Saturday, November 15, 2008

Journeying with Jung 32



Chapter 28:  The Jewish Gospel

Once again Hayman's chapter title is gripping.  The Jewish Gospel is that of Freud, namely the Message of Psychoanalysis.  As this chapter deals with 1934 we also have ootlined for us the underlying corrosive power of the Nazi ideology all around Europe, especially in German-speaking countries like Austria and Switzerland.

Again I am rather saddened by Jung's attitude to the then position of Jews and Jewish scholarship during the 1930s, though indeed this should be in no way surprising.  I doubt if any of us could have been any stronger.  Hayman tells us that in 1934, Jung wrote a cautiously worded letter saying that he did not want to denigrate the Jews but 'to single out and formulate the mental idiosyncrasies that distinguish Jews from other people.' (Quoted Hayman, 318).  Thomas Mann, the famous novelist, who had fled Hitler's Germany for Switzerland  in late 1933 thought that Jung was being disingenuous and that he ought to declare his political affiliation openly.  The wily, disingenuous and careful Jung did not, of course.  From time to time he did show his hand by saying stuff like:

"The Jews share this peculiarity with women: because they are physically weaker, they have to aim at chinks in their enemy's armour... The Jewish race as a whole - in my experience at least - possess an unconscious which can be compared with the Aryan only to a limited extent."  (Quoted ibid., 318)

That Jung was courting Nazi favour above is shown by his use of the then endemic terminology favoured by them.  Hayman quotes widely from Mann who stated his view openly about the Jung of the 1930s in the sentence: Jung was always a half-Nazi." (Quoted ibid., 319)  Without a doubt Jung swallowed a lot of the Aryan terminology if not even some of its tenets.

It is also disturbing, though understandable, to find that the Zentralblatt (of which Jung was editor) went on publishing anti-Semitic articles until 1939 and condemning "Jewish psychology".  In 1936 Jung appointed Dr Goring as co-editor, on the understanding that the Zentralblatt would not be censored or prevented from reviewing books by Jews.  However, for the sake of clarity, it is important to point out that Jung resigned as president of the society in 1940 and the leadership devolved to Dr Goring, after which the Zentralblatt was brought fully in line with Nazi ideology.

Seminars on Nietzsche's Zarathustra:

Christiana Morgan put a stop to the seminars about her - they had been going on for some two and a half years - and in May 1934 a new series of seminars on Nietzsche's Zarathustra began.

Jung and James Joyce:

At the end of 1934, following the advice of a friend, James Joyce consulted Jung about his schizophrenic daughter, Lucrezia.  Jung had her moved to a private clinic in Kusnacht, where she seemed at first to improve.  According to Jung, Joyce and Lucrezia were 'a classic example' of his anima theory:

She was definitely his femme inspiratrice, which explains his obstinate reluctance to have her certified.  His own anima, i.e., unconscious psyche, was so solidly identified with her that to have her certified would have been as much as an admission that he himself had a latent psychosis... his 'psychological style' is definitely schizophrenic, with the difference, however, that the ordinary patient cannot help himself talking and thinking in such a way, while Joyce willed it and moreover developed it with all his creative forces, which incidentally explains why he himself did not go over the border.  But his daughter did, because she was no genius like her father, but merely a victim of her disease.  (Quoted ibid., 325)

According to Hayman, this commentary can be read as an indirect statement about Jung's own use of his creative forces to conquer the psychosis that had threatened him in childhood and after the breach with Freud.

Other Random Points:

I am fascinated with Jung's encounter with subatomic physics in the person of Wofgang Pauli. Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (1900 –1958) was an Austrian theoretical physicist noted for his work on spin theory, and for the discovery of the exclusion principle underpinning the structure of matter and the whole of chemistry.  This man was a very conflicted individual indeed.  Pauli was to win the Nobel Prize in 1945, but he had been in Zurich since 1928, when, at the age of 28, he was appointed professor of theoretical physics at the Federal Polytechnic.  The previous year, his mother had poisoned herself after finding out that her husband was being unfaithful.  Before he had recovered his equilibrium, Pauli married a cabaret singer, but the marriage lasted only about twelve months, and in the winter of 1931-2 he was in a desperate state.  Hence his father brought him to Jung.  However, Jung referred the case to a young doctor an analyst whom he himself was then analysing, one Erna Rosenbaum.  However, the point here, outside poor Pauli's real suffering is that Jung is now introduced to subatomic physics - it's philosophy and principles rather than its specific mathematics, of course.  I'll let Hayman take up the story from here:

But subatomic physics seemed to involve the scientist in acts of faith.  Atoms might be invisible and intangible, but atomic explosions were more powerful than other kinds.  The crucial field of activity had become as invisible as god.  Excitingly, it looked as if spiritual speculations could claim citizenship  of the same realm as scientific thinking.

In their different ways both Jung and Pauli were interested in causality and acausality.  For Einstein, everything had to have a cause. 'God does not play dice,' he insisted.  Jung had always disliked the principle of causality.  In a 1928 seminar he had called it 'the modern prejudice of the West.'  The East, he said, 'considers coincidences as the reliable basis of the world rather than causality.  Synchronism is the prejudice of the East.'  The following year, in the same series of seminars, he said that what looks like coincidence may actually be the occurrence of the same two events which 'express the same time content.' (Ibid., 328)

It was not until May 1930 that he invented the term synchronicity - acausal parallelism - he had been talking about the I Ching (Again see ibid., 328-329; See also my own posts on on this subject here: Synchronicity )

Jung, Religion and Death:

Jung was often asked what he believed about death, and in 1934 which his sixtieth birthday approaching, he took the view that the individual's nature is gradually unfolded over the first twenty years of his life, the last twenty should be spent on preparing for death.  He said that religions are 'complicated systems of preparation for death,' and in the 'two greatest living religions, Christianity and Buddhism, the meaning of existence is consummated in its end.'  Far from being products of the human intellect, religions 'have developed, plant-like,  as natural manifestations of the human psyche.'  That is why 'religious symbols have a distinctively "revelatory" character; they are usually spontaneous products of unconscious psychic activity.'  (See ibid., 329)

Conscious versus Unconscious: A Short Note

"Only what we call consciousness is contained in space and time, and the rest of the psyche, the unconscious, exists in a state of relative spacelessness and timelessness."  (Quoted ibid., 330).  This would explain such unusual occurrences or acausal incidents or synchronistic events, not quite simple coincidences like the time my father said he felt that his twin brother who lived in New Zealand at the time was not very well.  Some days later we received a telegram saying that he had died.



Above I have placed yet another photo I took on the Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, this August.

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