Friday, October 17, 2008

Journeying with Jung 16

Chapter 15:  Giving His Throne Away:

Once again Hayman provides us with an interesting and alluring title.  Another apt designation for this chapter would be "The Widening Gap."  The gap I refer to here is the growing one between Freud and Jung during 1912 and to the final break up of their friendship in early 1913.

That the aetiology of many psychiatric and mental health problems could be simply traced back solely to early problems with sexuality has long been a major criticism of early psychoanalysis, and Freud laid a tremendous emphasis on this tenet.   Jung had problems with such a presentation of psychoanalysis, too.  In this chapter we read that Freud wrote angrily to his protégé to protest that he was breaking the rules or tenets of his thought - 'We have mentioned that the origins of anxiety was the prohibition of incest; now you are saying the opposite: that the prohibition of incest originated in anxiety, which is very similar to what was been said before the advent of psychoanalysis.' (Quoted Hayman, 155)  Jung did not back down, being as strong as Freud in his own convictions and wrote back that he would 'have to go my own way.' (Ibid., 156)

At Fordham, a Catholic University in the USA, Jung argued for a new view of libido and presented a dissident version of early human psychological development.  He defined libido in terms of energy conservation: "When too much libido is invested in one activity, too little goes to another, and the task of psychoanalysis is to adjust the balance.  In his lectures Jung underlined the fact that all analysts should be analysed, stating that all need 'the objective judgement of someone else' - otherwise the analyst gets stuck.   Now this was an indirect criticism of Freud who had analysed himself and had, therefore, got stuck. (See Hayman, 157)

Contrary to Freudian doctrine, Jung stated that

'A purely sexual etiology of of neurosis strikes me as much too narrow'.  James Putnam, who was in the audience, hoping to meet him afterwards for a conversation, was surprised to hear him say that infantile fixations were virtually negligible  as a cause of neurosis.  (Ibid., 158)

I am surprised at Jung's vehement contradiction of Freudian principles in his letters to the 'grand old man of psychoanalysis', viz.,

'I found that my version of psychoanalysis won over many people who had previously been put off by the problem of sexuality in neurosis.' (Quoted ibid., 160)

He is waving his disagreement in the old man's face, and is quite boastfully convinced that he is right.  Indeed, he told Freud that he hoped the latter would 'gradually come to accept certain innovations...'  in the theory of psychoanalysis.   How naive of Jung if he really did think this change was possible.  I feel that he was only being deferential to his master and knew instinctively that the break between them would come sooner rather than later.  In a late letter to Freud he openly criticises the character of the founder:

If you should ever get rid of all your complexes and stop playing the father to your sons and take a good look at your own weak spots instead of aiming continually at theirs, then I will amend my ways... (Ibid., 163)

I'm sure Freud was consumed with anger when he read those few lines above.  On the 3rd of January 1913 he wrote his last letter to Jung and broke off their correspondence for good.  The gap between the two men was simply insurmountable.

At an international medical conference in London in August 1913 Jung stated his belief that 'psychoanalytic theory must be freed from the purely sexual standpoint.  In place of it I should like to introduce an energetic viewpoint.'  (Quoted ibid., 167)  It was during this lecture that he first used the term 'analytical psychology' for what he called 'the new psychological science.'

Insight into Jung's character: 

James J. Putnam (1846-1918), the President of the great pan-American psycho-analytic group, who was Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard University and the great supporter and populariser of psycho-analysis in America, had this to say about Jung's personality:

It is a fault in Dr. Jung...that he is too self-assertive and I suspect that he is lacking in some needful kinds of imagination, that he is, indeed, a strong but vain person, who might and does do much good but might also tend to crush a patient... (Quoted ibid., 159)

On the following page Hayman says that Jung was quite similar to Moses and Rudolf Steiner insofar as he had more faith in the voice inside his head than in the voices of other people. 

Dr. Jones, the great English follower or Freud saw Jung as being in fact a narcissist, fixated with a God Complex and lost to the world in occultism and mysticism of all shades and varieties.  (I paraphrase Hayman here,  see 163).

Then Lou Andreas-Salomé reported that Dr Jung was 'dogmatic and power-hungry...his seriousness now is made up of pure aggression, ambition and intellectual brutality.' (Quoted ibid., 169)

All of these criticisms and considered opinions I take on board.  That leaders of movements, psychological ones as well as any other, can be egotistical, power-hungry, self-obsessed, narcissistic and ambitious to a fault is unsurprising.  That Jung was such is equally unsurprising.

No comments: