Meetings with Jung: Conversations Recorded During the Years, 1946-1961

Bollingen, 20th June 1951

We sat in the alcove on the terrace under the canvas cover.

As before, C.G. was in country attire, his boots laced with string to just below the knee, drill trousers shoved into them; apron hung round his neck and tucked to one side, and a leather coat with a jumper inside, and an old hat.

He makes an impressive figure.

He told me of the stone he had just carved.

It stands on a pedestal at the side of the house, near the new wall which was being built when I was here last year.

The stone was brought from the quarry on the opposite side of the lake.

A single piece was needed to finish the wall at one corner and the size was carefully measured.

When C.G. saw the stone coming in the boat he realised it was not the right size for the wall.

But then his heart leapt – it was a perfect cube! ‘That’s the very thing I want!’

He felt it was miraculous.

He had the stone put in place and has carved three faces of it.

On the front is an inscription in Greek characters and a small figure, a homunculus.

The right face, in Latin, commemorates his seventy-fifth birthday expressing gratitude for all life had given; it is as follows:

Hic lapis exilis extat pretio Quoque vilis. Spernitur a stultis Amatur plus ab edoctis.

In Memoriam Natus Di EIL XXV C.G. Jung Ex gratitudine fecit et posuit MCML

The third face is carved in condensed mediaeval Latin – impossible to read unless one knew the abbreviations.

He learned these, he said, in order to read certain mediaeval texts.

Then he talked of types, and especially of the functions.

I asked about the correlation of functions or types and neuroses of different kinds.

He said this would be very difficult, for we get introverted hysterics, and we just can’t say why a neurosis is as it is.

Probably there is much in mutation, or in the family pattern of the father or mother; but it seems less probable that it fits in with a special type or function, although this may come into it a bit.

I told him I had been asked to write a brief note about him for the British Medical Journal and he said, ‘Whatever you say make it clear that I have no dogma, I’m still open and haven’t got things fixed.’

He went on to talk of Freud’s insistence on dogma; to him it was absolutely necessary.

C.G. said that Freud did a great work in exposing the working of the mind in repression; but his need to hold to his dogma led him to make everything fit his theories, for instance dreams: if they did not fit in one way then they had to fit in another.

He always treated Freud with respect and called him Professor.

He said Freud had no notion of the anima.

I spoke of archaic ideas and archetypes, and he said certainly Freud had some of these ideas in a partial way, but he made no use of them.

In 1905 he had written to Freud saying that while repression was valuable it did not explain all the facts; there was also the autonomous psyche, the complex, and this acted on its own apart from repression.

Freud did not like the idea of the autonomous psyche, but the complex was a demonstrable fact and it did act on its own.

22nd June 1951

We spoke of groups, and C.G. said he thought it important in a group of doctors that there should be some lay people also, it keeps a balance.

He went on to talk of interviews.

He regards an interview with a patient as a social occasion; if the person has a neurosis that is something more, but people should be regarded as normal and met socially.

Speaking of intuitive people, he said it was important for them to get down to some task and make it real, ‘Otherwise they are like someone looking at that mountain over there through a telescope, and the next thing is they feel they have been there. But they haven’t, they must do the work.’

I asked about connections between organic disease and neuroses, and he said the links were not clear.

He mentioned that in free association tests breathing was restricted when a complex was touched and that this could be related to TB.

He had often treated people with TB psychologically, and when their breathing improved, became deeper, they got better.

The restriction in breathing affected the apex of the lungs.

Freudians treat the sickness –put the patients on a couch with a rug over them, then they are in the sickness.

He doesn’t believe in using a couch, but looks on patients as healthy people interfered with by their neurosis.

Also if you have a dogma then you always know, everything can be explained.

But if you haven’t then you must find out, and every person is different.

So psychopathology is difficult and you can’t fit people into your preconceived ideas. ~E.A. Bennet, Conversations with Jung, Pages 69-75