Erich Neumann Quotes

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There is no religion and no philosophy that can give us a comprehensive answer to the whole of our problems, and the abandonment and isolation of the individual who is given no answer, or only inadequate answers, to his question lead to a situation in which more and more cheap, obvious solutions and answers are sought and provided. As, everywhere and in all departments of life, there are contradictory schools and parties, and an equal number of contradictory answers, one of the most frequent reactions is that modern man ceases to ask questions and takes refuge in a conception that considers only the most obvious, superficial aspects, and becomes skeptical, nihilistic, and egocentric. Or, alternatively, he tries to solve all his problems by plunging headlong into a collective situation and a collective conviction, and seeks to redeem himself in this way.

-Erich Neumann


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Woman's fear of the female Self, of the experience of the numinous archetypal Feminine, becomes comprehensible when we get a glimpse - or even only a hint - of the profound otherness of female selfhood as contrasted to male selfhood. Precisely that element which, in his fear of the Feminine, the male experiences as the hole, abyss, void, and nothingness turns into something positive for the woman without, however, losing these same characteristics. Here the archetypal Feminine is experienced not as illusion and as maya but rather as unfathomable reality and as life in which above and below, spiritual and physical, are not pitted against each other; reality as eternity is creative and, at the same time, is grounded in primeval nothingness. Hence as daughter the woman experiences herself as belonging to the female spiritual figure Sophia, the highest wisdom, while at the same time she is actualizing her connection with the musty, sultry, bloody depths of swamp-mother Earth. However, in this sort of Self-discovery woman necessarily comes to see herself as different from what presents itself to men -as, for example, spirit and father, but often also as the patriarchal godhead and his ethics. The basic phenomenon - that the human being is born of woman and reared by her during the crucial developmental phases - is expressed in woman as a sense of connectedness with all living things, a sense not yet sufficiently realized, and one that men, and especially the patriarchal male, absolutely lack to the extent women have it. To experience herself as so fundamentally different from the dominant patriarchal values understandably fills the woman with fear until she arrives at that point in her own development where, through experience and love that binds the opposites, she can clearly see the totality of humanity as a unity of masculine and feminine aspects of the Self.

Erich Neumann
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Devaluation of the Earth, hostility towards the Earth, fear of the Earth: these are all from the psychological point of view the expression of a weak patriarchal consciousness that knows no other way to help itself than to withdraw violently from the fascinating and overwhelming domain of the Earthly. For we know that the archetypal projection of the Masculine experiences, not without justice, the Earth as the unconscious-making, instinct-entangling, and therefore dangerous Feminine. At the same time the projection of the masculine anima is mingled with the living image of the Earth archetype in the unconscious of man; and the more one-sidedly masculine man's conscious mind is the more primitive, unreliable, and therefore dangerous his anima will be. However, the Earth archetype, in compensation to the divinity of the archetype of Heaven and the Father, that determined the consciousness of medieval man, is fused together with the archaic image of the Mother Goddess. Yet in its struggle against this Mother Goddess, the conscious mind, in its historical development, has had great difficulty in asserting itself so as to reach its - patriarchal - independence. The insecurity of this conscious mind-and we have profound experience of how insecure the position of the conscious mind still is in modern man-is always bound up with fear of the unconscious, and no well-meaning theory "against fear" will be able to rid the world of this deeply rooted anxiety, which at different times has been projected on different objects. Whether this anxiety expresses itself in a religious form as the medieval fear of demons or witches, or politically as the modern fear of war with the State beyond the Iron Curtain, in every case we are dealing with a projection, though at the same time the anxiety is justified. In reality, our small ego-consciousness is justifiably afraid of the superior power of the collective forces, both without and within. In the history of the development of the conscious mind, for reasons which we cannot pursue here, the archetype of the Masculine Heaven is connected positively with the conscious mind, and the collective powers that threaten and devour the conscious mind both from without and within, are regarded as Feminine. A negative evaluation of the Earth archetype is therefore necessary and inevitable for a masculine, patriarchal conscious mind that is still weak. But this validity only applies in relation to a specific type of conscious mind; it alters as the integration of the human personality advances, and the conscious mind is strengthened and extended. A one-sided conscious mind, such as prevailed in the medieval patriarchal order, is certainly radical, even fanatical, but in a psychological sense it is by no means strong. As a result of the one-sidedness of the conscious mind, the human personality becomes involved in an equally one-sided opposition to its own unconscious, so that actually a split occurs. Even if, for example, the Masculine principle identifies itself with the world of Heaven, and projects the evil world of Earth outwards on the alien Feminine principle, both worlds are still parts of the personality, and the repressing masculine spiritual world of Heaven and of the values of the conscious mind is continually undermined and threatened by the repressed but constantly attacking opposite side. That is why the religious fanaticism of the representatives of the patriarchal World of Heaven reached its climax in the Inquisition and the witch trials, at the very moment when the influence of the archetype of Heaven, which had ruled the Middle Ages and the previous period, began to wane, and the opposite image of the Feminine Earth archetype began to emerge.

Erich Neumann
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If we are enveloped in images, we are also enveloped in forms, in spirit, which is nature, and in nature, which is spirit. Daily and continually we associate with this unified world of nature and spirit without knowing it. But only the person to whom this association has become clear understands what is meant when we talk of Sophia as a heightened and spiritualized earth. But this formulation is already distorted as well. The earth has not changed at all, it is neither heightened and spiritualized: it remains what is always was. Only the person who experiences this Earth Spirit has transformed himself, he alone is changed by it and has, perhaps, been heightened and spiritualized. However, he too remains what he always was and has only become, along with the earth, more transparent to himself in his own total reality. Here also we must differentiate between the reality of our total existence and the differentiating formulations of our consciousness. Certainly, our consciousness makes the attempt to separate a spiritual from a natural world and to set them in opposition, but this mythical division and opposition of heaven and earth proves more and more impracticable. If, in the process of integration, consciousness allies itself with the contents of the unconscious and the mutual interpenetration of both systems leads to a transformation of the personality, a return to the primordial symbolism of the myth ensues. Above and below, heaven and earth, spirit and nature, are experienced again as coniunctio, and the calabash that contains them is the totality of reality itself.

Erich Neumann
A Etimologia tentou separar duas rae­zes: de um lado a raiz-lua que, com men (lua) e mensis (mes) pertence a rae­z ma do sacrife­cio mas; e de outro, a raiz se¢nscrita manas, com menos (grego), mens (latim) etc., que representa o espirito por exceleªncia. Da raiz-espe­rito brota uma ampla ramificae§e£o de sentidos espirituais significativos: menos, espirito, corae§e£o, alma, coragem, ardor; menoinan, considerar, meditar, desejar; memona, ter em mente, pretender; mainomai pensar e tambem perder-se em pensamentos e delirar, a qual pertence mania, loucura, possesse£o e tambem manteia, profecia. Outros ramos da mesma raiz-espe­rito se£o menis, menos, raiva, menuo, indicar, revelar; meno, permanecer, demorar-se, manthano, aprender; menini, lembrar; e mentiri, mentir. Todas essas rae­zes-espe­rito originam-se de uma raiz original se¢nscrita Mati-h, que significa pensamento, intene§e£o. Em nenhum lugar, seja ele qual for, essa raiz foi colocada em oposie§e£o a raiz-lua, men, lua; mensis, mes; mas, que e ligado a ma, medir. Dessa raiz origina-se ne£o so matra-m, medida, mas tambem metis, inteligeªncia, sabedoria; matiesthai, meditar, ter em mente, sonhar; e, mais ainda, para nossa surpresa, verificamos que essa raiz-lua, pretensamente oposta a raiz-espe­rito, e da mesma maneira derivada da raiz se¢nscrita mati-h, significando medida, conhecimento. Em conseqe¼eªncia, a eºnica raiz arquete­pica subjacente a esses significados e espe­rito-lua, que se expressa em todas as suas ramificae§eµes diversificadas, revelando-nos assim sua natureza e seu significado primordial. O que emana do espe­rito-lua e um movimento emocional relacionado de perto com as atividades do inconsciente. Na erupe§e£o ativa e um espirito igneo: coragem, colera, possesse£o e ira; sua auto-revelae§e£o conduz a profecia, cogitae§e£o e mentira, mas tambem a poesia. Junto com essa produtividade ignea, no entanto, coloca-se outra atitude mais ' medida ' que medita, sonha, espera e deseja, hesita e se retarda, que se relaciona com a memoria e o aprendizado, e cujo efeito e a moderae§e£o, a sabedoria e o significado. Discutindo o assunto em outro lugar, mencionei, como uma atividade primaria do inconsciente, o Einfall, isto e, o pressentimento ou o pensamento que ' estala ' na cabee§a. O aparecimento de conteeºdos espirituais que penetram na conscieªncia com suficiente forca persuasiva para fascina-la e controla-la, representa provavelmente a primeira forma de emergeªncia do espirito no homem. Enquanto numa conscieªncia ampliada e num ego mais forte esse fator emergente e introjetado e concebido como uma manifestae§e£o pse­quica interna, no comee§o parece atingir a psique ' de fora ', como uma revelae§e£o sagrada e uma mensagem numinosa dos ' poderes ' ou deuses. O ego, ao experimentar esses conteeºdos como vindos de fora, mesmo quando os chama de intuitos ou inspirae§eµes, recebe o fene´meno espiritual esponte¢neo com a atitude caractere­stica do ego da conscieªncia matriacal. Porque ainda e verdade, como sempre foi, que as revelae§eµes do espe­rito-lua se£o recebidas mais facilmente quando a noite anima o inconsciente e provoca a introverse£o do que a luz brilhante do dia.

Erich Neumann
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