ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
After his graduation from Basel School of Medicine, Jung accepted a post as alienist (psychiatrist) at the Burghölzli Mental Hosptal in Zürich. Here he worked under the supervision of one of the leading psychiatrists of the day, Eugen Bleuler. The latter believed that the delusions of psychotics were actually meaningful if one could but understand them. He convinced Jung of this, and, from then on, the latter also held the view that hallucinations had a logic of their own which, when interpreted, could be found to have meaning. While he was at the institute, Jung met and married a wealthy woman, Emma Rauschenbach, and, soon after, built a mansion at Küsnach near Zürich. Here he spent the rest of his life. His wife’s fortune enabled Jung to devote himself completely to his private practice. his research, and his writing. Between 1908 and 1913 he fell under the sway of Sigmund Freud, although he always had reservations about Freud’s sexual theories. In 1912, Jung published Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (1912) translated into English as Psychology of the Unconscious (1916) and, in revised form, Symbols of Transformation. In this strange, rambling book, Jung repudiated Freud’s libido theory, which led to the shattering of their friendship. This book is also replete with occult symbols and esoteric discussions. Jung was strongly drawn to this area during these years and those that followed. He was convinced in the validity of the occult; that it was a symbolic way of expressing the same psychological concepts as he did.
During World War One, Jung worked out the basic principles of his analytical psychology, culminating in his basic theory of the impersonal psyche, or archetypes of the collective unconscious. This, in large measure, was based on his study of alchemy, Gnosticism, astrology, and other occult topics. After World War One, Jung continued his practice, wrote extensively, travelled in Africa and America, and rose from obscurity to fame. Most of the work of his later years involves an extension of that begun earlier. Where the occult is concerned, his most valuable contribution is his study of alchemy. He was also vitally interested in UFOs, which he regarded as the modern version of fairy tales.
Jung died in 1961 at the age of eighty-six. After his death, he attracted more interest than he had during his lifetime, but not among psychologists or psychiatrists. He was never accepted by colleagues in these fields, nor held in regard in academic circles. Instead, his chief impact was on people outside learned circles interested in myth, religious experience, esotericism, and the occult. He continues to have a strong following among these today.
In 1996, he was savagely attacked by the psychologist Richard Noll in two books, The Jung Cult (1994) and The Aryan Christ (1996). Noll asserted that Jung was a charlatan who set out to found a religion centering on himself. He has also been attacked because of his collaboration with the Nazis during the 1930s: he accepted an apppointment from them as president of the German Psychiatric Association (which he held until 1939), and the editorship of the German psychiatric journal. Apologists for Jung argue that he was politically naïve. Like Eliade and Campbell, he has also been accused of anti-semitism, although many Jews, including his secretary, Aniela Jaffé, vigorously denied this.