Here are two lessons to remember from our old friend Carl Gustav Jung. In the first video, “Death is Not the End” (transcript below), Jung says the psyche does not exist in space and time like the body, so it is not subject to the same laws of death, and perhaps lives on after the body dies. How about that? The second video is about “Transference and Archetypes,” and conveniently has subtitles.
Carl Jung: Death is Not the End
“Death is Not the End” transcript:
Interviewer: I know that you say death is psychologically just as important as birth and like it is an integral part of life, but surely, it can’t be like birth if it is an end. Can it?
Jung: Yes, if it is an end. And there we are not quite certain about this end because we know that there are these peculiar faculties of the psyche – that it isn’t entirely confined to space and time. You can have dreams or visions of the future. You can see around corners and such things. Only ignorants deny these facts. It’s quite evident that they do exist and have existed always. Now these facts show that the psyche – in part, at least – is not dependent on these confinements. And then what? When the psyche is not under that obligation to live in time and space alone – and obviously, it doesn’t – then to that extent, the psyche is not submitted to those laws and that means a practical continuation of life of a sort of psychical existence beyond time and space.
Interviewer: Do you, yourself, believe that death is probably the end or do you believe…?
Jung: Well, I can’t say. You see, the word “believe” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t “believe.” I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing; and when I KNOW it, I don’t need to believe it. I don’t allow myself, for instance, to believe a thing just for sake of believing it. I can’t believe it! But when there are sufficient reasons for a certain hypothesis, I shall accept these reasons naturally. I shall say “We have to recon with the possibility of so and so.” You know?
Interviewer: Well, now you told us that we should regard death as being a goal and to stray away from it is to evade life and life’s purpose. What advice would you give to people in their later life to enable them to do this when most of them must, in fact, believe that death is the end of everything?
Jung: Well, you see I have treated many old people and it’s quite interesting to watch what their conscious is doing with the fact that it is apparently threatened with the complete end. It disregards it. Life behaves as if it were going on and so I think it is better for old people to live on, to look forward to the next day as if he had to spend centuries and then he lives happily. But when he is afraid and he doesn’t look forward; he looks back. He petrifies. He gets stiff and he dies before his time, but when he’s living on, looking forward to the great adventure that is ahead, then he lives. And that is about what your conscious is intending to do.
Of course it is quite obvious that we’re all going to die and this is the sad finale of everything, but nevertheless, there is something in us that doesn’t believe it, apparently, but this is merely a fact, a psychological fact. Doesn’t mean to me that it proves something. It is simply so. For instance, I may not know why we need salt, but we prefer to eat salt, too, because we feel better. And so when you think in a certain way, you may feel considerably better. And I think if you think along the lines of nature, then you think properly.
Carl Jung: On Transference & Archetypes