Lagura: Karl Gustavus Jung: Another dreamer, but with a different interpretation

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INITIALLY a disciple of the Austrian psychologist, Sigmund Freud, the Swiss-born Carl Jung also delved into the new and enchanting field of psychoanalysis. At the start, the two maintained close professional contact and genuine friendship. There was even talk that Jung would eventually take over Freud’s professorial chair at the University of Vienna.

In his book, Psychology of the Unconscious, further elaborated in his later work, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung initially and mainly agreed with Freud on the richness of dreams as a vast frontier to explore the unconscious. Freud’s theory emphasized the dominance in the unconscious of the psychosexual drive consisting of eros and libido.

But, to the surprise of many and also a great disappointment for Freud, Jung came out with his own interpretation and a rival theory of dreams stating that 1) sex as libido is not at the heart of personal growth and 2) dreams can lead us to field of the inherited collective unconscious. In the collective unconscious are the four archetypes, namely, a) animus/anima, 2) the shadow, 3) self, and 4) persona.

The professional break between Freud and Jung worsened when, in his trip to Switzerland, Freud visited Jung’s rival, Ludwig Binzwanger, and not Jung.

The academic rivalry and lost friendship between the two great psychoanalysts reached their peak when at a Munich conference in 1912, Jung publicly repudiated Freud’s psychosexual theory. In the heated academic squabble, Freud fainted! But Jung was gentlemanly enough to lift his former tutor and friend turned professional foe, carried him and placed the unconscious Freud on a sofa.

People admire Jung for demonstrating that the dominant human drive is not sex, self-preservation or death but, as Martin Heidegger noted, care or Sorge.

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