[Carl Jung response to: Will you not answer a few questions about the most important accusations against you,]
ON THE ATTACK IN THE “SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE”
In 1948 the Bollingen Foundation, which had been formed three years earlier, donated funds at the request of the Library of Congress to establish an annual prize in poetry. The Library named it the Bollingen Prize in Poetry and designated the Fellows in American Letters of the Library as its jury of award. In February 1949 the Library announced that the first annual award had been made, on the recommendation of the Fellows, to Ezra Pound. Pound at that time was under indictment for treason, being charged with propagandistic activities in support of the enemy during the War; and, having been judged insane by a medical board, he had been confined in a government mental hospital.
At first, the reactions to the award were relatively mild, but in June, a poet and critic, Robert Hillyer, published two articles in the Saturday Review of Literature that arbitrarily dragged Jung into the controversy, through the Foundation’s interest in his work, and presented him as a Nazi and anti-Semite and part of a conspiracy to prepare for “a new authoritarianism.” The affair has been well documented in a booklet, The Case Against “The Saturday Review of Literature,” published by the magazine Poetry (Chicago), in October 1949.
Carol Baumann, an American pupil of Jung’s residing in Switzerland, felt that it was “high time that Jung’s own voice be heard, and I therefore asked for an interview.” It was published in the Bulletin of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York (a mimeographed private publication), December 1949.
Carol Baumann: (Dr. Jung received me in his garden at Kusnacht, and we sat at a round stone table in the shade of a circle of great trees. I had already sent Dr. Jung a list of the quotations which had been cited against him, and he glanced through these again.)
Dr. Jung: When people have jumped to false conclusions they often prefer to cling to their prejudices. There is little use in answering people who wish to misunderstand, for they are
not interested in ascertaining the objective truth.
Dr. Baumann: Yes, but many readers are mystified by the general uproar. Will you not answer a few questions about the most important accusations against you, to make your viewpoint clear to those who are really interested in learning the truth?
Carl Jung: It must be clear to anyone who has read any of my books that I never have been a Nazi sympathizer and I never have been anti-Semitic, and no amount of misquotation, mistranslation,
or rearrangement of what I have written can alter the record of my true point of view.
Nearly every one of these passages has been tampered with, either by malice or by ignorance.
Furthermore, my friendly relations with a large group of Jewish colleagues and patients over a period of many years in itself disproves the charge of anti-Semitism.
Let us take the most important misquotation (SRL, June i) : “The Jew is a relative nomad, never has had and never will have his own culture. . . . The Aryan unconscious is a higher unconscious than the Jewish.”
It is significant that when the full context is read, these phrases acquire exactly the opposite meaning from that attributed to them by the “researchers.”
These mistranslated phrases have been taken from a paper entitled “On the Present Situation of Psychotherapy,” which appeared in the Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie (Vol. 7, Nos. 1 and 2).
An extensive presentation of the main points in this paper has been printed in a thirty two page article by Dr. Ernest Harms: “Carl Gustav Jung—Defender of Freud and the Jews” (Psychiatric Quarterly,
In order to evaluate the meaning of these questionable phrases, I will give you the whole paragraph in which they appear:
“In consequence of their more than twice as ancient culture, they (the Jews) are vastly more conscious of human weaknesses and inferiorities and therefore much less vulnerable in this respect than we are ourselves.
They also owe to the experience of ancient culture the ability to live consciously in benevolent, friendly and tolerant neighborhood with their own defects, while we are still too young to have no illusions about ourselves. . . . The Jew, as a member of a race whose culture is about 3,000 years old, like the educated Chinese, is psychologically conscious in wider areas than we are. . . .
The Jew, as relatively a nomad, never has produced, and presumably never will produce a culture of his own since all his instincts and gifts require a more or less civilized host-people for their development.
Therefore, the Jewish race as a whole has, according to my experience, an unconscious which can only conditionally be compared to the Aryan.
Aside from certain creative individuals, the average Jew is already much too conscious and differentiated to be pregnant with the tensions of the unborn future.
The Aryan unconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish; that is the advantage and the disadvantage of a youthfulness not yet fully estranged from barbarism.”
Since this article was to be printed in Germany (in 1934) I had to write in a somewhat veiled manner, but to anyone in his senses the meaning should be clear.
I had to help these people. It had to be made clear that I, an Aryan outside Germany, stood for a scientific approach to psychotherapy.
That was the point!
I cannot see anything in the least anti-Semitic in this statement.
It is simply an appraisal of certain psychological differences in background, and in point of fact it is complimentary to the Jews to point out that they are in general more conscious and differentiated than the average Aryan, who has remained close to barbarism!
And it is an historical fact that the Jews have shown a remarkable ability to become carriers of the cultures in all lands where they have spread.
This shows a high degree of civilization, and such adaptability is a matter for admiration.
Some people show a funny kind of resentment when one speaks of differences in psychology—but one must admit that different nationalities and different races have different outlooks and different psychologies.
Take the difference between the French and the English, or for that matter, between the English and the Americans!
There is a marked difference in psychology everywhere.
Only an idiot can not see it.
It is too ridiculous to be so hypersensitive about such things.
They are facts of experience not to be ignored. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 192-195
Carol Baumann: What can you say about the quotation: “The American presents to us a strange picture: a European with Negro mannerisms and an Indian soul”?
Carl Jung: This must be taken from a popular interview back in 1930 or thereabouts.
The psychology of the unconscious does not lend itself to popular treatment.
It is too easily misunderstood—all the more so when journalists try to make a sensational splash.
Such an isolated bald statement naturally reads like blatant nonsense to anyone familiar with the workings of the unconscious mind.
Before one can make any sense out of such a statement one needs to know how we can be influenced through the unconscious.
I can just as well speak of the primitive contents of the European unconscious.
There is no critical slur in these things. Indeed, for a wide awake person, the primitive contents may often prove to be a source of renewal.
The American unconscious is highly interesting, because it contains more varied elements and has a higher tension, owing to the melting-pot and the transplantation to a primitive soil, which caused a break in the
traditional background of the Europeans who became Americans. On the other hand,
Americans are in a way more highly civilized than Europeans, and on the other hand their wellspring of life energy reaches greater depths.
The American unconscious contains an immense number of possibilities.
I cannot pretend to have attained a comprehensive view of it, and even that view which I have can not be compressed into a few sentences for an interview.
Carol Baumann: Mr. Hillyer claims that in 1936 you said that “Hitler’s new order in Germany seemed to offer the only hope of Europe.”‘
Dr. Jung: Many Americans asked me what I thought about Hitler and his ideas, in the autumn of 1936, and I always expressed concern for the future of Europe.
It is not true that I ever admired Hitler. However, in the early years, before the power devil finally took the upper hand with Hitler, he brought about many reforms and to a certain extent served
the German people constructively.
I may have said something of this kind as well as talking of the dangers ahead, which I had already written about.
If I state an historical fact people immediately jump to the conclusion that that implies admiration!
The mockery of it!
My whole life work is based on the psychology of the individual, and his responsibility both to himself and his milieu.
Mass movements swallow individuals wholesale, and an individual who thus loses his identity has lost his soul.
Such a widespread phenomenon has well-nigh destroyed our civilization, and the danger is by no means over yet!
Hitler became the mouthpiece of all the undercurrents seething in the German people.
This fact was aptly expressed by the oft-repeated phrase that Hitler followed his intuition with the false “assurance and accuracy of a sleepwalker”—until he came to the edge of the precipice from which there was no escape. In my paper on “Wotan”‘ I described how the wind god of old provided a very apt picture of the force which seized on the German people, stirring up the long-buried barbaric past.
I wrote this article in 1936 as a warning for those who could understand its implications.
When the unconscious of a whole people is stirred to such an extent, and there is no conscious and responsible leader to canalize the released forces, then the devil takes hold and the destructive forces rush headlong to their final destruction, but only after half destroying the world around them.
That is the tragedy.
Anyone who takes the trouble to read what I wrote both before and during the war will find my real views concerning mass psychology and its dangers, but my warning voice was not heard.
Carol Baumann: Can you say anything about the work of your Jewish followers?
Dr. Jung: There is plenty of evidence of their friendly collaboration with me.
Dr. Gerhard Adler, in London, has continually defended me against the accusation of anti-Semitism.
Dr. Ernest Harms, in America, as I already mentioned, painstakingly wrote up the true history of my connection with the Zentralblatt.
He, incidentally, studied with both Freud and myself, but does not count himself as belonging to either school.
Dr. Erich Neumann, of Tel Aviv, has written several books based on his study of my psychological views.
There are many others I might mention, and, as you know, there is a large group of Jewish pupils here in Zurich.
Carol Baumann: The fact that you accepted the editorship of the Zentralblatt far Psychotherapie and the honorary chairmanship of the International Society for Psychotherapy, in 1933, has greatly influenced Americans against you. Could you say something about this?
Dr. Jung: An objective review of the facts concerning this critical period in the history of European psychotherapy, and the motives which led me to try to save an international scientific organization of physicians, has been written by Dr. Harms, as I just said.
I can add little to what he has written.
However, I may sum up that when I, as a Swiss, accepted this position it was my aim to preserve a spirit of scientific cooperation among all European doctors in face of the Nazi anti-Semitism then first raising its head.
It was impossible to fight the Nazi intolerance openly without endangering the position of all German doctors, and of German Jewish doctors in particular.
But I did what I could as quietly as possible, and succeeded in getting a special paragraph adopted by the international society, whereby German Jewish physicians (who were barred from membership in the
German branch society) could individually become members of the international organization.
Thus they were able to become full members with equal rights.
Later, when through the influence of the Nazis, Dr. M.H. Goring (a cousin of Hermann Goring) became co-editor of the Zentralblatt, and other Nazi doctors were foisted upon us (in 1936 and ’37) my position gradually became untenable.
During this fateful time the Nazis played double with my name.
On the one hand, my name was placed on their black list on account of various things I had written which they could not swallow, as, for instance, my lecture on the “Theory of Complexes,” held in Bad Nauheim in May 1934, in which I paid tribute to Freud.
Still later, my Swiss publisher received news that my books were banned and destroyed.
On the other hand, the Nazis were only too pleased to publicize my name, as a Swiss feather in their caps, in an effort to prop their waning reputation in the eyes of the world.
Many false and conflicting rumors were circulated about me: that I was anti-Semitic, that I was a Jew, that I was Hitler’s doctor, etc., etc.
The fact that my name became associated with Goring’s on the Zentralblatt editorial board naturally put me in an increasingly false position, especially when he printed his famous pronouncement about Mein Kampf.
This was inserted in the Zentralblatt without my consent, and I had not laid eyes on the manuscript before it appeared in print.
Of course this statement represented the point of view of the German society only, never of the international society as a whole.
Since the Zentralblatt was published inside of Germany, the Nazis enforced their influence whenever they could.
The task which I had accepted, namely the preservation Alf a non-political international society, finally became too heavy a burden and in fact an impossible undertaking.
In the meantime, I attempted to do my duty in this respect as any other decent man would have done in my place.
Several times I wanted to withdraw and I attempted to resign, but at the urgent request of the English and Dutch representatives, who begged me “for the sake of the whole organization to stay on,”
I stayed on. You cannot quit people when they are in a hole.
It has helped many people that I stuck to my post.
One can say it was a foolish idealism which caused me to stand by, but it seemed to me unfair to all the people clinging to me to leave them in the lurch.
My standpoint was: I’m not a rat which runs from a sinking ship; and so I did not actually resign until the end of 1939, when the war began and I could be of no further use.
Then all international communications were disrupted.
I have never desired to get involved in political events, but as a troubled Swiss onlooker and a conscientious psychological observer, I have naturally had certain reactions to the disturbing events of the time we live in.
I might add that in 1941 I delivered a lecture before a meeting of Swiss psychotherapists entitled “Psychotherapy Today”‘ in which I condemned the totalitarian state at a time when the victorious
panzer divisions were barely sixty-five miles away, and I knew the Nazis planned to make short work of me when and if they crossed the Swiss border. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 192-200.
Carl Jung across the web:
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