Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Journeying with Jung 12

Attention to Detail: Getting the Atmosphere Right:

Today we read a lot about alternative therapies and new treatments for this or that ailment.  Most orthodox practitioners of medicine prefer the term "complementary" to "alternative" medicine, stressing the fact that it is at our own peril that we dismiss orthodox approaches for less proven methods.  Whatever helps is fine, provided that it is used in tandem with orthodox medicine, not as a replacement.  This is sound advice and good practice.  As they say, "it's a question of 'both-and' rather than of 'either-or'.  With this in mind I am reminded of the ancient practice and belief of Feng Shui in connection with this post on Carl Gustave Jung.  The WIKI gives the following definition of this ancient Chinese belief:

The words 'feng shui' literally translate as "wind-water"in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the following passage of the Zhangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty:

Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.

Many modern enthusiasts claim that feng shui is the practice of arranging objects (such as furniture) to help people achieve their goals. More traditionally, feng shui is important in choosing a place to live and finding a burial site, along with agricultural planning.

(See this Link)

Anyone who reads Jung cannot but be amazed as to the extent of the man's reading in literature, philosophy, theology and in mythology from all the great ancient civilizations.  Hence, one is not surprised that he took a lot of time in getting his new family home designed.  One could say quite simply that he was very much aware of "Feng Shui" though he would not have termed his preparation and planning such.

He chose the side of a lake for his new house at Kusnacht.  Here is Hayman's description of Jung's preparations:

The architect was his cousin, Professor Fiechter...but in planning the building with him, Jung took many decisions for himself, which had helped to cause delays.

At last he had space where he could read and write and smoke his pipe without being disturbed by unexpected visitors...  (Hayman, 110)

Hereunder follows a description an American patient gave of Jung's consulting room/study at his home in Kusnacht:

The little room was a clutter of stacked unread letters, notes in his handwriting, all kinds of papers and books opened to special places...In the middle of the clutter was a rather worn well-stuffed, slightly floundering leather chair.  It was for the patient.  The room had a look of hard, casual use and comfort.  It was a private, warm but small nest for a large man whose cultural and intellectual curiosity knew no limits.  The dog (a schnauzer) was part of it.  He climbed in under Jung's desk, eyeing me... (Ibid., 111)

Sabina Spielrein Again - Human Weaknesses:

That Sabina was obsessed with Jung is an understatement.  Even after he had broken the relationship off, she persisted to come to Jung's lectures and he even went pale during the first such lecture when he noticed her in the audience.  Then Sabina insisted on writing to Freud for an interview, but he forwarded her letter to Jung.  After this Jung revealed to Freud all about his unorthodox illegitimate relationship with Sabina.

Again, continuing their correspondence, they talk about the reality of 'transference' and 'counter-transference' and Jung admits he was largely responsible for Sabina's obsession with him and for

...the ambitious hopes of my former patient.  Following my principle of taking everyone really seriously...but Eros was of course lurking in the background, making me impute all the other hopes and desires entirely to my patient without noticing them in myself.  (Quoted ibid., 112)

While not regretting his sexual relations with Sabina he does confess that "he defended himself (to her mother) in a way that was morally unjustifiable".  He goes on to describe his action as "a piece of knavery." (ibid., 112-113)

At least what we have here is the honesty of a "son to father" which phrase Jung uses in this letter to Freud.  One is relieved that the so-called guru of analytical psychology is all-too-human and "whole" and at least "congruent" with himself to use Rogerian terminology.  This, of course, was at the beginnings of analysis and even then, sexual relations with one's clients would have been completely frowned upon.

Trip to America:

On August 20 Jung met Freud and Ferenczi in Munich.  Then from the 21st until the 29th of August they sailed to New York.  From the 7th till the 11th of September they lectured at Clarke University, Massachusetts.  I would have loved to be in their company for the eight or so days at sea.  To while away the time on board the three psychiatrists decided that they would interpret one another's dreams.  However, it is interesting to learn that Freud, when he told a dream concerning Martha and Minna, refused to say what he associated with the contents of the dream.  Jung suggested to Freud that he would benefit from full-scale psycho-analysis.  Needless to say, the founder of psychoanalysis was none too pleased.

In the third of five lectures he gave at Clarke, Freud repeated his claim that as an investigative technique, psychoanalysis was infinitely superior to the word-association test.  William James, the famous American psychologist, made the following observations on the two learned psychiatrists:

'I met also Yung [sic] of Zurich...[who] made a very pleasant impression.'  But Freud 'made on me personally the impression of a man obsessed with fixed ideas.' (Quoted ibid., 115)

It is also strange, but not a little surprising that Jung recommended to an American alcoholic, Medill McCormick, who had consulted him some time before in Zurich, to embrace a rather profligate life and that it "might be advisable for me to have mistresses...and lose my soul if women would save it."  (Quoted ibid., 116)


Psyche as House in his Dreams:

This chapter ends with an account of one of Jung's most famous dreams, the content of which he had discussed with Freud, but he kept quiet about his own interpretation of the dream which ran counter to Freud's theory of the personality.

Jung had previously pictured human consciousness as a room and the unconscious as a cellar.  Here we have a straight-forward structural diagram of the psyche.  Then the body corresponded to the earth under the house - it sent up the instincts which were natural growths.  On the boat home Jung had dreamt that he was in a big medieval house.  Coming in from the street he descended into a vaulted Gothic room, and from there into a cellar.  He thought he was then at the lowest level, but he was not.  He then found a hole.  With a lantern in hand he peered down a staircase.  These stairs led him down to the revelation of a secret.  He found himself in an ancient Roman cellar.  He looked into a further hole and saw prehistoric pottery, skulls and bones.  The House represented the human psyche.  The upper floor stood for the conscious mind.  The ground floor stood for the first level of the unconscious.  The cave represented the primitive world.  Hayman continues:

The darkness of the lower levels meant that they could rarely be illuminated by consciousness.  The dream, he thought, 'pointed to the foundations of cultural history - a history of successive layers of consciousness.  My dream constituted a kind of structural diagram of the human psyche; it postulated something of an altogether impersonal nature underlying the psyche.'  He says that this was his 'first inkling of a collective a priori under the personal psyche'. (Ibid. 117)

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