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Friday, September 25, 2015

Carl Jung: that I cannot possibly tell you what a man who has enjoyed complete self-realization looks like

To A. Tjoa and R.H.C. Janssen

Dear Sirs, 27 December 1958

Your questions remind me of a very wonderful discussion I once attended at a joint session of the Mind Association and the Aristotelian Society in London about the question: are the individual minds contained in God or not?

I must call your attention to the fact that I cannot possibly tell you what a man who has enjoyed complete self-realization looks like, and what becomes of him.

I never have seen one, and if I did see one I could not understand him because I myself would not be completely integrated.

Thus far your question is a scholastic one, rather like the famous "how many angels can stand on the point of a needle?"

Integration in the empirical sense of this word means completion and not perfection.

Being a doctor I have seen much of the profound misery of man in our days and of his dissociation.

I had to help innumerable people to get a bit more conscious about themselves and to consider the fact that they consist of many different components, light and dark.

That's what one calls integration: to become explicitly the one one has been originally.

As Japanese Zen says: "Show me thine original face."

To get integrated or complete is such a formidable task that one does not dare to set people farther goals like perfection.

As f.i. the ordinary physician neither imagines nor hopes to make of his patient an ideal athlete, so the psychological doctor does not dream of being able to produce saints.

He is highly content if he brings forth-in himself as well as in others-a fairly balanced and mentally more or less sound individual, no matter how far from the state of perfection.

Before we strive after perfection, we ought to be able to live the ordinary man without self-mutilation.

If anybody should find himself after his humble completion still left with a sufficient amount of energy, then he may begin his career as a saint.

I never thought that I might be able to help him along far enough on this way.

In a case of criminality, I am sure that the process of completion would bring it to daylight that he is a wrong one, but these cases don't come to the doctor.

They find their way all by themselves.

But it is quite possible that a fellow wrongly believes he is a criminal and analysis makes it clear to him that he is no such thing.

He would seek the doctor's help, but not the real criminal.

May I give you some advice? Don't get caught by words, only by facts.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 474-475