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Carl Jung: With concepts you invariably miss the mark


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Letters Volume II

To Baroness Vera von der Heydt

Dear Baroness, 22 December 1958

Your question evidently emanates from an atmosphere in which many words are buzzing about.

The real situation cannot, however, be clarified by mere concepts but only by the inner experience that corresponds to them.

With concepts you invariably miss the mark because they are not philosophical ideas but merely names for experiences.

That is why things that previously seemed all confused suddenly become clear when one lets experience speak.

What I have called “active imagination” can become necessary at any stage of the analysis.

It is obvious that not every analysis leads to individuation, or rather, every analysis is on the way to the distant goal of individuation.

It is equally obvious that every insight into what I have called the “shadow” is a step along the road of individuation without one’s being obliged to call this an individuation process.

Here it is plain to see how a concept like individuation becomes either much too narrow or much too broad, and then muddles arise which in reality do not exist.

Because of this conceptual hair-splitting everybody is both right and wrong.

Thus X.’s view that active imagination begins when the transference has been fully analysed is an incorrect statement.

From such discussions we see what awaits me once I have become posthumous.

Then everything that was once fire and wind will be bottled in spirit and reduced to dead nostrums.

Thus are the gods interred in gold and marble and ordinary mortals like me in paper.

My best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Very sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 468-469