The Clare Spark Blog

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

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.

September 21, 2009

Managerial Psychoanalysis: Jung, Murray and sadomasochism (2)


image by Steadman Thompson, UCLA Sadomasochism Collection

In Henry A. Murray’s articles and speeches, personal history, class interest, and the images and fears of an orphaned WASP élite besieged by “Marxian” realists, united to shape a life-project: to identify the enemies of democratic capitalism, repair and restore the world shattered by the Judases of modern science, and to bring world peace without massification.  From the mid-1920s until his death in 1988, Herman Melville was Murray’s inspiration, guide, and alter ego; Murray’s “Melville,” however, resembled Hawthorne, not the author I have resuscitated in Hunting Captain Ahab.  Murray was not shy about declaring the source of atomization and dissolution: there are good Jews like the physician Alvin Barach who have helped emancipate Murray from his upper-class family; but there are bad Jews, such as ancient Hebrews who brought dogmatism and infallibility into the world, and whom Murray associates with the stubborn mechanistic thinkers who are hampering the next step in our creative evolution toward a planetary lovely family, wherein cultural opposites appreciatively quiver in fruitful Jungian tension. (Fabian Socialist H.G. Wells would show the same proclivity for social democracy/moderation.)

      As idealist thinkers, both Melville/Hawthorne and Murray try to mobilize “the heart” (psychic depths which are the repository of real fact), to counter a world which is delusive and lethal because it is, or may be, massified, leveled, and internationalized by materialism; i.e., made enjuive.  The emotional response to this fantasy of miscegenation and pollution is the fear, revulsion, and hostility of the purity reformer.[1]  Murray’s personal anxieties (partly shaped by an upper-class perspective) brought him into confrontation with the democratizing tendencies of the last two centuries: like other nativist radicals (including Irving Babbitt and other “New Humanists”), he may have found relief in the notions of social type, archetype, national character, and race (summarized in his phrase “varieties of human nature,” with race accepted as a category in his Explorations) with their clean distinctions and relative stability over time.

     In his Poe-Henry Adams style autobiographical sketch, “The Case of Murr,” Murray declared his allegiance to William James and sympathized with William McDougall (the hereditarian racist Chairman of Harvard’s Psychology Department, who followed James in 1920, said by Murray to have been vanquished by Harvard behaviorists in 1927, and whose social ideas are nearly identical to those of Lothrop Stoddard, a Harvard Ph.D., like McDougall, a supporter of Nazi eugenics in the 1930s). Here, as elsewhere, Murray (whose stereoscopic vision had been needlessly impaired by his mother’s rage for conformity and the slip of a physician’s scalpel) defends the only source of “fact” which allows him to excel, aligning himself with other victims of the ruthlessly boundary-blurring and therefore miscegenating modern world:

    [Murray:]  “William James (who was said by a later member of the Harvard department to have done unparalleled harm to psychology) had become one of Murr’s major exemplars by that time, and the young man found himself agreeing with almost everything his hero had to say–completely, for example, with the heretical statement that ‘Individuality is founded in feeling; and the recesses of feeling, the darker, blinder strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen and how work is actually done.’

     “This idea that the ‘real facts’ are to be found not on the surface of the body or in the full light of consciousness but in the darker, blinder recesses of the psyche was of course anathema to the majority of academic psychologists, who were militantly engaged in a competitive endeavor to mold psychology in the image of physics, a competition in which positive reinforcements would be reserved for those who could bring forth experimental findings with the highest degree of face-validity, statistical significance, and verifiability in all cases, obtained by the most reliable and precise methods. To be among the leaders in this race [note the pun] it was necessary to legislate against the ‘blinder strata,’ to keep away from those events which intellectuals at large assumed to be the subject matter of psychology, to disregard individual and typological differences, and to approximate universality and certainty by measuring the lawful relationships of narrowly restricted forms of animal behavior, of physiological processes in general, and of the simplest sensory and sensorimotor processes of human beings in particular. In short, methodological excellence was dictating (more than it did in any other science) the phenomena to be investigated, with the result that in those days psychologists were not the experts to be consulted about problems involving varieties of human nature, as biochemists, botanists, and ornithologists, for example, are consulted about problems involving varieties of chemicals, plants and birds. [Does he mean some of us are crows, some are eagles, or some of us are flowers, some are weeds? McDougall did.] On this general issue, Murr, at variance with his contemporaries, was facing in the opposite direction with the hope of devising the best possible methods for the investigation of obscure phenomena, realizing that it is the part of an educated man, as Aristotle said, to know what degree of precision is appropriate at each stage in the development of each discipline. Although, for various reasons, Murr did not attempt any direct exposures of the blinder strata of feelings, he would in due course find ways of eliciting meaningful imagery and fantasies from which one could infer the nature of some of the components of the blinder strata.” [Italics mine. “The Case of Murr,” 60, 61].

      Self-control, social control, and the moderating of radical ambition, not enlightenment, were the objectives of Murray’s dive for real fact. These “ways of eliciting meaningful imagery and fantasies” would take the form of the Thematic Apperception Test (devised in 1935 with Christiana Morgan) or the OSS operative recruitment test.

       Murray’s publications openly profess the objectives of these scientific procedures.  The tests were designed to uncover the subject’s latent redness (resistance to authority); to prove his freedom from neurotic symptoms, his proficiency at switching identities without cracking, in leading men in hierarchical “teams,” and his manliness–in part, predefined as stamina in resisting the appeals of radical movements (or, freedom from the “Icarus” complex), and the capacities of OSS operatives to endure humiliation and arbitrary discipline.  But Murray was undismayed that the disclosing subjects did not necessarily know the objective of the test, nor how the subject’s responses were to be used.  Murray, who denounced the Marxian and Freudian strait-jacket, ignored the human rights of his clients, perhaps because the testing procedures he promoted (and which Harold Lasswell admired) were to serve worthy goals and programs of “efficient” psychotherapy, “antifascism,” development, stability, and inspirational and humanistic leadership; goals and programs which were however defined and administered by the sophisticated  élite possessing, like the successful OSS operative, a “sound, moderately conservative political philosophy,”  and with whom Murray had been connected, at least since his conversion to Barach and Melville in the 1920s (rather like the conversion of the “socially responsible,” “liberal” capitalists who created the Committee for Economic Development in the 1940s).The OSS “assessment of men” test designed to recruit spies and practitioners of sabotage and psychological warfare (268),would be applied to personnel screening for other (unspecified) leadership positions.[2]

       And yet, like the helpful, protective and power-sharing modern businessmen of the Committee For Economic Development, Murray was not driven to dominate those he controlled or to seek self-aggrandizement at the expense of others.  For instance, Murr “had come to psychology with the hope of advancing current knowledge about human beings, not to raise his status on the totem pole [!] of scientists.” Murr is no grubby ambitious Head person, alienated and bookish, but a practical patrician: independent, inwardly harmonious, integrated and in touch with his nature and all of suffering humanity:

 [Murray:] “Murr’s varied intimate relations with hospital patients, ranging from a notorious gangster and dope addict to a champion world politician with infantile paralysis, together with privately experienced emotional revolutions, upsurges from below consciousness, had given him a sense of functional fitness, the feeling that all parts of his self were in unison with his professional identity as he defined it, and that he was more advantaged in these ways than were many of the book-made academics who talked as if they had lost contact with the springs of their own natures.”  [Murr, Shneidman,61]

   Murray’s social theory all-too-insistently demanded that we adjust to his facts; unsurprisingly, Murray told me that he, like Melville, had at times yielded to the irrational, and, like his “integrated” hero, had lived in the most painful ambivalence.[3]  Yet in print, Murray presented himself and his organicist fantasies of the future with images of harmony in difference (Jungian pluralism). Such escapes from social reality, from the painful disillusionments of contemporary existence in which a deceptive economic oligarchy (not peacefully competing interest groups) determines our future, must be common in readers who “love” Melville, yet cannot (publicly) face his pain and indignation at being (covertly) dominated, or his self-identification with defiant seekers like Ahab and Margoth, Pierre and Isabel: versions of the romantic Wandering Jew. More bluntly put, the “Melville” revival may be rooted in a fantasy, by no means confined to Hitler, that  the heartless, shattered and decadent modern world can be restored  to its “normal” condition of class harmony and cooperation by stigmatizing and expelling bad Jews with their coldly analytical Jewish spirit: the lethal perpetrators of the Unpardonable Sin and agitators of the twentieth-century labor movement.[4] Thus, in a wondrous Melvillean paradox, the Melville revivers would have expelled the historic figure Herman Melville/Ahab (by Martin Dies’ definition, unambiguously un-American and a commie-Jew), from twentieth-century literary criticism, a removal which had its precedents in Melville’s own praxis.  

 Kinky history:    Symbolists such as Jung and Murray are people ruled by fear; they walk a tightrope, manfully trying to maintain their vanguard position while suppressing the evidence of their senses to please an upper-class clientele.  One way to achieve “balance” is to eschew history with its allegedly “reductive” and “simplistic” materialist explanations for change.  The Symbolist establishes his sophistication, superior taste, and heroism by painfully accepting the unfathomable mystery and complexity of “archetypes” which teasingly surface, slither and sink, finally rendering “reality” and “truth” ineffable, mischaracterizing materialism as an arrogant Margothian reliance upon appearances, i.e., vulgar positivism.

      It is no accident that so many of the “modern” artists, critics, and political scientists who rose to prominence after 1917 have been attracted to the theories of Carl Jung, an adherent of Jacob Hauer’s racial symbolism.[5]  In 1930, Jung praised Moby-Dick as the greatest American novel; four years later, he wrote that Picasso (Ahab-ish in his analytic cubist phase) was suffering from a “schizoid syndrome” (“schizophrenia” a term he clarified in Jung, 1934, fn137). In 1936, Jung explained Nazi violence as the disruption of the German communal psyche by the Wotan archetype [Webb, 401].  Jung’s reactionary influence upon artists, alternative therapists, educators, and social theorists, is probably underestimated.

     The conservative wing of Melville criticism has stigmatized its “liberal” rivals as “subjectivist” and “Freudian”: overly romantic, myth-making, and preposterous in their treatments of Melville’s life and art.  In the next section, I will show that Henry A. Murray (one target, along with Weaver, Mumford, Arvin, and Miller) has identified himself with the Jungian tradition, but has co-opted the technique of Freudian psychoanalysis for the purpose of preventive politics and mind-management in the service of counter-revolution.  I suggest that my elegant Symbolists are possessed by Tory images of the People, that they attack these Doppelgängers which, not surprisingly, are representations of their class enemies (a process shared with the humble Martin Dies and his “populist” successors such as Joe McCarthy).  Yet the Symbolists continue to have credibility in high places as radical and rational analysts of society and of the human situation.


     Madame De Farge: “Why? Why? Why?Why?” [“Why” gets bigger until it produces BLOOD, in A Tale of Two Cities, 1935, William Van Dyke, director.]

      [illustrated drawing by Steadman Thompson] “She asked for it.

       “Hesitantly, uncertainly, she asked for it. The guardsmen, used to such requests from well-dressed young girls like her smirked knowingly.  The idea was not new to them as it obviously was to her.

       “When they stripped her to hang her to the flogging cross she asked them to stop short of removing her [red] panties.  They did, to her great disappointment.  She need not be so disappointed, however, for they plan to take them off, rip them off, indeed, later when they do to her certain other things she did not have the nerve to ask for but which will not disappoint her, however much she may struggle or cry out.” [Text to drawing by Steadman Thompson, dated June 19, 1946. Sadomasochism Collection, UCLA]

      [Michael J. Schaack, Captain of Police, Anarchy and Anarchists (Chicago: Schulte, 1889), 683, 686.]  The London celebration of the anniversary of the Paris Commune on the night of March 18, 1889, consisted of a small crowd of boozy, beery, pot-valiant, squalid, frowsy, sodden Whitechapel outcasts who shrieked and fought in a small hall in their district under the eye of a single policeman.

     “Better not go in sir,” the policeman said to a correspondent who entered the door of the small hall at 87 Commonwealth Road.  “There ain’t no danger, but it’s very unpleasant.”

     It was the fumes of scores of dirty pipes and a thousand other causes that made the air almost unbearable.  About two hundred people, a fourth of whom were lushed, soggy Whitechapel women, were in the low-ceilinged hall, while a long-haired Pole was screaming an address from the platform.  He cursed and swore with frantic blasphemy, and called upon his hearers to arm themselves and wade to liberty through blood.  Whenever he uttered the word “blood,” the muddled and maudlin crowd set up a shriek of “Blood, blood, blood!” that was deafening.  All of the women and most of the men had soiled red flags and handkerchiefs, which they waved in the air as they shrieked, “Blood!” in chorus.  Then they would sink back into drunken indifference till the word “blood” was mentioned again.

    Two women and a man, says the correspondent, lay in senseless stupor, with the crowd treading on them.  One woman’s rags did not half cover her.  An illiterate Englishman pushed the Pole aside and began to harangue the people from the platform.  It was the most shameless, ribald, and obscene harangue imaginable.  In the midst of it one woman struck another with a piece of a broken beer glass, and the two females began to fight like cats.  Faces were cut and bleeding.  No one paid the slightest attention except the policeman, who looked indifferently on.  Presently one of the women ran sobbing from the hall with her face streaming blood.  Another woman started after her, when a man made a sign to a policeman and she was restrained.  Then a neighbor plucked the correspondent’s sleeve:

      “Don’t let that nasty scene deceive you,” he said shortly, “it doesn’t mean that Socialism is dead in London.  It means that it is more intelligent.  They’ve left off shouting in public and begun to work under cover.  This thing tonight proves it.”


     Are we prepared, or are we even preparing for the shock?

     Let none mistake either the purpose or the devotion of these fanatics, nor their growing strength.  This is methodic–not a haphazard conspiracy.  The ferment in Russia is controlled by the same heads and the same hands as the activity in Chicago.  There is a cold-blooded, calculating purpose behind this revolt, manipulating every part of it, the world over, to a common and ruinous end.  Whether the next demonstration of the Red Terror will occur where its disciples are goaded to desperation under despotic measures, as in the land of the Czar, or in our own country, where they are allowed to preach their bloody doctrines under a broad construction of the American constitutional right of free speech, time alone can tell.  [end, Schaack excerpt] 

     “The rightful place for women…is the home, and not the world of commerce or industry. Marriage is her true career and one for which she is trained from infancy. Needless to say a society which is of this nature is totally unlike our proletarian, mass-minded society of the year 1953 which is concerned with social security in the form of government handouts and has no conception of beauty or appreciation for anything worthwhile….

     “We instinctively prefer a restrictive, aristocratic sort of life in which all of the essentials of a true aristocratic society are present. We love privacy and by nature are esthetes and hedonists who seek beauty and pleasure from the restrictive environment  in which we live. Our pleasures are those of the refined, cultured, sensuous lady or gentleman. In our choice of bizarre costumes and unconventional, prohibited dress, we are not only unconsciously protesting against the proletarian manners and dress of contemporary society, but we are likewise exhibiting a preference for all that is unproletarian, hence at heart we thoroughly hate and abhor all that is contrary to our conception of an ideal society. The real truth of the matter is that we, the majority of the readers of “Bizarre,” are patricians or aristocrats by nature who would be happier living in Victorian days than in the present atomic age.

     “As a student of sociology, I can proudly and thoughtfully say that the proletarian society of 1953 has not supplanted the aristocratic, genteel society of 1893.  The spirit of Victorian days not only still lives but many of the customs, dress and manners yet flourish among a selective few, who wisely refuse to yield to that proletarianization of society which people of the masses mistakenly refer to as progress….” [Fred S. Mac, defending tight-lacing and hobble-skirts in “Bizarre.” Box 54, Sadomasochism Collection, UCLA]

 “Young, professional man, interesting but submissive personality, seeks dominant lady of any age, race, or nationality.  I am 30 years old, tall, have excellent position and income. Have many varied interests such as psychology, collection of rare and unusual books and pictures, female wrestling and judo.  Never married, free to travel anywhere….” [Justice Weekly, April 23, 1960, p.8, Sado-Masochism Collection, UCLA]

 “…I have long wanted to draw but apparently my drawing, like my writing needed a strong compelling urge and conviction that nobody would ever see it except me [,] to make it come.  Only because I have absolute assurance that my drawing and writing will never see the light of day do I lack the fear that they should be found unworthy.  Writing that is for myself alone can be vile if it merely suggests its content to me.  Drawing that is terrible is adequate if it brings to mind the perfect picture I copied when I drew it.

     “My writings and drawings are partly memory keys, a glance at a page, not even reading the words, brings whole stories into my mind, stories which, because they are expressed to the full extent of my mind at the time, are uncriticizable, my mind not being greater than they to look down on their wording and grammar and style.  The pictures I draw in air are perfect, colored, balanced, harmonized, more perfect than anything ever done in oils by Titian.  If my pencil sketches can return these to the forefront of my mind instead of letting them slide off into oblivion, they have served their purpose, no matter how contemptible they may be as art.

     “I told Blanche that the pictures and the stories are mood-builders.  That is all they are.  I seek a thousand channels to the same pleasure.  I build a thousand carved entrance gates to a single court of joy.  My pleasure, much as the pleasure of music, is single and unvarying but the outward forms are myriad.

     “I have beat the boundaries of my soul to find the extents and limits of my desire and pleasure, forcing myself to accept nothing, merely asking, “Does this please you?”  “Does that?”  Without ever limiting myself in the future I have found the present bounds and set out forthwith, having fenced the woods to examine all its shady pathways and ultimately to know and catalog every tree.

     “I can only say that I have no regrets.  I do feel slightly soiled and tired when I arise and I hasten to clean up myself and the room but throughout all my regular life I am not ashamed and I take a great positive joy in it when I throw myself into my private life.  [Steadman Thompson, ms. ,June 5, 1946.Sado-masochism Collection, UCLA]


      What do Jungian psychologists and other romantic conservatives mean by “individuation”?  Surely not that you, the once conflicted Pierre, but now the rectified and integrated patient, having dredged up the “shadow” are entitled to reject your parents’ values and to think for yourself (a process that could challenge the legitimacy of ruling élites and the versions of social reality they propagate).  Au contraire, the cured Pierres, having eyed the dragon, retreat to ever more firmly drawn boundaries and hole up in towers: their erect postures, military and correct, signify victory over temptation: they have resisted the merger with  Mammon: “the least erected Spirit that fell/ From heav’n.”  We will never see them bent over (like Melville’s “invalid Titan”), rifling “the bowels of their mother Earth/ For Treasures better hid”: treasures connoting enlightenment and the illicit power to pursue “perfection” in this world: the outcome of labor, creativity, self-direction, the rejection of “servile pomp” and the demystification of God and Heaven. [Paradise Lost, I,675-690; II, 229-283]  Perhaps Murray was dismayed by Ahab, Pierre and Isabel, because such characters have merged with nature (the digging “lower orders”) to meet the insatiably curious, joyfully seeking, constantly reformulating self (“Pierre just emerging from his teens”).  For Pierre, incestuously bound to Isabel and not yet a disenchanted Mortmain, is seeing grey, a color so deranging to  his class and family, he will retrogress to flashy conservative black and white: Look not to exploitative institutions to find the source of Evil, but beneath the skin; evil originates within our bodies (or matter) and its deceptive and self-deceptive imagination: “…when there is no author, they fear those evils that they themselves have feigned,” wrote Filmer of the People and its natural disposition to believe its self-serving fantasies.

      Perhaps Melvilleans who follow Murray’s critique of Pierre are interested in projective identification, not because they want  more rational social organization,  but to rationalize the escape from political commitment: by “checking our projections” (accepting the dragon within ourselves, living with the eternal bipolar opposites in “unity”), we “free” ourselves from the heavy tasks of structural transformation, positive social action and social responsibility; like Murray’s mother (a babe in arms in his unanalyzed dream), we cough up history and swallow Jung’s reified, static “opposites” as real: “light/dark, above/below, white/black, male/female, etc.” [140]. With Melville, we successfully defend our chimneys; inwardly we are crushed and wasted.  Symbolist-style conservatism (which defines itself against Jewification: Red Terror, anarchy and dissolution) depends upon pervasive social and psychological constrictions which, as we have seen, only undermined the stability of every social relationship through the fear of “pain” and the pursuit of impassibility.

     For Jung as for other organic conservatives since the Greeks, the Delphic oracle’s adjuration to “know thyself” was a warning against the narcissism of democratic egos: with “self-knowledge” one accepted personal limitations and the descriptive accuracy of received categories.  The “beaten boundaries” of rural England (where officials ritualistically struck the earth with a switch to trace the borders of the local parish’s domain) may be seen as expressing the self-abuse inflicted through tight-lacing: modeling one’s body and soul to fit the property relations of rigid class societies and their bizarre formulations of reality.[6]

    Jung had warned of the dangers to the questing, probing, dissecting, boundary-blurring Picasso: “this inner adventure is a hazardous affair and can lead at any moment to a standstill or to a catastrophic bursting asunder of the conjoined opposites” [140].  In his Picasso prognosis, Jung sounds like Ishmael or Henry Murray contemplating the dangers posed to Ahab and Pierre by their shadows: Fedallah, his tiger-yellow Filipino crew, and dark Isabel:

 “The strident, uncompromising, even brutal colours of the latest period reflect the tendency of the unconscious to master the conflict by violence (colour=feeling).” [Jung,140]

     Here is Filmer’s image of the People again: Jungians seem to find their lost equilibrium in Mumford’s golden, sedate and well-regulated patriarchal families; not in flapping constitutional democracies, with their “narcissistic” players filled with sinful self-regard, hence (as Lasswell would say) concocting “grandiose” and “chimerical” visions of Utopia.  These unhinged Ahabs and Claggarts are dangerously free to “rise,” to take advantage of the emancipatory possibilities in a new world where “the masses” have (or want) political rights and accountability, have limited the rights of property, and where they have fought for, and (to some degree) attained freedom of expression.  And like Ishmael in the crow’s nest, flooded with pantheistic longing to unite with  nature, the narcissist will slip and fall: the “factions” produced by the unchecked ardor of the legislative branch were as dangerous to the Federalist Ship of State as “the syren song of equality” was to foolishly self-scrutinizing Pierre, or “romantic” Rousseau to New Humanists following Irving Babbitt in the 1920s.

            [1]Or, good fences make good neighbors. See Derrida, Critical Inquiry, Spring 1988 on Paul De Man’s view of decadent Europe as Jewified or enjuive.

            [2] The TAT subjects were told “this is a test of literary imagination….” Henry A. Murray, “A Method For Investigating Fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test,” Shneidman,391; The OSS Assessment Staff, Assessment of Men: Selection of Personnel for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (New York: Rinehart, 1948), 20,60-61,440,462-466 and passim.

          [3] But he could have treated Melville’s mental illness. Personal interview, Nov.4, 1987. Cf. the harmonious and uxorious Murray presented by Salvatore R. Maddi and Paul T. Costa, Humanism in Personology: Allport, Maslow, and Murray (Chicago and New York: Aldine-Atherton,1972).

            [4]Burton Hendricks, The Jews in America (New York: Doubleday, 1923). Carey McWilliams is the only writer on anti-Semitism I know to have mentioned this important best-seller. Hendricks’ claim was that the Sephardic and German Jews were no threat to America; only the “Polish Jews” were the problem because they insisted, unlike American radicals, that there were irreconcilable antagonisms between labor and capital. Immigration must stop at once. Cf. the arguments of the Protocols. Hendricks explained that the German Jews were too individualistic to comprehend the team spirit that had built capitalism in America, the achievement of Protestants, not Jews, as some were claiming. Hendricks’ book was part of the campaign against immigration.

            [5]James Webb, The Occult Establishment, 1976. Cf. Henry A.Murray, Explorations, 738, “Jung’s…racially determined sequences of fantasy….” hypostatized “the collective unconscious.”

             [6]My account of “beaten boundaries”  is a gift from John Seeley, sociologist and psychoanalyst, May 1989, who commented on the materials I had gathered from the Sadomasochism Collection at UCLA. His insight about “the lesson of the beaten child” (the terminal weakness of the oppressed) was gleaned from his clinical experience in the treatment of former abused children.

Managerial Psychoanalysis: Jung, Henry A. Murray, and sadomasochism (1)


Image (86)

progressive psychiatry in SURVEY GRAPHIC, 1947

This is the first of a three part essay on Jung and some of his followers, whose influence in America is probably underestimated; for instance he thrives in “New Age” thinking. The criticisms I lodge against Jung and the Jungians apply to “adjustment”-oriented ego psychology  and describe the eroticism favored by middle-managers I have studied. Since Dr. Henry A. Murray was one of the chief Melville Revivers, and identified personally with Melville, I have added materials taken from Murray’s essays on personology, as edited and collected by the late Edwin S. Shneidman, but also poems and sketches by other practitioners of sadomasochism. (These will appear in the blogs that follow this one.) The picture that finally emerges is fiercely anti-Freudian, misogynistic, and antisemitic.  Teachers and mental health professionals are asked to read these disturbed and disturbing materials, especially as Murray’s sadomasochism has been described in books by Forrest Robinson and Claire Douglas.


     ” Marxism lies in ruins on the ground. It had to die in order that German labor might find its way to freedom, that our nation might again be a nation. Where formerly Marxist songs of hate resounded, there shall we proclaim brotherhood to the workers. Where once the machine guns of the Reds scattered bullets, there we will make a breach for class freedom; where once a spirit of materialism triumphed there we, resting on the eternal right of our nation to freedom, labor and bread, will proclaim the union of all classes, races and callings in a new glowing idealism before our own nation and before all the world.” [Goebbels, quoted Survey Graphic, Nov. 1933, 549, 550]

     “Another dimension of Lasswell’s achievement, and one largely missed by his readers and commentators, is its radical and even revolutionary commitment to democratic goals. Because Lasswell has always used a special vocabulary that most of his political science colleagues have never bothered to understand, and because, further, this vocabulary is notably free of emotive, polemical, and ideological expressions, Lasswell has been frequently misperceived to be an antidemocratic élitist and a reactionary who would do for and to society what B.F. Skinner has done for and to the pigeons….

     “The Lasswellian conception of democracy has always stressed the widest possible shaping and sharing of those values that promote or exemplify human dignity… To be sure, Lasswell has not identified the particular institutional transformations that would promote such values, but neither did Rousseau indicate the political system required for the operation of the “general will,” nor Marx produce a blueprint for the political economy that would follow the revolution. The fact is, we are so habituated by sloganizing about political and social change that we fail to recognize advocacy of such change unless it is accompanied by a certain barricade rhetoric. Hence the full import has been generally missed of what Lasswell means by political psychiatry and integrative politics. [Arnold A. Rogow, “A Psychiatry of Politics,” (University of Chicago Press: 1969), 141,142]

      “May Day came, with its processions of boys and girls, men and women, singing as they marched to Tempelhof, where they gathered, the largest single audience ever assembled in Germany, to hear the labor speech of the Leader. We listened to it over the radio with a little group of countrymen, all full of eagerness to know what the Nazi labor program would be, how they would deal with unemployment and with the great trades-unions. We got nothing but what we disrespectful Americans call ballyhoo. It was the sort of speech that would be made before a Civic Federation audience or a Manufacturer’s Association: flowery sentiments about the brotherhood of workers with brawn and workers with brain, about commonweal instead of individual profit, about a united country where employer and employe[e] march hand in hand for the Fatherland. There was nothing that could be called a program, a definite plan, and our little group of Americans marvelled that Hitler would dare to so disappoint his waiting followers.

     “But the next day his real plan was carried out without warning. The trades-unions were dissolved, a leader of labor was appointed (the Ley whom the labor representatives in Geneva refused to recognize), the “principle of leadership” was substituted for democratic majority rule, the funds and properties of the trades unions were taken over….

     ” I did my best to discover what the policy of the Nazis with regard to labor really was. The whole world has known for years that Hitler’s movement was financed by the great industrialists on his promise to drive out Communism and break up the trades-unions, but on the other hand we were told that many workers had been won to his cause by his promise to make Germany truly Socialistic, a country of equal opportunity, where there should be neither rich nor poor.” [Alice Hamilton, Survey Graphic, 1933, 550. Hamilton, a progressive, worked in industrial medicine. Her analysis of Nazism remains the view of Marxist-Leninists blaming monopoly capitalism, and ignores Hitler’s “Third Way” between communism and capitalism, resonant with American progressivism.]   

      “The era of campus violence seems to have passed. Students are no longer locking up administrators, burning buildings, or engaging in strikes. But the crisis in higher education is not over. Many colleges and universities are in financial trouble. Many students are still dissatisfied with some aspects of higher education. Professional pride is not keeping faculty members from joining unions.” [The Management and Financing of Colleges (The Committee for Economic Development: 1973) p.7]

      Throughout my study of the Melville Revival, I have dwelled upon postwar psychological warfare and preventive politics to suggest the relevant context for “the Melville boom” of the 1940s.  Although Ahab’s usefulness to Cold War ideologues has been noted,[1] the iconography of Ahab has not been linked to a particular Tory diagnosis of “romantic” fascism as an excrescence of democracy, of autodidacticism run amok, as the inevitable outcome of forces unleashed in the American and French Revolutions.  Nor has the Melville Revival been viewed as one episode in the perennial struggle within universities and the media to define and circumscribe radicalism in America, to set limits to the wandering Protestant imagination, to the mobility and penetration ascribed to the Romantic Wandering Jew.  Nativist radicals (Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Lewis Mumford, Henry A. Murray, all admirers of Carlyle and Jung) have rejected “Marx” and “Freud”[2] as alien, dogmatic, deterministic, and divisive; the “class hatred” jacobinical Marxism spawns is held to be the product of heartless ratiocination.  Murray, Lasswell, and their circle (Mumford, Walter Langer, et al) have reproduced Melville’s most antimodern attitudes while claiming a vanguard, emancipating identity for themselves.  Murray, for instance, was offended by Melville’s sympathy with Melville’s character Pierre, in my opinion, not because Melville so nakedly attacked his parents, but because he exposed the family double bind: the structural conflict between truth and order suggesting that pluralist remedies could not harmonize classes and other antagonistic groups; that “virtuous expediency” was not an acceptable option for moralists torn up by the contradiction between Christian theory and practice.

     Although “pluralism” was once our official ideology, an exclusionary organicism called “multiculturalism” is enforced by corporatists who define and enforce “mental health”: the repressed alternative is free-thinking liberalism made efficacious through self-knowledge and social knowledge, through the retrieval of an accurate history.  Therefore, in practice, “pluralism” is hegemonic: gender, ethnic, and “racial” (or other “interest-group”) politics are legitimate, while class politics are Jewish and toxic unless populist, in which case the enemy is the International Jewish Mother grinding the face of the poor.  Unmanageable conflicts (today called “stress”) originate within individuals (no longer “victims”), who then are the major locus of reform.  The mind-managers have exploited the findings of depth psychology, co-opting it to diagnose and control potential dissidents.  They replicate Melville’s consciousness at its most defended and paranoid, that is, where he projects forbidden rage onto class enemies who must then be controlled.  These alluring villains are 1. the insatiably demanding and perfectionistic moral mother (usually masked by the scientific Jew: together they represent the Market) and 2. the mob generated or aroused by the hot brain and cold body of the Jewish scientist/moral mother/demagogue.  But this defense (projective identification as termed by object-relations theorists) cannot be acknowledged as such; Melville, a “great American writer,” like American élites should be manly, i.e., finally rational and in control, even as he drowns.  His obvious problems (both artistic and personal) are either delimited and suppressed or attributed to the aggressions and deficiencies of irrational women (who control the family) and other philistines (who control the market).

     However, Melville’s achievement may have been limited and distorted by his class position; his confusing switches may express the sado-masochistic social relations of middle-managers, of the professionals and intellectuals whose (partial) freedom of expression is contingent upon their willingness to dominate “the lower orders” on behalf of their superiors in the caste/class system; who “excel” by switching off the connection between idea and emotion, art and life, theory and practice, diagnosing Icarus instead.  Such ethereality leads to promotions: the reformed over-reacher enters a higher class as a molten disembodiment, a skylark.  Rescuing the confusing Lover/ Mother/Jew of the Home he has angered and worried, another celebrated poet (Sir John Collings Squire) privately recounted the submission and impassibility that suggests metamorphosis:[3]

 “Beloved, do not fret or knit your brow,/  Never be feared for me,/  You have forced my heart to red eruption now: I am full of fire and free.

 It hurt me in that shaded room, you were/ So logical and blind,/  It hurt me in the autumn woods, you were/ So lovely and so kind.

 Whatever I see of you hurts me, visions come/ Of you, chameleon-wise,/ Surprising, expected, voluble and dumb-/ Oh, enigmatic eyes!

 Go on as you’ve begun/ With voice and form and face,/ Do what you will with me, for at their height,/ Great joy, great pain embrace.

 Hurt me, oh, hurt me, press the ichor out,/ Torture the thing that’s I,/ Let me but bear my destined fruit, I’ll shout/ With joy, and happy die.

 There was a time when you, with eyes averse,/ Said that I was a fool:/ I was hurt and glad: you’ll never hear me curse,/ Flogged in Apollo’s school!

 I cannot any longer separate/ One prompting from another,/ Or yet distinguish mate from inspiring mate,/ Joy sister, and pain brother.

 Everything pains, and everything exalts,/ The world’s ablaze with light,/ I do not think of merits or of faults,/ Even of wrong or right–

 Only I live for Poetry, only I long/ To fructify; only I cling/ To this conviction, now so sure and strong,/ That I was born to sing. ” [4]  

     For the ultra-conservative poet and critic, J.C. Squire (a British supporter of Italian Fascism), the incestuous intermingling of pain and pleasure produced numbness, then enlightenment: an object (“thing”) became subject (“I”) under “torture”; Squire was uplifted to a realm beyond good and evil, beyond pain, perhaps beyond the scrutiny of the hypercritical and constantly changing parent.  At the poem’s climax he is freed from competitors, blissfully confident of his identity as sole legitimate creator (or is he? there is more than a touch of irony in the strange ending).  Perhaps other fascist sympathizers have felt the same longing to “press the ichor out” to achieve a similar transcendence, but then are equally uneasy with their victories.

     To the extent that middle management refuses to know itself and evolve, it perforce must be either protofascist or ineffectual when faced with authoritarian challenges from the Right.  Refusing painful and embarrassing (because delegitimating) self-explorations, the social thought of the Melville Revivers is situated among Terror-Gothic responses to mass politics; as political Symbolists they may not analyze fascism except as irrational: their anti-intellectualism, revealed in a root-and-branch rejection of “science” is defined as entirely rational.  For the remainder of this section, we will examine the failure of Murray and other authoritarian psychologists (either Jungians or “ego psychologists”) to assess the enemy, protect life, and advance cultural freedom.

     Like Picasso, Murray resorted to primitivist escape, apparently from “civilized” women, but more likely from the rationalism, perseverance, and indignation associated with the working class brain.  Such irrationalism in high places has had consequences for public policy today.  One example was spelled out in my exegesis of the Langer report psychoanalyzing Hitler for the OSS in 1943, and made public in its “original” form in 1972 as a response to the “hippie-fascists” of the 1960s and 1970s, and as a demonstration that psychohistory could prevent errors in managing relations with other recent and future dictators.  The mostly favorable newspaper reviews suggest that antifascist intellectuals will not read a code they should have mastered, for instance that Langer’s portrait of Hitler resembled that of the German agent, George Sylvester Viereck, who, in 1923, imagined the explosive Hitler as Pierrot: androgynous, decadent and a Jew; that is, a mask for the New Woman (or woman with book), breeder of the new Hun (Eve/Cain: Ahab/working class).  The treason of the intellectuals reflects an ideological imperative to explain Nazism as the revolt of the masses, invidiously contrasted to the American people’s community managed by corporatist liberals, for instance, in the Committee for Economic Development.  A comparative structural analysis would have taken the heat off psychopathic Germany, making fascism one common response to economic crisis, and not simply identical with “monopoly capitalism” (the latter a populist or Stalinist formulation). 

    As I have been using the word, fascism is a cultural revolution seeking to reinstate authoritarian social relations and predictable outcomes in open-ended liberal, rationalist, democratic societies moving forward by educating its populace in the ways of critical thought and universalist ethics.  New Leftist critiques of mass culture should be compared to the nativist radicalism of Murray and his circle; there is an intertwined anti-Semitism and misogyny in recent radical scholarship that has not been identified, and which cripples attempts to diagnose structural determinants of cultural pathology.  This study should be contrasted with other analyses of censorship that see cultural pluralism as the norm, repression as aberrant, and invariably produced by extremists of the right and left; extremists whose type is Melville the frontiersman, the desperado defined against impartial liberal élites.

     Bartleby’s mysticism, immobility, and self-exile may express the remorse that followed Melville’s wicked, contaminating identification with the atheistic, materialistic, revolutionary bourgeoisie and their incendiary offspring, the combination whose deadly ambition has caused the absolutist Good Father to disappear: “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions in life, and his relations with his kind,” observed Marx and Engels in a provocation of 1848.  “Where dat old man?” Melville asked in the voice of his infant son Malcolm, throughout his European travels of 1849.  But this parent never existed: he was always a phantom, perhaps what the child/apostate fears he demolished, the victim of his little (short Margothian) “gibes.”  Melville presented the type in his portrait of the Indian-hater, Colonel Moredock, an Ahab (or a Pierre, later a Nathan) of the backwoods: self-reliant, instructed by the unmediated contact with nature, and obsessed with avenging the massacre of his family, but unsated, finally killing Indians for the art and craft of it.  The frontiersman Moredock and his disease (monomania) were the predictable outcome of a world deprived of good kings: that is, patriarchs who obeyed God by fulfilling their paternal obligations toward their dependents, in this case enforcing an orderly western, i.e., Whiggish, expansion that would not arm and inflame the people.

      Only a mask can represent the non-existent “moderate man”; Picasso’s seated Pierrot, like Nietzsche’s wanderer, empty, a spectator and a nihilist, drops the mask to beg for “another mask.”  For Dr. Henry A. Murray (1893-1988), a “moderate conservative” strategically masked as a “left-wing democrat,” the longing for a tolerant father to protect him from the perfectionism of his mother represents a broader, equally hopeless, social yearning for a unifying myth to reconcile groups or forces that seem increasingly intent on annihilating one another; it is the imminent disaster that some of Melville’s characters thought they recognized in the class polarizations of the Civil War and the Gilded Age that followed.  For the merchant and proto-Christian Socialist Rolfe in Clarel (1876, and held by many Melvilleans to be Melville’s mouthpiece), the antagonists in one corner were all-too-liberal protestant pluralists who had abandoned the sane children of the vital center and who, like Derwent (a Matthew Arnold type), were fellow-travelling with the irreverent “Hegelised” German-Jewish geologist Margoth (“such a Jew!”); and in the other corner, their opposition: the deceptively reformist but ever tyrannical Catholic Church.  Where was the good father of the Center who would restrain the predatory side of capitalism that was driving workers into suicidal opposition?[5]

     [1] Donald Pease in Ideology in Classic American Literature, ed. Bercovich  and Jehlen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

    [2] The errors and weaknesses of either figure are pounced upon to discredit institutional analysis, historical memory, and introspection, while what is valuable and original may be annexed to projects at odds with their goals.

     [3] Here is a montage J. C. Squire preserved in his scrapbook: The headline reads “We Nominate for the Hall of Fame”:  Underneath the romantic photo of the black-haired, suited, pipe-smoking, calmly gazing young Squire, the caption reads: “Because his parodies have been as critical and amusing as any of our generation; because he is one of the best known of the Georgian poets; because as a critic he is the most able young man in England, devoted to upholding conservative standards; because he is the  editor of the London Mercury, which under his direction has become the most successful literary magazine in England: and finally because he is now, happily, on a lecture tour of the United States.” Below, Squire pasted two cartoons: one apparently of G. K. Chesterton heading toward the Statue of Liberty on a miniature ocean liner; the other purporting to be “a study by an American girl of eleven” entitled “Do You Recognize Her?” The woman is a frightening figure whose attributes are literally present: “Raven hair, star-like eyes, arched eyebrows, seashell ears, rosy cheeks, pearly teeth, cherry lips, swan-like neck, and lily-white hands go to make the picture.”  (The eyes are actually represented by stars of David: are they the eyes that detect frauds?) I am certain that Squire did not recognize himself in the laudatory remarks quoted above. His letters and notes, his alcoholism, reveal the same self-loathing and sense of inauthenticity that I have found in all the Symbolists under examination.

            [4] Ms. “They Learn in Suffering,” J.C. Squire.  The last four verses were crossed-out.

           [5] See George Mosse on nationalization of the masses, Lasswell’s technocratic military élites; Murray’s call for an eclectic sacred text to replace the Bible; Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1940s.

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