Picks and Pans Review: The Aryan Christ: the Secret Life of Carl Jung
Long revered as one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis and the mystical godfather of New Age spirituality, Carl Jung appears—in Richard Noll's fascinating new biography—as a bit of a dangerous crackpot who could have used some professional help.
Noll charts Jung's youthful flirtations with spiritualism and the growth of his faith in the therapeutic value of polygamy, sun worship, Teutonic mythology and intense communion with one's pure-blooded Aryan ancestors. After an ugly break with Freud, several love affairs with his own patients and (in an episode long suppressed from Jung's memoirs and biographies) a series of visions in which he saw himself as an ancient lion-headed god, Jung convinced himself that his school of psychiatry was a messianic religious cult with valid proto-Nazi, anti-Semitic, neopagan overtones—and he was the Aryan Christ at its center.
Destined to be controversial, Noll's thoughtful and lucidly written study may make its readers think twice before joining a New Age Jungian healing circle. (Random House, $25.95)