Last Updated on Sunday, 27 October 2013 20:37
Written by Devon Anthony Stevens
Two books by Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton University Press) and The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung (Random House) -- henceforth to be referred to as JC and AC respectively -- purport to be 'ground-breaking works of historical reconstruction' bringing Jungian scholarship to 'a new level of sophistication'. In fact, both are masterpieces of intellectual distortion and amount to a declaration of war on Jung and on analytical psychology. When JC was published in 1994, it received almost universally favourable reviews and was that year voted the 'Best Book on Psychology' by the Association of American Publishers. Noll has followed up this success by further anti-Jungian sallies in the press and on the internet, and now he has published AC, doubtless to similar acclaim. I will deal with JC first.
The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement
In this book, Noll accuses Jung and his followers of establishing 'an institutionalized capitalist enterprise' with training institutes and local psychology clubs distributed throughout the world. Jungian psychology, Noll argues, is a 'secret church', a religious cult, centred on the 'pseudo-charismatic' figure of Jung, and run by an elitist group of acolytes, who sell initiation into the 'fantasy of individuation' at an exorbitant price. Noll marshalls extensive evidence designed to prove that Jungian psychology shares precisely the same Germanic, Aryan, 'völkisch', Nietzschean sun- worshipping roots as National Socialism -- though he acknowledges that Jung put this tradition to the service of a 'religious' rather than a political objective.
Noll reserves his most sustained attack for Jung's theory of archetypes which, he maintains, is based on deliberately falsified evidence and is wholly lacking in scientific validity. As a result he felt justified, in an article published in the Times Higher Educational Supplement (November 22, 1996), in making a comparison between the attitude Jungians adopt to their patients and that of Ben Johnson's Alchemist, who 'deceives one customer after another ... stringing each dupe along with scientific sounding jargon'. Jungian analysts, he says, 'most of whom have no formal medical, psychological or scientific training', have remained silent on the issues of 'Jung's deliberate fraud' and the 'lack of scientific support for most of Jung's post-1916 constructs'. Moreover, 'there has never been a position paper from the main association of Jungian analysts concerning the scientific status of Jung's theoretical constructs. And with good reason: new patients would stop knocking at their door if the truth were more widely known'.
Though the present review article is not a 'position paper', it is written by a Jungian analyst who has received a formal medical, psychological and scientific training, and I hope it may help to correct the grosser calumnies of which Noll is guilty.
'Today', insists Noll, 'the entire routinized system operates with an economic structure like a multilevel marketing pyramid, with individuation as the vague product sold, and Jungian analyst status essentially equivalent to a distributorship that can be bought.... The usual patient of a Jungian analyst is always a possible trainee whose economic input into the system is potentially significant. Money, perceived power, and perceived spirituality, all flow to the few certified Jungian analysts in the elite at the top of this pyramidal economic system' (JC p. 281).
A Jungian training analysis, according to Noll, is like being initiated into an ancient Hellenistic mystery cult, 'a pagan form of personal religion that also entailed the paying of fees for transformative experiences'. The charade is conducted by 'an occult specialist (the analyst)' who conjures up 'a transcendent realm (the collective unconscious) and its powers (the archetypes)' which are alleged to hold out to the gullible initiate, the promise of 'an energizing renewal, rebirth, or redemption (individuation)' (pp. 291-2). Jungian literature is no better, for it is 'written from the point of view of self-promotion, both economic and social-status related'. Analysts publish books not because they wish to contribute to knowledge but because it enhances their perceived charisma and leads to paid invitations to speak at local Jungian groups 'within the vast international network of such organizations'. These 'act as local "trade organizations" for the enterprise of Jungian analysis as a business'. Jungian literature, he says, 'serves as a marketing strategy for the larger capitalist enterprise of Jungian analysis' (pp. 292-3).
Noll sustains this travesty through the length of his book, stretching and amputating Jungian theories and practices to fit the Procrustean bed of his own 'cultic' distortion. Always he prefers metaphor to simile: Jungian psychology is not like a cult (simile), it is a cult (metaphor). The trouble is that he takes his metaphors quite literally. They then cease to be metaphors and become farce. Thus The Collected Works are 'the sacred texts' of the Jung cult (p. 279), Küsnacht is the Bayreuth of the Jungians, and Jung is their Wagner, 'a philosopher genius who offered mysteries that could only be experienced in that one secret place' (p. 278). When Esther Harding opened her analytic practice in New York she 'transplanted the Jungian mysteries to a new country and became the mater magna of American Jungianism' (p. 281), and Memories, Dreams, Reflections provided the necessary 'cult legend' to turn Jung into 'the cult totem from which Jungian analysts derive their authority. . .' (p. 287). Through the use of active imagination and the rituals of analysis, Jung was proselytizing a form of 'spiritual elitism, a Nietzschean new nobility of the individuated' based on the pattern of his own inflated experience of 'deification'. Jungian analysis then becomes a 'ritualized re-enactment of Jung's own experience as a suffering and dying god, just as Roman Catholic communion is a ritualized re-enactment of the Last Supper' (pp. 257-8). In all seriousness, Noll goes on to imply that, by developing the use of techniques to mobilize the transcendent function and promote individuation, Jung was dedicating himself to the production of an Aryan 'master race'! 'Jung was waging war against Christianity and its distant, absolute, unreachable God and was training his disciples to listen to the voices of the dead, to worship the sun, and to become gods themselves' (p. 224).
Noll seizes on Liliane Frey's statement that Jung's circle in the 1930s was 'like a cult' and Jane Wheelwright's use of the term 'cultism' to describe the atmosphere in Züruch and Küsnacht at that time. But precisely the same could be said about the groups that collected round Freud and Adler in Vienna, Lacan in Paris, Melanie Klein and Anna Freud in London, to say nothing of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates in Athens. It is inevitable that when charismatic leaders arise they will attract followers, and a cult-like atmosphere will develop round them. But analytical psychology was never a religious cult in the strict sense that Noll tries to impose on it and it is certainly not true of analytical psychology today. If you really want to test the ludicrous implications of Noll's thesis, just pause for a moment and try seeing yourself as a völkisch, pagan, Aryan, deified sun-worshipper -- or better still, ask your spouse or best friend if the description fits! Yet, according to Noll, if you call yourself a Jungian. then a völkisch, pagan, Aryan, deified sun-worshipper is precisely what you are. Heaven knows, it would not be beyond the bounds of reason for anyone living in Züruch or the British Isles to worship the sun, in view of its comparatively rare appearance, even though, in our health conscious era, an essential part of the ritual would have to be plentiful applications of Ambre Solaire, factor 30. But can Noll really be serious?
By overstating his case in this way, Noll destroys it. What could have been a scholarly examination of the cultural antecedents of Jung's thought, and a creative exposure of the shadow side of Jungian training and practice, becomes a burlesque -- a grotesque perversion of the truth. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his presentation of Jung's 'confrontation with the unconscious' after his break with Freud, the experience which eventually resulted in formulation of the basic tenets of analytical psychology. In the course of his discussion of this seminal episode, Noll demonstrates that he has not the slightest conception of symbolism or how it is possible to make therapeutic use of the symbols which patients produce in the course of an analysis. His stolid literal-mindedness leads him into absurd misinterpretations. Thus, because Jung writes at length about solar symbolism and solar renewal in Wandlungen, Noll believes he must have been a 'sun-worshipper'. Since Jung exposed himself to the experience, which he and many other introspective people have described as 'the god within', he believed he was a god.
Noll makes much of the account of inner experiences which Jung gave in his 1925 seminars, which contain material additional to what was published in Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Jung reported that during one episode of active imagination 'a most disagreeable thing happened. Salome became very interested in me, and she assumed I could cure her blindness. She began to worship me. l said "Why do you worship me?" She replied "You are Christ". In spite of my objections she maintained this. I said, "This is madness", and became filled with sceptical resistance'.
Noll interprets this to mean that' Jung believed he had undergone a direct initiation into the ancient Hellenistic mysteries and had even experienced deification in doing so. This "mystery of deification" gave him "certainty of immorality" '. 'This', comments Noll, 'is a remarkable statement' (p. 213).
It certainly would have been -- if Jung had made it of himself. But, as the passage Noll is paraphrasing makes clear, Jung was describing what initiates probably experienced as they passed through the Hellenistic mysteries. As Jung says and, to give him his due, Noll quotes him: 'Awe surrounds the mysteries, particularly the mystery of deification. This was one of the most important of the mysteries; it gave the immortal value to the individual -- it gave certainty of immortality. One gets a peculiar feeling from being put through such an initiation'.
In the course of Jung's active imagination, a snake approached him, encircled and gripped his body. He assumed the attitude of the Crucifixion and felt that his face had taken on the aspect of a lion or a tiger. Jung proceeded to amplify this experience in terms of Mithraic symbolism, identifying the lion-headed god gripped in the coils of a snake as Aion, the eternal being, a statue of which is in the Vatican Museum. 'In this deification mystery', comments Jung, 'you make yourself the vessel, and are the vessel of creation in which the opposites reconcile' (Jung 1990, p. 99).
Noll grabs hold of this symbolic experience and sets it in concrete. He does not appreciate that at critical points in their lives people commonly experience initiatory symbolism in their dreams, or that it can be of enormous therapeutic help to them to enter imaginatively into the spirit of this drama so as actually to experience the emotions and psychological changes of the initiation being symbolized. He also 'ails to appreciate the significance of Jung's discovery of the dynamic power of symbols to act as 'transformers of energy' and their central importance in the processes of psychic transformation and healing. On the contrary, 'By indulging in such highly personal self-disclosure about his life in the 1925 seminars', observes Noll,' Jung was modelling the way for his disciples to follow if they, too, wanted to be redeemed by initiation into mysteries that would give them the "certainty of immortality".... By contracting and merging with the god within, true personality transformation would then follow. Jung had, then, by this time very much left the realm of science (even in its nineteenth-century sense) and had founded a mystery cult or personal religion, (p. 215).
In fact he had founded neither a mystery cult nor a personal religion but a highly imaginative and creative form of psychotherapy. The truly astonishing thing is not the psychological disclosure Jung made in his seminar but Noll's insistence on taking Jung's experience of Aion not symbolically but concretely. Clearly it suits his purpose to assume that Jung was crazy enough to think that he had actually become a god. Paradoxically, Noll later contradicts his argument that Jung 'deified' himself by quoting a passage in which Jung argues that individuation requires disidentifying oneself from conventional society and from God, for 'by cutting himself off from God', says Jung, the individual becomes 'wholly himself' (p. 232).
Noll writes as if the creative act of entering the symbolic life and exposing oneself to the seemingly limitless vitality of unconscious resources was a pathological aberration. He seems not to realize that such experiences have been reported by innovative people engaged in all forms of creative endeavour, whether it be literature, music, mathematics, philosophy, sport, the plastic arts, or even analysis itself. Nor does he understand that to feel the power of a symbol is to enter a world of make-believe. For the devout Catholic, at the moment of consecration, the bread and the wine become the body and blood of Christ. When in a primitive ritual, a man puts on the mask of a god, then for the duration of the ritual, he is the god. The profane object is transformed into the sacred object through a culturally sanctioned act of imagination. We have all experienced similar transformations, not only those of us who have been analysed, but at a more simple, more personal level, as children at play.
A sceptic, like Noll, can, of course, refuse to participate, and then the magic does not work. He stands outside it and scoffs. For him there is no transformation for he declines to have anything to do with the whole charade. He eschews the imaginal realm that others wish to enter. Other people's beliefs, especially their religious beliefs, have always seemed absurd, incomprehensible, risible even, to those who do not share them. It is as the scoffing outsider that, Noll has produced his caricature of Jung's achievement.
But having caricatured it and having misunderstood Jung's use of symbolism, Noll proceeds to go for what he perceives as Jung's Achilles' heel -- the theory of archetypes and its putative biological basis.
Noll's case against the theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious falls under two headings: that it is based (I) upon falsified evidence (The case of the Solar Phallus Man) and (2) upon outdated and erroneous biology. We will take these in turn.
The case of the solar phallus man
In an article published in The Times on June 5, 1995, Noll is quoted as acclaiming Jung 'the most influential liar of the twentieth century'. This was widely noticed and commented upon. The article paraphrases pages 181-7 of The Jung Cult in which Noll accuses Jung of falsifying the details of a piece of evidence which Jung and his followers have frequently cited in support of the theory of the collective unconscious. It concerned the schizophrenic patient who is said to have told Jung that if he stared at the sun with half-closed eyes he would see that the sun had a phallus and that this organ was the origin of the wind. Years later, so Jung said, a Greek text was published describing an almost identical vision. The patient, a poorly educated man, could not have seen the text, even if he could have understood it, since it was published after his admission to hospital, where no such literature was available.
Noll's researches have revealed certain discrepancies between Jung's frequently repeated account and the facts -- discrepancies to which Noll attributes great importance. These are:
(I) The patient was not Jung's, but one of Jung's assistants, J.J. Honegger, who committed suicide in 1911;
(2) The case was reported in 1909 and not 1906 as Jung later claimed;
(3) The first edition of the book in which the Greek text appeared (Eine Mithrasliturgie) was published by Dieterich in 1903; Jung's copy, which first brought the solar phallus image to his attention, was a second edition published in 1910;
(4) Earlier authors, such as Creuzer and Bachofen, had made references to the solar phallus before that date, and since these were published in German it is possible that the patient could have heard about them and they could have influenced the content of his hallucination.
Noll castigates Jung for not making these facts known and for persisting with this original story, implying that this invalidates Jung's theory.
Although the Solar Phallus Man seems to have been Jung's favourite example to illustrate his hypothesis of the collective unconscious, it has never seemed a particularly felicitous example. The hallucination is not readily explicable as the result of an archetype of the collective unconscious operating in different individuals living in different places at different times in history. Much more persuasive examples could have been given, such as the behaviour of generations of mothers and children as they work out their personal variations on the basis of the mother-child archetypal programme, or global parallels surrounding the ubiquitous symbolism of the snake. To explain Jung's example, it is necessary to postulate three archetypal objects (sun, phallus, and wind), an archetypal principle (that of masculine generativity) and an archetypal association between them (the sun's phallus generating the wind). Although such an association is statistically improbable, it is not impossible, but Jung could certainly have found a more persuasive example to support his theory.
In fact, the validity of Jung's hypothesis is in no way dependent upon the case of the Solar Phallus Man. It is striking how many workers in different fields have rediscovered the archetypal hypothesis and proposed it in their own terminology to explain their own observations. Thus, in addition to Chomsky's 'deep structures' subserving the universal or archetypal grammar on which all other grammars are based, behavioural biologists conceive of 'innate releasing mechanisms' which they hold responsible for species specific 'patterns of behaviour'. Like Jung, they hold that such patterns of response have been prepared for by nature. As Jung himself insisted, the archetype 'is not meant to denote an inherited idea, but rather an inherited mode of functioning, corresponding to the inborn way in which the chick emerges from the egg, the bird builds its nest, a certain kind of wasp stings the motor ganglion of the caterpillar, and eels find their way to the Bermudas. In other words, it is a "pattern of behaviour". This aspect of the archetype, the purely biological one', concludes Jung, 'is the proper concern of scientific psychology' (Jung 1976, para. 1228; italics added). When due allowance is made for the greater adaptive flexibility of our species, therefore, the ethological position is very close to Jung's view of the nature of archetypes and their mode of activation.
A number of evolutionary psychologists and psychiatrists both in Britain and the United States have detected and announced the presence of neuropsychic propensities virtually indistinguishable from archetypes. Paul Gilbert (1989) refers to them as 'psychobiological response patterns', Russell Gardner (1988) as 'master programmes' or 'propensity states', while Brant Wenegrat (1984) borrows the socio-biological term 'genetically transmitted response strategies'. David Buss (1995) refers to 'evolved psychological mechanisms' and Randolph Nesse (1987) to 'prepared tendencies'. These response patterns, master programmes, propensity states, response strategies, evolved psychological mechanisms, and prepared tendencies are held responsible for crucial, species-specific patterns of behaviour that evolved because they maximized the fitness of the organism to survive, and for its genes to survive, in the environment in which it evolved. These strategies are inherently shared by all members of the species, whether they be healthy or ill. Psychopathology intervenes when these strategies malfunction as a result of environmental insults or deficiencies at critical stages of development.
The importance of this approach is not only its extension of archetypal theory to psychiatric aetiology but the historic fact that it represents the first systematic attempt to acknowledge the phylogenetic dimension in psychiatry and to put psychopathology on a sound evolutionary basis. These are all exciting developments and Noll either ignores or is completely unaware of them.
While he makes no mention of evolutionary psychology and its congruence with archetypal theory in The Jung Cult, he does give it one mention in The Aryan Christ, but it is both contemptuous and misinformed: 'Like contemporary sociobiologists and "evolutionary psychologists"', he writes derisively, putting the term in quotes, 'both Gross and Jung believed that, when it came to reproductive strategies, humans were biologically still quite primitive' (p. 86). This statement betrays as great a misunderstanding of Jung as it does of socio-biologists and evolutionary psychologists, none of whom assert that humans are 'biologically still quite primitive' -- whatever that may mean. Noll's use of quotation marks is instructive. Presumably they are intended to convey the impression that so-called 'evolutionary psychologists' have set themselves up as some form of lunatic pseudo-scientific fringe unworthy of serious consideration. Is this, one wonders, intellectual laziness on Noll's part? Or does it represent an attempt to disguise his anxiety that this exciting new discipline may be capable of undermining much of his case against Jung?
The question remains as to whether Jung deliberately falsified his data. Though Noll wishes to convince us that he did, the evidence he produces is not sufficient to support his contention. As Noll himself admits, Jung did attribute the case to Honegger in his first published account of it in 1911 (in Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, Part 1). Twenty years later, it is true, Jung claimed the case as his own in his essay 'Die Struktur der Seele' in 1930. This is not such a base slip as Noll would imply since Jung was the consultant under whom Honegger came to work in 1909, whereas the man had been at the Bürgholzli under Jung's overall care since Jung took up his appointment there in 1901. As Jung was deputy superintendent of the hospital the man was technically Jung's patient. Honegger was merely the assistant who recorded the patient's solar delusions. The truth, therefore, is less sinister than Noll would wish to imply.
Yet in AC he persists in building a mountain out of this particular molehill, giving the incident a bold headline: 'The disappearance of J.J. Honegger from history'. Under this heading he attributes the worst possible motives to Jung: 'by 1930 [Honegger] had been dead for almost twenty years, and with no living heirs to complain, Jung saw no reason why anyone would object if he removed J.J. Honegger from history and took credit for the case himself' (p. 269). This is pure hostile surmise.
That Jung claimed he had gathered the information in 1906 rather than 1909 could not, according to Noll, possibly have been an innocent slip of memory many years later, but was a deliberate lie to cover up the fact that Jung had wrested the case from Honegger, who had not joined the staff of the Bürgholzli until 1909, 'surmising that no one would catch him or care very much in the years to come' (p. 269). This again is surmise on Noll's part rather than Jung's.
He acknowledges that Jung's editors inserted a footnote in The Collected Works which drew attention to the fact that there was indeed a 1903 first edition of Dieterich's Eine Mithrasliturgie, but, characteristically, Noll goes on to accuse them of 'covering up' for Jung, when they added, 'the patient had, however, been committed [to the Bürgholzli] some years before 1903' (p 270). However, this is evidently not a cover up, but a plain statement of fact. If the editors had wished to indulge in a cover up they would surely have omitted the footnote altogether.
It is undeniable that all his life Jung retained a fondness for the Solar Phallus Man. The case had provided a Eureka experience which strengthened his intuition that beneath our personal intelligence a deeper intelligence is at work -- the evolved intelligence of humanity. That Jung may have exaggerated the unlikelihood of the Bürgholzli patient knowing about the Mithraic cult, which specifically celebrated the phallic sun, probably represents nothing more venal than a natural human tendency to improve on a good story. But Jung's theory of archetypes operating through the collective unconscious is in no way dependent upon its veracity. The Solar Phallus Man, like J. J. Honegger, will disappear into history, but the theory of archetypes will survive as long as it retains its explanatory and descriptive power.
Jung's erroneous biology
Noll makes three criticisms of Jung's biological thinking which, taken cumulatively in conjunction with the exploded case of the Solar Phallus Man, in Noll's opinion, effectively dispose of Jung's archetypal theory once and for all. These criticisms are as follows:
(1) that, like Freud, he accepted Haeckel's biogenic law;
(2) that he abandoned twentieth century biology in order to embrace a nineteenth century Romantic view of nature rooted in German Naturphilosophie; and
(3) that he was a teleologist in his conception of evolutionary processes (i.e., he believed there to be some intention behind them guiding them in the direction of the evolution of the human psyche), whereas no neo-Darwinian will go along with this (i.e., they adopt the 'blind watchmaker' view that evolution is undirected and purely the consequence of natural selection).
There is a strange omission in this list of 'errors' and that is the one criticism which can be most tellingly advanced against Jung, at least against the earliest formulations of his theory, namely, that, like Freud, he subscribed to a Lamarckian view of heredity (i.e., the idea that a characteristic acquired in the life-time of an individual could be genetically transmitted to the next generation). One wonders if Noll overlooked this line of attack because Lamarck was French and not 'Germanic'.
We will deal with each of these criticisms in turn:
(1) Noll makes a great deal of the fact that Jung's evolutionary thinking was influenced by Ernst Haeckel ((1834-1919.). Haeckel was Professor of Zoology at the University of Jena and dominated German evolutionary biology throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. Because Haeckel propounded the now discredited 'biogenic law' that 'ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny' and because Jung evidently embraced this idea, Noll feels that this effectively discounts anything that either of them had to say about the evolutionary role of biology in psychology.
In the course of advancing his argument, Noll quotes a passage from Haeckel's book, The Riddle of the Universe, which Jung read in 1899. What Noll does not recognize, however, is that with the possible exception of the use of the words 'soul' and 'monistic', this passage could well have been written by a late-twentieth century evolutionary psychologist. The passage is as follows:
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.... 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.
This is precisely the position which the new discipline of evolutionary psychology has, as the twentieth century draws to a close, come finally to endorse. Where both Haeckel and Jung adopted a stance at variance with contemporary biology, was in the emphasis they placed on the no longer acceptable idea that the development of the individual (ontogeny) closely follows and recapitulates the evolutionary history of the species (phylogeny). That they were wrong about this does not invalidate their view that anatomy and psychology share a common basis in evolutionary biology. Nor does the fact that Jung's ideas about psychological development throughout the human life cycle were influenced by Haeckel's biogenic law invalidate, as Noll wishes us to believe, Jung's hypothesis of a collective unconscious subject to the laws of Darwinian biology.
But so determined is Noll to discredit the hypothesis of a collective unconscious as mystical 'völkisch' twaddle that he will not tolerate Jung's assertion that the collective unconscious is biologically based. What has become apparent from my public correspondence with him in the pages of the Times Higher Educational Supplement is that he cannot bear to acknowledge the truth that if one drops the Haeckelian overtones, the biological (Darwinian) basis of the concept remains entirely valid. There is no need to postulate Lamarckian or Haeckelian processes in the evolution of the phylogenetic psyche, since the Darwinian explanation in terms of natural selection is adequate to account for it. Rather than acknowledge this, Noll has attempted to lay down a smokescreen over the whole issue by making the insulting and outrageous suggestion that I, and others like me, do nor know the difference between 'evolution' and 'natural selection'. For the record, 1, like other evolutionary psychiatrists, use both terms in the way that Darwin used them in his masterpiece The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
In his essay 'The structure of the unconscious', Jung says: 'Every man is born with a brain that is profoundly differentiated, and this makes him capable of very various mental functions, which are neither ontogenetically developed nor acquired.... This particular circumstance explains, for example, the remarkable analogies presented by the unconscious in the most remotely separated races and peoples [which is evidenced by] ... an extraordinary correspondence between the themes and forms of autochthonous myths. The universal similarity of human brains leads us then to admit the existence of a certain psychic function, identical with itself in all individuals; we will call it the collective psyche' (Jung 1953/1966, pares. 453-4). This statement is fully compatible with the Darwinian position.
Where Jung moves on to less secure ground, is in his assertion that 'there are also collective psyches limited to race, tribe, and family, at a level that is less deep than that of the "universal" collective psyche' (Jung 1953/1966, para. 454). It is doubtful that these shallower collective psyches are genetically determined.
The position which, to my mind, is both biologically and psychologically unexceptionable is as follows: the collective psyche is the psychological potential of humanity which is encoded in the brain. The personal psyche is what the individual makes of the collective psyche in the course of ontological development. Intermediate between these is what Joseph Henderson (1991) calls the cultural psyche, which incorporates the shared unconscious assumptions of every family, neighbourhood, and nation. The cultural psyche is not genetically transmitted in the manner of the collective psyche: it is the product of traditional influences over the actualization of archetypal imperatives arising from the collective psyche through the development of generations of individuals living out their lives in a given geographical location. This provides an explanation for the Romantic illusion that it is 'the soil' that is responsible for the formation of national, 'völkisch' characteristics.
One of the important consequences of Jung's familiarity with Haeckel's work was the insight that the whole life cycle is a developmental process with an inherent agenda determined by genetics -- that the life of the individual is at the same time the life of the species. In this he anticipated Waddington's (1957) 'epigenetic law' by several decades.
(2) Noll's suggestion that Jung abandoned twentieth century biology in order to embrace a nineteenth century Naturphilosophie is summarized by the following paragraph:
'With the creation of his religious cult and its transcendental notions of a collective unconscious in 1916, Jung had already left the scientific world and academia, never to really return'. His adoption of the theory of 'dominants' or 'archetypes' completed this break, asserts Noll, and united him with Goethe and Carus and the 'morphological idealists of the romantic or metaphysical schools of Naturphilosophie that reigned supreme between 1790 and 1830 in German scientific circles' (p. 269).
Noll follows enthusiastically in the wake of Henri Ellenberger, travelling into that hinterland of Jung's thinking inhabited by Goethe, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and the Romantic idealists. But, unlike Ellenberger, he uses the information thus gleaned not to augment our appreciation of Jung's contribution but in order to condemn him. He gives Jung no credit for having moved beyond the nature-philosophers but insists that because he was influenced by many of their ideas, 'Jung's psychological theory is placed squarely within the tradition of speculative or metaphysical Naturphilosophie due to their commonly shared fundamental concepts such as Einheit (unity), Stufenfolge (succession of stages of gradual development), Polarität (polarity, or the interplay of opposing vital forces), Metamorphose (metamorphosis), Urtyp (archetype) and Analogie (analogy)'. Thus, because Jung makes use of these concepts in his thinking, it follows, insists Noll, that his psychology is 'a twentieth-century regression or degeneration to nineteenth-century Naturphilosophen' (p. 272).
At no time does Noll consider the possibility that the nature-philosophers themselves had legitimate insights into nature and into biological processes, even if these were superseded by twentieth century biology. The notions of metamorphosis and the succession of stages of gradual development are at the heart of modern developmental psychology and its conceptions of human epigenesis. The notion of polarity, or the interplay of opposing forces, is central to the modern physiological concept of homeostasis and to the science of cybernetics. The notion of the archetype is, as we have seen, indeed compatible with the 'innate psychological mechanisms' of evolutionary psychology, and the notion of analogy is indispensable to the understanding of the symbolism of dreams. If Noll considers that, in order to be compatible with twentieth century science, modern psychology must deprive itself of these concepts, purely because they were thought of in the nineteenth century, he is adopting a position which it is hard to reconcile with his self-proclaimed status as a 'historian of science'.
(3) Because Jung did not subscribe to the 'blind watchmaker' view of evolution, and because the evidence provided by the case of the Solar Phallus Man is far from watertight, Noll argues that the hypotheses of the archetype and the collective unconscious are totally discredited. This does not follow. Jung was perfectly within his rights to argue that there is some implicit intention behind the creation of the universe and the evolution of the human psyche. That this view is decisively rejected by biologists such as Richard Dawkins does not mean that it is wrong. (In my experience, a number of evolutionary biologists are closet teleologists.) Nor does it affect the fact that the archetypes can be understood as biological entities that evolved nonteleologically through natural selection. What matters is that Jung was one of the few psychologists of stature in the twentieth century to reject the tabula rasa theory of human psychological development and to replace it with a psychological theory that accepted the profound influence of phylogenetic factors on ontogenetic development.
Finally, with regard to the criticism which Noll does not press in The Jung Cult namely, that Jung took a Lamarckian rather than a strictly Darwinian view of evolution -- it is true that Jung open wrote as if he were a Lamarckian, as when he talks of archetypal experiences being 'engraved' upon the psyche by repetition through the millennia of human experience. For example, he observes: 'There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life. Endless repetition has engraved these experiences into our psychic constitution, not in the form of images filled with content, but at first only as forms without content representing only the possibility of a certain type of perception or action' (Jung 1959/1968, pare. 99).
There is no problem about Jung's assertion that archetypes represent only the possibility of certain types of perception or action, but no contemporary biologist would go along with the notion of archetypal experiences being engraved in the psychic constitution. One must admit that Jung did himself a disservice by using such terms, but they can be taken metaphorically rather than scientifically. In any case, they are easily dispensed with, since they are irrelevant to the enduring value of the archetypal hypothesis.
What becomes fixed in the genetic structure is the predisposition to the kinds of experience which Jung described as archetypal not the experiences themselves. Although Noll fails to acknowledge this, Jung eventually acquitted himself of the charge of Lamarckism when he announced, in 1946, a clear theoretical distinction between the deeply unconscious and therefore unknowable archetype-as-such (similar to Kant's das Ding-an-sich) and the archetypal images, ideas and behaviours that the archetype-as-such produces. Jung specifically distanced himself from the position which critics have accused him of adopting: 'Again and again', he wrote, 'I encounter the mistaken notion that an archetype is determined in regard to its content, in other words that it is a kind of unconscious idea (if such an expression be permissable). It is necessary to point out once more that archetypes are not determined as to their content, but only as regards their form, and then only to a very limited degree. A primordial image is determined as to its content only when it has become conscious and is therefore filled out with the material of conscious experience' (Jung 1959/ 1968, para. 155).
Though Noll does not take advantage of Jung's early Lamarckian sympathies in order to strengthen his attack, he nevertheless insists that on all other grounds, 'Jung's theories simply cannot fit in with the wider body of twentieth- century scientific theory' (p. 272). I hope that in this review article I have demonstrated that this is not true.
The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung
A progression (or perhaps a regression) is discernible in the history of biographical writing over the last hundred years. Up to the end of the First World War biographies tended to focus on their subjects' public life. Then, between the wars, the focus shifted from the public to the private life. In our own salacious and intrusive times, the primary concern has become centred on the secret life, prying into those aspects which, during their lifetime, and after their death, the subjects, and their families, would rather have kept discreetly to themselves. It is as if biographic interest has moved from the persona to the shadow. Nowadays, a life does not sell very well unless it can serve up spicy details of the subject's concupiscence and venality. For this reason, recent biographers of Jung have been loud in their condemnation of the Jung family for continuing to keep diaries, letters, and documents out of the public, domain. Evidently, these authors detect hidden dirt and they resent not being able to lay their hands on it and service it up for public delectation. Anyone who achieves eminence is now vulnerable to this peculiarly modern form of investigative prurience.
Possibly because of the family embargo, anyone who buys this Secret Life of Carl Jung in the hope of picking over the minutiae of the great psychiatrist's sex life will be in for a disappointment. Instead Noll concentrates on the 'hidden agenda' which he perceives as providing the key to Jung's behaviour.
Jung, says Noll, presented himself as a psychologist and a Christian, a deliberate deception so as to disguise his 'magical, polytheistic, pagan worldview' (p. xvii) and to conceal his fantasy of bringing redemption to all members of the Aryan race. He rehashes and augments his thesis, advanced in The Jung Cult, which he based on the personal revelations made by Jung in his 1925 seminars. 'The defining moment in the secret story of Jung's life and movement', Noll tells us, 'happened the day that he was deified' and 'became the god known to us as Aion' (p. 121). In his active imagination, Jung had assumed the attitude of the crucified Christ and was transformed into the lion- headed god, Deus Leontocephalus, and this means, according to Noll, that he became 'one-with-God' and believed that he had been literally deified. 'Jung thereby became the figure that fueled the fantasies of thousands of Völkish (sic) Germans and Europeans and American anti-Semites at the turn of the century: the Aryan Christ' (p. 143). Where did Noll get his absurd but catchy title 'The Aryan Christ'? Jung never used it to describe himself, though this does not prevent Noll from confidently asserting, 'Jung became conscious that he was the Aryan Christ for a new age', as if this were a fact rather than Noll's own interpretation. He derives the term 'Aryan Christ' from the belief which he says was current in certain Germanic völkisch circles that Christ's whole cast of mind was 'Aryan' rather than Jewish and that his biological father was either a Roman centurion or a 'Hellene'.
Another decisive factor which Noll detects in the development of Jung's secret life was his relationship with Otto Gross, 'one of the most dangerous men of his generation ... a Nietzschean physician, a Freudian psychoanalyst, an anarchist, the high priest of sexual liberation, a master of orgies, the enemy of patriarchy, and a dissolute cocaine and morphine addict ... a strawberry-blonde Dionysus' (pp. 70-1). Gross became Jung's patient and they had marathon analytic sessions, each lasting many hours, in which Gross frequently assumed the role of analyst himself. Whether Gross benefited from this experience is doubtful, but Jung, according to Noll, was transformed by it. It enabled him to overthrow his bourgeois inhibitions and become a polygamist.
History is wrong, Noll maintains, to point to Freud as the single most influential person in Jung's life. This honour should go to three individuals who were all patients and colleagues of Jung: Sabina Spielrein, Toni Wolff, and Otto Gross. Together with Jung they formed a quaternity which 'synthesized every idea we call "Jungian" today from the elements of their personal experience. Their catalyst was polygamy' (p. 70).
Gross was by way of being an evolutionary psychiatrist ahead of his time, for he believed that our evolutionary history influences our present experience. He encouraged Jung's interest in Johann Jacob Bachofen's idea that our distant ancestors lived in small nomadic bands enjoying a life that was instinctively free and polygamous. This, argued Gross, was the only truly healthy way to live. We should break the shackles of Christendom and revert to our primitive origins. Jung followed this prescription, says Noll, 'by founding a spiritualist mystery cult of renewal and rebirth -- and by advocating polygamy for the rest of his life' (p. 87).
As the 'Aryan Christ', Noll assures us, Jung 'could redeem those biologically capable of rebirth -- Aryans -- by returning them to their natural pagan roots, to the archaic man still within. He could save the world. Having been blessed with the direct knowledge of the divine, who better than he to be the prophet of the new age?'
If this were the agenda which, as Noll insists, governed the rest of Jung's life, why did he keep it hidden and secret as Noll maintains? He had to, Noll says, if he was not to be dismissed as yet another theosophical crank. Here a whiff of paranoia enters the argument. 'To make his spiritual movement a success', says Noll, 'Jung had to adopt at least three false faces or masks'. In the first place, he passed himself off as a psychologist, devising various Decknamen, or cover names, such as 'personal unconscious', 'collective unconscious', 'persona', to disguise his true intention. Thus, in his publications and lectures, 'Jung was careful to always speak (sic) and write in code (my italics). the term 'psychological reality' is 'itself a Deckname -- still very much used by Jungians today -- for direct mystical experience of the spiritual world of the divine. This was his first mask'. Secondly, 'he stuck close to Christian metaphors to hide the pagan undertow of his stream of thought. This was his second mask'. Thirdly, he assumed the role of 'a religious prophet or leader of a charismatic cult of individuals looking up to him for guidance. This was his third mask' (pp. 159-60). If the truth looks very different to most of us, the implication is that we have been taken in by Jung and have failed, unlike Noll, to penetrate behind his masks.
Do Jung's sources invalidate the hypothesis of a collective unconscious?
Noll's scholarly contribution is to lay bare the cultural sources of much of Jung's thought, and it is unfortunate that he finds it necessary to put a paranoid spin on these discoveries to make them fit into his 'conspiracy theory' that all his life Jung was following a secret mission as an Aryan redeemer. He does, however, advance an important argument that needs to be addressed: he asserts that all the elements of Jung's fantasies and visions experienced in December 1913, and reported by him in his 1925 seminars, are derived from Franz Cumont's questionable account of Mithraic mystery initiations. This, says Noll, proves that the fantasies were the result of cryptomnesia (hidden memory) and not the product of the collective unconscious. 'If Jung broke through to the eternal realm of the phylogenetic or collective unconscious, as he believed, and experienced an authentic Mithraic process of transformation, then non-Cumontian elements might appear in the structure of the December 1913 visions. They do not. All the elements of Jung's initiation can be derived from Cumont and other scholars Jung read. This once again raises the issue of whether all of his experiences were based on cryptomnesia. If so, the collective unconscious may still be said to exist, but only on the shelves of Jung's personal library' (p. 133).
Noll traces the sources of the content of Jung's visions to six scholars (p. 125): Nietzsche ('from him Jung first became intoxicated with the mysteries of blood and sexuality and underground initiation in the ancient cults of Dionysus'), Crenzer (who was 'convinced that a careful study of the surviving artefacts of pagan antiquity could reveal key elements of the hidden "secret doctrine" of the prehistoric ancestors of us all'), Albrecht Dieterich (who wrote extensively about the cult of Mother Earth, the heroic night sea journey, the Gnostic god Abraxas, and the Greek magical papyri known as the Mithraic Liturgy, which provided Jung with the clue to the vision of the Solar Phallus Man), K.H.E. de Jong (who wrote 'a detailed dissertation offering ethnological and psychological interpretations of the experiential phenomena reported by initiates into the ancient mysteries'), and Richard Reitzenstein and Franz Cumont (authorities on Hellenic mysteries and Mithraic mysteries respectively). Concerning these mysteries, Noll derives much of his information from Walter Burkert (I987). But it is surely significant that he makes no mention that Burkert has enthusiastically endorsed the evolutionary psychological (or archetypal) approach to religious phenomena (see especially Burkert, 1996).
All this information is of the greatest interest and might have assisted Noll in his efforts to demolish the hypothesis of the collective unconscious, were it not for two important considerations: Firstly, far from trying to conceal these facts, Jung openly acknowledged the cultural influences which gave substance to his visions: 'I had read much mythology before this fantasy came to me, and all of this reading entered into the condensation of these figures' (Jung 1990, p. 92). Secondly, Noll misunderstands archetypal theory and the manner in which archetypes are actualized in the personal psyche. No one believes that archetypal components erupt de novo and intact into consciousness, like Athena from the head of Zeus, in the absence of personal, cultural or environmental influences. As with symbolism generally, particular religious or mythological themes are not directly inscribed in the human genome any more than a particular language. But the propensity for religious beliefs and mythic themes particularly those concerning life, death, and regeneration -- are innately 'prepared for' in the human mind-brain like the propensity for speech. In the course of ontological development, which in the Jungian view persists throughout the course of the life cycle, the psyche makes use of the beliefs and rituals available to it in the history of the local culture. It is precisely because Jung understood this that he could not have taken his 1912 fantasies concretely, as Noll so evidently wishes us to believe. Jung's understanding of the role of cryptomnesia in the trance utterances of Hélène Preiswerk and Flournoy's Helen Smith gave him an insight into the subjective symbolical nature of such phenomena. The gods are symbolic manifestations of archetypal imperatives, not the gods or the archetypes themselves, and the symbolic manifestations are richly susceptible to cultural input. They are, nevertheless, experienced as 'powers' with transformative capacities which profoundly impact on the conscious personality. Jung's introspective genius enabled him to explore and reveal the functional complexity of such phenomena and to demonstrate ways in which they could contribute to the developmental health of the personality rather than to its disruption.
The archetypal need for religious symbols of transformation, regeneration, and transcendence is apparent in human communities throughout the world, where they assume local forms which, on examination, reveal close parallels to one another. The local culture provides the symbols for the archetypal programme to use-- just as the local culture provides the language for the innate linguistic programme to work on. That archetypes of transformation and regeneration took Mithraic forms in Jung's fantasies does not condemn archetypal theory to oblivion, but provides a rich example of archetypal processes in action.
While Noll accurately records the development of Jung's researches from Mithraism (1910-14), through Gnosticism (1916) to alchemy (the 1930s he fails to acknowledge the evident truth that the same archetypal themes were guiding his interest throughout the course of his journey -- namely, sacrifice, death and rebirth, initiation and spiritual transformation.
The question for psychology to answer is why myths of birth and renewal take the forms that they do and why they persist for many generations in their culture of origin. Archetypal symbols and mythic themes retain their essential characteristics and resist erosion over generational time because they correspond to what the cognitive scientist Dan Sperber (1996) calls 'commonalities of the human mind'. This idea is now entering the mainstream of the behavioural sciences, which would be bad news for Noll, if he permitted himself to know about it.
Where it must be acknowledged that Jung was wrong was in his contention that European, Far Eastern, Amerindian, Jewish, and African variations on the mythic themes of sacrifice, death, and rebirth were due to hereditary differences among these groups. Jung was able to believe this because at the time of his original formulation of the collective unconscious hypothesis, his view of evolutionary biology was still essentially Lamarckian -- namely, that characteristics acquired in the life-time of members of one generation could be passed on genetically to members of the next. We now know that this is not so and that European, Eastern, American and African communities have not been separated long enough in biological time for their brains to have undergone evolutionary changes great enough to account for transmission of different cerebral structures or to explain the cultural differences between them.
Another fact that Noll conveniently overlooks is that death and rebirth symbolism is not peculiar to Mithraic or 'Germanic' myths. It is evident in all mythologies. That the symbolism manifested in Jung's dreams and fantasies was 'Germanic' in form is entirely understandable, given the culture in which he grew up and lived.
Precisely when humanity began to be preoccupied with the problem of death is uncertain, but archaeological evidence of burial practices would indicate that it was somewhere between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago. Then the knowledge that life was finite gave rise to a need to discover magico-ritual means of circumventing death or in some way compensating for it. Mithraic rituals were but one, comparatively recent, example of this. For most of our contemporaries such means are no longer available. Where the ancients found a solution in their mysteries, we find a less creative solution in repression and denial. Presumably this is the solution favoured by Noll. But as Jung was able to demonstrate, the symbolism of life, death and rebirth is still very much alive for us, as it was for the Roman devotees of Mithras, should we give close attention to our inner lives. 'It is certain', writes Walter Burkert (1996), an authority whom Noll respects, 'that the basic religious structure had evolved before humans reached America [over 24,000 years ago], for despite thousands of years of isolation, the religions of American aborigines remained comparable and similar to their Old World counterparts in many respects'.
Religious behaviour may thus be considered a species specific characteristic of humankind (Boyer, 1994). That the implications of this realization have hitherto been left out of consideration has been due to the insistence of behavioural scientists that each culture should be studied as an autonomous system entirely peculiar to itself. Noll is evidently still stuck in this way of thinking.
What is so disturbing about Noll is his attitude of Olympian condescension to all that Jung experienced and described, and his dismissal of the notion that it can have any relevance to the human condition merely because it is 'Germanic' and 'Aryan'. Moreover, he writes as if sun worship were a peculiarly Aryan invention and therefore culturally determined and without archetypal implications. But sun divinities are apparent in Egypt, early Europe, Asia, Peru, and Mexico. The notion that the sun is the eye of a sky god is evident not only in Egypt but among the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, the Semang Pygmies, and the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego encountered by Charles Darwin on his voyage in HMS Beagle. Mithra began life as a sky god, was transformed into a sun god, and later became a hero-saviour (sol invictus), while at the same time ensuring the continuance of life by slaying the bull, from which all plants and grains originated. Such a career is common to many sky gods. As with Mithra, the solarization of the sky god coincides with his decline to the semi-human status of the solar hero, who, having been swallowed up in the Underworld in the West, emerges triumphant next morning in the East. This motif is linked to initiation rites worldwide, such as those practiced in Australasia, through which the initiate becomes identified with the solar hero, and, in the process, himself becomes the son of the sky god. The initiation is, like all other initiations, a death and rebirth experience, whereby the symbolism of the setting and rising of the sun is symbolically repeated and ritualized.
Although sun-worship has never been as widespread as once thought, the sun is nevertheless the origin of heat and light, and its resurrection every morning as well as its return after the winter solstice are matters of primary concern to every human being who has ever existed. It is not surprising, therefore, that sun symbolism, like sun-worship, is widespread. The swastika, one of the oldest and most complex of all solar symbols, is far from peculiar to Germanic peoples. It has been found in virtually all parts of the world, including pre-Columbian America. Its form suggests rotation about a central axis, and there are in fact two kinds of swastika. the right handed swastika and the left-handed swavastika. These have been variously interpreted as male and female, solar and lunar, the rising vernal sun and the descending autumnal sun, and so on. In China the two swastikas depict the forces of Yin and Yang. Sun symbolism is thus no mere Aryan curiosity. Indeed, it is so universal that it leads one to suspect that somewhere in his psyche there lurks a sun-worshipping, 'Aryan' Noll.
Acts of the Apostles
In Part Three of The Aryan Christ, which Noll archly entitles 'Acts of the Apostles', he recounts the personal histories of three women who 'like the celebrants in the ancient cults of Dionysus . . . came to Jung from afar to celebrate in his mysteries' and formed 'the first group of apostles around him' (p. 165). These were Fanny Bowditch Katz, Edith Rockefeller McCormick and Constance Long. Noll's purpose in publishing these accounts is clearly to provide support for his thesis that Jung 'had recognized his own divinity as the Aryan Christ and he wanted to redeem other Aryans as well' (p. 252). For example, he makes much of a letter Jung wrote to Joan Corrie, a friend of Constance Long, about the archetypal symbol of the divine child which had appeared in one of her dreams. This letter, says Noll, 'is unlike any other by Jung ever published... If there was ever any doubt that Jung was quite self-consciously the charismatic leader of his own mystery cult, this private letter to his disciple should dispel it' (p. 251).
So what does Jung say in this unique letter? 'The child in its infinite smallness is your individuality,' he writes, '.... The primordial creator of the world, the blind creative libido, becomes transformed in man through individuation and out of this process which is like pregnancy, arises the divine child, a reborn god, no longer more dispersed into the millions of creatures but being one and this individual, and at the same time all individuals, the same in you as in me'. He refers her to VII Sermones Ad Mortuous and goes on to advise her not to speak of her inner experiences to others: 'Don't allow yourself to be dispersed into people and opinions and discussions', he says.
And what does Noll make of this? '[Jung] is attempting to initiate a disciple into his own mysteria', he declares, 'and even swears her to secrecy'. This is a conclusion of startling naively, which again displays both ignorance of the psychology of symbolism and deficient understanding of the analytic process. What Noll fails to appreciate is that 'the divine child, a reborn god' is a metaphor -- a symbol of the archetypal power with which the image of the child is endowed. Instead, he again takes hold of Jung's language with stultifying, literal exactitude. Moreover, Jung's advice not to 'speak of these things to other people', is not an oath of secrecy administered by a master of initiation but the sound advice of a good and sensitive analyst to his patient not to dissipate the inner energy and new psychic growth that is arising. Similar advice is given by psychotherapists of all schools. Writers, no less than analysts, know the importance of keeping new ideas secret and in the dark so that they may be allowed to germinate undisturbed. As usual, Noll puts his own gloss on Jung's words to suit his own purposes.
It is interesting that despite his libellous comparison of the Jungian analyst with the alchemist, who 'deceives one customer after another, promising the "philosopher's stone" or the"philosopher's elixir", stringing each dupe along with scientific-sounding jargon' (THES, 1996), he admits in AC that Jung's patients were actually helped by him: 'truth be told, many claimed that this wild ride into mythological symbolism was indeed therapeutic. It helped make their individual, mundane lives seem much more interesting and even important on a cosmic level' (pp. 271-2). Fanny Bowditch Katz, 'almost 38, unmarried, obsessively suicidal', arrived in Züruch in 1912. There she 'found friends and felt alive again' (p. 167). She went home to Boston a year and a half later 'e much more mature woman'. When she returned to Züruch the following year, Jung passed her on to his colleague (and, Noll surmizes, his mistress, Maria Moltzer) and Fanny 'blossomed in ways she never dreamed possible' (p. 182).
Edith Rockefeller McCormick, a severe agoraphobic, 'had suffered the loss of two children and had withdrawn emotionally from her husband and from her surviving children, still quite young. She needed help and found it in Züruch. She came alive for the first time' (pp. 200-1). She arrived in Züruch in 1913 and was joined sometime afterwards by her husband, Harold. Edith remained in Züruch until 1921 to become a successful analyst in her own right. Not only did she become reconciled to Harold during this period but got him into analysis with Jung to his great satisfaction. Their daughter, Muriel, and son, Fowler, followed suit, with similar positive results. Yet so determined is Noll to represent Jung as a charlatan and individuation as a con-trick that he attributes little importance to the fact that Jung commonly achieved a degree of therapeutic success with his patients that any analyst of whatever school would be proud of. That Noll should wish to discredit the therapeutic value of analytical psychology is, as the cumulative effect of his book demonstrates, because of his anti-spiritual, anti-Jungian, and anti-German prejudices.
The 'uniquely German context'
'Although every foreigner', declares Noll [by which he means every Anglo-American], 'who came into contact with Jung received a heavy dose of Volkish (sic) mysticism, few understood its uniquely German context. Fanny Bowditch Katz didn't. And certainly Connie Long in England didn't either. Most people today trying to make sense of Jung don't get it either because they are rarely informed about the pervasiveness of Volkish ideas in German culture before 1933' (p. 259). Well, now Noll has told us in two long books. This is his contribution; and now we know. But the interesting thing about it is that Noll thinks we ought to mind -- that we should reject Jung on account of his cultural background, as if he must be eternally damned for having the temerity to be born in 'Germanic' Switzerland. This is American academic chauvinism at its worst.
It is true that the transcendent religious attitude to life was a central preoccupation of Jung's and that analytical psychology was in many ways a by-product of his need to find a solution to his father's loss of faith and his personal disillusionment with Christianity. His own spiritual journey, his confrontation with the unconscious, and his 'Germanic' cultural background profoundly influenced the development of the psychotherapeutic procedures practiced in his name. But far from seeking to establish a religious 'cult', Jung was attempting to meet the need which he perceived in the patients who consulted him for a 'religious' or 'spiritual' dimension of meaning in their lives. However, the quest for spiritual regeneration (a renovatio) which so powerfully animated Jung, and which he sought to satisfy in his patients, is repudiated by Noll purely on the grounds that, like Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and Nazism, it derived from a common 'Germanic', 'völkisch', 'Aryan' source. He does not wish to see that the quest for a renovatio is an ever present psychic possibility for all human beings, irrespective of their cultural background, and has been sought and found by millions who have never heard of the Germanic, 'völkisch' tradition. It represents a common human experience, either in the presence of the Holy or at the moment of religious conversion.
Noll's frequent use of the word 'Aryan' to describe the Indian or Persian origins of some of Jung's terms or ideas (e.g., the mandala, or the revitalizing powers of the unconscious) in both JC and AC, appears to be designed to evoke Nazi associations in the minds of his readers. Sometimes he drives the point home more overtly: 'The similarity between Jungian psychology and National Socialism is that both movements promoted Weltanschauungs based on (1) the traditional Germanic symbolism of völkisch mysticism and (2) "Nietzscheanism" in the elitist and pseudo-liberational sense astutely identified by Tonnies. They both, in their unique ways, offered what Stern calls "the promise of miracle, mystery and authority" to those of predominantly Aryan heredity. I therefore argue', concludes Noll, 'that the Jung cult and its present day movement is in fact a "Nietzschean religion"' (JC, pp. 136-7).
Always the implication is the same: the central dynamic of Jungian psychology is Aryan, Germanic, Nietzschean, 'völkisch', neopagan, and consequently to be thought of in the same frame as National Socialism. Furthermore, because Jungian psychology takes religious, spiritual and symbolic modes of experience seriously, it is to be dismissed as just another mystical cult embracing charlatans and dupes. In line with this policy, Noll lampoons Jung's memoir, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, as his 'alleged autobiography', an 'idealized cult legend' manufactured by his secretary, Aniela -- as if she had made it all up and Jung's words were not dictated to her, or rearranged from other texts, but invented by her. What a gifted woman she must have been!
In his attempt to demolish Jung by demonstrating his 'Germanic', 'völkisch' background, Noll is exploiting the general cultural reaction which followed the defeat of Nazism after the Second World War. Because Nietzsche, the Lebensreform movement and many German intellectuals called for an elite of specially gifted people to lead others to the promised land of 'renewal', and because the Nazis perverted this idea, the political reaction has swung so far in the opposite direction as to sabotage the whole concept of excellence as being 'elitist' and therefore 'fascist'. This has coincided with 'dumbing down' and the triumph of the lowest common denominator in the arts, education, and the mass media. Psychotherapy should not compound this cultural disaster, but compensate for it.
On the few occasions that Noll makes an effort to appear balanced in his judgement of Jung -- as when he declares that Jung was 'never openly anti-Semitic' (JC, p. 133), or that 'Jung's völkisch interests were not political ones' -- he begins to sound rather like Antony in Julius Caesar praising Brutus as 'an honourable man'. As one reads both his books, it becomes patent that Noll has projected his shadow, not only on to Jung and the Jungians, but on to the entire family of Germanisch peoples (the German Swiss, Austrians, and Dutch, as well as the Germans themselves). This does little to promote a balanced view of the complex strands which history has woven into the culture of Central Europe and which have contributed to the success of Jungian psychology. While Noll makes no secret of his dislike of 'völkisch' traditions, he completely overlooks the core contribution that 'Germanic' geniuses have made to the glories of European civilization. It would be invidious to attempt to list them, but it should at least be said that the peoples who produced such disasters as Kaiser Wilhelm 11, Adolf Hitler, and the Holocaust, also produced Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner, Brahms, Goethe, Kant, Kepler, Cranach, Dürer, etc., as well as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Jung.
The question of Noll's motives
A careful study of Noll's books inevitably makes one question where the motive force of his personal animosity against Jung can have come from. Up to the time of publication of his book Vampire, Werewolves, and Demons (1992), in which Jung appears as a dedicatee, Noll was apparently well disposed to him. Then an enantiodromia seems to have occurred, similar to Jeffrey Masson's change of heart towards Freud after he was rejected by the Freudians, having come up against Anna Freud and Kurt Eissler at the Freud Archive. Are there similar skeletons in Noll's professional cupboard? I suspect there are, and I think we should be told.
Personally, I find the greatest difficulty in accepting that Noll actually believes that Jung considered himself to be the 'Aryan Christ'. Not only did Jung repeatedly warn us against the danger of identifying with figures emerging in the course of active imagination but Noll even quotes him to this effect: 'Jung warned of the danger that "this identification of the personality with the collective unconscious manifests itself always in the phenomenon of self-deification". But this is the unavoidable first step to true individuation. "It is therefore a question of the overcoming of self-deification, which might be compared with the Death of Christ, a death of the greatest agony" ' (AC, p. 153). Noll again quotes Jung as saying in his inauguration speech for the Psychology Club, 'Only after the overcoming of self-deification, only after the human being has been revealed to himself, and man recognizes the human being in mankind, can we speak of a real analytic collectivity -- a collectivity that reaches out (extends) beyond type and sex'. As this passage makes clear, the self-deification is to be understood as an initiatory stage to be overcome, not a state of ego-aggrandizement to be perpetuated.
Yet, despite this, Noll persists in his mockery of Jung as 'the Aryan Christ'. Why does he do it? Presumably, it cannot be unconnected with the fact that such a calumny will draw attention to his book and produce better sales and higher royalties than if he wrote a fair, honest, decent and scholarly book about Jung, his symbolic life, and the sources of his inspiration. Why should a travesty of Jung's life and work, such as that presented in The Jung Cult, receive such wide circulation and universal acclaim? Presumably, it is because of Noll's stature as a Harvard professor, his skill as a self-publicist, and because our times are more sympathetic to the iconoclastic than the sympathetic biographer.
In The Jung Cult and The Aryan Christ Noll has produced carefully contrived, scholarly and heavily detailed works of misinformation and misinterpretation, designed to fill out his own prejudiced and somewhat paranoid vision of Jung's achievement. It is unfortunate that so much valuable research should be used as ammunition in what looks like a purely personal vendetta.
Boyd, R. & Richerson, P. (1987). Culture and the Evolutionary Process. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Boyer, P. (I994). The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Burkert, W. (I987). Ancient Mystery Cults. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
----(1994). Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Buss, D.M. (1994). 'Evolutionary psychology: A new paradigm for psychological science', Psychological Enquiry, vol. 6, I, pp.1-30.
Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Darwin, C. ( 1859). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: John Murray.
Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene. London: Oxford University Press.
Ellenberger, H. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious. New York: Basic Books.
Gardner, R. (1988). 'Psychiatric syndromes as infrastructure for intra-specific communication', in: M.R.A. Chance (ed.). Social Fabrics of the Mind. Hove & London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Gilbert, P. (1989). Human Nature and Suffering. Hove & London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Henderson, J. (1994). 'C.G. Jung's psychology: additions and extensions', Journal of Analytical Psychology, 36, 4,429-42.
Haeckel, E. (1900). The Riddle of the Universe at the Close of the Nineteenth Century, translated by Joseph McCabe. New York & London: Harper & Brothers.
Jung, C. G. (1953/1966). 'The structure of the unconscious.' CW7. (1959/1968).
___ 'The concept of the collective unconscious.' CW9. I. (1959/1968).
___ 'Psychological aspects of the mother archetype.' CW9. I.
___ (1963). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: Random House. (1976).
___ 'Foreword to Harding: Women's Mysteries.' CW 18.
___ (1994). Analytical Psychology, Seminars, vol. 3. London: Routledge.
Nesse, R.M. (I987). 'An evolutionary perspective on panic disorder and agoraphobia'. In: Ethnology and Sociobiology, vol. 8, 3S, pp. 73-84.
Noll, R. (1992). Vampires, Werewolves, and Demons: Twentieth Century Reports in the Psychiatric Literature. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
(1994). 'Folk fictions: was Carl Jung a fraud?' Times Higher Educational Supplement, November 22nd.
Sperber, D. (1994). 'Learning to pay attention: how a modular image of the mind can help to explain culture'. Times Literary Supplement, December 27.
Waddington, C.H. (1987). The Strategies of the Genes: A Discussion of Some Aspects of Theoretical Biology. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Wenegrat, B. (1994). Sociobiology and Mental Disorder. Menlo Park, California: Addison-Wesley.
NOLL, RICHARD. The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994. Pp. xv + 387. $24.95, £19.95.
The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung. New York: Random House, 1996. $25.95
[Please note that the pages quoted refer to those of the Advance Copy.]
See also Contemporary Issues in Analytical Psychology.