There is an active hostility that the human personality often feels towards what is spiritual, in general, and in particular towards the voices and indications of the Soul.
By Roberto Assagioli, from the Assagioli Archive in Florence. Translated by Gordon Symons. The following is an extract from a document called Telepatia Verticale.
Why is it so relatively rare for the Soul to inspire the personality? Why does Humanity do so much nonsense, individually and collectively? Why is it not guided and illuminated by the Soul? I repeat here the analogy already mentioned before, but which is very illuminating. Electricity has always existed, it has always been around us, electrical phenomena occur continuously in our body, and electricity has always been ready to serve us. Well, only for a century has humanity been aware it, and has actually used it. While there have been great civilizations in which men have been superior in certain respects, but which have left this enormous cosmic power unused, except for the trick of rubbing amber.
We now live in a similar and hardly lesser ignorance of formidable spiritual psychic forces. But ignorance is only one of the reasons for this. There is also another major and more interesting one, namely the active hostility that the human personality often feels towards what is spiritual, in general, and in particular towards the voices and indications of the Soul. This also has its reasons, and it is very interesting to examine them, also to see how to eliminate this conflict which is entirely to our detriment. The fact is that a whole series of precautions and fears are present in the human personality. To put it in scientific psychoanalytic language, the conscious personality of man is located between the lower unconscious and the superconscious and is afraid of both. Psychoanalysis has amply demonstrated the existence of a repression, of a censure towards all instinctive drives. Instead of recognizing them objectively and sincerely, and therefore disciplining them, using and directing these instinctive lower forces, the conscious part, instead, blocks them, is horrified, condemns them and then removes them to the unconscious, thus believing that they have solved the problem.
Instead, it hasn’t solved anything at all, because these forces stir in the unconscious and produce neuro-psychic disorders, or they suddenly break out. So, the problem is not solved at all: this is pure and simple psychology. What is generally ignored, however, is that the same happens for the energies, impulses and thrusts that come from above. Man is afraid of it for different reasons and rejects them. He is afraid of them, as he is generally afraid of what is new: out of tenacious misoneism, out of tenacious adherence to so-called daily realities, to current opinions. In fact, very few have the intellectual courage to go against the current, to think for themselves, and not to obey collective suggestions. Then there are things that, because of the ignorance I mentioned earlier, seem to be unusual, strange, fantastic. There is a fear of “losing one’s mind” by dealing with these things. Then there are even deeper and more subtle resistances: in fact, there is a great fear of the needs that the Soul can have; the fear that it imposes renunciations, unpleasant, uncomfortable disciplines – and this is partially and superficially justified. The soul really has its needs, but these are by no means unreasonable, excessive, or inhuman. It requires disciplines and obedience that contribute to the benefit of the personality itself. It does it for the best and for our own good, and in this it can be compared to a parent, a wise educator who tries to help the student grow up while making him avoid certain excesses, mistakes and whims.
So, the image that many make of the Soul, of the Spirit of God as something hard, demanding, almost inhuman, is completely wrong. It is our own rebellion, it is our opposition that creates this conflict, this polarization. But if instead we open ourselves without resistance to the influence of the Soul, then we find that everything really is better, more harmonious. We feel we are entering a truly superior harmony and we open ourselves to powerful and beneficial influences. It can be proved that if a given manifestation has a lower, let’s say instinctive, motive, this does not exclude that other superior, higher, even spiritual, motives are associated with that reaction. Given the complexity of the human Being – who has the whole range of waves, so to speak: short, medium and long wave – very often in each of our manifestations different motives act on various levels, the percentage of which is difficult to ascertain. So I believe, applying what was said, that certain collective and individual manifestations, for example the reaction towards death, can be determined by various reasons, one of which may be an injured survival instinct, which we could ascribe to, for example, those who have been sentenced to death. But this does not exclude that there may also be a superior motive of a sense of justice, in the sense that society does not have the right to take life, to judge. There is therefore a concurrence of motives, of very different instinctive and spiritual motives, and it is very difficult to ascertain which one prevails, as the proportions are variable on a case-by-case basis.
It is good to remember that a lower motive does not exclude a higher motive at all, and in turn that a higher motive does not exclude a lower component. What is called Animus and Anima, and the spiritual “I”, are two clearly distinct things. In fact, Jung, who adopts his own personal terminology, speaks of the spiritual “I” in somewhat vague terms. He calls it “transcendent functions” or “transcendent self”. The word transcendent is good because it accentuates this aspect of differentiation and superiority of the conscious, normal and ordinary “I”. Instead, what Jung calls Animus and Anima, are two completely different instances – non-spiritual and purely psychological – that would represent the polar aspect of each unconscious. Jung theorizes that in man female functions are in the unconscious, not developed, and vice versa that in woman there are male functions in the unconscious. According to him, these rudimentary functions, undeveloped and with inferior characteristics, come together and form an image in the unconscious that often influences the conscious negatively. He calls them Anima for man, and Animus for woman.
I believe that Jung’s theory has elements of truth, but that he has exaggerated a little and that it is too schematized. That there are psychological elements of the opposite sex in each of us is true, and it is fortunate, otherwise there would be an immense, unbridgeable gulf between the two sexes. We can understand each other (and often badly) only because of the opposite sex that exists in us. That this element generally remains poorly developed, underdeveloped, for example that man has only rudimentary intuition and woman has less developed rational faculties (I do not say intelligence), this is true. But that these elements even create a coherent image, a personification, I don’t think it is usually so. I think this is somewhat schematised; which also gives me an opportunity to offer a more general warning. We speak of the unconscious or superconscious, and this is a term of convenience, but which, however, has the serious drawback of suggesting that the unconscious is an entity, almost a double ego, another being present in us. Well, it is not so. Unconscious, or subconscious, is a collective and “negative” term; in the sense that it is the sum of all the psychological elements and processes that we are not aware of at any given moment. So, it is a collective of disparate and contrasting elements. So, the unconscious is not a being, or an entity, but is the set of elements present in us, in our psyche, of a part of which we are aware moment by moment. There is a continuous exchange of content between the conscious and the unconscious and the whole sphere where the immeasurable elements dwell.
Just as the unconscious is not an entity, I don’t believe that either the Animus nor the Jungian Anima are real coherent images. I admit that in each of us there are elements of the opposite sex, which should be educated to create a complete psychosynthesis.[…] It is not uncommon for vertical telepathy messages to have a negative, inhibiting, warning to be avoided. A famous and significant example is that of Socrates. His “daimon” (understood not in the inferior sense, but in that of a higher, invisible entity) seems to have intervened to tell him what he should not do. It never intervened in a positive way. This also happened to others; and I believe that the most frequent mode of intervention by the Soul is this warning of to stop, and the simplest form is what is called the voice of conscience, that is, when one senses that something is wrong. This feeling of a warning, an invitation not to do, is the most usual form of the intervention of the Soul. Instead, positive messages are rarer, almost more dramatic, and it is then a fuller intervention, an indication of a whole way, of a program, of a task.[…] This falls into the “anxiety”, category of psychic phenomena that come from the unconscious, or metapsychic: when we put ourselves in a state of concentration, almost of passivity and of unawareness of the impressions from the senses, then we become sensitive to psychic currents of the environment in a broad sense, since on a metapsychic level, distance does not matter. From currents of the great psychic ocean in which, as psychic beings, we are immersed, impressions of various kinds can be received, among which, that of sounds and music is not uncommon. We said of a person who somehow had awakened a sensitivity that he could hear radio broadcasts without radio, within himself. Other people, as soon as they try to meditate, see a phantasmagoria of disordered images, music, sounds, etc. But this has nothing to do with the Soul and its messages.