Category Archives: Collected Works Volume 8 – Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche

C.G. Jung: “Everyone knows nowadays that people ‘have complexes.’ What is not so well known… is that complexes can have us.”


C.G. Jung, On the Nature of Complexes


So far, I have purposely avoided discussing the nature of complexes, on the tacit assumption that their nature is generally known.

The word “complex” in its psychological sense has passed into common speech both in German and in English.

Everyone knows nowadays that people”have complexes.” What is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us.

The existence of complexes throws serious doubt on the naïve assumption of the unity of consciousness, which is equated with “psyche,” and on the supremacy of the will.

Every constellation of a complex postulates a disturbed state of consciousness.

The unity of consciousness is disrupted and the intentions of the will are impeded or made impossible.

Even memory is often noticeably affected, as we have seen. The complex must therefore be a psychic factor which, in terms of energy, possesses a value that sometimes exceeds that of our conscious intentions, otherwise such disruptions of the conscious order would not be possible at all.

And in fact, an active complex puts us momentarily under a state of duress, of compulsive thinking and acting, for which under certain conditions the only appropriate term would be the judicial concept of diminished responsibility.

from “The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche”; in Collected Works Volume 8, Paragraph 201 .


Carl Jung: “Complexes behave like independent beings”

    Let us turn first to the question of the psyche’s tendency to split. Although this peculiarity is most clearly observable in psychopathology, fundamentally it is a normal phenomenon, which can be recognized with the greatest ease in the projections made by the primitive psyche. The tendency to split means that parts of the… Click to continue

Carl Jung: “It frequently happens that the object offers a hook to the projection, and even lures it out.”

Carl Jung: The Hook of Projection   It frequently happens that the object offers a hook to the projection, and even lures it out. This is generally the case when the object himself (or herself) is not conscious of the quality in question: in that way it works directly upon the unconscious of the projicient.… Click to continue