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Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

Swiss psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of modern depth psychology. Jung's most famous concept, the collective unconscious, have had a deep influence not only on psychology but also on philosophy and the arts. Jung's break with Sigmund Freud is one of the famous stories in the early history of the psychoanalytic thought. More than Freud, Jung has inspired the New Age movement with his interest in occultism, Eastern religions, the I Ching, and mythology.

"The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is "man" in a higher sense - he is "collective man," a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind." (from 'Psychology and Literature', 1930)

Carl Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland. His father, Johannes Paul Achilles Jung (1842-1896), was a priest - a profession that had traditions in the family. According to family legends, Jung's grandfather was Goethe's illegal son, although there was no real evidence to support the story. However, if Shakespeare's Hamlet was the most important play for Freud, Goethe's Faust, memorized already at school, influnced as deeply Jung. Freud, who saw Jung as his successor, also paid attention to Jung's family background and referred, perhaps ironically, Goethe as Jung's ancestor.

Jung graduated with a medical degree in 1900 from the University of Basel and began his professional career at the University of Zürich. He worked at the Burghöltzi, the Zürich insane asylym and psychiatric clinic until 1909. His first published paper, On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena, appeared in 1902 and formed the basis for his doctoral thesis. Its material was partly based on his observations - and experiments - with his cousin Helly, whom he described in the work as "a young girl somnambulist."

In 1903 Jung married Emma Rauschenbach (1882-1955). In 1907 his study on schizophrenia led him to close collaboration with Sigmund Freud. He also opened a private practice and travelled with Freud in 1909 to the Unites States, lecturing and meeting among others the American philosopher and psychologist William James, whose thoughts attracted Jung deeply. (see the writer Henry James, William James' brother)

"Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism."

Jung's disagreement with Freud started over the latter's emphasis on sexuality alone as the dominant factor in unconscious motivation. Freud fainted twice in Jung's presence but the ties were broken with the publication of Jung's Symbols of Transformation (1912), and with his acts as the president of the International Congress of Psycho-Analysis. In a letter to Freud he wrote: "If ever you should rid yourself entirely of your complexes and stop playing the father to your sons, and instead of aiming continually at their weak spots took a good look at your own for a change, the I will mend my ways and at one stroke uproot the vice of being in two minds about you." (Jung on December, 18, 1912). The end of his father-son relationship with Freud had profoundly disturbing effect on Jung. He withdrew from the psychoanalytic movement and suffered a six-year-long breakdown during which he had fantasies of mighty floods sweeping over northern Europe - prophetic visions of World War I.

Following his emergence from this period, Jung developed his own theories systematically under the name of Analytical Psychology. His concepts of the collective unconscious and of the achetypes led him to explore religion in the East and West, myths, alchemy, and later flying saucers. Jung gathered material for his studies by visits to the Pueblo Indians and the Elgonies at East Africa. Although Jung travelled quite extensively during his life, he never went to Rome. The omission was deliberate; he felt that the associations the place would evoke were too strong.

Jung classified personalities into introvert and extravert types, according to the invidivual's attitude to the external world. Himself Jung considered introvert. His experience with patients made him define neurosis as 'the suffering of the soul which has not discovered its meaning.' Meaning can be found through dreams and their symbols in the form of archetypical images, arising from the collective unconscious. Freud dismissed the concept - "...I do not think that much is to be gained by introducing the concept of a "collective" unconscious - the content of the unconscious is collective anyhow, a general possession of mankind," he wrote in Moses and Monotheism (1939). Freud offered instead the idea of an "archaic inheritance".

Jung's view of literature was ambivalent. He was fascinated by Nietzsche, and wrote a study of Nietzsche's Zarathustra, but distrust of aestheticism colored his judgment of literary works. However, he had a special interest in trivial literature: "Indeed. literary products of highly dubious merits are often of the greatest interest to the psychologist." From H. Rider Haggard's novel She, Jung found an embodiment of the anima. Especially Jung was interested in the mythic and archaic elements in literature. His Symbols of Transformaton (1912) contains a lenghty discussion of Longfellow's Hiawatha, which is regarded as a poetic compilation of mythical motifs.

In 1933 Jung was nominated president of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, an organization which had Nazi connections. He also assumed the editorship of its publication, Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie. Jung's activities with the organization and his writings about racial differences in the magazine have later severely criticized. However, Jung had already in 1918 explained his differences with other schools of psychotherapeutic practice with racial terms: "...I can understand very well that Freud's and Adler's reduction of everything psychic to primitive sexual wishes and power-drives has something about it that is beneficial and satisfying to the Jew, because it is a from of simplification." He also saw in National Socialism "tensions and potentialities which medical psychology must consider in its evaluation of the unconscious." From the mythology Jung took the figure of Wotan, an old Nordic god, "the truest expression and unsurpassed personification of a fundamental quality that is particularly characteristic of the Germans." In a 1937 Jung said of Hitler less than critically: "He is a medium, German policy is not made; it is revealed through Hitler. He is the mouthpiece of the Gods of old... He is the Sybil, the Delphic oracle" (see Jung in Contexts, ed. by Paul Bishop, 1999)

After the death of his wife in 1955, Jung began the final constructions of his Bollingen's house, or rather a castle of stone with towers, and reworked many earlier papers. Among his later publications are Aion (1951), Answer to Job (1952), and Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955-56). Jung's Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections appeared in English in 1962. It was based Aniela Jaffé's interviews with Jung, who did not regard the book as his autobiography, but stated that it should be published under Jaffé's name.

NOTE: F.Scott Fitzgerald mentions Jung several times in Tender is the Night (1934). When his wife Zelda had a psychotic episode in late 1930, Jung was Fitzgerald's alternative choice for consultation.- Hermann Hesse's novel Demian was inspired by Jung's theory of individuation. - Among Jung's patients in the 1930s was James Joyce's daughter Lucia, who suffered from schizophrenia. Jung had earlier written a hostile analysis of Ulysses, and Joyce was left bitter at Jung's analysis of her daughter. He paid back in Finnegans Wake, joking with Jung's concepts of Animus and Anima. In his essay 'Ulysses' (1934) Jung saw Joyce's famous novel as an exploration of the spiritual condition of modern man, especially the brutalization of his feelings. - JUNG'S PUPILS: Sabina Spielrein, Jung's patient first, and later mistress according to some sources, practiced psychoanalysis in the USSR after completing her studies. She was killed with her two daughters by German soldiers in 1942.

For further reading: Complex, Archetype, Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung by J. Jacobi (1957); The Myth of Meaning in the Work of C.G. Jung by A, Jaffé (1967); C.G. Jung and Herman Hesse by N. Serrano (1968); The Great Mother by E. Neumann (1972); C.G. Jung Speaking, ed. by W. McGuire and F.R. Hull (1977); Melville's "Moby-Dick": A Jungian Commentary by E.F. Edinger (1978); The Individuated Hobbit by T.R. O'Neill (1979); Joyce betweeen Freud and Jung by S.R. Brivic (1979); Boundaries of the Soul by J. Singer (1994); Carl Gustav Jung by Frank McLynn (1996); A Life of Jung by Ronald Hayman (1999); Jung in Contexts, ed. by Paul Bishop (1999) - see also Jung and the Story of Our Time by Laurens Van der Post and The World Is Made of Glass by Morris L. West, which depicts Jung's life in 1913, when he was suffering from nervous breakdown. West parallels Sherlockian detective work with psychoanalytic process. - FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:The C.G.Jung Institute of San Francisco, C.G.Jung Houston Homepage

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