A case for fantasy free-play
Carl Jung famously dedicated much of his research to understanding the unconscious mind. Jung believed that the unconscious contained a wealth of untapped potential, and that supplementing the conscious attitude with unconscious materials is essential in becoming a balanced – or individuated – individual.
However, as Jung’s research continued he began to regard dreams as inferior expressions of unconscious contents as energy tension is considerably lower during sleep. Instead, Jung created a technique for inducing spontaneous fantasies: ‘The training consists first of all in systematic exercises for eliminating critical attention, thus producing a vacuum in consciousness.’ Jung’s technique focused on becoming as conscious as possible of fantasy and its associations, often concentrating on a particular mood. The affect was a conscious understanding of the mysteries of the unconscious mind.
Jung encouraged his students to try accessing it via an artistic medium, as he believed that art ‘carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic life of mankind.’
Here are his guidelines in fantasy free play:
Visual types should concentrate on the expectation that an inner image will be produced. As a rule such a fantasy-image will actually appear – perhaps hypnagogically – and should be carefully noted down in writing. Audio-verbal types usually hear inner words, perhaps mere fragments or apparently meaningless setences to begin with … Others at such times simply hear their ‘other voice’ … Still rarer, but equally valuable, is automatic writing, direct or with the planchette.
Why not give it a go yourself? We have. It’s an amazing experience.
*This post was sourced from Sonu Shamdasani’s introduction to Carl Jung’s Liber Novus.
Published: March 11th, 2014