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

Küsnacht, 23rd November 1955

Arrived at Zürich station at 12.25 and was met by C.G.

He told me Mrs. Jung was very ill and so I would not be staying with them but with his daughter Marianne Niehus.

But he took me to the Seestrasse for lunch; his second daughter, Mrs. Baumann, was there.

We had a long talk after lunch, mainly about schizophrenia.

This followed my reference in a lecture to a psychotic patient.

He [Jung] spoke of schizophrenia as a protection from the shadow, and usually the collective shadow.

Some say they can’t be perfect and recall some episode in the distant past; but they refuse to look at recent events, the sin of yesterday, that is too much for them.

Or when people are in a depression they may, on the contrary, take on the sins of the whole world.

He also spoke of the Germans who must always be ‘behind’ something – no confidence in just being a man; they must belong to a society, or be a doctor, or have a title.

Even an ordinary person, for instance a woman who has died, is described as ‘so-andso, the wife of…’, not just as herself.

In England it is different; being a gentleman is enough, but not in Germany.

He spoke of his wife’s illness and his dead friends coming in his dreams – death is in the air.

He had a feeling that the bridge had broken, she was different.

Later he mentioned his religious experience at Basel at the age of eleven1 and went on to talk of his father’s library.

He himself was a voracious reader and some books from his grandfather’s library were there, so he read everything.

He said that even at school he had always been suspected of being a fraud – as when the teacher refused to believe he had written his essay; there was so much in it the teacher had never heard of that he concluded C.G. had got someone else to write it for him.

‘I was always a bit too intelligent and people didn’t like it, thought there was some trick about it.’

27th, November 1955

Mrs. Jung died at 10.30 this morning. C.G. came up to the Niehus’s house to tell me and to say goodbye.

He said that four days ago, on Tuesday at breakfast, she had said she felt she was going to die and he said, ‘Oh, don’t think of such things’.

Later that morning he received the medical report they were awaiting which showed how grave the prognosis was.

He struggled with himself about telling her but he did so; she was quite undisturbed, and in a way relieved for ever since her operation she had been preparing for death.

Sometimes she had looked better, but she was very ‘grey’ at other times.

he had been working on the Grail legends in the original.

They had been married fifty-two years – a very full and wonderful life.

He spoke of Cicero’s De Senectute (that is, ‘concerning old age’), and how life ended when it was fulfilled. ~E.A. Bennet, Conversations with Jung, Pages 144-148