Late Years 1955–1959
Jung reported in Memories that he could hardly have survived the first months after his wife’s death if he had not constantly worked at carving his stone tablets.
He worked on them all winter in his garden room at Küsnacht, and had them transported to Bollingen in the spring, where he finished them.
There were three of these tablets and on them he carved the names of his paternal ancestors.
This fact entirely refutes the theory that he believed as an outer fact, that his grandfather was the illegitimate son of Goethe, for in that case the Jung family line would have broken off with his grandfather and been replaced by Goethe’s family tree.
As it is, he reported:
When I was working on the stone tablets, I became aware of the fateful links between me and my ancestors. I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors.
It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family, which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished.
The garden room at Küsnacht has a great many windows and almost gives one the feeling of being out of doors.
It is, however, part of the house, with a door and short staircase from the large room, and can be heated like the rest of the house; not that Jung ever wanted his rooms really warm, he was perfectly happy in a temperature considerably below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
When he was younger, his room was often so cold visitors needed a fur coat to keep from shivering.
Now the Swiss usually keep their houses very warm, so in this—as in many other things—Jung was an exception. Yet—as emphasized in the first chapter—Jung was Swiss through and through.
At this time, whenever Jung did not go for a drive on Saturday mornings, I used to join him for an hour or so in his garden room, while he worked on his stones.
Some of the best conversations I ever had with him took place while he was engaged in carving stone or cutting wood.
Whenever he needed to give his full mind to what he was doing, he would ask for silence, but on the whole the work seemed to free his mind, so that he thought particularly deeply and always seemed glad to talk of the thoughts with which he was occupied at the time.
One could indeed always speak to him of inner things and ask questions.
But in those last years, Marie-Louise and I (and probably others of his pupils) learned that it was not at all a good plan to speak to him of outer difficulties.
He was so conscientious that if one of us was in a fix, he would give his full attention to it, but one realized more and more that it went terribly against the grain, for his interest had left everyday outer life.
There were exceptions, but they were all outer expressions of an inner importance.
Therefore his interest in building not only his own house but also in that of his friends increased rather than decreased.
Ruth had arrived from England within a week of Emma Jung’s death and had taken the household, and all the arrangements for Jung’s external well-being, into her capable hands.
He said to me with great gratitude: “I don’t have to bother my head about anything of that kind. Ruth sees to it all.”
But mere efficiency would not have been enough.
Ruth had almost a genius for giving daily companionship and for spreading a good and peaceful atmosphere.
In those first months, she revealed herself as being able to leave him alone while giving him that complete security on the physical side which is one of the chief needs of old age.
It must be remembered that Jung was over eighty when Ruth first came to live in Switzerland.
Moreover—and this was perhaps the most important quality of all in contact with Jung—Ruth was always willing to listen when she did anything Jung did not like, and what is more, to profit by listening and to make every effort to change accordingly.
Nevertheless, the first months after Emma’s death were naturally a very dark time for Jung.
He was quite willing to face the fact that it was in a way a merciful fate that had forced him to survive both Toni and Emma, because, as he proved in the five and a half years that elapsed before his own death, he was able to go on creatively with his life and his individuation process after losing them. I think it is doubtful whether either of them could have done this.
I saw a good deal of Emma while Jung was in India and witnessed how terribly she missed him and how much she depended upon him.
Toni, moreover, had openly declared, from the beginning of my friendship with her, that on no account did she want to survive Jung, but they were both very courageous women, and would certainly have faced life without him, each to the best of her ability.
Of course, his children also helped him very much and surrounded him with human warmth.
Marianne Niehus, especially, looked after him devotedly whenever Ruth had to go to England.
Jung went down to the Tessin with Ruth Bailey in February.
It was a very hard winter, with intense cold coming late; since the sap was already up in the trees, this led to the loss of many of them.
Jung lost one of the two box bushes by his front door, much of his bamboo, and the clematis which grew so luxuriantly in the courtyard at Bollingen.
The temperature was far below freezing.
The vine over the front door at the Tower produced a curious red sap which ran down over Jung’s crest.
He felt this was a strange synchronicity, so soon after Emma’s death, as if the vine were weeping tears of blood.
Jung was glad to seek the south.
The evening before they went, Jung, Ruth, Dr. and Mrs. Konrad Lorenz, Franz Riklin, Marie-Louise, a d myself had a very interesting time at a dinner in a Zürich restaurant.
Jung and Lorenz discovered that each of them had originally wanted to follow the profession of the other, and a most fascinating exchange of experiences ensued.
After Lorenz had described his work, Jung said, “Ah, I see: the religio animalis,” which seemed to impress Lorenz deeply.
Discussing it afterward, we understood that Jung meant Lorenz was unconsciously seeking a new orientation for man by studying the behavior of animals.
The weather—repenting of its arctic cold—soon turned warmer, and Jung and Ruth were able to go to Bollingen not long after their return from the Tessin.
Jung gave himself once more to his ancestral tablets.
But before these were finished and put into their places, he carved a stone in memory of his wife, which was placed in front of the covered loggia at his Tower.
This stone is one of the most beautiful that Jung ever carved.
Jung had not added to or changed the Tower since 1935.
But when he was at Bollingen this spring, he began to feel something more was needed.
After my wife’s death in 1955, I felt an inner obligation to become what I myself am. To put it in the language of the Bollingen house, I suddenly realized that the small central section which crouched so low, so hidden, was myself! I could no longer hide myself behind the “maternal” and the “spiritual” towers. So, in that same year, I added an upper story to this section, which represents myself, or my ego-personality. Earlier, I would not have been able to do this, I would have regarded it as presumptuous self-emphasis. Now it signified an extension of consciousness achieved in old age. With that the building was complete.
He worked out the plans with his son during the spring holidays and began with the building early in the summer holidays.
This 1956 building was primarily undertaken for an inner obligation, and only secondarily for the “concrete needs of the moment.”
In the earlier additions the latter were the impetus, so to speak, and only later did Jung realize that “a meaningful form had resulted: a symbol of psychic wholeness.”
Now Jung realized that there was something lacking in the psychic wholeness, himself or his ego personality, which now signified “an extension of ego consciousness achieved in old age.”
And one could say that was also the task that kept him on earth after his wife’s death, a task he punctually fulfilled up to the day of his own death.
There were secondary concrete advantages also: he usually did his writing afterward in the new room, which could be well heated and which was very much more spacious and airy than the small study below it, where he had heretofore always worked when in the house since it was built in 1927.
The fact that the view no longer distracted him when he was working indicates how enormously his concentration had developed.
He always had unusual powers of concentration, but earlier he needed small windows to reinforce it against the powerful magnet of nature and the lake; now they were just a pleasant background to his work.
He could also work undisturbed, in the summer of 1956, when the building noise would have upset almost anyone else.
The new building also had another concrete advantage: there were two small bedrooms that were very useful for visiting children and grandchildren.
Staying at Bollingen now became very easy, for Ruth liked the life there almost as much as Jung did, so he no longer felt any compunction in going there as much as was right for himself.
He spent all his holidays there, as he had done in earlier days, and he also often went for a week or so during the term.
One cannot feel too grateful to Ruth Bailey for her courage in this respect, for she was often there alone with him, when it would have been very difficult for her to get help should he have been ill.
She even stayed with him there sometimes in the winter when they were snowed in.
Since he always had said he would like to die at Bollingen, she was determined to make it possible for him to follow his own instinct and to do just what he liked in this respect, whether they were at Bollingen or Küsnacht.
Another way in which Ruth showed extraordinary courage was in letting him sail his boat, often going out alone with him on the lake, leaving him to manage the boat.
It was a great pleasure to him to be able to do this, for it was one of the many things he had had to sacrifice after his illness in 1944, though he resumed several of these activities in old age.
He was, of course, very reasonable and did not abuse his regained freedom.
Ruth did all this so gallantly that, though I knew her well, I did not realize for a long time how afraid she had been sometimes in the depth of her own soul.
Once when we came back to the nearby Fierz house, she suddenly said to me that it was a relief to have someone so nearby whom she could call in an emergency.
Hans Kuhn was also there a good deal and, though Ruth sometimes complained that he was not much help to her with her work, he could always have been sent to telephone from his parents’ house in any emergency.
Still, he was by no means a permanency.
His employer, Mrs. Crowley, was very generous in lending Hans to Jung, but he always disliked inconveniencing anyone, especially when she grew more and more dependent on Hans.
He subsequently looked after her with great devotion until her death, when she was nearly ninety on January 6, 1972.
The three tablets with the names of Jung’s ancestors and his descendants in the direct male line until his son’s sons had meanwhile been completed and erected in the covered loggia by the spring of 1957.
The first tablet begins with the Delphic oracle, “Called or not called, God will be present,” that Jung also carved over his front door at Küsnacht and near the door of the original Tower in 1923.
These tablets represent innumerable hours of work over many months, for every word is carved in stone. But when they were in place, Jung felt the task was not yet completed.
He turned his attention to the ceiling, which he had decided to decorate with paintings of his own crest and those of his wife and his sons-in-law.
He designed this himself and carried it out with the help of Ruth Bailey, Marie-Louise von Franz, and Hans Kuhn.
Being able to help in such work was always the greatest pleasure to Marie-Louise, but she had always longed for some ground of her own, on which she could build the house of her dreams.
Although very grateful to Linda Fierz for leaving us the Gastrecht of her house and mindful of the privilege of being so close to Jung’s Tower, this longing did not leave her.
She had been looking for a suitable site since the Second World War, but it proved elusive.
Then in the autumn of 1957, Jung’s son, Franz, told her of some ground for sale in Bollingen, which he thought would be suitable, on the hill about a mile from Jung’s Tower.
We went up to see it that same evening and went to ask Jung’s opinion the next morning.
He immediately expressed his wish to see it, and he, Ruth Bailey, Marie-Louise, and myself drove up to it there and then.
He walked about it, then stood still, looking at the beautiful view, and said to Marie-Louise: “Go and buy it at once.”
As we drove down the hill, he added: “But you must not build an ordinary house there, it must be a Tower.”
Had the suggestion not come from him, she would never have dared use this form, since she would have been afraid of imitation and presumption.
Even so, she built her tower square, whereas Jung’s original Tower and subsequent additions are round.
As it is, we are often asked by strangers if her Tower is not very old, so well does it fit the landscape.
Marie-Louise gave herself at once to designing her Tower, professionally supported by Franz Jung, who was its architect.
But at first, as the whole enterprise would take the last penny she had, she thought she must wait a few years before building. Jung would hear nothing of such procrastination, and told her she would regret every moment she waited.
So she started building in the summer of 1958. It was completed that autumn.
Jung took the greatest interest in this building, discussing every detail with his son and Marie-Louise, and frequently driving up to watch its progress. He even did this when Marie-Louise was not there, showing that his interest was in the building itself, not just in encouraging her.
At first Marie-Louise built her Tower as a hermitage.
I also did not feel at all ready to give up staying at the Fierz house, which had one disadvantage, however: Jung refused to let me stay there alone (on account of possible breaking in) unless I could shoot.
Since I had never touched a gun, I therefore always had to have someone stay with me, though Marie-Louise herself came down from time to time.
But as her wish for solitude slowly decreased, and as I found I could get down to Jung’s Tower easily to help Ruth, we gradually stayed there more and more, especially since Jung was rarely at Bollingen during the last year of his life.
It was in these years that Jung took to going on long drives, all over Switzerland, and sometimes into Austria or Italy.
He told me once that being unable to go for long walks in the mountains was one of the greatest trials of his old age.
He added that when he found his health would stand long expeditions, including going over even the highest passes in Fowler McCormick’s large, comfortable American car, he felt that the mountains had been unexpectedly given back to him.
The only restriction that his health and age put on these expeditions was that they never spend the night, or even stop for lunch or supper, in a very high place.
There was little that would tempt Jung away from his beloved Bollingen, but in his last years these drives often made him leave it, for as much as a week or even longer.
He always came back from them very much refreshed, full of his interest in the places he had seen.
His companions on these drives were Ruth Bailey and of course Fowler McCormick.
Fowler and Ruth got on very well indeed; although they met for the first time only in 1952, they rapidly became great friends.
They had known of each other since 1925, when Ruth took Fowler’s place and had the benefit of his equipment on the East African tribe but they never happened to be in Switzerland at the same time in subsequent years.
Although Fowler was often in Switzerland as a boy and had traveled with Jung to the American Indians and to India, he did not make a habit of spending part of each year in Switzerland until the 1950s, a habit he then kept up every summer.
But during Jung’s last years, he also used to come sometimes in the winter, so that he could give Jung the benefit of long drives during his almost annual winter stay in the Tessin.
Ruth had never been analyzed and Jung once told me that this was very restful to him. “I do not have to worry about making her more conscious,” he once said, “as I always have before with everybody round me.”
Fowler had some analysis and had made efforts to read all of Jung’s books, still Jung also felt under no obligation to make him more conscious, since he had not analyzed him himself for many years.
This made a very restful background.
Jung had all the companionship and care that he needed on those drives, yet was completely free to be alone in “God’s world” just as he had been alone on the Athi Plains, over forty years before.
As a boy he had recognized “God’s world” most particularly in the mountains, a world behind which one feels the presence of the unus mundus.
Of course, the fact that Ruth had never been analyzed or gone deeply into Jung’s psychology had its disadvantages.
Jung used to speak occasionally of her amazing naïveté concerning his psychology, and she was sometimes quite especially naïve in her judgments of people.
This used to amuse him at times, but I am sure there was no one else who could have made his last years so amazingly happy, in spite of the fact that he had to put up with a great many of the physical drawbacks of old age.
This was mainly due to the fact that his well-being was her chief concern and that she was always willing to accept people and things because he wanted them, even though I think his taste was occasionally surprising to her.
Moreover, as Jung testified in his account of his African journey, the “experience she had acquired as a nurse during the First World War” was a great blessing to them when a member (George Beckwith) of their “party came down with a bad case of tropical malaria.”
It was even more of a blessing to Jung during these last years.
She did any nursing he required without—and this was very important to him—ever fussing over him or curtailing his liberty.
When Jung wrote the preface to the Mysterium Coniunctionis in October, 1954, he began it by expressly stating that it was his last book.
It was indeed his last long book, but the creative daimon that had driven him all his life did not grant him the peace and rest that his old age seemed richly to have earned.
On the contrary, until shortly before his death, it spurred him on to one more creative effort after another.
The first of these creative efforts was called Gegenwart und Zukunft (Present and Future) and first appeared as a supplement to the Schweizer Monatshefte in March, 1957.
Jung’s publisher, Rascher Verlag, produced it as a paperback later in the same year.
It same as the result of many questions concerning the future which had been asked him, especially by Carleton Smith, who drew it to the attention of the Atlantic Monthly Press.
There was more trouble over the translation of this work than with any other book or paper by Jung that I remember.
I must place on record the fact that though, as is expressly stated in more than one of the volumes, I am sure that Jung did authorize all the larger changes that were made, they were mostly made in the way I have already described:
Jung very seldom wholeheartedly liked these changes (at least I always had that impression when we discussed them), but if they were persisted in he just “retired to his estates” sometimes explaining it by saying that he supposed if the translator, Richard Hull, did not understand neither would the public.
Jung’s correspondence was always overwhelmingly large and was almost—at times quite —beyond what he could cope with.
This was sometimes much increased by letters from his translator, also from the editors, but much less as they restricted themselves for the most part to one long meeting a year.
Richard Hull proposed such far-reaching changes in Present and Future, that Jung’s almost inexhaustible patience gave out.
He asked me to go down to the Tessin (where the Hulls were then living) to remonstrate.
Hull accepted Jung’s remonstrances willinglyj and the work now follows the German much more exactly.
I do not know when and why the title was changed from the German Present and Future to the English The Undiscovered Self.
Both titles describe the content well.
It was, it seems to me, very touching that most of what Jung wrote in these last five years was full of anxious concern for the future of the world.
Most people are inclined to think that what happens after their death will no longer concern them but, though he knew he had only a short time to live, Jung had a love of humanity which made him more, rather than less, concerned with its fate after his death.
We can find this anxious concern in all he wrote in these last years, though only The Undiscovered Self is directly devoted to this theme and even begins with the question “What will the future bring?”
This short book of Jung’s, which goes deeply and most constructively into our most urgent problems, is far too little known.
He asked, for instance, the meaning of our living “in an age filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction,” and inquired into the significance of the split in humanity “symbolized by the iron curtain.”
He further asked: “What will become of our civilization, and of man himself, if the hydrogen bombs begin to go off, or if the spiritual and moral darkness of State absolutism should spread over Europe?”
It is this spiritual and moral darkness, in other words, the unconsciousness of man, that is by far our greatest danger.
It is utterly useless to project this darkness onto the other side of the “iron curtain,” for it is only the individual who can become conscious.
It is true that he has lost his freedom far more disastrously in the countries where religion has been repressed and his faith demanded for the fiction called the “state,” but, as Jung pointed out, the idea that the individual human being is the central problem is “enough to arouse the most violent doubts and resistances on all sides, and one could almost go so far as to assert that the valuelessness of the individual in comparison with large numbers is the one belief that meets with universal and unanimous assent.”
The non-Communist world is just as bad in this respect as the people on the other side of the curtain. Our churches also proclaim the valuelessness of the individual, in comparison with the congregation, and organize and believe “in the sovereign remedy of mass action.”
They do not realize that the “individual becomes morally and spiritually inferior in the mass,” and have apparently entirely forgotten that the process of individuation is the central theme of original Christianity.
Jung asked: “Are not Jesus and Paul prototypes of those who, trusting their inner experience, have gone their individual way in defiance of the world?”
This distrust of the individual comes from the widespread error that the individual is identical with the ego and with its conscious fiction of what it is.
But Jung was speaking of an individual who knows the eternal being in himself and who—like Jesus and Paul—sacrifices his egotistical desires to his inner experience of this being.
Jung even said: “Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.”
And this is the crux of the matter: this organization of oneself can be reached only by self-knowledge, by enormous effort and willingness to take the full responsibility for oneself.
Unfortunately, most people prefer to be infantile in this respect, and to leave the responsibility to others.
But they are thus “already on the road to State slavery and, without knowing it or wanting it, have become its proselyte.”
This short book is perhaps Jung’s most vivid exposition of the myth of modern man that revealed itself to him on the Athi Plains over thirty years earlier.
It really leaves the reader with the choice between becoming conscious enough to create “objective existence and meaning,” or becoming unconsciously the slave of the state and those who knew how to manipulate it, and thus going down to his unknown end “in the profoundest night of non-being.”
Very shortly after finishing The Undiscovered Self, Jung turned his attention to writing A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky.
Flying saucers had interested Jung for several years before this; in fact, the very early reports of this phenomenon had caught his attention.
At first he regarded flying saucers as purely visionary in character, though nonetheless real and interesting for that.
He very often spoke of them in private conversations, but only once—in 1954—did anything by him appear in print.
At that time he was interviewed on the subject by the Weltwoche, which subsequently published the interview.
The world press discovered this interview in 1958 and circulated the rumor that Jung was a believer in the objective reality of flying saucers.
Since Jung had actually expressed skepticism in the interview as to the physical existence of the saucers, he wrote a correcting statement to the United Press; but this time, as he expressed it, “the wire went dead.”
This reaction interested him very much: evidently it was welcome “news” when someone well known testified to the physical existence of saucers, and the reverse when he merely stated that something was certainly seen but no one knew what it was.
The public evidently wanted saucers to be real.
Actually he himself was much less interested in whether they existed physically than in the undeniable fact that many people, all over the world, were seeing round objects in the sky.
Roundness is the symbol par excellence for the Self, the totality; and this fact, in our skeptical, rational modern world, is of overwhelming interest in and for itself.
Moreover, most of these people seemed to expect something fateful from these round objects, ranging from salvation to destruction.
Jung’s skepticism concerning their possible physical reality became much less marked as more and more reliable testimonies appeared, but as he said in his introduction: “As a psychologist, I am not qualified to contribute anything useful to the question of the physical reality of Ufos. I can concern myself only with their undoubted psychic aspect.” And this aspect is quite interesting enough.
Just as events in National Socialist Germany had showed Jung that an archetype was stirring in the unconscious, and he felt compelled to write his article “Wotan” as a warning that “events were brewing of fateful consequence for Europe,” so now again he felt compelled to warn his readers that an archetype was again stirring in a way that was even characteristic for “the end of an era.”
History has taught us to expect exceedingly fateful events at the end of each Platonic month (approximately two thousand years) as the Spring sign leaves one astrological sign and enters another.
Jung had already spoken at some length in a seminar in 1929 of the great changes and upheavals that were to be expected as the age of the Fishes ended heeded the warning in “Wotan,” he had little or no hope that he would be heard again.
Nevertheless, he felt so concerned that those who would listen should not be “caught unprepared by the events in question and disconcerted by their incomprehensible nature” that he wrote his warning at the risk of jeopardizing his “hard-won reputation for truthfulness, trustworthiness, and scientific judgment.”
He realized fully that this warning would not only be “exceedingly unpopular but come perilously close to those turbid fantasies which becloud the minds of world improvers and other interpreters of ‘signs and portents.’”
But just as Jung, the undergraduate, would not allow himself to be discouraged by the unpopularity of “the despised realm of occultism,” so now, sixty years later as a famous old man of over eighty, he would not be discouraged by any consideration from exploring the subject of flying saucers with the same conscientiousness that had won the skeptical Oeri’s admiration in the discussion on occultism in the Zofingia fraternity.
Jung carefully explored all the evidence, first as rumors, then in dreams and in modern painting, and also went into the saucers’ previous history.
Finally, in an epilogue, he dealt with two very different books which had come into his hands after he had finished his manuscript.
The first was a very naïve document in which the author, Orfeo Angelucci, described his first encounter with “two balls of green fire” that had been released from an oval-shaped object and that explained to him in many interviews how infinitely more intelligent and conscious they were, how beneficent they felt toward their friends, the inhabitants of the earth, and how they intended nothing but their salvation.
He was even taken to another planet by something that looked like a “huge misty soap bubble” and saw the earth at a distance of about a thousand miles.
After this he preached his experiences as a kind of gospel.
The second book, titled The Black Cloud, intrigued Jung by being a kind of science-fiction story by a well-known authority on astrophysics, Fred Hoyle, two of whose “impressive” volumes Jung already knew: The Nature of the Universe and Frontiers of Astronomy.
The Black Cloud (also circular in shape) threatens the whole earth with extinction.
A physicist and a mathematician of genius then get into communication with the cloud.
Neither survives the experiment, though the latter is able to leave a record of what the cloud told him.
The cloud eventually decides to quit our solar system and leaves, having destroyed about half the life on our planet.
Its intelligence, however, has proved itself unendurably high for human beings.
Angelucci saw these beings from outer space as our salvation, Hoyle as our destruction, but both attribute a superhuman intelligence to them.
Even the skeptical Hoyle, as Jung said “comes perilously near” to endowing them “with a divine or angel like nature.
Here the great astronomer joins hands with the naïve Angelucci.”
It seems to me that far too few people have read this paper of Jung’s and have thus missed his “warning.”
Yet, the worldwide perception of these round symbols of the archetype of the Self does give a meaning to the catastrophic days we live in, which would at least save us from what Jung thought was the only intolerable suffering: the “torment of not understanding.”
Moreover, the fact, which history teaches us, that similar phenomena appear at the end of every astrological age links us with the past in a reassuring way.
In the winter of 1957–58 the C. G. Jung Institute organized one of its lecture series for a wider public. The general theme of this series was “Conscience” and the lectures were given, from the standpoint of their subject, by several well-known professors. Jung was persuaded to write a paper called “A Psychological View of Conscience.”
He agreed to write it—and the writing of it gave him a great deal of trouble—but he stipulated that someone else should read it.
Knowing his custom of often good-naturedly giving in to outer pressure, certain members of the curatorium, convinced that he would do so again in this case, hired the Auditorium Maximum at the E.T.H. and said nothing in their newspaper advertisements about Jung himself not appearing.
But Jung was already eighty-two at the time and knew that such an effort was far beyond his physical strength, so he remained firm.
The pressure was so persistent, however, that he remained at Bollingen much later into January than usual in order to keep himself beyond reach.
“They just don’t realize what an effort I have already made for them in writing the lecture,” he said to me at the time.
Marie-Louise von Franz and I attended the lecture and found the unwieldy Maximum full to capacity.
There was a great deal of disappointment at first that Jung was not there, but Franz Riklinp rose magnificently to the occasion and, undismayed by the reproaches (not even earned by himself, as he had had no part in putting pressure on Jung), read the paper so well that the huge audience listened in complete silence and applauded almost as if Jung himself had been there.
It is indeed one of the most interesting of Jung’s shorter papers and, like The Undiscovered Self and Flying Saucers, too little known.
In his masterly description of what the word “conscience” really means, Jung drew a very clear distinction between conscience and the moral code.
If we allow our “conscience” to make every decision in accordance with the traditional standards of right and wrong, we include only one opposite and avoid real ethos, which—in earlier days—meant obeying the vox Dei.
Jung had known since he was eleven years old that God (whether one calls this supreme inner voice God or the Self here makes no difference) often asks much more of us than mere obedience to the moral code.
The reader will remember the agony the boy Jung went through in trying to avoid the blasphemous thought.
Yet it was just this thought that he had regarded as “the sin against the Holy Ghost, which cannot be forgiven,” which was followed by his first experience of the miracle of grace.
That experience had been decisive for his whole life, and he knew ever afterward that the vital necessity was fulfilling the will of this divine power.
His lecture on conscience was written over seventy years after that childhood experience, yet it is clearly a blossom that comes from that root, a very complete and beautiful flower, as the hushed silence with which it was received that night at the E.T.H. bore witness.
But the kind of conscience that Jung described does not make for popular reading, because putting in into practice demands the utmost integrity and willingness to suffer.
So the lecture has never been much read.
All this while Jung had been considering two major projects, either of which would involve him in a great deal of work.
The first, which he gave up only very regretfully, had been in his mind ever since he finished his long paper on synchronicity.
He saw clearly that the investigation of numbers would carry on and illuminate the concept of synchronicity.
From 1956 onward, however, a great deal of pressure from outside was brought to bear on him to give his attention to an autobiography.
This was by no means a welcome idea to him, and if he had followed his own inclination he would undoubtedly have decided for the work on numbers.
But he felt the research on the latter would take more time and energy than he had at his disposal and that he should give it over into younger hands.
Since he knew that Marie-Louise von Franz would be capable of the task (I even heard him say, after listening to a lecture of hers, that she was the only one of his pupils who fully understood his ideas), he handed over to her the notes he had made on the subject, with the request that she undertake the research and eventually write the book.
Aniela Jaffé was his secretary at the time, and he thought it would be most practical to dictate the necessary material for the autobiography to her.
Since she had already proved her excellence as a writer, he intended to leave the writing entirely to her, for he very much distrusted autobiographies.
An autobiography is so difficult to write because we possess no standards, no objective foundation, from which to judge ourselves. There are really no proper bases for comparison. I know that in many things I am not like others, but I do not know what I really am like. Man cannot compare himself with any other creature; he is not a monkey, not a cow, not a tree. I am a man. But what is it to be that? Like every other being, I am a splinter of the infinite deity, but I cannot contrast myself with any animal,any plant or any stone. Only a mythical being has a range greater than man’s. How then can a man form any definite opinions about himself?
Later Jung found, however, that it was impossible for anyone to write his “personal myth,” so he wrote the first three chapters of Memories, Dreams, Reflections himself.
These and Chapter 12, “Late Thoughts” and “Retrospect,” were, as far as I know, all of his autobiography that he wrote entirely himself, but he told me that he went through, added to, and corrected all the rest of the manuscript very carefully, so that the book forms a most meaningful whole.
Sometimes he became quite interested and would discuss it with considerable enthusiasm; at other times he felt it was taking more energy and time than he could afford.
In 1959 the British Broadcasting Corporation began to put pressure on Jung to allow himself to be interviewed by John Freeman for its series of famous living people called “Face to Face.”
He had less resistance to overcome in this instance than he had in the matter of an autobiography; he was even rather intrigued by the idea.
The B.B.C. took endless trouble in the matter.
Not only did John Freeman come to Zürich to make Jung’s acquaintance in the spring, but a representative—Mrs. Branch—was sent during the Whitsun holidays to interview all the people whom the B.B.C. knew were intimate with Jung.
She made a great many suggestions for the subjects to be discussed, and wherever one could one answered.
But if in any doubt I, at all events, asked to be allowed to inquire and to write to Mrs. Branch later; so it was done that way.
As I suspected, Jung did not want any planned program, preferring to let the conversation develop spontaneously.
Although John Freeman and everyone else concerned were as considerate as possible, it was nevertheless a tiring ordeal for Jung at eighty-four.
The actual filming took the whole morning and they were not finished until about 2 P.M.
But he went through it remarkably well, showing no sign of any strain on the television.
When I asked him beforehand if he would not find it too tiring, he said he felt it must be done; there would be so many conflicting reports about him after his death that people must have the chance to see him, in order to judge for themselves.
Indeed, the whole film is Jung exactly as he always was: natural, simple, and spontaneous.
Although I heard him make the above remark only in connection with the television interview, I think the same reason really led to his decision to consent to the autobiography.
Indeed, above all, the “Face to Face” television interview and Memories, Dreams, Reflections give people who did not know him personally the best chance to “judge for themselves.”
Jung went to Bollingen very often during these years to recover from all these efforts.
In fact, he still did a great deal of his writing while he was there, and he still carved images and chiseled inscriptions.
As late as 1958 he carved, on the west outer wall of the original Tower, the figure of a woman extending her hands toward the udder of a mare.
Behind her, a bear (also a female) is rolling a round sphere toward her back.
Over the woman, he chiseled the words: “May the light I carried in my womb arise. 1958.”
Over the horse: “Pegasus, living spring, the water poured out by the water carrier (Aquarius).”
Over the bear: “The bear who moves the mass.”
This was one of the images revealed to him, so to speak, by the stone itself.
Astrologically, as Jung often pointed out, we are entering the age of Aquarius and, dark as our times seem, a new light and living water may yet arise from them. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Pages 235-245