. C. Hull was not. What theirtranslations may have lacked stylistically in grace and smoothness wasmore than compensated for by their ability to capture the Eros of Jung’s earthy and quixotic nature. Hopefully, my translation at least approximates the high standard they set.
Gary V. Hartman
Biographical Statement:Gary V. Hartman is an analyst, writer, and translator. He maintains aprivate practice in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Fayetteville, Arkansas.His translations include Adolph Guggenbьhl-Craig’s From the Wrong Side and Alfred Ziegler’s Archetypal Medicine. His most recent translation, Allan Guggenbьhl’s Men, Myth, and Power,will be published this fall by Continuum Publications. His current"work in progress" is on the history and development of Jung’s earlythought.
Lecture by Dr. C. G. Jung, Zьrich
(translated from the German by Gary V. Hartman)
From a series ofreactions, it has become clear to me that educated readers takeexception to the psychological discussion of Christian symbols, evenwhen these discussions carefully avoid questioning the symbols’religious value. My critics would likely raise fewer objections at thesimilar treatment of Buddhist symbols, whose sanctity is just asunquestionable. What, however, is sauce for the goose is also saucefor the gander. What is more, I seriously question whether it is notmuch more dangerous for Christian symbols to be withheld fromthoughtful understanding and to be removed to a sphere of inaccessibleincomprehension. They are all too easily withdrawn from understandingto such an extent that their irrationality becomes meaninglessness. Belief is a charisma not granted to everyone. For this reason, humanbeings have the capacity of thought that should address the loftiest ofthings. St. Paul and, subsequently, a long series of venerable churchfathers, did not look upon the act of thinking about symbolism with asmuch anxious defensiveness as certain modern individuals.
This anxiety and thisconcern about Christian symbols is not a good sign. If the symbolsrepresent a higher reality, which my critics certainly do not doubt,then a science that addresses the symbolic understanding and proceedsunwisely can only make a fool of itself. Moreover, I have never hadthe tendency to depotentiate the validity of symbols but occupy myselfwith them, because I am convinced of their psychological validity. Theman who merely believes and does not think, always forgets that he isthe one constantly exposed to his very own enemy: doubt. Doubt alwayslurks where belief rules. For the thinking individual, on the otherhand, doubt is always welcome, for it serves him as the most importantstep toward improved knowledge. People who are able to believe shouldbe somewhat tolerant of their fellow human beings who are only capableof thinking. Belief has anticipated the summit that thinking strivesto attain through laborious ascent. The believing individual shouldnot project doubt, his habitual enemy, onto those who think and therebyburden the latter with destructive intentions. If those of old had notthought, we would have no doctrine of the Trinity at all. That thedoctrine is believed in, on the one hand, and serves, on the otherhand, as an object of reflection proves its vitality. The believer,therefore, should be glad that others also attempt to climb themountain upon which he sits.
When I set about to discussthe Trinity, that central Christian symbol, from the psychologicalperspective, I do so with the awareness that I am entering an areaseemingly far removed from psychology. In my opinion though,religions, with all that they are and express, are so closely connectedto the human soul that psychology least of all may disregard them. Anotion like the Trinity belongs so much to the realm of theology thattoday, of the secular disciplines, history at most deals with it. People have even largely stopped thinking about dogma and specificallyabout a concept like the Trinity, which is so difficult to picture. There are actually very few Christians any more--not to mention theeducated public in general--who seriously think about the meaning ofthe dogma and consider this concept a possible object of reflection.
Professor Speiser has linked the concept of the Trinity with Plato’s Timaeus.I expressly say, "Trinity," and not "triad." (Divine triads occurredalready at the primitive level: there are an immense number of archaictriads in the old and exotic religions. The grouping in triads issomething like an archetype of the history of religion on which thethreefold Christian Trinity may well be modeled. Yet the Trinity isnot an example of a triad, but of a tri-unity, a three-oneness, indivisibilis trinitas,that is fundamentally different from the triad corresponding to a"tri-theism." Mere threeness is an unordered relationship of threeentities in proximity to one another, while the Trinity is the joiningtogether of three as one and, at the same time, an expansion of the oneinto three. The one is lacking in a triad without which the Trinitywould be unthinkable.
Professor Speiser provided the derivation of the three from the one as it occurs in the Timaeus(31b to 32b). The "one" lays claim to an exceptional position, whichProfessor Speiser has explained. We find this same, exceptionalposition again in the natural philosophy of the Middle Ages. For thelatter, the "one" was not a number at all, only the "two" was. "Two"is the first number, because with it separation and increase occur andprovide the basis on which counting first truly begins. With "two" an"other" enters in addition to the "one," a phenomenon that makes animpression to such an extent that the word "other" in many languagesmeans "second." This "second" or "other" refers to a "one" thatdiffers from the "one" that is not a number. With two, namely, oneemerges from oneness, which means nothing less than that the separationhas reduced and transformed oneness into a "number." The "one" and the"other" form an opposition; not however one and two, for they aresimple numbers that differ only in their arithmetic value and nothingelse. The "one" attempts to retain its single and solitary qualities,while the "other" strives to remain an other compared with the one. The "one" does not want to release the "other," because it would thuslose its own quality, and the "other" rejects the "one" in order evento survive. To such an extent, a tension of opposites results betweenthe "one" and the "other." Every tension of opposites requires arelease valve from which the third comes into being. The tensionresolves itself in the third inasmuch as the lost "one" again emerges: "unitas ex semet ipsa derivans trinitatem,"in the words of Tertullian. The absolute One is innumerable,indeterminate, and unrecognizable; only when it appears in "one" doesit become recognizable, for the "other" required for this recognitionis missing in the condition of the One. Three is, therefore, anunfolding of the one to recognizability, that is to reality in spaceand time. A "one-next-to-another" is only possible in space and a"one-after-another" only in time. Three is the "one" become reality,which without the resolution of the opposition between the "one" andthe "other" would remain devoid of any quality in every determination. That this formulation is a fitting parallel to God’s Self- revelationas the absolute One in the unfolding of the three is immediatelyapparent.
The relationship of "threeness" to oneness can be expressed as an equilateral triangle: a=b=c,that is through the identity of the three, whereby the entirety ofthreeness is contained in each of the different designations. Thisintellectual idea of the equilateral triangle is a cognitivepre-requisite for the idea of the Christian Trinity, as ProfessorSpeiser has noted. The Platonic idea makes it possible for us to thinkat least somewhat logically yes, even mathematically, about themysterious essence of the Trinity. The true contours of the dogma,however, have very little to do with the logical formula. The threedesignated aspects in the model, a=b=c, are characterized in amanner that cannot possibly be derived from the Platonicpre-requisites, inasmuch as the designations "Father," "Son," and "HolySpirit" in no way follow from the three letters. The Platonic formulaonly supplies an intellectual structure for contents that originatefrom completely different sources. The Trinity may be largely graspedthrough the Platonic formula; as to contents, though, we have to dependon psychological factors, on irrational data that cannot be logicallypredetermined. In other words, we have to differentiate between thelogical idea of the Trinity and its psychological reality.
The psychological factorsare the following: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If we start with"Father," "Son" results logically from it; but neither from "Father"nor from "Son" does "Holy Ghost" result logically. We must, again, bedealing with special circumstances that are due to psychologicalrequirements. According to the ancient teachings, the "Holy Ghost" is "vera persona, quae a filio et patre missa est." The "processio a patre filioque"is a "being breathed" and not a "procreation" (being "begotten") as isthe case with the Son. This somewhat unusual notion is in keeping witha separation already existing in the Middle Ages of corpus and spiramen(breathing), whereby the latter meant something more than just "breath."That was actually the designation for the "anima," which is a being ofbreath as its name suggests (бnemos = wind). While "breathing"is an activity of the body, when conceived of as autonomous it is asubstance apart from the body. The idea being expressed is thatalthough the body lives, "life" is imagined as an additional,autonomous quality, namely as a soul independent of the body. Appliedto the formula of the Trinity, one would therefore have to say,"Father, Son," and "Life," where the latter emanates from both or islived by both. The Holy Ghost as "Life" is a concept that simplycannot be derived from the identity of Father and Son. It is much morea psychological notion, that is, a factor based on an irrational,primordial idea.
In addition to the logic ofthe Platonic idea, an aspect that cannot be derived from the Platonicidea forces its way into the concept of the Trinity. It does notfollow from the idea of the equilateral triangle that one angle isFather, the second the Son, and the third the Holy Ghost.
Filius Spiritus Sanctus
We are not dealing withmere letters designating the angles of a triangle but withpersonalities: the unbegotten Father (P), the Son (F) begotten by theFather, and the Spiritus Sanctus (S), the life of both that theyhave in common. This is a concept that results from a primitiveassumption: the life of a body or an of individual is posited asdifferent to some extent from either the body or the individual. Fromthis assumption originates the idea, for example, of the immortal soulthat can separate from the body and does not depend on the body for itsexistence. In this regard, the primitives have richly developedconceptions of souls. There are souls, for example, that are immortal;others are only loosely connected to the body and, therefore, wanderaway, get lost in the night, lose their way in a dream, and can betaken prisoner. Primitives even conceive of souls that are not in thebody at all yet still belong to an individual like the Bush Soul thatlives in the forest in an animal’s body.
The juxtaposition of"individual" and "life" is a psychological factor resting primarily onthe fact that a relatively undifferentiated mind--not yet capable ofthinking abstractly--is not able to make subsumptions. Such a mind canonly place the characteristics it perceives in things next to oneanother as, for example, an individual and his life, or hisdisease--perhaps as a daimon--or his health, or his prestige as mana,and so forth. If you analyze Indian philosophy you will notice thatthe Indian mind does the same thing. We always believe it to beabstract. It is not at all abstract but rather concretely graphic. The Indian mind places being and other qualities next to things asessences. These concretizations are usually not related to one anotherlogically but are simply in proximity to one another. At this levelthere are certainly triads and the like, but simply no Trinities, aconcept that corresponds to a more advanced, intellectual stage. Atrinity is not a matter of a tri-theistic coexistence, but of a unityeffected through reflection from internal and reciprocal relationships.
By definition, the Father is the creator, the maker, the auctor rerum,the author of things who, at a cultural level where there is not yetreflection, can simply be the One. The Other results from the Onethrough separation. This separation need not take place as long as noone takes any kind of critical position toward the auctor rerum,that is, as long as a culture does not reflect on this unity and beginto criticize the work through which the creator makes himself known. Far from critical judgment and moral conflict, the human feeling foroneness also leaves the patris auctoritas untouched.
I observed this conditionof the original oneness of the father world in a Negroid tribe on MountElgon. These people professed the conviction that the creator had madeeverything good and beautiful. When I asked, "What about the evilanimals that kill your cattle?" they said, "The lion is good andbeautiful." And, "Your terrible diseases?" They said, "You lie in thesun and it is beautiful." I was impressed by this optimism. But inthe evening at six o’clock this philosophy suddenly ceased, as I soondiscovered. From sundown on another world ruled, the dark world, theworld of аyнk, which was evil, dangerous, fear-arousing. Theoptimistic philosophy ended and another philosophy began, one of fearof ghosts and the magical practices that supposedly protect againstevil. With sunrise, however, the optimism returned without inherentcontradiction.
Originally, human beings,the world, and the divinity were a whole, a unity untarnished by anycriticism. This was the world of the Father and of human beings in achildhood state. Despite the fact that twelve of twenty-four hours arelived in a dark world with dark beliefs, the question never ariseswhether God might also be Other. The well-known question as to theorigin of evil does not yet exist in the time of the Father. Thisquestion first arose as a principal problem with Christianity. Apparently, the world of the father applies to a time characterized bythe original oneness with all of Nature, a beautiful or ugly or fearfuloneness. When, however, the question is raised, "Where does evil comefrom, why is this world so bad and imperfect, why are there diseasesand other horrors, why must people suffer?"--then reflection beginswhich assesses the revelation of the Father in his works, and therewithcomes the doubt that expresses the splitting of the original unity. One comes to the conclusion that the creation may be imperfect, yes,even to the idea that the Creator has not done his job properly. Thegoodness and power of the Father cannot be the sole principle ofcosmogony. Therefore, the One must be supplemented with Another. Theworld of the Father is thereby fundamentally changed and superseded bythe world of the Son.
The world of the Son wasthat time in which Greek critique of the world began, the time ofGnosis in the widest sense, from which then Christianity emerged. Thearchetype of the redeemer god and the original man is age-old. We haveno idea how old this idea is. We have parallels that reach as far asIndia. The Son, the revealed god, who sacrifices himself as a humanbeing in order to bring a world into being or to redeem the world fromevil is found as early as the Purusha of Indian philosophy and also inthe notion of the protanthropos (Original Man), Gayomart, inPersia. Gayomart, the son of the light god, falls victim to darknessand must be freed again out of the darkness for the redemption of theworld. This is the model for the Gnostic redeemer figures and for thedoctrine of Christ’s redemption of humanity.
It is not difficult to see that this critical Weltanschauungthat raised the question of the origin of evil and of sufferingcorresponds to another world in which one longed for redemption, andfor that time of perfection when human beings were one with the Father.One longed to return to the kingdom of the Father, but it was lost forgood, because an irreversible increase and autonomy of humanconsciousness had taken place. Through this change, one deposed theworld of the Father and entered the world of the Son, with its divinedrama of redemption and ritual narrative of those things that theGod/man accomplished during his earthly sojourn. The life of theGod/man now revealed things that could not have been perceived in theFather as the One. For the Father as the original One was not anythingdefined or definable and, actually, could not yet have been called"Father" or have even been thought to exist. Only through hisincarnation in the Son did he become "Father" and--thereby--somethingdefined and definable. By becoming a father and a human being, herevealed the secret of his divinity in the human realm.
One of these revelations isthe Holy Ghost which, as a being existing before the world, iscertainly eternal but can only appear in this world--to a certainextent empirically--when Christ has left the earthly sphere. In amanner of speaking, he will be to the disciples what Christ haspreviously been to them. He confers on them absolute power to performworks that are perhaps even greater than those of the Son (John 14:12).The Holy Ghost is, therefore, a figure that replaces Christ as hisequivalent and corresponds to that which Christ had received from theFather.
In other words, from theFather comes the Son, and common to both is the life activity of theHoly Ghost, which is "breathed" by both of them. Inasmuch as the HolyGhost is a third and common element between the Father and the Son, itsignifies the abolition of duality, of the "doubt" from the Son. Actually, it is that third thing that completes the three and,therefore, is again Oneness. The unfolding of the One truly culminatesin the Holy Ghost, following its juxtaposition to the Son as theFather. The descent into human form signifies a becoming "Other," asetting-itself-in-opposition to itself. From this moment on, there aretwo, the "One" and the "Other," which means a certain tension. Thistension expresses itself in the suffering of the Son and finally in hisacknowledgment of God’s forsaking him (Matt. 27:46).
Although the Holy Ghost isthe procreator of the Son (Matt. 1:18), as Paraclete it is the Son’slegacy. In many ways, the Holy Ghost continues the work of redemptionby descending on those who correspond to the divine election, and whoperform works that are even "greater" than those of the Son. Theimplication, at least, is that the Paraclete is the crowning figure ofthe work of redemption on one hand and God’s self-revelation on theother. We could, therefore, say that the Holy Ghost represents thecompletion of the Godhead and the divine drama. Undoubtedly theTrinity is a higher form of the notion of God than a simple Unityinasmuch as it corresponds to a condition of greater reflection, ofconsciousness, in human beings.
At first, human beingsremain necessarily outside this Trinitarian life process of theGodhead. We have no way of thinking about this process except as animaginal one in the human mind, in other words, as a platonic eidolon connected to an eternal eidos. At the same time, this eidolondoes not express anything binding, nor does it establish its foundation,for this foundation--namely God--is unrecognizable other than bysomething of a similar nature. Theological thinking, to be sure--andthis is the great difficulty--often behaves as if it were the HolyGhost, itself thinking or, rather, unfolding in the human brain. In sodoing, theologians overlook the fact that the endless and often bitterdisputes concerning the Trinity are nothing less than the very betrayalof the Holy Ghost. Hardly any other
discipline demonstrates thehigh-handedness of the human, all-too-human, mind, better than that ofthe history of dogma. For this reason, psychology commits noencroachment on another discipline if it joins in the discussion andraises questions about the individuals who think up dogma and about thereasons that might cause them to do so.
The Trinitarian drama dealsin the first instance and overwhelmingly with the Godhead and withmankind only inasmuch as we are in a pitiable condition and--with theexception of Paradise--always were. It seems out of the question thatmankind, based on suggestions in the writings of certain apostles, wasresponsible for fitting the Godhead with the form of the Trinity. Wewould have no dogma of the Trinity had the church fathers not expendedan unbelievable intellectual effort toward its creation. In actuality,they developed Trinitarian thinking.
Seen psychologically then, what does Trinitarian thinking express? God, the summum bonum, unfolds in and through the Son to become the Holy Ghost as the third representing the perichoresis,the round dance, of the One. The Trinity is an harmonicself-realization of God insofar as it opens the way to God’s Kingdomfor individuals in need of redemption. This process is round andcomplete and to that extent corresponds with the Platonic idea. Butwhat happens to evil? One comes to the conclusion at which the MiddleAges had already arrived: "Omne bonum a deo, omne malum a homine. " If we do not recognize the devil, we become the devil. We become that which disturbs God’s harmony.
But what happens to theactual human being when all evil comes from him and all good from God? On the one hand, we make a hash of Man, and, on the other, we elevatehim above the gods--for ultimately something that so mars the beautifulworks of the Godhead must be no small force! Man thereby becomes asecond God, a dark, counter-God, who spoils the fun of the "good" God. We credit Man with a significance that exceeds even the wildestfantasy. Here we get into considerable difficulty. If we pursue thedoctrine of the Holy Ghost further (something that has not happened inthe Christian Church for understandable reasons), we come to certainunavoidable conclusions. If the Father appeared in the Son and shareshis breath in common with the Son and if the Son left this Holy Ghostbehind for human beings, then the Holy Ghost also breathes out of Manand, thereby, also breathes in common with Man, the Son, and theFather. Thereby Man moves into the position of the Son of God, and thewords of Christ, "Ye are Gods," appear in a meaningful light.
How can this imperfect Man,however, be not only something like the host of the Godhead, but alsoGod, himself? Would that not shake the Christian Church to the verydepths of its foundations? Such Godlikeness the Church is not inclinedto concede to Man.
That the doctrine of theParaclete was expressly bequeathed to Man represents immensedifficulties. The Platonic formulation of threeness would certainly bethe final word from a logical perspective. Psychologically, though, itwould not be the final word at all, since the psychological factorsdemand attention to themselves in a terribly disruptive manner. Why inthe world was the Trinity
not referred to as "Father,Mother, and Son?" That would have been much more "logical" or"natural" than Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In response we would haveto say that the Trinity does not result from a merely natural conditionbut from human reflection joined to the natural succession ofFather/Son. From Nature, this reflection abstracts life and itsparticular soul and recognizes the latter as an extraordinaryexistence: Father and Son are united in the same soul.
This psychological factorinterrupts the perfection of the formulation of threeness. It makesthe formulation into a thematic combination that can no longer belogically understood and is bound up in a mysterious and unexpected waywith an important intellectual operation of human beings. The HolyGhost can be understood as life-breath and as an attitude of love and,at the same time, as the third figure in the Trinity with all thesignificance of the "third" and the culmination of the Trinitarianprocess. As such, it is essentially something added from reflection tothe natural image of the Father/Son as the hypostatizing of a noumenon.In this regard, it is noteworthy that early Christian Gnosticismattempted to circumvent this difficulty by interpreting the Holy Ghostas Mother. In doing so, Gnosticism, to begin with, remained with thearchaic natural image, tri-theism, and also with the polytheism of thefather world. For it is simply natural that a father should have afamily and that the son again embodies the father. This way ofthinking completely corresponds to the father world. In addition, withthe mother interpretation, Gnosticism reduced the specific meaning ofthe Holy Ghost to a primitive primordial image. It thereby destroyedthe very thing that is the most essential content of the notion of theHoly Ghost. The Holy Ghost is not only the life common to the Fatherand the Son. Rather, as the Paraclete, it was also left behind forhuman beings by the Son to bring forth in them the testimony and worksof the Children of God. It is precisely of the greatest significancethat the idea of the Holy Ghost is not a natural image, but rather arecognition, a conception, of the living nature of the Father and ofthe Son, the third between the One and the Other. Logic says "Tertium non datur."Life, however, and particularly psychological life, always creates athird from the tension of duality, which naturally appears asincommensurable or paradoxical. As "tertium," the Holy Ghostmust, therefore, be incommensurable, even a paradox. Correspondingly,the natural philosophers of the Middle Ages [i.e., the alchemists]personified the "donum Spiritus Sancti" as a paradoxical, hermaphroditic being, as a "unio oppositorum."
Thus the Holy Ghost isheterogeneous, since it cannot be derived logically from the naturalrelationship of father and son. We can only understand it as a conceptresulting from the engagement of the human reflective process. Itthereby seems that Man’s coming to consciousness is a part of thedivine life process or, in other words, that God becomes manifest inthe act of human reflection. The nature of this concept (thehypostatizing of a quality) corresponds to the necessity for primitivethinking to produce a reconciling abstract notion by attributingconcrete extraordinary existence to the quality in question. Just asthe Holy Ghost is a bequest to human beings, by the same token itsconception is a birth of mankind and carries the qualities of its humancreators. Unnoticed, the figure of the Holy Ghost includes mankind asa spiritual potentiality in the Trinitarian mystery, thereby elevatingthe Trinity itself far above the parallels to mere nature of the triadand also above Platonic threeness and its unity. The Trinity therebyreveals itself as a symbol which encompasses divine and humansubstantiality. As Kцpgen says, it is "not only a manifestation ofGod’s, but also of mankind."
A grain of truth lies inthe Gnostic interpretation of the Holy Ghost as Mother insofar as theVirgin Mary was the instrument of God’s birth and thereby involved, asa human being, in the Trinitarian drama. The figure of the Mother ofGod can, therefore, count as a symbol of mankind’s essentialparticipation in the Trinity. The psychological justification for thisassumption is founded on the circumstance that thinking--apredominantly masculine activity--originally depended on theself-revelation of the unconscious, which possesses a feminine qualityin men. This is the origin of the so-called "anima"--the knowledge ofrevelation, which was personified as sapientia Dei or as Sophia--"in gremio matris sedet sapientia patris."These psychological connections make clearer the interpretation of theHoly Ghost as Mother, but they contribute nothing to the understandingof the Holy Ghost figure insofar as we do not appreciate why the Mothercould be the third when she would more likely be the second.
While the Holy Ghost is anhypostasis of the life principle produced by the reflective process,thanks to its peculiar substantiality, it appears as an extraordinary,even an incommensurable third. Through its peculiarity it demonstratesprecisely that it is neither a compromise nor simply a triadicaddition, but rather a more than logically expected release of thetension between Father and Son. Because of the nature of the redemptiondrama, the human reflective process is just what irrationally createsthe uniting Third: as the Godhead descends into the human realm, Man,for his part, attains the realm of the Godhead.
The thinking about theTrinity or Trinitarian thinking is the "Holy Ghost" to the extent thatit is never basically mere rumination but gives expression to anincalculable psychological occurrence. The driving forces which makethemselves felt in this thinking are not conscious motives but springfrom an historical occurrence which, for its part, is rooted inobscure, psychological preconditions. We cannot formulate thosepreconditions better or more succinctly than as a "transformation fromFather to Son," a transformation from unity to duality, from anunreflecting condition to one of critical judgment. To the extent thatTrinitarian thinking lacks personal motivation and its driving forceoriginates in impersonal, collective, psychological conditions, itexpresses a necessity of the unconscious psyche which towers over ourpersonal, intellectual needs. With the aid of human thought, theTrinitarian symbol, arising from psychological necessity, is a symbolpredestined to serve psychological transformation--relative to changingtimes--as a redeeming formula for totality. From time immemorial, Manhas experienced any expression of psychological activity that he hasnot intended or caused as demonic or divine, "holy," healing, andcompleting. In actuality, notions of God behave, as do all imageswhich originate in the unconscious, in a compensatory or complementarymanner to an individual’s over-all mood or behavior. Only by theirappearance on the scene does psychological totality emerge in theindividual. The individual who is "only conscious," only "I," is afragment insofar as he is conceived of apart from the unconscious. Themore the unconscious is split off, the more powerful are the forms inwhich it confronts consciousness: if not in the form of divinefigures, then in the less favorable form of possessions ("obsessions")and morbid affects. Gods are legitimate personifications of theunconscious, for they manifest themselves out of unconscious psychicactivity. From this kind of activity came Trinitarian thinking and itspassionate depths, which throw us--the later descendants--into naiveastonishment. At present we no longer remember, or do not yet know, towhat extent the depths of the psyche and Trinitarian thinking werechurned up by a major change in the times. In the absence of thisknowledge, the Holy Ghost seems to have faded away without havingreceived the answer it demands to the question it directs at mankind.
The Timaeus,from which the intellectual formula of the three is taken, begins withthe ominous question: "Three there are, but where’s the fourth?" Aswe know, Faust takes up this question in the Cabiri scene:
Three along we’ve brought
But come the fourth would not,
He said, he was the right one
Who thought for all of them.
When Goethe says the fourthis the one "who thought for all of them," we might suspect the fourthto be Goethe’s thinking, and we have to conclude that Goethe’s thinkingwas not his strong suit. It is well known that Schiller had to makethe concept of an idea clear to him. How defective Goethe’s thinkingwas we can gather from his Theory of Color (Farbenlehre).Thinking was his "inferior function," and we could not find a more aptcharacterization for this function than the verse, "but come the fourthwould not." It wanted to remain somewhere behind or below.
Ancient Greek philosophyused quaternarian thinking. For Pythagoras, not three but four playedthe major role as, for example, in the so-called Pythagorean Oath. There it is said of the number four, the tetraktys, that "ithas the roots of eternal Nature." Also in the Pythagorean school theopinion reigned that the soul was not a triangle, but a quadrangle. The origin of these views lies somewhere in the dark prehistory of theHellenistic spirit. The quaternity is an archetype that occursuniversally.
Four is the logicalprerequisite for every determination of totality. If one wants to makesuch a determination, it must have a fourfold aspect. If, for example,one wants to designate the totality of the horizon, one names the fourcardinal points. Three is not a natural pattern of order, but anartificial one. Therefore, we always have four elements, four primaryqualities, four colors, four castes in India, four paths in the senseof spiritual development in Buddhism. Therefore, there are also fouraspects of psychological orientation beyond which nothing more can bestated. For orientation, we have to have a function that establishesthat something is, a second that identifies what it is, a thirdfunction that says whether we like it or not, whether we want to acceptit or not, and a fourth function that identifies where it comes fromand where it is going. Beyond this nothing more can be said. Therewas an article published recently by Dr. Kindt-Kinder on the structureof the concept of the nation. In it the author sets forth thefundamental significance of the fourfold aspect and methodicallyapplies it. You also find the idea in Schopenhauer that aphilosophical theorem has a four-part root. All of this stems from thefact that the fourfold aspect represents the minimum for adetermination of completeness.
Ideal completion, naturally, is round, is the circle. But its minimal, natural division is the four.
If Plato had used theChristian concept of the Trinity--which was not the case--and elevated,therefore, the three above everything else, we would have to objectthat it could not be a determination of totality. A necessary fourthwould have been left out. Or had Plato believed that a three-sidedform represented the good and beautiful and attributed to it allpositive qualities, he would have deprived it of evil and imperfection.What could have become of the latter aspects? In addition to otheranswers to this question Christianity has replied that real evil is a privatio boni.This classic Christian formula, however, robs evil of absoluteexistence and makes it a shadow with only a relative existencedependent on the light.
Another Christian statementabout evil implies that it has personality as the Devil. The Devil isnot included in the Trinity but stands outside and, because of theconcept of the privatio boni, leads a mere shadow existence. In light of the powerful impact of evil, though, this soundssuspiciously like a euphemism. As an autonomous and eternal figure,the Devil corresponds more nearly to his role as Christ’s adversary andto the psychological reality of evil.
The Church fathers mostvehemently opposed the notion of a quaternity of divine principleswhile making the attempt to assign three persons to the nature of God. This resistance against the quaternity is extraordinary given that thecentral Christian symbol, the cross, is unmistakably a quaternity. Itrepresents, however, God’s suffering in the direct collision with theworld.
The definition of God as the summum bonum excludes evil from the start. Thus the Devil, as simia Dei,remains outside the Trinitarian order and in opposition to it. Therepresentation of the three-in-one God corresponds to a tricephalicimage of Satan as it appears in Dante. It thereby suggests a true umbra trinitatis,an infernal Antitrinity analogous to the Antichrist. Without a doubt,the Devil is an awkward figure: somehow or other he stands awry in theChristian world order. For this reason, one readily plays down hisimportance with euphemistic detraction or even by shutting one’s eyesto his existence. One is more likely to enter him in mankind’s debitcolumn. Those who do so are the same people who would protest mightilywere the sinful individual also to credit himself with the origin ofall good. A glance in the Holy Scriptures, though, suffices to show usthe Devil’s importance in the drama of divine redemption. Had thepower of evil been as minimal as certain theological opinions wouldhave it appear, the world would not have needed the Godhead itself tocome to earth. Or it would have lain within human powers to make theworld good, which is also a childish, modern belief.
Whatever the Devil’smetaphysical position might be, in psychological reality evil presentsan effective, yes, even a threatening, limitation to the good. It isnot going too far for one to assume that not only day and night holdthe world in equilibrium, but also good and evil. This is the reasonwhy the victory of the good is always a special act of grace.
If we overlook the unique,Persian dualism, there is no real Devil in the early period ofmankind’s spiritual development and, thus, none in the Old Testament. Instead, there was only a lemur-like riffraff haunting ruins anddeserted locations. The actual Devil first appears as Christ’sadversary. Thereby, God’s world of light became manifest, on the onehand, and the abyss of hell, on the other. The Devil is autonomous. He cannot be subject to God’s dominion, for he would not be in aposition to be Christ’s adversary but only God’s machine. Insofar asthe One, indefinable, unfolds into Two, it becomes definable, namelythe man, Jesus, the Son and the Logos. God’s act of love in the Son isopposed by the diabolical negation.
Inasmuch as the Devil wascreated by God as an angel, who then fell "like a bolt from heaven," helikewise emerged from the Godhead and became "Lord of this world." Itis also indicative that the Gnostics expressed him sometimes as theimperfect demiurge, sometimes as the depraved, saturnian archon,Ialdabaoth. Pictorial representations of this archon thoroughlycorrespond in their details to a devilish demon. He represented thepower of darkness from which mankind was redeemed by Christ’s coming. The archons, too, emerged from the womb of unrecognizable beginning,that is, from the same source that Christ, too, proceeded.
A thinker of the MiddleAges noticed that when God divided the upper waters from the lowerwaters on the second day of creation, he did not say it was good in theevening as he did on all the other days. God did not do so because onthe second day he had created the binarius, the number two, theorigin of evil. We find a similar theme again in a Persian accountwhere Ahriman’s origin is traced back to a doubting thought ofAhuramazda’s. Non-Trinitarian thinking can scarcely escape the logicof the following schema:
It is, therefore, notunusual to find the idea of the Antichrist so early. On one hand itmay be related to the astrological synchronicity of the dawning Pisceanage: on the other, it has to do with the increasing realization of theduality posited through the Son which--for its part--is againprefigured in the symbol of the fish: )-( .
In our diagram, Christ andthe Devil appear as equivalent opposites, which is hinted at by the"adversary" idea. This opposition represents a conflict in the extremeand, thereby, also a secular task for mankind until the time or untilthat shift in time when good and evil begin to relativize each other,to question themselves, and when a cry goes up for a "beyond good andevil." In a Christian age caught up in the realm of Trinitarianthinking such deliberation is downright impossible. The conflict istoo intense for the Devil to be granted any logical relationship to theTrinity other than that of an absolute and incommensurable opposite. In an emotionally-charged opposition--in a conflict, in otherwords--thesis and antithesis cannot be considered together. Suchconsideration is only possible for a cooler deliberation on therelative value of good and evil. Then, to be sure, nothing could bemore dubious than a life "breathed" in common not only by the Fatherand his light Son but by the Father and his dark Creature. Theunspeakable conflict posited by the duality, resolves itself in afourth principle that restores the unity of the One in its completedevelopment. The rhythm is a three-step; the symbol a quaternity.
The dual nature of theFather is by no means unknown to the Church. We see this in theallegory of the monoceros or rhinoceros, an image showing Jehovah’sraging moods which threw the world into confusion and which could betransformed into love only in the lap of a pure virgin. Luther, too,knew a deus absconditus. Murder and slaughter, war, diseaseand crime, and every abomination falls within the unity of the Godhead.When God manifests his being and becomes something defined, namely adefinite human being, his opposites have to fall apart: here is goodand there is evil. Thus the opposites latent in the Godhead separatein the begetting of the Son and manifest themselves in the oppositionof Christ/Devil. The Persian opposition of Ormuzd/Ahriman may havebeen the implied basis for this Christian duality. The world of theSon is the world of moral duality, without which human consciousnesswould hardly have accomplished the advance in intellectualdifferentiation that it actually has. That people today are nottotally enthusiastic over this advance is due to attacks of doubt inmodern consciousness.
The Christian individual isan individual suffering morally who, in his suffering, needs thecomforter, the Paraclete. The individual cannot overcome the conflictwith his own resources, just as he did not create it. He depends ondivine comfort and reconciliation, on the spontaneous revelation ofthat Spirit that does not obey human intention but comes and goes as itwills. That Spirit is an autonomous psychic occurrence, a stillnessafter the storm, a reconciling light in the darknesses of humanunderstanding, and the mysterious order of our psychic chaos. The HolyGhost is a comforter like the Father, a still, eternal, andunfathomable One, in which God’s love and horror are fused together inwordless unity. In this unity, the original meaning of the yetmeaningless Father world is restored within the confines of humanexperience and reflection. From a quaternarian perspective, the HolyGhost is a reconciliation of opposites and thereby answers thatsuffering in the Godhead that Christ personifies.
The Pythagorean quaternitywas still a fact of nature, an archetypal form of perception, but itwas not a moral problem, let alone a divine drama. Therefore, it "wentbelow." It was merely a natural and, for that reason, an unreflectedperception of the nature-bound mind. The separation which Christianitywrenched open between nature and spirit enabled the human mind to thinknot only beyond nature, but also against nature and thereby prove--Imight say--its divine freedom. This impetus from the darkness ofnature’s depths culminates in Trinitarian thinking, which moves in thatPlatonic, hyperuranian realm. Rightly or wrongly, though, Timaeus’question remains: "What has become of the fourth?" It has remained"below" as an heretical quaternity image or as the Hermetic tradition’sspeculation about natural philosophy.
I think with considerablesatisfaction of a medieval author (Gerard Dorn, mentioned above)--hewas an alchemist--who pursued this idea and criticized the quaternity,a concept handed down from earliest times in the tradition of his art. It occurred to him that the quaternity was a heresy, since theprinciple ruling the world consisted of a Trinity. The quaternity hadto come from the Devil, in other words. Four would be the double oftwo and the two was created on the second day of creation, a resultwith which God was apparently not completely satisfied. The binarius isthe devil of duality and--simultaneously--also the feminine. (In theEast as in the West, even numbers are feminine.) What was displeasingabout creations’ second day consisted apparently in the fact that onthis ominous day a duality was revealed in the nature of the Father,similar to that in Ahuramazda. From this duality in the Father’snature emerged the serpent, the quadricornutus serpens, which thereupon seduced an Eve who was changed because of her binarian nature. "Vir a Deo creatur, mulier a simia Dei."
The Devil is the ape and God’s aping shadow, Gnosticism’s antimimon pneuma.But he is the "Lord of this world" in whose shadow Man, too, is bornand with whose original sin Man is perishably encumbered. According tothe Gnostic view, Christ threw off the shadow with which he was bornand remained without sin. Through his sinless condition hedemonstrated his lack of contamination with the dark world ofnature-bound Man, which the latter attempted to shake off to no avail. ("Earth’s residue to bear / hath sorely pressed us," etc.) Theconnection to physis, the material world and its demands, is the causeof Man’s hybrid condition. On the one hand, he possesses the capacityfor enlightenment, but, on the other, he is subject to the "Lord ofthis world" ("Miserable being I; who will deliver me from the body ofthis death?"). Thanks to his sinless condition, Christ, by contrast,lives in the Platonic realm of the pure idea, which only Man’s thinkingcan attain, but not he, himself, in his totality. Strictly speaking,Man is the bridge that spans the chasm between "this world," the realmof the dark tricephalus, and the heavenly Trinity. Therefore, even inthe era of unconditional belief in the Trinity, there always existed asearch for the lost fourth--from the Greek Neopythagoreans to Goethe’s Faust.Although these searchers considered themselves Christians, they wereonly partial Christians in that they devoted their lives to an opus, which had as its goal the redemption of that serpens quadricornutus, that anima mundi ensnared in matter, and that fallen Lucifer. What lay hidden in matter for them was the lumen luminum, the sapientia Dei,and their task was a "gift of the Holy Ghost." Our quaternity formulasupports their claim, for the Holy Ghost, as the synthesis of theoriginal One and the split One, flows from a light and a dark source. "For in the harmony of wisdom, right and left powers are engaged," saysthe Acts of John.
The reader will havenoticed that in our quaternity schema, two equivalent elements crosseach other. On one side is the oppositional identity of Christ and hisadversary, while on the other is the unfolding of the Father’s unityinto the multiplicity of the Holy Ghost. The cross produced in thismanner is the symbol of the Godhead’s suffering that redeems humanity. This suffering could not have occurred and would not have had todemonstrate its effect on anything, had it not been for the presence ofa power opposing God--namely, this world and its lord. The quaternityschema recognizes this presence as an undeniable factor by laying thebonds of this world’s reality on Trinitarian thinking. Platonic,intellectual freedom makes possible no determination of totality, buttears the light part of the divine portrait loose from the dark half. This freedom was, in large part, a cultural phenomenon and the nobleroccupation of those fortunate Athenians to whose lot it fell not to beHelots. Only he can elevate himself above nature who has another tocarry earth’s heaviness for him. How would Plato have philosophizedhad he been his own house slave? What would Rabbi Jesus have taught,if he had had a wife and children to support? If he had had to tillthe fields in which the bread he broke grew, had had to weed thevineyard in which the wine he dispensed ripened? The dark heaviness ofearth belongs to the image of totality. In this world, nothing goodlacks an evil, no day a night, no summer a winter. But civilized Manmay lack a winter, for he can protect himself against the cold. He maylack the dirt, for he can bathe himself--the sin, for he can prudentlyseparate himself from other people and thereby avoid many an occasionfor evil. He can believe himself to be good and pure because necessitydoes not instruct him any differently. By contrast, natural Man has acompleteness that one can admire but there is actually nothing thereworth admiring: it is unending unconsciousness, mire and muck.
If, however, God wants tobe born as a human being and to unite humanity in the community of theHoly Ghost, he will suffer the terrible torment of having to bear theworld in its reality. It is a cross; yes, he himself is the cross. The world is God’s suffering and each individual human being who alsowishes to even approximate his own totality knows very well that thatmeans carrying a cross. But the eternal promise of bearing a cross isthe Paraclete.
These ideas are present with moving beauty and simplicity in the American Negro film Green Pastures.In the movie, God had governed the world for many years with curses,thunder, lightning, and floods, but it never prospered. Finally, herealized that he, himself, would have to become human to get to theroot of the evil.
After he had come to knowthe suffering of the world, this God become man left behind acomforter, the third person of the Trinity. He did so in order that hemight reside in many individuals, particularly in those who in no wayenjoyed the prerogative or possibility of a sinless condition. As theParaclete, God drew closer to real human beings and their darkness evenmore than he had as the Son. The light God stepped onto the bridge ofMan from the day side; God’s shadow, however, from the night side. Whowill decide this terrible dilemma that threatens to burst the miserablevessel with shudders and intoxications never before heard of? It willlikely be the manifestation of a Holy Ghost from Man himself. Just asonce Man became manifest from God, so, too, when the wheel comes fullcircle, may God become manifest from Man. Since, however, evilaccompanies every good in this world, the antimimon pneuma inMan will create a human self-deification from the inhabitancy of theParaclete. It will produce an inflation of self-presumptuousness, theprologue to which Nietzsche’s case has already outlined clearly. Themore unconsciously the religious problem of the future presentsitself, the greater is the danger for Man to misuse the divine core inhimself as laughable or demonic self-inflation. He should, instead,remain conscious of being nothing more than the stall in which the Lordwas born. Even on the highest peak, we will never be beyond good andevil, and the more we learn about the inextricable entanglement of goodand evil the more uncertain and confused our moral judgment willbecome. In the process, it will be of no use whatsoever to throw ourmoral criteria on the scrap heap and "erect new tablets" (followingfamiliar patterns). Just as in the past, so into all the future willwrongs committed--intended or considered--avenge themselves on ourpsyche, unmoved by whether the world revolves around us or not. Ourknowledge of good and evil has decreased with our increasing knowledgeand experience, and it will decrease still more in the future withoutour being exempted from ethical demands. In this most extremeuncertainty, we need the illumination of a Ghost to make us holy andcomplete, a Ghost that can be anything else, just not ourunderstanding. Thereby we hint at the mystery of inner experience, forwhich a capacity to touch more directly or consciously is denied us.