65 / 100

Carl Jung Press Communique on Visiting the United States

999 press

Carl Jung Press Communique on Visiting the United States

Symbolic Life

The reason why I come to the United States is the fact that Harvard University has bestowed upon me the great honour of inviting me to its Tercentenary Celebration.

Being a psychopathologist as well as psychologist, I have been asked to participate in a symposium about “Psychological Factors Determining Human Behaviour.”

This is not my first visit to the United States, though my last visit dates back as far as 1924.

I am eagerly looking forward to observing the changes which the last eventful decade has brought to public as well as to private life over here and to compare them with those of our own profoundly upset Europe.

It is my sincere hope to find more common sense, more social peace, and less insanity in the United States than in the old countries.

As a psychologist I am deeply interested in mental disturbances, particularly when they infect whole nations.

I want to emphasize that I despise politics wholeheartedly: thus I am neither a Bolshevik, nor a National Socialist, nor an Anti-Semite.

I am a neutral Swiss and even in my own country I am uninterested in politics, because I am convinced that 99 per cent of politics are mere symptoms and anything but a cure for social evils.

About 50 per cent of politics is definitely obnoxious inasmuch as it poisons the utterly incompetent mind of the masses.

We are on our guard against contagious diseases of the body, but we are exasperatingly careless when it comes to the even more dangerous collective diseases of the mind.

I make this statement in order to disillusion any attempt to claim me for any particular political party.

I have some reason for it, since my name has been repeatedly drawn into the political discussion, which is, as you best know, in a feverish condition actually.

It happened chiefly on account of the fact that I am interested in the undeniable differences in national and racial psychology, which chiefly account for a series of most fatal misunderstandings and practical mistakes in international dealings as well as in internal social frictions.

In a politically poisoned and overheated atmosphere the sane and dispassionate scientific discussion of such delicate, yet most important problems has become well-nigh impossible.

To discuss such matters in public would be about as successful as if the director of a lunatic asylum were to set out to discuss the particular delusions of his patients in the midst of them.

You know, the tragicomical thing is that they are all convinced of their normality as much as the doctor him self of his own mental balance.

It will soon be thirty years since my first visit to the United States.

During this ¢me I watched the tremendous progress of the country, and I learned to appreciate also the enormous change America has undergone and is still undergoing, namely the transition from a still pioneering mood to the very different attitude of a people confined to a definite area of soil.

I shall spend my ¢me chiefly at Harvard, and later a short visit to the museums of New York I intend to sail again in the first days of October. Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 564-565