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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Carl Jung on Teuton Man




To Pere Bruno de Jesus-Marie

Dear Pere Bruno, 20 November 1956

I have thought over our conversation for a long time and have come to the conclusion that, just as it is the foremost task of the individual to become conscious of himself, it should also be the chiefest concern of a gathering of distinguished personalities to become conscious of their meaning within the greater society.

As I have intimated to you, the spiritual scope of your Academy embraces the whole North , from the North Cape to the Alps, that is to say all those countries which were only partly Romanized, or not at all, and therefore had only indirect or sporadic contacts with the entirely different Mediterranean culture.

In France there is a noticeable difference between the spiritually active North and the static life of the South , which it shares with Spain and Italy.

Southern Europe remained stationary for many centuries after an initial contact had been made between the peoples of the West and the then flourishing Islamic culture.

But when the West had assimilated the remnants of classical culture that were still kept alive by Islam, a state of spiritual coexistence set in, and there were no more contacts between Islam and Christianity.

Both cultures remained mutually isolated and cross-fertilization Ceased.

For the spiritually more mobile West, i.e. , the Latin culture of the northern Mediterranean countries, had now found a different antagonist-the Teuton.

Not cast in the Latin mould, he confronted the civilized Latin peoples with all the diversity of a barbaric, tribally oriented social order.

He brought with him a primitive tradition which had developed autochthonously within his tribes, presumably from the time of the Stone Age, and which despite the curiosity of the youthful barbarian never quite succumbed to the influence of Latin culture.

Mediterranean culture is founded on a three- to four-thousand-year-old rule of order, both political and religious, which had long outgrown the locally conditioned, semi-barbarian forms of society.

Thus the "esprit latin" has secure foundations guaranteeing a relatively problematical state of consciousness.

The Teutonic man of the North, on the contrary, is driven around by the adventurous nomadic restlessness of those who have their roots in a different soil from the one they want to live on.

Whether he will or no, there is a continual conflict in him over his foundations.

He is always seeking his own, for what he usurped some 1500 years ago as a binding form of life would not harmonize with what he brought with him as a usurper.

His polydaemonism had not yet reached the level and clarity of Mediterranean polytheism, and in this state he was suddenly confronted with a religion and view of the world that had sprung from the decay of Olympus and the transformation of the gods into philosophical and theological ideas.

His still undifferentiated barbarian world, bursting with the vital seeds of possible future developments, sank down reviled but not explained.

No bridge led from one to the other.

Here, it seems to me, is the source of that Teutonic turmoil which has more than once violently forced its way to the surface.

Here is that tension of opposites which supplies the energy for physical and spiritual adventures.

This is the man who, driven by his inner conflicts, was actually the first to discover the earth and take possession of it.

At this centre of antagonistic forces lies your Academy, under whose auspices are united the most important representatives of Northern culture.

It seems to me that its most urgent task is to create a differentiated consciousness of this state of affairs and to publicize it.

It would be rendering Western man a service of which he stands in the most urgent need at present-a knowledge of himself as he actually is, and who is the cause of the tremendous spiritual confusion
of our time.

As soon as I can I will send you a copy of my "Present and Future" as a further illustration of my point of view.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 336-338.