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Paul Mellon with portrait bust by Joseph Wilton of Thomas, 1st Baron Dartrey, photo by William B. Carter, Yale Department of Information.

Carl Gustav Jung, 1875-1961 : A Memorial Meeting, New York, December 1, 1961


We pause this evening, drawn together from many different walks of life and a multitude of activities, to honor one of the great men of our time.

It is a meeting symbolic of the man himself.

His discoveries have immensely widened our psychic horizons and have given us glimpses into an inner universe without limit.

Like the vast, uncharted space of our outer universe, this one too has its terrors, and its profound beauty as well.

And in the end he has unified them, drawn all together in the concept of the union of the opposites and the integration of the individual personality.

I am here with you to honor Dr. Jung, not only in my individual capacity and as a personal friend, but also as a representative of Bollingen Foundation.

The Foundation began its work in 1941,1 in effect, largely as a vehicle for the dissemination of Jung’s ideas in America, for the publication of his own writings and other writings pertinent to analytical psychology.

I am sure you all know that “Bollingen” is the name of the village where Dr. Jung had his personal retreat, at the far end of the lake from Zurich.

While the Foundation began with this limited purpose, it soon developed into a wider concept and undertook more diverse activities. In publishing alone, it became apparent that other fields of scholarship needed support and required new channels for the expression of important ideas.

For many years we have published works in the fields of comparative religion, symbolism, mythology, philosophy, psychology, social anthropology, archaeology,

cultural history, literary criticism, and aesthetics -areas which received deep attention from Dr. Jung himself and which reflect reading and research with which he was occupied during the greater part of his life.

One might say that they embody the history of man’s struggle toward consciousness as revealed in anthropological and archaeological data, as represented in the classics of both Eastern and Western literature and in the religious experience and philosophy of past and present civilizations.

The Foundation’s publications, called “Bollingen Series,” as well as its allocation of fellowships for writing and research, follow this orientation very closely.

During the last fifteen years the Foundation has granted between fifty and seventy fellowships each year to qualified scholars in these same fields.

The fellowship program, we feel, is also a direct reflection of one of Dr. Jung’s clearest and deepest beliefs-that the development of the individual, of his creative forces, and of his total spiritual and intellectual capacity is the ultimate goal of education and of life itself.

It can be seen that while Dr. Jung’s own scientific work, his own writings, today form only a small segment of the Foundation’s total production, they still remain central to its general plan.

One might say they form the keystone.

The idea of an edition of the Collected Works of Jung was conceived immediately after World War II, and talks between our President, Mr. John Barrett, and Sir Herbert Read, of the firm of Routledge and Kegan Paul of London (which had the English-language rights), led steadily on toward a joint undertaking with that firm.

This undertaking finally crystallized in an agreement reached at a meeting held in Dr. Jung’s house in K8snacht in the summer of 1947.

Dr. Jung, Sir Herbert Read, Barrett, and I were present (together with Dr. Michael Fordham and Dr. Gerhard Adler, who with Sir Herbert formed the Editorial Board).

Out of this meeting developed a broad plan for the retranslation and republication of the complete works, regrouping in a series of volumes shorter articles with longer works which were related in subject, and showing, both by this grouping and in a chronological sense, the development of all of Jung’s basic ideas.

Subsequently, Mr. R. F. C. Hull was chosen as translator, a choice which, as volume follows volume, has seemed more and more fortunate.

It might be of interest to the audience to know that the new German-language edition is following the exact pattern of the English-language edition, and an Italian edition using the same structure is also planned.

The Foundation is also supporting the work of the translator and editor of the French edition, which is being carried on independently.

If I have dwelt overly long on Bollingen Foundation, it is because we see it as an integral part of the life and work and thought of Dr. Jung and as the extension of his intellectual influence into the far distant future.

But some personal history may also be necessary, since it is inseparable from the Foundation’s affairs.

The Foundation was established by my first wife, Mary Conover Mellon, and myself.

We had spent the first winter of the war, 1939-1940, in Zurich, drawn there, and to Dr. Jung, by her overpowering attacks of asthma and by her conviction that her illness was largely a psychological rather than a purely physical affliction.

Though she was never cured (one never knows: the war intervened, and she died immediately afterwards, in 1946), both she and I were tremendously moved and impressed by Jung’s teachings.

Extensive reading of his works had made us much more aware not only of our inner selves but of the outer world; but this influence was highly magnified when we came into direct contact with his wisdom and humanity as actual patients.

With Mary, intuition and high intelligence fanned flames of understanding and recognition which demanded outward expression-and the most valuable outward expression eventually became Bollingen Foundation.

In my own case, as we all know, a plurality of riches does not guarantee peace of mind and often makes common cause with a paucity of real values. In many ways Dr. Jung’s clear expositions of his theories, his deep wisdom, his humor, his great simplicity, opened out sunnier and wider vistas down which to view the world.

I walked with him one spring for two or three days up in the hills behind Ascona and Locarno, in the Tessin taking a little train each day far up into places where one hardly ever saw a human being.

One heard the bells of a few goats and saw some of them grazing, or in the distance heard the sound of a mountain cataract.

He was peaceful, serene, and had a hearty and ribald humor.

But the thing I remember most about Dr. Jung was his simplicity: the directness of his vision and the aptness of his descriptions.

Of the simple religious shrines one saw everywhere, even on remote paths, he said something like this: they are in the same places where the forefathers of these people worshiped their nature gods-the gods of the crossroads or the forest, the tree or the stream-and often at places of potential danger.

These too are to ward off evil. It is man’s awareness of danger, of the Devil.

We who are so civilized and unsuperstitious would do better perhaps to have a little more superstition and to be closer to natureto take the Devil into account.

I talked to him about Thoreau, saying that Thoreau seemed to use the word unconscious in the same sense as himself.

He said, “Anyone who has lived in a primitive way and who also thinks will naturally come to know about the unconscious. It only goes to show how many silly asses have done it who don’t think.”

As we were about to leave for America in the spring of 1940, he told me he had had a letter from a very good and intelligent American woman, a friend of his, who asked him to be on a committee of one hundred of the most intelligent people in the world to confer on how to bring about peace.

He said, “I wrote back to her on the reply postcard, ‘Dear—: Please don’t do it. One hundred intelligent people together in a room only makes one big idiot.’ ”

He was wise and wonderful, and the privilege of knowing him, however briefly, was great and rewarding.

It is most probable that the image of Jung that history will reveal will be far greater even than the image we have of him today.

Today we think of Jung the scientist, the explorer of men’s minds; Jung the philosopher and the humanist; Jung the deeply religious lover of all mankind.

It may well be, however, that without our being completely aware of our good fortune we have been in the company of the Socrates of our own day. ~Paul Mellon, A Memorial Meeting, New York Dec. 1, 1961, Page 22-27

  1. Bollingen Series, a program of publication, was established in 1941 as an undertaking of Old Dominion Foundation. Bollingen Foundation was established in 1945, embracing the Series and other programs.