Ancient Wisdom in a Modern Era
Carl Gustav Jung
which was exacerbated by news of the First World War. Henri Ellenberger called Jung's experience a "creative illness" and compared it to Freud's period of what he called neurasthenia and hysteria.
Following World War I, Jung became a worldwide traveler, facilitated by his wife's inherited fortune as well as the funds he realized through psychiatric fees, book sales, and honoraria. He visited Northern Africa shortly after, and New Mexico and Kenya in the mid-1920s. In 1938, he delivered the Terry Lectures, Psychology and Religion, at Yale University. It was at about this stage in his life that Jung visited India. His experience in India led him to become fascinated and deeply involved with Eastern philosophies and religions, helping him come up with key concepts of his ideology, including integrating spirituality into everyday life and appreciation of the unconscious.
Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875, Kesswil – June 6, 1961, Küsnacht) was a Swiss psychiatrist, influential thinker, and founder of analytical psychology.
Jung's unique and broadly influential approach to psychology has emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician for most of his life, much of his life's work was spent exploring other realms, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. His most notable contributions include his concept of the psychological archetype, the collective unconscious, and his theory of synchronicity.
Jung emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious realm.
Karl Gustav Jung was born on July 26, 1875 in Kesswil, in the Swiss canton (state) of Thurgau, as the fourth but only surviving
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A number of childhood memories inspired many of his later theories. As a boy he carved a tiny manikin into the end of the wooden ruler from his pupil's pencil case and placed it inside the case. He then added a stone which he had painted into upper and lower halves of, and hid the case in the attic. Periodically he would come back to the manikin, often bringing tiny sheets of paper with messages inscribed on them in his own secret language. This ceremonial act, he later reflected, brought him a feeling of inner peace and security. In later years, he discovered that similarities existed in this memory
and the totems of native peoples like the collection of soul-stones near Arlesheim, or the tjurungas of Australia. This, he concluded, was an unconscious ritual that he did not question or understand at the time, but was practiced in a strikingly similar way in faraway locations that he as a young boy had no way of consciously knowing about. His theories of psychological archetypes and the collective unconscious were inspired in part by this experience.
child of Paul Achilles Jung and Emilie Preiswerk. His father, Paul Jung, was a poor rural parson in the Swiss Reformed Church while his mother, Emilie, came from a wealthy, established Swiss family.
At six months, Paul Jung acquired a position at a better parsonage in Laufen and the family moved there. Meanwhile, the tension between Paul and Emilie was growing. An eccentric and depressed woman, Emilie spent much of the time in her own separate bedroom, enthralled by the spirits that she said visited her in the night. Emilie left Laufen for several months of hospitalization near Basel for an unknown physical ailment. Young Carl was taken by his father to live with Emilie's single sister in Basel, but later brought back to the vicarage. Emilie's continuing bouts of absence and often depressed mood influenced his attitude towards women — one of "innate unreliability," a view that he later called the "handicap I started off with." After three years of living in Laufen, Paul Jung requested a transfer and was called to Kleinhüningen in 1879. The relocation brought Emilie in closer contact to her family and lifted her melancholy and despondent mood.
A very solitary and introverted child, Jung was convinced from childhood that he had two personalities—a modern Swiss citizen, and a personality more at home in the eighteenth century. "Personality No. 1," as he termed it, was a typical schoolboy living in the era of the time, while No. 2 was a dignified, authoritative, and influential man from the past. Although Jung was close to both parents, he was rather disappointed in his father's academic approach to faith.
Shortly before the end of his first year at the Humanistisches Gymnasium in Basel, at age 12, he was pushed unexpectedly by another boy, which knocked him to the ground so hard that he was for a moment unconscious. The thought then came to him that "now you won't have to go to school any more." From then on, whenever he started off to school or began homework, he fainted. He remained at home for the next six months until he overheard his father speaking worriedly to a visitor of his future ability to support himself, as they suspected he had epilepsy. With little money in the family, this brought the boy to reality and he realized the need for academic excellence. He immediately went into his father's study and began poring over Latin grammar. He fainted three times, but eventually he overcame the urge and did not faint again. This event, Jung later recalled, "was when I learned what a neurosis is."
Adolescence and early adulthood
Jung wanted to study archaeology at university, but his family was not wealthy enough to send him further afield than Basel, where they did not teach this subject, so instead Jung studied medicine at the University of Basel from 1894 to 1900. The formerly introverted student became much more lively here. In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, from one of the richest families in Switzerland.
Towards the end of studies, his reading of Krafft-Ebing persuaded him to specialize in psychiatric medicine. He later worked in the Burghölzli, a psychiatric hospital in Zürich.
In 1906, he published Studies in Word Association and later sent a copy of this book to famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, after which a close friendship between these two men followed for some 6 years (see section on Jung and Freud). In 1913 Jung published Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (known in English as The Psychology of the Unconscious) resulting in a theoretical divergence between Jung and Freud and result in a break in their friendship, both stating that the other was unable to admit he could possibly be wrong. After this falling-out, Jung went through a pivotal and difficult psychological transformation,
Jung's marriage with Emma produced five children and lasted until Emma's death in 1955, but she certainly experienced emotional trauma, brought about by Jung's relationships with other women. The most well-known women with whom Jung is believed to have had extramarital affairs are patient and friend Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff. Jung continued to publish books until the end of his life, including a work showing his late interest in flying saucers. He also enjoyed a friendship with an English Catholic priest, Father Victor White, who corresponded with Jung after he had published his controversial Answer to Job.
Jung's work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep-innate potential, much as the acorn contains the potential to become the oak, or the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung perceived that this journey of transformation is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Jung thought spiritual experience was essential to our well-being. When asked during a 1959 BBC interview if he believed in the existence of God, Jung replied, "I don't believe — I know"
Jung died in 1961 in Zürich, Switzerland.
Jung and Freud
Jung was thirty when he sent his work Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in Vienna. The first conversation between Jung and Freud lasted over 13 hours. Half a year later, the then 50 year old Freud reciprocated by sending a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Zürich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted more than six years and ended shortly before World War I in May 1914, when Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association.
Today Jung's and Freud's theories influence different schools of psychiatry, but, more importantly, they influenced each other during intellectually formative years of their lives. In 1906 psychoanalysis as an institution was still in its early developmental stages. Jung, who had become interested in psychiatry as a student by reading Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing, professor in Vienna, now worked as a doctor under the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in the Burghölzli and became familiar with Freud's idea of the unconscious through Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and was a proponent of the new "psycho-analysis". At the time, Freud needed collaborators and pupils to validate and spread his ideas. The Burghölzli was a renowned psychiatric clinic in Zürich at which Jung was an up-and-coming young doctor.
In 1908, Jung became editor of the newly founded Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research. The following year, Jung traveled with Freud and Sandor Ferenczi to the U.S. to spread the news of psychoanalysis and in 1910, Jung became chairman for life of the International Psychoanalytical Association. While Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Psychology of the Unconscious), tensions grew between Freud and himself, due in a large part to their disagreements over the nature of libido and religion. In 1912 these tensions came to a peak because Jung felt severely slighted after Freud visited his colleague Ludwig Binswanger in Kreuzlingen without paying him a visit in nearby Zürich, an incident Jung referred to as the Kreuzlingen gesture. Shortly thereafter, Jung again traveled to the U.S.A. and gave the Fordham lectures, which were published as The Theory of Psychoanalysis, and while they contain some remarks on Jung's dissenting view on the nature of libido, they represent largely a "psychoanalytical Jung" and not the theory Jung became famous for in the following decades.
In November 1912, Jung and Freud met in Munich for a meeting among prominent colleagues to discuss psychoanalytical journals. At a talk about a new psychoanalytic essay on Amenhotep IV, Jung expressed his views on how it related to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytic movement. While Jung spoke, Freud suddenly fainted and Jung carried him to a couch.
Jung and Freud personally met for the last time in September 1913 for the Fourth International Psychoanalytical Congress, also in Munich. Jung gave a talk on psychological types, the introverted and the extraverted type, in analytical psychology. This constituted the introduction of some of the key concepts which came to distinguish Jung's work from Freud's in the next half century.
In the following years Jung experienced considerable isolation in his professional life, exacerbated through World War I. His Seven Sermons to the Dead (1917) reprinted in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections can also be read as expression of the psychological conflicts which beset Jung around the age of forty after the break with Freud.
Jung's primary disagreement with Freud stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung (though not according to Freud), Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung believed that the unconscious also had a creative capacity, that the collective unconscious of archetypes and images which made up the human psyche was processed and renewed within the unconscious.
Jung and Nazism
Though the field of psychoanalysis was dominated at the time by Jewish practitioners, and Jung had many friends and respected colleagues who were Jewish, a shadow hung over Jung's career due to allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer. Jung was editor of the Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie, a publication that eventually endorsed Mein Kampf as required reading for all psychoanalysts. Jung claimed this was done to save psychoanalysis and preserve it during the war, believing that psychoanalysis would not otherwise survive because the Nazis considered it to be a "Jewish science." He also claimed he did it with the help and support of his Jewish friends and colleagues. This after-the-fact explanation, however, has been strongly challenged on the basis of available documents. The question remains unresolved.
Jung also served as president of the Nazi-dominated International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. One of his first acts as president was to modify the constitution so that German Jewish doctors could maintain their membership as individual members even though they were excluded from all German medical societies. Also, in 1934 when he presented his paper "A Review of the Complex Theory," in his presidential address he did not discount the importance of Freud and credited him with as much influence as he could possibly give to an old mentor. Later in the war, Jung resigned. In addition, in 1943 he aided the Office of Strategic Services by analyzing Nazi leaders for the United States.
Jung has had an enduring influence on psychology as well as wider society.
He has influenced psychotherapy
The concept of introversion vs. extraversion The concept of the complex Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was inspired by Jung's psychological types theory. Socionics, similar to MBTI, is also based on Jung's psychological types.
Spirituality as a cure for alcoholism
Alcohol addicts who have received help for alcoholics at an addiction treatment center have some notable men in history, who are partly responsible for coming up with alcoholism treatment programs, to thank.
For example, Jung once treated an American patient (Rowland H.) suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time, and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.
Rowland took Jung's advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a Christian evangelical movement known as the Oxford Group. He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience. One of the alcoholics he told was Ebby Thacher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, the later co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Thacher told Wilson about Jung's ideas. Wilson, who was finding it impossible to maintain sobriety, was impressed and sought out his own spiritual experience. The influence of Jung thus indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12-step program, and from there into the whole 12-step recovery movement, although AA as a whole is not Jungian and Jung had no role in the formation of that approach or the 12 steps.
The above claims are documented in the letters of Carl Jung and Bill W., excerpts of which can be found in Pass It On, published by Alcoholics Anonymous. Although the detail of this story is disputed by some historians, Jung himself made reference to its substance -- including the Oxford Group participation of the individual in question -- in a talk that was issued privately in 1954 as a transcript from shorthand taken by an attendee (Jung reportedly approved the transcript), later recorded in Volume 18 of his Collected Works, The Symbolic Life ("For instance, when a member of the Oxford Group comes to me in order to get treatment, I say, 'You are in the Oxford Group; so long as you are there, you settle your affair with the Oxford Group. I can't do it better than Jesus.' I will tell you a story of such a case. A hysterical alcoholic was cured by this Group movement..."
Influences on culture
Jung had a 16-year long friendship with author Laurens van der Post from which a number of books and a film were created about Jung's life. Herman Hesse, author of works such as Siddhartha and Steppenwolf, was treated by a student of Jung, Dr. Joseph Lang. This began for Hesse a long preoccupation with psychoanalysis, through which he came to know Carl Jung personally. James Joyce in his Finnegans Wake, asks "Is the Co-education of Animus and Anima Wholly Desirable?" his answer perhaps being contained in his line "anama anamaba anamabapa." The book also ridicules Carl Jung's analytical psychology and Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, by referring to "psoakoonaloose." Jung had been unable to help Joyce's daughter Lucia, who Joyce claimed was a girl "yung and easily freudened." Lucia was diagnosed as schizophrenic and was eventually permanently institutionalized. Jung's differentiation between sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling inspired the categorization of two of the four delineating factors in the Myers-Briggs personality test. These are the "N" (intuition) vs. "S" (sensing) and "T" (thinking) vs. "F" (feeling) groupings. Jung's influence on noted Canadian novelist Robertson Davies is apparent in many of Davies's fictional works. In particular, The Cornish Trilogy and his novel The Manticore base their designs on Jungian concepts. Ted Hughes's 1970 collection 'Crow' shows Hughes's interest in Jungian theory. Jung is one of the main characters in Timothy Findley's novel, Pilgrim.
Jungian ideas make up a large part of the intellectual foundations of the Earthsea stories, the classic fantasy series written by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Jung appears as a major character as a ghost in the novel Between the Bridge and the River by Scottish TV personality Craig Ferguson. He appears as an hallucination to one of the main characters in various parts of the novel.
Jung appears as a character in the novel "Possessing the Secret of Joy" by Alice Walker. He appears as the therapist of Tashi, the novel's protagonist. He is usually called "Mzee," but is identified by Alice Walker in the afterword. Jung appears as a major character in the 2006 novel "The Interpretation of Murder" by Jed Rubenfeld.
Television and film
Jung's writing was introduced to Italian film maker Federico Fellini in the 1950s and had an effect on the way Fellini incorporated dreams into films after La dolce vita. Dr. Niles Crane on the popular television sitcom Frasier is a devoted Jungian psychiatrist, while his brother Dr. Frasier Crane is a Freudian psychiatrist. This is mentioned a number of times in the series, and from time to time forms a point of argument between the two brothers. One memorable scene had Niles filling in for Frasier on Frasier's call-in radio program, in which Niles introduces himself as the temporary substitute saying, "...and while my brother is a Freudian, I am a Jungian, so there'll be no blaming Mother today."
Peter Gabriel's song "Rhythm Of The Heat" (Security , 1982), tells about psychologist Carl Jung's visit to Africa, during which he joined a group of tribal drummers and dancers and became overwhelmed by the fear of losing control of himself. At the time, Jung was exploring the concept of the Collective Unconscious, and was afraid he would come under control of the music, as the drummers and dancers let the music control them in fulfillment of their ritual objectives. Gabriel learned about Jung's journey to Africa from Jung's essay Symbols And The Interpretation Of Dreams (ISBN 0-691-09968-5). In his song, Gabriel tries to capture the powerful feelings the African tribal music evoked in Jung by means of intense use of tribal drumbeats. The original song title was Jung in Africa.