A woman asks Dr. Jung why her child was born an imbecile.]
Dear Frau N., 28 June 1956
It is hard to accept the fate you have described.
Quite apart from the moral achievement required, complete acceptance depends very much on the conception you have of fate.
An exclusively causal view is permissible only in the realm of physical or inorganic processes.
The teleological view is more important in the biological sphere and also in psychology, where the answer makes sense only if it explains the “why” of it.
So it is pointless to cling on to the causes, since they cannot be altered anyway.
It is more rewarding to know what is to be done with the consequences, and the kind of attitude one has-or should have-to them.
Then the question at once arises: Does the event have a meaning?
Did a hidden purpose of fate, or God’s will, have a hand in it, or was it nothing but “chance,” a “mishap”?
If it was God’s purpose to try us, why then must an innocent child suffer?
This question touches on a problem that is clearly answered in the Book of Job.
Yahweh’s amorality or notorious injustice changes only with the Incarnation
into the exclusive goodness of God.
This transformation is connected with his becoming man and therefore exists only if it is made real through the conscious fulfillment of God’s will in man.
If this realization does not occur, not only the Creator’s amorality is revealed
but also his unconsciousness.
With no human consciousness to reflect themselves in, good and evil simply happen, or rather, there is no good and evil, but only a sequence of neutral events, or what the Buddhists call the Nidhanachain, the uninterrupted causal concatenation leading to suffering, old age, sickness, and death.
Buddha’s insight and the Incarnation in Christ break the chain through the
intervention of the enlightened human consciousness, which thereby acquires a metaphysical and cosmic significance.
In the light of this realization, the mishap changes into a happening which, if taken to heart, allows us to glimpse deeply into the cruel and pitiless imperfections of Creation and also into the mystery of the Incarnation.
The happening then turns into that felix culpa which Adam brought on himself by his disobedience.
Suffering, Meister Eckhart says, is the “swiftest steed that bears you to perfection.”
The boon of increased self-awareness is the sufficient answer even to life’s
suffering, otherwise it would be meaningless and unendurable.
Though the suffering of the Creation which God left imperfect cannot be done away with by the revelation of the good God’s will to man, yet it can be mitigated and made meaningful.
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 310-311,