Often people approach the unconscious with an inner utilitarian or power standpoint.
They want to exploit the unconscious in order to become more powerful themselves, to be healthier, to dominate their surroundings, or to learn how to get things in their own way. Or they approach it with a secret ambition to acquire a mana personality.
This is especially a pupil’s disease; if somebody in lonely work upon himself has acquired a certain superiority, the pupil wants to acquire it in the same way. If he is intelligent he thinks, “Oh well, I’ll follow exactly the same method and do exactly the same as the master and I’ll get the same results.”
Such a person does not notice that he is deceiving himself.
His approach to the unconscious is not genuine but contaminated with a trick, or with an exploiting attitude. The unconscious is something like a beautiful forest whose animals he wants to catch, or a field he wants to take possession of.
When consciousness assumes such an attitude, the unconscious becomes trickster like too. The dreams become contradictory, they say yes and then no, left and then right, and one feels that the archetype of the trickster god Mercurius is dominating the phenomenon of the unconscious, leading the ego in a thousand ways up the garden path.
Such people, sometimes after years of trying to cope with their own unconscious most honestly and desperately, finally give up and say, “Well, the unconscious is a hopeless abyss and misleading, something one can never get to the end of, for the dreams say both this and that.”
Such people do not realize that they constellate this trickster quality in their own attitude toward the unconscious. They want to cheat and exploit the unconscious, they want to get it into their own pockets with a slight, subtle power attitude, and the unconscious answers with a mirror reaction.
There are even people who, after reading Jung, try to force individuation in this way. They think, “If I do as Jung did, write down every dream, do active imagination, etc., then I’ll get IT,” so to speak.
They put a forcing, pressing ego attitude into the enterprise which tricks it from the start and gets them into endless trouble.”
~ Marie Louise Von Franz, Archetypal dimensions of the Psyche