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Alchemists of Human Nature - Psychological Utopianism in by Petteri Pietikainen

By Petteri Pietikainen

This can be the 1st book-length learn of Modernist utopias of the brain. Pietikainen examines the psychodynamic writings of Otto Gross, C G Jung, Wilhelm Reich and Erich Fromm. when they broke from Freud and orthodox psychoanalysis, Pietikainen argues, utopianism turned more and more vital to the basic pursuits of all 4 thinkers. He exhibits how Gross' "Matriarchal Communism", Jung's "Archetypal Cosmos", Reich's "Orgonomic Functionalism" and Fromm's "Socialist Humanism" have been makes an attempt to reshape social constructions and human family by means of conquering the subconscious. Pietikainen areas the 'utopian impulse' with the historic context of the massive, violent socio-political narratives of the early 20th century. This cutting edge interdisciplinary ebook contributes to ongoing scholarly discussions concerning the historicity as opposed to the universality of human nature.

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Extra resources for Alchemists of Human Nature - Psychological Utopianism in Gross, Jung, Reich and Fromm

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Nevertheless, their utopian ideas cannot be characterized as Freudo-Marxist, even if Reich was a Marxist psychoanalyst for about a decade (c. 1927–37). However, even before he emigrated to the United States in 1939 he had distanced himself from Marxism, declaring himself ‘apolitical’. Fromm remained a Marxist humanist and a democratic socialist until the end of his life, but in his utopianism there were also important elements of Messianism and ‘humanist ethics’. Gross in turn was mainly inspired by turn-of-the-century anarchism, and he socialized with anarchists, artists, writers and other bohemians and iconoclasts who represented a counter-culture to bourgeois respectability.

Among bourgeois citizens, this led to conversions to Marxism as well as to right-wing ideologies but also to psychological ‘identity crises’, self-doubt and a yearning for individual and cultural wholeness. The incessant self-scrutiny of the early twentieth-century bourgeoisie and the success story of dynamic psychology are inescapably intertwined. In addition to psychoanalysis, it was Marxism that provided light in the darkness for many intellectuals in the post-World War I West. The Russian Revolution of 1917 rekindled hopes for progress and emancipation, and the Soviet Union seemed to represent the first necessary step towards the future utopia.

53 This tradition of ‘inwardness’ has several sources, such as the Christian emphasis on inwardness, Cartesian philosophy and the Rousseauean and Romantic glorification of inner nature (the myth of the noble savage). Concurrently with this inward turn there was a development towards modern utilitarian rationalism. The Enlightenment emphasis on the utility and applicability of reason paved the way for a new conception of humans, which was founded on the normative notion that we are in control of ourselves; that our behaviour is shaped by appropriate rational standards that cannot be subjugated by random impulses and urges.

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