Jung on the Coming Global Catastrophe
interview with Marie-Louise von Franz
INTERVIEWER: When you were in the United States recently, you mentioned that Jung had had a vision at the end of his life of a global catastrophe. Can you speak about that a little bit?
VON FRANZ: I don’t want to speak much about it. He tried to convey to his family some things right when he was dying….. One of his daughters took notes, and after his death she gave them to me. There is a drawing with a line going up and down, and underneath is the caption: “The last fifty years of humanity,” and some remarks about a final catastrophe being ahead. But I have only those notes.
INTERVIEWER: What is your own feeling about the world situation?
VON FRANZ: One’s whole feeling revolts against this idea! But since I have those notes in a drawer, I don’t allow myself to be too optimistic. I think, “Well, we have always had wars and enormous catastrophes, and I have no more personal fear about that. I mean, at my age, if you have to go soon anyhow– egocentrically speaking– but the beauty of all the life! To think that the billions and billions of years of evolution to build up the plants and the animals, and the whole beauty of nature– to think that humans would, out of sheer shadow foolishness, destroy it all– I mean, that all of life might go from the planet! And we don’t know, on Mars and Venus, if there is life. We don’t know if there are any life experiments elsewhere in the galaxies. And we go and destroy this! I think it is so abominable– I try to pray that it may not happen, that a miracle happens.
INTERVIEWER: Do you find that the young people whom you see now are aware of this pending catastrophe in their consciousness?
VON FRANZ: Yes. It’s partly in their unconscious and partly in their consciousness– and, I think, in a very dangerous way of giving up and running away into a fantasy world. You know, when you study science fiction, you see that there’s always the fantasy of escaping to some other planet and beginning anew again. This theme means “give up the battle on this earth,” consider it hopeless and just give up. A sort of defeatism. Perhaps that is because there is a world catastrophe impending, and they are only feeling what is true. But I think one shouldn’t give up. lf you think of Jung’s “Answer to Job”: if man would wrestle with God, if man would tell God that He shouldn’t do it…. That’s where reflection comes in. Jung never thought we might do better than just sneak ’round the corner, with not too big a catastrophe. When I saw Jung last, he had a vision while I was with him. He said, “I see enormous stretches devastated, enormous stretches of the earth. But, thank God, it’s not the whole planet.” So, perhaps, that is what lies ahead.