Jung My Mother and I

[Below is an Excerpt from “Jung, My Mother and I.” Catherine “Katy” Cabot knew Carl Jung and many of the early pioneers of Depth Psychology.

She was not a clinician but was a patient of Carl Jung’s and Toni Wolff. She affectionately referred to Dr. Jung as “Onkle.”

She maintained a diary of her meetings with Dr. Jung and others as well as her correspondence with them.

This book consisting of over 600 pages is a gold mine of information about the early days of Depth Psychology but is written in a most entertaining manner.

“Then I asked him how he felt with no one to carry on [his work]. He said it was not necessary; he was leaving behind a wealth of literature, and the ones to come would glean from it. “After all,” he said, “Nature does not produce a series of me, and after Goethe or Schopenhauer, there was no one—after all, notes, etc. are kept, and I put my thoughts into them, and leave behind a great deals of literature.” We then spoke of Zarathustra. He said that no one had quite understood it; it was read because it was beautiful, and also there were many quotations from Nietzsche in German literature. Nietzsche did not realize what he was doing, and he produced, like nature, a lot of things which he did not understand or know about.

Onkel said that he first read Nietzsche in the Canton du Valais, and was first impresses with its beauty; then he saw it was an amazing tragedy: that it was a slow approach to the world of the shadow. It is like a patient who defends himself against the growing shadows: he grows more and more afraid of the blackness. Nietzsche though he was writing a gospel to the world in order to make the way for the Lord. The German soldiers read Zarathustra in the trenches; it spoke to their unconscious. I asked him why people read Zarathustra. Was it because it was so beautiful? He said that was it, and repeated that also there was a lot of it quoted in German literature. He went on to say that nobody has sounded the depths of it, and shown the real tragedy. Forty years ago, people would have though it crazy stuff.

I then asked again whether he disliked not leaving someone behind him to carry on his work, and he repeated that he was leaving so many books behind him, full of his thoughts for future people to read and study. He said that people like himself did not appear en serie, they only happen here and there. Who was there to follow after Goethe, Schopenhauer and Schiller? He said that people not understanding his teachings, though sometimes that he was a charlatan, or were very nebulous about him, and when they think like that they are asses, “After all, the Archbishop of York would not have consulted me on matters of dogma were I a charlatan.”

Onkel said that Nietzsche was not always crazy. People call somebody crazy when they themselves are crazy and stupid. …When you say something more intelligent than they are able to understand, then they just say the person is crazy. When Galileo Galillei said the world moved, and then demonstrated this with his telescope, people said he was crazy; then they put him in prison and put the thumb screws on him. Nevertheless, on coming out of the gaol, he said, “Eppur is mouve” [but it does move]’

Onkel said that he was ahead of his time, but some day everyone will learn what he now teaches. When at school he was punished for a thesis which he wrote. His teacher told him that he mush have copied it somewhere, which he denied vigorously, saying that he had written it himself. Nevertheless, he was even punished a second time for “copying” another thesis. People were astonished that he knew something! When he was in New England, he discussed certain psychological problems with some learned professors, and they kept repeating, “But that is research work, research.” “Yes,” said Onkel, “it is research.” People have an idea when one talks psychology, that it is “mere talk.” The Freudian idea goes back to sex. You dream of a door and have no key—quite obvious what it means. It helps a lot of people just to be able to talk over everything that is on their mind. ~Jung, My Mother and I; Pages 187-188