Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung

The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life.

Carl Jung

The history of religions reaches down and makes contact with that which is essentially human: the relation of man to the sacred. The history of religions can play an extremely important role in the crisis we are living through. The crises of modern man are to a large extent religious ones, insofar as they are an awakening of his awareness to an absence of meaning .

Mircea Eliade

Eliade and Jung were two of the most influential intellects in the last hundred years; both were deeply focused on the experience of the sacred, of the Self.

Jung’s background was much more clinical (and necessarily, practical); Eliade’s background was much more academic (and wide-ranging). It is refreshing to read of Eliade’s description of Jung:

In his journal Eliade recounts his first meeting with Jung at a dinner in an Ascona restaurant [1950]:

...He is a captivating old gentleman, utterly without conceit, who is as happy to talk as he is to listen.

What could I write down here first of this long conversation? Perhaps his bitter reproaches of‘official science’?

In university circles he is not taken seriously.‘Scholars have no curiosity,’ he says with Anatole France.‘Professors are satisfied with recapitulating what they learned in their youth and what does not cause any trouble...

(Jung was born in 1875; Eliade was born in 1907. )

Quotation: Journal 1, August 23, 1950, quoted in G. Wehr, Jung, A Biography (Boston 1988),


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