- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Ira Gollobin on September 20, 1999 at 03:02:43:

In Reply to: ...and the Unconscious posted by Quincunx on September 16, 1999 at 12:49:42:

Proposing to delve deep, but focusing on the individual psyche apart from society as the basis to comprehend fundamental social phenomena, Jung proceeds to peel off layer after layer of civilized concepts and behavior patterns. According to him, this reveals that our instincts, intact in their pristine, pre-human state, underlie and sooner or later surface and dominate everything. He maintains that these instincts, long repressed under the huge superstructure of civilized society, periodically erupt like volcanoes, opening vents in the brittle, thin crust of civilization. In his version of the final act in the social drama, humans then disclose their true, subhuman nature, acting like beasts in a world ruled by tooth and claw. For Jung, coexisting human and subhuman "compartments" in the psyche alternate with each other as determinants of behavior, the essential, prime truth being the dominance, usually hidden, of the subhuman. (see Man And His Symbols, p. 72)

Class society produces classes with different psyches, such as those with opposite values. Substituting these concrete realities for Jung's abstract term "modern man," and bourgeois society for his "civilization," this "split-state" emerges as a function of the antagonisms of bourgeois society. Class struggle is the motor of society rather than a suppressed atavistic, biological split within the psyche. The broad masses resist, by a variety of means, the bourgeois force and guile to which a section of the people occasionally fall prey and thus retrogress to a subhuman level. The social catastrophes of bourgeois society demonstrate not so much the dark forces lurking in the psyche ready to pounce, nor the oppressive nature of civilization as such, but rather the decadent nature of this society and the strength of the emerging forces that will sweep away capitalism and impel society forward on a socialist course.

Having set in motion his imaginary man possessed of a suppressed instinctual component poised at any moment to assert its dominance, Jung is now ready to come out of the dream world and dash the hopes of the mass of people for a better life. Counterposing the "communist world" to "civilization" (his term for the bourgeois world), he states:

"The communist world, it may be noted, has one big myth .... It is the time-hallowed archetypal dream of a golden age (or paradise), where everything is provided in abundance for everyone, and a great, just, and wise chief rules over a human kindergarten. This powerful archetype in its infantile form has gripped them .... We too believe in the welfare state, in universal peace, in the equality of man, in his eternal human rights, in justice, truth, and (do not say it too loudly) the Kingdom of God on Earth. The sad truth is that man's real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites - day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil." (Man And His Symbols, pp 73-75)

In short, oppressed and oppressor are eternal: social antagonism is rooted in the human breast and can no more be cast off than people can jump out of their viscera. The chains fashioned by Jung are even more eternal than those ordained by theologians; their doctrine at least affirms the eventual Day of Judgement and the coming of a Kingdom of the Righteous.

From "Dialectical Materialism: Its Laws, Categories, and Practice" by Ira Gollobin. p. 450-451, Petras Press, New York, 1986.

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