Lecture #12 - October 19, 1979 - 49:47 min (mp3)
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In this lecture, Mosse turns to Carl Gustav Jung and Jung’s break with Freud. Coming from a different background, Jung had always felt uncomfortable with the Jewish influence in Vienna. The religious son of a Protestant pastor, he had lived in Zurich, in a much more secure world than Freud. He was not a positivist and claimed to have little contact with the culture in which he lived. Jung changed the entire direction laid down by Freud, beginning with something as basic as the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious. What Freud had defined it as a rider and horse was for Jung the image of consciousness as an island in the ocean of the unconscious. This turns Freud on his head. For Jung, the unconscious is not the bad, anti-Semitic, irrational forces attacking liberal Vienna. For him, it is neutral when not “pushed to the wall.”
Jung developed the concept of the archetype, which comes forth once one gets out of the positivistic world and starts to care about history, the past, and the irrational, or the “spiritual” as Jung called it. Archetypes can be described as channels or riverbanks, coming from the historical past to which the individual will come sooner or later through his unconscious, and that past will determine the nature of one’s unconscious. Based on a strong element of primitivism, the archetype is expressed by a kind of religious symbolism. Jung attributed positive values to all religions. Dream analysis was for him the return to a suppressed archetype. Not sexuality, but history and religion are central to Jung’s theory. Thus, he moved very far away from science, and far from the individualism that was so important to Jewish liberal intellectuals founded in the Enlightenment.
The archetype, the unconscious is by its very nature collective; there is no individual unconscious. Man’s problem is the increase of artificial consciousness. Alienation is not alienation from one’s sexual past or from one’s individuality. On the contrary, it is alienation from the collective unconscious because individual rationality has increased too much. Mosse notes that there is nothing more anti-Nietzschean than Jung. Alienation is loneliness, the loneliness of modern man who has detached himself from the collective unconscious and cut himself off from his (collective) archetype. The crime of modernity is “the de-spiritualization of the world.” The psychoanalyst’s task, according to Jung, was to strengthen the soul, a word that Freud would never use. For Freud, symbols were transparent, while for Jung, symbols are reality because they come from the archetype. They cannot be rationalized away and must be taken seriously because they are the symbols of one’s past.
Like Le Bon, Jung associates everything with magic: the symbol is a redeeming power. An effective symbol must have a nature that is unimpeachable and frustrate every effort to grasp it critically. Symbols and the collective mind cannot be rationally analyzed, since rationality led to loneliness in the first place. The lack of roots, and those who are too individualistic, becomes the enemy. But if the archetype is shared, it ends up in the notion of a shared race. If the archetype is determined by instinct and collective memory, it is what racism is all about. Not surprisingly, Jung became a National Socialist. Modernity was condemned because modern man was uprooted and shallow. The Jews, whom he blames for modernity, have no collective unconscious, because they do not share the memory of Wotan or Christ, or primitive religion or Christianity (which, Mosse remarks, was what it boiled down to for Jung). They were what he called in 1934 “cultural nomads.”
Jung’s psychoanalysis fit in, as Freud’s did not, with the loneliness of modern man. Jung adjusted the patient by turning back his critical faculties. In Jungian psychoanalysis, the patient has to accept his irrationality. To that mindset, Nazi culture was a perfectly proper culture, the culture that everybody liked. In neo-romantic fashion, Jung idealized primitives, while Americans did not share a collective unconscious; Jung never knew what to do with America or for that matter, Australia. Condemning all positivism and also, the Weimar Republic, Jung’s archetype of the German was the Faustian man. In every sense, Jung was less of a scientist than Freud. Whether one type of analysis helps or cures more than the other is another matter. Freud believed in culture, order, and civilization. For Jung, one could have an individual consciousness, but it had to be wedged into a collective unconscious. He was concerned with community, camaraderie, the community of affinity and of the nation, while Freud despised the nation. Yet, Jung addressed himself to much more relevant problems than Freud. Jung’s definition of personality was that it was one of the highest realizations of distinctiveness, an act of the greatest courage, but one that had to be connected to the collective unconscious - like Hitler’s. It was a “German personality” or an “Italian personality” more than anything else.
Creativity, too, was much more important to Jung than to Freud. Unlike Freud, he believed in the romantic genius. The essence of a work of art for him is that it rises above the person. Art and creativity had to be related to the collectivity. Jung longed for the Dionysian man; he rejected anything artificial, and the rational mind for him was artificial. Jung became disillusioned with Nazism, but initially he thought it to be the cure for Germany. There was finality to Freud’s words when he called Jung “the destroyer of reason.” But Freud mistook his own cultural position with the cultural position of everyone else. After the war, Jung’s theories were somewhat modified, though Jungian ideas basically did not change before 1963. Psychoanalysis, one way or another, was trying to build a bridge between life as it is, and a kind of revolt against positivism. Freud recognized that his was an age of irrationality. Turning to Le Bon, Mosse states that the analysis Le Bon made of the first mass movements (on Boulanger) was going to last: not only did Freud copy from Le Bon’s book; so did Hitler, and so did Mussolini. Le Bon “remains a man for all seasons” because Hitler and Mussolini put him into practice, but also because his analysis tried to fuse the rising tide of irrationality with psychoanalysis. Because Le Bon and the other analysts still came out of positivism, they captured the irrational rationally. This is the clue to all modern politics, which is what the students of the 1960s did not understand.