To M. Leonard
Dear Sir, 5 December 1959
Mr. Freeman in his characteristic manner fired the question you allude to at me in a somewhat surprising way,1 so that I was perplexed and had to say the next thing which came into my mind.
As soon as the answer had left the “edge of my teeth” I knew I had said something controversial, puzzling, or even ambiguous.
I was therefore just waiting for letters like yours. Mind you, I didn’t say “there is a God.”
I said: “I don’t need to believe in God, I know.” Which does not mean: I do know a certain God (Zeus, Yahweh, Allah, the Trinitarian God, etc.) but rather: I do know that I am obviously confronted with a factor unknown in itself, which I call “God” in consensu omnium ( quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditur).
I remember Him, I evoke Him, whenever I use His name, overcome by anger or by fear, whenever I involuntarily say: “Oh God.”
That happens when I meet somebody or something stronger than myself.
It is an apt name given to all overpowering emotions in my own psychic system, subduing my conscious will and usurping control over myself.
This is the name by which I designate all things which cross my wilful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse.
In accordance with tradition I call the power of fate in this positive as well as negative aspect, and inasmuch as its origin is beyond my control, “God,” a “personal God,” since my fate means very much myself, particularly when it approaches me in the form of conscience as a vox Dei with which I can even converse and argue. (We do and, at the same time, we know that we do.
One is subject as well as object.)
Yet I should consider it an intellectual immorality to indulge in the belief that my view of a God is the universal, metaphysical Being of the confessions or “philosophies.”
I commit the impertinence neither of a hypostasis nor of an arrogant qualification such as: “God can only be good.”
Only my experience can be good or evil, but I know that the superior will is based upon a foundation which transcends human imagination.
Since I know of my collision with a superior will in my own psychic system, I know of God, and if I should venture the illegitimate hypostasis of my image, I would say, of a God beyond Good and Evil, just as much dwelling in myself as everywhere else:
Deus est circulus cuius centrum est ubique, cuius circumferentia vero nusquam.
Hoping I have answered your question,
I remain, dear Sir,
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 525-526