Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung

1875-1961. Swiss-German psychoanalyst who, with Sigmund Freud, was instrumental in bringing psychology into the twentieth century by developing one of several theories of the unconscious. He and Freud worked closely for several years, but eventually split on the role of sexuality in human neuroses. Jung went on to develop his own theories, which he called 'analytical psychology.' Jung is also famous for his concept of the 'collective unconscious' shared by all human minds. From 1911 to 1914, Jung served as president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, a very prestigious organization of psychologists. He was also given chair positions at the universities of Basel and Zurich.

Théodore Flournoy[1]

- Carl Jung -

[1] From Erinnerungen, Traume, Gedanken von C. G. Jung, Aufgezeichnicht und herausgegeben von Aniela Jaffé, (Olten: Walter-Verlag, 1988), pp. 378-79.

          DURING THE time of my relationship to Freud I found a fatherly friend in Théodore Flournoy. He was already an old man when I got to know him. Unfortunately he died only a few years later. As I was still a doctor at the Burgholzli when I read his book, From India to the Planet Mars, it made a great impression on me. I wrote to Flournoy that I wanted to translate it into German. It was after half a year that I received his reply, in which he apologized for having let my question lie unanswered for so long. To my regret, he had already appointed another translator[2].

[2] It was only in 1914 that an anonymous German translation appeared - Ed.: Sonu Shamdasani.

Later I visited him in Geneva, and as I gradually recognized where Freud's limits lay, I went to him from time to time, and I talked with him. It was important to me to hear what he thought of Freud, and he said very intelligent things about him. Most of all, he put his finger on Freud's rationalism, which made much of him understandable, as well as explaining his onesidedness.

In 1912 I induced Flournoy to attend the congress in Munich, at which the break between Freud and myself took place. His presence was an important support for me.

I had the feeling in those years - and especially after the parting of ways with Freud - that I was still too young to be independent. I still needed support, and above all someone with whom I could talk openly. This I found in Flournoy, and therefore he soon represented to me a kind of counterpoise to Freud. With him I could really discuss all the problems that scientifically occupied me - for example, on somnambulism, on parapsychology, and the psychology of religion. I had no one else who shared my interests in these matters. Flournoy's views lay completely in my line and gave me many a suggestion. His concept of the "imagination créatrice," which particularly interested me, was an idea I adopted from him.

I learned a great deal from him - above all, the way and manner to consider a patient, the loving absorption in its history. This was how I borrowed one of his cases, namely that of Miss Miller in Transformations and Symbols of the Libido (1912), and subjected it to a careful analysis.

I had long been interested in the connections of the fantasy products of schizophrenics, and Flournoy helped me to understand them better. He saw the problems whole, and above all saw them objectively. To him, the facts were important, what took place. He went at a case with the utmost caution and never lost sight of the whole. My fundamental impression of Flournoy's scientific attitude was that he had a truly "objective" approach, and by comparison with Freud that seemed to me a very great merit. Freud had a dynamic and penetrating way: he expected something from his cases. Flournoy wanted nothing. He saw with detachment, and saw clearly. Under the influence of Freud I acquired knowledge, but nothing became clear. Flournoy taught me to maintain a distance between myself and the object, and supported me in the effort to classify and maintain things in a broad horizon. His method was more descriptive, without letting in suppositions, and in spite of a warm and lively interest in the patient, he always held himself at a considerable distance. Thus he never lost sight of the whole.

Flournoy was a cultivated and distinguished personality, very finely educated, intellectually balanced, and with a differentiated sense of proportion. All this was very beneficial for me. He was a professor of philosophy and psychology. He was strongly influenced by Jamesian pragmatism - a viewpoint that is uncongenial to the German spirit and has therefore not been given the attention it deserves. But pragmatism is especially for psychology not of little importance. What I especially esteemed in Flournoy was his philosophical manner of consideration and above all his critical judgement, which was founded on a comprehensive culture.

Translated by Sonu Shamdasani.


The above article was taken from Théodore Flournoy's "From India to the Planet Mars" (reprint: Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994.).

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