"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands."--Douglas Noel Adams (1952 -2001)
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was the founder of analytical psychology ("synthetical" psychology seems more appropriate to me).
Hating to be called a mystic, Jung became infuriated whenever he was accused of mysticism and claimed that his work was strictly
scientific--based on objective data and empirical fact. But, as Douglas Adams put it, "If it looks like a duck . . ."
Jung wrote his doctoral thesis on seances! He was deeply immersed in astrology, spiritualism, mythology, parapsychology, alchemy, Gnosticism, theosophy, clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, extrasensory perception, reincarnation, UFOs, flying saucers, and various and sundry other occult ideas and practices. Whereas Sigmund Freud was a rationalist and a reductionist, Jung was an idealist and an "expansionist." Fascinated with spiritualism, he sought to unite the wisdom of the East and the West. One wonders if he excluded anything, however far-fetched and ridiculous, from his cosmos. With Jung, all things are possible.
As I read Ronald Hayman's masterful biography, I thought of the words of Festus (which could well describe Jung): "Paul! Paul! You are out of your mind! Too much learning has driven you insane! Stark raving mad!" (Acts 26:24).
I can imagine this pointed exchange: Jung: "There are MORE things in heaven and earth, Herr Doktor Freud, than are dreamt of in your psychology." Freud: "There are LESS things in heaven and earth, Herr Doktor Jung, than are dreamt of in your psychology."
Jung professed to be a Christian, but his religion was unorthodox. He believed that God needed man to correct his (God's) deficiencies, and that Satan was Jesus' older brother. He often spoke heretically of "the dark side of God." Jung confessed that he often wrote ambiguously because truth is too complex to be captured in a non-ambiguous statement. No wonder that Hayman (and this reviewer) finds Jung's work to be vague, nebulous, muddled,confused, and confusing.
Hermann Hesse, author of DEMIAN, SIDDHARTHA, and STEPPENWOLF, said, "I have always respected Jung, nevertheless have never been as impressed by his writings as by Freud's." Although I have strong reservations about Freud's "fixed idea" of sexuality, I agree with Hesse. A voracious reader and a scholar of vast erudition, Jung so bubbled over with various (and weird) ideas that his pronouncements became jumbled in a mish-mash of mystical mutterings. His saner ideas dealt with the importance of symbolism, archetypes, personality types (including introverts and extraverts), and the collective unconscious. Like Freud, Jung was charismatic, narcissistic, and authoritarian. Although married to Emilie Preiswerk for 52 years, a devoted wife who bore him five children, Jung drew women "like bees to honey." Quite the womanizer, he became involved in so many amorous adventures that one loses count of his "affairs of the heart."
Jung believed that rationalism and philosophical materialism, incarnated in science and technology, had robbed modern man of his soul. His heroic mission, as he saw it, was to help a fragmented humanity become integrated. The yin and the yang must be united to form a spiritual whole. The trouble is that Jung's use of terms such as "soul," "spirit," "psyche," "mind," "intellect," and "the collective unconscious" are distressingly fuzzy. Anyone who respects the scientific method must look at Jung and shake his head in disbelief. Louis Breger's FREUD: DARKNESS IN THE MIDST OF VISION was the best book I reviewed in 2000. Ronald Hayman's A LIFE OF JUNG makes a strong bid to be the best book I shall review in 2001. I recommend it most highly.