« Notes on Syria - 29 September 2015 | Main | Good! Hit ALL jihadi groups! Create a coordination center! »

29 September 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Thank you for the excellent interesting link to the Riebling interview.


"So you have, unless you are mindful, a banalization of human experience. This banality is going to tempt some people to join ISIS for excitement, for re-enchantment, for remythification. If you join ISIS, you have a story! Your life is numinous—it’s as if you’re living in the Iliad instead of, say, just playing soccer in the dust in a Bauhaus housing project in Basra. Or you’re channeling the Teutonic Knights while you’re horsewhipping Jews in 1930s Nuremburg—I think the personal hunger is the same. As C.G. Jung said, you can chase out the devil, but he shows up somewhere else. "


Thanks Colonel for pointing out this great interview.



I felt that Rieblings last paragraph, where he denigrates secular humanists for not "standing up" to Hitler is unfortunate and lets down the rest of his work.

ex-PFC Chuck

Thank you for this post. I've not encountered Riebling before but was only a few questions into the interview when I reserved a copy at my library. (Being retired and cheap, not necessarily in that order, I generally don't buy books before I've read them unless I've long been enthused about the author.) I found the long paragraph on the uses of myth and how difficult the Nazis found it to entrench their own mythology very insightful.



"For 500 years we’ve seen, in the progress of science, the demythification of the world—or the disenchantment of the world, to use Max Weber’s phrase. The magic’s all gone, but the monsters remain. But myths, or stories, and structures built on them, can help fight those monsters."

This reinforces Dr. Helms's observations about the persistence of cultural memory. Since ISIS is playing off that memory can't it also be used to counter them?


walrus, there are a couple of things I wonder about too, without doubt there is recently a wave of awareness of the church's century own "intelligence networks".

random picks:

"the SS code-named it 'the Black Chapel'—becomes pivotal in plots to overthrow the Nazis."

The "black chapel" remains a bit 'mythical' at the moment.
In, I suppose its specifically Catholic makeup. It seems to have competitors if nothing is lost in translation. ;)

I am admittedly also slightly hesitant about the Vatikans/the Jesuits taping of matters, after all these years? But I guess, that's hard to invent. But yes, why not. These tapes are still available?

To not go too closely into mistaken matters like this: "initiated by a mostly Protestant nation". A rather frequent American assumption.

Most other matters would need a look at the complete argument and sources.

"Few parts of German society put up less resistance to Nazism than progressives in the universities, who liked Hitler’s ideas on national health care, and protecting the environment, and separating church and state, and even claimed to ground racism in “evolutionary science.”

Few? are reliable statistics available?

Or is he simply relying on opposition against "Gleichschaltung" only? To not go into struggle details in the both churches to keep up the separation of church and state. Not always completely successful with the Protestants slightly handicapped and more heavily under assault. Glimpse:


Could it be that during this specific resistance against complete surrender to the Nazi myth makers, or Gleichschaltung, occasionally there were sacrifices too? History is full of them.

that said, there are more philosophical layers that resonate with my own "liberal, progressive" take on matters.

thus, I may well read it. ;)

Babak Makkinejad

Arabs prefer Ma'awiya to Imam Ali any day.

For Ma'awiuya, by betrayal treachery and cunning, created the Omavid Dynasty and thus put the Arabs on the historical map of empire builders.

His name is anathema to Shia everywhere (Arab or non-Arab).

Enough said.



Yes, 1,300 years and counting. The collegiately trained social revolutionaries on the left have no idea how incendiary much of the blowback from their trashing traditional ideas and symbols will be. Look at the resurgence of traditional Orthodox Christianity within the Russian Federation and how it is supportive of their current government. Erdogan might want to consider what he'll do if those folks decide now is a good time for Constantinople to be Christian again like it was for a thousand years.

Johnny Reims

Notwithstanding Mark Riebling’s fascinating portrayal of Pope Pius XII in his book “Church of Spies”, the author, in his interview with Sam Harris, is mistaken, in my opinion, when he describes the psychologist Carl Jung as an atheist.

The mere fact that Jung, like JP II, warned time and time again of the immense danger of communism – an ideology that rejected God – helps make the case. In this regard, Jung echoes many of the observations of E.O. Wilson.

But Jung’s entire career was devoted to disproving atheism as it was expressed in the world of psychology arising out of early 20th century Vienna (Austria, not Georgia, just in case you were confusing the two - joke). Jung had no choice but to couch his language in the coinage of scientific methodology that was in vogue at the time; otherwise, his colleagues would have ridiculed him into oblivion.

I should point out that I am no devotee of psychology – even less so now than when I was introduced to Jung. It was during a time that many, including myself, had gone “all Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell”, to borrow from Mr. Riebling. I considered myself “agnostic” then. But, more than anything else, the extraordinary conflict between Freud and Jung mesmerized me because, arguably, the outcome of their conflict essentially pointed to whether or not a “Godhead” exists.

To understand Jung, imo, you have to understand he was in a zero sum battle with Freud. Basically, each was trying to prove the other was insane. It was, psychologically speaking, kill or be killed. So to understand what was at stake for Jung, one must become deeply aware of the intensity of his battle with Freud. If you are unable to experience the intensity of the battle between the two, then the bird had flown.

At least from my perspective, their “kill or be killed” battle was over the existence of anything greater than Freud’s schemata (ego, id, et al) that, essentially, was designed to kill the notion of a Godhead and, consequently, relegate religious symbols to the dustbin of history, particularly in the West. The essence of their battle essentially was, “Is there a God or not?”

Jung, when he still was an understudy of Freud, saw the immense danger that Freud’s “weltanschauug” posed – one that ultimately could lead to fragmentation both within the individual and, more collectively, in society when either or both are placed under a true existential threat. So Jung began to argue with Freud that there existed something he eventually called the “collective unconscious”, which all but had the power of God. This idea marked the genesis of his psychology based on “archetypes” and “the process of individuation” (which Campbell called the hero’s journey).

Freud detected that Jung, the upstart, was threatening his (often cocaine inspired) view of reality, brilliant as it was. So Freud pulled out the sword, figuratively, in a conversation one evening between the two. Freud tried to destroy Jung and render his psyche impotent by flipping some switches in his “personal unconscious”.

Freud’s attack hit Jung hard, very hard. In fact, Jung disappeared for several years from Viennese intellectual circles – a time some would call the “dark night of the soul”. Jung then came back several years later – an event some would call a rebirth of the hero or resurrection of the ego -- with the publication of a book that, essentially, was a psyop to destroy Freud.

The title of the book is “Symbols of Transformation.” Those symbols of transformation were religious and their power on the human pysche represented an immense threat to Freud who had spent a lifetime attempting to kill, with some success, the potency of all religious symbols.

Jung’s overriding aim of that book (to me very unreadable) was to annihilate Freud. Jung wanted these religious symbols to flood Freud’s consciousness.

If memory serves me, Jung around this time converted to Catholicism. In my opinion, he only converted because he thought it would help him gain insights that, in turn, would destroy Freud and his point of view. He had no desire to become a Catholic theologian or an orthodox Christian. His desire, to be blunt, was to slice Freud’s throat and do so not on the battlefield of theologians but that of psychology as it existed at the time.

Just to underscore the point, read (or become entangled in) two of Jung’s essays.
1. Transformational Symbolism of Mass
2. Answer to Job

In the first essay, which was published prior to Vatican II, Jung refused to translate the Latin words of consecration (he explains why in a footnote). This decision hardly reflects the attitude of an atheist. In that essay, Jung argues – as only he can (joke) – that participating in Catholic Mass constellates the collective unconscious that in turn begins to inform consciousness.
In the second essay, Jung’s describes – be it what it may – what he calls the divine drama, which obviously is not an “atheist” drama.

Looking back on it, reading Freud and Jung was somewhat akin to walking through a three dimensional Escher drawing. Both warrant some consideration, imo, because both have impacted the West. I don't see their conflict as Manichean. I am glad I took that journey – and, in a way, it led me to the doors of the cathedral -- but I am glad it is behind me as well. Of course, to each his or her own.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

April 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Blog powered by Typepad