Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26th, 1875. He was a Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology whose patients try to achieve 'individuation', a lengthy series of psychological transformations culminating in the integration of opposite tendencies and functions and the achievement of personal wholeness. He is mostly acclaimed by proponents of New Age ideas for his concepts of the 'collective unconscious', archetypes and synchronicity and for providing general scientific and academic evidence for gnosticism, astrology, divination, spiritualism, extra-sensory powers, UFOs and the occult.
He was a solitary child of an unhappy marriage, his father was a pastor and his mother, who had a mental breakdown when he was 3 and was committed on several occasions, was from a church family. She had been required to sit behind her father while he wrote his sermons to protect him from the devil and her mother had regular visits from the ghost of her husband's first wife. He found the family atmosphere oppressive and had visual hallucinations and distortions similar to schizophrenia.
When he was 3 he dreamed he discovered an underground chamber in which a fifteen feet high penis was poised upon a golden throne. He believed he had to worship this as God. When he was eleven, he had a fantasy which he decided God had put into his mind for an unknown purpose. The vision was of God sitting on a throne above the Basel cathedral and dropping an enormous shit through the cathedral roof. He believed he was 'special', as a child he was a bullied loner and at one stage developed a pattern of fainting when under stress.
As a teenager he initiated and led seances amongst female relations "hypnotising" his cousin who was the medium. There was much underlying eroticism in this relationship and he claimed she came to his bedroom at night. These seances which continued for a considerable period ended when Jung invited university friends to participate, they soon caught the medium cheating. She soon left Basel for Paris and died of tuberculosis. He intuitively believed in the occult and spiritualism though the incidents that he relates in 'Reflections, Memories and Dreams' as inspiring these beliefs are hardly compelling or convincing. His father, who was not Carl's intellectual equal, had lost his faith but continued to work as a preacher. Jung later used these seances as the basis for his thesis though as in most of his early writings he concealed his own leadership role in these activities. He wrote of occult practices in an equivocal fashion, claiming to be only a believer in their psychological authenticity but revealing his belief in their reality.
By late adolescence, Jung had abandoned belief in Christianity, he read very widely, and was particularly influenced by Nietzsche and the volkish writings of the day. After medical training he became a psychiatrist at the Burgholzli (the state insane asylum) in Zurich in 1900, married a wealthy heiress and became an ardent Freudian and at first tried to do statistical research using Freud's concepts. From 1907 to 1913, Jung maintained close ties to Freud, and in 1911, Jung became the first president of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Their first meeting was so exhilarating that they spoke all night. After becoming Freud's annointed successor he broke with him in 1912 over Freud's refusal to accept Jung's ideas as having equal validity. Throughout Jung's life he delighted in telling malicious tales that showed Freud poorly including the story that Freud had an ongoing affair with his sister-in-law.
At Freud's request he had Otto Gross (with Jung in photo right), the brilliant drug-addicted visionary of utopian free-sex and psychoanalysis, involuntarily committed to the asylum in 1908 and commenced psychoanalysing him. Gross showed who was the better man by convincing the outwardly bourgeois Jung of the necessity for male polygamy in the psychological elite, lulling Jung into a false sense of security and escaping over the wall as soon as he was left unguarded while Jung found sexual solace in Sabina Spielrein's arms. During his written reports to Freud in Vienna, Jung lied about the ongoing events and analyses. Gross died in 1920 at age 43 of the effects of drug abuse.
The break with Freud precipitated a 5 year period of hallucinations, episodes of depersonalization and such intense distress that his wife (left in photo) invited his mistress, Toni Wolff (right in photo), to move into their home so they could calm and nurse him. He quit teaching, read and wrote very little and became convinced his house was crowded with the spirits of the dead. Later he wrote:
'It is, of course, ironical that I, a psychiatrist, should at almost every step of my experiment have run into the same psychic material which is the stuff of psychosis and is found in the insane'.
He preferred to explain away his narcissism and psychoses as prophetic visions and special insights into the nature of the universe not granted to others and claimed to be a chosen vessel with a new revelation of gnosis. His most important insights originated from this long period of psychological disturbance. His ideas are directly derived from his own subjective experience, and cannot be objectively verified. They are difficult to follow as Jung explained his inner states through extensive speculations of the Mithraic mystery cult of pre-Christian times and other gnostic concepts. This cult which left no written scriptures is something of a tabula rasa upon which Jung wrote voluminously in a language difficult for most humans to understand. He later moved into a system based more on alchemical philosophy and these writings are so recondite that only a tiny percentage of the people clever enough to understand them care to do so. Though he became convinced that Alchemy was the next major religion of mankind, thankfully his prediction has so far proved premature.
Jung became a spiritual leader with privileged access to a realm beyond consciousness, rather than a psychiatrist treating neurotics. He gathered disciples rather than treating and releasing patients. However, only wealthy patients suffering from the senselessness and aimlessness of their lives, rather than from any clinically definable neurosis and who could be persuaded to finance the expansion of the 'Jungian' industry were able to be analysed by him.
He became surrounded with a group of close associates in Zurich who founded the C. G. Jung Institute there in 1948. Jungian centres at which analysts were trained and Jungian ideas propagated subsequently became established in many different parts of Europe and America. Noll demonstrates that the Jungian establishment can be explained as a closed pyramidally financed, international business but as Anthony Storr argues it is far too fragmented and ridden with dissension to be considered as a conspiratorial cult.
His system has a revelatory, unproveable basis of much introspection and fantasising ("creative imagination") firmly grounded in the Aryan "New Age" ideas of his day, spiritualism and gnostic ideas spread through Theosophical publishing and the vitalistic, Lamarckian, Haeckelian "Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny" pseudo-science of his childhood. It is ironic that nearly 100 years later he is used as an "authority" by the latest round of "New Age intellectuals".
He died on June 6th, 1961. Longevity in itself is of great value for the propagation of any guru's ideas.
It is often argued that Jung was a racist Aryan anti-semite. While Noll downplays any overt anti-semitism, Freud certainly believed that part of the reason for the break was Jung's anti-semitism. Jung quoted the writings of notorious Aryan supremacists in their written disagreements and had a secret 10% membership limit on Jewish members, religious or secular, in the Psychological Club. He was president of the International Society for Psychotherapy from 1933 to 1939, presiding over its Nazified German section and co-edited the Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie (with M.H. Goring, cousin of the Reichsmarshall of the same name). His writings while travelling in Africa also show he believed black Africans to be more primitive than Europeans.
The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Bollingen Series are extremely voluminous. The Bollingen Foundation was bank-rolled by minor recipients of the Mellon and Rockefeller fortunes.
The Zofingia Lectures
by C.G. Jung
These are lectures given by Jung as a student from 1896 to 1899 to a student club of which he became president. They show an extremely bombastic, arrogant, widely read (within German romantic philosophy) young man who forcefully puts scientists, theologians and psychiatrists into their demeaning little places at his feet. Jews are the slippery and spiteful creators of a Judaicised, materialistic science and these lectures would definitely prove claims of Jung's antisemitism if not for the fact that there is hardly anybody at all that Jung doesn't seem to despise.
These lectures certainly validate Noll's claims on the intellectual underpinnings of Jung's thought, his intellectual basis in spiritualism and vitalism and his very strong religious and mystical yearnings. There is a funny Freudian slip when Jung castigates those who have set their sights on "marrying well" in the first lecture.
- Feet of Clay - A Study of Gurus
by Anthony Storr
An interesting, sympathetic examination of the concept of guruship from a modern neo-Freudian analyst and author.
Chapter on Jung
- Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal
By Roderick Main
Discusses the sources of Jung's occult ideas (and shows how little personal experience he had to rely on). Good concise (very concise) source of Jung's writings on the occult.
- A Most Dangerous Method
An exhaustive history of the relationship between Jung and Freud especially as it relates to Sabina Spielrein one of Jung's earliest patient, lover and collaborator to whose arms Jung went after Gross convinced him that male polygamy was more than just an unworthy desire but an important part of an individuated life.
- The Jung Cult
This book reveals a recently discovered document which appears to be a transcript of Jung's address inaugurating the first Jungian association, the Psychological Club in Zurich. Noll claims that this address was inaugurating a 'secret church' consisting of a few persons who had travelled the road of individuation, as sign-posted by Jung himself, which would develop, and was designed to develop, into a world wide religious movement. Noll argues that Jung wanted to found a new sect or a world-wide movement led by an elite group of his disciples. Jung had many strange ideas and a grandiose self image, if it really was his intention to found a sect he succeeded, if a world-wide religous movement he failed.
- The Aryan Christ
In this provocative reassessment of C. G. Jung's thought, Richard Noll boldly argues that such ideas as the "collective unconscious" and the theory of the archetypes come from late nineteenth-century occultism, neo-paganism, and social Darwinian teachings not from scientific research. Noll sees the break with Sigmund Freud in 1912 not as a split within the psychoanalytic movement but as Jung's turning away from science and his founding of a new religion, which offered a rebirth ("individuation"), like that celebrated in ancient mystery cult teachings. Jung, in fact, consciously inaugurated a cult of personality centered on himself and passed down to the present by a body of priest-analysts extending this charismatic movement, or "personal religion," to late twentieth-century individuals.
Noll carefully reconstructs the intellectual currents of fin-de-siècle Germany which influenced Jung. In conjunction with his 19th century scientific training in medicine, Jung was drawn far more to these other ideas and teachings of the time: the vitalist school in biology associated with Naturphilosophie, the evolutionary biology and monistic religion of Haeckel, racialist speculations on Aryan origins and character, Nietzsche's theory of the "new nobility," neo-pagan sun worshippers, and the speculations of philologists and archeologists on prehistoric cultures and their matriarchical religions. Many of the themes and symbols of these volkisch beliefs were later abused by the National Socialists. Noll deftly uncovers the worldview of early twentieth-century German culture.
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