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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Carl Jung: “The archetypes have a life of their own…”

To Karl Schmid

Dear Professor Schmid, 26 January 1957

Sincerest thanks for kindly sending me your rectoral address, Neuere Aspekte der Geistesgeschichte.

I had already got some idea of its content from the report in the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, but I missed the essential details.

The complete copy of your address has now filled in all the gaps and confirmed my first impression of the very understanding way in which you have treated the social and spiritual implications of my basically medical and empirical work.

I found your differential definition of the historical and psychological approach most illuminating, and I can only agree with what you say.

I must add, however, that this applies only to a psychology which is still exclusively concerned with culture-promoting personalities and is therefore restricted to the sphere of individual phenomena.

This is an aspect of psychology which affords us the greatest insight and is at the same time the unavoidable path leading down to the deeper levels from which those biological masterpieces we call personalities are produced.

At these greater depths more general laws become discernible and more comprehensive figures stand out which eliminate the divisive factor of individual development and give psychology a homogeneity or inner coherence which raises it to the rank of a biological science.

By these deeper levels I mean the determining archetypes which are supraordinate to, or underlie, individual development and presumably are responsible for the supreme meaning of individual life.

Seen from this level, not only is psychological experience a continuum, but the psychological approach also enables us to gain some knowledge of the inner connection between historical events

The archetypes have a life of their own which extends through the centuries and gives the aeons their peculiar stamp.

Perhaps I may draw your attention to my historical contribution in Aion, where I have attempted to outline the evolutionary history of the Anthropos, which begins with the earliest Egyptian records.

The material I have presented there may serve to illustrate these remarks of mine.

May I take this opportunity to express the modest wish to make your personal acquaintance?

I would very much like to discuss these far-reaching questions with you sometime.

Thanking you again,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 344-345