Mary Crile: A remembrance of C.G. Jung:
That afternoon after the dinner celebrating Jung’s eightieth birthday everyone assembled for the boat trip down the lake.
The boat stopped outside Jung’s house at Kusnacht and blew its whistle, while cameras and field glasses tried to distinguish him from the small group waving on the lawn.
Then the boat went on and stopped again at Meilen and who should step on board but the dear old wise man, chuckling over the grand surprise he had given everyone.
He sat on deck while members of the party clicked their cameras mercilessly in his face, and then got off at Rapperswil.
It was a wonderful, human gesture and he did it “just for fun” and loved it, I was told by Dr. Riklin afterwards.
The last time I saw Jung face to face was less than two years ago.
I found him much aged but there was the same kindly twinkle behind those penetrating eyes of his.
When he said, “Pull up your chair, for I am getting deaf and old and stupid,” I could not help smiling as I reminded him that he had made exactly the same remark to me, just eleven years earlier.
He replied with a chuckle, “Well, it doesn’t seem to get any better!”
Our conversation began with my giving him greetings from Dr. Henderson.
After inquiring about the progress of the book Dr. Henderson was writing, Jung said, ‘Tm glad he’s doing that. It is good to get away from the other work … with the psychological rain dropping down all day. I’m glad I don’t have that to do any more.”
I had brought some magazine clippings about an interview on schizophrenia in which he had been misunderstood and misinterpreted.
He said, “That is because they cannot conceive of paradoxical thinking-it has to be either-or.
It is hard for the Western mind to think that way.”
He then told me of a man, in his fifties, whom he had seen only once.
“He was a pillar of the church, very stern, very righteous and people feared him.
He woke up suddenly one night and roused his wife to say, ‘All my life I have been living what I am not-I am something quite different.’
After that he proceeded to live the rest of his life as a dissolute waster-he drank and spent all his money foolishly etc.
That was the opposite of individuation because he could not reconcile the two sides of his nature.
The Oriental mind does not think that way.
Lao tse speaks of our Original Nature.
. . . The Unconscious is just Nature and there is no such thing as good and evil in Nature …. How far can we say that we determine our own lives?
Well, we can say ‘This is my will’ … but perhaps it is the will of the Unconscious behind Consciousness.
When things go wrong-not according to our wishes, it is because the Unconscious opposes us.”
I asked him if he would say that we only have freedom of choice to the extent of consciousness and he answered, “Yes-and yet there are cases of a calling-a vocation, such as that of St. Niklaus von der Flue and his terrible visions of God.”
I asked whether it was because these visions were heretical that the church had so recently canonized him.
He replied, “It was because in the last war, on two occasions, Hitler’s armies had orders to march through Switzerland, and were already at the border, when, at the last moment these orders were cancelled because of the collective vision of St. Niklaus’ hands put out to stop them.
My son was with the Swiss Army at the time and heard it personally.
After that demonstration, there was so much public pressure that the church had to canonize him.
It is all in Dr. von Franz’s book on St. Niklaus.”
In reply to a question of mine, he said, “One must accept the swings of life.
There is a Flemish writer who tells of a man who climbs the hill, whistling and singing and laughing, and descends it with groans and tears.
Asked why he reversed the ordinary procedure, he answered, “I laugh when I go up because I think of coming down again, and weep coming down because I must go up once more!”
When I asked him what he was writing, he said, “My biography .. It is purgatory!
Frau Jaffe is writing it but I must check it all because no one knows someone else’s life.
I have done the first twenty years and that is the easiest because one can be more objective there.”
He paused and then added thoughtfully, “I don’t know the meaning of life.”
As he said this, I felt that, even for Jung, who more than anyone in our day saw life steadily and saw it whole, there still remained an unsolved mystery and that his “pistis”, translated from the Greek as “faith” but defined by him as “loyalty to an experience,” made him content that his should be so.
As I went out of the house, I turned to look once more at the motto carved in the stone above the doorway–vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit (whether called upon or not called upon, God will be present). I felt the approaching sense of completion and almost heard the arrow flying to its mark.
at a reception on a very hot night, all decked in his new robes, and saying out of the side of his mouth to us: “I feel like an Indian in his sweat lodge!”
But I should like most to write about the time in 1934 when Cary took her daughter and me to Bollingen for dinner.
It was May-we drove out in the late afternoon, and the sun was low, and all the fields absolutely starry with flowers.
There is no doubt that it was an extraordinarily magical place, there at the end of the lake.
We walked by the lake and built a fire on the beach, and Dr. Jung was off chopping wood.
When we came in I remember the damp, stony, medieval look and smell of the inside of the house, and Dr. Jung sitting by the fireplace with a stocking cap on his head, stirring a stew in a big iron pot.
We ate the stew later at a refectory table in another stone floored room.
Dr. Jung gave us a lot of wine and made us all quite drunk in a pleasant way, and all I can remember is everyone telling jokes, but not what they were.
Only when we had finished our second helping of stew, and might have been ready for another, he asked us to guess what a certain kind of meat in it could be.
We guessed heart, lungs, and all kinds of unusual things., and finally had to give up.
He then revealed that it was dried cow’s udder; and after that no one seemed to want any more.
He threw the rest to the dogs under the table-another medieval gesture.
I remember driving back through the warm night in the open car in a haze of wine and enjoyment.
I remember, but find it hard to convey, the fairy-tale quality of the place and everything that happened there.
Above all I remember someone who, by his every word and action gave one the feeling that life is a good thing-something even more precious to me than anything he put on paper. ~Mary Crile, J.E.T., Pages 114-117
Carl Jung across the web:
Blog: http: http://carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com/
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