Encounters with C. G. Jung: The Journal of Sabi Tauber (1951–1961)

Colloquium May 29, 1957

Notes of the Continuation of the Colloquium

[No tape recordings exist of the continuation of this evening. Sabi and Ignaz Tauber and their guests have subsequently reconstructed the following notes of the questions and answers. We reproduce them here as they were collected by Sabi.]

He’d talked to us from 4.30 until 7 pm, with only a short break in the middle.

During the break, I asked him a question that weighed heavily on the mind and heart of a shy, honest young mother: How can one teach religion to one’s children if one doesn’t have any oneself?

Jung responded drily and matter-of-factly, that, in such a case, one just doesn’t do it. One simply doesn’t do anything.

But, I continued, what if one knows that they need it and one would like that they have it?

Jung: Well, then one has to work on oneself until one attains a personal religio – one can only pass on what one has oneself.

Now we all moved closer together, to make room for Roswith and her cousin Verena.

They performed a self-choreographed dance in black-and-white that was to demonstrate how our young generation imagined the relationship of light and dark.

Christian underscored the performance on the piano with Cyril Scott’s “Negro-dance.”

Jung much enjoyed it and said that he had learned something, namely how flexible a human being can be, and how important it was that one can fall and get up again!

Sitting close together and every which way, a few among us also had the courage to put forth a question of our own to Jung.

The following notes are from Mrs. Mimi Fopp, pertaining to Jung’s comments on a question that was asked: Instinct is highly conservative, and it is specific.

Our psyche relies on instinct. What happens when opposition is present?

Well, then there is an archetype that tells us what to do.

What will happen with today’s powerful oppositions in the world? A unifying process!

Something will happen that is expressed through a savior figure who will unify the opposites, forge a bridge.

The psyche is objective, like hands and feet. It lives on throughout the world when a person dies.

The archetype is everywhere, like the sun.

Therefore, we are able to understand people from other countries, from India, China.

We no longer know what Christianity really means; we have fallen out of it.

The numinous archetype is an experience which we don’t make; it befalls us.

Saul-Paul, for instance, is thrown from the horse, becomes blind, but he doesn’t do it, he doesn’t say, “I am an unconscious Christian.”

Such an experience is not our doing. The numinous experience only happens when we pay the tribute.

If the concept of God is not empirical, it does not affect us, it is an empty word.

I need to know where I am touched by the will of God. It is said, “The Lord will spit the lukewarm out of his mouth.”

The lukewarm don’t suffer hot or cold!

Thinking is so difficult; this is why most people judge. Where God is closest, danger is greatest.

The Christian faith is no longer part of life; it is only words. If the god concept is not empirical, it doesn’t touch us.

I need to know where I am touched by the will of God!

(The following notes are from Mr. Renold.)

Question from Dr. Jakob Fopp: What has astrology to say about the situation of the world today?

Jung [noted in keywords]: Astrologers view it in connection with the discovery of the planet Pluto.

He is the Lord of the Underworld, something dark, remote, the devil, far from humanity, the earth, the sun; lacking light; a cold element.

Manifesting in a figure like Hitler or Stalin. This astrological fact coincides with the situation of the world.

In earlier periods one didn’t think of such matters – the splitting of the atom; the splitting of the world through the iron curtain, or the message: “I’ll be coming home over the North Pole,” (as a relative wrote him on a postcard).

The earth is getting smaller and smaller, and completely new conditions will arise.

There is a great psychological restlessness; minds are divided.

We have psychic epidemics, like National Socialism, or a utopia like communism, which are totally closed to criticism.

The Christian faith is out of touch with life, or else is pathological.

Another question: Why was China so open to communism?

Jung: Because the social standards are so miserable. The Chinese are now becoming more honest and cleaner.

In this respect, communism was partly beneficial there, but it also did horrible damage.

The Chinese no longer understand the old Chinese culture.

Jung knows of a Chinese professor teaching Taoism only after having read about it in The Secret of the Golden Flower – Jung had drawn his attention to it – and only then he understood its meaning.

After all, we are in no better shape with Christianity: We no longer understand the symbols either.

Or India, with its two and a half million gods – a religion tremendously rich in symbols, which, however, is no longer understood by the intellectual elite.

With the mind of a journalist you don’t get close to these things. To drop the old is theology’s sin of omission.

These days, an American professor at a theological seminary no longer teaches students in a church-dogmatic fashion, but psychologically.

In Europe we are not yet as “advanced.”

Explaining symbols can only come out of personal experience, not as an intellectual mind game – this is why pastors fail.

As a whole, it is alarming how the theologians circumvent hot issues.

Theologians deal with each other carefully.

Catholics have to be terribly careful not to say anything wrong. But the same goes for Protestants.

There have been pastors attending my seminars, but it is dangerous for them.

They could come into dangerous conflicts.

Nobody tells the theologians what kind of a dilemma theology is in today.

Psychology brings conflicts of conscience and questions that cannot be answered.

Theology never got clear about what the unconscious is.

The will of God has to be experienced empirically, not just theoretically; otherwise it’s just empty talk.

Theology is dead, wooden.

The public is extremely hungry for elucidation in a psychological-religious way. He had seen this in his patients.

Then pastors would have an easy time filling their churches.

Question from Dr. Lauchli: Where are the boundaries between psyche and matter and how far have points of contact been identified?

Jung: When the psyche wants the body to stand up and then it does stand up, this shows that the psyche has power over the body.

No psycho-physical causality would be possible, if psyche and the body had no points of contact.

The psychic is a characteristic of matter, and matter is a characteristic of the psychic.

I don’t want to pass metaphysical judgment, but for me, even inorganic matter has a psychic component.

Crystals, just like plants, have life: they grow, they develop.

I couldn’t talk about matter without also speaking of the psyche.

There will come a time when psyche can be proven materially. It has to do with the size of the atom.

The transition is made when we no longer distinguish between inner-psychic and objective fact.

We are still fascinated by the idea that the brain conditions the psyche, yet the psyche is far more expansive.

The psyche of the other is my psyche too.

A question about number as an example for archetypes: Was the number discovered or was it invented?

Jung: It is something abstract. It was invented as a means to count, but it was discovered as an archetype.

The number is present in the quantity of things, and furthermore as a being in the collective unconscious.

A mythological statement for number is, for example:

“One” is the One and the All; it is also simply one, which presupposes a duality.

It is a symbol of God, the One, and the All-one. “Two” is separation and desire.

“Three” corresponds the mediation of the two.

A whole philosophy of the gods is expressed here!

Number per se is an archetype and non-perceptual.

Illustrative is the number as quantity, a property of mathematical things, a property of mathematics.

Number as archetype is the father and mother of all philosophy – the most beautiful fantasy of middle Europe!

“Three” as God-father, divine mother, and son is a hypostasia (concretization, representation of things); one wants to know that something is.

True understanding is only possible when one can retrace the unknown to known principles.

The psyche can be expressed as an idea.

Vice-versa, if we can prove a material fact as congruent with psychic laws, then we have understood something.

A psychic law is, for example, the current of libido as an energetic law.

Or the model of the atom according to Einstein’s theory of relativity or Planck’s quantum theory.

Quoting Antoine de St. Exupery: “It is not the stones that make the cathedral, it is the cathedral that bestows significance onto the stones.”

Jurg was preoccupied with his school paper about suicide, so he asked Jung about it.

Jung answered: A person who carries around suicidal thoughts I’d only try to convert and hold back up to a certain point.

He is, in fact, a murderer! In my mind, a murderer deserves the death penalty – so he does it to himself.

Whoever is capable of destroying a life is not worthy to live, that seems clear to me.

Roswith still had the improvised performance on her mind and wanted to know what Jung thought about it.

He said, it is good for young people to improvise once in a while, whether on the piano or on paper, because one gets to hear other voices; one gets in touch with another world and can take it in, and so one gains a wider horizon and a more open sense for the future.

Moreover, it is a creative act that exposes itself to critique, which is very valuable for human beings.

Jung went on to tell us of ultra-modern paintings he had seen, depicting “holes.” Artists express the future.

Those artists work in the fourth dimension! There, the body is a hole.

For our conscious, materialistic three-dimensional world the psychic world represents the fourth dimension.

Seen from the psychic world, however, the three-dimensional world of the body presents as a hole!

In the fourth dimension, objects are objectless.

As an amplification, Ignaz mentioned the East-Indian concept of Nirvana, the illusionary world of Maya, Plato’s cave parable, and from Goethe’s Faust: “Am farbigen Abglanz haben wir das Leben.”

We had the warm feeling that Jung was comfortable sitting among us. But there is an end to everything.

This end became a beginning for those present, as they were all deeply touched.

Jung received an especially kind farewell from “the Junglis, “who now were no longer distant relations but “dear relatives.”

Ignaz was the driver on the way back, with me, Roswith, and Jurg in the back seat, ears and hearts wide open.

Thus, we arrived in no time at the forbidden railroad crossing. Jung invited us into the quiet tower.

He gave us a petroleum lamp and motioned that we were free to roam.

Carefully the four of us went up the stairs, past a thousand precious objects.

At the very end hung a Tibetan ghost trap, and in mid-space floated a crocodile, wood carved dancers, and masks.

In the room at the top we discovered a bundle of loose sheets of paper, covered with the neatest and most careful handwriting: the manuscript on the Flying Saucers.

Solemnly, we pulled out three apples from our pockets and put them next to it.

We filled the room with thoughts of gratitude and a thousand good wishes, then quietly retreated down the steep staircase.

Jung smiled while offering us a drink.

Outside, in the courtyard, we sang a couple of canons, which he and Miss Bailey seemed to enjoy greatly.

The two accompanied us for a bit, until we reached the meadow next to the tall trees. There, all six of us joined hands in a circle and sang the canon, “O klage nicht, wenn Morgennebel dich umwehn, denn schoner wird die Sonne, die Sonne niedergehn.”

Our heartfelt wishes were rising up to the bright stars in the dark sky, with a hue of melancholy.

Ignaz, however, had an appointment with Jung in his pocket that would afford him one of those peak experiences from which we see our whole life backwards and forward; one that we often can only “remember” later.

Fig. 24: Farewell.

Sabi Tauber, Sabi Tauber: Encounters with Jung, Page 151-160