The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

Postby admin » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:12 pm

The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement
by Richard Noll
©  1994 by Princeton University Press






But we can perhaps agree (at least some of us) on one point this story teaches us: that even in intellectual history the cranks and the fools are important too; that those whose cleverness is unimpeachable and invulnerable to every test do not always carry the most important ideas; that even thinkers are human, and must think with their whole bodies; and that the Truth is to be grasped from some very odd angles.

-- Martin Green, The Mountain of Truth

Table of Contents:

• List of Illustrations
o CHAPTER ONE: The Problem of the Historical Jung
o CHAPTER TWO: The Fin de Siecle
o CHAPTER THREE: Freud, Haeckel, and Jung: Naturphilosophie, Evolutionary Biology, and Secular Regeneration
o CHAPTER FOUR: Fin-de-Siecle Occultism and Promises of Rebirth
o CHAPTER FIVE: Volkisch Utopianism and Sun Worship
o CHAPTER SIX: Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido: Solar Mysticism as Science
o CHAPTER SEVEN: Spirits, Memory Images, and the Longing for Mystery: 1895-1907
o CHAPTER EIGHT: Otto Gross, Nietzscheanism, and Matriarchal Neopaganism: 1908
o CHAPTER NINE: "The Mothers! The Mothers! It Sounds So Strangely Weird!": J. J. Bachofen, Otto Gross, Stefan George, and Jung
o CHAPTER TEN: Visionary Excavations of the Collective Unconscious: 1909-1915
o CHAPTER ELEVEN: The Collective Unconscious, the God Within, and Wotan's Runes: 1916
o CHAPTER TWELVE: "The Silent Experiment in Group Psychology": 1916
o CHAPTER THIRTEEN: "The Secret Church": The Transmission of Charismatic Authority
• Notes
• Index
• List of Illustrations
o 1. Jung's diagram of the geology of the human personality.
o 2. Tauroctony with two trees.
o 3. Jung's four images of cultural evolution, as derived from Bachofen.
o 4. Mithraic Kronos (Aion) found in Ostia.
o 5. "Runes."
o 6. Jung's solar mandala of his own psyche (1916).
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

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THIS VOLUME is a distillation of the conclusions of many frustrating years of trying to understand the life and work of C. G. Jung. It marks the transition of my life from a phase of ten years of clinical practice (the last six as a clinical psychologist) to an academic career based on my intellectual interests in psychiatry and psychology from the disciplinary perspective of the history of science. Attempting to understand Jung within his historical context-particularly from the point of view of the history of science and medicine-has been challenging, to say the least.

Along the way I have received useful criticism and encouragement from many wiser than myself. My friend and mentor John Kerr is a primary source of inspiration for this book, and our many discussions no doubt saved me many years of following irrelevant historical leads. He also taught me an invaluable lesson: never serve the mustard before the meat. Mark Micale read an early draft of the text as a reviewer and provided many helpful suggestions for the manuscript's improvement. Peter Swales helped enormously one Sunday afternoon in New York, before this project had even been conceived, by recounting his trip to the Ernst Haeckel museum in Jena. This stimulated my interest in Haeckel and led to my discovery of his importance to Jung. I am also indebted to Peter for his skills as an entertainer by accompanying-wonderfully-a singing Marilyn Monroe (on tape) with his violin bow and handsaw at my Saturnalia party in December 1992.

Others have provided useful research advice in the past. In particular I wish to thank Sonu Shamdasani for generously sharing information about the controversial origins of Memories, Dreams, Reflections. His planned intellectual biography of Jung -- if and when it appears -- will no doubt supplant some of the conclusions I reach in this volume. I am also indebted to him for directing me to the Katz papers at Harvard Medical School, which have proven to be a rich source of material. Eugene Taylor also has been very gracious in sharing his considerable knowledge with me about the history of psychiatry. William McGuire provided me with much new information, and his warm support of this project has been greatly appreciated.

Early readers of this manuscript who provided useful criticism were Leonard George and David Ulansey. Others who have been influential through comments in their correspondence with me or in their published works are Martin Green, Anne Harrington, Roy Porter, Carl PIetsch, Frank Sulloway, Timothy Lenoir, Frederick Gregory, Ernst Mayr, Henri Ellenberger, William Woodward, and George Mosse. The works of Max Nordau also fell into my hands at a critical period and helped me to understand much about the clash between bourgeois and modern consciousness. Much needed amusement and diversion during the writing of this project were provided by Charles Kohlepp, Ian Cosmo Kohlepp, John Suler, Jim Pawlik, George Huey, and Jason Pyrah.

The seeds of the project were planted during the many long discussions over a number of years with my friends in the Jungian movement who dared to question everything, including, in some cases, the contradictory views of their analysts. These friends include Barbara Crawford, Pam Donleavy, Don Zenner, Jeannie Jaffe, Mary Stamper, Virginia Taylor, Anne Malone, Dolores Brien, Jack Giegerich, George Bernato, and Regina Cudemo. Others of the Jungian faith who are analysts and who were supportive of my early efforts are Andrew Samuels and especially John Beebe, who encouraged me to go ahead and "Weberize" the Jungian movement. Useful insights about the social dynamics of the international Jungian community as a charismatic religious movement and business enterprise were provided by the many Jungian analysts I have encountered who were -- and remain -- deeply mistrustful and resistant to historical interpretations of Jung. I received sage advice from both James Hillman and Charles Boer who both understand my sentiment when I say that, like Nietzsche, my greatest experience was a recovery.

My experiences as a doctoral student in the early 1980s at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research have proven to be an invaluable interdisciplinary preparation for this work. Only now do I realize how remarkable my education at the New School was when compared with other graduate programs in psychology, and I can only hope it still retains that European spirit that values theory, history, and interdisciplinary research. In particular I wish to thank Mary Henle for introducing me to the history of psychology and for teaching me to think critically. Others who deserve thanks are Michael Harner, L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling, Jerome Bruner, and Bernard Weitzman.

I wish to thank Richard Wolfe of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine of Harvard University for giving me permission to reprint the 1916 document from the Fanny Katz collection concerning the founding of the Psychological Club, and for permission to quote from the interviews with Jolande Jacobi, C. A. Meier, and Lilliane Frey-Rohn in the Jung Oral Archives. I also wish to thank Princeton University Press for permission to reprint passages from the Collected Works of C. G. Jung.

The interlibrary loan and reference librarians at West Chester University were extremely helpful and patient with my many requests, especially for the many obscure books in German that they procured for me.

Some of the ideas in this book were presented to the History of Psychiatry Section of New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center. I wish to thank the members of this distinguished group for enriching my understanding of certain key points from the perspective of psychiatric history. In particular I wish to thank Leonard Groopman for the opportunity to tryout my ideas in a public forum.

My editors at Princeton University Press have been wonderful and patient. This work would not be in existence if it were not for the unfailing support of my editor, Deborah Tegarden, who immediately recognized its significance and put up with a sometimes difficult author. Emily Wilkinson has been gracious in her support and also deserves special mention. Eric Rohmann and my copyeditor, Timothy Mennel, likewise have been inspiring in their enthusiasm.

I wish to dedicate this book to my best friend, Susan Naylor, who has inspired me in ways too numerous to recount here. Susan tolerated the many weeks of my intense graphomania this past summer as I forged this book in the study of our 260- year-old stone home, which sits in the fields where the Battle of Brandywine took place in 1777. Ours is a home where the past still lives.

West Chester, Pennsylvania

December 1993
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

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The following abbreviations are used in the text:

MDR Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by C. G. Jung, recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe, translated from the German by Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Pantheon Books, 1963).

CW The Collected Works of C. G.lung, edited by Herbert Read, Michael Fordham, and Gerhard Adler; executive editor, William McGuire; translated by RF.C. Hull (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

1. Psychiatric Studies

2. Experimental Researches (trans. by Leopold Stein in collaboration with Diana Riviere)

3. The Psychogenesis of Mental Disease

4. Freud and Psychoanalysis

5. Symbols of Transformation

6. Psychological Types (trans. by H. G. Baynes)

7. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology

8. The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche

9. Part I. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

9. Part II. Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self

10. Civilization in Transition

11. Psychology and Religion: West and East

12. Psychology and Alchemy

13. Alchemical Studies

14. Mysterium Coniunctionis

15. The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature

16. The Practice of Psychotherapy

17. The Development of Personality

18. The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings

19. General Bibliography of lung's Writings

20. General Index

A. The Zofingia Lectures (trans. by Jan van Heurck)

B. Psychology of the Unconscious (trans. by Beatrice M. Hinkle)
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

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IN 1873 Ferdinand Tonnies read Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy and came under its spell, reading it "almost with the feeling of a revelation." [1] In the years that followed, Tonnies secretly adopted Nietzsche, then a classical philologist teaching at Basel University in Switzerland, as his spiritus rector, his own private spiritual guru. It was only in Tonnies's imagination that he conversed with his genius, the imaginal Nietzsche: after traveling to the town where Nietzsche lived, Tonnies spied on him from afar but was too afraid to speak to him. Imaginary letters written time and time again to Nietzsche were never put to paper or sent. For Tonnies, Nietzsche had become too imbued with the qualities of divinity and hence too Olympian, too unreachable.  [2]

During this period it may be said that Tonnies's hero worship of Nietzsche was his "personal religion." A personal religion, in this sense, is precisely what Thomas Carlyle defined in 1841 as the true essence of hero worship: the attribution of divinity to a living or legendary human by a mere mortal individual who did not (or did not yet) perceive the sacred spark of "genius" within his or her own personality. Such a "profane" individual, who may indeed have developed talent but may not have been born with "genius," may privately or socially enter into a "genius-cult" of hero worship and, by deed if not by word, place this personal religion above his or her nominal organized faith. Carlyle describes this best:

It is well said, in every sense, that a man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him. A man's, or a nation of men's. By religion I do not mean here the church-creed which he professes, the articles of faith which he will sign and, in words or otherwise, assert; not this wholly, in many cases not this at all. We see men of all kinds of professed creeds attain to almost all degrees of worth or worthlessness under each or any of them. This is not what I call religion, this profession and assertion; which is often only a profession and an assertion from the outworks of the man, from the mere argumentative region of him, if even so deep as that. But the thing a man does practically believe (and this is often enough without asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man does practically lay to heart, and know for certain, concerning his vital relations to this mysterious Universe, and his duty and destiny there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively determines all the rest. This is his religion; or, it may be, his mere skepticism and no-religion; the manner it is in which he feels himself to be spiritually related to the Unseen World or No-world; and I say, if you tell me what that is, you tell me to a very great extent what the man is, what the things he will do is. [3]

Yet, as the intent and style of Nietzsche's works changed, so did Tonnies's faith in him. The Nietzsche of The Birth of Tragedy (1872) was not the Nietzsche of Also Sprach Zarathustra (1892). [4] Gone was the Apollonian cultural idealist, the lover of the Dionysian in the musical tragedy of Wagner. Nietzsche was Dionysus, the pagan god of irrationality, the "loosener," the "breaker of bonds," the catalyst of reversals, the seducer through sudden cacophonies and equally sudden silences, the iconoclast who could proclaim the death of the Judea-Christian god and dare to overthrow even his own beloved "Divine Hero," Richard Wagner: this was the image of Nietzsche as Dionysian Hero adopted by individuals and groups seeking Lebensreform ("life-reform"), whether spiritual or political. The rediscovery of Nietzsche's works after he went mad in 1889 and the subsequent appearance of his later, more daring works throughout the 1890s and early 1900s ignited the flames of cultism. [5] Tonnies, while still very much admiring the Nietzsche of a generation earlier, would have no part of this.

In 1897 Tonnies's now-forgotten book on the "Nietzsche Cult" appeared. [6] Der Nietzsche-Kultus: Eine Kritik was a sociological exposition on the inherent contradictions between the "liberation philosophy" of Nietzscheanism as proselytized by its cultists and the actual functions that Nietzschean ideas served. The doctrine of Nietzscheanism was seductive: it promised the release of creative powers of genius within the individual, the courage to freely express oneself and to reject authority and moral and social conventions. Through deeds one could truly be who one was, and perhaps even achieve symbolic immortality. Yet, part of this Nietzschean faith was also the exaltation of the mastery of the many by the few, a new nobility of the perpetually self-re-creating who would lead the way for the rest of the herd. Tonnies argued that rather than promote widespread liberation, Nietzschean ideas were being used instead to maintain conservative and especially elitist classes in society -- precisely those persons and values that Nietzschean cults claimed they were repudiating. For Nietzscheans, disaffection with the frustrating layers of bureaucratic authority and elitism in the governmental or religious hierarchies, did not apparently contradict a belief in the necessity of a noble elite. Indeed, Nietzscheans actively promoted the creation of such an elite, a vanguard that would transform the world with its "higher" values of community and truth. The alarming truth was that the Nietzschean could adopt these "truths" with little or no consciousness of their underlying elitist implications. Tonnies thus found these inherent contradictions between the professed beliefs and the actual behavior of the members of these Nietzschean groups potentially dangerous.

As historian Steven Aschheim astutely observes about the many "varieties of Nietzschean religion" that blossomed in Europe at the turn of the century, "Nietzscheanism was part creator and part beneficiary of a general erosion of traditional belief and dissatisfaction with the established church. For many this dissatisfaction, far from quenching the thirst for religion, gave it renewed impetus." [7]

It is indeed paradoxical that Western spirituality in the twentieth century has been so influenced -- indeed, awakened -- by a man who declared the death of God and who defined himself as the Antichrist. Yet, Nietzsche's "hammer" of questions has been taken up time and again in the modern age by spiritual seekers who felt their paths were blocked by the walls of convention and dogma, and who have felt compelled to initiate unconventional acts of personal salvation out of a yearning for new nectar to satiate a very old thirst.

When we survey the spiritual landscape of the Western world a century later we find that there is wide cultural interest in a movement that has its origins among these late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Nietzschean currents. This is the international movement centered on the transcendental ideas and the idealized personality of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), the Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and founder of the school of analytical psychology. Jung is best known today as Sigmund Freud's ungrateful disciple, breaking with his master in 1913 to go his own way and establish his own movement. The legend is additionally framed in the context of Jung's advocacy of the essential spiritual nature of human beings over the narrow, sexual view of Freud, who was by his own admission "a godless Jew." Those who read Jung and participate in the activities of the Jungian movement are often individuals seeking to increase their own sense of "spirituality."

Most persons who regard themselves as Jungians do not realize that Jung's ideas changed markedly over a number of years. For example, in late 1909 Jung first began to hypothesize that the unconscious mind had a deeper "phylogenetic" or racial layer beyond the memory store of personal experiences, and that it was from this essentially vitalistic biological residue that pre-Christian, pagan, mythological material emerged in dreams, fantasies, and especially psychotic states of mind. Jung's final theories, those of a transpersonal collective unconscious (1916) and its archetypes (1919), marked a transition away from an already tenuous congruence with the biological sciences of the twentieth century and instead returned to ideas popular during his grandfather's lifetime -- the age of Goethe.

By this time a metaphysical idea that was somewhat implicit in Jung's earlier thought became explicit: namely, that all matter -- animate and inanimate -- has a kind of "memory." Such ancient ideas, ironically, are what Jung is best known for introducing as modern innovations. Indeed these essentially transcendental concepts are so widely spread in our culture through their connections to psychotherapeutic practice, New Age spirituality, and neopaganism that they continue to be the subject of innumerable workshops, television shows, best-selling books, and video cassettes, and they form the basis of a brand of psychotherapy with its own trade name: Jungian analysis. [8]

Freud may still be the genius of choice for the learned elite of the late twentieth century, but it is clear that, in sheer numbers alone, it is Jung who has won the cultural war and whose works are more widely read and discussed in the popular culture of our age. There is no grassroots Freudian movement to match the size and scope of the international movement that has formed around the symbolic image of Jung. Freud's fall from grace as a revered cultural icon of modernity has been so serious that even Time magazine felt the need to take up Nietzsche's hammer and ask on the cover of its 29 November 1993 issue: "Is Freud Dead?"

When examined from a historical perspective, the contemporary phenomenon of Jungism presents numerous paradoxes. While its practitioners and theoreticians cite its legitimacy as a fruitful psychological theory and a profession of psychotherapy, the far greater numbers of participants in the movement who are not professionals are attracted by its "spirituality." Its caste of professional psychotherapists -- Jungian analysts -- profess the virtues of eclecticism, and yet claim the validity of a distinctive Jungian identity for their beliefs and techniques. As an institutionalized capitalist enterprise, it includes not only training institutes throughout the world (which parallels the Freudian system), but also hundreds of local psychology clubs (which have no Freudian parallel) that sponsor programs and workshops related to New Age spirituality and neopaganism. Even most Jungian analytic-training institutes, which emphasize their commitment to clinical training and a desire to maintain professional associations with the psychological and medical sciences, nonetheless have been known to offer practical classes or programs on astrology, the I Ching, palmistry, and other practices associated with the occult sciences.

Perhaps the most perplexing paradox of all is how to make sense of Jung himself, who was a noted experimental psychopathologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, within the contexts of the history of science and the history of psychiatry. Who, indeed, was C. G. Jung? At the present time a resilient cult of personality very much akin to Carlyle's hero worship is in evidence and occludes the historical Jung. Perplexingly, the phenomenon of Jungism has followed a somewhat different course than other cases of immortalization of physicians and scientists.

For example, the inventor of mediate auscultation and the stethoscope, Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe Laennec, died in 1826 at the age of forty-five with little acknowledgment from his colleagues, but by 1870 he had been selected as the focus of institutional celebrations as an authentic hero of French medicine. Laennec's reputation as the greatest French physician of the nineteenth century was the product of collective negotiation and political maneuvering by prominent members within the French medical establishment, as historian George Weisz has shown. [9] Although less well documented, a similar inflation of medical reputation via collective negotiation for political and economic institutional motivations can be found in the case of Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), who was lionized by the American psychiatric community in the mid-nineteenth century. [10] In the cases of both Laennec and Rush, nationalism was an additional motivating force.

Even Freud has enjoyed an exalted place in the pantheon of medicine through the teaching of his ideas in psychiatric training programs in American medical schools since the 1920s, due in no small part to the early conversion of William Alanson White (1870-1937) to Freudian theory. White (and several other Freudians) played a key role in formalizing medical training in psychiatry in the United States. Until very recently the oldest and most "official" Freudian psychoanalytic association in North America allowed only American physicians who were graduates of approved medical schools to train as psychoanalysts. Thus through the imprimatur of such respected institutional affiliations -- and the writing of histories of psychiatry by graduates of such institutions -- Freud's reputation in medical and scientific history loomed large throughout most of the twentieth century, as the center of scientific and medical education gradually shifted from Germany, England, and France to the United States after the First, and certainly by the end of the Second, World War. [11]

In all of the above cases immortality was institutionally conferred and assured by established medical and scientific disciplinary communities. No such mechanism is at the root of Jungism, for Jung and his theories have remained well outside the established institutional worlds of science and medicine, as they have been regarded, with justification, as inconsistent with the greater scientific paradigms of the twentieth century. Additionally, Jung's theories have never received significant attention in the disciplines of academic psychology. Indeed, although a few lines on Jung are often included in most introductory American psychology textbooks, and many such textbooks for "theories of personality" classes contain a full section or a chapter on Jung, the discussion of Jung is invariably less extensive and usually follows in sequence the much more fully articulated ideas and biography of Freud. Something else must account for the widespread popularity of Jung, but what?

Perhaps we can begin to answer this question when we examine the curious relationship between theory and history in the literature on Jung, and by extension, the role of this relationship in the sociological phenomenon of Jungism. The relationship of history and theory in the historiography of the psychological sciences has become a focus of considerable debate in recent years.[12] Not counting his relatively brief period of significant Freudian influence (1906-1912), Jung may be characterized by his combination of six separate but interconnected theories:

1. the complex theory (circa 1902)

2. the theory of psychological types (1913, 1921)

3. the vitalistic theory of a primarily biologically based phylogenetic unconscious (1909, but revised after 1916)

4. the theory of the collective unconscious (1916)

5. the theory of dominants (1917) or archetypes (1919) of the collective unconscious

6. the principle of individuation (1916).

The remainder of this volume is devoted to an exposition of the relationship between the latter four of these Jungian theories and history.

Whereas the psychological objects of Jungism (especially Jung's theories of the collective unconscious and its archetypes) are widely known, their historical origins and their current use "not only ... by but also for and about people with particular interests and preferences," as Kurt Danzinger expresses it, needs to be clarified. I would indeed argue along with Danzinger that, furthermore, "only when we understand something of this historical embeddedness of specific psychological objects and practices are we in a position to formulate intelligent questions about their possible historical transcendence." [13]
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

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CHAPTER ONE: The Problem of the Historical Jung

UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY of ideas at play in the nineteenth century is a key to understanding the historical Jung -- a vision of Jung not provided in the posthumous "inner autobiography" of Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C. G. Jung (hereafter MDR) that forms the basis of almost every other biographical account of Jung to date.1 The search for the historical Jung is necessary if we are to even begin to understand the considerable impact of his life and work on the culture of the twentieth century. To trace the historical context of Jung's life is to also understand the paradoxes of Jungism, a movement that romanticizes and spiritualizes Jung's theories but has demonstrated little interest in documenting the historical facts of his life outside of the information provided in MDR.

MDR was primarily written and constructed by Aniela Jaffe, one of Jung's closest associates, and was originally to appear as a biography of Jung under her authorship with only "contributions by C. G. Jung." Jung personally wrote by hand only the first three chapters of the book, which concern his childhood, school days, and university years, and a final section entitled "Late Thoughts" that contains Jung's metaphysical speculations on the nature of God, life, and love. Although these comprise a third of MDR, they underwent further editing by Jaffe and others. A chapter that may or may not have been written directly by Jung concerning his intimate companion of forty years, Toni Wolff, was removed from the text early in the editorial process over objections by members of the Jung family while Jung was a semi-invalid in his last years. The book is therefore a product of discipleship.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections is unenlightening to those interested in history but compelling to those drawn to mystery. "The commonplace is so interwoven with the miraculous and the mythical that we can never be sure of our facts,"
Jung complains about the writings of St. Paul on Jesus, "and the most confusing thing of all is that [the disciple's writings] do not seem to have the slightest interest in Christ's existence as a concrete human being." [2] This criticism may be equally applied to MDR and its many imitators. [3] It is now apparent that like the Gospels, MDR, too, seems to be the work of many hands other than Jung's own, casting some doubt on its claim to be an autobiography. [4]

The sacralization of Jung's personality and ideas in MDR and by his disciples follows familiar patterns, repeated again and again for millennia, that are well known to the sociologist or historian of religion but less familiar to the historian of science or psychiatry. The biographical treatments of Jung more often than not follow a style derived from the pagan biographical tradition devoted to two related charismatic figures of late antiquity: the theos aner, or "divine man," and the ascetic holy man. [5]

Jung's dreams, visions, hunches, miraculous cures, psychokinetic and clairvoyant experiences, his musings on life after death and reincarnation, his experiences with the dead, his confrontation in the "Land of the Dead" (the collective unconscious) with gods (archetypes), his ascetic retreats to his stone tower at Bollingen, are all interwoven in MDR with the themes of his final theories -- those of the collective unconscious and the archetypes -- and therefore depict Jung's life as an exemplum of the theory. Jung thus becomes the only icon of complete individuation to be found in Jungian literature. In this respect MDR resembles -- in instructive intent and style -- a pagan biography of a theos aner such as the Life of Apollonius of Tyana of Philostratus (third century C.E.) or, to a lesser extent, the Christian hagiographies of the saints of the Middle Ages, [6] rather than a modern history of a "great man." [7]

The "divine man" of late antiquity was a charismatic individual, usually with a following of disciples who regarded him "as having a special relationship with the gods." [8] This special relationship allowed the divine man to perform miraculous feats of healing and divination. Apollonius of Tyana, for example, is depicted by Philostratus as having the gift of foreknowledge and could "receive and interpret divine communications in the form of dreams." [9] The divine man often performed wondrous cures, sometimes by exorcisms or by suggesting changes in diet or habits.

The ascetic "holy man" of late antiquity resembles the divine man in that he, too, worked miracles. Healing through ritualized exorcisms was also his stock and trade. "Above everything, the holy man is a man of power," notes classical scholar Peter Brown. [10] The holy man replaced the oracle as the social arbiter and healer of late antiquity. However, unlike the divine man who derived his power from occult sources or the gods, the holy man was empowered by his "close identification with the animal kingdom" [11] and with nature through his ascetic retreats to the desert. [12] In no small comparison to the Freudian and Jungian movements (among many others), some holy men collected hundreds of followers. Furthermore, like the founding of official training institutes for Freudian or Jungian analysts and the proliferation of Jungian social organizations largely comprised of the patients of Jungian analysts, Egypt of late antiquity (third to fifth centuries C.E.) "provides the first evidence of the formation of lay and clerical clientele around the holy man .... " [13] A further parallel to modern times can be found in the statement that "the lonely cells of the recluses of Egypt have been revealed, by the archaeologist, to have had well-furnished consulting rooms." [14]

Thus, with MDR we do not have the human history of a renowned physician and scientist, but instead the myth of a divine hero, a holy man, a saint, a life produced directly by essentially a religious community, and therefore a biography as "cult legend." The life of Jung becomes the basis of shared values and beliefs in the Jungian movement concerning the transcendent (the collective unconscious) and redemption (individuation). Yet, we now know how manufactured this image of Jung seems to be (admittedly the tragedy, unfortunately, of any celebrity biography). The cult legend of Jung that has been faithfully maintained after his death by the Jungian movement (especially its analytic elite) resembles the sociological phenomenon of "manufactured pseudocharisma" by which mass media is used by power-seeking elites to promote seductive fantasy images in order to secure and maintain economic and social rewards. [15] To get at the historical Jung one must find a way to reach the "pre-Jaffe" biographical material, a task comparable to trying to discern the true pre-Pauline facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth. [16]


The use of the word "cult" is always problematic. [17] The word has long been used to single out the Other in society: no one wants to ever think of themselves as participating in a cult, with its implications of fanaticism, irrationality, loss of individual will or decision-making ability ("zombification"), and of holding stigmatizing beliefs or unusual practices that set one outside conventional human society. Yet, paradoxically, it is precisely the attraction of being outside society, and indeed of changing society from this outside perspective, that appeals to many who join spiritual, political, or other movements. Coming together on the outside often fuses people together through a strong bond of identity as outsiders, who nonetheless often sadly lament that they are misunderstood or not taken seriously by those who represent authority in conventional society. The bond is even stronger if the group coalesces around a charismatic leader with a certain totalizing worldview. While required to be physically present initially, after the passing of the charismatic leader only the legend or the image of the leader needs to be invoked for group identity. Such has been the case with those who have been attracted to the Jungian movement, starting with its first germinal "Jung cult" in Kusnacht-Zurich, and then in the multitude of regional cults that currently comprise the Jungian movement.

For my purposes here, I offer two different definitions of a cult. Following its use in the History of Religions School, I follow New Testament scholar Wilhelm Bousset's definition of a cult as simply "a community gathered for worship," however broadly defined; in the case of the Jungian movement, this is very much in the spirit of Carlyle's hero worship. [18] A contemporary psychiatrist here defines a charismatic group in a more psychological and especially sociological way, based on the work on "charismatic authority" by Max Weber (1864-1920):

A charismatic group consists of a dozen or so members, even hundreds or thousands. It is characterized by the following psychological elements: members (1) have a shared belief system, (2) sustain a high level of social cohesiveness, (3) are strongly influenced by the group's behavioral norms, and (4) impute charismatic (or sometimes divine) power to the group or its leadership. [19]

Jung, by all accounts, was the epitome of a charismatic leader. The power that a charismatic leader wields over his followers is perceived as coming from a supernatural force and Jung is reverently portrayed in these terms by Jungians. In his Religions-soziologie (Sociology of Religion) originally written between 1911 and 1913 but published posthumously, Weber observes that, "Already crystallized is the notion that certain beings are concealed 'behind' and are responsible for the activity of the charismatically endowed natural objects, artifacts, animals, or persons." [20] Thus, the charismatic leader is perceived by his followers as the source of universal powers that are focused and intensified like cosmic rays through the lens of his or her individual person. "It is primarily, though not exclusively, their extraordinary powers that have been designated by such special terms as 'mana,' 'orenda,' and the Iranian 'maga' .... We shall henceforth employ the term 'charisma' for such extraordinary powers." [21]

In 1928 Jung would introduce the concept of the "mana personality" to describe essentially the same concept. [22] However, the supernatural forces behind the mana personality are, of course, the archetypes of the collective unconscious. Although Weber's major work on the sociology of religion, in which he discusses the nature of the charismatic leader, was widely available in 1922, it is notable that Jung does not credit Weber for this concept, although he may have based his later concept of the "mana personality" on Weber's "charismatic leader." There is no record of direct contact between Weber and Jung, although Jung may have known Marianne Weber, Max's wife, through his participation as a guest speaker at the German Christian organization Die Kongener in the 1930s. [23] Jung certainly knew of Weber at least as early as 1908 through the "renegade psychoanalyst" Otto Gross, who had a disturbing impact on Weber and his immediate circle of intimates in Heidelberg around this time. (Gross's impact on Weber and Jung will be discussed in a later section.)

In addition to the numerous published accounts that attest to Jung's captivating influence as a pater pneumatikos ("spiritual father"), there are equally charismatic descriptions of him among the nearly two hundred interviews with persons who knew him that were collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Gene Nameche. Transcripts of these interviews comprise the Jung Oral Archives at the Countway Library of Medicine. In a filmed interview Lilliane Frey-Rohm, one of Jung's closest disciples in his last decades said, "When you met him in [the Psychological Club] or when you met him privately or in analysis, it was always a man interested in the, I would like to use the word, in the spiritual food. Always. And to the depths." [24] Judging by the literally hundreds of testimonials to his intuition, his extrasensory powers, indeed his personal charisma, Jung fed the multitude of his disciples in abundance.

Jung himself repeatedly reminded his readers that we are all born within a specific historical context and that this gives form to the specific conflicts played out in the individual psyche. Jung would agree with Weber's conviction that we are essentially "historical beings" (historische Individuen). [25] Who, then, is the historical Jung?


It would be impossible to cover the details of Jung's life in depth as this is not a biographical work, but rather a discussion of Jung from the perspective of the history of ideas. For the historian attempting to distinguish the man from the myth, the task is an arduous one. Jung and his ideas are presented as eternal and therefore outside of history, with little or no priority given to historical accuracy or chronological sequence. Unlike Freud's comprehensive Standard Edition of his works, which follows a strict chronological arrangement, Jung's Collected Works are grouped "topically." As both the Freud and Jung collections are the products of discipleship, this very distinction may point to important differences in the core aims of these two movements: Freudians are interested in securing Freud's place in history as a major cultural figure, a scientific genius as cult-hero, whereas Jungians seem to place more value on preserving an image of Jung as a divinely inspired human vessel for dispensing the eternal truths of the spirit.

The most informative biographical material on Jung can be found in the work of historian of psychiatry Henri Ellenberger, and thus the reader is referred to Ellenberger's works. [26] Ellenberger's treatments are far superior to the relatively scant historical facts provided in the English edition of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, although the German edition does contain additional information on Jung's family.

Carl Gustav Jung was born on 26 July 1875 in Kesswil, Switzerland, to Paul Achilles Jung (1842-1896)and Emilie Preiswerk (1848-1923). Ironically, each parent was the thirteenth child in bourgeois families that had undergone considerable financial loss. Hence, they keenly felt the sting of aristocratic decline. The male sides of Jung's family contain an abundance of Protestant ministers and theologians (some with Pietist leanings), physicians, and scholars in classical (Greek and Roman) and Oriental (Hebrew and Arabic) languages and cultures.

"Religion of the heart"

Religion mated with German nationalism in the eighteenth century and produced a fever in the people called Pietism. Schleiermacher had been visited by this fever in his youth, and although he forged his own path as a theologian and philosopher, he said his ideas remained closest to this "religion of the heart." To Schleiermacher, the highest form of religion was an "intuition" (Anschauung) of the "Whole," an immediate experience of every particular as part of a whole, of every finite thing as a representation of the infinite. This was the perfect theology for an age of nature-obsessed Romanticism, and at times Schleiermacher's rhetoric, adorned with organic metaphors of the whole derived from nature, shaded into pantheism and mysticism. By 1817, he most certainly infected Karl Jung with it, as he did that entire generation of young patriots through his sermons, his writings, and especially his revisions of the Reformed Protestant liturgy, making it more simple, festive, and Volkish. Additionally, in the decade before he met Jung, he had published translations of Plato and, by his own admission, had become quite influenced by Platonism. This, too, must be remembered when we fantasize about what the older spiritual adviser imparted to the enthusiastic young convert.

German Pietism was loosely related to contemporaneous religious movements, such as Quakerism and enthusiastic Methodism in England and America and Quietism and Jansenism in France. Pietism, however, was to play a key role in developing Volkish self-consciousness and a sense of nation in the politically fragmented German lands. In the spirit of Luther, Pietism was born of disgust with orthodoxies, dogmas, and church hierarchies in the traditional Protestant denominations, making it a form of radical Lutheranism. Pietists dared to question authority and to be suspicious of foreign interpreters of Christianity. They called it a Herzensreligion, a "religion of the heart," a spiritual movement that emphasized feeling, intuition, inwardness, and a personal experience of God. [15] The function of thinking, indeed reason itself, was disparaged and could not be trusted. To experience God, the intellect must be sacrificed. (For example, according to Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a prominent eighteenth-century Pietist who influenced Schleiermacher and twentieth-century figures Rudolph Otto and Hermann Hesse, only atheists attempted to comprehend God with their mind; the True sought revelation.)

Pietists' mystical enthusiasm is reflected in some of their favorite incendiary metaphors for their ecstatic experiences. It was the fire of the Holy Spirit that must burn within; indeed, it was often said that "the heart must burn." They emphasized the burning experience of "Christ within us" instead of the inanimate, automatic belief in the dogma of a "Christ for us."

Solomon decorated his Twelve Masters with a sash on which was embroidered a flaming heart, as a token of ardent love among Brethren.

-- The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim, Excerpts from "A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry," by Arthur Edward Waite

[Parsifal] Amfortas! The wound! The wound! It burns here in my side! Ah! The cry! From the heart's depths it shrieketh up to me! Poor wretch! Ah, miserable! I saw the wound to bleed: -- now it doth bleed in me! -- Here! No! 'Tis not the wound. May his blood stream forth herein! Here! In the heart, 'mid flames!

-- Interpretation of Richard Wagner's Parsifal, directed by Hans-Jurgen Syberber

Such subtle distinctions had profound implications for German nationalism, for the belief arose in the feeling of group identity bound by common inner experience, a mystical blood-union of necessity, rather than as something external existing for an individual. Hence, the Pietist emphasis on service to others as a method of serving God.

Prussia, the most absolutist of the many German political entities, welcomed the Pietists to Berlin. Attracted to Pietism's rejection of the Lutheran clerical hierarchy -- which threatened the overriding legitimacy of the state -- the eighteenth-century rulers of Prussia adopted Pietism's religious philosophy and offered sanctuary to many of its exiled leaders. As populist movements, Pietism and pan-German nationalism were as threatening to the royal rulers of the dozens of German states as to Lutheran clerics, for they challenged the political status quo. Prussia, however, as the strongest of the German states, already presaged its manifest destiny as the unifier of Germany, and so its short-term goals coincided with those of such movements. Nicholas Boyle, one of Goethe's biographers, described the immense significance of this convergence of affinities for the next two centuries of German religious life and political history:

The particular feature of Pietism which makes it of interest to us is its natural affinity for state absolutism. A religion which concentrates to the point of anxiety, not to say hypochondria, on those inner emotions, whether of dryness or abundance, of despair or of confident love of God, from which the individual may deduce the state of his immortal soul; a religion whose members meet for preference not publicly, but privately in conventicles gathered round a charismatic personality who may well not be an ordained minister; a religion who disregards all earthly (and especially all ecclesiastical) differentiation of rank, and sees its proper role in the visible world in charitable activity as nearly as possible harmonious with the prevailing order ... such a religion was tailor-made for a state system in which all, regardless of rank, were to be equally servants of the one purpose; in which antiquated rights and differentiae were to be abolished; and in which ecclesiastical opposition was particularly unwelcome, whether it came from assertive prelates or from vociferous enthusiasts unable to keep their religious lives to themselves.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, German nationalism had become so intertwined with Pietism that the literature of the time blurs distinctions between inner and outer Fatherlands. The "internalized Kingdom of Heaven" became identical with the spiritual soil of the German ancestors, a Teutonic "Land of the Dead." In these patriotic religious tracts the sacrificial deaths of Teutonic heroes such as Arminius (Hermann the German, who defeated the Romans in the Teutoberg forest) and the mythic Siegfried are compared to the crucifixion of Christ, thus equating pagan and Christian saviors. By the early 1800s, this identity became even more explicit. To Ernst Moritz Arndt, the subjective experience of the "Christ within" was reframed in German Volkish metaphors. In his 1816 pamphlet Zur Befreiung Deutschlands ("On the Liberation of Germany"), Arndt urged Germans, "Enshrine in your hearts the German God and German virtue." They did. By the end of the nineteenth century the German God had reawakened and was moving to reclaim his throne after a thousand-year interregnum.

The primary literature of Pietism consisted of diaries and autobiographies, most driven by the psychological turn inward so valued as the path to reaching the kingdom of God. These confessional texts emphasize the spiritual evolution of the diarist. Each account peaks dramatically with the description of what Schleiermacher called the "secret moment," the tremendous subjective experience that completely changed the life course of an individual and became the central, vivid milestone of his or her faith. This experience was known as the Wiedergeburt, the "rebirth" or "regeneration." Sometimes this experience was preceded or accompanied by visions. Several of the more famous texts, such as the autobiography of Heinrich Jung-Stilling, became part of the canon read by educated nineteenth-century Germans.

Several of these spiritual autobiographies were in the library in C. G. Jung's household when he was growing up, and he cites some of them (such as the work of Jung-Stilling) in MDR and in his seminars. While MDR is highly unlike usual biographies or autobiographies, its story of Jung's spiritual journey is similar in many ways to the Wiedergeburt testimonies of the Pietists. MDR is indeed the story of Jung's rebirth, but the book diverges from the tradition in one uncanny respect: Rather than recording the renewal of Jung's faith as a "born-again Christian," MDR is a remarkable confession of Jung's pagan regeneration.

-- The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung, by Richard Noll

Paul Jung's doctorate in theology made him a specialist in all of these areas and Jung's early homes contained scholarly books and images relating to antiquity. Not much is known of the women on the paternal side of the family, but the women on the maternal side are characterized by family legends of spiritualist and clairvoyant abilities.

Several aspects of Jung's early family matrix need to be addressed as they are often understated (sometimes deliberately) in biographical treatments of Jung.

First is the fact of Jung's essential German identity. Biographical accounts often accentuate his Swiss nationality, his Swiss patriotism, and so forth. Jung was indeed a proud and devoted citizen of democratically neutral Switzerland. Historically, most Swiss Germans resisted the nineteenth-century Pan-German unification movement so forcefully promoted (and eventually accomplished) by the Prussians, although Pan-Germanism among the Swiss Germans never completely died out as a source of internal Swiss conflict. The tragedy of German imperialism (the Franco-Prussian War, the two World Wars) led most "neutral" Swiss to downplay their Germanness, and Jung was no exception. In terms of politics and nationality Jung was Swiss, and he dissociated himself from the Germans and Austrians. This was especially true in the late 1930s when Jung's association with individuals and organizations strongly linked to Nazi Germany led to charges that he was a Nazi sympathizer; he and his disciples tried to dispel this image by fervently insisting that Jung was simply a neutral Swiss physician with only humanitarian concerns. [27]

Culturally and biologically, however, Jung identified very strongly with his German roots, or, more specifically, his Germanic ancestors. His famous paternal grandfather, Carl Gustav Jung the Elder (1794-1864) was a German Catholic physician, playwright, scientist, and eventually rector of Basel University (founded in 1460 by Pope Pius II). Jung the Elder was converted to Protestantism by none other than Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), the great Protestant theologian who emphasized the role of feeling in the experience of God and who had a profound effect on the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Romantic movement.

Additionally, Jung the Elder was alleged to be the illegitimate child of Goethe
, the epitome of the German genius and Nietzsche's model of an ubermensch. [28] This family fable was one that Jung told time and time again throughout his life, as he was apparently quite smitten with the romantic idea that he was a direct descendant of the genius Goethe. Therefore, in an age of intense concern over heredity, it was quite apparent to him that the only fruit of hereditary genius in the Jung family's tree was on the German side, not the Swiss. In fact, the maternal side of the family, which boasted multiple generations of Protestant Swiss stock, contained significant evidence of hereditary degeneration. Ellenberger tells us, "In those days considerable stress was put on heredity, and the whole maternal side of the family appeared to be tainted with insanity." [29]

In a 1928 book review of Das Spektrum Europas (The Spectrum of Europe) by Count Hermann Keyserling, in which Jung is mentioned as a "model Swiss," Jung good-naturedly backs away from this accolade by noting, "I have been Swiss for some five hundred years only on my mother's side, but on my father's side for only one hundred and six years. I must therefore beg the reader to see my 'relatively Swiss' attitude as the result of my little more than a hundred-year-old Swiss mentality." [30] Jung obviously puts greater emphasis on his paternal roots and, tellingly, does not need to emphasize that his greater ancestral influences are specifically from Germany.

Perhaps another way to approach this problem is through the conceptual schema of Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), who distinguishes between "Civilization" and "Culture" in his own vitalistic Lebensphilosophie (life-philosophy). For Jung, his experience of Civilization, the Weberian "iron cage" that was artificially imposed from without, was Swiss and Christian, but his Culture was Germanic. According to Spengler, it is only "Culture" that engenders and reflects soul. [31] Jung's soul was in this sense, therefore, deeply Germanic.

As is evident in the writings and letters of his first sixty years, Jung undoubtedly felt himself to be part of the community of Germanic Volk united in its faith in a field of life-energy, with all of its accompanying transcendent spirituality and pantheistic beliefs. In fact, in retrospect, his 1911-1912 reconceptualization of the libido as a generalized life force of psychic energy (which punctuated his break with Freud), his lifelong use of the anthropological concept of the magical bond between self and other (whether another individual or nature) known as the participation mystique, and his later (1946) speculations about kinship libido, [32] can each be interpreted as a reformulation of the volkisch belief in the cosmic "life force" linking each individual German "with every other member of the Volk in a common feeling of belonging, in a shared emotional experience." [33] The concept of transference itself takes on volkisch mystical proportions in Jung's hands after he liberated it from its mesmerist and Freudian traditions by claiming that one can project transpersonal (archetypal) images onto another, thus uniting in a mystical union the cosmic fate of both the projector and the "hook" that is projected upon. This was eventually how Jung psychologized the seemingly mystical "transference" relationship between Hitler and the German masses. In addition, Jung's frequent expositions on the influence of geography -- of how the very earth and one's natural environment were formative influences on the soul (and even on physiognomy!) through the directing characteristics of the soil (Bodenbeschaffenheit) -- also comes from this same nineteenth-century Germanic concept of Volk. [34]

But arguing that Jung undoubtedly considered himself a cell within the living body of the Volk and wrote from a volkisch perspective does not imply that he was a fascist, Nazi, or even an anti-Semite -- although evidence for this latter charge is present in many of Jung's private statements and covert actions. Whereas they may be confirmation of Jung's decidedly racialist thinking, which dominated intellectual discourse at the time, they may not necessarily be conclusive evidence of racism as we currently think of it. We are blinded by history and Hitler in this regard. Instead, we should remember that in German Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as historian Peter Gay observes, "grand old words like Volk and Reich and Geist were now given new meaning by this great crusade for Kultur. These are not, as they might seem to be, imaginary effusions; they are the words of Thomas Mann and Friedrich Gundolf, and there were thousands of others, young and old, who sounded precisely like them." [35]

The learning of aggressive attitudes is facilitated when respected and glorified figures, for example, professional athletes, movie stars, and political figures, engage in various kinds of aggressive behavior for which they reap many rewards. It is easy for a youngster to justify aggressive solutions to problems by referring to norms for such behavior promulgated by the media and others (Huesmann et al., 1984).

-- Stability of Aggression Over Time and Generations, by L. Rowell Huesmann and Leonard D. Eron

A second aspect of Jung's background that is often understated is his lifelong experience of being part of the elite. Due to the fame of C. G. Jung the Elder, the Jung family was quite well regarded in Basel where Jung grew up and attended Gymnasium (1886-1895) and the medical school at Basel University (1895- 1900). Basel was still a relatively small city during this time, and the social networks of the Protestant ministry caste (Pfarrerstand) made it seem even smaller. [36] The halo of Jung the Elder extended to his grandson in everyday social interactions once Jung the Elder's paternity was revealed.

Jung's father, Paul, lived out his life as a country minister in Switzerland. Although this may seem to be a modest role from our point of view, as Ellenberger reminds us, "The presbytery (Pfarrhaus) has been called 'one of the germinal cells of German culture.'" [37] In nineteenth-century German Europe the Pfarrerstand was a social caste of the best and the brightest. Often only the most gifted students were selected for theological training in German, Swiss, and Austrian universities, and for the most part the German cultural intelligentsia were created from the ranks of the Pfarrerstand. They served as the Protestant "old nobility," a bulwark against barbarism, paganism, occultism, and their combined threat in "Papist" Roman Catholicism. (Perhaps as a product of this upbringing, Jung could not bring himself to enter a Catholic church without fear and anxiety until he was a grown man in his thirties, and throughout his life he could never visit Rome despite his many trips to Italy.) [38] Families in this caste tended to intermarry (as in the case of Jung's parents, his mother was the daughter of a prominent Swiss Protestant minister), and they formed a cultural elite that one historian has called "the German Mandarins." [39]

Jung grew up well aware of his status within this elite and, for the first half of his life, generally followed bourgeois paths commensurate with it (becoming a physician, a university professor, a husband and father, etc.). Throughout his life Jung demonstrated a pattern of participating in elites and then, within a short time, rising to the main leadership positions within them and thereby often assuming a dominating influence. He did this within his university fraternity, the 120-member Zofingia fraternity (whose motto was Patriae, amicitiae, litteris, "For fatherland, friendship, and literature" -- reflecting its goal of promoting higher Pan-Germanic culture, but with a typically Swiss tolerance of divergent political associations), [40] by becoming president in 1897, only two years after entering it; at the Burgholzli hospital, where he became second in command under Eugen Bleuler in 1905, only five years after joining its large psychiatric staff; in the psychoanalytic movement, becoming second only to Freud in importance within a year of meeting him in 1907, and serving as the First President of the International Psychoanalytic Association (1910-1914); and then (beginning circa 1912-1913) leading his own small group that slowly grew into a large cultural movement. Thus Jung's primary leadership experiences came from excelling in small elite groups, highly cohesive and arguably elitist in philosophy, each with specific ideals and aims to transform society at large. Nietzschean ideals of a new nobility were therefore grounded in Jung's personal and practical experience.

Perhaps reflecting on his own life in 1925, one month from his fiftieth birthday, Jung attributes the surprising appearance of leadership qualities in some individuals as possible evidence of a quasi-spiritualist, quasi-biological idea that he considered but never developed: ancestor possession -- that is, literally, spiritual possession by one's ancestors. "Another way of putting these ideas of ancestor possession would be that these autonomous complexes exist in the mind as Mendelian units, which are passed on from generation to generation intact, and are unaffected by the life of the individual." [41] Jung may be thinking of his own latent heredity of German genius:

Let us say that this imaginary normal man we are talking about gets into a responsible position where he wields much power. He himself was never made to be a leader, but among his inherited units there is the figure of such a leader, or the possibility of it. That unit now takes possession of him, and from that time on he has a different character. God knows what has become of him, it is really as though he had lost himself and the ancestral unit had taken over and devoured him. [42]

Hence, matter was always alive for Jung, and in his view our bodies pulse with the emotions and abilities of our racial forefathers. Despite his occasional efforts to distance himself from explicit support of vitalism in his scientific writings after 1916, in order to make his ideas more palatable to a professional readership that had become increasingly skeptical of vitalism and supportive of materialism, vitalistic metaphors and ideas always remained a significant part of his work.

A third relevant but often understated aspect of Jung's early years is the dominance of classical Greco-Roman culture in the educational philosophy and in the schools of German Europe of this era. This "tyranny of Greece over Germany," as Eliza Marian Butler termed it, began essentially with the rediscovery of the aesthetic wonders of the art and literature of pagan antiquity -- particularly Greece -- by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768). [43] Goethe called it Winckelmann's heroic Gewahrwerden der griechischen Kunst, his "finding" of Greek art. The image of ancient Greece as an idyllic, serene, rational, golden age of truth and beauty painted by Winckelmann in his works dominated German culture until the end of the nineteenth century. Ancient Greece was pure, never vulgar, the birthplace of genius, not degeneracy, and therefore it became an ideal that German culture sought to emulate. Winckelmann's most famous statement accentuates the rational over the irrational, the Apollonian over the Dionysian, in his idealization of ancient Greece:

The universal, dominant characteristic of Greek masterpieces, finally, is noble simplicity and serene greatness in the pose as well as in the expression. The depths of the sea are always calm, however wild and stormy the surface; and in the same way the expression in Greek figures reveals greatness and composure of soul in the throes of whatever passions. [44]

Winckelmann's work became the primary source of inspiration for the art and literature of German Romanticism. Greek mythology became a dominating point of reference in the works of literary figures of German high culture, especially in the works of Goethe. Little needs to be said here about Goethe's place in European culture: he was, by all respects, an unusually gifted creative genius who influenced every cultural aspect of his age. Goethe furthermore infused incipient German Hellenism with the first sparks of sensuousness and passion, of Sturm und Drang, the first echoes of the subsequent Dionysian torrent of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) and especially the later fin-de-siecle Hellenism of the classical philologist Nietzsche, who forced a notable cultural shift away from Winckelmann's Apollonian cult of serenity and reason. [45] Goethe's Faust in particular became the sacred text of Germanic culture (Jung's first of many readings was at age fifteen), and was memorized and recited by generation after generation of children in German schools.46 To even begin to understand the Goethe they were memorizing, these young students had to be given a smattering of basic Greek mythology first.

Through Goethe and the German Romantics, and through the widespread adoption of the teaching of Latin and Greek in secondary schools and universities, almost everyone had some familiarity with Greco-Roman mythology and culture, or could cite passages from pagan authors that would be commonly recognized.  [47] Such widespread familiarity among persons at many levels of society in German Europe could seem quite mystifying to British or American visitors. British psychoanalyst and Freud biographer Ernest Jones later confessed with no small embarrassment that what struck him most about his initial contacts with first Jung in 1907, then Freud and his Viennese disciples in 1908, was their frequent quoting of "Latin and Greek passages by memory during their conversations and being astonished at my blank response." [48]

Jung's early life, then, is characterized by an immersion in the culture and mythology of Greek, Roman, and Germanic antiquity; by participation in cultural and spiritual elites promoting specific ideas about ways to transform culture; and by exceptionally important hereditarian concerns. Focusing on heredity and its consequences in the nineteenth century served as a scientific form of fantasizing about the dead and their influence on the present. These specific concerns dominated the next phase of Jung's life, a fin-de-siecle period that, Jung claimed in 1925, "contains the origin of all my ideas." [49]
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

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CHAPTER TWO: The Fin de Siecle

JUNG WAS BORN and developed during an era of European history that referred to itself as the fin de siecle -- the end of the century. It was an age of cultural ferment and generational collision in which opposing forces of rationality and irrationality, of social progress and hereditary degeneration, of positivism and occultism, scraped together like great tectonic plates and set off earthquakes and aftershocks that culminated in the Great War and its subsequent revolutions and putsches (Bavaria, Russia, Transylvania, etc.) of 1914-1919 and beyond. These years marked, as the eminent historian George Mosse describes it, the "change in the public spirit of Europe." [1] It has often been said that 1912-1913 saw the intellectual end of the nineteenth century. The years of the Great War were also a period Jung would later refer to as his "confrontation with the unconscious," a time of great personal tumult but also of visionary exploration and self-discovery, indeed an intellectual end to the tyranny of the nineteenth-century embourgeoisement of his own psyche.

These years signaled a turning point from one developmental epoch to another in Jung's life. Just as the Great War seemed to confirm the defeat of nineteenth-century conventional bourgeois morality and cultural and artistic art forms and the ascendancy of the "new ethic" of sexuality and aesthetic styles of the "moderns," so, too, do we find Jung during this period completing the process of shedding the remaining skin of a nineteenth-century conservative bourgeois life-style and reinventing himself as a leader of a movement of modernity that promoted the development of individuality. In this sense, during this period Jung attempted to fully become a modern and developed a practical method for realizing the life-philosophy of the generation of the fin de siecle. [2] However, as many who knew him can attest, he never fully abdicated his persona of nineteenth-century bourgeois respectability despite whatever he enacted in his private life. [3]

Of all the extant biographies of Jung, not one of them places him within the historical context of the fin de siecle. Only the brief but masterful historical studies by Ellenberger attempt such an approach. [4] Such a rendering of Jung as a fin-de-siecle man is crucial for understanding his life's work and especially his fascination with the ancient mysteries.

According to Max Nordau (1849-1923), an acclaimed journalist, social critic, alienist, and defender of bourgeois morality and values against the degeneracy of the moderns, the term fin de siecle "is a name covering both what is characteristic of many modern phenomena, and also the underlying mood which in them finds expression." [5] The modern phenomena he had in mind could be found in "degenerate" movements in art (e.g., Symbolism), literature (Tolstoism, Symbolism, Decadentism, Naturalism, Realism), music ("the Richard Wagner cult," as Nordau refers to it), and philosophy (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, von Hartmann, Blavatsky, etc.). Nordau's most famous book, Degeneration (1895), is a massive diagnostic assessment of fin-de-siecle European culture according to the prevailing medical and social theories of hereditary degeneration. Nordau's book reflected the overwhelming obsession of the nineteenth century with "hereditary taint" ("bad blood") that could be passed on from the unhealthy existence of one generation to another, in a progressively weaker form, until the family line eventually died out. Modern styles in the arts were seen, by Nordau, as evidence of the extremely prevalent levels of degeneracy in the population of Europe, due to organic brain damage caused by alcoholism, drug addictions, venereal diseases (the continuing legacy of the "sins of the father"), the wear and tear of cramped urban life, and other harmful environmental factors. Although hereditary degeneracy could be slowed in its transmission through "therapeutics" (halting substance abuse, changing living and work conditions, etc.), successive generations were still weakened and would manifest the "stigmata" of physical and especially mental illnesses.

Nordau was perhaps the most famous prophet of doom in an age that was fascinated with ideas of degeneration, decay, and decadence. [6] A common theme that appears again and again in the documents of that time is the idea that European civilization itself was decaying and dying, that industrialization had stolen the soul of humankind, that disease and death were all that anyone could expect from life. "Tell me, my brothers: what do we consider bad and worst of all? Is it not degeneration?" Nietzsche asked a generation of young persons who could understand this sentiment perfectly. [7] Jung certainly did.

The performance arts and literature of this period also reflected the obsession with decay and death. The feeling that one was living at the end of time was reinforced by such cultural events as the premiere of Wagner's opera Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods) on 17 August 1876 at the Festspielhaus, Wagner's temple-theater of Teutonic mysteries in Bayreuth, Germany. Survivors of the brutal Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 and the economic depression of 1873 had very recent memories of fearing whether their time on earth was indeed at hand, as the war devastated significant areas of Western Europe and the resulting economic collapse led to further starvation, pestilence, and political instability. In Central Europe in the late 1890s essayists and novelists, influenced by the rejection of the present by Nietzsche in his Also Sprach Zarathustra, expressed a "dystopian condemnation of their own times" that, by the end of the century, was followed by science-fiction novels containing a "dark recounting of society's collapse with visions of a volkisch 'reawakening.''' [8] In addition to the French "decadent" movement [9] and Oscar Wilde's unsubtle, self-deprecating novel of the degeneration of an aesthete, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Irish author Bram Stoker's Dracula appeared in 1897 and has never been out of print since. Dracula, perhaps more than Dorian Gray, is the consummate degenerate, and is described as such by Stoker in the psychiatric language of Nordau and criminal anthropometrics expert Caesare Lombroso (1836-1909). Dracula, king of the vampires, is the perfect fin-de-siecle cultural horror: something living hundreds of years yet dead, something dead but undead, draining the vitality of the living, like European civilization itself.

The age was characterized by an emphasis on the individual to the exclusion of society, exalted to its apogee in the works of Nietzsche, which was largely unread when they came out but "rediscovered" only in the 1890s after he had gone mad. [10] Nietzsche himself had a profound effect on European culture after 1890 with his exciting style of using his "hammer" of questions to smash every cultural idol, including the Judea-Christian images of God. Like other young persons of the 1890s, Jung himself began reading Nietzsche at the age of twenty-three (circa 1898). [11] After reading an early work of Netzsche's, Jung reports: "I was carried away by enthusiasm, and soon afterward read Also Sprach Zarathustra. This, like Goethe's Faust, was a tremendous experience for me." [12] Jung's Collected Works are filled with references to Nietzsche, and he devoted an extensive seminar to Nietzsche's Zarathustra between 1934 and 1939. [13]

Nietzsche was absorbed by reformists on the left and on the right, and according to Aschheim, Nietzscheanism became a diffuse "protean force" that could be adopted by politicians, theologians, anarchists, philosophers, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, sexual libertarians promoting the "new ethic" -- indeed anyone seeking change, renewal, or rebirth. "Nietzscheanism never constituted one movement reducible to a single constituency or political ideology; it was rather a loose congeries of people attracted to different social milieux, political movements, and cultural-ideological agendae." [14] "I am dynamite," Nietzsche himself claimed in Ecce Homo, published posthumously in 1908, and the liberal bourgeoisie elite feared him as the dangerous prophet of irrationalism, which in their minds was synonymous with anything modern. [15]

Equally disturbing to staid bourgeois sentiments were the increasingly prominent members of cultural elite captivated by eroticism, mysticism (spiritualism, Theosophy, Wagnerism, volkisch neopaganism), and the pessimistic philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and the related ideas of Eduard von Hartmann that contained elements of alien Eastern (Buddhist, Hindu) philosophies. All of these persons, movements, and ideas were known to Jung and many were great influences on him personally and, later, professionally. [16] As Paris and Vienna were the two cauldrons of fin-de-siecle culture, it is not surprising that another major influence on Jung -- Freud and his psychoanalysis, with its interest in sexuality and the development of the individual -- also arose in this historical setting.

Psychiatry developed as a new specialized area of medicine in the late 1800s, and psychiatrists competed with another new specialty -- neurology -- for the treatment of "nervous and mental diseases." By mid-century, following the dominance of the field by French alienistes such as Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) and J.E.D. Esquirol (1772-1840), whose circle of young disciples became famous in its own right, the Germans took the lead in psychiatric science. [17] Germans such as Wilhelm Griesinger (1817- 1868) and Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) defined psychiatry as a science by insisting that all mental illness was due to an organic dysfunction of the brain, and that a large portion of the work of psychiatrists was not therapeutics, but diagnosis and research into etiology. This was the practice of psychiatry as Jung learned it in medical school and experienced it at the Burgholzli Mental Hospital. It was Kraepelin who took the concept of degeneration from B. A. Morel and in 1893 defined a new psychotic disorder -- dementia praecox -- as a progressively degenerative disorder that would end in death.

A different tradition from the German psychopathologists (and from Freud's psychoanalysis) was represented by the French clinical tradition that was based on (1) a dissociation model of the mind and (2) polypsychism, the idea that not only does consciousness split, but it splits into autonomous parts or separate streams of consciousness, perhaps even into multiple personalities. Although J. M. Charcot (1825-1893) sparked this interest with his advocacy of the use of hypnosis to treat hysterics in the 1880s, it was primarily due to the work of Pierre Janet (1859-1947) that dissociation became a focus of interest. Jung studied with Janet in Paris in the winter of 1902 and, despite his Freudian period, from a historical point of view he is probably more properly placed within this French clinical tradition with Janet and Jung's own "fatherly friend" and mentor, Theodore Flournoy (1854-1920). [18] Jung's famous "complex theory," which he supported experimentally through his word-association studies, is derived from this French clinical tradition, as it is based on a model of the mind that emphasized dissociation and polypsychism. [19] Jung's first term for his new, post-Freudian psychology (first used in 1913) was "complex psychology."

The fin-de-siecle was also the age of psychical research, the study of which naturally attracted such dissociationists as Flournoy and Jung. Observing spiritualist mediums in trance states, studying crystal gazing, and analyzing automatic writing were viewed by researchers as valid psychological methodologies for studying the unconscious mind. [20] With the founding of the Society for Psychical Research in England in 1882, and the copious publications of its investigators, new models of the unconscious mind emerged. The most respected model was that of the "subliminal self" by Frederick Myers (1843-1901), the "mythopoetic" (myth-making) function of which resembles Jung's later conception of a collective unconscious. [21] Jung read widely in the literature of psychical research in medical school and his 1902 doctoral dissertation cites the work of Myers and others in this school.

Given the fin-de-siecle mood of degeneration and decay and its obsession with individualism, eroticism, mysticism, and the dead, the conditions were ripe for those seeking novel paths of cultural, political, physical, and especially spiritual renewal. The great cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897), admired from afar on the streets of Basel by the student Jung, could observe as early as 1843 that, "Everybody wants to be new but nothing else." [22] Neophilia in the form of a quest for new ideas, new experiences, new academic disciplines, new therapeutics, obsessed the imaginations of many in the fin de siecle, not the least of whom was Jung.


By the fin de siecle, traditional Western religions provided fewer and fewer answers to those in spiritual pain. Central European Jews who no longer found solace in religion sought secular pursuits such as professional scientific or medical careers, politics (primarily liberalism and socialism), journalism, or (by the late 1890s) Zionism. Some Jews chose total assimilation into Christian culture -- even such "godless Jews" as Freud and Nordau considered it. But the Reconstructionist Zionism movement allowed a way for ethnic Jews to retain their cultural identity without returning to Judaic spirituality. [23]

Secularism influenced a similar dissatisfaction among Christian Europeans, particularly in the Protestant lands of the German- speaking world (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Starting during the Enlightenment and continuing into the nineteenth century with its positivism, evolutionism, and scientism, the very foundations of the Christian myth were challenged as never before. In a work published posthumously in 1778, the Halle theologian H. Reimarus (1694-1768) presented the first, tentative, historical treatment of the life of Jesus. Described by historian Karl Lowith as reducing Christianity "to a freely created myth," [24] the sketch caused controversy at the time, but Reimarus was merely reflecting the Enlightenment views privately expressed by the intelligentsia of his own German Europe. For example, in a letter to Herder written in 1788, Goethe remarked:

It remains true: the fairy tale of Christ is the reason that the world is able to go forward another ten meters without anyone coming to his senses; it takes as much strength of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to defend it as to attack it. [25]

In primarily Protestant German Europe, theologians who were acutely aware of the antagonism between Christian theology and modern scientific knowledge strayed from the Scriptures and their accessory libraries of commentaries and concordances, and instead sought novel perspectives through the study of contemporary philosophy, history, and even medicine. These historical and comparative methods were first developed into a school by the theological faculty of Tubingen University in the 1860s, and as historian Roy Pascal observes, "this historical research exerted perhaps a profounder influence on theology than the more sensational challenges of Darwinism." [26] These "theological modernists," as Pascal calls them, set out on a Promethean task to steal the fire of divinity from Christ and from Judeo-Christian traditions: "The heart of the Tubingen school was its biblical criticism, and its studies in comparative religion dispersed the solid revelations of Judaism and Christianity into a nebula of pagan sources." [27] During the Nazi era Tubingen became perhaps the dominant center for theology, for it was the base of operations for maverick Protestant theologian Wilhelm Hauer and his German Faith Movement. An English translation of two of Hauer's essays contains an introduction with a section entitled, "Tubingen -- The Home of the Neo-Pagan Movement." [28] Hauer was a close associate of Jung's in the early 1930s and participated with him in a seminar on Kundalini yoga in 1934.

The search for the historical Jesus proved to be the turning point for nineteenth-century critical theology and European culture as a whole, for by the end of the century, widespread skepticism about the divinity of Jesus and the truth of the stories in the Gospels of the New Testament opened the way for social experimentation with alternative religious, neopagan, occultist, or atheistic lifestyles. These new paths of social action in European culture were, in part, the result of the intellectual climate created by the widely disseminated researches of German critical theologians. These ideas were denounced from the pulpits of many a Protestant minister (and many more Catholic priests) and were debated at both formal and informal events in the highly influential social worlds of the Protestant clergy. For some Protestant ministers -- such as, perhaps, Paul Jung -- the compelling new image of a historical Jesus led to a secret, shameful loss of faith in Jesus' divinity that had to be hidden from family and flock.

Although European culture as a whole became more openly skeptical of its Christian myth, it was strongest in the Protestant countries where, as Weber so brilliantly argues in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), individual decision-making, belief in the rewards for one's own effort in the here and now, the relative acceptability of original thought, and the pursuit of an active life of faith were emphasized over blind adherence to traditional Roman Catholic authority and dogma. Capitalism, Weber argues, arose from this more liberal social context created by the ideals of the Protestant Reformation.

George Bernard Shaw, recognizing the historical source of these same Protestant qualities, waxed poetic about "Siegfried as Protestant." Siegfried was the very familiar Wagnerian opera hero whom Shaw considered the consummate nineteenth-century symbol of "a perfectly naive hero upsetting religion, law and order in all directions, and establishing in their place the unfettered action of Humanity doing exactly what it likes, and producing order instead of confusion thereby because it likes to do what is necessary for the good of the race." [29]

It was indeed in the Germanic lands of the Teutonic hero Siegfried and of the maturing parson's son C. G. Jung that the most serious challenge to Christianity fermented. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) is not shy about his openly Pietist exaltation of the German Volk and their contribution to the world in the introduction to his famous 1906 volume summarizing the research on the historical Jesus:

When, at some future day, our period of civilization shall lie, closed and completed, before the eyes of later generations, German theology will stand out as a great, a unique phenomenon in the mental and spiritual life of our time. For nowhere save in the German temperament can there be found in the same perfection the living complex of conditions and factors -- of philosophic thought, critical acumen, historical insight, and religious feeling -- without which no deep theology is possible.

And the greatest achievement of German theology is the critical investigations of the life of Jesus. What it has accomplished here has laid down the conditions and determined the course of the religious thinking of the future. [30]

The two most widely known volumes in this tradition were Das Leben-Jesu (1835) by theologian David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1873), the first true historical biography of Jesus, but read primarily only in German Protestant Europe; [31] and Ernest Renan's much more famous Vie d'Jesu (1863), which was less diplomatic than Strauss's work since Renan (1823-1892) was a positivist, and therefore his relatively neutral prose was more shocking to nineteenth-century individuals conditioned to reading about Jesus in only the most reverential tone. [32]

Although Renan developed a talent for Semitic philology during his early seminary training, the knowledge he gained about Biblical history conflicted with the dogma of his faith, and after sacrificing his career as a Roman Catholic priest he wrote volume after volume on religion from a positivist perspective. [33] Strauss was fired from his university position after the publication of his book and was never allowed back into academia. He became more and more critical during the remainder of his career, and in later works became a supporter of the monism of Ernest Haeckel, writing social criticism with a more biological and Social Darwinist bent. [34] Although Nietzsche decisively realized his loss of faith in Christianity after reading Strauss's book on Christ in 1865 at the age of twenty-one (indeed, he changed his formal course of study from theology to philology), he viciously attacked Strauss's later Social Darwinist works in the first of his Untimely Meditations (1873). [35] It took Jung until he was thirty-seven (in 1912) to make the same decisive repudiation of Christianity as his imaginal mentor Nietzsche.

Anyone raised in educated Protestant clerical families of the Pfarrerstand of the latter half of the nineteenth century -- such as Nietzsche (Lutheran) and Jung (Calvinist) -- would certainly know the names and ideas of Strauss and Renan, and would perhaps have even read their works. [36] They would also at least be aware of the thrust of the scholarly literature of the Tubingen school. It is most likely primarily the works of Strauss, Renan, and the Tubingen school that Jung refers to in a January 1899 Zofingia lecture where he discusses the cultural and individual moral problems inherent in the theological literature on the historical Jesus. For any individual -- particularly a young individual like the twenty-three-year-old medical student Jung -- looking for cultural role models of spirituality or genius on which to base one's own behavior, the theological literature on the historical Jesus would certainly -- and ironically -- turn one away from traditional orthodox Christianity:

I have been listening attentively to theologians for more than two years now, vainly hoping to gain a clue to their mysterious concept of human personality. Vainly I sought to discover where human personality gets its motivational force. Apparently the depiction of his [Jesus's] human personality is intended to present us with a clearly defined image. The formation of an ethical character should result from the holding up of the image, either through some secret correspondence inaccessible to perception or, more naturally, this image is supposed to serve as a model to awaken in us the impulse to imitate Christ. ... We can find as much motivation in any other personality -- and even more in those modern personalities with whom we are most familiar -- than in the personality of Christ, who is so widely separated from us both in time and through the interpretations. What then is so special about Christ, that he should be the motivational force? Why not another model -- Paul, or Buddha or Confucius or Zoroaster? ... If we view Christ as a human being, then it makes absolutely no sense to regard him, in any way, a compelling model for our actions. [37]

In this lecture Jung indicates that, although still not willing to let go of the mystery of Christianity he has considered opening the doors of his mind to non-Christian, perhaps even pagan, sources of inspiration. His reasoning was matched by thousands of others his age who asked similar questions that guided them along non-Christian paths. However, at this early age, Jung is still very much the young, bourgeois, Christian idealist, and he ridicules those who say: "'We are throwing out everything that has been built up around the figure of Jesus for eighteen centuries, all the teachings, all the traditions, and will accept only the historical Jesus' -- this is not much of a feat, either, for as a rule people who talk this way have nothing to throw out in the first place." [38] However, Jung's later repudiation of orthodox Christianity has its roots in this Protestant critical theology that also redirected Nietzsche to explore pagan paths of regeneration.

In a sense, then, Schweitzer was more right than he realized when he trumpeted that German theologians would determine the course of the religious thinking of the future: Jung's psychological approach to the "God-image" (most fully argued in his Answer to Job [1952]), so influential in the twentieth century, rests upon the foundation of these critical theologians from whom Jung "vainly sought" guidance. Through Jung's influence on New Age spirituality, many indeed believe it is an inalienable human right to personally choose the image of one's own god (or gods). Indeed, the development of a scientific or secular psychotherapy independent of religious dogma perhaps would have been slowed without the work of these primarily German theologians. [39]

Furthermore, revising the image of Christ and the development of Christianity also allowed fin-de-siecle classicists to reevaluate pagan religion, especially the ancient Hellenistic mystery cults, which seemed to have many surface similarities with certain aspects of the early Christ cult of the Roman Empire. The ancient mysteries and their pagan gods would no longer seem as satanic and taboo to the average Christian -- or at least to the learned scholar, who may even be a man of the Christian cloth himself and who perhaps fears the heretical influence of studying paganism or the social stigma attached to him by his Christian peers who investigated much safer areas of Church history. As recently as 1952 the possible personal taint of paganism was apparently still a concern for some scholars interested in writing about the historical development of Christianity in its pagan context, for as the eminent classicist Arthur Darby Nock optimistically remarks, "We have perhaps reached the point where we can think of these things sine im et studio, with no desire to explain away the rise of Christianity and with no feeling that the suggestion of Hellenistic elements in it would involve something 'common' or 'unclean.'" [40]

If Jesus of Nazareth was no longer outside of time and was in fact a historical person, as these German Protestant theologians argued, how could any thinking Christian turn to Christ or his contemporary representatives in the various Christian churches for redemption or salvation? Many late nineteenth-century individuals came up with creative solutions to these problems and paved new paths to individual fulfillment -- in some cases with more than a little help from some very ancient pagan sources. Indeed, philosopher of history R. G. Collingwood interprets the rise of fascism and National Socialism in the twentieth century as the direct result of the popularity of the neopaganism in the late 1800s that worshiped the power of the human will and that, in turn, arose to fill a spiritual vacuum created by this very eclipse of faith in orthodox Christianity.41 Others, such as Marxian philosopher Georg Lukacs (1885-1971), attribute the rise of fascism and Nazism to a related movement that exalted "irrationalism": Lebensphilosophie.


An additional phenomenon of the fin de siecle was the rise of a movement that was generically called Lebensphilosophie, or "life-philosophy." It has heretofore escaped notice that Jung was very much a product of the vitalistic Lebensphilosophie tradition that gained ascendency among the bourgeoisie in Wilhelmine Germany and greater Central Europe after 1870. Lukacs correctly observes that Lebensphilosophie "nurtured an aristocratic feeling" with its appeal to direct experience and its preference for intuition over reason, since "an experiential philosophy can only be intuitive -- and purportedly it is only an elect, the members of an aristocracy, who possess a capacity for intuition."  [42] Lukacs, who places the history of irrationalism in German philosophy and social life in a Marxian perspective of class struggle, also attributes "the conversion of agnosticism into mysticism, of subjective idealism into the pseudo-objectivity of myth" to such Lebensphilosophie movements. Mythology is thus rediscovered and given a "special type of objectivity" by the Lebensphilosophen, observes Lukacs. Mythology thus becomes a novel -- and potentially dangerous -- reference point for claims about the true nature of reality or of one's own subjective experience of life. [43]

Among those in this Lebensphilosophie movement and its appeal to the primacy of direct experience and intuition, Lukacs places the following: Nietzsche, von Hartmann, Paul Anton de Lagarde, Wilhelm Dilthey, Otto Weininger, Georg Simmel, Stefan George, Oswald Spengler, Max Scheler, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Henri Bergson, and three men that Jung knew personally: Count Keyserling, Leopold Ziegler, and Ludwig Klages (who Lukacs says exemplifies "prefascist" vitalism). Several of the above names have either been cited by Jung himself or by others as influences on his thought. The works of Bergson in particular, which were translated into German and published by Eugen Diederichs Verlag circa 1908, were identified by some of Jung's earliest disciples as strikingly similar to his 1912 theory of the libido as generalized psychic energy. [44]

The aristocratic values and social systems that arose logically from groupings of the proponents of Lebensphilosophie came to have a profound effect on German cultural and political life in the early twentieth century. From the fin de siecle until the end of the Nazi era there were multiple cries for new spiritual and political elites to lead the Germanic peoples of Central Europe to new "awakening" through reliance upon the more highly refined "intuitive" faculties of such specialists. [45] Jung's voice, as we shall see, may certainly be counted among them.
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

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Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER THREE: Freud, Haeckel, and Jung


EVOLUTIONARY THEORY was the topic on everyone's tongue in the latter half of the nineteenth century after the publication of The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) on 24 November 1859. With Darwin's work the field of evolutionary biology was born. Darwin's highly articulated mechanistic theories of evolution surpassed all previous efforts and stimulated an interest in origins, in the creative or regenerative processes of ontogeny (individual development), and in phylogeny (the evolution of an entire species, or the birth of new ones) from the perspective of scientific materialism. [1]

Prior to Darwin, at least in the minds of many supposedly skeptical Enlightenment theorists, the only "origins" and "variations" were degenerations from perfect or ideal original types that had been created by the Judeo-Christian God. [2] Between 1790 and 1830, several different schools of Naturphilosophie dominated the scientific community in German Europe, in which philosophical and literary speculation was combined with empirical science. [3] These schools of Naturphilosophie have also been generically referred to as "essentialism" or "morphological idealism."

The word archetype was used in the mid-1800s in this Romantic biological context by the last great morphological idealist, Richard Owen (1804-1892) in his On the Archetype and Homologies of the Vertebrate Skeleton of 1848. [4] For most early biologists,
there was no descent, as species did not evolve -- especially not from one into another. The search for the Urform or original form (or Urtyp, the original type or archetype) of each species -- studied by comparing similar structures in the different organisms -- was known as the idealistic science (Wissenschaft) of morphology, a term coined by Goethe in 1807. Goethe used the terms Urbild or "primordial image" and Urtyp, and these were later borrowed by Jung. These archetypes were eternal and transcendent , shaping man and the natural world in mysterious, but observable, ways.

He was a member of the Explorers Club, and he had never been outside the state of Pennsylvania. Some of us who were world travelers used to smile a little about that, even though we knew his scientific reputation had been, at one time, great. It is always the way of youth to smile. I used to think of myself as something of an adventurer, but the time came when I realized that old Albert Dreyer, huddling with his drink in the shadows close to the fire, had journeyed farther into the Country of Terror than any of us would ever go, God willing, and emerge alive.

He was a morose and aging man, without family and without intimates. His membership in the club dated back into the decades when he was a zoologist famous for his remarkable experiments upon amphibians -- he had recovered and actually produced the adult stage of the Mexican axolotl, as well as achieving remarkable tissue transplants in salamanders. The club had been flattered to have him then, travel or no travel, but the end was not fortunate. The brilliant scientist had become the misanthrope; the achievement lay all in the past, and Albert Dreyer kept to his solitary room, his solitary drink, and his accustomed spot by the fire.

The reason I came to hear his story was an odd one. I had been north that year, and the club had asked me to give a little talk on the religious beliefs of the Indians of the northern forest, the Naskapi of Labrador. I had long been a student of the strange melange of superstition and woodland wisdom that makes up the religious life of the nature peoples. Moreover, I had come to know something of the strange similarities of the "shaking tent rite" to the phenomena of the modern medium's cabinet.

"The special tent with its entranced occupant is no different from the cabinet," I contended. "The only difference is the type of voices that emerge. Many of the physical phenomena are identical -- the movement of powerful forces shaking the conical hut, objects thrown, all this is familiar to Western psychical science. What is different are the voices projected. Here they are the cries of animals, the voices from the swamp and the mountain -- the solitary elementals before whom the primitive man stands in awe, and from whom he begs sustenance. Here the game lords reign supreme; man himself is voiceless."

A low, halting query reached me from the back of the room. I was startled, even in the midst of my discussion, to note that it was Dreyer.

"And the game lords, what are they?"

"Each species of animal is supposed to have gigantic leaders of more than normal size," I explained. "These beings are the immaterial controllers of that particular type of animal. Legend about them is confused. Sometimes they partake of human qualities, will and intelligence, but they are of animal shape. They control the movements of game, and thus their favor may mean life or death to man."

"Are they visible?" Again Dreyer's low, troubled voice came from the back of the room.

"Native belief has it that they can be seen on rare occasions," I answered. "In a sense they remind one of the concept of the archetypes, the originals behind the petty show of our small, transitory existence. They are the immortal renewers of substance -- the force behind and above animate nature."

"Do they dance?" persisted Dreyer.

At this I grew nettled. Old Dreyer in a heckling mood was something new. "I cannot answer that question," I said acidly. "My informants failed to elaborate upon it. But they believe implicitly in these monstrous beings, talk to and propitiate them. It is their voices that emerge from the shaking tent."

"The Indians believe it," pursued old Dreyer relentlessly, "but do you believe it?"

"My dear fellow -- I shrugged and glanced at the smiling audience -- "I have seen many strange things, many puzzling things, but I am a scientist." Dreyer made a contemptuous sound in his throat and went back to the shadow out of which he had crept in his interest. The talk was over. I headed for the bar.

The evening passed. Men drifted homeward or went to their rooms. I had been a year in the woods and hungered for voices and companionship. Finally, however, I sat alone with my glass, a little mellow, perhaps, enjoying the warmth of the fire and remembering the blue snowfields of the North as they should be remembered -- in the comfort of warm rooms.

I think an hour must have passed. The club was silent except for the ticking of an antiquated clock on the mantel and small night noises from the street. I must have drowsed. At all events it was some time before I grew aware that a chair had been drawn up opposite me. I started.

"A damp night," I said.

"Foggy," said the man in the shadow musingly. "But not too foggy. They like it that way."

"Eh?" I said. I knew immediately it was Dreyer speaking. Maybe I had missed something; on second thought, maybe not.

"And spring," he said. "Spring. That's part of it. God knows why, of course, but we feel it, why shouldn't they? And more intensely."

"Look--" I said. "I guess --" The old man was more human than I thought. He reached out and touched my knee with the hand that he always kept a glove over -- burn, we used to speculate -- and smiled softly.

"You don't know what I'm talking about," he finished for me. "And, besides, I ruffled your feelings earlier in the evening. You must forgive me. You touched on an interest of mine, and I was perhaps overeager. I did not intend to give the appearance of heckling. It was only that ... "

"Of course," I said. "Of course." Such a confession from Dreyer was astounding. The man might be ill. I rang for a drink and decided to shift the conversation to a safer topic, more appropriate to a scholar.

"Frogs," I said desperately, like any young ass in a china shop. "Always admired your experiments. Frogs. Yes."

I give the old man credit. He took the drink and held it up and looked at me across the rim. There was a faint stir of sardonic humor in his eyes.

"Frogs, no," he said, "or maybe yes. I've never been quite sure. Maybe yes. But there was no time to decide properly." The humor faded out of his eyes. "Maybe I should have let go," he said. "It was what they wanted. There's no doubting that at all, but it came too quick for me. What would you have done?"

"I don't know," I said honestly enough and pinched myself.

"You had better know," said Albert Dreyer severely, "if you're planning to become an investigator of primitive religions. Or even not. I wasn't, you know, and the things came to me just when I least suspected -- But I forget, you don't believe in them."

He shrugged and half rose, and for the first time, really, I saw the black-gloved hand and the haunted face of Albert Dreyer and knew in my heart the things he had stood for in science. I got up then, as a young man in the presence of his betters should get up, and I said, and I meant it, every word: "Please, Dr. Dreyer, sit down and tell me. I'm too young to be saying what I believe or don't believe in at all. I'd be obliged if you'd tell me."

Just at that moment a strange, wonderful dignity shone out of the countenance of Albert Dreyer, and I knew the man he was. He bowed and sat down, and there were no longer the barriers of age and youthful ego between us. There were just two men under a lamp, and around them a great waiting silence. Out to the ends of the universe, I thought fleetingly, that's the way with man and his lamps. One has to huddle in, there's so little light and so much space. One --

-- The Dance of the Frogs, by Loren Eiseley

Some of Jung's earliest and most powerful influences were among the speculative and metaphysical Naturphilosophen of the Romantic era, who after 1800 increasingly confined their studies to medical theory and practice. [5] C. G. Jung the Elder practiced medicine in this metaphysical Romantic mode. The most influential Naturphilosophen included F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854), Goethe, Lorenz Oken (1779-1851), and a man that Goethe much admired, Carl Gustav Carus (1789-1869), a comparative anatomist who insisted that the divine essence of life would only be recognized through initiation into these insights through spiritual development:

Insofar as the idea of life is no other than the idea of an eternal manifestation of the divine essence through nature, it belongs among those original insights of reason that do not come to man from outside .... These insights open up in the inwardness of man; they must reveal themselves and, once a man has reached a certain level of development, they will always reveal themselves. [6]

This view is precisely the affirmation of the belief of the Naturphilosophen that, as historian of science Timothy Lenoir succinctly puts it, "when properly trained in the method of philosophical reflection, the understanding is capable, primarily through a higher faculty of judgment, of penetrating and comprehending the structure of the life process itself." [7] Thus, as living beings at the peak of the great chain of being (as historian of ideas Arthur O. Lovejoy called it), humans were uniquely capable of an intuitive grasp of the very pulse of life itself in its more elemental forms. Jung's twentieth-century psychological methods -- including that of "active imagination" -- are direct survivors of this Romantic praxis.

As Ellenberger and others have briefly pointed out, it is with these early Romantic Naturphilosophen that we feel closest to a living tradition -- albeit one that was driven underground -- that resurfaces in the work of Jung. [8] Jung's own biological position and his fascination with the Urtyp seem to place him directly within the speculative or metaphysical schools of Naturphilosophie, despite his later attempts to integrate this idealism regarding mechanistic evolutionary concepts with his own phylogenetic theories. [9] Jung mentions Carus throughout his life, in the same breath with von Hartmann, as a major influence on his idea of a collective unconscious, and he read both men during his student years. [10] Jung was particularly taken with Carus's Psyche (1846). In Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955-1956), a late work that comprises CW 14, Jung says:

the psychology of the unconscious that began with C. G. Carus took up the trail that had been lost by the alchemists. This happened, remarkably enough, at a moment in history when the apparitions of the alchemists had found their highest poetic expression in Goethe's Faust. At the time Carus wrote, he certainly could not have guessed that he was building the philosophical bridge to an empirical psychology of the future. [11]

A few of the philosophical perspectives associated with Naturphilosophie (teleology, etc.) survived in the nineteenth-century biophysics movement that Freud and Jung both encountered as part of their medical training, Freud in the 1870s and Jung in the 1890s. Although psychiatric historian Iago Galdston has argued for a greater acknowledgment of the influence of the vitalism of the romantic Naturphilosophen on Freud through his influential friend Wilhelm Fliess and his vitalistic theories based on ideas of periodicity, polarity, and bisexuality -- all familiar concepts in romantic Naturphilosophie -- other scholars such as Frank Sulloway and Paul Cranefield have challenged this. [12] Freud's first-degree intellectual ancestors were, in part, the reductionistic scientific materialists, including his beloved mentor, Ernst von Brucke. [13] However, the affinities between the Naturphilosophen and Jung, as we have seen, were acknowledged repeatedly by Jung himself. It is tempting to speculate that the eventual incompatibility of ideas between Jung and Freud can be attributed to their very partisan participation in a greater battle in the biological sciences between vitalistic Naturphilosophie and mechanistic Naturwissenschaft.

This idealism of Naturphilosophie was eventually challenged and successfully replaced by the work of the Kantian "teleomechanists" or "vital materialists" such as Johann Blumenbach, Karl Kielmeyer, Johann Christian Reil, and Karl Ernst von Baer; [14] by "scientific materialists" such as Karl Vogt, Jacob Moleschott, Ludwig Buchner, and Heinrich Czolbe; [15] and by the mechanism of evolutionists such as Darwin and German zoologist Ernst Haeckel. It was Haeckel who, along with Freud (but in a different vein), took scientific renown one step further and designed secular paths of cultural renewal or regeneration that were greatly influenced by evolutionary biological training. [16]


It may seem outrageous to write a book on Jung without devoting considerable space to his relationship with Freud, but that relationship has been discussed in so many other volumes, and at such great length, that it would be impossible to do justice to yet another retelling of the Freud/Jung myth here. Perhaps the best such exposition is John Kerr's A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein. [17] It is time to step out of this important -- but limiting -- intellectual context. Instead, I would like to briefly draw attention to some alternative perspectives on Jung's involvement with Freud and psychoanalysis that, to my knowledge, have not been adequately addressed. In particular, I am interested in the historical role of psychoanalysis as a type of Lebensphilosophie and revitalization movement in a fin-de-siecle world of degeneration and decay.

In his autobiographical statements, seminars, and filmed interviews, Jung always acknowledges that Freud was a great man and his master. It would not be unreasonable to say that Freud was Jung's first experience of someone he considered a true living genius. In this regard, their relationship was analogous to Nietzsche's relationship with Richard Wagner, "the Master." In the presence of genius, both Nietzsche and Jung wisely observed, absorbed, and imitated. After repeated exposure to the genius and his ever-changing ideas (so true to the inconstant, mercurial nature of a genius!), however, the luster of divinity began to wear. In Jung's case, it was the seven weeks he spent with Freud on ships and in America in autumn 1909, each of them analyzing the other's dreams daily; for Nietzsche, it was the repeated personal contact with Wagner and especially the cult-like atmosphere the Meister himself encouraged at the first Bayreuth festival in 1876. Nietzsche's rupture with Wagner and Jung's dissociation from Freud are played out according to nineteenth-century scripts of "genius": once one recognizes the spark of genius in oneself, there is no longer any need for discipleship. [18]

What attracted Jung to Freud and his ideas for so many years (1905-1912) and with such devotion? Volumes have been written trying to understand this relationship. In addition to Freud's charisma as a living exemplum of "genius," I propose that Jung was attracted to the practical aspects of Freudian psychoanalysis:

1. as a way to overcome the onus of hereditary degeneration in his institutionalized patients (and perhaps in himself)

2. by its later role as an agent of cultural revitalization through its core Nietzschean themes of uncovering, bond-breaking, and of irrationality and sexuality.

Psychoanalysis was originally a supposedly medical and then a cultural movement that promised a better existence (freedom from symptoms, self-knowledge) for the successfully analyzed. Full access to memory was the key to revitalization. These memories were sexual, infantile, and above all personal.
This was indeed the basic message of the work that drew the world's attention to Freud and his mentor Josef Breuer, Studies on Hysteria (1895). [19]

It has been persuasively argued that Freud's conceptualization of psychoanalysis as a cultural movement was a "scientific" path (unlike political paths such as Marxism) to achieve liberal political revolution for marginalized groups such as Jews in an increasingly conservative and anti-Semitic Vienna. [20] Yet we must remember that psychoanalysis was absolutely unknown to the common citizen of Austria-Hungary at the time. It is often still forgotten that although he named and began practicing what he called psychoanalysis in his Viennese office in the mid-1890s, until 1900 or so Freud, working in his "splendid isolation," was the psychoanalytic movement. By 1902 Freud found four Jewish physicians (primarily internists) -- Alfred Adler, Max Kahane, Rudolph Reitler, and Wilhelm Stekel -- who were interested enough in his ideas to meet with him weekly at 19 Bergasse at meetings dominated by his intellect. This was the famous Psychological Wednesday Evening Circle, which grew to seventeen members by 1906 (the year that Freud and Jung began their correspondence; they first met in early 1907). In 1908 the First International Congress was held in Salzburg, Austria, attended by forty participants from six countries and in that same year Freud's Wednesday group was renamed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. In 1910 the International Psychoanalytic Association was founded, with Jung as its first president. By 1910 there were two official psychoanalytic journals.

The Viennese psychoanalytic movement grew rapidly in professional circles in Europe and America only after 1911 or so, but its first fateful success was the relative conversion of a group of eminent Swiss alienists (Bleuler, Jung, and their colleagues) at the Burgholzli by 1904 or so. [21] Bleuler (1857-1939), as chief of the Burgholzli, also held the prestigious Chair in Psychiatry at the University of Zurich, which, along with the other such Chairs in Vienna and Berlin, made him and his clinic one of the top three centers of modern psychiatry in Europe -- indeed, in the whole world. When Bleuler and the Swiss took Freud seriously, others in Europe and elsewhere began to do so as well.

An often unacknowledged advantage of Freud's psychoanalytic theory was its shift of etiological significance from biological hereditarian factors (degeneration) to psychodynamic ones (repressed traumatic memories, etc.) in its earliest theoretical formations. Thus one was not doomed by the fate of one's "bad blood" and indeed, one could be renewed through psychoanalytic treatment. This made psychoanalysis especially attractive to the "tainted," including those tainted in Central European culture by their ethnicity, such as Jews. [22] According to psychiatric historian Sander Gilman, Freud "repudiated the model of degeneracy" despite the other dominant nineteenth-century biological assumptions of his theories. [23]

The introduction of a method of treatment that seemed to bypass the biological fate of degeneration and perhaps even reverse its symptoms must have seemed particularly attractive to those -- like Jung -- who were toiling in institutions where hopeless cases seemed to be the rule and not the exception. Other than ordering and perhaps administering the usual somatic treatments (baths, electrotherapy, work therapy, opiates and barbiturates, muffs, camisoles, and other physical restraints), psychiatrists in such institutions engaged in typical medical examination and the diagnostic classification of patients. The claims that Freud was making about psychoanalysis circa 1905 would seem like a ray of hope to the psychiatrist confined with his patients in the back wards of asylums, which were storerooms of human degeneration. Dementia praecox, as Kraepelin first defined it in his famous textbook in 1893, was a degenerative psychotic disorder. Jung, despite his obvious philosophical nature, was always interested in the practical application of ideas in the form of therapeutic methods. Although in his writings at this time (1904-1905) Freud actually said very little about how one should perform psychoanalysis, Jung and his fellow physicians at the Burgholzli attempted to read between the lines of Freud's writings and practice psychoanalysis on their patients. It was the first step towards liberation from hereditary taint that Jung would complete with his own unique formulations in 1916.

The evolution of the psychoanalytic movement from one based on primarily clinical concerns to a totalizing cultural revitalization has been documented by Kerr. [24] Conspicuously few scholars have dared to examine the psychoanalytic movement from the perspective of the sociology of religion even though, as Sulloway notes, "the discipline of psychoanalysis, which has always tapped considerable religious fervor among its adherents, has increasingly come to resemble a religion in its social organization" with its "secular priesthood of soul doctors." [25]

No single study of Freud's branch of the psychoanalytic movement as a charismatic group has been conducted, although, indeed, during the rise of psychoanalysis that was precisely how many viewed the energetic efforts and genius-cult of the "secret committee" circle surrounding Freud and the worldwide movement they promoted. As many other charismatic groups did, following the urgings of the Lebensphilosophen, Freudians appealed to "experience." They believed and violently argued that one could only understand Freud or psychoanalysis after being analyzed by a Freudian psychoanalyst. This reliance upon a specialist elite -- initiated into secret, "occult" knowledge -- who proceeded by an essentially "intuitive" method, illustrates the basis of psychoanalysis in an "aristocratic epistomology." Ironically, given Freud's alliance with reductionist materialism and atheism, in the twentieth century the psychoanalytic movement took on a more than passing resemblance to the nineteenth-century German vitalistic or Lebensphilosophie traditions that left the confines of academia and became social and cultural movements of Lebensreform. [26] The proselytizing Freudians did give Weber, the German "father of sociology," some serious concern, for in private correspondence as early as 1907 he singled out Freud's movement as a quasi-mystical charismatic group based on the personality and ideas of a charismatic leader who was considered to have almost divine qualities. [27]

Others noted the cult-like nature of the psychoanalytic movement as well. Starting in 1909, after the Clark Conference, Freud and psychoanalysis took the American psychiatric community by storm. [28] An apocryphal story about the 1909 ocean voyage to America has Freud turning to Jung and saying, as they arrive in New York harbor, "Don't they know that we're bringing them the plague?" History cannot deny that Freudianism began to infect the North American psychiatric community after this visit, but some critics were immune to the virus. The eminent Columbia University experimental psychologist Robert S. Woodworth charged Freudian psychoanalysis was an "uncanny religion." [29] Another prominent American psychologist, Knight Dunlap, asserted in his early polemical work, Mysticism, Freudianism, and Scientific Psychology, that "psychoanalysis attempts to creep in wearing the uniform of science, and to strangle it from the inside."  [30] Many others also rejected psychoanalysis as an atheistic and materialistic cult. [31]


Another European movement explicitly designed to be an "anti-Christian" path of Lebensreform was the "Monistic Religion" of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). From his post as professor of zoology at the University of Jena, Haeckel dominated German evolutionary biology in the second half of the nineteenth century and was the most prominent proponent of the social implications of Darwinian theory. Over the years Haeckel made many creative departures from Darwin, so many in fact that the tenets of Darwinism were occluded by the renovations of Haeckelism. Since he was a prolific author, and wrote books and articles for both the scholarly and popular presses, it has been said that he dominated the discussion of evolutionary theory in German Europe by providing "the most comprehensive surveys of the Darwinist position authored by a German." [32]

Haeckel published his views on human evolution in 1868, before Darwin did so in 1871 with The Descent of Man. [33] Darwin himself acknowledged Haeckel's priority by several years in formulating the theory of the descent of humans from simian ancestors. Historian of science and evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr credits Haeckel for being "perhaps the first biologist to object vigorously to the notion that all science had to be like the physical sciences or to be based on mathematics." [34] Mayr says Haeckel was the first to insist that evolutionary biology was a historical science involving the historical methodologies of embryology, paleontology, and especially phylogeny.

In particular it was Haeckel's influential "Biogenetic Law" -- "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" -- based on the evidence of these historical methods in biology that eventually had profound implications not only for evolutionary biology, but for psychiatry and psychoanalysis, especially Jung's analytical psychology. Haeckel considered this law as a universal truth -- indeed, for much of his early career, perhaps the only universal truth. That the stages of individual development (ontogeny) could be shown to replicate, in order, the states of the development of the human race (phylogeny) was a compelling theory. Each adult human being, then, in both development and structure, was a living museum of the entire history of the species.

Taking this principle as a starting point, as early as 1866 Haeckel proposed a new "natural religion" based on the natural sciences, since "God reveals himself in all natural phenomena." [35] In many later publications he promoted his pantheistic natural religion based on scientific principles -- a philosophy he called "Monism" -- as a way of linking science and religion. Haeckel was interested in theorizing about the driving natural force of life and evolution, which he insisted Darwin left out of his (therefore) incomplete theories. His somewhat quasi-vitalistic descriptions of monism provided that. However, his first specific recommendations for a monistic religion came in 1892 in a speech in Altenburg. He argued fervently for a monism as a new faith founded on a "scientific Weltanschauung," thus going beyond a mere substitution of atheistic materialism for Christianity (as he was generally perceived as doing by his contemporaries and even by many historians today).
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Re: The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement

Postby admin » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:15 pm

Part 2 of 2

As the 1890s in Central Europe were marked by the rise of volkisch utopianism based on a rejection of the Christian myth and an emphasis on the worship of nature (particularly the sun), many took Haeckel's call for the establishment of a monistic religion in his best-selling book of 1899, Die Weltratsel (The Riddle of the Universe), to heart as a way of winning the Kulturkampf ("the struggle for civilization"). [36] Haeckel himself exhibited a messianic zeal in promoting his logical, new pantheistic "nature religion" through lectures during which he would display his own beautiful hand-colored drawings and etchings of cells, embryos, and other natural phenomena that appealed on an emotional level to those seeking a greater meaning in life through the study of its apparent rationality, organization, beauty, and essential unity. It was visual material that had a striking "shock of the new" quality about it in an age without cinema or television. [37] Haeckel's bizarrely beautiful drawings of radiolarians may have been the source images for a dream Jung had as a teenager that convinced him to study the natural sciences instead of becoming a philologist or archaeologist. [38]

"In the sincere cult of 'the true, the good, and the beautiful,' which is the heart of our new monistic religion, we find ample compensation for the anthropistic ideals of 'God, freedom, and immortality' which we have lost," writes Haeckel, echoing Winckelmann's Apollonianism. [39] In a secular rite of passage, the monist is thus reborn through the rejection of the tenets of organized religion (separation), an initiation into the proof of the essential unity of matter and spirit (a period of liminality), and then participation in local societies promoting monistic ideas (reincorporation).

By 1904 groups all over Central Europe had formed and were known as the Monistenbund (the Monistic Alliance), with some trying out rituals based on
this new scientific religion. In Jena in 1906, under the guiding hand of Haeckel himself, they were formally organized under a single administrative umbrella, like cells united within the individual identity of a larger body. The ground in German Europe has long been fertile for such ideas to take root, especially among German Darwinians, for "a large number of them had abandoned the Christian religion" and, like Haeckel, spoke out against organized religion. [40] The Monistenbund attracted many prominent cultural, occultist, and scientific celebrities as members, including physicist Ernst Mach and sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies. It also attracted such luminaries as the dancer Isadora Duncan, [41] then-Theosophist Rudolph Steiner, [42] and psychiatrist August Forel (1848-1931). [43] Forel was a former director of the Burgholzli and a dominant figure in Switzerland and in the French clinical tradition at the turn of the century. Although he is best remembered for his contributions to psychiatry (and his influence on other prominent figures, such as Bleuler, Adolph Meyer, and Jung), his Monistic League affiliation and his active promotion of eugenics and Social Darwinism are rarely discussed in the historical literature of psychiatry. [44]

Although Haeckel himself was not advocating an atheistic and materialistic philosophy at this time -- he preferred the label "monistic" -- this was the professed emphasis of many of his fanatical cultists. Monism was the unity of matter and spirit (Geist). Haeckel's Apollonian ideals soon disintegrated into Dionysian excess in his view, and he soon distanced himself from his own movement. In 1911 Nobel-laureate Wilhelm Ostwald of Leipzig University, a physical chemist, became president of the Monistenbund and founded a "monistic cloister" devoted to initiating Social Darwinian cultural reforms in the areas of eugenics, euthanasia, and economics. An elite devoted to the preservation of the Monistic Religion clustered around the charismatic Ostwald and his volkisch metaphysical works. [45] Indeed, it is these works of speculative philosophy (Ostwald even embraced the term Naturphilosopllie for this exercise) that made him an international figure long before his 1909 Nobel Prize, and many considered him a prophet of the modern age. [46]

We know that Ostwald was a significant influence on Jung in the formation of his theory of psychological types. Jung mentions Ostwald's division of men of genius into "classics" and "romantics" in his very first public presentation on psychological types at the Psychoanalytical Congress in Munich in September 1913 (published in a French translation in December of that year in Archives de Psychologie), [47] The classics and romantics correspond, according to Jung, to the "introverted type" and the "extraverted type" respectively. Long quotations from Ostwald appear in other of Jung's works between 1913 and 1921 -- precisely the period of Ostwald's most outspoken advocacy of eugenics, nature worship, and German imperialism through the Monistenbund. An entire chapter of Jung's Psychological Types is devoted favorably to these same ideas of Ostwald. [48] Except for a one-sentence comment that "the concept of energy in Ostwald's monism" is "an example of the superstitious overvaluation of facts," Ostwald is often cited at length and frequently favorably. [49] We have evidence that Jung read the Annalen der Naturphilosophie that Ostwald founded in 1901 and that contains some of his essays on his vitalistic "modern theory of energetics," which may have influenced Jung's own later theoretical work on "psychic energy." [50]

World War I and Haeckel's death in 1919 reduced the size of the movement's membership. Before his death Haeckel himself was briefly a member of the Thule Society, the secret organization of prominent nationalists that included prominent members of the National Socialist movement of the 1920s, such as Rudolph Hess. However, due to its exaltation of science over religion and the human over the divine, some early members of the German Communist Party (KDP) in places such as Leipzig were also members of the Monistenbund. East German scholars have tended to focus on Haeckel's similarities to Marxism rather than his many fundamental disagreements with it.[51] During the communist reign in East Germany Haeckel was promoted as a great hero and his home, library, and artistic productions were carefully maintained by the communist regime in a museum in Jena. [52]

Modern totalitarianism is only an episode within the perennial revolt against freedom and reason. From older episodes it is distinguished not so much by its ideology, as by the fact that its leaders succeeded in realizing one of the boldest dreams of their predecessors; they made the revolt against freedom a popular movement. (Its popularity, of course, must not be overrated; the intelligentsia are only a part of the people.) It was made possible only by the breakdown, in the countries concerned, of another popular movement. Social Democracy or the democratic version of Marxism, which in the minds of the working people stood for the ideas of freedom and equality. When it became obvious that it was not just by chance that this movement had failed in 1914 to make a determined stand against war; when it became clear that it was helpless to cope with the problems of peace, most of all with unemployment and economic depression; and when, at last, this movement defended itself only half-heartedly against fascist aggression, then the belief in the value of freedom and in the possibility of equality was seriously threatened, and the perennial revolt against freedom could by hook or by crook acquire a more or less popular backing.

The fact that fascism had to take over part of the heritage of Marxism accounts for the one 'original' feature of fascist ideology, for the one point in which it deviates from the traditional make-up of the revolt against freedom. The point I have in mind is that fascism has not much use for an open appeal to the supernatural. Not that it is necessarily atheistic or lacking in mystical or religious elements. But the spread of agnosticism through Marxism led to a situation in which no political creed aiming at popularity among the working class could bind itself to any of the traditional religious forms. This is why fascism added to its official ideology, in its early stages at least, some admixture of nineteenth-century evolutionist materialism.

Thus the formula of the fascist brew is in all countries the same: Hegel plus a dash of nineteenth-century materialism (especially Darwinism in the somewhat crude form given to it by Haeckel [65]). The 'scientific' element in racialism can be traced back to Haeckel, who was responsible, in 1900, for a prize-competition whose subject was: 'What can we learn from the principles of Darwinism in respect of the internal and political development of a state?' The first prize was allotted to a voluminous racialist work by W. Schallmeyer, who thus became the grandfather of racial biology. It is interesting to observe how strongly this materialist racialism, despite its very different origin, resembles the naturalism of Plato. In both cases, the basic idea is that degeneration, particularly of the upper classes, is at the root of political decay (read: of the advance of the open society). Moreover, the modern myth of Blood and Soil has its exact counterpart in Plato's Myth of the Earthborn. Nevertheless, not 'Hegel + Plato', but 'Hegel + Haeckel' is the formula of modern racialism. As we shall see, Marx replaced Hegel's 'Spirit' by matter, and by material and economic interests. In the same way, racialism substitutes for Hegel's 'Spirit' something material, the quasi-biological conception of Blood or Race. Instead of 'Spirit', Blood is the self-developing essence; instead of 'Spirit', Blood is the Sovereign of the world, and displays itself on the Stage of History; and instead of its 'Spirit', the Blood of a nation determines its essential destiny.

The transubstantiation of Hegelianism into racialism or of Spirit into Blood does not greatly alter the main tendency of Hegelianism. It only gives it a tinge of biology and of modern evolutionism. The outcome is a materialistic and at the same time mystical religion of a self-developing biological essence, very closely reminiscent of the religion of creative evolution (whose prophet was the Hegelian [66] Bergson), a religion which G. B. Shaw, more prophetically than profoundly, once characterized as 'a faith which complied with the first condition of all religions that have ever taken hold of humanity: namely, that it must be ... a meta-biology. And indeed, this new religion of racialism clearly shows a meta-component and a biology-component, as it were, or Hegelian mystical metaphysics and Haeckelian materialist biology.

-- The Open Society and Its Enemies, by Karl R. Popper


Jung read Haeckel copiously during his medical-school years: "I interested myself primarily in evolutionary theory and comparative anatomy, and I also became acquainted with neo-vitalistic doctrines," Jung reveals. [53] Haeckel dominated these sciences. Jung discusses him in his Zofingia lectures, and, given Haeckel's great fame, Jung was certain to know of the promotional efforts of Haeckel and his Monistenbund. Jung read Die Weltriitsel in 1899 and based his own later phylogenetic theories of the unconscious on Haeckel's recommendations for a "phylogeny of the soul." Haeckel proposes a "phylogenetic psychology" as a science of evolutionary research alongside embryology, paleontology, and biological phylogeny. Jung's own comparative method for compiling historical evidence for his hypothesis of the collective unconscious (which he began in October 1909) seems to have been based closely on the methodological suggestions of Haeckel. Haeckel wrote:

The theory of descent, combined with anthropological research, has convinced us of the descent of our human organism from a long series of animal ancestors by a slow and gradual transformation occupying many millions of years. Since, then, we cannot dissever man's psychic life from the rest of his vital functions -- we are rather forced to a conviction of the natural evolution of our whole body and mind -- it becomes one of the main tasks of modern monistic psychology to trace the stages of the historical development of the soul of man from the soul of the brute. Our "phylogeny of the soul" seeks to attain this object; it may also, as a branch of general psychology, be called phylogenetic psychology; or, in contradistinction to biontic (individual), phyletic psychogeny. And, although this new science has scarcely been taken up in earnest yet, and most of the "professional" psychologists deny its very right to exist, we must claim for it the utmost importance and the deepest interest. For, in our opinion, it is its special province to solve for us the great enigma of the nature and origin of the human soul. [54]

Just as Haeckel is responsible for introducing historical methodology to evolutionary biology, Jung introduced an analogous historical approach to the study of the evolution of the human mind and the phylogeny of its unconscious roots in the first part of his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (1911). [55] When both parts -- which had originally appeared in the psychoanalytic Jahrbuch -- were published in book form in 1912, while the main title refers to Freud's influence on Jung, the second subtitle added to the volume, "Contributions to the History of the Evolution of Thought," may be an homage a Haeckel. It is somewhat suspect that Jung never mentions Haeckel by name in this seminal volume although he borrows significantly from him.Jung seems to have been put off by Haeckel's scientism and his perception of Haeckel as a strict mechanist.

This is how Jung introduces his "Haeckelian unconscious":

All this experience suggests to us that we draw a parallel between the phantastical, mythological thinking of antiquity and the similar thinking of children, between the lower races and the dreams. This train of thought is not a strange one for us, but quite familiar through our knowledge of comparative anatomy and the history of development, which show us how the structure and function of the human body are the results of a series of embryonic changes which correspond to similar changes in the history of the race. Therefore, the supposition is justified that ontogenesis corresponds in psychology to phylogenesis. Consequently, it would be true, as well, that the state of infantile thinking in the child's psychic life, as well as in dreams, is nothing but a re-echo of the prehistoric and the ancient. [56]

Two pages of digression later, Jung resumes:

We spoke of the ontogenetic re-echo of the phylogenetic psychology among children, we saw that phantastic thinking is characteristic of antiquity, of the child, and of the lower races; but now we know also that our modern and adult man is given over in large part to this same phantastic thinking, which enters as soon as the directed thinking ceases. A lessening of the interest, a slight fatigue, is sufficient to put an end to the directed thinking, the exact psychological adaptation to the real world, and to replace it with phantasies. We digress from the theme and give way to our own trains of thought; if the slackening of the attention increases, then we lose by degrees the consciousness of the present, and the phantasy enters into the possession of the field. [57]

And again, in summary:

Our foregoing explanations show wherein the products arising from the unconscious are related to the mythical. From all these signs it may be concluded that the soul possesses in some degree historical strata, the oldest stratum of which would correspond to the unconscious. [58]

Haeckel thus becomes the key to understanding the biological ideas underlying Jung's hypothesis of a phylogenetic layer of the unconscious mind circa 1909. In his first published theory to this effect, in 1911, Jung introduces the idea that his phylogenetic layer contains the mythological images and thinking of pagan antiquity: therefore, when Jung's use of language is analyzed to reveal his intent, it is a decidedly pre-Christian layer that has been covered up by centuries of Judeo-Christian sediment. Although initially viewed as, perhaps, "psychosis" or "incipient psychosis" in 1909, by 1916 -- after repudiating the relevance of the Christian myth in his own life in 1912 -- Jung instead advocates deliberately cutting through centuries of strangling Judeo-Christian underbrush to reach the promised land of the "impersonal psyche," a pre-Christian, pagan "land of the Dead," and to thereby be revitalized. The volkisch implications of this will be discussed at length in chapter 5.


A third movement of secular regeneration with mystery-cult aspects, which I will mention only very briefly here, can be found in the "god-building" movement in fin-de-siecle atheistic Russian Marxism. In the 1890s, a group of Bolsheviks led by Maxim Gorky (1838-1936), a friend and disciple of V. I. Lenin (1870- 1924), and Anatoly Lunacharsky (1875-1933) carried on a search in Russia for spiritual renewal through the promotion of what they called the "god-building movement" (bogostroitel'stvo). The god-building movement was a call for "scientific socialism" to be a religion with a god at its center who was human. Sacred cult sites devoted to a chosen atheistic genius of socialism would be established to remind the populace of the immortal, god-like achievements of a true socialist man and thereby renew the pilgrim's hopes of a better life through socialism. The god-building movement was to be a true deification of mankind and of human potential. Lunacharsky, the primary theorist of god-building, laid out the details of his ideas in 1908 and 1911 in a two-volume work, Religiia i sotsializm (Religion and Socialism). Lunacharsky's model seems to have been the cult of genius surrounding Wagner at Bayreuth (see below), as Lunacharsky was the most important promoter of Wagnerism in Russia at the turn of the century. [59]

Lenin detested the Bolshevik god-building movement, and in a 14 November 1913 letter to his friend and disciple Gorky he argues that the belief in any human god constructed by such a movement would be nothing more than necrophilia. For Lunacharsky, this new human god was to be a Marxist version of Nietzsche's ubermensch, who would be "a co-participator in the life of mankind, a link in the chain which stretches towards the overman, towards a beautiful creature, a perfected organism."
[60] This human god could be a political genius such as Lenin, or a scientific one, such as developed somewhat around the figure of T. D. Lysenko. Ironically, Lenin was made the first socialist deity in the years immediately following his death in 1924, as has been documented by historian Nina Tumarkin. [61]


The logical extension of the hypothetical success of these secular programs for the renewal or rebirth of the individual through ostensibly secular philosophies and methodologies would be the production of a new elite that would revolutionize human culture and lead it to a new utopia. In Also Sprach Zarathustra, Nietzsche rhapsodized about this fantasy of a new nobility that would be "the adversary of all the rabble" and be godlike, self-creating "procreators and cultivators and sowers of the future." [62] Psychoanalysis would have its elite of analysts and enlightened analyzed patients; the Monistic Religion, especially under Ostwald, would have its eugenically pure race of scientifically minded natural philosophers; the Marxists of Russia would have their vanguard of the proletariat and Lenin as their first deity.

The Nietzschean fantasy of the creation of a "New Man," a "genius" in the New Order of a revitalized society, was therefore at the root of these and other fin-de-siecle reform movements. Historians Mosse, Jost Hermand, and others have demonstrated that this same fantasy is one of the many mystical or prefascist sources of National Socialism.

The fantasy of a new nobility took other cultural forms as well. As historian Walter Struve has amply documented in Elites Against Democracy (1973), the period between 1890 and 1933 in Germanic Central Europe echoed with calls for Lebensreform that entailed the institution of an "open-yet-authoritarian elite" that would lead the way. [63] This dominant fantasy of bourgeois political culture was conceived in different forms by different theorists, whether they were liberals in search of elites such as Weber or Walter Rathenau, or conservatives such as Spengler or Keyserling. Although racism and anti-Semitism apparently were not part of most elitist programs and philosophies, such a link was made by certain volkisch theorists, especially the National Socialists.

In his extensive review of elite theories, Struve discusses the phenomenon of the formation of cultural elites during this period. Cultural-elite theorists claimed that the ability to create or understand "high culture" in its many forms was a gift of an elect few who must then personify these heights of refinement for the rest of society. The political aims of such groups were often subordinate to the cultural or metaphysical training of a select few initiates who would then form the vanguard for a new cultural and spiritual reawakening of Germany and the world. Of his many examples, Struve cites the highly influential circle around German poet Stefan George (the Georgekreis) as perhaps the best-known group. [64] Keyserling and his School of Wisdom is also included among Struve's examples of cultural elites.

Politically the German working class is infinitely less mature than a clique of journalists, who would like to monopolise its leading positions, are trying to make the working class itself believe. In the circles of these déclassé bourgeois they like to amuse themselves with reminiscences of an epoch now one hundred years in the past. In some cases they have even succeeded in convincing other people; here and there anxious souls see in them the spiritual successors of the men of the Convention. But they are infinitely more harmless than they appear to themselves, for their lives in them not one glimmer of that Catiline energy of the deed which agitated the halls of the Convention. By the same token however they possess no trace of the Convention’s tremendous national passion. Wretched political manipulators – that is what they are. They lack the grand power instincts of a class destined for political leadership. The workers are led to believe that only the upholders of capital’s interests are at present politically opposed to giving them a share in state power. It is not so. They would find very few traces of a community of interest with capital if they investigated the study-rooms of Germany’s scholars and intellectuals.

However the workers too must be asked about their political maturity. There is nothing more destructive for a great nation than to be led by politically uneducated philistines, and the German proletariat has not yet lost this character of philistinism; that is why we are politically opposed to the proletariat. Why is the proletariat of England and France constituted differently, in part? The reason is not only the longer period of economic education accomplished by the English workers’ organized fight for their interests; we have once again what is above all a political element to bear in mind: the resonance of a position of world power. This constantly poses for the state great power-political tasks and gives the individual a political training which we might call ‘chronic’, whereas with us the training is only received when our borders are threatened, i.e. in ‘acute’ cases. The question of whether a policy on the grand scale can again place before us the significance of the great political issues of power is also decisive for our development. We must understand that the unification of Germany was a youthful prank committed by the nation at an advanced age, and should rather have been avoided on grounds of excessive cost if it was to form the conclusion instead of the point of departure for a policy of German world power.

The threatening danger in our situation is this: the bourgeois classes, as repositories of the power-instincts of the nation, seem to be withering, and there is still no sign that the workers have begun to mature so that they can take their place.

The danger does not lie with the masses, as is believed by people who stare as if hypnotized at the depths of society. The final content of the socio-political problem is not the question of the economic situation of the ruled but of the political qualifications of the ruling and rising classes. The aim of our socio-political activity is not world happiness but the social unification of the nation, which has been split apart by modern economic development, for the severe struggles of the future. At present the bourgeoisie is carrying the burden of these struggles, but it is becoming too heavy. Only if we were in fact to succeed in creating a ‘labour aristocracy,’ of the kind we now miss in the workers’ movement, which would be the repository of its political sense, only then could the burden be transferred to the broader shoulders of the workers. But that moment still seems a long way away.

For the present, however, one thing is clear: there is an immense labour of political education to be performed, and no more serious duty exists for us than that of fulfilling this task, each of us in his narrow circle of activity. The ultimate goal of our science must remain that of cooperating in the political education of our nation. The economic development of periods of transition threatens the natural political instincts with decomposition; it would be a misfortune if economic science also moved towards the same objective, by breeding a weak eudaemonism, in however intellectualized a form, behind the illusion of independent ‘socio-political’ ideals.

Of course we do have to remember, and for that very reason, that it is the opposite of political education when one seeks to formulate a vote of no confidence, paragraph by paragraph, against the nation’s future social peace, or when the secular arm reaches for the hand of the church to give support to the temporal authorities. But the opposite of political education is also proclaimed by the stereotyped yelping of the ever growing chorus of the social politicians of the woods and fields – if I may be forgiven the expression. And the same may be said of that softening of attitude which is human, amiable, and worthy of respect, but at the same time unspeakably narrowing in its effects, and leads people to think they can replace political with ‘ethical’ ideas, and to identify these in turn harmlessly with optimistic expectations of felicity.

In spite of the great misery of the masses, which burdens the sharpened social conscience of the new generation, we have to confess openly that one thing weighs on us even more heavily today: the sense of our responsibility before history. Our generation is not destined to see whether the struggle we are engaged in will bear fruit, whether posterity will recognize us as its forerunners. We shall not succeed in exorcising the curse that hangs over us: the curse of being posthumous to a great political epoch. Instead we shall have to learn how to be something different: the precursors of an even greater epoch.

-- The National State and Economic Policy (Freiburg Address), by Max Weber

Rather than referring to this phenomenon as cultural elitism, perhaps for some of these philosophies and cults the term spiritual elitism is more appropriate. The cults of spiritual elitism that I discuss in this book went beyond just the development of an aesthetic appreciation of "high culture" that the George circle (after 1904), in particular, emphasized. These spiritual elites often began as (and often remained) small but influential groups that deliberately separated themselves from greater society in order to develop their own spirituality through metaphysical or neopagan practices. Contact with a transcendental or mystical realm is a central component of becoming a member of a spiritual elite.

In German Europe during the period 1890-1933 we find these as the most prominent of the spiritual elites: the Cosmic Circle circa 1900, which included George and Klages; Keyserling's Darmstadt circle at his Wisdom School; elements of the Bayreuth Circle surrounding Wagner; hierarchical occultist organizations such as the many spiritualist circles and the Theosophical and Anthroposophical Societies; elite members of the leadership of the Monistic Religion movement; certainly the volkisch and Asconan cults (to be discussed later); and even, arguably, the disciples of Gross (a Bohemian circle) and Freud (a bourgeois circle).

The psychoanalytic method is a highly subjective one based on the intuition (acquired through analysis and training) and the authority of the analyst to interpret a mysterious realm of human experience (the unconscious mind) in others. As such, as Lukacs has shown, the social organizations around persons who claim intuitive abilities -- which sets them apart from others -- only developed through a defining "extraordinary experience" (the personal or training analysis) and quickly became aristocratic elites with primarily self-serving economic and political agendas.

As we shall see, Jung's later claims for individuation (rebirth) through analysis (initiation) may be rooted in the same fin-de-siecle fantasy, one of a society influenced by a few perpetually creative, individuated human beings. However, as a form of spiritual elitism, Jung's self-proclaimed "silent experiment" in group psychology would be based on religious elements explicitly borrowed from the ancient Hellenistic mysteries and their modern occult imitators. [65]
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CHAPTER FOUR: Fin-de-Siecle Occultism and Promises of Rebirth

THE VAST MAJORITY of fin-de-siecle persons seeking spiritual renewal that they could not find in Judaism or Christianity, in millenarian political movements such as Marxism or anarchism or volkisch utopian movements (such as Pan-Germanism, Pan- Slavism, or Zionism), or in secular movements such as Haeckel's and Freud's, became involved in occultism. [1] Although one could be "magnetized" by a professional mesmerist or undergo diagnosis and treatment by one of the dwindling number of phrenologists still in clinical practice, be manipulated by an osteopath, aligned by a homeopath, or submit to the medical therapeutics of "nerve specialists" such as hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, or rest cures and a high-fat diet, [2] these methods were the result of a relationship between an individual patient and an individual professional healer and were largely dissociated from ongoing communities with totalizing philosophies of life and networks of reinforcing social support. The sense of belonging to a community with shared goals and shared iconographies of the transcendent was the key element drawing millions to occultism. Each occult group could be distinguished by its unique image of the great chain of being and each designed its social norms and guided its economic activities accordingly. Furthermore, except for a few noted occult elites (such as the Order of the Golden Dawn in England in the 1880s, etc.), the larger occult movements were egalitarian. One did not have to be an artist, a writer, an appreciator of Wagnerian opera, the holder of a college degree, one of the wealthy, or an Oscar Wilde-like "aesthete" of any type to participate in most widespread occult movements. All that one needed was faith in the occult doctrine.

Outside of politics (which was still largely the occupation of men, except for radical groups that had substantial female membership, such as the anarchists or Marxists or groups that comprised the proto-women's movement), occultism was the most readily available vehicle of self-transformation open to the average fin-de-siecle individual of either gender, but it was particularly valuable for women. Participation in occult organizations, often at the highest levels, was a way for women in particular to experience social status and power denied them in other religious contexts, and to express gender-related social concerns and thereby influence society as a whole. [3]

Interestingly, a similar sociological dynamic may have been instrumental in the rise of the Christ cult in the polytheistic Roman Empire, for both the pagan apologist Celsus and the Christian apologist Origen of the third century C.E. specifically cite the leading role of women of the upper classes in the development of Christianity. [4] Such intelligent, wealthy women were also instrumental in the development of the social organizations surrounding the cults of the saints, whose widely distributed cult sanctuaries were the object of pilgrimages throughout the Roman world of late antiquity. Tombs, shrines, and their sacred relics generated enormous income for early Church organizations and bishoprics from fee-paying pilgrims seeking transformative experiences while praying and fasting in the presence of the decaying body part or former personal possession of a Christian saint or martyr. [5] However, once the bureaucratic organs of Christian authority began to ossify in the fourth and fifth centuries, unlike their pagan predecessors, "only among Christians is women's religious leadership an issue. Only Christians both attempt, sometimes successfully, to exclude women from religious office and community authority and argue about it." [6]

Of the many occultist movements of the nineteenth century, the intimately connected spiritualist movement and one of its offshoots, the Theosophical Society, deserve special comment as both were influential in very different ways on the life and work of Jung. An additional movement with mystical or occultist elements, Wagnerism, also deserves some comment, as does the broader volkisch movement that sprang up in German Europe at the turn of the century. These, too, as we shall see, were significant influences on Jung.

The fin-de-siecle trend towards extra- or anti-Christian movements that advocated personal religion was commented on by sociologists other than Germans such as Tonnies and Weber. In France, Emilie Durkheim (1858-1917) observed early in his seminal work, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912), that, "Not only are these individual religions very frequent in history, but nowadays many are asking if they are not destined to be the pre-eminent form of the religious life, and if the day will not come when there will be no other cult than that which each man will freely perform within himself." [7]

Addressing this same issue in a 1974 essay on "The Occult and the Modern World," the eminent historian of religion Mircea Eliade discusses the personal religious practices of the occult revival of the 1960s and 1970s with reference to its similarities to the occult revivals of the nineteenth century. At issue in both the nineteenth- and twentieth-century occult revivals is not just a rejection of the Christian myth, but a desire to return to the example provided by the ancient mystery cults of the Hellenistic world:

What is more general is a rejection of Christian tradition in the name of a supposedly broader and more efficient method for achieving an individual and, by the same stroke, a collective renovatio. Even when these ideas are naively or even ludicrously expressed, there is always the tacit conviction that a way out of the chaos and meaninglessness of modern life and that this way out implies an initiation into, and consequentially the revelation of, old and venerable secrets. It is primarily the attraction of a personal initiation that explains the craze for the occult. As is well known, Christianity rejected the mystery-religion type of secret initiation. The Christian "mystery" was open to all; it was "proclaimed upon the housetops," and Gnostics were persecuted because of their secret rituals of initiation. In the contemporary occult explosion, the "initiation" -- however the participant may understand this term -- has a capital function: it confers a new status on the adept; he feels that he is somehow "elected," singled out from the anonymous and lonely crowd. Moreover, in most of the occult circles, initiation also has a superpersonal function, for every new adept is supposed to contribute to the renovatio of the world. [8]

The membership of these various groups overlapped considerably, as their common promise of renovatio (renewal or rebirth) was the main attraction. Many individuals had con temporaneous involvement in two or more occultist movements and would drift in and out as desired. What could not be found in one organization could perhaps be found in another. There were several fin-de-siecle movements of renovatio through secret initiation into "old and venerable secrets" that were well known to Jung and the classical scholars of his day.


It appears that in all eras of human history, and at all levels of societal complexity, there have always been individuals who have been regarded as specialists in communicating with the gods -- or, more prevalently, with the dead. These mediums between the sacred and the profane traditionally enter altered states of consciousness in which they engage in direct dialogue with extra mundane entities or in which they seem to become possessed by such entities, thereby allowing the otherworldly being to speak through the body and voice of the medium. This form of religious activity is prevalent even today. [9]

In pagan antiquity, the average individual in the Greco- Roman world would be very familiar with the entranced female oracle of Delphi, the Pythia, and a teeming multitude of soothsayers, diviners, exorcists, and others who claimed to receive special messages from beyond, which-for a fee-could be imparted to those seeking counsel. [10] It has been argued that there is evidence that the pagan world primarily considered Jesus of Nazareth a magician (magus) with special powers to command spirits and heal others through exorcisms (much like shamans in traditional societies), but that these images of Jesus were deliberately destroyed by the early Christian Church. [11] Since most early Christians were converted from Greco-Roman paganism, there is evidence that the induction of altered states of consciousness ("trances"), so characteristic of some Hellenistic oracular traditions, also played a role among some early Christian prophets. [12] This occult underworld of mediumship, possession, and exorcism has always existed in Europe despite attempts in various epochs (primarily by orthodox Christian and Communist elites) to eradicate it.

The loosening of the bonds of orthodox ecclesiastical authority in Europe following the Enlightenment allowed for more implicit tolerance of ecstatic or charismatic Christian activity from this "occult underground" [13] as long as the authority of organized Christian churches was not directly threatened. [14] The belief in the Christian afterlife remained strong among the majority of nineteenth-century individuals, and with the vicissitudes of numerous wars, incurable diseases, and high infant, child, and maternal mortality rates, there was a great hunger to maintain relationships with the deceased despite the barrier of physical death.

Given the weakening of traditional ecclesiastical authority and the greater emphasis on personal decision making and individual action so typical of the Protestant ethic, it is no coincidence that the spiritualist movement arose in a largely Protestant America, a "Protestant Empire," to use historian Sydney Ahlstrom's metaphor, whose increasingly distant ties with the Old World made the spirit world seem so accessible-especially since it did not require clerical intercessors. [15]

The spiritualist movement traces its origins to the rappings and other phenomena attributed to spirits of the dead in the house of the Fox sisters of Hydesville (near Rochester), New York, in 1848. Once the Fox sisters determined that the rapping noises emanating from the walls and floors of their house were a kind of Morse code (the telegraph was a relatively new phenomenon at that tine), they began what the early historian of modern American spiritualism Emma Hardinge referred to in 1869 as "the achievement of a telegraphic communication between the visible and invisible worlds." [16] Once word spread that there was an easy method of contacting the dead, others attempted the same telegraphic method used by the Fox sisters and subsequently developed innovations (automatic writing, crystal gazing, possession trances, etc.) that led to new social and economic elites. A new social role emerged -- that of the medium -- who could dissociate and allow the spirits to speak directly through their vocal apparatus (the "mental medium") or induce spirits of the dead to write on slates, move planchettes, levitate furniture, or play accordions in the presence of flabbergasted clients (the "physical medium"). The most charismatic of this new class of mediums could in many instances attract a large following and become quite wealthy. By 1850 there were spiritualist circles surrounding mediums throughout New England and in other parts of the United States. By the early 1860s, spiritualism had become prominent in the parlors and salons of Europe. The horrific casualties of the American Civil War (1861-1865) stimulated the spiritualist movement in the United States, so that by the fin de siecle perhaps millions of individuals had, at one time or another, participated in such circles.

The allure of spiritualism was its simplicity and egalitarianism: almost anyone could attempt, with some margin of success, direct communication with the dead, and spiritualist circles and (later) organizations and "churches" (with Christian-oriented services) were open to anyone with "the will to believe," to use the words of William James (1842-1910), a student and explorer of the phenomena of spiritualism. [17] Seances could be held right in your own home at any time. The bureaucracy of Christianity, with its layers upon layers of mediators and its official discouragement of direct mystical experience, could thus be circumvented. Christianity supplied the theory; spiritualism provided the praxis, with technical assistance from Mesmerism, which taught hypnotic-induction techniques that could be used by aspiring mediums for entering trances.18 Jung, as is well known, had a very early interest in spiritualism and attended many seances throughout his life. Jung used such hypnotic induction procedures to place his cousin Helene Preiswerk into mediumistic trances during the seances he attended with her in the 1890s.

Women rose to positions of significant influence in spiritualist circles. It was there that they could assume spiritual leadership roles denied them by the patriarchal structure of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. Women not only comprised the majority of the most gifted mental and physical mediums, but they provided the organizational and financial support of the movement as well. Perhaps the single most influential woman in occultist circles in the nineteenth century (and in many ways, arguably the most influential woman in Europe and America at the time), was a Russian emigre to the United States, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), spiritualist medium and the founder of the Theosophical movement.


Little is known of the first four decades of Blavatsky's life, although several biographers have attempted to fill in the gaps.19 She arrived in New York in the summer of 1873, apparently penniless, traveling steerage from France. Blavatsky was, by all accounts, a highly intelligent and canny individual, and before long she had secured an apartment on Irving Place in ew York where she conducted spiritualist seances as a source of income. She produced both physical and mental phenomena: levitation, materializations, and messages from the deceased. Like most mediums, she had a "control" or "spirit guide," whom she met while in her trances and who supplied her with information from the beyond. Her first control was named John King, and she often referred to him as her "Holy Guardian Angel." Later, whenever she entered trances she began to have more frequent contact with a collection of guru-like "ascended masters," known as the "brothers" who were spiritual beings that existed in their sanctuary in Tibet. She became their disciple, their tulku, and began to dispense their teachings to her clients.

By 1875, after a glowing report on her mediumistic powers in the New York Daily Graphic by investigative journalist Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, her circle grew enormously popular. In addition to her seances, her salon hosted lectures by experts on archaeology and on various world religions and mystical traditions (including the ancient Hellenistic ll'\ystery cults). Aided by Olcott (whom she had won over as a loyal disciple) and W. Q. Judge, Blavatsky decided to found an organization that would promote her ideas. She chose the name theosophy ("knowledge of God" or "divine wisdom") for her doctrine, which was based on the idea that all of the world religions and spiritual traditions down through history were derived from a long-lost "secret doctrine" that had been revealed to her by these divine beings. The secret doctrine included detailed explanations of the karmic rules of reincarnation, of the cosmic memory bank known as the "Akashic records" that could be consulted by those suitably trained to learn the history of an individual soul or the arcane history of the human race (the lost continents of Lemuria, Atlantis, and the "root races" of mankind, which prominently described the "Aryan race"). The organization developed into a densely hierarchical secret society that required initiations into mysteries that at each level provided the "keys" for understanding more and more of the essence of life: the secret doctrine itself. Initiates into Theosophy were trained to develop their powers of clairvoyance, telepathy, teleportation, mediumship, and other psychic powers. At the highest levels of initiation they were trained to enter visionary trances to commune with spiritual beings who acted as spirit guides or gurus.

In this same year -- 1875 -- in New York, Blavatsky formed the first of many branches of the Theosophical Society that by 1900, would be spread throughout North America, Europe, and especially India, where large ashrams housed thousands of Theosophists engaged in spiritual practices and served as a world headquarters for the Theosophical Society. Exact numbers are impossible to determine with accuracy, but it would be safe to say that at its height, during the period of Annie Besant's leadership following the death of Blavatsky in 1891, the Theosophical movement directly involved hundreds of thousands, if not peripherally millions, of individuals. [20] Prominent among these were poets Lord Tennyson and W. B. Yeats; the young Mahatma Gandhi; the Goethe scholar, spiritualist medium, and founder (in 1913) of the rival occultist tradition Anthroposophy, Rudolph Steiner; and Thomas Edison, who was busy in the 1890s trying to invent a phonograph-like device to speak to the spirit world. (The Theosophical Society continues to thrive today, but with nowhere near the widespread cultural influence it wielded circa 1900.)

After founding the Theosophical Society in 1875, Blavatsky began writing her first Theosophical work, Isis Unveiled, which was published in New York in 1877. This work is not strictly an outline of Theosophical doctrine, which was still in its formative stages, but instead a survey of the Western occult traditions of alchemy, astrology, ritual magic, and witchcraft, and also Eastern philosophies. In this work she first puts forth the core Theosophical concept that a secret spiritual science and doctrine was known to the ancients but largely lost to us except in its diluted form in the teachings of the world's great religions. However, a secret spiritual brotherhood of adepts would transmit this doctrine to select individuals to translate for the masses of their respective ages. Such enlightened initiates, according to Blavatsky, included Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster, Mohammed, and, of course, Blavatsky herself. Blavatsky claimed to be in trance-communication with these ascended masters who, indeed, were kind enough to write whole pages of Isis Unveiled for her while she slept(!). Blavatsky was well aware of the ancient Hellenistic mystery cult of Isis, and with the help of one of her spiritual gurus, she was initiated into these mysteries through a trance that allows Isis to merge with her and inspire her automatic writing. Automatic writing was also implicated in her more mature work, the two-volume Theosophical masterpiece, The Secret Doctrine (1888), which is her contribution (as she states in her preface) to the occultist tradition of "the great Adepts of the Aryan Race." This is how Blavatsky describes her method for writing Isis Unveiled:

I am solely occupied, not with writing Isis, but with Isis herself. I live in a kind of permanent enchantment, a life of visions and sights, with open eyes, and no chance whatever to deceive my senses! I sit and watch the fair good goddess constantly. And as she displays before ITlethe secret meaning of her long-lost secrets, and the veil, becoming with every hour thinner and more transparent, gradually falls off before my eyes. I hold my breath and can hardly trust to my senses! ... Night and day the images of the past are marshalled before my inner eyes. Slowly, and gliding silently like images in an enchanted panorama, centuries after centuries appear before me ... I certainly refuse point-blank to attribute it to my own knowledge or memory. I tell you seriously I am helped. And he who helps me is my Guru. [21]

Blavatsky's refusal to attribute her "images of the past" to previously learned material in her personal memory is a pivotal issue that concerned Jung as well. Cryptomnesia-"hidden memories" that one is not even aware of-was a lifelong problem for his hypothesis of a collective unconscious. Like Blavatsky and her two "mahatmas" or spiritual masters, Jung, too, would undergo visionary time travel to antiquity and be assisted by a series of imaginal figures, most notably his spiritual guru Philemon. These issues will be discussed in detail below.

It is commonly suggested that Jung's assistant and intimate companion Antonia Wolff (1888-1953), who first entered Jung's life in 1911, was the one who introduced him to Eastern philosophies and astrology. Although this suggested influence may be overstated, her sources of information on these subjects probably came from these ubiquitous Theosophical publications.

Part of the story of Theosophy's rapid spread throughout the fin-de-siecle world is due to the technological advances in printing that began to bear fruit by the 1880s, just at the time that the Theosophical Society came together as an active, purposeful organization. In 1846 the rotary press was invented (and with it the linotype machine, automatic paper feeders and cutters, cheap newsprint and paper, and the halftone process for reproducing photographs). Publications such as daily newspapers that could only manage say, a 25,000-copy circulation in the 1850s found themselves with manageable circulations of more than a million by the 1890s. [22] Both popular science and occultist publications became especially common and readily available in all urban areas of Europe by the end of the century.

The Theosophical Society played a key role in the dissemination of occultist doctrines at the turn of the century through its numerous local societies in America, England, Germany, Austria (Vienna), Switzerland (Zurich), and even Russia. [23] These local groups sponsored lecture series, classes, and especially distributed the numerous publications of the Theosophical Publishing Society based in London and Benares, India. Starting in the 1880s (and continuing today), any clerk, waiter, businessman, high-society maven, domestic servant, housewife, university professor, politician, institutionalized mental patient, indeed anyone, could easily find the ubiquitous Theosophical publications that summarized in plain language (but with a Theosophical slant) the ideas of Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, Western European philosophy, astrology, Neoplatonism, Egyptian religion, vegetarianism, the New Testament gospels and apocrypha, astral projection, clairvoyance and telepathy, polytheistic Greco-Roman religions, the Greek magical papyri (including the "Mithraic Liturgy"), Gnosticism, alchemy, Hermeticism, and the various Hellenistic mystery cults -- just to name a few of the many topics covered in these productions.

The great philosophies of the East were distilled and marketed en masse to Western civilization to a greater extent than had ever been possible at any previous time in history. The enormous Theosophical publishing machine thus set the stage for the familiar countercultural fascination with these topics, beginning in Ascona, Switzerland and Munich circa 1900, and continuing through the beatniks, hippies, Greens, and New Agers of more recent times. [24]

In German Europe, Theosophical books, pamphlets, and especially periodicals began to appear in abundance in the late 1880s in original German editions. Die Sphinx began publication as a monthly in Leipzig in 1886. Theosophisches Leben, a monthly periodical, was published in Berlin between 1898 and 1920. Other prominent Theosophical periodicals that were widely available were Die Gnosis (Vienna, 1903); Der theosophische Wegweiser (Leipzig, 1898); Lotusbluthen (Leipzig, 1892, under the editorship of Franz Hartmann); Metaphysische Rundschall (Gross-Lichterfelde, 1896); Prana (Leipzig, 1909); Theosophie (Leipzig, 1910); Der Wanderer (Leipzig, 1906); and Zentralblatt fur Okkultismus (Leipzig, 1907).

Additionally, from 1896 to 1904, the "Eugen Diederichs Verlag: Publishing House for Modern Endeavors in Literature, Natural Science, and Theosophy" was in full operation in Leipzig under the direction of the volkisch pantheist Eugen Diederichs. After moving to Jena in 1904, Diederichs played an important role in the dissemination of occult, mythological, and volkisch literature as well as the finest examples of German "high culture." Diederichs will be discussed at length in a later chapter.

In 1910 the Theosophical Publishing Society began publishing an enormous number of books on astrology, making such works available to the German-speaking public on a mass scale that was unprecedented. Interestingly, Jung's first mention of his study of astrology is in a 12 June 1911 letter to Freud. [25] By 1916 Jung could remark, "The truth is that astrology flourishes as never before. There is a regular library of astrological books and magazines that sell for far better than the best scientific works." [26] Jung is perhaps referring here to these very Theosophical publications. A superb bibliography of these obscure Theosophical and other (especially volkisch) books, journals, and pamphlets that appeared in German during this period can be found in a recent book by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. [27]

Although much of the information in these Theosophical works was based on mere fluff, a more valuable portion of it had previously existed only in dry, obscure scholarly volumes weighted down with footnote apparatus containing untranslated citations in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and other forbidding languages. Besides the occultist mishmash of this more serious material in the journals, certain gifted Theosophical authors could produce scholarly works on archaeological, mythological, religious, or occultist subjects that were still accessible to the common individual without a university education who sought extra-Christian sources of spiritual inspiration. Such a talented scholar and writer was G.R.S. Mead (1863-1933).

Mead remains an enormous -- but still unacknowledged -- influence on Jung. Jung's personal library contains no fewer than eighteen different scholarly studies written by Mead, all published by the Theosophical Publishing Society. [28] Many of these were volumes in the Theosophical Society's Echoes from the Gnosis series, and thus Mead was Jung's "stepping-stone to higher things." [29] Mead was a true Theosophist and viewed his impressive scholarly work as a personal path to spiritual renewal and wisdom (gnosis). All of his writings are focused on bringing the reader closer to his or her own personal mystical experience of gnosis through the study of the ideas of the ancient adepts. For Mead, as for Jung, scholarship was holy work. Jung's post-Freudian work (after 1912), especially his theories of the collective unconscious and the archetypes, could not have been constructed without the works of Mead on Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and the Mithraic Liturgy. These works were primarily responsible for giving Jung the key to the importance of Gnosticism and Hermeticism for his historical study of the unconscious. Jung cites Mead regularly in his works starting in 1911, and continues to throughout his entire lifetime. Near the end of his life Mead made several trips to Kusnacht-Zurich to visit with Jung. However, documents concerning the nature of their personal relationship have not yet come to light.


It is difficult for those of us living in the 1990s to understand the tremendous cultural, musical, political, and religious impact that Richard Wagner (1813-1883) had on the entire Western world in the late nineteenth century. The German composer's influence extended far beyond just the musical innovations in his various operas (most notably the Ring Cycle and Parsifal). Wagner was a learned man and was greatly influenced by the philosophical works of Schopenhauer, the ancient Greek tragedists, and especially the nineteenth-century literature on Teutonic or Germanic myths and legends ("German antiquity," as he referred to it), which made up the bulk of the titles in his private library in Dresden early in his creative career, and which are now in the museum of his former house, Wahnfried, in Bayreuth. [30] His numerous essays and commentaries on a wide variety of social, political, cultural, philosophical, and racial issues are contained in a sixteen-volume collection that rivals the size and scope of Jung's Collected Works or Freud's Standard Edition.  [31] Generations of disciples and cultural historians have generated an immense secondary literature of scholarship and pseudo-scholarship on the life and work of this remarkable man, [32] who may be said to rank with Darwin and Marx in terms of the pervasiveness of his contemporary influence on Western culture. [33]

Wagner deliberately lived out the Romantic fantasy of a "philosopher- genius." He envisioned the operatic spectacles of his later decades as great Teutonic mystery-plays, and he sought to unite the soul of the German peoples through his music and Germanic mythological themes. Thus, after the Prussian unification of Germany in 1871 under the iron fist of Bismarck, Wagner found a national climate fanatically supportive of his Pan-Germanic utopian dreams. For years he petitioned various prospective patrons for the money to build a special Festspielhaus in which to exclusively produce his grand operas. A town between Bavaria and Prussia was decided upon, and after four years of construction Wagner's theater-temple of the German nation had its inaugural festival in the summer of 1876.

Bayreuth became the only place to witness "the Master" in performance. Like Eleusis in ancient Greece, which was the only place in the pagan world to experience the mysteries of the Two Goddesses (Demeter and Persephone) and therefore unlike all other mystery cults with their multiple initiation sites, Bayreuth became the place -- especially if you were of Germanic heritage -- to be reborn. Nowhere was this idea more clearly stated than in a book by an Indologist from Vienna University, Leopold von Schroder, entitled Die Vollendung des arischen Mysteriums in Bayreuth (Fulfillment of the Aryan Mystery at Bayreuth) published in Munich in 1911. As von Schroder exuberantly explains:

After a separation of more than five thousand years, the Aryan tribes can meet together for the first time in a designated place to contemplate the ancient mysteries fulfilled in a new form. Thanks to Wagner, Bayreuth has become the center of all the Aryan peoples, and this very fact guarantees an astonishing supremacy to Germany and the Germans. [34]

The fantasy was that one could emerge from Wagner's Festspielhaus and feel totally transformed, indeed as if a stranger to oneself, and many persons could attest that this did indeed happen. Wagner and his theater-temple performances became the center of a mystery cult with mystical overtones. People from all over the Western world made pilgrimages to Bayreuth, and during the annual festivals when the Ring Cycle would be repeatedly performed, Bayreuth took on the aura of a sacred shrine. Mark Twain irreverently recounted his 1891 visit to "the shrine of St. Wagner," feeling at times "like a sane person in the community of the mad" in Bayreuth, but he was not immune to its transformative mystical effects. Twain described it as "one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.... I have never seen anything so fine and real as this devotion." [35]

Wagner, and especially the small Bayreuth Circle of zealous disciples after his death, distinguished between mere Wagnerites who came to his performances just to be seen or to hear the music, and then true Bayreuthers who were informed listeners and who constantly strove for an intellectual and spiritual understanding of its underlying philosophical and artistic meaning. Wagnerism soon became a worldwide phenomenon with hundreds of local chapters and associations throughout Europe and the United States. At the turn of the century, all the major universities in German-speaking countries (including Basel University, where Jung was studying) maintained Wagner associations of students, many of which were based on Pan-Germanic sentiments and its increasing association with anti-Semitism. Periodicals appeared such as the esteemed Bayreuther Blatter, which Wagner himself contributed to, or England's The Meister, in which the social, political, and especially the hidden mystical meanings in Wagner's literary and musical works were analyzed. Theosophists read between the lines of libretto or bars of music for elements of the eternal secret doctrine, for was not Wagner one of the true initiates along with Jesus, the Buddha, and Blavatsky? Nationalistic Germans sought cleansing and transcendence through his Bayreuth festival mystery initiations and were inspired by Wagner's essays advocating Pan-Germanism and anti-Semitism. In his commentary on Wagner's Ring Cycle designed to raise the level of consciousness of the average Wagnerite, George Bernard Shaw spoke of Wagnerism in Theosophical or mystery-cult language that appeals to the vanity of spiritual elitism:

It is generally understood, however, that there is an inner ring of superior persons to whom the whole work has a most urgent and searching philosophic and social significance. I profess to be such a superior person; and I write this pamphlet for the assistance of those who wish to be introduced to the work on equal terms with that inner circle of adepts. [36]

Wagnerism became an influential social and political movement and a modern mystery cult based on the idealized image of Wagner and his life, and on his home and sacred theater-temple site in Bayreuth. For many, Wagnerism became a form of personal religion with a totalizing world view and promise of transformation. [37] Even Cosima Wagner, his long-time mistress and then wife could repeatedly feel the numinous element in Wagner, revealing in her diaries, "That it is his art which found the note for the mystery of faith which possesses me, and that the wordless fervor of my soul sings through him -- oh, what bliss, what grace!" [38]

In the twentieth century the elite Bayreuth Circle led by Cosima Wagner had become so openly anti-Jewish and nationalistic that in the 1920s Adolf Hitler, then the leader of the National Socialists, would make several pilgrimages to Bayreuth and kiss the dying hand of Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927), next to Cosima Wagner the dominant figure in Bayreuth after Wagner's death. When Hitler came to power in January 1933 he elevated Bayreuth to the position of an officially funded sacred national shrine and attended the annual festivities. [39] In 1923, after viewing Wagner's grave, an emotionally overwhelmed Hitler vowed to Cosima, Siegfried Wagner (her son by Wagner), and Siegfried's wife, Winifred, "Out of Parsifal I will make a religion!"  [40] Thus during the 1930s, the Bayreuth festivals had become the mysteries of the Nazi state.

We have no concrete evidence, but given his frequent travels to Germany from neighboring Switzerland, it is quite probable that Jung visited Bayreuth. What is certain is that Jung was a Wagnerite and was smitten with Wagnerismus early in his psychiatric career and perhaps throughout his life. In a 13 June 1909 entry in her diaries, Jung's former patient, psychiatric assistant, and intimate companion Sabina Spielrein describes an intimate moment with Jung in 1907 or 1908 in which Jung's eyes "fill with tears" of understanding as she excitedly describes the "psychological" nature of Wagner's music. She says that both she and Jung found that they liked the opera Das RheingoLd the best, and that this common love for Wagner was evidence that their "souls were profoundly akin." [41] Trigant Burrow, an American psychiatrist who trained with Jung for a year (1909-1910) in Kusnacht-Zurich, delightedly "sitting at the feet of this Swiss Seer" as he puts it, reveals in an 11 December 1909 letter to his mother that he attended a performance of Wagner's Der fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) with Jung. [42] Jung's friend, colleague, and biographer Laurens van der Post speaks of "Wagner's equinoxial music, which Jung himself, insofar as he allowed himself music, preferred." [43]

Wagner's selective treatment of Germanic mythology in his later operas often focused on the heroic figure of Siegfried, a symbol that became dominant in Jung's personal and professional lives. During a critical period at the beginning of his "confrontation with the unconscious," Jung has dreams of the murder of Siegfried that parallel events in the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle, Gotterdammerung. Jung personalizes this Wagnerian material in the self-analysis of his dream. [44] Siegfried as a "sun hero," a reborn son/sun like the Egyptian Horus (represented by a solar disk) is analyzed in his 1912 book, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido. [45] A more intimate connection is, again, to be found in the diaries of Spielrein, who is, on and off, deeply in love with Jung and fantasizes about giving birth to a male Germanic child named Siegfried. Jung and Spielrein discuss this Siegfried fantasy of a common love-child in letters to each other dated as late as January 1918, long after they parted company, in which Spielrein refers to "my Siegfried problem." [46] Although Wagner had sired two daughters with Cosima while they were both married to others, Siegfried Wagner (1869-1930) was also conceived during this extramarital affair. By 1907 or so, this was the sort of well-known "celebrity gossip" that the average person knew about Wagner, and such a fantasy of the eventual heroic triumph of the genius to win his mistress and sire a Siegfried seems to have been one of the scripts through which Jung and Spielrein enacted their relationship. After becoming famous for his own theories and his own movement after World War I, Jung's home in Kusnacht-Zurich very much became the Bayreuth of the Jungians, the only place to experience the master in performance. Such was the impact of Wagner on the mnemonic consciousness of his initiates that his dramatic brand of Germanic mythology could be played out in the lives, dreams, and souls of individuals such as Jung and especially Spielrein, who was of Jewish descent.

Wagnerism was only one of the paths to volkisch renovatio. Others are outlined in the chapter that follows.
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Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER FIVE: Volkisch Utopianism and Sun Worship

NINETEENTH-CENTURY Europe witnessed a revival of what has been termed volkisch ("folkish") movements, nationalistic groups bonded together by a common ethnic and cultural identity (the idea of Volk) and seeking a political and cultural return to an idealized past or golden age. A new utopian golden age of the Volk could then be established. Heredity became infused with social and political aims, and supported by "scientific" medical and psychiatric theories of hereditary degeneration. Many volkisch groups -- especially Pan-German and Pan-Slavic groups -- elevated notions of racial purity to a quasi-scientific, quasi-mystical ideal. Although Zionism is essentially a volkisch movement, as historians such as Carl Schorske have pointed out, it is primarily the Pan-Germanic movement of the nineteenth century that is meant by the term volkisch or Volkstumbewegung ("volkisch movement").

On and off since the sixteenth century wistful reference has been made to "the old Teutons" that are the mythic ancestors of ethnic German peoples. As with most national myths, very little in fact is known about the beliefs and actions of the actual Teutonic or Germanic tribes of pagan Europe. Most of the information upon which such fantasies are based comes from an ancient Roman source: the Germania by Tacitus. Historian Ekkehard Hieronimus has summarized the interest in Germanic religion since the recording of Germanic sagas and myths by Snorri Sturulson (1179-1241) until what he claims is the "late" (nineteenth-century) interest of German scholars in the history, life, and thought of the German Volk due to the "strong fixation of historians on the Greco-Roman area as the only world of culture."  [1] Such nineteenth-century research on the Germans, Hieronimus argues, was adopted by neopagan groups devoted to reexperiencing the Germanic mysteries. Indeed, a return to the golden age and "natural" life of the Teutons has frequently been invoked by German groups appealing to renewal or rebirth.

In Germany and Switzerland, the Pietist movement in the early eighteenth century used such volkisch appeals in its efforts to revive religion by fashioning a specifically German brand of Protestantism. By the mid-1700s, according to Hermand, it was "often difficult to distinguish between the concepts of an 'inner' and an 'outer' fatherland in Pietist writings." [2] Furthermore, "in these circles the secularization of a number of bourgeois/protestant concepts such as the family, the community, and the notion of a sacrificial death was characterized by an increasing patriotism which drew parallels between Christ's martyrdom and the martyrdom of national heroes like Siegfried or Arminius." [3] These very same themes of sacrificial death and the identification of the Christian god with the Teutonic god would resurface prominently two centuries later in a signal work by a descendant of German Protestant pietists -- Jung's noted Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (1912). [4]

In the 1800s, the idea of uniting the dozens of German principalities and other political units was based on an appeal to reunite and revive the ancient Volk. Pan-Germanism spread throughout all the traditionally areas as well as throughout Austria-Hungary and even in Switzerland. Before Pan-Germanism developed into a predominantly anti-Semitic movement at the end of the century, many secular Jews seeking greater political influence through more thorough assimilation into Christian circles (rather than further segregation through Reform Judaism) participated in Pan-Germanic activities. The young Freud was such a person, briefly caught up in Pan-Germanism during his student years. However, his experience with anti-Semitism during this time "put an end forever to the phase of German nationalistic enthusiasm through which he passed in early years." [5]

By the fin de siecle, small German volkisch groups, influenced in no small part by the occult revival of the nineteenth century, began forming throughout Germany and Austria-Hungary, and especially in Switzerland. Germanic seekers of renewal and rebirth who had perhaps started out in spiritualism or Theosophy began to become attracted to philosophies based on more mundane nationalistic, hereditarian, or anti-Semitic principles of renovatio. Thus, as in the case of the prominent Viennese occultist Friedrich Eckstein (1861-1939), participation in a Wagnerian Bund led to further metamorphoses into spiritualism and Theosophy. [6] Eckstein was the founder of the prominent Vienna Theosophical Society in 1886 and was a close associate of composers Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler, Viktor Adler (leader of the Austrian socialists), Franz Hartmann (a prominent Theosophist), and Steiner.

It was not long before volkisch groups began to adopt the methods of spiritualism and Theosophy to seek rebirth. Such an evolution seemed natural:

The uses of theosophy for political purposes consisted in its universal and non-Christian perspective upon the cosmos, against which the sources of Teutonic belief, customs and folk-identity could be located. Indeed the very structure of theosophical doctrine lent itself to volkische thought. The implicit elitism of the mahatmas with superhuman wisdom corresponded to the whimsies of a master race; the notion of an occult gnosis in theosophy, notably its obscuration by Christian orthodoxy, accorded with the attempts to ascribe a long pedigree to German volkische nationalism, especially in view of its really recent origins. [7]

Circa 1900 volkisch groups that promised direct initiations into the mysteries of the ancient Teutonic tribes began to appear. Admittedly, most of these neopagan groups were rather fluid and left little recorded history, but as Hermand notes, this period was clearly marked "by a veritable deluge of the most diverse groups, parties, fraternities, and lodges" in which it is apparent that "the politically immature bourgeoisie has become intoxicated with Teutonism." [8] The innumerable pamphlets and booklets of volkisch groups have been lost to us as the ephemera or "fragments of a faith forgotten," but some scholars have devoted attention to what little remains. [9]

Common characteristics across many of these groups seem to have included the following: a rejection of Christianity in favor of a mystical Volk connection with the ancient Aryan peoples (especially the Teutons); nature-worship, hiking, and nudism; [10] neopagan rituals (dancing around bonfires, magical ceremonies invoking the Norse -- and sometimes Greek -- gods); the study of the Aryan roots of occult symbolism (such as the swastika, popularized in the writings of Blavatsky, and the Norse runes, which the Nazis later used as symbols on their uniforms and to represent various Nazi associations); the idealization of the ancient Teutonic warrior (such as Siegfried); the exaltation of "the deed" (die Tat) over mere words; the preference of intuition over rational judgment; techniques for the direct experience of God without Christian intercessors; a fascination with the medieval Grail legends and Wagner's Parsifal, with the purity of Aryan blood depicted as the grail that must be sought and protected at all costs; [11] and, of course, anti-Semitism.

The best documented circle is the Guido von List Society, founded in Vienna in March 1908. Von List (1848-1919) was a Viennese mystic and magician who, among many other activities, participated in ancient German pagan rites in a Hungarian castle with his colleague Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels and playwright August Strindberg. As a youth List had an unusual experience in a cathedral that he later interpreted as his call to become an initiate into the mysteries of the ancient Teutons. He experienced a pagan mystery initiatory experience, he claimed, as a fourteen-year-old exploring the subterranean crypt of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. Through visionary experiences, the secret wisdom of the ages were passed down to him from the ancient Aryan brotherhood of spiritual beings known as the Armanen. The similarities between this idea and Blavatsky's secret doctrine and brotherhood are many, for indeed List and his closest followers had extensive connections with Eckstein's Vienna Theosophical Society and other Theosophical groups.

Among the important information imparted to List was the true occult interpretation of the Nordic runes. Also, since the "life-force" of the universe flowed from nature, List believed that being close to nature brought one closest to "truth." List trained his closest disciples to enter trances and attempt to listen to nature and "see with one's soul." The highest initiates in the hierarchical List society were said to possess the capacity to communicate directly with the spiritual Teutonic brotherhood of the Armanen. In "Ariosophist" organizations such as this, then, volkisch utopian theories are pursued with practical methodologies derived from spiritualism and Theosophy.

"We must read with our souls the landscape which archeology reconquers with the spade," List often said about his method of achieving "Intuitionen," according to his biographer Joseph Baltzli. [12] Such a methodology finds similarities with those of the Romantic Naturphilosophen, Blavatsky circa 1875 and, circa 1916, Jung and his technique of "active imagination."

During this time other Germanic neopagan groups appeared that also completely rejected Christianity and sought to replace it with a revival of old Germanic "Wotanism," or "Odinism," or new forms of Germanic paganism. These groups began to appear with great frequency after the death of theologian Paul de Lagarde (1827-1891), who called for the establishment of a neopagan "Germanic Religion" in his seminal volkisch text of 1878, Deutsche Schriften. His essay in this volume on "The Religion of the Future" ("Die Religion der Zukunft"), may be said to be the blueprint for all the neopagan religious Lebensreform groups that would appear in the early twentieth century (including perhaps, if indirectly, Jung's). Lagarde placed the doctrine of the promise of the rebirth (Wiedergeburt) of the individual at the center of his new natural religion. As Fritz Stern notes, Lagarde "regarded rebirth as an incontrovertible fact of all human experience, hence as a valid basis as his hope for a religious revival." [13]

Some of these groups limited their membership to those of "pure" Aryan stock, pledged to keep the blood of their children pure, and resurrected ancient Germanic pagan holidays to replace Christian holy days in which the sun and nature were worshiped and at which animal sacrifices were offered. Perhaps the oldest of these groups was the Germanic Faith Fellowship (Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft) of Ludwig Fahrenkrog, a professor of art, which was founded in 1907. Fahrenkrog's group grew out of Haeckelian monism as it emphasized the worship of the "life-principle" in all matter. However, an additional feature was a belief in the immortality of the soul. As the Germanic Faith Fellowship completely repudiated Christianity, the Bible was replaced with the sacred texts of the Elder Edda and the writings of Goethe.

The most influential of these neopagan groups was the Tannenberg Foundation of General Erich Ludendorff and his wife, Mathilde von Kemnitz, a famous v6lkisch writer, who became Frau Ludendorff in September 1926. A widely used symbol by the Tannenberg Foundation (and by many others of these neopagan groups) was the sacred hammer of Thor. General Ludendorff was an early ally of Hitler's and assisted him in the planning of the botched 1923 Munich putsch. However, in the late 1920s and early 1930s Ludendorff became an opponent of Hitler, and therefore when the latter assumed power in January 1933 the Tannenberg Foundation was banned. Nonetheless, in the years following the Great War Ludendorff campaigned for a new pantheistic Aryan-Germanic faith based on the old Indo- Aryan Urreligion. As Paul Banwell Means describes it, "In line with the Tannenberg program for the restoration of the ancient Germanic religion, General Ludendorff, accompanied by a few young men, would from time to time retire to the forests near Munich, where a bonfire was lighted and a horse sacrificed in honor of Thor, the god of Thunder." [14] As Ludendorff knew, horse sacrifice seems to have played a central role in the ancient religion of the Indo-Europeans. [15]

Other neopagan groups that wanted to institute a new Germanic paganism were the Society of German Believers (Deutschglaubige Gemeinschnft, founded in 1911); the Nordic Faith Fellowship (founded in 1927); the All-Aryan federation; the German Church of God; the Thule Society (which counted Haeckel and Rudolph Hess among its many members); the Midgard Federation; and the Society of Native Religion (Heimatreligion). The Germanic Faith Movement of J. W. Hauer, founded in 1933, differed from these groups only in the extent to which Wotanism would replace Christianity: Hauer and many in his movement opted for keeping some elements of Christianity, but this primarily entailed recasting Jesus as the "Aryan Christ."


Perhaps the most central neopagan element in German volkisch movements was sun worship. [16] The worship of the sun was extolled as true ancient Teutonic religion, and while it was primarily a literary device and a powerful rhetorical metaphor for the experience of God, actual solar-worship rituals did take place among some volkisch groups during the annual summer solstice, especially between the very early 1900s and the 1930s. As a direct consequence of this Germanic neopaganism, in the 1930s the Nazi government banned the celebration of traditional Christian holidays and instead substituted others more appropriate for the "New Germany." The summer solstice was designated as one of these holidays. [17]

From at least the Romantic era, sun worship was offered by prominent Germans as the most rational alternative to Christ worship. Sun worship was the image at the center of fantasies of a return to "natural" paganism. This was most clearly stated by Goethe:

What is genuine except everything excellent which stands in harmony with purest nature and reason, even today serving for our highest development! And what is counterfeit except everything absurd, empty, dumb, everything which bears no fruit, at least no fruit of value! If the genuineness of a biblical document is to be decided by the question whether everything it tells us is true, then in a few points the genuineness of even the Gospels could be doubted .... And yet I consider the Gospels, all four, to be genuine; for there works within them the reflection of a majesty which preceded from the person of Christ. It is of such a divinity as any the deity has ever assumed upon earth. If I am asked whether it accords with my nature to give him reverent worship, then I say, "Completely!" I bow before him as the divine revelation of the highest principle of morality. If I am asked whether it accords with my nature to worship the sun, then I say once again, "Completely!" For it, likewise, is a revelation of the most high, and in fact the mightiest which has ever been granted us mortals to perceive. I worship it in the light and creative power of God, whereby alone we live and move and have our being, and all plants and animals together with us. [18]

Hence we have the noble Goethe equating Christ with the sun and making an appeal to the rationality of pagan sun worship. These same pagan sentiments stayed very much alive in the underground of German society in the nineteenth century, never far below the surface of "the bourgeois-Christian world," and erupted openly during the fin de siecle with volkisch neopagamsm.

These neopagan groups were influenced-indeed legitimized -- by the solar interpretation of the roots of all myths (especially hero myths) from their alleged ancient Aryan sources by the German Sanskrit scholar and comparative mythologist Friedrich Max Muller(1823-1900). [19] His famous essay, "Comparative Mythology" (1856), helped lead the way for the creation of the academic discipline of the history of religions. Indeed it was Muller who named this new discipline the "science of religions" or the "comparative study of religions." [20] In England he is often credited for single-handedly founding the academic disciplines of comparative philology, comparative mythology, and comparative religion in that country. [21]

The "Solar Mythologists" promoted a theory that dominated the study of the history of religion in Central Europe and that was hotly debated (especially by skeptical British scholars such as Andrew Lang) until Muller's death in 1900. [22] Muller argued, on philological and comparative mythological grounds, that the appearance and disappearance of the sun, its worship as a source of life, was the true basis of most, if not all, mythological systems, especially among the Aryan peoples. "Is everything the Dawn? Is everything the Sun? This question I had asked myself many times before it was addressed to me by others .... but I am bound to say that my own researches lead me again and again to the dawn and the sun as the chief burden of the myths of the Aryan race." [23] Muller could even say, "Why, every time we say 'Good Morning' we commit a solar myth." [24] All European religions, therefore, could be traced back to the worship of the sun of the ancient "Aryans," a term that Muller argued should be used instead of "Indo-Europeans" to distinguish what was, in his opinion, a dichotomous division in European culture of persons depending on their "Aryan" or "Semitic" language. [25]

As historian Leon Poliakov has argued in his magisterial work, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe (1971), these essential cognitive categories were accepted by almost every cultivated European by 1860, [26] due to the influence of Muller (in England and Germany) and his friend Ernest Renan (in France). [27] Muller and Renan had many predecessors, such as Friedrich von Schlegel, who resurrected the term "Aryan" in 1819 from the works of Herodotus, Joseph von Gorres, Friedrich von Schelling, Hegel, Jacob Grimm, and a favorite of Jung's, Friedrich Creuzer.

This familiar schematic distinction between Indo-European or Indo-Aryan and Semitic that formed the central cognitive categories of nineteenth-century European thought arose primarily from the work of linguists in the highly respected science of comparative philology. In the scientific search for the ultimate origins of the human race, it is often forgotten what a central role comparative philologists played in intellectual circles in the decades before Darwin shifted this "grail quest" to evolutionary biology and ethology. It was thought that by comparing and analyzing the similarities and differences between languages that the original families of humankind could be identified. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries this was, of course, traced by many scholars to mythic Biblical genealogies. Although Sir William Jones, a Chief Justice of India and a founder of the Royal Asiatic Society was the first to remark, in 1796, on the possibility that Sanskrit was the root language of Latin, Greek, Persian, and the modern European languages, the term "Indo-European" was coined in 1813 by Thomas Young in a review of a multivolume work (Mithradates, by Adelung) that linguistically analyzed the Lord's Prayer in its various translations.

However, it was German comparative philologist August Schleicher (1821-1868) who systematically analyzed the linguistic history of each of the Indo-European languages and attempted to reconstruct the earliest Indo-European form of the words being compared. Schleicher's was the first attempt at a reconstruction of the original, proto-Indo-European language that is the concern of historical linguists today. [28] It was Schleicher who first drew the diagram of the "genetic tree" model to illustrate the differentiation of language in the Indo- European family. According to linguistic historian J. P. Mallory, Schleicher was inspired by his "profound interest in biology." [29] These diagrams were later widely adapted by Blavatsky and the Theosophists to give the appearance of seriousness and scholarly legitimacy to their genealogical trees of the "esoteric phylogeny" of the "five root races" of mankind. The "first sub-race" branch of the "fifth root race" was the" Aryan race" according to the spiritual "mahatmas" Koot Hoomi and Morya in their spiritualist communications from beyond to Blavatsky's colleague A. P. Sinnett, and it was the race that contained the highest spirituality of all mankind. [30]

The methodology of philological science began to be used for purposes other than tracing the structural and historical origins of language. Etymological analysis, for example, could unlock the secrets of mythology. An early example of this approach is the 1835 analysis used by Jakob Grimm to trace the hidden presence of Teutonic gods and spirits in Germanic folklore. [31]

Muller -- a philologist and Sanskrit scholar himself -- built on the work of Schleicher, Grimm, and others by using etymological analysis as a way to uncover details about the ancient religions of the Aryan, Semitic, and "Turanian" (Mongolian, Chinese, etc.) peoples. His hypothesis was that these three areas were not only great language centers but also important religious centers. Linguistic and religious experience were thus intertwined. Muller also firmly believed that one could set aside the world of rationality and think the thoughts and feel the feelings of the ancients by learning to read "childish fables ... in their original child-like sense." [32] Muller often noted that to the rational mind of the average bourgeois-Christian scholar, the tales in the "sacred books of the East" would seem like nothing more than gibberish. Therefore, to some degree, the scholar must fantasize about the material he is studying and make it come to life in a playful, childlike way without allowing rational cognition to impede access to the living religious thoughts of the ancients.

Muller dominated the scholarship on comparative mythology of his age, and as a prime force behind establishing the scientific status of the Aryan myth, his many works were used as a source of inspiration for many educated Volk. Since the work of comparative philologists like Schleicher and Muller established linguistic and mythological differences between the Indo-European and Semitic peoples dating back thousands of years, after Darwinian evolution through natural selection entered the world in late 1859 it was only natural that these scientific findings would be integrated with new biological speculation about origins. [33] With the shift of focus to the problem of biological inheritance and evolution, it was a very short step to infer that the seemingly vast differences between the Indo-Aryan or Indo-European peoples and the Semitic peoples were due to essential biological differences between these groups. The actual geography or natural world one lived in could also shape heredity, for the "soft-inheritance" transmission of such experiential factors was advocated by Darwin under the name "pangenesis." Basic biological units of heredity independent of environmental influences ("hard inheritance") were not posited until 1883 (August Weismann's "germ-plasm") and beyond ("Mendelian units" in 1900, and "genes" in 1909). [34] This line of thought made perfect sense in the evolution-mad late nineteenth century and formed the central cognitive categories of thought of that era. As we shall see, thanks to the scientific stature of philologists like Muller and Renan, it also formed the essential basis of Jung's early work.

The grounding of mythological, religious, and linguistic differences in biology, therefore, became the raison d'etre of volkisch mysticism. The scholarship on ancient Aryan origins provided the content for elaborate fantasies about ancient Teutonic origins and religion that served political, social, and spiritual Lebensreform goals in fin-de-siecle German Europe. Once the biological factor had entered into the discussion about "origins" in a meaningful way with Darwin and Haeckel (after 1860), volkisch individuals could claim that their anti-Semitism had a scientific basis. Additionally, some felt they could advocate a literal return to the rituals of sun worship and find additional scientific support to justify their behavior and beliefs.

Haeckel, in fact, did not hide his anti-Semitic bias, and therefore, given his tremendous international stature as a noted scientist at the turn of the century, he bears significant responsibility for adding the "biological inferiority" twist to the Jewish question. Like others in the "volkisch establishment," such as Lagarde and Chamberlain, Haeckel gave public support to the fantasy of an Aryan Christ. Although the primary goal of Haeckel and the Monistic League was to deny even the reality of the historical Jesus, a secondary goal was at least to revise the essential myth in Aryan terms for those volkisch persons who were too uncomfortable with the idea of completely repudiating the trappings of Christianity. In the best-selling The Riddle of the Universe (1899), Haeckel first attacks the "pseudo-Christianity" of the nineteenth century, then introduces a "more credible" story: that Jesus was only half-Jewish because he was the bastard son of a Roman officer who seduced Mary, his mother. The full passage needs to be read to be believed:

The statement of the apocryphal gospels, that the Roman officer Pandera, was the true father of Christ, seems all the more credible when we make a careful anthropological study of the personality of Christ. He is generally regarded as purely Jewish. Yet the characteristics which distinguish his high and noble personality, and which give a distinct impress to his religion, are certainly not Semitical; they are rather features of the higher Arian [sic] race, and especially of its noblest branch, the Hellenes. [35]

Here we see yet again the "tyranny of Greece over Germany." If despite the superior program of monism many still desired to embrace Christian symbols, then Haeckel's logic was to let them worship a Hellenic Christ, not a Semitic one.


Eugen Diederichs and the "Sera Circle"

The best documented neopagan cult devoted to sun worship was that of Eugen Diederichs (1867-1930) of Jena, a prominent publisher of volkisch material in books and his journal, Die Tat ("The Deed"), although apparently he was not politically attracted to anti-Semitism or Nazism. [36] Due to his keenly felt calling to resurrect German culture through publishing German mystics such as Meister Eckhardt, Angelus Silesius, and Jacob Bohme, works on Germanic folklore (including fairy tales and mythology), and a wide variety of theosophical, anthroposophical, and mystical "nature religion" or pantheistic tracts, after establishing the Eugen Diederichs Verlag in 1896 he became perhaps the most highly influential aristocratic patron of the neo-Romantic and volkisch pantheistic elements in Central Europe. To be published by the Eugen Diederichs Verlag was to be accepted in intellectual circles in a way that publishing perhaps the same occultist material by the Theosophical Society would not be, although the publications of the Theosophical Society were nonetheless also widely read. Although other neoconservative publishers also helped to legitimize the ideas that laid the groundwork for the rise of National Socialism in the 1920s, the Eugen Diederichs Verlag was the highly respected voice of neopaganism and the religious -- not the political -- arm of the great volkisch movement. [37]

Like any educated Germanic European from this era with interests in Lebensphilosophie in its manifold forms, Jung's personal library contains many volumes published by the Eugen Diederichs Verlag, including editons of the Eddas and books by one of the analysts of the Zurich School who defected with Jung in 1914, Adolph Keller. [38] Indeed, Diederichs was perhaps the most important disseminator of Lebensphilosophie in Central Europe from 1896 to 1930. Diederichs personally chose the types of volumes he wished to reprint and that he felt should be read by his contemporaries, and his agenda was to deliberately resurrect the vitalism of the Lebensphilosophen to "help [it] achieve a greater contemporary effect." [39] Not surprisingly, many of the topics converge remarkably with the sources of Jung's intellectual influences. For example, in 1901 Diederichs began printing a multivolume series under the title Gott-Natur (God-Nature) that reprinted the works of Giordano Bruno, Paracelsus, Lamarck, Goethe, Carus, and other early nineteenth-century proponents of speculative Naturphilosophie upon which Jung built his theory of the archetypes.

Like Jung, Diederichs believed, in his words, that "being truly religious means being irrational" and that his calling as a publisher was to "push the irrationalist character of religion into the foreground" and assist in creating "a new mythos" or "mystique" for the spiritual reawakening of the Germanic peoples. [40] According to historian Gary Stark, "Diederichs hoped to complete the process and create a new religion in Germany in which God would be replaced by the irrational, vital life-force of the cosmos" and that therefore "genuine religion must be grounded on a subjective, intuitive metaphysics." [41]

As Lukacs argues in The Destruction of Reason, such Lebensphilosophie movements that appealed to the reliance upon intuition instead of reason inevitably also required an initiated elite that had developed such intuition to its highest and that therefore would be capable of leading the rest of society to redemption. Indeed, Diederichs called for just such a spiritual aristocracy to lead what he termed an "organic people's state" (organischer Volksstaat) after the Great War. Diederichs's brand of spiritual elitism was a familiar one and echoed that of Jung, Keyserling, the Monistenbund, the Tannenberg Foundation, and others (including, it may be argued, the Nazi SS). Using the seventeenth-century Rosicrucians, in part, as his model, Diederichs's metaphysically trained spiritual elite was to be, in his words, "a secret yet open Bund of those who have the Geist." [42] Here again is the fantasy so prevalent in Germany between 1890 and 1933 of an "open yet authoritarian elite." Jung, as we shall see, likewise envisioned an elite "few" who would develop their "function of intuition" and lead a utopian "analytical collectivity" from his base of operations in Kusnacht-Zurich after the war.

Also like Jung, Diederichs was virulently anti-Christian in his agenda and preferred a return to the nature religion of the ancient Teutons. Following his spiritual mentor Lagarde, whose works he reprinted, Diederichs wanted to see a new Germanic religion rise up in Central Europe based on the central experience of rebirth (Wiedergeburt). Other than his works on Germanic folklore and mythology, which gave his readers just such a view of the ancient Teutons, Diederichs fought orthodox Christianity by deliberately reprinting texts that the Church had long considered heretical. Although classical scholars such as Hermann Usener, Wilhelm Bousset, Albrecht Dieterich, and Richard Reitzenstein had all begun to publish densely inaccessible scholarly studies on Gnosticism starting in the late 1890s, Diederichs widened the distribution of these ideas (as did the Theosophical Society at this time) by publishing works for the lay public on Gnosticism between 1903 and 1910. Jung owned a later (1924) study of these early heretical groups by Arthur Drews. [43] Diederichs also commissioned works by prominent but unorthodox theologians with Monistenbund connections to deny the historical existence of Jesus. The two most controversial were Drews's Die Christusmythe (The Christ Myth) of 1909 and Albert Kalthoff's Das Christusproblem (The Problem of Christ) of 1903, but he published nine other such works which, in the words of Stark, he hoped "would eventually reduce the figure of Christ to a mere symbol for the cosmic life-force." [44] Jung cites these works in his own, especially in Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, which, as I will argue in later chapters, was a work that repudiated orthodox Christianity and promoted the volkisch mysticism of sun worship.

By the 1890s many volkisch individuals believed the sun "the sole God of the true Germans." [45] There was much talk of the Germans finding their "place in the sun." The swastika, an ancient Indian symbol of the continual regeneration of life (at least according to volkisch scholars), was placed within a circle symbolizing the sun and depicted on a flag as early as 1908. [46] Diederichs expressed the beliefs of many during this time: "My view of God is this, that I regard the sun as a source of all life .... I only want to experience within me the growth of the Geist." [47]

To experience this life-giving spirit (Geist) within, neopagan sun-worshiping rituals were performed by the "Sera Circle" (founded in 1904 by the not-so-youthful thirty-seven-year-old Diederichs) and its "German Youth Movement" members beginning in 1906. [48] These were rituals that involved hiking (a staple of the famous Wandervogel movement, which was founded "officially" in 1901), German folk dances, and a modern re-creation of an ancient Germanic festival of the "changing sun" (Sonnwendfest). As Stark describes it, "Carrying banners depicting the ancient Germanic 'sun wheel,' the group sang Germanic ballads, recited pantheistic poems and 'fire prayers,' and ended their celebrations by leaping through a bonfire." [49] These same rituals were repeated during the celebrations of the summer solstice after the Nazi government made it a state holiday in the 1930s. As late as 1918, in a talk before the students of Munich University on "Science as a Vocation," Max Weber lauded the religious feeling behind the rituals of the German Youth Movement as "something very sincere and genuine." [50] Weber-like many others, including, it may be argued, Jung-was impressed by the depth of spiritual fervor of the neopagan movement and its potential for a revitalization of Germanic culture even if fault could be found with its other aspects.

The merger of two ancient Indo-Aryan symbols -- the Germanic sun wheel and the swastika -- formed the basis of the symbolism of the National Socialist movement starting circa 1920. The Nazi flag, of course, contained a red field that symbolized the purity of Aryan blood, at the center of which was a white solar disk representing the sun. The swastika in the center of this white disk symbolized the recurrent energies of life, and, in order for the initiate to experience the life-force radiating from the sun in the center of the flag, the swastika was to be visually imagined as actually spinning around in this solar disk. Due to the influence of prominent persons such as Diederichs and his noted authors, interest in the Indian mandala symbolism of the ancient Aryans began to spread in Germanic Europe. Jung, for example, drew his first mandala in 1916 and then later expounded upon its significance as a symbol of the self or the "god-image within." [51] Mandala-like solar-disk symbols appeared on posters, arm bands, banners (such as that of the Sera Circle), the covers of publications, and elsewhere throughout Central Europe during these years. The circle as sun was the symbol of God to many intoxicated by volkisch utopianism and Naturreligion.

Haeckel, Ostwald, and the Monistenbund

In addition to the contributions of comparative philology and comparative mythology, which were true sciences in the early nineteenth century sense of the word, volkisch mysticism found further scientific backing in the ideas of Haeckel, when, by the late nineteenth century, German notions of science had come to mean the methodologies of the natural sciences, such as biology and comparative anatomy. It was Haeckel who reaffirmed, in his esteemed scientific opinion, that "a spirit [Geist] lives in all things." [52] It must be emphasized that Haeckel himself was not advocating a materialistic monism (unlike, for example, his eminent scientific critics such as Ludwig Buchner): "An immaterial living spirit is just as unthinkable as a dead, spiritless material; the two are inseparably combined in every atom." [53] Diederichs published many monist authors and invited them to his sun-worshiping rituals with his youthful disciples. Diederichs's journal, Die Tat, which he took over in 1911, was originally founded in 1909 as a monist publication.

Not surprisingly, Haeckelian monism, the "scientific religion," and volkisch nature worship were fused in the minds of many at this time. [54] In his important study, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism, Gasman calls Haeckel "the Volkish Prophet" and persuasively documents his thesis that "proto-Nazi Volkism did not invariably originate in opposition to science and modernism." Gasman argues that "one of the earliest, if not the earliest comprehensive program embodying National Socialist principles in Germany" was Haeckel and Ostwald's Monistic League, and therefore National Socialism arose "in the context of a movement which prided itself on its scientific ideology and modern view of the world." [55]

Part of this "scientific" monistic program was the view that if one was to insist on having a religion, sun worship was the most rational choice of all other alternatives (especially Christianity). In The Riddle of the Universe, Haeckel makes the following argument, additionally adopting the scientific doctrine of geological vulcanism or plutonism (the theory of the igneous origin of the Earth) to justify sun worship, and sounding, indeed, very much like Goethe:

The sun, the deity of light and warmth, on whose influence all organic life insensibly and directly depends, was taken to be such a phenomenon [of naturalistic monotheism] many thousands of years ago. Sun-worship (solarism, or heliotheism), seem to the modern scientist to be the best of all forms of theism, and the one which may be most easily reconciled with modern Monism. For modern astrophysics and geogeny have taught us that the earth is a fragment detached from the sun, and that it will eventually return to the bosom of its parent. Modern physiology teaches us that the first source of organic life on the earth is the formation of protoplasm, and that this synthesis of simple inorganic substances, water, carbonic acid, and ammonia, only takes place under the influence of sunlight. ... Indeed, the whole of our bodily and mental life depends, in the last resort, like all other organic life, on the light and heat rays of the sun. Hence in the light of pure reason, sun-worship, as a form of naturalistic monotheism, seems to have a much better foundation than the anthropistic worship of Christians and other monotheists who conceive of their god in human form. As a matter of fact, the sun-worshippers attained, thousands of years ago, a higher intellectual and moral standard than most of the other theists. When I was in Bombay, in 1881, I watched with the greatest sympathy the elevating rites of the pious Parsees, who, standing on the sea-shore, or kneeling on their prayer-rugs, offered their devotion to the sun at its rise and setting. [56]

Solar worship was also an obsession of the Nobel-laureate Ostwald, who mentioned it in many publications of his between 1910 and 1920. "The sun is the mother of us all, and we must be grateful to it for everything that we are and do," Ostwald says in an article published in Die Sonne (The Sun), the publication for the Monistenbund's youth movement. [57] Like the other monists who published in the many journals of the Monistenbund, Ostwald, too, blended solar symbolism and volkisch neopagan sentiments with prophesies of the rebirth or regeneration of Germany.

Following Haeckel's suggestions, the Monistenbund cosponsored with Diederichs sun-worshiping festivals based on their romantic concept of the ancient Teutonic "changing of the sun" ritual on the biannual solstices (21 June and 22 December). The journal Del' Monismus (Monism) published the text of the reputed liturgy of the sun worshipers in an issue that appeared in 1910. The reference to the "children of the sun" (Sonnenkinder) comes directly from the work of the matriarchical cultural theorist Johann Jakob Bachofen (to be discussed in a later chapter) and the vulcanist or plutonist geophysical theory of Buffon and others (see below) that the earth was originally a fireball that had been flung off the sun:

We are all children of the sun. Out of its womb our planet was born. An eternal law of nature compels us to be within its sphere and influence. The immensity of space is cold, still and lifeless -- our luminous mother sun, warming and ripening our fruit, appears as the simple, true element of life. Our ancestors knew this in ancient times. Thus their justifiable joy when the sun made its slow victorious spiral across the sky. They then remembered that all those trees, which concealed their greenness in the wintertime, were consecrated to the god, Wotan. [58]
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