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Carl Jung: “The counterpart of sentimentality is as we know brutality.”

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C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950


To Wilhelm Laiblin

Dear Herr Laiblin,

The toad that appears in your book generally signifies an anticipation of the human being on the level of the coldblooded creatures, and actually stands for the psyche associated with the lower spinal cord. Like the snake, it is a symbol of the creative unconscious.

What interested me most in your letter was that you as the Ergriffener look at the situation more from the feminine side.

This fits exactly, because the Ergreifer is the man and the Ergriffener is the woman.

But the Ergirffener whose ergreifer one does not see is taken for the Ergreifender and also functions as such (i.e. dangerously).

The counterpart of sentimentality is as we know brutality.

Wotan’s inner meaning, represented by his lost eye, is Erda, the Magna Mater.

I understand perfectly why you feel the German phenomenon differently.

It would be the same with me, but I am caught my outsiderness and dare not let myself see it too exclusively from the inside.

That would also rob me of the capacity to make the German character comprehensible to the non-German world.

The West knows too much about sentimentalities to believe m them.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung

  1. L., to whom Jung had sent “Wotan,” asked why the outsider was more impressed by the masculine aspect of events in Germany whereas to one judging from inside the feminine aspect was more impressive

  2. : Ergriffener = he who is gripped; Ergreifer/Ergreifender =he who grips. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 213.