In August of 1909, Sigmund Freud embarked upon a fateful journey. He along with his psychoanalytic heir apparent, Carl Gustav Jung, had been invited by G. Stanley Hall, the father of American psychology, to give a series of lectures at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Hall was a man who thought nature was more important than nurture, and, as a result, ended up being the occasion for Margaret Mead’s famous book to the contrary, Coming of Age in Samoa.
The voyage had an inauspicious beginning. Jung got drunk and started talking in a confused way about the prehistoric bog corpses which he mixed up with the mummies in the lead cellars of Bremen, the city from which they were departing by ship to America. Freud felt that the talk of mummies was a veiled attack on fathers in general and him and his authority in particular and in the middle of their conversation Freud “suddenly fainted.”
Things only got worse. Freud and Jung agreed to analyze each other’s dreams during the voyage; but when Jung confronted Freud about a dream involving his wife and sister-in-law, Freud shut down the analysis, claiming that he could go no further. “I cannot risk my authority,” is how Freud framed the issue. Which is exactly how Jung saw it as well. Freud’s authority involved keeping something secret, and that secret involved his relationship with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays. If the true nature of that relationship came out, Freud would lose his authority — presumably over Jung, of course — but one gets the impression that the issue is bigger than that and that Freud was worried about losing it over the rest of his followers and over his nascent following throughout the world as well.
Jung, of course, knew something that Freud didn’t know. On his first trip to Vienna to meet Freud in person, he claimed that Minna Bernays confided that she had been having an affair with Freud. Biographers like Peter Gay found the claim implausible, but the very fact that Jung was pressing the issue on the sea voyage to America argues in favor of believing that it happened. Jung, of course, brought his own sexual baggage to the meeting. He had been having an affair with a patient by the name of Sabina Spielrein and had gone to Freud for what amounted to absolution, an act which confers power on the absolver.
If Freud were involved in the same sort of illicit sexual activity as Jung, the act of absolution might seem more than a little bit hypocritical, and this probably fueled Jung’s resentment toward his mentor and his determination to find out whether, in fact, Freud was involved in the same sort of thing. A candid admission of guilt might have cleared the air, but it might also have taken the wind out the sails of the psychoanalytical movement. Whether it would or wouldn’t have is beside the point now. Freud clearly felt that he could not take the chance, that the risk was too great, that Jung was onto something, and that, if he admitted the affair, Jung and not he would have had the upper hand in the relationship.
The relationship collapsed anyway. Jung later said that Freud lost his authority by not confessing. “Freud,” he said, “was placing personal authority above truth.” The truth, in other words, were it known, would destroy whatever authority Freud had. The simplest explanation of Freud’s reticence, the one I pursued in my book, Degenerate Moderns, is what Freud called the Oedipus complex, the fact that “all men” desire sexual relations with their mothers or sisters, and it is really nothing but the projection of Freud’s guilt away from his affair with Minna.
Instead of admitting that he had done something wrong, Freud engaged in a massive instance of rationalization. He subordinated the truth to his desires. If his followers were to uncover the details of his transgression, they would hold the key which explained his theory in terms of his behavior. As a result, the theory would lose its power to explain the psyche and Freud would lose his authority along with his failed theory.
Lucrative Psychoanalytical Absolution
All of that is true as far as it goes, but as much as it explains the personal sources of the Oedipus complex, it barely begins to explain the political ramifications of that idea. Both Freud and Jung could read the signs of the times. Both were aware that they had discovered in psychotherapy not so much a medicine for healing people as much as a tool for manipulating them. Psychotherapy was a way of managing guilt, as Jung understood first hand; and both Freud and Jung knew that wealthy patients were, in the name of psychotherapy, willing to pay large sums of money to be absolved of guilt while, at the same time, allowed to hold onto the vices which caused the guilt in the first place.
Both Freud and Jung understood how powerful and how profitable this new discovery could be, and the break between them is best understood in this light. It wasn’t over ideas, but over control of a movement, over the control of rich patients and their financial resources, that Jung broke with Freud. Jung knew where the source of Freud’s power lay, and he wanted that source in his own right and not as somebody’s Gentile heir apparent.
About the same time that Freud first received his invitation to speak at Clark University, Jung received a visit from a wealthy American patient by the name of Medill McCormick, scion of the wealthy Chicago family who owned The Chicago Tribune and International Harvester.
“Fate,” Jung wrote, “which evidently loves crazy games, had just at this time deposited on my doorstep a well-known American (friend of Roosevelt and Taft, proprietor of several big newspapers, etc.) as a patient. Naturally he has the same conflicts I have just overcome, so I could be of great help to him, which is gratifying in more respects than one. It was like balm on my aching wound. This case has interested me so passionately in the last fortnight that I have forgotten my other duties” (Noll, 91).
McCormick was suffering from alcoholism and depression, and Jung, bolstered by Freud’s absolution of his affair with Sabina Spielrein, decided that he had the cure. Jung prescribed polygamy. “He rather recommended,” McCormick wrote later, “a little flirting and told me to bear in mind that it might be advisable for me to have mistresses — that I was a very dangerous and savage man, that I must not forget my heredity and my infantile influences and lose my soul — if women would save it” (Noll, 91).
Noll explains Jung’s infatuation with polygamy as part self-exculpation of his own behavior, but also as stemming from his increasing interest in “Aryan” mysticism, an infatuation which grew in direct proportion to his alienation from the Jew Freud and what he perceived as the “Jewish” psychoanalysis of the Freudian school.
The Aryan/Jewish conflict, much like the mystical/ atheist polarity of an earlier age, was at root a pretext for a struggle which was over control of a new psychic technology and the financial benefits that went with that control. Freud had discovered a way of controlling people by alternately manipulating guilt and the passion that caused the guilt; and Jung, after experiencing first of all how powerful it was first hand, and then discovering in Freud’s biography the source of that power, wanted to control it himself. He first treated Medill McCormick in Zurich in late 1908, then again in March of 1909, and then again, this time in America, in September of 1909 on the same trip with Freud to Clark University.
The Predatory Nature of Psychoanalysis
Jung had just made contact with one of the wealthiest families in America and was rubbing his hands in anticipation of the rewards which might accrue from that contact. After the break with Freud, Jung was beating the master at his own game. Freud, as Swales documents, was obsessed with money throughout his career. In a letter to Fliess in 1899, he wrote, “My mood also depends very much on my earnings. Money is laughing gas for me.” Freud’s best explanation of his relationship to his patients came in the form of a cartoon which appeared in the Fliegende Blaetter, a popular humor magazine of the time, in which a lion looks at his watch and mutters, “Twelve o’clock and no Negroes.”
Freud was the lion and in his letters to Fliess thereafter he referred to his patients as “Negroes,” which is to say, something to eat. Freud had already established the predatory nature of psychoanalysis in his relationship with Jung. Patients were to be people either of wealth or influence. The latter instance applied to Jung, the Aryan heir apparent who would ensure that psychoanalysis would become something other than a simply Jewish affair.
Jung learned his lesson well — too well, in fact — and the struggle between the two men was the struggle for who would control this emerging technology of psychic control. Jung could apply the exculpation Freud had wrought on him to the wealthy young American and bring this man under his control by simultaneously manipulating his vices and absolving him of the guilt which flowed from those actions, just as Freud had done with him. The conflict may have been inevitable, but the immediate context is also relevant.
The rise of Jung’s quarrel with Freud corresponded with Jung’s introduction to wealthy American patients. The struggle wasn’t primarily over ideas but rather over influence. Who would get to eat the “Negroes”? By the time the break between Freud and Jung was complete in 1913, it looked as if Jung were winning. After making contact with the McCormicks, one of the wealthiest families in America, Jung made contact with the Rockefellers, the wealthiest family in America, when Edith Rockefeller McCormick, Medill’s sister-in-law, showed up in Zurich for treatment for depression. When word got out that Jung had received a grant in 1916 amounting to $2 million in current funds, Freud was both envious and bitter. The Aryans were triumphing over the Jews once again.
In order to soften the blow that Jung’s defection inflicted on the psychoanalytic movement, the “Jewish” faction of the psychoanalytic movement came up with the idea of forming a secret society around Freud. Its purpose was to maintain orthodoxy, to ensure that the movement would continue after Freud was gone and, in Ernest Jones’ words, “to monitor Jung.” Jung was no stranger to secret societies himself. His grandfather was both a Freemason and an Illuminatus, which is to say a member of the society founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776 to take over the German Masonic lodges. Goethe was also an Illiminatus, although he may have been a double agent whose main reason for being a member was to keep the Prince of Weimar informed of its activities.
Weishaupt was a student of the Jesuits who ended up hating them. His ambivalence toward the Society of Jesus can be seen in the organization he formed, which took things like examination of conscience and sacramental confession and ripped them out of the Christian matrix which gave them meaning and kept them under control. The Illuminist adept would confess his sins to his controller, but instead of being told to go and sin no more, the Illuminist controllers would use this information as a way of controlling those underneath them in the hierarchy of that secret organization.
There was no seal of the confessional among the Illuminati and Jung, who would tell his followers that he was alternately Goethe’s illegitimate heir or his reincarnation, eventually turned Illuminism into psychoanalysis, which was a “scientific” version of what got practiced in the secret society of the Illuminati. Jung would find out his patients’ weaknesses and then give them permission to indulge in their vices as way of controlling them for his financial benefit.
Gnosticism: The Heart of Illuminism
Jung, of course, practiced what he preached. He spent his life indulging in the same sexual passions he encouraged in his “patients.” And if Illuminism was the secret system of control at the heart of psychoanalysis, Gnosticism was the belief system at the heart of Illuminism. The same spark, known as the soul, which had been previously imprisoned in matter, was now the self imprisoned by the sexual prohibitions of a culture which had been created by “hyloi,” the wooden bourgeoisie types who knew nothing of the inner life of the “pneumatikoi,” those in possession of the spirit.
Five years after Jung treated Medill McCormick, his sister-in-law, Edith Rockefeller McCormick, showed up in Zurich to be treated for a depression stemming from the death of her daughter Editha. Over the course of the next 10 years, Jung corrupted Edith with a steady diet of astrology and spiritualism, turning her into an agoraphobic woman who never left her hotel room. All of this was done in the name of, first, therapy and then training, after Jung convinced Edith to become a therapist in the Jungian mold.
Eventually her withdrawal from the world brought about her divorce from her husband and her death in poverty in a hotel in Chicago, but not before Jung exploited his doctor/patient relationship with her by persuading her to give Jung’s organization the equivalent of $2 million.
With the break with Jung and the formation of his secret society, Freud not only brought about a permanent schism at the heart of the psychoanalytic movement, he also, in terms of financial influence, seemed to come out on the losing side, for psychiatry was now split between Aryan and Jewish practitioners; and all of the wealthy patients, especially those coming from America, were “Aryans,” specifically wealthy Protestants whose grasp on Christian principle was becoming looser year by year. By granting Medill McCormick permission to gratify his passions, Jung gained a foothold with one of the wealthiest families in America. He was now parlaying that into contact with the wealthiest family in America.
The “Invisible” Church
Eventually both McCormick and his soon-to-be ex-wife Edith would be ensnared by Jung’s re-vitalization of Gnosticism, which he portrayed as the true religion of the Aryans. Soon McCormick was talking about Jung’s psychoanalytic club in Zurich as the “Visible Church,” a reference to Arthur Edward Waite’s 1909 book The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail.
Waite, according to Noll, claims that there has been an underground mystical tradition, pre-Christian in origin, that has emerged in a disguised form in Hellenistic mystery cults, Gnosticism, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, alchemy, and particularly in the many legends of the Holy Grail. He refers to formal religious doctrines and institutions throughout history as the “Visible Church,” which shows its face to the world. The Visible Church, however, is a mask for what Waite calls the “Hidden Church of Sacramental Mystery” or, more commonly, “The Secret Church.”
In his last chapter, Waite revealed the existence of this underground spiritual tradition throughout history. The Secret Church “is behind the Visible Church,” and has always been kept alive by a chosen few. Its existence has been hidden by rumors and “many literatures,” which are “veils” (Noll, Aryan Christ, 230).
The notion of two churches may explain the affinity which the religious have with Jung’s thought. In a sexually licentious age, the religious who are troubled by their sexual desires and their incompatibility with the religious state seemed to find in Jung’s resurrection of gnostic religion a way to have their cake and eat it too. In Hollywood Priest, his memoir of his years as a TV producer and Paulist Priest, Rev. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser describes meeting a nun he identifies only as “Genevieve” at the Immaculate Heart Nuns’ retreat house in Santa Barbara, California in 1964. During the fall of 1965, Kieser was in Rome covering the end of the Vatican Council. When he returned at the end of the year, he realized that he had fallen deeply in love with Sister “Genevieve,” who announced when they met again at the retreat house that she was going to begin psychotherapy. Kieser was taken aback by the announcement, but claims that he “admired her courage in facing the situation and trying to do something about it.”
Kieser never gets around to explaining just what “the situation” was or why it required treatment in 1966, but a large part of the reason was the encounter groups the nuns were involved in. According to the tenets of encounter psychology, you had to be crazy to repress your libido. Since all nuns repressed their libidos, they were all ipso facto crazy and therefore candidates for therapy, although only the bravest had the guts to descend into their unconscious to prove the point.
Not surprisingly, Genevieve found therapy painful. As a result, she turned to Father Kieser for guidance, wondering if she should continue because she was not sure she could trust her therapist. Kieser, who had read a book the therapist had written, assured her that she could trust Harry, the pseudonym Kieser applied to the therapist. It was advice that Kieser would live to regret. To begin with, the prime result of Genevieve’s therapy was convincing her that her decision to enter the convent had been based on “repression rather than the sublimation of her sexual drives.” And now, in the midst of the sexual revolution of the 60s, when Genevieve was in her late thirties, “those mechanisms of repression seemed to be coming apart” (160).
Just why those mechanisms were “coming apart” becomes apparent when Kieser describes the type of therapy to which Sister Genevieve was being subjected:
Very early in her therapy, her therapist — let’s call him Harry — had suggested a degree of sex play to help her with her repressions. Almost all therapists would today consider this a serious breach of professional ethics. But in the 1960s such procedures were not uncommon. She went along. When she told me, I was furious. She decided to stop. But she was vulnerable. So was he. Once started this kind of thing is difficult to keep in check. It became a problem that plagued her therapy.
By the summer of 1967, the problem became so serious that Harry arranged another therapist for “Genevieve.” But by the fall, they started seeing each other outside therapy, and the sexual relationship only intensified, something which “Genevieve” shared with Father Kieser, who was now consumed with both “pure masculine jealousy” and justifiable indignation at a flagrant abuse of the doctor-patient relationship.
Not surprisingly, this sort of therapy combined with encounter groups organized by humanist or third-force psychologist Carl Rogers led, within a matter of three years, to the complete destruction of the IHN order of nuns. In retrospect, it is clear that they were subjected to an alien ideology masquerading as therapy; but the reason that ideology proved so seductive is that it derived from two different forms of Illuminism, one derived from Carl Jung and the other from Carl Rogers and the tradition of religious pietism.
Both were forms of gnostic religion, as is pietism, which saw at its heart certain “peak experiences” upon which all other religious sentiment was based. Those peak experiences signified membership in the elect circles of the “pneumatikoi,” a membership which allowed them to discard everything in the Christian Faith which did not correspond to their experiences. At around the same time that the IHN order fell apart, Harry the therapist and Genevieve the ex-nun got married, after Harry’s divorce came through. At around the same time, after his stay at Esalen and Rogers’ Center for the Person in La Jolla, Father Kieser decided to undergo therapy at the hands of a therapist whose “general orientation was existential and Jungian, both of which I found simpatico” (187).
Father Kieser’s therapist made no attempt to interpret what “I was seeing through the prism of his own set of dogmatic categories (as far as I know he had none). Nor did he ever suggest a course of action beyond the process of therapy itself. His job was to help me to discover the truth. It was my job, with the freedom the newly discovered truth gave me, to make the decisions” (189).
Like Father Kieser, the overwhelming majority of IHN nuns never knew what hit them. They lost a cultural war that they didn’t even know was being waged against them. In adopting the Illuminst techniques of Gnosticism, packaged as psychotherapy, they adopted the religion of Gnosticism as well, and in adopting the sexual practices of Gnosticism, they were led step by unwitting step out of the Visible Church and into the secret church they never knew existed.
Noll, Richard, The Aryan Christ: The Secret of Life of Carl Jung (Random House, 1997).
Kieser, Ellwood E, Hollywood Priest: A Spiritual Struggle (New York, 1991).
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.