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

To Jiirg Fierz

Dear Herr Fierz, 10 April 1 942

The application of my function theory to the spirit of language seems to me difficult and problematical in so far as language is infinitely older than the differentiation of the functions.

These are always present, but in such an undifferentiated state that they simply cannot be kept apart.

Together they constitute the psychic functioning in general and out of this matrix is produced language, partly as objective imitation and partly as subjective imitation-that is, it expresses what the object does or what the subject does.

Auditive, motor, and visual factors as well as skin sensations also play a large role.

You see this particularly with primitive languages, where many words would not be understood at all without the corresponding gestures.

Hence many primitives cannot have a conversation at night unless they make a fire in the light of which they can observe each other’s miming.

I know little of the “objective spirit” the philosophers talk about, nor in my opinion does language live of itself-it always lives from man.

I think we are dealing here with the same kind of illusion as the State.

People talk of the State as though it were a living entity, when in fact it is only a conventional concept that could not live for a second unless man pumped the necessary life into it.

A psychological object-lesson could probably be derived from language without too much difficulty.

Take for instance the symptoms of emotion in language and the effects the emotions have upon it, emotive metaphors, etc.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 315.