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Rycroft, C. (1988). Comment on Farhad Dalal's ‘Jung: A Racist’. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(3):281.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(3):281

Comment on Farhad Dalal's ‘Jung: A Racist’ Related Papers

Charles Rycroft

I think there is something rather splendid about this exposure of Jung as a racist and a sloppy thinker. It has verve.

I am not sure however that Dalal has really made it clear that he appreciates how universal Jung's ethnocentric arrogant attitude towards ‘savages’ and ‘primitives’ was among European intellectuals of his generation. The idea that evolutionary concepts could be applied to human societies, that ‘primitive’ ‘savage’ tribes were survivals from the early history of mankind, and that modern Western man was the peak of evolution seems to have been held by all European anthropologists until, say, the 1930's. Among psychotherapists, this bogus Darwinism can be found not only in Jung, but also in Freud, Ernest Jones and Wilhelm Reich. Nor is it clear whether Dalal really appreciates how utterly the concept of primitives has been discarded by modern anthropologists.

However the real merit of Dalal's paper lies in his giving chapter and verse for Jung's racist, stereotypic thinking, and for defining the precise logical errors in it - arguing from the particular to the general, circular tautologies, converting personal impressions and prejudices into high-sounding theory and so on.

Although this paper will annoy some, I welcome its publication.

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