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

To R. J. Zwi Werblowsky

Dear Herr Werblowsky, 28 March 1951

I hope that in the meantime you have received my short foreword.

I am sorry that I am only now getting down to saying a few
words about some points in your book.

P. So. I should propose a somewhat different wording: instead of saying “pushing the process of individuation”-exactly the thing you cannot do because it instantly leads into an inflation or into an identification with archetypes-I should recommend something like “becoming too recklessly selfish.”

The term individuation ought to be reserved for the legitimate evolution of the individual entelechy.

Your singling out of hybris as the specific vice of the Greeks is very illuminating.

It corresponds to Augustine’s conception of superbia.

As you know, he said there are two cardinal sins: superbia and concupiscentia.

It is therefore to be supposed that if the specific Greek vice is superbia, concupiscentia falls to the lot of the Jews.

We see this very clearly in Freud, namely in his “pleasure principle,” in its turn corresponding to the castration complex which, incidentally, plays a much smaller role with non-Jews.

In my practice I very seldom have occasion even to speak of it.

Hybris actually looms much larger with the Gentiles.

P. 84. Here I would recommend a revision of the text.

Hybris can hardly be described as a “hypertrophy of masculinity,” since this would not apply in the case of a woman.

Hybris is an inflation of the human being in general.

It is also extremely doubtful whether Greek homosexuality can be derived from it.

Homosexuality is more a social phenomenon which develops wherever a primitive society of males has to be cemented together as a stepping-stone to the State.

This is particularly evident in Greece.

Nor can one impute without qualification a contempt of women to homosexuals.

Very often they are good friends to them.

For instance, a young homosexual bachelor is a welcome guest among women of uncertain age, and he feels happy in their company because it surrounds him with mothers.

Most homosexuals are suspended or potential males still clinging to their mother’s apron strings.

The castration complex, which you mention in this connection, really has nothing to do with homosexuality but very much to do with the meaning of Jewish circumcision which, as a most incisive operation on a sensitive organ, is a reminder of concupiscentia.

And because it is an act prescribed by divine law, it bridles concupiscence for the purpose of consolidating man’s affinity with the Law or with God as a permanent state.

It is a kind of Karoxv, an expression of Yahweh’s marriage with Israel.

When the idea of God’s marriage becomes obsolete, the alleged castration, which circumcision is understood to be, regresses to dependence on the mother (Attis myth!).

But in so far as the mother signifies the unconscious pure and simple, the unconscious takes Yahweh’s place.

It is, however, correct to say that homosexuality comes in here indirectly as the result of an almighty
mother complex.

The mother-fixated son, because of his “aloofness from women,” is constantly in danger of autoerotism and exaggerated self-esteem.

The characteristic arrogance of adolescent youths towards the female sex is simply a defence mechanism against domination by the mother and can hardly be interpreted as hybris.

“Greek” homosexuality occurs, as said, in all primitive societies of males though it never led them to the soaring flights of Greek culture.

The real foundation of the Greek spirit is not to be found in these primitive phenomena but in the specific endowments of the people.

One must, I think, be very chary of the assumption that the genius of a culture has anything to do with “masculinity.”

P. 85, note 21.

You say an antisexual tendency is inherent in the Virgin Mother archetype.

This can hardly be maintained since the cult of the Oriental love-goddess is notoriously anything but antisexual.

I have read your book with great pleasure and found the difference between Jewish and Greek psychology particularly instructive.

I must confess that I have never read the whole of Paradise Lost any more than I have read the Messias of Klopstock.

I have learnt a lot from your work and have tried in my foreword to see the emergence of the figure of Satan in the 17th century in historical perspective.

Many thanks for the notes about Blake you enclosed in your letter.

I am no particular friend of Blake, whom I am always inclined to criticize.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 15-17