Freud/Jung Letters

Dear Professor Freud, 18 April 1908

Your last letter upset me. I have read a lot between the lines.

I don’t doubt that if only I could talk with you we could come to a basic understanding.

Writing is a poor substitute for speech.

Nevertheless I will try to offer some rather incoherent explanations.

  1. Lecture to laymen.

The point was to make the public aware of the psychological connections that are found in psychosis.

Hence the strong emphasis on the psychogenic factor.

There was no reason to talk about the actual aetiology.

  1. Aetiology of Dem. ptaec.

The aim here was to set out our conception of the aetiology.

From lack of analytical experience Bleuler stresses the organic side, I the other.

I think very many cases of Dem. praec. are due exclusively to purely psychological conflicts.

But besides these there are undoubtedly not a few cases where a physical weakness of some kind precipitates the psychosis.

One would have to be a spiritualist to believe in an exclusively psychogenic aetiology here.

I never have; for me the “constitution” has always played a fairly significant role.

That is why I was actually rather relieved when I saw that you had modified your earlier view of the genesis of hysteria.

As you have observed, in discussing the aetiology one gets entangled in the most hopeless difficulties, all of which seem to me to have one point of origin: our totally mistaken conception of the brain’s function.

Everywhere we are haunted by psyche == substantia, playing on the brain ala piano.

The monistic standpoint-psyche == inwardly perceived function-might help to lay this ghost.

But I won’t go on philosophizing.

You yourself will have thought out the logical consequences long ago.

The whole question of aetiology is extremely obscure to me.

The secret of the constitution will hardly be unveiled from the psychological side alone.

  1. Amsterdam report.

Here I have done bad work, as I am the first to admit. In spite of this I shall be grateful for any criticism. It’s nonsense about my forbidding you to speak of it! I can only learn from your criticism.

The chief drawback is its brevity.

I had to do a lot of cutting.

A second and more important drawback is the elementary approach that was forced on me by the ignorance of the public.

Child hysteria must fall outside the formula applicable to adults, for whom puberty plays a large role.

A specifically modified formula must be established for child hysteria.

All the rest I have written as my conscience dictated.

I am really no propagandist; I merely detest all forms of suppression and injustice.

I am eager to hear of my errors, and hope to learn from them.

Binswanger has now got married’ so is no longer in Jena.

His address is: Kreuzlingen, Canton Thurgau.

Best thanks for the offprints? which arrived during my absence.

I haven’t read them yet for lack of time.

I too hope very much that we can snatch an hour in Salzburg for a talk on some of the things that are still hanging in mid-air.

With best regards,

Most sincerely yours,


I may be wrong but it seems to me that this letter has an oddly dry tone.

It is not meant that way, for a man can also admit his bad mood with a smile.

Unfortunately the smile doesn’t come through the style -an aesthetic fault that has already driven me to pen a P.S.

~Carl Jung, Freud/Jung Letters, Vol. 1, Pages 138-139