In 1932, Wolfgang Pauli was a world-renowned physicist and had already done the work that would win him the 1945 Nobel Prize. He was also in pain. His mother had poisoned herself after his father's involvement in an affair. Emerging from a brief marriage with a cabaret performer, Pauli drank heavily, quarreled frequently and sometimes publicly, and was disturbed by powerful dreams. He turned for help to C. G. Jung, setting a standing appointment for Mondays at noon. Thus bloomed an extraordinary intellectual conjunction not just between a physicist and a psychologist but between physics and psychology. Eighty letters, written over twenty-six years, record that friendship. This artful translation presents them in English for the first time.
Though Jung never analyzed Pauli formally, he interpreted more than 400 of his dreams--work that bore fruit later in Psychology and Alchemy and The Analysis of Dreams. As their acquaintance developed, Jung and Pauli exchanged views on the content of their work and the ideas of the day. They discussed the nature of dreams and their relation to reality, finding surprising common ground between depth psychology and quantum physics. Their collaboration resulted in the combined publication of Jung's treatise on synchronicity and Pauli's essay on archetypal ideas influencing Kepler's writings in The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche. Over time, their correspondence shaped and reshaped their understanding of the principle they called synchronicity, a term Jung had suggested earlier.
Through the association of these two pioneering thinkers, developments in physics profoundly influenced the evolution of Jungian psychology. And many of Jung's abiding themes shaped how Pauli--and, through him, other physicists--understood the physical world. Of clear appeal to historians of science and anyone investigating the life and work of Pauli or Jung, this portrait of an incredible friendship will also draw readers interested in human creativity as well as those who merely like to be present when great minds meet.
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"This unlikely correspondence between two outstanding exponents of apparently incompatible disciplines traces the development of an alchemical relationship through which each transforms the other's view of the universe. From the dreams of the nuclear scientist and the quantum speculations of the depth psychologist there grows a new understanding of mind and matter as joint manifestations of a deeper archetypal reality, known to medieval philosophy as the unus mundus. In the course of this rich dialogue, Jung formulates his insights into the significance of acausal happenings and meaningful coincidences, while both men forge the outlines of a unified framework able to embrace the seemingly infinite complexities of quantum physics and human psychology. Publication of these written exchanges between two of the most inventive minds of the twentieth century is an act of historic importance, as welcome as it is overdue."--Anthony Stevens, author of On Jung and Ariadne's Clue
"Psychologist Jung and physicist Pauli together explore the extraordinary world of quantum mechanics and particle physics, in which the influence of the observer upon the observed cannot be eliminated and where mind and matter merge. The discussion is as apposite today as it was when these letters were exchanged. Enthralling reading."--Anthony Storr, author of Solitude and Feet of Clay
"These letters offer fascinating insight into the minds of two of the most influential thinkers of our time as they probe their own disciplines and each other's for affinities and correlatives between analytical psychology and quantum physics. The book fills a major need, coming as it does in an era when an understanding of psychology is increasingly important to those who seek connections between religion and science."--Deirdre Bair, winner of the National Book Award for Samuel Beckett and author of the forthcoming biography of C. G. Jung
C. A. Meier practiced psychiatry in Switzerland from 1936 until his recent death. A cofounder and first president of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, he held the Chair of Honorary Professor of Psychology at the Swiss Federal Technical Institute and cofounded the Clinic and Research Center for Jungian Psychology. His many books include Personality: The Individuation Process in the Light of C. G. Jung's Typology.
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