Atom and Archetype: The Pauli/Jung Letters, 1932-1958
Dear Professor Jung Zollikon-Ziirich, 4 lune 1950
Further to our talk yesterday, I am sending you the texts of two dreams that occurred last year alter I had read your manuscript on the phenomenon of synchronicity.
These dreams are still on my mind in connection with my attitude to these phenomena.
I should like to add some comments to all the dreams (which for you will be part of the “material”).
1) The time concept, which is the topic of the first dream, is not that of physics but that of the “dark anima.”
It is an intuitive assessment of the characteristic features of an external situation, although it can also be linked up with the seasons.
What the position of the hand on a clock is to the physicist, the “situation of the pairs of opposites” is to this intuitive concept of time, namely, which are conscious and which are unconscious.
For example, when I wrote to you at the time of the dream that the scarab incident you described had probably taken place in March or September, it was –in the language of the dream-“the dark maiden who had made a short journey so as to define the time.”
This time concept can be applied to external situations as well as to dream situations.
2) Applied to the first part of the second dream (before the “stranger” appears) it would mean, “It is summer.”
The absence of the dark maiden in this dream (she appeared in later dreams) or-which is the same thing—the fact that there are only three children here and not four means that there is a preponderance of light on the feminine (i.e., feeling-intuitive) side.
The light-feminine is the erotic-spiritual and often appears as the preliminary stage of the formation of a concept, whereas the dark-feminine usually tends toward the realization of a situation in the material physical world (in external nature).
The absence of the latter is a certain lack of symmetry in the initial situation of the second dream.
Summer may well be a pleasant time, but it is one-sided and incomplete.
Incidentally, there were other dreams with four children in the autumn of 1948.
3) Apparently this must be directly conneted with the conflict-seemingly unsolvable on a rational basis between my conscious attitude and the unconscious one (the anima) towar the assessment of the two boys.
Unfortunately, I do not know what the two boys are.
In judging the younger boy however, I have been struck by my consciously dismissive attitude toward horoscopes and astrology, but this fragment of the dream probably has a more general meaning than that.
4) The situation that arises now apparently “constellates the archetype that is very familiar to me and appears as “the stranger.”
His character is very much that of the so-called “psychopompos” and always dominates the whole situation, including the “anima.”
He used to have two types of appearance, a light one and a dark one (the latter occasionally as a “Persian” in the
But in 1948 a further transformation took place with him, which brought the two poles of the pair-opposites closer together, so that be then appeared as a blond, but in a dark robe, or vice versa, yet clearly one and the
(Incidentally, be is not an old man, nor does he have white hair, but is rather younger.)
From your essay “Der Geist Mercurius (The Spirit Mercurius”‘ I learned a lot that helped me to understand this figure, since he plays a role similar to that of Mercury with the achemists.
In my dream language, he would be identified with the “radioactive nucleus.”
5) In the second dream recorded here, he makes important statements about the book which the light maiden is holding (he also says that he gave her the book).
With regard to this book, when I woke up I thought of the Wilhelm translation of the 1 Ching. (The gothic lettering indicates Germany, where the book was published.)
I often turn to it when interpreting dream situations.
For me, “normal” mathematics means algebra and especially differential and integral calculus; this of course does not exist in the I Ching.
However, elementary arithmetic often crops up there (e.g., divisibility by 4), and the 64 signs also excited Leibniz’s mathematical imagination.
Bearing this in mind, one can actually describe the I Ching a “popular mathematics book.”
The · stranger also has the tendency-apart from the way he relates to physical terms-to represent the contemporary sphere of appIication of mathematics as inadequate.
He makes no distinction whatsoever between “physical” and ·psychic,” and he also applies mathematics to what
we call “the hermetic world of the psyche.”
The objection that this is qualitative and not quantitative is not necessarily valid, for on the one hand many
aspects of mathematics (such as topology) are also qualitative and not quantitative, and on the other hand whole figures are also a crucial factor in the psyche.
What is interesting is that generally “the stranger” does not use terms that are taken directly from your field of analytical psychology.
Here he usually substitutes physical terms, which he then uses unconventionally in an extended sense.
In the dream here, he now implies that the small fair maiden should be able to do mathematics as well as I can, and he makes it a sort of long-term task that she should learn it.
By way of contrast, he represents the “popular mathematics book” as being of a provisional nature.
So much for the material.
I believe it would be a major step forward in my attitude to the phenomenon of synchronicity if I could arrive at a correct interpretation of the two boys in the dream (and the conflict concerning the younger of the two).
It seems fairly obvious that the children-there are supposed to be four actually, and sometimes there were-should be linked with your function schema.
But I do not wish to get caught up in speculations that have no real foundation.
In Princeton, I unexpectedly had the opportunity to discuss the synchronicity phenomenon on several occasions.
In doing so, I preferred to use the term “meaning-correspondence” rather than “synchronicity,” so as to place more emphasis on meaning rather than on simultaneity and to link up with the old “correspondentia.”
Moreover, I made a point of stressing the difference between the spontaneous appearance of the phenomenon (as in your scarab report) and the induced phenomenon (by means of a preliminary treatment or a rite), as is the case with mantic practices ( I Ching or ars geomantics).
I wonder whether the two boys have anything to do with this distinction?
I am eagerly looking forward to your talk on 24June, and I hope that it will lead to an instructive discussion (e.g., on the concept of “natural laws in physics and the term “archetype” in psychology).
In the meantime, I send my best wishes,
Yours ever gratefully,
W. PAULI ~Wolfgang Pauli, Atom and Archetype, Pages 42-44
Dear Mr. Pauli, 22 June 1949
Quite a while ago, you encouraged me to write down my thoughts about synchronicity.
I have finally managed to get around to it and more or less collect my thoughts on the subject.’
I would be most grateful if you would be kind enough to cast a critical eye over it, covered as it is with question marks.
Nowadays, physicists are the only people who are paying serious attention to such ideas.
If you prefer to discuss it in person, maybe we could meet in the first week in July, when I shall already be in Bollingen.
I am more relaxed there, and we shall have more time to ourselves.
I would, however, appreciate it if you could briefly let me know beforehand what your general impression is.
I hope I am not encroaching too much on your valuable time.
Your opinion in this matter is so important to me that I have cast aside any misgivings I might have in that respect.
Thanking you in advance,
[C. G. JUNG] ~Carl Jung, Atom and Archetype, Page 36