Category Archives: pneuma

Walking in Two Worlds – a letter from Carl G Jung to Edward Thornton

20th July 1958

Dear Edward,

The question you asked me is -I’m afraid- beyond my competence. It is a question of fate in which you should not be influenced by any outer arbitrary influence. As a rule I am all for walking in two worlds at once since we are gifted with two legs, remembering that spirit is pneuma which means “moving air”. It is a wind that all too easily can lift you up from the solid earth and carry you away on uncertain waves. It is good therefore, as a rule, to keep at least one foot upon terra firma. We are still in the body and thus under the rule of heavy matter. Also it is equally true that matter not moved by the spirit is dead and empty.

Over against this general truth one has to be flexible enough to admit all sorts of exceptions, as they are the unavoidable accompaniments of all rules. The spirit has no merit in itself and it has a peculiarly irrealizing effect if not counterbalanced by its material opposite. Thus think again, and if you feel enough solid under your feet, follow the call of the spirit.

My best wishes.

Yours cordially,

C.G. Jung