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The blinded eternal feminine

Freud and Jung agreed on the importance of the Oedipal in male development and the necessity of separating from the mother. In many ways, these concerns formed the centerpiece for both of their theories, and became the measure of effective individuation. It is in this way that they engendered a heroic ego that forces the unconscious to flow into an Oedipal model, the identification of masculinity with a culturally created patriarchal ideal. They rightly theorized that infantilism needs to be relinquished in order for life to go on, otherwise libido stays fixed in an incestuous bond with mother and individual freedom is lost. Yet they believed that the first act of liberation from the mother must be matricide so that the ego can fully develop - an act on which patriarchal culture, with its basic structure of the slain mother, was founded. “Patriarchal development of consciousness [of which the ego is the center] has an indisputable inner need to ‘murder the mother,’ ’’ that is, “as far as possible to negate, exclude, devalue, and repress the ‘maternal-feminine’ world which represents the unconscious” (Neumann Mannheim, 1974: 58-59).

In the patriarchal world of Freud and Jung, the great triumphal struggle for male individuation is played out against the backdrop of the re-engulfing, symbiotic mother. In order to maintain separate subjectivity, the hampering, forbidding, and punishing mother, she who clings to the growing child who is trying to push away, or the desired but forbidden mother whose presence is a lure to dangerous desire (castration complex) becomes the mother of focus, and maternal goodness is denied. Heroic honor is considered a masculine virtue because it is split from the devouring mother.

It is at this point that Freud and Jung part ways. Freud remained the Father of Psychoanalysis, and theorized the same theme in all stories, so much so that the Oedipal lost its full meaning. Moreover, his theory determined the meaning of the story of Oedipus, rather than the other way around. The Oedipal ideal entails proving oneself a man, a universal theory of development centered on a projected masculine image which has its roots in shame. Jung, who formed his own school of thought he named Analytical Psychology, theorized that a man must be willing to temporarily forsake his ego strength for the higher aim of a unity with the feminine; this alone makes the hero a hero, that is, a higher, ideal representative of mankind. Yet despite his inclusion of the feminine, he somehow manages to remove the mother of infancy. This theoretical environment of repressed maternal complexes was fertile ground for the succubus to emerge, that container for masculine shame repressed through unseeing eyes. In Freud and Jung’s pursuit of power, each became guilty of attempting to bring phenomena under their control - and so personally succumbed to the succubus.

Basically what their split comes down to is this: Freud’s secret over his incestuous affair was affecting his theory, and Jung could not reveal the personal sources (Sabina Spielrein) of his own theoretical turnaround in the writing of Symbols. Each had a secret seduction that profoundly affected his theoretical thinking. Both must have feared being overcome by shame and ridicule - at least somewhere in their being. What was hidden was not for the eyes of the public in order to maintain the medical standing of psychoanalysis and the reputations of its founders, yet it is also true that shame motivates the wish for concealment and both were fighting to protect themselves. Freud knew Jung’s secret, and Jung resented it; he probably took solace in what he knew Freud was hiding. Freud may or may not have known what Jung knew. Even more important is that their secrets were tied to the loss of their powerless fathers and deep self-reproach that went all the way back to incestuous death wishes and symbiotic attachment to the pre- oedipal mother. Given the power of such regressive forces as the source of their shame, the two men could not remain friends, could not share in their humanness, because they were not really free to say what was real (a sure sign of a lack of separation from the mother). And in their power split the same basic dualities of a superior-inferior paradigm - the same that exists between men and women - come into play. Ultimately human qualities and humane behavior disappear, and their vexed relationship ended without another word into the silence of shame.

Freud’s repression represents the masculine need to kill off femininity due to fears of Medusa and castration anxiety, when the real problem was his struggle against the adoring mother and symbiosis - the psychic place where he loved himself in her loving. Jung took the process of individuation for a man one step further and rightly interpreted the danger as a falling into the terrible mother complex instead of facing arduous tasks, but he prescribed the work and trials of the hero pursuing death defying feats as the antidote. One of man’s arduous tasks is to take power over woman, a desperate attempt on Jung’s part to claim love and recognition from the danger of his mother’s “personality number two.” He nevertheless remained plagued by a deep feeling that a woman could destroy him. Jung’s myopic focus on mythic symbolism was probably so attractive because it was the perfect realm for dissociation and heroic identification.

Freud and Jung, petrified by shame, remained embedded in the impasse between each other and what became their different schools of thought - the backlash for their primordial act of matricide. Their shame could not be revealed to others and has become the pernicious silence which splits the body of depth psychology five generations later. Due to this repression, the subterranean streams of the succubus archetype feed the wellsprings of the study of the unconscious, atrophying move?ments within the field and driving the constriction of interpretive ranges and integration of Freudian and Jungian thought.

Nevertheless, together and apart, Freud and Jung transformed modern man’s conception of life. Freud made important contributions to the understanding of infantile sexuality and narcissism, and had a life preoccupation with the hero- motif in the core Oedipus Complex; Jung made important contributions to our understanding of the hero in relation to masculine development and his considerations of femininity through his construct of the anima. Freud got the basics of instinctual, bodily development in relation to self and ego development; Jung got psychology’s archetypal dimensions and emphasizes the self as soul. While raw sexuality was the issue for Freud, the numinosity of sexuality was it for Jung. Freud’s approach was linear, rational and masculine, Jung’s was circular, symbolic, and feminine. Freud started with the theory of early sexual trauma, and then abandoned it on empirical grounds (Freud’s place of repression); Jung made a parallel case for going beyond the theory of fixation in early fantasies, and moved to transform the sexual into the spiritual (Jung’s place of repression) (Kerr, 1993). The value of their work endures. If we can recognize both sides through an examination of the relationship between the two, we may discover the seeds of a new language to talk about the dangerous realities confronting us today - but that subject will be taken up in my Epilogue.

Matricide, however, does not constitute the life of humanity - male or female. It does not teach humankind how to create and sustain a self and a life. Due to their theorizing the universal experience of dependence and its psychic meaning is contraindicated, forcing neediness into a place of shame and weakness. From infancy on, patriarchal culture teaches a boy to forget the mother of his beginnings. He is taught to shut out information and intuition so that he can operate within the consensual domain of our inherited masculine world. The expectation to enter a macho world of power so far removed from the maternal feminine complicates the already traumatic experience of disruption that attends the passing of the symbiotic stage. Shame solidifies in the emotional disconnection required.

Psychoanalysis has had a tremendous effect on how we think about gender and sexuality. In their matricidal theorizing, Freud and Jung engendered an ego that channels unconscious energies into a paradigm, and thereby facilitated the creation of a succubus world that warns against the upsurge of mother’s subjectivity because it will destroy the male. Disavowal of dependence comes to be deeply repressed in masculine psychic life with a number of tragic results, a topic to be taken up in the following analysis of current masculine gender ideas.

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