Synchronicity: Atom and Archetype

From Atom and Archetype: The Pauli-Jung Letters, 1932-1958

JUNG AND PAULI: A Meeting of Rare Minds

Readers of the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung are more familiar with Wolfgang Pauli’s unconscious than with his waking life and achievement.

Through Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy–an exposition of “the problem of individuation” and “normal development . . . in a highly intelligent person”–depth psychologists have known the Nobel laureate’s dreams, not his professional genius.

Meanwhile, the scientists who continue Pauli’s pursuit of the nature and composition of the material universe know little of the quantum physicist’s depth exploration of his unconscious, his fascination with the interface of matter with psyche, and his collaboration with Jung in probing connections that appear to be acausal.
Jung and Pauli corresponded and later met, not for analysis but for a comparison of ideas–Pauli pursuing Jung’s synchronicity thesis and Jung fostering Pauli’s understanding of the archetypal and collective factors in the psyche. Through their contact, William James’s two fields, to which both Jung and Bohr had been attracted, come together again. Von Franz writes that the notion of complementarity introduced by Niels Bohr to provide a better explanation for the paradoxical relationship between waves and particles in nuclear physics can also be applied to the relationship of conscious and unconscious states of a psychic content. This fact was discovered by Jung, but it was particularly elaborated by Wolfgang Pauli.
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