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Carl Jung on if: “thought of the East is in any way more advanced than the thought in the West?”


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C. G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters (Bollingen Series XCVII)

Stephen Black: Do you feel that the thought of the East is in any way more advanced than the thought in the West?

Dr. Jung: Well, you see, the thought of the East cannot be compared with the thought in the West; it is incommensurable.

It is something else.

Stephen Black: In what way does it differ, then?

Dr. Jung: Well, they are far more influenced by the basic facts about psychology than we are.

Stephen Black: That sounds more like your philosophy.

Dr. Jung: Oh, yes; quite.

That is my particular understanding of the East, and the East can appreciate my ideas better, because they are better prepared to see the truth of the psyche.

Some think there is nothing in the mind when the child is born, but I say everything is in the mind when the child is born, only it isn’t conscious yet.

It is there as a potentiality.

Now, the East is chiefly based upon that potentiality.

Stephen Black: Does this contribute to the happiness of people one way or the other? Are people happier in themselves in the East?

Dr. Jung: I don’t think that they are happier than we are.

You see, they have no end of problems, of diseases and conflicts; that is the human lot.

Stephen Black: Is their unhappiness based upon their psychological difficulties, like ours, or it is more based upon their physical environment, their economics?

Dr. Jung: Well, you see, there is no difference between, say, unfavorable social conditions and unfavorable psychological conditions.

We may be, in the West, in very favorable social conditions, and we are as miserable as possible—inside.

We have the trouble from the inside.

They have it perhaps more from the outside.

Stephen Black: And have you any views on the reason for this misery we suffer here?

Dr. Jung: Oh, yes; there are plenty of reasons.

Wrong values—we believe in things which are not really worthwhile.

For instance, when a man has only one automobile and his neighbor has two, then that is a very sad fact and he is apt to get neurotic about it.

Stephen Black: In what other ways are our values at fault?

Well, all ambitions and all sorts of things—illusions, you know, of any description.

It is impossible to name all those things. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 252-267.

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