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

#74643

Thank you for your last note, Robert, as I appreciate your engagement here in the forum. It makes me think again of another of my favorite Nietzschean aphorisms:

Ability to Contradict.—Everyone knows at present that the ability, to endure contradiction is a good indication of culture. Some people even know that the higher man courts opposition, and provokes it, so as to get a cue to his hitherto unknown partiality. But the ability to contradict, the attainment of a good conscience in hostility to the accustomed, the traditional and the hallowed,—that is more than both the above-named abilities, and is the really great, new and astonishing thing in our culture, the step of all steps of the emancipated intellect: who knows that?—-  Friedrich Nietzsche JOYFUL WISDOM 232§297.

You ask me for hard evidence. For I would be spreading misinformation or “fake news” about Jung were it not for the existence of certain basic facts.

The question of Jung’s racism, antisemitism, and opportunistic involvement with Nazism concerns a definite set of facts that, all in all, should not shock us too much, being that Jung was, after all, “a man of his times”—unless it was more than that.

Deidre Bair has a chapter in her monumental biography of Jung entitled “Falling Afoul of History,” which details in a masterful scholarly way, without taking sides, what is known about Jung’s involvement with Nazi German psychotherapy. The very existence of this chapter from someone who is neither a defender nor a detractor is the first piece of corroborating evidence I can present. The shadow of the man, ecce homo, complicated as it is, gives evidence to something which simply cannot be set aside.

Jung himself would not have wanted to be treated as a saint; he believed strongly that heroes should be exposed to the light of day in their underpants. He would have hated the kind of antiseptic idealization that a certain segment of the Jungian fandom—let us call them ‘jungian fundamentalists’— have made of him. No less than Jesus on the Cross would have been horrified by the people who profess to be his most ardent followers!

Now, for the record, the main stain has to do with Jung’s willingness to take over and participate in the International or “General” Psychoanalytic Society in Germany during its period of Nazification, as all the Freudian traces were being wiped out of existence through the process of nazi “comformation.” This is the focus of the chapter Falling Afoul of History.

The job of Jungian apologetics is made a little more difficult by Jung’s own statements and sentiments about Jews even after the war and the holocaust:

“It is however difficult to mention the antichrisianism of the Jews after the horrible things that have happened in Germany, but Jews are not so dammed innocent after all—the role played by the intellectual Jews in pre-war Germany would be an interesting object of investigation.” (Jung, Antisemitism, and the Nazis  p. 466)

Andrew Samuels evidently thought that the question of Jung, Antisemitism, and the Nazis was also an interesting object of investigation.

Also we cannot downplay the assessment of Jewish voices in the examination of Jung’s antisemitic shadow. Freud saw it at once and commented on it to his closest friends, not after the bitter break but while he was ready to make him the (non-Jewish) heir of psychoanalysis. Then Bair also recounts:

“There is little doubt, however (as his Jewish friend James Kirsch put it), that Jung ‘was a man with his contradiction,’ or, as another commentator argued years later, Jung was “—to put the best face on it—confused by the politics of his day.’” (Jung, A Biography by Deidre Bair, p431).

Now why would we want to erase Jung’s contradiction, or his naïve political instincts, or the prejudices of his own times? Why refuse to see Jung naked like a man? Why the need to clothe the nakedness of our father?

Speaking of the prejudices of his own times and ours, in 2019 there was an open letter published by another conscientious segment of the Jungian community who had the courage to speak out to “end the silence” on the legacy of racist and colonial ideas that have plagued the Jungian community and doctrine to this day. So the letter ends: “in the opinion of the signatories to this letter, these ideas have also led to aspects of de facto institutional and structural racism being present in Jungian organizations.”

May all of this, without complicating the picture any further, suffice to give evidence to the fact that, when it comes to these gnarly questions of race and politics, there is trouble for you and me in the Jungian paradise.