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Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)


Swiss psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of modern depth psychology. Jung's most famous concept, the collective unconscious, has had a deep influence not only on psychology but also on philosophy and the arts. Jung's break with Sigmund Freud is one of the famous stories in the early history of psychoanalytic thought. More than Freud, Jung has inspired the New Age movement with his interest in occultism, Eastern religions, the I Ching, and mythology.

"The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is "man" in a higher sense - he is "collective man," a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind." (from 'Psychology and Literature', 1930)

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland. His father, Johannes Paul Achilles Jung (1842-1896), was a pastor a profession that had traditions in the family. He married Emilie Preiswerk (1848-1923) in 1874; Carl Gustav remained a single child for a long time before the birth of his sister, Gertrud. According to family legends, Jung's grandfather was Goethe's illegal son, although there was no real evidence to support the story.

At the age of eleven, Jung entered the Basel Gymnasium. His first years there were miserable. To avoid going to school, he developed the habit of pretended of having a dizzy spell. Intensely occupied with the question of identity, Jung began to feel that he was somebody else, a man who had lived in the late 18th century. Once he slipped into a daydream, in which he saw God high above Basel Cathedral dropping an enormous turd on it. Goethe's Faust, memorized already at school, influenced Jung deeply. The most important play for Freud was Shakespeare's Hamlet, a story of distorted family relationships. Freud, who saw Jung as his successor, referred, perhaps ironically, to Goethe as Jung's ancestor. "My situation is mirrored in my dreams," Jung wrote in 1898 in his diary. With his cousin Helene ("Helly") Preiswerk, he conducted spiritistic experiments.

In 1900 Jung graduated with a medical degree from the University of Basel and began his professional career at the University of Zürich. At the Burghöltzi, the Zürich insane asylum and psychiatric clinic, he worked until 1909. These years were decisive for Jung's later development. His first published paper, Zur Psychologie und Pathologie sogenannter occulter Phänomene (On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena), came out in 1902 and formed the basis for his doctoral thesis. Its material was partly based on his observations with Helene, whom he described in the work as "a young girl somnambulist."

Throughout his career, Jung remained interested in parapsychology. He also consulted the Chinese oracle the I Ching, especially the translation made by Richard Wilhelm. "The irrational fullness of life has taught me never to discard anything, Jung wrote, "even when it goes against all our theories (so short-lived at best) or otherwise admits of no immediate explanation."

In 1903 Jung married Emma Rauschenbach (1882-1955); they had five children. Emma was the daughter of a well-to-do manufacturer in Schaffhausen, clever, quiet, and self-possessed personality. Aniela Jaffé described as her as a person, "who made an impression of an inner calm, which beautifully compensated fo C.G. Jung's often volcanic temper." The family moved in 1909 to Küsnacht, near Zurich. Above the door of his house in Küsnacht Jung had a motto carved:  VOCATUS ATQUE NON VOCATUS DEUS ADERIT ("Summoned or not, the god will be there"). In his study he had a window overlooking the the Lake of Zürich.

Jung's long affair with Toni Wolff, who become a therapist, nearly broke his marriage. Eventually Emma accepted the situation, but she was never happy that Toni Wolff was a regular guest for Sunday dinner. One of Jung's pupils, Sabina Spielrein, was his patient first and then mistress. In an unsolicted letter she wrote: "Eventually he came to me and things went as they usually do with "poetry". He preached polygamy; his wife was supposed to have no objection, etc., etc." After completing her studies, Spielrein practised psychoanalysis in the USSR, where she worked for a period with Alexander Luria and Lev Vygotsky at the Moscow Psychoanalytic Institute. She was killed with her two daughters by German soldiers in 1942 in her hometown of Rostov-on-Don, along with the rest of the city's Jews. Freud credited her with anticipating his idea of the "death instinct" and Jung's relationship with her inspired his concept of "anima". During depersonalization episodes, it was her voice, that Jung heard speaking to him.

Jung's study on schizophrenia, The Psychology of Dementia Praecox, led him into collaboration with Sigmund Freud; they first met in 1907 and talked about thirteen hours. "I found him extremely intelligent, shrewd, and altogether remarkable," Jung wrote on Freud. He opened a private practice and travelled with Freud in 1909 to the United States, lecturing and meeting amongst others the American philosopher and psychologist William James, whose thoughts deeply attracted Jung. (see the writer Henry James, William James' brother) After visiting an exhibit of Picasso's paintings at the Zürich Kunsthaus in 1932, Jung argued in an article that the artist's psychic problems are analogous to those of his parients, especially the schizophrenics. Of Dadaism he remarked: "It's too idiotic to be schizophrenic."

Jung's disagreement with Freud started over the latter's emphasis on sexuality alone as the dominant factor in unconscious motivation. "Every form of addiction is bad," Jung later said, "no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism." Moreover, Jung believed that Freud had sexual relations with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays. Freud fainted twice in Jung's presence but the ties were broken with the publication of Jung's Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (1912, Symbols of Transformation), full of mythological images and motifs, and with his acts as the president of the International Congress of Psycho-Analysis. In a letter to Freud he wrote: "If ever you should rid yourself entirely of your complexes and stop playing the father to your sons, and instead of aiming continually at their weak spots took a good look at your own for a change, then I will mend my ways and at one stroke uproot the vice of being in two minds about you." (Jung on December, 18, 1912).

The end of his father-son relationship with Freud had a profoundly disturbing effect on Jung. He withdrew from the psychoanalytic movement and suffered a six-year-long breakdown during which he had fantasies of mighty floods sweeping over northern Europe prophetic visions of World War I. His inner experiences Jung recorded in the "Red Book", illustrated with his own works in the art nouveau style. His first mandala Jung constructed in 1916. He interpreted the form as a symbol of the self, the wholeness of the personality.

Following his emergence from this period of crisis, Jung developed his own theories systematically under the name of Analytical Psychology. His concepts of the collective unconscious and of the archetypes led him to explore religion in the East and West, myths, alchemy, and later flying saucers. Jung gathered material for his studies by visits to the Pueblo Indians and the Elgonies in East Africa. Although Jung travelled quite extensively during his life, he never went to Rome. The omission was deliberate; he felt that the associations the place would evoke were too strong. When Jung visited New Mexico in 1925, one of the Publos told him: "The whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think they are mad." In India Jung the Taj Mahal, and called it "the secret of Islam."

Jung classified personalities into introvert and extravert types, according to the individual's attitude to the external world. Jung considered himself introvert. His experience with patients made him define neurosis as "the suffering of the soul which has not discovered its meaning." Meaning can be found through dreams and their symbols in the form of archetypical images, arising from the collective unconscious. Freud dismissed the concept "...I do not think that much is to be gained by introducing the concept of a "collective" unconscious  the content of the unconscious is collective anyhow, a general possession of mankind," he wrote in Moses and Monotheism (1939). Freud offered instead the idea of an "archaic inheritance".

Jung's view of literature was ambivalent. He was fascinated by Nietzsche, and lectured on Nietzsche's Zarathustra, but distrust of aestheticism colored his judgment of literary works. However, he had a special interest in trivial literature: "Indeed. Literary products of highly dubious merits are often of the greatest interest to the psychologist." From H. Rider Haggard's novel She, Jung found an embodiment of the anima. In particular Jung was interested in the mythic and archaic elements in literature. Hermann Hesse's novel Demian was inspired by Jung's theory of individuation.

Symbols of Transformaton (1912) contains a lengthy discussion of Longfellow's Hiawatha, which is regarded as a poetic compilation of mythical motifs. The old Chinese text, The Secret of the Golded Flower, awakened Jung's interest in alchemy. His major study in this field, Psychologie und Alchemie, was published in German in 1944. Jung had a number of rare alchemical books and folios in his own library; he was quite a collector of rare books. For the four-hundreth anniversary of the death of the famous Swiss physician and alchemist Theophrastus Paracelsus, Jung delivered to addresses, 'Paracelsus the Physician' and 'Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon'. Like Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Hesse, Jung was convinced of the value of Oriental wisdom. He went in 1938 to India, but he had no plans to visit Swamis or see so-called "holy men", although he discussed with Subrahmanya Iyer, the guru of the Maharajah of Mysore. In his study Jung had a large scroll showing Shiva on top of Mount Kailas.

The American writer F.Scott Fitzgerald mentions Jung several times in Tender is the Night (1934). When his wife Zelda had a psychotic episode in late 1930, Jung was Fitzgerald's alternative choice for consultation. Among Jung's patients in the 1930s was James Joyce's daughter Lucia, who suffered from schizophrenia. Jung had earlier written a hostile analysis of Ulysses, and Joyce was left bitter at Jung's analysis of his daughter. He paid back in Finnegans Wake, joking with Jung's concepts of Animus and Anima. In his essay 'Ulysses' (1934) Jung saw Joyce's famous novel as an exploration of the spiritual condition of modern man, especially the brutalization of his feelings.

In 1933 Jung was nominated president of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, an organization which had Nazi connections. He also assumed the editorship of its publication, Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie. Jung's activities with the organization and his writings about racial differences in the magazine have later been severely criticized. However, Jung had already in 1918 explained his differences with other schools of psychotherapeutic practice with racial terms: "...I can understand very well that Freud's and Adler's reduction of everything psychic to primitive sexual wishes and power-drives has something about it that is beneficial and satisfying to the Jew, because it is a form of simplification." He also saw in National Socialism "tensions and potentialities which medical psychology must consider in its evaluation of the unconscious."

From mythology Jung took the figure of Wotan, an old Nordic god, "the truest expression and unsurpassed personification of a fundamental quality that is particularly characteristic of the Germans." In 1937 Jung said of Hitler less than critically: "He is a medium, German policy is not made; it is revealed through Hitler. He is the mouthpiece of the Gods of old... He is the Sybil, the Delphic oracle" (see Jung in Contexts, ed. by Paul Bishop, 1999) 

Emma Jung died in 1955, before finishing her book on the Grail Legend. Jung began the final construction of his Bollingen house, or rather a castle of stone with towers, and reworked many earlier papers. The first tower of the house Jung built after the death of his mother. Working with the building meant more to Jung than just a pastime. "At Bollingen I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself," he said. Among his later publications are Aion (1951), Answer to Job (1952), and Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955-56). Jung died on June 6, 1961. His last recorded words were, "Let's have a really good red wine tonight." Jung's Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections appeared in English in 1962. It was based on Aniela Jaffé's interviews with Jung, who did not regard the book as his autobiography, but stated that it should be published under Jaffé's name.

For further reading: Complex, Archetype, Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung by J. Jacobi (1957); The Myth of Meaning in the Work of C.G. Jung by A. Jaffé (1967); C.G. Jung and Herman Hesse by N. Serrano (1968); The Great Mother by E. Neumann (1972); Boundaries of the Soul by June Singer (1972); C.G. Jung Speaking, ed. by W. McGuire and F.R. Hull (1977); Jung and the Story of our Time by Laurens van der Post (1977); Melville's "Moby-Dick": A Jungian Commentary by E.F. Edinger (1978); The Individuated Hobbit by T.R. O'Neill (1979); Joyce betweeen Freud and Jung by S.R. Brivic (1979); Jungian Analysis, ed. by Murray Stein (1984); C.G. Jung: Word and Image, ed. by Aniela Jaffé (1979); A Dangerous Method by John Kerr (1993); Boundaries of the Soul by J. Singer (1994); Carl Gustav Jung by Frank McLynn (1996); A Life of Jung by Ronald Hayman (1999); Jung in Contexts, ed. by Paul Bishop (1999); Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul by Clare Dunne (2000). See also The World Is Made of Glass by Morris L. West, which depicts Jung's life in 1913, when he was suffering from nervous breakdown. West parallels Sherlockian detective work with psychoanalytic process.

Selected works:

  • Zur Psychologie und Pathologie sogenannter occulter Phänomene, 1902
    - 'On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena' (in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 1, 1970)
    - Yliluonnollisen psykologiaa (suom. Jukka Pajukangas, 1986)
  • Über die Psychologie der Dementia praecox, 1907
    - The Psychology of Dementia Praecox (in Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co., 1909; tr. A.A. Brill, in Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series 3, 1939) / 'The Psychology of Dementia Praecox' (in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 3. Princeton University Press, 1972)
  • Diagnostische Assoziationsstudien, 1911
    - Studies in Word Association (with others, tr. M.D. Eder, 1918) / 'Studies in Word Association' (in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 2, 1973)
  • Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, 1912
    - Psychology of the Unconscious (translated by Beatrice M. Hinkle, 1916) / 'Symbols of Transformation' (tr. H. G. Baynes, rev. by R. F. C. Hull, in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung , Vol. 6, 1971)
  • Versuch einer Darstellung der psychoanalytischen Theorie, 1913
    - The Theory of Psychoanalysis (Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co., 1915) / 'The Theory of Psychoanalysis' (in Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume, 4, 1970)
  • Instinkt und Unbewusstes, 1919
    - 'Instinct and the Unconscious' (in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 8, 1960)
  • Psychologische Typen, 1921
    - Psychological Types (tr. H.G. Baynes, 1923; H. G. Baynes, rev. by R. F. C. Hull, in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 6, 1971)
  • Über die Energetik der Seele und andere psychologische Abhandlungen, 1928
  • Die Beziehungen zwishen dem Ich und dem Unbewuszten, 1928
    - Contributions to Analytical Psychology (tr. 1928) / Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (tr. 1953)
  • Seelenprobleme der Gegenwart, 1931
    - Modern Man in Search of a Soul (translated by W. S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes, 1933; in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 10, 1970)
  • 'Picasso' [psychoanalyzed], 1932 (in Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
    - 'Picasso', (tr. R.F.C. Hull, in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 15, 1952; The Spirit in Man, Art and Culture, 1967)
  • ''Ulysses': Ein Monolog,' 1932 (in: Europäische Revue)
    - '"Ulyssess: A Monologue' (tr. R.F.C. Hull, in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 15, 1952; The Spirit in Man, Art and Culture, 1967)
  • Die Bedeutung der Psychologie für die Gegenwart, 1933
    - The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man (tr. R.F.C. Hull, Civilization in Transition, 1964; in The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 2d ed, 1970)
  • Wirklichkeit der Seele, 1934
  • Wotan, 1936 (in Neue Schweizer Rundschau) - 'Wotan' (in The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 2nd ed., 1970)
  • Das Geheimnis der Goldenen Blüte, 1938 (with R. Wilhelm)
    - The Secret of the Golden Flower (tr. Richard Wilhelm, 1931)
    - The Integration of the Personality (tr. 1940)
  • Psychologie und Religion, 1940
    - 'Psychology and Religion' (tr. 1962; in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 11, 1969)
  • 'Paracelsus als geistige Erscheinung', 1942 (in Paracelsica)
    - 'Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenin,' in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9, 2nd ed. 1959)
  • Psychologie und Alchemie, 1944
    - Psychology and Alchemy (translated by R.F.C. Hull, 1953; The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 12, 2nd ed., 1968)
  • Die Psychologie der Übertragung, 1946
    - 'The Psychology of the Transference' (tr. R.F.C. Hull, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 16, 1954)
  • 'Versuch zu einer psychologischen Deutung des Trinitätsdogmas', 1948 (in Die Symbolik des Geistes; Gesammelte Werke, Band 11, 1963)
    - 'A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity' (tr. R.F.C. Hull, in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vols. 11, 2nd ed., 1969) / Psychology and Western Religion (from The Collected Works, vols. 11, 18, 1984)
  • Über Psychische Energetik und das Wesen der Träume, 1948 (second, enlarged and improved edition of Über die Energetik der Seele, 1928)
  • Foreword to I Ching or Book of Changes. Translated from the Chinese by Richard Wilhelm, 1949 (in Collected Works, Vol. 11, 2 nd. ed., 1969)
  • Symbole der Wandlung, 1951
    - 'Symbols of Transformation' (in The Collected Works, Vol. 5, 2nd ed., 1967)
  • Aion: Beiträge zur Symbolik des Selbst, 1951
    - Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self (translated by R.F.C. Hull, in The Collected Works, Volume 9, 1959)
  • Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge, 1952
    - Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (tr. R.F.C. Hull, 1960; in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8, 1973)
  • Antwort auf Hiob, 1952
    - Answer to Job (tr. R.F.C. Hull, 1954, in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, 1958; paperback edition, 1960)
    - Job saa vastauksen (suom. Sinikka Kallio, 1974)
  • The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, 1953-79 (20 vols., ed. by H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler)
  • Der göttliche Schelm: Ein indianischer Mythenzyklus, 1954 (with P. Radin and K. Kerényi)
    - The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (with commentaries by Karl Kerényi and C.G. Jung, 1956)
  • Welt der Psyche, 1954 (ed. Aniela Jaffé amd G.P. Zacharias)
  • Won der Wurzeln des Bewuustseins, 1954
  • Ein moderner Mythus. Von Dingen, die am Himmel gesehen werden, 1958
    - Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky (tr. R.F.C. Hull, 1959; in The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 2nd ed., 1970)
  • Mysterium Coniunctionis: Untersuchen über dir Trennung und Zusammensetzung der seelischen Gegensätze in der Alchemie, 1955-56 (2 vols.)
    - Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy (tr. R.F.C. Hull, 1956; in The Collected Works, Vol. 14, 2nd ed., 1970)
  • Gegenwart und Zukunft, 1957
    - The Undiscovered Self (tr. R.F.C. Hull, 1958; in The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 2nd ed, 1970)
    - Nykyhetki ja tulevaisuus (suom. Kaj Kauhanen, 1960)
  • Psyche and Symbol, 1958 (ed. Violet S. de Laszlo)
  • Die Gesammelten Werke von C.G. Jung, 1958-70 (20 vols.)
  • Erinnerungen, Träume, Gedanken , 1961 (recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffé)
    - Memories, Dreams, Reflections (translated by Richard and Clara Winston, 1962)
    - Unia, ajatuksia, muistikuvia (suom. Mirja Rutanen, 1985)
  • Man and His Symbols, 1964 (ed., with M.L. von Franz, Joseph L. Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, Aniela Jaffé)
    - Symbolit: piilotajunnan kieli (suom. Mirja Rutanen, 1991)
  • Briefe, 1972-73 (ed. Aniela Jaffé, with Gerhard Adler)
  • Sigmund Freud/C.G. Jung: Briefwechsel, 1974 (ed. William McGuire and Wolfgang Sauerländer)
    - The Freud/Jung Letters, 1974 (ed. by William McGuire)
  • C.G. Jung: Letters, 1975
  • Nietzsche's Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1934-1939, 1988 (2 vols., ed. by James L. Jarrett, abridged edition in 1998)
  • Das C.G. Jung Lesebuch, 1990 (ed. Franz Alt)
    - Kohti totuutta: poleemisia esseitä (suomentanut Mirja Rutanen, 1991)
  • The Red Book, 2009 (ed. by Sonu Shamdasani)

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