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Friday, September 4, 2015

Carl Jung: For a real understanding of the Jewish component in Freud's outlook..





To Edith Schroder

Dear Colleague, April [?] 1957

In reply to your letter of the 26th inst. I must remark that many important things could be said about the theme you propose, "The Significance of Freud's Jewish Descent for the Origin, Content, and Acceptance of Psychoanalysis," if only the problem could be treated on a very high level.

Racial theories and the like would be a most unsatisfactory foundation, quite apart from the futility of such speculations.

For a real understanding of the Jewish component in Freud's outlook a thorough knowledge would be needed of the specifically Jewish assumptions in regard to history, culture and religion.

Since Freud calls for an extremely serious assessment on all these levels, one would have to take a deep plunge into the history of the Jewish mind.

This would carry us beyond Jewish orthodoxy into the subterranean workings of Hasidism (e.g., the sects of Sabbatai Zwi), and then into the intricacies of the Kabbalah, which still remains unexplored psychologically.

The Mediterranean man, to whom the Jews also belong, is not exclusively characterized and moulded by Christianity and the Kabbalah, but still carries within him a living heritage of paganism which could not be stamped out by the Christian Reformation.

I had the privilege of knowing Freud personally and have realized that one must take all these facts into consideration in order to gain a real understanding of psychoanalysis in its Freudian form.

I do not know how far you are acquainted with these various sources, but I can assure you that I myself could carry out such a task only in collaboration with a Jewish scholar since unfortunately I have no knowledge of Hebrew.

In view of the blood-bespattered shadow that hangs over the so-called "Aryan understanding of the Jew," any assessment that fell below the level of these-as it may seem to you-high-falutin conditions would be nothing but a regrettable misunderstanding, especially on German soil.

Despite the blatant misjudgment I have suffered at Freud's hands, I cannot fail to recognize, even in the teeth of my resentment, his significance as a cultural critic and psychological pioneer.

A true assessment of Freud's achievement would take us far afield, into dark areas of the mind which concern not only the Jew but European man in general, and which I have sought to illuminate in my writings.

Without Freud's "psychoanalysis" I wouldn't have had a clue.

I am sorry that I have nothing but difficulties to offer you, but superficiality would be worse than silence.

With collegial regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 358-359.