Show Less
Open access

Ghosts – or the (Nearly) Invisible

Spectral Phenomena in Literature and the Media

Series:

Edited By Maria Fleischhack and Elmar Schenkel

In this volume, ghost stories are studied in the context of their media, their place in history and geography. From prehistory to this day, we have been haunted by our memories, the past itself, by inklings of the future, by events playing outside our lives, and by ourselves. Hence the lure of ghost stories throughout history and presumably prehistory. Science has been a great destroyer of myth and superstition, but at the same time it has created new black boxes which we are filling with our ghostly imagination. In this book, literature from the Middle Ages to Oscar Wilde and Neil Gaiman, children’s stories, folklore and films, ranging from the Antarctic and Russia to Haiti, are covered and show the continuing presence of spectral phenomena.

Show Summary Details
Open access

Carl Gustav Jung and the Ghosts

Claudia Richter

Carl Gustav Jung and the Ghosts

Abstract: This essay explores Carl Gustav Jung’s approach to paranormal phenomena. It sets out by looking at two of Jung’s personal experiences with ghostly phenomena and his explanations of them, followed by an overview of the most relevant aspects of Jung’s life-long interest in the supernatural. Special attention is given to notions of sensitivity and pre-rational cognition in the context of Jung’s struggle with the Cartesian worldview.

Introduction

Carl Gustav Jung has been many things to many people. While literary scholars have found his ideas about archetypes and the collective unconscious theoretically limiting, Osho, the Indian guru, was full of praise for Jung’s discovery of synchronicity, the law of acausality, which seemed to capture something that Eastern spirituality had always known (“Being is intrinsically valuable”, chapter 3). American psychologist Elaine Aaron credited Carl Gustav Jung with the discovery of “innate sensitivity,” which she expanded on and popularised through her concept of “high sensitivity” (Aron). Although Jung never elaborated on the idea, there is evidence that he thought of himself as somehow different in terms of sensitivity and perception. Aron dedicated the major part of her research to this subject and found that sensitivity is more pronounced in a minority of the population (15–20 %, according to Aron), and that their way of perceiving and processing external stimuli is significantly different from the majority. These may be the “introverts” (another concept coined by Jung), creative people, visionaries, and potential prophets, whose complex perception and heightened empathy allow them to register subtle information and forebodings. This difference has a biological purpose and exists in the animal world, too: it has been observed with packs of wolves, for example, that the abnormal cognitive make-up of the proverbial lonely wolf ultimately serves the survival of the collective. As with wolves, so with men: according to Aron, the highly sensitives are the ones who are able to warn the group – even if they may not function so well in daily life. I have chosen to highlight this factor because high sensitivity is relevant to Jung’s approach to the supernatural, especially his own experiences with ghosts, which I would like to discuss in the following. ← 57 | 58 →

Wotan’s Army of Departed Souls

At his tower in Bollingen in the spring of 1924, Carl Gustav Jung had one of his numerous encounters with the other world. In the night, he heard footsteps around the tower and the sound of voices, singing and music, which seemed to come closer. He wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not, went to the window and opened it, but saw – nothing. He went back to sleep, had the same dream again, of voices, footsteps and singing. Again, he woke up and in the waking state, still heard the sounds. The image of several hundred dark-clad figures presented itself in his mind. When he went to the window, there was again nothing, and Jung concluded that something ghostly must have taken place. It was only much later that he came across a 17th century chronicle from Lucerne, which offered some clarification: the author of the chronicle, a Rennwart Cysat, had had a very similar experience in the Swiss Alps. While spending a night on a high pasture of Mount Pilate, he too had heard a procession at night close to his hut – with men talking, singing and making music. Cysat noted that the pasture was “notorious for apparitions” and “it [was] said that Wotan to this day practise[d] his magic arts there” (Jung qtd. in Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal, 69–70).1 A local shepherd explained the next day that Cysat’s nocturnal experience had surely been of “Wotan’s army of departed souls” – also known as the sälig Lüt in Swiss dialect, who were “in the habit of walking abroad and showing themselves” (JSP 70). In explaining these parallel events, Jung considers the possibility of a “phenomenon of solitude” (JSP 70), i.e. a compensatory hallucination common with hermits, for example, and people who spend a long time in solitude: in their minds, they reproduce the company that is lacking in real life. However, since Jung is aware that “premonitions or visions very often have some correspondence in external reality” (JSP 70) he finds it equally convincing to think that his solitude might have sharpened his senses in a way that he was able to perceive the actual procession of souls of the dead. Jung is also reminded of another historical parallel, namely the former existence of the so-called Reisläufer. This was a mercenary army of young Swiss men who usually gathered each spring before marching from central Switzerland to Italy – “with singing and jollity [bidding] farewell to their native land” (JSP 70). Jung thought that he might have witnessed one of these past gatherings. Although he fails to explicate in detail by which laws of nature this information could have been transmitted to him, he hints at synchronicity as a possible explanation. ← 58 | 59 →

A Haunted House

In summer 1920, Carl Gustav Jung was invited to England. His host and colleague – he refers to him as “Mr. X” – had booked the last country cottage that was still available during the summer holidays at a remarkably cheap rate. The highly attractive cottage was situated in Buckinghamshire and they were planning to spend their weekends there. Jung took the room on the first floor. On the first night of their first weekend, he was exhausted from work and slept immediately. From the second night onwards, however, he did not sleep well at all. The air felt stifling and there was a strange smell in the room – but he could not figure out what it was, where it was coming from, or what it reminded him of, except that there was something sick about it. He went to bed with the windows opened, but the stench remained – despite the fresh air coming in with the “night wind” that was blowing “softly through the room, filling it with the flowery scents of high summer” (JSP 64).2 Throughout the sojourn, his discomfort prevented him from getting a good night’s rest. Mr. X recommended drinking a bottle of beer before going to bed – which did have a relaxing effect, but only temporarily. Lying awake, Jung tried to pinpoint what the smell reminded him of. At last, the image of an old woman with an open carcinoma came to mind, whom he had treated in hospital. The smell reminded him of her room.

During the following weekends, more strange things happened: there was the sound of dripping water, although there was no water; “something brushed along the walls, the furniture creaked now here and now there, there were rustlings in the corners. A strange restlessness was in the air” (JSP 65). Jung noticed that the maids never stayed in the house past sunset. When he asked them whether there was something wrong with the house, they told him that it was haunted, didn’t he know? The fifth weekend was “unbearable,” Jung recalls:

It was a beautiful moonlight night, with no wind; in the room there were rustlings, creakings and bangings; from outside, blows rained on the walls. I had the feeling there was something near me, and opened my eyes. There, beside me on the pillow, I saw the head of an old woman, and the right eye, wide open, glared at me. The left half of the face was missing below the eye. The sight of it was so sudden and unexpected that I leapt out of bed with one bound, lit the candle, and spent the rest of the night in an armchair. The next day I moved into the adjoining room, where I slept splendidly and was no longer disturbed during this or the following weekend. (JSP 66) ← 59 | 60 →

This story was published in 1950 in a book on hauntings by Fanny Moser, for which Jung also wrote the preface. Again, the narrative concludes with Jung’s attempt to explain the experience from a psychological point of view. While he cannot find an explanation for the dripping noise, he is willing to admit that the other sounds were probably not objective perceptions but that his hypnoid state had made them seem exaggeratedly loud. As for the vision of the old woman in his bed, he interprets it as “a hypnagogic hallucination and was probably a reconstruction of the memory of the old woman with carcinoma” (JSP 67–68). When he comes to the olfactory hallucination, he presumes yet another important cognitive function which man has in common with animals:

Coming now to the olfactory hallucination, I had the impression that my presence in the room gradually activated something that was somehow connected with the walls. […] Common speech links intuition with the nose: I had ‘smelt’ something. If the olfactory organ in man were not so hopelessly degenerate, but as highly developed as a dog’s, I would have undoubtedly had a clearer idea of the persons who had lived in the room earlier. Primitive medicine-men cannot only smell out a thief, they also ‘smell’ spirits and ghosts. […]

The smell may have ‘embodied’ a psychic situation of an excitatory nature and carried it across to the percipient. It is by no means impossible when we consider the extraordinary importance of the sense of smell in animals. I myself have had a number of experiences in which ‘psychic smells’, or olfactory hallucinations, turned out to be subliminal intuitions which I was able to verify afterwards.

This hypothesis naturally does not pretend to explain all ghost phenomena, but at most a certain category of them. I have heard and read a great many ghost stories, and among them are a few that could very well be explained in this way. For instance, there are all those stories of ghosts haunting rooms where a murder was committed. In one case, bloodstains were still visible under the carpet. A dog would surely have smelt the blood and perhaps recognized it as human, and if he possessed a human imagination he would also have been able to reconstruct the essential features of the crime. Our unconscious which possesses very much more subtle powers of perception and reconstruction that our conscious minds, could do the same thing and project a visionary picture of the psychic situation that excited it. (JSP 68)

Whereas Jung finds a rational explanation for the acoustic and visual hallucinations, seeing them as products of his own psyche, he speculates about a physical reason for the smell – although he seems to imply here that a psychic situation might be recorded in smell, and that a smell could transmit information from the past to the present. The idea of smelling something and receiving information from the unconscious is indeed something that had a particular fascination ← 60 | 61 → for Jung, and the identification with “animals” and “primitive men” is crucial to his entire worldview.3

In his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections he recalls an incident where he recounted the life of a man at a dinner table, without knowing him. Jung unwittingly gave an exemplary account of an imaginary criminal, which happened to be the exact description of the life of the man sitting opposite him. Jung refers to this strange and hitherto unclassified form of cognition as “archaic,” and again, as something that likens him with animals:

I too have this archaic nature, and in me it is linked with the gift – not always pleasant – of seeing people and things as they are. I can let myself be deceived from here to Tipperary when I don’t want to recognise something, and yet at bottom I know quite well how matters really stand. In this I am like a dog – he can be tricked but he always smells it out in the end. This ‘insight’ is based on instinct, or on a participation mystique with others. It is as if the ‘eyes of the background’ do the seeing in an impersonal act of perception. (JSP 74–75)

In all of these experiences, a special kind of sensitivity is crucial, of which Jung is very much aware. In 1960, a year prior to his death, he writes:

Paranormal psychic phenomena have interested me all my life. Usually […] they occur in acute psychological states (emotionality, depression, shock, etc.), or, more frequently, with individuals characterized by a peculiar or pathological personality structure, where the threshold to the collective unconscious is habitually lowered. People with a creative genius also belong to this type. (JSP 107)4

Based on the examples mentioned above, I think it is safe to assume that he saw himself as such a creative person with a “peculiar personality structure” comprising an innate sensitivity and a lower threshold to the collective unconscious. ← 61 | 62 →

Jung and the Occult

Although sensitivity is crucial to Jung’s personal experiences with ghostly phenomena, it was not the only question that interested him – especially when dealing with patients. During the first half of his career, the more important question to ask was not “did ghosts really exist?” but: “Exactly who is it that sees a ghost? Under what psychic conditions does he see it? What does a ghost signify when examined for its content, i.e., as a symbol?” (Jung, Foreword to Jaffé 1989, 9). To Jung, what mattered was the reality of the experience, and in this, he took his patients very seriously. While the psychological approach made him focus on exteriorisations (e.g. projections), he came to have doubts about this in the second half of his life. In 1947, he writes:

To be honest, I now doubt whether an exclusively psychological method and approach does justice to the phenomena in question. Not only the discoveries of parapsychology but also my own theoretical considerations have led me to certain conclusions touching on the realm of nuclear physics, more precisely, the continuum of space-time. In this, we are confronted with the question of a trans-psychic reality, which is the immediate basis of the psyche. (qtd. in Jaffé 19–20)5

The reference to nuclear physics is, of course, an allusion to his concept of synchronicity, which he developed after his encounter with nuclear physicist Wolfgang Pauli. Synchronicity implies that there are meaningful coincidences and that events may be related in a non-causal manner in a way that questions established concepts of space and time – a view that resonates with the discoveries of quantum physics. After failing to explain paranormal experiences from a strictly psychological point of view, Jung is increasingly inclined to propose a wholly new outlook on the nature of reality by suggesting the introduction of a fourth concept to complement the categories of space, time and causality. Even if it is difficult to represent synchronicity in language due to its abstract nature, “it is not a philosophical view but an empirical concept which postulates an intellectually necessary principle” (JSP 34) – a principle belonging neither to ← 62 | 63 → materialism nor to metaphysics. Again, he sees pre-rational psychic cognition as comparable to cognition in non-human life, i.e. animals, insects and “lower organisms”:

[Synchronicity] ascribes to the moving body a certain psychoid property which, like space, time and causality, forms a criterion of its behaviour. We must completely give up the idea of the psyche’s being somehow connected with the brain, and remember instead the “meaningful” or “intelligent” behaviour of the lower organisms, which are without a brain. Here we find ourselves much closer to the formal factor which, as I have said, has nothing to do with brain activity. (Jung Synchronicity, 89)

As the statement reveals, Jung would have thought little of today’s focus on neurology and the brain for explaining psycho-physical realities, which he thinks is as irrational as previous metaphysical explanations.6 Whilst being troubled by contemporary definitions of the nature of the external, physical world, he was of course mainly preoccupied with the nature of the inner world. Unlike Freud, he did not believe in a singular unconscious, but rather in at least two different aspects of the unconscious: Jung distinguished between the personal unconscious, which is unique in every individual, and the impersonal unconscious, better known as the collective unconscious, which is shared by a group, a nation, or in fact, all sentient beings, not just humans. The fact that he did not offer final conclusions and kept exploring the nature of the human soul from different angles must be understood within the context of his complex understanding of the world. Although he always insisted on being a scientist and empiricist in the Kantian tradition, he does seem to have entertained the possibility of an invisible world of subtle substances and energies which the pre-rational psyche was able to perceive, and which were in turn affected by the psyche, as the concept of synchronicity suggests.

In summary, it is probably accurate to describe Jung’s stance on paranormal phenomena as incoherent (“recht schwankend”7), but perhaps “still searching” would be a fairer assessment. As Jung himself humbly writes to J.B. Rhine: ← 63 | 64 →

I can’t omit to warn you that I perhaps don’t know so much about parapsychology as you suspect me to do. It is not exactly my field, and therefore I don’t feel very competent to talk much about it. There is only a faint possibility that you will find something of value in the maze of my thoughts. (JSP 104)8

Indeed, Jung’s ideas about ghosts are far from clearly delineated. However, that is so with many of his ideas, which has been the source of frustration to many a scholar used to working with clear cut definitions and axioms. After all, rhizomatic9 thinking is one of Jung’s core traits, and it is not a coincidence that post-Jungians today tend to point out the value of Jung’s work by highlighting the postmodern quality of his thinking.

Jung had been interested in the occult throughout his life, and had the opportunity to think about the issue from many different perspectives. He encountered an extremely wide range of empirical and theoretical material, his own experiences with the occult starting already at an early age:

1.   There were a number of psychics in his family, first of all his mother Emilie Jung (née Preiswerk, 1849–1923) who left a diary where she had recorded paranormal experiences and premonitions. Her father Samuel Preiswerk (1799–1870) was antistes of the reformed Church in Basle, who used to feel disturbed by spirits whilst writing his sermons. His second wife Augusta (née Faber, 1805–1862) is also said to have had second sight because, as a young girl, she had been in a state of apparent death for 36 hours, which might have altered her perception.10

2.   Already as a child, Jung himself experienced dreams, visions and apparitions. Especially during his crisis after his break with Freud, he was overcome by vivid dreams and visions, which have come down to us in the recently published Red Book11; prior to the outbreak of WW1, Jung had apocalyptic ← 64 | 65 → visions of terrible destruction visiting Europe and rivers of blood; although he did not know what to make of them at the time, he realised, had been a premonition when the war broke out. Towards the end of his life, he had a disturbing vision of the last fifty years of mankind, which was never published and only exists in the notes of his daughter. His assistant Marie Louise Franz tells us that he had another vision where he saw enormous stretches of the planet devastated. In an interview, von Franz says that she prayed every day that humankind would wake up from its “shadow foolishness” and prevent the final catastrophe.12

3.   As a student, Jung had studied a wide range of spiritualistic literature. He certainly followed the debate in German-speaking academia between Eduard von Hartmann, Der Spiritismus (1898) and Alexander Aksakow, Animismus und Spiritismus (1894), and was familiar with Emanuel Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia (1749–56) and Immanuel Kant’s response, Träume eines Geistersehers, erläutert durch Träume der Metaphysik (1766).13 Jung himself acknowledges the works of Leipzig astrophysicist Karl Friedrich Zöllner and British chemist and physicist William Crookes, president of the British Society for Psychical Research, and repeatedly refers to Justinus Kerner’s Die Seherin von Prevorst (1829). Spiritism had been fashionable in the 19th century and he was intensely interested in it. However, he also ridiculed the “epidemic of table-turning” (PO 93) that had spread from the US to Europe. His academic career begins, not with his PhD but with a student lecture on the occult, where the twenty-two year old already expresses the conviction that “the soul does exist, [that] it is intelligent and immortal, not subject to time and space” (PO vii). For his PhD entitled The Psychology and the Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena (1902), he had conducted his own séances with his cousin Helly Preiswerk, who served as a medium. ← 65 | 66 →

4.   As an inheritor of the German Romantic tradition, Jung was naturally sympathetic to the “nightside of science,”14 the irrational, and dreams, which continuously brought him into conflict with the modern Zeitgeist. Throughout his work, there are condescending remarks about the stupidity and arrogance of a one-sidedly materialistic, rationalistic Cartesian world view, and he was particularly upset about the fact that scientists dismissed supernatural phenomena simply because they could not explain them.15 Jung was critical of the Enlightenment although he saw himself in the Kantian tradition and kept insisting that he was an empiricist. At the same time it must be emphasised that Jung retained a critical distance to occult phenomena and was fully aware of the fact that the spiritualistic scene was populated with charlatans. (PO 105–107)

5.   Throughout his life, Jung insisted on the value of pre-modern thinking – such as paradoxical thinking, symbolical thinking, as well as a-causal reasoning and thinking in correspondences16 – which also led him to appreciate pre-modern European and non-European myth. Hence, he came across many stories from the folklores of various peoples that abounded with spirits and supernatural beings. He was asked to write prefaces to collections of such stories, e.g. collections of supernatural and ghost stories by Fanny Moser and his own assistant, Aniela Jaffé; he also wrote an introduction and a psychological commentary to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, an ancient manual to prepare the soul of a dying person for life after death and reincarnation. The text ar ← 66 | 67 → ticulates the idea that the souls of the dead do not know that they are dead, an idea which he had already encountered in Emanuel Swedenborg and in “the most banal, uneducated, spiritistic literature of Europe and America[.]”17 Neither could have known of the other: the Tibetan Book of the Dead was first translated into a European language in Jung’s lifetime, and could not have been available to Swedenborg or to Methodists in the US, which once again seemed to confirm that certain ideas were common to all of mankind regardless of cultural differences and specifics.

Conclusion

Having considered the phenomenon of ghosts from so many different perspectives, Jung still did not reach a resolution of his analysis of the subject. Towards the end of his life, he surmised:

I myself cannot brag about any original research in this field, but declare without hesitation that I was able to witness enough of these phenomena to be wholly convinced that they are real. However, I cannot explain them, and hence cannot decide on any of the usual interpretations.18 (Jaffé 1968, 25)

Nevertheless, the statements and incidents scattered throughout his work show that the supernatural was deeply linked to his overall worldview and understanding of the psyche. For Jung, things were complex because he remained open to ideas that challenged the mechanistic Cartesian worldview which modern science subscribed to. For them, the question was resolved; for Jung, it was not, and he laboured continually to navigate around conflicting worldviews. Jung’s system of thought was an open-ended project, and his struggle with the paranormal testifies to the sincerity with which he tried to reconcile modern and pre-modern concepts of the world while trying to retain his credibility in the scientific community – and his own sanity. ← 67 | 68 →

Works Cited

Abbott, Edwin A. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. 1884. New York: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.

Aers, Lesley. “The treatment of time in four children’s books.” Children’s Literature in Education 1.2 (1970): 69–81. Print.

Cardin, Matt, ed. Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2015. Print.

Clarke, Arthur C. “Technical Error.” 1950. Reach for Tomorrow. 1956. 18th ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985. 48–66. Print.

Eccleshare, Julia. “Obituary: Catherine Storr: Author who wrote children’s books now deemed classics.” The Guardian 11 Jan. 2001. Web. 25 Feb 2012.

Fechner, Gustav T. “Der Raum hat Vier Dimensionen.” Vier Paradoxa. Leipzig: Leopold Boß, 1846. 15–40. Print.

Guy, John. Ghosts. Unexplained Series. Irvine: Saddleback Publishing, 2010. Print.

Henderson, Linda D. Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art. 1983. revised. London; Cambridge, Mass. The MIT Press, 2013. Print.

Hinton, Charles H. “What is the Fourth Dimension?” 1884. Speculations on the Fourth Dimension: Selected Writings of Charles H. Hinton. Ed. Rudy B. v. Rucker. New York: Dover Publications, 1980. 1–22. Print.

Hughes, Dean, and Kathy Piehl. “Bait/Rebait: Books for Young Readers That Touch on Religious Themes Do Not Get a Fair Shake in the Marketplace.” The English Journal 70.8 (1981): 14–17. Print.

Kant, Immanuel. “Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschiedes der Gegenden im Raum.” Immanuel Kant: Vorkritische Schriften bis 1768. Werkausgabe Band II. Ed. Wilhelm Weischedel. Vol. 2. 12 vols. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1977. 993–1000. Print.

L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. 1962. New York: Square Fish, 2007. Print.

McGrath, James F., ed. Religion and Science Fiction. Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press, 2012. Print.

Morton, Lisa. Ghosts: A Haunted History. London: Reaktion Books, 2015. Print.

Pearce, Phillipa. Tom’s Midnight Garden. 1958. London: Puffin Books, 2005. Print.

Sleator, William. The Boy Who Reversed Himself. 1986. New York: Puffin Books. 1998. Print.

Signori, Gabriela. Wunder: Eine historische Einführung. Frankfurt/M: Campus Verlag, 2007. Print. Historische Einführungen.

Storr, Catherine. Marianne Dreams. 1958. London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print. ← 68 | 69 →

Townsend, John R. “Slippery time.” Travelers in Time: Past, Present, and to Come, August 6–12, 1989. Cambridge University, England: Proceedings of the Summer Institute Newnham College. Ed. Green Bay Publications. Cambridge: CLNE/Green Bay, 1990. 83–94. Print.

Wells, Herbert G. The Time Machine. 1895. Ed. Dieter Hamblock. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2004. Print.

--- “The Plattner Story.” 1897. The Complete Short Stories of H.G. Wells. Ed. John Hammond. London: J. M. Dent, 1998. 101–15. Print.

Bibliography

Aron, Elaine N. The Highly Sensitive Person. How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. London: Thorsons, 1999. Print.

C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. Remembering Jung Series. DVD, 32 vols. Los Angeles, 1986–2009. Print.

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Print.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem und Tabu. Einige Übereinstimmungen im Seelenleben der Wilden und der Neurotiker. Frankfurt/M.: Fischer, 1962. Print.

Jaffé, Aniela. Aus Leben und Werkstatt von C.G. Jung. Parapsychologie, Alchemie, Nationalsozialismus. Erinnerungen aus den letzten Jahren. Zürich: Rascher, 1968. Print.

--. An Archetypal Approach to Death Dreams and Ghosts. Einsiedeln: Daimon, 1999. Print.

Jung, Carl Gustav. Psychology and the Occult. London: Ark Paperbacks, 1987. Print.

--. “Die Entschleierung der Seele.” In: Europäische Revue. VII/2, 7, 1931. 504–522. Print.

--. Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal. Key Readings Selected and Introduced by Roderick Main. London: Routledge, 1997. Print.

--. Traumsymbole des Individuationsprozesses. Grundwerk C.G. Jung. Vol. 5. Zürich and Düsseldorf: Walter, 1989. Print.

--. “Über die Zwei Arten des Denkens.” In: Symbole der Wandlung. Analyse des Vorspiels zu einer Schizophrenie. GW 5. Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1974. 25–54. Print.

--. “Der archaische Mensch.” In: Zivilisation im Übergang. GW 10. Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1974. 67–90. Print. ← 69 | 70 →

--. “Psychologischer Kommentar zum Bardo Thödol.” In: Das Tibetanische Totenbuch oder Die Nach-Tod-Erfahrung auf der Bardo-Stufe. Ed. W.Y. Evans-Wentz. Zürich: Rascher, 1953. LVII–LXXIII. Print.

--. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Ed. Aniela Jaffé. New York: Vintage Books, 1989. Print.

--. Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2010 (1960). Print.

--. Letters, Vol. 2: 1951–1961. Ed. Gerhard Adler. Trans. Jeffrey Hulen. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1976. Print.

Kerslake, Christian. Deleuze and the Unconscious. London and New York: Continuum, 2007. Print.

Locher, Theodor. “Carl Gustav Jung.” In: Parapsychologie in der Schweiz. Gestern und heute. Biel: Selbstverlag der schweizerischen Vereinigung für Parapsychologie, 1986. Print.

Main, Roderick. “Anomalous Phenomena, Synchronicity and the Re-Sacralization of the Modern World.” In: Sudhir Kakar and Jeffrey Kripal eds. Seriously Strange. Thinking Anew About Psychical Experiences. New Delhi: Viking, 2012. 1–27. Print.

Moser, Fanny. Spuk. Ein Rätsel der Menschheit. Olten: Walter, 1977 (1950). Print.

Osho. The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty. Audio Discourse. Web. 11.6.2015 <<http://www.osho.com/iosho/library/read-book/online-library-causality-synchronicity-law-e02567bc-a2e?p=87193f44b58f295c0689e30dfca4ffcb>>.

Rauer, Constantin. Wahn und Wahrheit. Kants Auseinandersetzung mit dem Irrationalen, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2007. Print.

Samuels, Andrew. Jung and the Post-Jungians. London and New York: Routledge, 1985. Print.

Schubert, Gotthilf Heinrich von. Ansichten von der Nachtseite der Naturwissenschaft. Dresden: Arnold, 1808. Print.

--. Geschichte der Seele. 2 Vols. Stuttgart: Cotta, 1830. Print.

Stengel, Friedemann. Kant und Swedenborg. Zugänge zu einem umstrittenen Verhältnis. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2008. Print. ← 70 | 71 →


1     Henceforth abbreviated: JSP.

2     The German original text was first published in Fanny Moser, Spuk. Ein Rätsel der Menschheit, Olten: Walter, 1977 (1950), 253–261.

3     It is important to note here that Jung has an entirely positive understanding of “primitive man,” who is still in touch with the forces of nature that Western (urban) man has lost, primarily as a result of processes of modernisation. This view is the polar opposite of Freud’s, who in his influential work Totem and Taboo famously aligned pre-modern tribal religious beliefs with neurosis. Jung, in contrast, thought that it was the worldview underlying modernity that was likely to induce neurosis, and with his Analytical Psychology, Jung thought to provide a modern cure to a specifically modern problem. He had also observed that tribal societies considered “loss of soul” as one of the great dangers against which every man must guard himself, which seemed to closely correspond to his understanding of neurosis. For “loss of soul”, see for example his essay “Archaic Man” (“Der archaische Mensch,” 1930) and “The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits” (1920) in Jung, Psychology and the Occult, 108–125 (Henceforth abbreviated as PO).

4     Jung, Letter to A.D. Cornell, 9.2.1960. C.G. Jung, Letters, Vol. 2: 1951–1961, 537–43.

5     Qtd. in Jaffé (1968), 19–20: “Ich zweifle offen gestanden daran, daß eine ausschließlich psychologische Methodik und Betrachtung den in Frage stehenden Phänomenen gerecht werden kann. Nicht nur die Feststellungen der Parapsychologie, sondern auch meine eigenen theoretischen Überlegungen, die ich in meinem Eranosbeitrag 1946 skizziert habe, führten mich zu gewissen Postulaten, welche das Gebiet der atomphysikalischen Vorstellungen, das heißt des Raum-Zeit-Kontinuums, berühren. Damit wird die Frage der transpsychischen Realität, welche der Psyche unmittelbar zugrunde liegt, aufgeworfen.”

6     In his Zeitgeist-critical essay “Die Entschleierung der Seele” (505), he writes: “[…] wenn jemand heutzutage das geistige oder seelische Phänomen aus Drüsenfunktionen ableitet, so kann er der Andacht und der Hochachtung seines Publikums ohne weiteres sicher sein, wenn aber jemand den Versuch machen sollte, den Atomzerfall der Gestirnsmaterie als eine Emanation des schöpferischen Weltgeistes zu erklären, so würde dassselbe Publikum ihn als geistige Abnormität bedauern. Und doch sind beide Erklärungen gleich logisch, gleich metaphysisch, gleich willkürlich und gleich symbolisch.”

7     Theodor Locher, “Carl Gustav Jung”, in: Parapsychologie in der Schweiz. Gestern und Heute. Biel: Selbstverlag der schweizerischen Vereinigung für Parapsychologie, 1986, p. 61.

8     Jung, Letter to J.B. Rhine, 18.9.1945, Letters, vol. 1, pp. 378–9.

9     I am alluding to the term made famous by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, London, New York: Continuum, 2004. Christian Kerslake has exposed the omnipresence of Jung in Deleuze’s work, despite the fact that Deleuze deleted all the references to Jung in his records, presumably owed to Jung’s unpopularity in (mainly Freudian) intellectual circles in Paris. Deleuze had been an avid reader of Jung when he began his intellectual career, and there are numerous references to the “rhizome” in Jung’s work. It appears that this most archetypical post-modern figure of thought is actually of Jungian origin: Christian Kerslake, Deleuze and the Unconscious, London and New York: Continuum, 2007.

10   Jaffé (1968), pp. 15–16.

11   Jung, The Red Book (Philemon). Ed. Sonu Shamdasani. Trans. Mark Kyburz. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009.

12   C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, Remembering Jung Series on DVD. The interviews with von Franz took place between 1977 and 1979. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhDOI1kpWF0 [last accessed: 11.6.2015].

13   Much has been written about Kant and Swedenborg, but the question of Kant’s stance on the irrational does not seem to have been answered conclusively. Cf. Friedemann Stengel, Kant und Swedenborg. Zugänge zu einem umstrittenen Verhältnis, Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2008. Therein: Paul Bishop, “Kant und Swedenborg aus der Sicht von C.G. Jung” pp. 133–155, and Wouter J. Hanegraaff, “Swedenborg aus der Sicht von Kant und der akademischen Kantforschung,” pp. 157–172. See also Constantin Rauer, Wahn und Wahrheit. Kants Auseinandersetzung mit dem Irrationalen, Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2007.

14   I am alluding to the work of German natural scientist and philosopher, Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert. His Ansichten von der Nachtseite der Naturwissenschaft (1808; engl.: Perspectives on the Nightside of Science) is an early Romantic critique of Enlightenment views of nature. Schubert’s work Geschichte der Seele (1830; engl.: History of the Soul) is considered an important predecessor to psychoanalysis and was known to both Freud and Jung.

15   This is really one of the running themes in Jung’s work, but it is particularly pronounced in an exemplary and condensed manner in “Die Entschleierung der Seele” (1931), where he addresses the problematic nature of the modern materialistic Zeitgeist, which prided itself in having overcome irrationalism whilst being totally unaware of the irrationalism of a blind faith in absolute reason.

16   Remarks are scattered throughout his work. Exemplary evidence may be found in his essay “Über die zwei Arten des Denkens” (“Concerning the two kinds of thinking”). Cf. also his polemical critique of modern binary thinking (“Duodezverstand”) that was no longer capable of tolerating paradox, which had been an important key to wisdom and understanding in pre-modern cultures: Jung, Traumsymbole des Individuationsprozesses, p. 21.

17   Jung, “Psychologischer Kommentar zum Bardo Thödol,” p. LXV: “[…] daß diese Behauptung ebenso häufig anzutreffen ist in der banalsten, ungebildetsten, spiritistischen Literatur Europas und Amerikas[.]”

18   “Ich selber habe mich speziell auf diesem Gebiet (des Okkultismus) durch keine originale Forschung hervorgetan, stehe aber nicht an, zu erklären, dass ich genügend derartige Phänomene beobachtet habe, um von deren Realität völlig überzeugt zu sein. Sie sind mir unerklärlich, und ich kann mich daher für keine der gewöhnlichen Deutungen derselben entscheiden.”