Tribal people all over the world believe that the dream ego is the psyche dwelling within the living and fully conscious personality, like an alien and a stranger, a feebler double of man.The experience of an apparent double of the ego in dreaming,in swoons and ecstasy,gave rise to the inference of a two-fold principle of life in man, and the existence of an independent, separable “second ego” dwelling within the visible ego of daily life. In the activities of the waking and conscious man,the soul-image has no part. Its world is the world of sleep. While the other “I”, unconscious of itself, lays in sleep, its double is up and doing.In other words,while the body of the sleeper lies wrapped in slumber,motionless,the sleeper in his dream lives and sees many strange and wonderful things. It is “himself” who does this, and yet not the self known and visible to himself and others, for that self lies still beyond the reach of sensation.
There are different ego states in earlier and later developmental phases and various ego states in which soul representations have different qualities. The psychoanalytic concept of regression implies the plasticities of the conscious ego and its states, but does not say anything about the dream ego which in non-psychotic regressions still remains in the unconscious.
Every personality is essentially multiple. In split-off complexes there are completely unconscious fantasy systems that have a marked tendency to constitute themselves as separate personalities. This multiplicity, which is the natural condition of the human psyche, refers to autonomous psychic entities such as anima, animus, shadow, trickster, wise old man, great mother, child, puer, etc. Among all these autonomous splinter psyches, the dream ego that lives within man, as a second ego active in dreaming, is the focus of my attention.
The conscious ego and the dream ego form a complementary couple ruling two modes or two times whose vertical symbiosis constitutes differentiation from both the universe and the collective unconscious. The universal duality at the cosmological level which the dream ego and the conscious ego represent can be found in the motifs of the classical myth of the Dioscuri in which one twin experiences death but is resurrected by the other. The kind of duality that exists between the dream ego and the conscious ego is the inborn disparity of the mythological twins which pre-eminently expresses ontological,cosmological and psychological complementarity. The dream ego alone in the conscious world or else in the collective Pnconscious is single, imperfect and unhappy and personifies an ontological and ethical deficiency. An analogy for the vertical symbiosis between dream ego and conscious ego can be made with the theme of twins in Manichacism. Mani (who would correspond to the conscious ego) was said to have a counterpart in the celes. tial realm,a twin (who would correspond to the dream ego) who was both a protecting agency and his alter ego. In Manichaeism,the vertical existence of the twins is characterized by unity and consubstantiality. The psychological complementarity of the two egos as symbiotic twins ruling the two modes and two times includes both emotional and cognitive aspects.
The dream ego is the symbiotic identical twin of the waking ego and exists in the dream world.There is a total participation mystique between them.When the waking ego remembers a dream,he talks about the adventures of his twin in the underworld as if he himself lived them.If these adventures are disagreeable he consoles himself trying to soothe his anxiety.He says,”Thank God, it was just a dream”. If they are pleasant adventures he wishes them to come true.
As Jung stated,consciousness develops out of the collective unconscious. During the development of the conscious ego,participation mystique of the inner and outer worlds comes to an end as a consequence of the separation-individuation phases of early childhood. As the conscious ego differentiates itself from everything else, he remains in symbiosis with the dream ego. Hypothetically we can say that in the earliest developmental phases the waking ego is not only in participation mystique with the outside world, but also with the whole dream world,and that his growth requires separation from all other dream elements; this means recognizing the dream ego as himself in the dream world. The paranoid-schizoid position during early infancy is the time when the specific symbiosis between the dream ego and the waking ego is not yet established. Metaphorically speaking, a baby has to spend most of his time sleeping and dreaming until he finds his twin in the underworld. Once he finds his twin, the rest of his psyche as personified in the dream world ceases to be the same as the waking ego; his twin, the dream ego, represents him now in the dream world. Through the dream ego the conscious ego sets a boundary with the rest of the unconscious psyche. This loss of participation mystique with the rest of the dream world corresponds to the depressive position of infancy which was described by Melanie Klein. As the waking ego grows and matures,he learns that the dream world is a mundus imaginalis. For the waking ego, the dream ego is an image living in a world of images. Yet, the dream ego is convinced of both his own and his world’s material reality in the dreams. Even in a dream where the dream ego thinks that “It’s a dream”,he does not de-realize the dream world,but continues to perceive his world as a material world.This dualistic perception of the dream world constitutes the cognitive polarity between the psychic twins,namely dream ego and conscious ego.
Now,the question arises, is the relationship between the perceptions of the dream world by the waking ego and the conscious world by the dream ego logically symmetrical? A logically asymmetrical relationship is one the converse of which is not identical to it. A is after B has the converse B is after A.Here the converse is not identical with the originally proposed relationship. A symmetrical relation is one where the converse is identical to it. For instance,A is near B has the converse B is near A. A is touching B has the converse B is touching A. Ordinary logical thought,which is primarily scientific logic regarding the physical world, usually uses propositions involving asymmetrical relations.The unconscious,however, usually treats the converse of any relation as identical to it. It treats asymmetrical relations as symmetrical. Thus the dream ego as an unconscious psychic personality uses symmetrical logic in his relationship to the conscious ego. That is to say,if the waking ego perceives the dream ego’s perception of matter as an image,thendream ego will symmetrically perceive the waking ego’s perception of matter as an image. The waking ego’s perception of a dream object as nothing but symbolic will become the dream ego’s perception of an outside object as nothing-but symbolic. Symbolization, displacement and condensation which the waking ego sees as mechanisms in the dream world will be the same mechanisms the dream ego avails itself of in relation to the outside world. When the dream images have a mythical aura, as happens in archetypal dreams, so objects in the outside world will have a mythical aura to the dream ego. As long as the dream ego is in the unconscious, one cannot experience the world through the eyes of the dream ego. In a psychotic state, where the dream ego is no longer in the unconscious, the outside world can be consciously experienced via the dream ego. A person in psychosis can all of a sudden experience a friend as a condensation of several other people. A lover suddenly becomes an insidious witch or a royal spy, a stranger who smiles in the street can be experienced as a spiritual guide or psychopomp, a staring frog can be experienced as a bewitched prince. The dream world is an inner world for the waking ego. Symmetrically the outside world is an inner world for the dream ego. Thus the boundaries between object and subject melt and the world becomes one with oneself during psychosis. In other words, when one enters into the inner world, one becomes that inner world. Unus mundus is the mystical experience of psychosis when the outside world is lived in consciousness simultaneously by the dream ego and the waking ego. The dream ego’s flight from the dream world and its ascension to consciousness explain why objects become archetypal images and why the matter is perceived as a psychic image. In a way,psychosis is poetry, since herein nature seems like a personified world,a prophetic language formed by living hieroglyphics. The other side of this mystical and poetic experience is ultimate nihilism; in such a case the world is not one but none, and psychosis is the affective discovery of nonexistence.
The merging of the two logical universes and two irreconcilable views of the dream ego and the waking ego explains the passage form a psychodynamic frame of reference culminating in the defeat of the self to a psychostructural frame of reference that deals with such psychotic phenomena as archaic symbolism,paleologic thinking, perceptualization of the concept, concretization of the abstract, and impaired volition.The inordinate strength of the unconscious would not be felt if the dream ego could manage to live in it. The abundant archaic material is an expression of a still existing infantile or atavistic mentality and also the dream ego’s day journey in the world of consciousness. Just like any personality who changes his world all of a sudden, the dream ego confuses his codes of conduct when he escapes from the underworld to the upper world. In the meantime, the loss of the secret alliance with the dream ego depotentiates the conscious ego and makes him feel a stranger in his own world; thus, he lets himself be swayed by the intrusion of strange contents from the unconscious, even identifying with grotesque elements of the unconscious. This can amount to lycanthropy, in which the person in psychosis starts acting like an animal. An analysand who often had dreams of wild dogs acted like a dog during his psychotic episode and felt that the thoughts and feelings of people around him were coming to him in the form of smell, positively as rose perfume, negatively as sulfuric acid. By identifying with the wild dog in his unconscious, he also gained the power of smelling thoughts and feelings like a dog.His hallucinations were not transformations of his unconscious thoughts into voices and images; rather, others’ pre-conscious thoughts were transformed into olfactory sensations. His dream ego could escape from the wild dogs of the dream world, but the conscious ego was arrested by them. The identification of the conscious ego with dogs was a very peculiar phenomenon of this psychotic episode, because the analysand never dreamt of dogs after this experience, and the dream ego no longer felt threatened by them.
Vertical symbiosis between dream ego and conscious ego,one being in the unconscious and the other being in consciousness respectively,shifts into a horizontal split existence after the dream ego escapes into consciousness,due to an intolerable dream world.An analogy can be made between the relation of the dioscuric ego in psychosis and the relation of twins in Zoroastrian and Iroquois myths.In these myths,the twins have a horizontal existence which is characterized by radical opposition.Likewise,the dream ego and the conscious ego are the symmetrically opposed twins of the psyche during a psychotic state.
The dioscuric ego is sane only if there is a participation mystique between the two egos,one being the main hero or the heroine in the underworld and the other being the centre of consciousness. The danger of death for the dream ego in a dream is often the sign of a change in this equilibrium.Continuation of a dream which depicts the actual death of the dream ego is a very rare phenomenon.An analyst reported the dream of a woman with chronic schizophrenia in which the dream ego was dead but the dream continued. The woman dead in her dream was buried by her relatives in a long funeral ceremony.After some time,this woman drank acid and died in reality. We usually see a mini-psychosis as the dreamer wakes up from a dream that depicts the violent death of the dream ego.It is either through the censorship of the conscious ego which cannot conceive of his symbiotic twin’s death that the dream ends, or the dying dream ego takes refuge in consciousness so the sleeper wakes up. As in the resurrection patterns of the divine twin myths,the immediate attempt of the conscious ego is to resurrect the dream ego in the dream world and to maintain the vertical symbiosis after awakening,since the shift of vertical symbiosis into horizontal existence in consciousness amounts to a tremendous death and fusion anxiety with organismic panic. If the conscious ego is strong enough, he can gain immediate control over the self and, by changing the constellation in the unconscious, help the dream ego to recede to the dream world. In this case, psychosis lasts only a few seconds or minutes after awakening from a nightmare. If the dream ego is too traumatized and frightened to go back to the dream world, and if the conscious ego cannot provide enough support to him and to himself, the psychotic state endures.
The escape of the dream ego from the underworld is the dream ego’s day journey. This journey brings fusion and participation mystique with the outside world, and a person in this state may act out involuntarily the caricatures of his past dream images. But even in this state, if the person is able to sleep and remembers his dream, he does not have a participation mystique with the whole dream world during dreaming.I have mentioned that,hypothetically,in the very early stages of psychic development the conscious ego of the baby has a participation mystique with the whole dream world as well as with the world,and that the conscious ego of the baby spends most of his time in sleep, trying to find his symbiotic twin in the underworld.The participation mystique with the whole dream world is possible for an adult person only if the conscious ego steps into the dream world during sleep instead of living it vicariously.I would like to give an example of such a dream:
“I am in the kitchen,looking out of the window and having a nice cup of English tea. I wonder whether this is a dream or reality. I decide that it cannot be a dream but reality. After a while, I remember that I had gone to sleep in reality, because I need to have a short rest. So, this is a dream although everything looks so real. Then I decide to enter into this dream world myself. I am very curious. I cannot guess what would happen if my consciousness was there in the dream, too. As my consciousness enters this world nothing changes, but I no longer know who I am. A spirit contains everything and it is me. I feel awful. I want to wake up but I can’t wake up. I force myself to wake up, but it is impossible. I feel that I will soon be dead if this dream continues. Finally I could wake up and felt so relaxed that I was awake”.
This is a rare dream. I have only met with such a dream once. In dreams, we are used to seeing the symbols of consciousness but not consciousness itself. Even in dreams where the dream ego meets with his twin or twins, these are symbolic representations of the personality and of the psychic process.Including the dream ego,they are never consciousness itself. In this rare dream, the dream ego invites the conscious ego into the dream world to see what would happen. Instead of the dream creating a symbol for consciousness, the conscious ego of the dreamer literally enters into the dream world which consists of a small kitchen and the dream ego.The conscious ego is not seen, because it is a spirit. (Perhaps in another soul layer it could be seen). As we see, there is no dismemberment and no apocalyptic images.Nothing changes,but the subjective feeling is worse than apocalypse. There is a participation mystique with all the dream images,including the dream ego.The dream ego stays calm like all the other images in the dream. There is nothing against him in the dream world.The conscious ego needs to go back to where it belongs, but there is a difficulty in waking up, unlike dreams where the dream ego escapes from the dream world. This is because the conscious ego is in the dream world and fused with all the unconscious psyche instead of being at the threshold and only identifying itself with the dream ego.
Divine twins are almost universally conceived of as the progenitors of mankind.In their aspect as the first humans,they are further construed to have died and hence inhabited the kingdom of the dead before anyone else.As the oldest inhabitants of that kingdom,the Divine Twins are its rulers.The twin myths from different mythologies embody the day-night dichotomy.The twins display the binary trait patterns of dominance and passivity,aggressiveness and patience,etc.In Indo-European Divine Twin myths,one twin is associated with warfare,horses and strength,the other twin with domestic duties. All the qualities of the divine twins are also valid for the dream ego and the waking ego.When the waking ego is a domestic secretary in an office in Zurich,the dream ego is a warrior in an ancient cowboy city (from the dreams of an analysand). If we translate the myth of the twins being the progenitors of mankind into psychological terms,we can say that the twins of the psyche,waking ego and dream ego,are the progenitors of man’s identity on a personal and individual level.
REFLEXIONS ON PSYCHOSIS
Murat Kemaloğlu, MD
Diploma Thesis – C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich