One of the Steiner topics Der Staudi likes to discuss from time to time is Steiner's relationship to psychology. One might hope from an Ivy League educated professor of German history to find an informed, balanced and judicious account of what should be a significant subject in an important phase of its history. A fairly typical example of the approach Der Staudi actually takes can be seen in his long post to WC entitled 'Steiner on psychology' on 20 Aug 2008 (#5668).
He begins his assessment with:
"Steiner sometimes pointed toward the possibility of creating a new spiritual
psychology, without providing details on what this might look like, while at
other times he rejected psychology as such in sweeping terms. In The Wisdom of
Man (1910) he proposed abandoning the term ‘psychology’ altogether and replacing
it with “psychosophy”, and in the same lecture said that *all* psychology has
been “poisoned” by “faulty scientific thinking”."
The rest of his long passage is full of the same kind of invective and lack of factual content.
He adds to it similar vitriol in another post a few years later:
"Steiner was very critical of Jung, though less hostile toward him than toward
Freud. Steiner's various attacks on psychoanalysis as a whole were quite bitter."
WC message 22812
But is the opening statement in the first passage even correct? Well no, actually, and I'll say why in a minute. What this piece consists of is standard Staudenmairian analysis: he spends his time assessing which groups Steiner was in: for or against 'psychology'; for or against 'scientific thinking';for or against William James (in a later paragraph) and etc. This is almost as far as the typical Staudenmairian analysis reaches in trying to understand a topic. This reason for this can perhaps be traced back to Der Staudi's politicised, neo-Marxist epistemology, that doesn't believe in the independent existence of truth. This neo-Marxism is what makes him consistently oppose Steiner, since as an atheist and neo-Marxist he can't stand his spirituality and moreover doesn't like the competition between Steiner's social vision of three-folding and his own social ecology one. The WC aren't interested in his politics, of course: what matters to them is that they make him consistently hostile to the whole body of Steiner's thought.
What Staudi misses out in the first passage, of course, is that 'psychology' at this period was divided in Central Europe into the new and rapidly developing field of psycho-analysis and the slightly older and also rapidly evolving academic psychology of the universities, that had been sucked into the influence of the enormously influential Wundt's ideas on trying to link the inner life to physiology (his most famous textbook was Principles of Physiological Psychology
; according to Wiki, Wundt 'proclaimed that a human's soul – if indeed they had one – was irrelevant, as humans could only be understood in terms of physically observable phenomena' ). This latter, for fairly obvious reasons, was not something Steiner regarded as likely to lead to a deep insight into the psyche or soul.
But Steiner had a lot of interesting things to say on psycho-analysis and very much had a definite idea for 'creating a new spiritual psychology', which he elaborated in several places in his work. Rather than the vague and content free criticisms Staudi attributed to him, Steiner presented a detailed criticism of pycho-anaylsis in terms of the various theories of its leading proponents and illustrated his discussion with analyses of the same famous cases that they used (he covers the uber-famous case of Anna O - Berta Pappenheim - that kick-started Freud's career). There are two good lectures that have just become available on the e-lib that well show Steiner's approach to this subject: Psychoanalysis in the Light of Anthroposophy, lectures 1 and 2, 1917.
In the first lecture, Steiner described Anna O's case and its investigation by the real founder of psycho-analysis and Freud's mentor, Dr Josef Breuer, of who he says:
"Dr. Breuer, with whom I was acquainted, was a man of extraordinarily delicate spirituality besides what he was as a physician. He was interested to a high degree in all sorts of aesthetic, and general human problems. With his intimate manner of handling disease, it was natural that one case, which came under his observation in the eighties, was particularly interesting to him."
On the Anna O case, Steiner quotes from Jung's notes:
“On one occasion she was watching at night in great anxiety and tension, for the sick man [her father] had a high fever, and a surgeon was expected from Vienna to perform an operation. Her mother had left her for a time, and Anna (the patient) sat by the sickbed, her right arm across the back of the chair. She fell into a kind of waking dream, and saw, as if issuing from the wall, a black snake approaching, to bite her father. …”"
He says of Breuer and the case:
"It must be noted that from the beginning Breuer conceived the whole affair as a soul illness, as a matter of the inner life. He was convinced from the beginning that no anatomical or physiological changes could have been shown, no causes, for example, such as changes in the nerves leading from the arm to the brain. He was convinced from the start that he was dealing with a fact within the soul.
…With Freud's further development of the subject Dr. Breuer was never fully in accord….I will remark in parenthesis that Dr. Breuer was a very busy practicing physician, thoroughly grounded in science, an excellent pupil of Nothnagel [Hermann Nothnagel, M.D. (1841-1905).] and because of external circumstances alone never became a professor. We may well believe that if Breuer, instead of remaining one of the busiest physicians in Vienna, with little time for scientific research, had obtained a professorship and so been able to follow up this problem, it might have assumed a very different form!"
Steiner continues to describe another significant case used by Freud, where a women runs in front of a horse because she had made the decision, subconsciously, that she wanted to return to the house she'd left to have an affair with the her best friend's husband. He says of Freud:
"Dr. Freud went after similar cases, and his researches convinced him that the hysterical symptoms, which had been attributed to a psychic “trauma” or wound, were due instead to love, conscious or unconscious. His examination of life experiences showed that circumstances might greatly differ, indeed in the most characteristic cases, that these love stories might never have risen into the consciousness of the patient at any time.
So Freud completed what he called his neurosis theory or sexual theory. He considered that sexuality entered into all such cases. But such things are extraordinarily deceptive. To begin with, there is everywhere at the present time an inclination to call sex to your aid, for the solution of any human problem. Therefore we need not wonder that a doctor who found it to be a factor in a certain number of cases of hysteria set up such a theory."
Steiner continues discussing this problem of over generality, noting that Adler interpreted the causality differently:
"But on the other hand, since analytical psychology is carrying on a research with inadequate tools, this is the point at which the greatest danger begins. The matter is dangerous first, because this longing for knowledge is so extremely tempting, tempting because of present circumstances, and because it may always be proved that the sex connection is more or less present. Yet the psychoanalyst Jung, who wrote Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse (see the above quotations that are translations of passages from C. G. Jung's Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse. Ein Ueberblick über die moderne Theorie und Methode der analytischen Psychologie, Zürich, 1917.), Professor Jung of Zürich does not share the opinion that Freud's sexual “neurosis theory” covers these cases. He has instead another theory.
Jung noted that Freud has his opponents. Among them is a certain Adler. This Adler takes a quite different viewpoint. Just as Freud tested large numbers of cases, and settled upon sex as the original cause (you can read it all in Jung's book), so Adler approached the problem from another side, and decided that this side is more important than the one that Freud has placed in the foreground.
Adler — I will only generalize — found that there was another urge that played quite as important a role in the human being as the sexual impulse emphasized by Freud. This was the desire for power, power over one's environment, the desire for power in general. The “will to power” is even regarded by Nietzsche as a philosophical principle, and as many cases may be found to support the power-impulse theory as Freud found for his sexual theory."
He moves on to Jung and gets a little sarcastic in the process:
"That is quite reasonable; it is sometimes one way and sometimes another. But Jung built upon this a special theory. This theory is not uninteresting if you do not take it abstractly, simply as a theory, but see in it instead the action of our present-day impulses, especially the feebleness of our present knowledge and its inadequacy. Jung says: there are two types of people. In one type feeling is more developed, in the other thinking.
Thus an “epoch-making” discovery was made by a great scholar. It was something that any reasonable man could make for himself within his own immediate environment, for the fact that men are divided into thinking men and feeling men is sufficiently obvious. But scholarship has a different task: it must not regard anything as a layman would, and simply say: in our environment there are two types of people, feeling people and intellectuals — it must add something to that. Scholarship says in such a case: the one who feels his way into things sends out his own force into objectivity; the other draws back from an object, or halts before it and considers. The first is called the extroverted type, the other the introverted. The first would be the feeling man, the second the intellectual one. This is a learned division, is it not? ingenious, brilliant, really descriptive up to a point — that is not to be denied!
Then Jung goes on to say; In the case of the extraverted type (that of the man who lives preferably in his feelings), there exist very frequently in the subconscious mind intellectual concepts, and he finds himself in a collision between what is in his consciousness and the intellectual concepts that float about subconsciously within him. And from this collision all sorts of conditions may arise, conditions mainly characteristic of the feeling type.
In the case of those who occupy themselves more with the mind, the men of reason, the feelings remain down below, swarm in the subconscious, and come into collision with the conscious life. The conscious life cannot understand what is surging up. It is the force of the subconscious feelings, and because man is never complete, but belongs to one of these two types, circumstances may arise that cause the subconscious mind to revolt against the conscious, and may frequently lead to hysterical conditions."
Wiki says on Jung, in the entry on his 1921 book Psychological Types:
"Jung proposed four main functions of consciousness:
The functions are modified by two main attitude types: extraversion and introversion. Jung theorized that the dominant function characterizes consciousness, while its opposite is repressed and characterizes unconscious behavior."
Wiki quotes from Jung's 1921 Psychological Types:
"The characteristic animosity between the adherents of the two standpoints arises from the fact that either standpoint necessarily involves a devaluation and disparagement of the other. So long as the radical difference between [Adler's] ego-psychology and [Freud's] psychology of instinct is not recognized, either side must naturally hold its respective theory to be universally valid (Jung,  1971: par. 88)."
The scientific tendency in both is to reduce everything to their own principle, from which their deductions in turn proceed. In the case of fantasies this operation is particularly easy to accomplish because ... they ... express purely instinctive as well as pure ego-tendencies. Anyone who adopts the standpoint of instinct will have no difficulty in discovering in them the "wish-fulfillment," the "infantile wish," the "repressed sexuality." And the man who adopts the standpoint of the ego can just as easily discover those elementary aims concerned with the security and differentiation of the ego, since fantasies are mediating products between the ego and the instincts. Accordingly they contain elements of both sides. Interpretation from either side is always somewhat forced and arbitrary, because one side is always suppressed (Jung,  1971: par. 89)."
Steiner continues with much more in these lectures and, inter alia, outlines Jung's theory of the collective unconscious and the archetypes and the general psycho-analytic theory of transference. But he criticise all the theories for being inadequate to their material. And this is where his own, alternative 'spiritual psychology' comes in. This is outlined in the second chapter and hinges on the diagram below:
The three colours represent the forces of the soul - thinking, feeling and willing -and the section to the left of that of the ego is the subconscious and that to the right the super-conscious. The three forces act as a differentiated unity, in the way our hands are part of our body, in a soul that has a normally constituted ego. If the ego weakens - in the case of Anna O through sitting up anxiously for long hours, watching by her father's bed-side - then the forces can begin to merge, and if thinking slips over into feeling it will be overwhelmed because feeling is a far stronger force and is always in contact with the spiritual world. As we know, thinking has no necessary reality in our age - which makes us free- and may know very little of the spiritual world. Furthermore, feeling always encompasses our life before birth and willing our life after. For this reason, if the ego weakens and these other soul forces overwhelm thinking spiritual forces beyond those of the single, individual life can enter and only the 'universally human' is appropriate in treatment. Working purely at the personal level may to create an adverse karmic link between patient and therapist. Well that's a partial and brief summary of Steiner's spiritual psychology and principled criticism of the flaws with the psycho-analysis of his day. All of which is very different from Staudi's analysis. How does he still have a job?