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C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. II 1951-1961


To Theodor Bovet

Dear Colleague, 9 November 1955

Very belatedly I am at last thanking you for your kind letter of congratulation on my 8oth birthday.

I  was most surprised that you though t of me at all and even took the trouble to remember with goodwill the existence of my shadow.

You may shake your head incredulously when I tell you that I would hardly have been able to form the concept of the shadow had not its existence become one of my greatest experiences, not just with regard to other people but with regard to myself.

S o I can gladly accept your allusions to Houdon’s Voltaire and to Job, though it is rather like carrying coals to New-castle.

I like to look at the mocking visage of the old cynic, who reminds me of the futility of my idealistic aspirations, the dubiousness of my morals, the baseness of my motives, of the human-alas!-all too human.

That is why Monsieur Arouet de Voltaire still stands in the waiting room, lest my patients let themselves be deceived by the amiable doctor.

My shadow is indeed so huge that I could not possibly overlook it in the plan of my life, in fact

I had to see it as an essential part of my personality, accept the consequences of this realization, and take responsibility for them.

Many bitter experiences have forced me to see that though the sin one has committed or is can be regretted, it is not cancelled out.

I don’t believe in the tiger who was finally converted to vegetarianism and ate only apples.

My solace was always Paul, who did not deem it beneath his dignity to admit that he bore a thorn in the flesh.

My sin has become for me my most precious task.

I would never leave it to anybody else in order to appear a saint in my own eyes, always knowing what is good for others.

The criticism and “understanding” I have had to endure at the hands of theologians (long before Job!) give me no cause to treat their theological concepts any more gently than they treated mine.

The same is true of the Freudians.

As for Trub’ s “dialectics” a (which, if such they were, would require a partner), they consisted of a monologue in which I couldn’t get a word in edgeways.

Despite the honest efforts of my wife and myself even documented proofs were swept under the table without so much as a glance.

His method was very like that of a theologian, as was his gross misunderstanding.

Protestantism is faced with questions which one day will have to be spoken out loud.

For instance, the horrid sophism of the privatio boni, which even Protestant theologians are willing to endorse.

Or the question of the relation between the Old and New Testament God.

When it suits them God is just a n anthropomorphic idea, or they pretend they can conjure up God himself by naming him.

But when I regard an anthropomorphic God-image as open to criticism, then it is “psychologism” or-worse still-“blasphemy”!

Laymen today are no longer bamboozled by this kind of humbug, and Protestantism

would do well to notice that someone is knocking on the door.

I have knocked long and loud in order to rouse Protestant theology from its untimely slumbers, for I feel myself responsible as a “Protestant.”

I have delivered my message as clearly as I could, together with the relevant proofs.

If the theologian, like Trub, chooses to ignore it, that’s his affair.

I don’t need to tell you what a troublesome spectacle this is.

Protestantism has long ceased to live its “protest.”

It draws its vitality from its encounter with the spirit of the age, of which psychology is now a part.

If it fails in this task, it dries up.

Actually the theologians should be grateful to me for the intense interest I take in them, and as a matter of fact a few of them are.

The length of my answer will be enough to show you that your educative efforts have fallen on thankful ground.

I therefore allow myself to hope that you will raise this question of the shadow among your friends and cronies, the theologians and Freudians.

With collegial regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 276-278