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Religions are like plants which belong to a particular soil and a particular climate.


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Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961

To Patrick Whitaker

Dear Sir, 8 October 1960

Thank you very much for your kind letter of August 21st. Unfortunately my answer is late.

I have been ill in the meantime and unable to take care of my correspondence.

I have studied your “proposal”1 with much interest.

Frankly, such a plan would be quite impossible in Europe, but with reference to the “land of unlimited possibilities” one feels differently.

Your basic assumption that a Museum of Sanctuary is needed for the preservation of religious phenomena is quite correct.

Our present state of civilization becomes more and more unable to understand what a religion means. Europe has already lost half of its population to a mental state worse than ancient paganism.

There is however a grave doubt in my mind: just as the accumulation of masterworks of art threatens to kill each individual work, so the accumulation of religions in the manner of a spiritual zoo seems to be very dangerous for the spiritual life of each religion.

Without it, it is a mere curiosity.

Religions are like plants which belong to a particular soil and a particular climate. Outside of their vital conditions their existence can be maintained only artificially. Nearly all confessions are afraid of anth ropology and psychology and rightly so.

I am sure they would feel most uncomfortable finding themselves neatly classified along with Mahayana Buddhism, Zen, Voodoo, and Australian alcheringemijinas.

But even under such conditions Ellis Island would be one of the most remarkable Museums of the World.

I should be indeed quite interested to learn about the further progress of your initiative.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 597-598