Zarathustra Seminars

[Carl Jung on Christ, Mob Psychology and The State]

Mr. Allemann: Then you would call Christ or Buddha exponents of mob psychology?

Prof jung:

It would be wrong to say “mob psychology,” but they were surely exponents of the creative will that was coming up from the depths.

It was not without meaning that Christ was crucified between two thieves, and that his first disciples were fishermen and such people: there were very few educated people among them.

He moved in the lowest strata of the population and he answered to the expectation and need of the ordinary man, the recognition of immortality and all that.

He came at the end of a very special spiritual development, culminating in the Ptolemaic civilization, when the Osiris became the Osiris of every better man: the ordinary man had no Osiris because he had no decent burial.

Then with Christ there was an Osiris for everybody and that simply uprooted the whole of antique civilization.

Therefore, Nietzsche very correctly said that Christianity was a revolt of the slaves in the moral realm.

He hated Christianity, and surely the morale of slaves is not freedom: it means a new prison.

Antiquity did not know the spiritual prison of the Middle Ages; such a condition never existed before in the world’s history.

We now begin to lament about the complete destruction of political freedom in three countries surrounding Switzerland.

And it is most probable that our freedom of political opinion and whatever we appreciate in our liberalism, our democracies, and so on, is on the decline; it is quite possible that even our freedom of research, our freedom of thought, will be greatly curtailed.

For instance, Austria was such a nice, tolerant country where you could do everything that was “not allowed,” and now you have to be very careful with your tongue.

When you look back, you can see the negative side of Christian history if you put yourself before Christ.

Suppose you imagine, for instance, that you have been a small citizen in one of the big towns of antiquity, or a freed man who has been delivered from his slavery, perhaps one
of those very educated people who were given freedom by the law or by a benevolent proprietor-then came the Evangel.

But not to the upper classes necessarily.

Just as our new message of salvation means nothing good to us, not at all freedom, though it means a lot to certain people.

To the half-educated middle-class German, for instance, it is a marvelous thing to be able to walk about with drums and flags on Sundays and wear a uniform-wonderful to have the Rhineland again. But that is mob psychology.

You see, that is what is going to happen when the mob comes to the top, and since their gospel this time is a worldly one, we don’t know what the future holds in store for us.

As the creator can invent tapeworms he can invent a worldly gospel just as well; he may say that men like Mussolini or Stalin or Hitler are holy people whom we ought to

The early Christians denied the Caesar; they didn’t want to participate in sacrifices to a Roman Caesar because they only believed in an invisible Lord. That was another kind of prison, but it didn’t injure them so much as when they were put in fetters or thrown into the arena, and some imaginative people could see more in it than in a Roman Caesar.

But now times are changing; bring an old Roman back to Rome today and he will say this is the very stuff.

There he sees the lictors who whip you if you walk on the wrong side, and there is the Caesar, and he finds temples where they worship all kinds of gods-one is Peter and one is Paul and another is Anthony-and they have a pontiff as they did in the time of the old gods.

He recognizes the whole show: it is exactly as it was two thousand years ago.

That will come again if we believe in the state. Why not?

Of course we don’t sacrifice cattle nowadays, but sacrifice in another way; we have to pay, and so heavily that we can no longer even buy books to read something decent.

And we have to parade with flags and a brass band in honor of the Caesar.

That is what is actually happening, and that might be-l hope not-the new gospel with all the isms and flags and brass bands; we have the sacrifice to Caesarism, the absolute authority of the state, and we have a law which is no law because it is liable to change by an uncontrollable authority on top.

In the same way they tried to bring about the infallibility of the Pope in the church, but they have it now in worldly respects too; there is no ultimate law, only an indefinite authority which is of course arbitrary.

There is no absolute law in Russia nor in Germany nor in Italy; the law can be altered by personal authority, a Caesar or a leader.

That seems to be the new gospel.

I don’t know how long it will last, but it has all the qualities of a new style, not to say of a new religion.

And that is the way the antique man felt Christianity, I am quite certain.

He would say, “Is that your new religion?”

As I would have said, had I been an educated individual of Alexandria and had seen the Christian mob there when they tore a nice woman named Hypatia limb from limb: “Is that what you call Christian love and civilization?”

Yes, that is what they called Christian religion and what subsequent centuries have always called Christian civilization.

So they will believe in a God-State instead of the God-Anthropos, but a God-State is just as invisible, just as abstract, as the former God.

He does seem to be visible in his temples however; all the biggest things now are quite worldly buildings; the passion of the mob is for great masses,-well, as it was before. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 1026-1028.

Image: Hypatia by Charles Williams Mitchell. Hypatia was murdered by Christian mobs in Alexandra.