David Lindorff. Pauli and Jung: The Meeting of Two Great Minds. Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 2004. Hardcover, xiv + 299 pp.
Wolfgang Pauli, who was instrumental in developing the atom bomb that subsequently devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was greatly troubled by his midwife role in that debâcle. This Nobel Prize-winning pioneer sought the help of another pioneer—
Carl Jung, whose discoveries and theories in depth psychology would undoubtedly have earned him a Nobel Prize as well, if such a prize were awarded to psychologists.
The correspondence between Pauli and Jung belongs to the truly remarkable chapters in the history of science, providing as it does not only a unique glimpse into the inner life and healing of a great scientist but also revealing the unity of mind and matter, spirituality and science.
Lindorff, a highly regarded engineer (and professor emeritus at MIT) and a Jungian analyst, is ideally suited to reflect on the extraordinarily creative relationship between the two geniuses.
Most of his fellow physicists thought of Pauli as the most gifted among them and looked to him for leadership. Few followed him, however, in seeing the dangers of a science that had become divorced from philosophy and a larger humanistic understanding. He had become deeply disturbed by the course nuclear physics had taken under the influence of the military.
Pauli’s therapy under Jung started out as a quest for personal healing of certain bothersome neurotic traits. It turned into something far more significant, as Pauli’s numerous archetypal dreams became more and more visionary, even parapsychological.
Where Pauli and Jung found common ground was in their respective interest in, even passion for, alchemy. While Pauli was looking for a physicists solution to the alchemical puzzle, Jung approached it from a psychological perspective. Both understood that that the puzzle involved the relationship between matter and spirit, body and mind.
This book sees the fruitful Pauli-Jung relationship more from Pauli’s side, but this is appropriate enough, since Pauli generated much of the conversation. Lindorff is a knowledgeable and reliable guide, who dexterously strings together numerous disparate facts to create a cohesive and highly readable diachronic account of a most extraordinary dialogue between two of the twentieth century’s intellectual giants.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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