December 1, 2011

Above all, I was able to plunge into the world of the mysterious. To that realm belonged trees, a pool, the swamp, stones and animals, and my father’s library.

What had led me astray during the crisis was my passion for being alone, my delight in solitude. Nature seemed to me full of wonders, and I wanted to steep myself in them. Every stone, every plant, every single thing seemed alive and indescribably marvelous. I immersed myself in nature, crawled, as it were, into the very essence of nature and away from the whole human world.

Remote from the world of men, but close to nature, the earth, the sun, the moon, the weather, all living creatures, and above all close to the night, to dreams.

Besides his world there existed another realm, like a temple in which anyone who entered was transformed and suddenly overpowered by a vision of the whole cosmos, so that he could only marvel and admire, forgetful of himself. […] Here nothing separated man from God; indeed, it was as though the human mind looked down upon Creation simultaneously with God.

I played alone, daydreamed or strolled in the woods alone, and had a secret world of my own.

[People] looked down upon the ground or up into the trees in order to see what could be put to use, and for what purpose; like animals they herded, paired, and fought, but did not see that they dwelt in a unified cosmos, in God’s world, in an eternity where everything is already born and everything has already died.

Although I admired science in the conventional way, I also saw it giving rise to alienation and aberration from God’s world, as leading to a degeneration which animals were not capable of. Animals were dear and faithful, unchanging and trustworthy. People I now distrusted more than ever.

Trees in particular were mysterious and seemed to me direct embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life. For that reason the woods were the place where I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its awe-inspiring workings.

[…] observations I had made of diseased and dying fishes, of mangy foxes, frozen or starved birds, of the pitiless tragedies concealed in a flowery meadow: earthworms tormented to death by ants, insects that tore each other apart piece by piece, and so on.

To “God’s world” belonged everything superhuman—dazzling light, the darkness of the abyss, the cold impassivity of infinite space and time, and the uncanny grotesqueness of the irrational world of chance. “God,” for me, was everything—and anything but “edifying.”

My interests drew me in different directions. On the one hand I was powerfully attracted by science, with its truths based on facts; on the other hand I was fascinated by everything to do with comparative religion. In the sciences I was drawn principally to zoology, paleontology, and geology; in the humanities to Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and prehistoric archaeology.

But as soon as I was by myself, at home or out in the country, Schopenhauer and Kant returned in full force, and with them the grandeur of “God’s world.” My scientific knowledge also formed a part of it, and filled the great canvas with vivid colors and figures.

I continued to waver between science and the humanities. Both powerfully attracted me.

Plants interested me too, but not in a scientific sense. I was attracted to them for a reason I could not understand, and with a strong feeling that they ought not to be pulled up and dried. […] Insects were denatured plants –flowers and fruits which had presumed to crawl about on legs or stilts and to fly around with wings like the petals of blossoms, and busied themselves preying on plants.

Faust, as I now realized with something of a shock, meant more to me than my beloved Gospel according to St. John. There was something in Faust that worked directly on my feelings.

~ “Memories, dreams, reflections”. C.G. Jung.

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