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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Carl Jung: Nobody except the very few have paid attention yet to the problems raised by my Mysterium Coniunctionis.




To Vaun Gillmor

Dear Miss Gillmor, 3 February 1960

The "Introitus apertus ad occlusum Regis palatium" is certainly a work deserving the highest attention of any student interested in the deeper understanding of alchemy.

Mr. Trinick is a connoisseur of Hermetic philosophy, and the results of his far-reaching investigation should be accessible to the scholars at least.

As you know, I have reopened the discussion about alchemical philosophy, i.e., I have at least shown a way which allows a new interpretation of its essential thoughts.

The public which is capable of understanding this research is exceedingly small.

Nobody except the very few have paid attention yet to the problems raised by my Mysterium Coniunctionis.

The reason for this attitude is that there are very few capable of following up the problems of the collective unconscious on the one hand and the problems of Hermetic philosophy on the other.

As far as my knowledge goes, some advanced physicists, like the late Professor Pauli and through him Professor Heisenberg, have become acquainted with the parallel developments in the psychic field.

To understand this implication it needed the extraordinary mental capacity of a man like Pauli, and following him Heisenberg, to appreciate the importance of the problem of the complementarity of opposites, symmetry and asymmetry, raised by nuclear physics on the one hand and the psychology of the unconscious on the other.

The physical side of the problem is a well-known matter, whereas the psychological and Hermetic side of this problem is accessible only to a very few, on account of the fact that the subject of unconscious phenomena is studied only by a very few and the study of alchemy is-if possible-still more unknown.

On the side of physics it was Pauli alone who appreciated alchemical thought very highly.

Trinick's book is a contribution to a better knowledge of alchemy, helped along by psychological understanding.

It would have been a book appreciated by Pauli as much as by myself.

If it should be published, it would encounter the same stony incomprehension which my Mysterium Coniunctionis has received-at least for the time being.

It is most unfortunate that Pauli died so early, as he was a physicist
who had the ear of his time, more so than a psychologist like myself.

There is a chance, however, that the future may develop a better Understanding of the psychology of the unconscious and its far-reaching problems, and through it even its medieval pre-stages may become fertile ground for the further growth of the common problems raised by nuclear physics and the psychology of the unconscious.

This is the chance I can see for Trinick's very special investigation.

Ours is surely the hard way, but everything that begins is small and meets with the unwillingness and the conservatism of established thought, which is no valid reason why the ever-changing further development of scientific understanding should come to a standstill.

I think, therefore, if you consider the possibility of a later publication of Mr. Trinick's book, it would be a meritorious act.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 534-536