Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a psychiatrist and analytical psychologist whose views were thought by some to be more sympathetic toward religion, in fact, he viewed the human psychic as though it was religious. Jung considered humans to be naturally religious, considering this religious function to be as powerful as the instincts of sex or aggression.
This attitude was a sharp contrast to his colleague Sigmund Freud who attributed man’s prime motivation to a sexual drive or instinct, anything else not directly attributable to sexuality Freud referred to as psychosexuality that would include literature, art, philosophy, and so on. Jung was unable to accept such a conclusion, like placing an annihilating judgment upon culture. This reaction led to their separation.
Jung’s objections of Freud’s sexual theory did not just arise from his own studies and clinical practices but also from personal experience. This experience began during early childhood and continued into his school years. From being the son of a pastor he experienced the religious experience early in life which distinctly marked his life. Unlike most children the little-boy Carl did not just naturally accept his family’s religion of Christianity, one might say he dissected or examined it. As he would eventually say, he was a Christian in a sense but had or knew a secret. This secret through observation and questioning he discovered no one else knew. As it can be seen his analytical nature emerged early.
When a child the family moved from Kesswil on Lake Constance to Laufen above the Falls of the Rhine. As he would learn people fell from the Falls, be killed and swept upon the rocky river bank. One of the child’s earliest memories was a corpse being found. His father wanted to immediately see the corpse. The body had been put in the washhouse. His mother had not let him go into the garden, but when everyone was gone he went out by the washhouse. He found it locked but around back out of an opened drain he saw blood and water trickling out. He found this interesting and he was just four.
Also during this childhood period he experienced a separation from his mother. She was hospitalized in Basel, presumably concerning some difficulty in the marriage. A spinster aunt, some twenty years older than his mother, took care of him. He was deeply troubled with his mother away. From then on he felt these feelings handicapped him, but he said years later these impressions were revised: he trusted men friends who he was disappointed by, and mistrusted women who did not disappoint him. This like so much of Jung’s thinking was revised by experience and continued throughout his life.
However being care for by their maid seemed different to him. He remembered her picking him up and laying his head against her shoulder. She was very different from his mother with her black hair and olive complexion, her hairline, throat with its pigmented skin, and her ear. Her characteristics were strange to him and yet seemed very familiar. It seemed as though she did not belonged to the whole family but only to him. She some how was connected to other mysterious things which he could not understand at the time. This type of girl became a component for his much later evolved anima, the personification of the feminine nature of the man’s unconscious. The maid’s unique combination of strangeness and familiarity, the feeling of having known her always, later became Jung’s symbol of the whole essence of womanhood.
There were other childhood memories of a young beautiful girl on an autumn day who later became his mother-in-law, she admired his father. There were falls, one down the stairs and another against a stove leg, the blood and pain and the doctor who sewed up the wound to his head. Then there was the narrow escape on the bridge crossing the Rhine Falls to Neuhausen. The maid caught him in time as he had one leg under the railing and was ready to slip through. Later to Jung this seemed to indicate an unconscious suicidal urge or perhaps a fatal resistance to life in this world.
However his most impressive memories centered around Rhine Falls and the bodies washed upon the river bank. People would fall in, their bodies washed upon the rocks, and then came the black, solemn men in unusually tall black hats, shinny, black boots brought a black box for them. His father would be there in his clerical gown speaking in a resounding voce. Women cried as he was told someone who had been around previously was no longer here and was being buried, lowered into a hole in the earth; Lord Jesus had taken them unto himself.
As can be seen at an early age the child was associated with death. It was not very difficult for him to make another association by the means of a nightly prayer that he said which his mother taught him:
Spread out thy wings Lord Jesus mild,
And take to thee thy chick, thy child.
“If Satan should devout it,
No harm shall overpower it,”
O let thy angels sing!
Later the child raised thought-provoking questions. If Jesus was comforting, a nice benevolent gentleman like Herr Wegenstein in the nearby castle rich, powerful, respected, and mindful of children at night then why should he be winged; that did worry him. Why were little children compared to chicks, which the youngster thought Lord Jesus took reluctantly. But at once he understood, Satan liked chicks and had to be prevented from eating them. So even though Lord Jesus did not like their taste he ate them anyway so Satan would not get them. As far as that argument went it was comforting. But later he was told Lord Jesus “took” other people to himself, so was this taking the same as putting them in a hole in the ground?
This series of questions had serious consequences. The child began distrusting Lord Jesus who lost the aspect of a big, comforting, benevolent bird and became associated with the gloomy black men in flock coats, top hats, and shinny boots who busied themselves with the black box.
Men in black coats with the box the people were put in the hole in the ground plus the Jesuits and Catholic priests were not all that scared the child. When looking at his phallic dream it becomes clear other factors were troubling him. Circumstances surrounding the dream have been discussed in the article including Jung’s personal comments about the dream. The hole and steps leading down to the underground temple symbolized the grave, the green curtain of the underground temple represented the mystery of the Earth, this as speculation would indicate his later inclination to explore the occult; the huge phallus on the regal throne, indication of majesty and fear, fear that it would crawl down of the throne and creep toward him. As it was stated he never explained how he knew years later that it was a ritual phallus, anther indication for his exploration of the occult. Many, if not, all of the components of the dream would be later associated with Jung’s theory of the collective unconsciousness.
As been stated one explanation for the dream was that as a child he was masturbating. He was a lonely and solitary child who would practice such activity. This would also account for the appearance of his mother in the dream. She could have been the one who scolded him for masturbating. Her words in the dream “Just look at him” might have been in real life “Just look at what you’re doing.” And “That is the man-eater” in real life might have been “That is Lord Jesus who will get you.” This relates to his fear of Lord Jesus. Speculating further maybe this was why he was so found of the maid, who was kind and loving to him, perhaps not as strict as his mother, and later became his symbol of the complete essence of womanhood.
Then there was his first trauma of seeing a Jesuit coming down the road as he was outside playing. The road ran past a house, and looking up it the child thought he saw a figure in a strange broad hat and a long black garment coming from the wood. It looked like a man wearing women’s clothes. As he came nearer the child saw that the man wore a long, black robe reaching to his feet. At the sight and recognition of the man the child experienced dreadful terror. A thought shot through his mind: “This is a Jesuit.” He had overheard a conversation between his father and a Jesuit. From the tone of the conversation he received the impression that “Jesuits” meant something specially dangerous. He admits he did not know what Jesuits were, but he was familiar with the word “Jesus” from his little prayer.
Seeing the Jesuit left the child afraid. Later he experienced a similar instance. Seeing a man coming down the road in what the child thought was a disguised of women’s clothing he had evil intentions. Being afraid he run and hid under a beam in the darkest corner of the attic. Later he ventured downstairs, sticking his head out of a window he saw no one. Later he realized the black figure was just a harmless Catholic priest.
From the above it can be seen that as a child Jung was sensitive and lonely. The maid was a comfort to him. Also a comfort was his carved manikin as described in The Manikin article. Carving and hiding the manikin in the attic made the child feel less at odds with himself. This was another indication that he was not at piece with himself. Whenever his parents or anything upset him he received comfort by thinking of his little manikin hidden safely away in the little box. As a treat to himself ever so often he stole up to the attic and looked at the manikin even leaving him little notes in the box, like a ritual. So say this was an indication of schizophrenia while others claim even at this age Jung was trying to help himself with is uncomfortable feelings. It was only years later when researching his The Psychology of the Unconscious, revised later as Symbols of Transformation, that he recognized why the making of manikin was ritualistic for him: it was one of those “little cloaked gods of the ancient world,” a Telesphoros (one who helps to a goal or to special efficiency), so often connected with Aesculapius (see Asklepios). This may be thought as being more than coincidence since at this young age Jung would not have thought of being a doctor but his great-grandfather was a well-known doctor. Yet in the unconscious of this nine year old child an image related to Aesculapius was emerging.
Years later when in England, Jung carved two similar figures out of wood without the slightest remembrance of his childhood experience. One he reproduced on stone which stood in his garden in Kusnacht. Only while doing it did the unconscious supply him with a name. It called the figure Atmacictu-the “breath of life.” This was a further development of that fearful tree in his childhood dream, which was then revealed as the “breath of life,” the creative impulse. Ultimately, the manikin was a kubir wrapped in his little cloak, hidden in the kista, and provided with a supply of life-force, the oblong black stone. These connections only became clear to Jung years later. He realized as a child he performed a ritual just as he had seen African natives perform rituals years later; they act first and do not know what they are doing. Only long afterward do they reflect on what they have done.
Jung writes years later that around this time between four and eleven years of age God began to interest him, but he was never sure of Lord Jesus. When others spoke emphatically about Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus never became quite real to him, never quite acceptable, never quite lovable. The Jesuit’s “disguise” cast a shadow over the Christian doctrine which he had been taught. Frequently it seemed to him a solemn masquerade, a kind of a funeral at which the mourners put on serious and mournful faces, but the next moment were secretly laughing, not sad at all. To him Lord Jesus in some ways seemed like the lord of death, true helping to scare away the terrors of the night, but himself uncanny, a crucified and bloody corpse. All these childhood thoughts developed in him a resemblance between Lord Jesus and the men in black flock coats and black shinny boots which reminded him of burials. He knew they were colleagues of his father and eight uncles who also were parsons. He was even afraid of talking to Catholic priests who reminded him of the terrifying Jesuit who had irritated and even alarmed his father. Jung admits that in later years and until his confirmation he tried forming a more positive attitude toward Christ, but he never succeeded in overcoming his secret distrust.
Jung considered humans to be naturally religious, considering this religious function to be as powerful as the instincts of sex or aggression. Even though he did not support established religions he was interested in religious philosophies. He often deplored the fact that the Christian religion had the fatal tendency to leave its adherents childish. Their weaknesses were constantly stressed, always being reminded of their dependence of Christ to achieve anything, which undoubtedly encouraged a universal but fatal tendency to remain infantile. There was a personal reason for his feeling too as he once told a friend, when at school and in the village no one ever called him Carl Jung but always “pastor’s Carl.” One might think a resemblance to “God’s children.”
His early school years were not very pleasant for Carl. Many other students were from more wealthy French and German families. They displayed good, if not snobbish, manners and had plenty of pocket money. With astonishment and horrible secret envy he listened to their tales of vacations in the Alps, the glowing snow peaks near Zurich. For the first time he realized how poor his family was. This did not embitter him though, rather just the opposite, he saw his parents differently, better understanding their cares and worries. He felt compassion for his father. He thought his mother was the stronger of the two but nevertheless felt on her side whenever his father vented his moody irritability. Sometimes he had to take sides, act as an arbitrator, which served to both increase and diminish his self-assurance-not favorable for formation of character.
School became a bore to young Carl. He would rather been drawing battles or playing with fire. Divinity classes were naturally dull to him and he feared the mathematics class. His teacher seemed to think algebra was a natural affair, which should be taken for granted, whereas Carl did not even know what numbers really were. He hated gymnastics too. To escape gymnastics he developed what Jung later called neurotic fainting spells.
When twelve a boy in his class shoved him, knocking him off of his feet, so his head hit a curbstone which caused him to almost lose consciousness. He was dazed for about half a hour. At the moment he felt the blow a thought instantly flashed through his mind: “Now you won’t have to go to school anymore.” He faked being unconscious a little longer to avenge his assailant until people came and carried to a nearby house of two spinster aunts.
This was the beginning of his psychological vacation or hiatus. Whenever his prents made him go to school or do his school work the fainting spells occurred. This was a picnic for him as he later described it. He was free to dream for hours, draw battle plans including furious scenes of war where castles were being assaulted, or plunge into the world of the mysterious, which included a realm of trees, a pool, the swamp, stones and animals, and his father’s library. Even though he had all of this time to do what he wanted, he gradually came to realize that he was falling more and more away from the world and not feeling any happier for it. He had an obscure feeling that he was fleeing from himself.
This was the beginning of the boy’s return to reality. He became concerned about his parents worrying over him. Various doctors saw him. He went on a vacation but when returning home everything was the same. One doctor thought he might have epilepsy, when overhearing his father telling a visitor that reality really began setting in. His father speculated what if it was incurable, he had lost all that he had, and what if his son could not work to support himself.
Hearing this, he was thunderstruck. He once more became a serious child. Going to his father’s study he got out his Latin grammar and begun intensely studying. After ten minutes his first good fainting fit came which nearly made him fall out of his chair. But he persisted for ten more minutes telling himself, “Devil take it, I’m not going to faint.” The second attack hit about fifteen minutes afterward. That too passed like the first as he stuck it out. The third came upon him about a half hour later. He too battled it; he then had the feeling he had overcome them. Suddenly he felt better than he had in all the previous months. In fact the attacks never reoccurred. From that day forward he studied his grammar and other schoolbooks until he returned to school a few weeks later having no more attacks.
As already seen Jung’s psychoanalytical abilities were already present in childhood. He knew he had a neurosis. He accepted he had arranged the whole situation which was why he was very angry at the schoolmate who had pushed him over; he had put him up to it so to speak. Jung took credit for the entire diabolical plot. He vowed it would never happen again developing a feeling of self-rage knowing he was the cursed renegade. He could no longer endure his parents worrying about him or speaking of him with pity. The neurosis was his secret which developed within him a resolution to make something of himself.
The family eventually moved to the city of Basel where Jung was enrolled in the Gymnasium. School was still boring to him, especially composition. In most all classes just made passing marks. However in the German class the teacher gave a written assignment that really interested him. With interest he wrote the paper and hoped to receive a high grade. As usual the teacher discussed the compositions in order of their merit. Jung’s was not mentioned, he wondered why. Finally the teacher mentioned it, saying probably it should have been discussed first because it was the best, but he accused the boy of copying it and demanded he confess the truth. Jung declared that he had not copied it but the teacher shouted him down saying he could never have written a paper like this. They challenged each other, the teacher insisting the boy was lying and nobody would believe him.
In midst of all the turmoil a calm seem to come over the boy as he had previously noticed it doing at times before. It was if he was in a sound-proof room where he could ask himself what exactly was happening. His answer was that he was excited. The teacher was an idiot; he did not understand Jung’s nature anymore than Jung did. He was as distrustful of Jung as Jung was distrustful of himself and others. That was why Jung sided with those who were naïve, simple, and easily seen through. He knew one gets excited when one does not understand things.
Jung later writes that of course these were not the exact feelings that he had at the time but they closely describe them. Then the boy was experiencing two personalities, labeled No. 1 and No. 2. At the time he saw no difference between the personalities he claimed the world of No. 2 as his own personal world always deep in the background, something other than himself involved. It was as though a breath of the great world of stars had touched him, or as if a spirit had invisibly entered the room-the spirit of one who had long been dead and yet was perpetually present in timelessness and far into the future. Denouements of this sort were wreathed with the halo of a numen.
Also within this No. 2 personality was the things which Jung considered as belonging to what he labeled as “God’s world.” This world played a more dominant role after the family moved to the city. Quickly Jung recognized the distinction. Things in the city were ordered differently than those in the country and village in which he grew up. He come to sense that he belonged in the country there was no locality but there were the rivers and woods, men in the small village bathed in sunlight, with the wind and the white clouds moving over it, and encompassed by dark night in which uncertain things happened. Such things were so ordered by Him and filled with secret meaning. But, Jung observed, apparently this was not known to men, and animals whom seemed to have lost their senses even to perceive it. This was evident, for example, from the lost look of the cows, and the resigned eyes of horses, in the devotion of dogs who clung so desperately to human beings, and even in the self-assured step of cats who had chosen house and barn as their residence and hunting ground. The people were like the animals, and seemed as unconscious as they. They look down to the ground or up into the trees in order to see what could be put to use, and for what purpose; like animals they herded, paired, and fought, but did not see they dwelt in a unified cosmos, in God’s world, in n eternity where is already born and has already died.
He began seeing an alienation of animals and people. He conventionally admired science but also saw it promoting this alienation. Animals, instead of remaining warm-hearted and trustworthy, were becoming objects of observation, and people more distrustful. All of these were feelings of personality No. 2.
Personality No. 1 gradually emerged more and more as his schoolwork and studies consumed more of his time between his sixteenth and nineteenth year. His intuitive premonitions were repressed as he began to systematically pursue questions which he had consciously framed. His reading of a brief history of philosophy gave him a birds-eye view of the field. He was gratified to find many of his own intuitive feelings were shared by philosophers. Although some philosophers’ ideas turned him off, he was attracted to Schopenhauer. He was especially attracted by Schopenhauer’s courage to see and say that all was not for the best in the fundaments of the universe. This resonated with Jung as it corresponded with his findings from previous observations of diseased and dying fishes, mangy foxes, frozen or starved birds, of the pitiless tragedies concealed in flowery meadow: earthworms tormented to death by ants, insects that tore each other to pieces, and so on. His experiences with human beings too had taught him everything except man’s original goodness and decency. His self-knowledge proved to him that he was gradually distinguishing himself from an animal.
Jung approved Schopenhauer’s statement of the situation but not his solution for it: that the intellect need only confront the blind Will in order to cause it to reverse itself. This made no sense to Jung. How could a blind Will see an image? If it could, it would perfectly see what it willed. And the intellect was an infinitesimal fragment of the human soul, not a mirror. This becomes more comprehensible when understanding that Jung took Schopenhauer’s term “Will” to mean God, the Creator. The blasphemy did not bother Jung because from Jung’s personal experience (see mystical vision) he knew at times God encouraged such blasphemy because He wished to evoke not only man’s bright and positive side but his darkness and ungodliness. To Jung Schopenhauer’s answer was totally inadequate.
Kant‘s Critique of Pure Reason aided him in seeing what he thought was Schopenhauer’s mistake. He had committed a deadly sin of hypostatizing a metaphysical assertion, and of endowing a mere noumenon, a Ding an sich, with special qualities. Kant’s theory of knowledge afforded Jung a better illumination despite of Schopenhauer’s “pessimistic” view of the world.
Jung’s philosophical development extended from his seventeenth year until well into his medical studies which drastically altered his attitude toward the world and life. There was a change in his personality, where he had been shy and uncommunicative he now was became more open and accessible. He discovered poverty was no reason to feel handicapped and was not a principle for suffering; rich children really experienced no advantage over the poor. There was a far deeper reason for happiness or unhappiness than one’s allotment of pocket money. He began making better friends than he made previously, felt firmer ground under his feet, and even summoned up the courage to openly express his ideas. Again he had a composition which he had composed carefully rejected. The teacher called it brilliant but said it showed that little effort went into it.
The teacher failed to discuss the paper’s good ideas, just its style. Jung knew this so the D and the rejection did not hurt as the previously rejected paper. He suffered slanderous remarks from fellow students but underneath he discovered something else, they look askance at him for knowing about things which they had not had in school or discovered yet. They were suspicious of his knowledge of Kant and Schopenhauer, or paleontolgy which had nothing to do with the everyday world. The everyday world involved hard work which Jung had to learn too. His discovery of this was how he gradually united his two personalities, but his personality No 2 retained his philosophical and other knowledge which were the essence of God’s world.
However uniting his two personalities was no easy task. Personality No. 1 while seated in the everyday world at times influenced No. 2 and vice versa. This was especially true in Jung’s choice of a career. Jung definitely decided he was not entering the clergy. Before leaving the Gymnasium he stopped going to Communion. The religious community had little interest for him. For him, his father and uncles just talked about God and had never experienced Him as he had. To him the people in the world seemed more commutable than the religious and he felt better among them. But still there was the choice of a career. His chief interests lied in the philosophies and sciences which he studied in his leisure hours. As his worried father expressed it, “The boy is interested in everything imaginable, but he does not know what he wants” Jung could only admit that he was right.
His first real choice was to enter science, but his schoolmates wondered if he would enter science or the humanities. Since his family was poor the possibility of going away to college was null so he would attend Basel University. At first sight his occupational choices seem to be either a school teacher or a zoo employee, he preferred the later. Suddenly as hit by inspiration he decided to study medicine, his grandfather had been a great physician. His father could only help him with part of the tuition, the rest he asked a stipend for. To Jung’s surprise it was granted Jung assumed it was granted by the “top people” who counted because of his father’s reputation, be he considered himself different from his father. This gratitude of the people troubled Jung because he thought that he was not well liked. Here again was the influence of his battling personalities. He saw himself wavering between a hermit and an obscurantist in his No. 2 personality and a despondent, depressive, liable to imaginary friendships with limited prejudices sort of a person in No. 1. However as all of this was playing out within the lad people showed they were glad of his career choice.
His first semester at Basel went well. This was partially because of the stipend and partially he was free of the boredom which he felt in school. Jung now could live more like his contemporaries. His No. 1 personality took over as he more consciously concentrated on his studies and the external world but still he could neither deny nor ignore the existence of No. 2. He made friends and eagerly participated in student life.
His father enjoyed Jung’s entrance into college too. His joyous spirit of his own college days seemed to return, but it was short-lived. The father died during his son’s second semester. But Jung sensed his spirit had ceased long before this. Something in his life had gone wrong changing everything into frustration and bitterness. Even after his father’s death his No. 2 personality told him, “he died just at the right time for you.” Jung sadly and most probably with regret knew exactly what this meant. No doubt he thought of the theological discussions with his father where he desperately tried conveying his own feeling of God to his father only to have the latter not understand; he kept his own Biblical God. Jung later said he thought his father died partially from his inability to solve his religious dilemma. This belief held over for his work with patients, for example, he believed many cancer deaths were the patients were struggling with unresolved conflicts.
Jung’s entrance into the occult was partially because of two unexplained events that occurred within his life. He was attending Basel University and studying in an adjacent room of parents’ home as the first event happened when the family’s seventy-year-old dining table, made of seasoned walnut wood and very solid, split, with a loud report, from rim to center. The second instance happened two weeks later, Jung came home to find his mother, fourteen-year-old sister (who had been absence during the first instance) and their maid very upset and startled by a report which seemed to have no cause. They could just say it came from the direction of the sideboard. Upon careful examination Jung found a shattered bread knife in the nineteenth century cupboard. The knife had been recently used and put away in the usual manner.
The two events both baffled and interested him. He tried denying he was impressed, but found it profoundly hard to do so. Jung thought there was usually an explanation for everything. He was not like many who when it becomes impossible to deny an irrational fact will often do their utmost to ignore it. He found himself challenged to find an explanation for the phenomena. His search for some even remote explanation led to his attending séances that a relative was holding with a fifteen-and-a-half-year-old medium. He wondered if the medium could have any connection with the strange events in his home. It is unlikely that he found the answer but it introduced him to a book on spiritualism. From his reading he became aware that such phenomena occurred in all places and times. Here was Jung’s first insight to what he would later call the “collective unconscious,” and of the deep layers that exist in the objective psyche and which are identical in all mankind.
Being at the university and in a fraternity with friends who took him from the solitary days of childhood and adolescence this was not an easy direction for Jung to turn. His follow students seem to treat anything concerning the occult not only with “derision and disbelief,” but with “anxious defensiveness.” Although the entire field appeared “weird and questionable” to him, he failed to see why his friends seemed afraid of it and scoffed at it as impossible. He questioned how one could know one way or the other unless far more scientific investigation was undertaken.
However the thought of losing his friends did not force Jung to abandon his interest in the occult. His closest friend Oeri who stood by him later expressed admiration for Jung’s courage to champion the then despised realm of occultism but others parted ways with him. Of the two unexplained events, he wrote his doctorial thesis upon. Jung faced several stern decisions such as this throughout his life. The evening before his final examinations at Basel he read a psychiatry textbook and decided to enter the then relatively unknown field instead of accepting an enviable position in medicine. Jung was not afraid of the unknown, but challenged by it.
After first arriving at Burgholzli Jung first noticed most of his colleagues seemed satisfied with their work among the patients; he felt a lack of satisfaction with his success. Soon he discovered most of the others were satisfied with just doing what was required and enjoyed their time off in good conscience. This partially was not their fault even through there were psychiatric textbooks many were not yet introduced into the hospitals. A few were which Jung avidly absorbed at the expense of being ostracized by his colleagues for reading such nonsense and even more for taking it seriously. But Jung desired to make up for his own inadequacy so he spent most of his free time reading.
Jung not only read but also constructed tools which helped him work with patients, among his first tools was his association test which led to his first milestone case. This instance also displayed Jung’s caring for his patient’s welfare. A woman in his section at Burgholzli had been diagnosed as “dementia praecox” with a poor chance for recovery. Thus far her only treatment had been that she was given narcotics to Combat her insomia and guarded to prevent attempts of suicide. The only part of her history known to him was the death of her child. He was responsible for her and as a younger employee he could not question her diagnosis. But when her dreams, association test, and careful questioning revealed her story Jung found himself in a terrible conflict because he knew the woman would never recover unless she faced the truth. He knew his colleagues would be extremely opposed to the course of treatment he had to take to have her recover so he had to act alone, and if things went bad he was in hot water.
Through his work her history evolved that as a young woman she had been in loved with a young industrialist. Although she was pretty she thought he would like marry one of the prettier girls in her town, and in despair married another man. After five years a friend of the first man told her that he had been inconsolable when hearing of her marriage. Shortly afterwards she was bathing her two children in contaminated water not fit for drinking, which she had known was to be used only for bathing and cleaning purposes. She has allowed her little daughter to suck on the sponge, and had given her son a glass of the infected water to drink. It was apparent that she had acted from an unconscious or half-conscious wish to destroy all traces of her present marriage.
Jung proceeded with his chosen course of therapy. With some anxiety he told the woman the complete results of his tests; she had to confront them or deny them. Being a strong woman and in good heath she bravely faced the situation. Within three weeks she was able to be released from the hospital. Then Jung was glad he had not discussed her case with anyone because he knew how tragic it was for her to hear and accept all that he had told her. It was difficult for him too. Then there were possible legal questions that might have had disastrous consequences for her. He felt fate had punished her enough. She returned to some meaningful, useful life bearing the heavy burden of the lost of a child which had been frightful for her. Her expiation had already begun with the depression and her institutional confinement.
It was the time when at Burgholzli that Jung met Sigmund Freud. A friendship formed almost immediately and they spent hours talking. Jung was impressed with many of Freud’s ideas, especially sexuality. But soon it became clear to Jung that Freud’s insistence on sexuality as being the major driving force in man as well as the cause of many of his psychological problems was going to create a wedge between them. Freud even said to him, “My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark.”
This amazed Jung, thinking that no one wants to make a dogma except “to suppress doubts once and for all.” It has nothing to do with scientific judgment, but only with a personal power drive. It took Jung years to figure it out before arriving at the conclusion and when doing so he understood what he “observed in Freud…the eruption of unconscious religious factors.” Freud, being pretentious about having no religion, had constructed another compelling image, replacing the jealous God, Yahweh.
Even though Jung greatly admired and liked Freud, he was unable to accept Freud’s sexuality theory. Part of this inability was Jung’s inquiring and analytical mind. It told him there was more to man, his life and troubles, than sex. This was based on his past experiences and would be further confirmed by his future experiences and studies.
Following his break with Freud, Jung experienced a psychotic breakdown during which he believed he confronted his own unconscious. His psychotic upset proved to be a gift, however, since it led to his formation of a general theory of psychological types through which he hoped to distinguish the components of consciousness. In the construction of his typology Jung applied the theory of opposites, distinguishing between two attitudes of introversion (when the individual is excited or energized by the internal world) and extraversion (when the individual is excited by the internal world). He identified four properties or functions of consciousness: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition; then he divided these four functions into two pairs: the rational of thinking and feeling, and the irrational of sensation and intuition. One of these two pairs, rational or irrational, usually produces the individual’s primary behavior. From the pairs plus superior and auxiliary functions it is possible to produce sixteen types. Jung’s typology has been greatly debated.
Jung distinguished the actual archetype from the archetypal image recognizable by human beings. Archetypes are recognizable in outward behaviors, especially those clustering around the basic and universal life experiences such as birth, marriage, motherhood, death, and separation; archetypal patterns wait to be realized within the personality, are capable of infinite variation, and are dependent on individual expression. Jung declared that archetypal contents are seen first and foremost in metaphors.
Archetypes was first noticed by Jung in connection with his used of word-association tests with patients. He noticed patients frequently displayed more difficulty in supplying associated words with some words than others. Upon investigation he saw that these association difficulties led directly to the unconscious disturbances of the tested persons.
From this Jung concluded that complexes existed in almost everyone. Complexes might be defines as unconscious or half-conscious clusters of representations, laden with emotions. A complex is composed of a nucleus and a surrounding field of associations. When the emotion of the complex is acute it can result in any type of neurotic, or even pathological, disturbance. Such disturbances when observed seemed not only to relate to a particular patient but to patients in general, these disturbances were archetypal.
Archetypal disturbances sprung from material that Jung described as archetypes, shared by many or all in what he would name the “collective unconscious.” In college Jung was interested in history, now this interest helped him develop his theory of archetypes. For him most material composing archetypes came from dreams, mythological motifs, and religious beliefs. Concerning a personal dream which Jung had and disagreed about with Freud he said, “…the uninhabited ground floor (of the house which he found himself in) in medieval style, then the Roman cellar, and finally the prehistoric cave. These signified past times and passed stages of consciousness.”
When asked by John Freeman in a 1959 interview what he considered the turning of his thought, Jung answered it was the discovery “that there is an impersonal stratum,” which he usually called the collective unconscious. His example was a schizophrenic patient who one day grabbed the lapel of his coat and pointed at the sun, saying it had a penis. The patient said if Dr. Jung moved his head from side to side, he would see it. It was this penis that caused the wind.
As Jung explained four years later he was reading about Mithraism, an ancient Persian religion based on sun worship. It explained the wind as coming from a tube hanging from the sun and could be seen by those looking from east to west. Jung deduced that since the patient was not familiar with Mithraism this concept in his collective unconscious, an archetype.
Convinced of his finding concerning archetypal behavior he stated: I am myself so profoundly convinced of this homogeneity of the human psychic that I have actually embraced it in the concept of the collective unconscious as a universal and homogeneous substratum whose homogeneity extends even into a world-wide identity or similarity of myths and fairy-tales; so that a negro of the Southern States of America in the motifs of Greek mythology, and a Swiss grocer’s apprentice repeats in his psychosis the vision of an Egyptian Gnostic.
It might be said that through his alchemical studies Jung found a mother archetype. Here again there was disagreement with Freud who incorporated the Gnostic Yahweh God and God-Creator into the Freudian myth of the primal father and the gloomy superego deriving from that father, the Demiurge. In Freud’s myth this god became the deamon who created a world of disappointments, illusions, and sufferings. Freud, not having alchemical knowledge, only saw the classical Gnostic motifs of sexuality and wicked paternal authority. Jung knew the medieval alchemists had worked through this and discovered the secrets of Gnosticism. This was the primordial image of the spirit as another, higher god who gave to mankind the krater (mixing vessel), the vessel of spiritual transformation. The krater was a feminine principle (mixing vessel or womb) which had no place in Freud’s patriarchal world, which he was not alone in this prejudice. Of all of the established religions Catholicism comes closest to the mother archetype by the recent recognition or belief the Mother of God and Bride of Christ has been received into the divine thalamus (bridal chamber) after centuries of hesitancy. [Here Jung was referring to the Papal Bull of Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950), promulgating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The new dogma affirms that Mary as the Bride was united with the Son in the heavenly bridal chamber, and as Sophia (Wisdom) she was united with the Godhead. Thus the feminine principle is brought into immediate proximity of the masculine Trinity. (cf. Jung, “Answer to Job,” in Psychology and Religion: West and East [CW 11] pp.458ff) However, in Protestantism and Judaism the father plays the greater role practically dismissing the mother. Here one sees the deep impressions which alchemy and Gnosticism left on Jung. His alchemical studies demonstrated the importance of the feminine principle. In Gnosticism Sophia believed to be divine Wisdom is the feminine principle. Also, this is why in some Goddess worship and nature religion traditions Gnosticism is an acceptable belief.
It seems obvious that Jung’sinterest in Gnosticism would lead him to assert the previous conception. One of the Nag Hammadi papyri was presented to the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich in 1953 and named the Jung Codex.
His interest in Gnosticism accompanied his interests of activities of the middle ages. Jung became enthralled in alchemy and collected many medieval and Renaissance alchemical texts, forming perhaps the most extensive collection since Isaac Newton. Jung thought that alchemy, considered symbolically rather than scientifically, could be considered as one of the precursors of studying the unconscious and in particular of the analytical interest in the transformation of personality.
Jung had a deep respect for evil, to him it was real. Evil become a reality reaching its peak in the twentieth century. The Christian world was confronted with evil in forms of naked injustice, tyranny, lies, slavery, and the coercion of conscience. The manifestation of naked evil was seen in the establishment of the Russian nation, but first erupted in Germany. Such manifestation reveal to what extent Christianity has been undermined. In face of such evidence, Jung declared, Christianity could no longer minimize evil as privatio boni, “privation of good,” but faced it as a determinant reality, and deal with its consequences.
Jung again returns to his previous conception of God that he adopted young in life. As stated when dealing with his mystical vision, He notes that oddly enough at no time did he think the devil might be playing a trick on him because at the time the devil played little part in his mental world since he regarded the devil powerless compared to God. This thinking toward the devil seemed to have resonated throughout his life. Jung still held that God could be something terrible. To Jung, it was the Christian myth which made God all good based on the idea of the incarnation that was refined to include the intuition of “Christ within us.” Thus the unconscious wholeness penetrated into the psychic realm of inner experience and man was made aware of all that entered his true configuration. “This was a decisive step, not only for man, but also for the Creator-who in the eyes who had been delivered from darkness, cast of His dark qualities and become the summum bonum, “sum of good.”
Jung was unable to accept the Christian idea of good and evil or rather the permanency of good and evil. To him evil was not privatio boni, the privation or absence of good. He argued that a reorientation was needed; it was just as much of an addiction to succumb to good as to evil as all addictions were bad no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. He wished to abandon the idea of good and evil as being opposites. The criterion of ethical action no longer consists in the simple view that good has the force of a categorical imperative, while so-called evil can resolutely be shunned. The recognition of relative evil necessarily relativizes the good, and the evil likewise, converting each into halves of a paradoxical whole.
From this, Jung states, it must be recognized that good and evil are no longer self-evident, but are judgments made with human fallibility which often results in leaving humans victims of misjudgment. Nevertheless the majority of humans believe they judge correctly, which creates uncertainty about moral evolutions and decisions. Jung developed this phenomena for man, which others as well agree with, when eliminating of the infallibility of Rome or the Pope. This guidance or insurance of certainty, religion directing laymen, he sees, as previously noted, lead to people remaining infantile. Perhaps this is why one never hears the phrase “men and women of God,” but always “children of God.”
For Jung to answer to making personal ethical judgment is not just education but also experience. Education combined with experience result in self-knowledge. With self-knowledge man is aware of the amount of good and evil that he is capable of under certain conditions. From such knowledge men approach the fundamental stratum or core of human nature where the instincts dwell. Here are found those preexistence dynamic factors which ultimately govern the ethical decisions in the conscious. This core is the unconscious and its contents, concerning which we can pass no final judgment. As of now the scope and contents of the unconscious are incomprehensible. These matters can only be understood through scientific study such as psychology. Again Jung claimed there were no short-cut, absolute answers to the ethical questions of good and evil. Nazism and Bolshevism proved evil to be a great power, not just the privation of good. Some Christians think they can eliminate evil by just willing (or praying) it away and this has resulted in one half of humanity battening and growing strong on a doctrine fabricated by human ratiocination while the other half sickens from the lack of a myth commensurate with the situation. Jung seems to be suggesting is that Christians and their nations are still living with a myth developed during the first centuries and not with developed teachings that meet today’s challenges.
In order to fully understand Jung one must understand his philosophy. He is recognized as an analytic psychologist implying that he analyzed the subject matter which he studied, learning from alchemy, and the material his patients told him. His analysis appeared to be objective as far as possible. For example, Jung himself knew there was a God. He stated this was being asked by John Freeman of BBC Television, in 1959, whether he believed in God by answering, “I don’t believe, I know.” Many were astounded by his answer, some calling it paradoxical, for many knew that Jung acknowledged that proving the existence of God was outside of the realm of psychology: as psychology being the study of the psychic will obviously observe psychic thoughts, emotions, and experiences whether conscious or unconscious. All psychology, or the psychologist, does is record and analyze such phenomena, not saying whether it has external existence or credence or not.
This is the role of psychoanalysis to record behavioral phenomena, not judge it. Jung as previously stated believed that self-knowledge came from education plus experience. Although, stated another way, the reverse is true: experience accompanied by erroneous knowledge can be self-destructive. For Jung such a belief seemed to have been derived from Kant, particularly Kant’s critical philosophy as described in his Critique of Pure Reason. In this philosophy Kant rejects the view of the external world replacing it with thee position of the personal knower of the world which results in the impact of how the person sees his world. Within this frame of reference knowledge does not depend so much on the object of the knowledge as it does on the capacity of the knower or person. This, by the way, is the thesis of the Law of Infinite Universes.
By accepting this view Jung could compassionately accept, without judgment, a patient’s view and assist him/her to get back to some form of reality if need be. With the same nonjudgmental acceptance Jung explored a multitude of subjects, some that others would not have dared entered. Jung dared because he retained an open-mindedness, a youthful curiosity. It was said he kept a youthful appearance and enjoyed living.Without being dogmatic Jung helped many and proved to be a researcher worth following.
In an interview a year prior of his death Jung made the same point:
If you should find in yourself…an ineradicable tendency to believe in God or immortality, do not allow yourself to be disturbed by the blather of the so-called “free-thinkers,” but if you find in yourself an equally resistant tendency to deny all religious ideas, do not hesitate to deny them and see how that suits you.
by Alan G. Hefner
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 516-517
Critique of Pure Reason. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critique_of_Pure_Reason>
Hannah, Barbara. Jung His Life and Work: A Biographical Memoir. New York. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1976 Hayman, Ronald. A Life of Jung. New York. W. W. Norton & Co. 1999
Isaac Newton. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton>
Jung, C. J. Memories, Dreams, and Reflections. New York, Vintage Books. 1985
von Franz, Marie-Louise. C. G. Jung: His Myth In Our Time. New York. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1975