Saturday, December 06, 2008

Journeying with Jung 45

Mythification and Auntification: Chapter 37

The Inner versus the Outer Worlds:

Jung would return to this conflict many times in his life.  As I have stated some few times already, the learned psychiatrist would prize the life of his inner world of far more value and importance than that of his world of outer activity.  Towards the end of 1957, he was invited by Gustav Steiner, to write a short memoir for a Basel periodical, the Basler Stadtbuch.  Sending a negative reply to this open invitation, Jung formulated an interesting principle.  He stated clearly that "All memory of outer events has faded, and perhaps the 'outer' events were not the real ones, or were real only insofar as they coincided with inner phases of development... Conversely, my recollection of 'inner' experiences has become livelier and more colourful.' (See Hayman, 434)

The Mythology of One's Own Life:

In line with the sentiments expressed in the previous paragraph one can say that the goal of any person in life is that of individuation or of realising the true or real Self, that is the authentic or integrated centre of one's life, the true Self.  To reach this authenticity and truth of the inner or real Self one must tell one's own unique story.  In short one must weave one's very own Mythology.  In Jung's own words: "In the eighty-third year of my life I have undertaken to tell the myth of my life.  I can however only make direct statements, only "tell stories."  Whether they are true is not the problem.  The only question is whether it is my fable, my truth."  (Quoted ibid., 434)

The Auntification of Jung's Life:

This was a term coined wittily by Jung in the last few years of his life.  He had been dictating some of his memories to his last secretary Aniela Jaffé.  Jung actually wrote some of the text himself, but two thirds of it was her work. Here I wish to return to Hayman who informs us:

As secretary of the Jung Institute, Aniela Jaffé had earned only a small salary, and one of his motives in letting her write Memories, Dreams, Reflections was to provide a pension for her without putting money aside for it - she would receive royalties from the book.  It was like a reversal of the bargain they had made when he accepted labour instead of cash for her analysis.  (Ibid., 435)

Jung referred also to this project as "the Jaffé enterprise." (Ibid., 435)  The following account is how the coining of the term "auntification" came about.  Early in 1960 Jung, in an interview with Richard Hull, first used this witty expression, this neologism which he had invented himself on the spur of the moment namely Tantifizierung which translates as "auntification."  This, in other words, is Jung's attempt to describe the transformation of his words into text by Jaffé. The joke is that the narrative is now in the voice of a maiden aunt as it were.  Much is sanitised and somewhat censored - "auntified" as it were.   Indeed, the "homosexual undertow" (as Hayman describes it) in the relationship between Freud and Jung is omitted completely from the final text.

Hence the immediate two paragraphs above describe exactly the title of our chapter.  As I've said many times before Hayman is a master at the appropriate chapter title.  As Hayman goes on to point out about Aniela Jaffé semi-biography of Jung:

If she and other auntifiers made him out to have been more heroic than he actually was, they were only doing what he often did himself.  If he wanted his story to seem like a myth, it was partly because he wanted to appear like a hero, and never as a victim.  The book must not merely show him fighting courageously against the psychosis that was unbalancing him in 1913-1917.  He must seem to be entering an underworld voluntarily, like Orpheus or Ulysses: choosing 'Confrontation with the Unconscious', as the title for the sixth chapter implies this.  Jung also liked to point out that he was taking enormous risks for the sake of humanity, which would benefit if he came back with new information about the uncharted depths of the unconscious.  (Ibid., 441)

Hayman went on to point out rather perspicaciously and wittily - but not sarcastically, I feel - that if Jung had been the sole author, the narrative could have been described as an autohagiography.  This last word is a neologism coined this time by Hayman.  I cannot help feeling that Jung would have laughed so loudly at this.


Chapter 38:  When You Come to the Other Side:

This is the final chapter as the title so clearly indicates.  It brings me to my last blog entry on Hayman's biography of Carl Gustave Jung.  This chapter covers the period October 1959 until Jung's death in his bed at home in Kusnacht on the 6th of June 1961.    In October 1959 Jung had been interviewed by John freeman on BBC television.  In May 1960 his old friend Fr Victor White, O.P. died.  Fortunately, they were both to exchange friendly and open letters before this sad event.  In September 1960 CGJ was taken ill while on a motoring trip with Fowler McCormick and Ruth Bailey.  For the spring of 1961 he stayed in his retreat at Bollingen and on the sixth of June that year he died.

Hayman describes his final year of life thus:

With his [Victor White's] death, Toni's and Emma's, Jung had lost the three people who had been closest to him.  he had always been a solitary man, and from now on, he would be a lonely one.  It was harder to make the effort involved in writing, dictating and talking to patients or visitors when there was no possibility of intimacy and no desire for it.  (Ibid., 446)

His daughter Ruth nursed him during his final months of life.  Once she asked him, when he had told her he had not too long left, "Whatever shall I do when you go and leave me?"  To this he made reply: "Well, I'll do my very best to welcome you when you come to the other side." (Quoted ibid., 449)

As far as I can make out the above is a mandala drawn by Jung.

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