Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961
To Pater Lucas Menz, O.S. B .
Dear Pater Lucas, 22 February 1955
I have read your draft with great interest.
Considering the terrible time in which we are living, I am bound to agree.
It reminds me of the beneficent work of the O.S.B. in those dark centuries when the culture of antiquity was gradually falling into decay.
Now once again we are in a time of decay and transition, as around 2000 B.C, when the Old Kingdom of Egypt collapsed, and at the beginning of the Christian era, when the New Kingdom finally came to an end and with it classical Greece.
The vernal equinox is moving out of the sign of Pisces into the sign of Aquarius, just as it did out of Taurus (the old bull gods) into Aries (the ram-horned gods) and then out of Aries (the sacrificed lamb) into Pisces.
It is to be hoped that the O.S.B. will succeed in launching another salvaging operation this time too.
1500 years ago St. Benedict could pour the new wine into new bottles; or rather, the seeds of a new culture germinating in the decay were bedded in the new spirit of Christianity.
Our apocalyptic epoch likewise contains the seeds of a different, unprecedented, and still inconceivable future which could be bedded in the Christian spirit if only this would renew itself, as happened with the seeds that sprouted from the decay of classical culture.
But here, it seems to me, lies the great difficulty.
The coming new age will be as vastly different from ours as the world of the 19th century was from that of the 20th with its atomic physics and its psychology of the unconscious.
Never before has mankind been torn into two halves, and never before was the power of Absolute destruction given into the hand of man himself.
It is a “godlike” power that has fallen into human hands.
The dignitas humani generis has swollen into a truly diabolical grandeur.
What answer will the genius of mankind give?
Or what will God do about it?
You answer with the historical spirit in which St. Benedict answered, but he spoke and acted with a new spirit that was a match for the anti-spirit of his age.
Is that answer also equal to the present problem?
And does it comprehend the terrible grandeur that has revealed itself in man?
It seems to me we haven’t yet noticed that such a question has been posed at all.
We are still stuck in the fearful murk and confusion of unconsciousness.
Christianity brought the world a new light, the lux moderna (as the alchemists called their lumen naturae).
Today this light flickers and wavers alarmingly, and the wheel of history cannot be turned back.
Even the Emperor Augustus with all his power could not push through his attempts at repristination.
You have rightly guessed that I am as worried as you are and have every sympathy with your aspirations.
But why do you turn to me, a dyed-in-the-wool Protestant?
Presumably you are thinking of my psychology which, though born of the Christian spirit, seeks to give adequate answers to the spirit of this age: the voice of a doctor struggling to heal the psychic confusion of his time and thus compelled to use a language very different from yours.
In all too many cases the old language is no longer understood, or is understood in the wrong way.
If I have to make the meaning of the Christian message intelligible to a patient, I must translate it with a commentary.
In fact this is one practical aim of my psychology, or rather psychotherapy.
The theologian could hardly go along with this, although St. Paul himself spoke Greek to the Greeks and probably wouldn’t have been deterred even if the head of the community at Jerusalem had forbidden it.
I am taking the liberty of sending you my book Aion, from which you will see that you are dealing with a heretic and could get your fingers burned.
I would like to spare you this, for you can help many people even without modern psychology.
I can only wish your endeavour every success, since I understand it perfectly although outsiders can’t see that.
For most people my Christian standpoint remains hidden, and because of the strangeness of my language and the incomprehensibility of my interests I am given a wide berth.
With kind regards,
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 225-226.