Made Of Dreams


Memories, Dreams and Reflections - School Years - C.G.Jung-4

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Memories, Dreams and Reflections - School Years - C.G.Jung-4

My twelfth year was indeed a fateful one for me. One day in the early summer of 1887 I was standing in the cathedral square, waiting for a classmate who went home by the same route as myself. It was twelve o'clock, and the morning classes were over. Suddenly another boy gave me a shove that knocked me off my feet. I fell, striking my head against the curbstone so hard that I almost lost consciousness.

For about, half an hour afterward I was a little dazed. At the moment I felt the blow the thought flashed through my mind: "Now you won't have to go to school anymore." I was only half unconscious, but I remained lying there for a few moments longer than was strickly necessary, chiefly in order to avenge myself from my assailant. Then people picked me up and took me to the house nearby, where two elderly spinster aunts lived.

From then on I began to have fainting spells whenever I had to return to school, and whenever my parents set me to doing my homework. For more than six months I stayed away from school, and for me that was a picnic. I was free, could dream for hours, be anywhere I liked, in the woods or by the water, or draw. I resumed my battle pictures and furious scenes of war, of old castles that were being assulted or burned, or drew page upon page of cariatures.

Similar caricatures sometimes appear to me before falling asleep to this day, grinning masks that constantly move and change, among them familiar faces of people who soon afterward died.

Above all, I was able to plunge into the world of the mysterious. To that realm belong trees, a pool, the swamp, stones and animals, and my father's library . But I was growing more and more away from the world, and had all the while pangs of conscience. I frittered away my time with loafing , collecting, reading, and playing. But I did not feel any happier for it; I had the obscure feeling that I was fleeing from myself.

I forgot completely how all this had come about, but Ipitied my parents' worries. They consulted various doctors, who scratched tjeir heads and packed me off to spend the holidays with relatives in Winterthur.This city had a railroad station that proved an endless source of delight to me. But when I returned home everything was as before. One doctor thought I had epilepsy. I knew what epileptic fits were like and I inwardly laughted at such nonsense.

My parents became more worried thanever. Then one day a friend called on my father. They were sitting in the garden and I hid behind a shrub, for I was possessed from an insatiable curiosity. I heard the visitor saying to my father," And how is your son?" "Ah, that's a sad business,"my father replied. " The doctors no longer know what is wrong with him. They think it may be Epilepsy. It would be dreadful if he were incurable.

I have lost what little I had, and what will become of the boy if he cannot earn his own living?" I was thunderstruck.This was the collision with realit. "Why then. I must get to work!" I thought suddenly.

From that moment I became a serious child. I ceprt away, went to my father's study, took out my Latin grammar, and began to cram with intense concentration. After ten minutes of this I had the finest of fainting fits, I almost fell off the chair, but after a few minutes I felt better and went on working.

"Devil take it, I'm not going to faint," I told myself, and persisted in my purpose. This time it took aboyt fifteen minutes before the second attack came. That, too, passed like the first."And now you must really get to work!" I stuck it out, and after an hour came the third attack. Still I did not give up, and worked for another hour, until I had the feeling that I had overcome the attacks. Suddenly, I felt better than I Had in all the months before. And in fact the attacks did not recur. From that day on I worked over my grammar and other schoolbooks every day.

A few weeks later I returned to school, and never suffered another attack, even there. The whole bag of tricks was over and done with! That was when I learnt what neurosis is.

Gradually the recollection of how it had all come about returned to me, and I saw clearly that I myself had arranged this whole disgraceful situation. That is why I had never been seriously angry with the schoolmate who pushed me over.

I knew that he had been put up to it, so to speak, and that the whole affair was a diabolical plot on my part. I knew, too, that this was never going to happen to me again. I had a feeling of rage against myself, and at the same time was ashamed of myself. For I knew that I had wronged myself and made a fool of myself in my own eyes.

Nobody else was to blame; I was the cursed renegade
From then on I could no longer endure my parents worrying about me or speaking of me in a pitying tone.

The nurosis became another of my secrets , but it was a shameful secret, a defeat. Nevertheless it induced in me a studied punctiliousness and an unusual diligence. Those days saw the beginnings of my conscientiousness, practiced not for the sake of appearances, so that I would amount to something, but for my own sake.

Regularly I would get up at five o'clock in order to study, and sometimes I worked from three in the morning till seven, before going to school. 

Reference: Memories, Dreams, Reflections: C.G. Jung




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