Memory of C.G. Jung by Henry K. Fierz

The first time I met C. G. Jung was in 1928.

After the first world war there was in Europe a very dangerous epidemic of flu.

My mother got the disease and nearly died of it. Afterwards she again and again had relapses till my parents decided to consult Dr. Jung.

Jung taught her how to cope with the disease, and rouse cures in alpine health resorts co continue her historical studies she had interrupted when she married in 1911.

He got her out of the disease in the course of three years, and she never had a relapse again.

Through this treatment both my parents, also my father (who was professor of chemistry at the Swiss Institute for Technology, Zurich, the E.T.H.), became friends of Jung, and in 1928 Jung and Mrs. Jung were invited for a dinner at our home in Zurich.

At the last moment one of the guests could not come, and I was asked to join the dinner as a proxy.

During the dinner Jung told the following story:

“Some days ago something queer happened to me. I dreamt that I went from my country house at Bollingen (the “tower”) to Bollingen village, and on the little street that leads to my hotel was in fact in Bollingen-I saw a little garden shovel. Now the following morning I in fact went to Bollingen village; and at the same spot, as seen in my dream, I really found a little garden-shovel. And I wonder again and again what the meaning of this dream could be.”

Now I, a youngster who in fact had no right to say anything , asked Jung: “Dr. Jung, do you think chat every dream has a meaning?”

Jung: “But of course every dream has a meaning.” But I: “But that’s only your statement, bur nor a proof.”

Jung nearly got angry, and my parents gave me sign not to continue the discussion.

So till today I’ve never got the proof char every dream has a meaning. Perhaps the dream was prophetic (it had anyhow been telepathic).

Thirty years later one could often meet Jung, sitting before his tower, pondering about I do not know what, and playing with a little watercourse, using a little garden shovel fixed to a broomstick.

The also very old man, Mr. Kuhn, who looked after the tower and brought bread, meat, butter and milk, once said to me: “If one sees the professor, sitting and playing like this, if one would not know that this is a world famous scientist, one would think this is a very queer man who behaves in a rather odd way.”

One year later I was in hospital because of an operation for a hernia.

There I made a drawing with a central symbol of a star above a half moon on black background. My mother, who visited me, asked me, if she could have the drawing for a few days because she thought it to be interesting; I soon got it back.

Thirty years later I saw that she had shown the drawing to Jung, who gave a lecture on “half-moon and star.”

What Jung could not know, and I think my mother had not seen, was that the half-moon and the star are the crest of the Fierz family, but here turned upside down and on black instead of on a red background. To 1929 l also had not seen chis; it came spontaneously “out of the unconscious.”

But in 1959 I saw that in 1929 I must have been strongly, bur unconsciously constellated by my ancestors, and by my present Fierz family. My own analysis of the drawing showed to me that other parts of the drawing, which seemed to be purely ornamental, had all a specific meaning (drawn quire consciously) and as a whole represented a strong tendency in my person to work in communities, as, for instance, professional societies as secretary or president.

For me as an introvert, these jobs have been rather a hobby, as for other people to play bridge. My most interesting job was here to be secretary general of a Swiss member-society of the International Federation for Medical Psychotherapy.

C. G. Jung was president of this Swiss Society. This meant, for thirteen years, an “extrovert” collaboration with Jung, with many professional and political problems, (even analysts have political problems, more than one would imagine!).

So we see: Even a master can’t always give a complete interpretation of a drawing without the context of the designer.

At the same time, or soon afterwards, Jung met my father at a party. He said co him that his practice at present was a stress for him and that he felt tired.

My father told him that he planned tomorrow to go on a trip co Egypt and Palestine, and said: ” Why don’t you come with me. I’ll start tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Zurich Railway Station, and in train and boar (the steamer General Steuben”). I’ll travel first class, and this means that in the compartment there is always a second bed nor used.” Jung answered that chis seemed to him co be quite an impossible proposal, “I can’t leave my practice, my patients from one hour to the other.”

But the next day at 11 a.m. Jung was at the station and said to my father: ”I’ve realized that somebody who is tired and needs a rest , and nevertheless continues to work, is a fool. I’ll come with you.”

First they went by train and boat to Alexandria. When they left the boat a chiromancer came to them, offering to read their hands. First he read the hand of my father and stated: “You are well off, but people think that you are much richer than you are in fact. That’s always good.”

Then he read Jung’s hand and said quietly: “Oh, you are one of the very few great men I have seen. I can’t say more.” And he added: “For great men and their friends there is no fee, ” but he got something of course. On the way back from Palestine Jung sold a western part of the beautiful peninsula at Bollingen to my father, to build a house there.

He said openly: ” It’s friendship, but not this alone. I have realized that one family alone is not strong enough to defend this beautiful part of the border of the lake against the growing pressure of village and scare to have the lake free for the public, and to build a patch along the lake, just before my tower. And if so, I think the second family should be that of a friend.”

Jung and my father were dead some time when village and state came in with a strong intention to build the path Jung had feared. But Jung’s family and my family together were strong enough to persuade the authorities to have a road at a good distance behind the two houses. But on the boat my father managed also to convince Jung that he should return co his academic activity and to become a professor at the E. T. H., section for humanities.

So Jung did read there for many years on “General Psychology.” For my person the trip has been very helpful indeed.

For thirty years I had the pleasure and the honor to be-with my family-a neighbor of Jung’s ac Bollingen , and in my medical studies I had (the section for humanities of the E. T. H. is open to all students of Zurich University) the best professor for psychology and psychotherapy one could imagine.

Bur after passing the Matura-Exam (access co university) I first did not plan to study medicine. I began to study architecture at the Stuttgart Institute for Technology. My main professor was Prof. Fiechner (a cousin of Jung; he built the beautiful home of Jung at Kusnacht). Bur I did not get the right contact with the field , and I was quite unable to produce correct ground plans.

So I went to Fiechner and told him that I had to quit architecture. Fiechner: “Finally a man who has sense. We have 150 students in my department, and no work for them, after the studies.” (It was the time of the economic crisis which later gave Mr. Hitler his great chance.)” And I’m also glad , for a relative of mine asks for a working place , and now I can tell him to come.”

The relative was C. G . Jung’s son Franz who just had decided to abandon medicine and turn to architecture! I returned to Zurich and tried it with law, but also there I was not satisfied. Then, in summer 1932, I had a dream which impressed me enormously. Therefore I decided to consult a psychiatrist. I went to an excellent psychiatrist and philosopher whom I had known for some years.

I told him my problem and the dream. He said: “Who do you think is the best expert in dreams in the region?”

I answered that there was no doubt that this was Dr. Jung, but that I would not dare, as a young student, to consult such a famous capacity.

Now my psychiatrist said: ” First you are wrong, because if a young man, or woman, has a problem and does not go to see for advice the best man he knows, he makes a great mistake. And second: In fact you did not consult Jung because he is a capacity, but because your mother was with him in analysis. Don’t care what your mother did or does, do just what’s right for you.”

So I asked C. G . Jung for a consultation and immediately got an appointment.

I discussed my situation and the dream with Jung at length. The result was that I should go into the field of psychotherapy, and Jung said that therefore I should study medicine, then become a specialize in psychiatry, and during these studies get more and more acquainted with psychology and analysis. I said that this seemed to be an enormously long way, and asked if there could be a more direct access co psychology and analysis.

Jung smiled and gave me the following sentence: “Mr. Fierz, you are still a young man. Please, learn first the ABC. Later you still can become a Jesus Christ.”

So .I went to study medicine and psychiatry. I must say, Jung’s advice was for me the right one.

Studying medicine, I was forced to work on my inferior sensation function. And later I saw that I had a great interest in Jung’s early papers and books on the psychology of psychoses, and that there was still quite a lot to do co continue Jung’s clinical work. So I have always worked part-rime in a psychiatric hospital, where my position after all was much better as an M.D. than as a psychologist.

I do not think that every Jungian analyst should be an M.D., but I think some of the Jungians need some members who are M.D.’s to further the contact with general psychiatry and general medicine. So chose who are ape for it should go the way of medical studies. Today I think that I know the ABC more or less. But I must state, I prefer not to be a Jesus Christ!

A funny incident:

More or less at the time I consulted Jung, my parents asked me to draw a correct plan of some parts of the house they had built in Bollingen, because they wanted to change something. This rime, after having left architecture, to draw the plan was not difficult at all for me, and even some tricky details, which had driven me half-crazy at Stuttgart, were no problem at all.

In the thirties, in analysis with Jung, after the discussion of a dream we arrived at a point where a personal problem of mine was constellated , a problem I did not like to speak about.

So I rather reluctantly began: “Yes, I must say, I … ,”and I stopped for a moment.

Jung: “Oh, you never must. Don’t overlook it, and do not fear it. Now, have you another dream?” (I had).

Jung’s tact and delicacy in analysis were admirable. When he felt that a problem was a central and personal problem where nobody had the right to intrude, it was for him like thievery to insist; there are questions which are our personal property and where everybody must find in his individual way his own answer.

A compulsion for confession Jung did not know-he was anyhow for freedom, and not for compulsion.

In the meetings of the Zurich Psychology Club Jung was, of course, the center of the discussion there followed a lecture. He was always inspired and inspiring, could become emotional, and once after a lecture he nearly got angry and said:

“How can you offer us these things as new findings? That’s something I have already said a hundred years ago … !” After a short pause the first to laugh was Jung.

Soon after the second war I met Jung before his tower at Bollingen.

He came slowly down a little path to the lake, looked at me and said quite seriously: “Just now I am a rhinoceros.” Ac this time we knew each other well enough, so that he knew that I did understand him. I knew how he had been impressed by the way the rhinoceros went its path straight on, nor bothering what was at right or at left; it was oneof his stories after he had been for research and experience in Africa.

At the time I met him the discussion was vivid as to whether Jung was right or wrong during the Nazi times, when he founded (1933/34), together with other non-German analysts, and of course two Germans too, an International Federation for Medical Psychotherapy, to give our German friends some support against the Nazi pressure.

Jung was the first president of the federation, and it is obvious that he could not help our German colleagues if he started to criticize or ro insult the new German government.

He had to behave, and to express himself, rather carefully. Therefore some people thought him to be pro-Nazi.

Jung’s “rhinoceros” stared: “I do not care what’s at left or to right, l went, and I go my way, and I know the way is the right way.” (In his lectures at Zurich, there was rarely one without a tiring remark about the Nazis!)

In the fifties I was charged to publish a book of a scientist who had died just recently. But the editors also wanted C. G. Jung’s opinion.

I had an appointment with Jung at 5:00 p.m. Jung had read the book and he thought that it should not be published, bur I disagreed and was for publication.

Our discussion finally got rather sharp, and Jung looked at his wristwatch, obviously thinking that he had spent enough time on the matter and that he could send me home.

Looking at his watch he said: “When did you come?”

I: “At five, as agreed.”

Jung: “But char’s queer. My watch came back from the watchmaker this morning after a complete revision, and now I have 5:05. But you must have been here much longer. What rime do you have?”

I: “It’s 5:35.” Whereon Jung said: “So you have the right time, and I the wrong one. Let us discuss the thing again.”

This time I could convince Jung that the book should be published. It is now out of print , having made a profit for the heirs of the author, and for the editors; a new edition is planned.

We see: Jung’s contact with the unconscious was so developed that if needed, it came in with synchronicities, and to synchronicities Jung of course did listen.

In summer 1955 I visited Jung at Bollingen.

He felt tired, mentioned a senile difficulty in finding words or terms (which was obvious), and said that he especially suffered from a continuous, quick movement of thoughts he could not stop. “It’s not nice to be so old,” he finished, and added that he did not know if he would be able to decide (a careful expression!) to come in ten days to the great reception the Zurich Psychology Club had organized at the Dolder Grand, Zurich, (or his eightieth birthday.

We went to the reception and got information that C. G. Jung would come. There I saw what for him “to be able to decide to come” meant.

In came a man with no senility at all, in the best of his moods, fluent in Swiss, German, French and English, shaking hands with his friends, laughing at jokes, making jokes.

And when Cornelia Brunner, the president of the club, after having greeted Jung said: “Dear friends, in regard to the presence of the Master, may I ask you not to smoke, Jung got up and quietly went to the door. Cornelia looked at him in great astonishment, and Jung, smiling, turned co her: “Cornelia, I go for a moment outside to smoke a pipe.”

In spring 1961 I went to see Jung at Bollingen, for there was in summer at Vienna a Congress of the International Federation for Medical Psychotherapy.

After I explained my thoughts on the lecture I had to give there on Jungian therapy of psychoses to Jung, he said: “All right, char’s quite all right. But at the end of the lecture you must insist and explain very dearly, that if we want to help people, psychotic or not psychotic, we first need a vast knowledge of human culture, of natural science, of philosophy, also of industry and the organization of modern world.

Human nature is complicated, and new again in every case or group.

Therefore we must learn, continue to learn and never cease co learn. And you must state that we must know facts, not theories.”

During our discussion Jung was careful and clear. He always took his duties as a president of the Swiss Society very seriously.

Soon afterwards Jung died.

My lecture at Vienna was a C. G . Jung memorial lecture.

Finally I may mention one characteristic side of Jung. When you meet him, he was by no means “great,” he had a simple and very normal way of behaving.

The only remarkable thing was, that after a few minutes he was near to you Like a brother, like an old friend . This was beautiful, and also nor without danger.

A man of his reputation could constellate a further projection. But Jung was not apt to be a father figure.

With men, a father transference could produce severe conflicts, and could even be destructive. With women, the father transference could turn the image of Jung too easily into an image of Jesus Christ!

And the result of this could be, when Jung once did not behave like a god, but as a human being with the weak sides we all have, a dangerous shock, a shock or disappointment.

For Jung was a genius, but no father, no god, he was normal and human.

The well-known Swiss psychiatrist Wyrsch wrote about Jung in a paper “Swiss Psychiatry”: Although world-famous, although the only Swiss psychiatrist whose collected works have been published, Jung was, when he came to our meetings-and in earlier years he often came–just Like everybody else. ~C.G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff -A Collection of Remembrances, Page 15-23.