Dear Frau Birkhauser, 13 July 1950
As unfortunately so often happens (when one is as old as I am ), l’ esprit d’ escalier (Footnote 1) is beginning to play its unwelcome role.
Your case went on tormenting me until I finally discovered what it was that I did not tell you: letting the unconscious come up is only the first half of the work.
The second half, which I failed to mention, consists in coming to terms with the unconscious.
The fantasy you gave me to read shows no sign of this.
I do not know whether I am justified in concluding that you have no knowledge of this important task.
You will find an example of it in “The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious,” describing the case of a young man who in fantasy sees his fiancée fall into a crack in the ice and lets her drown. (Footnote 2)
You must step into the fantasy yourself and compel the figures to give you an answer.
Only in this way is the unconscious integrated with consciousness by means of a dialectical procedure, a dialogue between yourself and the unconscious figures.
Whatever happens in the fantasy must happen to you.
You should not let yourself be represented by a fantasy figure.
You must safeguard the ego and only let it be modified by the unconscious, just as the latter must be acknowledged with full justification and only prevented from suppressing and assimilating the ego .
Here you need the support of a woman.
A man always stirs up the unconscious too much.
I recommend either my wife or Fri. T. Wolff. (Footnote 3)
Well, I have now salved my bad conscience.
C.G. Jung [Letters Volume 1, Page 561]
Footnote 1: A thought that comes to mind too late.
Footnote 2: CW 7, par. 343• Actually this is an example of passive fantasy, as the text makes clear. Jung obviously meant to give an example of active imagination. Cf.; Keyserling, 23 Apr. 31, n. 2.
Footnote 3: a Jung’s close collaborator and friend. Cf. Kirsch, 28 May 53, n. 1.