This volume makes available the text of five lectures which Jung gave, in English, to the Institute of Medical Psychology (the Tavistock Clinic), London, in 1935. A mimeographed version has apparently been in private circulation among Jungians for more than thirty years—and extracts have been published in French—but this is their first presentation to the general English-speaking public. The delay in publication appears all the more mysterious when one discovers that these lectures provide an extremely clear, readable, and at times amusing exposition of Jung’s theories. In them Jung not only describes his views on the structure of the mind, giving lucid accounts of his psychological types, of the personal and collective unconscious and of archetypes, but also explains vividly his techniques of dream analysis and active imagination and the role played by transference in analytic therapy. The volume is in many ways comparable to Freud’s Introductory Lectures and will doubtless come to occupy an analogous position in Jungian writ. One surprise is the amount of time he gave to word association tests, which he used to exemplify his general standpoint in a way that is reminiscent of Freud’s use of parapraxes.
Apparently only minor stylistic revisions have been made to the original text and, particularly in view of the fact that Jung seems to have delivered the lectures without reference to a prepared script and to have answered questions as fluently as he lectured, one is immediately impressed by his mastery of colloquial English and by his artistry in putting across in a foreign language not only his theory of psychology but also his own conception of himself.
This is, I think, the right way to put it. These lectures do not reveal Jung’s personality, they portray the persona he wished to present. C. G. Jung, Jung clearly wished his English audience to believe, was a direct man, down-to-earth even when scaling the heights or plumbing the depths, a countryman more at home with peasants and aristocrats than with urban middle-class intellectuals, too virile and familiar with the facts of nature to have much time for those sex cases which so interested Freud, but nonetheless, as befits a pastor’s son, an heir to the Christian spiritual tradition. At times it is clear that he is contrasting himself with Freud but wishes his audience to appreciate that he is too much of a gentleman to do so explicitly.
Of course, Jung may really have been like his persona, but on the other hand he may not have been. His Memories, Dreams, Reflections, which led some reviewers to label him psychotic, reads to me like the account of a life-long identity crisis and it is hard not to suspect him of attitudinizing. One of the unexpected and confusing consequences of the rise of dynamic psychology has been the fact that its practitioners, if sufficiently distinguished, are able to foist onto their successors their own idea of themselves, using their professional prestige and skills to get it accepted. Both Freud and Jung seem to have built into their theories and writings a conception and an interpretation of their own personalities, and to have done so with such success as to make it seem almost impertinent to wonder whether they may after all not have been exceptions to the rule that it is not given to man to be objective about himself, that we are not in a position “to see ourselves as others see us.”
In view of the history of Jung’s personal relationship with Freud and of the fact that Freud’s ideas have achieved wider acceptance than Jung’s, it is impossible to read these lectures without speculating how substantial are the divergences between Freudian and Jungian theories or to what extent they merely reflect imcompatible temperaments. Certainly there are real theoretical differences. For instance, Jung held that the ego has its own sources of energy and therefore asserted the reality of will, whereas Freud held that the ego borrowed energy from the id and therefore asserted the inevitability of unconscious causation. But some of the differences between them seem to be artifacts produced by their differing uses of metaphor and by their having chosen different bridges by which to establish connections between the psychology of the unconscious and already existing aspects of culture.
Both Freud and Jung seem to have felt it necessary to make a crucial, though to my mind unnecessary, step from fact to metaphor by writing as though they thought that unconscious mental processes were entities, things almost, which occupied a space, The Unconscious. This led them both to draw diagrams of the mind and to locate different sorts of mental activity at different points on the diagram. Jung’s diagram, depicted on p. 21 of this volume would, incidentally, be almost identical with Freud’s picture of the mental apparatus in his The Ego and the Id if it were rotated ninety degrees. Both diagrams are reproduced below.
Inevitably, the location of any particular process or function on the diagram affects its theoretical relation with other processes which derive as much from the facts of geometry as from those of psychology.
The best example of this metaphorical artifact is provided by those functions which are traditionally described as higher, finer, and spiritual and which from an evolutionary standpoint must be regarded as late developments of human nature. Freud discussed these as sublimations and ego-functions and located them in the ego, but Jung discussed them as symbols of transformation and, using imagery derived from one of his own dreams, located them below Freud’s unconscious, in a lower story which he called the collective unconscious. As a result, the creation of myths, religions, arts, and sciences by human beings, at a certain level of evolutionary development, is explained in contradictory ways by the two systems of thought. But both explanations can be seen to be erroneous and indeed otiose once one remembers that the unconscious is only a metaphor and that mental processes do not really take place inside anything and do not have spatial relations with one another.
One cannot, incidentally, help regretting that none of the pioneers of the unconscious thought naturally in auditory, musical language. If they had, we would perhaps have a psychology in which thoughts are conceived of as themes, which can occur in different modes and keys, which can vary in their audibility, which can be in harmony or discord, and which can undergo development and variation.
Jung’s location of the symbols of transformation in the collective unconscious is only one of several formulations which seem topsy-turvy to anyone who has become acclimatized to the Freudian view that psychology should be based on the physical and biological sciences. While reading these lectures I several times found myself feeling that it might be possible to find some single conversion factor which could be used to transform Jung into Freud, or vice versa. However, although their diagrams of the mind tally more or less if one of them is rotated ninety degrees, the relationship between them is really more complex. If one is the right way up, the other is not only upside down but also inside out. Perhaps a suitable subject for a Ph. D. thesis by someone interested in both linguistics and geometry would be: “Some unexpected and unintended consequences of the use of spatial metaphors in psychology, as exemplified by the theories of Freud and Jung.”
Some of the divergences between Freud and Jung are, however, better attributed to the fact that they chose opposed solutions to the problem of how to imbed the idea of the unconscious into already existing traditions of Western thought. Freud opted for the scientific solution, attempting to show that psychoanalysis was a logical development of rationalism, an extension of the methods of the physical and biological sciences into psychology, and as such deserving the respect and prestige which contemporary culture accords to scientific endeavor. Hence his likening of his discoveries to those of Galileo and Darwin.
Jung, on the other hand, proceeded in a more dialectical manner, claiming that the psychology of the unconscious constituted a rediscovery of insights which had been overlaid and forgotten by the scientific revolution of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Hence his interest in alchemy and medieval cosmology. “We take up the torch that was abandoned by our old colleagues of the seventeenth century when they put it down in order to become chemists. In so far as we psychologists are emerging from chemical and material conceptions of the psyche, we are taking up that torch again, continuing a process which began in the West in the twelfth century—for alchemy was the work of the doctors who were busy with the mind,” he writes in this volume.
To Freud and Jung these two solutions must have seemed irreconcilable. But now, a generation later, it seems less certain that allegiance to the scientific tradition involves a reductionist approach to the religious quest, or that a concern with transcendence involves a dismissive attitude toward the material, biological origins of the psyche.
Now I am coming to the endopsychic functions of consciousness. The functions of which I have just spoken rule or help our conscious orientation in our relations with the environment; but they do not apply to the relation of things that are as it were below the ego. The ego is only a bit of consciousness which floats upon the ocean of the dark things. The dark things are the inner things. On that inner side there is a layer of psychic events that forms a sort of fringe of consciousness round the ego. I will illustrate it by a diagram:
If you suppose AA’ to be the threshold of consciousness, then you would have in D an area of consciousness referring to the ectopsychic world B, the world ruled by those functions of which we were just speaking. But on the other side, in C, is the shadow-world. There the ego is somewhat dark, we do not see into it, we are an enigma to ourselves. We only know the ego in D, we do not know it in C. Therefore we are always discovering something new about ourselves. Almost every year something new turns up which we did not know before. We always think we are now at the end of our discoveries. We never are. We go on discovering that we are this, that, and other things, and sometimes we have astounding experiences.
We shall now look upon the mind of an individual as an unknown and unconscious id, upon whose surface rests the ego, developed from its nucleus the Pcpt-system. If we make an effort to conceive of this pictorially, we may add that the ego does not envelop the whole of the id, but only does so to the extent to which the system Pcpt forms its surface, more or less as the germinal layer rests upon the ovum. The ego is not sharply separated from the id; its lower portion merges into it.
But the repressed merges into the id as well, and is simply a part of it. The repressed is only cut off sharply from the ego by the resistances of repression; it can communicate with the ego through the id. We at once realize that almost all the delimitations we have been led into outlining by our study of pathology relate only to the superficial levels of the mental apparatus—the only ones known to us. The state of things which we have been describing can be represented diagrammatically;
though it must be remarked that the form chosen has no pretensions to any special applicability, but is merely intended to serve for purposes of exposition. We might add, perhaps, that the ego wears an auditory lobe—on one side only, as we learn from cerebral anatomy. It wears it crooked, as one might say.—Standard Edition, vol. XIX, p. 24.
January 16, 1969