My dear Mrs. N.,                   25 November 1932

I am glad you put your questions so plainly, it is much easier then to answer them.

It is under all conditions a most advisable thing to keep to the conscious and rational side, i.e., to maintain that side.

One never should lose sight of it. It is the safeguard without which you would lose yourself on unknown seas.

You would invite illness, indeed, if you should give up your conscious and rational orientation.

On the other hand, it is equally true that life is not only rational.

On the other hand, it is equally true that life is not only rational.

You are not fully adapted to life by a merely rational attitude.

To a certain extent you have to keep your senses open to the non-rational aspects of existence.

Among the latter is the unconscious. Such a nonrational factor has to be carefully observed.

If you observe the unconscious at all you are instantly drawn to it, and if you haven’t sufficient foothold in your real conscious life the dragon of the unconscious will swallow you.

You know what that means!

Only if you maintain your consciousness with all its power of criticism can you begin to observe the unconscious.

The unconscious itself is neither tricky nor evil – it is Nature, both beautiful and terrible.

If the unconscious shows itself in a hostile and malignant form, it is due to your own attitude that indulges careless in its seductive imagery.

If you have to deal with the unconscious at all, it must be done in an active way only.

First of all nothing the unconscious produces ought to be taken for granted or literally.

It must be subjected to a just criticism, because it is as a rule highly symbolic.

You can dismiss a thing entirely, but you have to search for its symbolic meaning, and the symbolic meaning is the thing that has to be accepted.

The best way of dealing with the unconscious is the creative way.

Create for instance a fantasy.

Work it out with all the means at your disposal.

Work it out as if you were it or in it, as you would work out a real situation in life which you cannot escape.

All the difficulties you overcome in such a fantasy are symbolic expressions of psychological difficulties in yourself, and inasmuch as you overcome them in your imagination you also overcome them in your psyche.

Now think of what I’ve written to you, and in case you should not understand something or other, ask Dr. X.

Then try to understand what I say by all means, and if you don’t, write again.

Because you must learn to deal with such a dangerous attitude to the unconscious as you have.

You should not throw up your situation with your husband unless he insists upon it.

It is always better to have the sparrow in your hand than to gaze at the pigeon on the roof.

Life doesn’t offer many opportunities.

Therefore don’t gamble away with them.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 108-109.

 

 

 

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