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Colman, W. (1989). Correspondence. Free Associations, 1R(17):108-112.

(1989). Free Associations, 1R(17):108-112

Correspondence Related Papers

Warren Colman

Dear Wilhelmina Kraemer-Zurné,

Thank you very much for your thought-provoking letter re: ‘After the Fall’. Of course, I disagree with you, though it is not so much with your premisses (i.e. that envy is primary) as with the conclusions to which they lead you. Your letter in fact demonstrates how an apparently arcane theoretical issue can have profound clinical implications in terms of one's overall moral attitude to the world and, ipso facto, to patients.

I do not believe I have been ‘seduced’ by Satan in the sense of being ‘tricked’ or ‘taken in’. However, I have taken an empathic attitude towards him (cf. Kohut) in that I have been prepared to enter into the world as he sees it. As Jung repeatedly stressed, ‘you can exert no influence, if you are not susceptible to influence' (Jung, 1931). Milton's poetry works to achieve this effect — the dramatic tension is created by the fact that his rational argument works against it. Were Satan a repugnant figure or even a mere ‘seducer’ he would hardly be a substantial adversary for God. In fact, as Lucifer, he was the bringer of light, the brightest of all the angels.

Just as there is a dramatic and, indeed, a moral paradox in that Satan is a more attractive and exciting figure than God (cf. the Devil has all the best tunes), so it is a profound paradox of the Christian creation myth that evil arises in a perfect world. I speak now not of Eden where, as I argued in the article, Satan represents the element of imperfection, but of heaven itself.

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