Jung, Casteneda, Robert A Johnson and Psychopaths

I’ve not posted for a while but I’ve been participating on the Cassiopaea forum and felt it was an interesting topic that was started there. There’s a number of ideas on psychopathology as something that’s a given, i.e. it’s a genetic disposition and it’s not the case of childhood damage, so because of this it can’t ever be changed – once a psychopath, always a psychopath.

The cause of psychopathology seems to polarise people’s perspectives. It’s a little like the age old determinism versus indeterminism debate and when you look at that deeply, it always one or the other – forget about transcending duality, whatever that’s supposed to be, when it comes down to it – we either have free will or we don’t.

I like Carl Jung, in fact I started reading his stuff when I was about 16 years old, I also was reading Carlos Casteneda around the same time who I also admire. So it delights me to find others with a similar interest in topics all in one place!

One particular topic on the forum was about dream interpretation through the work of Robert A Johnson. I used to quote his stuff all the time in my university art essays and that didn’t really go down well because he was not a postmodernist.

Johnson is a Jungian and Jung believed that people have souls; he just called souls the “self”. A soul is almost like the core of a person, and the postmodernists saw things like cores, truth and souls as dangerous because they assume an objective truth and historically people wield power by being the holders or the source of such truth. Of course that’s all well and good and historically accurate but when you take the next step by joining the dots and saying there is no truth, you are in my opinion taking a big leap of blind faith.

So then I wondered how a determinist psychopathology was discussed on the same thread as Jung, who believed the soul as a continual healing mechanism onto itself. How does this and a certain viewpoint of psychopathology that sees individuals as having no soul. How do you put two and two together here?

The writer of the thread explains it this way:

Jung’s model is not applicable to genetic psychopaths – the ones who are simply born that way – with different wiring compared to normal humanity. Current scientific evidence – which is referenced in the books that Venusian has mentioned above – points to that.

You are not alone – neither the first nor the last – to try to explain psychopathology from the fundamental neurosis model which Freud put forward. Jung started with that model from Freud and built on it and had some important points of departure regarding the nature of the unconscious. Finally, Jung’s model encompassed more area than Freud’s and could expand into certain borderline grey areas between science and spirituality. But still, Jung did not appear to have deeply considered a fundamentally different type of psyche which is what a psychopath seems to have. So expanding Jung’s model into the area of psychopathology is most likely an error.

To understand the difference between neuroses (which perhaps affects the majority of the human population to greater or lesser degree) and psychopathology directly, you may want to read George Simon’s “Character Disturbance”. The book is easy to read unlike some of the more academic works on psychopathology and is very useful in getting a low down on what a person affected by psychopathology does different from a person with neurotic character suffering from emotional wounding.

I was also given links to an number of other books on this:

911: The Ultimate Truth – Laura Knight-Jadczyk and Joe Quinn
Controversy of Zion – Douglas Reed
Secret Team – Fletcher Prouty
JFK – Fletcher Prouty
Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein
Defying Hitler – Sebastian Haffner
Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
The New Pearl Harbour – David Ray Griffin
Omissions and Distortions – David Ray Griffin
None Dare Call it Conspiracy – Gary Allen

I haven’t read any of these and likely with my limited reading time, I won’t be able to for some time so I can only now assume that there’s evidence put forward about the nature of a certain aspect of our humanity as fixed, fixed on psychopathology.

Here’s what I wrote on the topic without much knowledge on any of the above.

Do you know whether Jung had any notion of psychopathy? From my knowledge of Jung it seems that psychopathy and Jung are like oil and water. My feeling is psychopathological behavior when it can’t be traced to childhood damage could have it’s roots in prenatal painful emotional imprinting. Dr Arthur Janov has done a fair bit of work and research into that. Mind you I haven’t looked at much of the research into psychopathy, so at this stage it’s my understanding that such things are not predetermined.


Did some more research and thinking on this one. Found something from Wikipedia on this:

“Jung’s theory of etiology of psychopathology could almost be simplified to be stated as a too rigid conscious attitude towards the whole of the psyche. That is, a psychotic episode can be seen from a Jungian perspective as the “rest” of the psyche overwhelming the conscious psyche because the conscious psyche effectively was locking out and repressing the psyche as a whole.”

So the mechanisms of repression are so tight that they look like they can’t be undone. Because this thread is on Robert Johnson, I reckon his book “Transformation” says something on this. He describes 3 progressions of consciousness from “simple”, to “complex” to “Enlightened” and represents these through the protagonists of Don Quixote, Hamlet and Faust in the same order. Simply Don Quixote has a feeling-based child-like consciousness; Hamlet an overemphasis on intellectuality (almost cut-off from the simple consciousness); and Faust has faced his shadow (the devil) and is transformed by the holistic integration of his whole psyche (like a synthesis of simple and complex becomes enlightened). The result is the person behaves like a child but with a fully matured free-will (unlike a child) but is also no longer subjected to the blocks of over-analysis on every decision (like many of us). Because Casteneda’s seems popular here, I had a thought that Casteneda and Don Juan where on those last two stages. Don Juan, enlightened who guides Casteneda struggling through complex consciousness and through the various pitfalls of that stage out to the other side.

So what if the psychopath had the extreme version of complex consciousness, like Casteneda who early on wanting to understand everything from a social anthropologist perspective before doing anything. Say that was taken to the extreme form where you could say the ego is completely rigid to the point that nothing gets through, kind of like the difference between a young coconut that’s relatively easy to penetrate and a rigid old one. So can a person be stuck in extreme forms of repression, due to a lethal combination of a certain personality type with possibly the worst corresponding childhood or prenatal injuries / emotional trauma (for that personality type)?

What I’m thinking is it’s a certain mix of personality and early emotional injury that might cause this complete shutdown of our psyche’s healing potential that Jung describes. So what happens is a type of concentration within a very limited aspect of the psyche that deals for example on seeing the whole world purely in material terms. And in that sense things get frozen on what’s called here a purely service-to-self worldview where everything is seen in terms of how it can be manipulated for one’s own benefit.

From what I know of Jung, he saw the “self” as relentless because it never seems to stop seeking the full integration of an individual’s psyche. If the similar thing operates past physical death, then maybe it’s just a matter of time for an individual to heal and move passed the pitfalls that have taken humanity through many dark turns. I guess for me in the absence of knowing anything for sure (like I’ve been guided to see on this forum), I cannot know for sure either if a person is beyond repair. So it comes down to a choice of faith, do I have faith in humanity and everyone in it or do I not. Right now I do – so if there’s an agenda about me, it’s to do with that faith.


For me there’s a relinquishment of responsibility in the idea of people having predetermined conditions, of course there’s an instant abolishment of free will for those which is another point. Anyway I don’t mean necessarily that we have a responsibility to fix psychopaths, I mean that we have a responsibility for what we collectively create in the world, no matter how far removed we feel we are from it. It’s my opinion that Jung at the end of his life was seeing something like that with his ideas on synchronicity. So, like everything or person in our personal dream landscape represents corresponding aspects in ourselves, if you consider that the world is symbolic of the condition of all of us (and the generations that have past internalised within us) then we in some ways are responsible for the creation of the psychopathic condition that exists in others. I do agree though that it’s not only naive but detrimental to not acknowledge the existence of evil but I feel that by not seeing that each and every one of us has a part in its creation actually is more than anything else, the way it proliferates.

What do you think?

1 thought on “Jung, Casteneda, Robert A Johnson and Psychopaths

  1. David Wall Post author

    After skim reading the above, I can see how arrogant I get, my know-it-all tendencies cover some deeper issues, I’m only lately unfolding those…


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