Thursday, October 02, 2008

Journeying with Jung 8

Chapter 7:  Wearing a Cardboard Collar

As I have already indicated, Hayman's chapter titles are always interesting, apt and more than a little atypical of biographies.  This particular title refers to his first abortive wooing of his wife to be, Emma RauschenbachJung was wearing a cardboard collar and looked quite gauche.  Added to that, his manners as well as his clothes were inelegant.  He did not make a great impression on Emma, but he did on her mother.  In August 1901, he wrote to Emma and asked her to marry him but she refused his proposal.  However, her mother liked Jung and invited him back to their magnificent country estate.  Here he proposed yet again to Emma (1882- 1955) and this time she agreed to marry him. She was to be his wife for fifty two years. She came from an old Swiss-German family of wealthy industrialists.  The wealth she inherited gave Carl financial freedom to pursue his own work and interests. They met when she was sixteen years old (some sources say fifteen) and he was twenty one. Carl and Emma were married on February 14, 1903 seven years after they first met. Together they were to have five children.

The Word-Association Test:

The psychiatrists Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) and Gustav Aschaffenburg (1866-1944) had set up a psychological laboratory in Munich where some considerable work was being done on the word-association test.  Bleuler sent one of his assistants, Franz Riklin to study the work being done there.   In Hayman we read:

The test, which had been invented by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, and developed by the German physiologist and experimental psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, was already being used in the Burgholzli.  Seeing patients individually, the doctor read out words from a list, one at a time, and the patients responded with the first words that came to mind.  Using a stop-watch, the doctor recorded the interval between stimulus and reaction.  Silences, hesitations, slips of tongue, involuntary movements, changes of tone and volume provided evidence about their state of mind. (Op.cit., 64)

The background to this test is indeed worth reading several times.  Bleuler had given Jung and Riklin, when he had returned from Munich, a list of some 156 words to experiment with, but they decided to add to the number of words ending up with a test comprising 400 words in total.  Hayman is very interesting here in his discussion of this topic.  He continues:

Using a stop-watch to time the interval between stimulus and response, they found it was sometimes prolonged by internal distractions, which could also surface in awkward phrasing or visible emotional disturbance.  Subjects might fail to respond, might be distracted by nearby objects, might become embarrassed or emotional, might forget something that had been said, or return to a question that had already been raised, instead of reacting to a new stimulus.  These were all symptomatic of a "complex" - a cluster of images and ideas around an emotional centre. (Ibid., 64)

I also learned from this interesting chapter that the term "complex" and the reality to which it referred had been discovered by a scientist called Theodore Ziehen, who wrote about it in 1898 and had invented the term "feeling-toned complex."  However, this Doctor disapproved of what Jung and Riklin were doing, namely using the word-association test as an approach to the unconscious.  (See ibid., 64-5)  Jung and Riklin asserted as a result of their experiments that "the majority of complexes...relate to direct or transposed sexuality." (Ibid.,65)

However, as other scholars were soon to point out - this was also a way of using Freud's ideas on repression.  However, they did later acknowledge their indebtedness to the founder of psychoanalysis also.


This is one of the central words we all associate with psychiatry. It would seem that one effective way the human mind has of dealing with trauma is by compartmentalizing certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, and/or memories associated with the initial trauma - accident, illness or abuse - physical or sexual.  These may be called the split-off memories of the traumatic event.  Jung had travelled to Paris to hear Janet, Jean-Martin Charcot's successor at the College de France, lecture on the use of hypnosis when necessary to reach the core of the personality.  Janet maintained that it was also useful in dealing with the split-off memories to which I've already alluded.  I've referred many times in these posts to the central axiom of psychiatry/psychotherapy, if I may call it such, that the goal in personal growth in any individual is the "integration of the personality" (Dr. Anthony Storr), what Jung later called "individuation," what Roberto Assagioli (Psychosynthesis) called "self-realization", what Dr. Abraham Maslow called "self-actualization," etc.

Hearing Janet speak led Jung to think of mental illness as a dissociation of the self into subsidiary personalities or sub-personalities.  Any of these at any time to "take over" the person.

Beautiful Image:

Once again I cannot help being moved by images and metaphors. Jung, commenting on the results of the word-association test his wife Emma let him do for her, said that while our ego-consciousness assumes itself to be in control of the association process, it is

"merely the marionette which dances on the stage, activated by a hidden mechanism." He was echoing a metaphor Bleuler had used in a book review published in the previous year: "Our consciousness sees in its theatre only the puppets; in the Freudian world many of the strings that move the figures have been revealed."  (Quoted, ibid., 68)

It would seem our unconscious motives are often pulling our strings and we, unconscious of them, are blindly being moved, all the while rationalizing our choices as this, that or the other.

Thoughts on Marriage:

Jung's thoughts on marriage are interesting and unorthodox to say the least. He believed that the man's earlier relationship with his mother and the woman's with her father are the determining factors in the relationship between husband and wife.  He also believed that the basic nature of the male sex was polygamous, saying that a man needed a "hetaira" outside of his wife or partner - this other would allow him to feel he was reborn spiritually.  He later called such a woman a "femme inspiratrice."  In this biography I learned that Jung had at least two other lovers in his life while a married man.  Being true to himself, he never really sought to cover these facts up and stated his belief in polygamy (for the man at least.) 

Above I have uploaded a picture of one of the mandala's drawn by Jung. Essentially a mandala is a holistic representation of the 'integration' or 'wholeness' of the 'individuated' person.

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