This essay argues that bringing Marxist and Jungian thought together can be surprisingly fruitful. While both traditions are ultimately concerned with human flourishing, they focus on different aspects of reality which would need to be combined for genuine emancipation: the social and the individual, the conscious and the unconscious, objectivity and subjectivity, modernity and ancestrality, science and spirituality. After briefly discussing divergences and convergences between the two authors, I present fragments of a Jungian-Marxian anthropology, around the depth of social struggles, the relations between ideology and archetypes, the psychic costs of capitalism, and Degrowth as the possible political project of this synthesis. If one takes human and nonhuman flourishing seriously, one can only go post-capitalist and seek to reorganize society around a slower pace, a simpler life, and more sharing and caring. The essay ends with a plea to bring back the soul to the core of radical activism.
Thank you to Sebastian Berger, Gottfried Heuer, Shivani Kaul, Rolf Steppacher and Katherine Tetlow for commenting on earlier versions of this article and for our ongoing discussions on this and related topics. The late and regretted David Graeber made possible a visiting fellowship at the Department of Anthropology of the London School of Economics where several of these ideas took shape. Two anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. Charles-Alexis Couvreur, Ananta Kumar Giri and Andrej Grubačić were all helpful in their own ways in shaping this essay. All shortcomings are solely mine.
© julien-françois gerber, 2021