[Carl Jung’s answer to the question whether Jung possessed any “secret knowledge” surpassing his written formulations.]
To Bernhard Baur-Celio 30 January 1934
I cannot leave your “question of conscience” unanswered.
Obviously I speak only of what I know and what can be verified.
I don’t want to addle anybody’s brains with my subjective conjectures.
Beyond that I have had experiences which are, so to speak, “ineffable,” “secret” because they can never be told properly and because nobody can understand them (I don’t know whether I have even approximately understood them myself), “dangerous” because 99% of humanity would declare l was mad if they heard such things from me, “catastrophic” because the prejudices aroused by their telling might block other people’s way to a living and wondrous mystery, “taboo” because they are an “Holy (numinous) precinct, sanctuary” protected by “Fear of the gods (or demons)” as faithfully described by Goethe:
Shelter gives deep cave.
Lions around us stray,
Silent and tame they rove,
And sacred honors pay
To the holy shrine of love.
And already too much has been said-my public might be fatally infected by the suspicion of “poetic license”-that most painful aberration!
Can anyone say ”credo” when he stands amidst his experience, “In faith trusting the terrifying apparition.” when he knows how superfluous “belief” is, when he more than just “knows,” when the experience has even pressed him to the wall?
I don’t want to seduce anyone into believing and thus take his experience from him.
I need my mental and physical health in fullest measure to hold out against what people call “peace,” so I don’t like boosting my experiences.
But one thing I will tell you: the exploration of the unconscious has in fact and in truth discovered the age-old, timeless way of initiation.
Freud’s theory is an apotropaic .attempt to block off and protect oneself from the perils of the “long road”; only a “knight” dares ”la queste” and the ”adventure.”
Nothing is submerged for ever-that is the terrifying discovery everyone makes who has opened that portal.
But the primeval fear is so great that the world is grateful to Freud for having proved “scientifically” (what a bastard of a science!) that one has seen nothing behind it.
Now it is not merely my “credo” but the greatest and most incisive experience of my life that this door, a highly inconspicuous side-door on an unsuspicious looking and easily overlooked footpath-narrow and indistinct because only a few have set foot on it-leads to the secret of transformation and renewal.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:13-15)
Now you will understand why I prefer to say “scio” and not “credo” -because I don’t want to act mysterious.
But it would infallibly look as though I were acting mysterious if I spoke of a real, living mystery.
One is mysterious when one speaks of a real mystery.
Therefore better not speak of it in order to avoid that evil and confusing look.
Like all real life it is a voyage between Scylla and Charybdis. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 140-143.
[Note: According to a communication from Prof. Baur-Celio, this letter reached him in the form reproduced here, without beginning or end.]