From a Letter to Professor Oftinger

By Jung

a-memory-after-bachs-cello-suites-idris-khan.jpgA Memory ...after Bach's cello suites, 2006

"Noise is welcome because it drowns the inner instinctive warning. Fear seeks noisy company and pandemonium to scare away the demons. (The primitive equivalents are yells, bull-roars, drums, fire-crackers, bells, etc.) Noise, like crowds, gives a feeling of security; therefore people love it and avoid doing anything about it as they instinctively feel the apotropaic magic it sends out. Noise protects us from painful reflection, it scatters our anxious dreams, it assures us that we are all in the same boat and creating so much racket that nobody will dare to attack us. Noise is so insistent, so overwhelmingly real, that everything else becomes a pale phantom. It relieves us of the effort to say or do anything, for the very air reverberates with the invincible power of our modernity.

The dark side of the picture is that we wouldn't have noise if we secretly didn't want it. Noise is not merely inconvenient or harmful, it is an unadmitted and uncomprehended means to an end: compensation of the fear which is only too well founded. If there were silence, their fear would make people reflect, and there's no way of knowing what might then come to consciousness." – Jung, from a letter to professor Oftinger, September 1957