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Socratic Method / Jungian Paganism and the Jews
« on: November 11, 2005, 12:36:53 PM »
Jung believed that just as the human race all started out pagan and only later, having lost touch with its pagan roots, became rootless, "civilized" and Christian, so Germans start out, in infancy, as spontaneous pagans, but this spontaneous religion is overlaid with the artificial ideas of monotheism. Our loss of wholeness is a loss of contact with these roots. But we can reach these roots, not by the difficult work of historical research but by going inward, digging below the personal unconscious and uncovering the collective unconscious that had only been covered over. When Jung discovered Freud's method of psychoanalysis, he quickly saw it as a tool to uncover hidden resources buried within. But while Freud welcomed Jung into the psychoanalytic movement, he soon noted that Jung was uncritical of myth. He began to fear Jung would compromise the attempt to assert scientific standing for psychoanalysis. This led eventually to the Freud-Jung split. Jung retained from Freud the cult atmosphere of the analytic movement and the lack of rigorous testing of hypotheses. Unlike Freud, Jung claimed that his analytic methods could investigate a inner realm with essentially religious meaning.

Jung explained the resistance of Freud and his close followers to Jung's version of analysis in an essentially racist way. The Freudians were mostly Jews, as was Freud himself. Freudians are uninterested in pagan myths, Jung decided, because they are mostly Jews. The Jews came from the Middle East, which was urbanized and thus depaganized at an early date. 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.

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.

Socratic Method / Re: Legal Reasoning
« on: November 11, 2005, 12:33:15 PM »
Speaking of Jung ... From recent history of charismatic religious cults we are familiar with the tendency of charismatic male religious leaders to act out personal power in unorthodox sexual behavior with parishioners (or even non-parishioners) other than their wives. Jung may fit this mold. But in 1907-1908 Jung was a doctor and a respectable bourgeois, already married, and, in spite of his Freudianism, at least a nominal Christian. How was he to accommodate this Dionysian tendency he recognized within himself, to justify transgression of Christian monogamy? The catalyst came in the charismatic person of Otto Gross, a psychoanalyst active in the pagan and free love movements of the period. Gross believed that "the true healthy state for the neurotic was sexual immorality." Gross tried to practice what he preached. Not only did he throw off sexual restraints but he began using morphine, cocaine, and opium. And he got addicted. At his wife's urging, Gross agreed to commit himself for treatment at an institution under Jung's care. Gross eventually escaped from the institution, uncured of his drug habit. But while there he analyzed Jung as much as Jung analyzed him, and Jung was more affected than Gross.

Gross captivated Jung with his theories of sexual liberation, his Nietzscheanism, and his utopian dreams of transforming the world through psychoanalysis ...  During these long hours he learned of Gross's sexual escapades in Heidelberg. He heard of the seductions of the von Richtofen sisters, of illegitimate children, of vegetarianism and opium and orgies. He learned of the Schwabing to Zurich to Anscona countercultural circuit and listened, amazed, as Gross informed him of neopagans, Theosophists, and sun worshipers who had formed their own colonies in Jung's Switzerland. Gross had become convinced by a theory that our ancestors had lived freely, instinctively, and polygamously in small nomadic bands that tended to be matriarchal. According to this theory, the early matriarchal stage was followed by patriarchy. Once patriarchy was established, all signs of the matriarchy were abolished. Gross concluded that polygamy was rooted in human nature. If our ancestors lived polygamously before patriarchy, then our natural tendencies towards polygamy were probably there, just under the surface. Polygamy is an ancestral impulse. Civilization injures humans by creating social conventions that require them to repress their true savage nature. The shackles of family, society, and (patriarchal) Deity must be broken. Live polygamously. This will release the ancient creative energies of the body and the unconscious and bring humans to a new level.

Jung opposed this view in 1908 when Gross arrived for treatment but by the time Gross escaped, Jung was convinced. Jung tried to practice and promote what Bachofen and Gross preached "by founding a spiritualist mystery cult of renewal and rebirth -- and by advocating polygamy for the rest of his life". Thus by 1912 Jung had rejected Christianity with its repressive orthodoxies. He found another model, pagan antiquity, that held sex sacred. Jung himself practiced his new religion in trysts with his mistress and disciple Toni Wolff in a special tower Jung had built. The walls of this tower were decorated with drawings portraying the mystical figures encountered in Jung's visionary journeys into the unconscious.

Socratic Method / Paganism
« on: November 11, 2005, 12:11:03 PM »
[...] but I'd like to add for the sake of argument that America does not really adhere to the principles its Founding Father believed in: in fact, American mentality and political ideology can more aptly be described as a vague belief in science resting atop an uneasy and heterogeneous combination of Enlightenment, materialist/Protestant and pagan values.

Here are some posts on all four on the issue,,3549.msg679273.html#msg679273

You might think that, apart from marginal tribal peoples paganism has been dead for centuries and revived only since the 1970's, say, with the women's spirituality movement. But this is not the first revival of paganism in modern times. Paganism was deliberately revived in the German-speaking world during the late 19th and early twentieth century. It was claimed that Christianity is a repressive religion, that paganism was inherently freer and more joyous. Paganism found its way into literature and art, for example, into Wagner's operas, and there was a significant non-Christian element to the turn of the century counter-cultural movement. There was even an environmental movement whose views in many ways anticipate the today's environmentalism. But there were unique features too.

A century ago many people worried about hereditary degeneration. Whereas nowadays we are told to get in touch with old Christian family values that have fallen into disuse, the German movement said we must get in touch with suppressed pagan values to regenerate our souls. Germanic pagan cults were established to try to revive the German spirit, which had supposedly languished since forced conversion of the Germans to Christianity. Friedrich Nietzsche claimed that when Europe became Christian, European humanity became decadent. According to Nietzsche, Christianity so totally suppressed the body's vital impulses that humanity lost its creativity. Nietzsche taught what Jung was later essentially to repeat, that the irrational factor must neither be eliminated nor thoroughly tamed by order-seeking reason, but somehow integrated into our lives. Nietzsche's followers in the German counter-culture rejected conformity to social norms as so much bourgeois-Christian repression.

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