Praxis für Alternative Psychosomatik und Traumdeutung, Dr. Remo F. Roth, CH-8000 Zürich

Remo F. Roth

Dr. oec. publ., Ph.D.

dipl. analyt. Psychologe (M.-L. v. Franz)




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With many thanks to Gregory Sova, Ph.D. (LA, CA) for translation assistance

Book Project:


Wolfgang Pauli, Carl Jung and the Challenge of the Unified Psychophysical Reality

© copyright 2002-2004 by Pro Litteris, Zürich. All rights reserved

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3. Carl Jung's quaternity, Neoplatonic philosophy and the "potential being" of Aristotle

(part 1)





3.1 Wolfgang Pauli's criticism at the newly founded institute

3.2 Carl Jung's "quaternities, projected into heaven"

part 2:

3.3 Being, nonbeing and potential being
3.3.1 The Assumptio Mariae and the "disinfected" matter in the heaven

3.3.2 The coniunctio as the constellated archetype behind the Assumption

3.3.3 The coniunctio and Carl Jung's individuation process

3.3.4 "To be or not to be" and the Platonic privatio boni

part 3 (will follow):

3.3.5 The potential being of Aristotle

3.3.6 Complementarity: Particle and wave as potential being

3.3.7 Pauli's conflict with Jung: The collective unconscious as potential being

part 4:

3.3.8 "Quaternities projected into heaven" and the unsolved psychophysical problem

3.3.9 The spirit of matter, the acausal aspect of the divine world soul and potential being


3. Carl Jung's quaternity, Neoplatonic philosophy and the "potential being" of Aristotle

(part 1)

3.1 Wolfgang Pauli's criticism at the newly founded institute

A little more than two years after the foundation of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Wolfgang Pauli was very disappointed about its development. In a letter of 1950 to his colleague Abraham Pais he writes:

"Denn es lässt sich nicht leugnen, dass in Jungs speziellem Kreis eine ausserordentlich starke geistige Inzucht herrscht (infolge eines vollkommenen Mangels an schöpferischer Geister und Talente in diesem Kreis) ..."

English translation:

"But it is undeniable, that in Jung's specific circle an extraordinary strong mental incest exists (as a result of a complete lack of creative minds and talents in this circle) ..."

Two and a half years later he was forced to proclaim that the quality of research was not up to his expectations. In a caustic letter of March 16th, 1953 to C.A. Meier, his friend and first president of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, he writes:

"Die provinzielle Atmosphäre des C.G. Jung-Instituts (in welchem sich jeder für ein verkanntes Genie zu halten scheint, weshalb auch jeder jeden anderen im Grund nicht ausstehen kann) ist einem solchen kritischen Abwägen [der wissenschaftlichen Leistungen; RFR] allerdings gar nicht förderlich, da sie für ein solches keinen genügenden objektiven Massstab zur Verfügung hat."

English translation:

"The provincial atmosphere of the C.G. Jung Institute (in which everyone seems to hold him/herself up as an unrecognised genius, causing everyone to dislike each other) does not at all further such a critical judgement [of scientific efforts; RFR], because for this [task], it [the atmosphere] does not have an objective measure at its disposal." [translation mine]

Later, Pauli - in his capacity as scientific patron of the institute - formulates his criticism in an official letter to the Curatorium, the management of the institute, and to C.A. Meier, its first president. Meier published this letter of the year 1956 and a further one of 1957 in Atom and Archetype. In the first Pauli writes:

"In recent years, I have noted with grave concern that the scientific approach is becoming increasingly neglected in matters relating to the C.G. Jung Institute and the activities of its members. As the scientific patron of the Institute, I thus regard it as my duty to draw attention to the standpoint of the sciences, and I must therefore officially request certain information from you as President."

Then he continues:

"It is clear to me that in addition to the scientific aspect of psychology, there is also a humanistic one, but I do not see it as my duty to defend that. In this connection, I should like to point out that psychology always used to be counted as one of the humanistic sciences, but it was precisely C.G. Jung himself who emphasized the scientific nature of his ideas, and it was through his works that the way was paved for an integration of the psychology of the unconscious into the natural sciences. It is my opinion that the progress that has been made in this respect is being seriously jeopardized by the administration of the C.G. Jung Institute."

Then he goes on and criticizes further

"the general intellectual level of the psychotherapeutic practice. This is where there is the greatest danger that the practice might degenerate into a completely unscientific conveyor-belt system [Massenbetrieb in German; RFR], dominated by the formal-arithmetic principle (with pecuniary factors involved), using the time available to deal with or 'get through' as large a number of patients as possible with as little thought input as possible."

When we look at the C.G. Jung Institute of today, we see that nothing has changed in the past 50 years since Pauli's criticism of the lack of scientific research being conducted by the Jungian community. Therefore we must ask ourselves, "What are the deeper reasons that could be responsible for these grievances?" We will disregard Pauli's criticism about the "conveyor-belt system" [Massenbetrieb] with its "pecuniary factors involved". Because it is the general human condition involved in these deficiencies, it seems that even Jungian depth psychology with its high ethical claims for being able to live more consciously cannot cause such deficiencies to be properly addressed.



3.2 Carl Jung's "quaternities, projected into heaven"

Even before the composition of these letters to C.A. Meier and the Curatorium of the C.G. Jung Institute, Pauli is not sparing of direct criticism of Carl Jung. In May, 27th 1953 he writes him in connection with a dream about Einstein (s. below), which talks of a deeper reality behind quantum physics that Pauli combines with the sought after synthesis of physics and depth psychology:

"Denn es lässt sich nicht leugnen, dass diese [analytische Psychologie; RFR] wie ein illegitimes Kind des Geistes ausserhalb der allgemein anerkannten akademischen Welt ein esoterisches Sonderdasein führt."

English translation:

"For there is no denying the fact that [analytical; RFR] psychology, like an illegitimate child of the spirit, leads an esoteric, special existence beyond the fringe of what is generally acknowledged to be the academic world."

Shortly before, in February 1953, he addresses another reproach to Jung:

"Solange man Quaternitäten fern von Menschen 'im Himmel aufhängt' … , werden keine Fische gefangen, der Hierosgamos unterbleibt und das psychophysische Problem bleibt ungelöst." [emphasis mine]

English translation:

"As long as quaternities are 'projected into heaven' at a great distance from people... no fish will be caught, the hierosgamos is absent, and the psychophysical problem remains unsolved." [translation and emphasis mine]

For the reader this sentence may be too cryptic. Therefore we must ask ourselves what a "quaternity projected into heaven" could have to do with the hierosgamos, the sexual unity of a female and a male god, and with the sought after solution of the psychophysical problem.

To do this, we will examine three letters of Pauli's of the year 1953, in which he developed his ideas about the relation of Jung's quaternity with the problem of the unified psychophysical reality - the so-called unus mundus or united world. The first is the above quoted letter of February 1953 to Jung, the second to Markus Fierz of October 1953 and the third to Marie-Louise von Franz of November 1953 (see section 5.1).

Carl Jung was fascinated by the archetype of the quaternity. We can see this for example in his typology of the consciousness. He distinguishes four different functions: thinking and its opposite, feeling, as the so-called rational functions, and sensation with its opposite, intuition, as the so-called irrational functions. The important aspect in Jung's typology is the fact, that three of these four functions can be more or less conscious, but the fourth is "the totally different" ("das ganz Andere"). It represents the bridge to the unconscious and cannot be developed. Therefore the fourth function remains accessible only in an archaic or primitive manner. Like this the fourth disturbs consciousness in an unconscious way, which means, for example, that it comes up into one's consciousness through a slip of the tongue or by forgetting the name of the person you are talking too - the Freudian slip.

The unintegrated fourth manifests in certain specific ways depending on one's particular psychological typology. A thinking type, for example, can develop his sensation and intuition, but never his feeling. Therefore this fourth function comes up in a negative way, a behaviour one can observe very well in scientific discussions. An intuitive type has incredible troubles with the sensation, with his five senses, therefore also with his body. Sensation types develop incredible negative intuitions about their surrounding, and so on.

In Carl Jung's model, the collective unconscious is also structured in a fourfold way; therefore he preferred symmetries of this kind. Threefold and especially fivefold symmetries he looked at as an expression of a "distortion". He writes:

"'Distorted' mandalas occur from time to time. They consist of all forms that deviate from the circle, square, or regular cross, and also of those based not on the number four but on three or five. The numbers six and twelve are something of an exception. Twelve can be based on either four or three. The twelve months and the twelve signs of the zodiac are definite symbolic circles in daily use. We are also acquainted with a symbolic circle based on six. [German original: 'Ebenso ist die Sechs ein bekanntes Kreissymbol.' RFR] Three suggests the predominance of idea and will (trinity), and five that of the physical man (materialism)." [CW 12, § 287]

In his UFO essay Jung reduces the six-fold or double-triadic mandala, the Seal of Solomon, in a very unusual way to a quaternity [GW 10, § 771]. In our context Jung's interpretation is extremely important because the dreams of Wolfgang Pauli are full of this double-triadic symbol. We will see that this is the deeper reason why the Nobel laureate was occupied so intensely with Robert Fludd's opus in which the double-triadic structure plays a very important role.

The trouble with Jung's preference for the quaternity as a symbol of the Self is the fact that we never know if it is some sort of a (3+1) structure, as in the concept of his typology, or if he speaks of a fourfold symmetry, in which all members having equal rights. As we have seen, in his typology the (3+1) structure serves the distinction between the "trinity" of the conscious functions and its opposite, the monistic unconscious one. But in his model of the unconscious' center, the so-called Self, he prefers the quaternity in the shape of a square, which means that all members are equally weighted. Thus, we can already conclude here that this ambivalence shows a certain unconsciousness of Jung in relation to the problem of the fourth.


Chapter 3, part 2


See also further articles about Wolfgang Pauli in