Jung and the Volkisch Movement
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), in founding Analytical Psychology did so as a break and a contradistinction from the psychological school of his mentor Sigmund Freud. The Jungian and the Freudian stand as the contrasts between the Germanic and the Jewish world-views in the realm of psychology. Indeed it has been suggested that Freud’s observations were largely derived from mainly Jewish patients.
Jung commented: “… It is a quite unpardonable mistake to accept the conclusions of a Jewish psychology as generally valid.”
The Jewish spirit that infuses Freudianism has been remarked upon by others qualified to speak, both Jew and Gentile. The Jewish historian Howard Sachar considered the chief motivation of the Jewish Freudians to be, “the unconscious desire of Jews to unmask the respectability of European society which closed them out… The B’nai B’rith Lodge of Vienna for example delighted in listening to Freud air his theories.” (Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish History).
Thomas Szasz, professor of psychology, State University, NY, wrote of Freud’s “anti-Gentilism” as being “an important aspect of his personality and predilections.”
Jung gave science an important contribution with his theory that there is not only an individual unconscious but also a collective unconscious, including a racial or ethnic unconscious impacting significantly upon the individual and determining his very Being and Identity. It was a scientific development and elaboration of the concept held by Germanic philosophers such as Johann Gottfried von Herder, postulating that each people, or nation, has its own “soul.”
Jung stated: “No doubt on an earlier and deeper level of psychic development, where it is still impossible to distinguish between an Aryan, Semitic, Hamitic, or Mongolian mentality, all human races have a common collective psyche. But with the beginning of racial differentiation, essential differences are developed in the collective psyche as well.”
Jung indicated what this means in practical terms, as for example when politicians and religious dogmatists try to impose a multi-racial society. Jung wrote: “For this reason we cannot transplant the spirit of a foreign race in globo into our own mentality without sensible injury to the latter, a fact which does not however deter sundry natures of feeble instinct from affecting Indian philosophy and the like.”
Another major contribution from Jung was his theory of individuation, or the Total Being brought into effect by integrating one’s repressed unconscious into the conscious Self. To this process which is central to Jungian therapy Jung applied the German word Heilsweg, the “sacred way” of healing. On his way towards individuation one confronts the repressed unconscious or Dark side of oneSelf referred to by Jung as The Shadow Self.
In keeping with Jung’s theme of the collective unconscious, not only the individual but an entire nation or ethnos possess its own unique collective ‘Shadow.’ This is what Jung addressed to the Germanic nation when he wrote,
We cannot possibly get beyond our present level of culture unless we receive a powerful impetus from our primitive roots. But we shall receive it only if we go back behind our cultural level, thus giving the suppressed primitive man in ourselves a chance to develop. How this is to be done is a problem I have been trying to solve for years… The existing edifice is rotten. We need some new foundations. We must dig down to the primitive in us, for only out of the conflict between civilized man and the Germanic barbarian will there come what we need; a new experience of God…
Jung saw the primitive or Shadow of the Germanic folk repressed by a millennium of Christian moral bondage. When what is natural to an individual or an entire folk is repressed it will out eventually in some form or another. It was Jung’s concern that the Germanic Shadow be brought to consciousness with the result of a collective individuation of the whole folk. He had stated in 1919, the very year Hitler joined the newly formed German Workers Party: “As the Christian view of the world loses its authority, the more menacingly will the ‘blond beast’ be heard prowling about in its underground prison, ready at any moment to burst out with devastating consequences.”
Jung’s desire to see the Germanic folk individuate brought him into contact with the energetic volkisch movements that had emerged during the late 19th century and were ever more determined with the humiliation of Germany and Austria following World War I. Likewise, these movements saw the compatibility of Jungian psychology with their own ideology.
One of the volkisch theorists was Jacob Hauer, founder of the Nordic Faith Movement. He became involved with Jungian conferences and associations during the 1930’s. In 1934 he gave a lecture on number symbolism which had a great influence on Jung, and during the course of the same lecture Hauer used Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious to suggest the existence of a racial unconscious with racial symbolism.
The year previously the National Socialists had assumed power, an Jung wrote his essay Wotan, stating that the NS Reich was summoning forth the repressed Shadow or Wotanic unconscious of Germany. In 1936 he wrote: “The depths of Wotan’s character explain more of National Socialism than all the economic, political and psychological factors put together.”
With rivalry for spiritual allegiance in NS Germany between the so-called “German Christians” who had Germanized Jesus, and the pagan, anti-Christian volkisch movement, Jung expressly condemned the former and urged Germans to throw their whole support behind Hauer’s movement to bring forth that “new experience of God,” of Wotan. He described Hauer as “god (i.e. Wotan) possessed,” and Hauer’s activities as “the tragic and really heroic efforts of a conscientious scholar.”
To Jung the Old Religion was very much alive, albeit underground and waiting to resurface. He wrote:
No, memories of the old German religion have not been extinguished. They say there are greybeards in Westphalia who still know where the old images of the gods lie hidden; on their death beds they tell their youngest grandchild, who carries the secret… In Westphalia, the former Saxony, not everything that lies buried is dead.
In our present time, with the European soul buried beneath excessive materialism and superficiality, and the dying, putrescent vestiges of a thousand years of Judeo-Christian spiritual repression, Jung provides an insight whereby the European folk as a collectivity might find its way back to a sense of being. As that great exponent of European Being, the existentialist philosopher and supporter of National Socialism, Martin Heidegger himself has written:
The past of human existence as a whole is not a nothing, but that to which we always return when we have put down deep roots. But this return is not a passive acceptance of what has been, but its transmutation.