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Goldhammer, J.D. (2004). The End of Civilization: Did Jung Misunderstand His Own Dreams?. Free Associations, 11(2):317-320.

(2004). Free Associations, 11(2):317-320

The End of Civilization: Did Jung Misunderstand His Own Dreams?

John D. Goldhammer

Dreams have a poetic integrity and truth. … These whimsical pictures, in as much as they originate from us, may well have an analogy with our whole life and fate. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

In 1913, Jung Broke With Freud, who had been an important mentor for many years. It was a scary and traumatic experience for Jung. He was leaving the popular authority of his time; he was leaving a system of dream interpretation, a body of techniques, ideas, and theories of analysis. Shortly after disconnecting his life's work from Freudian psychology and setting out on his own, he had a dream-like vision while alone on a journey, a foreboding drama that seemed to predict a disaster.

In October, while I was alone on a journey, I was suddenly seized by an overpowering vision: I saw a monstrous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. When it came up to Switzerland I saw that the mountains grew higher and higher to protect our country. I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood.

Two weeks passed; then the vision recurred, under the same conditions, even more vividly than before, and the blood was more emphasized. An inner voice spoke. Look at it well; it is wholly real and it will be so. You cannot doubt it.1

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