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Carl Jung: We are still far from being out of the primitive woods.
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Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961

To E . L. Grant Watson

Dear Watson, 8 August 1960

Thank you very much for the a mazing flood of material you have inundated me with. You know, an 85-year-old ruin of a formerly capable man cannot live up to it any more. Have mercy on us!

The interesting pictures of labyrinths are known to me.

They have presumably the fundamental significance of mandalas, i.e., places of refuge, sanctuary, rebirth, renewal, initiation, etc. like the Neolithic stone-circles.

You find very good comparative material in the book by John Layard: Stone Men of Malekula ( London, 1942).

It is clear that such formations, particularly under primitive circumstances, are more of anatomical than geo- metrical nature, i.e., organic cavities like uterus or brain or cranium, very much later also

Please don’t mix me up with your unconscious, which projects itself into everything obscure and unreasonable.

It is exceedingly difficult to find out how that unconscious looks which is really in the object. First of all one has to consider every kind of impression as of subjective origin.

Only then can one hope to be able to discover what belongs to oneself and what is objectively universal .

If you don’t discriminate enough I am on the best way to becoming a real Museum of Metaphysical Monsters. Consider please that in the year 1960 we are still far from being out of the primitive woods.

There are very few beings yet capable of making a difference between mental image and the thing itself.

This primitivity is poisoning our human world and is so dense a mist that very few people have discovered its existence yet.

My richly celebrated 85th birthday has left me a wreck, and this miserable summer we enjoy does not exactly support one’s optimism, not to speak of the political situation of the world which reminds me of the tower of Babel and its fate.

I think of the German poet Holderlin, one of Goethe’s contemporaries:

“But we are fated
To find no foothold, no rest, And suffering mortals Dwindle and fall
Headlong from one Hour to the next, Hurled like water From ledge to ledge
Downward for years to the vague abyss.”

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 578-579