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Young-Eisendrath, P. (1992). Correspondence. J. Anal. Psychol., 37(4):475-478.

(1992). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 37(4):475-478


Polly Young-Eisendrath

When my January 1992 issue of JAP arrived, I immediately read Andrew Samuels's paper on ‘National psychology, National Socialism, and analytical psychology’. Because I had read this paper in an earlier form, I was curious to see how the Journal would handle such a crucial and sensitive issue as Jung's anti-semitism. Bravo! Thank you, Samuels and Editors, for a bold, honest, and apparently complete account of what happened, with accompanying commentary on the seriousness of the accusations against Jung.

Samuels puts the question ‘Is there something to worry about?’ in regard to Jung's ‘whole attitude’ about Jews and Jewish psychology. He says ‘Yes’. I agree - and applaud his forthrightness. I want to ask another question as well: ‘Is there something to worry about in Jung's whole attitude about racial and sexual differences?’ I would answer ‘Yes’. As Samuels goes on to point out, Jung's psychology of the collective unconscious - distinct from an archetypal unconscious which is common to all human beings - is a nationalistic, Eurocentric psychology of bias. Elevating certain racial groups over others, even distinguishing ‘characteristic features’ of consciousness as belonging to one or another group, is deeply troubling and offensive. Jung's strong distinctions between male and female consciousness, assuming that each has certain natural predispositions, is also disquieting now that we have a rather large body of research findings that indicate otherwise.

I am writing this letter to encourage and support the re-thinking of analytical psychology in regard to the theme of human differences. My purpose is both personal and professional. Personally I am angered and even sometimes outraged that I was deluded in regard to Jung's anti-semitism throughout my seven years of training to be a Jungian analyst. On many occasions, I asked my teachers, mentors and personal analysts about the accusations I repeatedly heard from my Jewish friends and teachers at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri (where I was a doctoral student in psychology).

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