I just came across an interesting anecdote from Carl Jung's memoirs concerning a conversation he had with a Native American Chief in New Mexico. In their conversation, Chief "Mountain Lake" observed a wide psychological gulf between whites and his own people that manifested in white physiology:
“See how cruel the whites look, their lips are thin, their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think that they are all mad.”
The Chief offered a cliched reason for the white characteristic:
When Jung asks why he thinks they are all mad, Mountain Lake replies, “They say they think with their heads.” “Why of course,” says Jung. “What do you think with?” “We think here,” says Chief Mountain Lake, indicating his heart.
A few observations came to mind when reading this. It is of course true that western coldness and cruelty are largely responsible for the western conquest of the world: the western will to power and Faustian-Promethean cultural soul fit the Chief's description of white psychology well. It also seems, however, that the Chief is describing the sort of joyless state of perpetual anxiety that characterizes so many whites today. This constant despairing unease and insecurity does not square with the cheerful psychological purity that accompanied the western pursuit of power prior to the industrial revolution. Ultimately, it seems to me that the Chief was describing the spiritual and physiological exhaustion that Nietzsche predicted would give birth to a truly western form of Buddhism -- a form of Buddhism through which whites, rendered physically and psychologically exhausted by impure consciences and the conceptual weight of thousands of years of religion and ideology, would seek escape from their own suffering.
Jung's response ironically reflects the despair observed by the Chief:
After this exchange, Jung fell into a deep meditation. The Pueblo chief had struck a vulnerable spot. Jung saw image upon image of cruelties wreaked by his forebears: the Roman eagle on the North Sea and the White Nile, “the keenly incised features of Julius Caesar, Scipio Africanus, and Pompey…Charlemagne’s most glorious forced conversions of the heathen…the pillaging, murdering bands of the Crusading armies…the peoples of the Pacific islands decimated by firewater, syphilis and scarlet fever carried in the clothes the missionaries forced on them.”