The mysterious Jung: his cult, the lies he told, and the occult?

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As I posted about Kastrup's new book on Jung in his main dedicated thread I figured it might be worthwhile to have a counter point...will look for a counter-counter point of course... ->

The mysterious Jung: his cult, the lies he told, and the occult

Ivan Tyrrell asks Professor Richard Noll, author of ‘The Jung Cult’, to unravel the lies Carl G Jung told to aggrandise himself and his charismatic psychoanalytic movement.

Quote:...So Jung removed people from the everyday world and from pragmatic problem solving.

Tyrrell: Which is the last thing you should do when helping distressed or disturbed people...

Noll: Exactly. Jung's solution to every mental problem was to encourage the patient to have some sort of religious experience. And that's where some of the danger lies.

Jungian psychology attracts people who have experiences like this, or feel they have the potential to have such experiences, and maybe that's fine. Definitely visions happen and there is a place for them in the world. I had enough myself when I was young. Maybe it was puberty, I don't know. But people try to see what's going on, and explore that side of life. But some people get sucked in to the worldview that goes along with what is, after all, just an interpretation of an experience. You don't necessarily need that. You just need to understand a little bit and go on with your life. But Jungians, at least in the States, tend to be fantasy-prone personalities or schizoid individuals, people detached from everyday reality on the margins of society and, instead of working or whatever, they sit at home, reading Jung, trying to have visions.

Tyrrell: When I reread Memories, Dreams, Reflections recently, (a book which excited me like a great adventure story when I was young), it was obvious to me that Jung actually had no understanding of what is necessary for human development. Psychotherapy is not interchangeable with mysticism. One has to deal with first things first. One needs to be reasonably stable, fairly well adjusted, and not need too much emotional excitement before progress can be made. Worldly needs have to be satisfactorily met before moving on to the possibility of more subtle perceptions. People who know about human development would say that having visions all over the place and getting excited about it is a sign that a person is unsuitable for a spiritual life and, furthermore, that they wouldn't make any progress at all until they stopped. This is the exact opposite of what you describe Jung as doing: whipping people up, encouraging emotional excitement and visions.

People often wallow in all that because they feel emotional arousal must be important and meaningful.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-02-27, 03:24 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
Well this is a counterpoint, but an expensive book. Some of the reviews give a few details rebutting Noll's claims.

Quote:Controversial claims that C.G. Jung, founder of analytical psychology, was a charlatan and a self-appointed demi-god have recently brought his legacy under renewed scrutiny. The basis of the attack on Jung is a previously unknown text, said to be Jung's inaugural address at the founding of his 'cult', otherwise known as the Psychological Club, in Zurich in 1916. It is claimed that this cult is alive and well in Jungian psychology as it is practised today, in a movement which continues to masquerade as a genuine professional discipline, whilst selling false dreams of spiritual redemption.

In Cult Fictions, leading Jung scholar Sonu Shamdasani looks into the evidence for such claims and draws on previously unpublished documents to show that they are fallacious. This accurate and revealing account of the history of the Jungian movement, from the founding of the Psychological Club to the reformulation of Jung's approach by his followers, establishes a fresh agenda for the historical evaluation of analytical psychology today.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


If this is a thread for general criticisms of Jung, then the following from an older thread on Jung may be of interest:

https://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-j...0#pid31050

If not, I'm happy to remove this post.
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(2021-02-26, 11:35 PM)Laird Wrote: If this is a thread for general criticisms of Jung, then the following from an older thread on Jung may be of interest:

https://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-j...0#pid31050

If not, I'm happy to remove this post.

I think it's relevant insofar as it concerns the fact that Jung, in my estimation, is questionable as an anthropologist. He has the some of the same "well I'll just make this up" quality as Castaneda or Blavatsky though I understand he could at times be a bit more scientific about his work.

Others mileage will of course vary.

edit: Of course one can also swing in the opposite direction and try to overly demolish Jung b/c of his anti-materialist, somewhat pro-religious sentiments.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-02-27, 01:09 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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(2021-02-27, 12:30 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Of course one can also swing in the opposite direction and try to overly demolish Jung b/c of his anti-materialist, somewhat pro-religious sentiments.


I've come to the opinion of late that I'm fed up with having those who had some influence on my thinking being stripped of any credibility because of their tendency to invent. Skeptics jump on these things with glee yet are prepared to forgive almost anything when it comes to their crusading icons. The late but not great Randi is a perfect example - even to the point of glorifying his lies.

So, going back a long time, I read a couple of Casteneda books in the 1970's and believed, at the time, that they were true accounts. I later found, of course, that they were mostly fiction and I was disgusted. Later still, I reconsidered. I had just been reading a lot about the early church and the veracity (or otherwise) of the Gospels and thought - here's a story which is accepted as not only true but as the actual word of God and it is mostly a tissue of lies and half-truths. Yet there is a message in the Jesus story which is important. If only that had been the focus of the Christianity cult rather than what was to emerge over the centuries since. From the Catholic Inquisition to gun-crazy, white supremacist "Christians", I can't think of anything further from the simple, though largely invented, story of the New Testament.

I guess what I am saying is that whatever you choose to believe, there will be some doubt about the evidence and the honesty of the main proponents of that belief. Darwin was honest enough to have doubts about his conclusions but his devoted followers can't summon the same honesty. The truth is a minefield and just when you think you are on a safe spot, you get your foot blown off. It is sad and frustrating but we have to accept that people who come up with big ideas tend to want to make things fit.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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(2021-02-27, 03:59 AM)Kamarling Wrote: I've come to the opinion of late that I'm fed up with having those who had some influence on my thinking being stripped of any credibility because of their tendency to invent. Skeptics jump on these things with glee yet are prepared to forgive almost anything when it comes to their crusading icons. The late but not great Randi is a perfect example - even to the point of glorifying his lies.

So, going back a long time, I read a couple of Casteneda books in the 1970's and believed, at the time, that they were true accounts. I later found, of course, that they were mostly fiction and I was disgusted. Later still, I reconsidered. I had just been reading a lot about the early church and the veracity (or otherwise) of the Gospels and thought - here's a story which is accepted as not only true but as the actual word of God and it is mostly a tissue of lies and half-truths. Yet there is a message in the Jesus story which is important. If only that had been the focus of the Christianity cult rather than what was to emerge over the centuries since. From the Catholic Inquisition to gun-crazy, white supremacist "Christians", I can't think of anything further from the simple, though largely invented, story of the New Testament.

I guess what I am saying is that whatever you choose to believe, there will be some doubt about the evidence and the honesty of the main proponents of that belief. Darwin was honest enough to have doubts about his conclusions but his devoted followers can't summon the same honesty. The truth is a minefield and just when you think you are on a safe spot, you get your foot blown off. It is sad and frustrating but we have to accept that people who come up with big ideas tend to want to make things fit.

Oh I would agree - I actually think Castaneda produced the kind of very interesting fiction that at the least seems to have some spiritual efficacy. We might find some similar value in Jung's work even if it's fair - IMO anyway - to say he was [sometimes] forcing square pegs through round holes.

With regards to Jung the second post in this thread is to a book that is meant to be a counterpoint to Noll's work. I might buy the book though it's quite expensive for the page count. 

And as you mention skeptics, I will say it is frustrating to find quick "connect the dots" criticism of Jung precisely because he didn't toe the materialist line. You hope for some balance but then comes the "paganism led to Nazism, and Jung was into paganism" type stuff. [The idea that Nazis were all pagans is something of a historical revisionism in itself.]

Was some of Jung's stuff "invented"? Again this isn't clear. Noll's contention about dates and records, at least in the interview I put in the OP, doesn't feel that damning and some Jung fans see it more as motivated nitpicking.

Of course Jung wasn't perfect, just as one can find flaws in Plato or Dante. My suspicion is Jung like many people before and after him was touched by the paranormal, maybe even the transcendental. And this leads to a sort of madness, a certain surety one has got it figured out. So Jung will wax on about the peoples he meets in his travels. However as per this February 1942 Omnimagazine article[**] even his beloved Germanic roots aren't spared,with Jung saying the Nazis are the product of "that most hysterical, illogical, emotional mentality in Europe, the German."

And of course after WW II Jung - like many thinkers - ended up reflecting on their prior views. Thus I think if one places Jung as a [fallible but insightful] human in history one finds a proper context rather than Jung as some kind of prophet or spiritual master. It's worth approaching his ideas with some caution, why I quoted that bit in the OP about being mentally stable before undertaking a spiritual path. [And, of course, that was also a view of what Jung was doing/saying that can likely be contested.]

**The interview is with Brendan Simms who recounts a discussion with Jung had in 1938.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-02-27, 06:28 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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Jung worked closely with Wolfgang Pauli who was also considered a bit bonkers by his colleagues. Brilliant but bonkers. He still managed to become one of the foremost quantum physicists in a golden age of quantum physicists. 

As for the pagan stuff, I am coming to the final chapters of a history of The Second World War by Antony Beevor and he describes the motivation of the Nazis as Social Darwinism throughout the book. I’m sure that Darwinists detest having the name associated with the holocaust but the term  is accurate. So what, then, if Hitler was into pagan rites? Isn’t it about as ridiculous to suggest that Pagan beliefs led to WW2 atrocities as it is to blame Darwin for that mass genocide?
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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My understanding of Jung was that he always kept his psychotherapy and his "spiritual" beliefs seperate.   Regardless, phrases such as "whipping people up, encouraging emotional excitement and visions.  People often wallow in all that because they feel emotional arousal must be important and meaningful" show how absurdly little the author knows about what a spiritual experience is and he would do well to study some Abraham Maslow work on peak experiences.
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(2021-02-27, 04:39 PM)Brian Wrote: My understanding of Jung was that he always kept his psychotherapy and his "spiritual" beliefs seperate.   Regardless, phrases such as "whipping people up, encouraging emotional excitement and visions.  People often wallow in all that because they feel emotional arousal must be important and meaningful" show how absurdly little the author knows about what a spiritual experience is and he would do well to study some Abraham Maslow work on peak experiences.

I'll look deeper into Jungian therapy, but can you elaborate on how Maslow would define a spiritual experience in contrast?

(2021-02-27, 09:46 AM)Kamarling Wrote: Jung worked closely with Wolfgang Pauli who was also considered a bit bonkers by his colleagues. Brilliant but bonkers. He still managed to become one of the foremost quantum physicists in a golden age of quantum physicists. 

As for the pagan stuff, I am coming to the final chapters of a history of The Second World War by Antony Beevor and he describes the motivation of the Nazis as Social Darwinism throughout the book. I’m sure that Darwinists detest having the name associated with the holocaust but the term  is accurate. So what, then, if Hitler was into pagan rites? Isn’t it about as ridiculous to suggest that Pagan beliefs led to WW2 atrocities as it is to blame Darwin for that mass genocide?

I think it was a confluence of factors, though most notably the treatment of Germany post WWI.

I just meant that there wasn't exactly a mass conversion away from Christianity. [By no means, however, am I saying it was Christianity that resulted in the Holocaust. Likely almost every cultural/spiritual/scientific aspect is tinder after a people reach a point of no return.]

Jung himself gives warning to the post WWII future via an "autopsy" of the horrors that had just occurred in works such as The Undiscovered Self. In fact the "Late Jung" stuff is, from my limited reading / opinion, better than some of his early work at least as far reflecting on reality rather than projecting ideas onto reality.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-02-27, 08:01 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
(2021-02-27, 07:59 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I'll look deeper into Jungian therapy, but can you elaborate on how Maslow would define a spiritual experience in contrast?

https://academyofideas.com/2016/09/maslo...ndividual/
Quote:"“Most people lose or forget the subjectively religious experience, and redefine Religion as a set of habits, behaviors, dogmas, forms, which at the extreme becomes entirely legalistic and bureaucratic, conventional, empty, and in the truest meaning of the word, anti-religious. The mystic experience, the illumination, the great awakening, along with the charismatic seer who started the whole thing, are forgotten, lost, or transformed into their opposites. Organized Religion, the churches, finally may become the major enemies of the religious experience and the religious experiencer.” (Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences, Abraham Maslow)"

"“highly valuable…experience, so great an experience sometimes that even to attempt to justify it takes away from its dignity and worth. As a matter of fact, so many people find this so great and high an experience that it justifies not only itself but even living itself. Peak-experiences can make life worthwhile by their occasional occurrence.” (
Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences, Abraham Maslow)"

My own experiences have not been particularly emotional on the whole and I haven't had to read meaning into them as they come with their own meaning built in.  They are deeply pleasurable in a mental way and seem to both expand and deepen the universe.  The only time I remember experiencing overwhelming emotion as a result of one was when God guaranteed that I will never die, then of course, I felt an immense joy that I cannot describe.  On top of that I "saw" (it wasn't literally visual but registered as visual) Jesus at the right hand of God and when the joy died down I was left with a kind of supernatural peace.  It felt natural but more so.  Ever since that event, when I look back to before it, the events of my life are as if they had happened to somebody else instead of me.  This description does not do the experience justice which is why I don't usually share it.
(This post was last modified: 2021-02-27, 09:26 PM by Brian.)
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