Face to Face with Carl Jung: ‘Man Cannot Stand a Meaningless Life’ (1959)

Carl Gus­tav Jung, founder of ana­lyt­ic psy­chol­o­gy and explor­er of the col­lec­tive uncon­scious, was born on July 26, 1875 in the vil­lage of Kess­wil, in the Thur­gau can­ton of Switzer­land. Above, we present a fas­ci­nat­ing 39-minute inter­view of Jung by John Free­man for the BBC pro­gram Face to Face. It was filmed at Jung’s home at Küs­nacht, on the shore of Lake Zürich, and broad­cast on Octo­ber 22, 1959, when Jung was 84 years old. He speaks on a range of sub­jects, from his child­hood and edu­ca­tion to his asso­ci­a­tion with Sig­mund Freud and his views on death, reli­gion and the future of the human race. At one point Free­man asks Jung whether he believes in God, and Jung seems to hes­i­tate. “It’s dif­fi­cult to answer,” he says. “I know. I don’t need to believe. I know.”

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Carl Jung’s Hand-Drawn, Rarely-Seen Man­u­script The Red Book: A Whis­pered Intro­duc­tion

The Famous Let­ter Where Freud Breaks His Rela­tion­ship with Jung (1913)

Carl Jung Explains His Ground­break­ing The­o­ries About Psy­chol­o­gy in Rare Inter­view (1957)

Carl Jung’s Fas­ci­nat­ing 1957 Let­ter on UFOs

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Comments (14)
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  • John Leigh says:

    Deliv­ered in spades again guys,you make FB worthwhile.Thanks

  • Patricia MMRC says:

    Thank you for post­ing this—very inter­est­ing.

  • Kevin Berntson says:

    Won­der­ful! Now, back to the Kar­dashi­ans. (No, real­ly– what a great man)

  • Fas­ci­nat­ing inter­view with a great man and one of my heros cov­er­ing three P’s per­son­al, polit­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal. He also has an amaz­ing mas­tery of the Eng­lish lan­guage and is an inspi­ra­tion!

  • Fol­low­ing Jung for a long time and imple­ment­ing his ideas real­ly made a dif­fer­ence to my life in many ways. He was a gift­ed and insight­ful heal­er and I would love to have met him but this footage is a great way to hear him speak in per­son. Thank you :)

  • A. H. Jessup says:

    Thanks for a fas­ci­nat­ing insight into one of the great minds of his time.

  • gerald potvin says:

    ha…I always knew it “I have cen­turies to live”.…now..to be sure…well…just for today.…81 and eons to go.

  • Laura Young says:

    This is so worth watch­ing, start to fin­ish.
    Espe­cial­ly the last part–he con­firms my beliefs. I’m find­ing this a joy­ful time of life–in my ear­ly 70’s.

  • Tasos Tasoulis says:


  • Nan00k says:

    This inter­view with Carl-Gus­tav JUNG has been hid­den for too long ;
    The fact is that JUNG’s been the deep­est Human Mind the­o­ri­cian dur­ing the whole XXth cen­tu­ry , and this includes crooks such as Freud of course .
    Only Erich FROMM or Wil­helm REICH (and they were all Ger­mans , but this will be anoth­er point of dis­cus­sion ) could be com­pared to the great Swiss Psy­choanal­ist .

  • davey dickens says:

    Intrigu­ing char­ac­ter and a man of great integri­ty. C.G.Jung’s lega­cy is cer­tain­ly a most wor­thy one.

  • russell burn says:

    hav­ing known about this famous Face to Face for years, it has been a plea­sure to final­ly watch it here, aged 55, which is almost as long as Jung has been phys­i­cal­ly dead: the psy­che exists in that it per­sists.

    ” the only real dan­ger that exists is man him­self, and we are piti­ful­ly unaware of it; we know noth­ing of man, far too lit­tle; his psy­che should be stud­ied, because we are the ori­gin of all com­ing evil. ”

    ain’t that the truth? Enjoy­ing this site, thanks to Open Cul­ture.

  • Dee Cee says:

    But Psy­chol­o­gy is also an inven­tion of man so man-made study­ing man-kind????
    Is this also a curi­ousi­ty?

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.