To Arnold Kubler
Dear Herr Kubler, 10 April 1942
I have been mulling over your question about the Romantics but have come to the conclusion that, fully occupied as I am with my own work at present, I could hardly muster the necessary patience to expatiate on such a contemplative theme as “Why Can’t We Paint Like the Romantics Any More?” with the contemplativeness this requires.
For that is what we lack at the present time-contemplativeness.
If one is sitting on a volcano and can be contemplative to boot, this is a superhuman heroism which is itself a contradiction in terms.
Nowadays it’s no longer any use appealing to any certainties.
Deep down we know that everything is tottering.
When the earth quakes, there are only abrupt and disjointed fragments, but no closely woven and harmonious flower carpet.
A Romantic ideal in our time would be like a figment from a feverish dream.
Therefore it is much better for modern art to paint the thousand-hued debris of the shattered crockery than to try to spread a deceptive quietness over the bottomless
The grotesque, the ugly, the distorted, the revolting perfectly fit our time, and if a new certainty does not start up somewhere, art will continue to express disquiet and inhumanity.
That is all I have to say on this question. It is abrupt and disjointed, like what we are talking about.
C.G. Jung [Letters Volume 1, Page 316]