November 27, 2021 at 7:31 pm #74644
Thank you Norland for your nice response!
When you write: I think Stephen would also agree that it is not so much a problem with the archetypal-mythic energy called “heroism” but with a specific ideological form of the hero, the form of the One. For this is such a One containing the split within itself.
That last line “the split within oneself,” conjured another image/thought/idea:
And you may not have intended that…but somehow that line just evokes the idea to me.
I think it’s interesting too and will try to not stray too far: but in another book The One is also a Ring (or a dark creation an anti-boon with an essence of the Dark One’s sick personality forged into it to lure and destroy)
It sounds like the Bene Gesserit are also making a creation “the one,” but in the form of Paul Atreides.
Though from comments here and the essay it sounds as if Paul is both “the One and the creation/the lure.”
Wonder if trouble with the collective is that there is positive potential there waiting to be noticed but if a collective is trapped, then that becomes difficult.
So just to me it seems that a potential of a collective is it’s Awareness.
Without awareness the Collective remains trapped but with it maybe there is a chance?
And wouldn’t the Hope be kind of a Eucatastrophe? An overall wake up?
Not to be too purple but even Yellow Submarine cartoon…Gray Pepperland hears music and eyes open and color returns to the world.
But in reality I guess it might happen in smaller numbers. Alas!
And I think you are right there is a difference in heroism and those who metaphorically strut or present as “Heroes.” After all the one who says he is the Buddha is not.
Almost changed the idea of the collective giving power to the One but after reading your response, it still fits.
Might have added that collective belief supports The One as well. Maybe not just to prop the One up because if they are like a psychopath they have plenty of esteem. But rather they need the collective to um remain “unaware,” so that’s why they spend so much time in the Controlling God/Savior position.
The other warnings I might see are the clever use of Illusion, Dishonesty and False Promises. Including “a greater good which is anything but.” And the secondary dark forces, which might rise beneath the One.
And yes thankfully we are not quite to the Coliseum state yet! Yikes!
A thought provoking essay for sure!November 28, 2021 at 4:22 am #74643mythistorianParticipant
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.November 29, 2021 at 7:30 pm #74642Robert JulianoParticipant
@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.November 30, 2021 at 12:53 am #74641mythistorianParticipant
Thank you Robert for your sustained engagement with this topic. I couldn’t agree with you more about the distinction between mere contradictions and true paradox and obviously it is the latter I have in mind when discussing the more troublesome aspects of Jungian ideology and its politico-material practices. Admittedly the distinction between paradox and contradiction is more of an issue of interpretation and semantics than a self-evident distinction we can draw.
I also agree that we should retain a certain level of scholarly rigor and nuance, so when you ask about “involvement, opportunistic or otherwise” and pointed to Bair’s chapter, I was not only pointing to her own, as I emphasized, fairly neutral re-telling but also at the massive scholarship that she consulted on the subject, and from which she draws her account. I really don’t understand how Jung’s involvement with German psychotherapy during the years of its Nazification does not count as evidence of this involvement. You may say that this involvement was not direct, that it was an indirect involvement, but we can’t say there was no involvement at all as you seem to claim. “Jung was not ‘involved’ with Nazism, opportunistically or otherwise.” I really don’t know what to make of this sentence except to see it as a kind of denialism in the face of the evidence.
You really would not have enjoyed Christine Downing’s lecture on this troublesome aspect of Jung’s psychology and history. She was the one who laid out the specific kind of opportunism which characterized Jung’s behavior during the Nazification of German Psychotherapy as he saw all Freudian traces of its leadership being wiped out. “It was my turn” Jung wrote, as Bair documents. If you don’t think much of my level of scholarship, you certainly would have to respect Christine Downing’s. I still remember the chilling effect it had on so many of my fellow students at Pacifica—including myself!
What I find frustrating about this debate is that instead of really dealing with the traumatic kernel of the paradox in Jung, we keep circling semantic issues in search of depth and subtlety. Then you accuse me of being disingenuous and, once again, of lacking a nuanced response. But, for the first time, I really don’t follow your logic here. Maybe I am not as smart and profound as you, but the nuance you demand here is so fine that I am having serious trouble detecting it!
On the other hand, this brings me back again to my general response to your line of criticisms, one that you continue to fail to address. One you seem to want to evade by all this insistence on scholarly nuance. And that remains my point. I continue to be Nietzschean (or Hillmanian?) on defending the surface, which is seldom crystal clear, and of resisting the rabbit hole of semantic depth. For nuance does not necessarily mean profundity nor truth. As Nietzsche says of mystical subtleties, they don’t even bother to go the length of being superficial. One easily gets lost in scholarly jargon and historical vicissitudes—not to mention ideological commitments for or against the Jungian enterprise. This is why this conversation is so difficult to have among partisans.
In the context of this thread, deep as we have gone, one thing is for sure: we are not going to settle this debate, which, as Deidre noted, continues to rage on. Now we have here further proof of this fact and have made available further sources of research for anyone who wishes to explore this topic further. All I wanted to do is limit myself to pointing to the fact that there is something awry here, a true paradox, a traumatic kernel of truth we must wrestle with, and that all efforts to try to erase it or mitigate it under a cloud of complications will ultimately only serve to highlight the conflict. For the truth will speak, whether we like it or not, as the ultimate return of the repressed.November 30, 2021 at 3:57 am #74640Robert JulianoParticipant
@mythistorian – There is a very real difference between contradiction, paradoxes, and the opposites, a difference which is far more than “interpretation and semantics,” for they can have very different psychological and even physiological effects. As I mentioned earlier, paradoxes and the opposites can lead one to a void, the effect of which can truly be both agonizing and creative. It bears mentioning that Jung never defines what the opposites are. If you read Mysterium Coniuntionis (CW 14), he only gives examples of the opposites, for they defy rigorous definition. On the other hand, contradictions are rather trivial to define. Since you seem to like Nietzsche, if you haven’t read Dr. Lucy Hutchinson’s Nietzsche and Jung: The Whole Self in the Union of Opposites (see enclosed link below), it is well worth reading as it, in part, explores the many different ways of considering the opposites and contrasts Jung’s and Nietzsche’s approach to them. The effect of the opposites poses great danger to the individual and to groups/nations. Holding them together results in great suffering, but if this holding together is done, empirically it has been observed that his strengthens the psychological make up (personality) of that individual or group. In other words, one can grow beyond a given pair of opposites. Mere contradictions don’t do this. As it relates to complex issues of Jung, deeper reading, rigorous analysis, and honest reflection can result in one perceiving the opposites within Jung, within his actions, and even within ourselves as we relate to this work. Coming to a nuanced understanding of and relationship with this material can constellate the opposites within us. And to be able to approach these constellated opposites, it is necessary that we do as much of the legwork as possible, this legwork involving essentials like rigorous scholarship on this issue. Without this, the effect of the constellation of the opposites in us can be depotentiated or even completely nullified, important chances for our growth being lost.
As I mentioned, I have defended the scholarship of Dr. Deidre Bair. However, solely relying on a given author for their sources and their interpretation of them can be exceedingly problematic. In this case, it bears remembering that critics of Dr. Bair’s biography like Dr. Sonu Shamdasani have said that she made things up, and individuals with whom Dr. Bair discussed certain topics disagree with her on her portrayal of the substance of their discussions. This is why it is absolutely essential that one goes to the sources Dr. Bair (or any author) cites, reads them directly, and evaluates them oneself. I have done so with certain challenging issues, even going to sources of those I highly respect like Jung.
Again, I want to stress that there is an essential distinction between involvement with Nazism, involvement with Nazi psychotherapy, and involvement with German psychotherapy. Dr. Bair certainly discusses Jung’s involvement with German psychotherapy. And, given her caution to the reader that there is much information which has not been made available to her or anyone else, we need to do our part and gather information from as many and diverse sources as we can and then attempt to bring some semblance of order to them. Crucially, with the information we currently have available, the blanket and unnuanced statement that Jung was “opportunistically” involved in Nazism is both untenable and insulting, such a statement potentially resulting in a lack of nuance in others.
Now, I had the honor of meeting Dr. Christine Downing when I went through the doctoral program in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute (PGI), though we did not discuss this issue. And I would greatly value her nuanced and rigorous perspectives on this issue.
I have already given you an example of your disingenuousness, but I’ll repeat it here. When I wrote “Jung was not ‘involved’ with Nazism, opportunistically or otherwise. If you disagree, please provide hard evidence of his involvement,” you responded with “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.” Crucially, I did not ask for hard evidence of Jung’s racism and antisemitism! Thus, your response was egregiously disingenuous. I am not sure how to make this clearer.
Again I am not defending Jung. If Jung did something wrong, we need to know about it. And given the exceedingly high degree of complexity here and the challenges Dr. Bair wrote about, using the lens of “truth” on this issue is, in my opinion, exceedingly problematic. But, it is worth noting that a request for hard evidence for our claims is most appropriate. And, when one has been asked for hard evidence and they respond with a single reference, with a discussion of that reference without the least bit of nuance (e.g., ignoring her statements of caution which I cited such as “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), does not explicitly reference the sources the author drew upon for certain statements, and does not provide their own evaluation of both those sources and the solidity of their content, such does not provide the conditions suitable for mutual understanding and mutual growth.
You claim that “we keep circling semantic issues in search of depth.” You have completely mischaracterized this interchange. It isn’t depth which is being sought for here as there is already an immense amount of material on this issue, the rigorous reading of, analysis of, and reflection on can lead to that depth. And it isn’t an issue of a right or wrong answer on this – such is not the relationship to this issue which is being sought. Instead, what is being sought in this “circling,” at least from my perspective, is care in expression and responsibility in providing hard evidence for one’s assertions.
As a multidisciplinary scholar, one who has advanced backgrounds in computer science/mathematics/engineering/complexity/linguistics, in depth psychology/comparative religion/comparative mythology, and who has learned through long hard experience to balance rigorous scholarship with the experiential (e.g., I was a practitioner of a tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism called Nyingma and this was balanced with an intellectual approach of the Gelugpa tradition in understanding the impossibility of essence and understanding the limits of human thought and reason), I have come to appreciate the limitations of solely relying on scholarly rigor, and to value the interdependence between rigor and the irrational of depth experience. So, just because I am asking for hard evidence, please do not do me the disservice of reducing this to the merely intellectual, the semantic, the rigorous.
— Robert Juliano, Ph.D.
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