In spite of my growing scientific interests, I turned back from time to time to my philosophical books.
The question of my choice of a profession was drawing alarmingly close.
I looked forward with longing to the end of my school days.
Then I would go to the university and study natural science, of course.
Then I would know something real.
But no sooner had I made myself this promise than my doubts began.
Was not my bent rather toward history and philosophy?
Then again, I was intensely interested in everything Egyptian and Babylonian, and would have liked best to be an archaeologist.
But I had no money to study anywhere except in Basel, and in Basel there was no teacher for this subject So this plan very soon came to an end.
For a long time I could not make up my mind and constantly postponed the decision.
My father was very worried.
He said once, “The boy is interested in everything imaginable, but he does not know what he wants.”
I could only admit that he was right.
As matriculation approached and we had to decide what faculty to register for, I abruptly decided on science, but I left my schoolfellows in doubt as to whether I intended to go in definitely for science or the humanities.
This apparently sudden decision had a background of its own.
Some weeks previously, just at the time when No. 1 and No. 2 were wrestling for a decision, I had two dreams.
In the first dream I was in a dark wood that stretched along the Rhine.
I came to a little hill, a burial mound, and began to dig.
After a while I turned up, to my astonishment, some bones of prehistoric animals.
This interested me enormously, and at that moment I knew: I must get to know nature, the world in which we live, and the things around us.
Then came a second dream.
Again I was in a wood; it was threaded with watercourses, and in the darkest place I saw a circular pool, surrounded by dense undergrowth.
Half immersed in the water lay the strangest and most wonderful creature: a round animal, shimmering in opalescent hues, and consisting of innumerable little cells, or of organs shaped like tentacles.
It was a giant radiolarian, measuring about three feet across.
It seemed to me indescribably wonderful that this magnificent creature should be lying there undisturbed, in the hidden place, in the clear, deep water.
It aroused in me an intense desire for knowledge, so that I awoke with a beating heart.
These two dreams decided me overwhelmingly in favor of science, and removed all my doubts.
It became clear to me that I was living in a time and a place where a person had to earn his living.
To do so, one had to be this or that, and it made a deep impression on me that all my schoolfellows were imbued with this necessity and thought about nothing else.
I felt I was in some way odd. Why could I not make up my mind and commit myself to something definite?
Even that plodding fellow D. who had been held up to me by my German teacher as a model of diligence and conscientiousness was certain that he would study theology.
I saw that I would have to settle down and think the matter through.
If I took up zoology, for instance, I could be only a schoolmaster, or at best an employee in a zoological garden.
There was no future in that, even if one’s demands were modest though I would certainly have preferred working in a zoo to the life of a schoolteacher.
In this blind alley the inspiration suddenly came to me that I could study medicine.
Strangely enough, this had never occurred to me before, although my paternal grandfather, of whom I had heard so much, had been a doctor.
Indeed, for that very reason I had a certain resistance to this profession.
“Only don’t imitate” was my motto.
But now I told myself that the study of medicine at least began with scientific subjects.
To that extent I would be doing what I wanted.
Moreover, the field of medicine was so broad that there was always the possibility of specializing later.
I had definitely opted for science, and the only question was: How?
I had to earn my living, and as I had no money I could not attend a university abroad and obtain the kind of training that would give me hopes of a scientific career.
At best I could become only a dilettante in science.
Nor, since I possessed a personality that made me disliked by many of my schoolfellows and of the people who counted (i.e.,, the teachers), was there any hope of finding a patron who would support my wish.
When, therefore, I finally decided on medicine, it was with the rather disagreeable feeling that it was not a good thing to start life with such a compromise.
Nevertheless, I felt considerably relieved now that this irrevocable decision had been made.
The painful question then presented itself: Where was the money to come from?
My father could raise only part of it.
He applied to the University of Basel for a stipend for me, and to my shame it was granted.
I was ashamed, not so much because our poverty was laid bare for all the world to see, but because I had secretly been convinced that all the “top” people, the people who “counted,” were ill disposed toward me.
I had never expected any such kindness from them.
I had obviously profited by the reputation of my father, who was a good and uncomplicated person.
Yet I felt myself totally different from him. I had, in fact, two different conceptions of myself.
Through No. 1’s eyes I saw myself as a rather disagreeable and moderately gifted young man with vaulting ambitions, an undisciplined temperament, and dubious manners, alternating between naive enthusiasm and fits of childish disappointment, in his innermost essence a hermit and obscurantist.
On the other hand, No. 2, regarded No. 1 as a difficult and thankless moral task, a lesson that had to be got through somehow, complicated by a variety of faults such as spells of laziness, despondency, depression, inept enthusiasm for ideas and things that nobody valued, liable to imaginary friendships, limited, prejudiced, stupid (mathematics!), with a lack of understanding for other people, vague and confused in philosophical matters, neither an honest Christian nor anything else. No. 2 had no definable character at all; he was a vita peracta, born, living, dead, everything in one; a total vision of life.
Though pitilessly clear about himself, he was unable to express himself through the dense, dark medium of No. 1, though he longed to do so.
When No. 2 predominated, No.1 was contained and obliterated in him, just as, conversely, No. 1 regarded No. 2 as a region of inner darkness.
No. 2 felt that any conceivable expression of himself would be like a stone thrown over the edge of the world, dropping soundlessly into infinite night.
But in him (No. 2) light reigned, as in the spacious halls of a royal palace whose high casements open upon a landscape flooded with sunlight.
Here were meaning and historical continuity, in strong contrast to the incoherent fortuitousness of No. 1’s life, which had no real points of contact with its environment.
No. 2, on the other hand, felt himself in secret accord with the Middle Ages, as personified by Faust, with the legacy of a past which had obviously stirred Goethe to the depths.
For Goethe too, therefore and this was my great consolation No. 2 was a reality.
Faust, as I now realized with something of a shock, meant more to me than my beloved Gospel according to St. John.
There was something in Faust that worked directly on my feelings.
John’s Christ was strange to me, but still stranger was the Savior of the other gospels.
Faust, on the other hand, was the living equivalent of No. 2, and I was convinced that he was the answer which Goethe had given to his times.
This insight was not only comforting to me, it also gave me an increased feeling of inner security and a sense of belonging to the human community.
I was no longer isolated and a mere curiosity, a sport of cruel nature.
My godfather and authority was the great Goethe himself.
About this time I had a dream which both frightened and encouraged me. It was night in some unknown place, and I was making slow and painful headway against a mighty wind.
Dense fog was flying along everywhere.
I had ray hands cupped around a tiny light which threatened to go out at any moment.
Everything depended on my keeping this little light alive.
Suddenly I had the feeling that something was coming up behind me.
I looked back, and saw a gigantic black figure following me.
But at the same moment I was conscious, in spite of my terror, that I must keep my little light going through night and wind, regardless of all dangers.
When I awoke I realized at once that the figure was a “specter of the Brocken,” my own shadow on the swirling mists, brought into being by the little light I was carrying.
I knew, too, that this little light was my consciousness, the only light I have.
My own understanding is the sole treasure I possess, and the greatest.
Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light.
This dream was a great illumination for me.
Now I knew that No. 1 was the bearer of the light, and that No. 2 followed him like a shadow.
My task was to shield the light and not look back at the vita peracta; this was evidently a forbidden realm of light of a different sort.
I must go forward against the storm, which sought to thrust me back into the immeasurable darkness of a world where one is aware of nothing except the surfaces of things in the background.
In the role of No. 1, I had to go forward into study, moneymaking, responsibilities, entanglements, confusions, errors, submissions, defeats.
The storm pushing against me was time, ceaselessly flowing into the past, which just as ceaselessly dogs our heels.
It exerts a mighty suction which greedily draws everything living into itself; we can only escape from it for a while by pressing forward.
The past is terribly real and present, and it catches everyone who cannot save his skin with a satisfactory answer.
My view of the world spun around another ninety degrees; I recognized clearly that my path led irrevocably outward, into the limitations and darkness of three-dimensionality.
It seemed to me that Adam must once have left Paradise in this manner; Eden had become a specter for him, and light was where a stony field had to be tilled in the sweat of his brow.
I asked myself: ‘Whence comes such a dream?”
Till then I had taken it for granted that such dreams were sent directly by God.
But now I had imbibed so much epistemology that doubts assailed me.
One might say, for instance, that my insight had been slowly ripening for a long time and had then suddenly broken through in a dream.
And that, indeed, is what had happened.
But this explanation is merely a description.
The real question was why this process took place and why it broke through into consciousness.
Consciously I had done nothing to promote any such development; on the contrary, my sympathies were on the other side.
Something must therefore have been at work behind the scenes, some intelligence, at any rate something more intelligent than myself.
For the extraordinary idea that in the light of consciousness the inner realm of light appears as a gigantic shadow was not something I would have hit on of my own accord.
Now all at once I understood many things that had been inexplicable to me before in particular that cold shadow of embarrassment and estrangement which passed over people’s faces whenever I alluded to anything reminiscent of the inner realm.
I must leave No. 2 behind me, that was clear.
But under no circumstances ought I to deny him to myself or declare him invalid.
That would have been a self-mutilation, and would moreover have deprived me of any possibility of explaining the origin of the dreams.
For there was no doubt in my mind that No. 2 had something to do with the creation of dreams, and I could easily credit him with the necessary superior intelligence.
But I felt myself to be increasingly identical with No. 1, and this state proved in turn to be merely a part of the far more comprehensive No. 2, with whom for that very reason I could no longer feel myself identical.
He was indeed a specter, a spirit who could hold his own against the world of darkness.
This was something I had not known before the dream, and even at the time I am sure of this in retrospect I was conscious of it only vaguely, although I knew it emotionally beyond a doubt.
At any rate, a schism had taken place between me and No. 2, with the result that “I” was assigned to No. 1 and was separated from No. 2 in the same degree, who thereby acquired, as it were, an autonomous personality.
I did not connect this with the idea of any definite individuality, such as a revenant might have, although with my rustic origins this possibility would not have seemed strange to me.
In the country people believe in these things according to the circumstances: they are and they are not.
The only distinct feature about this spirit was his historical character, his extension in time, or rather, his timelessness.
Of course I did not tell myself this in so many words, nor did I form any conception of his spatial existence.
He played the role of a factor in the background of my No. 1 existence, never clearly defined but yet definitely present.
Children react much less to what grown-ups say than to the imponderables in the surrounding atmosphere.
The child unconsciously adapts himself to them, and this produces in him correlations of a compensatory nature.
The peculiar “religious” ideas that came to me even in my earliest childhood were spontaneous products which can be understood only as reactions to my parental environment and to the spirit of the age.
The religious doubts to which my father was later to succumb naturally had to pass through a long period of incubation.
Such a revolution of one’s world, and of the world in general, threw its shadows ahead, and the shadows were all the longer, the more desperately my father’s conscious mind resisted their power.
It is not surprising that my father’s forebodings put him in a state of unrest, which then communicated itself to me.
I never had the impression that these influences emanated from my mother, for she was somehow rooted in deep, invisible ground, though it never appeared to me as confidence in her Christian faith.
For me it was somehow connected with animals, trees, mountains, meadows, and running water, all of which contrasted most strangely with her Christian surface and her conventional assertions of faith.
This background corresponded so well to my own attitude that it caused me no uneasiness; on the contrary, it gave me a sense of security and the conviction that here was solid ground on which one could stand.
It never occurred to me how “pagan” this foundation was.
My mother’s “No. 2,” offered me the strongest support in the conflict then beginning between paternal tradition and the strange, compensatory products which my unconscious had been stimulated to create.
Looking back, I now see how very much my development as a child anticipated future events and paved the way for modes of adaptation to my father’s religious collapse as well as to the shattering revelation of the world as we see it today a revelation which had not taken shape from one day to the next, but had cast its shadows long in advance.
Although we human beings have our own personal life, we are yet in large measure the representatives, the victims and promoters of a collective spirit whose years are counted in centuries.
We can well think all our lives long that we are following our own noses, and may never discover that we are, for the most part, supernumeraries on the stage of the world theater.
There are factors which, although we do not know them, nevertheless influence our lives, the more so if they are unconscious.
Thus at least a part of our being lives in the centuries that part which, for my private use, I have designated “No. 2.”
That it is not an individual curiosity is proved by the religion of the West, which expressly applies itself to this inner man and for two thousand years has earnestly tried to bring him to the knowledge of our surface consciousness with its personalistic preoccupations: “Non jotas ire, in interiore homine habitat veritas” (Go not outside; truth dwells in the inner man).
During the years 1892-94 I had a number of rather vehement discussions with my father.
He had studied Oriental languages in Gottingen and had done his dissertation on the Arabic version of the Song of Songs.
His days of glory had ended with his final examination.
Thereafter he forgot his linguistic talent.
As a country parson he lapsed into a sort of sentimental idealism and into reminiscences of his golden student days, continued to smoke a long student’s pipe, and discovered that his marriage was not all he had imagined it to be.
He did a great deal of good far too much and as a result was usually irritable.
Both parents made great efforts to live devout lives, with the result that there were angry scenes between them only too frequently.
These difficulties, understandably enough, later shattered my father’s faith.
At that time his irritability and discontent had increased, and his condition filled me with concern.
My mother avoided everything that might excite him and refused to engage in disputes.
Though I realized that this was the wisest course to take, often I could not keep my own temper in check.
I would remain passive during his outbursts of rage, but when he seemed to be in a more accessible mood I sometimes tried to strike up a conversation with him, hoping to learn something about his inner thoughts and his understanding of himself.
It was clear to me that something quite specific was tormenting him, and I suspected that it had to do with his faith.
From a number of hints he let fall I was convinced that he suffered from religious doubts.
This, it seemed to me, was bound to be the case if the necessary experience had not come to him.
From my attempts at discussion I learned in fact that something of the sort was amiss, for all my questions were met with the same old lifeless theological answers, or with a resigned shrug which aroused the spirit of contradiction in me.
I could not understand why he did not seize on these opportunities pugnaciously and come to terms with his situation.
I saw that my critical questions made him sad, but I nevertheless hoped for a constructive talk, since it appeared almost inconceivable to me that he should not have had experience of God, the most evident of all experiences.
I knew enough about epistemology to realize that knowledge of this sort could not be proved, but it was equally clear to me that it stood in no more need of proof than the beauty of a sunset or the terrors of the night.
I tried, no doubt very clumsily, to convey these obvious truths to him, with the hopeful intention of helping him to bear the fate which had inevitably befallen him.
He had to quarrel with somebody, so he did it with his family and himself.
Why didn’t he do it with God, the dark author of all created things, who alone was responsible for the sufferings of the world?
God would assuredly have sent him by way of an answer one of those magical, infinitely profound dreams which He had sent to me even without being asked, and which had sealed my fate.
I did not know why, it simply was so.
Yes, He had even allowed me a glimpse into His own being.
This was a great secret which I dared not and could not reveal to my father.
I might have been able to reveal it had he been capable of understanding the direct experience of God.
But in my talks with him I never got that far, never even came within sight of the problem, because I always set about it in a very unpsychological and intellectual way, and did everything possible to avoid the emotional aspects.
Each time this approach was like a red rag to a bull and led to irritable reactions which were incomprehensible to me.
I was unable to understand how a perfectly rational argument could meet with such emotional resistance.
These fruitless discussions exasperated my father and me, and in the end we abandoned them, each burdened with his own specific feeling of inferiority.
Theology had alienated my father and me from one another.
I felt that I had once again suffered a fatal defeat, though I sensed I was not alone.
I had a dim premonition that he was inescapably succumbing to his fate.
He was lonely and had no friend to talk with.
At least I knew no one among our acquaintances whom I would have trusted to say the saving word.
Once I heard him praying.
He struggled desperately to keep his faith.
I was shaken and outraged at once, because I saw how hopelessly he was entrapped by the Church and its theological thinking.
They had. blocked all avenues by which he might have reached God directly, and then faithlessly abandoned him.
Now I understood the deepest meaning of my earlier experience: God Himself had disavowed theology and the Church founded upon it,
On the other hand God condoned this theology, as He condoned so much else.
It seemed ridiculous to me to suppose that men were responsible for such developments.
What were men, anyway? “They are born dumb and blind as puppies” I thought, “and like all God’s creatures are furnished with the dimmest light, never enough to illuminate the darkness in which they grope.”
I was equally sure that none of the theologians I knew had ever seen “the light that shineth in the darkness” with his own eyes, for if they had they would not have been able to teach a “theological religion” which seemed quite inadequate to me, since there was nothing to do with it but believe it without hope.
This was what my father had tried valiantly to do, and had run aground.
He could not even defend himself against the ridiculous materialism of the psychiatrists.
This, too, was something that one had to believe, just like theology, only in the opposite sense.
I felt more certain than ever that both of them lacked epistemological criticism as well as experience.
My father was obviously under the impression that psychiatrists had discovered something in the brain which proved that in the place where mind should have been there was only matter, and nothing “spiritual.”
This was borne out by his admonitions that if I studied medicine I should in Heaven’s name not become a materialist.
To me this warning meant that I ought to believe nothing at all, for I knew that materialists believed in their definitions just as the theologians did in theirs, and that my poor father had simply jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.
I recognized that this celebrated faith of his had played this deadly trick on him, and not only on him but on most of the cultivated and serious people I knew.
The arch sin of faith, it seemed to me, was that it forestalled experience.
How did the theologians know that God had deliberately arranged certain things and “permitted” certain others, and how did the psychiatrists know that matter was endowed with the qualities of the human mind?
I was in no danger of succumbing to materialism, but my father certainly was.
Apparently someone had whispered something about “suggestion,” for I discovered that he was reading Bernheim’s book on suggestion in Sigmund Freud’s translation.
This was a new and significant departure, for I had never before seen my father reading anything but novels or an occasional travel book.
All “clever” and interesting books were taboo. But his psychiatric reading made him no happier.
His depressive moods increased in frequency and intensity, and so did his hypochondria.
For a number of years he had complained of all sorts of abdominal symptoms, though his doctor had been unable to find anything definite wrong with him.
Now he complained of the sensation of having “stones in the abdomen.”
For a long time we did not take this seriously, but at last the doctor became suspicious.
This was toward the end of the summer of 1895. In the spring of that year I had begun my studies at the University of Basel.
The only time in my life that I have ever been bored my school days at the Gymnasium was over at last and the golden gates to the universitas litterarum and to academic freedom were opening wide for me.
Now I would hear the truth about nature, at least its most essential aspects.
I would learn all there was to know about the anatomy and physiology of man, and would acquire knowledge of the diseases.
In addition to all this, I was admitted into a color-wearing fraternity to which my father had belonged.
Early in my freshman year he came along on a fraternity outing to a wine-growing village in the Markgrafen country and there delivered a whimsical speech in which, to my delight, the gay spirit of his own student days came back again.
I realized in a flash that his life had come to a standstill at his graduation, and the verse of a student song echoed in my ears:
Sie zogen mit geseriktem Blick
In das Philisterland zuruck.
O jerum, jerum, jerum,
O quae mutatio. reruml
(‘With downcast eyes they marched back to the land of the Philistines, O dear, O dear, O dear, how things have changed!”)
The words fell heavily on my soul.
Once upon a time he too had been an enthusiastic student in his first year, as I was now; the world had opened out for him, as it was doing for me; the infinite treasures of knowledge had spread before him, as now before me.
How can it have happened that everything was blighted for him, had turned to sourness and bitterness?
I found no answer, or too many.
The speech he delivered that summer evening over the wine was the last chance he had to live out his memories of the time when he was what he should have been.
Soon afterward his condition deteriorated.
In the late autumn of 1895 h became bedridden, and early in 1896 he died.
I had come home after lectures, and asked how he was. “Oh, “With downcast eyes they marched back to the land of the Philistines, O dear, O dear, O dear, how things have changed!” still the same.
“He’s very weak” my mother said.
He whispered something to her, which she repeated to me, warning me with her eyes of his delirious condition: “He wants to know whether you have passed the state examination.”
I saw that I must lie. “Yes, it went very well.” He sighed with relief, and closed his eyes. A little later I went in to see him again.
He was alone; my mother was doing something in the adjoining room.
There was a rattling in his throat, and I could see that he was in the death agony.
I stood by his bed, fascinated.
I had never seen anyone die before. Suddenly he stopped breathing.
I waited and waited for the next breath.
It did not come.
Then I remembered my mother and went into the next room, where she sat by the window, knitting. “He is dying,” I said. She came with me to the bed, and saw that he was dead.
She said as if in wonderment: “How quickly it has all passed.”
The following days were gloomy and painful, and little of them has remained in my memory.
Once my mother spoke to me or to the surrounding air in her “second” voice, and remarked, “He died in time for you.”
Which appeared to mean: “You did not understand each other and he might have become a hindrance to you.”
This view seemed to me to fit in with my mother’s No. 2 personality.
The words “for you” hit me terribly hard, and I felt that a bit of the old days had now come irrevocably to an end.
At the same time, a bit of manliness and freedom awoke in me.
After my father’s death I moved into his room, and took his place inside the family.
For instance, I had to hand out the housekeeping money to my mother every week, because she was unable to economize and could not manage money.
Six weeks after his death my father appeared to me in a dream.
Suddenly he stood before me and said that he was coming back from his holiday.
He had made a good recovery and was now coming home.
I thought he would be annoyed with me for having moved into his room. But not a bit of it!
Nevertheless, I felt ashamed because I had imagined he was dead. Two days later the dream was repeated.
My father had recovered and was coming home, and again I reproached myself because I had thought he was dead.
Later I kept asking myself: “What does it mean that my father returns in dreams and that he seems so real?”
It was an unforgettable experience, and it forced me for the first time to think about life after death.
With the death of my father difficult problems arose concerning the continuation of my studies.
Some of my mother’s relations took the view that I ought to look for a clerk’s job in a business house, so as to earn money as quickly as possible.
My mother’s youngest brother offered to help her, since her resources were not nearly sufficient to live on.
An uncle on my father’s side helped me.
At the end of my studies I owed him three thousand francs.
The rest I earned by working as a junior assistant and by helping an aged aunt dispose of her small collection of antiques.
I sold them piece by piece at good prices, and received a very welcome percentage.
I would not have missed this time of poverty.
One learns to value simple things. I still remember the time when I was given a box of cigars as a present.
It seemed to me princely.
They lasted a whole year, for I allowed myself one only on Sundays.
My student days were a good time for me.
Everything was intellectually alive, and it was also a time of friendships.
In the fraternity meetings I gave several lectures on theological and psychological subjects.
We had many animated discussions, and not always about medical questions only.
We argued over Schopenhauer and Kant, we knew all about the stylistic niceties of Cicero, and were interested in theology and philosophy.
During my student days I received much stimulation in regard to religious questions.
At home I had the welcome opportunity to talk with a theologian who had been my father’s vicar.
He was distinguished not only by his phenomenal appetite, which put mine quite in the shade, but by his remarkable erudition.
From him I learned a great deal about the Church Fathers and the history of dogma.
He also introduced me to new aspects of Protestant theology.
Ritschl’s theology was much in fashion in those days.
Its historicism irritated me, especially the comparison with a railway train,
content with the theory of the historical effect produced by Christ’s life.
This view seemed to me not only soft-witted but altogether lifeless.
Neither could I subscribe to the tendency to move Christ into the foreground and make him the sole decisive figure in the drama of God and man.
To me this absolutely belied Christ’s own view that the Holy Ghost, who had begotten him, would take his place among men after his death.
For me the Holy Ghost was a manifestation of the inconceivable God.
The workings of the Holy Ghost were not only sublime but also partook of that strange and even questionable quality which characterized the deeds of Yahweh, whom I naively identified with the Christian image of God, as I had been taught in my instruction for confirmation.
(I was also not aware at this time that the devil, properly speaking, had been born with Christianity.)
Lord Jesus was to me unquestionably a man and therefore a fallible figure, or else a mere mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost.
This highly unorthodox view, a far cry from the theological one, naturally ran up against utter incomprehension.
The disappointment I felt about this gradually led me to a kind of resigned indifference, and confirmed my conviction that in religious matters only experience counted.
During my first years at the university I made the discovery that while science opened the door to enormous quantities of knowledge, it provided genuine insights very sparingly, and these in the main were of a specialized nature.
I knew from my philosophical reading that the existence of the psyche was responsible for this situation.
Without the psyche there would be neither knowledge nor insight.
Yet nothing was ever said about the psyche.
Everywhere it was tacitly taken for granted, and even when someone mentioned it as did C. G. Carus, for example there was no real knowledge of it but only philosophical speculation which might just as easily take one turn as another.
I could make neither head nor tail of this curious observation.
At the end of my second semester, however, I made another discovery, which was to have great consequences.
In the library of a classmate’s father I came upon a small book on spiritualistic phenomena, dating from the seventies.
It was an account of the beginnings of spiritualism, and was written by a theologian.
My initial doubts were quickly dissipated, for I could not help seeing that the phenomena described in the book were in principle much the same as the stories I had heard again and again in the country since my earliest childhood.
The material, without a doubt, was authentic.
But the great question of whether these stories were physically true was not answered to my satisfaction.
Nevertheless, it could be established that at all times and all over the world the same stories had been reported again and again.
There must be some reason for this, and it could not possibly have been the predominance of the same religious conceptions everywhere, for that was obviously not the case.
Rather it must be connected with the objective behavior of the human psyche.
But with regard to this cardinal question the objective nature of the psyche I could find out absolutely nothing, except what the philosophers said.
The observations of the spiritualists, weird and questionable as they seemed to me, were the first accounts I had seen of objective psychic phenomena.
Names like Zoellner and Crookes impressed themselves on me, and I read virtually the whole of the literature available to me at the time.
Naturally I also spoke of these matters to my comrades, who to my great astonishment reacted with derision and disbelief or with anxious defensiveness.
I wondered at the sureness with which they could assert that things like ghosts and table-turning were impossible and therefore fraudulent, and on the other hand at the evidently anxious nature of their defensiveness.
I, too, was not certain of the absolute reliability of the reports, but why, after all, should there not be ghosts?
How did we know that something was “impossible”? And, above all, what did the anxiety signify?
For myself I found such possibilities extremely interesting and attractive.
They added another dimension to my life; the world gained depth and background.
Could, for example, dreams have anything to do with ghosts?
Kant’s Dreams of a Spirit Seer came just at the right moment, and soon I also discovered Karl Duprel, who had evaluated these ideas philosophically and psychologically, I dug up Eschenmayer, Passavant, Justinus Kerner, and Gorres, and read seven volumes of Swedenborg.
My mother’s No. 2 sympathized wholeheartedly with my enthusiasm, but everyone else I knew was distinctly discouraging.
Hitherto I had encountered only the brick wall of traditional views, but now I came up against the steel of people’s prejudice and their utter incapacity to admit unconventional possibilities. I found this even with my closest friends.
To them all this was far worse than my preoccupation with theology.
I had the feeling that I had pushed to die brink of the world; what was of burning interest to me was null and void for others, and even a cause for dread.
Dread of what?
I could find no explanation for this.
After all, there was nothing preposterous or world-shaking in the idea that there might be events which overstepped the limited categories of space, time, and causality.
Animals were known to sense beforehand storms and earthquakes.
There were dreams which foresaw the death of certain persons, clocks which stopped at the moment of death, glasses which shattered at the critical moment.
All these things had been taken for granted in the world of my childhood.
And now I was apparently the only person who had ever heard of them.
In all earnestness I asked myself what kind of world I had stumbled into.
Plainly the urban world knew nothing about the country world, the real world of mountains, woods, and rivers, of animals and “God’s thoughts” (plants and crystals).
I found this explanation comforting.
At all events, it bolstered my self-esteem, for I realized that for all its wealth of learning the urban world was mentally rather limited.
This insightproved dangerous, because it tricked me into fits of superiority, misplaced criticism, and aggressiveness, which got me deservedly disliked.
This eventually brought back all the old doubts, inferiority feelings, and depressions a vicious circle I was resolved to break at all costs.
No longer would I stand outside the world, enjoying the dubious reputation of a freak.
After my first introductory course I became junior assistant in anatomy, and the following semester the demonstrator placed me in charge of the course in histology to my intense satisfaction, naturally.
I interested myself primarily in evolutionary theory and comparative anatomy, and I also became acquainted with neo-vitalistic doctrines.
What fascinated me most of all was the morphological point of view in the broadest sense.
With physiology it was just the opposite.
I found the subject thoroughly repellent because of vivisection, which was practiced merely for purposes of demonstration.
I could never free myself from the feeling that warm-blooded creatures were akin to us and not just cerebral automata.
Consequently I cut demonstration classes whenever I could.
I realized that one had to experiment on animals, but the demonstration of such experiments nevertheless seemed to me horrible, barbarous, and above all unnecessary.
I had imagination enough to picture the demonstrated procedures from a mere description of them.
My compassion for animals did not derive from the Buddhistic trimmings of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, but rested on the deeper foundation of a primitive attitude of mind on an unconscious identity with animals.
At the time, of course, I was wholly ignorant of this important psychological fact.
My repugnance for physiology was so great that my examination results in this subject were correspondingly poor.
Nevertheless, I scraped through.
The clinical semesters that followed kept me so busy that scarcely any time remained for my forays into outlying fields.
I was able to study Kant only on Sundays.
I also read Eduard von Hartmann assiduously.
Nietzsche had been on my program for some time, but I hesitated to begin reading him because I felt I was insufficiently prepared.
At that time he was much discussed, mostly in adverse terms, by the allegedly competent philosophy students, from which I was able to deduce the hostility he roused in the higher echelons.
The supreme authority, of course, was Jakob Burckhardt, whose various critical comments on Nietzsche were bandied about.
Moreover, there were some persons at the university who had known Nietzsche personally and were able to retail all sorts of unflattering tidbits about him.
Most of them had not read a word of Nietzsche and therefore dwelt at length on his outward foibles, for example, his putting on airs as a gentleman, his manner of playing the piano, his stylistic exaggerations idiosyncrasies which got on the nerves of the good people of Basel in those days.
Such things would certainly not have caused me to postpone the reading of Nietzsche on the contrary, they acted as the strongest incentive.
But I was held back by a secret fear that I might perhaps be like him, at least in regard to the “secret” which had isolated him from his environment.
Perhaps who knows? he had had inner experiences, insights which he had unfortunately attempted to talk about, and had found that no one understood him.
Obviously he was, or at least was considered to be, an eccentric, a sport of nature, which I did not want to be under any circumstances.
I feared I might be forced to recognize that I too was another such strange bird.
Of course, he was a professor, had written whole long books and so had attained unimaginable heights, but, like me, he was a clergyman’s son.
He, however, had been born in the great land of Germany, which reached as far as the sea, while I was only a Swiss and sprang from a modest parsonage in a small border village.
He spoke a polished High German, knew Latin and Greek, possibly French, Italian, and Spanish as well, whereas the only language I commanded with any certainty was the Waggis-Basel dialect.
He, possessed of all these splendors, could well afford to be something of an eccentric, but I must not let myself find out how far I might be like him.
In spite of these trepidations I was curious, and finally resolved to read him.
Thoughts Out of Season was the first volume that fell into my hands.
I was carried away by enthusiasm, and soon afterward read Thus Spake Zarathustra.
This, like Goethe’s Faust, was a tremendous experience for me.
Zarathustra was Nietzsche’s Faust, his No. 2, and my No. 2 now corresponded to Zarathustra though this was rather like comparing a molehill with Mount Blanc.
And Zarathustra there could be no doubt about that was morbid. Was my No. 2 also morbid?
This possibility filled me with a terror which for a long time I refused to admit, but the idea cropped up again and again at inopportune moments, throwing me into a cold sweat, so that in the end I was forced to reflect on myself.
Nietzsche had discovered his No. 2 only late in life, when he was already past middle age, whereas I had known mine ever since boyhood.
Nietzsche had spoken naively and incautiously about this arrheton, this thing not to be named, as though it were quite in order.
But I had noticed in time that this only leads to trouble.
He was so brilliant that he was able to come to Basel as a professor when still a young man, not suspecting what lay ahead of him.
of his very brilliance he should have noticed in time that something was amiss.
That, I thought, was his morbid misunderstanding: that he fearlessly and unsuspectingly let his No. 2 loose upon a world that knew and understood nothing about such things.
He was moved by the childish hope of finding people who would be able to share his ecstasies and could grasp his “transvaluation of all values/*
But he found only educated Philistines tragi-comically, he was one himself.
Like the rest of them, he did not understand himself when he fell head first into the unutterable mystery and wanted to sing its praises to the dull, godforsaken masses.
That was the reason for the bombastic language, the piling up of metaphors, the hymn like raptures all a vain attempt to catch the ear of a world which had sold its soul for a mass of disconnected facts.
And he fell tightrope-walker that he proclaimed himself to be into depths far beyond himself.
He did not know his way about in this world and was like a man possessed, one who could be handled only with the utmost caution.
Among my friends and acquaintances I knew of only two who openly declared themselves adherents of Nietzsche.
Both were homosexual; one of them ended by committing suicide, the other ran to seed as a misunderstood genius.
The rest of my friends were not so much dumfounded by the phenomenon of Zarathustra as simply immune to its appeal.
Just as Faust had opened a door for me, Zarathustra slammed one shut, and it remained shut for a long time to come.
I felt like the old peasant who discovered that two of his cows had evidently been bewitched and had got their heads in the same halter.
“How did that happen?” asked his small son. “Boy, one doesn’t talk about such things/’ replied his father.
I realized that one gets nowhere unless one talks to people about the things they know.
The naive person does not appreciate what an insult it is to talk to one’s fellows about anything that is unknown to them.
They pardon such ruthless behavior only in a writer, journalist, or poet.
I came to see that a new idea, or even just an unusual aspect of an old one, can be communicated only by facts.
Facts remain and cannot be brushed aside; sooner or later someone will come upon them and know what he has found.
I realized that I talked only for want of something better, that I ought to be offering facts, and these I lacked entirely.
I had nothing concrete in my hands.
More than ever I found myself driven toward empiricism.
I began to blame the philosophers for rattling away when experience was lacking, and holding their tongues when they ought to have been answering with facts.
In this respect they all seemed like watered-down theologians.
I felt that at some time or other I had passed through the valley of diamonds, but I could convince no one not even myself, when I looked at them more closey that the specimens I had brought back were not mere pieces of gravel.
This was in 1898, when I began to think more seriously about my career as a medical man.
I soon came to the conclusion that I would have to specialize.
The choice seemed to lie between surgery and internal medicine.
I inclined toward the former because of my special training in anatomy and my preference for pathology, and would very probably have made surgery my profession if I had possessed the necessary financial means.
All along, it had been extremely painful to me to have to go into debt in order to study at all.
I knew that after the final examination I would have to begin earning my living as soon as possible.
I imagined a career as assistant at some cantonal hospital, where there was more hope of obtaining a paid position than in a clinic.
Moreover, a post in a clinic depended to a large extent on the backing or personal interest of the chief,
With my questionable popularity and estrangement from others experienced all too often I dared not think of any such stroke of luck, and therefore contented myself with the modest prospect of a post in one of the local hospitals.
The rest depended on hard work and on my capability and application.
During the summer holidays, however, something happened that was destined to influence me profoundly.
One day I was setting in my room, studying my textbooks. In the adjoining room, the door to which stood ajar, my mother was knitting.
That was our dining room, where the round walnut dining table stood.
The table had come from the dowry of my paternal grandmother, and was at this time about seventy years old.
My mother was sitting by the window, about a yard away from the table.
My sister was at school and our maid in the kitchen.
Suddenly there sounded a report like a pistol shot.
I jumped up and rushed into the room from which the noise of the explosion had come.
My mother was sitting flabbergasted in her armchair, the knitting fallen from her hands.
She stammered out, “W-w-what’s happened? It was right beside me!” and stared at the table.
Following her eyes, I saw what had happened.
The table top had split from the rim to beyond the center, and not along any joint; the split ran right through the solid wood.
I was thunderstruck. How could such a thing happen?
A table of solid walnut that had dried out for seventy years how could it split on a summer day in the relatively high degree of humidity characteristic of our climate?
If it had stood next to a heated stove on a cold, dry winter day, then it might have been conceivable.
What in the world could have caused such an explosion? “There certainly are curious accidents,” I thought.
My mother nodded darkly. “Yes, yes,” she said in her No. 2 voice, “that means something.”
Against my will I was impressed and annoyed with myself for not finding anything to say.
Some two weeks later I came home at six o’clock in the evening and found the household my mother, my fourteen-year-old sister, and the maid in a great state of agitation.
About an hour earlier there had been another deafening report.
This time it was not the already damaged table; the noise had come from the direction of the sideboard, a heavy piece of furniture dating from the early nineteenth century.
They had already looked all over it, but had found no trace of a split.
I immediately began examining the sideboard and the entire surrounding area, but just as fruitlessly.
Then I began on the interior of the sideboard.
In the cupboard containing the bread basket I found a loaf of bread, and, beside it, the bread knife.
The greater part of the blade had snapped off in several pieces.
The handle lay in one corner of the rectangular basket, and in each of the other corners lay a piece of the blade.
The knife had been used shortly before, at four-o’clock tea, and afterward put away.
Since then no one had gone to the sideboard.
The next day I took the shattered knife to one of the best cutlers in the town.
He examined the fractures with a magnifying glass, and shook his head. “This knife is perfectly sound,” he said, ‘There is no fault in the steel.
Someone must have deliberately broken it piece by piece.
It could be done, for instance, by sticking the blade into the crack of the drawer and breaking off a piece at a time.
Or else it might have been dropped on stone from a great height.
But good steel can’t explode. Someone has been pulling your leg.”
I have carefully kept the pieces of the knife to this day.
My mother and my sister had been in the room when the sudden report made them jump.
My mother’s No. 2 looked at me meaningfully, but I could find nothing to say.
I was completely at a loss and could offer no explanation of what had happened, and this was all the more annoying as I had to admit that I was profoundly impressed.
Why and how had the table split and the knife shattered?
The hypothesis that it was just a coincidence went much too far.
It seemed highly improbable to me that the Rhine would flow backward just once, by mere chance and all other possible explanations were automatically
ruled out. So what was it?
A few weeks later I heard of certain relatives who had been engaged for some time in table-turning, and also had a medium, a young girl of fifteen and a half.
The group had been thinking of having me meet the medium, who produced somnambulistic states and spiritualistic phenomena.
When I heard this, I immediately thought of the strange manifestations in our house, and I conjectured that they might be somehow connected with this medium.
I therefore began attending the regular stances which my relatives held every Saturday evening.
We had results in the form of communications and tapping noises from the walls and the table.
Movements of the table independently of the medium were questionable, and I soon found out that limiting conditions imposed on the experiment generally had an obstructive effect.
I therefore accepted the obvious autonomy
of the tapping noises and turned my attention to the content of the communications.
I set forth the results of these observations in my doctoral thesis.
After about two years of experimentation we all became rather weary of it.
I caught the medium trying to produce phenomena by trickery, and this made me break off the experiments very much to my regret, for I had learned from this example how a No. 2 personality is formed, how it enters into a child’s consciousness and finally integrates it into itself.
She was one of these precociously matured personalities, and she died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-six.
I saw her once again, when she was twenty-four, and received a lasting impression of the independence and maturity of her personality.
After her death I learned from her family that during the last months of her life her character disintegrated bit by bit, and that ultimately she returned to the state of a two-year-old child, in which condition she fell into her last sleep.
All in all, this was the one great experience which wiped out all my earlier philosophy and made it possible for me to achieve a psychological point of view.
I had discovered some objective facts about the human psyche.
Yet the nature of the experience was such that once again I was unable to speak of it.
I knew no one to whom I could have told the whole story.
Once more I had to lay aside an unfinished problem.
It was not until two years later that my dissertation appeared.
At the medical clinic Friedrich von Muller had taken the place of old Immermann.
In Miiller I encountered a mind that appealed to me.
I saw how a keen intelligence grasped the problem and formulated questions which in themselves were half the solution.
He, for his part, seemed to see something in me, for toward the end of my studies he proposed that I should go with him, as his assistant, to Munich, where he had received an appointment.
This invitation almost persuaded me to devote myself to internal medicine.
I might have done so had not something happened in the meantime which removed all my doubts concerning my future career.
Though I had attended psychiatric lectures and clinics, the current instructor in psychiatry was not exactly stimulating, and when I recalled the effects which the experience of asylums had had on my father, this was not calculated to prepossess me in favor of psychiatry.
In preparing myself for the state examination, therefore, the textbook on psychiatry was the last I attacked.
I expected nothing of it, and I still remember that as I opened the book by Krafft-Ebing
5 the thought came to me: “Well, now let’s see what a psychiatrist has to say for himself.”
The lectures and clinical demonstrations had not made the slightest impression on me.
I could not remember a single one of the cases I had seen in the clinic, but only my boredom and disgust.
I began with the preface, intending to find out how a psychiatrist introduced his subject or, indeed, justified his reason for existing at all.
By way of excuse for this high and mighty attitude I must make it clear that in the medical world at that time psychiatry was quite generally held in contempt.
No one really knew anything about it, and there was no psychology which regarded man as a whole and included his pathological variations in the total picture.
The director was locked up in the same institution with his patients, and the institution was equally cut off, isolated on the outskirts of the city like an ancient lazaret with its lepers.
No one liked looking in that direction.
The doctors knew almost as little as the layman and therefore shared his feelings.
Mental disease was a hopeless and fatal affair which cast its shadow over psychiatry as well.
The psychiatrist was a strange figure in those days, as I was soon to learn from personal experience.
Beginning with the preface, I read: “It is probably due to the peculiarity of the subject and its incomplete state of development that psychiatric textbooks are stamped with a more or less subjective character/’
A few lines further on, the author called the psychoses “diseases of the personality/*
My heart suddenly began to pound. I had to stand up and draw a deep breath.
My excitement was intense, for it had become clear to me, in a flash of illumination, that for me the only possible goal was psychiatry.
Here alone the two currents of my interest could flow together and in a united stream dig their own bed.
Here was the empirical field common to biological and spiritual facts, which I had everywhere sought and nowhere found.
Here at last was the place where the collision of nature and spirit became a reality.
My violent reaction set in when Krafft-Ebing spoke of the “subjective character” of psychiatric textbooks.
So, I thought, the textbook is in part the subjective confession of the author.
With his specific prejudice, with the totality of his being, he stands behind the objectivity of his experiences and responds to the “disease of the personality” with the whole of his own personality.
Never had I heard anything of this sort from my teacher at the clinic.
In spite of the fact that Krafft-Ebing’s textbook did not differ essentially from other books of the kind, these few hints cast such a transfiguring light on psychiatry that I was irretrievably drawn under its spell.
The decision was taken.
When I informed my teacher in internal medicine of my intention,
I could read in his face his amazement and disappointment.
My old wound, the feeling of being an outsider and of alienating others, began to ache again.
But now I understood why.
No one, not even I myself, had ever imagined I could become interested in this obscure bypath.
My friends were astounded and put out, thinking me a fool for throwing up the enviable chance of a sensible career in internal medicine, which dangled so temptingly before my nose, in favor of this psychiatric nonsense.
I saw that once again I had obviously got myself into a side alley where no one could or would follow me.
But I knew and nothing and nobody could have deflected me from my purpose that my decision stood, and that it was fate.
It was as though two rivers had united and in one grand torrent were bearing me inexorably toward distant goals.
This confident feeling that I was a “united double nature” carried me as if on a magical wave through the examination, in which I came out at the top.
Characteristically, the stumbling block that lurks in the path of all miracles that turn out too well tripped me up in the very subject in which I really excelled, pathological anatomy.
By a ridiculous error, in a slide which apart from all sorts of debris seemed to contain only epithelial cells,
I overlooked some molds hiding in a corner.
In the other subjects, I had even guessed what questions I would be asked.
Thanks to this, I cleared several dangerous reefs with flying colors.
In revenge, I was then fooled in the most grotesque way just where I felt most certain of myself.
Had it not been for this I would have had the highest mark in the examination.
As it was, another candidate received the same number of points as I did.
He was a lone wolf, with a personality quite opaque to me and suspiciously banal.
It was impossible to talk to him about anything except “shop/*
He reacted to everything with an enigmatic smile, which reminded me of the Greek statues at Aegina.
He had an air of superiority, and yet underneath it he seemed embarrassed and never quite fitted into any situation. Or was it a kind of stupidity?
I could never make him out.
The only definite thing about him was the impression he gave of almost monomaniacal ambition which precluded interest in anything but sheer facts.
A few years afterward he became schizophrenic.
I mention this as a characteristic example of the parallelism of events.
My first book was on the psychology of dementia praecox (schizophrenia), and in it my personality with its bias or “personal equation” responded to this “disease of the personality.”
I maintained that psychiatry, in the broadest sense, is a dialogue between the sick psyche and the psyche of the doctor, which is presumed to be “normal.”
It is a coming to terms between the sick personality and that of the therapist, both in principle equally subjective.
My aim was to show that delusions and hallucinations were not just specific symptoms of mental disease but also had a human meaning.
The evening after my last examination I treated myself for the first time in my life to the longed-for luxury of going to the theater.
Until then my finances had not permitted any such extravagance.
But I still had some money left from the sale of the antiques, and this allowed me not only a visit to the opera but even a trip to Munich and Stuttgart.
Bizet intoxicated and overwhelmed me, rocked me on the waves of an infinite sea.
And next day, when the train carried me over the border into a wider world, the melodies of Carmen accompanied me.
In Munich I saw real classical art for the first time, and this in conjunction with Bizet’s music put me in a spring-like, nuptial mood, whose depth and meaning I could only dimly grasp.
Outwardly, however, it was a dismal week between the first and the ninth of December, 1900.
In Stuttgart I paid a farewell visit to my aunt, Frau Reimer-Jung, whose husband was a psychiatrist.
She was the daughter of my paternal grandfather’s first marriage to Virginia de Lassaulx.
She was an enchanting old lady with sparkling blue eyes and a vivacious temperament.
She seemed t6 me immersed in a world of impalpable fantasies and of memories that refused to go home the last breath of a vanishing, irrevocable past.
This visit was a final farewell to the nostalgias of my childhood.
On December 10, 1900, I took up my post as assistant at Burgholzli Mental Hospital, Zurich.
I was glad to be in Zurich, for in the course of the years Basel had become too stuffy for me.
For the Baslers no town exists but their own: only Basel is “civilized,” and north of the river Birs the land of the barbarians begins.
My friends could not understand my going away, and reckoned I would be back in no time.
But that was out of the question, for in Basel I was stamped for all time as the son of the Reverend Paul Jung and the grandson of Professor Carl Gustav Jung..
I was an intellectual and belonged to a definite social set.
I felt resistances against this, for I could not and would not let myself be classified.
The intellectual atmosphere of Basel seemed to me enviably cosmopolitan, but the pressure of tradition was too much for me.
When I came to Zurich I felt the difference at once. Zurich relates to the world not by the intellect but by commerce.
Yet here the air was free, and I had always valued that.
Here you were not weighed down by the brown fog of the centuries, even though one missed the rich background of culture.
For Basel I have to this day a nostalgic weakness, despite the fact that I know it no longer is as it was.
I still remember the days when Bachofen and Burckhardt walked in the streets, and behind the cathedral stood the old chapter house, and the old bridge over the Rhine, half made of wood.
For my mother it was hard that I was leaving Basel.
But I knew that I could not spare her this pain, and she bore it bravely.
She lived together with my sister, a delicate and rather sickly nature, in every respect different from me.
She was as though born to live the life of a spinster, and she never married.
But she developed a remarkable personality, and I admired her attitude.
She had to undergo an operation that was considered harmless, but she did not survive it.
I was deeply impressed when I discovered that she had put all her affairs in order beforehand, down to the last detail.
At bottom she was always a stranger to me, but I had great respect for her.
I was rather emotional, whereas she was always composed, though very sensitive deep down.
I could imagine her spending her days in a Home for Gentlewomen, just as the only sister of my grandfather had done.
With my work at Burgholzli, life took on an undivided reality all intention, consciousness, duty, and responsibility.
It was an entry into the monastery of the world, a submission to the vow to believe only in what was probable, average, commonplace, barren of meaning, to renounce everything strange and significant, and reduce anything extraordinary to the banal.
Henceforth there were only surfaces that hid nothing, only beginnings without continuations, accidents without coherence, knowledge that shrank to ever smaller circles, failures that claimed to be problems, oppressively narrow horizons, and the unending desert of routine.
For six months I locked myself within the monastic walls in order to get accustomed to the life and spirit of the asylum, and I read through the fifty volumes of the Attgemeine Zeitschrift filr Psychiatric from its very beginnings, in order to acquaint myself with the psychiatric mentality.
I wanted to know how the human mind reacted to the sight of its own destruction, for psychiatry seemed to me an articulate expression of that biological reaction which seizes upon the so-called healthy mind in the presence of mental illness.
My professional colleagues seemed to me no less interesting than the patients.
In the years that followed I secretly compiled statistics on the hereditary background of my Swiss colleagues, and gained much instruction.
I did this for my personal edification as well as for the sake of understanding the psychiatric mentality.
I need scarcely mention that my concentration and self-imposed confinement alienated me from my colleagues.
They did not know, of course, how strange psychiatry seemed to me, and how intent I was on penetrating into its spirit.
At that time my interest in therapy had not awakened, but the pathological variants of so-called normality fascinated me, because they offered me the longed-for opportunity to obtain a deeper insight into the psyche in general.
These, then, were the conditions under which my career in psychiatry began the subjective experiment out of which my objective life emerged.
I have neither the desire nor the capacity to stand outside myself and observe my fate in a truly objective way.
I would commit the familiar autobiographical mistake either of weaving an illusion about how it ought to have been, or of writing an apologia pro vita sua.
In the end, man is an event which cannot judge itself, but, for better or worse, is left to the judgment of others. ~Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Pages 84-113