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I don’t know whether I am writing you banalities or hieroglyphics


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Dear Professor Freud, 25 December 1909

My attempt at criticism, though it looked like an attack, was actually a defence, which is why I apparently had to tilt at the “omnipotence of thoughts.”

Of course the term is dead right as well as elegantly concise and trenchant, for that’s how it is, especially in D. pr. where new fundamentals are constantly being uncovered by it.

All this has shaken me very much, in particular my faith in my own capacities.

But most of all I was struck by your remark that you longed for archaeologists, philologists, etc.

By this, I told myself, you probably meant that I was unfit for such work.

However, it is in precisely these fields that I now have a passionate interest, as before only in Dem. pr.

And I have the most marvellous visions, glimpses of far ranging interconnections which I am at present incapable of grasping, for the subject really is too big and I hate impotent bungling.

Who then is to do this work?

Surely it must be someone who knows the psyche and has the passion for it. D. pr. will not be the loser.

Honegger, who has already introduced himself to you, is now working with me with great understanding, and I shall entrust to him everything I know so that something good may come of it.

It has become quite clear to me that we shall not solve the ultimate secrets of neurosis and psychosis without mythology and the history of civilization, for embryology goes hand in hand with comparative anatomy, and without the latter the former is but a freak of nature whose depths remain uncomprehended.

It is a hard lot to have to work alongside the father creator.

Hence my attacks on “clinical terminology.”

31.XII. The Christmas holidays have eaten up all my time, so I am only now in a position to
continue my letter.

I am turning over and over in my mind the problem of antiquity.

It’s a hard nut!

Without doubt there’s a lot of infantile sexuality in it, but that is not all.

Rather it seems to me that antiquity was ravaged by the struggle with incest, with which sexual repression begins ( or is it the other way round?).

We must look up the history of family law.

The history of civilization, taken by itself, is too skimpy, at least what there is of it today.

For instance, Burckhardt’s History of Greek Civilization remains wholly on the surface.

A particularly significant topic is Greek demonology, which I hope to penetrate into a little via Rohde (Psyche).

I’d like to tell you many things about Dionysos were it not too much for a letter.

Nietzsche seems to have intuited a great deal of it.

I have an idea that the Dionysian frenzy was a backwash of sexuality, a backwash whose historical significance has been insufficiently appreciated, essential elements of which overflowed into Christianity but in another compromise formation.

I don’t know whether I am writing you banalities or hieroglyphics.

An unpleasant feeling.

How much I’d prefer to talk it over with you personally!

Will it suit you to hold the Nuremberg meeting on Easter Tuesday?

As soon as I know, I will work up the idea in a circular and send it to you.

I note that my difficulties regarding the question of libido and also of sadism are obviously due to the fact that I have not yet adjusted my attitude sufficiently to yours.

I still haven’t understood properly what you wrote me.

The best thing is to postpone it until we can talk in peace.

I would really have to question you on every sentence in your letter.

As regards Nuremberg I must add that I am naturally counting very much on your taking first place as lecturer.

That, as in Salzburg, is what we all hope.

Tomorrow I must prepare a lecture for the students here on “symbolism,” which fills me with horror.

God knows what I shall scribble together.

I have read Ferrero, but what he writes about is not our kind of symbolism.

Let’s hope a good spirit will stand by me.

With many cordial greetings and wishes,

Most sincerely yours,

Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 14-16