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Atom and Archetype: The Pauli/Jung Letters, 1932-1958

Dear Professor Jung, Zollikon-Zurich, 23 December 1947

In reply to your letter of 9 Dec., I should once again like to confirm in writing that I truly welcome your wish to found an institute with the objective of cultivating and promoting the field of research that you have inaugurated; and I give my consent to my name being on the list of sponsors.

The way your research and alchemy coincide is to me serious evidence that what is developing is indicative of a close fusion of psychology with the scientific experience of the processes in the material physical world.

It is probably a long journey, one we are only just setting out on, and it will especially entail, as a modifying factor, constant criticism of the space-time concept.

Space and time were virtually turned by Newton into God’s right hand (oddly enough, the position made vacant when he expelled the Son of God from there), and it needed an extraordinary mental effort to bring time and space back down from these Olympian heights.

Going hand in hand with this, apparently, is the criticism of the basic idea of classical natural science, according to which it describes objective facts to such an extent that there is absolutely no link between them and the researcher (objectifiability of the phenomena independently of the way in which they are observed).

Modem micro physics turns the observer once again into a little lord of creation in his microcosm, with the ability (at least partially) of freedom of choice and fundamentally uncontrollable effects on that which is observed.

But if these phenomena are dependent on how (with what experimental system) they are observed, then is it not possible that there are also phenomena (extra corpus) that depend on who observes them (i.e., on the nature of the psyche of the observer)?

And if natural science, in pursuit of the ideal of determinism since Newton, has finally arrived at the stage of the fundamental “perhaps” of the statistical character of natural laws (what enantiodromia!), then should there not be enough room for all those oddities that ultimately

Rob the distinction between “physics” and “psyche” of all its meaning (as with the distinction between “physics” and “chemistry”)?

I hope that the continuation of the research you have inaugurated in this field will bring solutions to these problems, and thus I also hope for closer contact between this field of research and the natural sciences than has hitherto been the case.

It was a great pleasure to talk to you again, especially as at the moment my attention is focused strongly on the influence of the archetypal concepts (or, as you once said, the “instinct of imagination”) on scientific definitions.

For me, the best way to make something clear to myself has always been to announce a lecture or a speech on the subjects in questions; and with this in mind, I hope that one or two lectures on Kepler (as an example( in the Psychologcal Club will get me off to a good start.

I shall look further into the sources your were kind enough to give me. I hope that I can bring alive for the public the collision between the magic-alchemistic and the )new in the 17th century) scientific way of thinking (a collision that I believe recurs on a higher level in the unconscious of modern man).

Once again, many thanks and kind regards.

Yours truly,

sincerely, W. PAULI ~Wolfgang Pauli, Atom and Archetype, Pages 32-33