"It was Otto Rank who first discovered the following passage in a letter by Schiller and pointed it out as an astonishing premodern confirmation of the psychology of the unconscious. Schiller is writing to Korner, who had complained of a failure in productivity: "The cause of your complaints, it seems to me, is the compulsion that your intellect imposes upon your imagination. It seems to be a bad thing, disadvantageous to the creative activity of the soul, when the intellect examines too closely, as though at the very threshold, the ideas that stream towards it. An idea considered in isolation may seem very unpromising and even fantastic, but perhaps it will become more important through another idea that comes after it, perhaps in a certain combination with others that may appear just as absurd it can supply a very important connection: all this cannot be judged by the intellect alone unless it keeps hold of an idea long enough to examine its associations with others. On the other hand, in a creative mind, it seems to me, the intellect has withdrawn its guard from the gates, the ideas rush in pell-mell, and only then does the intellect survey and criticise the whole assembly."
This is a classical statement of the ideal relationship between intellectual criticism and the unconscious. Neither by suppression of the material streaming out of the unconscious, out of uncontrolled fancy, dreams, and the byplay of the mind, nor by permanent surrender to the unshaped infinity of the unconscious, but rather through affectionate attention to these hidden sources, and only afterward through criticism and selection from that chaos - thus have all the great artists worked.”
Hermann Hesse: “Artists And Psychoanalysis” (1918)
Image: Jerónimos And Tree. (Lisbon, 2010.)