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

To Carleton Smith

Dear Sir, 9 September 1953

It is very kind of you to invite me to become an adviser to the National Arts Foundation.

Your plan to establish prizes in the fields of human activity not yet covered by the Nobel Prize is indeed a very fine idea.

Whereas the Nobel Prize only considers discoveries or merits concerning natural sciences and medicine(with the exception of the political “peace prize”) the psychic and spiritual welfare of man has been completely disregarded. Man’s peace of mind, his mental balance and even his health largely depend upon mental and spiritual factors that cannot be substituted by physical conditions.

If man’s psychic health and happiness depended upon the proper food and other physical conditions of living, then all wealthy people should be healthy and happy, and all poor people mentally unbalanced, physically ill, and unhappy.

But the contrary is true.

The great dangers threatening the life of millions are not physical factors, but mental folly and diabolical schemes causing mental epidemics in the mentally defenseless masses.

There is no comparison between even the worst disease or the greatest natural catastrophe (such as earthquakes, floods, and epidemics) and that which man can do to man today.

A prize should be given to people who successfully suppress the outburst of political madness, or of panic (Churchill), or who produce great ideas enlarging the mental and spiritual horizon of man.

Great discoveries concerning the origin of man (palaeontology and archaeology), or about the structure of the universe (astronomy and astrophysics) , or the nature of the psyche (for instance J. B. Rhine for his extra-sensory perception experiments), should be rewarded.

What you need above all are good advisers, namely representatives of the said spheres of knowledge and research, who are not mere specialists, but who have a wide horizon.

The great trouble is that new ideas are rarely recognized by contemporaries.

Most of them fight blindly all creative attempts in their special field.

They thrive on things already known and therefore “safe.”

Universities are the worst in this respect.

Yet one can find independent and intelligent personalities even among professors.

The best thing you could do would be to travel about and talk to the main representatives of the departments of
history, archaeology, philology (theology?), psychology, biology, comparative religion, ethnology (anthropology), politics, and sociology.

I don’t mention philosophy as its modern variety does not include a corresponding way of life any more, and
therefore consists of mere words.

Albert Schweitzer, by the way, would have deserved a reward for his most important and courageous book on the Jesus biography research, but not for his African romance, which any little doctor could take care of just as well without being made into a saint.

It is a mere escape from the problem called Europe.

This is an unofficial letter, giving you my subjective and private thoughts and opinions about your great enterprise.

My best wishes!

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 124-125.