An Evening with C. G. Jung in Winterthur, May 26, 1956
(At the time, we thought that any kind of “official” note-taking would disturb the ambiance.
Thus, in the days that followed, Ignaz put the content of the seminar together with painstaking care and a lot of dedication, and with the help of our friends who had attended.
As it turned out, Roswith, our eldest, still remembered most of it verbatim – she had secretly listened, together with her brothers Jurg and Christian, laying on the floor in the hallway-young, wide open souls.)
First question (Dr. Ernst Jung): How would you evaluate the psychological situation, on one hand of the European in the West with his overemphasis on intellectual psychic development, and on the other of the Eastern people, mainly the Chinese, who have seen their culture break down under the influence of the materialistic-technological
The world is split into two factions, separated by the iron curtain.
The psychological explanation for this phenomenon is the fact that the individual human being is split too, and that the world consists of the sum of all the split individuals.
Going back in history to investigate the origin of this split would go too far now.
But we can proceed empirically: Let’s say, some intellectual comes along who suddenly has fantasies about his wife or his mother.
Or a mother has ideas about her children.
Or a professor comes to me, frightened by his visions – for “only crazy people have visions.”
When he [Jung] shows him a book from the Middle Ages where he finds exactly these visions written down he is baffled.
Indeed, in those times, such things were written down in books!
If, for once, such an illuminated intellectual could see his unconscious, a whole archaic museum would present itself, of which the man doesn’t have the foggiest idea.
One has thought that a man is what he knows about himself, but there is one thing he hasn’t reckoned with.
One has forgotten that one is not the only master of one’s house.
Up to the Middle Ages one was aware of that.
In this respect, the Reformation has sinned as well, pouring out the baby with the bath water, whereas the Catholic Church has maintained a relationship with the unconscious through its cult.
Compared to the vastness of the unconscious, our consciousness fits into the size of a thimble.
Admittedly, consciousness has made big progress, and we don’t have to give it up, but we have to find the connection with the other, split-off side.
Today’s man has forgotten much of what was known in the Middle Ages, which is now dismissed as superstition.
The Romans, for example, still knew that there is a genius loci.
So, when they built a new town somewhere, they didn’t yet know the god of that location.
Therefore, they brought sacrifices to the local god and engraved onto a memorial stone: genio ignoto loci.
Today we travel to foreign places without taking into account that we are exposed to unconscious influences there, and that it would be quite reasonable to be a bit cautious.
Primitive peoples are aware of many places of sinister influence, and such “dwellings of the spirits” are taboo.
While traveling in Africa, Jung was especially interested in those places and could explain their uncanny influence by the nature of the milieu.
Once he asked to be taken into an ill-famed bamboo forest, situated at a 9,000-foot
altitude in the Elgon region, “the place of the departed spirits.”
They had to bend down to walk along the narrow rhino paths, without making a sound on the bamboo leaves under their feet.
All was deep dark green, above and below; it felt like being in deep water.
He had two brave soldiers along with him, though they were breaking out in a cold sweat.
One of them whispered into his ear: “10,000 spirits!”
They had to be careful not to startle sleeping rhinos, as there was no way to escape their fury.
So, they had to sing and whistle to chase them away.
Once, a camera left behind on one of these paths was recovered the following day, completely trampled.
Primitive peoples cannot simply disregard the unconscious – that would be much too dangerous.
When one is out of balance one must not undertake anything.
One could, for example, come across a mamba, one of the most dangerous poisonous snakes that attack on sight.
One has to have the rifle “handy” in order to be the faster one.
Or one has to cross a river full of crocodiles on some slippery tree trunk: Whoever is not in balance might slip and fall to his death, or, for example, might lose his most important piece of luggage.
This is why “the boys” shared and discussed their dreams every morning in front of the tent.
If they were unfavorable, one had a day of rest.
If they were good, one could go ahead with the trek.
This had been on a safari in coastal Somalia.
Jung had tested the head boy’s knowledge of the Koran and he himself had known more than the boy.
After that, Jung had been respected as “the wise one” and had to decide whether the dreams were good or bad.
Who today would think of honoring the “unknown spirit of the place” with an engraved stone, “just in case”? Or slaughter a black rooster before buying stocks or bonds?
Richard Wilhelm has this interesting story about the rainmaker in China: Once he came into a province that suffered from severe drought.
The people had called for a rainmaker from the South.
He came and sequestered himself for three days.
On the fourth day it rained and snowed! Wilhelm asked him how he had done it, and the rainmaker answered that he hadn’t done anything.
He had noticed that the people here weren’t in order, therefore he had to separate
from them and bring himself into order.
It took him three days to establish Tao, and then, of course, it rained.
But he didn’t make the rain – that he couldn’t do!
This being in balance, translates for us Europeans as giving the unconscious a voice too.
In this respect, the saying “let me sleep on it” has a legitimate, deep meaning: If you sleep on it, the unconscious is given an opportunity to have a say, either through dreams, or simply by letting one’s mind be influenced by it.
It is because Western man has “forgotten” all this that the world is split today, in the outer world by the Iron Curtain, in the individual by the well-known inner disunity.
How can there be help?
There are examples of a wrong Western kind of thinking: Ropke proposed the oppressive idea of the Herrenmensch (member of the master race), a kind of club for the elite, that is, another Nazi remnant.
Impossible, for who makes the selection?
Before such a “committee,” Jung would have failed.
Based on his critique of the universality of the causality principle (written while still a student), any committee would have classified him as “subhuman.”
The idea is not only unworkable, it is wrong.
Equally wrong as the recent experiment “Zurich whereto?”
Everything is wrong that wants to impose something new on people as a collective, as a mass.
This is the well-known misconception: “the masses will do it.”
Karl Barth100 is said to have had thousands of disciples, whereas only a small group has gathered around Jung.
One may respond: Hitler had many more people than Barth; Jesus even less than Jung!
Here is yet another example of wrong Western thinking: One assumes that education in the natural sciences gives us an accurate picture of reality.
But the “norm” of the natural sciences is not an existing reality at all; it is an abstraction, only a statistical means.
Let us consider a bed of gravel, for example.
We just found that the average weight of one stone is 145 grams.
Then we ask a student to bring us a gravel stone with exactly that weight.
He might be looking for hours!
Not only are statistics not reality; they also awaken wrong ideas about the reality.
The way we think is referred to as “realistic,” but in fact, it is not real at all! Reality is never an average, never a “norm”; it is variety.
“Normal” isn’t the so-called “norm,” but the diversity.
A physician, therefore, should never treat patients with categories of pathology, but always keep the individual sick person in mind.
If you simply have “a hysteria” in your office it says about as much about this patient as, for example, she belongs to the white race.
Just as absurd is the statement, “treatment according to Jung.”
I don’t have a method; every person is new and unique.
I used to interpret about 2,000 dreams a year.
But just as a Catholic priest confesses his sins before holding mass, I said to myself before each interpretation, “well, good heavens, I don’t understand this dream
at all; I can’t say a thing about it; I don’t have the foggiest idea,” to prevent any kind of theoretical prejudice.
In the natural sciences we live in a totally artificial world, abstracted from reality, and that’s why the scientist has a hard time finding his way around in it.
The statistical truth is the way of stereotyping society, something we take over from America, which is not at all different from communism.
All recipes that say, “one should, one must … ” are wrong.
Nothing is improved with them.
Real change can only come about when someone starts to do “the right thing” every day; then it will be heard from miles away!
Then the millions who don’t do this are diminished by one, then by two etc.
So, this is the task: that each one works on himself to heal the split within.
Now something about the Chinese:
Nobody would have thought that such a highly evolved culture with such an orthodox people could break down so quickly!
But, just what do they still know about their high culture?
I asked a Chinese professor what he thought about the / Ching.
He was embarrassed and evasive, as if I had asked an astronomer about astrology, or a surgeon whether he also practices chiropractic.
Some time into the conversation I learned that once, the professor and a friend of his had each consulted the / Ching oracle.
“Were both oracles meaningful?” – “Yes.” – “What consequences did you draw from this?” – “None.”
This is also the reason why India with its many illiterates is endangered by communism, in spite of its old culture, because people don’t understand their culture any more.
Nehru has tried to maneuver, but it is a dangerous game!
Second question (Mrs. Dr. Mimi Fopp-Fink, Flims): In your German Seminar, 1930, you made a remark that touched me deeply: “With the church’s fight against gnosis, many deep truths have vanished or have been turned into nonsense.
So, for example, the word of Christ, ‘When two or three are gathered in my name I am among them,’ is completely distorted.
It should rather say, ‘When two are together they are not without God.
But if someone is alone – verily I tell you – I am with him; he shall lift the stone and find me there; he may split wood and I’ll be there.”‘
My question is whether God is also with one who is alone, or only present within the community.
Jung: Indeed, this passage has been distorted in the interest of the community, to strengthen the Church.
In a collection of such “Sayings of Christ” (Logia /esou), contained in the Oxyrhynchus-Papyri from the first century, we find, for example, a conversation of Christ with his disciples.
One of the questions is, “How can one get from earth to heaven?”
Jesus says, “It is the fish and the birds that bring you heaven, therefore strive first for self-knowledge, for you are the city, and the city is the kingdom!”
This answer is about the instinct of the unconscious animals, how the fish find their way and the birds build their nests, and likewise man, when he is well connected to the instincts and to his inner images. (“Metropolis” – mother city – center – the town – the kingdom.)
The kingdom of heaven is not to be reached with ladders, corresponding to the belief of various religions; it is within man.
That is the self of man, the Unknown, Christus in nobis, the kingdom of God.
Therefore strive first to know yourselves!
Here Christ touches on the secret of individuation, self-realization.
In the Indian religion, the primal being is Atman Purusha, the primeval man, who sacrificed himself in order to build the world.
My ego is the personal Atman, and he is identical with the transpersonal Atman.
“He covers the world everywhere two handbreadths high and is within my heart two thumbs high.”
It means that the ubiquitous God is contained within me in the smallest form.
I am a split-off particle.
The “I” is an illusion, a trouble maker that gets us entangled in the ten thousand things.
There are people who believe that Christ was familiar with Buddhism.
In the second century before Christ, Buddhist monasteries sprung up in Persia.
After the conquest of Alexander the Great, there were relations with India.
Another interesting source is the Liber Enoch, the apocryphal Book of Enoch, from around 150-100 BCE, which, at the time, was very popular.
There, the “son of man” figures as the steward of justice, the advocate of man before God. Christ has identified himself
with the steward of justice.
When he calls himself “the son of man” he took it directly from the Liber Enoch: The son of man, chosen by God, who ensures that humans are justified before God.
For the old Jewish theologians, Yahweh was a paradox. On the “Day of Reconciliation,”
the high priest would go into the sacristy of the temple where he would see the splendor of Adonai.
And the glory spoke, “My son, give me your benediction!” and the priest would bless him, adding, “And mayest thou always remember thy good qualities more than thy
Yahweh was in danger of falling into oblivion with the emerging Greek spirit.
Many Jews only spoke Greek.
Jesus was the reformer who saved the Jewish religion by saying that “God is good.”
This is why he saw Satan falling from heaven.
He saved the Jewish religion by affirming that God is good.
The Apocalypse brings back the “Fear of God.” The old, terrible God reappears.
When Yahweh gets angry, he himself hides his faithful under his throne, lest he strikes them dead.
Abraham didn’t want to come down from the altar before saying this to God: Had he killed his son, then Yahweh would have broken his word, because, as it is said, “You promised me my seed in Israel.”
Yahweh said, “In the future you will always blow the Schofar on the Day of Reconciliation.”
This was so that Yahweh would remember that he a/most broke his word.
In the 89th Psalm we find the antinomian idea of God, which disappeared in Christianity.
That God is the summum bonum conforms to the Jewish Reformation.
It took Jung years to track down the apocryphal texts that had been left out of the Bible.
The Liber Enoch records the expectation of the great Essene community that the “Son of Man” would come to help humanity gain its rights before God.
We may compare this to the “parable of the shrewd manager” (Luke 16:1-9), who, having administered faithfully, reports to his master.
God is pleased with this, because this man acted alertly and with agility.
Ignorance is the greatest sin: “Man, if indeed thou knowest what thou doest, thou art
blessed; but if thou knowest not, thou art cursed, and a transgressor of the law.”
Christianity did not simply fall from heaven.
Its history reaches as far back as Egypt.
Think of the three times fourteen ancestors of Christ, assimilated from the coronation of the Pharaoh, where fourteen ancestors were placed ahead of the procession.
Because of these relations Christianity immediately got under the skin of the Egyptians.
Recently, a German-American scholar devoted his dissertation to uncover many more of these interesting parallels.
But his findings were not accepted by the universities.
As Jesus said: “He who is near me, is near the fire, and he who is far from me, is far from the kingdom.”11° Fire is burning!
Third question (Dr. Hans Baumann-Barandun): I have trouble bringing together knowledge and faith.
Jung answered, that neither can he believe in what he doesn’t know.
Either one knows something and then there is nothing to believe, or one doesn’t know, and then it would be even harder to believe – it would be immoral!
Now, he doesn’t speak here of the faith that may be given to one as “charisma,” as grace.
Jung’s father was a minister, and in his youth he always had disagreements with him.
It went against his morals to believe certain things.
Otherwise, one might also believe, for example, that a certain Mr. Meier is a
Faith and knowledge are not opposites, because these concepts lie on different levels.
Objects of knowledge are facts.
The stories in the Bible obviously are not meant as descriptions of facts – as
such they would be either impossible or nonsense, like, for example, the Trinity, or the Immaculate Conception.
The same holds true for the pronouncements of alchemy.
They were always viewed from the perspective of chemistry, and thus considered chemical nonsense.
Both the Bible and alchemy talk a symbolic language.
Once we understand that, everything becomes clear.
Consider the Immaculate Conception, for example: a divine female figure unites with the Holy Spirit; a virgin, untouched by any man, is pregnant.
But Mary is not the first, the Egyptian Isis and many others were her predecessors.
Here, Catholicism is much smarter than Protestantism, by declaring these goddess images to be forerunners of the Almighty Truth.
A virgin can indeed be pregnant by a spirit.
There exists in all languages an expression for spiritual pregnancy.
And from this emerges the savior of mankind, the Son of God.
The Jews say that Mary was a hairdresser, and that Joseph got her pregnant out of wedlock, so she had to give birth hidden away in a manger.
Mary represents the feminine that is innate in every man.
But in intellectual men the feeling function is often undeveloped, just as for beautiful women beauty is often valued higher, at the cost of thinking.
This is why a well-to-do man can fall in love with the cashier at a bar: it concerns his own inferior function.
So, the French writer Gerard de Nerval, in his Aurelia describes his love for an actress,
doubting time and again whether she could really be his one great love, the saint, the goddess: “Apres tout, c’est une femme ordinaire de notre siecle”
- and by God, she is it! And already he was insane.
Poets have the ability to bring out their inner image – Goethe’s Gretchen (Faust) and Mignon (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship) are the only German examples; other than that, we only find them in the French and English literature, as, for example, She in Rider Haggard’s She and Atlantide in Pierre Benoit’s Atlantide
This kind of love is numinous. Hands off, a goddess is present!
The Holy Trinity and the question of the third and fourth comes up in many religions, also in Plato’s Timaeus and in the scene of the Cabiri in Goethe’s Faust.
It is connected with the structure of the human psyche.The fourth function is the inferior, which is why it often leads to dubious experiences.
They are not necessarily divine (one might even get in conflict with the police!). Precisely because they are not only divine [in the Christian sense], the term “numinous” (the old Latin sacer) is better.
We are dealing with the most ordinary, every-day things, which, in their ordinariness, we simply don’t recognize as sacred.
The fourth in the Holy Trinity is either the devil or Mary – the mediatrix or creatrix mundi.
Whereas men have banned the devil from heaven, for reasons of responsibility toward their Weltanschauung, women have a better way of dealing with him because they don’t have ideological prejudices.
Remember the little story in Anatole France’s L’tle des pingouins?
There, an old, almost blind priest blessed a group of penguins, taking them for humans, which provoked a difficult conference among the church fathers in heaven.
They discussed whether the penguins had received a soul through the sacrament, or whether the sacrament wasn’t effective in this case because only humans have a soul.
Finally, God the Father referred them to Saint Catherine of Alexandria as their judge, because she was the most saintly of women.
She decreed that, of course, the animals received a soul through the sacrament, for the sacrament can never err.
But they are animals, after all, so, turning to God the Father, she said, “C’est pour cela, donnez-leurs une ame, mais une petite!”
This is why Mary, as the representative of the devil, the protectress of all sinners, was taken up into Heaven, which was a pretty smart move.
Another physical impossibility seems to be the “feeding of the five thousand.”
However, in the Vulgata of Hieronymus we find written in the Lord’s Prayer, “Dona nobis panem supersubstantialem,” meaning, “Give us our super-substantial bread” • Spiritual nourishment is capable of endless multiplication.
Pueblo Indians call themselves “the sons of the sun.”
Jung had been impressed by their great dignity and, next to them, felt like a ridiculous puppet.
Later, through a correspondence with the chief, he learned where this great dignity had originated from: Jung had asked the chief why he had written that the Americans would fare badly, were they to send their missionaries to the Pueblos.
He answered, “The sons of the sun help their father sun with their ritual every morning to climb the heavens.
If that should stop, then the Americans would lose the sun too!” – What if we had such a commission, too!
Catholicism has preserved a cult, which allows for a relationship with the powers of the unconscious, whereas Protestants threw out the baby with the bath water.
One does Yoga – meaning that the West seeks access to its own culture via a detour through the East, while the East is doing the same thing through the West.
A Chinese professor of philosophy confessed that he only gained access to the
Tao by reading the booklet The Secret of the Golden Flower
Many people have two drawers: one for the weekdays, where they store their knowledge; the other only for Sunday, where they store their faith.
Jung tried it too, but – the experiment failed miserably.
An American professor of theology complained in a letter of so many esoteric expressions in the Book of Job.
Asked for an example, he mentioned the hieros games, the wedding of the lamb.
These, however, are really customary specialty terms and have nothing to do with esotericism.
But that is how the humanistic education is being cleaned up, so that a theology professor is no longer familiar with Greek and Latin expressions.
[End of recordings for this evening.]
Thank God, this night
the moon held vigil
which in holiness,
touched by the mystery,
experienced heaven and earth
Shortly thereafter, I received the following note:
Kusnacht, May 27, 1956
Dear Frau Doctor!
I would like to express once again my gratitude for the pleasant evening in your hospitable home.
Only seldom do I have such a sincere and open-minded audience that resonates so deeply with what I have to say.
This I probably owe to you and your dear husband’s careful preparations and attention.
With best greetings,
Your devoted C. G. Jung
PROF. OR. o. G . .JUNG
Fig. 21: Letter of C. G. Jung to Sabi Tauber, May 27, 1956.