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Paul Stepansky (1976) - The Empiricist as Rebel

Paul Stepansky (1976) - The Empiricist as Rebel

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Published by acweisse
Jung, Freud, and the Burdens of Discipleship
Jung, Freud, and the Burdens of Discipleship

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Jowmal
of
the
History
of
the
Beh5a&vd
S&mcee
12 (1976): 218-239.
THE EMPIRICIST
AS
REBEL:JUNG, FREUD, AND THE BURDENS OF DISCIPLESHIP*
PAUL
E.
STEPANSKY
However little they share in common, both Freudian and Jungian comenta-tors have long agreed that Jung’s theoretical development in the years fol-lowing
his
psychoanalytic affiliation prompted an open“sp1it” with Freud andthe psychoanalyticmovement. Careful examination
of
Jung’s principal “rebel
works
does not sustain this thesis, however, but rather indicates Jung’s honestbelief that
his
imited appro riation of certain psychoanalytic mechanisms andattendant theoretical modiLations constituted full-fledged loyalty to psycho-analysis
as
he understood
it.
This perception receives significant support fromthe Freud-Jung correspondence which reveals Jung openly articulating theground rules defining
his
loyalty to psychoanalysis
fts
early
as
1906,
and Freudaccepting, and even approving,
his
prot6g6‘s empirical reservations over thecourse
of
the next five years.
“It
is a hard lot to have to work alongside the father creator.”-Jung to FreudDecember
25,
1909
I
With a brutal finality that transformed uneasy collaboration into bitterantagonism, both Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung would seek to uncoverthe sources
of
their “professional” differences within the exclusionist realm oftheir respective depth psychologies. Writing only a year after the Munich “split”
of
1913,
Freud reduced a complex chain of events to its most elementary psycho-logical substratum. “The whole range of Jung’s innovations” had but one purpose:
to
eliminate what is disagreeable in the family complexes,
so
as not to find
it
again in religion and ethics. For sexual libido an abstract concept has been sub-stituted, of which one may safely say that
it
remains mystifying and incompre-hensible to wise men and fools alike.” In order to preserve his “incomprehensible”system intact, Jung had found
it
necessary “to turn entirely away from observationand from the technique
of
psycho-analysis.”‘
In
the short autobiographical studyhe wrote eleven years later, Freud had not mellowed. Jung remained a pitiably“infantile” secessionist whose fresh interpretation of the facts of analysis soughtonly “to escape the need for recognizing the importance of infantile sexuality and
of
the Oedipus complex as well as the necessity for any analysis of childhood.”2
*I
am grateful for the encouragement and critical comments of Professor Franklin Baumer, Depart-ment of History, and David Musto, M.D., Departments of History
and
Psychiatry, Yale University.
1.
Sigmund Freud,
On
the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement
(1914),”
in
The StandardEdition
of
the
Complete Psychological
Works
of
Sigmund
Freud
(hereafter
SE),
trans. and ed.
James
Strachey et al. (London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis,
1953-1964);14: 62-63.2.
Sigmund Freud, “An Autobiographical Study
(1925),”
SE,
20:53.
A
graduate
of
Princeton University, where he was a University Scholar
in
the history
of
psy-choanalysis,
PAULE.
STEPANSHY
s currently a Ph.D. candidate
in
European
intellectual
history
at
Yale University, and
has
begun work
on
a
dissertation that
WiU
ezamine the thought
of
AlfredAdler
in
the
contezt
of
both European inteUectua1 hzstory and the history
of
the
psychoanalgtic move-
ment,
This
past Spring, he was named one
of
Yale University’s
first
Kanzer Fund Fellows
for
Psychoanalytic Studies
in
the Humanities.
216
 
THE
EMPIRICIST
AS
REBEL
21 7
Jung’s rejoinder,
if
not
so
virulent, issued from comparable premises. Arguingin
1929
that every psychology-his own included-had the character of a subjectiveconfession, he submitted that “What Freud has
to
say about sexuality, infantilepleasure
. . .
as well as what he says about incest and the like, can be taken as thetruest expression of his personal p~ychology.”~ n his autobiography,
Memmies,Dreams, Reflections,
Jung confessed that he had been struck with Freud’s (‘emotionalinvolvement” with the sexual theory from their very first meeting of February,
1907.
Intuiting then that Freud envisioned sexuality as a veritable
numinosum,
Jung was later “bewildered and embarrassed” when the Master beseeched himto make the sexual theory his own “unshakable bulwark.” “One thing was clear,”he wrote, “Freud, who had always made much
of
his
irreligiosity, had now construc-ted a dogma;
or
rather, in the place
of
a jealous God whom he had lost, he hadsubstituted another compelling image, that of sexuality.”4Such retrospective judgments, though illuminating from a psychobiographicalperspective, constitute a relative stumbling block for the historian of psychoanalysiswho must synchronize institutional development with the theoretical state of theprofession. In this case, the almost instantaneous psychological clarity with whicheach man sized up his antagonist does not quite square with the chronology thatwas to emerge.
If
Jung’s second reading of
The Interpretation
of
Dreams
in
1903
convinced him he (‘could not agree with Freud on the content of repression,”5and
if
it
took but one meeting to convince him
of
Freud’s emotionally chargedtheoretical inflexibility, why did he consent to become his foremost prot6g6, theprospective leader who would shoulder responsibilities that had grown too oppressivefor Freud himself?G On the other hand, if Freud came
to
perceive Jung’s innovations
as
defensive attempts to evade the “repulsive” sexual level
of
psychoanalytic in-sight, how could he overlook this conspicuous trend in Jung’s thought as long as
he
did, and why would he single out Jung
as
his chosen successor in spite of
it?
As
early as
1906,
before his formal introduction to the Master, Jung’s defense of theFreudian theory of hysteria incorporated heuristic distinctions between the “psycho-logy
of
sexuality” and the “wider range
of
Freud’s psychology, that
is,
the psycho-logy of dreams, jokes, and disturbances of ordinary thinking caused by feeling-toned constellations,” while cautiously arguing that Freud’s assumption that allhysteria reduced
to
sexuality was “subject to the general limitation which appliesto empirical
axiom^."^
3.
C.
G.
Jung, “Freud and Jung: Contrasts
(1929),”
in
Colketed
WO:~
hereafter
CW),
trans.R.
F.
C.
Hull
(New
York:
Pantheon
Books
and Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1954-1973))4:
334-335.
4.
C.
G.
Jung,
Memories, Dreams,
ReJlectwns,
trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New
York:
Vintage
Books,
1963))
p.
151.
Cf. Philip Rieff,
The Triumph
of
the Therapeutic
(New
York:
Harperand
Row,
1966))
p.
111:
According to Jung, Freud’s trouble
“was
hat he had remainedaJew whohad merely exchanged ritual obedience to the
law
of
the Hebrew God
for
intellectual obedience
to
the laws
of
sexuality.”
5.
Ibid.,
147-149.
6.
Freud,
On
the History
of
the Psychoanalytic Movement,’’
SE,
4:
43.7.
C.
G.
Jung, “Freud’s Theory
of
Hysteria:
A
Reply to Aschaffenburg
(1906),
CW,
4:3-4.
Jungforwarded Freud an offprint
of
the Reply to Aschaffenburg, circumscribing
it
in
the following way:
I
have tailored
it
a
bit to my subjective standpoint,
so
you may not agree with everything in
it.
I
hope
I
haven’t misrepresented you! In any case
I
wrote it out
of
honest conviction” (Jung to Freud
26
November,
1906,
in
The
FreWllJung
Letters
(hereafter
FJL),
d. William McGuire,
trans.
RalphManheim and
R.
F.
C.
Hull
(Princeton: Princeton Umversity Press,
19741,
p.9.Th? ‘feterdam
Report”
figured
in
an
obtuse exchange
of
mid-April
1908,
when Jung expressed some rmsgivlngs about
 
218
PAUL
E.
STEPANSKY
Moreover, Jung was forthright and direct in expressing his empirical qualms.“What
I
can appreciate and what has helped us here in our psychopathologicalwork,” he wrote Freud on
5
October 1906, (‘are your psychological views, while
I
amstill pretty far from understanding the therapy and the genesis of hysteria be-Cause our material on hysteria is rather meagre.
.
.
.
t
seems
to
me that though thegenesis of hysteria is predominantly,
it
is not exclusively, sexual.” Jung proceeded
to
make clear to Freud the discriminating grounds
on
which his loyalty to psycho-analytic doctrine should be construed. The “sexual theory,” he observed, involvedonly ((delicate theoretical questions.” Freud’s “psychology,” on the other hand,was “the essential thing.”sIn offering this impressionistic but vital distinction, Jung openly formulated
a
professional posture that, for the duration
of
his psychoanalytic collaboration,would constitute both pledge and project. The pledge was
to
espouse
a
“psycho-analysis” not
as
doctrine but as investigatory guide; the project was to use thisguide to arrive “empirically” at
a
developmental psychology that would be per-sonally satisfying in terms of his own clinical understanding and experience. Freudwas quick to acknowledge the scruples of his prospective follower: “Your writingshave long led me
to
suspect that your appreciation of my psychology
does
notextend
to
all my views on hysteria and the problem of sexuality,” he wrote Jungon
7
October 1906, “but
I
venture
to
hope that in the course of the years you willcome much closer
to
me than you now think po~sible.”~n a reply written twoweeks later, Jung readily conceded that his reservations about Freud’s “far-reachingviews” might well be due
to
lack
of
experience, but nonetheless voiced clear “alarm”at the “positivism” of Freud’s presentation and questioned whether
((.
.
a
number
of
borderline phenomena might be considered more appropriately in terms of theother basic drive: hunger.”1° In
a
letter
of
4
December 1906, Jung reiteratedhis aversion
to
Freud’s positivism in
a
tone that was deferent
but
explicit:
If
I
confine myself
to
advocating the bare minimum, this is simply because
I
can advocate only
as
much
as
I
myself have unquestionably experienced, andthat, in comparison with your experience, is naturally very little.
I
am
onlybeginning
to
understand many of your formulations and several of them arestill beyond me, which does not mean by
a
long shot that
I
think you arewrong.
I
have gradually learnt
to
be cautious even in disbelief.””Jung’s cautious disavowal of Freud’s ‘(positivism” did not initially dampenhis commitment
to
that dimension
of
the theory that he believed essential, but
it
did conspicuously qualify his published endorsement of the psychoanalytic credo.In his 1907 exposition
of
“The Freudian Theory
of
Hysteria,” Jung noncommittallysubmitted that Freud had “never propounded a cut-and-dried theory of hysteria,”that his discoveries did not at present “lend themselves to the framing of generaltheories,” and that prospective adherents need not “be put
off
by the obtrusion of
the content
of
the report and appealed to Freud
for
criticism (Jung to Freud,
18
Apra 1908,
FJL
p. 139). Freud curtly responded that “only the sentence about child hysteria
struck
me
as
ncorrect’’(Freud to Jung, 19 April 1908,
FJL,
p. 140),. though nine months later he would cite approvingly
a
Juhrbuch
paper in which Jung “avenged (hunself) brilliantly for Amsterdam” (Freud to Jung,
22
January 1909,
FJL,
p.
201).
8.
Jung to Freud,
5
October 1906,
FJL,
p.
4-5.
9.
Freud to Jung,
7
October 1906,
FJL,
.
5.
10. Jung to Freud,
23
October 1906,
FJL,
.
7.
11.
Jung to Freud,
4
December 1906,
FJL,
p.
10-11.

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