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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Carl Jung: It is really a question of recognizing God's will and wanting to do it.




To Roswitha N.

Dear Miss Roswitha, 17 August 1957

Many thanks for the kind letter you sent me on my birthday.

I have heard with great sorrow of your father's illness and can only hope that it will soon take a turn for the better.

I was very interested to hear of the success of your lecture.

My little book on Job is naturally meant for older people, and especially for those who have some knowledge of my psychology.

They must also have pondered a good deal on religious questions in order to understand it properly.

Because there are very few people who meet these conditions, my book has been widely misunderstood.

They should also know something about the unconscious.

As an introduction to this I would recommend another little book of mine, "On the Psychology of the Unconscious," and, on the religious problem,"Psychology and Religion." Symbolik des Geistes and Von den Wurzeln des Bewusstseins probe rather more deeply into these matters.

You are undoubtedly right to tackle the problem of society first.

There you learn the ways of other people and are forced to find a common basis of understanding.

The question of the young architect as to what it might mean for
God if he demands Christianity of us: first one must understand what Christianity means.

This is obviously the psychology of the Christian and that is a complicated phenomenon which cannot be taken for granted.

And what something might mean for God we cannot know at all, for we are not God.

One must always remember that God is a mystery, and everything we say about it is said and believed by human beings.

We make images and concepts, and when I speak of God I always mean the image man has made of him.

But no one knows what he is like, or he would be a god himself.

Looking at it in one way, however, we do indeed partake of divinity, as Christ himself pointed out when he said: "Ye are gods."

You will find a lot about this in Answer to Job.

Your question why it is more difficult for us to do good than to do evil is not quite rightly put, because doing good is as a rule easier than doing evil.

True, it is not always easy to do good, but the consequences of doing good are so much more pleasant than those of doing evil that if only for practical reasons one eventually learns to do good and eschew evil.

Of course evil thwarts our good intentions and, to our sorrow, cannot always be avoided.

The task is then to understand why this is so and how it can be endured.

In the end good and evil are human judgments, and what is good for one man is evil for another.

But good and evil are not thereby abolished; this conflict is always going on everywhere and is bound up with the will of God.

It is really a question of recognizing God's will and wanting to do it.

The other question of what meaning the Bible ascribes to society is of great importance, for the solidarity and communal life of mankind go to the roots of existence.

But the question is complicated by the fact that the individual should also be able to maintain his independence, and this is possible only if society is accorded a relative value.

Otherwise it swamps and eventually destroys the individual, and then there is no longer any society either.

In other words: a genuine society must be composed of independent individuals, who can be social beings only up to a certain point.

They alone can fulfil the divine will implanted in each of us.

The paths leading to a common truth are many.

Therefore each of us has first to stand by his own truth, which is then gradually reduced to a common truth by mutual discussion.

All this requires psychological understanding and empathy with the other's point of view.

A common task for every group in quest of a common truth.

With best greetings,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 383-384