137: Jung, Pauli, and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession

The land between Physics and the Psychology of the Unconscious [is] the most fascinating yet the darkest hunting ground of our times. ~Carl Jung, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 14

What is decisive for me is that I dream about physics as Mr. Jung (and other non-physicists) think about physics. Every time I have talked to Mr. Jung (about the “synchronistic” phenomenon and such), a certain spiritual fertilization takes place. ~Wolfgang Pauli, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 14

His [Wolfgang Pauli] scientific work was not enough to give him satisfaction and his personal life too fell deeper and deeper into chaos as he trawled the bars of Hamburg, sampling the nightlife and chasing after women. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 15

Doesn’t it strike one as a monstrous anachronism that in the twentieth century a respected periodical sees itself compelled to solicit a discussion about astrology? That wide circles of the educated or half-educated public are attracted more by astrology than astronomy? [We] are thus evidently confronted once again with a wave of irrationality and romanticism like that which a hundred years ago spread over Europe as a reaction against the rationalism of the eighteenth century. ~Arnold Sommerfeld, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 17

I do not believe in the possible future of mysticism in the old form. However, I do believe that the natural sciences will out of themselves bring forth a counter pole in their adherents, which connects with the old mystic elements. ~Wolfgang Pauli, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 18

A colleague once asked Newton what he was working on. He replied that he did physics—but only in his spare time. In the 1930s, a bundle of papers which he had kept secret came to light. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 18

“Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last magician.” ~John Maynard Keynes, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 18

Though we now have natural sciences, we no longer have a total scientific picture of the world. Since the discovery of the quantum of action, physics has gradually been forced to relinquish its proud claim to be able to understand, in principle, the whole world. ~Wolfgang Pauli, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 20

He [Jung] was a spell-binding lecturer and recipient of adulation both from colleagues and a host of women whom he referred to as his “fur-coat ladies.” ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 21

The rich and famous flocked to his fortress-like mansion on the shore of Lake Zürich, not only as prospective patients but also to enjoy his [Jung] inspiring conversation. Among them were the McCormick’s of the Chicago newspaper dynasty, H. G. Wells, and Hugh Walpole, who remembered him as looking “like a large genial cricketer.” ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 21

Some came just to gaze at the “primitive” who washed his own jeans with his “powerful arms” on the lawn outside his mansion. Jung was, as he said himself, “dangerously famous,” so much so that patients sometimes had to wait a year for an appointment. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 21

Psychoanalysis had become all the rage and “going to Jung was somehow very chic and modern,” as a wealthy American female client put it. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 21

His mother, Emilie, had had three stillborn children before young Carl’s arrival and had withdrawn into a world of ghosts and spirits. Jung’s father moved from parish to parish but nothing seemed to help her. Psychoanalysis had become all the rage and “going to Jung was somehow very chic and modern,” as a wealthy American female client put it. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 21

Emma Four years earlier, Jung had met Emma Rauschenbach, a fascinating fourteen-year-old girl from a very wealthy family. She was an heiress, the second richest in Switzerland. Her father owned a vast manufacturing empire that produced, among other things, machine-made watches, which were then a novelty. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 22

However, it was not Emma’s wealth that attracted him to her. Jung always insisted most emphatically that he had not married her for her money. He once confided to a friend that he had fallen instantly in love the first time he saw her and felt sure they would marry some day. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 22

In 1901 he was invited to a party in the town of Winterhur, where he met her again. She had grown into a beautiful young woman with dark hair, wide expressive eyes, and a ready smile. Having lived for a year in Paris, she spoke French and read Old French and Provençal. She was deeply interested in the legends of the Holy Grail, as was Jung. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 22

That summer her [Emma’s] mother invited Jung to a ball at their elegant summer residence, the Ölberg, outside Schaffhausen. It covered several acres and there were scores of servants and gardeners. Jung’s cardboard collar, tattered clothes, and rough manners were in sharp contrast to the well-heeled crowd. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 22

To add to his [Jung] problems Emma was already betrothed to the son of a business associate of her father’s. Undaunted, he set about courting her. Emma was attracted to his good looks and brilliance. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 23

But more than that he [Jung] seemed to value her [Emma] intelligence and encouraged her to broaden it, qualities she found lacking in the other men who pursued her. In his numerous letters he suggested books she might read on subjects that included literature and psychology. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 23

She [Emma] came to believe that more than just a wife to him, she could be a partner in his professional life. His courtship was boosted immensely by clandestine help from his future mother-in-law, who had come to realize her daughter’s growing affection for the poor but affable Dr. Jung. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 23

Eventually she [Emma’s mother] convinced her husband of the young man’s seriousness and that her daughter’s happiness was of paramount importance. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 23

The two [Carl Emma] married in 1903 in a lavish ceremony held at the Swiss Reformed Church in Schaffhausen. Two days later, in the best hotel in town, there was a sumptuous wedding banquet of twelve courses, each accompanied by the proper wine. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 23

Carl and Emma Jung at the time of their marriage, February 14, 1903. Emma took on the task of transcribing the voluminous notes Jung made during his hospital rounds. The following year they had their first child.  ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 23

Emma’s substantial wealth gave Jung the freedom to pursue his own research and he quickly came to the attention of the international psychoanalytic community. By 1906 he had been appointed senior doctor at the Burghölzli, second only to Bleuler. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 24

Around this time Jung had been treating Joseph Medill McCormick of the McCormick newspaper dynasty, for alcoholism. When he suddenly managed to bring about a cure, he overnight developed a huge reputation in the United States. ~ Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 26

In the first half of my life I was a cold and cynical devil to other people and a fanatical atheist and intellectual “intriguer.”  ~Wolfgang Pauli, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 54

Pauli never spoke of the events surrounding his father’s name change and his own discovery that he was Jewish. His widow, Franca, considered the change of name to be a family secret and became angry when interviewers mentioned it. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 31

For some years Pauli was not altogether happy to have discovered his Jewish ancestry. He found himself exposed to virulent anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria, fanned to even greater heights by rumors that the Great War (World War I) had been lost because of Communist and Jewish conspiracies. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 31

On a conservative estimate, a third of my cases were really cured, a third considerably improved, and a third not essentially influenced. Pauli fell in the middle.  ~Carl Jung, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 132

To Jung, Pauli described Franca [his wife] as someone who had “a similar problem of opposites, but the reverse of mine…. She fell in love with my shadow side because it secretly made a great impression on her.” ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 134

“Pauli, the extremely rational thinker, subjected himself to total dependence on Jung’s magical personality,” ~Franca Pauli, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 134

So Pauli ended up back at the German consulate in Switzerland. After a cursory examination of his family history, the officials there declared him half Aryan, qualifying him for a straightforward German passport without the “J” stamp (meaning “Jewish”).  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 138

Jung’s lecture, on the morning of September 7, drew the largest crowd of all the seminars given. He spoke on “Psychological Factors Determining Human Behavior,” of how the “human psyche lives in indissoluble union with the body.”  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 137

Bancroft knew Jung socially and mentioned him to Dulles in her reports. Aware of Jung’s reputation as a Nazi sympathizer, Dulles had him investigated and concluded that the allegations were untrue. The two men met and were impressed with each other. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 141

“It is Jung’s belief that Hitler will take recourse to desperate measures up to the end, but he doesn’t exclude the possibility of suicide in a desperate moment,” [John Foster] Dulles wrote. It turned out to be an accurate prediction. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 142

Bancroft had also started analysis with Jung, to bolster her confidence in the spying game. As part of their sessions Jung advised her on how best to question someone based on psychological type, as well as how to apply analytical psychology to the speeches of the top Nazis. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 142

With regard to my own personal destiny, it is true that there are still one or two unresolved problems remaining.  Nevertheless, I feel a certain need to get away from dream interpretation and dream analysis, and would like to see what life has to bring me from the outside. A development of my feeling function is, of course, very important to me, but it does seem to me that it cannot emerge solely as the outcome of dream analysis. Having given the matter much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I shall not continue my visits with you for the time being, unless something untoward should arise. ~Wolfgang Pauli to Carl Jung, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 132

Pauli’s dreams and Jung’s analyses of them had led Pauli to the rather extraordinary conclusion that “even the most modern physics lends itself to the symbolic representation of psychic processes,” he wrote to Jung, adding that there are “deeper spiritual layers that cannot be adequately defined by the conventional concept of time.”  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 135

Jung cemented his control over psychoanalysis in Germany by becoming president of the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy as well as editor of its journal Zentralblatt für Psyschoanalyse. But he made sure that the organization’s rules were vague enough that they banned Jews only from the German section.  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 136

James Conant, Harvard’s dynamic young president, read out Jung’s official citation for his honorary degree thus: “Doctor of Science. A philosopher who has examined the unconscious mind, a mental physician whose wisdom and understanding have brought relief to many in distress.”  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 137

After the celebrations at Harvard Jung gave a series of lectures at Bailey Island (Maine), New York City, and Yale University, where he spoke about how he had treated a brilliant but troubled scientist. Back home he got down to work on his “long overdue” book on alchemy. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 137

According to one (unsubstantiated) story Jung shortly afterward interrupted his work for an undercover assignment. Josef Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, summoned him to Berlin to attend official ceremonies with Hitler, Hermann Göring, commander of the German Air Force, and Heinrich Himmler, head of the feared SS. Jung’s task was to assess whether they were crazy. Presumably, if so there would have been a coup. According to the story Jung quickly realized they were all madmen, and, fearing for his life, left immediately. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 137

His [Pauli] German passport was issued in November 1938 and was valid for two years. In Jewish tradition being Jewish is passed through the mother and so Pauli actually was not Jewish. But in German terms he was, because he had Jewish ancestry through his father’s family.  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 138

By the fact that Switzerland didn’t make possible my naturalization in the moment of the annexation of Austria by Germany I was forced to accept a German passport. The German consulate counted me to the half-Aryans without further examination and so I got a non-Jewish (that means without J) passport. Actually I suppose I am after German law 75 percent Jewish. This would mean that in the case of German occupation of Switzerland I would be really menaced and treated as a Jew. ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 138

In 1934 Pauli put his friend and successor at Hamburg, Pascual Jordan, in touch with Jung. Jordan was a highly respected physicist who had carried out ground-breaking research in the new quantum mechanics. He was also a rather eccentric character with a pronounced stutter; his wife used to attend his lectures and make bird noises to distract him whenever he lost control of his words. He modeled his hairstyle on Adolf Hitler’s, which, unfortunately, reflected his politics. (This was the friend to whom Pauli wrote the postcard addressed to PQ–QP.) In the 1930s Jordan moved from pure physics research into studying the effect of quantum physics on biology and also began looking seriously into telepathy.  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 152

It was not until many years later, in 1948, that Pauli and Jung began to look deeply into synchronicity. In a letter, Pauli asked whether Jung would use the term synchronous, or synchronistic, if there was a gap of time between the dream and the external event it predicted. Jung replied, “nowadays, physicists are the only people who are paying serious attention to such ideas.”  ~Arthur Miller, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 152

May this now be a good omen as regards my relationship with physics and psychology, which undoubtedly is among the peculiarities of my intellectual experience. What is decisive to me is that I dream about physics as Mr. Jung (and other nonphysicists) think about physics. The danger of this situation lies in Mr. Jung publishing nonsense about physics and could moreover quote me in the process. The thing is to prevent this and to turn the matter to advantage. I simply cannot evade it! But every time I have talked to Mr. Jung (about the “synchronistic” phenomenon and such), a certain spiritual fertilization takes place. ~Wolfgang Pauli to David Fierz, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 154

[The stranger] is a spiritual light figure with superior knowledge, and on the other hand, he is a chthonic [dark] natural spirit. But his knowledge repeatedly takes him back to nature, and his chthonic origins are also the source of his knowledge, so that ultimately both aspects turn out to be facets of the same “personality.” He is the one who prepares the way for the quaternity, which is always pursuing him…. He is not an “Antichrist,” but in a certain sense an “Antiscientist,” “science” here meaning especially the scientific approach, particularly as it is taught in universities today…. My branch of science, physics, has become somewhat bogged down. The same thing can be said in a different way: When rational methods in science reach a dead end, a new lease on life is given to those contents that were pushed out of time consciousness in the 17th century and sank into the unconscious. [The stranger] happily uses the terminology of modern science (radioactivity, spin) and mathematics (prime numbers) but does so in an unconventional manner. Inasmuch as he ultimately wishes to be understood but has yet to find his place in our contemporary culture, he is, like Merlin, in need of redemption.  ~Wolfgang Pauli to Emma Jung, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 156

Like Merlin, he knows the future, but cannot change it…. In my opinion, however, man can alter the “future.”…I want to recognize [Merlin], talk to him again, bring his redemption a little nearer. That, I believe, is the myth of my life.  ~Wolfgang Pauli to Aniela Jaffe, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 156

The very nature of the quantum theory…forces us to regard the space-time coordination and the claim of causality, the union of which characterizes the classical physical theories, as complementary but exclusive features of the description, symbolizing the idealization of observation and definition respectively.  ~Niels Bohr, Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 157

Many physicists and historians have of course advised me to break the connection between my Kepler essay and C. G. Jung…. I am indifferent to the astral cult of Jung’s circle, but that, i.e., this dream symbolism, makes an impact! The book itself is a fateful “synchronicity” and must remain one. I am sure that defiance would have unhappy consequences as far as I am concerned. Dixi et salvavi animam meam! [I spoke and thus saved my soul]. 163 Pauli to Fierz

By the early 1950s Jung agreed with Pauli that numbers undoubtedly were archetypes and added that they could “amplify themselves immediately and freely through mythological statements,” such as the one attributed to Maria Prophetissa. The common ground between physics and psychology was not to do with parallel concepts “but rather in that ancient spiritual ‘dynamis’ of numbers…. The archetypal numinosity of number expresses itself on the one hand in Pythagorean, Gnostic, and Kabbalistic (Gematria!) speculation, and the other hand in the arithmetical method of the mantic [divinatory] procedures in the I Ching, in geomancy and horoscopy.” ~Arther L. Miller., Praise of 137: Jung and Pauli a Scientific Obsession, Page 167

“‘The world as will and representation’ means nothing else to me than the world as complementary pairs of opposites,” Pauli wrote to Marie-Louise von Franz.  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 165

Von Franz was a close associate of Jung’s who also sometimes worked as Pauli’s analyst and became his close friend. What Pauli was looking for was a basis for a system of morals that transcended belief in any deity. ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 165

Marie-Louise Von Franz was Pauli’s analyst at the time. Many years later she revealed that “Pauli was afraid of the content of his dreams. It frightened him to draw conclusions from what his dreams said. They said for instance that he should stand up for Jungian psychology in public. And that he feared like hell, which I understand. He moved in the higher circles in physics. His colleagues were very mocking and cynical and also jealous of him. If he had stood up for dreams and irrational things, there would have been a hellish laughter and he hadn’t the guts to face it. So that was really tragic.”  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 166

Pauli’s analysis was that they were both thinking types. From their correspondence, it seems clear there was a mutual attraction, though Pauli tried to keep his feelings focused on intellectual matters. ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 167

Some people have suggested that at some point they had a sexual relationship, but von Franz insists otherwise. As to what really happened, we will never know, for Pauli’s widow burned all von Franz’s letters to him when she discovered them in a box in Pauli’s office at the ETH.  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 167

Once—it was in 1952—von Franz pointed out to Pauli that “nothing much has been done on the archetypal meaning of numbers.” Inspired by her remark, Pauli turned to a book on the history of mathematics, Science Awakening, by a Dutch colleague of his, B. L. van der Waerden. There he learned that Pythagorean number mysticism was a “further development of Babylonian number mysticism.”  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 167

In October 1953 Pauli wrote an “Active Fantasy about the Unconscious,” which he entitled The Piano Lesson. He dedicated it to von Franz. It could be regarded as stream of consciousness, a sort of automatic writing.  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 168

Writing to von Franz, Pauli continued the introspective and numerical mode of The Piano Lesson: “One can not at all proceed from three to four. ” ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 169

To illustrate the letter to von Franz, Pauli drew two six-sided stars of David, which he labeled as the two stages of his life: “the youth phase (until 1928) [and] the phase after World War II until the summer of 1953.” The two stars sprang from Pauli’s “active imagination”—two six-sided stars: 2 × 6.  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 170

In the years between these two life phases—1928 and 1945—Pauli lived through many turbulent events: two marriages, divorce, flight from Europe, rejection by colleagues at the ETH, the lonely war years in the United States, and his analysis by Jung, which had led to a deeper understanding of himself and the world about him. He depicts these two contrasting periods in three pairs of opposing archetypes.   ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 170

As for von Franz, in 1955 Pauli was writing to her using the familiar “Du.” But two years later their exchanges abruptly ended. Perhaps Pauli felt he opened up too much to her. As he once wrote to her, when it comes to feelings “there I am no celebrity, but underdeveloped, even infantile.” Von Franz claimed that he had become unpleasant and wanted her to analyze his dreams for free. She was bitter about this and, in turn, became critical of him. ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 175

According to Carl A. Meier, who knew both of them, “she totally misunderstood Pauli, failing to appreciate his efforts to conduct an analytic dialogue with her and that their relationship was tragic.”  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 175

This self-assessment was corroborated by Marie-Louise von Franz, who said of him: “He was highly intelligent, very honest in his thinking, but otherwise a very immature big boy in his feelings…. He had a patriarchal outlook on women. Women were pleasant things to play with, but not something to take seriously.”  ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 178