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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Carl Jung: The shadow is the block which separates us most effectively from the divine voice.




To Father Victor White

My dear Victor, 25 March 1960

Since you are very much in the situation of the suffering Job.

I shall not play the role of his friends, not even that of the wise Elihu.

I humbly submit the suggestion that you might apply your Personalistic point of view to your own person and to your own case instead of to the unknown person of the individual Job.

You can see then what it does to yourself as well as to myself-if I may introduce myself as an individual.

Job is very much the respectable Hebrew of his time.

He observes the law and-by force of the covenant-his God ought to do the same.

Now let us assume that Job is neurotic, as one can easily Make out from the textual allusions: he suffers from a regrettable lack of insight into his own dissociation.

He undergoes an analysis of a sort, f.i. by following Elihu's wise counsel; what he will hear and what he will be aware of are the discarded contents of his personal subconscious mind, of his shadow, but not the divine voice, as Elihu intends.

You faintly insinuate that I am committing Elihu's error too, in Appealing to archetypes first and omitting the shadow.

One cannot avoid the shadow unless one remains neurotic, and as long as one is neurotic one has omitted the shadow.

The shadow is the block which separates us most effectively from the divine voice.

Therefore Elihu in spite of his fundamental truth belongs to those foolish Jungians, who, as you suggest, avoid the shadow and make for the archetypes, i.e., the "divine equivalents," which by the way are nothing but escape camouflage according to the personalistic theory.

If Job succeeds in swallowing his shadow he will be deeply ashamed of the things which happened.

He will see that he has only to accuse himself, for it is his complacency, his righteousness, his literal-mindedness, etc. which have brought all the evil down upon him.

He has not seen his own shortcomings but has accused God.

He will certainly fall into an abyss of despair and inferiority-feeling, followed, if he survives, by profound repentance.

He will even doubt his mental sanity: that he, by his vanity, has
caused such an emotional turmoil, even a delusion of divine interference-obviously a case of megalomania.

After such an analysis he will be less inclined than ever before [to think) that he has heard the voice of God.

Or has Freud with all his experience ever reached such a conclusion?

If Job is to be considered as a neurotic and interpreted from the personalistic point of view, then he will end where psychoanalysis ends, viz. in disillusionment and resignation, where its creator most emphatically ended too.

Since I thought this outcome a bit unsatisfactory and also empirically not quite justifiable, I have suggested the hypothesis of archetypes as an answer to the problem raised by the shadow.

This apparently inordinate idea, also favoured but produced at the wrong moment by the wise Elihu, is a petra scandali of the worst kind.

In my naivete I had imagined it to be something better than sheer
despair and resignation, also something more true than mere rationalism and thoughtlessness.

Your aggressive critique has got me in the rear.

That's all.

Don't worry! I think of you in everlasting friendship.

“No man is obliged to do more than he can do.”

Thus I ask for your forgiveness, as is incumbent on one who has given cause for scandal and vexation.

It is difficult not to be crushed by the inexorable truth: "Truth in brute form is falser than falsity," or the mountain you have heaped up is your burial mound.

My best wishes in every respect!

Yours ever,

C.G.

Postscriptum.

I had a light embolism in the heart, the consequences of which kept me in the house for 4 weeks.

I see from your letter that you have published a new book Soul and Psyche, but neither my secretary nor I myself have seen a copy.

I would be very interested indeed to learn your views about the intricacies of psychological terminology in this field disputed by empirism on the one hand and metaphysics on the other.

If you had seen Mr. X' s wife (as I have) you would know everything about him.

When Johannes Hus bound to the stake saw a little old woman adding her last bundle of sticks to the pile, he said:0 sancta simplicitas! ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 544-546