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There is a terrible spiritual famine in our world


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C. G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters (Bollingen Series XCVII)

Dr. Jung: What is very important is to exist, and that’s rarer than one realizes.

To have a daily task and to accomplish it; and at the same time to attend to what is going on, inside oneself as well as outside, conscious of all life’s forms, all its expressions.

To follow the major rules, but also to give free rein to the least familiar aspects of oneself. Drawing, and the fantasies and visions that it brought about, was a valuable thing.

Now we take photographs, and that doesn’t fill the same need at all.

In return, the painters recognize no limits to the most impassioned fantasy.

They are becoming specialists in certain needs for expression; but all of us have these needs, we can’t divide up the personality’s insidework the way we think we can divide its outside activity.

That breaks up something essential in it and causes an appalling psychic illness.

In writing about flying saucers, I explained why men are so attentive to anything resembling a circle or a ball, the symbols of unity, of the totality of a person’s being, of what I have called the self.

There is a terrible spiritual famine in our world, but there are also people who don’t want to be beak-fed or fed with infant’s pap.

Georges Duplain: May I ask you to repeat the principal points of your system which may assist man to discover his totality and allay his spiritual famine, when he no longer adheres to the words of Christianity?

Carl Jung: In the first place, I have no system, no doctrine, nothing of that kind. I am an empiricist, with no metaphysical views at all.

I have only hypotheses.

From them I have gained some basic principles.

There is the self, which is the totality of one’s being, known and unknown, conscious and unconscious, as op- posed to the distinction between physical and psychic.

Then there are the archetypes, those images of instinct.

For instinct is not just an outward thrust, it also takes part in the representation of forms. The animal, for example, has a certain idea of the plant, since he recognizes it.

Our instincts do not express themselves only in our actions and reactions, but also in the way we formulate what we imagine.

Instinct is not only biological, it is also, you might say, spiritual.

And it always repeats certain forms which can be studied down the ages among all peoples. These are the archetypes.
The crossing of a river, now, that is an archetypal situation. It’s an important moment, a risk.
There is danger in the water, on the banks.

Not for nothing did Christianity invent great St. Christopher, the giant who carried the infant Jesus through the water.

Today men don’t have that experience very often, or others of that sort either.

I remember river crossings in Africa with crocodiles, and unknown tribes on the other side; one feels that one’s destiny —human destiny, almost—is at stake.

Every man has his own way of approaching the crossing, you see.

And think of King Albrecht’s death near Wettingen, too:the knights were hesitant, not very determined, one can’t be at all sure
that they would have attacked the king just anywhere.

But they surprised him in the middle of the ford, in the place where fate strikes—and jumped at the chance.

There is also the collective unconscious, that immense treasury, that great reservoir, whence mankind draws the images, the forces, which it translates into very different languages, but whose common source is being found out more clearly all the time.

So many coincidences come from there. Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 410- 423