Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Jung and Rhine

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Jung and Rhine

Article excerpt

[Editor's Note: The following letter appeared originally in Quadrant: The Journal of the C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology (VIII: 2, Winter 1975, pp. 73-75) and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Foundation. We felt that the letter would be of considerable historical interest to readers of the JP.]

The publisher John Farrar arranged a luncheon party in October of 1957 at which J. B. Rhine, the pioneer in experimental ESP research, and Jung, who was in the United States for his Terry Lectures at Yale, first met. William M. Sloane (1906-74), an associate editor at Farrar and Reinhart, had just finished work on Rhine's New Frontiers of the Mind and was soon to begin editing a collection of Jung's Eranos Lectures to be published under the title The Integration of the Personality (1959). Before they met, Jung had read Sloane's novel To Walk the Night, which was first written as a play in 1932. It contained so true a portrait of the anima's immortal aspect that, in the words of Mrs. Win. Sloane, "the great man couldn't believe Bill had never read a word of his and was delighted to have his anima theory borne out of that fashion. "Jung cited Sloane's novel in "The Psychological Aspects of the Kore" (CW 9, i, par. 356), and Toni Wolff wrote an extensive commentary on the novel a few years later.

To Joseph C. Sloane

October 31, 1937

... I was ... at a lunch arranged by John Farrar in honor of Dr. Rhine and Dr. Jung. I sat at the right hand of Jung, and we talked a good deal during the meal. He is a very great man in his person, in his inner stature, in the authority, range, and architecture of his mind. With such men, whether they are right or wrong does not matter. I thought at once of Uncle Will. (1) Jung is a bigger man--I can give no higher praise--and a mellower and merrier one, and of course, he is one of the men who have laid the intellectual foundations of the modern age. His concepts are a part of our everyday speech, and along with Freud and Adler he has established an entirely new view of man. It was exciting to watch him and Rhine together, and to contrast their greatnesses--Jung the cosmopolite, the man of enormous erudition (He quoted Chinese thought-patterns next to a Tantric text in the original Tibetan?), the old man, wise, and too simple and direct to be either a braggart or a [shrinking] violet. Rhine, on the other hand, is a man whom only America could have produced--quiet, low-spoken, intense, with that slow-burning fuse of humor innate in his speech, gravely deferential to Jung, putting his problems before Jung without any plea for help, and servility, and expectation of praise, with the obvious feeling that the problem of man and his nature was so sacrosanct and vital a one that Jung was obligated to help him, as he was to tell Jung what he knew.

The two of them spoke for almost two hours together, with a few remarks from some of the important psychiatrists and others at the lunch--there were about ten of us. As I am quite positive that the table contained two out of the four men in the whole world who are most destined to color the thought of the future (Freud, Jung, Einstein, Rhine), I might have had the buck fever had not what they said been so intensely interesting. Jung told us that he was speaking off the record, and saying what was in his inmost heart and mind, without paying attention to its scientific credibility, or our attitude. He said that we would understand that nothing he said was meant lightly or for publication either, but in quoting him to you I may not have grasped his full meaning in many places, as his English, though good, tended to be a little inaccurate in an oddly confusing way--"incommensurable" when he meant "indefinite as to extent or outline," for example.

He began by talking about astrology, and the Chinese method of divination by what he called "rune sticks." He pointed out that both these methods had something in common, that they represented another sort of science, one which began with the fixation of the present instant as a method of understanding. …

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