[Analyst and author Jane Wheelwright was a patient of Jung’s in the 1930s]
People who never knew Jung wonder what he was like.
And it is not surprising, considering the enormous impact his writings now have and how much they help towards a logical solution to our collective dilemma.
His conclusions accepting and including our primitive origins link mythological thinking to Western modern scientific objectivity
They have thus connected many of us to our cultural roots from which we have been dangerously estranged.
Conversant with all religious beliefs, but never having to superimpose any one of them on to our own heritage, Jung maintained our
He enriched and amplified and verified our roots and course of historical development by searching out worldwide human common denominators lying in the deepest unconscious religious stratas o(the human psyche.
It is no wonder that more and more people are asking what he was like and more often than not wanting to be assured of his humanity.
With too much hearsay and adulation since his death, he seems to many who also must go the individual route, out of reach.
These are the people who must descend to their psychological depths where human common roots like to find their way, renewed and creative, back to humanity.
He, nevertheless, as a man, if people only knew it, still stands as a model for them in their efforts to cope with a sense of the meaninglessness of their lives.
For this reason it might be helpful to share, out of personal observations, what I knew about Jung in the early thirties when we were in Zurich, when he was a controversial figure in a Freudian-dominated psychological world and therefore easier to see.
If possible I would like to convey to those who became aware of him after his death his complexity, breadth and humanness.
I would like to indicate the fantastic spiritual heights he reached as well as the earthly solid rock foundation within him that he stood on.
Possibly the following general impressions and vignettes will help to convey what a broad cosmic horizon his was.
I can only hope so.
Jane Wheelwright: “Jung was a mountain of a man – big enough to encompass every kind of person imaginable.
All kinds of people big and small found through him their uniqueness.
He touched all kinds of people who came his way.
Sometimes it was through what he inadvertently said – more often than not something he would not remember.
Sometimes it was what he did.
Mostly it was what he was: a comprehensive, large, all-embracing, complete man.
He spanned in himself everything from greatness and power to all-too-human failings.
He could be irritable and sometimes downright demanding.
Explosions of rage were not uncommon.
He even could be duped at times by unscrupulous and ambitious people.
Sometimes he seemed to reduce to human ordinariness. At other times he seemed to expand – to literally
physically expand – to overpowering size.
I remember once experiencing him like this.
I must have betrayed my feeling that he was beyond my reach because he said out of the blue, “Do I have horns on my head?”
Jung was able to constellate the unconscious of countless numbers and kinds of people.
It was an extraordinary gift that he had. . . . I believe he was at his best as an analyst.”
All of us who were, for whatever reason, within his orbit were inevitably stirred.
I cannot see how it could be otherwise for many others, because most of us did our personal analysis with him and knew him in that role.
In fact I believe he was also at his best as an analyst.
He seemed to find the social life difficult.
He had no small talk.
I remember him saying with a sigh when he was already in his late seventies: “I still have to go out to dinner and my son-in-law will take me there.”
It sounded like one more task that had to be done. Jung in his autobiography inadvertently accounts for his magic influence in descriptions of his encounters with the collective unconscious.
Having been there himself, he became a bridge for those around him to their own experience of the collective unconscious.
In fact he was rooted in the collective where all humanity meets–one foot planted there, the other in the outer world.
Something was always happening or seeming to happen because of Jung.
The air was alive; impressive dreams to all sorts of people appeared; coincidences that ordinarily would not happen happened.
Unknown depths were stirred, electrifying the atmosphere.
Everything, even small incidents suddenly took on big meaning when he
was around. It was a charged atmosphere. Sometimes it was overbearingly so and some people behaved monstrously because of it.
Women fought each other to get close to him and men railed against him because of imagined neglect.
After his death, von Franz said: “There’s no excitement around here anymore.”
The miraculous became an everyday occurrence in Zurich around Jung.
That was the feeling one got. It was, however, a subjective reaction that was not always shared by outsiders.
In fact for some of them there was sometimes an aura of cultism.
I felt that when I first arrived in Zurich and quickly became rebellious.
Yet, once within the magic circle, unexpected vistas were opened.
I had come to Zurich, like others before me, stuck in a kind of modern hopelessness and isolation and two-dimensional ordinariness that seemed inevitable.
Then, suddenly in Zurich, at last, there was life-even though at times it was expressed in strange, sometimes weird, ways.
Later, Jung showed in his autobiography that his life had always been a lonely affair. Observing him in Zurich, surrounded by people, it was nevertheless clear he was going it alone.
He contained the others who crowded around him, but there was no one to contain him.
He must have been on the lookout for people to share his loneliness because, when he contacted you he made you feel you just might be that one.
So towering a personality seeking an equivalent personality made it a heady business.
It was an unforgettable experience to have someone of such force come at you like that.
And how you wished you could provide what he seemed to seek.
There you were with all the doors opened to you and sooner or later, instead, you would be another transference casualty.
You, because of your inadequacy, forced him, once more, into the role of container.
His breadth and depth were beyond anything most of us would ever have experienced had he not been a physician who took on all comers.
He was not, by the way, one of the famous who associated only with the famous.
His inspiration came not only from out of himself and his studies but from those, no matter how unknown, who were also seeking.
Zurich is a small town, which made encounters with others not unusual, so I caught many glimpses of Jung living other sides of his
I saw him on a number of occasions driving his American car at what seemed beyond all speeding limits-charging down the
street and out of sight in no time.
I saw him at other times walking along the street with the Ziircher Zeitig stuffed clumsily into his coat pocket.
He always read the newspaper he said.
It kept him connected with the collective-the conscious collective-which must have been a necessary balance to the depths he lived in so much of the time.
Once he was Christmas shopping with Toni Wolff.
Being so small and he so large, she had to pop up beside him and almost push him aside to declare herself there too.
At a Psychology Club party a group of Swiss men had eddied off to one corner of the room.
All of a sudden Jung, gesticulating, hollered like a Swiss cowherd.
He was whooping it up, making a big noise, creating a commotion.
It seemed to me, although I might have projected my own reluctance, that it was his way of standing the party.
At a Thanksgiving celebration organized by the Americans, the men were asked to entertain the guests with speeches.
Passing through Zurich on his way home from a visit to Russia, a young idealistic college student found his way to our party.
He had been listening to the bourgeois humor when suddenly he stood up and looking straight at Jung said: “The trouble is you are not conscious.”
But as luck or the devil or the Trickster would have it, he did not explain he meant class consciousness-the going expression for communism those days.
I sat directly opposite Jung near enough to hear him say out of the side of his mouth: “Sez you.”
It was as though this young man had been willy-nilly drawn into Jung’s circle and was, without noticing what had touched him, struggling not to be like the others who had swooned at the feet of the master-especially in so capitalist a place as Zurich.
Besides, Jung’s comments deploring mass movements and dictatorships that threatened the freedom of the individual, were well-known.
At times Jung’s concern for the individual was touching.
It did not matter of what color, class, condition, the person was, nor how educated.
It did not matter from where he came if he was true to himself and sincere in his own quest.
I remember Jung’s excitement when a clerk from some humble office from our anonymous Midwest, having saved up enough money, got himself to Zurich to see Jung.
He had questions about Jung’s writings and he needed to know more.
Jung gave him an appointment immediately and at a time he had already been turning people away for lack of time.
He obviously admired this little man and wanted to honor him.
Perhaps he had found another loner with courage and independence and determination even though on a humble level?
It was a sight to see this great man so touched and flattered and happy that so little a man had sought him out.
On other occasions Jung could be harsh, and, at times, it seemed, heartless.
He may have had his legitimate reasons, but it was hard to know.
There was, for instance, a woman who had been analysing for years in preparation for analysis with him.
The day came when he would take her on.
She was overcome in anticipation or by his presence.
For whatever reason, she melted into tears.
This went on for every appointment for a considerable length of time.
He coped with her dissolved state by reading the newspaper.
A friend of mine told me Jung talked forty-five minutes out of her hour.
He apparently took an interest in the issues brought up and she was a rather receptive type. She found him, however, helpful in
Behavior like this certainly does not fit the analytical stereotype as we know it!
Still another woman I knew told me she went to an enormous effort to write a play as homework for her analysis.
She finally proudly presented it to him.
He handed it back without reading it.
He must have rebelled at her slavish effort to please him.
And as far as I know she never wrote again.
This incident belies the Zurich tradition that he apparently subscribed to, namely, that women have to live through men.
Times like these, and there were others, made me sense that Jung, although a product of the patriarchal society, had somewhere in him an instinctual sense that women need to be independent of men as well as related to them.
Some clever woman, had there been one in his orbit, might have brought out of him this realization.
Another incident was when the government officials of Jung’s home town Kusnacht, a suburb of Zurich, asked him to speak to them.
In all the years he lived there it was the first time they had officially recognized him.
He dropped his practice, closed his doors and went into a long preparation for the speech he would give to these un-psychological people.
He had been honored or so he felt that he must prepare for them as he had not prepared for the most sophisticated
audience. His excitement was aroused, he was challenged as
he had seldom been challenged and he appeared to be happy.
That was long ago, but the incident sticks in my memory as vividly as when it happened.
Every Wednesday, after the seminars in which Jung tried out his new and yet unpublished ideas, he took off down the street with a bevy of females in tow.
One of the women, a very pretty society lady Jung tried in vain to help find herself, usually hooked her arm into his.
She called him “Uncle C. G.”
The plainer ladies (obviously hating the pretty one) and a few men (there were always many more ladies than men around him) were shier, following at a more respectful distance. All of them were on their way to a coffee place where he would continue psychological discussions.
In the seminars, one large, ample, fearsome lady put coat, umbrella, hat, on chairs in the front row, tacitly daring anyone to sit there. Another good-looking lady sat in her usual seat which no other person ever tried to commandeer.
She always knew the answers to Jung’s pointed questions.
She knew often before he did what he was going to say.
He could be embarrassed by her on rare occasions.
She relished that and let it be known she was on the inside track.
She was the wife of a personal friend of his.
An heir apparent did not last long.
While in favor he sat conspicuously in the rear of the room not needing to be up front-he knew all “that stuff” anyhow.
He was not like us who had only just discovered the bonanza.
Some years later the A. P. C. in London organized a lecture for Jung.
The hall was overrun by an unexpectedly large audience making the profits more than we dreamed they could be.
We had settled with Jung for his fee.
After the lecture he came to us as we were gloating over our spoils and said quite blandly, “And where do I come in?” He was right, of course, but I was taken aback.
Somehow he should have been above or outside of money.
I did not know then what I know now about the Swiss: that it is one place their down-to-earthness is always demonstrated.
Jung was no exception.
He could also be unusually generous.
He told Joe and me, for instance, we could pay him when we were rich.
He knew at what sacrifice we came to Zurich.
One brief reference to Jung’s home might help to describe him a little.
Guarding the house and making it even less hospitable was Jung’s schnauzer, a rather disagreeable dog, that always escorted one stiffly to the equally stiff front door.
The house is a formal, typically bourgeois Swiss structure and it was where he saw his patients.
It had that same closed-up, off-limits look of the well-to-do Swiss homes everywhere. Swiss towns are not hospitable.
In fact it is customary to expect the newcomer to Switzerland to make the first social gesture.
Jung had warned me that people who are close to the unconscious must look out for his dog.
The dog had a habit of biting such people.
I was deep in the unconscious, as everyone else around Jung was, but somehow the dog was my friend.
Leading me straight to Jung’s study, he seemed to be conducting me on a tour of inspection.
On entering his study Jung amiably called it “the chamber of horrors.”
The little room was a clutter of stacked unread letters, notes in his handwriting, all kinds of papers, and books opened to special
Some esoteric or Eastern or strange objects were around the room. In the middle of the clutter was a rather worn, overstuffed,
slightly floundering leather chair.
It was for the patient.
The room had a look of hard, casual use and comfort.
It was a private, warm, but small nest for a large man whose cultural and intellectual curiosity and quests knew no limits.
The dog was part of it.
He climbed in under Jung’s desk, eyeing me, then came out to my outstretched hand.
In this strange place and in the presence of an overpowering strange man, I found the dog my ally. Jung tried to drive him off with a harsh “Shss,” probably fearing he might quiet me, but I kept my contact with him and soon Jung seemed to understand.
It was hard going with Jung because, once in his presence, one felt as though all the surrounding matter had turned into whizzing molecules.
Everything there seemed to be moving, melting, changing forms.
Everything stirred. Reality blurred, conversation happened unplanned.
I felt someone, not me, spoke through me and someone not Jung was speaking through him.
There was also the feeling of being swept into the depths to a perilous, dangerous underworld but since Jung had descended into this strange world and emerged so could I.
In his presence I did not register on the difference of our statures!
An archetype had taken over?
Whatever it was, it seemed to be creating before my eyes and ears and senses a model of the changed person I was meant to finally become. Trying the new me on me, so to speak.
Equally strange was Jung. Instead of being the doctor who cures you, he was allowing himself to be equally affected. He made a comment that seemed to come from somewhere far away: “You,are a difficult person,” he said and I heard myself from equally far away say to him, “You are not so easy yourself.”
I was not disrespectful, although almost exactly half his age.
I was, instead, conveying something that was implicit in the situation and acceptable to him.
(I did not know that, because I had a twin brother who psychologically featured more prominently in my life than my parents, I had projected the twin image onto Jung.)
Two people were caught in a vice that was forcing them to undergo an important rearrangement of themselves that had a significance-some meaning far beyond them. It was an order from out there somewhere.
“So you’re in the soup too,” had been one of Jung’s opening remarks–(he loved American slang and I was now experiencing in no uncertain terms
what he meant.)
And like other patients, I was told later, I was convinced Jung had blue eyes instead of the beady black eyes he actually had.
Jung’s willingness to expose himself to the unknown, as this incident shows, was to my mind his genius and the foundation of Jungian
The confrontation was what mattered, especially the emotion that connects the psyche and the soma engendered by it.
In my first appointment with Jung he asked me what my attitude towards him was. I said he would be a catalyst for me.
I had read Jung and I was painfully aware of the people around him who had become hopelessly enmeshed in his aura and who seemed to have lost
their identity in the sticky, gluey substance of the transference.
I was bound not to be one of these. He agreed with me that would be his role.
But not long afterwards I heard him say in a gently pleading way from deep down in his humanity, “Can’t you see me as a human being?”
It was then my objectivity collapsed.
I would let myself in for whatever would happen, and the give-and-take between us was launched. Needless to say, the analysis in the long run established
that new attitude and new insight and sense of myself that has remained the core of my being to this day.
It also convinced me of the importance of a real relationship in the analytical hour.
Outside of his study Jung was formal and polite.
I read recently Gerhard Adler’s account of his first appointment with Jung and how the memory of it to this day stayed with him.
Jung’s concrete approach, emphasizing so vividly the reality of the psyche, is what impressed him. My experience of Jung’s concrete approach,
apart from presenting himself as a person, not a doctor, came in an incident early in the analysis.
I had confessed to Jung I feared insanity, a common feeling when one is close to the collective.
It had been a secret fear.
He made a grab in the air towards me with both hands as if catching a football and then hugging it to himself said, “Now I have it and you will not fear any longer.”
As I remember it the fear disappeared at that moment.
I did not consider myself picked out by Jung for any special treatment.
I am certain that most of his patients had the same experience.
I was fortunate, however, in having what he called the primitive and modern split that he was in 1935 studying.
Had I not had the split, he would not have taken me on because, as he said, he was bored with young people.
He had already lived too much of his own youth.
He was interested, instead, in those who had entered the second half of life, where he was.
(This was also Jung’s great contribution. He had the courage to frankly admit he was interested only in people who were also able to contribute to his own concerns.)
Incidentally, others with the primitive and modern split also found their way to Jung.
Mine had been caused by an identification with nature in a wilderness area in a part of the world where not even an Indian culture survived to mitigate its potency.
On top of this I was sent to sophisticated schools and colleges as my introduction to civilization.
Somehow I felt I must make a quantum leap from the social level of stone age woman to the twentieth century, and Jung could help me.
It was sheer luck that I appeared on his doorstep in that phase of his life.
Jung was definitely the patriarch and was paternalistic.
His very physical dimension promoted such a role.
But I feel, because of his discovery of his anima and his enormous popularity with women, as well as getting support for his new radical ideas from them, especially American women, he, at least theoretically, wanted women to improve their lot and make their legitimate way into the professions.
He was not, however, altogether convincing in his behavior.
When I encountered him about the first appointment he said he would discuss the time and day with my husband.
I said “What about me?” with the usual American indignation.
He said rather clumsily “That will come later.”
I give this episode only because it shows him in his spontaneity referring to the man as the controller of a woman’s fate.
But because of my work with him and the momentum it engendered, I found in the long run my true female independence.
Besides, I could also, finally, thanks to him, outgrow my total dependence on his ideas and develop some of my own.
Studying Jung’s ideas, I find him always theoretically standing for a woman’s independence. Her individuation really means that.
Once I heard him say the femme a l’ homme has a very hard time in old age.
And in his writings it is clear individuation certainly means independence in the objective sense, but, necessarily, also through
relationships-preferably a long-term relationship.
But to make that possible, as I see it, a woman must be independent of the man.
At any rate, with the help of Jung’s ideas about animus and anima it was possible to reconcile, at least to myself, the modern woman’s
movement and on the whole approve of it.
Jung seemed to say that the new era can come through only by means of the feminine principle (through Eros) and that is not only in the man’s experience of his anima.
It obviously has to come primarily through women.
No man’s anima can compare to a real flesh-and-blood woman.
It can, however, give the man some respect and belief and liking and trustin women that can help forward the movement.
On this note I would like to end, because it refers to Jung’s farsightedness and to his specific contribution to the future.
Without it I feel there would be far more delay in the understanding of women.
It also is another example of how Jung’s broad vision did in the longrun constellate for me specifically my need to strive towards being a
free modern woman with my roots planted deeply in the soil of archaic woman.
The more Jung’s concepts of the animus and anima are understood and the more Jung’s insistence on the conscious realization of these
concepts, the sooner the woman’s movement will bring about the necessary changes in our society. At least I think so.
I wish therefore to honor Jung as having made an enormous contribution to this nextstep in our social evolution.
~Jane Wheelwright, J.E.T., Pages 96-97.
Carl Jung across the web:
Blog: http: http://carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com/
Facebook: Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/56536297291/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Carl-Jung-326016020781946/
Great Sites to visit:
- Jenna Lilla’s Path of the Soul http://jennalilla.org/
Steve Jung-Hearted Parker’s Jung Currents http://jungcurrents.com/
Frith Luton’s Jungian Dream Analysis and Psychotherapy: http://frithluton.com/articles/
Lance S. Owens The Gnosis Archives http://gnosis.org/welcome.html