Carl Gustav Jung Ponders the Meaning of Death (1959)

On June 6, 1961, the great psy­chol­o­gist Carl Gus­tav Jung died at his vil­la at Küs­nacht, on the shore of Lake Zurich, Switzer­land. He was 86 years old.

Jung viewed death as a ful­fill­ment, rather than a nega­tion, of life. “As a doc­tor,” he wrote in his 1930 essay, The Stages of Life, “I am con­vinced that it is hygienic–if I may use the word–to dis­cov­er in death a goal toward which one can strive, and that shrink­ing away from it is some­thing unhealthy and abnor­mal which robs the sec­ond half of life of its pur­pose.”

To this end, wrote Jung many years lat­er in Mem­o­ries, Dreams, Reflec­tions, a per­son should fol­low his instinct and embrace myth: “for rea­son shows him noth­ing but the dark pit into which he is descend­ing. Myth, how­ev­er, can con­jure up oth­er images for him, help­ful and enrich­ing pic­tures of life in the land of the dead.”

Jung cer­tain­ly embraced the myth of an after­life, as evi­denced in this excerpt from an Octo­ber, 1959 inter­view with John Free­man for the BBC pro­gram Face to Face. The 40-minute interview–in which Jung talks about for­ma­tive events of his child­hood, his friend­ship and falling-out with Sig­mund Freud, and his views on reli­gion and death–can be viewed in its entire­ty here.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Psy­chol­o­gy Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

Carl Jung Writes a Review of Joyce’s Ulysses and Mails It To The Author (1932)

Zen Mas­ter Alan Watts Explains What Made Carl Jung Such an Influ­en­tial Thinker

Carl Jung’s Fas­ci­nat­ing 1957 Let­ter on UFOs

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Comments (2)
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  • NoMonkeyNo100 says:

    This video appears to be dam­aged. I am get­ting ran­dom radio nois­es in the record­ing Dr. Jung can hard­ly be heard.

  • Cornelius Matteo says:

    Why the inane prac­tice of adding maudlin music to spo­ken words of CG Jung? Can we not hear his words and not be sub­ject­ed to some­one else’s need to manip­u­late our emo­tions?

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