CE: I propose that the first thing we address is two
essays by Jung and what they imply about an opposition between psychology
and art. In "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry," written
in 1922, Jung states that art and psychology cannot be compared. While he
acknowledges that they have close connections, and that the connections arise
from the fact that the practice of art is a psychological activity, he still
wants to keep them separate. He then makes a distinction between intentional
and spontaneous art, and sets forth these two categories as follows:
Intentional Art Spontaneous Art
Introverted An unconscious art, one that
A conscious art, one that does is supra-personal and
not challenge transcends understanding
In an essay written in 1929, "Psychology and Literature,"
Jung moreorless maintains these two categories, but expresses them in a terminology
more appropriate to his own psychological thinking:
Psychological Art Visionary Art
Art that nowhere transcends Art arising from primordial
the bounds of psychological experience, grotesque,
understanding. demonic, beyond historical
and mythological events.
In both essays, Jung clearly shows a preference for the spontaneous/ visionary category, and he seems to be proposing something incompatible between cogitative, planned activity and inspired, "seized" activityin fact, in the 1922 essay, he states that "as long as we are caught up in the process of creation, we neither see nor understand; indeed we ought not to understand, for nothing is more injurious to immediate experience than cognition."
My experience has been that Jung's oppositional categories are backed up by the majority of significant 20th century poetry. Few poets would use Jung's terminology, but most would participate in some form of oppositionalism, whether it is Dionysus vs. Apollo, Romantic vs. Classical, or experimental vs. traditional. The tendency is to believe that there is a kind of Blakean antinomy between the "prolific" and the "devouring," Devils vs. Angels, that is an essential aspect of poetry itself, and that this "war" is played out from generation to generation, with each side accusing the other of not really being what they propose to represent. While it may be that a yin/yang coherence of the new warring with the old is essential to imaginative movement, the poetic products always seem to be heavily indebted to one of the two sides.
Rainer Maria Rilke, who would be close to Jung's spontaneous/ visionary category, articulately defends what could be thought of as an anti-analytical and anti-revisionary position that is dependent upon an inspirational wind or angel sweeping through the poet. In a 1921 letter, he wrote, "I believe that as soon as an artist has found the living center of his activity, nothing is so important for him as to remain in it and never go further away from it (for it is also the center of his personality, his world) than up to the inside wall of what he is quietly and steadily giving forth; his place is never, not even for an instant, alongside the observer and judge." Now, this observer or judge is this the doctor, the psychologist, the man of science?
JH: Yes, I think so, but I also think that the notion of the psychologist as man of science/ observerI think that's where the trouble is. I think that psychologists have fallen into that. They have imagined themselves to be objective, outside critics. Or they have imagined themselves to be interpreters, or commentators, and in the scientific flow, even Freud was there. But the psychologist who is inside his own response is not necessarily outside either, and he is risking, and up against the wall, of his own place, I don't want to say center, but place.
CE: You mean that when Freud is working with Leonardo da Vinci, you think of him as doing primary, creative, imaginative work, even though he is responding to a previous text?
JH: Yes, and his genre is different, and his writing style is different. It's not effuse, it's not based on rhythm, it's not based on what I would call a poetic genre of writing, but there is poesis going on in it.
CE: Would you go so far as to agree with Jung's statement
in regard to what you've just said about Freud? I mean, where he says that
as long as were caught up in the process of creation, we neither see nor understand.
JH: I would not agree. Because I think Jung is sharing the same viewpoint as Rilke here. And I wouldn't agree with that. I would say that when you're in the midst of the process of I don't want to use the word "creation" either, it tends to get inflatedbut in the midst of writing, or speaking a poem, or whatever, let's just say writing, there is a seeing going on in the hand and in the heart, and in the eye, which is not the kind of seeing that Jung is talking about which is detached outside seeing, but the fingers have an eye in them. E-Y-E. An eye that knows to put this word and not that word and to cross that out suddenly and to jump to the next thing. That's all seeing. It's not blind. That's again a romantic sense that there's natural creativity and then there's detached scientific observation.
CE: The eyes are in the fingersmeaning, there is an organizing going on that is perhaps not rational in the sense that it would be used in the context of logic. But it is rational or coherent to the creative process itself.
JH: Absolutely! And I even believe, even in Nietzsche,
or in Goethe's Faust, which you could say are "spontaneous" in Jung's
language, extremely spontaneous, or without guilt, there is a built-in critical
learned tradition. It's not absent. Those are not simply effusions. Human
consciousness is built into their language, and it isn't even their
language. It's built into the language, perhaps, and their access to language
through learning. That's perhaps another side of the issue we're looking at.
I mean, it's not some sort of primordial effusion. It's terribly formed as
CE: So one way to approach the split is to think that the role of imaginational activity as associated with the poem has been too weighted on the side of the unconscious or of the effusion in which the poet is viewed as this kind of receptacle through whom the power moves, but who has, as it were, no control over the power. And then the psychologist is weighted too far, as he who is in control, he who is, as it were, judging the process, evaluating the process.
JH: Absolutely. In other words, the discussion has always used the terminology of a certain court model, which splits consciousness from unconsciousness, reason from unreason, creation from criticism, and I think it is, fundamentally, a romantic paradigm. And it puts great weight on access. That the poet is a special person who has access to this beyond. Therefore, the poet is put in the category with the insane, the child, and the primitive and, at one time, women. They all had special access to this beyond.
CE: Well, it is a very nifty way of containment. It's a way to applaud and view the poet on Parnassus at the same time that you can definitely say he is irresponsible, and has no real responsible relationship to what he is doing.
JH: It's a very nifty way both to condemn and praise.
CE: I'd like to keep the Rilke statement before us for a bit longer. It is not clear from his statement about the living center vs. the observer and judge, whether he would admit conscious, intentional shaping as a valid part of the creative process. Does he mean that the artist should not judge or observe his work while it is being created, or merely not assume the role of observer/judge when he is not creating? As you may know, Rilke had a deep- seated fear of correction. In 1912, when he was seriously considering Freudian analysis, he wrote to Lou Andreas-Salome: "I rather shun this getting cleared out and, with my nature, could hardly expect anything good of it. Something like a disinfected soul results from it, a monstrosity, alive, corrected in red like the page of a school notebook." While Rilke did not appear to mind if analysis exorcised his "devils"thinking of them as neurotic habits, I guess, rather than as chthonic powershe feared that the loss of his angels would mean that he would stop writing altogether.
His desire to stay at what he calls "the living center of his activity" must have involved a lot of observation and judgment. In fact, his concentrated, relentless effort to organize his entire life around his art seems to oppose what would otherwise be considered a highly romantic position. It is as if with great planning and rationality, Rilke built a wall around himself, entered this temenos, and then waited, refusing to act creatively unless he was acted upon, "seized," as it were, by one of his angels.
Another point: Freudian analysis in Rilke's day seems to have regarded creativity as being analogous to pathological processesin fact, while not reductive in the way that Freud can be (seeing images as cover-figures or concealments of basic personal life experience), Jung himself states in the 1922 essay: "The divine frenzy of the artist comes perilously close to a pathological state." If Rilke believed that Freud believed that works of art were an expression of human pathology, he was probably smart to stay away from analysis.
JH: Now, Clayton, we can't take seriously this "divine frenzy" ideal I know that authority from Plato through Jung argues for it. I know it still appears in notions of the artist as shaman or medicine-man for the tribe, or the artist in league with the devil as in Mann's Doctor Faustus. But these words "divine" and "frenzy" have to be unpacked because they come loaded with unconscious Protestant theology, where divine means some glossolaic trance state descending from the Wholly Other (Rudolph Otto), and where "frenzy" means madness, pathology, instead of what it might once have meant when Gods were present in the actual world, in Rilke's sense, and not only present in subjective states of possession. "Divine frenzy" then, and now, could mean something far different from Jung's "pathological state." It could mean very close participation with or immersion in actual realityreality as the radiance of the actual world rather than the descent of inspiration from another world or lifting off to another world. Besides, we have to unpack these words in regard to Jung himself, autobiographically, his anxiety regarding Nietzsche, Dionysus and Wotan. I examined this complex very closely in a paper published in the book I edited called Facing the Gods, and you can see in that paper how Jung's division regarding art and psychology parallels his division in himself between personality Number One and personality Number Two. Nietzsche, Dionysus and Wotan as well as the artist, the shaman and the madman are all possibilities of personality Number Two. You see, the entire structure in which Jung casts his life, let's say the narrative of his self-diagnosis, is also the structure he uses to view the artist. Pat worked this out in great length in her study of Jung's buried aesthetics, and we shall have to come back to it with her later. That really is her subject: aesthetics or poetics in relation to psychology.
CE: Let's go on then with Freud and Rilke There is good evidence that Rilke's masterpiece, the Duino Elegies, was begun by the poet's despair that should he call out for divine aid, no angel would hear him. The entire work opens: "Who if I cried out would hear me among the angels' hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence." This suggests that if the artist feels that his chosen position, as it were, has abandoned him, he will move to the opposite pole and, like Rilke, set himself on fire by attacking the betraying angel.
All this leads me to believe that we must re-imagine the psychology of cognition, bricolage and inspiration. Perhaps we could begin to do so by asking why Jung insisted on a dichotomy. Was he basing his theories on Classical vs. Romantic "ideals" as manifest in particular works of art, or was he saying something about human sensibility and the extent to which it is creatively limitedthat there is something about "us" that experiences creativity as an either/or situation?
After stating that in the process of creation we neither see nor understand, Jung goes ahead to write: ". . . for the purpose of cognitive understanding we must detach ourselves from the creative process and look at it from the outside; only then does it become an image that expresses what we are bound to call 'meaning.' " Clearly, he is referring only to "spontaneous" or "visionary" art here (and by implication relegating his other kind of art to a very secondary role). Jung's statement strongly suggests that an artist does not know what his activity signifies while he is doing it. I think this is nearly always partially but only partially truethe "muse" of Picasso's "Guernica" was a squad of German bombers (when asked by some German officers, standing before the canvas, "Did you do this?" he is said to have replied, "No, you did")but I think it is fair to assume that throughout the process of doing the painting, Picasso was aware of the significance of what he was creatinghe may not have had an accurate sense as to what extent the world was going to consider it significant, but the fact that its execution was in part a response to a horrible event "out there" creates an immediate field of meaning.
JH: I think Jung's emphasis on the Spontaneous takes aim at those who reduce a poem or painting to an external field of meaningthose German Stuka Bombers. The field of meaning "out there" is always part of the context from which a dream, a poem, or anything flows, but that field of meaning is not the cause, or the substance, or the meaning of the dream, poem etc. Psychology often misses this point in practice. It either literalizes the Spontaneous and cuts off an event from any external field of meaning or it literalizes the field of meaning and reduces the event to it. Spontaneous has to be understood not literally, but spontaneous within a specific image or context in which the spontaneity appears. Appears here, and only here, and not somewhere else.
CE: Jung also places strong emphasis on "the primordial" when he discusses "Visionary" art. It is "a primordial vision which surpasses man's understanding . . . it arises from timeless depths; it is foreign and cold, many- sided, demonic and grotesque . . . it suggests the abyss of time separating us from pre-human ages . . . " I find this definition to be very troublesome; in fact, I do not know how I could accommodate it to most of the poetry I consider to be visionary, because regardless of the extent of the prophetic activity, it is anchored in the anguish of its own times and is, to varying degrees, an imaginative adjustment, or a reaction, against thwarted desire. It appears as if Jung only regarded art of the considerable past when he made his comments about psychology and art, or that there is something inherently distancing in both of his defined artistic categories. To separate the intentional from the spontaneous, or the psychological from the visionary, is to draw a line down the center of much art that participates in all four modes. It seems to be ultimately undermining to the creative process, and in effect subordinates the artist to the observer or judge. Each "type," for Jung, is incomplete, and two incompletes do not add up to a single "whole" artist. It is not only a curious way of exalting and castrating the artist at the same time, but it performs the same kind of elevation/subordination on the work of the psychologist or "judge." His compensation for not being primordially creative is to be seen as a healthy, wise, responsible citizen, empowered with the right to extend or deny significance.
JH: I seem to be trapped into opposing Jung, yet I can't help feeling annoyed by this word "primordial." Am I hanging on words? Why do I dislike "primordial"probably because it brings with it all those half-thought-through Darwinian assumptions, cavemen as apemen, developmental history toward the light, and the notion of ourselves as refined, effete, weak-kneed dilettantes making up ineffectual trivia with our minds while deep underneath in the past or in the soul lies grunting primordial truth. This notion of "primordial" leads to an effusionist notion of art, art production based on an altered state of consciousness. Laudanum, absinthe, gin, LSD, cocaine. But what about art as craft, art in cultures where there is no "art" as we call it, where there are only chants made for rituals, objects made for eating, where there is exquisitely complicated dancing, bodypainting and masking? These cultures are also "primordial," and yet not merely wild, savage or volcanic. Isn't it told that the people of Bali, for instance, when asked about their "art," reply by saying they don't know what that is; they simply make things as well as they can. No effusion or inspiration here, maybe no novelty either, but at least the everyday and the Gods, the ordinary and the beautiful are not divided from each other. So I prefer "primordial" to mean essential or irreducible. So, a painting by Edward Hopper of a gas-station or a cafeteria at night is so exactly irreducible to anything beyond itself, so descriptive of the despairing American soul (which is both its referent and not its referent) that A is careful, almost mathematical, image is primordial because it is essential.
CE: How would this sense of the primordial as exactly crafted and irreducibly essential certainly a sense very different from Jung's "archaic" or "primitive" or "undifferentiated" meaning of the wordaffect your practice?
JH: Practice of writing or practice of analysis?
CE: Analysis with patients.
JH: It saves me from prejudicially valuing the wild man or the tiger above the media commentator or the spaniel. You see, "deep" does not have to be equated with archaic. Low and basic do not have to mean primitive. Depth can appear by digging down into an ordinary feeling and ordinary event.
CE: The tiger and the wild man do have a terrifying power which some might think was primordial in its impact.
JH: O, sure. But in therapy so can the spaniel have this impact when you recognize yourself as a fawning, tail-wagging puppy. Sometimes it's easier to feel yourself a tiger, with all that so-called primoridal power. You see, in therapy, the moves one makes with a symbolic image rather than the inherent meanings of the symbol are where the power lies. Isn't it the same for poetry, too? Aren't there marvelously primordial poems with red wheelbarrows and jars on hills and terrible poems with wild men and tigers?
CE: I get your point, but frankly I only know one fine red wheelbarrow poem,a so-so Tennessee jar poem, and a great tyger poem. There is certain oppositionalism that creeps into your mild vs. savage examples. Ideally, I would like to have poems in which wild men pushed wheelbarrows filled with jars and tigers through the hills.
Perhaps we should consider to what extent "access" and "the beyond' are terms that hold up under scrutiny. W. H. Auden has argued that the loss of belief in the eternity of the physical universe, including a loss of belief in the significance and reality of sensory phenomena, have made an artistic vocation more difficult that it used to be. "The beyond" may be a booby prize for those who have lost contact with what is at handor as Charles Olson tried to drive home via Heraclitus: Man is estranged from that with which he is most familiar. It is as if at a certain point in his history man left the thing at hand to quest for immortality, and when that pursuit was revealed to be empty, he was left with the thing at hand, the soul of which had withered from being untended for so long. We now live in a world with a broken beyond and a plastic cup, and one reason that you and I are talking here is because of this. We both seek to lift the essential up through the consumer film and work with it in imagination without vatic inflation
Because the poet no longer performs a useful function in society, he is to a great extent parked to the side in a playpen where he can dream and say anything. If his writing is entertaining, he is occasionally picked up and carried about in adult arms for a little soul titillation. But the serious poet is not entertaining. He is still involved, as I believe you are, with attempting through sounding his own adhesion and estrangement to engage reader or hearer. Unlike the psychologist, however, his address is more elliptical harder to get hold of, because he proceeds associationally instead of logically. I think it is a proven fact that an educated person could grasp a good deal of one of Jung's lectures art literature and psychology but that the same person would be lost on a first or second hearing of The Waste Land On the other hand, your writing in, say, "Blue and the Unio Mentalis" which was appropriately published in Sulfur magazine, tends to engage associational, or paratactical alignments, so that the argument slides, or moves sideways as it moves forward.
One of the reasons that poets and psychologists have been out of touch due to due to the poet's lack of psychological sophistication. From the Romantic viewpoint, such sophistication would be suspect, because the moment of inspiration is absolute and not to be understood by the poet who is to ion like a gate (or radio, in Jack Spicer's modern version), through which the poem rushes. I know the thrill, or the bony certainty, of absolute address, and I am tempted, when it occurs, to believe it is the truth, hat it should not be tampered with, regardless of how it looks a week scrutinizable is to regard it as mortal, changeable, capable of error, revisable. I think that possibly poets who assert the absolute truth of inspired address do so because they do not want to deal with what other aspects of their mind tells them has occurred at the inspired moment. In that sense, they could be considered Psychologically irresponsible.
In his 1929 formulation, Jung puts the poet in an impossible situation: if his writing is psychological, meaning if it remains within the bounds of psychological intelligibility, it is, by the way the definition is set up, inferiora kind of poeticized psychology, versified discourse. If on the other hand, it, is visionary, arising out of "Primordial experience which surpasses mans understanding," who can possibly care about it? It may be worshipped by a handful of people, who will pass it around like a chunk from outer space, people who adore unintelligibility as an end in itself, and if there are enough "followers," over the years a critical "house" will be built for it, and it will enter the canon as one of the diamonds in the national literary tiara.
I realize that by putting it this way, I am on the verge of saying that because a Blake was not understandable to virtually anyone for at least 100 years after his death, that he is solely responsible. Much of Blake now appears to be understandable and visionary, so that possibility must be kept openthat art which surpasses contemporary understanding can be judged unintelligible for reasons that have little to do with its value. Because it offends taste and style, say, people may claim that it is unintelligible.
JH: Let's set aside the word psychological for a moment and just talk about the responsibility of the poet. To what is he responsible? Is he not responsible to the poem? Or responsible to receiving, getting out of the way of what Robert Duncan might call "the angels and the demons?" So that he isn't in the way of that, doesn't disturb that, but lets it come through well? Doesn't the poet sense a responsibility in the act of his work?
CE: Getting out of the way of the angels and demons and being responsible to the poem is fine as long as it does not mean a cessation of thinking. To use your image, it means insisting that the angels and demons emerge from the midnight murkiness of the corner of the studio and allow their teeth and messages to be checked out. I believe that there should be a constant critical pressure applied to irrational message. However, if you are arguing that one reason poems fail is because the speaker has foregrounded himself at the expense of imaginational activity, I agree. Then the poem takes on very small grounds and finally only becomes the poet's "scene," e.g., a description of something that he once didand for him to offer this as his experience is not enough.
JH: Certainly not enough. But I say it is comparable with ego-psychology. It's comparable with the reduction of the extraordinary that goes on in a dream, and in a life, to my personal experience of it. And psychology, for the most part, today is comparable then with poetry for the most partit teaches you to do that. That's what a psychological training is supposed to do, is to turn the imaginal richness of the psyche into your own personal account of it. So you lose the archetypal dimension, you lose what you call the imaginational activity. You lose the whole sense of the gods in art in your life. And the focus is on "me," not on the gods. When Rilke keeps turning us back, when he says to get inside your own experience, he doesn't mean it in the subjectivist modern sense of inside your own ego experience. Inside your own experience is focused on the giving back. Because your experience, as I try to say too, in what I write, is not yours, it is the soul's, and the soul is inherently related to the gods, so that being in the center of your experience is not being in the center of what we commonly call "my" experience. The "my" is sort of "ausgehoben" (lifted out, removed).
CE: I was talking with Rosemary, the woman who picked me up at the [Dallas] airport the other day. She was asking me questions such as "What is your experience of yourself in the poem?" I made a distinction between the fictive or imaginational "I" in contrast to the autobiographical "I," and suggested that the freedom for any "I" to appear in the poem, for there to be a shifting sense of "I" that does not lock into an autobiographical frame, was one way to approach the experience of oneself in the poem. The image I offered her, colored by my involvement with Upper Paleolithic cave paintings of animals, went like this: I am in the driver's seat, I initiate the poem as driver, but as the poem gets under way, there is a sense of being outside and almost, to stir the metaphor, of running with an animal, say, through a field, so while it is clearly CE sitting in his room doing the writing, there is the sense that the less I interfere, in other words, it is like having this animal bounding ...
JH: That's a wonderful image. Wonderful. That's marvelous. And you don't want to lose touch with the animal by making wrong moves of your own. So, your self-consciousness is focussed on keeping-in-touch. Isn't that why one says, right in the middle of writing something, "O, I've lost it. It's gone." By this I mean I've lost touch with that leaping, bounding (or burrowing) animal. I do believe this is what we mean when we say we've lost our concentration. The nose is on a scent, tracking, and all of a sudden, the track is gone. This keeping on the track, or what's called concentration is one focus of self- consciousness. It's a dim awareness,of honing, of direction, of attentiveness. But it's not will. It's not willing concentration yourself to the track as if it is my personal intention to squeeze out of myself just what I want to say in this paragraphalthough that kind of self-consciousness can come in too. Sometimes, losing the track may simply be picking up on a cross scent. Another animal lures the line of thought into another part of the forest. This feels like a distraction, dis-track-shun, and just here still another kind of self-consciousness appears: oscillating between two ways to pursue. Then, there's another kind of self-consciousness or dim awareness. To do with rhythm or beat. To do With form. I feel what I am writing is getting too long or wordy. This kind of focus is on the overall fantasy of the piece as a whole. It is very much in my mind when I write somethingthat it not break out of the the dimension of the piece. I think this is the psychological experience of what Aristotle called unity. Probably this sense of unity makes You know when a piece ends, when it is over. How do you know when it's over?
CE: Difficult. I often over- or under-write. I don't have any solution to that question. There can be a certain let-down, a pointless distraction, suddenly I realize that for the past minute I have been staring out the window. The being- with-the-poem is intense enough that I can understand why Jung would make the statement about not understanding or seeing while one is in the creative task. I would assert that there is a seeing and understanding going on in my writing that is different than my not seeing you if you walked by the window while I was writing. I occasionally have the experience of Caryl being away from the house, and when she reappears, and I hear the front door open, or she will say hello, I'll stop writingbut that will always be in the case of a first draft being written out when I have no idea where it is to go, or end. Even though the thing has not come to conclusion, I will look at it again later and often realize that the energy terminated at that point.
JH: Conclusion is one of the important things in Duncan, and Charles Olson, this realizing that the poem doesn't come to a conclusion.
CE: To pick up again the image of the poem-in-process as an animal--it evokes a passage in the 1922 essay, where he writes: "We would do well to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche. In the language of analytical psychology this living thing is an autonomous complex. It is a split-off portion of the psyche, which leads a life of its own outside the hierarchy of consciousness." How would you respond to this?
JH: Let me hear some more.
CE: Jung goes ahead to say that this psychic formation remains "subliminal until its energy charge is Sufficient to carry it over the threshold into consciousness." Apparently, his use of the word "consciousness" here is an artistically cogent one, and not that "consciousness" whose assistance the artist does not need in achieving his purposes. Can you clarify this?
JH: No, I can't, or I don't want to try. "Consciousness" is such a fuzz word. I can't understand what goes on while writing by using psychodynamic terms. These physical metaphors of "energy," "threshold," "sufficient "(quantity)" don't say anything to me. But the phrase, "leads a life of its own outside the hierarchy," gives me an image of a living complex, a daimon or animal, with whom I must keep in touch for anything alive to be written at all. Translations into psychodynamic conceptswhich, by the way, aren't psychological but are rather abstractions from the physics of electricity (poles, negative and positive, thresholds, resistance, energy)are not phenomenological. They aren't speaking to the psyche in the psyches own imagery and language. They aren't even empirical, though they persuade us into believing we are empirical because the language is borrowed from the empirical science of electrical engineering. I may have interrupted your thought, but this passage you quoted from Jung just gets in the way of the animal-tracking metaphor.
CE: The question also arises as to what makes the so-called energy charge sufficient to carry it over, meaning, I think, to make the artist begin to apply himself to a new project, or more precisely, to activate the kind of fantasies that delight or unsettle him to the extent that he begins to actively work with them. Duncan provides an interesting example of the eruption of a physical charge into an imaginative one, when in his essay "Man's Fulfillment in Order and Strife," he writes: "'Up Rising' [a poem in Bending the Bow, 1968] belongs not only to the political cast of the day but also to the imagination of Man and his time that I address in the series without end ["Passages"] to which the poem belongs. Riding the wave at once of my own high blood pressurea physical disorder I was ignorant of at the time but to which the poem clearly refersand of my outrage in the 'high blood pressure' attack of the American government upon Viet Nam ... riding the wave of my outrage I saw Johnson as the demotic leader, unleashing into action and moved by the secret evil of American karma as Hitler or Stalin had impersonated the evil karma of Germany or Russia."
In Duncan's context, his rising blood pressure cathects a "duende" of interior inspiration that brings his sense of outer rage into an inner rage of body and soul. Do you feel that this is an accurate example of Jung's formulation?
JH: But, Clayton, do we have to imagine the uprising as a transformation of energy? From physical to imaginational? Can't we also imagine the uprising as a sympathy, a concord, a concurrence of various uprising autonomies which include high blood pressure, the US high over Vietnam, the uprising of outrage, and the inspiration of this poem in its coming?
CE: Of course Jim, but "uprising autonomies" seems as conceptual, if that is what is bothering you about "transformation of energy," which is actually your own twist of Jung's statement, as the latter term. My point was to inquire if Jung's terminology made sense to you, and to see if Duncan's own description of the writing of 'Up Rising," which gives as prime sources physical illness and outrage, was a meaningful example. Your response seems to want to place the emphasis on the mental autonomies"over the physical. My experience as a man who writes poetry has been that my use of my body is a huge component in restricting or amplifying the fantasies and, yes, concurrences, that I am given to work with as a writer.
A primary example would be the discharge of orgastic energy and consequent hallucinations, which has led me to believe that a thorough physical sexual expression stimulates, rather than restricts, my imagemaking capacity, and that there is a kind of "antiphonal swing" between sexual flow and imaginative flow. As you know, I am a Reichian initiate, and I spent two years in orthodox Reichian therapy in the late 60s because my sexual rigidity up to that point had seemed to be the cause of much of my misery and inability to do what I wanted to as a writer. It may be hard to believe now, but at the time I left Indiana in 1961 I believed, on the basis of a bewildering Protestant upbringing, that sexual activity stole from creative activity. To develop this material at this point would probably be too much of a detour, but it seems to me that Jung's term "energy charge" is an essential consideration, a term that needs to be scrutinized as much as "primordial" or "divine frenzy." I am convinced that there is a sexual alchemy at work, for better or for worse, in what I make as an artist.
JH: There is a lot of literature on sexual practices; Tantric etc. This is a very widespread fantasy, but I wouldn't take it literally. The psychological question I would put to you, or anyone who makes direct connections between physical sex and poetic images, is: what is this fantasy doing for you? Why does it help you to write? And write what? What specific kinds of fantasies occur in relation to orgasm that are different from fantasies at other times? And what are your fantasies about orgasm? Reich had lots of them which Reichians consider to be not fantasies but theories. You see, I would be exploring the actual pragmatic way these fantasies work in regards to both your sexual life and your poetic life rather than be discussing whether you have a valid hypothesis about energy transformations. I would be exploring the rhetoric of the idea rather than validating the idea.
CE: Why don't we continue our discussion, then, concerning the act of writing itself, bearing in mind Jung's troubling claim that while we are doing so we neither see nor understand.
JH: Neither see nor understand. And the process, one doesn't ask how to conclude the poem, one asks when does the process come to its resolution? I am thinking now about parallels, not with my own writing, which is rather similar in a way, except probably I am struggling with external forms more. I have a 40 minute lecture to give, or I have a 2 hour lecture to give, or I have this audience to address, and that is one of the conditions that goes into the work. That gives it certain conclusions, certain places of closings, so it isn't only the process.
CE: So, you're suggesting that you must be aware of your so-called audience at the same time that you're writing your lecture?
JH: Partly, yes.
CE: Do you see this as a distraction?
JH: No, I see it as a part of the grain of the wood that I'm working on. Part of the given of the material. To whom I'm talking, when I've got to get it done. Those, so-called external conditions are part of a formative, a causa formalis, even the causa materialis, part of the material I have to work with, this fantasy audience, so this language is going to be involved.
CE: You wouldn't see that as a negative term, then?
CE: I had in mind the comment that you made at one point in Inter Views, of what seems to be the problem of understanding relative to intelligibility, and I was wondering if there would be, you see, in terms of the poem, I would think that if I thought of you, and of your understanding of what I was doingwhile I am working on the poemIs Jim going to get this? How is this going to sound to Hillman, then somehow I'm off.
JH: OK. Stay there just a second. Somehow you're off. And yet many poems are written with another person in mind, dedicated to, and not just the dedication put in at the end... I'm thinking of... Well, maybe You don't regard ... I don't know who you like, as poets, who you don't
CE: Use anyone.
JH: but Edith Sitwell just came into my mind. So many poems have that fantasy figure, fantasy audience, as part of the poem. That again has to do with the thing not being blind. But the poem is also social, communication, relation, love.
CE: I Would say that the more I am in touch with this imaginative process the more faith I have that there will be something called communication other words, I am not against the idea of an audience, that there is a reader "out there," but I feel that if I think of you, take you into Consideration while writing that this represents a distraction.
JH: You know, Clayton, that's absolutely true. And there's just two ways, two sides of the same thing, and both are true. When I write for Eranos which is usually when I try to do something over a long period, it takes me many months to write those two hours. Only two hours. It takes me months. And I always imagine that I'm writing you can tell David Miller and others when you write your Eranos paper, you're speaking to the dead. You're writing for the dead. You're writing to the tradition. You're not writing to the people sitting in that room. When you start thinking of them, and there is a communication to keep didactic or anything of that sort, you're finished. And you have to write in such a way that you'll never be invited back again. Because it won't be understood. So you're writing to the tradition.
CE: You're writing to the chairs.
JH: Yes, you're writing to the tradition, you're writing to the chairs, you're writing to the lecturers who aren't there any more, like Corbin, or you're writing to the dead. Now, so there I agree with you. You can't think of somebody special living, will he get it. And yet, there is also something very importantfor me it's importantthe urge for clarity, the urge for the right word, the urge for a rhythm that will carry the thing along, the condensations, all of that is partlyI can't distinguish between getting it right and getting it right for where it's placed. The so-called audience.
CE: It occurs to me that both the psychologist and the poet have two audiences: the living and the dead. In a recent poem of mine, an unidentified voice says to both the reader and the author: "Forget the orchestra / conduct the pit." We are both, when we are imaginatively alive, conductors of the pit. We try to snake-charm its depths, to draw up figures that will sway in rhythm to our own processes. In this sense, what a conventional lecturer might consider his audience, we think of as chairs, the dead, the pit. But I think we have living audiences too: in your case I wonder if you have not considered your patients this way, for in therapy you cannot just address the chair someone is sitting upon, but the person himself who is constantly redirecting the conversation. I know to think of a patient as your audience may seem strange, and I do not mean to imply that the patient is passive and you are active, but that as you exchange you also pour yourself forth to another there, who has filled the emptiness of the Eranos chair. We are linked by Blakes: "The most sublime act is to set another before you." Meaning that not only is this a profoundly human gesture, to place another before oneself, but that the presence of the other, another, sublimates the speaker, makes him consider before speaking in a way he would not have to if he were speaking to himself. f. My "living audience" is my wife, Caryl. I have no audience in a literal, Popular sense, and consider that to be a blessing as well as a curse. But because Caryl goes over everything I write, querying everything she finds confused, after I have started a piece of writing and before I finish it on MY own, I know that her presence and her words are entangled with my own.
JH: My relation with Pat is very different. I don't want her or anyone anywhere to see anything of a main piece I may be working on. While I'm working on it, and until it is deliveredor finally typed upit's "secret, cunning and exile." Probably I'm too heroic, or I'm under the fear of influence. I do consult with Pat, or maybe a friend, about a particular thought that I can't get straight, or where I feel blocked in a particular passage. During those moments of consultation I feel terribly vulnerable. The work seems terribly fragile and I feel myself at the edge of both a crazy excitement about it and despair over how confused and inadequate it is. In other words, I am utterly too close to it: I'm inside my own text.
But you asked me about the patient as audience. Many times a patient is "not there," the patient is "merely" audience to what begins to speak in me to it. This "it" being the dream, the question, the situation, or whatever we are in. These impersonal unaddressed moments are some of the best moments (at least for me) during an analysis because I am hearing things I never said quite so lucidly before. Maybe the patient hears them, but they are only partly addressed to him or her. They are addressed really below to the patient's underworld. You can say this is my schizoid nature or you can say this sort of indirect address, which might be like the persona of the author rather than the biographical author, is necessary for freeing the imagination. Some patients provide better audiences for these riffs. They are not directed at the patient but they are evoked by the patient, in relation with the patient, and are very much focussed upon what the patient is concerned with -the dream, the question, the situation. Still, the pronouns "you" and "yours" are not the form of address. Perhaps this independent imaginative intervention is the voice of the "outside" psychological observer in the best sense. Outside no longer literally only outside.
CE: I see we are still working over the Rilkean observer and judge. In my case, it would be possible for someone such as Caryl to become judge or doctor. But I think of her more as a kind of dialogic middle, in the process of writing the poemI would like to think that I have overcome Rilke's "objection" by bringing her into the "creative center."
JH: But there's another person there, isn't there?
CE: Yesat crucial points.
JH: There's nothing you do by yourself.
CE: I do write pieces from time to time that need no revision. I show it to Caryl and she agrees. On another level, it is questionable if any artist does his work by himself, even in his most inspired moments. There has been no original art since the Upper Paleolithic, or around 32,000 BC. All of us are crawling with grandfathers and grandmothers not only when we are sitting writing, but when we are thinking about what we are writing, or dreaming, or chopping zucchini. However, again, the emphasis on the artist as his own solitary master is especially understandable now. We live in an age in which hardly anyone is responsible for what he makes, so the fantasy that the artist is one of the few remaining "workers" who is responsible for his own "product" attracts many young people to the arts. Who wants to be condemned to a life of meaningless labor?
JH: Of courseI follow that. I've been trying to make references while we've been talking back to the practice of analysis, not the practice of writing. What goes on in the room when you are sitting there. And I think most of these alternatives (and there are probably others too) come into the analytical room, especially the one of being a scientific detached judge/critic/observer. Certainly that is a favorite stance one takes in being an analyst. But it is not the only story at all. There's also the talking from that place that Rilke is talking about, where you're absolutely inside the image, or inside the emotion or complex that's in the room with the two of you, maybe it's come out of a dream, maybe it has just come out of sitting there and what is said is very free. And now: is it blind?
CE: Is what is said blind?
JH: Yes, are we where Jung said you don't know what you're saying and you don't see what you're doing? I don't think that's the case. I think it's very much like I said. Your fingers have eyes in them. And when you're reacting emotionally and imaginatively to the dream, you are doing the same thing as Rilke is talking about. There is a poesis. You are making a whole new construction, which is not an interpretation. It's a new construction that's closer, let's say, to what you do when you translate. You're taking the text that the patient has brought in, or that the other poet has written in Spanish or French, and you're producing a new poem.
CE: A new poem inasmuch as the Spanish poem was not in English beforebut not a new poem in the sense that I have the freedom to rearrange the original poem in English so as to include my sense of its meaning. As a translator, I see myself as a servant, carrying the Vallejo dish from the Peruvian Room to the North American Room. You are suggesting that translation is a highly interpretative activity, that one might even consider it to be an activity in which "a whole new construction" is at stake. As a translator, I find myself constantly guarding against offering an improvement of a line, or an explanation of something instead of stating it as adamantly as the original has.
JH: Fine, but let's get rid of that word "interpretation," and maybe even "translation." For the moment, that isn't what I want to do with this dream that is coming. I don't want to interpret the dream. I want to talk to the dream, talk about the dream, restate the dream, imagine from the dream, but I don't mean a free-floating fantasy. And I sure don't mean a bunch of subjective reactions and feelings and associations: "This makes me think of . . ." You are there, I believe, to respond to the dream, and that forces you to stick pretty close to it, much as you have to do with a poem that you are translating. The dream is your master, let's say. It provides the limits, the discipline. What you say to it is in service of the dream. Yet, all along the response comes from the imagination. It is an imaginative response. Is that really so different from what you do when you translate?
CE: Noin the sense you propose I am under the charge of the foreign text as you are under charge of the dream. What you say to the dream, however, is what the dream imaginatively evokes from you. I have no dialogic response to the text. It would be as if you had to say a patient's dream back to him in Russian and not let any interpretation creep in. This alas is also not quite sofor no matter how hard I fight interpretation in translating poetry, every time that a foreign word has more than one denotation, I must interpretthat is, I must choose. When Vallejo uses the Spanish word "casco"which can mean skull, helmet, potsherd, or rindI must represent "casco" by one of those four possibilities in English. I have to eliminate the rich density of the original word. What do you do with a patient who comes to you with a "casco" dream?
JH: Well, we have the opportunity, you see, of touching all of that, the Potsherd, and the helmet; and playing with the word, and playing with associations, so density builds up through the hour. A great deal of woven density. But even as I'm talking now, I'm beginning to feel how this is going to be heard by people who think we just sit in there and play back and forth with this word and that word and it could be this and could be that; it becomes airy fantasies, fantastical, isn't that a curious pun on that word and so on. That isn't what it is! No. Not at all. There's something More intense , and formed, based on almost a vision. Here we are close to Duncan and you and Rilke. I think that if the psychoanalyst can admit that what happens in him when a dream is released by a patient, that this evokes almost a vision, not necessarily of the patient, but of a response to that dream, then he, the psychoanalyst, would realize he is really practicing a sort of poetry, or art form. So, I even want to go so farI know I can hear the criticisms coming in but I'm now in Rilke's place, close to that wallthat the analyst's response is a poetic response.
CE: Can we take that a bit further? Why is it a poetic rather than psychological response?
JH: Because he, the analyst, sees something, and is evoked and called by what he sees to enunciate it. And to articulate it as well as he can, and as clearly as he can, and as compellingly as he can. That very important. It's a rhetorical problem, even; how to speak to or from what he sees. Now I hear my colleagues saying, "For Christ's sake, that's your countertransference trying to persuade or suggest to the patient, and you're not at all objective, and you're not at all scientific, and you're not at all detached, and you're not at all letting the patient do or find his or her own way. You are putting your own trip on the patient." Now I'm saying to those colleagues, that isn't true. They are seeing all things too subjectively and personalistically. To put it sharply, I think they see the images as personally belonging to the patient and I see the patient as belonging to the images. What does Wallace Stevens say? "In images, I am. . . ." Something like thator is it: "man is his images"? It's much like Jung's saying that psyche is image. These quotes aren't accurate, but they help make the point: the dream is a set of images. And these images, like the images in an art gallery hanging on the wall, spark off an imaginative response that is erotic, aesthetic, poetic . . . so my interpretations, if they are good ones, will have this erotic, aesthetic, poetic touch to them, and their purpose will be to open the imagination in the images, or the imagination of the patient to the images. All the while both of us are feeling the autonomy of the images, as if the dream were hanging on the wall, out there. Now of course that isn't all we do during an hour of therapy. There's a lot of other stuff you do in therapy, lots of other sorts of talk, lots of other things to feel and value, but this response to the images is the most intense part, I suppose, and somehow the most refreshing too.
CE: So, what you are suggesting seems close to the image I used a little while back about being in rhythm with the poem, as if it were a living being I was moving along with, side by side.
JH: And it's what Jung said, "You dream the myth along," or how did he put it?
(end of part one)