Dear Professor Freud, Burgholzli-Zurich, 19January 1909
As you wished, I am hastening to answer your letter at once. I am delighted with your good news.
All goes well with us too, except for the last two days which were taken up with enforced inactivity and influenza. Today my head is more endurable.
I am glad you appreciate my efforts to be as indulgent as I can with Abraham. I should be extremely grateful if you could cure him in time.
Since getting to know more about the practice of a nerve specialist this year, I understand Abraham’s touchiness very well.
What’ a bitter brew it is! Whenever I find myself stuck with some hopeless resistance,
I have to think not so much of you (for I know how quick you are to find a way out} as of any other analytical fellow sufferers, who are obliged to make a living out of their patients’ resistances and have as little wisdom to fall back on as I have. –
Pfister is a splendid fellow, a neurotic himself of course, though not a severe one.
Nothing scares him, a redoubtable champion of our cause with a powerful intelligence. He will make something of it. What?
I don’t know yet. Oddly enough, I find this mixture of medicine and theology to my liking.
His present aim is naturally sublimation, permissible enough in a man of his intelligence.
You will shortly receive another longish paper” from him. He is feverishly busy.
Another very good man, recruited by the young Binswanger, is Dr. Haberlin,” formerly director of a teachers’ college, no,v privatdocent of philosophy” in Basel.
He has founded a school for problem children there, where he teaches “analytically.”
He divides psychology into “pre-Freudian” and “post-Freudian”! Which tells a lot. Our little circle is thriving.
Last time there were 26 participants. Monakow again made acte de presence but is as dumb as ever.
There’s a revolution going on among our pedagogues.
I have been asked to give a special course of lectures introducing your psychology.
Meanwhile Bleuler, with an air of innocence, has quietly handed the teaching post for mental hygiene over to Riklin without even consulting me.
This is the second time a teaching post has slipped through my fingers, not without Bleuler’s passive connivance.
Teaching posts, you see, are important things with us because we have no honorary professorships.
My academic prospects are therefore very bad, though at present this doesn’t \vorry me too much. Other successes are a consolation.
The Americans are a horse of a different colour.
First I must point out with diabolical glee your slip of the pen: you wrote “your prudishness” instead of “their prudishness.'”
We have noticed this prudishness, which used to be worse than it is now; now I can stomach it. I don’t water down the sexuality any more.
You are probably right about the trip to America. Peterson has broken with me-ostentatiously and for no reason.
I share Jones’s pessimism absolutely. So far these people simply haven’t a notion of what we’re at.
One of these days they ‘will creep into a corner, prim and abashed.
Nevertheless it will rub off on some of them and is doing so already, despite their audible silence (Meyer and Hochl}.
In any case the American medical material isn’t up to much. (Please don’t think of the fox and the grapes.) Now for a few observations:
First the so-called “baby pains,” the little syncopes with slight eclampsia during and after feeding.
The convulsion is usually very mild, a rolling of the eyes upwards and twitchings of the facial muscles around the mouth, occasionally also a jerking of the arm or leg.
gives the impression of a “sucking orgasm” (rhythmic action-orgasm), perhaps also “satiation orgasm” (?).
The convulsion of the facial muscles often produces a kind of laughing, even at a time when babies can’t laugh yet.
The first active mimetic attempts are: staring at a
shiny object, opening the mouth, clicking the tongue, mimetic convulsion == laughing or crying. In the course of normal development
this much of the infantile reflex-convulsion is retained.
Children who later get eclamptic attacks when teething, or with intestinal worms, have retained rather more of this mechanism, most of all epileptics (abdominal aura).
I think these things deserve closer investigation.
Contributions by my 4-year-old Agathli: the evening before Franzli’s birth I asked her what she would say if the stork brought her a little
“Then I shall kill it,” she said quick as lightning with an embarrassed, sly expression, and would not let herself be pinned down to this theme.
The baby was born during the night. Early next morning I carried her to my wife’s bedside; she was tense and gazed in alarm at the rather wan-looking mother, without showing any joy; found nothing to say about the situation.
The same morning, when Mama was alone, the little one suddenly ran to her, flung her arms round her neck and asked anxiously:
“But, Mama, you don’t have to die, do you?” This was the first adequate affect. Her pleasure over the baby was rather “put on.”
Up till now the problems had always been:
Why is Granny so old? What happens to old people anyway? “They must die and will go to heaven.” – “Then they become ‘children again,” added the little one.
So somebody has to die in order to make a child.
After the birth A. went to stay for several weeks with her grandmother, where she was fed ‘exclusively on the stork theory.
On her return home she was again rather suspicious and shy with Mama.
Lots of questions: “Shall I become a woman like you?” “Shall I then still talk with you?” “Do you still love me too, not just Franzli?”
Strong identification with the nurse, weaves fantasies about her, starts making rhymes and telling herself stories.
Often unexpectedly fractious with Mama, pesters her with questions. For instance, Mama says: “Come, we’ll go into the garden.”
A. asks: “Is that true? You’re quite sure it’s true? You’re not lying? I don’t believe it,” etc.
Scenes of this kind were repeated a number of times, all the more striking because they were about quite irrelevant things.
But once she heard us talking about the earthquake in Messina” and all the people who had been killed.
She literally hurled herself on this theme, had to be told the story over and over again; every bit of wood, every stone in the road, could have tumbled down in an earthquake.
Marna had to assure her hourly that there were certainly no earthquakes in Zurich, I had to assure her too, but she came back again and again to her fears.
Recently my wife hurried into into my room looking for books; A. wasn’t leaving her a moment’s peace, my wife had to show her all the pictures of earthquakes and volcanoes.
A. would pore over the geological pictures of volcanoes for hours on end.
Finally, on my advice, my wife enlightened A., who showed not the least surprise on hearing the solution. (Children grow in the mother like flowers on plants.) Next day I was in bed with influenza.”
A. came in with a shy, rather startled look on her face, wouldn’t approach the bed but asked: “Have you a plant in your tummy too?”
Ran off merry and carefree when this possibility was ruled out. Next daya fantasy:
“My brother [a .fantasy hero] is also in Italy and has a house made of glass and cloth and it doesn’t fall down.” During the last two days no trace of fear.
She merely asks our female guests either whether they have a child or whether they had been in Messina, though with no sign of anxiety.
The 3-year-old Grethli ridicules the stork theory, saying that the stork brought not only her little brother but the nurse as well.’
What an enchantment such a child is!
Only recently A. praised the beauty of her little brother to her grandmother:
“Und luog au, was es fiir es herzigs Buobefiidili hat” (And look what a pretty little boy’s bottom he has). “Fudili” == double diminutive of “Fudli” == posterior, the latter a vulgar word which sounds decent to children only as a double diminutive. “Fudli,” a simple diminutive, must come from a no longer existing “Furl” (“pfui” / “furzen” [fart]?), meaning posterior.
A very coarse word “Futz” has been preserved for female genitalia.
“Ftidili” is used by children in the sense of “cloaca”: A. naturally means the genitals.
With best regards,
Most sincerely yours,
Jung ~Carl Jung, Freud-Jung Letters, Page 197-200