Prof.Dr.ISMAIL ERSEVIM, LPIBA IOM
Adult and Child Psychiatrist, Analyst
A PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH TO “FAUST”
No doubt, Goethe’s opus magnum Faust, could neither be analyzed
nor throughly interpreted through only one school of thought or point of view. This is a very complex ‘life game’ that seems to be a composite of myth, mysticism, search for immortality or eternal love, shamanistic trip, death and re-birth fantasies, Nirvana principle, i.e. joining in Heaven and alike. Thus, first we would like to review some of the basic concepts of Jung’s analytical psychology and of others, then, -if we could- a synthesis of the material.
I. JUNG’S ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY :
Carl Gustave J u n g , had borrowed the principles of his école of thought from A r i s t o t e l e s who had called psyche, as “…the main principle of total organisms.” Nature: was p h y s i s , realistic world: a l e t h i a; emotions: that were inseparable entities of both body and psyche were p a t h e . This last one was the total psychological functions and experiences of the individual. A n i m a was equated to soul.
According to Jung, p s y c h e could be structured and understood at three levels:
1. C o n s c i o u s n e s s : This includes e g o and p e r s o n a ;
2. P e r s o n a l U n c o n s c i o u s : That corresponds to Freud’s ‘Preconscious’ and includes all the personal experiences that seem to be forgotten at the first glance but could be brought to the surface, to the consciousness, with little effort.
3. R a c i a l - C o l l e c t i v e U n c o n s c i o u s : This corresponds to Freud’s ‘Unconscious’ concept. This not ony is the representative of the individual’s past experiences and feelings, but of the entire atavistic primitive feelings, mythologic experiences, beliefs and behavioral characteristics.
E g o : is the central matrix of the conscious field and is encircled with p e r s o n a all around. It is the connecting central network of our total bodily and psychic existence. It looks like an island that swims in the immense waters of both consciousness and unconsciousness.
P e r s o n a : is the functional complex of the conscious aspect of the psychic life. Its duty to establish the relationship with the object of the external world. It has some relations with the basic principles of the personality but it is not that much inclusive.
Jung writes, “This arbitrary segment of collective psyche -often fashioned with considerable pains- I have called the p e r s o n a . The term ‘persona’ is really a very appropriate expression for this, for originally it meant the mask once worn by actors to indicate the role they played. If we endeavour to draw a precise distinction between what psychic material should be considered “personal”, and what “impersonal”, se soon find ourselves in the greatest dilemma, for by definition we have to say of the persona’s contents what we have said of the “impersonal unconscious”, namely, that is ‘collective’. …..It is, as its name implies, onla a mask of collective psyche, a mask that feigns individuality, making others and oneself believe that one is individual, whereas one is simply acting a role through which the collective psyche speaks.”
A n i m a (Female: A n i m u s) : This is also a component and the observant part of the collective unconscious. It could be said it is the functional style of the personal unconscious. Another way, it could be said that it is female element of the unconscious.
It is also a symbolism of the eternal feminine (that Faust had been looking for!) that is a concept far beyond the personal experience of a man’s, say with his sister, mother and other women. It is a “heavenly goddess”. That symbolism also gives man the strength to fight and stand on two feet under the most circumstances. It is also a M a y a , “joy of life” that with its sexual component invites the person to life and gives him a raison to live. By the same token, it is the source of ambivalency and paradoxical sentiments and attitudes of womenhood: success vs. non-success, hope vs. hopelessness, to be vs. not to be, etc. This is why Spiteller had characterized ‘anima’ as “My lady soul!”.
According to Jung, the psyche image of primer male existence comes out from the mother. The characteristics of female components of the motherhood are internalized that form a m o t h e r a r c h e t y p e within the male that continues both ontogenically and philogenically, in the realm of collective unconscious, from generations to generations to come.
Jung himself writes, “What, then, is this projection-making factor? The East calls it the ‘Spinning Woman’ – M a y a , who creates illusion by her dancing. Had we not long since known it from the symbolism of dreams, this hint from the Orient would put us on right track: the envoloping, embracing, and devouring element points unmistakably to the mother, that is, to the son’s relation to the real mother, to her imago, and to the woman who is to become a mother for him. His Eros is passive like a child’s; he hopes to be caught, sucked in, enveloped, and devoured……there appears before you on the psychological state a man living regressively, seeking his childhood and mother….
“The projection-making factor is the anima, or rather ‘unconscious as represented by the anima’. Whenever she fears, in dreams, visions, and fantasies, she takes on personified form, thus demonstrating that the factor she embodies, possesses all the outstanding characteristics of a feminine being. She is not an invention of the conscious, but a spontaneous product of unconscious…
“Since the anima is an archetype that is found in men, it is reasonable to suppose that an equivalent archetype must be present in women: A n i m u s, for just a man is compansated by a female element, so woman is compansated by a masculine one.”
For a n i m a , we have said that it is ‘the female element’ of the unconscious. Parallel to this concept, the biologic truth is that men carry both ‘male’(y) and ‘female’(x) chromosomes. As it is known, every human body carries 23 pairs of chromosomes, totaling 46, of which the last two ones determine the individual’s gender. Females are characterized as XX, and males as XY.
This “i n n e r d u a l i t y”, and potential “hermaphroditic existence”, could easily be observed in plastic arts throughout the history. For instance a medieval man (XVII. centr.) is portrayed as a harmophrodite, but carrying a male crown on his head. Thus, without knowing then the physiologic hormones and other bio-chemical existences, the writers had said, “Each man carries a woman inside of him.”
J u n g had divided the evolution of the art throughout the history into four categories, paralelling it to the evolution of ‘anima’, as follows:
1. stage: Primitive era. Artistic sample: Gauguin’s ‘African Woman’.
2. stage: Romantic beauty. Samples: Renaissance’ artistic work.
3. stage: Sexual liberation, or complete reversal, i.e., ‘Virgin Mary’ pictures.
4. stage: Religious symbolization, i.e., ‘Old Testament’, ‘Sapiento’ with twelve stars.
A n i m u s , as had been said before, is the “female’s anima”, the desire of masculinization within her. In spite of the fact that the female emotions and motions connected to them are much more labile and observable than men, in decisin making and being ‘right’ they are far more superior to males, thus, as if carrying a “wise father” in them. Some artistic creations in this respect are, as follows.
. “The sacred conviction” in Jeanne D’Arc that is performed amongs -and in spite of- men.
. “Dancing Woman With Death” -a 16th. centr. picture-
. “Hades with Persephone” (who she kidnapped to the underworld), -a manuscript, c.1500-
. “A Talk With Demon of Death” -He does not love me anymore-
Here are some other Jungian concepts that are very frequently used in his interpretations.
A r c h e t y p e s : These are the inclinations that are common to all human beings, established from the most earliest times of the civilizations as “images” and genetically transmitted. They are formed as ‘reactions’ and has an embedded piece of ‘myth’ in it. Thus, if any human being is confronted with a maladjustment and/or experiencing an anxiety, that person is confronted with an archetype that is individualized and symbolized as pictures.
In other words, the inherited structure of the psyche carries with it certain necessary psychic processes, which take the form of spontaneousy recurring patterns by which the psychic energies within the individual seek expression. These inherently-contained psychic processes come forth in the form of the archetypal motifs. Archetypes come to the fore again and again in the history, always taking different forms, and always presuming at each moment of history that the particular form in which they find themselves is the only one
that is ‘true’ and ‘eternal’. Every attitude that is expressed in consciousness is an historical manifestation of an a r c h e t y p e with a long history in the human psyche.
When Jung says, “Contents of an archetypal character are manifestations of processes in the collective unconscious,” the key thought is that these contents do not exist in themselves as ‘inherited ideas,’ but rather emerge as expressions of the psychic processes which are inherited because they are in structural nature of the psyche. These are generic to the nature of human being as such, and therefore, they are expressed in the individual in dream,and fantasy, just they are expressed in the group via myth, collective delusion, and so on. They are more pervasive than the individualized products of the personal unconscious but they are not restricted to collective or group phenomena.
C o l l e c t i v e U n c o n s c i o u s : The collective unconscious is a part of the psyche which can be negatively distinguished from a ‘personal unconscious’ by the fact that it does not, like the latter, owes its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition. While the personal unconscious is made up essentially of contents which have at one time been conscious but which have disappeared from consciousness through having been forgotten or repressed, the contents of the ‘collective unconscious’ have never been in consciousness, and therefore have never been individually acquired, but owe their existence exclusively to heredity. Whereas the ‘personal unconscious’ consists for the most part of complexes, the content of the ‘collective unconscious’ is made up essentially of archetypes:, i.e. ‘creation of mankind’, ‘virgin birth’, ‘snake and allied stories’, ‘eternal mother’, paradise’, ‘hell’ and so on.
S h a d o w : This is one of the difficult concepts of Jung’s ego psychology and psyche that is hard to realize. ‘Shadow’ is the weak part of the individual and may reprsent undesirable inclinations and actions that person essentially should know but refuses to acknowledge them. With one view, it is close to personal unconscious yet still different.
Joseph Campbell, editor of ‘The Portable Jung’, says about the Shadow, “..It is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable conscious effort….. it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality at present and real. This act is the essential condition for any-kind of self-knowledge, and it therefore, as a rule, meets with considerable resistance (that are almost always bound up with projections.)…… Closer examination of the dark characteristics -that is, the inferiorities constituting the shadow- reveals that they have an emotional nature, a kind of autonomy, and accordingly an obsessive or, better, possessive quality. Affects occur usually where adaptation is weakest, and at the same time they reveal the reason for its weakness, namely a certain degree of inferiority and the existence of a lower level of personality. On this lower level with its uncontrolled or scarcely controlled emotions one behaves more or less like a primitive, who is not only the passive victim of his affects but also singularly incapable of moral judgment.”
To me, in “Faust”, his relation to Mephistopheles is this kind of a projection. By the same token, E.T.A. Hoffmann’ın satiric “The Devil’s Elixir” carries the same characteristics.
M a n d a l a : In Sanscrit language, ‘mandala’ simply means ‘circle’. This kind plastic manifestations are used in Indian Buddhism on the instruments that are utilized in religious ceremonies, called “Yantra”, and in temples as dance figures.
Jung had started to utilize the mandalas, starting 1916 on. “First, I did not understand what they mean but appeared to me important and I had saved them like pearls. By time I realized that, they reflected my very own ‘central-self’ for the goal of the psychic evolution is the integration within self.” This ‘integration’, may appear and follow different visions and occurrences for the same goal: “Formation”, “Transformation”, “Eternal Mind’s Eternal Creation” and alike. In psychiatry, we usually see ‘mandala’ in the form of “psychic dissociation”, sometimes at the beginnings of depressive forms, but more intensely in schizophrenic split. Conversely, Jung had utilized Mandalas in disturbed patients’ treatments.
T h e U n i o n o f t h e O p p o s i t e s : In Ancient China, Yang (male) and Yin (female) were given as examples for ‘opposites’ that were supposed to unify in social existence. We also know from chemistry and atom physics that, the elements with opposite electrical charges are attracted to each other, thus the material world is formed.
In nature; the opposite seasons follow each other, so do day and night, and, life and death. These repetitions, in spite of the fact that at first sight may appear as “opposites”, in reality they are the continuations of one another and the very essence of integration, also transformations onto each other. Faust tells Mephistopheles, “Follow the dark, you shall reach the light!” In Alchemy, the opposites are invited to unify by the shadow, thus occurs Hierosganos or Chymical Wedding.
M y s t i c a l P a r t i c i p a t i o n : Jung barrowed this term from Levy-Bröhl, an anthropologist. Accoding to the mytical beliefs of the primitive tribes, the s o u l itself is not one single unit; there is an accompanying b u s h s o u l ; it seats usually in an old tree’s trunk or in an animal. Individual identifies with this ‘bush soul’. Suppose that such a soul is situated in an animal’s body, that animal is a kind of brother to him. If that animal is a crocodile, he can swim in a lake or river full of crocodiles quite comfortably. If it is in a tree, he looks at tree, as a member of the family. If anything bad happens to those, individual also feels hurt.
To open this a little bit more, let’s return to Joseph Campbell again. “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man: The man who has attained consciousness of the present is solitary. The ‘modern’ man has at all times been so, far every step towards fuller consciousness removes him further from his original, purely animal participation mystique with the herd, from submersion in a common unconsciousness. Every step forward means tearing oneself loose from the maternal womb of unconsciousness in which the mass of men dwells. Even in a civilized community the people who form, psychologically speaking, the lowest stratum live on a level of consciousness little different that of primitives.
Those of succeeding strata live on a level of consciousness which corresponds to the beginnings of human culture, while those of the highest stratum have a consciousness that reflects the life of the last few centuries. Only the man who is modern in our meaning of the term really lives in the present; he alone has a present-day consciousness, and he alone finds that the ways of life on those earlier levels have begun to pall upon him….. in the deepest sense he had estranged himself from the mass of men who live entirely within the bounds of tradition. Indeed, he is completely modern only when he has come to the very edge of the world, leaving behind him all that he has been discarded and outgrown, and acknowledging that he stands before the ‘Nothing out of which All may grow..’ ” (Indeed, in Faust, Vol.II, we read: “..In this, your Nothing, I may find my All!”)
S u m m a r y a n d I n t e r p r e t a t i o n :
As we said at the opening, no system of thought may illuminate the entire Faust phenomenon. However, under the light what Jung had opened our eyes to, we at least make some partial interpretations and/or points of view, if we principally agree with his “Analytical Psychology”. Here are the interpretative highlights:
1. MEPHISTOPHELES is the ‘shadow’ of FAUST.
2. Mephistopheles, either a male or female, hand in hand with Faust starts to take a long voyage from ‘microcosmos’ to ‘macrocosmos’. (Let me remind you here, the verses of Omar Khayyam:
“I send my soul to the infinity to discover the secrets of immortality
My soul turned and said to me: ‘Hell and Paradise all are within you!’”
If our ‘consciousness’ cannot control our (collective) ‘unconscious’, all archetypes may come the surface. In Part I, Faust and Mephistopheles travel through the ‘Micro World’, that is Anima’s trip that covers the ‘Personal unconscious’. Part II, is a search through the ‘Macro World’ and is the representive of the ‘Collective Unconscious’. How the earth turns around the sun as well as its own axis, anima too, travels through at both axis and at the end, frees itself to death. An example from Mythology: Thesus, saved Ariadne in Cretan labyrynth after he had killed Minautor; thus, from the eternally absorbing image of the mother, anima, had been liberated.
3. Faust’s anima, had suffered tremendously from the patriarcal type of family inter-relations; thus, he began to search ‘the eternal love, the eternal mother’ image to join it and to be engolfed-integrated with it.
4. Christ, born to a Virgin Mary, without being actually fecundated by a man, through immaculate conception, symbolizes the eternal happiness and kindness. Faust, in order to relinquish his earthly ambitions and the evil part of self, however after living them through actually with Evil (Mephistopheles, his shadow), he wanted to be re-born, to become a Christ Baby himself -with a kind of identification with Jesus-, thus, following the dark to find out light. This was to be a kind of transformation, a creative power like a snake could do it. Snake, as we know, is the mediator between ‘two lives’: life and death, symbol of health and happiness and sin.
7. From another point of view, Faust’s travel could be interpreted, as had been mentioned before, the evolution of the art at four levels:
a. Art, addressing to the untouched, unmolested nature, i.e. Gauguin’s picture, analogue to Faust’s untouched, unmolested, ‘pure’ personality at the beginning;
b. Romantic Era; Faust’s falling in love with Helena, seeing her in the mirror;
c. Sexual liberation: Physical union with Margerite, and,
d. Divination: Rejoining Margerite’s soul after death, ‘Gretchen’s reapperance as “Repentent Woman”, (UNA POENITENTIUM, once called GRETCHEN (drawing closer).
Ah, look down,
Thou rich in heaven’s renown,
Turn thou the grace of thy dear face
On the fullness of my bliss;
For now my lover,
Earth’s sadness over,
Comes from that world to me in this.) -Last scene in Faust II-
8. Every human being, as a matter of fact every ‘living’ thing, while developing and performing his ontogeny (individual growth and development), also repeat his phylogeny (The growth and development, evolution and transformation of his species), reframing “Ontogenesis is a repetition of phylogensis” is also applicable here. Namelly; take an amoeba, with its multiplication it can only become another (new) amoeba; take a fish; from its egg, through ‘amibic’ division, at the end it becomes a fish; more comlicated mammalia, first is an amoeba, then, fish –in the amnios- and then a mammalia; finally a human being, in mother’s womb, it first devides like an amoeba, then swims as fish, then becomes a mammalia kind and finally a human being, of his own kind. Faust too, searches his own existence from the very beginnings, as a universal soul, goes thru stages via his voyage all along history, including underworld, and joins his Master soul, to be re-born, to start to a new cycle, one day in somebodyelse’s appearance.
9. The o p p o s i t i o n s , that we had mentioned earlier, like man-woman, goddness-badness, micro vs. macro worlds, do exist in human’s everyday life continuously, as well as in art. Examples: A nineteenth century masterpiece, Silva and Parvati statues carry both male and female characteristics. An underworld power, snake, that also is a symbol of re-incarnation and immortality through its power of re-generation, stands by the Life Tree, as a Cobra in Indian Mythology. The same snake had killed Cleopatra. Buddha, while carrying the name Siddhartha, after a three-day meditation had slept under the Life Tree. During that period he was guarded by the snake. An old Latin gravure demonstrates Esculape holding a snake in his hand, and having it bite a patient to heal.
10. Faust and Mephistopheles travel through the macro world, to chart their own mandalas for a reunion with each other and the entire universe. During this, they experience and share (and repeat) the entire human beings daily life experiences: hope, hopelessness, love, suffer, myth and alike.
11. In life, it is possible that the whole living organisms, perhaps including the nature, follow the principles of “formation”, “transformation” and “eternal re-incarnation”, ending with re-union of all. Death, could be considered as ‘another stage of life’, and another transformation of soul. While reading Faust almost in ecstasy, perhaps experiencing our collective unconscious time to time, and re-experiencing many things through identifications, one feels as if watching his own life story in a mirror.
2. FREUD’S PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL APPROACH
In contrast to Jung who embedded the mythological, collective and social aspects of the individual, Freud principally remained singular, building his monuments on the individual’s id and ego. About the literature Freud had said, “Karamazov Brothers”, “Hamlet” and “King Oedipus” are the greatest among all yet he had great admiration for Goethe. He never tried to make a systematic analysis of the masterpiece, rather prefered of making some attributes here and there, as we shall see below.
Otto Rank, once ‘right arm’ of Sigmund Freud had been to Wagner’s operas with the genius. He cites Freud’s superficial and as if ‘not understanding’ attitude against deep, archaic, almost satanic personage and sounds to those operas, feeling that Freud was avoiding the issues of death, underworld etc. The same I would say is true for Faust in which what Wagner did musically Goethe did literarywise. Let us hear from Freud himself who had been invited to receive ‘Goethe Award’ to Frankfurt in 1930, in ‘Goerthe House’ who had made this speech:
“I think that Goethe would have not rejected psycho-analysis in an unfriendly spirit, as so many of our contemporaries have done. He himself approached it at a number of points, recognized much through his own insight that since we have been able to confirm……. Since it is one of the principal fonctions of our thinking to master the material world physically, it seems to me that thanks are due to psycho-analysis if, when it is applied to a great man, it contributes to the understanding of his great achievement. But, I admit, in the case of Goethe, we have not succeeded very far. This because Goethe was not only, as a poet, a great self-revealer, but also, in spite of the abundance of autobiographical records, a careful concealer. We cannot help thinking here of the words of Mepistopheles:
‘Das Beste, was du wissen kannst,
Darfist du den Buben doch nicht sagen.’
(The best of what you know may not,
after all, be told to boys.) (Collected Works, Vol.XX, pa.: 212)
In ten years when Freud’s sealed treasures will be opened then we shall be learning more openly who was a “concealer”. I think, directly, more indirectly Goethe had expressed the complex nature of himself good enough. We can hardly notice Freud’s ‘Mepistopheles’ part, as a human being in his writings. What about this confession:
In his “Determinism and Superstition’ section of his writings (Collected Works, Vol: 6, pa.: 245) , Freud writes openly:
“There is no doubt that I wished to forget the play (Lady Mackbeth, with a special reference to her bloody hands which ‘the oceans waves couldn’t clean them’… The books’ numbers 1 and 2, were in my patient’s dream, in the Reclam University Library, Goethe’s Faust. Formerly, I found very much of Faust in myself.”
Here are some excerpts Freud’s 24-volume writings in reference to Faust.
. While talking about ‘unconscious ideas’, he remarks that, even during conscious talk, mind could be split off and make some reference to unconscious state of mind,
“ In die Finsternis gebrachts.” -Mephistopheles- (Vol.2, pa.: 229)
(Thrust into darkness.)
. About ‘Affects in Dreams’, talking about the importance of the ‘first figure’, and its re-incarnation throughout, he says:
“ früh sich einst dem,
trüben Blick gezeigt.”, (Vol.5, pa.: 483)
(Long since appeared
before my troubled eyes.)
. In ‘A Case of Hysteria’, talking about the exacting demands which hysteria makes upon physician and investigator, he insists that this can be met only by the most sympathetic spirit of inquiry and not by an attitude of superiority and contempt.
“ Nicht Kunst und Wissenschaft allein,
Geduld will bei dem Werke sein!” , (Vol.7, pa.: 16)
(Not Art and Science sense, alone;
Patience must in the work be shown!)
We all know that, Freud always wanted to be remembered as “Great Thinker” that, unfortunately, in spite of the fact that he is one of the greatest physicians ever, the history book will not cite him as such. And, he knew that. It is well possible that he may have identified with Goethe who in Faust, was a great physician as well as a thinker. He even may have been jealous of him.
. In ‘Three Essays of Sexuality’, he cites that a certain degree of fetishism in normalcy, especially when the normal sexual aim could be unattainable or its fulfillment is prevented and gives an example from Faust:
“Schaff’mir ein Halstuch von ihrer Brust,
Ein Strumpfbond meiner Liebeslust!” , (Vol.7, pa.: 154)
(Get me a kerchief from her breast,
A garter that her knee has pressed!)
. In ‘Pleasure and the Genesis of Jokes’, Freud comments, “For high spirits replace jokes, just as jokes replace high spirits, in which possibilities of enjoyment which are otherwise inhibited.” and quotes from Faust.
“Mit wenig Witz und viel Behagen.” -Mephistopheles in Auerbach’s cellar- (Vol.: 7, sa.: 127)
(With little wit and much enjoyment!)
. In “A Case of Obsessional Neurosis – Rat Man”, Freud discusses the Father Complex and the Rat Idea. A patient of his while visiting his father’s grave sees that a rat ‘with sharp teeth’ comes out of his father’s grave. He realizes that he himself had been just such a nasty, dirty little wretch who was up to ‘bite people’ when he was in a rage. He could truly be had been fearfully punished for doing so. He could truly be said to find a ‘living likeness of himself in a rat.’ Here are the samples are taken from Faust.
(Freud compares the words of Mephistopheles, when he wishes to make his way through a door that is guarded by a magic pentagram.)
“Doch dieser Schmelle Zauber zu zerspalten
Bedarf ich eines Rattenzahns.”
“Noch einen Biss, so it’s geschehn!” (Part I, Scene: 3)
(But to break through the magic of this threshold
I need a rat’s teeth (He conjures a rat.).
“Er sieht in der geschwollnes Ratte
Sein ganz natürlich Ebenbild.”
(For in the bloated rat he sees
A living likeness of himself.) (Part I, Scene in Auerbach’s Cellar)
. Freud, ‘Notes On A Case of Paranoia: Judge Schreber” case (Vol.12, sa.: 44 & 70) writes:
‘Schreber illustrates the nature of soul murder by referring to the legends embodies in Goethe’s Faust, Byron’s Manfred and Weber’s Freischütz..’
‘The patient has withdawn from the people in his environment and from the external world generally the libidinal cathexis which he has histherto directed on to them. Thus eveything has become indifferent and irrelevant to him… The end of the world is the projection of this internal catastrophe…
‘After Faust has uttered the curses which free him from the world, the Chorus of Spirit sings:
Du hast sie zerstört,
die schöne Welt,
mit machtiger Faust!
sie stürzt, sie zerfallt!
Ein Halbgott, hat sie zerschlagen!”
Thou hast it destroyed,
The beautiful world,
With powerful fist!
In ruins ’tis hurled,
By the blow of a demigod shattered!)
. Freud, making a referense to the importance of the inheritance of physical disposition in the life of the individual, says, ‘(that) need to be given some impetus, before they can be roused into actual operation. This might be the meaning of the poet’s words:
“Was duererbt von deinen Watern hast,
Erwirb es, em es zu besitzen.”
(What thou hast inherited from thy fathers,
acquire it to make it thine.) (Faust I, Scene: 1) (Vol.:13, pa.: 158)
. In ‘Return of Totemism’ Freud makes the following comparison between the neurotic and the primitive man: Neurotics are above all inhibited in their actions; with them the thought is a complete substitute for the deed. Primitive men, on the other hand, are unhibited: thought passes directly into action. With them it is rather the deed that is a substitute for the thought…. I think that in the case before us, it may safely be assumed that:
(in the beginning was the Deed.)
“‘Im Anfang was die Tat’ ” (Faust, Part I, Scene 3) (Vol.13, pa.: 161)
. In ‘Uncanny’, Freud speaks of secret powers that brings us back to animism. “It was the pious Gretchen’s invitation that Mephistopheles possessed secret powers of this kind that made so uncanny to her.
“Sie fühlt dass ich ganz sicher ein Genie,
Vielleich sogar der Teufel bin.”
(She feels that surely I’m genious now,
Perhaps the very Devil, indeed!) (Faust I, Scene 16) (Vol.: 17, pa.: 243)
. In ‘The Pleasure Principle’ Freud mentions that the repressed instinct never ceases to strive for complete satisfaction, which consist in repetition of primary experience of satisfaction… ‘and, it is the difference in amount between the pleasure of satisfaction which is demanded and that which is actually achieved that provides the drawing factor which will permit of no halting at any position attained, but, in the poet’s words’:
“ ‘ungebandigt immer vurwarts dringt’ ”
. (Presses over forward unsubdued.) (Mefistopheles, Faust I, Scene 4) (Vol.: 18, pa.: 42)
. Freud, in his ‘An Autobiographical Study’ remembers his first university experiences in 1873 as “appreciable disappointments” because of racial issues in Vienna then, for he was a jew. ‘I have never been able to see why I should feel ashamed of my descent.. I put up, without much regret, with my non-acceptance into the community… These first impressions at the University, however, had one consequence which was afterwards to prove important; for at an early age I was made familiar with the fate of being in the opposition and of being put under the ban of “compact majority”.
I learned the truth of Mephistopheles’ warning:
“Vergebens, dass ihr ringsum wissen scgalich schweift,
Ein jeder lernt nur, was er lernen kann.” ’
(It is in the vain thay you range around from Science to Science:
each man learns only what he can learn.) (Faust I, Scene 4), (Vol.: 20, pa.: 9)
. In ‘Civilization and Its Discontent’, Freud holds God responsible for the existence of the Devil, just as well as for the existence of the wickedness which Devil embodies.
‘ In Goethe’s Mephistopheles we have a quite exceptionally convincing identification of the principle of evil with the destructive insinct:
“Denn alles, was entsteht,
Ist wert, das es zu Grunde geht…
Zersttörung, kurz das Böse neunt,
Mein eigentlicehs Element.”
(For all things, from the Void
Called forth, deserve to be destroyed…
Thus, all which you as Sin have rated..) (Vol.: 21, pa.: 120)
. In ‘Analysis Terminable and Interminable’, making a reference to the ‘Witch Metapsychology’, Freud elaborates: “That is to say, the instinct is brought completely into the harmony of the ego, becomes accessible to all the influences of the other trends in the ego and no longer seeks to go its independent way to satisfaction. If we were asked by what methods and means this result is achieved, it is not easy to find an answer. We can only say:
“..So muss denn doch die Hexe dran!” ’
( We must call the Witch to our help after all! ) (Vol.: 23, pa.: 225)
. In the same chapter, Freud speaks of ‘Defense Mechanisms’ that individuals utilize against inner instinctual pushes which may become constant and repeated throughout life whenever the situation occurs that is similar to the original one….’This turns them into infantilism , and they share the fate of many institutions which attempt to keep themselves in existence after the time of their usefulness had past. The poet complains:
“Vernunft wird Unsinn, Wohltat Plage.” ’
“Reason becomes unreason, kindness torment.” (Faust I, Scene 4), (Vol.: 23, pa.: 238)
. Making a tribute to Empedocles who was one of the greatest and most remarkable figures in the History of Greek Civilization, saying, ‘..He was exact and sober in his physical and physiological researches, yet he did not shrink from the obscurities of mysticist , and built up cosmic speculations of astonishingly imaginative boldness. Already, historian and writer Wilhelm Capelle, compares him with Dr. Faust.’:
“‘Dem gar manch Geheimnis wurde kund’.”
(To whom many a secret was revealed!) -modified somewhat from Faust’s First Speech, Faust I, Scene I-
To me, in the last text, Freud was identifying with Empedocles, as well as Faust. Already to me, other than making a deep analysis of Faust that might have been a really difficult job for even for a genious like Freud, he was rather searching and singling out some strong justifications and hidden elements of psychoanalysis in that great tragedy, beyond his patients’ experiences, to document the overspread existence and values of his theories and analyses.
Inded, psychoanalytical approach most of the time appears to be quite revealing ‘in explaining the things’ beyond our scopes, like Freud’s comparison of Leonardo da Vinci with Faust. In “Leonardo da Vinci”, he had detailed how Leonardo has devoted himself to search, to learn and understand the world around him, other than ‘loving his libido’, namely attaching himself to his parents ‘sexually’, passing through the stages and liberating himself later on. Like Spinoza. For that purpose -namely, not being able to utilize his libido-, Leonardo had never been able truly neither create nor love, consequently of not being able to reach “The sublime Law of Nature” that he was very much after. In contrast to him, Faust who had been able to transfrom his libido into “The Pleasure Principle”, had been able to experience love and live it thru throught his tragedy.
Why Leonardo has not ben able ‘to transform his libido’, if we believe in psychoanalytic thinking, psychoanalytic view could say, well, he was under his father’s custody in his early childhood and it was too late to relate to his ‘two’mothers, especially to his biologic mother indeed quite late and short, for both of them died early. In contrast to him, Freud very vividly lived through his libidinal feelings with his mother, father’s second wife who was very young and beautiful who used to call Freud: ‘My Sigi!’ all the time. The story is well-known, as cited by Freud himself that when he was too young, the ages five or six, one day Freud had urinated into the bedroom of his parents. Father, getting very furious for the event, had punished Freud and told him: “You shall never be a mature, grown up man!” that had caused him later on a great anxiety ‘at the top of Acropolis’ in his fifties.
Besides Freud’s a kind of reluctance or resistance and/or avoidance of deep analysis of Faust that he rather preferred ‘part by part identification’, another aspect why he might have done so is that Jung’s undeniable strength and convincing documentation of his ‘archetypes’, particularly of ‘collective unconscious’ that denotes very special interest and knowledge of him that,I at least interpretes Faust better that Freud could not have challenged with. I would say Freud was “too personal” whereas Jung was “too universal.”
3. ADLER’S INDIVUAL PSYCHOLOGY and INFERIORITY COMPLEX
‘The Inferiority Feeling’, or as it is more generally but less correctly termed by the general public, ‘The Inferiority Complex’ is the one most popularly connected with his name; “I am”, as Adler used to say smilingly, “the legitimate father of the inferiority complex.”
Adler taught that every human being’s main interest strives towards an advance from a minus or inferiority feeling towards a plus or superiority feeling; and that the difficulties of life, or the ‘inferiority of the organs’ themselves, can always be compansated by the individual’s own effort to overcome them.
An inferiority feeling in the young of the human species was, in Adler’s mind, never a failing or defect, nor in any ways comparable to a neurosis, since the child is really h e l p l e s s ; and his physical and mental inferiority are facts of nature and not any attempts upon the child’s part to avade responsibility. It is not unless the child uses this act of his inferiority as an alibi to prevent himself from carrying out the contributions within his power that the inferiority feeling becomes a ‘complex’, and prevents the child’s normal development. Out of the child’s first sense of ‘inferiority’, Adler believed he began to form his “life plan” in urge to overcome his limitations.
Faust has made a pact, renouncing God and human beings’ everyday life values, promising his soul to the devil, called Mephistopheles there, in return for knowledge and power. Where Adler enters in here, if any?
Let us study a little bit, “The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus” of Christopher Marlowe, a Shakespeare contemporary who had given Goethe quite a bit thrill and endless impetus to write his masterpiece. (In real life too, there was a Dr. Johannes Faustus who had obtained a Divinity degree from Heidelberg University in 1509.)
“.. Then read no more thou hast attained the end.
A greater subject fittieth Faustus’ wit:
Bid on cai me on farewell, Galen come,
Seeing ubi desinit philosophus, ibi incipit medicus;
Be a physician, Faustus, heap up gold
And be eternized for some wondrous cure..”
(on cai me on : Aristoteles’ phrase for ‘being and not being’ that gave Shakespeare a basis for his most famous statement in Hamlet ‘to be or not to be’; here used as ‘equivalent’ of philosophy; ubi desinit philosophus, ibi incipit medicus : ‘where stops the philosopher, there begins the physician.’)
Marlowe was Shakespeare’s contemporary, only ten weeks older than he, but, according to rumors he had been a teacher to great genious, and even, after dying at an early age of 29, sustained his life as ‘Shakespeare’ himself. (Here we don’t want to go into polemics of who really Shakespeare was.) Marlowe’s character F a u s t , was a scientist, knew the logic, medicine, law and divinity; wanted to ‘know more about the secrets and hidden myths of human beings unattained yet’. With that envie, he needed a super-human power, a magic that forced upon him to make a pact with the Devil.
Since Goethe, while studying Law at the Leibzig University in 1768, had striken with a very serious illness and returned home, we can understand why he may be inclined to be a physician, as we all physicians have the same allusion that as we are the doctor, no serious illness can strike us, if does, we can overcome. But, that was not Goethe’s creation, rather of Marlowe’s. Marlowe was not a sick man, contrariwise quite a healthy, aggressive and fightfull man who also faced some limitations and frustrations in his personal life: He was denied of being given a master’s degree at the Corpus Christie College in Cambridge where he was attending, then also having been denied to enter the English College at Reims in France, which was preparing Roman Catholic missionary priests to be sent to England. Then, Marlowe turned to be an atheist (Naturally, if they cannot give him a chance to ally with God, then, he himself can choose to make an ally with Devil), also having some shadowy political ties, in depth towarded to the Queen’s life. His death had also been in a tavern on May 30th 1593, at Deptford, a suburb to the southeast to London at the accompaniement of a group of doubtful people. After he was killed, he was accused that he was blasphemous, seditious, treasonable, a defender of homosexuality and tobacco, a man who has read an ‘atheist lecture.’ It is obvious that what perhaps Goethe wanted to live a life through Faust, Marlowe has already lived in his daily, actual life.
Why a big giant like Goethe chose Marlowe and almost directly -not copying of course- borrowed the names and the text of Dr.Faust(us) and Mephistopeheles?
According to the literary historians, in 1771, with his write-up “Geschichte Gottfriedens von Berlichingen mit der eisernen Handdrama tisiert” (The History of Gottfried von Berlichingen, Dramatized with the Iron Hand); and in 1773, with “Rede zum Schakespeare Tag” (Conversation from Shakespeare’s Day) he almost declareded himself as the “Shakespeare of the Gothic Era.” Thus, to me, it is quite evident that, the aim was not Marlowe, but Shakespeare who he admired and identified with. Which one was “the greatest?”. I am not qualified to answer that.
Returning back to the Adler and his ‘search for superiority due to an inner (basically physiologic) inferiority’, if we question whether Goethe has felt:
a) H e l p l e s s ? May be; during his ill years, and even afterwards achieving a lot, like his closest friend Schiller had died in 1805 when he had cited: “In me, half of me died also!”
b) I n f e r i o r ? Probably not, for he was quite an achiever in life; children with inferiority feelings display a lot of neurotic trends that curb utilization of their potentials far before reaching the maturity.
Perhaps Goethe, like many other great thinkers and philosphers was deeply curious about ‘the other side of life’, both in biologic and psycho-social senses, had a lot of repressed feelings that took forty years masterfully ‘live them through writing’ and died peacefully a few months after he finished his ‘Opus Magnum’ that is the story of every living individual in the universe; as it ‘was’, ‘is’ and ‘shall be’, forever.
4. EXISTENTIALISTIC VIEW :
Since in Goethe’s times there was no existentialistic philosophy we cannot tell that he was under its influence one way or the other. We only can offer, at his point, an exitentialistic perspective. With Mounier’s and Hamelin’s desperation, Wahl’s and Marcel’s revolt and freedom, Sartre’s human beings exist outside of themselves; he can only be existing through going out of himself.. he only does exist and integrates with himself only that way.. are some highlights that of philosophy.
In order to be understood, existentialism must be contrasted with its opposite, essentialism. When one thinks of any concept or thing, one tends to consider in it essentialistic terms. In humanistic existentialism thought, this e s s e n t i a l i s t i c doctrine holds true for things, not for humans. For humans, existence precedes essence. By dint of reflective consciousness, by the consequent property of prepositional speech, and by the ability to introduce a psychic distance between oneself and the object in view, humans have no essence. A human’s “being” has not been predetermined by any other structure other than the individual’s. As to what is really real in humans, in psychological terms, the really real is instinctual energy, rooted in determined and sited bodily processes.
Persons suffer their view of the world, of the body, and of others. One suffers one’s philosophy precisely because one lives it; thuıs, one becomes a different being in the light of a changed conception of one’s own being.
The two elemental forms which the world is divided are:
a) being-in-itself , which includes all nonhuman things and animals, and,
b) being-for-itself, which includes human, self-reflexive, trancendent consciousness.
Beings-in-themselves are essentialistic, determined and closed and can be fully described. Being-for-themselves, the being of human consciousness, are different in kind. H u m a n c o n s c i o u s n e s s is a negation; it injects a film of nothingness between self and its objects of purview. That nothingness is freedom…
In breaking radically with idealism, realism, and essentialism, phenomenology and its offspring, existentialism, posited that the architecture of consciousness is an emptiness. Anything else would leave humans determined, essentialistic, and subject. Empty of interiority, consciousness is always in relation to its objects of purview, to the world. All acts intend some object. Thus a table is not in consciousness; a table is in space, over there. Consciousness is, therefore, a positional consciousness of the world. Consciousness, thus, cannot be examined as an object.
The concept of “intentionality” in existentialism provides a different view of motives, feelings, and emotions. Motives are not events that direct behavior. The person’s motivation depends on that person’s aims, the person’s intentionality in the world. The person does not first select motive and, on that basis, a goal; it is the other way around.
Thus, according to this philosophy we may sum up, saying, “Faust, with an intention, goal of searching and reaching his freedom, under the influence and energy of his basic instincts, came off his psychic existence as Mephistopheles, traveled through macro world and joined nothingness as real freedom.”
5. MYTHOLOGIC - ANTHROPOLOGIC VIEW :
Great anthropologist Joseph Campbell says, “Throughout inhibited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the m y t h s of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspirations of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, built up from the basic, magic ring of myth.”
Mythology is apparently coeval with mankind, Campbell continues. As far back, that is to say, as we have been able to follow the broken, scattered earliest evidences of the emergence of our species, signs have been found which indicate mythological aims and concerns were already shaping the arts and world of Homo sapiens. Where there occurred human spirit, also occurred a myth about life, death and surrounding events of everyday existence.
The mythologies of the ancient world consist largely of t a l e s o f g o d s a n d h e r o e s , their birth and death, loves and hates, spites and intrigues, victories and defeats, acts of creation and destruction. Some scholars believe that the myths of the ancient, represent one of the most profound achievements of the human spirit. Needless to say, ancient myth is closely bound to r i t e and r i t u a l .
Myths, according to Freud’s view are of the psychological order of dream. Myths, so to say, are public dreams; dreams are private myths. Both, in his opinion, are symptomatic of repression of infantile incest wishes, the only essential difference between a ‘religion’ and ‘neurosis’ that the former is more public. The person with a neurosis feels ashamed, alone and isolated in his illness, whereas the gods are general projections onto a universal screen. They are equally manifestations of unconscious, compulsive fears and delusions.
According to Carl G. Jung, the imageries of mythology and and religion serve positive, life-furthering ends. Our outward-oriented consciousness, addressed to the demands of the day, may lose touch with these inward forces, and the myths, states Jung, when rorrectly read, are the means to bring us back in touch. They are telling us in “picture language”(dreams) of powers of the psyche to be recognized and integrated in our lives, powers that have been conscious to the human spirit forever, and which represent that wisdom of the species by which means weathered the millennium. In other words, ancient myths are depositories of primordial archetype motives which reveal and illuminate man’s c o l l e c t i v e u n c o n s c i o u s .
According to Campbell, these are the important factors in the “formation of m y t h s”:
1. The r e c o g n i t i o n o f m o r t a l i t y (of human beings, by human beings) and the reqirement to t r a n s c e n d it is the first great impulse to mythology.
2. And, along with this, there runs another realization; namely, that the social group into which the individual has been borne, which nourishes and protects him and which, for greater part of his life, he must himself help to nourish and protect, was flourishing long before his own birth and will remain when he is gone. This couıld be named as, the E n d u r a n c e o f S o c i a l O r d e r .
Besides “unity” of our species there is also difficulties too. Not only does all mankind face death, but the various people of the people face death in greatly different ways. A cross-cultural survey of the mythologies of mankind, consequently, will have to note not only universals but also the “transformations” of those common themes in the ranges of this occurrence.
Endurance of Social Order ows its existence, on the other hand, reconciliations that the human beings make and the defense mechanisms that they utilize. From the defense point of view, many writers (including myself, as an analyst) belive that myths are utilized as a defensive measure against “the fear of death.” In Jung’s session we had already observed a native’s feeling ‘shadow’-brother to the crocodiles in a river where he swims comfortably.
M y t h s, are considered as some defensive mechanisms and means of reconciliation of the survival and continuation of the human species and principally a “cosmic defense” against the fear of death. In Old Egypt and Greece, why human beings were marrying with gods? Creating an “identification” through that way, they wanted to guarantee the immortality and have the abilities of re-incarnation, being re-born (In Greece Dionysos, in Syria Adonis and in Mesopotamia Tammuz). Many goddesses made ‘virgin births’, heroes were born and died and resurrected.
3. M a n k i n d ’ s O b s e r v a t i o n a n d t h e U n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e U n i v e r s e : A Third factor is that the developing individual becomes inevitably aware of his powers of thougt and observation mature, the spectacle, namely, of the universe, the natural world in which he finds himself, and the enigma of its relation to his own existence: its magnitude, its changing forms, and yet, through these, an appearance of r e g u l a r i t y .
According to Joseph Campbell, mythic heroes are created on four platforms:
1. Instinctive platform : Childish, as if for fun (Example: Charlie Chaplin and what he represents.)
2. Cultural platform : Having been created from the evolution of human culture, i.e. according to Novoha Indians, coyote stole the fire from gods (In Greek culture, Prometheus’ steal from Hell). As a matter of fact, even God, before creating the human beings had asked this wise animal, “What type of creature should I create, and the coyote had replied: ‘O mighty God, you are too alone.. We animals don’t speak but you do; we are walking alone on four feet, so create someone with two feet and should talk!’ So God did what the coyote had wanted to.
3. Third platform: God-like strong man, like Buddha;
4. The heroes who are saved by the nature, ascended to certain degrees, then fell down: Example, Romulus and Romus brothers who were brought up by wolves and established the eternal city of Rome.
S y m b o l s too, contain some mythic and mystic elements of everyday life and as if there is an unconscious part in them. Religions use them plentifully. Dreams always have them.
In Christianity, the Saints have been symbolized by certain animals; i.e. from four avengelists Marc is symbolized as a lion, Luke as an oxe and John as a vulture. Egyptian god Horus (Osiris’ son, born to his aunt Isis), besides himself with his three sons symbolized as animals; ‘fours’ in Christianity, ‘threes’, ‘sevens’ and ‘forties’ in Islam are special, symbolic numbers.
Turning to Goethe and his Faust; under this knowledge now, we would say that M e p h i s t o p h e l e s is an archetype, representing the symbolism of instinctive drives, as well as of immortality as once, the closest creature to God, even being the head of angel teachers; a mythological figure of human existence and its emotions. Faust, might have used Mephistopheles as a mythic heroe and safeguard while traveling macro world, as well as utilizing his knowledge and experience to learn the universe, thus accomplishing the requirements of being a myth, according to Joseph Campbell.
5. SHAMANISTIC APPROACH :
Primitive man, being deadly afraid of natural conditions surrounding him, had resigned to the magic to dwell with supernatural forces, thus creating the Medicine Man and Shaman. The wishful thinking of eternal existence, the ability to establish a good, working relations with over- and under-ground gods, to cure the illnesses, to be able to tell what is going to happen and alike all have been delegated to S h a m a n . Thus, Shaman becomes the representative of collective unconscious, symbolism and magic, like dreams. Through myth formation, the universal power, in a concentrated way, is delegated to another human being, this time however, someone who himself is also subject to death but nevertheless among themselves, ready to be utilized any given time.
Dr. Rasmussen, famous anthroplog, has asked ‘Najagneq’, a shaman who he has met in Alaska, where his power sila was coming from; Najagneq has ansered as such: “It is a very powerful spirit. It comes to us strongly with winds, rain and snow, sea waves; and, mildly with daylight, quiet waves and the quiet children’s gentelness. It is never seen, but sometimes heard as a woman’s voice, very soft.”
Shaman, after making his trips with his drum (in the sky), sometimes with the serpent (underworld), when retruns to earth and to his very tribe, he means accepting the tribe’s present culture and its belief systems and mythological experiences, like rites and ceremonies, even fortifies them, consequently being a representative of the continuation and sometimes, transformation of the cultural patterns of mankind. He also ‘endures the social order..increases the knowledge of universe..’
The entire story of F a u s t , Faust’s and Mephistophels’ trips to Macroworld, could be looked and interpreted as a shamansitic trip to underworld (Journey to Lower World). After so many years when I re-read Faust -this time of course with much more insight and understanding- his ‘underground trip’ reminded me of our shamanistic studies at Yale University under Michael Harner. Shaman needs a “Power Animal” to accompany him during those trips, to lead him, as well as protecting against fear and perhaps, destruction. I still carry the symbol of my power animal, as a metallic item, connected to a chain around my neck continually even to day, though it essentially is a symbol and it could be good enough to carry in your mind only, when you need it.
To me , Mephistopheles was a power animal to Faust while making his macro-world trip, otherwise might have been quite frightening to him.
6. ASTROLOGIC VIEW :
Goethe was one of the greatest admirers of the nature and universe. One of his biggest disappointments in life was that of not being able to prove that the whole plants on the earth were originated in only one specie. I do not know whether he himself made a chart of himself, astrologically. Of course, since we do not know the exact hour and minute of his birth and death, consequently we can not precisely locate the other planets; however, considering his vital dates, I would like to propose an approximate astrologic interpretation of his existence.
Birth: 28 August 1749 (Virgo) : Ambitions and impulses.
Death : 22 March 1834 (Aries) : Common sense, love, celestial being.
Lert us study together this great man’s celestial destiny!
The LIFE CIRCLE OF TWELVE –EVOLUTION
Z o d i a c S i g n s
Involution Celestial Plane Evolution
ARIES Common Sense, Love PISCES
21 March-20 April 20 February-20 March
Garden of Eden Psychic Plane Heavens
TAURUS High emotions AQUARIUS
21 April-21 May 20 January-19 February
GEMINI Individuality,HighConsciousness CAPRICORN
22 May–21 June 23 December–19 January
Fall Mental-Reasonal Plane Rise
CANCER Individuality, Low Consciousness SAGITTARIUS
22 June-23 July 23 November-22 December
LEO Low Emotions SCORPIO
24 July–23 September 24 Ooctober-22 November
Naissance Stardom Plane Development
VIRGO Envie and Drives LIBRA
24 August – 23 September 24 September-23 October
28 August – GOETHE’s Birth
(Return to the Material World) (Ascendence from the
The Six Phases of INVOLUTION The Six Phases of EVOLUTION
* * *
Now, if we consider the whole “Faust play” as an ontogenic – personal evolution, repeating the philogenetic evolution of the entire (human) species, we can also schematize this as a b a b y ‘ s e v o l u t i o n from the conception until the moment of birth in his intra-uterine life.
The Intra-uterine life passes through five essential physio-psychologic episodes:
1. CONCEPTION : This is a semi-realization of a new life in his own existence in behalf of mother. This may correspond to the First Scene of the play, where Faust is in study room and is about to create Mephistopheles. (Conception of Mephistopheles.)
2. CONTRACT WITH FOETUS : Implantation of Foetus into Mother’s Uterus. Mother’s contract to carry him on. Mother promises, after a long trip in dark labyrinths and some evolutionary periods, she shall bring him onto the world. Mother’s body shows some physiologic changes accordingly. This may correspond to Faust’s making a contract with Mephistopheles.
3. THE FIRST HEART BEATS OF THE FOETUS : After the fifth month, in the biologic sense, the proof of a new physical existence within mother’s body. This may symbolize Faust’s physical togetherness with Margerite (and/or their baby’s conception in her.)
4. BABY’S FIRST KICK-OFFS OF MOTHER’S ABDOMEN : The Foetus, who got used to live in ‘micro cosmos’ of mother, now, after 7th and 8th months, wants to get off into ‘macro cosmos’ – outside world. This may correspond to, after the ‘Jail Scene’, Faust and Mephistopheles decide to make a long trip to macro-world.
5. THE MOMENT OF BIRTH : The aim is achieved. One is born with intentions of dying. Death is a new level of existence. Liberated soul, may search a new body to repeat the entire life cicle. A medieval masterpiece painting symbolizes this: A man who is about to die, ‘blows soul’ into a newborn’s mouth. This may correspond to either Faust’s suicide, or his soul’s re-joining Gretchen’s soul.
I am sure, we do not understand fully the meaning of the existence of several other characters who appear here and there in this great tragedy, lile h o m u n k u l u s . Like his creator W a g n e r , the personality and functionality of him are not clear. Was he too Wagner’s shadow? In Marlowe’s play, Wagner is a chamberlain, a butler too perhaps, too acknowledged; while Dr.Faustus speaks to higher degree audience Wagner talks to the students, and brings wine to Dr.Faustus’ study room. In Goethe’s play, Wagner is a much more concervative, a little bit backward servant but nonetheless had created ‘homunkulus’ in the laboratory. What this would tell us?
In medicine, from neuro-anatomy we all know that, there seems to be a strange projection of human body’s appearance in the frontal area of the brain: A big head, relatively smaller body and large, wide open hands and feet. As if, there is a picture of an un-born baby in the brain tissue. Why Goethe used it?
We don’t know for sure; but it might have represented “the last, white butterfly in Pandora’s box”, as ‘hope’ for human beings to have their montrous ambitions to keep under control, or a symbol of a better future to come? Wagner’s ‘shadow’? Since it also dies in the water at the end, -like Margerite killed her baby in the water-, a Wagner-Margerite dream or wishful thinking? We will not know.
E p i l o g
Faust, as had been pointed out profoundly by many excellent writers and thinkers, is everybody’s life drama. Human beings are human beings with their life long envies, ambitions, dreams, successes and disappointments throughout. They endeavour to give a meaning to their existence and try to integrate with themselves. During life cycle, one uses ritual, wishfull thinking, if necessary the neurotic even psychotic defense mechanisms to survive and stand up against the ‘Reality Principle’: At the end, every living organism is doomed to die, regardless how this is understood and/or justified and dealt with. Everybody either feels or denies this fear, one way or the other. Only a handfull of creative human beings, namely artists, writers, musicians, painters, sculptures and alike, through the most advanced and appreciated defense mechanism: sublimation , may turn this fear into an eternal creation, like great Goethe, and only this way they reach god-like state and immortality.
As a last word, as a therapist and analyst, I would like to state that, it will not be a mistake to look at this masterpiece as a complete psychotherapy or analysis of self, as Faust had recognized and lived through his unconscious wishes, his dreams and his archetypes; in other words, -as Freud had demonstrated many fragments of it for his own interpretation- his neurosis had been revealed and worked out. It does not matter that at the end of the therapy the patient died, as there is a rather interesting statement in medicine, “The operation had been successful, but the patient died!”. After all, as we said previously, the death, may be is only a transformation of one form of (life) energy into another form of (death) the same. (Opus Alchymicum).
Prof.Dr. Ismail Ersevim
Written first in: March 1991
Revised: August 2000, May 2009
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