Letter: Jung cult all in Noll's mind

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The Independent Online
Sir: Richard Noll's The Jung Cult, which has been widely discussed in the UK as well as in the US since its initial publication in 1994, is wholly unoriginal ("Carl Jung: a `psychic pyramid seller' ", 1 October). Freud and his earliest followers charged Jung with mysticism, self-deification, and anti-Semitism. Rooting all of Jung's ideas in turn-of-the-century occultist, nationalistic, and anti-Semitic Germanic cultural movements, as Noll does, is one-sided. Of course, Jung was keenly interested in cultural trends. But he was interested in them as projections of psychological states, not as political movements.

Rather than yearning to restore a pristine, pagan, pre-Christian past, as Noll argues, Jung strove to forge a new, post-religious, post-Christian present. He sought not to revive an old religion but to establish psychology in place of religion. Jung's appeal has always been not to cultural Luddites but to scientifically minded moderns.

Noll provides no evidence of any secret Jungian organisation. The cult turns out to be only the innocuous Analytical Psychology Club of Zurich.


Reader in Theory of Religion

Lancaster University