Tuesday, September 16, 2014


"The psychologist must also remember that certain religious convictions not founded on reason are a necessity of life for many persons." Carl Jung, The Basic Postulates of Analytical Psychology, Chapter IX of Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Published by Routledge & Kegan Paul 1933, translated by Cary Baynes.

While this concept of necessity has a legitimate psychological function, the function itself is primitive and short-sighted. What Jung fails to see is that man is a product of evolution inasmuch as he is a participant in evolution. The entire basis of Jung's approach to psychology is easily refuted by noting the difference between Neanderthals and modern Europeans. Essentially, Jungian psychology seeks to crystallize the primitive (it cannot move forward)! This means Jung is focused on preserving that which is out-dated as a means of stabilizing the individual's psychology... Jung would condemn a man to the past (as he has no way of bringing him into the future).

The cultural superstitions of the Neanderthal (which were at one time so essential to their survival) have long gone extinct. They have been surpassed. Indeed, is it not fitting to ask: did Neanderthal go extinct because he could not transcend these superstitions? What Jung tries to do is preserve these instincts, but the problem with this is that they are hostile to the future; they clash with the transformation of evolution. (One can only wonder if this can even be called psychology)?
"General conceptions of a spiritual nature are indispensable constituents of psychic life." Ibid.

We can only ask the question; in what sense are these emotive precepts indispensable? Perhaps they are destructive? (It would seem Jung has no foresight of the future).

"Their relative absence or their denial by a civilized people is therefore to be regarded as a sign of degeneration."

This is the exact opposite of the case. Their preservation is a sign of degeneration in the historical context of evolution. Jung has no power to help men into the future; he would preserve the childishness of the child. He would affirm the superstition of the past, which is to say, leave men in their delusion. (One can only wonder if this can even be called psychology)?

"Whereas in its development up to the present psychology has dealt chiefly with psychic processes in the light of physical causation, the future task of psychology will be the investigation of their spiritual determinants."

Again, this is completely backwards. Where does Jung get this idea that the future task of psychology must be the investigation of superstition? A healthy psychology must move in the opposite direction. Freud seeks to expose superstitions; Jung seeks to affirm them. [But then again, perhaps man's irrational beliefs do hold a key to his psyche?]

"The spiritual aspect of the psyche is at present known to us only in a fragmentary way."

So far as I know there is no spiritual aspect (whatever the fu*k Jung means by this) to the psyche aside from that of delusion. What are these fragments? Can they be stated in the form of propositions?

"We have learned that there are spiritually conditioned processes of transformation in the psyche which underlie, for example, the well-known initiation rites of primitive peoples and the states induced by the practice of Hindu yoga. But we have not yet succeeded in determining their particular uniformities or laws. We only know that a large part of the neuroses arise from a disturbance in these processes."

Here Jung seems to assume that these so-called neuroses are negative. (Though I am willing to admit their immediate negative effects, one might think of a child who is learning to swim... such a transformation is a kind of crises). A culture sustained by religious belief will be shattered by the fall of that religious belief (the same is true of individuals)... What Jung cannot do is provide us with a theory of transformation [re-birth], instead, Jung simply affirms nihilism unto the immaturity and despair of the individual. His is not a transformative psychology, but a psychology of primitive preservation. (One can only wonder if this can even be called psychology)?

"The cognitive illusion of an ever-present and keenly observant God worked for our genes, and that's reason enough for nature to have kept the illusion vividly alive in human brains. In fact, the illusion can be so convincing that you may very well refuse to acknowledge it's an illusion at all. But that may simply mean that the adaptation works particularly well in your case."
Jesse Bering, The Belief Instinct, pg.196

Where a discussion on this topic might lead:

One can try to explicate the positive psychological features of religious belief, but in all reality, in order for our analysis to have some type of value, we must not state the obvious conclusion from the religious person's perspective, confirmation bias. If religion plays a part in psychology it plays a negative part, which is precisely the direction of our analysis. To merely view the positive aspect is to remain within the patient's psychosis. A good psychologist must do more than simply affirm a man's delusions (though I admit delusions have their place).

Religion certainly plays a role in psychology, but the positive aspect only arises if one remains within the patient's psychosis. To stand back and view religion from the outside is to see a mind conditioned by authority. So far from remaining within; a good psychologist should go after the circuits which account for the patient's lack of resistance to authority. The infrastructure before Jung (which is the infrastructure he merely assumed) is precisely the infrastructural which must be unlocked and challenged. Not religion, but the conditioning which necessitates the psychological need for religion, is the thing we must go after.