Harvard psychologist Murray about Hitler
by Federico Soldani
Henry Murray was a doctor and biochemist who became a prominent psychologist at Harvard. He had a complex and interesting personal biography worth reading about, including close contacts with Jung, Leary and the Unabomber.
According to Moreno: “Far from being outliers, Leary and Alpert’s initial work with psilocybin operated under the full approval of department elders like Henry Murray, considered the father of personality theory and the senior psychologist for the OSS during World War II (“Acid Dreams,” Lee and Shlain, 1985). Murray wrote an assessment of Adolf Hitler that accurately predicted his suicide.”
In Murray’s biography by Robinson entitled “Love’s Story Told” (Harvard University Press, 1992), it is interesting to note how the rhetoric used by Murray about Hitler in 1937 closely resembles the rhetoric used in 2020 about Trump.
In both instances, the use of psychological images instead of political argument in relation to political figures is striking.
Murray toured Germany with his family during the summer of 1937 and wrote home of having had a “close view” of Hitler at the Wagner festival in Bayreuth.
“He is an unimpressive, harassed man – wrote Murray – who seems to me to be beyond his depths. He is under the constant care of a Munich psychiatrist of the old school.
Symptoms: severe depression & nightmares (insomnia) – probably of persecution. To think that the peace of Europe hangs on the electro-chemical system in that cranium!.“
Immediately after this passage, Robinson continues the biography by telling us that Murray returned home that fall, in part to hear Jung deliver the Terry lectures at Yale.
Last Updated on October 7, 2020 by Federico Soldani
One thought on ““The peace of Europe hangs on the electro-chemical system in that cranium!” (2020)”
a version of this article in Italian: