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Carl Jung reviews Jolande Jacobi book


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Letters Volume II

To Jolande Jacobi

Dear Dr. Jacobi, 13 March 1956

Forgive me for being so late with my report.

I have read your essay in the Psyche Festschrift with great interest.

It is a very good presentation of my concepts, or rather of the names I use to express empirical facts.

But I always stumble over the frequent use of the term “theory” or “system.”

Freud has a “theory,” I have no “theory” but I describe facts.

I do not theorize about how neuroses originate, I describe what you find in neuroses.

Nor have I any theory of dreams, I only indicate what kind of method I use and what the possible results are.

I must emphasize this because people always fail to see that I am talking about and naming facts, and that my concepts are mere names and not philosophical terms.

I still have to mention the following two points.

On p. 269 you write that I apply Freud’s “free” association to the personal context but not to archetypal material.

I don’t use free association at all since it is in any case an unreliable method of getting at the real dream material.

On a journey through Russia, one of my psychiatric colleagues thoughtfully contemplated the Cyrillic notices in his sleeper, analysed himself by means of “free” association, and so discovered all his complexes.

In this case you can be quite certain that the complexes of Herr X were not dreamt in the Cyrillic sleeper notices.

That is to say, by means of “free” association you will always get at your complexes, but this does not mean at all that they are the material dreamt about.

In dream analysis I proceed in a circurnarnbulatory fashion, having regard to the wise Talmudic saying that the dream is its own interpretation.

P. 2 74: “The idea of the ‘wholeness of the psyche,’ which subsequently led Jung to the conception of the individuation process and to the methods of activating it, was from the beginning the determining factor in his psychological vision.”

This sentence is incorrect.

In the first place, the idea of wholeness did not lead me to the conception of the individuation process.

The individuation process is not a “conception” at all, but designates a series of observed facts; and secondly, there is no method on earth that could “activate” it.

The individuation process is the experience of a natural law and may or may not be perceived by consciousness.

The “idea of wholeness” is a word I have used-though only in later years-:-to describe the self.

Concepts play no role whatever with me because I make no philosophical assumptions; hence I never started from an “idea of wholeness.”

For the rest your work is good.

I would only ask you to reconsider the two points I have mentioned, as they contain a fundamental misunderstanding.

With best greetings,


C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 292-294.