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Reply To: Dune: Breakthrough as Breakdown of the One,” with Norland Telléz, Ph.D.”

Robert Juliano

    @Mythistorian – I appreciate the Nietzsche aphorism in The Gay Science which he published in 1882 before he went on to publish his deepest works such as Thus Spake Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, Twilight of Idols, and The Antichrist. But, I would like to go outside of the thoughts of others and suggest we work with some of our own original thoughts. For example, I believe that enduring contradiction is far less an achievement than enduring true paradoxes and, especially, enduring the extreme suffering of the opposites. Mere contradictions have comparatively little life to them and do not reach far into the heights or depths. Unresolved/Unresolvable opposites, on the other hand, are a profound mystery which leads one to the very abyss out of which, deo concedente, the miraculous may emerge. Contradictions merely result in a given unified position collapsing of its own weight. The opposites, on the other hand, can lead to the depths of hell, the heights of heaven, or even something which transcends both. Recognition of the opposites requires extreme nuance, careful reflection, rigorous analysis, etc., laudable qualities that working with contradictions don’t require. As Jung’s life is exceedingly complex, one driven by many complementary and compensatory forces, contradictions in it are easy to discover and quite ubiquitous. On the other hand, rigorous scholarship, careful reflection, and agonizing meditation on it lead to the presence of unresolvable opposites within Jung and within his actions in life. Thus, with all due respect to Nietzsche, in our discussion, I prefer the higher calling of working with the opposites in Jung’s life instead of the contradictions with it.

    Now, I would strongly recommend that we both improve the nuance and care with which we pen our responses here. Case in point: I did not ask for hard evidence regarding Jung’s racism or antisemitism. What I actually wrote was “Jung was not ‘involved’ with Nazism, opportunistically or otherwise. If you disagree, please provide hard evidence of his involvement.” Thus, your statement “you ask me for hard evidence … The question of Jung’s racism, antisemitism …” is most disingenuous here, for you are including material that I never requested. Crucially, in one of my previous responses, I myself raised the complex issue of Jung and antisemitism and provided helpful references without stating any hint of a conclusion. And with respect to the issue of Jung & racism and of the issue of racism in depth psychology, I have posted on this issue on a number of occasions, specifically citing Dr. Dalal’s 1988 paper Jung: A Racist, the 2018 letter (not 2019 as you had mistakenly written) published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy, some of my former professors in depth psychology being signatories, the criticisms by Dr. Fanny Brewster on Jung’s problematic interpretation and psychologizing of Lévy-Bruhl’s sociological notion of participation mystique, the result being exceedingly hurtful to African Americans, and of the work I cited in a previous response of Dr. Carrie Dohe and her book Jung’s Wandering Archetype: Race and religion in analytical psychology which explores and highlights problems in the intellectual traditions from which Jung drew, one problem of which is fundamentally related to race. So, in the future, please be exceedingly careful when responding to requests for hard evidence and limit yourself to only that which was requested.

    Now, I specifically asked for hard evidence of Jung’s “opportunistic” involvement with Nazism. While I admire Dr. Dierdre Bair’s biography of Jung and have publicly defended her work recognizing that a ~700 page dense biography of someone as complex as Jung is bound to have errors in it, some of them discussed in Dr. Sonu Shamdasani’s chapter “A New Life of Jung” in his book Jung Stripped Bare by his Biographers, Even, when I asked for hard evidence, I was looking for evidence that you would have personally reviewed and ascertained as being both relevant and credible. Now, it bears mentioning that Dr. Bair herself was quite tentative in her chapter “Falling Afoul of History.” She admits that the historical record is “cloudy” on this issue, that “the facts are few compared with the many interpretations,” and that the “quest for historical truth” is impeded in a number of ways, ways which she outlines in that chapter. It might have done you better had you lead with that admission by Dr. Bair thereby assuring your interlocutor that it is your desire to bring rigor and nuance to the discussion. And it goes without saying that relying on a single source in a discussion which requires great rigor and nuance is exceedingly problematic and does not auger well for the continuation of such discussions. Finally, in any rigorous and nuanced discussion, it is absolutely critical to recognize and acknowledge that there are fundamental distinctions between Nazism, Nazi German psychotherapy, and German psychotherapy (Dr. Bair writes only about the latter). That you did not do so greatly concerns me. What is evident is that Jung was working with German psychotherapy both before the Nazis took power in 1933 and after, and that the details of this work must be rigorously determined and analyzed.

    Let me end this by saying my purpose is not to defend Jung, but to encourage serious and rigorous scholarship, nuanced reflection, and conscientious writing. I, myself, have numerous criticisms of Jung. But, such must be made with great care.

    — Robert E. Juliano, Ph.D.