Creative Process: Carl Jung’s inspirations

If you enjoy locations of solitude and feel that you do some of your most profound, insightful thinking on timeless topics in such places, you and the famed Swiss psychologist Carl Jung have something in common.

In 1922 Jung purchased some land on the shore of Lake Zürich, and in 1923 began building a two-story round tower on it, which he later added to. It was designed to be lived in periodically, as a retreat, and had no running water or electricity. Heating was done with a wood-burning stove.

At Bollingen (1), with its solitude and rustic setting, Jung said he felt “most himself.” He enjoyed gathering and chopping wood for the stove and cooking on the woodstove.

In some research notes I made a number of years ago and which I recently reviewed I found comments about how Jung found that the isolation at Bollingen was conducive to almost trance-like reflection. (2)

Jung was motivated by faith in the collective unconscious:

And, at Bollingen, there was a silence that was almost tangible. In this silence, it seemed possible (to Jung) to make contact with thoughts that were centuries old.

Jung loved reading the thoughts of the ancients and wrote of “The overflowing delights of mythology, which I always reserve for the evening as dessert.”

He also noted, “We Europeans are not the only people on the earth…there are old civilizations where people have trained their minds in introspective psychology for thousands of years — these people have an insight that is simply fabulous.”

(1) There are a couple of nice color photos of Jung’s retreat at Bollingen in a short article on Wikipedia:

(2) Unfortunately, when I made the notes, I neglected to write down the source, and so I’m unable to credit the author.

About Dennis Mellersh

Dennis Mellersh is an independent writer, journalist, editor, and editorial consultant.
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