Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Journeying with Jung 11

Chapter 10:  Ardent Freudian:

Jung and Freud remained very close friends for some seven years from March 1907 till 1914.  As Hayman succinctly remarks about this friendship: "Both benefited professionally: the alliance helped to propagate Freud's ideas, while the ideas helped both of them to international fame." (Op. cit., 96)  In December 1907 Jung's book The Psychology of Dementia Praecox was published.  As we mentioned before Jung worked so hard - over-work was almost an obsession with him - that he came down with a bad bout of the flu which was slow to leave him. 

Hayman this time rather prosaically takes his chapter title from a letter written by a young American Doctor who came to study at the Burgholzli, one Dr Abraham Brill who described Jung as "the most ardent Freudian" whom he knew, and continued

Jung brooked no disagreement with Freud's views; impulsive and bright, he refused to see the other side...Our conversation at meals was frequently punctuated with the word 'complex'...No one could make a slip of any kind without immediately being called on to evoke free associations to explain it.  (Hayman, 97)

The famous English psychiatrist and leading psychoanalyst Dr Ernest Jones arrived at the hospital and described Jung as having a 'breezy personality', a 'restlessly active and quick brain', though 'he could change his moods like a chameleon...' (ibid., 97)

Son-Father Relationship with Freud

Like all late nineteenth and early twentieth-century friends these two great psychiatrists wrote a voluminous correspondence one to the other.  In one letter Jung refers to the founder of psychoanalysis in religiously fervent terms, viz., he tells him that he sets a high value on 'the undeserved gift of your friendship.'  Then Jung goes on in the same letter: 'Let me enjoy your friendship not as one between equals but as that of father and son.' (Ibid., 98)

Freud always needed faithful followers - he after all was the father of the nation of psychoanalysts.  I use this metaphor here with great purpose as the ego-driven founder psychoanalyst saw himself as such.  However, Jung was almost too alike with respect to his egotism and strength of character - he also saw himself as a leader, not a follower.  Hence, while he laid out his worship of the great man Freud in his letters to him, we get hints of the shattering of the relationship to come, viz., 'I beg you to have patience with me and confidence in what I have done so far.  I always need to do a bit more than be just a faithful follower.' (Quoted, ibid., 101)  There are many insights into Freud's total belief in his own system, like where he is quoted as saying: "Jung has overcome his vacillation, adheres to the cause with no reservations...following our approach." (Quoted ibid., 103)  On the recent birth (Dec 1, 1908) of his son Franz Jung told Freud that the birth of a son had coincided with success in rationalising the father complex and in extricating him from dependence on a boss.

I was also interested in the fact that Freud used many Biblical, especially Old Testament references, even though he was a professed atheist.  I suppose this only shows how much an ethnic Jew he was.  As regards his relationship with his new son he writes to Carl Gustave:

If I am Moses, you are Joshua, and you will take possession of the promised psychiatric land that I will glimpse only from afar.  (Ibid., 105)

In a certain and important sense psychoanalysis is like the new religion as it were.  To this extent we read in Hayman again this insightful sentence: "Jocular but also serious, Freud offered to adopt him as his eldest son, formally 'anointing' him in an improvised ceremony as successor and crown prince."  (Ibid., 108)  This whole page in Hayman is worth reading because it offers a deep insight into the relationship between the two psychiatrists.  While Jung submitted rather half-heartedly to the improvised ritual, he steered the conversation to topics designed to provoke the disagreement of the older man, namely precognition and parapsychology - Freud had little belief in them while Jung was greatly convinced of their power in the psyche.  Here again we have intimations of the fracture to come in their relationship.

Romantic and Sexual Relationship with Sabina Spielrein:

This relationship gathered momentum.  At first it was purely platonic or romantic.  Eventually after long deliberations it became sexual.  He became her 'Siegfried', the romantic hero of her dreams, and Jung admits all this to Freud.  Being acutely aware as psychiatrists of transference, it is remarkable indeed that these two great men often got lost under the strength of its allure.  Sabina referred to their lovemaking as 'poetry.'  This was also a very fraught relationship - one which, when Jung decided to end it, caused Sabina to stab him at his consultancy room.  Luckily for him, she only managed to stab him in the hand.

The Enigmatic Dr. Otto Gross:

An interesting character to whom we are introduced in this chapter is Dr Otto Gross (1877–1920) who was an Austrian psychoanalyst.  He was totally unorthodox a was a drug user and abuser from his earlier years.  A maverick early disciple of Sigmund Freud, he later became an anarchist who died in poverty, having been ostracized by the centralized system of medical research and scholarship.  He considered himself to be a talker and analyst rather than a writer.  Modern scholarship refers to him as akin to a later R.D. Laing or a Timothy Leary in heralding a maverick or outsider view of psychiatry and analysis.  Indeed his father, a former judge and renowned criminologist wanted Jung to commit his son to the asylum.  Hayman quotes Ernest Jones as saying: "Gross is the nearest approach to a romantic genius I ever met...Such penetrative powers of divining the inner thoughts of others I was never to see again."  (Ibid., 99-100) The WIKI summarises Gross's contribution to psychiatry and analysis thus:

A champion of an early form of anti-psychiatry and sexual liberation, he also developed an anarchist form of depth psychology (which rejected the civilising necessity of psychological repression proposed by Freud). He adopted a modified form of the proto-feminist and neo-pagan theories of Johann Jakob Bachofen, with which he attempted to return civilization back to a postulated 'golden age' of non-hierarchy. He was subsequently ostracized, and was not included in histories of the psychoanalytic and psychiatric establishments. He died in poverty...

Carl Jung claimed his entire worldview changed when he attempted to analyse Gross and partially had the tables turned on him. It appears likely that another maverick psychologist, Wilhelm Reich, many of whose ideas mirror Gross, owed some debt to him.

As a Bohemian drug user from early youth, he is sometimes credited as a founding grandfather of Counterculture. (see here)

Interestingly this article borrows from Hayman whom I am summarising in these posts.  Freud committed Gross to the Burgholzli where Jung was his doctor and analyst.  Both gained marvellously from this "analysis".  Indeed one session was to last twelve hours.  Just as Jung arrived at his diagnosis of 'schizophrenia' his anarchic patient escaped over the walls and fled.  Gross was a complete Bohemian, preferring the company of would-be poets and artists, gypsies and addicts of all sorts.  He despised paternalism in any shape or form, actively sought out anarchists and revolutionaries and encouraged the use of drugs and argued that wives and daughters should be liberated from commitment to a single dominant male. These ideas he both found and preached in such places as Schwabing (district in Munich) and Ascona (on Lago Maggiore) (See Hayman, 99-101)  Jung was captivated by this experience of Gross and the analysis they had engaged in and said in a letter to Freud that this experience was "one of the worst in my life, for in Gross I found only too many aspects of my own nature, so that he often seemed like my twin brother'. (ibid., 102)

Psychoanalysis and Psychosynthesis:

It is a wonderful discovery for me to learn that Jung had used this word "Psychosynthesis" which is associated more obviously with the work of Dr Roberto Assagioli.  However, from the context here, it would seem that Jung associates it more with parapsychology and precognition, than with say individuation.  This would need further study to clarify.  Perhaps I will follow it up on another occasion.  Jung had said to Freud on the evening of the latter's attempt to install him as his successor in ritual form, or perhaps some few days thereafter:

Perhaps there was 'some kind of special complex...that is universal and connected with man's forward-looking tendencies.  If Psychoanalysis exists, there must also be a "Psychosynthesis" which creates future events according to the same laws.'  (Quoted, ibid., 109)

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