To Henry A. Murray
My dear Dr. Murray, 10 September 1935
Thank you for your interesting letter.
I think going to Samoa is a very wonderful plan, but nothing for myself as I’m fettered to all sorts of obligations in Zurich.
Next summer I’m going to Harvard University,! as you probably will have heard, which is adventurous enough.
I’m sorry that I will not be able to see you, as you just then sail for the happy isles.
Look out that the paradise doesn’t eat the bottom out of your soul.
It is dangerous ground, all the more so as one is not aware of it.
While writing this letter I received your second one.
I’m sorry for the delay of my answer, but I’m so overburdened with work that I’m really often quite unable to answer or even to read long letters.
My plans for summer 1936 are not yet fixed at all except that, as I say, I’m going to Harvard to endure a tercentenary. I don’t know
exactly what that means, but I imagine all sorts of tiresome things.
I’m also certain that many of my friends and acquaintances want to see me.
A bit of nature, I admit, would be rather heaven-sent, but it shouldn’t be too far away and not too adventurous, as my wife is probably accompanying me.
Airplanes and such devilish inventions ought to be avoided.
To write the book you suggest would be a very difficult and expensive enterprise.
Concerning your trouble with the question of the causality of fantasy images, I want to say that it is certainly true that external conditions are the cause of inner reactions, but the external cause is only one condition of the reaction, the other condition is always the quality of the thing that reacts.
One cannot assume that at any time the thing that reacts has been a thing without quality.
In other words, the psyche as an inherent quality of the living body always had its peculiar and specific quality which is not equal to the nature of the external things.
A psychic image is, as you know, by no means identical with the external object itself.
It would be an unjustified assertion to assume that the psyche wholly derives from the influences of external facts, as it would be to assume that all external objects are nothing but projected images of the mind.
When you carefully study the primitive mind, you will see that primitives are in no way concerned with their personalities, but their personalities are very much concerned with themselves.
So the unconscious in them produces actions and images without their consciousness, as is the case in our dreams.
These images are surely answers to external facts and conditions, but they are the answers of the psyche and therefore produce accurate pictures of the psychic facts.
If you compare the sun myth to the actual experience of the senses, then you see the whole difference.
The conscious mind perceives the sun as a round celestial body, the unconscious produces a myth which in its imagery has nothing but a very faint relation with the actual perception of the senses.
If the Freudians say that this is nothing but infantile, then they are right in so far as these images begin to become actual already in childhood.
But they are all based upon the inherent qualities of the inherited psyche.
That’s the reason why with children you not too rarely find dreams that are anything but childish.
If one holds that the images the child produces always were childish impressions in the history of mankind, one only repeats what has been said before, namely that the peculiar reactions of the psyche already begin to manifest themselves in early childhood.
It is certainly a very great error to assume that the psyche is without qualities except those that are insinuated or suggested by external objects.
If that were the case, then our unconscious would only produce exact replicas of external facts, which is by no means the case.
I’m chiefly concerned with the psyche itself, therefore I’m leaving out body and spirit.
Philosophy and theology know all about spirit.
Physiology and medicine know all about the body, but I’m a humble psychologist whose particular metier is to investigate the peculiar nature of the psyche.
Body and spirit are to me mere aspects of the reality of the psyche.
Psychic experience is the only immediate experience.
Body is as metaphysical as spirit.
Ask the modern physicist what body is, they are coming fast across to the recognition of the reality of the psyche.
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 198-200.