ABSTRACT

All that has yet been said concerning the structure of the psyche--concerning functions, attitudes, relation of consciousness to the unconscious, of the dream. to the waking state, etc.-has been regarded from the point of view of this law of complementariness, according to which the various

psychic factors stand in complementary or compensatory relation to each other. But this law holds too in each of the partial systems, and the complements alternate continuously. So, for example, in the unconscious, when it is allowed wholly to take its natural course, positive contents succeed the negative and conversely. If a fantasy-image representing the bright principle comes upon the scene, a symbolization of the dark principle follows immediately thereafter. In consciousness, e.g., emotional reactions of a negative sort frequently occur after a difficult positive intellectual feat, etc. To regulate these relations among themselves, to keep them in continuous vital tension, is the role and task of psychic energy. For all these pairs of opposites are conceived not only according to their content as opposites but also in reference to their dynamic efficacy. One could best make clear the distribution of their energy charges by the picture of communicating vessels. Only one must imagine this picture, transposed to the psychic system, to be very complicated, since one has to do here with an interconnected, closed system including in its turn many sub-systems of such communicating vessels. In this total system the quantiry of energy is constant and onlY its distribution is variable. The physical law of the conservation of energy and the Platonic notion of the 'soul as that which moves itself' ~re archetypically closely related. 'No psychic value can vanish without being replaced by an equivalent.' 1

'The idea of energy and its conservation must be a primal image that has ever slumbered in the collective unconscious. This conclusion demands proof that such a primal image really has existed in mental history and has been effective throughout the millennia. . . . As proof let the fact serve that the primitive religions in the different regions of the earth are all based upon this image. These are the so-called dynamistic religions, whose single and essential idea is that there is a widespread magic force that directs all things decisively.... According to the ancient notion the soul itself is this force; its conservation is implied by the idea of its immortality, and in the Buddhistic and the primitive

theory of transmigration is implied its unlimited capacity for undergoing transformation while being constantly conserved.' 1

From this dynamic law it follows that the energy is capable of being displaced, of flowing according to the natural potential difference from 'one of the pair of opposites to the other. This means, for example, that the energy charge of the unconscious rises in the same measure as consciousness loses energy. It follows further that the energy is capable of being transformed, of being changed by a directed act of the will from one of the opposites into the other. Displacement of energy occurs only when a fall, a potential differencepsychologically expressed through the pairs of oppositesis present. Thereby is the phenomenon of obstruction as cause of neurotic symptoms and complexes explained, and likewise, when the one side is completely emptied, the disintegration of the pairs of opposites-a phenomenon that can manifest itself in all sorts of psychic disturbances, from the lightest up to the complete dissociation or splitting of the individual. For, according to the law of the conservation of energy, when consciousness loses energy it goes over into the unconscious, activates its contents-archetypes, complexes, etc.-which thereupon commence a life of their own and, breaking into consciousness, can cause disturbances, neuroses, and psychoses.