Sunday, October 19, 2008

Journeying with Jung 19



Chapter 18: Preaching to the Dead 

Once again Hayman is so apt with his chapter title.  That Jung was convinced of the actuality of the spiritual world is one central plank in the argument of this biography.  As a young man he experimented with séances with his cousins and did all of that on a regular basis with his mother's approval and even with her participation.  He would go on to write his doctoral thesis in psychiatry on his experiences of séances without divulging the fact that his subjects were his relatives on his mother's side, the Preiswerks.  In this chapter we have documentary evidence of how Jung's own children experienced ghostly creatures walking through their house; of their nightmares about demons and the devil and finally of hearing and seeing the doorbell move without anyone being at the door.  (See Hayman, 200)   This learned biographer also points out that the devil often featured - and not just metaphorically - in Jung's thinking. Indeed he maintains that the devil himself - according to this great psychiatrist - played a prominent part in his mental confusion during 1915.  (See ibid., 197) Hence our rather strange title.  All of this gives us an insight into Jung's complex personality.

The Personality of C.G. Jung:

I have already referred to the fact that Jung reported all through his life that from early on in childhood and for a considerable time thereafter he was convinced that he had two characters within him viz., personality Number 1 and personality Number 2.  Then he was convinced strongly of the reality of spirits and of being able to contact those who were now dead.  I am also conscious of the fact that he realised early enough in his career - in his thirties I believe - that it was likely that he had been suffering from schizophrenic episodesHayman is informative on these matters in this chapter:

If Jung had consulted Bleuler - who had, after all, written a book on schizophrenia - he might have been told his dreams and visions were symptomatic, even if Bleuler had not heard the rumours that the family described in Jung's thesis was the Preiswerks.  On the other hand, if his experience 'coincided with that of mankind in general', he could think of himself as a leader.  Leaders, as he said, are often schizophrenic or paranoiac.  (Hayman, 195) 

That Jung was a complex and difficult man there is no doubt at all.  A woman called Tina Keller reported that he 'could be vulgar' and that he could also make fun of people 'in an unfeeling way.'  He used even heckle at lectures and talk to others when the speaker was in full flow.  In all of this, Jung the 'narcissist',  liked to draw attention to himself.  (See ibid., 201)

It is also interesting, though not surprising, that according to Alphonse Maeder, Jung had the same fault that he criticised in Freud: 'he couldn't bear his collaborators to be independent.'  (Ibid., 202)

New Movement Formed:

In April 1914 Jung resigned as president of the International Psychoanalytic Association and a few months later resigned completely from it.  Now he started work on building himself an independent career.  Luckily he was well known and well respected internationally and had little trouble in doing so.  On 10 July 1914 the Zurich association of psychoanalysis seceded from the International Psychoanalytic Association.  Four months later they gave themselves a new name, viz., the Association for Analytical Psychology.  Needless to say, Jung was not slow in accepting the presidency.

Jungian Analysis:

Jung had by now developed his own methods of analysis and I should like to describe them here.  I have always quite liked his take on the sub-personalities that live within our unconscious and that the aim of analysis is to isolate them, acknowledge them and in so doing integrate them all into a wholeness or unity of personality which is essentially us.  As Hayman puts it:

Teaching his patients to isolate subpersonalities and enter into dialogue with them, Jung was letting them dialogue with what Helly had done during seances and what he had done during his breakdown, but at the same time he was developing what he had learned in 1914 after reading a book by Herbert Silberer, a Viennese Freudian who committed suicide nine years later.  (Ibid/. 192)

In his method of analysis Jung encouraged his patients to make drawings or paintings of figures who appeared in fantasies and to interrogate them.  In this way they would learn to acknowledge them, accept them and thereby integrate them into their personality, or to put it another way, to love them as being part of one's very soul.

Archetypes:

Before Jung and his followers had coined the term 'Analytical Psychology', he had used a lovely term 'prospective psychology' in one of his lectures.  I'm thinking here in an imaginal way, and quite fancy that the psychiatrist or analyst is a prospector for the gold of the personality or indeed, I imagine that the patient is a self-prospector as it were.

The analyst as prospector of the soul (my coining) sought to guide patients towards a sort of spiritual rebirth and a new integration of things spiritual and essential to the soul's well-being.  He was clearly following his own experience of acknowledging and accepting the Spirit of the Depths, Philemon, Ka and Anima. He sought, then, to guide his patients towards this spiritual rebirth by leading them through the realm of primordial images.  It is interesting to note that this last term was the one he originally used for what he would later term archetypes.

Archetypes, Love and Therapy:

I find the following quotation from one of Jung's patients illuminating as it throws light on transference as well as 'having a crush on some one' or 'love at first sight' or 'falling in love.'  The patient is Tina Keller (later a doctor and analyst) and she writes:

Dr Jung spoke of transference but obliged me to face the fact that I was in love with some quality or archetype which he represented, and had touched in my psyche.  If and in the measure that I would be able to realise this unknown element in myself, then I would be free from him as a person...He said that what I brought was such an openness that he owed me dome spiritual value that would fertilise my psyche and my individuation would be a spiritual child.  (Quoted ibid., 194)

According to the first of Jung's Seven Sermons, the essence of the created being is dissimilarity - that is, the principle of individuation, and this latter was the very goal of all analysis.

Above I have uploaded a copy of the painting La Barca from a series of pieces of art called Archeologia dell'Anima by the wonderful artist Livia Alessandrini whose work can be viewed here at her own site Livia Alessandrini

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