Sunday, October 05, 2008

Journeying with Jung 10



One of my favourite sayings from Jung is the one about how the first half of life is generally geared towards achievement in the world - success, a career and family building while the second part of life is primarily concerned with soul building or "soul making" as the great Romantic poet John Keats put it.  With this in mind, the chapter I am about to discuss here is very much concerned with the first part of life.  In it we see a driven young man anxious to succeed as a psychiatrist, envious of his superior, desirous of having sons more than daughters, looking for the acclaim of other psychiatrists, especially Freud.  In this he is very much ego-driven.  If this book by Hayman has succeeded in doing anything for me, it certainly has demystified and demythologised Carl Gustave Jung.  We get to see this great man "warts and all" as it were.

 

Chapter 9: Lusty Stallion:

Once again Hayman's titles are superb and apt.  The title is a reference, not alone to the young psychiatrist's sexual drive as illustrated in his desiring sons, but also to one of his own well-documented dreams about horses and also to his extra-marital sexual relationship with Sabina Spielrein which I discussed in my last post and which is alluded to again in this chapter.  Jung was spell-bound by and deeply in love with this woman whom he had cured and set upon her way as a Doctor and analyst. Here is Hayman again:

His faith in her spiritual powers harked back to his childish faith in those of his mother.  Sabina had a lot in common with her, and with Helly, who had chosen to make Ivenes Jewish.  Like the Preiswerks and the Jungs, Sabina's ancestors had all been spiritual leaders with pretensions to priestly insight into the secret workings of God's will...Her confidence in Jung's future greatness increased his impatience to meet Freud, who might help him to achieve greatness.  In the meantime he enjoyed discussing his destiny with Sabina.  (Hayman, op.cit., 85)

The Drive to Success of the Egotistical Jung: 

In five years at the asylum Jung had worked very hard for success and had managed to win the confidence and trust of many of the patients.  He started at a salary of 1000 Swiss francs a year and now he was earning 4000.  He was becoming as internationally famous as Bleuler was by publishing his findings.  This medical superior was once his hero and father figure, but now he was turning away from him (possibly because Bleuler suspected his sexual liaison with Spielrein, who was then a patient at the hospital) and was seeking another father figure.  This would turn out to be no less a personage than Dr. Sigmund Freud.  The final two sentences in the above indented paragraph from Hayman illustrate graphically Jung's ego-driven ambition and his sense of pride.  He looked upon himself as someone cut out to be a prophet-like expert for humankind.

Indeed, under the influence of the great founder of psychoanalysis, Jung experimented in combining the word-association test with free-association (Freud's favoured approach), hoping to shorten the time required for analysis.  In April 1906 Jung wrote to Freud and enclosed a copy of his book Diagnostic Association Studies which had been published in 1905.  Jung was also to defend Freud against an attack by Dr Gustav Aschaffenburg at a conference in Baden-Baden.  However, Freud preferred his own free-association test to Jung's suggested word-association test as he professed in an address to a seminar of criminology students in June 1906 because his own approach allowed the patient to stay on each topic as long as he needed to without being forced forward artificially by another word suggested by the psychiatrist.

Jung and Schizophrenia:

I have a lasting interest in schizophrenia because I know several people with it.  I have found the British psychiatrists Ronnie Laing and Anthony Storr,  and our own Irish psychiatrist, Professor Ivor Browne wonderful on their insights into this mental disease.  Bleuler and Jung also have unique insights. I shall mention some of these here.  The older name for schizophrenia was "dementia praecox."  Kraepelin's famous medical textbook on psychiatry had distinguished between two forms of insanity, viz., manic depression, in which periods of imbalance were followed by recovery and dementia praecox, in which deterioration was inevitable. Bleuler introduced the word schizophrenia to replace dementia praecox in a 1908 article.  From then on the term dementia praecox was never used again as schizophrenia was shown as being neither a dementia nor did it always occur in young people, praecox = young.  Here is Hayman's summary of Jung's early contribution to the study of schizophrenia:

One of the turning points in Jung's development was the discovery of 'distractability'.  A basic symptom of schizophrenia is a lowering of attention.  Even catatonia is explained in these terms - no other conscious processes engage a person's interest.  Looking at results achieved by other doctors testing subjects whose attention was distracted, Jung was reminded of schizophrenics by the sequence of words and sentences. 'Superficial linkages noticeable predominated, reflecting the breakdown of logical connections', and there were frequent repetitions.

Alert to nuances and modulations in language and tone, Jung picked up on what Freud had said about the inadequate feeling-tone in schizophrenia.  Symptoms express thoughts that had been repressed because they would have been painful.  Repressions determine both the delusions and the behaviour of the patient, who may no longer be able to take in new impressions.  But imprisoned thoughts are chaotically liberated.  (Op.cit., 83-84)

Jung, Binswanger and Freud:

A young doctor, Ludwig Binswanger joined the Burgholzli asylum in June 1906.  This man took part in many word-association tests and it was Jung who suggested that those tests be the subject of his doctoral thesis.  Binswanger used both a stop-watch and an electric galvanometer to measure the changes in reaction in the client or patient to each suggested word.  Jung also volunteered to be tested for these experiments.  This young assistant diagnosed Jung as having some eleven complexes - some of which were a Goethe complex, a travel complex and a philosophical complex.

In March 1907 Jung and his wife Emma, along with Ludwig journeyed to Vienna to visit Freud.  Jung is recorded in his own words as saying to Freud : "But you can be sure of one thing: I shall never abandon any part of your theory that is essential to me, as I am far too committed to it."  (quoted., ibid., 87)  Freud invited them to dinner at his apartment everyday and spent the whole of each evening with them as well as a full day on the Sunday.  Martin Freud, Sigmund's son described the proud and ego-ridden Jung thus:  "a commanding presence.  He was very tall and broad-shouldered, holding himself more like a soldier than a man of science and medicine..." (ibid., 87)  He criticized Jung for ignoring both his mother and "us children" and having time only for the great man himself.  Also Jung did practically all the talking, seeking all the while to impress the founder of psychoanalysis.  Jung was to say of Freud after this meeting: "I found him extremely intelligent, shrewd, altogether remarkable." (ibid., 88)  Freud later told his loyal follower, Dr Ernest Jones that Jung had a more sophisticated set of neuroses than anyone else he knew.  After these initial meetings it is reported on good evidence that Freud saw in Jung his scientific "son and heir."  Freud also brought Jung and Binswanger on a visit to the Wednesday Psychological Society which was renamed in 1908 to the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society.

Hayman points out the basic underlying eroticism between Freud and Jung.  Both men had subscribed to the theory that human beings were basically bisexual in nature.  Jung has mentioned many times in his writings that Freud was a handsome man.  Here again is how Hayman puts it:

How would Freud have analysed behaviour like his own had he encountered it in a patient?  Both men were overexcited about their new friendship, which would grow more intimate through correspondence than it could have done if they were meeting regularly.  A lonely and insecure man who did not confide in his wife, Freud thought that he had found a replacement for the man who had been his closest friend, Wilhelm Fliess. "In my emotional life an intimate friend and a hated enemy have always been necessities."  (Ibid., 90)

Freud also became jealous of Jung, while the younger man fawned upon the older.  Freud admits to Jung in a letter: "I have always felt there is something about my personality, my ideas and my manner of speaking that people find strange and repellent, whereas all hearts open to you." (quoted ibid., 93)  Jung writes back to Freud some time later looking for a picture of his hero "not as you used to look but as you did when I got to know you." (ibid., 93) 

Later, Jung also admitted to Freud that he had had a homosexual experience early in life.  That letter contains the enigmatic but revealing sentence: "When I was a boy, I submitted to a man I once venerated." (Ibid., 94)

Hayman then states:

Until he was in his thirties, at least, Jung was obviously apprehensive about emotional involvement, which affected many of his relationships with both men and women, even when emotion played only a small part of them. (Ibid., 94)

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