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

To Oskar Splett

Dear Dr Splett 23 May 1950

I must confess that your question is very difficult to answer and I would ask you to take my remarks as more or less hypothetical I too doubt whether the term early maturation is the right one.

Like you I would rather speak of a kind of watchfulness or increased awareness

This phenomenon can in fact be observed in all those countries which were directly affected by the war most of all those where war or revolution were worst

Above all probably with the Besprisornji Russians hordes of orphaned children.

It is less a matter of real maturation than of premature watchfulness and a one-sided intensification of instinctive tendencies.

If by maturation is meant an expansion of consciousness or a rounding-out of the personality, then “early maturation” is quite wrong.

In the vast majority of cases consciousness is not expanded but contracted; instead there are sharp ears, wide-open eyes and increased cupidity—the very things we can also observe with primitives under similar conditions.

Only in exceptional cases is there an accelerated, real maturation; the majority show a regressive development back to the primitive.

I regard this development as a direct consequence of political and social upheavals, and it seems to me that such phenomena are less observable in a more peaceful atmosphere than elsewhere.

I am thinking, for instance, of Switzerland and America, where the people escaped the effects of the war.

Since I have not undertaken any thorough researches in this field my opinion is based only on general impressions.

Yours sincerely,

C.G. JUNG ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 558-559.