Dear Mr. Barrett, 12 October 1956
Although my time is short and my old age is a real fact, I would like to answer to your questions.
They are not quite easy, f.i. the first question whether I believe in personal survival after death or not, I could not say that I believe in it, since I have not the gift of belief.
I only can say whether I know something or not.
I do know that the psyche possesses certain qualities transcending the confinement in time and space.
Or you might say, the psyche can make those categories as if elastic, i.e., 100 miles can be reduced to 1 yard and a year to a few seconds.
This is a fact for which we have all the necessary proofs.
There are moreover certain post-mortal phenomena which I am unable to reduce to subjective illusions.
Thus I know that the psyche is capable of functioning unhampered by the categories of time and space.
Ergo it is in itself an equally transcendental being and therefore relatively non-spatial and “eternal.”
This does not mean that I hold any kind of convictions as to the transcendental nature of the psyche.
It may be anything.
- There is no reason whatever to assume that all so-called psychic phenomena are illusory effects of our mental processes.
3· I don’t think that all reports of so-called miraculous phenomena (such as precognition, telepathy, supranormal knowledge, etc.) are doubtful.
I know plenty of cases where there is no shadow of a doubt about their veracity.
4· I do not think that so-called personal messages from the dead can be dismissed in globo as self-deceptions.
Emmanuel Kant once said that he would doubt all stories about spooks, etc., individually, but as a whole there was something in them, which reminds me fatally of a Professor of Catholic Theology who, treating the seven arguments about the existence of God, was made to admit that every one of them was a syllogism.
But in the end he said: “Oh, I admit you can prove that everyone taken singly may be at fault, but there are seven of them, that must mean something!”
I carefully sift my empirical material and I must say that among many most arbitrary assumptions there are some cases that made me sit up.
I have made it a rule to apply Multatuli’s wise statement: There is nothing quite true, and even this is not quite true.
Hoping I have answered your questions to your satisfaction,
C.G. Jung Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 333-334.