Tuesday, June 05, 2012

On Jung, Freud and Evolutionary Psychology

Sometimes  I'm astonished that I'm still fairly normal (well, as normal as a blogger pretending to be a snake goddess can be), given the places I go to read crap.  But the other night I was short of reading for the bed and picked up a thirty-year-old biography of C.G. Jung.  His opinions on women (at least as interpreted by Vincent Brome, the biographer)  were, to use current terminology, very sexist.

This made me cheerful.  The views he (and Freud with his theory of penis envy!) advanced on women would never fly today, never!

The cheer was because the world is changing, for the better, at least in some nooks and crannies (not including the comments sections of any articles about gender).

At the same time,  it is frightening to think how easy sexism could be and still is and  how smoothly Jung's subjective statements about women translated into something viewed as holy theory.

I see a reflection of this in the current EP (the anti-woman type of evolutionary psychology).  One day, I hope, those writings will appear as preposterous to others as Jung's statements about the two types* of women (either mother/wife or a professional collaborator/sexual partner for the man) seem to me.**

All those theories --  Freudian, Jungian and EP -- share the pseudo-science aspect:  They are not potentially falsifiable by actual experiments but defeat any such attempt.

*The list of types of women was later expanded by one of Jung's female collaborator to four.
**Though probably by then some brand-new way of keeping misogyny current in psychology will have been invented.