CONSCIOUSNESS
© C.O. Evans & J. Fudjack

Addendum F - The Unconscious and the Concept of the Complex[table of contents]  [previous]  [next]


The unconscious, according to Jung, so closely resembles consciousness in the functions it is capable of and in its manner of operation that the processes of the unconscious are hardly distinguishable from the activities of consciousness. Indeed, as we shall see, in Jung's view the unconscious is capable of behaving as if it were a separate consciousness housed in the same body as consciousness proper. So struck was he by the notion of the similarity of functioning of the two that he was motivated to say,

There is in my opinion no tenable argument against the hypothesis that psychic functions which today seem conscious to us were once unconscious and yet worked as if they were conscious. We could also say that all the psychic phenomena to be found in man were already present in the natural unconscious state. 151

We shall not here be concerned with his claim that presently conscious psychic functions were formerly unconscious. We shall, however, concern ourselves with the view this passage suggests, according to which the unconscious can be thought of as capable of reproducing the kind of functions and phenomena normally attributed to consciousness. As this position would have it, the unconscious is no less clear, complex or capable than consciousness and can be thought of as comprised of the same materials of which consciousness is made-- feelings, thoughts, and the like. For exponents of this position it is as if the difference between the unconscious and consciousness was merely a matter of an awareness accompanying processes of consciousness and missing in the case of processes of the unconscious.

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Jung, for instance, continues the train of thought in the above passage by saying,

To this it might be objected that it would then be far from clear why there is such a thing as consciousness at all. 152

He is apparently concerned that if the awareness accompanying processes of consciousness is the only mark distinguishing such processes from processes of the unconscious then consciousness per se would appear, contrary to common belief, dispensable; for the organism could function as effectively without it.

Jung is not alone in the conviction that the unconscious is capable of the same functions and phenomena as consciousness. This proposition has been advocated by many, even to the extent that of late there appears to be a move toward reviving the notion of multiple consciousnesses residing in one person or body. The multiple consciousness thesis develops quite readily from the view of the unconscious we ascribe to Jung, and he was favorably disposed toward it. For it is easy to imagine that an unconscious which is capable of all the functions and phenomena of consciousness is one capable of functioning independently of consciousness, as a sort of second consciousness.

The view which attributes the capacity for consciousness-like functioning and phenomena to the unconscious, in turn, is historically founded upon conceiving of the unconscious as possessing a complex structuring of its own. As we noted in the previous section, it is Freud, and not his predecessors, whom Jung credits with the 'discovery' of the unconscious because it was Freud who first called attention to and attempted to elucidate its complex

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nature.

It is our contention that this contribution of Freud's, as necessary and significant a step in the history of psychology as it may have been, was a costly one. For Freud decreed that psychology retract models of consciousness of the Jamesian sort, believing the price to be paid for conceiving of the unconscious as complex and capable of sophisticated activity was a disavowal of the description of the unconscious, as a 'fringe' of consciousness for instance, that would give it the appearance of a vague composite of dimly realized perceptions and images. How could the unconscious be construed as complex if it was merely comprised of all the hazy and ill-framed contents of consciousness, the inevitable refuse consigned to obscurity as a byproduct of the selective processes involved in the deployment of attention? Psychology paid the price decreed by Freud and the metaphor of light on which Freud's predecessors depended too readily in their descriptions of the unconscious, subconscious, or fringe, was effectively expunged. But the price was too stiff. Following Freud the unconscious became a separate entity housing all of the same kind of mental artifacts consciousness was capable of. And all the postulated items thereby created, the specific feelings, thoughts, and perceptions-- not only circumvented characterization as dimly represented in consciousness, they were not believed to be experienced in consciousness at all. This, however, was a theoretical strategy that bewildered many who were perplexed by the notion of appropriating phenomenologically meaningful terms like 'feeling', 'thought', and 'perception' for use in ways which precluded their having phenomenological

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meaning. Objections of this sort to Freud's concept of the unconscious persist to the present day.

The attentive model, as a refinement of the model which Freud's theory sought to replace, has avoided the metaphor of light that was too readily and frequently appealed to in the explication and justification of these early models. On the other hand, it takes seriously the prominent role assigned to attention in the discussion of consciousness. It explicates a relationship between object of attention and subsidiary awareness in the course of which a comprehensive description of consciousness is presented, one which brings into relief and integrates insights on the nature of feeling, context, and the like-- some of which appear but play a less central role in the earlier models (James' description of consciousness in particular).

We shall, in this section, propose an understanding of what can be called 'the complex nature of the unconscious' from the standpoint of the attentive model. Insofar as we are successful in this venture we shall show it to be unnecessary to reify the processes in question by positing an unconscious, an independent faculty outside of consciousness. This endeavour amounts to reinstating the Jamesian model in refined form. In which case, furthermore, it will become clear that the distinguishing mark of Freud's theory is not to be found in its unparalleled capacity to conceive of unconscious processes as displaying complexity; if it can, in principle, be said to have an overall distinguishing mark it is to be found in the reification of the process in question and the separation of the resulting 'unconscious' from consciousness.

In the next section we shall discuss an outstanding contribution of Jung's to the concept of the unconscious, his idea of 'archetypal

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representation'. We hope to show that if Jung's understanding of the unconscious is purged of residual reificationist tendencies this descriptions of the role and nature of archetypal representations can be interpreted as insights into the processes involved in inducing the altered or non-bifurcated state of consciousness we discussed in Part III of this monograph.

The reificationist position we are calling into question was heavily debated during Freud and Jung's time and is still being debated today. Let us begin, then, by tracing Jung's steps in dealing with objections to the reificationist view.

In the following passage, written by Jung, we again find Wundt in the role of adversary. He is adopting an anti-reificationist stance and it is apparent from the passage that his theory of consciousness bears a resemblance to the attentive model.

Wundt himself is of the opinion that, as regards the "so- called unconscious processes, it is not a question of unconscious psychic elements, but only of more dimly conscious ones," and that "for hypothetical unconscious processes we could substitute actually demonstrable or at any rate less hypothetical conscious processes." This attitude implies a clear rejection of the unconscious as a psychological hypothesis. 153

With reservations about the stress put on the metaphor of light, we can understand this passage to be expressing the claim that consciousness conceived as composed of varying 'intensities' or kinds of awareness obviates postulating the existence of another faculty, the unconscious. But if this is Wundt's position how would he account for observations suggesting that people can on occasion behave as if governed by two separate faculties apparently residing in one person simultaneously? Jung proceeds by posing this question:

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The cases of "double consciousness" he explains as "modifications of individual consciousness which very often occur continuously, in steady succession, and for which, by a violent misinterpretation of the facts, a plurality of individual consciousness is substituted." The latter, so Wundt argues, "would have to be simultaneously present in one and the same individual." This, he says, "is admittedly not the case." 154

Obviously Wundt is here making the point that there exists no evidence for simultaneous multiple consciousness in the same individual. Jung appeals to the following evidence and we learn that not everyone would agree with Wundt.

Doubtless it is hardly possible for two consciousness to express themselves simultaneously in a single individual in a blatantly recognizable way. This is why these states usually alternate. Janet has shown that while the one consciousness controls the head, so to speak, the other simultaneously puts itself into communication with the observer by means of a code of expressive manual movements. Double consciousness may therefore very well be simultaneous. 155

The reader may note at this point that Janet's view is echoed in contemporary psychology by Bateson who adopts a theory about two levels of communication according to which one's body language,as expressive of one level of communication, can contradict or be at odds with one's words, expressive of the other level. And Jung's appeal to Janet's observations in this context is identical to the appeals made to Bateson's observations and theoretical constructs in support of contemporary versions of the multiple consciousness thesis. But Bateson distinguishes between the two levels of communication that he postulates by referring to the communication at one level as 'meta-messages' in relation to 'messages' occurring at the other level-- the prefix 'meta' signifying that the metamessage is a message about, or providing a framework for, the message at the other level. The concept of 'metamessage' and its relationship to messages proper is easily unfolded in terms of the

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concept pair 'context' and 'content' and thus poses no special problem for the attentive model, which is founded on an analogous distinction between subsidiary awareness and object of attention. It could be expected, then, that in principle the occurrence of a contradiction between metamessage (expressed in body language, for instance) and a verbal message would not be a phenomenon anomalous to the model, although it might deserve further consideration and explanation, being a special case. In other words, the observation of simultaneous contradictory messages communicated by one person is not an observation which necessitates the positing of a separate faculty in the form of a reified unconscious or second consciousness.

It might be mentioned that in his most recent formulations of his theory of hypnosis Erickson has expressed the opinion that Bateson's theory of two levels of communication provides the theoretical constructs for a definition of the unconscious that is not subject to the kind of criticisms Freud met with and failed to quell. 156 We agree with Erickson, as the above discussion implies, but shall offer a description of the unconscious in terms of concepts more fundamental than the communications terminology Bateson gives the central place to in his theory. It is important to note, however, that the concept of 'metamessage' implicitly carries within it the rudiments of the view of consciousness we shall use in our discussion. This is firmly brought home when we compare the concept of 'metamessage' with the concept of 'paramessage' with which Bandler and Grinder propose to replace it. 157 With this suggested revision Bandler and Grinder underwrite a variety of the multiple consciousness thesis in which each sense modality is capable of independent information input and output as if, so to speak, there were separate consciousnesses!

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This revision deprives Bateson's theory of the very feature which suggests a corrective to the much disputed tendency, which we are in the process of investigating, to reify the unconscious.

It is our belief, then, that Wundt needn't have made his position depend upon rejecting the possibility of the existence of simultaneous contradictory messages. And in this section we shall grant the possibility Wundt denied. Wundt, it seems, is guilty of complicity in sharing with Freud the incorrect assumption that acknowledging the complexity of the unconscious (which in this case manifests itself in the appearance of behaviour at odds with verbal messages that are objects of attention) is contingent upon rejecting the view that one could theoretically 'substitute conscious processes for hypothetical unconscious ones'.

We have as yet not considered Wundt's most significant objection to the notion of a reified unconscious. Jung deals with this objection immediately following the above passage. He says,

Wundt thinks that the idea of a double consciousness, and hence of a "superconsciousness" and "subconsciousness" in Fechner's sense, is a "survival from the psychological mysticism' of the Schelling school. He obviously boggles at an unconscious representation being one which nobody "has". In that case the word "representation" would naturally be obsolete too, since it suggests a subject to whom something is present or "presented". That is the basic reason for Wundt's rejection of the unconscious. 158

And this, essentially, is the objection that continues to be raised even today. It occurs frequently in one form or other in a book of essays on Freud edited by the philosopher, Wollheim, and is reflected in the following passage from that book.

His [Freud's] second account of consciousness might be called 'the attention theory'. He suggests: ...Becoming conscious is connected with the

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application of ... attention ... which, as it seems, is only available in a specific quantity, and this may have been diverted from the train of thought in question on to some other purpose ... If ... we come upon an idea which will not bear criticism, we break off: we drop the cathexis of attention ... (But) the train of thought ... can continue to spin itself out without attention being turned to it again, unless ... it reaches a specially high degree of intensity which forces attention to it.

This attention theory is vulnerable to 'Who?' questions and charges of 'multiplying'. Do we direct our own attention to the ideas running through our minds, or does a mini-agency have this job? Is this aiming done consciously? Unwittingly? Does the attention directing agency know before hand what our attention will strike? Who continues thinking our unattended train of thought? Is it perhaps not entertained by any agency when our attention moves from it? Can it become 'intense' while there is no one attending to it whom it bothers intensely? 159

We can expect Freud, as an advocate of the spotlight model, to have difficulty with questions regarding the deployment of attention. For if consciousness is conceived as nothing more than the spotlight of attention, to attribute control over the selectivity of attention to consciousness itself is very much like saying that in order to select an object of attention from amongst the possibilities we must first attend to them all. Thus, as Thalberg, the author of the above passage, implies, we might expect Freud to appeal to the existence of a hypothetical 'mind-agency' in order to explain the directing of attention. But an appeal to the existence of an agency outside of consciousness opens the door to the questions of the kind Thalberg poses: Is the agency itself conscious? Does it know what attention will strike? Etc.

In contrast, by conceiving of consciousness as subsidiary awareness/object of attention the selectivity of attention is explained by appealing to subsidiary awareness and the influence the underlying feeling state, as the

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mode in which subsidiary awareness is experienced, has on attention and vice versa. Our discussion of subliminal perception, for instance, suggests an answer to the question 'Does the attention directing agency know beforehand what our attention will strike' and it is an answer that shows the question to be somewhat misdirected. For there is neither a necessity to imagine an agency outside of consciousness which 'recognizes' the presentation as an object of attention nor a necessity to suppose that the conscious experience of the presentation which does take place either is itself the experience of an object of attention or entails 'knowledge' of what the item experienced is. The subliminal perception, on the account we have presented, is experienced as a change in underlying feeling state by the person in question.

In providing answers to questions concerning the deployment of attention the attentive model demands that care be taken in consistently attributing a subsidiary phenomenological status to components of subsidiary awareness lest we fall into the error of conceiving of them despite intentions to the contrary, as objects of attention. But this is precisely the error Freud falls into when he speaks of an unattended train of thought, for example, as though it were identical to a sequence of objects of attention which is, however, not experienced in attention. The formula the attentive model offers in the hope of preventing such inconsistencies is the description of subsidiary awareness as experienced in the mode of feeling.

Having adopted the over-simplistic spotlight model Freud fails to discriminate, as we have done by distinguishing between underlying feeling state and object of attention, between components of consciousness of

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different phenomenological status. It is not surprising, then, that when he attempts to supplement the spotlight of attention by introducing a concept of the unconscious he should repeat his mistake by appropriating all the terms commonly understood to denote objects of attention in consciousness for use in describing the contents of the hypothetical unconscious. It is reasonable to ask, as Wundt and Thalberg do, Who experiences these objects of attention I do not experience? On the one hand Freud wants to answer, 'The unconscious', as if it were a second consciousness, a second spotlight. This is tantamount to claiming, quite literally, that someone else experiences such unconscious objects of attention. On the other hand, Freud appears to want to deny that the processes of the unconscious are experienced at all. This is an attractive alternative to identifying the subject who experiences the thoughts, feelings, and such, not experienced in consciousness. But it is at best metaphorical to apply terms with a phenomenological meaning to processes of the unconscious if these processes are non-experiential events.

It is Freud's double spotlight account that we wish to replace by the attentive model. We suggest that the concept of subsidiary awareness, as we have presented it, can be used to explicate a concept of the 'unconscious' without misusing phenomenological vocabulary. Let us proceed to investigate how this could be achieved.

Consciousness, as it was our intention to show in this work, has a rich and complex structure. It relevates an object of attention against a complex background in subsidiary awareness. Yet we do not submit that its complex contexting abilities alone account for the phenomena which motivate Freud and Jung to postulate an unconscious. In the previous section we

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presented a passage from James in which intricate habitually performed activities such as knitting are described as happening outside the area of the subject's attention. James conceives of these activities as depending upon sensations of which the subject is nonetheless aware-- subsidiarily aware, in our terminology. But we recognize that it is not this type of complexity of consciousness that Jung had in mind when he spoke of unconscious complexes and honored Freud and not James with the discovery of the unconscious.

Let us inspect what is meant in this context by a 'complex'. At first glance it might appear as if shifting from the idea of complexity to the more theoretical notion of a 'complex' would present special difficulties for the task of re-defining the unconscious in terms of the contexting abilities of subsidiary awareness. But we witness Freud employing the concept as if it were identical to the idea of an experienced context of which there is subsidiary awareness: in the following passage, for example, we find his reference to a complex easily interpreted as a reference to an ideational framework in the background of consciousness influencing the choice of object of attention. Speaking of Bleuler and Jung's pathfinding association experiments Freud says,

The experiment is as follows: a word (termed the 'stimulus- Word') is called out to the subject and he replies as quickly as possible with some other word that occurs to him (the so- called 'reaction'), his choice of this reaction not being restricted by anything. ...The experiments ... acquired their value from the fact that they assumed that the reaction to the stimulus-word could not be a chance one but must be determined by an ideational content present in the mind of the reacting subject. It has become customary to speak of an ideational content of this kind, which is able to influence the reaction to the stimulus-word, as a 'complex'. 160

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The passage is reminiscent of the contemporary claims 161 that a subject's background awareness of context determines the meaning the subject attributes to ambiguous words presented him. Indeed, Jung speaks of complexes in a way which invites correlating the subject's background awareness of context with the presence of a complex:

What happens in the association test also happens in every discussion between two people. In both cases there is an experimental situation which constellates complexes that assimilate the topic discussed or the situation as a whole, including the parties concerned. 162

But let us further inspect the concept of the complex by considering the following passage in which Breuer is quoted by Strachey. Incidentally, when Strachey mentions the 'early Zurich Definitions' of the concept in this passage he is referring to Jung and Bleuler.

Breuer, in the same work seems to lay more stress than these early Zurich definitions on the factor of unconsciousness, when he writes that 'ideas that are aroused but do not enter consciousness ... sometimes ... accumulate and form complexes- - mental strata withdrawn from consciousness.' When at a later period the term became a catchword not only in psychology but in popular usage, the feature of the group of ideas concerned being 'withdrawn from consciousness'-- that is to say 'repressed'-- came to form an essential part of the word's connotation. 163

What Breuer can be taken as emphasizing is that the ideational content, the complex, supposed by Bleuler and Jung to be present in the mind of the subject in their experiments is not present in the same way that the stimulus word is present. That is, the complex is not present as an object of attention. If, accordingly, we understand Breuer's references to the unconscious and consciousness to be references to subsidiary awareness and object of attention, respectively, we are supplied in this passage with a description of the complex as a group or set of components of subsidiary awareness accumulating or

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forming a whole, a context, by virtue of their respective contexting functions.

That each of the items forming the group called a complex has a contexting function (that is, that it is a part of the context experienced in subsidiary awareness and as such plays a role in directing attention to objects appropriate to that context) is brought into relief in the following passage in which Freud quotes an experience related by Otto Rank. According to the account Rank himself unexpectedly prepared to ask for gold from a cashier when he planned to obtain silver and attributes his mistake to the 'unconscious perception' of an acquaintance named Gold who happened to be in the vicinity.

Some time ago I myself experienced an unusual variation of the "remarkable coincidence" of meeting someone I was at the very moment thinking about. Shortly before Christmas I was on my way to the Austro-Hungarian Bank to get some change in the form of ten new silver kronen for giving as presents. While I was absorbed in ambitious phantasies which had to do with the contrast between my small assets and the piles of money stored in the bank building, I turned into a narrow street in which the bank stood. I saw a car standing at the door and many people going in and out. I said to myself: No doubt the cashiers will have time even for my few kronen. In any case I shall be quick about it. I shall put down the banknote I wanted changed and say "Let me have gold , please." I immediately noticed my error-- I should, of course, have asked for silver-- and awoke from my phantasies. I was now only a few steps from the entrance and saw a young man coming toward me whom I thought I recognized, but as I am short- sighted I was not able to identify him for certain. As he drew nearer I recognized him as a school-friend of my brother's called Gold. Gold's brother was a well-known writer from whom I had expected considerable help at the beginning of my literary career. This help, however, had not been forthcoming, and in consequence I failed to win the material success I had hoped for, which had been the subject of my phantasy on the way to the bank. While I was absorbed in my phantasies, therefore, I must have unconsciously perceived the approach of Herr Gold; and this was represented in my consciousness (which was dreaming of material success) in such a form that I decided to ask for gold at the counter, instead of the less valuable silver. On the other hand, however, the paradoxical fact that

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my unconscious is able to perceive an object which my eyes can recognize only later seems partly explained by what Bleuler (1910) terms "complexive preparedness." This was, as we have seen, directed to material matters and had from the beginning, contrary to my better knowledge, directed my steps to the building where only gold and paper money is changed. 164

We might speak of Rank as having subliminally perceived Herr Gold, and, in accord with our discussion of subliminal perception, describe Gold's unrecognized presence as constituting a component of Rank's subsidiary awareness that displayed a definite contexting function by shifting Rank's attention from the idea of silver currency to gold currency. The account Rank gives also supplies us with information regarding a possible explanation of why recognition of Gold might have been inhibited. For we may assume that if Rank had entertained as an object of attention this brother of the acquaintance who failed him, the perception would have induced a certain amount of painful feelings and memories. The substitute object of attention, the gold currency, was only partially determined by the subliminal presence of the man and we are safe in assuming that his presence was only one factor influencing Rank's attention-- Rank himself alludes to other factors when he speaks of his 'ambitious phantasies'. This analysis is in keeping with the position we outlined in the section on subliminal perception where we argued against 'associationist' analyses of subliminal experiments which suggested a one-to-one causal correspondence between subliminal stimulus and object of attention response.

It appears, then, that in this case at least, mention of the 'unconscious' can be construed as a reference to subsidiary awareness. We find further encouragement in the attempt to redescribe the unconscious in terms of

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subsidiary awareness in the words of none other than Jung himself when, in speaking of "the unfathomable dark recesses of the conscious mind" he says,

For want of a more descriptive term we call this unknown background the unconscious. 165

Indeed, he even speaks of

... a fusion of subliminal elements ... a combination of all the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings which consciousness has not registered because of their feeble accentuation. 166

This is very similar to the point we made in insisting upon seeing a single subliminal presentation as one component amongst many in subsidiary awareness, functioning as a part of the whole in subsidiary awareness and hence merely a factor among many influencing the directing of attention. The whole, the context experienced in subsidiary awareness, supplies the meaning for the object of attention experienced in that context. So it is not surprising to find Jung elsewhere speaking about a technique for ascertaining the meaning of dreams that he calls "taking up the context". The following is his example of this method:

To give an example: I was working once with a young man who mentioned in his anamnesis that he was happily engaged, and to a girl of "good" family. In his dreams she frequently appeared in very unflattering guise. The context showed that the dreamer's unconscious connected the figure of his bride will all kinds of scandalous stories from quite another source-- which was incomprehensible to him and naturally also to me. But, from the constant repetition of such combinations, I had to conclude that, despite his conscious resistance, there existed in him an unconscious tendency to show his bride in this ambiguous light. He told me that if such a thing were true it would be a catastrophe. His acute neurosis had set in a short time after his engagement. Although it was something he could not bear to think about, this suspicion of his bride seemed to me a point of such capital importance that I advised him to instigate some inquiries. These showed the suspicion to be well founded, and the shock of the unpleasant discovery did not kill the patient but, on the

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contrary, cured him of his neurosis and also of his bride. Thus, although the taking up of the context resulted in an "unthinkable" meaning and hence in an apparently nonsensical interpretation, it proved correct in the light of the facts which were subsequently disclosed. 167

Note that according to Jung the 'unconscious' connected the figure of the bride to storylines which did not flatter her. He is attributing the negative contexting of the bride to the unconscious and he is also perhaps implying that the young man was unconsciously aware, during his waking hours, of clues suggesting the nature of his brides' behavior. But for both of these references to the unconscious we could easily substitute references to subsidiary awareness. The young man's feelings toward the woman are expressed in the context in which he fantasizes her, whether or not he is ever explicitly aware of those feelings or recognizes them. These feelings, conversely, constitute his experience of the real situation in which he finds himself vis-a-vis his bride- - his felt experience of the context of which he is subsidiarily aware. His suspicious feelings, in other words, are his way of experiencing the cues or metamessages he succeeds in suppressing from attention, and they are expressed in the dream context.

And again, paralleling the incident Rank accounts, the clues the young man suppresses are ones that are obviously painful to entertain in attention.

What we have as yet to consider is the reason that the young man's suspicious feelings appear to come into prominence in his dreams and not in his waking experience. In order to do this we have to remind the reader that in our discussion of subliminal perception we distinguish two kinds of subliminal presentation: ones which were readily integrated into the prevailing context and ones which we described as components of subsidiary awareness with

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a strong contexting function for a rival context. If we make the further assumption that rival contexting components can be momentarily inhibited from exerting influence on attention we could explain the aggregate of clues the young man was subsidiarily aware of as disengaged in this way during his waking hours but gaining ascendancy in his dreams. In other words, during waking life the items relegated to subsidiary awareness were anomalous to the prevailing context, the present patterning of the background of which the young man was subsidiarily aware. Normally an anomalous item would itself insist upon attention but we might explain why they did not become objects of attention by appealing to the fact that they could only do so at the cost of inducing painful feelings the young man did not care to experience. If an anomalous item is inhibited from attention we might at least expect it to influence attention, distract it from present concerns to a substitute object of attention, by joining the already present and active components of subsidiary awareness. And it is likely that this kind of phenomenon occurred, for Jung mentions the onset of a neurosis at precisely the time one would expect the young man to first have become subsidiarily aware of his bride's metacommunications.

If, however, consciousness does not, on occasion, readjust itself in this manner to the anomalous item, and if, furthermore, a host of such anomalous items are allowed to be present in this more or less 'non-functional' way in subsidiary awareness, they might be construed as constituting an interrelated system not integrated into the predominant pattern of subsidiary awareness, the experienced context. We could appropriate Jung's term and call this group a "complex". And to do so would not depart significantly from Jung's

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usage of the term. According to Jung's well known principle the unconscious compensates consciousness-- unconscious attitudes compensate conscious ones. He says,

As far back as 1907 I pointed out the compensatory relation between consciousness and the split-off complexes and also emphasized their purposive character. ...As a rule, the unconscious content contrasts strikingly with the conscious material, particularly when the conscious attitude tends too exclusively in a direction that would threaten the vital needs of the individual. 168

We may understand Jung to be referring, when he speaks here of the unconscious, not merely to subsidiary awareness, but to the 'split-off complex', a distinction which parallels Freud's 'preconscious' and 'unconscious proper'. And parallel to our discussion of these Freudian terms we suggest that the ego-complex is a reference to the prevailing experienced context in subsidiary awareness. And we suggest that the term 'complex' be reserved for use in denoting the composite of rival contexting components that are superimposed, so to speak, on the prevailing context. The complex, then, would be 'split-off' from consciousness only in the sense that it is comprised of components of subsidiary awareness anomalous to the prevailing context. To use the term 'complex' in this manner has the advantage of conceiving of the group of anomalous components as a unit in its own right. Such a complex could be understood to be similar to the prevalent experienced context with the exception that being 'superimposed on' or 'interspersed throughout' the prevailing context, it would be prevented from subsidizing an actual object of attention. And insofar as it does not have an associated object of attention

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but might, were it to be unhampered by the presence of the prevailing context, it could be considered to have a latent object of attention. The latent object corresponding to the complex needn't be conceived of as existing in a separate faculty independent of consciousness-- an unconscious, or for that matter, anywhere else (just as we need not postulate the existence of a land of potential hurricanes). And yet we do not wish to dispute the fact of latency nor contend that dreams (for instance) have a latent content. We merely wish to describe the latency in terms of the structuring of consciousness itself. And this is an important point, since the reificationist concept of the unconscious takes refuge in the belief that it alone can explain the phenomenon of latent content or latent meaning. Only by positing the existence of an unconscious, a faculty independent of consciousness, can one make sense of the claim that dreams have a latent content, an underlying undisclosed meaning-- or so the reificationist would have it. The point we are making, however, is that there is no need to postulate an unconscious where such latent objects of attention are located. The fact of latency is to be explained in terms of the complex of anomalous components of subsidiary awareness.

On the attentive model, then, the complex (and hence, the 'unconscious proper') would have to be experienced in consciousness. And it would be experienced, as the context itself is, in the mode of feeling. Jung often speaks of the complex as a feeling-toned complex,. implying that there is some special connection between feeling and the presence of the complex. And it is not uncommon to feel that a dream has an undisclosed meaning or experience of feeling that there is something else to the dream besides its apparent content-- a 'latent' content. With mention of this type of experience

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we identify the kind of feeling corresponding to the presence of the complex. In the case of the young man who dreams about his bride, Jung alludes to the fact that the man harbored ambiguous feelings in respect of her, as should be expected, since the complex can be seen as an incipient context, a rival to the prevailing experienced context, and as such could be expected to be experienced as a feeling at odds with the feeling produced by the prevailing context.

We have previously suggested that Freud's reference to the unconscious proper be understood in terms of habitually unnoticed contexting components of subsidiary awareness (see section B). We are expanding upon that definition by construing references to the unconscious proper as references to complexes present in consciousness. We are understanding the complex to consist of components of subsidiary awareness that resist attention and have hypothesized that this is a function of the painful feeling that would be associated with such components were they to become objects of attention. This understanding is in accord with the position we presented earlier in section B. But in conceiving of the complex as an aggregate of components and characterizing them as anomalous to the prevailing context we add a new feature to the earlier hypothesis. This further development allows us to suggest that even were attention to be successfully turned toward any of the particular anomalous components interspersed within the predominant context (and composing the complex) the 'latent object of attention' corresponding to the complex would not be revealed. For the latent object is the object of attention that would be present were the complex itself, as a whole, to become the predominant experienced context.

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We might make this clearer by briefly considering Erickson's most recently published discussion of his hypnotic techniques. Central to his method is the induction of a state of confusion in the subject by means of a psychological shock or surprise. The effect he is seeking is the 'depotentiation of the conscious set' of the subject, to use his words. Essentially he means by this phrase the same thing Shor has in mind when he speaks of the temporary disintegration of the orientational framework in the background of attention. In one of the techniques Erickson employs, the 'interspersal technique', he intersperses anomalous items (mispronounced words, inappropriate phrases, absurd references and such) throughout a message intended for his subject. Such deliberately turgid communications are intended to supply the ulterior regions of the subject's consciousness with a host of rival contexting components, to use our terminology. Erickson is artificially manufacturing a complex and when he has supplied the subject with enough material the complex becomes predominant, overwhelming and replacing the original experienced-context, or 'conscious set', depotentiating it. What the subject experiences during this process is a new, unexpected, object of attention-- one that appears, as far as the subject can tell, to have come 'out of the blue'. The latent object of attention is seeded by Erickson and becomes manifest, but none of the anomalous contexting components constituting the complex are revealed as objects of attention. 169 The process, it appears, does not fail when one of the interspersed elements inadvertently attracts attention and is noticed-- for it is after all only one component and as such has only a tenuous association with the object of attention Erickson has designed the process to result in.

-page 167-

For purposes of exposition we have assigned Erickson a greater control over the process and its end-product than he acknowledges having. And we have omitted mention of references to the unconscious that would indicate that his understanding of that term is very similar to the one we are presenting (he speaks of the unconscious, for instance, as a process of feeling). 170 But the brief description that we have given of his interpersonal technique sheds further light, at any rate, on the phenomenon we have in mind in referring to the presence of complexes in consciousness. And it helps in founding an understanding of the difference between habitually tacit components of subsidiary awareness and a constellation of such components, a complex.

In this section we began by pointing out that many of the references to the unconscious, unconscious awareness, and complexes could be construed as references to the phenomenon of subsidiary awareness pure and simple. We then discovered that the notion of 'a complex' and of 'the unconscious proper' could be reserved for a special type of process taking place in consciousness-- one which, we might mention, renders the term 'the unconscious' a misnomer.

It remains to be said that dreams, symptoms of neurosis, and jokes are amongst the phenomena for explanation of which Freud postulated the existence of the unconscious proper. The feature these phenomena have in common, if our hypothesis is correct, is shared by virtue of the presence, in consciousness, of a complex. Although we shall not, in this paper, embark upon an analysis of any of these phenomena or present any further evidence that they could be explained in terms of the presence of a 'complex' as we have construed that terms, we remind the reader that when Freud stressed that

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind. 171

-page 168-

Jung replied,

The via regia to the unconscious, however, is not the dream, as he thought, but the complex, which is the architect of dreams and of symptoms. 172


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Footnotes

151. C.C.Jung, On the nature of the psyche. op.cit., p.120.
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152. Ibid.
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153. Ibid., p.74.
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154. Ibid.
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155. Ibid.
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156. M.H.Erickson, E.L. Rossi and S.I. Rossi, Hypnotic realities (New York:Irvington Publishers,1976), p.75.

"Throughout this discussion of the varieties of double bind the reader may have noted the ease with which we could use the terms "unconscious" and "metacommunication" in the same place. These terms may in fact be in the process of becoming interchangeable. This suggests we may be witnessing a fundamental change in our world view of depth psychology whereby we are developing a new and more efficient nomenclature. Philosophers have never liked the term "unconscious', it was the academic and philosophical rejection of this term that impeded the early acceptance of Freud's psychoanalysis. The use of the term "unconscious" still divides academic and experimentally oriented psychologists form clinicians as well as doctors in physical medicine from psychiatry. The term "metacommunication", however, was developed within a mathematico-logical framework, and as such, it fits in with the world view of the research scientist as well as the clinician. It may well be that we are on the threshold of a new zeitgeist wherein we will revise the terms of depth psychology to make for a better fit with current conceptions in mathematics, cybernetics, and systems theory."
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157. R. Bandler and R. Grinder, The structure of magic, vol. 2 (Palo Alto:Science and Behavior Books,1976), p.36.
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158. C.G. Jung, On the nature of the psyche, op.cit., p.74.
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159. I. Thalberg, "Freud's anatomies of the self." In R. Wollheim (ed.), Freud: a collection of critical essays (Garden City:Anchor Books,1974), p.166.
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160. S. Freud, "Psychoanalysis and the establishment of the facts in legal proceedings." In J. Strachey (ed.), Standard Edition, vol. 9 (London:Hogarth Press,1959), p.103.
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161. E.A. Carswell and R. Rommetveit, op.cit., p.9-11.
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162. C.G. Jung, "A review of the complex theory." op.cit., p.95.
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163. J. Strachey (ed.), Standard edition of the complete works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 9. op.cit., p.101.
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164. S. Freud, "The psychopathology of everyday life." In J. Strachey (ed.), Standard Edition, vol 6 (London:Hogarth Press,1960), p.264.
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165. C.G. Jung, Dreams, translated by R.F.C. Hull (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press,1974), p.73.
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166. Ibid., p.41.
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167. Ibid., p.72.
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168. Ibid., p.38.
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169. M.H. Erickson, E.L. Rossi and S.I. Rossi, op.cit., p.225-6, 274-5.
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170. Ibid., p.182. Rossi sums up a discussion of the unconscious and feeling by saying, "feelings come from our unconscious."
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171. S. Freud, The interpretation of dreams (second part). In J. Strachey (ed.), Standard Edition, vol. 5 (London:Hogarth Press,1953), p.608.
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172. C.G. Jung, "A review of the complex theory." op.cit., p.101.
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