8

GOD AS ARCHETYPE OF THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS

Jung’s earliest discussions on the existence of God are distinctly Freudian. Freud, of course, was delighted. One of his letters to Jung (of 1 September 1911) concludes with an exultant ‘Bravo!’ on receiving further evidence that his young colleague had become ‘aware that the Oedipus complex is at the root of religious feeling.’ 1 And there was ample evidence for Freud’s satisfaction. Between 1909 and 1911 Jung wrote a series of five articles very much in the Freudian mode and in one of these—‘The Significance of the Father in the Destiny of the Individual’ (1909)—he not only endorses Freud’s claim that ‘all “divine” figures have their roots in the father-imago,’ but goes on to sketch a brief history of religion based on this premiss.

The religion of the Old Testament exalted the paterfamilias into the Jehovah of the Jews, whom the people had to obey in fear and dread. The patriarchs were a stepping-stone to the Deity. The neurotic fear in Judaism, an imperfect or at any rate unsuccessful attempt at sublimation by a still too barbarous people, gave rise to the excessive severity of Mosaic law, the compulsive ceremonial of the neurotic. 2

We have seen, however, that by the end of 1912 matters stood very differently. The friendship with Freud had only a few weeks to run, and passages like the one I have just quoted were deleted from later editions. What precipitated this change was the publication of the second part of Symbols of Transformation. For here Jung had not only ‘desexualized’ Freud’s concept of the libido to the point where the Oedipus complex could no longer operate as the exclusive generative force in the formation of a religious neurosis—or indeed of any neurosis—but, equally dramatically, he had replaced Freud’s idea of a sexual libido with his own much more inclusive concept of an ‘energic libido.’ This allowed for an altogether different perception of religion. Religion need no longer be perceived as a conglomerate of guilt-ridden repressions and ritualized obsessions, but as a natural and legitimate dimension of psychic activity. This does not mean, of course, that religious experience can never be neurotic. Neurosis, as a symptom of libidinal

-113-

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Freud and Jung on Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Part I - Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalysis and Religion xii
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Totem and Taboo 18
  • 3 - Religion and Illusion 33
  • 4 - Forms of Religious Neurosis 50
  • 5 - A Critical Appraisal 60
  • Part II - Carl Gustav Jung: Analytical Psychology and Religion 82
  • 6 - Introduction 85
  • 7 - The Structure of the Psyche 93
  • 8 - God as Archetype of the Collective Unconscious 113
  • 9 - God and Individuation 142
  • 10 - A Critical Appraisal 166
  • Notes 197
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index of Names 229
  • Index of Subjects: Freud 233
  • Index of Subjects: Jung 236
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