Freud and Psychoanalysis (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 4)

From Dr. Loy                                                              23 February 1913

From your letter of 18 February I would like first to single out the end, where you so aptly assign the element of suggestion its proper place in psychoanalysis: “The patient is not an empty sack into which we can stuff whatever we like; he brings his own particular contents with him, with which you have always to reckon afresh” [sic].

With this I fully agree, as my own experience confirms it. And you add: involuntary analytic suggestions will leave this content intact, but the expression, Proteus-like, can be distorted without limit.

Hence it would be a kind of “mimicry,” by which the patient seeks to escape the analyst who is driving him into a corner and for the moment seems to him an enemy.

Until at last, through the joint work of patient and analyst—the former spontaneously yielding up his psychic content, the latter only interpreting and explaining—the analysis succeeds in bringing so much light into the darkness of the patient’s psyche that he can see the true relationships and, without any preconceived plan of the analyst’s, draw the right conclusions and apply them to his future life.

This new life will follow the line of least resistance—or should we not rather say of least resistances—as a “compromise with all eventualities,” in a just balancing of pain and pleasure.

It is not for us to decide arbitrarily for the patient how matters stand and what will benefit him; his own nature decides.

In other words, we should take over approximately the role of a midwife, who can only bring out into the light of day a child already alive, but who has to avoid a number of mistakes if the child is to remain alive and the mother is not to be injured.

All this is very clear to me because it is only an application to psychoanalytic procedure of a principle which should be generally valid: Never do violence to Nature! Hence I also see that the psychoanalyst must follow his patient’s apparently “erring ways” if the patient is ever to arrive at his own convictions and be freed once and for all from infantile reliance on authority.

We ourselves as individuals have learnt and can only learn by making mistakes how to avoid them in the future, and mankind as a whole has created the conditions for its present and future stages of development quite as much by following the crooked path as by keeping to the straight one.

Have not many neurotics—I do not know if you will agree, but I think so—become ill partly because their infantile faith in authority has gone to pieces?

Now they stand before the wreckage of their faith, weeping over it, and terrified because they cannot find a substitute which would show them clearly where they have to turn.

So they remain stuck between the infantilisms they are unwilling to renounce and the serious tasks of the present and future (moral conflict).

I also see, particularly in such cases, how right you are in saying that it would be a mistake to try to replace their lost faith in authority by another faith in authority, which would be useful only as long as it lasted.

This passes a verdict on the deliberate use of suggestive influence in psychoanalysis, and on regarding the “transference to the analyst” as the goal of analytic therapy.

I no longer contest your dictum: “Every interference on the part of the analyst is a gross mistake in technique. So-called chance is the law and order of psychoanalysis.”

Further, I am in entire agreement when you say that altruism [sic] must necessarily be innate in man as a herd-animal.

The contrary would be the thing to wonder at.

I am very much inclined to assume that not the egoistic but the altruistic instincts are primary.

Love and trust of the child for the mother who feeds it, nurses, cherishes and pets it; love of man for wife, regarded as absorption in another’s personality;

love foroffspring, care of them; love for kinsfolk, etc.

Whereas the egoistic instincts owe their existence only to the desire for exclusive possession of the object of love, the desire to possess the mother exclusively, in opposition to the father and brother and sisters, the desire to have a woman for oneself alone, the desire for jewellery, clothes, etc. . . . But perhaps you will say I am being paradoxical and that the instincts, whether altruistic or egoistic, arise together in the heart of man, and that every instinct is ambivalent by nature.

But I ask: are our feelings and instincts really ambivalent? Are they perhaps bipolar? Can the qualities of emotions be compared at all? Is love really the opposite of hate?

Be that as it may, it is lucky that man carries his social imperatives within himself as an inborn necessity, otherwise our civilized humanity would be in a bad way, having to submit to laws imposed only from without: when the earlier religious faith in authority died out we would rapidly and infallibly fall into complete anarchy.

We would then have to ask ourselves whether it would not be better to try to maintain by force an exclusively religious belief in authority, as the Middle Ages did.

For the benefits of civilization, which strives to grant every individual as much outward freedom as is consistent with the freedom of others, would be well worth such a sacrifice as the sacrifice of free research.

But the age of this use of force against nature is past, civilized mankind has abandoned these erroneous ways, not out of caprice, but obeying an inner need, and therefore we may look forward with joyful anticipation to the future.

Mankind, advancing in knowledge and obeying its own law, will find its way across the ruins of faith in authority to the moral autonomy of the individual.

From Dr. Jung                                                 March 1913

At various places in your letters it has struck me that the problem of the “transference” seems to you particularly critical.

Your feeling is entirely justified. The transference is indeed at present the central problem of analysis.

You know that Freud regards the transference as a projection of infantile fantasies upon the analyst.

To that extent it is an infantile-erotic relationship.

However, seen from outside, and superficially, the thing does not always look like an infantile erotic relationship by any means.

So long as it is a case of a so-called positive transference, you can as a rule recognize the infantile-erotic content of the transference without much difficulty.

But if it is a so-called negative transference, you see nothing but violent resistances which sometimes disguise themselves in theoretical, seemingly critical or sceptical forms. In a certain sense the determining factor in these relationships is the patient’s relationship to authority, that is, in the last resort, to his father.

In both forms of transference the analyst is treated as if he were the father—either with affection or with hostility.

According to this view of the transference it acts as a resistance as soon as the question arises of resolving the infantile attitude.

But this form of transference must be destroyed in so far as the aim of analysis is the patient’s moral autonomy.

A lofty aim, you will say.

Lofty indeed, and far off, but still not altogether so remote, since it actually corresponds to one of the predominating trends of our stage of civilization—the urge towards individualization, which might serve as a motto for our whole epoch. (Cf. Muller-Lyer, The Family.)

Anyone who does not believe in this ultimate aim but still adheres to the old scientific causalism will naturally tend to take only the hostile element out of the transference and let the patient remain in a positive relationship to the father, in accordance with the ideals of a past epoch.

As we know, the Catholic Church is one of the most powerful organizations based on this tendency.

I do not venture to doubt that there are very many people who feel happier under the coercion of others than when forced to discipline themselves (see Shaw’s Man and Superman).

None the less, we would be doing our neurotic patients a grievous wrong if we tried to force them all into the category of the coerced.

Among neurotics, there are not a few who do not require any reminders of their social duties and obligations, but are born and destined rather to be bearers of new cultural ideals.

They are neurotic as long as they bow down before authority and refuse the freedom to which they are destined.

As long as we look at life only retrospectively, as is the case in the psychoanalytic writings of the Viennese school, we shall never do justice to these persons and never bring them the longed-for deliverance.

For in this way we train them only to be obedient children and thereby strengthen the very forces that made them ill—their conservative backwardness and submission to authority.

Up to a point this is the right way to take with people suffering from an infantile insubordination who cannot yet adapt to authority.

But the impulse which drives the others out of their conservative father-relationship is by no means an infantile wish for insubordination; it is a powerful urge to develop their own personality, and the struggle for this is for them an imperative duty.

Adler’s psychology does much greater justice to this situation than Freud’s.

For one type of person (called the infantile-rebel) a positive transference is, to begin with, an important achievement with a healing significance; for the other (the infantile-obedient) it is a dangerous backsliding, a convenient way of evading life’s duties.

For the first a negative transference denotes increased insubordination, hence a backsliding and an evasion of life’s duties, for the second it is a step forward with a healing significance.

(For the two types see Adler, “Trotz und Gehorsam,” Monatshefte filr Pddagogik und Schulpolitik, VIII, 1910.)

So the transference must, as you see, be evaluated quite differently according to the type of case.

The psychological process of transference—whether negative or positive—consists in a “libidinal investment” of the personality of the analyst, that is to say he stands for an emotional value.

(As you know, by libido I mean very much what the ancients meant by the cosmogonic principle of Eros, or in modern language, “psychic energy.”)

The patient is bound to the analyst by ties of affection or resistance and cannot help following and imitating his psychic attitude.

By this means he feels his way along (empathy).

And with the best will in the world and for all his technical skill the analyst cannot prevent it, for empathy works surely and instinctively in spite of conscious judgment, be it never so strong.

If the analyst himself is neurotic and insufficiently adapted to the demands of life or of his own personality, the patient will copy this defect and reflect it in his own attitudes: with what results you can imagine.

Accordingly I cannot regard the transference merely as a projection of infantile-erotic fantasies.

No doubt that is what it is from one standpoint, but I also see in it, as I said in an earlier letter, a process of empathy and adaptation.

From this standpoint, the infantile-erotic fantasies, in spite of their undeniable reality, appear rather as a means of comparison or as analogical images for something not yet understood than as independent wishes.

This seems to me the real reason why they are unconscious.

The patient, not knowing the right attitude, tries to grasp at the right relationship to the analyst by way of comparison and analogy with his infantile experiences.

It is not surprising that he gropes back to just the most intimate relationships of his childhood in the attempt to discover the appropriate formula for his relationship to the analyst, for this relationship is very intimate too but differs from the sexual relationship as much as does that of a child to its parents.

This latter relationship—child to parent—which Christianity has everywhere set up as a symbolic formula for human relationships in general, serves to restore to the patient that direct feeling of human fellowship of which he has been deprived by the incursions of sexual and social valuations (valuations from the standpoint of power, etc.).

The purely sexual and other more or less primitive and barbaric valuations militate against a direct, purely human relationship, and this creates a damming up of libido which may easily give rise to neurotic formations.

Through analysis of the infantile content of the transference fantasies the patient is brought back to a remembrance of the childhood relationship, which, stripped of its infantile qualities, gives him a clear picture of a direct human relationship over and above merely sexual valuations, etc.

I can only regard it as a misconception to judge the child-relationship retrospectively as a merely sexual one, even though a certain sexual content cannot be denied.

Recapitulating, I would like to say this of the positive transference: The patient’s libido fastens on the person of the analyst in the form of expectation, hope, interest, trust, friendship, and love.

The transference first produces a projection of infantile fantasies, often with a predominantly erotic tinge.

At this stage it is, as a rule, of a decidedly sexual character, even though the sexual component remains relatively unconscious.

But this emotional process serves as a bridge for the higher aspect of empathy, whereby the patient becomes conscious of the inadequacy of his own attitude through recognition of the analyst’s attitude, which is accepted as being adapted to life’s demands and as normal.

Through remembrance of the childhood relationship with the help of analysis the patient is shown the way which leads out of the subsidiary, purely sexual or power values acquired in puberty and reinforced by social prejudice.

This road leads to a purely human relationship and to an intimacy based not on the existence of sexual or power factors but on the value of personality.

That is the road to freedom which the analyst should show his patient.

I ought not to conceal from you at this point that the stubborn assertion of sexual values would not be maintained so tenaciously if they did not have a profound significance for that period of life in which propagation is of primary importance.

The discovery of the value of human personality is reserved for a riper age. For young people the search for personality values is very often a pretext for evading their biological duty.

Conversely, the exaggerated longing of an older person for the sexual values of youth is a short-sighted and often cowardly evasion of a duty which demands recognition of the value of personality and submission to the hierarchy of cultural values.

The young neurotic shrinks back in terror from the expansion of life’s duties, the old one from the dwindling of the treasures he has attained.

This view of the transference is, as you will have observed, closely connected with the acceptance of biological “duties.”

By this I mean the tendencies or determinants that produce culture in man with the same logic as in the bird they produce the artfully woven nest, and antlers in the stag.

The purely causal, not to say materialistic views of the last few decades seek to explain all organic formation as the reaction of living matter, and though this is undoubtedly a heuristically valuable line of inquiry, as far as any real explanation goes it amounts only to a more or less ingenious postponement and apparent minimizing of the problem.

I would remind you of Bergson’s excellent criticism in this respect.

External causes can account for at most half the reaction, the other half is due to the peculiar attributes of living matter itself, without which the specific reaction formation could never come about at all.

We have to apply this principle also in psychology.

The psyche does not merely react, it gives its own specific answer to the influences at work upon it, and at least half the resulting formation is entirely due to the psyche and the determinants inherent within it.

Culture can never be understood as reaction to environment. That shallow explanation can safely be left to the past century.

It is just these determinants that appear as psychological imperatives, and we have daily proof of their compelling power.

What I call “biological duty” is identical with these determinants.

In conclusion, I must take up one point which seems to have caused you uneasiness. That is the moral question.

Among our patients we observe so many so-called immoral impulses that the thought involuntarily forces itself on the psychotherapist how it would be if all these desires were gratified.

You will have seen from my earlier letters that these desires should not be taken too seriously.

Mostly they are boundlessly exaggerated demands which are thrust to the forefront by the patient’s dammed-up libido, usually against his will.

The canalizing of libido for the fulfilment of life’s simple duties is in most cases sufficient to reduce the pressure of these desires to zero.

But in certain cases it is a recognized fact that “immoral” tendencies are not got rid of by analysis, but appear more and more clearly until it becomes evident that they belong to the biological duties of the individual.

This is particularly true of certain sexual demands aiming at an individual evaluation of sexuality.

This is not a question for pathology, it is a social question of today which imperatively demands an ethical solution.

For many it is a biological duty to work for a solution of this question, i.e., to find some sort of practical solution. (Nature, as we know, is not satisfied with theories.)

Nowadays we have no real sexual morality, only a legalistic attitude to sexuality; just as the Middle Ages had no real morality of money-making but only prejudices and a legalistic point of view.

We are not yet far enough advanced to distinguish between moral and immoral behaviour in the realm of free sexual activity. This is clearly expressed in the customary treatment, or rather ill-treatment, of unmarried mothers.

All the repulsive hypocrisy, the high tide of prostitution and of venereal diseases, we owe to the barbarous, wholesale legal condemnation of certain kinds of sexual behaviour, and to our inability to develop a finer moral sense for the enormous psychological differences that exist in the domain of free sexual activity.

The existence of this exceedingly complicated and significant contemporary problem may serve to make clear to you why we so often find among our patients people who, because of their spiritual and social gifts, are quite specifically called to take an active part in the work of civilization—that is their biological destiny.

We should never forget that what today seems to us a moral commandment will tomorrow be cast into the melting-pot and transformed, so that in the near or distant future it may serve as a basis for new ethical formations.

This much we ought to have learnt from the history of civilization, that the forms of morality belong to the category of transitory things.

The finest psychological tact is needed with these sensitive natures if they are to turn the dangerous corner of infantile irresponsibility, indolence, or licentiousness, and to give the patient a clear and unclouded vision of the possibility of morally autonomous behaviour.

Five per cent on money lent is fair interest, twenty per cent is despicable usury. We have to apply this view to the sexual situation as well.

So it comes about that there are many neurotics whose inner decency prevents them from being at one with present-day morality and who cannot adapt themselves so long as the moral code has gaps in it which it is the crying need of our age to fill.

We deceive ourselves greatly if we think that many married women are neurotic merely because they are unsatisfied sexually or because they have not found the right man or because they have an infantile sexual fixation. The real reason in many cases is that they cannot recognize the cultural task that is waiting for them.

We all have far too much the standpoint of the “nothing but” psychology, that is, we still think that the new future which is pressing in at the door can be squeezed into the framework of what is already known.

And so these people see only the present and not the future.

It was of profound psychological significance when Christianity first proclaimed that the orientation to the future was the redeeming principle for mankind.

In the past nothing can be altered, and in the present little, but the future is ours and capable of raising life’s intensity to the highest pitch. A little span of youth belongs to us, all the rest belongs to our children.

Thus your question about the significance of the loss of faith in authority answers itself.

The neurotic is ill not because he has lost his old faith, but because he has not yet found a new form for his finest aspirations.  ~Jung/Loy Letters, CW 4, Para 652-669