The Metaphor of the Magnetic North Pole and the Unconscious



Correcting the Guiding Function of the Unconscious


Thus the unconscious has a symbol-creating function only when we are willing to recognize in it a symbolic element.

The products of the unconscious are pure nature.

Naturam si sequemur ducem, nunquam aberrabimus, said the ancients.

But nature is not, in herself, a guide, for she is not there for man’s sake. Ships are not guided by the phenomenon of magnetism.

We have to make the compass a guide and, in addition, allow for a specific correction, for the needle does not even point exactly to the north.

So it is with the guiding function of the unconscious.

It can be used as a source of symbols, but with the necessary conscious correction that has to be applied to every natural phenomenon in order to make it serve our purpose.

Collected Works 10
Civilization in Transition
Paragraph 34

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