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Memories Dreams Reflections

[Carl Jung: …the souls of the dead “know” only what they knew at the moment of death, and nothing beyond that…]

Later, when I wrote the Septem Sermones ad Mortuos, once again it was the dead who addressed crucial questions to me.

They came so they said “back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought.”

This had surprised me greatly at the time, for according to the traditional views the dead are the possessors of great knowledge.

People have the idea that the dead know far more than we, for Christian doctrine teaches that in the hereafter we shall “see face to face.”

Apparently, however, the souls of the dead “know” only what they knew at the moment of death, and nothing beyond that. Hence their endeavor to penetrate into life in order to share in the knowledge of men.

I frequently have a feeling that they are standing directly behind us, waiting to hear what answer we will give to them, and what answer to destiny.

It seems to me as if they were dependent on the living for receiving answers to their questions, that is, on those who have survived them and exist in a world of change: as if omniscience or, as I might put it, omniconsciousness, were not at their disposal, but could flow only into the psyche of the living, into a soul bound to a body.

The mind of the living appears, therefore, to hold an advantage over that of the dead in at least one point: in the capacity for attaining clear and decisive cognitions.

As I see it, the three-dimensional world in time and space is like a system of co-ordinates; what is here separated into ordinates and abscissae may appear ”there,” in space-timelessness, as a primordial image with many aspects, perhaps as a diffuse cloud of cognition surrounding an archetype.

Yet a system of co-ordinates is necessary if any distinction of discrete contents is to be possible.

Any such operation seems to us unthinkable in a state of diffuse omniscience, or, as the case may be, of subjectless consciousness, with no spatiotemporal demarcations.

Cognition, like generation, presupposes an opposition, a here and there, an above and below, a before and after. ~Carl Jung; Memories Dreams and Reflections; Page 308