C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950

To Rudolf Pannwitz

Dear Dr. Pannwitz, 27 March 1937

That you find Kierkegaard “frightful” has warmed the cockles of my heart.

I find him simply insupportable and cannot understand, or rather, I understand only too well, why the theological neurosis of our time has made such a fuss over him.

You are quite right when you say that the pathological is never valuable.

It does, however, cause us the greatest difficulties and for this reason we learn the most from it.

Moreover hysteria presents certain peculiarities of the normal person in such exaggerated form that even in their blindness the doctors, who as a rule know the least about psychology, could not help stumbling upon them.

I therefore chalk up the symptomatology of the neuroses as an involuntary achievement to man’s credit, for which I am indeed grateful in my fashion.

I also agree with you that the normal person is infinitely more interesting and valuable.

Hence I have endeavoured to remove our “complex” psychology as quickly and completely as possible out of the realm of pathology.

However, as you have rightly seen, I have landed myself in enormous difficulties by framing general formulations which are intended to explain the whole field of human experience.

I had to keep to experiences that were directly accessible to me and compare them with data drawn from the whole history of the mind.

This gives rise to some degree of inexactitude which makes my efforts appear provisional.

It is perfectly clear to me that everything I do is pioneer work which has still to be followed by a real laying of foundations, but there are gratifying signs that others are beginning to make forays into this territory.

I enclose a little offprint which is of no further interest but only an attempt such as one might make to explain things to a doctor.

It is an essay included in the Eranos-Jahrbuch 1934 (Rhein Verlag, Zurich, 1935).

My letter is unfortunately overdue.

Illness and inordinate pressure of work have prevented me from writing until now.

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 231-232

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