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Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group

Symbolic Life

Mrs. Frieda Fordham has undertaken the by no means easy task of producing a readable resume of all my various attempts at a better and more comprehensive understanding of the human psyche.

As I cannot claim to have reached any definite theory explaining all or even the main part of the psyche’s complexities, my work consists of a series of different approaches, or one might call it a circumambulation of unknown factors.

This makes it rather difficult to give a clear-cut and simple account of my ideas.

Moreover, I always felt a particular responsibility not to overlook the fact that the psyche does not reveal itself only in the doctor’s consulting room, but above all in the wide world, as well as in the depths of history.

What the doctor observes of its manifestations is an infinitesimal part of the psychic world, and moreover often distorted by pathological conditions.

I was always convinced that a fair picture of the psyche could be obtained only by a comparative method.

But the great disadvantage of such a method is that one cannot avoid the accumulation of comparative material, with the result that the layman becomes bewildered and loses his tracks in the maze of parallels.

The author’s task would have been much simpler if she had been in possession of a neat theory for a point de depart, and of well-defined case material without digressions into the immense field of general psychology.

The latter, however, seems to me to form the only safe basis and criterion for the evaluation of pathological phenomena, even as normal anatomy and physiology are an indispensable precondition for a study of their pathological aspects.

Just as human anatomy has a long evolution behind it, the psychology of modern man depends upon its historical roots and can only be judged by its ethnological variants.

My works offer innumerable possibilities of side-tracking the reader’s attention with considerations of this sort.

Under those somewhat trying conditions the author has nevertheless succeeded in extricating herself from all the opportunities to make mis-statements.

She has presented a fair and simple account of the main aspects of my psychological work.

I am indebted to her for this admirable piece of work.  ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 489-490