My eleventh year was significant for me in another way, as I was then sent to the Gymnasium in Basel.
Thus I was taken away from my rustic playmates, and truly entered the “great world,” where powerful personages, far more powerful than my father, lived in big, splendid houses, drove about in expensive carriages drawn by magnificent horses, and talked a refined German and French.
Their sons, well dressed, equipped with fine manners and plenty of pocket money, were now my classmates.
With great astonishment and a horrible secret envy I heard them tell about their vacations in the Alps.
They had been among those glowing snowy peaks near Zurich, had even been to the sea this last absolutely flabbergasted me.
I gazed upon them as if they were beings from another world, from that unattainable glory of flaming, snowcovered mountains and from the remote, unimaginable sea.
Then, for the first time, I became aware how poor we were, that my father was a poor country parson and I a still poorer parson’s son who had holes in his shoes and had to sit for six hours in school with wet socks.
I began to see my parents with different eyes, and to understand their cares and worries.
For my father in particular I felt compassion less, curiously enough, for my mother.
She always seemed to me the stronger of the two.
Nevertheless I always felt on her side when my father gave vent to his moody irritability.
This necessity for taking sides was not exactly favorable to the formation of my character.
In order to liberate myself from these conflicts I fell into the role of the superior arbitrator who willy-nilly had to judge his parents.
That caused a certain inflatedness in me; my unstable self-assurance was increased and diminished at the same time.
When I was nine years old my mother had had a little girl.
My father was excited and pleased.
“Tonight you’ve been given a little sister/’ he said to me,, and I was utterly surprised, for I hadn’t noticed anything.
I had thought nothing of my mother’s lying in bed more frequently than usual, for I considered her taking to her bed an inexcusable weakness in any case.
My father brought me to my mother’s bedside, and she held out a little creature that looked dreadfully disappointing: a red, shrunken face like an old man’s, the eyes closed, and probably as blind as a young puppy, I thought.
On its back the thing had a few single long red hairs which were shown to me had it been intended for a monkey?
I was shocked and did not know what to feel. Was this how newborn babies looked?
They mumbled something about the stork which was supposed to have brought the baby. But then what about a litter of puppies or kittens?
How many times would the stork have to fly back and forth before the litter was complete? And what about cows?
I could not imagine how the stork could manage to carry a whole calf in its bill.
Besides, the farmers said the cow calved, not that the stork brought the calf.
This story was obviously another of those humbugs which were always being imposed on me.
I felt sure that my mother had once again done something I was supposed not to know about.
This sudden appearance of my sister left me with a vague sense of distrust which sharpened my curiosity and observation.
Subsequent odd reactions on the part of my mother confirmed my suspicions that something regrettable was connected with this birth.
Otherwise this event did not bother me very much, though it probably contributed to intensifying an experience I had when I was twelve.
My mother had the unpleasant habit of calling after me all sorts of good advice when I was setting out for some place to which I had been invited.
On these occasions I not only wore my best clothes and polished shoes, but felt the dignity of my purpose and of my appearance in public, so that it was a humiliation for me to have people on the street hear aU the ignominious things my mother called out after me, “And don’t forget to give them regards from Papa and Mama, and wipe your nose do you have a handkerchief?
Have you washed your hands?”
And so on. It struck me as definitely unfair that the inferiority feelings which accompanied my self-importance should thus be exposed to the world when I had taken every care, out of amour-propre and vanity, to present as irreproachable an appearance as possible.
For these occasions meant a very great deal to me.
On the way to the house to which I was invited I felt important and dignified, as I always did when I wore my Sunday clothes on a weekday.
The picture changed radically, however, as soon as I came in sight of the house I was visiting.
Then a sense of the grandeur and power of those people overcame me.
I was afraid of them, and in my smallness wished I might sink fathoms deep into the ground.
That was how I felt when I rang the bell. The tinkling sound from inside rang like the toll of doom in my ears.
I felt as timid and craven as a stray dog.
It was ever so much worse when my mother had prepared me properly beforehand.
Then the bell would ring in my ears: “My shoes are filthy, and so are my hands; I have no handkerchief and my neck is black with dirt.”
Out of defiance I would then not convey my parents’ regards, or I would act with unnecessary shyness and stubbornness.
If things became too bad I would think of my secret treasure in the attic, and that helped me regain my poise.
For in my forlorn state I remembered that I was also the “Other,” the person who possessed that inviolable secret, the black stone and the little man in frock coat and top hat.
I cannot recall in my boyhood ever having thought of the possibility of a connection between Lord Jesus or the Jesuit in the black robe the men in frock coats and top hats standing by the grave, the gravelike hole in the meadow, the underground temple of the phallus, and my little man in the pencil case.
The dream of the ithyphallic god was my first great secret; the manikin was the second.
It does seem to me, however, that I had a vague sense of relationship between the “soulstone” and the stone which was also myself.
To this day, writing down my memories at the age of eighty-three, I have never fully unwound the tangle of my earliest memories.
They are like individual shoots of a single underground rhizome, like stations on a road of unconscious development.
While it became increasingly impossible for me to adopt a positive attitude to Lord Jesus, I remember that from the time I was eleven the idea of God began to interest me.
I took to praying to God, and this somehow satisfied me because it was a prayer without contradictions.
God was not complicated by my distrust.
Moreover, he was not a person in a black robe, and not Lord Jesus of the pictures, draped with brightly colored clothes, with whom people behaved so familiarly.
Rather he was a unique being of whom, so I heard, it was impossible to form any correct conception.
He was, to be sure, something like a very powerful old man.
But to my great satisfaction there was a commandment to the effect that “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything.”
Therefore one could not deal with him as familiarly as with Lord Jesus, who was no “secret.”
A certain analogy with my secret in the attic began to dawn on me.
School came to bore me.
It took up far too much time which I would rather have spent drawing battles and playing with fire.
Divinity classes were unspeakably dull, and I felt a downright fear of the mathematics class.
The teacher pretended that algebra was a perfectly natural affair, to be taken for granted, whereas I didn’t even know what numbers really were.
They were not flowers, not animals, not fossils; they were nothing that could be imagined, mere quantities that resulted from counting.
To my confusion these quantities were now represented by letters, which signified sounds, so that it became possible to hear them, so to speak.
Oddly enough, my classmates could handle these things and found them self-evident.
No one could tell me what numbers were, and I was unable even to formulate the question.
To my horror I found that no one understood my difficulty.
The teacher, I must admit, went to great lengths to explain to me the purpose of this curious operation of translating understandable quantities into sounds.
I finally grasped that what was aimed at was a kind of system of abbreviation, with the help of which many quantities could be put in a short formula.
But this did not interest me in the least. I thought the whole business was entirely arbitrary.
Why should numbers be expressed by sounds?
One might just as well express a by apple tree, b by box, and x by a question mark, a, b, c, x, y, z were not concrete and did not explain to me anything about the essence of numbers, any more than an apple tree did.
But the thing that exasperated me most of all was the proposition: If a = b and b = c, then a = c, even though by definition a meant something other than b, and, being different, could therefore not be equated with &, let alone with c.
Whenever it was a question of an equivalence, then it was said that a = a, b = &, and so on.
This I could accept, whereas a = b seemed to me a downright lie or a fraud. I was equally outraged when the teacher stated in the teeth of his own definition of parallel lines that they met at infinity.
This seemed to me no better than a stupid trick to catch peasants with, and I could not and would not have anything to do with it.
My intellectual morality fought against these whimsical inconsistencies, which have forever debarred me from understanding mathematics.
Right into old age I have had the incorrigible feeling that if, like my schoolmates, I could have accepted without a struggle the proposition that a = &, or
that sun = moon, dog = cat, then mathematics might have fooled me endlessly just how much I only began to realize at the age of eighty-four.
All my life it remained a puzzle to me why it was that I never managed to get my bearings in mathematics when there was no doubt whatever that I could calculate properly.
Least of all did I understand my own moral doubts concerning mathematics.
Equations I could comprehend only by inserting specific numerical values in place of the letters and verifying the meaning of the operation by actual calculation.
As we went on in mathematics I was able to get along, more or less, by copying out algebraic formulas whose meaning I did not understand, and by memorizing where a particular combination of letters had stood on the blackboard.
I could no longer make headway by substituting numbers, for from time to time the teacher would say, “Here we put the expression so-and-so,” and then he would scribble a few letters on the blackboard.
I had no idea where he got them and why he did it the only reason I could see was that it enabled him to bring the procedure to what he felt was a satisfactory conclusion.
I was so intimidated by my incomprehension that I did not dare to ask any questions.
Mathematics classes became sheer terror and torture to me.
Other subjects I found easy; and as, thanks to my good visual memory, I contrived for a long while to swindle my way through mathematics, I usually had good marks.
But my fear of failure and my sense of smallness in face of the vast world around me created in me not only a dislike but a kind of silent despair which completely ruined school for me.
In addition, I was exempted from drawing classes on grounds of utter incapacity.
This in a way was welcome to me, since it gave me more free time; but on the other hand it was a fresh defeat, since I had some facility in drawing, although I did not realize that it depended essentially on the way I was feeling.
I could draw only what stirred my imagination.
But I was forced to copy prints of Greek gods with sightless eyes, and when that wouldn’t go properly the teacher obviously thought I needed something more naturalistic and set before me the picture of a goat’s head.
This assignment I failed completely, and that was the end of my drawing classes.
To my defeats in mathematics and drawing there was now added a third: from the very first I hated gymnastics. I could not endure having others tell me how to move.
I was going to school in order to learn something, not to practice useless and senseless acrobatics.
Moreover, as a result of my earlier accidents, I had a certain physical timidity which I was not able to overcome until much later on.
This timidity was in turn linked with a distrust of the world and its potentialities.
To be sure, the world seemed to me beautiful and desirable, but it was also filled with vague and incomprehensible perils.
Therefore I always wanted to know at the start to what and to whom I was entrusting myself.
Was this perhaps connected with my mother, who had abandoned me for several months?
When, as I shall describe later, my neurotic fainting spells began, the doctor forbade me to engage in gymnastics, much to my satisfaction.
I was rid of that burden and had swallowed another defeat.
The time thus gained was not spent solely on play.
It permitted me to indulge somewhat more freely the absolute craving I had developed to read every scrap of printed matter that fell into my hands.
My twelfth year was indeed a fateful one for me.
One day in the early summer of 1887 1 was standing in the cathedral square, waiting for a classmate who went home by the same route as myself.
It was twelve o’clock, and the morning classes were over.
Suddenly another boy gave me a shove that knocked me off my feet, I fell, striking my head against the curbstone so hard that I almost lost consciousness.
For about half an hour afterward I was a little dazed.
At the moment I felt the blow the thought flashed through my mind: “Now you won’t have to go to school anymore.”
I was only half unconscious, but I remained lying there a few moments longer than was strictly necessary, chiefly in order to avenge myself on my assailant.
Then people picked me up and took me to a house nearby, where two elderly spinster aunts lived.
From then on I began to have fainting spells whenever I had to return to school, and whenever my parents set me to doing my homework.
For more than six months I stayed away from school, and for me that was a picnic.
I was free, could dream for hours, be anywhere I liked, in the woods or by the water, or draw.
I resumed my battle pictures and furious scenes of war, of old castles that were being assaulted or burned, or drew page upon page of caricatures.
Similar caricatures sometimes appear to me before falling asleep to this day, grinning masks that constantly move and change, among them familiar
faces of people who soon afterward died.
Above all, I was able to plunge into the world of the mysterious.
To that realm belonged trees, a pool, the swamp, stones and animals, and my father’s library.
But I was growing more and more away from the world, and had all the while faint pangs of conscience.
I frittered away my time with loafing, collecting, reading, and playing.
But I did not feel any happier for it; I had the obscure feeling that I was fleeing from myself.
I forgot completely how all this had come about, but I pitied my parents’ worries.
They consulted various doctors, who scratched their heads and packed me off to spend the holidays with relatives in Winterthur.
This city had a railroad station that proved a source of endless delight to me.
But when I returned home everything was as before.
One doctor thought I had epilepsy. I knew what epileptic fits were like and I inwardly laughed at such nonsense.
My parents became more worried than ever.
Then one day a friend called on my father.
They were sitting in the garden and I hid behind a shrub, for I was possessed of an insatiable curiosity.
I heard the visitor saying to my father, “And how is your son?’* “Ah, that’s a sad business,” my father replied. “The doctors no longer know what is wrong with him.
They think it may be epilepsy.
It would be dreadful if he were incurable.
I have lost what little I had, and what will become of the boy if he cannot earn his own living?”
I was thunderstruck. This was the collision with reality.
“Why, then, I must get to work!’* I thought suddenly.
From that moment on I became a serious child. I crept away, went to my father’s study, took out my Latin grammar, and began to cram with intense concentration.
After ten minutes of this I had the finest of fainting fits. I almost fell off the chair, but after a few minutes I felt better and went on working.
“Devil take it, I’m not going to faint,” I told myself, and persisted in my purpose.
This time it took about fifteen minutes before the second attack came.
That, too, passed like the first. “And now you must really get to work!”
I stuck it out, and after an hour came the third attack.
Still I did not give up, and worked for another hour, until I had the feeling that I had overcome the attacks.
Suddenly I felt better than I had in all the months before.
And in fact the attacks did not ^ecur.
From that day on I worked over my grammar and other schoolbooks every day.
A few weeks later I returned to school, and never suffered another attack, even there.
The whole bag of tricks was over and done with!
That was when I learned what a neurosis is.
Gradually the recollection of how it had all come about returned to me, and I saw clearly that I myself had arranged this whole disgraceful situation.
That was why I had never been seriously angry with the schoolmate who pushed me over.
I knew that he had been put up to it, so to speak, and that the whole affair was a diabolical plot on my part.
I knew, too, that this was never going to happen to me again.
I had a feeling of rage against myself, and at the same time was ashamed of myself.
For I knew that I had wronged myself and made a fool of myself in my own eyes.
Nobody else was to blame; I was the cursed renegade!
From then on I could no longer endure my parents’ worrying about me or speaking of me in a pitying tone.
The neurosis became another of my secrets, but it was a shameful secret, a defeat.
Nevertheless it induced in me a studied punctiliousness and an unusual diligence.
Those days saw the beginnings of my conscientiousness, practiced not for the sake of appearances, so that I would amount to something, but for my own sake.
Regularly I would get up at five o’clock in order to study, and sometimes I worked from three in the morning till seven, before going to school.
What had led me astray during the crisis was my passion for being alone, my delight in solitude.
Nature seemed to me full of wonders, and I wanted to steep myself in them.
Every stone, every plant, every single thing seemed alive and indescribably marvelous.
I immersed myself in nature, crawled, as it were, into the very essence of nature and away from the whole human world.
I had another important experience at about this time.
I was taking the long road to school from Klein-Hiiningen, where we lived, to Basel, when suddenly for a single moment I had the overwhelming impression of having just emerged from a dense cloud.
I knew all at once: now I am myself! It was as if a wall of mist were at my back, and behind that wall there was not yet an “I.”
But at this moment I came upon myself. Previously I had existed, too, but everything had merely happened to me.
Now I happened to myself. Now I knew: I am myself now, now I exist.
Previously I had been willed to do this and that; now I willed.
This experience seemed to me tremendously important and new: there was “authority” in me.
Curiously enough, at this time and also during the months of my fainting neurosis I had lost all memory of the treasure in the attic.
Otherwise I would probably have realized even then the analogy between my feeling of authority and the feeling of value which the treasure inspired in me.
But that was not so; all memory of the pencil case had vanished.
Around this time I was invited to spend the holidays with friends of the family who had a house on Lake Lucerne.
To my delight the house was situated right on the lake, and there was a boathouse and a rowboat.
My host allowed his son and me to use the boat, although we were sternly warned not to be reckless.
Unfortunately I also knew how to steer a Waidling ( a boat of the gondola type) that is to say, standing.
At home we had such a punt, in which we had tried out every imaginable trick.
The first thing I did, therefore, was to take my stand on the stern seat and with one oar push off into the lake.
That was too much for the anxious master of the house.
He whistled us back and gave me a first-class dressing-down.
I was thoroughly crestfallen but had to admit that I had done exactly what he had said not to, and that his lecture was quite justified.
At the same time I was seized with rage that this fat, ignorant boor should dare to insult ME.
This ME was not only grown up, but important, an authority, a person with office and dignity, an old man, an object of respect and awe.
Yet the contrast with reality was so grotesque that in the midst of my fury I suddenly stopped myself, for the question rose to my lips: “Who in the world are you, anyway?
You are reacting as though you were the devil only knows how important! And yet you know he is perfectly right. You are barely twelve years old, a schoolboy, and he is a father and a rich, powerful man besides, who owns two houses and several splendid horses.”
Then, to my intense confusion, it occurred to me that I was actually two different persons.
One of them was the schoolboy who could not grasp algebra and was far from sure of himself; the other was important, a high authority, a man not to be trifled with, as powerful and influential as this manufacturer.
This “other” was an old man who lived in the eighteenth century, wore buckled shoes and a white wig and went driving in a fly with high, concave rear wheels between which the box was suspended on springs and leather straps.
This notion sprang from a curious experience I had had.
When we were living in Klein-Huningen an ancient green carriage from the Black Forest drove past our house one day.
It was truly an antique, looking exactly as if it had come straight out of the eighteenth century.
When I saw it, I felt with great excitement: ‘That’s it! Sure enough, that comes from my times/*
It was as though I had recognized it because it was die same type as the one I had driven in myself.
Then came a curious sentiment 6coeurant, as though someone had stolen something from me, or as though I had been cheated cheated out of my beloved past.
The carriage was a relic of those times!
I cannot describe what was happening in me or what it was that affected me so strongly: a longing, a nostalgia, or a recognition that kept saying, “Yes, that’s how it was! Yes, that’s how it was!”
I had still another experience that harked back to the eighteenth century.
At die home of one of my aunts I had seen an eighteenth-century statuette, an old terra-cotta piece consisting of two painted figures.
One of them was old Dr. Stiickelberger, a well-known personality in the city of Basel toward the end of the eighteenth century.
The other figure was a patient of his; she was depicted with closed eyes, sticking out her tongue.
The story went that old Stiickelberger was one day crossing the Rhine bridge when this annoying patient suddenly came up to him out of nowhere and babbled out a complaint.
Old Stiiclcelberger said testily, “Yes, yes, there must be something wrong with you. Put out your tongue and shut your eyes.”
The woman did so, and Stiickelberger instantly ran off, and she remained standing there with her tongue stuck out, while the people laughed.
This statuette of the old doctor had buckled shoes which in a strange way I recognized as my own.
I was convinced that these were shoes I had worn.
The conviction drove me wild with excitement. “Why, those must be my shoes!*
I could still feel those shoes on my feet, and yet I could not explain where this crazy feeling came from.
I could not understand this identity I felt with the eighteenth century.
Often in those days I would write the date 1786 instead of 1886, and each time this happened I was overcome by an inexplicable nostalgia.
After my escapade with the boat, and my well-merited punishment, I began pondering these isolated impressions, and they coalesced into a coherent picture: of myself living in two ages simultaneously, and being two different persons.
I felt confused, and was full to the brim with heavy reflections.
At last I reached the disappointing realization that now, at any rate, I was nothing but the little schoolboy who had deserved his punishment, and who had to behave according to his age.
The other person must be sheer nonsense.
I suspected that he was somehow connected with the many tales I had heard from my parents and relatives about my grandfather.
Yet that was not quite right either, for he had been born in 1795 and had therefore lived in the nineteenth century; moreover he had died long before I was born.
It could not be that I was identical with him.
At the time these considerations were, I should say, mostly in the form of vague glimmerings and dreams.
I can no longer remember whether at that time I knew anything about my legendary kinship with Goethe.
I think not, however, for I know that I first heard this tale from strangers.
I should add that there is an annoying tradition that my grandfather was a natural son of Goethe.
One fine summer day that same year I came out of school at noon and went to the cathedral square.
The sky was gloriously blue, the day one of radiant sunshine.
The roof of the cathedral glittered, the sun sparkling from the new, brightly glazed tiles. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the sight, and thought:
“The world is beautiful and the church is beautiful, and God made all this and sits above it far away in the blue sky on a golden throne and . . .”
Here came a great hole in my thoughts, and a choking sensation.
I felt numbed, and knew only: “Don’t go on thinking now! Something terrible is coming, something I do not want to think, something I dare not even approach.
Because I would be committing the most frightful of sins.
What is the most terrible sin? Murder? No, it can’t be that.
The most terrible sin is the sin against the Holy Ghost, which cannot be forgiven.
Anyone who commits that sin is damned to hell for all eternity.
That would be very sad for my parents, if their only son, to whom they are so attached, should be doomed to eternal damnation. I cannot do that to my parents. All I need do is not go on thinking.”
That was easier said than done.
On my long walk home I tried to think all sorts of other things, but I found my thoughts returning again and again to the beautiful cathedral which I
loved so much, and to God sitting on the throne and then my thoughts would fly off again as if they had received a powerful electric shock.
I kept repeating to myself: “Don’t think of it, just don’t think of it!”
I reached home in a pretty worked-up state.
My mother noticed that something was wrong, and asked, the archives of the Goethehaus in Frankfurt am Main and the baptismal register in the Jesuitenkirche in Mannheim.
Goethe was not in Mannheim at the period in question, and there is no record of Sophie Ziegler’s staying in Weimar or anywhere in Goethe’s vicinity.
Jung used to speak of this stubbornly persistent legend with a certain gratified amusement, for it might serve to explain one subtle aspect of his fascination with Goethe’s Faust; it belonged to an inner reality, as it were.
On the other hand he would also call the story “annoying.”
He thought it “in bad taste” and maintainedthat the world was already full of “too many fools who tell such tales of the ‘unknown father/
‘What is the matter with you?
Has something happened at school?” I was able to assure her, without lying, that nothing had happened at school.
I did have the thought that it might help me if I could confess to my mother the real reason for my turmoil.
But to do so I would have to do the very thing that seemed impossible: think my thought right to the end.
The poor dear was utterly unsuspecting and could not possibly know that I was in terrible danger of committing the unforgivable sin and plunging myself into hell.
I rejected the idea of confessing and tried to efface myself as much as possible.
That night I slept badly; again and again the forbidden thought, which I did not yet know, tried to break out, and I struggled desperately to fend it off.
The next two days were sheer torture, and my mother was convinced that I was ill.
But I resisted the temptation to confess, aided by the thought that it would cause my parents intense sorrow.
On the third night, however, the torment became so unbearable that I no longer knew what to do.
I awoke from a restless sleep just in time to catch myself thinking again about the cathedral and God. I had almost continued the thought!
I felt my resistance weakening. Sweating with fear, I sat up in bed to shake off sleep. “Now it is coming, now it’s serious! I must think.
It must be thought out beforehand.
Why should I think something I do not know? I don’t want to, by God, that’s sure. But who wants me to? Who wants to force me to think something I
don’t know and don’t want to know? Where does this terrible will come from? And why should I be the one to be subjected to it?
I was thinking praises of the Creator of this beautiful world, I was grateful to him for this immeasurable gift, so why should I have to think something inconceivably wicked?
I don’t know what it is, I really don’t, for I cannot and must not come anywhere near this thought, for that would be to risk thinking it at once.
I haven’t done this or wanted this, it has come on me like a bad dream.
Where do such things come from? This has happened to me without my doing. Why? After all, I didn’t create myself, I came into the world the way God made me that is, the way I was shaped by my paren ts. Or can it have been that my parents wanted something of this sort? But my good parents would never have had any thoughts like that. Nothing so atrocious would ever have occurred to them.”
I found this idea utterly absurd.
Then I thought of my grandparents, whom I knew only from their portraits.
They looked benevolent and dignified enough to repulse any idea that they might possibly be to blame.
I mentally ran through the long procession of unknown ancestors until finally I arrived at Adam and Eve. And with them came the decisive thought: Adam and Eve were the first people; they had no parents, but were created directly by God, who intentionally made them as they were.
They had no choice but to be exactly the way God had created them.
Therefore they did not know how they could possibly be different.
They were perfect creatures of God, for He creates only perfection, and yet they committed the first sin by doing what God did not want them to do.
How was that possible?
They could not have done it if God had not placed in them the possibility of doing it.
That was clear, too, from the serpent, whom God had created before them, obviously so that it could induce Adam and Eve to sin.
God in His omniscience had arranged everything so that the first parents would have to sin.
Therefore it was Gods intention that they should sin.
This thought liberated me instantly from my worst torment, since I now knew that God Himself had placed me in this situation.
At first I did not know whether He intended me to commit my sin or not.
I no longer thought of praying for illumination, since God had landed me in this fix without my willing it and had left me without any help.
I was certain that I must search out His intention myself, and seek the way out alone. At this point another argument began.
‘What does God want? To act or not to act? I must find out what God wants with me, and I must find out right away.”
I was aware, of course, that according to conventional morality there was no question but that sin must be avoided.
That was what I had been doing up to now, but I knew I could not go on doing it.
My broken sleep and my spiritual distress had worn me out to such a point that fending off the thought was tying me into unbearable knots.
This could not go on. At the same time, I could not yield before I understood what God’s will was and what He intended.
For I was now certain that He was the author of this desperate problem.
Oddly enough, I did not think for a moment that the devil might be playing a trick on me.
The devil played little part in my mental world at that time, and in any case I regarded him as powerless compared with God.
But from the moment I emerged from the mist and became conscious of myself, the unity, the greatness, and the superhuman majesty of God began to haunt my imagination.
Hence there was no question in my mind but that God Himself was arranging a decisive test for me, and that everything depended on my understanding Him correctly.
I knew, beyond a doubt, that I would ultimately be compelled to break down, to give way, but I did not want it to happen without my understanding it, since the salvation of my eternal soul was at “God knows that I cannot resist much longer, and He does not help me, although I am on the point of having to commit the unforgivable sin.
In His omnipotence He could easily lift this compulsion from me, but evidently He is not going to.
Can it be that He wishes to test my obedience by imposing on me the unusual task of doing something against my own moral judgment and against the teachings of my religion, and even against His own commandment, something I am resisting with aU my strength because I fear eternal damnation?
Is it possible that God wishes to see whether I am capable of obeying His will even though my faith and my reason raise before me the specters of death and hell?
That might really be the answer.
But these are merely my own thoughts. I may be mistaken.
I dare not trust my own reasoning as far as that. I must think it all through once more.”
I thought it over again and arrived at the same conclusion.
“Obviously God also desires me to show courage,” I thought.
‘If that is so and I go through with it, then He wfll give me His grace and illumination.”
I gathered all my courage, as though I were about to leap forthwith into hell-fire, and let the thought come.
I saw before me thte cathedral, the blue sky. God sits on His golden throne, high above the world and from under the throne an enormous turd falls upon the sparkling new roof, shatters it, and breaks the walls of the cathedral asunder.
So that was itl I felt an enormous, an indescribable relief.
Instead of the expected damnation, grace had come upon me, and with it an unutterable bliss such as I had never known.
I wept for happiness and gratitude.
The wisdom and goodness of God had been revealed to me now that I had yielded to His inexorable command.
It was as though I had experienced an illumination.
A great many things I had not previously understood became clear to me.
That was what my father had not understood, I thought; he had failed to experience the will of God, had opposed it for the best reasons and out of the deepest faith.
And that was why he had ^never experienced the miracle of grace which heals all and makes all comprehensible.
He had taken the Bible’s commandments as his guide; he believed in God as the Bible prescribed and as his forefathers had taught him.
But he did not know the immediate living God who stands, omnipotent and free, above His Bible and His Church, who calls upon man to partake of His freedom, and can force him to renounce his own views and convictions in order to fulfill without reserve the command of God.
In His trial of human courage God refuses to abide by traditions, no matter how sacred.
In His omnipotence He will see to it that nothing really evil comes of such tests of courage.
If one fulfills the will of God one can be sure of going the right way.
God had also created Adam and Eve in such a way that they had to think what they did not at all want to think.
He had done that in order to find out whether they were obedient.
And He could also demand something of me that I would have had to reject on traditional religious grounds.
It was obedience which brought me grace, and after that experience I knew what God’s grace was.
One must be utterly abandoned to God; nothing matters but fulfilling His will. Otherwise all is folly and meaninglessness.
From that moment on, when I experienced grace, my true responsibility began.
Why did God befoul His cathedral?
That, for me, was a terrible thought. But then came the dim understanding that God could be something terrible.
I had experienced a dark and terrible secret.
It overshadowed my whole life, and I became deeply pensive.
The experience also had the effect of increasing my sense of I nferiority.
I am a devil or a swine, I thought; I am infinitely depraved.
But then I began searching through the New Testament and read, with a certain satisfaction, about the Pharisee and the publican, and that reprobates are the chosen ones.
It made a lasting impression on me that the unjust steward was praised, and that Peter, the waverer, was appointed the rock upon which the Church was built.
The greater my inferiority feelings became, the more incomprehensible did God’s grace appear to me.
After all, I had never been sure of myself. When my mother once said to me, “You have always been a good boy,” I simply could not grasp it. I a good boy?
That was quite new to me.
I often thought of myself as a corrupt and inferior person, With the experience of God and the cathedral I at last had something tangible that was part of the great secret as if I had always talked of stones falling from heaven and now had one in my pocket.
But actually, it was a shaming experience.
I had fallen into something bad, something evil and sinister, though at the same time it was a kind of distinction.
Sometimes I had an overwhelming urge to speak, not about that, but only to hint that there were some curious things about me. which no one knew of.
I wanted to find out whether other people had undergone similar experiences, I never succeeded in discovering so much as a trace of them in others.
As a result, I had the feeling that I was either outlawed or elect, accursed or blessed.
It would never have occurred to me to speak of my experience openly, nor of my dream of the phallus in the underground temple, nor of my carved manikin.
As a matter of fact, I did not say anything about the phallus dream until I was sixty-five.
I may have spoken about the other experiences to my wife, but only in later years.
A strict taboo hung over all these matters, inherited from my childhood. I could never have talked about them with friends.
My entire youth can be understood in terms of this secret.
It iiiduced in me an almost unendurable loneliness.
My one great achievement during those years was that I resisted the temptation to talk about it with anyone.
Thus the pattern of my relationship to the world was already prefigured: today as then I am a solitary, because I know things and must hint at things which other people do not know, and usually do not even want to know.
In my mother’s family there were six parsons, and on my father’s side not only was my father a parson but two of my uncles also.
Thus I heard many religious conversations, theological discussions, and sermons.
Whenever I listened to them I had the feeling: “Yes, yes, that is all very well. But what about the secret?
The secret is also the secret of grace.
None of you know anything about that.
You don’t know that God wants to force me to do wrong, that He forces me to think abominations in order to experience His grace.”
Everything the others said was completely beside the point.
I thought, “For Heaven’s sake, there must be someone who knows something about it; somewhere there must be the truth/’
I rummaged through my father’s library, reading whatever I could on God, the Trinity, spirit, consciousness.
I devoured the books, but came away none the wiser.
I always found myself thinking, “They don’t know either.”
I even searched about in my father’s Luther Bible.
Unfortunately, the conventional “edifying” interpretation of Job prevented me from taking a deeper interest in this book.
I wouldhave found consolation in it, especially in chapter 9, verses 30 ff.: “Though I wash myself with snow water . . , yet shalt thou plunge me in the mire.”
Later my mother told me that in those days I was often depressed.
It was not really that; rather, I was brooding on the secret.
At such times it was strangely reassuring and calming to sit on my stone. Somehow it would free me of all my doubts.
Whenever I thought that I was the stone, the conflict ceased.
“The stone has no uncertainties, no urge to communicate, and is eternally the same for thousands of years,” I would think, “while I am only a passing phenomenon which bursts into all kinds of emotions, like a flame that flares up quickly and then goes out.”
I was but the sum of my emotions, and the Other in me was the timeless, imperishable stone.
At that time, too, there arose in me profound doubts about everything my father said.
When I heard him preaching about grace, I always thought of my own experience.
What he said sounded stale and hollow, like a tale told by someone who knows t only by hearsay and cannot quite believe it himself.
I wanted to help him, but I did not know how.
Moreover, I was too shy to tell him of my experience, or to meddle in his personal preoccupations.
I felt myself to be on the one hand too little, and on the other hand I was afraid to wield that authority which my “second personality” inspired in me.
Later, when I was eighteen years old, I had many discussions with my father, always with the secret hope of being able to let him know about the miracle of grace, and thereby help to mitigate his pangs of conscience.
I was convinced that if he fulfilled the will of God everything would turn out for the best.
But our discussions invariably came to an unsatisfactory end.
They irritated him, and saddened him. “Oh nonsense,” he was in the habit of saying, “you always want to think.
One ought not to think, but believe.”
I would think, “No, one must experience and know,” but I would say, “Give me this belief/’ whereupon he would shrug and turn resignedly away.
I began making friendships, mostly with shy boys of simple
My marks in school improved.
During the following years I even succeeded in reaching the top of the class.
However, I observed that below me were schoolmates who envied me and tried at every opportunity to catch up with me.
That spoiled my pleasure.
I hated all competition, and if someone played a game too competitively I turned my back on the game.
Thereafter I remained second in the class, and found this considerably more enjoyable.
Schoolwork was a nuisance enough anyway without my wanting to make it harder by competitiveness.
A very few teachers, whom I remember with gratitude, showed particular confidence in me.
The one I recall with the greatest pleasure was the Latin teacher.
He was a university professor and a very clever fellow.
As it happened, I had known Latin since I was six, because my father had given me lessons in it.
So, instead of making me sit in class, this teacher would often send me to the university library to fetch books for him, and I would joyfully dip into them while prolonging the walk back as much as possible.
Most of the teachers thought me stupid and crafty.
Whenever anything went wrong in school I was the first on whom suspicion rested.
If there was a row somewhere,
I was thought to be the instigator.
In reality I was involved in such a brawl only once, and it was then that I discovered that a number of my schoolmates were hostile to me.
Seven of them lay in ambush for me and suddenly attacked me.
I was big and strong by thenit was when I was fifteen and inclined to violent rages.
I suddenly saw red, seized one of the boys by both arms, swung him around me and with his legs knocked several of the others to the ground.
The teachers found out about the affair, but I only dimly remember some sort of punishment which seemed to me unjust.
From then on I was let alone. No one dared to attack me again.
To have enemies and be accused unjustly was not what I had expected, but somehow I did not find it incomprehensible.
Everything I was reproached for irritated me, but I could not deny these reproaches to myself.
I knew so little about myself, and the little was so contradictory that I could not with a good conscience reject any accusations.
As a matter of fact I always had a guilty conscience and was aware of both actual and potential faults.
For that reason I was particularly sensitive to reproofs, since all of them more or less struck home.
Although I had not in reality done what I was accused of, I felt that I might have done it.
I would even draw up a list of alibis in case I should be accused of something.
I felt positively relieved when I had actually done something wrong.
Then at least I knew what my guilty conscience was for.
Naturally I compensated my inner insecurity by an outward show of security, or to put it better the defect compensated itself without the intervention of my will.
That is, I found myself being guilty and at the same time wishing to be innocent.
Somewhere deep in the background I always knew that I was two persons.
One was the son of my parents, who went to school and was less intelligent, attentive, hard-working, decent, and clean than many other boys.
The other was grown up old, in fact skeptical, mistrustful, remote from the world of men, but close to nature, the earth, the sun, the moon, the weather, all living creatures, and above all close to the night, to dreams, and to whatever “God” worked directly in him. I put “God” in quotation marks here.
For nature seemed, like myself, to have been set aside by God as non-divine, although created by Him as an expression of Himself.
Nothing could persuade me that “in the image of God” applied only to man.
In fact it seemed to me that the high mountains, the rivers, lakes, trees, flowers, and animals far better exemplified the essence of God than men with their ridiculous clothes, their meanness, vanity, mendacity, and abhorrent egotism all qualities with which I was only too familiar from myself, that is, from personality No. i, the schoolboy of 1890.
Besides his world there existed another realm, like a temple in which anyone who entered was transformed and suddenly overpowered by a vision of the whole cosmos, so that he could only marvel and admire, forgetful of himself.
Here lived the “Other,” who knew God as a hidden, personal, and at the same time suprapersonal secret.
Here nothing separated man from God; indeed, it was as though the human mind looked down upon Creation simultaneously with God.
What I am here unfolding, sentence by sentence, is something I was then not conscious of in any articulate way, though I sensed it with an overpowering premonition and intensity of feeling.
At such times I knew I was worthy of myself, that I was my true self.
As soon as I was alone, I could pass over into this state. I therefore sought the peace and solitude of this “Other,” personality No. 2.
The play and counterplay between personalities No. i and No. 2, which has run through my whole life, has nothing to do with a “split” or dissociation in the ordinary medical sense.
On the contrary, it is played out in every individual.
In my life No. 2 has been of prime importance, and I have always tried to make room for anything that wanted to come to me from within.
He is a typical figure, but he is perceived only by the very few.
Most people’s conscious understanding is not sufficient to realize that he is also what they are.
Church gradually became a place of torment to me.
For there men dared to preach aloud I am tempted to say, shamelessly about God, about His intentions and actions.
There people were exhorted to have those feelings and to believe that secret which I knew to be the deepest, innermost certainty, a certainty not to be betrayed by a single word.
I could only conclude that apparently no one knew about this secret, not even the parson, for otherwise no one would have dared to expose the mystery of God in public and to profane those inexpressible feelings with stale sentimentalities.
Moreover, I was certain that this was the wrong way to reach God, for I knew, knew from experience, that this grace was accorded only to one who fulfilled the will of God without reservation.
This was preached from the pulpit, too, but always on the assumption that revelation had made the will of God plain.
To me, on the other hand, it seemed the most obscure and unknown thing of all.
To me it seemed that one’s duty was to explore daily the will of God.
I did not do that, but I felt sure that I would do it as soon as an urgent reason for so doing presented itself.
Personality No. i preoccupied me too much of the time.
It often seemed to me that religious precepts were being put in place of the will of God which could be so unexpected and so alarming for the sole purpose of sparing people the necessity for understanding God’s will.
I grew more and more skeptical, and my father’s sermons and those of other parsons became acutely embarrassing to me.
All the people about me seemed to take the jargon for granted, and the dense obscurity that emanated from it; thoughtlessly they swallowed all the contradictions, such as that God is omniscient and therefore foresaw all human history, and that he actually created human beings so that they would have to sin, and nevertheless forbids them to sin and even punishes them by eternal damnation in hell-fire.
For a long time the devil had played no part in my thinking, curiously enough.
The devil appeared to me no worse than a powerful man’s vicious watchdog, chained up.
Nobody had any responsibility for the world except God, and, as I knew only too well, He could be terrible.
My doubts and uneasiness increased whenever I heard my father in his emotional sermons speak of the “good” God, praising God’s love for man and exhorting man to love God in return.
“Does he really know what he is talking about?” I wondered.
“Could he have me, his son, put to the knife as a human sacrifice, like Isaac, or deliver him to an unjust court which would have him crucified like Jesus?
No, he could not do that.
Therefore in some cases he could not do the will of God, which can be absolutely terrible, as the Bible itself shows.”
It became clear to me that when people are exhorted, among other things, to obey God rather than man, this is said just casually and thoughtlessly.
Obviously we do not know the will of God at all, for if we did we would treat this central problem with awe, if only out of sheer fear of the overpowering God who can work His terrifying will on helpless human beings, as He had done to me.
Could anyone who pretended to know the will of God have foreseen what He had caused me to do?
In the New Testament, at any rate, there was nothing comparable.
The Old Testament, and especially the Book of Job, might have opened my eyes in this respect, but at that time I was not familiar enough with it.
Nor had I heard anything of the sort in the instruction for confirmation, which I was then receiving.
The fear of God, which was of course mentioned, was considered antiquated, “Jewish,” and long since superseded by the Christian message of God’s love and goodness.
The symbolism of my childhood experiences and the violence of the imagery upset me terribly.
I asked myself: “Who talks like that? Who has the impudence to exhibit a phallus so nakedly, and in a shrine? Who makes me think that God destroys His Church in this abominable manner?”
At last I asked myself whether it was not the devil’s doing.
For that it must have been God or the devil who spoke and acted in this way was something I never doubted.
I felt absolutely sure that it was not myself who had invented these thoughts and images.
These were the crucial experiences of my life.
It was then that it dawned oh me: I must take the responsibility, it is up to me how my fate turns out.
I had been confronted with a problem to which I had to find the answer.
And who posed the problem?
Nobody ever answered me that.
I knew that I had to find the answer out of my deepest self, that I was alone before God, and that God alone asked me these terrible things.
From the beginning I had a sense of destiny, as though my life was assigned to me by fate and had to be fulfilled.
This gave me an inner security, and, though I could never prove it to myself, it proved itself to me.
I did not have this certainty, it had me.
Nobody could rob me of the conviction that it was enjoined upon me to do what God wanted and not what I wanted.
That gave me the strength to go my own way.
Often I had the feeling that in all decisive matters I was no longer among men, but was alone with God.
And when I was “there,” where I was no longer alone, I was outside time; I belonged to the centuries; and He who then gave answer was He who had
always been, who had been before my birth.
He who always is was there.
These talks with the “Other” were my profoundest experiences: on the one hand a bloody struggle, on the other supreme ecstasy.
Naturally, I could not talk with anyone about these things.
I knew of no one to whom I. might have communicated them except, possibly, my mother.
She seemed to think along somewhat similar lines as myself.
But I soon noticed that in conversation she was not adequate for me.
Her attitude toward me was above all one of admiration, and that was not good for me.
And so I remained alone with my thoughts.
On the whole, I liked that best, I played alone, daydreamed or strolled in the woods alone, and had a secret world of my own.
My mother was a very good mother to me.
She had a hearty animal warmth, cooked wonderfully, and was most companionable and pleasant.
She was very stout, and a ready listener.
She also liked to talk, and her chatter was like the gay plashing of a fountain.
She had a decided literary gift, as well as taste and depth.
But this quality never properly emerged; it remained hidden beneath the semblance of a kindly, fat old woman, extremely hospitable, and possessor of a great sense of humor.
She held all the conventional opinions a person was obliged to have, but then her unconscious personality would suddenly put in an appearance.
That personality was unexpectedly powerful: a somber, imposing figure possessed of unassailable authority and no bones about it.
I was sure that she consisted of two personalities, one innocuous and human, the other uncanny. school fears
This other emerged only now and then, but each time it was unexpected and frightening.
She would then speak as if talking to herself, but what she said was aimed at me and usually struck to the core of my being, so that I was stunned into silence.
The first time I remember this happening was when I was about six years old.
At that time we had neighbors who were fairly well off.
They had three children, the eldest a boy of about my own age, and two younger sisters.
They were city folk who, especially on Sundays, dressed their children in a manner that seemed ridiculous to me ^patent-leather shoes, white frills, little white gloves.
Even on weekdays the children were scrubbed and combed.
They had fancy manners and anxiously kept their distance from the tough, rude boy with tattered trousers, holes in his shoes, and dirty hands.
My mother annoyed me no end with her comparisons and admonishments: “Now look at those nice children, so well brought up and polite, but you behave like a little lout/’
Such exhortations humiliated me, and I decided to give the boy a hiding which I did.
His mother was furious, hastened to mine and made a great to-do over my act of violence.
My mother was properly horrified and gave me a lecture, spiced with tears, longer and more passionate than anything I had ever heard from her before.
I had not been conscious of any fault; on the contrary, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, for it seemed to me that I had somehow made amends for the incongruous presence of this stranger in our village.
Deeply awed by my mother’s excitement, I withdrew penitently to my table behind our old spinet and began playing with my bricks.
For some time there was silence in the room.
My mother had taken her usual seat by the window, and was knitting.
Then I heard her muttering to herself, and from occasional words that I picked up I gathered that she was thinking about the incident, but was now taking another view of it.
Suddenly she said aloud, “Of course one should never have kept a litter like thatl” I realized at once that she was talking about those **dressed-up monkeys.”
Her favorite brother was a hunter who kept dogs and was always talking about dog breeding, mongrels, purebreds, and litters.
To my relief I realized that she too regarded those odious children as inferior whelps, and that her scolding therefore need not be taken at face value.
But I also knew, even at that age, that I must keep perfectly still and not come out triumphantly with: “You see, you think as I do!”
She would have repudiated the idea indignantly: **You horrid boy, how dare you pretend such a thing about your mother!’*
I conclude from this that I must already have had earlier experiences of a similar nature which I have forgotten.
I tell this story because at the time of my growing religious skepticism there was another instance which threw light on my mother’s twofold nature.
At table one day the talk turned on the dullness of the tunes of certain hymns.
A possible revision of the hymnal was mentioned.
At that my mother murmured, “O du Liebe meiner Liebe, du vertounschte* Seligkeif (O thou love of my love, thou accursed bliss ) .
As in the past I pretended that I had not heard and was careful not to cry out in glee, in spite of my feeling of triumph.
There was an enormous difference between my mother’s two personalities.
That was why as a child I often had anxiety dreams about her.
By day she was a loving mother, but at night she seemed uncanny.
Then she was like one of those seers who is at the same time a strange animal, like a priestess in a bear’s cave.
Archaic and ruthless; ruthless as truth and nature.
At such moments she was the embodiment of what I have called the “natural mind.”
I too have this archaic nature, and in me it is linked with the gift not always pleasant of seeing people and things as they are, I can let myself be deceived from here to Tipperary when 1 don’t want to recognize something, and yet at bottom I know quite well how matters really stand.
In this I am like a dog he can be tricked, but he always smells it out in the end.
This “insight” is based on instinct, or on a “participation mystique” with others.
It is as if the “eyes of the background” do the seeing in an impersonal act of perception.
This was something I did not realize until much later, when some very strange things happened to me.
For instance, there was the time when I recounted the life story of a man without knowing him.
It was at the wedding of a friend of my wife’s; the bride and her family were all entirely unknown to me.
During the meal I was sitting opposite a middle-aged gentleman with a long, handsome beard, who had been introduced to me as a barrister.
We were having an animated conversation about criminal psychology.
In order to answer a particular question of his, I made up a story to illustrate it, embellishing it with all sorts of details.
While I was telling my story, I noticed that a quite different expression came over the man’s face, and a silence fell on the table.
Very much abashed, I stopped speaking.
Thank heavens we were already at the dessert, so I soon stood up and went into the lounge of the hotel.
There I withdrew into a corner, lit a cigar, and tried to think over the situation.
At this moment one of the other guests who had been sitting at my table came over and asked reproachfully, “How did you ever come
to commit such a frightful indiscretion?”
“Indiscretion?” “Why yes, that story you told.” “But I made it all up!”
To my amazement and horror it turned out that I had told the story of the man opposite me, exactly and in all its details.
I also discovered, at this moment, that I could no longer remember a single word of the story even to this day I have been unable to recall it.
In his Selbstschau, Zschokke* describes a similar incident: how once, in an inn, he was able to unmask an unknown young man as a thief, because he had seen the theft being committed before his inner eye.
In the course of my life it has often happened to me that I suddenly knew something which I really could not know at all.
The knowledge came to me as though it were my own idea.
It was the same with my mother.
She did not know what she was saying; it was like a voice wielding absolute authority, which said exactly what fitted the situation.
My mother usually assumed that I was mentally far beyond my age, and she would talk to me as to a grown-up.
It was plain that she was telling me everything she could not say to my father, for she early made me her confidant and confided her troubles to me.
Thus, I was about eleven years old when she informed me of a matter that concerned my father and alarmed me greatly.
I racked my brains, and at last came to the conclusion that I must consult a certain friend of my father’s whom I knew by hearsay to be an influential person.
Without saying a word to my mother, I went into town one afternoon after school and called at this man’s house.
The maid who opened the door told me that he was out. Depressed and disappointed, I returned home.
But it was by the mercy of providence that he was not there.
Soon afterward my mother again referred to this matter, and this time gave me a very different and far milder picture of the situation, so that the whole thing went up in smoke.
That struck me to the quick, and I thought: “What an ass you were to believe it, and you nearly caused a disaster with your stupid seriousness/’
From then on I decided to divide everything my mother said by two.
My confidence in her was strictly limited, and that was what prevented me from ever telling her about my deeper preoccupations.
But then came the moments when her second personality burst forth, and what she said on those occasions was so true and to the point that I trembled before it.
If my mother could then have been pinned down, I would have had a wonderful interlocutor,
With my father it was quite different.
I would have liked to lay my religious difficulties before him and ask him for advice, but I did not do so because it seemed to me that I knew in
advance what he would be obliged to reply out of respect for his office.
How right I was in this assumption was demonstrated to me soon afterward.
My father personally gave me my instruction for confirmation.
It bored me to death.
One day I was leafing through the catechism, hoping to find something besides the sentimental-sounding and usually incomprehensible as well as
uninteresting expatiations on Lord Jesus.
I came across the paragraph on the Trinity.
Here was something that challenged my interest: a oneness which was simultaneously a threeness.
This was a problem that fascinated me because of its inner contradiction.
I waited longingly for the moment when we would reach this question.
But when we got that far, my father said, ‘We now come to the Trinity, but we’ll skip that, for I really understand nothing of it myself.”
I admired my father’s honesty, but on the other hand I was profoundly disappointed and said to myself, “There we have it; they know nothing about
it and don’t give it a thought.
Then how can I talk about my secret?”
I made vain, tentative attempts with certain of my schoolfellows who struck me as reflective.
I awakened no response, but, on the contrary, a stupefaction that warned me off.
In spite of the boredom, I made every effort to believe without understanding an attitude which seemed to correspond with my father’s and prepared myself for
Communion, on which I had set my last hopes.
This was, I thought, merely a memorial meal, a kind of anniversary celebration for Lord Jesus who had died 1890 30 = 1860 years ago.
But still, he had let fall certain hints such as, “Take, eat, this is my body,” meaning that we should eat the Communion bread as if it were his body,
which after all had originally been flesh.
Likewise we were to drink the wine which had originally been blood.
It was clear to me that in this fashion we were to incorporate him into ourselves.
This seemed to me so preposterous an impossibility that I was sure some great mystery must lie behind it, and that I would participate in this mystery in the course of Communion, on which my father seemed to place so high a value.
As was customary, a member of the church committee stood godfather to me.
He was a nice, taciturn old man, a wheelwright in whose workshop I had often stood, watching his skill with lathe and adze.
Now he came, solemnly transformed by frock coat and top hat, and took me to church, where my father in his familiar robes stood behind the altar and read prayers from the liturgy.
On the white cloth covering the altar lay large trays filled with small pieces of bread.
I could see that the bread came from our baker, whose baked goods were generally poor and flat in taste.
From a pewter jug, wine was poured into a pewter cup.
My father ate a piece of the bread, took a swallow of the wine I knew the tavern from which it had come and passed the cup to one of the old men.
All were stiff, solemn, and, it seemed to me, uninterested.
I looked on in suspense, but could not see or guess whether anything unusual was going on inside the old men.
The atmosphere was the same as that of all other performances in church baptisms, funerals, and so on.
I had the impression that something was being performed here in the traditionally correct manner.
My father, too, seemed to be chiefly concerned with going through it all according to rule, and it was part of this rule that the appropriate words were
read or spoken with emphasis.
There was no mention of the fact that it was now 1860 years since Jesus had died, whereas in all other memorial services the date was stressed.
I saw no sadness and no joy, and felt that the feast was meager in every respect, considering the extraordinary importance of the person whose memory was being celebrated.
It did not compare at all with secular festivals.
Suddenly my turn came.
I ate the bread; it tasted flat, as I had expected.
The wine, of which I took only the smallest sip, was thin and rather sour, plainly not of the best.
Then came the final prayer, and the people went out, neither depressed nor illumined with joy, but with faces that said, “So that’s that/’ I walked home with my father, intensely conscious that I was wearing a new black felt hat and a new black suit which was already beginning to turn into a frock coat.
It was a kind of lengthened jacket that spread out into two little wings over the seat, and between these was a slit with a pocket into which I could tuck a handkerchief which seemed to me a grown-up, manly gesture.
I felt socially elevated and by implication accepted into the society of men.
That day, too, Sunday dinner was an unusually good one.
I would be able to stroll about in my new suit all day.
But otherwise I was empty and did not know what I was feeling.
Only gradually, in the course of the following days, did it dawn on me that nothing had happened.
I had reached the pinnacle of religious initiation, had expected something I knew not what to happen, and nothing at all had happened, I knew that God could do stupendous tilings to me, things of fire and unearthly light; but this ceremony contained no trace of God not for me, at any rate.
To be sure, there had been talk about Him, but it had all amounted to no more than words.
Among the others I had noticed nothing of the vast despair, the overpowering elation and outpouring of grace which for me constituted the essence of God.
I had observed no sign of “communion” of “union, becoming one with . .” With whom? With Jesus?
Yet he was only a man who had died 1860 years ago.
Why should a person become one with him?
He was called the “Son of God” & demigod, therefore, like the Greek heroes: how then could an ordinary person become one with him?
This was called the “Christian religion,” but none of it had anything to do with God as I had experienced Him.
That I could understand, but what was the purpose of this wretched memorial service with the flat bread and the sour wine?
Slowly I came to understand that this communion had been a fatal experience for me.
It had proved hollow; more than that, it had proved to be a total loss.
I knew that I would never again be able to participate in this ceremony. “Why, that is not religion at all,” I thought. “It is an absence of God; the church is a place I should not go to. It is not life which is there, but death.”
I was seized with the most vehement pity for my father.
All at once I understood the tragedy of his profession and his life.
He was struggling with a death whose existence he could not
An abyss had opened between him and me, and I saw no possibility of ever bridging it, for it was infinite in extent.
I could not plunge my dear and generous father, who in so many matters left me to myself and had never tyrannized over me, into that despair and sacrilege which were necessary for an experience of divine grace.
Only God could do that. I had no right to; it would be inhuman. God is not human, I thought; that is His greatness, that nothing human impinges on Him.
He is kind and terrible both at once and is therefore a great peril from which everyone naturally tries to save himself.
People cling one-sidedly to His love and goodness, for fear they will fall victim to the tempter and destroyer, Jesus, too, had noticed that, and had therefore taught: “Lead us not into temptation/’
My sense of union with the Church and with the human world, so far as I knew it, was shattered.
I had, so it seemed to me, suffered the greatest defeat of my life.
The religious outlook which I imagined constituted my sole meaningful relation with the universe had disintegrated; I could no longer participate
in the general faith, but found myself involved in something inexpressible, in my secret, which I could share with no one.
It was terrible and this was the worst of it vulgar and ridiculous also, a diabolical mockery.
I began to ponder: What must one think of God? I had not invented that thought about God and the cathedral, still less the dream that had befallen me at the age of three.
A stronger will than mine had imposed both on me.
Had nature been responsible?
But nature was nothing other than the will of the Creator.
Nor did it help to accuse the devil, for he too was a creature of God.
God alone was real and annihilating fire and an indescribable grace.
What about the failure of Communion to affect me? Was that my own failure? I had prepared for it in all earnestness, had hoped for an experience of grace and illumination, and nothing had happened.
God had been absent.
For God’s sake I now found myself cut off from the Church and from my father’s and everybody else’s faith. Insofar as they all represented the
Christian religion, I was an outsider.
This knowledge filled me with a sadness which was to overshadow all the years until the time I entered the university.
I began looking in my father’s relatively modest library which in those days seemed impressive to me for books that would tell me what was known about God.
At first I found only the traditional conceptions, but not what I was seeking & writer who thought independently.
At last I hit upon Biedermann’s Christliche Dogmatik, published in 1869.
Here, apparently, was a man who thought for himself, who worked out his own views.
I learned from him that religion was a a spiritual act consisting in man’s establishing his own relationship to God.”
I disagreed with that, for I understood religion as something that God did to me; it was an act on His part, to which I must simply yield, for He was the stronger.
My “religion” recognized no human relationship to God, for how could anyone relate to something so little known as God?
I must know more about God in order to establish a relationship to him.
In Biedermann’s chapter on “The Nature of God” I found that God showed Himself to be a “personality to be conceived after the analogy of the human ego: the unique, utterly supramundane ego who embraces the entire cosmos.”
As far as I knew the Bible, this definition seemed to fit. God has a personality and is the ego of the universe, just as I myself am the ego of my psychic and physical being.
But here I encountered a formidable obstacle.
Personality, after all, surely signifies character.
Now, character is one thing and not another; that is to say, it involves certain specific attributes.
But if God is everything, how can He still possess a distinguishable character?
On the other hand, if He does have a character, He can only be the ego of a subjective, limited world.
Moreover, what kind of character or what kind of personality does He have?
Everything depends on that, for unless one knows the answer one cannot establish a relationship to Him.
I felt the strongest resistances to imagining God by analogy with my own ego.
That seemed to me boundlessly arrogant, if not downright blasphemous.
My ego was, in any case, difficult enough for me to grasp.
In the first place, I was aware that it consisted of two contradictory aspects: No. i and No. 2. Second, in both its aspects my ego was extremely limited, subject to all possible self-deceptions and errors, moods, emotions, passions, and sins.
It suffered far more defeats than triumphs, was childish, vain, self-seeking, defiant, in need of love, covetous, unjust, sensitive, lazy, irresponsible, and so on.
To my sorrow it lacked many of the virtues and talents I admired and envied in others.
How could this be the analogy according to which we were to imagine the nature of God?
Eagerly I looked up the other characteristics of God, and found them all listed in the way familiar to me from my instruotion for confirmation.
I found that according to Article 172 “the most immediate expression of the supramundane nature of God is i) negative: His invisibility to men,” etc., “and 2) positive: His dwelling in Heaven,” etc.
This was disastrous, for at once there rushed to my mind the blasphemous vision which God directly or indirectly (i.e., via the devil) had imposed on my
Article 183 informed me that “God’s supramundane nature with regard to the moral world” consists in His “justice,” which is not merely “judicial” but is also “an expression of His holy being.”
I had hoped that this paragraph would say something about God’s dark aspects which were giving me so much trouble: His vindictiveness, His dangerous wrathfulness, His incomprehensible conduct toward the creatures His omnipotence had made, whose inadequacies He must know by virtue of that same
omnipotence, and whom moreover it pleased Him to lead astray, or at least to test, even though He knew in advance the outcome of His experiments.
What, indeed, was God’s character? What would we say of a human personality who behaved in this manner?
I did not dare to think this question out to its conclusion.
And then I read that God, “although sufficient unto Himself and needing nothing outside Himself,” had created the world “out of His satisfaction,” and “as a natural world has filled it with His goodness and as a moral world desires to fill it with His love.”
At first I pondered over the perplexing word “satisfaction.” Satisfaction with what or with whom?
Obviously with the world, for He had looked upon His work and called it good.
But it was just this that I had never understood. Certainly the world is immeasurably beautiful, but it is quite as horrible.
In a small village in the country, where there are few people and nothing much happens, “old age, disease, and death” are experienced more intensely, in greater detail, and more nakedly than elsewhere.
Although I was not yet sixteen years old I had seen a great deal of the reality of the life of man and beast, and in church and school I had heard enough of the sufferings and corruption of the world.
God could at most have felt “satisfaction” with paradise, but then He Himself had taken good care that the glory of paradise should not last too long by planting in it that poisonous serpent, the devil.
Had He taken satisfaction in that too?
I felt certain that Biedermann did not mean this, but was simply babbling on in that mindless way that characterized religious instruction, not even aware that he was writing nonsense.
As I saw it, it was not at all unreasonable to suppose that God, for all that He probably did not feel any such cruel satisfaction in the unmerited sufferings of man and beast, had nevertheless intended to create a world of contradictions in which one creature devoured another and life meant simply being born to die.
The “wonderful harmonies” of natural law looked to me more like a chaos tamed by fearful effort, and the “eternal” starry firmament with its predetermined orbits seemed plainly an accumulation of random bodies without order or meaning.
For no one could really see the constellations people spoke about.
They were mere arbitrary configurations.
I either did not see or gravely doubted that God filled the natural world with His goodness.
This, apparently, was another of those points which must not be reasoned about but must be believed.
In fact, if God is the highest good, why is the world, His creation, so imperfect, so corrupt, so pitiable? “Obviously it has been infected and thrown into confusion by the devil,” I thought. But the devil, too, was a creature of God.
I had to read up on the devil. He seemed to be highly important after all.
I again opened Biedermann’s book on Christian dogmatics and looked for the answer to this burning question.
What were the reasons for suffering, imperfection, and evil? I could find nothing.
That finished it for me.
This weighty tome on dogmatics was nothing but fancy drivel; worse still, it was a fraud or a specimen of uncommon stupidity whose sole aim was to obscure the truth.
I was disillusioned and even indignant, and once more seized with pity for my father, who had fallen victim to this mumbo-jumbo.
But somewhere and at some time there must have been people who sought the truth as I was doing, who thought rationally and did not wish to deceive themselves and others and deny the sorrowful reality of the world.
It was about this time that my mother, or rather, her No. 2 personality, suddenly and without preamble said, *TTou must read Goethe’s Faust
one of these days.” We had a handsome edition of Goethe, and I picked out.Fatttf.
It poured into my soul like a miraculous balm.
“Here at last,” I thought, “is someone who takes the devil seriously and even concludes a blood pact with him with the adversary who has the power to frustrate God’s plan to make a perfect world.”
I regretted Faust’s behavior, for to my mind he should not have been so one-sided and so easily tricked.
He should have been cleverer and also more moral.
How childish he was to gamble away his soul so frivolouslyl Faust was plainly a bit of a windbag.
I had the impression that the weight of the drama and its significance lay chiefly on the side of Mephistopheles.
It would not have grieved me if Faust’s soul had gone to hell. He deserved it.
I did not like the idea of the “cheated devil” at the end, for after all Mephistopheles had been anything but a stupid devil, and it was contrary to logic
for him to be tricked by silly little angels.
Mephistopheles seemed to me cheated in quite a different sense: he had not received his promised rights because Faust, that somewhat characterless fellow, had carried his swindle through right into the Hereafter.
There, admittedly, his puerility came to light, but, as I saw it, he did not deserve the initiation into the great mysteries.
I would have given him a taste of purgatorial fires.
The real problem, it seemed to me, lay with Mephistopheles, whose whole figure made the deepest impression on me, and who, I vaguely sensed, had a relationship to the mystery of the Mothers.
At any rate Mephistopheles and the great initiation at the end remained for me a wonderful and mysterious experience on the fringes of my conscious world.
At last I had found confirmation that there were or had been people who saw evil and its universal power, and more important the mysterious role it played in delivering man from darkness and suffering.
To that extent Goethe became, in my eyes, a prophet.
But I could not forgive him for having dismissed Mephistopheles by a mere trick, by a bit of jiggery-pokery.
For me that was too theological, too frivolous and irresponsible, and I was deeply sorry that Goethe too had fallen for those cunning devices by which evil is rendered innocuous.
In reading the drama I had discovered that Faust had been a philosopher of sorts, and although he turned away from philosophy, he had obviously learned from it a certain receptivity to the truth. Hitherto I had heard virtually nothing of philosophy, and now a new hope dawned.
Perhaps, I thought, there were philosophers who had grappled with these questions and could shed light on them for me.
Since there were no philosophers in my father’s library they were suspect because they thought I had to content myself with Krug’s General Dictionary of the Philosophical Sciences, second edition, 1832.
I plunged forthwith into the article on God.
To my discontent it began with the etymology of the word “God,” which, it said, “incontestably” derived from “good” and signified the ens summum or perfectissimum.
The existence of God could not be proved, it continued, nor the innateness of the idea of God.
The latter, however, could exist a priori in man, if not in actuality at any rate potentially.
In any case our “intellectual powers” must “already be developed to a certain degree before they are capable of engendering so sublime an idea/’
This explanation astounded me beyond measure.
What is wrong with these “philosophers”? I wondered.
Evidently they know of God only by hearsay.
The theologians are different in this respect, at any rate; at least they are sure that God exists, even though they make contradictory statements about Him.
This lexicographer Krug expresses himself in so involved a manner that it is easy to see he would like to assert that he is already sufficiently convinced of God’s existence.
Then why doesn’t he say so outright? Why does he pretend as if he really thought that we “engender” the idea of God, and to do so must first have
reached a certain level of development?
So far as I knew, even the savages wandering naked in their jungles had such ideas.
And they were certainly not “philosophers” who sat down to “engender an idea of God.”
I never engendered any idea of God, either. Of course God cannot be proved, for how could, say, a clothes moth that eats Australian wool prove to other moths that Australia exists? God’s existence does not depend on our proofs.
How had I arrived at my certainty about God?
I was told all sorts of things about Him, yet I could believe nothing.
None of it convinced me.
That was not where my idea came from. In fact it was not an idea at all that is, not something thought out.
It was not like imagining something and thinking it out and afterward believing it.
For example, all that about Lord Jesus was always suspect to me and I never really believed it, although it was impressed upon me far more than God, who was usually only hinted at in the background.
Why have I come to take God for granted?
Why do these philosophers pretend that God is an idea, a kind of arbitrary assumption which they can engender or not, when it is perfectly plain that He exists, as plain as a brick that falls on your head?
Suddenly I understood that God was, for me at least, one of the most certain and immediate of experiences.
After all, I didn’t invent that horrible image about the cathedral.
On the contrary, it was forced on me and I was compelled, with the utmost cruelty, to think it, and afterward that inexpressible feeling of grace came to me.
I had no control over these things. I came to the conclusion that there must be something the matter with these philosophers, for they had the curious notion that God was a kind of hypothesis that could be discussed.
I also found it extremely unsatisfying that the philosophers offered no opinions or explanations about the dark deeds of God.
These, it seemed to me, merited special attention and consideration from philosophy, since they constituted a problem which, I gathered, was
rather a hard one for the theologians.
All the greater was my disappointment to discover that the philosophers had apparently never even heard of it.
I therefore passed on to the next topic that interested me, the article on the devil.
If, I read, we conceived of the devil as originally evil, we would become entangled in patent contradictions, that is to say, we would fall into dualism.
Therefore we would do better to assume that the devil was originally created a good being but had been corrupted by his pride.
However, as the author of the article pointed outand I was glad to see this point made this hypothesis presupposed the evil it was attempting to explain namely, pride. For the rest, he continued, the origin of evil was “unexplained and inexplicable” which meant to me: Like the theologians, he does not vtfant to think about it.
Thearticle on evil and its origin proved equally unilluminating.
The account I have given here summarizes trains of thoughtand developments ef ideas which, broken by long intervals, extended over several years.
They went on exclusively in my No. 2 personality, and were strictly private.
I used my father’s library for these researches, secretly and without asking his permission.
In the intervals, personality No. i openly read all the novels of Gerstacker, and German translations of the classic English novels.
I also began reading German literature, concentrating on those classics which school, with its needlessly laborious explanations of the obvious, had not spoiled for me.
I read vastly and planlessly, drama, poetry, history, and later natural science.
Reading was not only interesting but provided a welcome and beneficial distraction from the preoccupations of personality No. z, which in increasing measure were leading me to depressions.
For everywhere in the realm of religious questions I encountered only locked doors, and if ever one door should chance to open I was disappointed by what lay behind it.
Other people all seemed to have totally different concerns.
I felt completely alone with my certainties.
More than ever I wanted someone to talk with, but nowhere did I find a point of contact; on the contrary, I sensed in others an estrangement, a
distrust, an apprehension which robbed me of speech.
That, too, depressed me. I did not know what to make of it.
Why has no one had experiences similar to mine? I wondered. Why is there nothing about it in scholarly books? Am I the only one who has had such experiences? Why should I be the only one?
It never occurred to me that I might be crazy, for the light and darkness of God seemed to me facts that could be understood even though they oppressed my feelings.
I felt the singularity into which I was being forced as something threatening, for it meant isolation, and that seemed all the more unpleasant to me as I was unjustly taken for a scapegoat a good deal more often than I liked.
Moreover, something had happened in school to increase my isolation.
In the German class I was rather mediocre, for the subject matter, especially German grammar and syntax, did not interest me at all.
I was lazy and bored.
The subjects for composition usually seemed to me shallow or silly, and my essays turned out accordingly: either careless or labored.
I slipped through with average marks, and this suited me very well, as it fitted in with my general tendency not to be conspicuous.
On the whole I sympathized with boys from poor families who, like myself, had come from nowhere, and I had a liking for those who were none too bright, though I tended to become excessively irritated by their stupidity and ignorance.
For the fact of the matter was that they had something to offer which I craved deeply: in their simplicity they noticed nothing unusual about me.
My “unusualness” was gradually beginning to give me the disagreeable, rather uncanny feeling that I must possess repulsive traits, of which I was not
aware, that caused my teachers and schoolmates to shun me.
In the midst of these preoccupations the following incident burst on me like a thunderclap.
We had been assigned a subject for composition which for once interested me.
Consequently I set to work with a will and produced what seemed to me a carefully written and successful paper.
I hoped to receive at least one of the highest marks for it not the highest, of course, for that would have made me conspicuous, but one close to the top,
Our teacher was in the habit of discussing the compositions in order of merit.
The first one he turned to was by the boy at the head of the class. That was all right.
Then followed the compositions of the others, and I waited and waited in vain for my name.
Still it did not come. “It just can’t be,” I thought, “that mine is so bad that it is even below these poor ones he has come to. What can be the matter?”
Was I simply hors concours which would mean being isolated and attracting attention in the most dreadful way of all?
When all the essays had been read, the teacher paused.
Then he said, “Now I have one more composition Jung’s. It is by far the best, and I ought to have given it first place.
But unfortunately it is a fraud. Where did you copy it from? Confess the truth!”
I shot to my feet, as horrified as I was furious, and cried, “I did not copy it! I went to a lot of trouble to write a good composition^
But the teacher shouted at me, “You re lying! You could never write a composition like this. No one is going to believe that. Now where did you copy it from?”
Vainly I swore to my innocence. The teacher clung to his theory.
He became threatening. “I can tell you this: if I knew where you had copied it from, you would be chucked out of the school.” And he turned away.
My classmates threw odd glances at me, and I realized with horror that they were thinking,
“A-ha, so that’s the way it is.” My protestations fell on deaf ears.
I felt that from now on I was branded, and that all the paths which might have led me out of unusualness had been cut off.
Profoundly disheartened and dishonored, I swore vengeance on the teacher, and if I had had an opportunity something straight out of the law of the jungle would have resulted.
How in the world could I possibly prove that I had not copied the essay?
For days I turned this incident over in my thoughts, and again and again came to the conclusion that I was powerless, the sport of a blind and stupid fate that had marked me as a liar and a cheat.
Now I realized many things I had not previously understood for example, how it was that one of the teachers could say to my father, who had inquired about my conduct in school, “Oh, he’s just average, but he works commendably hard/’
I was thought to be relatively stupid and superficial.
That did not annoy me really.
But what made me furious was that they should think me capable of cheating, and thus morally destroy me.
My grief and rage threatened to get out of control.
And then something happened that I had already observed in myself several times before: there was a sudden inner silence, as though a soundproof door had been closed on a noisy room. It was as if a mood of cool curiosity came over me, and I asked myself, “What is really going on here?
All right, you are excited. Of course the teacher is an idiot who doesn’t understand your nature that is, doesn’t understand it any more than you do.
Therefore he is as mistrustful as you are.
You distrust yourself and others, and that is why you side with those who are naive, simple, and easily seen through.
One gets excited when one doesn’t understand things.”
In the light of these considerations sine ira et studio, I was struck by the analogy with that other train of ideas which had impressed itself on me so forcefully when I did not want to think the forbidden thought.
Although at that time I doubtless saw no difference as yet between personalities No. i and No. 2, and still claimed the world of No. 2 as my own personal world, there was always, deep in the background, the feeling that something other than myself was involved.
It was as though a breath of the great world of stars and endless space had touched me, or as if a spirit had invisibly entered the room the spirit of one
who had long been dead and yet was perpetually present in timelessness until far into the future.
Denouements of this sort were wreathed with the halo of a numen.
At that time, of course, I could never have expressed myself in this fashion, nor am I now attributing to my state of consciousness something that was not there at the time.
I am only trying to express the feelings I had then, and to shed light on that twilight world with the help of what I know now.
It was some months after the incident just described that my schoolmates hung the nickname “Father Abraham” on me. No. I could not understand why, and thought it silly and ridiculous.
Yet somewhere in the background I felt that the name had hit the mark.
All allusions to this background were painful to me, for the more I read and the more familiar I became with city life, the stronger grew my impression that what I was now getting to know as reality belonged to an order of things different from the view of the world I had grown up with in the country, among rivers and woods, among men and animals in a small village bathed in sunlight, with the winds and the clouds moving over it, and encompassed by dark night in which uncertain things happened.
It was no mere locality on the map, but “God’s world,” so ordered by Him and filled with secret meaning.
But apparently men did not know this, and even the animals had somehow lost the senses to perceive it.
That was evident, for example, in the sorrowful, lost look of the cows, and in the resigned eyes of horses, in the devotion of dogs, who clung so desperately to human beings, and even in the self-assured step of the cats who had chosen house and barn as their, residence and hunting
People were like the animals, and seemed as unconscious as they.
They looked down upon the ground or up into the trees in order to see what could be put to use, and for what purpose; like animals they herded, paired, and fought, but did not see that they dwelt in a unified cosmos, in God’s world, in an eternity where everything is already born and everything has
Because they are so closely akin to us and share our unknowingness, I loved all warm-blooded animals who have souls like ourselves and with whom, so I thought, we have an instinctive understanding.
We experience joy and sorrow, love and hate, hunger and thirst, fear and trust in common all the essential features of existence with the exception of speech, sharpened consciousness, and science.
And although I admired science in the conventional way, I also saw it giving rise to alienation and aberration from God’s world, as leading to a degeneration which animals were not capable of.
Animals were dear and faithful, unchanging and trustworthy. People I now distrusted more than ever.
Insects I did not regard as proper animals, and I took coldblooded vertebrates to be a rather lowly intermediate stage on the way down to the insects.
Creatures in this category were objects for observation and collection, curiosities merely, alien and extra-human; they were manifestations of impersonal life and more akin to plants than to human beings.
The earthly manifestations of “God’s world” began with the realm of plants, as a kind of direct communication from it.
It was as though one were peering over the shoulder of the Creator, who, thinking Himself unobserved, was making toys and decorations.
Man and the proper animals, on the other hand, were bits of God that had become independent*
That was why they could move about on tfyeir own and choose their abodes.
Plants were bound for good or ill to their places.
They expressed not only the beauty but also the thoughts of God’s world, with no intent of their own and without deviation. Trees in particular were mysvreums, terious and seemed to me direct embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life.
For that reason the woods were the place where I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its aweinspiring workings.
This impression was reinforced when I became acquainted with Gothic cathedrals.
But there the infinity of the cosmos, the chaos of meaning and meaninglessness, of impersonal purpose and mechanical law, were wrapped in stone.
This contained and at the same time was the bottomless mystery of being, the embodiment of spirit.
What I dimly felt to be my kinship with stone was the divine nature in both, in the dead and the living matter.
At that time it would, as I have said, have been beyond my powers to formulate my feelings and intuitions in any graphic way, for they all occurred in No. 2 personality, while my active and comprehending ego remained passive and was absorbed into the sphere of the “old man,” who belonged to the centuries, I experienced him and his influence in a curiously unreflective manner; when he was present, No. i personality paled to the point of nonexistence, and when the ego that became increasingly identical with No. i personality dominated the scene, the old man, if remembered at all, seemed a remote and unreal dream.
Between my sixteenth and nineteenth years the fog of my dilemma slowly lifted, and my depressive states of mind improved.
No. i personality emerged more and more distinctly.
School and city life took up my time, and my increased knowledge gradually permeated or repressed the world of intuitive premonitions.
I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this way gained a bird’s-eye view of everything that had been thought in this field.
I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions had historical analogues.
Above all I was attracted to the thought of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the’long-windedness of Socratic argumentation.
Their ideas were beautiful and academic, like pictures in a gallery, but somewhat remote.
Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life not that I understood him.
The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a desert.
I thought, “They all want to force something to come out by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves, whereas actually it is a matter of experience.”
They seemed to me like people who knew by hearsay that elephants existed, but had never seen one, and were now trying to prove by arguments that on logical grounds such animals must exist and must be constituted as in fact they are.
For obvious reasons, the critical philosophy of the eighteenth century at first did not appeal to me at all.
Of the nineteenth-century philosophers, Hegel put me off by his language, as arrogant as it was laborious; I regarded him with downright mistrust.
He seemed to me like a man who was caged in the edifice of his own words and was pompously gesticulating in his prison.
But the great find resulting from my researches was Schopenhauer.
He was the first to speak of the suffering of the world, which visibly and glaringly surrounds us, and of confusion, passion, evil all those things which the others hardly seemed to notice and always tried to resolve into all-embracing harmony and comprehensibility.
Here at last was a philosopher who had the courage to see that all was not for the best in the fundaments of the universe.
He spoke neither of the all-good and all-wise providence of a Creator, nor of the harmony of the cosmos, but stated bluntly that a fundamental flaw underlay the sorrowful course of human history and the cruelty of nature: the blindness of the world-creating Will.
This was confirmed not only by the early observations I had made of diseased and dying fishes, of mangy foxes, frozen or starved birds, of the pitiless tragedies concealed in a flowery meadow: earthworms tormented to death by ants, insects that tore each other apart piece by piece, and so on.
My experiences with human beings, too, had taught me anything rather than a belief in man’s original goodness and decency.
I knew myself well enough to know that I was only gradually, as it were, distinguishing myself from an animal.
Schopenhauer’s somber picture of the world had my undivided approval, but not his solution of the problem.
I felt sure that by ‘Will” he really meant God, the Creator, and that he was saying that God was blind.
Since I knew from experience that God was not offended by any blasphemy, that on the contrary He could even encourage it because
He wished to evoke not only man’s bright and positive side but also his darkness and ungodliness, Schopenhauer’s view did not distress me. I considered
it a verdict justified by the facts.
But I was all the more disappointed by his theory that the intellect need only confront the blind Will with its image in order to cause it to reverse itself.
How could the Will see this image at all, since it was blind? And why should it, even if it could see, thereby be persuaded to reverse itself, since the image would show it precisely what it willed?
And what was the intellect? It was a function of the human soul, not a mirror but an infinitesimal fragment of a mirror such as a child might hold up to the sun, expecting thesun to be dazzled by it.
I was puzzled that Schopenhauer should ever have been satisfied with such an inadequate answer.
Because of this I was impelled to study him more thoroughly, and I became increasingly impressed by his relation to Kant.
I therefore began reading the works of this philosopher, above all his Critique of Pure Reason., which put me to some hard thinking.
My efforts were rewarded, for I discovered the fundamental flaw, so I thought, in Schopenhauer’s system.
He had committed the deadly sin of hypostatizing a metaphysical assertion, and of endowing a mere noumenon, a Ding an sich, with special qualities.
I got this from Kant’s theory of knowledge, and it afforded me an even greater illumination, if that were possible, than Schopenhauer’s “pessimistic” view of the world.
This philosophical development extended from my seventeenth year until well into the period of my medical studies.
It brought about a revolutionary alteration of my attitude to the world and to life.
Whereas formerly I had been shy, timid, mistrustful, pallid, thin, and apparently unstable in health, I now began to display a tremendous appetite on all fronts.
I knew what I wanted and went after it.
I also became noticeably more accessible and more communicative.
I discovered that poverty was no handicap and was far from being tKe principal reason for suffering; that the sons of the rich really did not enjoy any
advantages over the poor and ill-clad boys.
There were far deeper reasons for happiness and unhappiness than one’s allotment of pocket money.
I made more and better friends than before.
I felt firmer ground under my feet and even summoned up courage to speak openly of my ideas.
But that, as I discovered all too soon, was a misunderstanding which I had cause to regret.
For I met not only with embarrassment or mockery, but with hostile rejection.
To my consternation and discomfiture, I found that certain people considered me a braggart, a poseur, and a humbug.
The old charge of cheat was revived, even though in a somewhat milder form.
Once again it had to do with a subject for composition that had aroused my interest.
I had worked out my paper with particular care, taking the greatest pains to polish my style.
The result was crushing. “Here is an essay by Jung,” said the teacher. “It is downright brilliant, but tossed off so carelessly that it is easy to see how little serious effort went into it.
I can tell you this, Jung, you won’t get through life with that slapdash attitude.
Life calls for earnestness and conscientiousness, work and effort. Look at D/s paper.
He has none of your brilliance, but he is honest, conscientious, and hard-working.
That is the way to success in Me.”
My feelings were not as hurt as on the first occasion, for in spite of himself the teacher had been impressed by my essay, and had at least not accused me of stealing it.
I protested against his reproaches, but was dismissed with the comment: “The Ars Poetica maintains that the best poem is the one which conceals
the effort of creation.
But you cannot make me believe that about your essay, for it was tossed off frivolously and without any effort.”
There were, I knew, a few good ideas in it, but the teacher did not even bother to discuss them.
I felt some bitterness over this incident, but the suspicions of my schoolmates were a far more serious matter, for they threatened to throw me back into my former isolation and depression.
I racked my brains, trying to understand what I could have done to deserve their slanders.
By cautious inquiries I discovered that they looked askance at me because I often made remarks, or dropped hints, about things which I could not possibly know.
For instance, I pretended to know something about Kant and Schopenhauer, or about paleontology, which we had not even had in school as yet.
These astonishing discoveries showed me that practically all the burning questions had nothing to do with everyday life, but belonged, like my ultimate secret, to “God’s world/’ which it was better not to speak of.
Henceforth I took care not to mention these esoteric matters among my schoolmates, and among the adults of my acquaintance I knew no one with whom I might have talked without risk of being thought a boaster and impostor.
The most painful thing of all was the frustration of my attempts to overcome the inner split in myself, my division into two worlds.
Again and again events occurred which forced me out of my ordinary, everyday existence into the boundlessness of “God’s world/’
This expression, “God’s world,” may sound sentimental to some ears. For me it did not have this character at all.
To “God’s world” belonged everything superhuman dazzling light, the darkness of the abyss, the cold impassivity of infinite space and time, and the uncanny grotesqueness of the irrational world of chance.
“God,” for me, was everything and anything but “edifying.”
The older I grew, the more frequently I was asked by my parents and others what I wanted to be.
I had no clear notions on that score.
My interests drew me in different directions.
On the one hand I was powerfully attracted by science, with its truths based on facts; on the other hand I was fascinated by everything to do with comparative religion.
In the sciences I was drawn principally to zoology, paleontology, and geology; in the humanities to Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and prehistoric archaeology.
At that time, of course, I did not realize how very much this choice of the most varied subjects corresponded to the nature of myinner dichotomy.
What appealed to me in science were the concrete facts and their historical background, and in comparative religion the spiritual problems, into which philosophy also entered.
In science I missed the factor of meaning; and in religion, that of empiricism.
Science met, to a very large extent, the needs of No. i personality, whereas the humane or historical studies provided beneficial instruction for No. 2.
Torn between these two poles, I was for a long time unable to
settle on anything.
I noticed that my uncle, the head of my mother’s family, who was pastor of St. Alban’s in Basel, was gently pushing me in the direction of theology.
The unusual attentiveness with which I had followed a conversation at table, when he was discussing a point of religion with one of his sons, all of whom were theologians, had not escaped him.
I wondered whether there might possibly be theologians who were in close touch with the dizzy heights of the university and therefore knew more than my father.
Such conversations never gave me the impression that they were concerned with real experiences, and certainly not with experiences like mine.
They dealt exclusively with doctrinal opinions on the Biblical narratives, all of which made me feel distinctly uncomfortable, because of the numerous and barely credible accounts of miracles.
While I was attending the Gymnasium I was allowed to lunch at this uncle’s house every Thursday.
I was grateful to him not only for the lunch but for the unique opportunity of occasionally hearing at his table an adult, intelligent, and intellectual conversation.
It was a marvelous experience for me to discover that anything of this sort existed at all, for in my home surroundings I had never heard anyone discussing learned topics.
I did sometimes attempt to talk seriously with my father, but encountered an impatience and anxious defensiveness which puzzled me.
Not until several years later did I come to understand that my poor father did not dare to think, because he was consumed by inward doubts.
He was taking refuge from himself and therefore insisted on blind faith.
He could not receive it as a grace because he wanted to “win it by struggle/* forcing it to come with convulsive efforts.
My uncle and my cousins could calmly discuss the dogmas and doctrines of the Church Fathers and the opinions of modern theologians.
They seemed safely ensconced in a self-evident world order, in which the name of Nietzsche did not occur at all and Jakob Burckhardt was paid only a grudging compliment.
Burckhardt was “liberal,” “rather too much of a freethinker”; I gathered that he stood somewhat askew in the eternal order of filings.
My uncle, I knew, never suspected how remote I was
from theology, and I was deeply sorry to have to disappoint him.
I would never have dared to lay my problems before him, since I knew only too well how disastrously this would turn out for me.
I had nothing to say in my defense.
On the contrary, No. i personality was fast taking the lead, and my scientific knowledge, though still meager, was thoroughly saturated with the scientific
materialism of the time.
It was only painfully held in check by the evidence of history and by Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, which apparently nobody in my environment understood.
For although Kant was mentioned by my theologian uncle and cousins in tones of praise, his principles were used only to discredit opposing views but were never applied to their own.
About this, too, I said nothing.
Consequently, I began to feel more and more uncomfortable when I sat down to table with my uncle and his family.
Given my habitually guilty conscience, these Thursdays became black days for me.
In this world of social and spiritual security and ease I felt less and less at home, although I thirsted for the drops of intellectual stimulation which occasionally trickled forth.
I felt dishonest and ashamed. I had to admit to myself: “Yes, you are a cheat; you lie and deceive people who mean well by you.
It’s not their fault that they live in a world of social and intellectual certitudes, that they know nothing of poverty, that their religion is also their paid profession, that they are totally unconscious of the fact that God Himself can wrench a person out of his orderly spiritual world and condemn him to blaspheme.
I have no way of explaining this to them. I must take the odium on myself and learn to bear it.”
Unfortunately, I had so far been singularly unsuccessful in this endeavor.
As the tensions of this moral conflict increased, No. a personality became more and more doubtful and distasteful to me, and I could no longer hide this fact from myself.
I tried to extinguish No. 2, but could not succeed in that either.
At school and in the presence of my friends I could forget him, and he also disappeared when I was studying science.
But as soon as I was by myself, at home or out in the country, Schopenhauer and Kant returned in full force, and with them the grandeur of “God’s world.” My scientific knowledge also formed a part of it, and filled the great canvas with vivid colors and figures.
Then No. i and his worries about the choice of a profession sank below the horizon, a tiny episode in the last decade of the nineteenth century.
But when I returned from my expedition into the centuries, I brought with me a kind of hangover. I, or rather No. i, lived in the here and now, and sooner or later would have to form a definite idea of what profession he wished to pursue.
Several times my father had a serious talk with me.
I was free to study anything I liked, he said, but if I wanted his advice I should keep away from theology.
“Be anything you like except a theologian,” he said emphatically.
By this time there was a tacit agreement between us that certain things could be said or done without comment.
He had never taken me to task for cutting church as often as possible and for not going to Communion any more.
The farther away I was from church, the better I felt.
The only things I missed were the organ and the choral music, but certainly not the “religious community/*
The phrase meant nothm<* to me at all, for the habitual churchgoers struck me as being far less of a community than the “worldly” folk.
The latter may have been less virtuous, but on the other hand they were much nicer people, with natural emotions, more sociable and cheerful, warmer-hearted and more sincere.
I was able to reassure my father that I had not the slightest desire to be a theologian.
But I continued to waver between science and the humanities. Both powerfully attracted me.
I was beginning to realize that No. 2, had no pied-ct-terre.
In him I was lifted beyond the here and now; in him I felt myself a single eye in a thousand-eyed universe, but incapable of moving so much as a pebble upon the earth.
No. i rebeUed against this passivity; he wanted to be up and doing, but for the present he was caught in an insoluble conflict.
Obviously I had to wait and see what would happen.
If anyone asked me what I wanted to be I was in the habit of replying: a philologist, by which I secretly meant Assyrian and Egyptian archaeology.
In reality, however, I continued to study science and philosophy in my leisure hours, and particularly during the holidays, which I spent at home
with my mother and sister.
The days were long past when I ran to my mother, lamenting, *Tm bored, I don’t know what tojyj. &IUUTI&S, untunus, do.”
Holidays were now the best time of the year, when I could amuse myself alone.
Moreover, during the summer vacations at least, my father was away, as he used regularly to spend his holidays in Sachseln.
Only once did it happen that I too went on a vacation trip.
I was fourteen when, on our doctor’s orders, I was sent to Entlebuch for a cure, in the hope that my fitful appetite and my then unstable health would be improved.
For the first time I was alone among adult strangers.
I was quartered in the Catholic priest’s house.
For me this was an eerie and at the same time fascinating adventure.
I seldom got a glimpse of the priest himself, and his housekeeper was scarcely an alarming person, though prone to be curt.
Nothing in the least menacing happened to me.
I was under the supervision of an old country doctor who ran a kind of hotel-sanatorium for convalescents of all types.
It was a very mixed group: farm people, minor officials, merchants, and a few cultivated people from Basel, among them a chemist who had attained that pinnacle of glory, the doctorate.
My father, too, was a Ph.D., but he was merely a philologist and linguist.
This chemist was a fascinating novelty to me: here was a scientist, perhaps one of those who understood the secrets of stones.
He was still a young man and taught me to play croquet, but he imparted to me none of his presumably vast learning.
And I was too shy, too awkward, and far too ignorant to ask him.
I revered him as the first person I had ever met in the flesh who was initiated into the secrets of nature, or some of them, at least.
He sat at the same table with me, ate the same food as I did, and occasionally even exchanged a few words with me.
I felt transported into the sublimer sphere of adulthood.
This elevation in my status was confirmed when I was permitted to go on the outings arranged for the boarders.
On one of these occasions we visited a distillery, and were invited to sample the wares.
In literal fulfillment of the verse:
But now there comes a kicker, This stuff, you see, is liquor.
I found the various little glasses so inspiring that I was wafted into an entirely new and unexpected state of consciousness.
There was no longer any inside or outside, no longer an T’ and the “others,* No, i and No. 2 were no more; caution and timidity were gone, and the earth and sky, the universe and everything in it that creeps and flies, revolves, rises, or falls, had all become one.
I was shamefully, gloriously, triumphantly drunk.
It was as if I were drowned in a sea of blissful musings, but, because of the violent heaving of the waves, had to cling with eyes, hands, and feet to all solid objects in order to keep my balance on the swaying streets and between the rocking houses and trees. “Marvelous/* I thought, “only unfortunately just a little too much.”
The experience came to a rather woeful end, but it nevertheless remained a discovery, a premonition of beauty and meaning which I had spoiled only by my stupidity.
At the end of my stay my father came to fetch me, and we traveled together to Lucerne, where what happiness! We went aboard a steamship.
I had never seen anything like it.
I could not see enough of the action of the steam engine, and then suddenly I was told we had arrived in Vitznau.
Above the village towered a high mountain, and my father now explained to me that this was the Rigi, and that a cogwheel railway ran up it.
We went to a small station building, and there stood the strangest locomotive in the world, with the boiler upright but tilted at a queer angle.
Even the seats in the carriage were tilted.
My father pressed a ticket into my hand and said, “You can ride up to the peak alone.
I’ll stay here, it’s too expensive for the two of us. Be careful not to fall down anywhere/’
I was speechless with joy.
Here I was at the foot of this mighty mountain, higher than any I had ever seen, and quite close to the fiery peaks of my faraway childhood.
I was, indeed, almost a man by now.
For this trip I had bought myself a bamboo cane and an English jockey cap the proper articles of dress for a world traveler.
And now I was to ascend this enormous mountain!
I no longer knew which was bigger, I or the mountain.
With a tremendous puffing, the wonderful locomotive shook and rattled me up to the dizzy heights where ever-new abysses and panoramas opened out before my gaze, until at last I stood on the peak in the strange thin air, looking into unimaginable distances.
“Yes/’ I thought, “this is it, my world, the real world, the secret, where there are no teachers, no schools, no unanswerable questions, where one can be without having to ask anything.”
I kept carefully to the paths, for there were tremendous precipices all around. It was all very solemn, and I felt one had to be polite and silent up here, for one was in God’s world.
Here it was physically present.
This was the best and most precious gift my father had ever given me.
So profound was the impression this made upon me that my memories of everything that happened afterward in “God’s world” were completely blotted out.
But No. i also came into his own on this trip, and his impressions remained with me for the rest of my life.
I still see myself, grown up and independent, wearing a stiff black hat and with an expensive cane, sitting on the terrace of one of the overwhelmingly elegant palatial hotels beside Lake Lucerne, or in the beautiful gardens of Vitznau, having my morning coffee at a small, white-covered table under
a striped awning spangled with sunlight, eating croissants with golden butter and various kinds of jam, and considering plans for outings that would fill the whole long summer day.
After the coffee I would stroll calmly, without excitement and at a deliberate pace, to a steamship, which would carry me toward the Gotthard and the foot of those giant mountains whose tops were covered with gleaming glaciers.
For many decades this image rose up whenever I was wearied from overwork and sought a point of rest.
In real life I have promised myself this splendor again and again, but I have never kept my promise.
This, my first conscious journey, was followed by a second a year or two later. I had been allowed to visit my father, who was on holiday in Sachseln.
From him I learned the impressive news that he had become friendly with the Catholic priest there.
This seemed to me an act of extraordinary boldness, and secretly I admired my father’s courage.
While there, I paid a visit to the hermitage of Fliieli and the relics of Brother Klaus, who by then had been beatified.
I wondered how the Catholics knew that he was in a beatific state. Perhaps he was still wandering about and had told people so?
I was powerfully impressed by the genius loci, and was able not only to imagine the possibility of a life so entirely dedicated to God but even to understand it.
But I did so with an inward shudder and a question to which I knew no answer: How could his wife and children have borne having a saint for a husband and father, when it was precisely my father’s faults and inadequacies that made him particularly lovable to me?
“Yes,” I thought, “how could anyone live with a saint?”
Obviously he saw that it was impossible, and therefore he had to become a hermit Still, it was not so very far from his cell to his house.
This wasn’t a bad idea, I thought, to have the family in one house, while I would live some distance away, in a hut with a pile of books and a writing table, and an open fire where I would roast chestnuts and cook my soup on a tripod.
As a holy hermit I wouldn’t have to go to church any more, but would have my own private chapel instead.
From the hermitage I strolled on up the hill, lost in my thoughts, and was just turning to descend when from the left the slender figure of a young girl appeared.
She wore the local costume, had a pretty face, and greeted me with friendly blue eyes.
As though it were the most natural thing in the world we descended into the valley together. She was about my own age.
Since I knew no other girls except my cousins, I felt rather embarrassed and did not know how to talk to her.
So I began hesitantly explaining that I was here for a couple of days on holiday, that I was at the Gymnasium in Basel and later wanted to study at the university.
While I was talking, a strange feeling of fatefulness crept over me. “She has appeared just at this moment,” I thought to myself, “and she walks along with me as naturally as if we belonged together.”
I glanced sideways at her and saw an expression of mingled shyness and admiration in her face, which embarrassed me and somehow pierced me.
Can it be possible, I wondered, that this is fate? Is my meeting her mere chance? A peasant girl could it possibly be?
She is a Catholic, but perhaps her priest is the very one with whom my father has made friends? She has no idea who I am. I certainly couldn’t
talk to her about Schopenhauer and the negation of the Will, could I?
Yet she doesn’t seem in any way sinister. Perhaps her priest is not one of those Jesuits skulking about in black robes.
But I cannot tell her, either, that my father is a Protestant clergyman.
That might frighten or offend her.
And to talk about philosophy, or about the devil, who is more important than Faust even though Goethe made such a simpleton of him that is quite out of the question.
She still dwells in the distant land of innocence, but I have plunged into reality, into the splendor and cruelty of creation. How can she endure to hear about that?
An impenetrable wall stands between us. There is not and cannot be any relationship.
Sad at heart, I retreated into myself and turned the conversation to less dangerous topics.
Was she going to Sachseln, wasn’t the weather lovely, and what a view, and so on.
Outwardly this encounter was completely meaningless.
But, seen from within, it was so weighty that it not only occupied my thoughts for days but has remained forever in my memory, like a shrine by the wayside.
At that time I was still in that childlike state where life consists of single, unrelated experiences.
For who could discover the threads of fate which led from Brother Klaus to the pretty girl?
This period of my life was filled with conflicting thoughts.
Schopenhauer and Christianity would not square with one another, for one thing; and for another, No. i wanted to free himself from the pressure or melancholy of No. 2.
It was not No. 2 who was depressed, but No. i when he remembered No. 2.
It was just at this time that, out of the clash of opposites, the first systematic fantasy of my life was born.
It made its appearance piece by piece, and it had its origin, so far as I can remember, in an experience which stirred me profoundly.
One day a northwest wind was lashing the Rhine into foaming waves. My way to school led along the river.
Suddenly I saw approaching from the north a ship with a great mainsail running up the Rhine before the storm.
Here was something completely new in my experience a sailing vessel on the Rhinel
My imagination took wings.
If, instead of this swiftly flowing river, all of Alsace were a lake, we would have sailing boats and great steamers.
Then Basel would be a port; it would be almost as good as living by the sea.
Then everything would be different, and we would live in another time and another world.
There would be no Gymnasium, no long walk to school, and I would be grown up and able to arrange my life as I wished.
There would be a hill of rock rising out of the lake, connected by a narrow isthmus to the mainland, cut through by a broad canal with a wooden bridge over it, leading to a gate flanked by towers and opening into a little medieval city built on the surrounding slopes.
On the rock stood a well-fortified castle with a tall keep, a watchtower.
This was my house. In it there were no fine halls or any signs of magnificence.
The rooms were simple, paneled, and rather small.
There was an uncommonly attractive library where you could find everything worth knowing.
There was also a collection of weapons, and the bastions were mounted with heavy cannon.
Besides that, there was a garrison of fifty menatarms in the castle.
The little town had several hundred inhabitants and was governed by a mayor and a town council of old men.
I myself was justice of the peace, arbitrator, and adviser, who appeared only now and then to hold court.
On the landward side the town had a port in which lay my two-masted schooner, armed with several small cannon.
The nerve center and raison d&tre of this whole arrangement was the secret of the keep, which I alone knew.
The thought had come to me like a shock.
For, inside the tower, extending from the battlements to the vaulted cellar, was a copper column or heavy wire cable as thick as a man’s arm, which ramified at the top into the finest branches, like the crown of a tree or better still like a taproot with all its tiny rootlets turned upside down and reaching into the air.
From the air they drew a certain inconceivable something which was conducted down the copper column into the cellar.
Here I had an equally inconceivable apparatus, a kind of laboratory in which I made gold out of the mysterious substance which the copper roots drew
from the air.
This was really an arcanum, of whose nature I neither had nor wished to form any conception.
Nor did my imagination concern itself with the nature of the transformation process.
Tactfully and with a certain nervousness it skirted around what actually went on in this laboratory.
There was a kind of inner prohibition: one was not supposed to look into it too closely, nor ask what kind of substance was extracted from the air.
As Goethe says of the Mothers, “Even to speak of them dismays the bold.”
“Spirit/’ of course, meant for me something ineffable, but at bottom I did not regard it as essentially different from very rarefied air.
What the roots absorbed and transmitted to the copper trunk was a kind of spiritual essence which became visible down in the cellar as finished gold coins.
This was certainly no mere conjuring trick, but a venerable and vitally important secret of nature which had come to me I know not how and which I had
to conceal not only from the council of elders but, in a sense, also from myself.
My long, boring walk to and from school began to shorten most delightfully.
Scarcely was I out of the schoolhouse than I was already in the castle, where structural alterations were in progress, council sessions were being held, evildoers sentenced, disputes arbitrated, cannon fired.
The schooner’s decks were cleared, the sails rigged, and the vessel steered carefully out of the harbor before a gentle breeze, and then, as it emerged from
behind the rock, tacked into a stiff nor’wester.
Suddenly I found myself on my doorstep, as though only a few minutes had passed.
I stepped out of my fantasy as out of a carriage which had effortlessly driven me home.
This highly enjoyable occupation lasted for several months before I got sick of it.
Then I found the fantasy silly and ridiculous.
Instead of daydreaming I began building castles and artfully fortified emplacements out of small stones, using mud as mortar the fortress of Hiiningen,
which at that time was still intact, serving me as a model.
I studied all the available fortification plans of Vauban, and was soon familiar with all the technicalities.
From Vauban I turned to modern methods of fortification, and tried with my limited means to build models of all the different types.
This preoccupied me in my leisure hours for more than two years, during which time my leanings toward nature study and concrete things steadily increased, at the cost of No. 2.
As long as I knew so little about real things, there was no point, I thought, in thinking about them.
Anyone could have fantasies, but real knowledge was another matter.
My parents allowed me to take out a subscription for a scientific periodical, which I read with passionate interest.
I hunted and collected all the fossils to be found in our Jura mountains, and all the obtainable minerals, also insects and the bones of mammoths and
men mammoth bones from gravel pits in the Rhineland plain, human bones from a mass grave near Hiiningen, dating from 1811.
Plants interested me too, but not in a scientific sense.
I was attracted to them for a reason I could not understand, and with a strong feeling that they ought not to be pulled up and dried.
They were living beings which had meaning only so long as they were growing and flowering a hidden, secret meaning, one of God’s thoughts.
They were to be regarded with awe and contemplated with philosophical wonderment.
What the biologist had to say about them was interesting, but it was not the essential thing.
Yet I could not explain to myself what this essential thing was.
How were plants related to the Christian religion or to the negation of the Will, for example?
This was something I could not fathom. They obviously partook of the divine state of innocence which it was better not to disturb.
By way of contrast, insects were denatured plants flowers and fruits which had presumed to crawl about on legs or stilts and to fly around with wings like the petals of blossoms, and busied themselves preying on plants.
Because of this unlawful activity they were condemned to mass executions, June bugs and caterpillars being the especial targets of such punitive expeditions.
My “sympathy with all creatures” was strictly limited to warm-blooded animals.
The only exceptions among the cold-blooded vertebrates were frogs and toads, because of their resemblance to human beings. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, Pages 24-83