On February 14, 1955, the profile of “Psychiatrist Carl Jung” appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.
The yellow diagonal banner across the right top corner read “EXPLORING THE SOUL: A Challenge to Freud.” The title of the lengthy article in the Medicine section was “The Old Wise Man.”
Monday, Feb. 14, 1955
MEDICINE: THE OLD WISE MAN
Freud, Adler and Jung—these names personify, above all others, modern man’s restless exploration of his own mind, his struggles for self-knowledge and for control of his darkest drives. In the 20th century, impelled by the detailed theory and dogma of the Big Three, psychology has burst out of consulting room and clinic, spreading all through life and leaving nothing untouched—neither love nor the machine, war nor politics, neither art nor morals nor God. Of the three pioneers who built this Age of Psychology, Freud and Adler are dead. The third, Carl Gustav Jung, is still at 79 tirelessly adventuring through the vast reaches of the psyche.
Last week, wreathed by pipe smoke that swirled through his thinning white hair and gave him the aspect of a medieval alchemist, Jung was busy in the study of his old fashioned, high-ceilinged house at Küsnacht on Lake Zurich. The three-volume work on which he was dotting the last “i” seemed strange for a modern psychiatrist: Representation of the Problems of Opposites in Medieval Natural Philosophy. “Pretty abstruse, huh?” said Jung to a visitor. Then laughter rocked his heavy shoulders. “I must laugh! I have such a hell of a trouble to make people see what I mean.”
For a man who has added such words as introvert, extravert and complex (in its psychological meaning) to the party patter of millions, Jung has indeed great difficulty in making people see what he means. That is partly because he has explored yoga, alchemy, fairy tales, the tribal rites of the Pueblo Indians, German romantic philosophers, Zen Buddhism, extrasensory perception and the cave drawings of prehistoric man, along with an estimated 100,000 dreams. But when Dr. Jung is accused of having left medicine for mysticism, he replies that psychiatry must take into account all of man’s experience, from the most intensely practical to the most tenuously mystical.
If the details of his work are sometimes foggy, his overall purpose is clear: to help man live at peace with his unconscious. That is the aim also of the other “depth psychologists,” but Jung significantly differs from the others. He is a constant challenge to the legacy of his old master, Sigmund Freud, whose teachings have affected man’s view of himself more deeply than anything since Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.
THE FREUDIAN VIEW
Through most of the Christian era, the healing of the mind was considered part of the realm of the soul. The Enlightenment abolished the soul. Its place was taken, in the minds of millions, by reason, which stood atop a quaking pile of instincts.
When Freud was a young man, scientific inquiry and materialism ruled even in psychiatry. Research was aimed at finding physiological causes for psychic effects. Freud’s great contribution was his discovery of the unconscious mind, the source of human drives that did not fit into this narrow system.
But Freud still clung to the mechanical and material scientism of his age. He constructed a new, detailed, machinelike scheme of the mind. The steam that made the machine run was sexual energy or libido. In Freud’s view, the unconscious was cluttered with emotional material, commonly thought of as forgotten but actually repressed because of a conflict between sex-powered drives and personal or social standards of what is acceptable.
Freud concluded that to rid patients of their neuroses, he had to dredge up the repressed material and expose it to the cleansing processes of the conscious mind. The Freudian concept of libido was eventually broadened to include love, friendship, even devotion to abstract ideas. But Freud narrowly insisted that the infantile parricide-and-incest wish which he called the Oedipus Complex was crucially important in all human beings. As Jung bitingly put it: “The brain is viewed as an appendage of the genital glands.”
Vienna’s Alfred Adler, an early disciple of Freud, soon rejected this sex-is-everything view, and formulated his theory that human beings are propelled more by drives for power because of inherent feelings of inferiority. But in the Freudian world, the human being stands alone, without a will to make free moral choices, conditioned by mysterious urges and traumas over which he has no control. Creative work, good deeds, ambition are only “sublimation.” Religion is usually a form of neurosis; God is a projection of the Father image.
It is against this view of life, this “psychology without a psyche,” that Jung protests in all his work.
THE JUNGIAN ANSWER
Man’s unconscious, argues Jung, is not merely a trash basket for disagreeable experiences thrown away by the conscious mind, but a vast subterranean storehouse full of both good and evil. For the most part the eternal human affections, aspirations and fears are just what they seem to be. Religion is not a neurosis, in Jung’s view; it is a deeply and universally felt human need.
Jung concedes great merit to Freud, believes his methods work with some patients, notably younger ones with real sexual problems. But, says Jung, both Freud and Adler say to everything, “‘You are nothing but…’ They explain to the sufferer that his symptoms come from here or there and are ‘nothing but’ this or that… Sexuality, it is true, is always and everywhere present; the instinct for power certainly does penetrate the heights and the depths of the soul; but the soul itself is not solely either the one or the other, or even both together… A person is only half understood when one knows how everything in him came about. Only a dead man can be explained in terms of the past… Life is not made up of yesterdays only…”
Jung’s view is gaining increasing respect among intellectuals, clergyman, ordinary laymen. It is also reflected among analysts.* Most analysts are dedicated Freudians who run their profession as a kind of closed shop and dismiss Jung as an escapist from life’s harsh realities. But there is a constant splintering: besides the Jungians and Adlerians, there is a whole spectrum of deviationists—followers of Karen Horney, Otto Rank, Erich Fromm, Harry Stack Sullivan, Franz Alexander, Melanie Klein. There are also more and more eclectics who derive most of their theory from Freud but add a little of Jung or Adler or a dash of Horney and Sullivan. Many of them nowadays admit that Freudian analysis may have been too narrowly based on sexual drives, and that other matters—even religion—ought perhaps to be considered. Writes Milton Sapirstein, an analyst of the Freudian school: “More and more, psychiatrists seem prepared to accept the dependencies of religion, social causes and group movements as healthy and needful, without labeling them ‘sublimated homosexuality’ to a father figure, or a desire to return to the mother’s womb.”
Freud was the Columbus who discovered the hemisphere of the unconscious. Jung may well be the Magellan to circumscribe the whole sphere of the psyche.
In the Jungian hypothesis, the mind has three layers: 1) the conscious, which is just about what everybody thinks it is; 2) the personal unconscious (corresponding, but only approximately, to Freud’s unconscious), into which go forgotten facts and repressed emotional material; and 3) the collective unconscious, which is part of the heritage of the entire human race, and therefore a sort of common pool containing the instincts and some patterns for mental behavior.
What drives the psychic machine? Libido, says Jung, but he uses the word differently from Freud: Jung’s libido includes all psychic energy. It can flow, says Jung, in either of two directions, in either of two dimensions. When it is flowing forward, from the unconscious to the conscious, a man feels that life is running smoothly as he goes about his business. Psychic energy must also flow in reverse, from the conscious to the unconscious, as when a man relaxes from an active to a pensive or dreamy state. But if this backward flow lasts too long, the libido is being attracted to something in the unconscious that is stirring toward consciousness. If this is not made conscious, it will attract around it similar material which then forms a knot or complex.
Psychic energy may also flow inward or outward. If in an individual it usually goes outward, he is an extravert. When he perceives an object or situation, his first reaction is to project his energy onto the object and away from himself. But if it flows inward, he is an introvert, and his first reaction is along the lines of “What will this do to me?”
Jung then breaks down personality types into four classes, depending on which of the major psychic functions they rely on most heavily: sensation, thinking, feeling or intuition. Since anybody can be either extraverted or introverted in combination with any of the four main functions, Jung recognizes eight basic personality types. But he has said repeatedly — unfortunately for the thick-tongued dogmatism of cocktail-party conversation — that everybody is enough of a mixture so that the labels are only a rough guide. In fact, there are some rare souls who defy classification at all.
ARCHETYPES FOR ALL
Things are not so simple in the Jungian unconscious. There, Jung sees a host of symbols which represent the archetypes. In writing of them, Jung, who has a vivid style and imagination, sometimes sounds almost as if he were writing about living beings. But the Jung archetypes are simply ancient patterns of human experience and feeling, repeated over and over in all ages and cultures. They occur in two principal forms: 1) in individual thoughts, dreams and visions; 2) projected as myths, customs or faiths.
When Jung started out as a practicing analyst, he found again and again that ancient symbols and rituals were repeated in the dreams of 20th century patients who could not possibly have heard or read of them. He concluded that mankind’s collective unconscious 1) far predates the evolution of the conscious part of the mind, and 2) forms the same basic patterns repeatedly. In each individual, of course, the patterns are differently arranged. (Jung compares this to the body, which is composed of the same organs in all human beings, but with significant individual variations.)
Usually classified as the most obvious archetype — although it belongs largely to the conscious — is the persona. This was the Roman actor’s word for the mask he wore to indicate his assumed character, and Jung uses it in much the same sense: the face which each individual presents to his surroundings. It involves a certain amount of necessary and healthy play acting, easing the relations between a man’s inner world and the world around him. The persona is injurious only when it dominates the true personality beneath.
One danger then is that the persona will blind a man to the existence of his own shadow. This shadow, part of the personal unconscious, is the Mr. Hyde in every Dr. Jekyll, the inferior or evil element that wants to do what the conscious or the conscience forbids. It is necessary to control the shadow, but there is danger: the more firmly it is stamped upon, the greater the force with which it will eventually erupt.
ANIMA, EARTH-MOTHER & SELF
Deeper in the collective unconscious, Jung sees the anima, an embodiment of the “female principle” in man. By this Jung means all the traits in man conventionally considered female, e.g., gentleness and appreciation of the finer things, but also pettiness and rage. More importantly, the anima also enables man to “apprehend the nature of women” — it is the unconscious image of what a woman ought to be. This may range from Helen of Troy to Rider Haggard’s She to the 20-year-old red-haired actress with whom an elderly university professor runs off. The anima, explains a Jung disciple, “has attributes that appear and reappear through the ages . . . She always looks young, though there is often a suggestion of years of experience . . . She is wise, but not formidably so; it is rather that ‘something strangely meaningful — something like secret knowledge . . . clings to her.’ “When this image is projected on a flesh-and-blood woman, a man falls in love, but trouble arises when she fails to fit his unconscious prefab design.
Corresponding to the anima in the female is the animus, the embodiment of all male characteristics in a woman, and her collective, inherited image of man.
Next most important among the archetypes are the old wise man and the earth-mother. The old wise man may appear in dreams or fantasies as a king or hero, medicine man, magician or savior (to Dr. Jung’s patients, he often appears as Dr. Jung). A little of this, Jung holds, is good: every man has in him the seeds of greatness; and it is well for him to be aware of it. But a man abnormally receptive to the idea may turn into the leader of a wild-eyed revivalist sect, with messianic delusions, or a Hitler, or simply a madhouse Napoleon.
The corresponding feminine archetype is the earth-mother — the very source of life. But if a woman becomes “inflated” with the idea, and sees herself endowed with an unmatched capacity for understanding the problems of others, she may become a super-do-gooder, or tighten her circle of mothering influence until it strangles the objects of her devotion.
Finally, towering over a host of lesser archetypes, is the transcendent Self. This embodies elements from both conscious and unconscious, from all the archetypes, good and evil. It is a symbol of oneness such as is found in many religions, e.g., the Hindu atman.
Jung’s concept of the Self leads into the all-important process which he calls individuation. This is the sort of wholeness which Jung found many of his patients pursuing unconsciously after they had actually been cured of neurosis. Individuation may be a lifetime task (“Usually the analyst dies before the patient,” says one Jungian analyst). By getting to know more and more aspects of his unconscious, the subject can give proper values to what were once half-sensed and disturbing urges. Individuation is “finding the God within.”
THE NEED FOR SYMBOLS
In this process, symbols help. One which particularly fascinates Jung is the mandala,** a square and-wheel pattern embodying the number four or a multiple of it. A precious stone, often equated with the philosopher’s stone of the alchemists, can symbolize the Self. The interlaced, banyan-like Tree of Life is often seen to bear a single luminous blossom — perhaps the Orient’s Golden Flower, or a Christmas-tree star — which signifies the way of life that is life itself.
What place have such symbols in modern psychology? Says Jung: they are facts. They appear day after day in the dreams and doodlings of patients. If, for instance, a patient dreams of a snake held skyward, a Freudian analyst will automatically call it a phallic symbol. Jung concedes that it may mean that. But it is also a fact that the serpent has a much broader significance. For instance, to the Ophite Gnostics (2nd century A.D.) the serpent symbolized the redeeming principle of the world. It can stand, says Jung, for the recognition of the shadow side of life, the bringing out of evil into the open. Argues Jung: Why not test the hypothesis that it may represent the same urge in a modern patient? Moreover, says Jung, patients who are often shocked by the appearance of such symbols in their minds, fearing them to be signs of near insanity, are reassured when they find that they are only repeating ancient human patterns.
In a religious age, according to Jung, man would not need to get consciously acquainted with his archetypes, because religion provides its own symbols. But Christianity has become so weakened in this respect — largely through the Protestant Reformation, says Protestant Jung — that to millions its symbols now mean nothing. For this reason, says Jung, Roman Catholicism is generally more effective today than other churches, and he rarely finds Catholics in need of individuation. Says Jung: “[Catholicism] is a full-fledged religion. Protestantism is not. Religions consist of a doctrine and a rite. The ritual does not exist in Protestantism: it has only one leg to stand on — justification through faith alone. The Catholic Church has the rite too, with all its magic effects.” Jung himself has not been to church for years, but when asked if he believes in God, he says: “I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God.”
Unconsciously at least, says Jung, many a modern man seeks the comfort and security of religious symbols. That is why many try to import strange Eastern religions; others turn to demagogues and isms (which Jung regards as volcanic eruptions of the unconscious), and still others go to the analyst. “Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the roots of our being . . . Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.” Hence the man who cannot find religious symbols must be helped by the analyst to understand the symbols in his own unconscious. “I have treated many hundreds of patients . . . Among [those] in the second half of life — that is to say, over 35 — there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life . . .”
DREAM OF A HAYRIDE
The practical differences between the methods of Freud and Jung show up clearly in the case of a successful businessman who went to a Jungian analyst for help. At 51 he had developed a phobia against train or air trips, expressed in uncontrollable anxiety and attacks of giddiness.
Despite the patient’s age, the orthodox Freudian psychoanalyst would have set him on a couch and invited him to talk on in “free association,” especially about his earliest childhood. Purpose: to find either a specific shock related to his giddiness, or some emotional repressed stress.
The Jungian analyst uses no couch, but has the patient seated in a chair and facing him. This setup represents a meeting of equals: unlike Freud, who wanted the analyst to keep in the background,*† Jung believes the doctor must fully share the emotional experience of analysis.
The Jungian analyst is concerned primarily with the present and the future. This businessman had carried too heavy a load of work for years. Now, from his unconscious, come symptoms which force him to cut down his activities. Unconsciously, he must want to slow down. To help the analyst find possible unconscious motives, the businessman is asked to talk about his work and travel (this is not free association, which, Jung argues, tends to lead away from the focus of interest).
After several sessions the businessman tells of a dream: “I am sitting on a large wagon, laden with hay, which I am driving back to the barn, but the load of hay is so high that the lintel of the door into the barn knocks me on the head, so that I fall off my seat and I wake up terrified in the act of falling.” For the Freudian, the barn is a symbol of the female genitalia; the dream represents a tendency to return to the womb, but because this has undertones of incestuous desire, it would be followed by punishment (castration). An Adlerian would interpret the overloaded wagon as an exaggerated will to power, in compensation for an inferiority complex.
The Jungian analyst takes the dream more literally. After examining and reexamining it in the context of the patient’s life (Jung distrusts all set dream theories), the analyst suggests this meaning: the patient has overloaded his wagon beyond its capacity; as a result, his conscious intentions receive a blow. The dream is an attempt by the unconscious to redress the balance of an exaggerated extraverted attitude which is becoming less and less appropriate as the businessman grows older.
This interpretation denies the patient the easy Freudian way out — a childhood trauma to use as a scapegoat. He faces the responsibility of revising his goals in life. In this case, the businessman realized that he had lived a one-sided life. Not only did he slow down, but he was satisfied to do so — and could take trips without anxiety or giddiness.
Jungians often say that after a patient has been cured of a neurosis in Freudian analysis, his “soul has been sterilized.” Says Jung: “The neurosis contains the soul of the sick person, or at least a considerable part of it, and if the neurosis could be taken out like a decayed tooth, in the rationalistic way, then the patient would have gained nothing and lost something very important, much as a thinker who loses his doubt of the truth of his conclusions, or a moral man who loses his temptations . . . The individual [must] choose his own way consciously and with conscious moral decision.”
FATHERS & SONS
One of modern man’s troubles, according to Jung, is that he has lost touch with his roots. Americans, for instance, he thinks are not yet at home in their unconscious on a continent wrested so recently from nature; this produces tension and helps account for America’s go-getting energy.*‡ Carl Jung himself is not troubled by lack of roots. He comes from a long line of pastors of the Swiss Reformed Church. Though he has traveled all over the world, from India (where he lectured) to Kenya (where he lived with a primitive tribe near Mount Elgon), Jung’s home is the same house he and his wife Emma built in 1908.
He had a lonely boyhood in Basel, started to learn Latin at six, and grew into what he was later to classify as “an introvert type with the dominant function of thinking.” His first ambition was to become an archaeologist or paleontologist. “He’s still thrilled at news of an excavation,” says a disciple. “But we carry history inside us, too, and he’s dug it up there.”
Largely to please his father, Jung chose medicine. He soon became fascinated with psychiatry. In 1900, newly graduated Dr. Jung went to Zurich as an assistant in the famed old university mental clinic. After he discovered the writings of Freud, Jung devised word-association tests which were hailed as proof of Freud’s basic theory of repression. Jung and his chief, Dr. Eugen Bleuler, gave Freudian theories a longed-for accolade of respectability through the prestigious Zurich clinic. In 1907 Jung went to Vienna to spend two weeks with the master. “The first day we talked for 13 hours,” he recalls. “We talked about everything. But I could not swallow his so-called science positivism, his merely rational view of the psyche and his materialistic point of view.”
Later, crossing the Atlantic together on their way to give addresses at Clark University in Worcester. Mass., Freud and Jung debated endlessly on psychological problems and analyzed each other’s dreams. Freud cast Jung in the role of his intellectual son and heir. But the halcyon days were over. At Munich in 1912, Freud upbraided Jung for writing about psychoanalysis without mentioning the founder’s name. The talk turned to Egypt’s King Amenhotep IV as founder of a religion. “He is the one who scratched out his father’s name on the monuments,” said Freud. “Yes.” Jung replied, “but with that you cannot dismiss Amenhotep. He was the first monotheist among the Egyptians. He was a great genius, very human, very individual. That he scratched out his father’s name is not the main thing at all.” Whereupon Freud fainted dead away. Jung’s explanation: “Indirectly, he was continuing his reproach that I had scratched out the father’s name — that is, his name.”
When Jung denied the predominantly sexual nature of the libido, Freud saw it as open rebellion. By 1913 the break was final: Jung wrote Freud “that I could do no further work with him if he would not give up that dogmatic attitude.” Said Freud: “We took leave from one another without feeling the need to meet again!”
One of the most controversial issues about Jung — outside psychiatry — concerns Nazi Germany. Some of his writings about race have been abused by others for racist propaganda. Chiefly because he held the editorship of a German psychoanalytic journal during the Nazi regime (his co-editor at one time was a relative of Hermann Göring), Jung has sometimes been accused of Nazi sympathies. Jung’s position: as a foreigner of renown, he merely took the job to safeguard what he could of German psychiatry.
Since the war, Jung has lived by the banks of Lake Zurich, treating a few patients and keeping a keen eye on the most difficult patient of all — the world at large. He has never stopped writing, revising his concepts, or enlarging the scope of his inquiries. He has explored medieval alchemy, not because he has any interest in its pseudo-chemical aspects, but because he considers it interesting psychologically: for the most part, he sees the alchemists as seekers after original religious experience outside the permissible limits of the medieval church.
The majority of Jung’s patients have been women, and he has had some down-to-earth things to say about the status of woman in the modern world. She has, he thinks, lost the old ideal of marriage (“He shall be thy master”). The tradition that it is the man who generally breaks up a marriage is no longer true: “Today life makes such demands on man that the noble hidalgo Don Juan is to be seen nowhere save in the theater. More than ever, man loves his comfort . . . There is no longer a surplus of energy for window-climbing and duellos.” Woman, meanwhile, will go to greater lengths than ever to find a husband, “by that quiet and obstinate wish that works . . . magically, like the fixed eye of the snake.” As men and women adopt more of the roles and interests traditionally attributed to the other sex, Jung thinks a new relationship between them is developing, based on equal partnership.
Most recently, in Answer to Job (just published in England, not yet in the U.S.), he suddenly tackled the 1950 papal proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin, which he considers the greatest religious event since the Reformation. His explanation of the dogma: it was, he contends, historically and psychologically necessary, because the mass of Roman Catholic women (at least unconsciously ) demanded it, to give them a symbol of identification in heaven.
How big is Jung’s influence today? The Freudians, confident that they are the possessors of revealed psychiatric truth, have crusaded for their own dogma and sought converts with evangelical zeal. Jung, by contrast, for a long time would not even bother to set up a formal training school for analysts who wanted to follow him, and he still refuses to seek converts. Proselytizing, in his book, is merely a reflection of unconscious doubts. Not until 1948 was a C. G. Jung Institute established in Zurich, and Jung has given it little more support than his name. It now has about 100 students from 14 countries, including the U.S., Denmark, India. London, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are the next major centers of Jungian influence; in each there is a handful of analysts trained by Jung himself or his earliest disciples. San Francisco has a small training institute, and one is being set up in Los Angeles. The Bollingen Foundation *⊕ is currently bringing out his collected works (four volumes published, 14 to go).
Jung’s influence in psychiatric practice, though often unacknowledged, has been conceded by the late A. A. Brill, leading U.S. Freudian, who called him “the pioneer psychoanalyst in psychiatry.” Freud thought that analysis was useful only in the milder forms of emotional illness (neurosis). Jung was among the first to use it to interpret schizophrenia, commonest of the most serious psychoses (which fills 300,000 hospital beds in the U.S.).
Results of early treatment by analysis were only tentative. But then came insulin and metrazol, and now, in the last two years, have come two new drugs, chlorpromazine and reserpine, which are making thousands of supposedly hopeless cases of schizophrenia accessible to analytic techniques.
THE NATURAL FACE
The ultimate value of Jung’s ideas cannot yet be measured by practical standards. His great achievement is that he has shown psychology a new direction: he has constructed a psychology for human beings who reach out toward the unknown, the intangible, the spiritual. He has attacked the goal of psychological adjustment, which is fine “for the unsuccessful, for all those who have not yet found an adaptation,” but which for others means only “restriction to the bed of Procrustes, unbearable boredom, infernal sterility, and hopelessness.” Even if he is only half right, Jung has suggested to mankind a way of “adjustment” not merely to his animal instincts and social pressures but to his great paradoxes and his eternal religious needs.
Living happily in his old house, surrounded by 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, the old man seems to many of his followers the most convincing case history in support of Jungian theories. Has Jung himself achieved individuation? Says he: “Individuation means to become what one is really meant to be. In Zen Buddhism they have a saying: ‘Show your natural face.’ I think I have shown my natural face, often to the bewilderment of my time. Yes, I’ve attained individuation—thank heavens! Otherwise I would be very neurotic, you know.”
- Freud and his followers have always insisted that the name “psychoanalysis” belongs properly only to their theory and method. Adler called his “individual psychology”; Jung’s is “analytical psychology.”
** The mandala, meaning magic circle in Sanskrit, is most familiar as an aid to contemplation among Buddhist and other Oriental sects. A medieval Christian mandala shows Christ at the center, with the four evangelists at the cardinal points.
*† Said he: “I cannot let myself be stared at for eight hours daily.”
*‡ Once a Zurich analyst had to deal with a new patient so tense that it seemed she had no mere neurosis but a beginning psychosis. Alarmed—because analysis at this stage may touch off a psychotic crisis the analyst went to Jung for advice. The master listened to the symptoms, then asked: “American? From the Middle West?” The analyst nodded. “Well then, I think you’re pretty safe,” said Jung, “but I would worry if it were a European.”
*⊕ Set up by his U.S. admirer Paul Mellon of the Pittsburgh Mellons, and named for the little town of Bollingen on Lake Zurich, where Jung spends many vacations and periods of meditation.