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Letters Volume I

[Carl Jung on ESP, Intuition and Relative Immortality.]

To Laurence J. Bendit

Dear Dr. Bendit, 20 April 1946

I do remember X. and I’m sorry to hear that he died.

He was my patient once. I’m glad to know that his end was correct.

Concerning Ascona I must say that the meetings continued throughout the whole war.

You should apply as soon as possible to Mrs. Frobe (Casa Gabriella, Ascona-Moscia, Tessin) for tickets.

The meeting will take place at the end of August.

It would be a great pleasure to meet you there and to discuss matters with you.

Your views about extra-sensory perception are not fundamentally different from mine. It’s only the definition which I was criticizing.

People are apt to consider intuition as something quite particular, something much “higher” than sensory perception.

As you know I call intuition any kind of perception which takes place in a way that cannot be explained by the function of the senses.

Intuition of divine thoughts or of a small tumour in the bone is in no way different as the nature of an object has nothing to do with the function of intuition.

It has to do with it just as little as the faculty of seeing with the nature of the object which you see.

It is always the function of seeing or hearing, the nature of which does not depend upon the object.

I do not make the difference between intuition as a merely unconscious perception and a hypothetical intuition which would produce say a pneumatic truth.

Whether intuition takes place in a normal state of mind or in an ecstasy or in a delirium, it is always the same function which in certain cases however reaches an acuteness
or an autonomy which it does not in other cases.

But there are people with an unusual faculty of thinking or reasoning or with an extraordinary sense-perception; for instance there are chamoix-hunters in our country who see the stars in bright sky during daytime, etc.

This is the reason why I classify any kind of extra-sensory perception under the term of intuition no matter what the object is.

Inasmuch as any function of consciousness can be directed, controlled, differentiated, intuition also can be practised and differentiated.

That you can perceive things which your senses would not allow you to catch hold of or your thinking would not allow you to infer forms an additional problem.

It forces us to speculate about the nature of time and space.

The fact that extra-sensory perception is real proves that time and space are psychically relative.

That means that they can be more or less annihilated.

If that is the case, an extreme also is possible where time and space don’t exist at all.

If a thing is capable of non-existence then we must assume that it is also capable of absolute existence.

We know that time and space are indispensable and inalterable conditions of our three-dimensional world, what you call the world of the soma.

The non-existent space and time cannot be an object of our observation.

Therefore there is no possibility of proving that they do not exist.

The most we can know is that under certain psychic conditions time and space reveal a certain elastic quality, i.e., a psychic relativity, where they begin to behave as if they were dependent upon the psyche.

From this fact I conclude that the human psyche (and presumably the animal psyche too ) has a non-spatial and a non-temporal quality, i .e., a relative power to make time and space non-existent.

This would speak in favour of a relative immortality, as only in time can something come to an absolute end, but in relative time it can only come to a relative end.

Concerning space we would come to the conclusion that the psyche is only to be located relatively. In other words, the whereabouts or the extension of the psyche in space is relatively uncertain.

Concerning spirit (pneuma) I want to say that spirit and matter are a pair of opposite concepts which designate only the bipolar aspect of observation in time and space.

Of their substance we know nothing. Spirit is just as ideal as matter.

They are mere postulates of reason.

Therefore I speak of psychic contents that are labelled “pneumatic” and others “material.”

I’m much obliged to you that you mention a possible translator of my writings.

The great difficulty of translating my works consists in the fact that one rarely finds a translator who is educated enough to understand my technical language or my thought.

I have a thoroughly humanistic training and my language is imbued with all sorts of allusions which are completely dark to somebody lacking an academic training. ( . . . )

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Volume 1, Pages 420-422.

C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950 by C. G. Jung http://www.amazon.com/dp/0691098956/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_4pEAub1MPRB6J