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The naive and

sentimental attitudes

In his book, "Psychological Types", Carl Gustav Jung,

speaks of his own thoughts on Schiller's ideas regarding the naive and
sentimental attitude poets develop in their work.
According to Schiller the naive type is "nature", he "sought
only the simple nature and sensation and limits himself only to
imitation of reality". "The naive poetry its a favor of nature", "The
naive poetry is life's child and at the same time it leads back to life".
For the naive poet the "common nature" of his element can "become
dangerous" because sensitivity clings more or less on the exterior
impression and only un-staggered mobility of his productive capacity
which is not expected of human nature could prevent matter's blind
violence against receptivity". Every time this occurs the poetic feeling
will transform into common feeling, "The naive genius lets nature
unrestricted unto himself".
What can be clearly seen from these definitions is the
naives type's dependence towards the object. His relationship with the
object of his attention has a mandatory status, meaning he introjects
with the object, unconsciously identifying himself with it.
Levy-Bruhl names this relationship as "participation
mystique". Identity finds itself between the object and an unconscious
content. It can also be stated that: identity forms itself from the
projection of an analog unconscious association within the object,
such an identity will always have a compelling character because it
involves a certain amount of libido, as with any quantity of libido it
has its effects on the unconscious, it has in common with the
conscious its compelling character, meaning it is not available to
The individual with a naive attitude is largely influenced by
the object, it acts autonomously in him, it flourishes in him, meaning
the naive type merges with the object, therefore he "borrows" the
expressions of the object which then he represents, but not actively or
intentionally, but through himself.
In other words the naive person is nature, nature creates in
him the product of his work, he lets nature act in him without any
forbiddance. The primate returns to the object, in this respect the naive
attitude is an extravert one.
Regarding the sentimental attitude of poets, Jung though
that " He reflects on the impressions objects have on him, and the
emotion that engulf himself and engulfs others is the result of this
reflection". In this matter the object is reported to the idea and only
through this relationship his poetic force exists.
Sentimentality has a constant link with two representations
and sensations in conflict, with reality as he's limit, and his ideas as an
infinite, and this mixed feeling will always attest this "double source".
Sentimental poetry is the birthplace of abstraction.
Due to the endeavor of removing from human nature all of
its barriers, the sentimental genius is exposed to the threat of negating
the human nature as a whole and not only ascend, which he can and
should do, above any determined and limited realities, until the
absolute possibility, in other words to idealize, even extending beyond
possibility. "The sentimental genius departs from reality so he can
ascent to a new level, the level of ideas, and to dominate matter in free
and spontaneous activity"
Its easy to observe that unlike the naive attitude,
sentimental people are characterized by a reflexive and abstract
attitude, he reflects due to the object retracting himself from it. He is
separated from the object prior to beginning producing his work, is not
the object that works within him but him alone working. But he
doesn't work in himself but beyond the object, he is different from the
object not identical to it, searching to stabilize his relationship with it,
trying to "dominate his matter".
This separation from the object creates the impression of
duality as underlined by Schiller because the fact that sentimental
people draw their substance from two sources, the object, respectively
the perception of it, and from himself. For him the exterior impression
of the object is not an unconditioned "what" but a material that is
treated according to its own content. Thus he finds himself above the
object, still maintaining a relationship with it, but not one of
receptivity, because he bestows on the object its value and quality
arbitrarily. Thus his attitude in an introvert one.