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Carl Jung: Whole numbers may well be the discovery of God’s primal thoughts

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Letters Volume II


To Robert Dietrich

Dear Herr Dietrich, 27 May 1956

Best thanks for kindly telling me your interesting dream.

Mathematicians are not agreed whether numbers were invented or discovered.

“In the Olympian host Number eternally reigns” (Jacobi).

Whole numbers may well be the discovery of God’s “primal thoughts,” as for instance the significant number four, which has distinctive qualities.

But you ask in vain for speculations on my part concerning the “development of this principle of order.”

I cannot presume to say anything about this transcendental problem which is ingrained in the cosmos.

The mere attempt to do so would strike me as intellectual inflation.

After all, man cannot dissect God’s primal thoughts.

Why are whole numbers individuals?

Why are there prime numbers?

Why have numbers inalienable qualities?

Why are there discontinuities like quanta, which Einstein would have liked to abolish?

Your dream seems to me a genuine revelation: God and Number as the principle of order belong together.

Number, like Meaning, inheres in the nature of all things as an expression of God’s dissolution in the world of appearances.

This creative process is continued with the same symbolism in the Incarnation. (Cf. Answer to Job.)

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung

~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 301-302