Materialism is the dominant philosophy of the mainstream intellectual world and the applied science that is its counterpart has been staggeringly successful. However not all materialists are themselves engaged in falsifiable research. Freud, who quickly became an insider intellectual, was fundamentally a materialist not because his claims are really falsifiable but because materialism gives authority to his temperamental pessimism. The Freudian unconscious is a cauldron of repressed desires while his version of the super-conscious is a tyrannical, split-off avatar of our childhood authority figures with whom we have to reach compromise
Jung was an apostate to this view not because he had lower standards of evidence but because he had a less reductive style of interpretation. I’ve been reading his Alchemical Studies in which he says:
“The assumption that the human psyche possesses layers that lie below consciousness is not likely to arouse serious opposition. But that there could just as well be layers lying above consciousness seems to be a surmise which borders on a crimen laesae majestatis humanae. In my experience the conscious mind can claim only a relatively central position and must accept the fact that the unconscious psyche transcends and as it were surrounds it on all sides. “
Here we can see him anticipating the ‘transcend and include’ logic of Ken Wilber’s integral theory, though Wilber tends to deny that Jung was cognizant of the superconscious as he understands it. But then Wilber is a speed-reader who often misses details.
Jung has been a darling of the new-age counterculture which has spawned any number of undistinguished outsider intellectuals. Jung, however, was not undistinguished, and believed he had found in the psyche things that were not attributable to the material history of the individual or the species. He thought these symbolic entities might be a kind of interface between ourselves and realms of being that are unknowable by us. This is not a falsifiable claim either, but it allows for the possibility that more is going on than the laws of thermodynamics would permit, and thus provides a prophylactic against despair.
It can seem like a copout to suggest that superconscious realms don’t submit to empirical testing, and Jung did rely on his intuition when it came to understanding them through his own dreams and the dreams of his patients, leading him to feel a level of certainty about their reality that most of us can only envy. One way of evaluating his claims might be to measure the success of Jungian therapy as compared to its competitors. I’m not sure if anyone has done that or if such things are measurable.
For a snarky assault on Jung by an insider hack see this recent article in Aeon. It tells us nothing about the validity of Jung’s claims one way or another, but it does suggest the moral authority that materialism has and wants to protect, as Freud did, against the dangers of occultism.