[Carl Jung: “We have all become “prisoners of God” miraculously without knowing it.”]
To Eugen Diesel
Dear Dr. Diesel, 10 April 1942
I am sorry that I am only now thanking you for your friendly letter and for your kindness in sending me your books.
I had completely forgotten that we met in Darmstadt in 1930.
Meanwhile I have read one of them all through and part of the other and have gained some insight into the way you see our modern world.
I did not know the Verhiingnis der Volker.
What strikes me is the tremendous force with which your thinking has been swept into the world turmoil and into the abysmally insoluble problem of human masses.
Solutions seem to me possible only in the realm of the microcos.
The world at large still is and probably always will be the hopeless struggle of a cosmos against an eternal chaos.
I am so impressed by this fact that my thoughts, as I finally had to admit, have not got beyond hic mundus and the princeps huius mundi of the New Testament.
Where the road branches off towards infinite multiplicity it has come to a stop in me and I have preferred the footpath.
Since then I have lost all desire to speak of multiplicity because simplicity seems to me so much more useful.
Please don’t take this as a criticism of your preoccupations: I know that a mirror has to be held up to mankind.
Schopenhauer has obviously had a long-lasting effect on you.
I have read your book not only as a foreground phenomenon but also as a background one, and I fully understand why you must now be occupied with rendering a total account of the “human process to date.”
Quite rightly the question of standpoint is the most difficult of all, it was of the most concern to me, too, and therefore I had to avert my eyes from the corrupting spectacle, remembering the fate of Alypius,
that friend of St. Augustine’s, who wanted to keep his eyes shut at the circus-but when the crowd raised a mighty cry at the fall of a gladiator he was forced to open them again, and then, as Augustine says,
he “was stricken with a deeper wound in the soul than the man he had opened his eyes to see suffered in the body.”
It is, as you say, the most interesting theme because the most hopeful.
One must never look to the things that ought to change.
The main question is how we change ourselves.
This standpoint is admittedly absurd, yet it is infinitely more satisfying than the absence of the Archimedean point.
I would dearly like to talk with you about this, as it seems to me, most important matter if it were possible in the circumstances, but now is not the time for horizontal movements: everyone is in the
prison and can only move vertically.
We have all become “prisoners of God” miraculously without knowing it.
One can only hope that in time, by the grace of God, the shackles hung upon us will be sufficiently loosened for a European conversation to be conducted in quietude.
Until then each must go through his incubation period.
I am taking the liberty of sending you by the same post one of my latest writings. With best regards,
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 313-315