Friday, October 31, 2008

Journeying with Jung 28



In his splendid book Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science (Cambridge University Press, 2003), Sonu Shamdasani, a major modern historian of psychology at University College London (UCL), begins his learned book with a prologue entitled "The most accursed dilettante" which is a quotation from Jung referring to the fact that he was criticised for reading so widely and embracing so many fields of study to help him in his own specialty namely psychiatry, or more specifically analytical psychology.   Jung has been called at one time or another - Occultist, Scientist, Prophet, Charlatan, Philosopher, Racist, Guru, Anti-Semite, Liberator of Women, Misogynist, Freudian Apostate, Gnostic, Post-Modernist, polygamist, Healer, Poet, Con-Artist, Psychiatrist and Anti-Psychiatrist.  These comments will only be made by people who have read little of his major Works, or at least have not attempted to digest their collective intent.  Admittedly, this is no mean task and requires much attention and not a little concentration.  However, such concentrated work is well worth doing.  Also, we are indebted to scholars, better acquainted with Jung's oeuvre, who have done the work for us.   Shamdasani manages, as does Hayman, to situate Jung in his historical context and in helping to dispel the widespread misunderstanding that has surrounded the personage and indeed influence of Jung in Western intellectual history.  That both these erudite authors manage to do so is worthy of no little praise.

Today's comments in this blog refer yet again to material from Chapter 25 (entitled His Magic Wand)  which I was unable to cover in my last post. 

Active Imagination:

This technique in therapy is much associated with Jung and I wish to  discuss it in more detail here.  I also wish to return to Hayman who in his usual clarity says:

Though he was making regular use of active imagination, he mentioned it only briefly or cryptically in published writings.  Marie-Louise von Franz regarded it as 'the most powerful tool in Jungian psychology,' and attributed his refusal to publish 'The Transcendent Function' or whatever else he wrote about active imagination to awareness of 'how far removed these documents were from the collective, conscious view of his time.' (Hayman, 287)

The quoted essay called The Transcendent Function was written in 1916 and it was not published until 1957 for the above mentioned reason.  In the technique of active imagination Jung encourages his patients to make drawings or paintings of figures who appeared in their fantasies and then to ask these figures, as it were, a whole battery of questions.  In this way, the patient,with the help of the analyst, strives to understand those images and eventually how to incorporate them into their lives.  In this sense Jung believed that there were answers inside each of us and if we were not afraid of them we could find them through this work of active imagination.  For him, it was a matter of 'letting the unconscious come up.' (Hayman, 193)

Jung's reluctance to publish was associated, then, with the fact that in the summer of 1914 he had started applying spiritualistic ideas to clinical practice.  His patients were taught how to make contact with their internal god (or gods since he much later came to realise that there were a plurality of them within the psyche)through active imagination, 'a technique he had developed out of his conversations with figures in his fantasies, and indirectly out of his experiences with Helly.' (see ibid., 191)

In all of this Jung took inspiration from everywhere.  The dilettante knew no borders to his quest for knowledge and wisdom and unity of vision.  This I admire deeply in Jung.  He knew the I Ching, the ancient Chinese text off by heart and impressed  Joland Jacobi in 1928 by writing out all sixty-four hexagrams from memory.  Jung told her of the 'flight back to the primitive' and stated that the primitives were better than we are at releasing the powers that lie dormant in every human being.  A hidden artist 'slumbers in every man,' he said, 'Give him a chance to bring to light the pictures he carries unpainted within himself, to free the unwritten poems he has shut up inside him, and yet another source of psychic disturbances is removed.'  (Quoted ibid., 293)

The Gold Within:

Jung, following his in depth studies of alchemy began to believe that the 'real' gold was within us.  He said in a lecture in 1935 in London:

If the possession of that gold is realised, then the centre of gravity is in the individual and no longer in an object on which he depends.  To reach such a condition of detachment is the aim of Eastern practices, and it is also the aim of all the teachings of the Church.  (Quoted ibid., 289)

He later said, in a comment to Harry Murray (now a retired psychology professor of the University of Ontario):  'Your life is yourself.  Nothing matters but the completion of the self.' (Quoted., ibid., 289)

Jung on Dreams:

There is a brief insight into Jung's philosophy of working with dreams.  He is reported by Hayman as saying that he treats every dream like a text, say a Latin, a Greek or a Sanskrit text and then he tries to translate it as it were.  He describes his methods of interpretation as akin to those of a philologist working on an ancient manuscript.  'My idea is that the dream does not conceal; we simply do not understand its language.' (Quoted ibid., 289)  Jung invited his patients to write out their dreams, illustrate them anyway they wished - drawings, sketches, mandalas etc.

Once again Jung appealed to the 'whole' nature of the psyche.  In this he quoted his obsession with the interplay of opposites which I have dealt with in detail in the last post.  The polite business man, the cleric, the teacher, the painter and decorator, the carpenter or the surgeon or journalist will achieve wholeness only if he or she will recognise the primate ape within themselves - even if those dreams are replete with violence, rape, murder etc.  One woman patient spoke of 'man's experience of the opposites, of woman as the Yin principle, of Evil, of Eve, of spirit and flesh, and I saw it as a man describes it, as I had often seen it before from woman's side.  I felt in easy and true rapport with Dr Jung, a great man who had wrestled with his own soul and stood before the opposites till they met in him...I felt...the Yin going over to comprehend the Yang...' (Quoted ibid., 291)

Patients' Views of Jung:

These Hayman reports as being somewhat of a mixed variety.  Some patients were frustrated by his lack of interest in their childhood and personal relationships while others were greatly helped by the transference he encouraged and by the impression that he had magical powers.  In other words, here we have the guru idea that persists even today with respect to the founder of Analytical Psychology.  One patient had a dream in which Jung had liberated her from captivity in a great rock by touching it with his magic wand.  Hence the title of this chapter.

Jung's form of Analysis:

This chapter ends with Jung's account of what he says is the basic form of his analysis or therapy viz., (i) Confession.  This is where secrets or repressed emotions (similar to sins) need to be confessed.  Once confessed the patient can regain his or her wholeness and become independent of the doctor.  (ii) Elucidation.  This is where transference must be explained - it is in the form of a fixation. (iii) Education.  This involves the patient being drawn out of herself to attain normal adaptation.  Then there is finally (iv) Transformation where the doctor himself changes, resulting from 'the counter-application to him of whatever system is believed in...' (Quoted ibid., 296)  Jung even went so far as to describe Analytical Psychology  as 'embracing both psychoanalysis and [Adler's] individual psychology as well as other endeavours in the field of "complex psychology" ' (Quoted ibid., 296-7)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Journeying with Jung 27



The Magic Wand:  Chapter 25

This present chapter deals with the years 1928 and 1929.  In 1928 Jung began his study of alchemy in earnest.  For most people the word 'alchemy' is a loaded one, to say the least.  They think immediately of charlatans attempting to turn base metals into gold and also the search for the elixir of life.  They then think of elaborate medieval glass retorts and gullible aristocrats willing to part with a lot of money to those fraudsters - alchemists - who promised them either a long life, a cure to an illness or the possibility of turning base metals into gold.  For Jung, on the other hand, the language used by the alchemists was in fact an elaborate code for a deeper search, namely their real concern for self-discovery and transformation of their personality.  Projecting their desires  and fears into experiments, they had psychic experiences that were inseparable from their work.  Let me quote Hayman once again at this juncture, because he is particularly insightful here:

It was not long after this that the Romanian scholar Mircea Eliade arrived independently at a similar opinion.  He came to believe that 'the traditional science of alchemy works not only upon the matter under transmutation but on the soul.'  Gold was 'the symbol of perfection, of freedom, of immortality.'  The alchemist was like the yogi, 'who does exercises to master both his body and his spirit.'  Eliade points out that that the alchemists claimed their objective was similar to that of the major esoteric and mystical traditions.  In China alchemy was linked intimately with Taoism, in India with yoga and Tantrism, in Hellenistic Egypt with gnosis, and in the West with Hermeticism and mysticism.  (Hayman, 284)

Jung was a lover of antitheses or the play of opposites one against the other.  Yeats spoke of 'antinomies' while Coleridge spoke literally of the power of opposites.  I've discussed the topic of the tension of opposites many times in these posts over the past three years so if you run a search for that in this blog you'll find many entries, but the following one is probably the best Tension of Opposites.  In like manner when discussing the area of alchemy Jung also describes it in opposition to something else, e.g.,

    • Christianity is of the surface of things ........................ Alchemy is of the depth of things
    • Christianity is concerned with the conscious................. Alchemy is concerned with the unconscious
    • Christianity is concerned with doing - it's active............ Alchemy is concerned with not-doing - it's passive
    • Christianity partakes of objective reality .....................Alchemy partakes of the dream world

I have probably overstated these opposites in my own language and lay-out above - I have done so for emphasis.  Jung went on also to say that alchemy sought to bridge the gap between these pairs of opposites.  For instance, he said that Christianity pointed up two obvious opposites Good and Evil (God and the Devil if you will) while alchemy sought to reconcile these opposites.

Another thing that always appealed to me about Carl Gustave Jung was his universalism.  Long before the word became popular he was the quintessential global human being.  Not for him the philosophy of the West alone.  True to character he embraces the philosophy of the East also.  If anything he sought to reconcile the two; to take the best of both; certainly not to say one was better than the other.  Our man took the best in both.  He loved the culture that emanated from both India and China.  Let's quote a veritable eulogy he sings to these ancient cultures:

We Europeans are not the only people on the Earth.  We are just a peninsula of Asia, and on that continent there are old civilisations where people have trained their minds in introspective psychology for thousands of years... These people have an insight that is simply fabulous.  (Quoted ibid., 282)

These ancient peoples knew a lot about the unconscious mind - long before the term was popular - as did some Western scholars and mystics (these latter were always suspect according to the Official Church who obviously controlled belief through promulgated dogma.  Mystics were 'go-it-alone' people who said they were in communication with God themselves without the intermediacy of the Church) like Meister Eckhart, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and E. von Hartmann.  These are the scholars Jung names as among the ones he said instinctively knew about the unconscious realms.  What Freud had done was to not alone draw the attention of modern man to the unconscious but also he was the first to research it scientifically or psychologically.

Jung's visits to Africa and New Mexico had reinforced his conviction that 'certain contents of the collective unconscious are very closely connected with primitive psychology... Deep down in our psyche there is a thick layer of primitive processes...closely related to processes that can still be found on the surface of the primitive's daily life... Our psychic situation is now being influenced by an irruption of the Oriental spirit.' (Quoted, ibid., 283)

Jung embraced and advocated the techniques of disciplines such as yoga and meditation.  I have already described in detail his fondness, even obsession, with painting mandalas also an Eastern holistic tradition

Interesting also is the fact that Jung saw the many gods there were as personifications of the many sub-personalities each of us human beings have within us individually and collectively.  In my reading of Jung, the monotheistic God could be a projection of consciousness.  Jung has also stated that that plethora of gods were born because the human psyche needed them.  Maybe, and I am probably, if not definitely, reading far too much into Jung in saying that deep down God for him is our inner realised Self or our really and truly Individuated Self.  

Here is what, according to Hayman, Jung sought to do in his therapy sessions:

What Jung believed he had done for himself and wanted to do for his patients was to shift the centre of gravity from the ego, which is merely the centre of consciousness, to the self, which is between consciousness and the unconscious. 'If the transposition is successful, it does away with the participation mystique and results in a personality that suffers only in the lower storeys, as it were, but in the upper storeys is singularly detached from painful as well as from joyful happenings.'  (Ibid., 286)

I have already described in previous post that Jung looked upon the human psyche as a house or castle of many storeys where the upper ones are the conscious and pre-conscious ones and the lower the unconscious ones.  The term "participation mystique" was coined by Lucien Lévy-Brühl (1857 - 1939) who was a French scholar trained in philosophy and who made significant contributions to the budding fields of sociology and ethnology. His primary field of study involved the mentality of primitive humanity.  He maintained that the primitive mentality was conscious of little difference between subject and object.  In fact, an unconscious identity prevailed between the subject and object - human beings were very much part of their landscape or environment.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Journeying with Jung 26



Plumbing the Depths:

Freud and Jung are undoubtedly the two greatest proponents of Depth Psychology - a psychology, psychiatry or psychotherapy which sought to explore the depths of the mind layer by layer rather like an archaeologist might the layers on a dig.

Jung was often accused of being very mystical in his approach to psychiatry - interestingly enough he hated this accusation, because like Freud he saw himself as a clinical psychiatrist and analyst and in that respect very much a medical scientist.  However, while he may have dismissed the term 'mystical' as derogatory he certainly had a lot of time for the world of the spirits, for the primitive intuitions of humankind, for the occult and for parapsychology.  To these ends he read widely in areas that one might not think very germane to psychiatry namely the occult, alchemy, ancient religions, mythologies from all the various world cultures and parapsychology as well as a lot of Eastern wisdom from China to India.  He was enthralled by the world of primitive man because he thought it more natural and authentic.  To this extent he railed against the materialisation and reification of life and the absence of mystery and consequently meaning in our lives.  I should like to begin this post with a relevant quotation from the writer D.H. Lawrence:

Superficially, the world has become small and known... There's no mystery left... Yet the more we know, superficially, the less we penetrate vertically.  It's all very well skimming across the surface of the ocean and saying you know all about the sea.  There still remain the terrifying under-deeps, of which we have utterly no experience.  (Quoted Hayman, 256)

If anything Jung's approach to psychotherapy or to depth psychology could be seen as a process of re-kindling the fires of the mystery of the 'under-deeps' in his patients.  Jung describes individuation at this period in his life (1925) as 'the process that brings unconscious material under conscious control.' (Quoted Hayman, 261)  This is in line with Freud who also saw the goal of his psychoanalysis as making the unconscious conscious.

The Inner flames of Lust (my title): 

Once again this year Jung was to encounter attractive women who set his sexual appetite burning.  However, now fifty years old, he stifled the flames of his desire for Christiana Morgan (wife of William Morgan), yet another American visitor and devotee because 'he was scared of damaging both her marriage and his, as well as his daughter, her son and his career.' (ibid., 262)  Another American couple Harry and Josephine Murray also arrived.  Harry was taken aback and shocked with the fact that Emma and Toni lived under the one roof as wife and mistress to CJ.  Jung never failed to attract and influence his followers.  Harry was to write later in life that with CJ  he 'experienced the unconscious, something not to be drawn out of books.'  (Quoted ibid., 262)

Jung Changes his Approach:

Indeed Jung had been a marvellous and sincere listener for much of his young life and certainly when he was a practising psychiatrist at the Burgholzli.  Then he had been eager to learn all he could about the nature of the psyche and had listened patiently in a concentrated manner to all, including schizophrenics.  Now he was less interested in listening to the life experiences of his patients (and way less interested in his own theories of type) - say personal history and problems and far more concerned with listening out for anything that might surface from the collective unconscious.  When patients even so much as started to bring up personal history Jung would cut in with something like: 'Why don't you work with Toni Wolff?  She likes that stuff, and we'll just talk about the collective stuff.'  (Quoted ibid., 264)  Hayman gives the following reason for this change of tack: 'Now, having formed clear-cut ideas about the unconscious, he wanted patients to learn from him.' (Ibid., 263)  In short, then, CJ had now little talent and patience for listening.  He was far more concerned with his ideas and his theories.

Once again Hayman is quite pertinent in the following comments as regards Jung's approach to therapy:

Throughout the first nine years of his career as a doctor, he had more contact with schizophrenics than with neurotics, but after 1909, none of his patients had been incarcerated, and though he maintained that many neurotics were schizophrenics in disguise, this does not resolve the problem of whether he had 'really ceased to be a physician,' Storr points out, as 'Jung was mainly interested in altering his patients' outlook.'  Analytical psychology, Storr concludes, 'is certainly closer to being a religion than it is to being a medical treatment for neurosis.'  Jung might not have liked this formulation, but he said that as a doctor, he encouraged belief in immortality, especially in older patients and took all religions to be 'therapies for the sorrows and disorders of the soul.'  (Ibid., 260)    

Chapter 24: Negotiating with Heaven:

It was now 1926 and Jung was 51 years old.  He was tiring of seeing too many patients and admitted to Frances Wickes, an American analytical psychologist that 'patients eat me.' (Ibid., 271)  I must say I admire this fact in Jung that he too so much time off to work on himself - for his personal health and happiness so that he could achieve a measure of individuation in his own life.  Hayman tells us that he took roughly 17 weeks off work per year - a very long spell for any practising psychiatrist and analyst. Jung was irascible by all accounts and could lose his temper over little enough.  In fact a number of patients credit Toni Wolff with being a far better analyst than CJ himself.

Some insights into therapy:

Jung knew that what mattered most was the confrontation with the patient, what we call today the therapist-patient relationship. 'Faced with the patient,' he said, 'you see at once...that all theorising is absurd.  Everything depends on how you strike the patient as a human being.  In the end the personality is the most powerful therapeutic agent.' (Quoted ibid., 272)

One of the analogies Jung used to describe analysis or therapy or more specifically what we call today the therapist-client relationship was that of director-actor encounter.  Analysing a patient is like directing an actor as nothing can be gained from winning an argument.  What matters is not intellectual conviction but emotional adjustment and the developing transference. 

Jung often addressed the following types of questions to a client: "Who or what has come alive in ______________ (name of place visited) for you?" "Who or what has entered your psychic life and causes disturbances and wants to be heard?  "Is it speaking to you?"  In a letter to an unsettled friend, Jung wrote:

Then switch off your noisy consciousness and listen quietly inwards and look at the images that appear before your inner eye, or listen to the words the muscles of your speech apparatus are trying to form.  Write down what comes next without criticism.  Images should be drawn or painted assiduously, no matter whether you can do it or not.  Once you have got down at least fragments of these contents, you can reflect on them afterwards.  (Quoted ibid., 275)

In this way Jung was training his patients in his technique called "active imagination."  he was in no way encouraging them to become artists - rather he was encouraging them to self-expression or more correctly expression of the Self.  In this way they would encounter all the fragments and splinters of self, i.e., in more technical language all the sub-personalities.  In this way they could aim at their goal - the goal of all therapy, namely personal integration or individuation. 

In June 1926 Jung began analysing the American woman Christiana Morgan once again.  Jung was somewhat overpowered by her and told her that she was a prophet with an important message for the world.  Her visions, he said, were a sacrament containing 'material for the next two or three hundred years.' (Quoted ibid., 277)  Judging from what Jung said a year later we can say that he was less interested in analysing her than in collecting evidence to illustrate his theory about the collective unconscious.  A married woman, Jung encouraged Christiana to have a sexual relationship with Harry Murray whom I have mentioned above at the top of this post.  He informed her that 'sexuality is the sine qua non of spirituality'. (Quoted, ibid., 279)  To Harry, this is what Jung wrote:  Your life is yourself.  Nothing matters but the completion of self.'  (Quoted ibid., 280) A man needs two mothers, and the second must be a 'femme inspiratrice.'  Christiana's function, he said, was to create Harry.

A Further Note on Schizophrenia:

Complexes, he said, had 'a certain willpower, a sort of ego', and that 'in a schizophrenic condition they emancipate themselves from conscious control to such an extent that they become visible and audible.  They appear as visions, they speak in voices which are like the voices of definite people.' (Quoted ibid., 276) 



Above I have uploaded one of my favourite pictures of all time - The Ancient of Days - by William Blake. It depicts God the creator of the universe. You can feel and see the power and force or energy in this famous picture!

Journeying with Jung 25



Dark-Faced Men:  Chapter 23

I have already described in detail Jung's preoccupation with primitive man who was far more true to his instincts and to his real self according to him.  Modern man had built up many cultural layers that suffocated the real person or real self within.  These are my words and my understanding of Jung - not his.  However, I feel I am at the heart of his thoughts here.  The title of this chapter then captures this preoccupation, bordering on obsession, in Jung's life and thought.

On the fifth of January, 1925 (he was now 50) Jung in the company of Fowler McCormick and George Porter visited Taos New Mexico where he met native American Indians and he enjoyed his conversations with them.  On the 15th of October in the same year he travelled with Peter Baynes and George Beckwith to Africa.  They arrived in Mombasa on the 12th of November.  I have mentioned both these journeys to convey to the reader Jung's deep interest in things primitive - being, in his opinion, closer to the real essence of humankind.  The man to whom he spoke in Taos was a Pueblo Indian named Ochwiay Biano - Blue Mountain Lake.  Of him, the psychiatrist, related that  he could talk to him as he "had seldom spoken to a European."  (Hayman, 257)    In Africa he spent some weeks with the Elgonyi people in Kenya.  Central Africa made a deep impression on him and he thought of his weeks with the Elgonyi as 'one of the loveliest times of my life... Thousands of miles separating me from Europe, the mother of all devils, who could not reach me here - no telegrams, no telephone calls, no letters...My liberated spiritual forces flowed happily back into primeval expanses."  (Quoted ibid., 269) 

Jung was a strong and brave man with loads of common sense and this is illustrated well on this African trip.  Hayman gives a prime example of his strength of character, common sense and appraisal of danger.  In at least one situation the wily psychiatrist saved their lives.  In a Sudan village a local chief invited them to a dance, but the said chief arrived  with a retinue of sixty men, armed to the teeth with clubs, swords and lances.  I'll let Hayman take up the rest of the story:

When Jung signalled it was time to stop, the chief ignored him, even when he made signs to indicate sleep.  He then swung his whip threateningly, giving a friendly laugh at the same time, and - knowing that he would not be understood - swore at the top of his voice in Swiss German.

The natives laughed, stopped dancing and gradually dispersed...The whip-cracking and the swearing in Swiss German had probably saved their lives.  According to the district commissioner, two white men had recently been killed by the tribe.  (Ibid., 269-270)

Too Many Suicides:

Given that Jung plied his trade as a psychiatrist and therapist it is not surprising that many of the people who came to him as patients were in some way disturbed.  Furthermore, it is no less surprising to find that a number of them took their own lives.  Some of these even had become very friendly with Jung.  On the 24th of February 1925 Joseph Medill McCormick, American politician, newspaper owner and friend, the father of young Fowler who had accompanied Jung in visiting the Pueblo Indians, killed himself.  George Porter, another wealthy American business man, art collector and philanthropist - the same George Porter who had accompanied him on and financed the trip to the Pueblo Indians in Taos - shot himself exactly two years later - 1927.  The wife of another friend - Peter Baynes - who accompanied him on the trip to Africa killed herself shortly before the expedition.  I'll let Hayman take up the story:

Baynes's second wife was so passionately against his going on the expedition that she threatened to commit suicide if he went.  Baynes discussed her with Jung, who advised him to ignore her threats.  He did so, and she killed herself while he was packing.  Which did not stop him from accompanying Jung on the trip.  What Baynes could not control was his depression, which was stressful for the other two men.  (Ibid 266)

It is interesting, and not a little strange, that the trip went ahead given this sad occurrence.  It appears at this distance that the death of this unfortunate woman was only a slight mishap somewhere on the periphery of the great journey into darkest Africa as it were. 

There are still other interesting facts and ideas that I wish to comment on in this chapter but it is getting to late and my brain has almost slowed to a halt - it is 2 A.M. -  I will finish my musings thereon tomorrow.



Above a picture I took of a fountain at Nicastro, Calabria in July 2006

Monday, October 27, 2008

Journeying with Jung 24



Tangible Silence:  Chapter 22

As Jung was becoming more and more famous he craved more and more silence.  To this end he wished to build himself a refuge or retreat - not too far away from his home at Kusnacht which was on Lake Zurich.  He eventually found a lakeside site on the same side of the lake as Kusnacht, but at the other end, much further away from the city, between the villages of Bollingen and Schmerikon.  He could get there many ways - by car, by train and also by boat which would take four and a half hours given a fair wind.  The house of retreat was to mirror in some way a primitive hut but much bigger and made of stone, shaped, fashioned and built by his very own hands into several round towers with two floors.  It was now the year 1923 and C.G. was 48 and his mother had died in the February of that year at 75.  Here is Hayman's account of the plan for his spiritual retreat in this year of significant personal growth and loss:

Words and paper were too flimsy for the statement he felt driven to make about bereavement and rebirth - it would have to be in stone.  He wanted to build an alternative mother, a space for spiritual growth.  He said the experience of building was like being reborn in stone...  (Hayman, 249)

He even spent six weeks in a local quarry and learned how to cut heavy stones and move them.  He did much of the building himself, aided by two workmen and members of his own family.  He managed to complete his new spiritual refuge in the spring of 1924.  In all of this we can infer with little or no difficulty that Jung did not mind hard work, nor did he mind discomfort.  In fact, he lay no carpets at all on the uneven stone floors.  Nor, of course, were there electric light or running water.  It was not until eight years later that he had a well dug and a hand pump installed for water.  All of this was CG's attempt to become primitive, to become earthed, to become true to his origins.  Again Hayman is insightful:

Consciously or semiconsciously, he was modelling his life on that of primitive man, as characterised in the early work of Lévi-Bruhl.  He was not merely being playful when he made gestures in the direction of appeasing invisible forces, and his resistance to gadgets and innovations is sometimes reminiscent of the fear shown in 'simple societies' to everything that comes from outside.  (Ibid., 250-251)

He loved the manual work like chopping wood, carrying water from the lake which he boiled before use, and all the other basic chores reminiscent of more primitive times.  All the isolation he experienced there at Bollingen was conducive to trancelike reflection and to communing with the great 'collective unconscious' of the human race (which, of course, included all his ancestors, some of whom would visit him in his dreams).  He loved collecting and cutting wood for the fire - fire being the very power of the divine in us.  He also loved sculpting objects from stone and this practice he continued right into old age.  Once again Hayman has some pertinent comments on Jung's creativity and artistic obsessions:

Throughout the rest of his life, he devoted a lot of time to sculpting, carving and painting, but he insisted he was not producing works of art. 'I only try to get things into stone of which I think it is important that they appear in hard matter and stay on for a reasonably long time.  Or I try to give form to something that appears to be in the stone and makes me restless.  It is nothing for show...There is not much of form in it.' (Ibid., 252)

Jung was anything but a modernist and he castigated both modern art and modern literature as leading us away from our primitive roots.  Likewise modern culture, with its emphases on materialism, progress and success at all costs, was leading all of humankind away from their natural birthright and ended up alienating them from their true inner selves.  Jung felt that Picasso was schizophrenic and wrote off modern German literature in this trenchant and pointed statement: 'Contemporary literature, particularly German, is to me the epitome of boredom, coupled with psychic torture.'

The use of Introvert(ed) and Extravert(ed) for the first time, but in the Creative Process:

Lecturing in 1922 'On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry,' he maintained that there were 'two entirely different modes of creation': introverted and extroverted.  Hayman, once again, is succinct and particularly clear here:

Schiller's plays are examples of the introverted literature that expresses the writer's intentions, while in Zarathustra, Nietzsche let his material take him over.  (Eight years later Jung substituted the terms psychological and visionary for these two modes of creation.)

Though the extravert or visionary writer may think he is swimming, he is been swept along by the unseen current.  We should see the creative process as an autonomous complex implanted in the human psyche... A writer, according to Jung, may switch from one mode to the other: Nietzsche's carefully crafted aphorisms are generally different from his tempestuous Zarathustra.  In the greatest art, the creative process consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image.  'By shaping it, the artist translates it into contemporary language, making it possible for us to find our way back to life's deepest springs.'

(Ibid., 253)

Modernism, with all its concomitant ills - or modernity, if you wish - plunges us 'into a cataract of progress, which pushes us forward into the future with increasing violence the further it drags us away from our roots...' (ibid., 253-4)



Above I have placed a picture of the Martello Tower at Donabate Beach, Co. Dublin,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Journeying with Jung 23



There is Greatness in You:  Chapter 21

In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night we read "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them". (Quote Act II, Scene V).  Jung looked into his soul and found greatness inside of him.  he also looked into the souls of his patient's and found greatness therein too.  This is at the heart of this chapter and also at the heart of his skill as a wonderful analyst and therapist.

Jung's Harem:

Jung quite candidly believed in polygamy.  Toni Wolff, as well as many others, was a sexual partner of Carl Gustave Jung.  Once again let me quote Hayman here:

Dignified and good at concealing pain, Emma [his wife] was scrupulously polite when Toni came to Kusnacht.  Unquestionably the children suffered, but Emma and Toni behaved with dignity, camouflaging their frustration, while their tolerance of each other was sustained by realisation that neither of them could have made Jung monogamous.  As she told Freud in 1911, Emma had given up hope of keeping him to herself, and the Sabina episode had illustrated the therapeutic value of sexual involvement.  (Hayman, 233) 

Jung's household was unusual and strange to say the least, even by today's standards - domestic servants to look after the children and the house, who largely also looked after the children as Jung was busy with his practice and his patients; a wife who was a loyal and good wife and mother; a mistress who also lived under the one roof - Toni; and a growing retinue of patients, some of whom who might have stayed over for their consultation.  He starts to look for a house where he could spend time alone with his thoughts and with his soul.  He would eventually build a castle/tower, often single-handedly, at Bollingen for this purpose.

It was at this stage 1920 and Jung was now 45 years of age.  From the 15th March until late in April of that year he left with his friend Hermann Sigg on a trip to North Africa.  Once again Jung was indulging his obsession with primitive society.  He realised from his journeys throughout Tunisia that the Africans were more at home with themselves, more natural and consequently 'closer to life' than Europeans who were oppressed by their own rationality and rationalism.  In short the European and the American were living life with much less intensity and had condemned their primitive personality to an underground existence.'  (Quoted, ibid., 236)

As Jung's fame grew women flocked to him from all over the world, bringing lots of money and a desire to be dependent on the great man and guru.  Men came too, mostly husbands of those fawning women, but his male clients were very few and far between.  Hayman goes on to point out that outsiders noticed the high proportion of women among his patients and followers.  One of his answers to this observation was: "What's to be done?  Psychology after all is a science of the soul, and it is not my fault that if the soul is a woman."  (Quoted ibid., 237)

Jung's Method of Analysis:

One of his patients or client's summed up his method as follows:

All kinds of people big and small found through his their uniqueness. His greatest quality as an analyst...was the sense he gave of accepting everything that came up in the session not only rationally, intellectually, but with his whole being.  He never reduced material from the unconscious to something infantile; he always asked himself: "Now, where does it lead to?2 He gave us a feeling "There is a Greatness in you, and we must serve this." Another remembered his marvellous laugh which shook the room... (Quoted ibid., 236-7)

Jung undoubtedly was a most exceptionally welcoming and accepting and non-judgemental man.  This allowed him to be a unique and wonderful therapist.  It's at this stage that it would be profitable and salutary to look at the differences between Freudian and Jungian analysis.  Freud allowed his patients to free-associate and consequently go off wherever these associations would lead them - dreams, fantasies, childhood, guilt feelings and so on and on.  Freud concentrated on their relationships with others and with personages and events in their past.  However, Jung was to concentrate  on his patients' relationships with themselves, God, their purpose in life, their relationship with the universe.

In this light Hayman sums up Jung's achievement in the filed of therapy and analysis:

In fact he succeeded in bringing a new soulfulness to many people and giving them faith in the work they must do on themselves to unearth the buried treasure.  (Ibid., 240)

The buried treasure refers to all the inner gifts that reside in the soul, which will be yielded up after all the hard work done by client and therapist in the process of integration and individuation.  His aim in his therapy Jung said was 'to open people's eyes to the fact that man has a soul, that there is buried treasure in the field and that our religion and philosophy are in a lamentable state.'  (Ibid., 240)

Jung's charisma was so great that patients wanted to change their lives to be more like their new master.  This often frustrated Jung, seeing that many of his patients wanted to become analysts like him.

The Influence of Richard Wilhelm and the I Ching:

What impresses me with Jung is his total openness to new ideas and to incorporating the best of everything into his therapy and into his analysis.    In Darmstad Jung met a former missionary called Richard Wilhelm who had spent most of his life in China.  This man was well acquainted with the Tao and with the I Ching.  Jung called his encounter with this virtual Chinese master 'one of the most significant events of my life... Indeed I feel myself very much enriched by him that it seems to me as if I have received  more from him than from any other man.'  (Quoted ibid., 247)  This same Wilhelm had devoted ten years to studying and translating the I Ching, a series of oracular statements which may have originated in the second millennium BC.  Hayman goes on to state:

Wilhelm published his German version of the I Ching in 1924.  Already interested in the book before the end of the twenties, Jung had been working with an English translation that had come out in 1882, but he deepened his familiarity with the text when Wilhelm came to stay with him.  (Ibid., 247)

For Jung who saw that the Western mind was very much one-sided and unbalanced because it was was preoccupied with causality it was necessary and complementary, to say the least, to have that mindset balanced by the opposing Chinese disposition to coincidence or to synchronicity, a term which he would go on later in his career to coin and to define.



Above I have uploaded the famous symbol of Taoism the Yin-Yang symbol.

Journeying with Jung 22



A Note of Personal Identity:

The famous New Zealand novelist and short story writer Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) has said rather wisely, and if you read even a potted biography of her life you will see why, that we all seem to have hundreds of selves.  These, Jung, would have termed our sub-personalities.  From even a brief perusal of her life, one can infer (on very little evidence on the part of the peruser, I admit) that she had deep concerns about the stability of her own identity. Jung would have said that she had failed in the task of individuation or in the task of integrating those sub-personalities into an overarching whole, that is, in integrating the personality (cf Dr. Anthony Storr). Here is what she said, having read the plethora of books then coming out in quick succession on psychoanalysis:

What with complexes and supressions, and reactions and vibrations and reflections - there are moments when I feel I am nothing but the small clerk of some hotel without a proprietor who has all his work cut out to enter the names and hand the keys to the wilful guests.  (Hayman, 218)

I have already discussed the fact that Jung sought in his therapy to reunite the scattered fragments (=sub-personalities) into an integrated whole in the immediate post before this one.

A Note on Jung's Reading of Philosophy:

Admittedly, Jung was no philosopher, though he was widely read in the subject.  Like us all, I suppose, we take from philosophers  ideas that back up our own contentions, beliefs and opinions.  Indeed, Jung was bold enough to say that he called himself a Kantian. "Epistemologically, he wrote, "I take my stand on Kant," that "Kant allows man the power to assert a metaphysical truth," and he went on in one letter to contend that he had been expressing Kantian epistemology in psychological terms.  However, Hayman is correct where he points out that Jung had tried, and probably failed on philosophical grounds, to out-manoeuvre Kant by claiming that psychology can "unite the idea and the thing without doing violence to either." (See ibid., 219) 

Kant had been arguing along the following lines.  We can know only what we experience, but yet we can conceive of transcendental ideas which he called 'things in themselves' or 'concepts of pure reason' or noumena as opposed to phenomena, tangible and visible things that exist in space and time.  He distinguished between pure and practical reasoning and when he did so he was differentiating between the kind of thinking based on experience (practical)  and the type of thinking that consists in making logical connections between concepts (pure reasoning).

Bridging the gap between Religion and Science (In this case Psychiatry or Analysis)

Here is where the Kantian influence worked upon Carl Gustave Jung.  As a young boy he had been brought up by a strict Protestant father who was a minister in his church and this Paul Jung was quite a severe enough man, at least from his photos and from his son's account of him.   According to Carl, his father had ceased to look for reasons for his belief and preferred instead to state his faith as dogmas only - he had told his young son who was preparing for his confirmation that he knew absolutely nothing about the Trinity and that they would skip that section of the catechism.  That action badly disappointed the young boy who went on to state that his father probably had lost his religion and was only going through the motions.  On the one hand then Jung had begun to despise organised religion as represented by his father and he spoke often about 'the depressing results of doctrinal oppressiveness.' (See Hayman, 219)  His second daughter, Gret, who was born in 1906 was quite surprised to learn that her father had believed in God at all because he was forever making fun of theologians. On the other hand the young boy was much captivated by the lively spiritual world of his mother and of his mother's people, the Preiswerks - they lived in a world alive to the spiritual and even the occult.  Hence, doctrine was seen as cold and forbidding and 'depressing' and 'oppressing'.

Also Jung was open to the world of the psychotic and listened with interest and compassion to his patients in the asylum.  In this approach he succeeded in winning the confidence of his patients to a greater extent than his fellow psychiatrists.  Hayman is interesting here and makes good clear sense and one can see immediately how this gives a good background or context to Jung's desire to bridge the noumenal and phenomenal worlds:

If a woman said she had been on the moon, he not only listened but chatted as she had been visiting a country that interested him.  In his theorising, as in his clinical practice, he accorded factual status to mental events.  He argued the reality consists of  'a reality in ourselves, an esse in anima.' (Ibid., 219)

Now Jung makes a leap that Kant could never have consented to.  From nowhere, almost, he asserts that this 'esse in anima' is a phenomenon rather than a noumenon which Kant would have held.  From Jung's stand-point all mental events are actual phenomena.  It is at this point that we see Jung talking about God as a psychological phenomenon, which I must admit appeals quite readily and fundamentally to me.  Here is Hayman again on Jung's abuse of Kantian thought:

Kant would not have wanted his name to be used in support of the phrase 'psychological fact' and the habit of treating fantasies, visions, dreams and hallucinations as if they were empirically real.  Jung sometimes said that there are 'two kinds of truth', but they do not correspond to Kant's pure and practical reason.

For Jung, an image of God is a 'psychic fact', and in this way disguises a noumenon as a phenomenon, though the image is not grounded in time or space...  (Ibid., 220)

Losing Touch with Spirituality:

The loss of connection to the spiritual was for Jung the malady of the twentieth century.  The general neurosis of our age was seen in "the senselessness and aimlessness of our lives" (ibid., 217)  Simplistically and almost continually contrasting primitiveness with modernity, he kept on reminding his audiences and his readers that in losing touch with their spirituality, they had paid too high a price for any progress they had made.

 

He never stopped feeling nostalgic for the kind of thinking that had extirpated from the West by rationalism, materialism and scientific progress.  he loved the pre-Newtonian idea of a unitary world with a coherent divine intention behind it...

What troubled Jung was not so much a dissociation of sensibility as dissociation of spirituality.  Finding that people were looking only at the cerebral cortex, the nervous system and the digestive tracts, he wanted to heal the sickness  in the modern soul by persuading us not to forget that the savage side of our nature is still there.  If he had confronted his own madness without breaking under the strain, he could probably reconcile other people with the most disruptive parts of their nature.  (Ibid., 223-225)

Jung's Terminology:

Jung was syncretistic and eclectic to say the least in his use of sources - taking ideas and concepts from wherever he wished if they were useful in his therapy and in his theorising on it.  He borrowed ideas from all over - Plato, St Augustine, St Thomas, Kant and Nietzsche to name but several.  The idea of archetype he had got, he says, from St Augustine and is quite confusing as regards what he got from Kant  and Plato with respect to this same concept.  I'm at one with Hayman in finding Jung's philosophy quite muddled, but given that he wasn't a professional philosopher I can forgive him somewhat in that.  Jung had originally used the term 'primordial image' instead of archetype and the former term he had borrowed from Kant.

It's also interesting to see that his idea of the collective unconscious had been prefigured in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche who in Human, All Too Human wrote that 'asleep and dreaming we traverse the thought of earlier generations...We still reason in our dreams in the way primeval men reasoned when they were awake." (Quoted ibid., 227)

Jung never did succeed in sorting out his philosophical and terminological muddles.