For the Palestinian Public 8 June 1934
When one presents to the Jewish public a topic fraught with as many sensitive aspects as the Jewish question in psychotherapy, one has to reckon with a multitude of complex reactions.
So it is no wonder that Jung – and I, too – have had the experience that our writing is not read correctly.
Thus I must attempt the following corrections.
I have never said a single word against Jung’s assertion that the Jew has a particular tendency and ability to perceive the negative, the shadow.
On the contrary, in my essay I expressly cited and relied on Jung’s words regarding the human shadow side:
“In many cases it is exceedingly salutary to confront human beings with their own most unpleasant truths”
! Indeed, in every case in a daily practice, it is urgently necessary to shine light on the shadow side, the negative side of the unconscious.
Obviously, this insight does not only apply to individual Jewish patients but to the entire Jewish situation of our time.
Recognizing and valuing the Jewish shadow in this way, I wrote that among the Jewish people a thorough and bitter analysis has recently broken out ( e.g. Mauschel96 by Theodor Herzl).
No matter how I try, I cannot detect any “sugar-coating” here.
The great contribution of Jung ( and this is clearly expressed in the essay in question) is that he has declared that the unconscious is also the creative foundation of the soul, and that he thus sees both aspects, the negative and the positive.
The terms genotype and phenotype are borrowed from biology.
The genotype describes the hereditary possibility existing in the germ plasma, while the phenotype is the individual manifestation transformed by experience and thus taking visible form.
This clearly defines the contrast between essence and appearance.
Whoever ventures to follow the phenotype of the Jew into his darkest abyss, that person cannot be accused of escaping into a non-existing image of a
More likely one could conclude that this person is intent on penetrating into the essence of the Jew by way of individual manifestations.
When Jung expressed his views concerning the current situation of psychotherapy, he had to clarify to what extent Freud’s particular Jewish attitude to the unconscious influenced all of modern psychology and psychotherapy.
He does not, however, need to raise the question whether we Jews can acknowledge Freud as the genotype of the Jews.
May we then – as it has already been hinted among Jews – regard Freud as a Jewish prophet?
The prophet is legitimized by God’s calling, i.e. on the positive foundation of the unconscious. (See e.g. Isaiah chap. 6).
Freud, however, unequivocally rejects the positive aspect of the unconscious (see The Future of an Illusion).
We are therefore bound to continue working with and appreciating not only the negative but also the positive aspect, if we are to come out of our
current spiritual situation of godlessness and homelessness.
In this we are also justified to consider Freud, without detracting from his courageous discoveries, as a figure determined by the Galut1 (the Galut phenotype), rather than as a timeless manifestation of the Jewish essence.
It is surely correct that the Jew is better able than the Teuton to endure “living with his shadow side in a friendly spirit of tolerance.”
Without doubting Jung’s specific statement, I am (in contrast to Jung) of the opinion that it is particularly damaging and dangerous for us to destroy the connection with the unconscious as our creative original foundation.
I emphasize this connection with the original foundation because the timeless type of the Jew has always expressed even the negative on the basis of his connection with the Eternal.
Freud tried to strike a fatal blow against the religious life of the soul in The Future of an Illusion.
To overcome this attitude of godlessness and homelessness, we need Jung’s revelations about Freud and about the corresponding distortion of Jewish psychology, and Jung’s way – in contrast to Freud’s – in order to arrive at the positive aspect of the unconscious through accepting the shadow as fully as possible.
For that reason the final sentence of my essay was as follows: “In Jung’s personality as well as in his psychology and psychotherapy, something is contained which speaks to the depth of the ailing Jewish soul and which may lead to its liberation.” ~James Kirsch-Jung-Kirsch Letters, Pages 54-56