The Clare Spark Blog

August 2, 2012

The case of Wagner

Scene from “Hacking Wagner”

This is a guest blog by Dan Leeson, a member of the Humanities-Net discussion group “The History of Antisemitism.” What follows is his case against Wagner. My own view is that works of art should be constantly historicized and interrogated, but not censored. If Leeson’s analysis is correct, then the obvious question for us today, is what accounts for Wagner’s attraction to barbarian myths? Why was there a significan medieval revival in 19th century European high culture, and not just in Germany? What are the implications of neo-medievalism for today’s political culture in the West? How should scholars write program notes for performances of Wagner’s operas? Would anyone publish them, were they fully to engage with the folkloric stereotypes that Leeson lists?

What follows is Dan Leeson’s argument against the generally favorable article on the German performance of Hacking Wagner.

[Leeson:] In the link: http://www.timesofisrael.com/hacking-richard-wagner/ the argument is made (over and over again) that the reason behind those who insist on a permanent and perpetual ban on Wagner’s music in Israel is directly related to Wagner’s vicious antisemitism.

Not so, and very seriously not so. There have been other composers who held negative views on Jews and no one is calling for the same fate as that proposed for Wagner.  So what is so special about Wagner?

The point that Wagner lovers (and I used to be one) fail to see is that in Wagner’s case the operas themselves (though not all of them, but certainly the Ring, Meistersinger, and Flying Dutchman, at a minimum) are nothing less than anti-Semitic theater; i.e., when one sees those operas, one is watching a medieval antisemitic play with music.

For example, the characteristics exhibited in Beckmesser in Meistersinger generally pass unnoticed by contemporary audiences, mostly because our generation has little experience with and hardly any memory of coded nineteenth century antisemitism. The heritage of the Shoah has gone far to desensitize us to all but the most naked, uncamouflaged, and flagrant antisemitic actions. Our sensitivity to how the German world saw Jews at the time of the premiere of Meistersinger has become clouded, unfamiliar, and distorted by time, which makes it difficult for the contemporary world to recognize the subtle characteristics of coded antisemitism.

Siegfried

For example, we no longer remember the Grimm fairy tale, “The Jew in the Thornbush,” which appeared in 1815 though derived from a story dating from 1618. Theodore Adorno (1903-1969), a German-born Protestant intellectual, sociologist, philosopher, musicologist, and composer (of Jewish descent) claimed that Wagner identified the character of Beckmesser with the Jew in the Thorn-Bush, though his assertion is disputed.   It is interesting to note that those who quarrel with Adorno’s contention have neither experience in the details of pre-20th century antisemitism or exposure to antisemitic theater.

In the case of The Ring, the personalities of the drama fall into two groups having opposite characteristics. One such group is the “Volk,” roughly translated as “the race” or “the nation,” but not “the common people.” The other is the “outsider” who differs from the Volk in many specifics.

Wagner assigns various characteristics to the good Volk, and then displays the opposite attributes as being present in the evil outsiders. One such characteristic is that the Volk walk in a poised and confident manner while the outsider staggers and stumbles. This stage device is derived from the medieval superstition that Jews had goat’s feet. In the middle ages, the billy goat was presented as a symbol of satanic lechery and the devil’s most usual disguise. The Jews, believed to be Satan’s minions, were also accused of having the same attribute. That the Jew’s feet were shod in public was interpreted as using the cloak of civilization to disguise his corruption. This acceptance of Jewish deviltry gave rise to the concept that the Jewish foot could not function at a normal gait; i.e., the Jew stumbled and staggered. In The Ring, the gnomes walk in this fashion while the Volk are surefooted, a characteristic also seen in the stumbling of Beckmesser as contrasted with the graceful dancing of the townspeople in Meistersinger.

In Sander Gilman’s, The Jew’s Body (1991), further significance is given to the Jew’s feet. They became a source of disease and the pace at which Jews walked was perceived as a sign of their affliction. The seventeenth century Orientalist, John Schudt, commented that the crooked feet of the Jews made them physically inferior and, ultimately, the general belief about the Jew’s feet influenced liberal efforts to include them in the modern state. This is particularly true with respect to serving in the military where it was believed that Jews would be worthless as soldiers. In Austria, for example, weak feet were said to be the main reason why Jews inducted into the military were subsequently detached.

Another example of a characteristic with hidden antisemitic meaning is that of vocal patterns. Wagner’s formulation of a large-scale male and female voice, for example, the “heroic tenor”, is used for the Volk whereas the outsiders sing in distinguishing non-Volkish ways. The gnomes in The Ring have high and piercing voices, the same coded message for the confusion between castration and circumcision as found in Meistersinger, as well as a related claim connecting circumcision with effeminacy in the Jewish male. Thus the Volk sing with heroic qualities while the outsider screams in a high-pitched voice.

Going beyond the visual and acoustic, Wagner employs the allegory of smell to evoke images of character. Sulphurous fumes and the noxious stenches that emanate from the outsider often accompany them. The central theme of this coded idea is especially despicable because it is derived from the belief of the “Jewish stench,” or “foetor Judaicus.” The assertion that the Jew has a distinctive and unpleasant odor is a particularly grave accusation, first because of the origin alleged to be the stench’s cause, and second because of the several ways Jews were said to act in order to eliminate it. Common belief during the middle ages associated good spirits with emitting a pleasant fragrance while evil spirits, particularly Satan and his minions, gave forth an obnoxious stench.

For example, when the coffin of St. Stephen, the protomartyr, was opened, his body was said to have filled the air with a sweet fragrance that insinuated the odor of sanctity.  In the case of the Jews, the stink was said to be a punishment for their alleged crimes, which included accusations of host desecration and deicide. (A personal comment here.  My retirement community has several Austrian survivors of the Holocaust. One Viennese expatriate told me that his mother and grandmother would never cook with garlic and when asked why, they refused to discuss it.)

The Jews were said to have two ways to eliminate the smell, one of which involved murder and cannibalism; i.e., it was said that Jews killed Christian children to obtain their blood for ritual purposes, one of which was said to occur during the Passover Seder. It was alleged that Jews consumed cups of this blood as an alleviate for the Jewish stench. The other choice was acceptance of baptism. A direct quote from the time states that “the water of baptism carried off the Jews’ odor” and that this left them with a fragrance “sweeter than that of ambrosia floating upon the heads touched by the sanctified oil.” This accusation went beyond those expressed in the extreme anti-Jewish rhetoric of Martin Luther, causing him to say, “So long as we use violence and slander, saying that [the Jews] use the blood of Christians to get rid of their stench…, what can we expect of them?”

Another discriminatory feature used by Wagner is that of vision.  Poor eyesight is a class attribute that was never applied to anyone but Jews. The medieval view was that Jews were blind to Christianity, that the synagogue was veiled, etc. Statues of a blindfolded woman, an allegory representing “the synagogue defeated,” still decorate churches in Europe. One stands today in an alcove on the exterior of Strasbourg’s cathedral, and postcards of it may be purchased at nearby shops. This notion eventually was concretized as weak eyes, which, among other things, caused squinting and blinking, characteristics that are found in the outsider.

Wagner carried the idea of good vision of the Volk to a higher dimension in suggesting that they recognize each other by glance alone, and they can “see” the outsider as being different.

Finally, in The Ring, Wagner gives coded messages about the dangers of race mixing. The character Hagen, who has a gnome father but a Volkish mother, bears no good maternal characteristics. Instead he retains the depraved character of his father, namely that of a liar, usurper, and villainous murderer. But his racially pure counterpart, Siegfried, the product of an incestuous twin brother-sister relationship, is an idealized hero who is handsome, honest, virtuous, and brave, and whose most significant flaw is that he is too trusting of strangers.

In effect, those who think the ban on Wagner to be entirely derived from Jewish reaction to his personal antisemitism are blinded to the presence of the medieval antisemitic characteristics of (1) stumbling and staggering, (2) vocal patterns, (3) sight, (4) smell, and (5) race mixing. By being ignorant of and insensitive to these elements in the Wagner operas, they focus their attention away from the central issue, namely that Wagner’s Jew hatred is made part and parcel of his operas. [End, Leeson remarks]

[Clare:] Note that “the Flying Dutchman” is widely considered to be a variant of the Wandering Jew myth. That character should be better known as a figure of the artist, like Pierrot,  alienated from his culture. In the case of Wagner, his own writings accuse Jewry of infesting the modern world. In one recent documentary on Wagner’s life, I recall Alberich’s theme from Das Rheingold as a recurrent motif. On Alberich and gold, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberich. For more on the Wandering Jew myth see https://clarespark.com/2010/11/16/good-jews-bad-jews-and-wandering-jews/.

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September 22, 2009

Managerial Psychoanalysis: Jung, Henry A. Murray, and sadomasochism (3)

   [In the following conclusion to the three part study of Murray’s managerial psychoanalysis/psychiatry, “Isabel” refers to the Dark Lady of Melville’s novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852). She was characterized by Philip Rahv (the editor of Partisan Review) as a “rebel and emancipator.” For a related blog to this one see https://clarespark.com/2014/09/08/why-progressive-social-psychologists-make-us-crazy/.

Eleven years before he lengthily denounced Melville’s Pierre, Dr. Henry A. Murray had unmasked the Red Decade’s “Radical Sentiments” as irrational and insincere:

    “[The radical]…favours modern art, the rejection of sex taboos, socialism, the freedom of the press, the elimination of religion, nudism, progressive schools, the humane treatment of criminals, etc.  Radicalism is usually opposed to authority, to any force that restrains liberty.  It favours the weak, the dissatisfied, the oppressed minority.  Thus [!], radicalism is often an indication of suprAggression (inhibited) and infraNurturance.  It may be an expression of the stern father and rebel son thema.” [But these people don’t act]…the most radical sentiments were expressed by succorant, abasive and infavoidant subjects. “[1]

In 1940, working on his Melville biography (which he would relinquish that year, ostensibly because of “the fall of France,” but perhaps he was also agitated by the subject of shifting and murky identities, revolution and counter-revolution in art and life), Murray sharply defined himself against experimental psychologists, behaviorists, and Freud’s rigidly contained following; arguing however for the partial incorporation and reform of psychoanalysis.  Ever the optimistic pragmatist and Progressive, Murray viewed psychoanalysis not only as an efficient and efficacious diagnostic tool in the treatment of physical and mental illness, but  indispensable to the prediction and control of the future through preventive politics: a regular lighthouse from which presidential brains could monitor the night-time antics of flooding limbic legislators [292, 298].  Murray, offering himself as a Lincoln-esque tower of rectitude and appropriately democratic fatherhood, explained that Freud’s (corset) is

“clearly limited to certain spheres of functioning and is more applicable to some types and some conditions of men than to others.  It is chiefly designed to interpret what a man says when he lies on a couch and his memories are canalized by his desire to appease an analyst’s consuming and insatiable interest in his sexual adventures.  It does not fit all of the people all of the time.  Consequently it will have to be expanded to encompass much that up to now has been neglected.”  [2]

   Murray was a primitivist rebel, whereas Freudian psychoanalysis would modernize the unconscious, renouncing childish things and replacing destructive ids with adaptive egos (in a never-ending contest for control).  Murray agreed that individuals would always be at war with social strictures [299], but Freud had wrongly compared sex with aggression.  The latter was not a positive appetite (like hunger and sex) that must be satisfied periodically” but was “probably due to some residual tension in the need engendered by a long series of frustrations, which tension can generally be dissolved by reciprocated love or recognized achievements.” [302]  Against Freud’s allegiance to “St. Augustine and the Calvinists,” Murray, ever the progressive optimist, sided with the better id forces which are the source of “romantic idealism,” prophecy, and pacifism, and suggested that the ego function is not so bad:

 [Freud has left out “two classes of phenomena”]: “those associated with the will and the satisfactions of self-mastery, and those associated with integration and the reasonable ordering of one’s drives–the Hellenic ideal of harmonious expression.  In practice I am inclined to assign moral responsibility to the ego, and I attempt to judge the work it has to do by estimating the strength of the insurgent tendencies (which vary from one individual to another) that must be managed.” [302-303]

Murray, like Melville, comes home to classicism where (he hopes) balance is pleasantly restored:  he understands (along with Greek rationalists and other ego psychologists) that the “insurgent tendencies” “must be managed.” Indeed, they can be managed, hardly the tragic vision of Freud or Melville [303].[3]  But lest Protestant psychoanalysts be accused of deviations from the American way, Murray distances his management style from fascism. As in the Walter Langer report of 1943 (which gave weight to the rumor that Hitler’s grandfather was the Baron Rothschild), Murray linked other autocratic Jews to Hitler. Freud, a Bad Jew, having been turned into “the Fuehrer” by the “cocksure inflexibility” of his “apostles” [307] could be Americanized (rescued and purified) by revision and selective appropriation. Only as Good Jew could Freud be recruited to surveillance in the guise of the Great Emancipator: (Jewish) negativity, pessimism, and passivity had to be detached from Freud’s critical method and banished from the Republic. Temporarily elevated (then fenced in and walled up?), perhaps Isabel’s brilliance could be exploited without the anxiety of a hostile takeover. “Genius is full of trash,” said the liberal Murray, quoting Mardi, urging his listeners to cast off dogmatists (“clinging slavishly to all of Freud,” in whose “psychoanalytic society free speech is as expensive as it is in Nazi Germany”), but to preserve the adventuresome, independent, creative, scientific side of the master by availing themselves of this “Alberich[‘s]” “ravished gold” which “has the power of casting long rays into the heretofore mysterious and appalling regions of the psyche….” [306]:

” What a man does and says in public is but a fraction of him. There is what he does in private, and the reasons he gives for doing it. But even this is not enough. Beyond what he says there is what he will not say but knows, and finally, what he does not know. Only a depth psychologist can reach the latter. “[298]

Murray thought that Freud had been too hard on the id and too much under its sway: Murray’s id (later identified not only with Hitler, but with Isabel and darkest Africa), properly directed, like Freud himself, could be transmuted into a treasure trove of mineral resources and higher intelligence: where id was, let a tactical alliance between man and nature, management and labor, be.

 Better Beaten Boundaries

Murray believed that academic psychologists should merge their discipline with rectified Freudian psychoanalysis, and reconceive the training of “personologists,” who would  study not only hard sciences but anthropology, sociology and the arts. (Murray does not mention history or politics). As for the contentious issue of psychology, Murray’s audience was invited to follow his and Jung’s rebellious path into holistic psychoanalysis and away from every type of philistinism. Murray confessed that he, like other unanalyzed, myopic academic psychologists, had once naively  reduced “a groomed American in a business suit, traveling to and from his office, like a rat in a maze [to] a predatory ambulating apparatus of reflexes, habits, stereotypes, and slogans, a bundle of consistencies, conformities, and allegiances to this or that institution….”[299].

   But really, the body (imagined as an explosive legislative branch of government), is full of surprises. Murray’s advice was to know thyself (and thy businessmen subjects or patients) through psychoanalysis:

“A personality is a full Congress of orators and pressure  groups, of children, demagogues, communists, isolationists, war-mongers, mugwumps, grafters, logrollers, lobbyists, Caesars and Christs, Machiavels and Judases, Tories and Promethean revolutionists. And a psychologist who does not know this in himself, whose mind is locked against the flux of images and feelings, should be encouraged to make friends, by being psychoanalyzed, with the various members of his household.” [299]

Repressed, impersonal, bureaucratizing psychologists and unreconstructed  Freudian psychoanalysts (Murray’s Margoths and Nazi slaves) are probably too far gone to respond to Murray’s (Rolfe’s) appeals. But perhaps more doctors might be returned to natural history  [unskeptical religion? 295] if they would look away from the blank-making, stony, sublunary wasteland of modernity, the rusty iron-colored soil of melancholy (that the Judases created, Murray/Melville tells us throughout his writing). Murray would prefer us to linger in  the densely informative, premonitory (and moist) museum somewhere inside us all (and which created, then evacuated, but still manipulates and sheds light on, Margoth, Ahab, Judas, Freud, you and me):

“…Hinting of the nature of id processes we have dreams and fantasies, and the mental life of children, savages and psychotics. Their thought, primitive and prelogical, is marked by more emotive and symbolic imagery (fewer abstract words) and exhibits a greater number of instinctive, lower-order tendencies than does that of normal adults.

” The theory of the unconscious (of the alter ego or shadow-self) helps to explain contrasting phases of behavior, ambivalence, sudden explosions, regressions, conversions (“He was not himself”; “I would not have known him.”) It throws light on fixed and refractory frames of reference, settled sentiments and beliefs. It is essential to an understanding of illusions, delusions, morbid anxiety, compulsions and insanity. It is invaluable in interpreting neurotic accidents and illness. The unconscious is an historical museum of the breed and of the individual, exhibiting tableaux of development. But also, in a sense, it is the womb of fate, the procreating source of new directions, of art, and of religion. It is here that one must seek for novelty, for the incubating complex that will govern the next move. No creator can afford to disrespect the twilight stirrings of the mind, since out of these arise the quickening ideas that are his life. [italics added, 298].

Jung and Murray understand that there is more, much more than sex and aggression down there: Freud’s unconscious was too narrowly conceived:  In contrast to the mediocre, spell-binding “Nibelungs” (Freudian Bad Fathers like Hitler, inflated and egotistical [306]), Murray presented Jung and himself as judenrein Good Fathers, scientifically objective and universalist, hard-bitten undeceived materialists, but kind, and thus the bearer of values firmly opposed to gold-abuse, self-delusion, the Seven Deadly Sins and moral relativism:

“[By limiting his theory of instincts to sex and aggression] It is evident that Freud was attempting to bring order out of chaos by pure thought; for at no time did he review the simple facts, subjective and objective. It seems he never asked himself, What motives and actions are universally distinguished? or what behavioral trends can be objectively discerned in animals and men? He was guided, without doubt, by some obscure unconscious frame of reference. Otherwise he never would have omitted thirst, excretion, repulsion, acquisition, the lust for power and approval….

” A number of drives might well be added to the list; to begin with–since the analysts are interested in vice–two or three of the five remaining deadly sins: Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, Pride and Envy. Is there any significance in the fact that fancy-priced practitioners have never acknowledged the profit motive, the immorality of greed, robbery and exploitation? May their superegos work on this!” [301].

     Alberich and the dwarfs are not only perverts and the blinkered agents of Mammon, decimating concepts of Mind and Soul, but seducers, declining to exercise their paternal responsibilities by picking up the pieces and applying the expertise of “mental hygiene,” the “knowledge” which Murray hopes “will lead eventually to power, to a more sagacious management of infant life, to fruitfulness and the self-development of finer men and women, to happier societies.”[291].

 “…Freud’s theory, I submit, is an utterly analytic instrument which reduces a complex individual to a few primitive ingredients and leaves him so. It has names–and the most unsavory–for parts, but none for wholes. It dissects but does not bind up the wounds that it has made. Unconcerned with psychosynthesis and its results, it is of little use either in formulating progress in personality development or in helping a patient–after the transference neurosis and the levelling [!] that an analysis produces–to gather up his forces and launch out on a better way of life. This is the flaw which Jung was quickest to detect and remedy, by directing his therapeutic efforts to an understanding of the forward, rather than to the backward, movements of the psyche. The unconscious, in his opinion, is more than an asylum of but half-relinquished infantile desires; it is the breeding ground of enterprise….

” This is not the place to examine the probing, disintegrating, and deflating tendency in psychoanalytic practice. Well might someone write a treatise on the subject, fixing his eye on the intention that designed it, that decided what data should be chosen for consideration, what aspects exhibited in concepts, how the whole dissection should proceed [Murray’s mother]. It would be noted first of all that the patient, who in the end almost invariably seeks, and needs, advice–since it is as hard for him to synthesize as to analyze himself–gets none; gets none from the only man–his analyst–who knows him well enough to judge his powers, the man who has reasons to be much concerned, selfishly and unselfishly, in his future welfare, the man whose business it is to know not only what makes for illness but what makes for health. An inquirer into such matters would listen skeptically to the analyst’s rationalizations of his refusal to give positive suggestions. He would note his lack of interest and talent for just this, and his sharply contrasting eagerness to impose the dogma of analysis–more and more analysis, reversing the life process. The direction of the will that underlies all this, the theory and therapy is fairly obvious. One might have thought that the Freudians, so quick to see perverted streaks in other men, would have been polite enough to tell us frankly what sublimated promptings were back of their sublimated labors. It would then have been unnecessary for some rude unmasker like myself to speak of voyeurism, depreciating sadism, and the id’s revenge on culture, the superego and the ego. Why not expose and prove the value of these motives? Being sociable with the id myself, I cannot but sympathize with its efforts to get on to a new Declaration of Independence. But the question is, have the Freudians allowed the id enough creativeness and the ego enough will to make any elevating declaration? What is Mind today? Nothing but the butler and procurer of the body. The fallen angel theory of the soul has been put to rout by the starker theory of the soulless fallen man, as result–as Adam, the father of philosophy, demonstrated for all time–of experiencing and viewing love as a mere cluster of sensations. Little man, what now? Freud’s pessimism, his conviction that happiness was impossible, his melancholy patronage of the death instinct, should put us on our guard….”[305,306].

Murray thought that  his type of managerial psychoanalysis could effectively unmask and oppose “the mechanical advance of mediocracy.” This type however was curiously both tolerant and controlling: “…I am inclined to assign moral responsibility to the ego,” but the ego is instructed by the psychoanalyst.  He recommended full disclosure (such as the one he had just made) and an ongoing commitment to truth (“with the theories of all schools democratically assembled in my head” [295], Freud worked); there is even a word of comfort:

“To be psychoanalyzed is, in my opinion, not a requisite for all, but highly desirable for most. If you can afford it, pick a trained analyst whom you respect, and enter into the experience humbly and without reserve, prepared to render up the whole confused welter of your being. You need not be ashamed or proud.  You are only a little bit responsible for what you are. And when you come to weave what you have learnt into the structure of psychologic theory and deliver lectures, do not water down the facts, palliate, and equivocate.  Science cannot grow by subterfuges.” [310]

In this and other publications, Murray has told us that “depth psychology” is the most valuable (golden) way to extract hidden fantasies from the men whose personalities and behavior élites may wish to assess, predict and control; men who, having toured “the womb of fate,” will inform on themselves before the fact! But etiquette requires that the matter be put less plainly. So the Progressive antifascist psychoanalyst dispenses fatherly advice: Trust me. The managed impulses are potential members of one harmonious family (like the Harvard clinicians who created Explorations in Personality (1938), including democrats, fascists, communists, anarchists, etc.).

However, in other writings, Murray lamented the superficiality of intercourse in a pluralistic society, the lack of a common belief system in English-speaking countries, their pragmatism and materialism, and the disparate objectives of soldiers in World War II. [OSS, 26, 27]. Murray was  comfortable neither with polite evasions nor unmanageable impulses: he admired Michael Rogin’s psychoanalytic study of Melville but angrily criticized its “Marxism;” he was a fervent anticommunist (but not a Reagan supporter); and (apparently) he was quicker to gather the secrets of other Melvilleans (a trait bitterly resented by the other scholars), than to disclose his own (however shadowy), even to himself [author interview, 11/4/87; Leyda Papers].

Much as he raged against Freudian dualisms [301], Murray refused to be emancipated into the world of acceptable mixed feelings: he tells us that he abandoned his own nearly-forgotten psychoanalysis with Franz Alexander after a “nine month’s voyage,” a journey during which Murray (perhaps revising an earlier attachment) was “too busy, other-wise attached and happy to be transferable.” [295] In other words, Murray avoided the crucial relationship with the analyst which could have brought out repressed anger at the sins of the fathers, illuminating the paradoxical question he posed for himself but never answered: “My own father was a mild, good-natured, unreproachful man, and yet I am peculiarly quick to jump at the throat of tyranny and dogmatism.”[295] By refusing grey, by wandering off from the negative and divisive feelings (anger, rage, guilt, shame) that accompany disillusion with “the lovely family” (in this case, surely the weak father who failed to protect the nine-year old son from the authoritarian, intolerant, fascinating mother), Murray consigned himself to the darkness of unattainable neo-Tory perfectionism (the goal of the S-M ritual). “Give me a present to take along to the Underworld,” he ordered in his Ahab-ish, charming and self-deprecating way during our interview, pumping a ruthless Isabel seven months before he died, and wondering what she had on his hero and bête noir, Herman Melville.[4]

In the Fall of 1943, Murray psychoanalyzed Hitler for President Roosevelt (a project begun in 1938). Hans Gatzke insists that the OSS-sponsored Langer report on Hitler’s mind (also produced in 1943) leaned heavily on Murray’s production, a point hotly, but unpersuasively refuted by Walter Langer in 1973. But there are distressing resemblances between Murray’s and Langer’s historical imaginations in ways not mentioned by Gatzke: the Langer team  suggested that Hitler had been sexually indulged by his mother, was accordingly effeminate, and also possibly Jewish. Four years later (while fretting about “our shocking crime record,” “scientific criticism, skepticism” and “cynicism” in the colleges, and the glorification of Huckleberry Finn), Murray portrayed an adolescent, feminized [Jew] as the source of American decline: Pierre was the impediment to Manifest Destiny.

Murray’s article in Survey Graphic, March, 1947, “Time for a Positive Morality,” is illustrated with a 5”x6” photo of a pensive and grave young man with likely Jewish  features (and posed as a thinker, like Murray and Melencolia in the frontispiece to Shneidman’s edition of collected Murray essays). The photo caption reads “What positive ideal do we set before today’s insecure youth?” [196] Murray had warned on the page preceding:

” A good boy often means a namby-pamby sort of fellow, tied to his mother’s apron strings. There is no exhilaration, no adventure in the picture. Or our ideal is that of mere respectability, too low an aim to offer a challenge to the child.” [195]  Murray then challenged the legatees of negative Puritanism and of “vague and unreal” notions of “moral excellence” inherited from the Victorian middle-class: ” We have demonstrated that as a nation we are capable of mobilizing all our powers to destroy something, but we have not shown that we can mobilize on a comparable scale to create something–good world citizens and a good world order [196].” [5]

The October 1948 issue of Survey Graphic carried Murray’s article “America’s Mission,” reporting that Murray’s article of 1947 had been “widely quoted and reprinted.” Now Murray was joining Benjamin Rush (who viewed the passion for pluralism as having destroyed “the Grecian Union”; 415) in mobilizing the Progressive élite: delegating certain powers  to an unequivocal  global government  was the only hope in averting a catastrophic nuclear war: “…the survival of our society hangs by a thread and one member’s action or inaction might make the minute difference that will save or wreck the whole.” Murray held up the federalism of American Founding Fathers as the  model for an international order that would “settle disagreements among nations in an orderly and peaceful manner”; that would end the sacrifices demanded by wars without reducing freedom. Rather, One World, like “the city police force,” would permit us to “gain the privilege of pursuing our different paths without having to devote time and energy to the defense of our lives and our possessions.” But there were cowardly congressmen and diplomats, either reluctant to meet the responsibilities of world leadership or irrationally attached to nineteenth-century diplomatic theories of balance of power and compromise.  Worse, there was the stubborn trickiness of Soviet Mothers who might not see the advantages to joining up, and the irresistible attraction they will exert on the credulous and weak “smaller nations”:

“If Russia proves adamant it will mean she is determined to carry out her present plan to convert by infiltration one country after another (if possible by not committing any action that would justify the declaration of a shooting war) and thus to build step by step a world order of her own, ruled dictatorially from Moscow. What can check the advance of this endeavor except an equally competent and sustained endeavor to organize a more mature, just, and humane form of world order?

“It is not likely that many of the smaller nations can for long resist independently the relentless terror tactics of Russian-trained Communists in their midst. They must go to one side or the other. [cf. Jung] Food may lure them to our side for a hungry season, but their affections can not be won and bound with dollars.

“Nor can we make a strong impression by preaching the virtues of democracy to peoples who are not inclined by temper [!] or fitted by training to make democracy work–at least in a chaotic environment with the storm cloud of Russian Communism looming over their horizon. Nations must be offered the assurance of mutual friendship and security within a dependable world order. This world order can not be another totalitarian dictatorship with Washington as its capital. It must be a democratic world order with a superordinate government in which all nations are properly represented.” [413].

Murray does not really expect Russian leaders to abandon “Lenin’s assumption that war with the non-Communist nations is inevitable.” If Russia is unrelentingly opposed to world federation, it indicates that she does not want to abolish war, but to wage it when her time for it has come.” We must act quickly before Russia massively re-arms with atomic weapons; with the rest of the federated world perhaps we could fight her and win:

“Thus [cf. Lasswell’s “hence”: Murray implies that his speculations have already been proven], if we fail, through lack of sagacity or courage, to form a partial world government to checkmate her at her own game, we shall lose our sole chance to create the one institution which could eventually eliminate war, or could, if war is thrust upon us, unify all the rest of the world in subduing the aggressor.” [414].

Murray’s readers would understand that the democratic world order will not be designed  by nervous nellies who flunked the OSS recuitment test (that selected leaders who were unseduceable, cool and inspiring team players, able to meet the unforeseen and to solve problems); the heroic task falls to moderate conservative élites:

” One thing we must all concede [certainly not our property, C.S.]: the advance to world government will be impeded by countless obstacles and pitfalls, foreseeable and unforeseeable. It is perhaps the most difficult enterprise that fate [Jung’s id!] has ever required of mankind. But what of that? Is the genius of the human race played out? If our physical and biological scientists [elsewhere referred to as Judases] have proved capable of inventing the perfect means of exterminating societies, our political scientists, jurists, and statesmen should prove capable of inventing the perfect means of conserving them.” [414]

Murray’s conclusion, formulated in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, should give pause to New Leftist critics who believe Melville and his critic share a common conception of Manifest Destiny and the Protestant mission to renovate mankind:

“To take the initiative in the creation of a democratic world government–this is our mission, our manifest destiny, because it is in our power to achieve this thing and in no other nation’s power; and mankind expects it from us. [cf. “no bloody hands will be lifted” by the “political pagans” to stop us, WJ.]   A hundred and sixty years ago our ancestors successfully performed a comparable experiment; they conceived a federal government and made it work, and all breeds of men and women who  have since migrated to this land and learned to live here side by side in peace and confidence have found it good. The United States is the abstract of the One World which now awaits creation. It seems fitting then, that leadership in executing this last and most difficult experiment should have fallen to our lot.”

     But Murray wonders: ambiguity and materialism have made dangerous inroads; we may simply wander off, but he insists there are untapped resources (in Jung’s revised Unconscious?) that will bring us to transcendence, which means accepting the leadership of the WASP élite which has brought so much peace and confidence to “Indians,” Latinos, African-Americans, “Manilla-men,” Jews, workers, women, &c. Herman Melville agrees with him:

  ” Perhaps fate has summoned us at a time when we are not capable of acquitting ourselves with honor. On all sides one sees the classical symptoms of moral breakdown, manifestations, to quote Lewis Mumford, of the “cult which denies the fundamental discriminations between good and bad, between higher and lower, which are the very bases of human development.” But despite these discouraging evidences, I hold that there is still some unspoiled latent stuff in us which, quickened by this emergency, can carry us beyond our common selves to become once more “the pioneers of the world,” as Melville described us, “the advance guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path.” [6]

Finally, the good Fathers (“at the top level, a few constructive statesmen of the caliber of Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Mason, Morris, James Wilson, and at least one man whose charity is as inexhaustible as Lincoln’s”) or, he says (protecting his left flank from populist criticism by quoting The Texas Spectator), even the people, (atypically) rising to greatness “without a leader” will bring us to “the only prospect of security that can counteract the lures of every form of totalitarianism.”[415].

In 1962, Murray’s colleagues in social psychology were still undetached from the “immaculate Scientism” he had criticized throughout his career, ever since the Melville rescue in the mid-1920s. In his presidential address to the American Psychological Association (1962), Murray reviewed “The Personality and Career of Satan,” linking the destructive Satanic spirit to Ahab and Hitler. He was still concerned about do-nothing (pseudo) radicals:  “In this day of non-authoritarian parents, of independence training, of the precocious emancipation of youth, and of teenage killers, Satan’s ascensionist hopes (perfect illustrations of the Adlerian craving for superiority) are not likely to be regarded as ample cause for everlasting ostracism and damnation. But of course this judgment of our time may be nothing but a consequence of the Devil’s having pretty nearly realized his unswerving ambition to subvert our natures.” [527]

Certain creeds: Judaism, Catholicism, Mohammedanism, Communism [sic], Murray argued, continue to embody the Satanic spirit, and are propagating views of human nature that impair self-transformation and social reconstruction (unlike the conservatively enlightened Protestant élite which does not suffer from narcissistic self-inflation), promoting only nihilism and despair.

There is an etiquette of victimization; strenuous acrobatics are required to fulfill its requirements. The tight-lacer who accommodates to permanent dubiety by saying this is sanity, this is integration, is held to be the mature, blissful, whole person.[7] And yet these “mavericks,” (Joseph Campbell) these “conscious primitives” (Cabanne on Picasso) scour the earth for masks. At one point in a friendly four hour interview, a short time after I had observed that he was skillful at strewing misleading clues to conceal his true identity, Murray suddenly turned his face away, covered his eyes and exclaimed, “Don’t look at me; I’m afraid you can see into all my secrets.”

[1] Written by staff at the Harvard Psychological Clinic, Explorations in Personality (New York: Science Editions, 1938), 226-27. “Infavoidant” means the need to avoid criticism and humiliation. Murray wrote most of the book, including this passage. The group that formulated the theory of personality included “democrats, fascists, communists, anarchists,”[xi]. Walter Langer was in the group that produced the study.

[2]”What Should Psychologists Do About Psychoanalysis? reprinted in Shneidman, p.300. Paper given to American Psychological Association symposium, printed in Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 35, 1940, 150-175.

[3]Exemplified in Murray’s well-known menage a trois. Shneidman felt Murray’s Introduction to Pierre was a roman a clef; that he felt guilty about his long-standing affair with Christiana Morgan, co-originator of the Thematic Apperception Test. Murray gave me “a present” during our  interview, Nov. 4, 1987: “I’ll give you a symbol, a tower,” he said.  Shneidman told me Murray had built a tower for Christiana in which mystic symbols were displayed.

[4] I told him about the recently discovered letter from Maria to Augusta commanding her to pressure Lizzie into marrying Herman.

[5] Several months later, Survey Graphic printed a cartoon in which another tousle-headed thinking adolescent is explicitly reading Marx and worrying mothers.

[6] Rigid classifications, e.g.,“obdurate Persian dualism” in the tyrant, Freud, were denounced by Murray in 1940 (300-301), applauded in Mumford in 1948.

[7] Joseph Campbell’s claim in his interview with Bill Moyers, broadcast May 23, 1988, KCET, part of a popular series praised for its profundity and challenge to the public television audience.

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