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Freud, Jung, and the Noise from the Bookcase

  1. Apr 12, 2010 #1
    I read an account of this incident years ago and have often wondered about it. Here's the short version:


    A longer version is available at this separate source (which does not allow for copy and paste):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=f-...AEwBA#v=onepage&q=jung freud bookcase&f=false

    Jung called this phenomenon "exteriorization of emotion".

    I don't have a firm explanation for this incident, but I can suggest that it was some sort of folie a deax. Freud and Jung were heavily emotionally invested in each other. Jung was Freud's first non-Viennese follower at a time when he, Freud, was more reviled than anything else, and he favored Jung among his followers for it, and also for the fact he wasn't Jewish. Jung added a layer of respectability to psychoanalysis that his fellow Jewish/Viennese followers did not. They openly described their relationship as Father-Son, but the father was rather dependent on the son. The first noise from the bookcase may have been natural creaking that happened to coincide with Jung's angry solar plexus. The second, 'confirmatory' noise, though, may have been an hallucination induced by Jung's announcement it would happen. As you can see from the second link, Freud felt Jung's presence and belief had unduly affected him.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2010 #2
    I have heard this before and find the Jung-Freud relationship fascinating. This incident totally represents the fissure between Jung and Freud, reduced to a single event. The mystic Jung and the skeptic Freud. Who knows what really happened.

    And Freud was Jung's hero and it broke his heart to have to break with him. And it broke Freud's heart as well. I dont think they spoke within the last decades of their lives. I'm not sure Judaism had anything to do with it. And I don't see how Jung added respectability to psychoanalysis. He really wasnt anybody at the time. Though Jung was one of the few who defended Freud when Freud was what Jung said "persona non grata". But Jung was a nobody then. He was just an admirer. I think they were just kindred spirits. The first time they ever met they spoke for like 12 hours straight. Jung defended Freud till the day he died. Freud was not a very likable person but Jung was always loyal. Freud took the breakup much harsher. Jung just wanted to go his own way and had honest disagreements. Freud took this personal.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  4. Apr 22, 2010 #3
    Before Jung joined the fold, critics of psychoanalysis could dismiss it as a sort of highly suspect Viennese Jewish doctors club. Jung, being neither Jewish, nor Viennese, made it more difficult to dismiss it on that basis.

    And, Jung was not exactly a complete nobody:


    At the same link there is this frank description of the dangerous emotional undercurrents in play in their relationship:

    In other sources I've read that the "attack" Freud sensed from Jung which caused him to faint, consisted of Jung inadvertantly letting things slip in conversation, things that indicated he wished Freud dead so he, Jung, could supplant him. The other fainting spell was precipitated by Freud feeling a sudden erotic attraction to Jung: the very thing he knew Jung feared most.

    So, while there is surface admiration and respect, there is admitted mutual fear and conflict seething under the surface. They have powerful but turbulent emotional effects on each other. Jung is afraid to admire without reservation because that lead him to be sexually assaulted in the past. Freud, as King of psychoanalysis, is afraid of the Prince (his "son") who wants the King to die so he can take his place, and he is simultaneously afraid of his transient homoerotic reaction to Jung, precisely because he knows it would be repellent to Jung.

    The noise in the bookcase was, by Jung's own admission, an expression of anger at Freud. Whether it was an objectively existent sound (i.e. would have been picked up had a recording device been present) or whether it was an hallucination hypnotically elicited by Jung after a conversational "priming", (Jung had steered the conversation to parapsychology and precognition) is an issue of interest. Was Jung really interested in convincing Freud of the existence of the paranormal, or was this whole incident an evasive way of creating a break with Freud to free himself of the emotional stress his dealings with Freud created?
  5. Apr 23, 2010 #4
    You have certainly made this more interesting. lol. I don't know.

    I know that Jung would let Freud analyze him and open himself up to him. Freud would not return the favor.

    Are you a fan of Freud and/or Jung btw? I like them both. Jung more though.
  6. Apr 24, 2010 #5
    You might find this list of "deceptions" interesting:


    Apparently there was a lot of subterfuge going on between them.

    I have to agree with Freud's assessment of Freud, that the people who criticize him the most vehemently are the ones who've never read him. His actual works bear little resemblance to the popular notion (caricature) of them, and are actually pretty persuasive. Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with Jung's actual writings, and only know about the concepts that are popular and often referred to: synchronicity, archetypes, a general mystical proclivity.

    Freud didn't like that mystical proclivity. Not, interestingly enough, because he didn't believe in some occult phenomena, but because he was concerned about the image of psychoanalysis. They were already always accused of crackpottery and Freud felt it would be like to painting targets on themselves to openly start discussing possibilities there might be some genuine paranormal phenomena. He had no desire for psychoanalysis to appear to be allied with occult movements. In fact, though, Freud had encountered some incidents he thought constituted strong evidence for telepathy. In reality Freud was not the scoffer Jung painted him to be at all. He was just exceptionally cautious about respectability. Another reason why Jung would use this particular sort of thing to cause a rift. It was a totally effective way to convince Freud that he, Jung, was not adding credibility to the field.

    Here is Freud's "eyes only" essay on the telepathy incidents. It is unfortunately prefaced by an incredibly long winded 'perspective" on why this isn't for general publication, and the whole thing is altogether too long anyway:

  7. Apr 24, 2010 #6
    I find myself defending Freud all the time against people who are educated just enough to know Freud has fallen out of favor in the field and academia. The cocktail party guy who scoffs and mocks Freud to prove he knows something about the subject. It's like a way to gain intellectual credibility. Freud was brilliant, a great writer, and very insightful. I would recommend that everyone read The Interpretation of Dreams and Civilization and its Discontents. Just for the philosophy.

    Jung is simply awesome. He originally wanted to be an archaeologist and I think carried that over to psychology. He was an archaeologist of the mind. Always digging. He knew many of the ancient languages, like Sanskrit, and ancient symbolism. He had been reading ancient texts from all over the world in their native language since he was a child. He found similar "artifacts" in the mind of patients he studied.

    I think the bottom line is that Freud was more interested in protecting Psychoanalysis than finding truth. Another main thing was Freud's central focus on sexual desire. Jung believed sex was a major drive of humans, probably the most major, but there were other parts as well.


    10 page article when Jung was on the cover of Time. I always loved that line, only a dead man can be totally defined by their past, life is made up of more than just yesterdays.
  8. Apr 24, 2010 #7
    Though not formally educated in either Freud or Jung, I read a book once, many years ago(don't know the title) that had questions with responses from Freud, Jung and I think a couple others.
    I recall finding Jung's responses more appealing to myself.
  9. Apr 24, 2010 #8
    That article is pretty comprehensive. It's amazing how many Jungian concepts are fully integrated into our culture: persona, introvert, extrovert, etc.

    (It also describes the incident where Freud fainted when he realized Jung wished him dead so he could supplant him.)

    However, I can't help but feel Jung is taking advantage of having outlived Freud to bash him when Freud's not around to respond. The Freud he describes is not the Freud I've read. He's pretty much forcing you to take sides.

    How are you mainly a fan of Jung and also so impressed by Freud?
  10. Apr 24, 2010 #9
    From the Time article I get the impression Jung was the first "feel good" therapist. Freud was more the "this is going to get uncomfortable, but it's got to be done" type.
  11. Apr 24, 2010 #10
    I think the shadow is one of Jung's most interesting concepts. Star Wars is very Jungian. Joseph Campbell, who is also Jungian, is great too. I always thought Jung remained respectful towards Freud and was often baited into trying to contrast himself with Freud by interviewers and the like. I mean, you can't interview Jung without bringing up Freud. It's also hard to say who is the real Freud. I often found him shallow, bitter, and cold. And other times I found him to be incredibly deep and loving. Jung is who turned me on to Freud. I read Jung first. I just like Freud. I don't know. As I said, he was very insightful and a great writer. I like Skinner too.
  12. Apr 25, 2010 #11
    Reading up on the shadow I found this, which I liked:


    That whole page is quotes about the shadow and some of it really does sound like dialog from Star Wars.

    Are you hinting that Jung made the noise in the bookcase by harnessing "the force"?
  13. Apr 25, 2010 #12
    lol, no. There was a quote from a movie or something that said something like, "The Emperor wants to control outer space, Yoda wants to control inner space." And that is what makes Star Wars so Jungian.

    "Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens."


    You must control inner space to stand up to outerspace. Or as Jung put it, "to stand against the world". This where the shadow comes in, actually nearly all of Jung's archetypes are represented in Star Wars but the shadow is the most important.


    He gives Hitler as an example.

    "For over five years this man has been chasing around Europe like a madman in search of something that he could set on fire."

    That is a quote by Hitler about Churchill. Classic projection of the shadow. Jung believed that every person must have a reckoning with himself. Face himself down and look at what they are. Including the shadow. Jung believed this reckoning was inevitable and would either happen inside you, or outside you. If you don't reckon with yourself you will reckon with the world. The reckoning will happen either way. Hitler couldn't reckon with himself so he reckoned with the world. His inner conflicts had to to be played out on the world stage. Obviously not every conflict of every person is played out to such a scale but you are still reckoning with the world, you hurt your relationships, you form hatred or prejudices. Basically you can't know anybody else or give them a fair chance because you don't know yourself. If you don't know yourself you won't know if you are attributing your own shortcomings to other people and ideas. You have to know yourself first. You have control innerspace to have a chance against outerspace. Nobody controls their own innerspace so it is quite easy for leaders to influence them into tearing the world into opposing haves like Hitler, and so many others have been able to do since the beginning of history. Those shortcomings and shadows are built up and just waiting to be attributed and projected on something. That is why so few people have been able to stand against the world, because they have nothing to stand on. They are in an almost dream-like state, they haven't woken. Woken to themselves. Jung says he personally awoke at a young age, at 11 he said "I stepped out of a mist."

    Bringing this back to Star Wars... it is all about the shadow. Luke had to face himself down. That was the hardest part. When he goes into that cave or whatever and cuts off Vader's head and realizes it is himself inside the costume. He thought his biggest fear was Vader, or at least we were lead to believe that and that seemed to be where it was going. So Vader does indeed show and Luke is scared, but he defeats Vader but in defeating him found his true greatest fear. That he was perfectly capable turning into Vader. What was inside Vader was also inside him. It is inside everybody. Luke had confronted the worst part of himself. He reckoned with himself. He now had self-knowledge. Now he was ready to face Vader and everything else, or stand against the world as Jung would say. He couldnt be manipulated. They couldn't invoke his worst qualities and let them feed and guide his actions towards others. He couldn't be manipulated into attributing his worst qualities to others. He now had something to stand on. Vader and Hitler took the easy way out. Luke did it the hard way. I think it was either Jung or Freud who said something like there is no fear that a man will go a farther length to avoid than himself. Reckoning with the world is easy, it is reckoning with yourself that is hard. That's the real heroism of Luke.

    Luke followed the true hero path. Campbell wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces that directly influenced Lucas. Lucas just added another hero's face. He used Campbell's summarization of the hero and seemed to follow it completely:

    "We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."

    Watch the first 5 minutes of this. Introduction about Campbell and his ideas. Don't skip any part of the beginning. Star at 1 second and watch the first 3 minutes or so.

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  14. Apr 26, 2010 #13
    Once again I'm surprised how many of Jung's concepts are ubiquitous without my having known they originated with him. The concept "The things that bother us most about other people are actually the things we dislike in ourselves", was attributed by one or two people I knew to Herman Hesse (Steppenwolf?). Hesse must have been reading Jung.

    "If you don't reckon with yourself you will reckon with the world. The reckoning will happen either way. "

    I've never heard this put quite this way, but it's easy to see it makes sense. To the extent a person is "charging around" trying to change the external world it demonstrates they are exteriorizing (projecting) onto the external world the things they are unhappy with about themselves. They are fighting on the wrong battlefield, external rather than internal.

    "...he defeats Vader but in defeating him found his true greatest fear. That he was perfectly capable turning into Vader. What was inside Vader was also inside him. It is inside everybody. Luke had confronted the worst part of himself. He reckoned with himself. He now had self-knowledge. Now he was ready to face Vader and everything else, or stand against the world as Jung would say. He couldnt be manipulated. They couldn't invoke his worst qualities and let them feed and guide his actions towards others. He couldn't be manipulated into attributing his worst qualities to others. He now had something to stand on."

    Wonderful, but now my objection: who gets this watching the films? My impression is that the average Star Wars fan tolerates this background "philosophy" as some sort of perfunctory moral lesson that has to be included to justify the real point of the films: great special effects, good fights, high drama, entertaining aliens, amazing chase scenes in space craft, in short, a big, sensational, escapist experience. I don't think the average 11 year old emerges from the theater thinking "Hey! I've got to get my interior world in order or I might turn into Darth Vader!" He's thinking "Oh man! I'd so love to whip around through space in the Millenium Falcon!"

    From what I've read so far that great leeway provided to miss, or ignore, the message of Star Wars seems to be an accurate amplification of the problems I think are inherent in Jung. The appeal is really in the great characters and drama of the plot: every man can be a hero who defeats the "shadow". It's not exactly inaccurate so much as it's phrased in escapist terms.

    The shadow's great misbehavior, projection, is actually, a concept developed by Freud. Projection is one of his famous ego defense mechanisms. Jung seems to have hijacked it from it's clinical setting and repackaged it in a form that is entertaining to kids of all ages. Why?

    I am starting to suspect Jung may never have voiced his true objection to Freud, which might be that he simply thought him excessively blunt.

    Freud's counter objection to Jung would be: he had repackaged the message to the point most people could enjoy the ride without ever getting the message.
  15. Apr 26, 2010 #14
    I'm running out the door now and will add more later.. Nobody gets that message from Star Wars! I didn't get it until I read Jung and Campbell. But that's just the thing, the connection is subconscious. That is the power of myth. We dance to it even when we don't know the tune.

    And yes, everyone can be a hero. In later editions of Campbell's A Hero With a Thousand Faces, Mark Hamill as Luke is added to the many faces on the cover.

    "People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about. "


    Star Wars is one of those things that brings the rapture for many people. It is more than just battle scenes.

    Some more Jung quotes:

    "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

    "The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases."

    "Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other."

    "We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. "
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