Friday, 12 June 2015

instinct and individuation

It could be said that pioneering Swiss psychotherapist and collaborator of Sigmund Freud, Karl Gustav Jung, was patently his own first patient—but that can be said of most professions. Freud and Jung had an intense and productive relationship but differences in interpretation and emphasis became magnified and this strife over the nature of the psyche and best bedside-manner grew to an irreconcilable rift over a lecture tour that Jung undertook in the United States on behalf of their shared ideas.

Though Jung had his own divergent ideas about what was formative for the character and personality (de-emphasizing the role of libido and repression, Jung thought that one’s private being was a shared and public one with the collective-unconsciousness and spirituality was important component as well) he was accused of misrepresenting Freud’s theories while speaking at Fordham University (auf Deutsch to boot) but may have chosen to censor-out the sexiest bits, considering his possibly prudish audience. After the schism that formed separate schools of thought, Jung distanced himself from Freud’s thinking and shamefully denounced that favour of psychoanalysis as the Jewish science—ironically, Freud had found a great spokesman and advocate in the younger Jung initially because he came from outside that circle in Vienna and lent that the practise not be stereotyped as such: Nazism, beyond persecution, baptised many causes and individuals as undesirable even when the affiliation was in name only. Following this judgment, which understandably cast a pall over his body of work, Jung turned towards inter-disciplinary studies, in sociology, alchemy and astronomy, and embarked for years of extensive travel—trying ostensibly to get a better grasp of those shared archetypes and common-fates in mythology and creation accounts that he posited from different perspectives (modern practitioners re-branded them as the objective psyche), but to Jung’s credit, his sojourn had more humane motives, I believe, and set out to prove what was wrong with the familiar and secure Western world during the decades of the 1920’s and 30’s.