To Heinrich Boltze
Dear Herr Boltze, February 1951
For your orientation: I am a psychiatrist and not a philosopher, merely an empiricist who ponders on certain experiences.
Psyche for me is an inclusive term for the totality of all so-called psychic processes.
Spirit is a qualitative designation for certain psychic contents (rather like “material” or “physical” ).
Atlantis: a mythical phantasm.
L. Frobenius: an imaginative and somewhat credulous original.
Great collector of material. Less good as a thinker.
God: an inner experience, not discussable as such but impressive.
Psychic experience has two sources: the outer world and the unconscious.
All immediate experience is psychic.
There is physically transmitted (outer world) experience and inner (spiritual) experience.
The one is as valid as the other.
God is not a statistical truth, hence it is just as s upid to try to prove the existence of God as to deny him.
If a person feels happy, he needs neither proof nor counterproof.
Also, there is no reason to suppose that “happiness” or “sadness” cannot be experienced.
God is a universal experience which is obfuscated only by silly rationalism and an equally silly theology.
(Cf. my little book Psychologic und Religion, Rascher-Verlag, Zurich 1940, where you
will find something on this theme.)
What mankind has called “God” from time immemorial you experience every day.
You only give him another, so-called “rational” name-for instance, you call him “affect.”
Time out of mind he has been the psychically stronger, capable of throwing your conscious purposes off the rails, fatally thwarting them and occasionally making mincemeat of them. Hence there are not a few who are afraid “of themselves.”
God is then called “I myself,” and so on.
Outer world and God are the two primordial experiences and the one is as great as the other, and both have a thousand names, which one and all do not alter the facts. The roots of both are unknown. The psyche mirrors both. It is perhaps the point where they touch.
Why do we ask about God at all?
God effervesces in you and sets you to the most wondrous speculations.
People speak of belief when they have lost knowledge.
Belief and disbelief in God are mere surrogates.
The naive primitive doesn’t believe, he knows, because the inner experience rightly means as much to him as the outer.
He still has no theology and hasn’t yet let himself be befuddled by booby trap concepts.
He adjusts his life-of necessity-to outer and inner facts, which he does not-as we do-feel to be discontinuous.
He lives in one world, whereas we live only in one half and merely believe in the other or not at all.
We have blotted it out with so-called “spiritual development,” which means that we live by self-fabricated electric light and-to heighten the comedy-believe or don’t believe in the sun.
Stalin in Paris would have become uneespece d’ existentialist like Sartre, a ruthless doctrinaire.
What generates a cloud of twaddle in Paris causes the ground to tremble in Asia.
There a potentate can still set himself up as the incarnation of reason instead of the sun.
Yours very truly,
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 4-5