One Of The Most Important Conversations In History: Carl Jung With a Native American Chief Ochwiay Biano

There are two forms of living a life, one in the mind and one in the heart. The idea of the “busy mind” and its problems in the form of pain and suffering is a western concept.

There are still many cultures in the world who believe in the opposite. This pain is seen as an impediment to establish a communion with God. The other cultures believe in following their hearts more than their minds.

This article would summarize a conversation between a Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and a Native American Chief Biano from New Mexico. This extract was given in one of the books about the thinking of the heart. It dates back to 1932.

Jung remembers the event by saying that he could strike a candid conversation with the Native as he would hardly speak to any European. The Chief’s name was Ochwiay Biano and he might have been able to find a kinship with Jung too.

The name Ochwiay Biano means Mountain Lake and he makes an observation about the white populace. According to him, white people look cruel, their lips are thin and their noses are sharp. Their faces have furrows and folds in them. It seems that their eyes have an eternal thirst in them. Biano says that the whites are difficult to understand. They are always uneasy and restless to find something. Because of such a behavioral trait, Biano finds them “mad”.

When asked by Jung why Biano thinks so, he tells him it is because the whites only think with their heads. They emphasize too much on rationality. Whereas, as Biano says, the Natives think with their hearts.

Amidst this conversation, Jung has a realization. He could see the immense wreckage that has been caused by colonization. He could see how over the years Romans and other Europeans have looted and exploited the Natives of many countries across the world. How evangelism happened and how they were forced to convert to a different religion.

From this above encounter, the author of the book remarks that this was a confrontation of the mind and the heart. The former represented the ancient philosophy and the latter represented the modern one. With the gradual development of the mind, we cannot overlook the consciousness of the heart.

If we look at our contemporary capitalist world, we would find it very ruthless, selfish and cruel. Where words and actions like generosity, kindness and goodwill find no place. Human relationships are mercenary in nature and have reduced in values. People lack courage and do not trust each other anymore. They do not indulge in things which according to them are not practical and profitable.

These are not the times of real war, but rather the ones of the cold war. We do not hesitate to be unkind to people. People don’t use a real knife to take a heart out. They would gradually poison it and lead someone bleed to death.

We have become used to this form of cruelty and horror. We do not protest against it anymore. We are sadists who even take pleasure in hurting others. We participate in voyeurism and enjoy watching movies and video games that show bloodshed. We do not shudder at these sights anymore. Our hearts do not respond to any human affection whatsoever.

In this scenario, what shall it take to rebuild humanity? We should go back to listening to our hearts and not just following cold rationality.

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