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Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961

Dear Herr N., 28 April 1955

Your ideas bring you up against a general cultural problem which is infinitely complicated.

What is true in one place is untrue in another.

“Suffering is the swiftest steed that bears you to perfection,” and the contrary is also true.

“Breaking in” can be discipline, and this is needed for the emotional chaos of man, though at the same time it can kill the living spirit, as we have seen only too often.

In my opinion there is no magical word that could finally unravel this whole complex of questions; nor is there any method of thinking or living or acting which would eliminate suffering and unhappiness.

If a man’s life consists half of happiness and half of unhappiness, this is probably the optimum that can be reached, and it remains forever an unresolved question whether suffering is educative or demoralizing.

In any case it would be wrong to give oneself up to relativism and indifferentism.

Whatever can be bettered in a given place at a given time should certainly be done, for it would be sheer folly to do otherwise.

Man’s fate has always swung between day and night.

There is nothing we can do to change this.

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 248.