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It always amuses me when people say they dismiss psychology16d12 art

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

To Arthur Gloor

Dear Herr Gloor, 29 October 1945

I have glanced through your manuscript and concentrated chiefly on the part where you speak of psychology.

It is not quite clear what you want me to do.

I can only confirm that the use you make of psychological viewpoints is essentially correct in so far as you concern yourself with the personality of the artist.

You judge him, it seems to me, very fairly, also the Romantics in general.

It is another matter when you come to the psychology of art, but your hero seems to have done nothing of boast in this field.

The work of art has its own specific psychology which is sometimes notably different from the psychology of the artist.

Were it not so, the work of art would not be autonomous.

Your opinion that the unconscious is “kept under” by the pursuit of art might be improved on as follows: So long as Christian dogma expressed the essence of the unconscious in well-nigh perfect fashion, the unconscious had no chance to manifest itself except in a purely personalistic and therefore insignificant way.

In Romanticism it appeared as a collective phenomenon, but Romanticism is not the first symptom of this slipping of the unconscious out of the well-structured dogmatic forms of the Middle Ages.

Very early on we had Christian mysticism and alchemy with its heterodoxy as manifestations of the unconscious in the grand manner.

It always amuses me when people say they dismiss psychology.

It would never occur to me to dismiss literary studies or aesthetics because they too are concerned with certain aspects of the human psyche, and I can never understand with what justification my colleagues in other professional fields can dismiss psychology out of hand.

I would never dream of putting psychology in the place of aesthetics or the like.

On the other hand it is obvious to every child that the artist has a human psyche whose qualities are at least similar to those of ordinary mortals.

I understand the resistance better in the case of philosophers, since psychology saws off the branch they are sitting on by wickedly robbing them of the illusion that they represent the absolute spirit.

Yours truly,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 388-389.