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The legacy of Carl Gustav Jung: popular distortions and suppressions of analytical psychology


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Počuča, Ninoslava. (2019). The legacy of Carl Gustav Jung: popular distortions and suppressions of analytical psychology. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Comparative Literature.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij književnosti, izvedbenih umjetnosti, filma i kulture) [mentor Matijašević, Željka].

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Psychoanalytic theory of Carl Gustav Jung, apart from rehabilitation, requires a genuine analysis, since his ideas were not in line with the scientific trends of his time and were superficially interpreted in unwanted directions. The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to point at the various adoptions and distortions of Jung's psychoanalytic theories, especially after his death in 1961 and at the fact that for this very reason Jung's major concepts require a serious revision by reading his original works. Therefore, the first part of the work is devoted to Jung's original ideas and his personal interpretations. I noted at the very start the importance of looking at Jung in the context of his lifelong growth and maturity. Jung's ability to introspect has contributed significantly to his perceived experiences, occurring near or below the threshold of the conscious. By the end of his long life, Jung was more oriented towards the inner world of images and dreams than toward the outside world. The first six chapters explain the basic concepts and principles of Jung's analytic psychology: instinct, collective unconscious, archetypes and individuation, by analysing Jung's original texts, primarily Collected Works, Man and His Symbols, and Memories, Dreams, Reflections. I have emphasized that it is simply impossible to give a definition of each individual principle separately without considering it being a part of a broader context of the definition of other principles. Jung used the term archetype for the first time in 1919 to mark memories, that is, archaic images and symbols, whose collective material is the source of distorted illusions of mentally disturbed persons. Archetypes, together with instincts, formed what Jung called the collective unconscious. Instincts determine our actions, while archetypes determine the ways of our understanding. Both instincts and archetypes are collective because they refer to inherited, universal contents beyond the personal and the individual. Jung believed that all activities that happen on daily basis in conscious can also take place in the unconscious. Jung differentiated the three levels of psychic life: (1) conscious, (2) personally unconscious and (3) collective unconscious. The collective unconscious, as ancestral heritage is not individual, but common to all people. It is composed of mythological motives or images of life. Jung believed that the most powerful ideas in history were based on archetypes, which appear as images, and make part of a wider dynamic of psychic energy. The archetypes are almost always complementary. There is always one conscious figure compensated by its unconscious opposite. Thus, for example, a psychic image is the unconscious side of persona, or „an archetype of unconscious psychic life.“ Psychic image is always represented by the opposite sex, which Jung labelled with Latin male and female names for the soul - animus and anima. Unlike anima, as a female figure that compensates for male consciousness, animus is a compensating figure of male character in a woman. Anima follows the secret nature of Eros (love), while animus takes on the nature of Logos (mind). Jung believed that dreams, as unintentional spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche without conscious purpose, prove the existence of archetypes. Events which have not been consciously recorded and which appear subsequently, may occur in dreams coming 'from the unconscious' as symbolic images rather than reasonable thoughts. While the first three chapters discuss archetypes and the collective unconscious in different contexts, the fourth chapter deals with instinctual processes as unconscious, inherited processes which appear unchanged and on regular basis. The general view is that impulses originated from the individual, followed by general, voluntary, often repeated actions. However, the fact that they are inherited does not answer the question of their origin. Jung believed that instincts cannot be fully examined without taking into account the concept of the unconscious, since instinctive processes alone make the supplementary concept of unconscious necessary. Individuation is explained in Chapter five, the purpose of which is to divest the self from „the false wrapping of persona,“ and the „suggestive power of primordial images.“ The unconscious is never at peace, Jung says, and the doings of the collective unconscious are always more difficult to understand than the psychology of persona. Individuation and collectivity make a pair of opposites, bound by guilt. An individual is bound by collective demands to buy his or her individuation at the price of equivalent work for the benefit of society. As long as this is possible, so is individuation. The one who cannot perform this must give in directly to collective demands of society; otherwise he or she will automatically be subjected to them. What society is looking for is an imitation or conscious identification, a number of accepted, approved paths. As an expression of the man’s wholeness, Jung defined personality as an ideal of an adult, whose conscious realization through individuation is the goal of human development in the second half of life. The seventh, transitional chapter, between the first and second parts of the PhD thesis deals with the classification of the existing post-Jungian analytical psychology schools primarily in the view of Andrew Samuels. Samuels originally defined (1983) the classical, developmental and archetypal post-Jungian school, which he later complemented with the two new postJungian analytical schools - the ultimate versions of the existing schools - classical or developmental. Namely, in later classification, classical and developmental schools remained more or less the same as in original classification, while archetypal school has either been integrated or eliminated as a clinical entity. The two, as Samuels call them, extreme versions are Jungian fundamentalism, on one hand, and on the other hand, a merger of analytical psychology with psychoanalysis. His original classification methodology was based on giving priority to certain aspects of psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice. The chapter also considers the Jungian schools as defined by Gerhard Adler, according to whom the Jungians range from orthodox to non-orthodox, as well as to the division of schools suggested by Michael Fordham, whose approach is based on geography. Fordham, therefore, suggests there are differences between styles of analysis as observed in Zürich, London and San Francisco. According to the classification by Naomi Goldenberg, post-Jungian schools do not exist, as post-Jungians can rather be split into the second and the third generation. The second part of the doctoral thesis focuses on the review of the Jungian principles in three areas, the most important in further interpretation and clarification relating to a feminist theory inspired by Jung, a critique of Jung's anti-Semitism, and the adoption of Jung as a cult leader, and an inspiration of the New Age movement. The eighth chapter is devoted to critical reviews of Jung's theory, from a feminist perspective. The work of Susan Rowland contributed to a large extent to the fundamental understanding of the revision of Jung’s ideas. Apart from being a Jungian critic, Rowland has been the first president of the International Association of Jungian Studies (IAJS). Rowland (1999) sees Jung's concepts of anima and animus problematic due to the introduction of the pairs of opposites - eros and logos. Jung, as Rowland claims (1999), does not give biological or cultural justifications for his assumptions about female consciousness dominated by eros, because his theories do not allow body and culture to control meaning, although he acknowledges the interference of these factors. The way in which Jung's ideas open up the question of patriarchal views - a point where psyche meets culture - is for Rowland (1999) the ultimate value of Jung's works for feminist theory. For an easier understanding of feminist generations, the author describes feminist waves: the first wave (1800 - 1920) marked by the birth of the American Women's Rights Movement; the second wave (1960 - 1980) which refers to the period between 1960 and 1970; and the third wave (1990 - today) which has been a result of the failure of the earlier women's rights movements, but also a violent reaction to their successes, and it coined the terms such as girl power, riot grrrl, postmodern, transnational, cyberfeminism, ecofeminism, queer and other feminisms. In the fourth, on-going wave (2010 - today?) Internet and online activism played a massive role allowing global reunification of feminists, while some considered it a result of economic crisis, unemployment and growing xenophobia. This work explains the relational and individualistic approach to feminism by Karen Offen (1988); other mentioned authors are Clarissa Pinkola Estés (2005); Anne Springer (1998) in the light of female homosexuality, and Stupak and Stupak (1990), who considered Jung a forerunner of modern feminism. Harsh criticism of Jung comes from Naomi Goldenberg (1976). She believes Jung's psychology is ensuring a feminist critique because it has itself become a form of patriarchal religion, and she questions the worshipping of Jung. The work also includes the analyses of fairy tales by Jung’s former student and intellectual associate Marie-Louise von Franz (1993), who sought feminine archetypal patterns of behaviour in fairy tales. Jung's theories are further connected to gender issues, highlighting the works of Susan Rowland, Judith Butler (1990), Sue Austin (2013), Maryann Barone-Chapman (2014) and Polly Young-Eisendrath (1984). Young-Eisendrath considers Jung's theory as an exception to the androcentric psychological and psychoanalytic theories, which position women in the context of the lack of penis, power, intellect etc., because Jung addressed the often overlooked fact that the opposite sex is the projection factor of animus or anima. The ninth chapter deals with Jung's relation to Nazism and his anti-Semitism. According to Richard Noll (1996) as expressed in The Jung Cult - Origins of a Charismatic Movement there are three key elements for understanding Jung: the wider context of völkisch philosophy both used and ignored by the Nazis and the anti-Semites in the period before Nazism; Jung's affiliation with the elite, and the dominance of the classical Greek and Roman culture in education. I gave an overview of the events in the 30s and 40s of the twentieth century – the rise of National Socialism in Germany – the events which are unquestionably most disturbing in Jung's life. Geoffrey Cocks (2003) in Jung and the Shadow of Anti-Semitism, and Robert M. Ellis (2017), referring to Deirdre Bair (2003) believe the survival of psychoanalysis as such, as well as the survival of the Jewish psychoanalysts in Nazi Germany would not have been possible had Jung not shown resistance. I have also given an overview of significant events from Jung's life in the mentioned time frame, starting with his taking the presidency over the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy in 1933, and then chairing the International Society, which automatically made Jung the editor of the official Gazette Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie. The Gazette, wherein Jung published his works on differences between German and Jewish psychology, as well as the Society in general, was governed by a progressive nationalist German group. With that in mind, Jung's opponents linked him to the Nazis, and accused him of anti-Semitism. This work introduces interesting details of Jung's life such as his involvement in two scenarios aimed at overthrowing Hitler by means of declaring the Führer crazy, and, for example, his work as a secret agent for the Office of Strategic Services under the code name Agent 488. This evidence was first presented by Deirdre Bair (2003) in Jung: Biography. The paper includes parts of Jung's essay „Wotan“ from 1936, in which Jung explained the Nazi movement in terms of the awakening of psychic powers, symbolized by the old Nordic/German god Odin or Wotan. For Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig (2003), Wotan remains the most horrifying, mythological description of Nazism to date. Marga Speicher (2003) believes Jung's views of Nazism in early stages are on one hand apolitical, and on the other hand based on overly optimistic ideas of archetypal energies. She criticises Jung's lack of action as a 'man of politics', not just a physician. The tenth chapter deals with Jung in the context of the New Age movement, which I explained by referring to Michel Lacroix (1996) and his work The New Age Ideology. Roderick Main (2006) emphasized that while links between Jung and the New Age have always been widely recognized, this has not been the case with historical links between the two. Paul Heelas (1996), who studied religion, positioned Jung on pair with the Russian philosopher Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff, as the three key figures for understanding the New Age development, while Wouter Hanegraaf (1998) considers Jung to be a modern esoteric. In his article on Jung and the New Age in 1998, David Tacey focuses on three areas in which the limitations of the New Age and its divergence from Jung's thoughts are particularly visible: in the spiritual reenchantment in Western culture, and in the addiction to peak experiences and the dissolution of Self into a primal unity. Tacey (2001) also accuses Richard Noll (1996) and his work The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (1996) of misreading Jung's mythological metaphors as literal claims about human identity allegedly proving that Jung claimed for himself the status of God. The thesis also discusses Paul Heelas’ ideas (2006) on the rise of the New Age spirituality as a challenge to secularization; an example of an orthodox attitude is given by Linda Kimball (2016) who considers Jung a father of neognosticism and the New Age, accusing Jung of the service to Satan. The chapter ends with the reflections by Sue Mehrtens (2013), who claims that the New Agers live artificial lives, mostly in denial due to the life events which emphasize their inferiority. In the concluding chapter of the thesis, I gave a brief summary of the basic assumptions of Jung’s psychoanalytic theory. I have systematically and critically observed starting points and motifs of various post-Jungian interpretations. Finally, I have defined the extent of Jung's influence across different areas of human activity in an effort to thereby contribute to the rehabilitation of the 'scientific' Jung – the kind of a scholar Jung claimed he was.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carl Gustav Jung, instinct, collective unconscious, archetypes, individuation, feminism, antisemitism, New Age
Subjects: Comparative literature
Departments: Department of Comparative Literature
Supervisor: Matijašević, Željka
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij književnosti, izvedbenih umjetnosti, filma i kulture
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 12:49
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2023 23:15

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