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

To Pastor H. Wegmann

Dear Pastor Wegmann, 12 December 1945

Your friendly letter of 8.XII was just what I wanted to hear from you-namely your clear and unmistakable attitude to the question of the Church.

In truth I didn’t know that you think so critically in this matter.

But I must admit your arguments are right, for I think from the religious standpoint likewise, if not even more radically.

Your previous letter did not bore me in the least; on the contrary, I fear I have been a nuisance to you with my preoccupations and would therefore beg your forgiveness for writing to you again so soon.

I must, however, overcome my scruples because the problem of religion apart from its subjective importance-is gradually swelling to cosmic proportions parallel with contemporary events.

That is, I do not believe that reason can be the supreme law of human behaviour, if only because experience shows that in decisive moments behaviour is precisely not guided by reason but rather by overpowering unconscious impulses.

There is nothing to cope with the latter but their own equivalent, something that adequately expresses their nature, gives them name and shape.

There thus arises in consciousness a receptacle, so to speak, into which the unconscious onslaught can pour and wherein it can assume cultural form .

If this does not happen, there is unquestionably a danger that the onslaught will express itself as cataclysmically as an avalanche.

This form has always been given by religion, never by reason.

The problem is particularly urgent today because civilized humanity will soon have arrived at the crossroads where it can use the atom bomb.

The effect of the uranium bomb has proved disappointing.

The new plutonium bombs being produced on the assembly line are said to be 150 times more effective!

Thus the suicide of human civilization has moved appreciably closer, and chain reactions will be discovered in the future which will endanger the planet.

Nearly 2000 years ago the world entered the last month of the Platonic year, the aeon of Pisces, and developed chiliastic expectations.

A thousand years ago these came to light still more clearly, and now, nearly 2000 years after Christ mankind has the instrument in its hands with which it can prepare the end and assuredly will if a third World War does not come soon and smash the power of those nations which might also develop the atom bomb unless-and this is the only hope-the
great reversal comes, a universal retreat from Marignano.

I can imagine this as nothing other than a religious, world-embracing movement which alone can intercept the diabolical impulse for destruction.

That is the reason why the question of the Church grips me so urgently, for the Church is the one worldly authority where spirit in the religious sense moves the brute masses.

The Church would have her raison d’ etre if she could save mankind or at least civilization.

I well know that it is useless for the single individual to rack his brains over it, but one must nevertheless talk about it.

Therefore I embetier you with another long letter for which I must ask you to forgive me.

I know it is childish or superstitious but I feel a little comforted in the knowledge that I have got it off my chest.

Naturally I don’ t expect an answer unless your pen sets itself in motion of its own accord.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 401-402.

[Note: In 1515 the French king Francis I defeated the Swiss fighting for Milan at Marignano, northern Italy. This defeat was a major turning-point in Swiss history, as it shattered the hope of maintaining for Switzerland the status of a European power and inaugurated the attitude of neutrality which she has adopted ever since.