Carl Gustav Jung. Source: Cropped from a group photograph with Freud and others in the Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Carl Gustav Jung, 1875-1961, first came up against Sigmund Freud's work in 1902. Swiss-born Karl Gustav was born to a mother, Emilie, who was reclusive and prone to seeing "spirits." The young child himself also later reported "a headless body" and other unusual phenomena. When he turned nine a sister, Johanna Gertrud, was born, and as "Trudi" would later act as his secretary. With a strong Protestant ministerial tradition in the family Jung initially thought of becoming a preacher, later changed to archaeology, and only after studies in Philosophy at the University of Basel did he incline to psychiatry and medicine. In 1895 he changed to Medicine at Basel; in 1900 moved to Zürich and the Burghölzli (University) Psychiatric Hospital of Prof. Bleuler, and by 1902 both men were reading and studying the early psychopathology of Freud. After a preliminary exchange of letters and books, Jung visited Freud's Berggasse apartment in February 1907 and was an immediate success with the family, including the then twelve-year old Anna Freud. An extensive correspondence (McGuire, ed.,1974) would be produced between the two men over the following six years. Despite the later schism between Jung and her father, Anna Freud would faithfully guard her father's share of the correspondence, and release it at the appropriate time. Her own published references to Jung would nevertheless be rare, and delayed by more than fifty years, (Dyer, 1983, p. 8, citing AF 1969k, 1982g). It was on the nature of libido that Jung found little common ground with the Vienna psychoanalysts. Whereas to them it was a sexual drive, biological and largely unconscious, Jung preferred to define "libido" as an entity of an archaic unconscious, partly historic and manifesting in a universal Symbolism and/of Archetypal Images. [It may be suggested here that modern thinking, supported by facts from DNA research, may be adduced by both sides of this argument. We do indeed function in part as gene-controlled, drives-driven organisms with an "Unconscious" life and level of awareness and non-awareness. Equally, we possess in our double-helical strands of DNA "command instructions," everything our own historical and evolutionary predecessors had: the cellular mitochondria [energy production] of bacteria/other unicells and of all higher phyla of multicellular organisms; the neurones of rodents and all higher mammalia, and - dare we say - in our most recent genome additions, fragments and traces/experience-matrices shared with Palaeolithic and prior residents of our shared planetary environment. A balanced on-going judgement might well conclude that "the jury is still out" on any final rejection of either the Freudian Sexual Libido or the Jungian Collective Unconscious. A further small step might plead that outright "rejection" is a non-viable tool, and the preference should be for "on-going bilateral comparisons with a view to a new synthesis." The brief bibliography here is an essential start: the complex ideas reward thorough study, thought and application to particular life-experiences].

Related Material

Bibliography

Jung, C. G. Psychology of the Unconscious. Trans. Beatrice M. Hinkle. New York: Moffatt, Yard & Co. New York. 1916.

_________. Psychologische Typen (Psychological Types).. Rascher Verlag. 1921. English edn. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1923.

_________. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works, Vol. 9, Part 1. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, (1959)1969.

Read, Herbert et al., (eds.) The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Trans. R. F. C. Hull. 20 vols. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953-80.

Brome, Vincent. Jung. New York: Atheneum, 1978.

Wehr, Gerhard. Jung: A Biography. Dorset: Shambhala, 1987.


Created 24 February 2021