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Carl Jung: The unconscious as a multiple consciousness.

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Letters Volume I

To Helene Kiener

Dear Fraulein Kiener, 13 August 1949

In my paper “Der Geist der Psychologie” (Eranos Jahrbuch 1946) I have shown, with the help of historical material, that the collective unconscious was compared symbolically with the starry sky in particular by Paracelsus.

I have devoted a whole chapter to the unconscious as a “multiple consciousness.”

I cannot possibly repeat this whole chapter for you.

I would advise you to ask the Strasbourg University Library if the paper could be sent to you from the Basel University Library.

Unfortunately I have no more copies of it.

To substantiate a factual analogy between the unconscious and the cosmos is an almost insoluble task.

Nor can one cite the supposed planetary arrangement of electrons round the atomic nucleus, as this is only a controversial model by means of which certain physicists have envisioned the mathematical, relation between electrons and the atomic nucleus.

I use a similar image to represent the relation of the archetypes to the central archetype of the self.

This is no proof of actual identity or similarity, its only basis being that the explanation employs the same image in order to make certain irrepresentable relationships more or less conceivable.

This is true also of the historical symbols for the nature of the unconscious which I have discussed in the above paper.

It is not only possible, but for certain reasons quite probable, that the collective unconscious coincides in a strange and utterly inconceivable way with objective events.

I have tried to formulate this coincidence as synchronicity and just now am engaged on a work of this kind.

But one cannot say that the coincidence is reflected in the analogy of planetary laws of motion or the starry

We have here, as you see, a very difficult problem which you would do well to leave alone.

For your purposes it is enough that an analogy between the starry sky and the unconscious has existed from very early times, at least as a symbol.

Otherwise I have nothing to remark.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 532-533