chapter  Chapter 6
11 Pages

“I must learn to distinguish myself” 1

Neumann’s correspondence with C.G. Jung on the collective unconscious and individuation
WithAngelica Löwe

Neumann wrote nearly 60 letters to Jung over a period of 25 years. The differences in tone reflect both Neumann’s personal development and his reaction to the unfolding historical catastrophe. The letters of 1934–1940 essentially revolve around the theme of Jewish identity. During this period, Neumann wrote his two-volume “Zur Tiefenpsychologie des jüdischen Menschen,” published in 2019 as The Roots of Jewish Consciousness.

Thus, the claims advanced in this work intertwine with issues and concerns addressed in the letters. Neumann paints a gloomy picture of the Jewish person, accusing him of lacking tradition and authenticity. He identifies the reasons for the crisis in Judaism not in external events, but in the spiritual disposition of Jewish people: in the extraversion of a people that had blinded out the contents of the unconscious. Neumann struggles for Jung’s recognition as his “rightful heir”: as much is suggested by his little book Jacob and Esau: On the Collective Symbolism of the Brother Motif, published in 2016.