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Carl Jung: It is really a bit too much that an educated person of today


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Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961

To Herbert Read

Dear Sir Herbert, 22 October 1960

I ask your pardon for bothering you again with a letter.

I have just read the review of your book The Form of Things Unknown in The Listener of September 22nd, 1960.

Alloway asks the silly question “what do the archetypes communicate?”

In case you should like to answer him I should like you to point out his remarkable ignorance.

One knows a great deal about what archetypes communicate even if one has never been inside a Catholic Church.

It is really a bit too much that an educated person of today does not even know what an archetype communicates.

It is only yesterday that I wrote to a young artist who has sent me one of his abstract pictures, which very clearly suggests the archetype of the Dragon, though a bit distorted and hollowed out to make it unrecognizable.

Thus obviously the religious views which were ejected through the front door into the street return through the back door.

Archetypes are forms of different aspects expressing the creative psychic background. They are and always have been numinous and therefore “divine.”

In a very generalizing way we can therefore define them as attributes of the creator. That would explain the compelling character of such inner perceptions.

The pictures themselves would have the significance of ikons.

It is just that. No answer needed.

Cordially yours,

C.G. Jung Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 605-606