Culver Nichols: “Quite a Business Proposition”
Old-time Yankees in New England had a handy phrase for describing a person without saying too much about that person.
This phrase was ”quire a business proposition.”
I ﬁrst heard it from my New Hampshire-born father-in-law and again many years later across the sea in Switzerland, in talking with C. G. Jung, who used it in vernacular way, just as if he were born and bred in New England.
His English was American style and to a degree Yankee American.
This phrase “quite a business proposition” would say about a particular individual that that person was someone of substantial importance, to be reckoned with, to be dealt with, but it implied neither approval nor disapproval
It neither praised nor condemned in any sense! It simply said that this was somebody.
It left open all value judgments.
The thought later occurred to me that this very well applies to Jung himself, that he is in so many ways quite a business proposition.
During the winter of 1951-52 students at the C.G. Jung lnstitute, Zurich , were advised to attend the annual masquerade party in costume.
The idea came to me to outline my arms and legs with large colorful feathers.
These were found in children’s Indian headdresses at the Franz Weber toy store on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse.
These headdresses were then opened out full length and stretched to the arms and legs of black ski rights.
At the party Jung was obviously enjoying the festivities and the sight of the colorfully costumed couples on the dance ﬂoor.
He chatted happily with all who came over to rake a sear near him.
He liked to identify the costumes and called me an “Eagle Dancer,” to my surprise.
I had been so close to the creation of my disguise that I had failed to see its meaning in depth.
“Quite a business proposition,” said Jung about a “Venetian Woman” swirling by to the lively music.
By his presence at such functions Dr Jung contributed to the sense of personal participation shared by the students
and faculty of the C. G. Jung lnstitute, yet at all times his privacy was respected and no one thought to rake advantage of his openness.
His real business was with the unconscious in chef tremendous task of writing his most important works, and yet
he was always willing to listen and to talk.
He was often visited by such outstanding ﬁgures as physicist Nils Bohr, Laurens van der Post, Father Victor White,
and many others, and one felt that he had personal time for each visitor while at the same rime being deeply involved in his writings.
The business of publication and distribution of his work was given to others. His translator was R. F. C. Hull , who lived at Ascona.
In talking with Hull, I felt that he was a remarkable translator who understood Jung’s writing deeply and thor oughly
and was able to bring into the English translations many of them nuances from the German that might seem untranslatable
I was interested in the reasons for delays in the publication of Jung in English, wondering why it was taking
long after the translation was completed for us to be able to go into a bookstore and buy the book Psychology and Alchemy, for example, in English.
The English edition was ﬁnally ready when I was leaving this country to return to Zurich in 1953.
I was very fortunate to be able to obtain an early copy in New York on my way.
I rook it to Kusnacht where it was autographed for me by Dr. Jung.
But 1 was surprised at how long before that book would be available in bookstores, and it seemed to be that way with all Jung’s books.
I was greatly concerned about this and I became a little busybody, talking to Dr. Gerhard Adler, who was the head of the Board of Publications.
I ﬁnally realized that new volumes in the collected works would appear in English when the books themselves felt good and ready.
During our year in Zurich, Time magazine requested a press interview and cover story on Jung, but he was too
deeply involved in his work to want to be disturbed by this.
Also he was leery of the kind of journalism that was happening in those years in which, as always with reporting, things don’t usually come out the way you present them.
So he put oﬀ having char interview and asked my wife and me to help the Time magazine reporter get his story without having the interview he sought.
This points up the fact that here was a man who was quite a business proposition but who didn’t have any public relations arrangements at all!
The whole thing was handled within the Jung house-hold by Jung’s secretary, Mary Jean Schmidt , who was a gentle and reluctant dragon, protecting him from undesired encounters.
The family realized that what happens with reporting is apt to result in distortions of meaning. So it just seemed better at his time to avoid such interviews.
Because they had a tight little household, Mrs. Jung and Mary Jean saw to it that only chose people who were
wanted got in. •
For example, at the same time the magazine reporter was trying to see Jung, there was a psychologist from India, a Dr. Banerjee who had been sent all the way co Zurich by his colleagues in a psychoanalytical association in Calcutta.
His mission was to present greetings to Jung and appreciation of Jung’s remarkable bridge building between the psychology of East and West.
Dr. Banerjee was invited to the house and I was invited to transport him in my car.
It was a very exciting week because we had to keep the Time reporter away and at the same time arrange unobtrusively that the Hindu psychiatrist have his meeting with Jung.
The household was concerned to avoid Jung being called “mystic.”
This was something that was a major of professional concern, perhaps even professional pride and dignity, be- cause the label “mystic” was sometimes used to denigrate Jung and his work.
The fact was that Jung was a real empirical scientist in his ﬁeld.
There was a need to know about things mysterious and he was the guy who was doing the research where it had to be done, in the unconscious, and reporting it; so he was entitled to be regarded as the great scientist in psychology, and it would be quite petty and untrue to call him a “mystic.”
But the press still persisted in saddling him with this label.
Imagine wharf the Time reporter would have done with that knowledge, if he had it, that a Hindu psychologist was visiting Jung’s home and having talks with him!
This might have been too sensational.
So we all although it just as well that their paths didn’t cross.
I am sure that many people have been helped in business and professional lives and in all of their activities by contact with the psychology of C. G. Jung.
Through my analysis and my studies I have experienced truly remarkable results and help, both in personal matters and in important business transactions, directly because of insights that came through Jung’s psychology.
I feel that the unconscious is quite a business proposition. Culver Nichols, J.E.T., Pages 44-46