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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Carl Jung: Socrates' "naivete" is his greatness,...




To Hugo Charteris

Dear Mr. Charteris, Bollingen, 9 January 1960

You surely have hit the bull's eye by mentioning the "music-practising Socrates."

The story starts with his daimonion whispering into his ear: "Thou shouldst make more music, Socrates! "

Whereupon dear old well-meaning Socrates went to buy a flute and began lamentable exercises.

He obviously misunderstood the advice, but in a characteristic
way, reminding me of his elder brother in spirit Confucius,
who in his commentary emphatically declares: "Great is the I Ching! "

It is always right, but once only it said something of which Confucius could not make head or tail.

It produced the hexagram "Gentleness or Charm."

This, Confucius thought, was wholly out of gear.

He was obscured by his pedagogics and could not pay attention in spite of his knowing that "spiritual agencies move the stalks."

But Socrates was greater, he listened to his daimonion and bought a flute.

Notwithstanding his maieutike ("art of the midwife"), he humbly obeyed the small voice from within, understanding it literally and technically as if he were a modern man.

The daimonion meant "music," the art of feeling in contrast to his perpetual preoccupation with the "ratio" of the adolescent age, the worry of his homosexual Plato.

Where was his anima?

Obviously in Xantippe and concealed in his daimonion, an apparent neuter.

He also met her once in Diotima, without drawing conclusions
except the wrong ones.

Helas-he lived at a time when the wobbly polis still needed the homosexual glue.

But at least he has shown us the one precious thing: "To hell with the Ego-world! Listen to the voice of your daimonion. It has a saynow, not you."

With existentialism our words come to an end in complete meaninglessness and our art in total inexpressivity, and our world has acquired the means to blast us into cosmic dust.

But who is listening to the daimonion?

We talk but it says nothing, it does not even exist, and if it should exist it would be a merely pathological mistake.

Socrates' "naivete" is his greatness, still greater than ours.

His humbleness is the ideal we have not reached yet.

We still consider his daimonion as an individual peculiarity
if not worse.

Such people, says Buddha, "after their death reach the wrong way, the bad track, down to the depth, into an infernal world."

Well, we are not very far from it.

Cordial greetings!

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung

P.S. If your way should lead you once again to Switzerland I should
be pleased to see you.

~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 531-533

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