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By putting the criminal to death, one shares the crime

Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group

fd148 murder

Mrs. Jung: What you have said seems to me to refer only to a criminal who would be, as an individual, a criminal, but I think most people who commit a crime do it out of a sort of mistake. They do things which are not really individual.

Prof Jung: Well, Nietzsche is speaking of such people.

He doesn’t look at the problem from the standpoint of individuation.

To him, the criminal is a man who has gone astray, say a fool or a diseased individual who ought to be done away with, so there is no question of consciousness of crime or of the problem of individuation in the criminal.

He doesn’t even mention it.

Mrs. Jung: But you say he must only be improved when it is proved that he has got to be a criminal.

But with many people it is not proved that they have to be criminals; it is quite unconscious what they have to be.

Prof Jung: Sure enough, if they were not unconscious there would be a redeeming factor; as a matter of fact they are so identical with
what they do that they do not know what happens to them.

Mrs. Jung: And therefore they could be improved.

Prof Jung: That is a question, As soon as one begins to reason about the possible arguments in favor of capital punishment, one simply
loses oneself in a maze of considerations and can do nothing.

So the simplest thing would be to react according to feeling; then you do something which is perfectly proper and sufficient, except for the intellectual who wants to have proper reasons.

You see, what the crime is for the criminal, whether he can be improved or whether, by committing his crime outside himself, killing somebody else, he has done evil to himself, selling his own chance.

Those are considerations for the criminal and we are not speaking of his psychology, but of the psychology of Nietzsche versus his own instincts.

The criminal is only a sort of mirror reflex of the criminal impetus of Nietzsche.

I speak of the criminal in this frame and not of the psychology of this individual criminal-merely of the social aspect of this individual.

If I have to deal with the criminal individual then I shall consider the case just as any other.

For instance, every case I am treating has a criminal in himself.

If one goes far enough, everybody has done something or is planning to do something which is not right, which is criminal; and there we have to observe all the rules of the game, exactly as in any other case.

But inasmuch as murderers don’t come into my analysis I cannot talk about the possible analysis of a murderer.

I also cannot say that all murderers should be analysed, as I cannot say that all neurotics should be analysed.

For there are certain social considerations over which I am not a lord, and I never make rules that would be good for humanity, particularly
if nobody is very likely to carry them out.

They kill murderers in France, in Italy, in England, in America, in Germany, and in most Catholic cantons of Switzerland; only a few very enlightened and reasonable communities have gone astray so far as not to kill murderers.

I am not speaking of our Christianity-that point of view is not valid at all, only talk; I go by facts, and the fact is that capital punishment is
valid in nearly all the most enlightened and civilized countries, and I am not against it.

There is a very good reason why it is so. All other ways of punishment are wrong.

By putting the criminal to death, one shares the crime; otherwise, one doesn’t see the criminal in oneself.

One must see one’s criminal point: if one does not, one has not shared the criminal impetus, the criminal personality in oneself.

And then one never becomes integrated.

The purpose of individuation is that every part of the individual must be integrated, also the criminal part; otherwise, it is left by itself
and works evil.

So thus far Nietzsche is giving recognition to the criminal instincts.

For instance, the “red judge” is his own moral function naturally, which might call his criminal instinct by all sorts of bad names: he might say this is perhaps a foolish or pathological tendency.

It is, but it is not to be judged from a moral point of view because that is not helpful. It does not help to say a thing is bad or good.

To say it is bad helps least the thing which is the most important, namely, that one can accept the bad thing.

You see, when we accept it there is a chance that something can change, but we never accept it.

We can improve only when we accept what is part of ourselves. Then we can change, not before.

Now he comes to the explanation of the Pale Criminal; hitherto he speaks simply of the criminal.

The paleness comes from the fact that the man was made pale by an idea; he begins to think over what he has done, and he gives it a name.

You remember we came across this idea before; it was represented as a particular mistake to give a name to your virtues.

Of course, unavoidably you will do so; you don’t live your virtues simply as the recognition of an indescribable something about yourself which has value, but say it is this or that, and so you give it a name and make it exclusive and cause trouble-quarrels, conflicts between
duties and between virtues.

While if you have not given it a name, you will have retained the value.

So you cause a conflict by giving names, but one cannot see how to do otherwise. The criminal has to give it a name, then.

He adopts an idea about his deed and says he has done so and so, and then cannot stand it because he sees himself with ten thousand pairs of eyes.

For a name is a collective thing, a word in everybody’s mouth.

He has heard that word from ten thousand other mouths already; when he says to himself that he has committed a murder, he sees it in printed letters in the newspaper, and what he has done is just that awful thing which is called murder.

While if he did not give it a name, it would have remained his individual deed, his individual experience, which is not expressed by the collective noun murder.

Such a criminal usually says:

“I just beat him over the head, or “I put a knife into him,” or “I wanted to tell him something and I put a bullet into him, and afterwards they said he was dead.”

You see, it was an individual series of events which were not named.

Even the premeditated murder is very often accounted for in such a way:

“I simply had to give that fellow something to make him quiet because I wanted to get at such and such a thing; naturally I had to shove him aside. And then it turned out that he was dead.”

That is the way such people use a revolver-as a means to change something.

It is a sort of aftereffect or a concomitant circumstance that a corpse was left.

How awkward! That it is murder only dawns upon them a long time afterwards when they are told.

Then they realize it and get pale, but as long as somebody simply has been removed, well, it was awkward that he was found afterwards with a fractured skull, but that does not make one pale: it is simply regrettable.

People who commit a fraud invariably explain that they just wanted to do this or that.

T hey are quite astonished when they are told that they have committed a crime, because they only did it for a certain effect and never thought that it had such an ugly name.

So the pale criminal is really slain by his own idea of it, though it is not exactly his own, but is now the standpoint of the eleven
thousand virgins who are flabbergasted.

Nietzsche calls this a sort of madness: the criminal’s weak intellect has been overthrown by a mere word. That is the madness after the deed. Now what is this line of chalk which paralyzes the hen in the text?  ~Zarathustra Seminar, Page 468-470