April 24, 2008


Nazi troops rally at Nuremberg, courtesy of wikipedia.

El Cabero has been musing lately about the ideas of the Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung. If this is your first visit, please click on the earlier entries. The series started Monday.

Of all the possible criticisms that can be directed at Jung--and there are a boatload--the most serious involve his alleged early sympathy for the Nazi movement. Controversy continues about this up to the present.

Politically, Jung was not the brightest crayon in the box. He was a conservative Swiss with considerable wealth, thanks to his marriage to the former Emma Rauschenbach, an heiress. He was hostile to leftist movements and ideas. Like many wealthy Germans of his day, he may have been sympathetic or at least ambivalent about the early Nazi movement. It was all for law and order, after all...

Psychoanalysis in its early days had a disproportionate number of Jewish adherents, which is why Freud valued their alliance before they broke off contact. After the break with Freud, Jung dabbled in what Sig considered to be the black swamp of occultism. Among the many currents of the latter were efforts to promote so-called "Aryan" spirituality, much of which was eventually embraced by the Nazis.

In some of his speculations, he seemed to imply that various "racial" groups had their own psychological makeup. He wrote some rather loopy things on happenings in Germany, such as his essay "Wotan," which seems to argue that the German people were under the possession of the archetype of the god of the same name from Teutonic mythology. Here's an essay which discusses Jung's tendency toward "proto-fascist thinking."

Jung also retained positions of leadership in the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy and the journal Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie after these had fallen under Nazi influence. He later claimed that he did so in order to protect Jewish analysts and to keep the discipline of psychotherapy from being wiped out by the Nazis, who suspected its "Jewish" origins. These claims have been widely disputed.

There is an ironic twist to the story. After the US entered World War II, Jung was contacted by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a forerunner to the CIA. He was eventually dubbed "Agent 488" and provided opinions on psychological conditions in Nazi Germany.

Jung disputed allegations of Nazi sympathies in the postwar period, but permanent damage was done to his reputation.

At the very least, someone who wasn't able to spot the fact that Nazis were bad news early on does not deserve the status of oracle and font of wisdom.

ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN'T GOLD. This article discusses the first Gilded Age and the the one we're currently living through.

HUNGER. From the UK Independent, here's more on the growing global food crisis.

ONLY CONNECT. The US ranks 15th out of 30 developed countries in providing access to high speed Internet, as this EPI snapshot reports.

BINGO! I couldn't resist linking this article about how bingo suffers when smoking is banned. In El Cabrero's days as a volunteer firefighter, the most hazardous duty I ever did was working our bingo games. The smoke was so thick an air pack would have helped. Once when it was over I counted the non filtered cigarettes in one player's ashtray. I can't remember the exact number now but I think it was around 15 and the game lasted around three hours.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A BEE TODAY? Here's an item in praise of them.


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