AGAINST PSYCHO-IDEOLOGY: Zizek, Jung, Badiou, and (yes, quelle horreur!) Jordan Peterson

I think the rising attack by self-described « leftists » on Jung as an ideological foundation for the « alt-right » is itself an ideological symptom.

Jungians are far more practice-oriented than theory-oriented and so they tend to speak the discourse of the analyst, whereas the leftist critiques come from the discourse of the university.

Thus Jordan Peterson’s appeal despite his theoretical lacunae and one-sidedness and his increasing vehement right-wing political discourse and interventions (not to mention his near total ignorance of the « post-modern » thinkers he vociferates against) stems from the register of analytic experience and its non-intellectualising practice of concepts.

There is no inherent link between Jung and the right. Deleuze was a Jungian, and so was Guattari to a large extent.

The key concepts of Jung are individuation, transformation and becoming, not universal structure.

Nor is there any inherent link between Lacan and left-wing politics. His own right-wing origins are well-known, and they continued to influence his theoretical, analytical, and organizational decisions. His choice of Miller over Guattari was a (regrettable) political choice.

French philosophical Lacanians are an intellectual embarrassment, whose ideology is to be critiqued rather than imitated.

For example, Badiou is Lacanian out of sheer intellectual laziness. He did not investigate all major contenders for a theory of the psyche and then choose Lacan. He just absorbed the most powerful psychoanalytic ideology in the ENS and stuck with that.

Badiou came to pluralism late in his intellectual development and has been very slow in thinking through its consequences. Hence the contradiction between the conceptual creativity of his BEING & EVENT three-volume project and his regressive psychoanalytic affiliation.

I study Badiou (quite a lot) despite his Lacanism, not because of it. The same goes for my study of Zizek.

Lacan’s own conceptual creations should not be converted into an exclusivist ideology, nor should Jung’s. We are all post-Jungians now, whatever we may think and say. Zizek is a striking example of this phenomenon of conceptual denial. In the same way, we are all post-Lacanian.


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4 commentaires pour AGAINST PSYCHO-IDEOLOGY: Zizek, Jung, Badiou, and (yes, quelle horreur!) Jordan Peterson

  1. dmf dit :

    « The key concepts of Jung are individuation, transformation and becoming…universal structure »
    in the US these matters are closely tied and not separated, the Self as a kind of God/end-point, individuation as many superficially different paths up the same steps/ladder, not so different from how it was in Zurich, part of why Hilman was cast out. To say that analysts are more oriented to practice is generally to say that they are not thinking about the stereotypes they are projecting on their analysands, maybe things are different in France?


    • dmf dit :

      « James Hillman’s “Why Archetypal Psychology?” of 1971 was not only for me personally, but also objectively for the field, a real breakthrough overcoming the rather sterile state in which Jungian psychology was (and often still is), a state in which what Jung had worked out was more or less routinely repeated and applied to the new cases that the therapists had to deal with as well as to mythic and fairytale material not already interpreted by Jung himself. The fundamental significance of Hillman’s paper lies in his raising a question, in his pushing beyond the level of what Jung had taught, the level of his dicta, to the question of what was the underlying deeper interest that inspired and motivated Jung’s psychological investigation in the first place, and what was the pulsating heart of his psychology. Hillman thereby showed that he was no longer satisfied with simply taking over Jung’s work as a ready-made (which is always a mindless business). He searched for the root principle of a true psychology in order to be able to construe our conception of psychology out of this productive center. »


  2. Petersen is interesting. I have listed to some of his talks and appreciate that he is not a silpe minded reductionist. He references neuro science and neo Darwinism as well as Jung and lager systems. I agree he seems to attack post modern based on their most extreme expression and does not seem to appreciate they were trying to show how absolutist the Enlightenment and science had become and using that as a way to dominate.


  3. Janet Abbey dit :

    Having been in analysis with a Jungian, a modern psychoanalyst, a classic psychoanalyst, and an analyst analyzed by Theodor Reik, as well as a Wilhelm Reich therapist (there are some more) I found Jung wonderful at a certain time in my life. The Quakers in Phila had a residency program for disturbed people and I once met a woman who had been there for a year. she said she drew a lot of crysalii of butterflies and kind of giggled at what she spent her time doing. She said it worked though. From a Jungian POV we can understand what she was doing psychologically eh.I once spent a lot of time with butterflies also. Impossible now as there are so very few. Jung is poetic and metaphorical and so wonderful to read and think about. Jackson Pollack’s analyst was Jungian and no one can say he wasn’t helped greatly. But in clinical terms Lacan is fruitful. But his analyst Francoise Dolto is the one that sits ahead of everyone. Except perhaps Ethel Clevens whom I saw for 5 years before she died. I have never recovered really. Dolto’s clinical skills based on Freudian classical theory are impeccable and they are Lacanian, altho Lacan got Lacanian theory from his analyst Dolto. Like Freud his clinical skills contain errors in his published case studies. The Wolfman is a tragic tale until just before he died after talking to the young German woman journalist who wrote a book about him.I have been helped by all of them and inspired by a few of them. I also studied with Joseph Wolpe and I find Behaviorism very helpful, but it requires a skillful analyst to be really good with patients using the methods. It is the preferred treatment of choice for me when doing myself over something or other. Lacanian can send me over the wall where I don’t want to go very often in my life. But it is an exhilarating ride. I am with Freud when he says there are 3 parts to psychoanalysis which cannot be done without: theory, analysis and practice. However Lou Salome proved him wrong and he was willing to be wrong. She would never let him analyze her. Nor anyone else.

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