Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1934 – 1939 (2 Volume Set)

To the Rev. Arthur W. Rudolph

Dear Sir, 5 January 1961

It would be too ambitious a task to give you a detailed account of the influence of Nietzsche’s thoughts on my own development.

As a matter of fact, living in the same town where Nietzsche spent his life as a professor of philosophy.

I grew up in an atmosphere still vibrating from the impact of his teachings, although it was chiefly resistance which met his onslaught.

I could not help being deeply impressed by his indubitable inspiration (“Ergriffenheit”).

He was sincere, which cannot be said of so many academic teachers to whom career and vanity mean infinitely more than the truth.

The fact that impressed me the most was his encounter with Zarathustra and then his “religious” critique, which gives a legitimate place in philosophy to passion as the very real motive of philosophizing.

The Unzeitgemiisse Betrachtungen were to me an eye-opener, less so the Genealogy of Morals or his idea of the “Eternal Return” of all things.

His all-pervading psychological penetration has given me a deep understanding of what psychology is able to do.

All in all Nietzsche was to me the only man of that time who gave some adequate answers to certain urgent questions which then were more felt than thought.

Max Stirner, whom I read at the same time, gave me the impression of a man who was trying to express an infinitely important truth with inadequate means.

Over against him the figure of Zarathustra seems to me the better formulation.

Those are the main points I could mention about Nietzsche and his influence on my own development.

If you have any further questions and if their answer is within my reach, I am quite ready to cope with them.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung

P.S. I may call the attention to the existence of notes that have been taken of my Seminars about Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.

They would be accessible to you in California. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 621-622

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