More on Jung

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:02 pm

Another Jung comment…

mybrainisafleamarket said,
15.06.09 at 9:45 am ·
Dear nemo, I published an article about Richard Noll’s study of CG Jung’s social background.
Just now I found this article, which summarizes Noll very nicely and adds to your collection.

And…by golly, there is a reference here to correspondance between Jung and a student of his. The student was interested in the work of Ouspenksy and…Jung advanced some most peculiar reasons to avoid getting involved with Ouspensky’s material…based on racialist Germanic Volkishismus ideology..that there is something toxic for Aryan Europeans in Russian ideas.


(the entire article is worth reading. But here is an excerpt)

(quote)Jews had allegedly lost their pagan roots so long ago that they no longer had access to the collective unconscious. By contrast, Germanic peoples had lost their paganism at a relatively late date, roughly 500 to 1100 AD. Thus the pagan collective unconscious lay close enough to the psychological surface that it could still be dug up if only one were persistent enough. Since for Jung being in touch with the collective unconscious is a precondition for psychological health, Germanic types like himself are potentially healthier than Jews.

This idea is scientifically unsound, as it confuses what can be learned with what can be biologically inherited. It also links psychological health more to one ethnic group than another and could easily provide a rationale for anti- Semitism. Jung tended to think of the collective unconscious in racial terms until late in his life. About 1936, when he was already 60, he realized that a stress on this aspect of his thought would not go over well in the English speaking world where Jung thought he could find the greatest number of disciples. In fact, his views about an essentially Aryan collective unconscious put him close to the kinds of things that Hitler was saying.

The Letter to Constance Long
I am not making this up. Here is a letter he wrote December 17, 1921 to Constance Long, an important American disciple then living in England. (TAC, 258-59). Long had begun to come under the influence of exiled Russian mystic Ouspensky, and Jung correctly feared that he would lose her allegiance to Ouspensky at a time when she was important to his desire to expand his influence in the English speaking world. Jung wrote:
Gnosis should be an experience of your own life, a plant grown on your own tree. Foreign gods are a sweet poison, but the vegetable gods you have raised in your own garden are nourishing. They are perhaps less beautiful but they have [illegible].
You shall not make totems of foreign trees [ ]. No one shall keep you else you trespass your limits; but blessed be the place where we meet the beginning of our limitations. Beyond one’s frontiers there is not but illusion and misery, because there you arrive in a country of the wrong ancestor spirits and the wrong charms . . .

Why do you look for foreign teachings [i.e., the Russian’s]? They are poisons, they did not come out of your blood. You should be on your own feet, and you have your own rich earth below them. Why should you listen to the word of a man who is off his own soil [Ouspensky was in exile]? Truth is tree with roots. It is not words. Truth only grows in your own garden, nowhere else.

Only feeble men eat the food of a stranger. But your people need a strong man, one who gets his truth in his own roots and out of his own blood. . . . ”

After Hitler, who also spoke incessantly of soil and blood and portrayed himself as a strong man, this document is an embarrassment for the most devout English-speaking Jungians. But there’s no mistaking how Jung is thinking here. When he appeals to Long to be true to her own roots, he means the Aryan (or Indo-Germanic) roots. His point is not that Long should be loyal to her American or English roots, as distinct from Germanic roots. In fact Long was until then among Jung’s most loyal disciples; and he is an ethnic German who happens to be a citizen of Switzerland.
Jung thought that Germans, English, and Anglo-Americans were all part of the Germanic family tree. The Jews, in his view, had been civilized too long–uprooted from the soil. The Russians were polluted by too much Asian/Mongolian blood. Jung thought his kind of analysis will get (Aryan) people in touch with their roots, still latent inside them, and restore their wholeness.

Jung shared these ideas with a number of individuals who became Nazis. This is not to say that Jung was a Nazi. But he made one of the same basic errors that Nazism made: he failed to distinguish acquired cultural characteristics from inherited biological ones. It is understandable that Jung, like many intelligent Germans, could be confused on this question early in the 20th century when the science of genetics was barely getting started. But he continued to believe in it into the 1950’s, according to Noll; and this is strong evidence of the fundamentally problematic nature of his key concepts.

1 Comment »

  1. anonymous said,

    10.31.11 at 12:45 am

    this could be read as racist, or it could be read in an entirely different way. blood, roots, land? jung could just as easily be saying that to clean your own ecosystem of meaning you work outward from the language-culture system, the collective unconscious perceptual system you have acquired/embodied. to be free, to work towards your own truth, doesn’t mean to jump into impressive sounding concepts from foreign systems of perception that you cannot possibly comprehend in one immediate occasion. the concepts are infinite contexts that must be unpacked, compared, and contrasted for their unique patterns of relationship within a larger system. to find your truth you have to revise the infrastructure itself and not just take a new route to get to the presumed destination. because at your own level of awareness and lucidity, it’s not yet on the map.

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