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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Carl Jung on his contribution to Mathematics

To Philip Wylie

Dear Mr. Wylie, 22 December 1957

Despite your protestation I will write to you if only to tell you how grateful I am for your kind letter.

I have got so much human disregard that I began to understand-finally-that it was a just punishment for my own faults in the same respects.

It has taken me too long to discover the greatest thing, i.e., Man and what he means and why.

Thus there is no need at all for you to feel yourself as exceptional.

Like every one of us you were part of the great dimness overshadowing the greater part of mankind, in the first place the western so-called Christian man.

To discover Man is a great adventure.

I am glad and grateful that people like yourself begin to see the dawn.

Don't worry about my mathematics.

I never dreamt of adding anything to mathematics, being myself utterly "amathematikos."

My affiliation to it consists only in the equation 3 + 1 = 4 which is a psychological fact indicating the fundamental relation between psychology and mathematics.

This is-it may seem ridiculous to a mathematician-the mystery of the psychologist.

To the former, number is a means of counting; to the latter, it is a discovered entity capable of making individual statements if it is given a chance.

In other words: in the former case number is a servant, in the latter case an autonomous being. It is the same difference as between the general, the professor, the stockbroker on the one hand and the human being on the other.

Well, I thank you, because you are the only one who admits that I am the petra scandali.

From this fact I have formerly concluded that I am an exceptionally unpleasant person. In my later years (I am now in my 83rd) I became doubtful, since I have received so much love and consideration that I have no reason to grumble.

I have not "eaten of the herb of bitterness," but I am astonished at the power of prejudice and superficiality of the "clercs. "

My best regards to Mrs. Wylie and my cordial wishes for a happy New Year,

I remain,

Yours gratefully,

C.G.J. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 404-405.