Memories Dreams Reflections

At the beginning it was not easy for me to assign Freud the proper place in my life, or to take the right attitude toward him. When I became acquainted with his work I was planning an academic career, and was about to complete a paper that was intended to advance me at the university. But Freud was definitely persona non grata in the academic world at the time, and any connection with him would have been damaging in scientific circles.

“Important people” at most mentioned him surreptitiously, and at congresses he was discussed only in the corridors, never on the floor. Therefore the discovery that my association experiments were in agreement with Freud’s theories was far from pleasant to me.

Once, while I was in my laboratory and reflecting again upon these questions, the devil whispered to me that I would be justified in publishing the results of my experiments and my conclusions without mentioning Freud. After all, I had worked out my experiments long before I understood his work.

But then I heard the voice of my second personality: “If you do a thing like that, as if you had no knowledge of Freud, it would be a piece of trickery. You cannot build your life upon a lie.” With that, the question was settled. From then on I became an open partisan of Freud’s and fought for him.

I first took up the cudgels for Freud at a congress in Munich where a lecturer discussed obsessional neuroses but studiously forbore to mention the name of Freud. In 1906, in connection with this incident, I wrote a paper ” for the Munchner Medizini- sche Woohenschrift on Freud’s theory of the neuroses, which l had contributed a great deal to the understanding of obsessional neuroses.

In response to this article, two German professors wrote to me, warning that if I remained on Freud’s side and continued to defend him, I would be endangering my academic career.

I replied: “If what Freud says is the truth, I am with him. I don’t give a damn for a career if it has to be based on the premise of restricting research and concealing the truth.” And I went on defending Freud and his ideas.

But on the basis of my own findings I was still unable to feel that all neuroses were caused by sexual repression or sexual traumata. In certain cases that was so, but not in others. Nevertheless, Freud had opened up a new path of investigation, and the shocked out- cries against him at the time seemed to me absurd. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections.

In his obituary on Freud (1939), Jung calls this work “epoch–making” and probably the boldest attempt that has ever been made to master the riddles of the unconscious psyche upon the apparently firm ground of empiricism. For us, then young psychiatrists, it was… a source of illumination, while for our older colleagues it was an object of mockery.”–A. J. [Footnote 2, Memories Dreams and Reflections.