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Commentary by Jung on 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'

Commentary by Jung on 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'

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Published by christselentis
From 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'
From 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'

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Published by: christselentis on Jun 16, 2011
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(From ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower’)
A thorough Westerner in feeling, I am necessarily deeply impressed by the strangeness of this Chinese text. It is true that some knowledge of Eastern religions and philosophies aids myintellect and intuition in understanding these ideas to a certain extent, just as I can understand theparadoxes of primitive beliefs in terms of 'ethnology', or in terms of the 'comparative history of religions'. Indeed, this is the Western way of hiding one's heart under the cloak of so-calledscientific understanding. We do it partly because of the misérable vanité des savants which fearsand rejects with horror any sign of living sympathy, and partly because a sympatheticunderstanding might permit contact with an alien spirit to become a serious experience. The so-called scientific objectivity would have reserved this text for the philological acuity of Sinologues, and would have guarded it jealously from any other interpretation. But RichardWilhelm penetrated into the secret and mysterious vitality of Chinese wisdom too deeply to haveallowed such a pearl of intuitive insight to disappear in the pigeonholes of the specialists. I amgreatly honored that his choice of a psychological commentator has fallen upon me.This entails the risk, though, that this unique treasure will be swallowed by still anotherspecial science. None the less, anyone seeking to minimize the merits of Western science andscholarship is undermining the main support of the European mind. Science is not, indeed, aperfect instrument, but it is a superior and indispensable one that works harm only when taken asan end in itself. Scientific method must serve; it errs when it usurps a throne. It must be ready toserve all branches of science, because each, by reason of its insufficiency, has need of supportfrom the others. Science is the tool of the Western mind and with it more doors can be openedthan with bare hands. It is part and parcel of our knowledge and obscures our insight only whenit holds that the understanding given by it is the only kind there is. The East has taught usanother, wider, more profound, and higher understanding, that is, understanding through life. Weknow this way only vaguely, as a mere shadowy sentiment culled from religious terminology,and therefore we gladly dispose of Eastern 'wisdom' in quotation marks, and relegate it to theobscure territory of faith and superstition. But in this way we wholly misunderstand the 'realism'of the East. This text, for instance, does not consist of exaggerated sentiment or overwrought

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