Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961
Dear Mr. Sinclair, 20 January 1955
Thank you ever so much for your awfully nice letter.
You ought not to think that I shall be able to write you always such long letters in the future; it all depends on the button you push.
It happens that your recent writings have touched off some electric charges.
I am glad that my letter has pleased you and I have no objection whatever if you want to publish it in the New Republic.
It is a great question to me whether the American public or at least some of its competent representatives can follow my argument.
If the reduction to the simple human story would be the proper answer, the whole tradition of 2000 years would be wiped out together with the church that carries it.
The disruption of tradition means the destruction of a culture.
I am not sure that we ought to risk such a peril.
If we want to maintain the spiritual contents of 2000 years of Christian tradition, we must understand what it is all about.
One can do that only if one assumes that it makes sense.
As religious assertions never make sense when understood concretely, they needs must be comprehended as a symbolic psychic phenomenon.
That’s the point I try to make clear to my contemporaries.
It is an ambitious and perhaps hopeless enterprise, but I believe in the Roman principle dulce et decorum est pro patria mori; instead of patria you read patrimonium christianum.
I have realized from your previous letter that you are already 76 years old; I hadn’t realized that before.
I am now in my 80th and I must say I am grateful to whomever administers my fate that I have met in you a kindred spirit interested in and talking of things that seem to be vital to you.
I assure you there are not many.
The ecclesia spiritualis is a very small concern, and pays little dividends.
My best wishes for you,
P .S. Indeed I do remember Frederik van Eeden:
I may have seen him personally even, but I am not quite sure; it is so long ago, between 40 and 50 years.
I remember him as a very sensitive and sweet nature, definitely without the stamina a pioneer needs.
He was dangerously near the modern mind, but his weakness led him into the protection of the ecclesiastical walls.
I don’t know how he felt about his conversion. His was a way back, but not out. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 214-215.