To B. Cohen

Dear Dr. Cohen, 23 April 1931

Best thanks for your friendly letter.

My reference to China seems to have given rise to all sorts of misunderstandings.

If I understand your letter aright, you appear to assume that I think there are parallels between Jewish and Oriental teachings.

I wouldn’t dream of making such an assertion and it was not intended under any circumstances.

I mentioned China only because I wanted to show drastically how nonsensical it is to accuse me of anti-Semitism when I declare there are differences between Jews and so-called Aryans.

I therefore said one could just as well accuse me of an anti-Chinese bias because I stressed in my book The Secret of the Golden Flower, which I brought out with Richard Wilhelm, that there is an essential difference between the Western and the Eastern mentality, in consequence of which we cannot directly take over Oriental teachings and methods without impairing our own psyche.

I am convinced from my own experience of Orientals that they have never misunderstood this critical attitude of mine as European snobbery.

The unfortunate prejudices and misunderstandings that exist between Jews and Christians have given rise to so much touchiness that one has only to allude to certain differences and one is instantly accused of hostility.

I must emphasize again and again that it makes an enormous difference whether someone has a 1,000- or a 3,000-year-old culture behind him.

In the same way, one can see at once whether he has an ancestral line of educated people or of primitives.

Especially among Indians and in Indian mysticism I have seen how enormous this difference is.

There are doctrines which suit the Indians themselves very well but which one cannot even mention to a European because they provoke the most violent misunderstandings.

The same is true of Freud’s views.

They can be discussed in a cool and abstract atmosphere but they have a destructive effect on the general public, as I have unfortunately seen only too often.

This is perhaps the deeper meaning in that story of the Rabbi, which you surely know: He knew that a dog that barks doesn’t bite but was not certain if the dog also knew it, so he preferred to take to his heels before the barking dog.

Again with best thanks and kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 159-160

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