Schizophrenia

“The general picture of an association test of a schizophrenic may be very similar to that of a neurotic, but closer examination shows that in a schizophrenic patient the connection between the ego and some of the complexes is more or less completely lost.  The split is not relative, it is absolute.  An hysterical patient might suffer from a persecution-mania very similar to real paranoia, but the difference is that in the former case one can bring the delusion back under the control of consciousness, whereas it is virtually impossible to do this in paranoia.  A neurosis, if is true, is characterized by the relative autonomy of its complexes, but in schizophrenia the complexes have become disconnected and autonomous fragments, which either do not reintegrate back to the psychic totality, or, in the case of a remission, are unexpectedly joined together again as if nothing had happened. 

  The dissociation in schizophrenia is not only far more serious, but very often it is irreversible.  The dissociation is no longer fluid and changeable as it is in a neurosis, it is more like a mirror broken up into splinters.”[8]

“[In schizophrenia] the split-off figures assume banal, grotesque, or highly exaggerated names and characters, and are often objectionable in many other ways.  They do not, moreover, co-operate with the patient’s consciousness.  They are not tactful and they have no respect for sentimental values.  On the contrary, they break in and make a disturbance at any time, they torment the ego in a hundred ways; all are objectionable and shocking, either in their noisy and impertinent behaviour or in their grotesque cruelty and obscenity.  There is an apparent chaos of incoherent visions, voices, and characters, all of an overwhelmingly strange and incomprehensible nature.”  (“On the Psychogenesis of Schizophrenia,”  CW 3, par. 508)  {Jung Lexicon – page 109])

Because complexes have a certain will-power, a sort of ego, we find that in a schizophrenic condition they emancipate themselves from conscious control to such an extent that they become visible and audible. AP 81

We speak of schizophrenia, a condition in which people are split in half; we even call this crisis a crack-up.  These divided souls plunge into the night-sea of the realities that are down there, about which they had never known, and they are terrified by demons.  You can take this precept as a basic theological formula:  a deity is the personification of a spiritual power, and deities who are not recognized become demonic and are really dangerous.  One has been out of communication with them: their messages have not been heard, or, if heard, not heeded.  And when they do break through, in the end, there is literally hell to pay.  TAT 23

It is a question of words whether in such cases you call the person a great religious mystic or a schizophrenic, for that is the closeness of the two. 

You know that when some people go off their heads, they say that they are Christ, while others say that they caused the First World War.  There is not much difference between the two!  It is a megalomania, this way or that.  Sometimes it switches, and one minute they will say that they caused the First World War and two minutes later that they are the savior of the world.  Once they have crossed the threshold, those two inflations are one and the same thing, and that is only the extreme case of something you always find on a minor scale when people have committed some sin.  Either they pooh-pooh it intellectually or they bathe, in an emotional childish way, in their sin – in order not to see their guilt – bathing with hysterical pleasure in one’s sins and feeling so awful that everyone has to give comfort!  That is a pathological reaction which is just an escape from the realization of the real guilt.  TPoPA 234

In (schizophrenic cases whether with or without pharmaceutical drugs prescribed) two things are lacking: first, the possibility of realizing the reality of the psyche, for the schizophrenic when he is in this state takes the archetypes and the inner world as being completely real, which is why he thinks he is Jesus Christ.  But he does not say that with the nuance of the mystic; he means it quite literally, for he will say that he is Jesus Christ and therefore is not going to his office tomorrow.  This shows that he does understand it on the level of the soul, on the inner plane, but takes it literally and concretely.  In my experience, the greatest fight one has in getting a schizophrenic out is to make him understand the symbolic level of interpretation, for he insists on the thing being concrete, and in that way introduces a strange rationalism and materialism into his madness.  He does not see that there is a reality of the psyche.  He cannot accept the hypothesis of psychic reality as opposed to outer reality.  He mixes the two up, which accounts for the nonsense.  TPoPA 267

The other thing which is lacking is the feeling function, that is, the possibility of assessing values correctly.  Jung tells the story of a schizophrenic patient of his who from time to time stopped to listen to something.  He had great difficulty in finding out what she was doing when she broke off like that, but after a long time she confessed that at such times she was telephoning to the Virgin Mary – just quickly getting her opinion!  At such times the patient was inaccessible because there was someone else on the line, so to speak!  Now if you had a mystical experience of the Virgin Mary, you would be completely overwhelmed.  People who have had such inner experiences remain shaken for days afterward.  This is a usual reaction to an overwhelming religious experience, but it is typical for a schizophrenic to say, “Hullo! Oh yes! The Virgin Mary? Okay,” so that either you believe nothing of it, or you are horribly shocked.  In that case the values are lacking.  If people are raving, everything is said in the same tone, whether they are Jesus Christ or delivering macaroni.  The cheapest banalities and the deepest religious material are interspersed without evaluation. 

That is why the story of Amor and Psyche is very meaningful.  Psyche, like Cinderalla, must discriminate between the different grains, separating the good from the bad; it is a function of the psyche to discriminate values.  If the anima is lost, feeling is lost, and that happens often in schizophrenia.  As soon as feeling has gone and contact with the anima in a man has gone, then there is this picture.  When many people get into such a state, there is a mass psychosis as we have already had and may possibly have again.  TPoPA 267

Asthenic and Strong type:

   As you know, in his theory of schizophrenia, Jung makes a difference between what he calls the asthenic type and the strong type.  In the strong type the problem is that there is an overwhelming wealth of strength and fantasy in the unconscious, confronted with a relatively weak ego, and because of that the person can split.  But you can say that in the strong type really it is a plus which makes them ill.  In the asthenic type the minus makes the person ill.  Somewhere neither the ego nor the unconscious has quite enough impetus.  People in such a situation have no dreams.  Where, in the greatest conflict, you would expect a vital reaction from the unconscious, the dreams are small and petty, or there are none.  It is as though Nature does not react. 

It is very important to know that, because naturally, in the strong type one can risk a kind of reckless therapy and, for instance, just confront the person with the problem and risk a terrific crisis, a healing crisis, and then they come through.  With the asthenic type you can never do that.  There one must adopt a nursing attitude, making constant blood transfusions, so to speak, never forcing the problem or pushing the person up against the wall because that would break them.  One does not have to decide that oneself; in general, the unconscious decides.  In the asthenic type the dreams themselves do not push the problem.  I have often been amazed when people of this type who have the most urgent problem have dreams which only talk about this or that detail and do not poke into the main problem.  Then I say to myself, “Well, it is not meant; the confrontation would not be possible.  The unconscious knows better than I do and says that this problem cannot be touched.  It is too hot; it would explode the person.”  One has to go along with the seemingly little dreams there are and take the advice contained in them.  With the strong type you generally see that the dream hits directly at the core of the problem, with great dramatic structure, and then you see that the whole thing is driving to a climax and a healing crisis.  After a situation of terrific conflict, the thing decides itself either for good or ill.  TPoPA 56