Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume I, 1906-1950 (Vol 1)

Dear Mr. N., 25 October 1935

I absolutely share your appreciation of the I Ching and whatever good things you have to say about it, but most certainly I’m not going to sympathize with your very Western idea of making an institute of it.

You may know a great deal of the soul of the spiritual nobleman of the East, but you seem to be fundamentally ignorant of the soul of Western man.

You don’t know what a hell of trouble I have to instill the smallest drop of wisdom into the veins of the “Technicalized Savage” called European.

The technique and wisdom of the I Ching is something so subtle that it needs the refined culture of an age-old Eastern education to understand it truly.

Most of the educated Chinamen of today haven’t an inkling of an idea of the I Ching any more. Nor have Chinese scholars with us any adequate understanding.

What we need is a psychological education so that we slowly become able to understand the I Ching. But an institute that hands out the wisdom is the quintessence of horror to me.

I know enough of them in Europe and in America.

Wisdom is not and never has been something for the many, because foolishness for ever will be the main thing the world craves for. If that were not so, the world would have been cured of its own existence already in the times of old Pythagoras.

Wisdom may be good for you but to hand it out to other people means just as much as corruption of the truth.

Wisdom is the thing that one individual enjoys all by himself, and if you keep silent about it, then they will believe you, but when you talk it, you have no effect.

I sincerely hope that the I Ching has not put that idea into your head, otherwise I would lose my belief in the I Ching.

Even those people who use the I Ching as the Taoist priests in China do have degenerated into ordinary soothsayers and they enjoy the bad reputation which they thoroughly deserve.

If I understand anything of the I Ching, then I should say it is the book that teaches you your own way and the all-importance of it.

Not in vain has the book been the secret treasure of the sages. Compare it to what Confucius said to the masses and you will see the difference.

He was a sage that made use of the I Ching, but he didn’t teach it. He spoke the language of the masses, because he enjoyed teaching. Lao-tse didn’t enjoy teaching: see what
he said and how many there are that understand what he said.

Neither Kung Fu-tse’ nor Lao-tse nor Chuang-tse had institutes as far as I’m informed.

I have no objection against an honest attempt to introduce the wisdom of the I Ching to the Western mind, but such a thing has to be done with the utmost care in order not to arouse a flood of most pernicious misunderstandings.

I don’t know in what way you have acquitted yourself of this task. If you want to avoid the disastrous prejudice of the Western mind you have to introduce the matter
under the cloak of science.

Thus I should advise you to apply for an introductory word rather to Prof. Rousselle who is a competent Chinese scholar, while I’m nothing but a psychologist and the world
doesn’t see what psychology has to do with the I Ching.

. I hope you don’t mind my very frank statements, but I’m a jealous lover of the I Ching and I know that such things thrive the best and unfold in a natural way as long as they are not technicalized.

Faithfully yours,

C.G. Jung ~Letters; Volume 1, Pages 200-201