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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Carl Jung on “getting a proper understanding of Freud…”



Lecture 3

Dr. Jung:

It must not be thought that the task of getting a proper understanding of Freud, or, I should rather say, the task of getting him properly placed in my life, was an easy one for me.

At that time I was planning an academic career and was about to complete a work that would advance me in the university.

Freud, definitely persona non grata in the medical world at that time, was hardly mentioned above a whisper by people of importance; at the congresses he was discussed only in the couloirs, never on the floor,
and any connection with him was a menace to one’s own reputation.

Therefore the discovery by me that my experiments in association were directly connected with Freud’s theories was most unwelcome.

One time while I was in my laboratory, it flashed into my mind that Freud had actually elaborated a theory which would explain my experiments.

At the same time a devil whispered in my ear that I could perfectly well publish my work without mentioning Freud, that I had worked out my experiments long before I knew of Freud, and so could claim complete independence of him as far as they went.

However, I saw at once that there was an element of lying involved which I did not propose to go in for.

So I openly took up the cudgels for Freud and fought for him in the subsequent congresses.

There came a certain lecturer to one of these, and gave an explanation of the neuroses entirely ignoring Freud.

I protested at this, and engaged in my first fight for Freud’s ideas.

Later on, at another congress, there was a lecture on the compulsion neuroses, and again mention of Freud’s work was omitted.

This time I wrote an article in a well-known German newspaper, attacking the man.

Immediately a flood of resistances was released against me, and that man wrote me a letter and warned me that my academic future was at stake if I persisted in joining forces with Freud.

Of course I felt that if I had to get an academic future at such a price, it could be damned, and I went on writing about Freud.

All this while I continued my experiments, but still could not get myself into agreement with Freud as to the origin of all neuroses being sex-repression.

Freud had published thirteen cases of hysteria, all of which were reported as the result of sexual violation.

Later, when I met Freud, he said that about some of these cases, at least, he had been fooled.

One of them, for instance, was of a girl who said that when she was four years old she had been violated by her father.

This man happened to be a friend of Freud’s, and the latter convinced himself that the girl’s story was a lie.

Subsequent investigation brought out the fact that others in the series were also falsifications, but he would not retract, it having been his policy always to let things stand as he originally presented them.

There is then a certain untrustworthiness about all these earlier cases. Thus again, the famous first case that he had with Breuer, which has been so much spoken about as an example of a brilliant therapeutic success, was in reality nothing of the kind.

Freud told me that he was called in to see the woman the same night that Breuer had seen her for the last time, and that she was in a bad hysterical attack, due to the breaking off of the transference.

This, then, was no cure at all in the sense in which it was originally presented, and yet it was a very interesting case, so interesting that there was no need to claim for it something that did not happen.

But all of these things I did not know at that time.

Besides my experiments, I was working with many cases of insanity, particularly with dementia praecox.

At that time there was no psychological viewpoint to be found in the field of psychiatry.

A label was put on each case; it was said to be a degeneration here, or an atrophy there, and then it was finished—there was nothing more to be done about it.

It was only among the nurses that any psychological interest in the patients could be found, and among them there were some very shrewd guesses offered as to the conditions presented; but the doctors knew none of this.

For example, there was an old case in the women’s ward, a woman who was seventy-five years old, and who had lain in bed for forty years.

She had been in the asylum nearly fifty years perhaps—so long, in fact, that no one remembered her entrance because the people there at the time were all dead.

There was just one head nurse, who had been in the asylum thirty-five years, who knew something of this woman’s early history.

This old patient could not talk, and could only eat liquid food which she took with her fingers with a peculiar shoveling movement, so that it sometimes took her two hours to get down a cup of food.

When she was not feeding herself, she was making most peculiar movements with her hands and arms.

I thought to myself as I looked at her, “What a terrible thing is this.”

But that is as far as I got with it.

She was regularly presented in clinic as an old case of dementia praecox, catatonic form.

It seemed to me perfect nonsense to dispose of these extraordinary movements in that way.

This case and its effect on me were typical of my whole reaction to psychiatry.

For six months I was struggling desperately to find myself in it, and was all the time more and more baffled.

I was deeply humiliated to see that my chief and my colleagues seemed to feel sure of themselves, and that it was only I who was drifting helplessly.

My failure to understand gave me such feelings of inferiority that I could not bear to go out of the hospital.

Here was I, a man with a profession which I could not rightly grasp.

I therefore stayed in all the time and gave myself up to the study of my cases.

Late one evening, as I went through the ward and saw the old woman I have described, I asked myself, “Why should that be?”

I went to the head nurse and asked if it had always been that way with that patient.

“Yes,” she said, “but formerly I heard from the head of the men’s ward that she used to make shoes!”

I looked up the archives and mention was made of the fact that she made movements as if making shoes.

Early shoemakers held the shoe between their knees and pulled the thread through with movements exactly like the ones the old woman used to make.

One can still see them doing it in certain primitive places.

Some time after this the patient died.

Then her brother three years older than herself turned up.

“Why did your sister go insane?”

I asked him. He told me she had been in love with a shoemaker, but for some reason the man did not want to marry her, and that she had gone insane.

She had kept alive the vision of him with those movements.

This was my first inkling of the psychogenesis of dementia praecox.

Then I kept careful watch over the cases and noted the psychogenetic factors.

It became clear to me that Freud’s conceptions could throw light on these problems.

This is the origin of The Psychology of Dementia Praecox.

I did not meet with much sympathy for my ideas.

In fact, my colleagues laughed at me.

It was another example of the difficulty felt by certain people when asked to consider a new idea.

In 1906 I worked out very carefully a case of dementia praecox.

of suppression, or of inferiority as we would say now.

I took down her material in great detail, and often while we were talking her voices would interrupt, saying something like this: “Tell the doctor that all you are saying is bunk, and that he need pay no attention
to it.”

Or sometimes when she would be protesting violently at being kept in the asylum, the voices would say, “You know perfectly well you are insane and belong right where you are.”

Naturally she had great resistances to the voices.

I got the idea that the unconscious was entirely on top, and that her ego-consciousness had gone into the unconscious.

I discovered further, to my astonishment and bewilderment, that the ideas of megalomania and those of depreciation came of one and the same source.

The ideas of depreciation were those of being ill-treated or wronged or of being bad.

These I called self-depreciation, while the ideas of megalomania I called self-appreciation.

At the beginning I held it for impossible that the unconscious could produce the opposites together in this way for I was still on the Schopenhauer-Hartmann- Freud trail.

The unconscious was only an urge and could not display a conflict within itself.

Then I thought perhaps the two came from different levels of the unconscious, but that would not work; and finally I had to admit that the woman’s mind was using both principles at once.

Later cases corroborated my findings.

For example, I had the case of a very intelligent lawyer who was suffering from paranoia.

In these cases there is just one idea about which they are insane, namely persecution; otherwise they are adapted to reality.

The case develops somewhat as follows: A man thinks he notices people talking about him; then he asks himself why, and answers it by saying that he must be someone important whom other people want
to crush.

Little by little he finds he is a Messiah who must be annihilated.

The man of whom I am speaking was dangerous in that he had attempted one murder, and when he was free attempted another.

He had held an important political position, and one could talk to him.

He hated the doctors and spent his time cursing them. Once he broke down with me and said, “I know that alienists are the very finest people.”

Then he fainted.

This moment came after I had worked with him three hours.

When he came to again, he was in his old state of depreciation.

The depreciation is produced as compensation to the megalomania.

I insist on this point so much because it is back of the Yea and Nay in the unconscious; in other words, the unconscious contains the pairs of opposites.

Through this book on dementia praecox I came to Freud.

We met in 1906.

The first day I met him it was at one o’clock in the afternoon, and we talked steadily for thirteen hours.

He was the first man of real importance I had seen; no one else could compare with him.

I found him extremely shrewd, intelligent, and altogether remarkable.

But my first impressions of him were somewhat confused; I could not quite make him out.

I found him, though, absolutely serious about his sex theory, and in his attitude there was nothing trivial to be found.

It made a great impression on me, but still I had grave doubts.

I told him this, and whenever I did, he always said it was because I had not had enough experience.

It was a fact that in those days I had not had enough experience upon which to form a critique.

I could see that this sexual theory was enormously important to Freud, both personally and philosophically, but I could not make out whether it came from a personal bias or not, so I went away with a doubt in my mind about the whole situation.

Another impression I got in connection with this seriousness of Freud with respect to his theory of sexuality was this: He invariably sneered at spirituality as being nothing but repressed sexuality,

and so I said if one were committed fully to the logic of that position, then one must say that our whole civilization is farcical, nothing but a morbid creation due to repressed sexuality.

He said, “Yes, so it is, and its being so is just a curse of fate we cannot help.”

My mind was quite unwilling to settle there, but still I could not argue it out with him.

A third impression of those days involves things that became clear to me only much later, things that I thought out fully only after our friendship was gone.

When Freud talked of sexuality it was as though he were talking of God—as a man would talk who had undergone a conversion.

It was like the Indians talking of the sun with tears in their eyes.

I remember one Indian coming up softly behind me while I was looking at the mountain over the pueblo, and saying quite suddenly in my ear, “Don’t you think all life is coming from the mountain?”

It was just in that way that Freud talked of sexuality. A peculiar emotional quality would come into his face, and the cause of it I was at a loss to understand.

Finally I seemed to make it out through the consideration of something else that remained obscure to me then, namely Freud’s bitterness.

One might say Freud consists of bitterness, every word being loaded with it.

His attitude was the bitterness of the person who is entirely misunderstood, and his manner always seemed to say, “If they don’t understand they must be stamped into Hell.”

I noticed this in him the first time I met him, and always saw it in him, but I could not find the connection with his attitude toward sexuality.

The explanation seems to me to be this: Freud, for all his repudiation of spirituality, has in reality a mystical attitude toward sexuality.

When one protested to him that a certain poem could not be understood on a sexual basis exclusively, he would say, “No, certainly not, that is psychosexuality.”

But when analyzing the poem, he would pull out this thread and that, and so on until nothing was left but sexuality.

Now I think sexuality is a double concept to him, on the one side the mystical element, on the other mere sexuality, but the latter is the only thing that comes out in his terminology because he will not admit he has the other side.

That he has the other side, I think, is obvious from the way he showed his emotions.

And so he is forever defeating his own purpose.

He wants to teach that sexuality contains spirituality looked at from within, but he uses only concretistic sex terminology and conveys just the wrong idea.

His bitterness comes from this fact of constantly working against himself, for there is no bitterness worse than that of a man who is his own worst enemy.

Freud is blind to the dualism of the unconscious.

He does not know that the thing that wells up has an inside and an outside, and that if you talk only of the latter you speak of the shell alone.

But there is nothing to be done about this conflict in him; the only chance would be if he could have an experience that would make him see spirituality working inside the shell.

However, his intellect would then inevitably strip it to “mere” sexuality.

I tried to present to him cases showing other factors than sexual ones but always he would have it that there was nothing there save repressed sexuality.

As I said, such terribly bitter people are always those who work against themselves.

When I work against myself I project the uncertainty and terror that I feel.

If I am to avoid this, the one thing to settle is myself. Freud does not know that the unconscious produces a factor to counteract the monistic principle to which he has given himself over.

I find him a tragic figure, for he is a great man, but it is a fact that he runs away from himself.

He never asks himself why he has to talk about sex all the time, and in this running away from himself he is like any other artist.

In fact, creative people are usually like that.

These thoughts came to me, as I said, chiefly after I had broken with Freud.

I give them to you because as you know, my relation to Freud has long since become a matter of public discussion, and so I must present my view of it.

I came away from my first visit to Freud feeling that the sexual factor must be taken most seriously.

Somewhat bewildered, I began to look at my cases again and kept pretty quiet.

In 1909 Freud and I were both invited to Clark University, and we were together daily for about seven weeks.

We analyzed dreams each day, and it was then that I got an impression, a fatal one, of his limitations.

I had two dreams out of which he could not make head or tail.

Of course I did not mind that, for the very greatest person is going to have that experience with dreams some time or other.

It was just a human limitation, and I would never have taken it as a reason for not going on; on the contrary, I wanted very much to go on—I felt myself to be his son.

Then something happened which put a stop to it.

Freud had a dream on an important theme which I cannot mention.

I analyzed it and said there was more to be said if he would give me some points about his private life.

He looked at me with a peculiar expression of suspicion in his eyes and said, “I could tell you more but I can’t risk my authority.”

Then I knew further analysis was impossible because he put authority above truth.

I said I would have to stop there, and I never asked him again for material.

You must understand that I speak here quite objectively, but I must include this experience with Freud, because it is the most important factor in my relation to him.

He could not bear any criticism whatsoever.

As Freud could only partially handle my dreams, the amount of symbolical material in them increased as it always does until it is understood.

If one remains with a narrow point of view about the dream material, there comes a feeling of dissociation and one feels blind and deaf.

When this happens to an isolated man he petrifies.

On my way back from America, I had a dream that was the origin of my book on the Psychology of the Unconscious.

In those times I had no idea of the collective unconscious; I thought of the conscious as of a room above, with the unconscious as a cellar underneath and then the earth wellspring, that is, the body, sending up
the instincts.

These instincts tend to disagree with our conscious ideals and so we keep them down.

That is the figure I had always used for myself, and then came this dream which I hope I can tell without being too personal.

I dreamed I was in a medieval house, a big, complicated house with many rooms, passages, and stairways.

I came in from the street and went down into a vaulted Gothic room, and from there into a cellar.

I thought to myself that now I was at the bottom, but then I found a square hole.

With a lantern in my hand I peeped down this hole, and saw stairs leading further down, and down these I climbed.

They were dusty stairs, very much worn, and the air was sticky, the whole atmosphere very uncanny.

I came to another cellar, this one of very ancient structure, perhaps Roman, and again there was a hole through which I could look down into a tomb filled with prehistoric pottery, bones, and skulls; as the dust was undisturbed, I thought I had made a great discovery.

There I woke up.

Freud said this dream meant that there were certain people associated with me whom I wanted dead, and buried under two cellars,but I thought the meaning was entirely elsewhere though I could not make it out. I kept thinking this way: The cellar is the unconscious, but what is the medieval house?

This I did not make out until much later.

But there was something below both cellars even—that is, remains of prehistoric man.

What does that mean?

I had a strongly impersonal feeling about the dream.

Involuntarily I began to make fantasies about it, though I did not then know anything about the principle of fantasizing in order to bring up unconscious material.

I said to myself, “Isn’t it fine to make excavations.

Where am I going to have a chance to do that?”

And actually when I came home I looked up a place where excavations were being made, and went to it.

But of course that did not satisfy me.

My thoughts then beginning to turn to the East, I began to read about excavations being made in Babylonia.

My interest went to books, and I came upon a German book called Mythology and Symbolism.

I went through the three or four volumes at top speed, reading like mad, in fact, until I became as bewildered as ever I had been in the clinic.

I had left the hospital, by the way, in 1909, after being there eight years, but now it seemed to me I was living in an insane asylum of my own making.

I went about with all these fantastic figures: centaurs, nymphs, satyrs, gods and goddesses, as though they were patients and I was analyzing them.

I read a Greek or a Negro myth as if a lunatic were telling me his anamnesis—I lost myself in puzzling what it could possibly mean.

Slowly out of all this came the Psychology of the Unconscious, for in the midst of it I came upon the Miller fantasies, and they acted like a catalyser upon all the material I had gathered together in my mind.

I saw in Miss Miller a person who, like myself, had had mythological fantasies, fantasies and dreams of a thoroughly impersonal character.

Their impersonality I readily recognized, as well as the fact that they must come from the lower “cellars,” though I did not give the name of collective unconscious to them.

This then is the way the book grew up.

While working on the book I was haunted by bad dreams.

I feel that I must speak of my dreams even though one is unavoidably personal to a degree when one does so.

But dreams have influenced all the important changes in my life and theories.

Thus for example I came to study medicine by reason of a dream, it having been my firm intention at first to become an archeologist.

With this in view I had entered my name in the list of students of philosophy at the University, but then came this dream, and I changed everything.

At that time, I mean when I was working on the Psychology of the Unconscious, all my dreams pointed to a break with Freud.

I thought, of course, that he would accept the cellars below his cellar, but the dreams were preparing me for the contrary.

Freud could see nothing in the book but resistance to the father, and the point in it to which he took the greatest exception was my contention that the libido is split and produces the thing that checks itself.

This to him as a monist was utter blasphemy.

From this attitude of Freud’s I felt more than ever convinced that his idea of God was placed in sexuality, and that libido is to him only an urge in one direction.

As a matter of fact, however, I think it can be shown that there is a will to die as well as a will to live.

We prepare ourselves for death when we reach the summit of life; or, to put it in another way, after the age of thirty-five, let us say, we begin to know that cooler winds are blowing—at first we don’t understand, but later we cannot escape the meaning.

After this break I had with Freud, the pupils that I had all over the world left me and turned to Freud.

They were told that my book was rubbish, and that I was a mystic, and with that the matter was settled.

Suddenly I found myself completely isolated.

This, however disadvantageous it may have been, had also an advantage for me as an introvert; that is it encouraged the vertical movement of the libido.

Cut off from the horizontal movement which activity in the outside world brings, I was driven to investigate fully the things within myself.

When I finished the Psychology of the Unconscious, I had a peculiarly lucid moment in which I surveyed my path as far as I had come.

I thought: “Now you have the key to mythology and you have the power to unlock all doors.”

But then something within me said: “Why unlock all these doors?”

And then I found myself asking what I had done after all.

I had written a book about the hero, I had explained the myths of past peoples, but what about my own myth?

I had to admit I had none; I knew theirs but none of my own, nor did anyone else have one today.

Moreover, we were without an understanding of the unconscious.

Around these reflections, as around a central core, grew all the ideas that came to partial expression in the book on types. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Pages 15-26

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