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Lasswell, H.D. (1939). Psychology and Religion: By Carl Gustav Jung. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938. 131 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 8:392-393.

(1939). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 8:392-393

Psychology and Religion: By Carl Gustav Jung. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938. 131 pp.

Review by:
Harold D. Lasswell

The three Terry lectures given by Dr. Jung at Yale University develop the thesis that religion is an intense and involuntary experience against whose recurrence, creeds are erected in self-defense. Borrowing from Rudolf Otto, he describes the 'numinosum' as the authentic religious condition of the subject.

Fellow clinicians will recognize that the 'numinosum' is what is usually covered by the term 'anxiety'. Thus the analysis of the causes of religious experience becomes a repetition of Dr. Jung's theory of anxiety.

The causes of religious experience are traced to unconscious factors. At this point Dr. Jung introduces a useless confusion by asserting that the unconscious is not correctly described as 'individual'. In some places this appears to mean that unconscious processes are not individual because the mental processes of all people are essentially alike. Elsewhere the author seems to deny the individuality of unconscious processes because they are influenced by events external to the individual. Obviously the individuality of conscious processes could be denied on the same ground, but Dr. Jung does not take this position.

The conception of racial 'archetypes' is a special instance of the similarity of unconscious processes to one another. The similarity is attributed to the hereditary transmission of the determiners of archetypal fantasies. In the present lectures, Dr. Jung enlarges his gallery of archetypes to include a four-point pattern which is called the image of the Deity. This 'quaternity' fantasy is taken to mean God within us.


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