Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Gustav Jung

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by Frank McLynn

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Part Two Of Two Parts

In recent years the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung has emerged as the guru of the New Age, a source of 'alternative' modes of thought. But Frank McLynn's Jung is the first full-length biography of this enduring icon, a one-time protege, of Freud who established his own following after a quarrel with his mentor. Jung was controversial for his

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Part Two Of Two Parts

In recent years the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung has emerged as the guru of the New Age, a source of 'alternative' modes of thought. But Frank McLynn's Jung is the first full-length biography of this enduring icon, a one-time protege, of Freud who established his own following after a quarrel with his mentor. Jung was controversial for his idiosyncratic views on the psyche, as well as his extreme right-wing politics and sexual promiscuity. But he was an innovator who worked extensively on the "collective unconscious" and on the role of dreams in psychic health, and his interest in myth and oriental religion brought psychoanalysis closer to religion than any other thinker. Frank McLynn's fascinating biography will introduce readers to the man whose views continue to shape psychotherapy and popular religion.

"The best account of Jung yet published." (The Evening Standard)

Editorial Reviews

Evening Standard
This very solid, well-paced biography will help readers understand both why Jung was so intensely admired and hated.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
McLynn has written an admirably honest book that is both lively and objective and deserves a wide readership.
Kirkus Reviews
A thorough and often critical biography of the second most important figure in 20th-century psychology (the first of two Jung biographies due out this fall).

Veteran biographer and intellectual historian McLynn (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1994, etc.) appropriately devotes a great deal of space to the final break in 1912 between Freud and his onetime protégé Jung. The author does an excellent job of delineating their intellectual differences: In contrast to psychology's founding father, Jung rejected the near-monocausality of sexuality for psychological disorders, downplayed the role of transference in treatment, and was highly sympathetic to religion's role in the search for meaning and psychic health. While praising his subject's "astonishing fertility of ideas and . . . eclecticism of inspiration," McLynn demonstrates how disturbed many of his most important personal relationships were. The author concludes that, having had many affairs, Jung "had destroyed both [his wife Emma's] life and that of Toni Wolff [his longest and most important mistress] as thoroughly as it was possible for a human to do by his habitual infidelities, his coldness, his ruthlessness and his rating of anima archetypes over flesh-and-blood women." On the most controversial aspect of the Swiss thinker's life, McLynn is restrained and fair-minded but pulls no punches in revealing how Jung was "at best ambivalent and, at worst, openly supportive" toward the Nazis in the 1930s. And if he was often intellectually insightful and culturally sophisticated, Jung was also prone to fatuous one-dimensional judgments of others. In addition, Jung's presentation of his ideas often was stylistically murky and sometimes even self-contradictory.

While McLynn could have explained a few of Jung's more recondite ideas more fully, this very solid, well-paced biography will help readers understand both why Jung was so intensely admired and hated, and why, in terms of intellectual influence, he came to be so thoroughly overshadowed by his great nemesis, Freud.

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To understand Carl Gustav Jung one must first understand Switzerland, and this is no easy matter. People become puzzled when confronted with a republic that has no president but a communal leadership consisting of an executive council. The technicalities of confederation rather than federalism -- the technical distinction is that in confederation the central government has powers over the member states but not directly over their citizens -- leads to further confusions. Compound this with a geography that produces cis-Alpine, trans-Alpine and inter-Alpine cantons and a political culture not based on a single language and one is already faced with a social complexity that matches the notorious difficulty of Jung's psychological thought. Some observers have even suggested a stricter determinism: that Jung could not have had the theories he had if he had been born elsewhere, since the Swiss constitution is itself `Jungian'.

Superstitious, xenophobic, conservative, earthbound, introverted, moneyminded -- all these epithets have been used to describe Jung, and even more frequently to describe his native country. That Jung was not an untypical `Switzer' he himself recognized, and he would usually take it in his stride when accused of being `moralistic', `mystical', or `Teutonically confused'. He was quite prepared to admit that he was a bigoted Swiss and even revelled in the idea of being a product of Swiss wooden-headedness.

He conceded that his fellow-countrymen were primitive and said that their love of cattle reminded him of the African: adding that there was still a lot of deeply buried and archaic earth mysticism in Switzerland. As for conservatism, he declared that for the Swiss a new idea was like an unknown dangerous animal which had to be either avoided or else approached with extreme caution -- which was why, in his view, the Swiss had such poor intuitive capacity. Their aristocratic posture revealed itself in indifference to the opinions of others. As for introversion, this was a function both of xenophobia and neutrality in the affairs of the world on one hand and the peculiar Swiss political culture on the other, where warlike instincts were channelled inwards into domestic political life.

Jung advanced the paradox that the tolerable social order in Switzerland was a result of having `introverted' war; Switzerland was ahead of the rest of the world in that it was in a chronic state of mitigated civil war and did not direct its aggression outwards.

The charge of neurosis always upset Jung and he rebutted it as vigorously when laid at the door of his native land as he did when accused of it himself. Although accepting that the Swiss were for geographical and cultural reasons in a precarious position, full of resentments and defence mechanisms (and in this he likened them to the Jews), he thought they had their feet on the ground and their head out of the clouds. It is true that even in the nineteenth century when Jung was born Switzerland had fewer social frictions and less class conflict, but the tendency to melancholy and the high suicide rate were often noted by foreign observers. Above all, the Swiss were thought to be far too interested in money, to have what Jung would later term a `money-complex'.

`Point d'argent, point de Suisse' were the immortal words in Racine's Les Plaideurs -- said to have been the actual words of Swiss mercenaries in the service of French King Francis I in 1521, when they quit because they had not been paid. Jung accepted that there was some truth in this and liked to tell a story about a relative snubbed at a family gathering on the grounds that he was a `dreadful person'; when Jung asked what crime the man had committed the answer was short and to the point: `He's living on his capital.'

The peculiarity of Switzerland as geographical entity and political culture can scarcely be overemphasized in its influence on Jung. Geographically, the Swiss are predominantly a mountain people, and it is a commonplace of political science that such `highlanders' are deeply religious and politically conservative, with a strong sense of independence and self-reliance. Jung frequently referred to the Alps as the central collective image of Switzerland and suggested that a landscape where Nature was mightier than Man produced the characteristic Swiss mixture of obstinacy, doggedness, stolidity and innate pride.

The other salient geographical feature of Switzerland is that it is landlocked -- the `Swiss admiral' has become a stock joke -- and to this fact Jung attributed all the qualities of the Swiss, both good and bad: the down-to-earth, limited outlook, the parsimony, stolidity, stubbornness, xenophobia, mistrustfulness, political neutrality and refusal to become involved.

Yet its mountainous and landlocked nature do not exhaust the geographical significance of Switzerland. It is also at the heart of Europe -- a fact Jung thought of great significance. This meant that in Switzerland the European was truly at home in his geographical and psychological centre; Switzerland was, so to speak, Europe's centre of gravity. The nodal position of Switzerland has inspired the legend of Saanemoser, a village in Bernese Oberland, where it is said that if you spit into the stream it is an even chance that the fluid will be carried either down various water courses to the Rhone and the Mediterranean or to the Rhine and hence the North Sea.

Yet beyond all these reasons for taking an exceptional pride in his native land, Jung had quasi-mystical reasons of his own for revering Switzerland. As a believer in numerology, astrology and symbols, Jung singled out more obscure aspects of the semiology of Switzerland from which to derive comfort. Obsessed as he was with the dialectical interpenetration of opposites, he pointed to the fact that the red and white in the Swiss flag were themselves `signs' of the reconciliation he held so dear. Bedazzled by the fact of Switzerland's strength as a nation-state, against all the apparent odds, he liked to point out that the existence of three major languages (Italian, French and German) was no barrier to a sense of nationhood, whereas the received wisdom was that a distinctive language was the sign of nationhood and a special political culture. But language in Switzerland was even more important than this in Jung's view, for there was a fourth tongue, the Romansch dialect, spoken in the remoter Alpine valleys. It was a deeply held belief of Jung's that four was a magic number symbolizing perfection -- his work is littered with references to `the quaternity' -- and he saw such quaternities everywhere in Switzerland. The most striking one for him was that Switzerland had four main rivers -- the Rhine, Rhone, Ticino and Inn -- mirroring the four biblical rivers of Eden (the Euphrates, Gihon, Pison and Hiddekel) -- thus establishing his homeland as the true earthly paradise.

Moreover, the Swiss zodiacal sign was an earth sign -- Virgo in one tradition, Taurus in another. The stolidity and inaccessibility of the Swiss were, on this view, all marks of the feminine element Virgo. Jung liked to link the Virgo sign to Switzerland's loveliest mountain -- the Jungfrau -- thus reinforcing his sense of the Alps as a metaphor for perfection.

It is possible to attenuate the deep psychological and cultural impact of one's homeland by exile or emigration, but no-one can shrug off the influence of parents. It is a commonplace that parents are an enduring legacy for good or evil but, beyond this, Jung considered there were two reasons why ancestry was all-important. In the first place he thought that children were condemned to fulfil that portion of a parent's life left undone. Secondly, he believed in a form of atavism: that grandparents could actually have more influence on a child than the parents themselves. This was a particularly important idea in Jung's case, since his grandfathers were more eminent people than his father. Moreover, it is a peculiarity of Swiss history that many of her great figures were sons of pastors who spent their lives wrestling with problems of faith and doubt left unsolved by their fathers. Such were Jakob Burckhardt, Pestalozzi and Durenmatt and so too was Jung. This is what Freud meant when he referred to the `theological prehistory of so many of the Swiss.

Jung's ancestry on the paternal side cannot be traced back beyond the early eighteenth century. The Jung family came from Mainz, and it is known that there was a Dr Carl Jung who died there in 1645 -- and -- interestingly in view of Carl Gustav's own later preoccupations -- was affiliated to the Rosicrucians, but the early part of the family tree comes to an abrupt end in 1688. In that year, during Louis XIV's siege of Mainz, the municipal archives took a direct hit from cannon fire and were burned to the ground, destroying all previous records of the Jungs. Their history proper begins with Jung's great-grandfather, the physician Franz Ignaz Jung (1759-1831), a Mainz Catholic and an introvert who was known to have had an unhappy marriage with Sophie Ziegler; Jung's `atavistic theory' links Franz with his own father, Paul Jung (1842-96), since both men had problems with their wife and son. Franz Jung was in charge of a military hospital during the Napoleonic wars, and his brother Sigismund (1745-1824) was Chancellor of Bavaria.

Sophie Ziegler Jung suffered from mental illness whose nature is uncertain. In later life her famous great-grandson analysed her handwriting and found no trace of schizophrenia, detecting instead a `psychogenic melancholia'; he also speculated that she had an over-intense relationship with her son, which exacerbated the rift with Franz. Partly as a result of Franz's marital discord with Sophie, the rumour sprang up that Sophie had had an illegitimate son by Goethe. The canard was circumstantially plausible, as Sophie and her sister were lively artistic personalities who knew Goethe and did a great deal for the Mannheim theatre (Franz Ignaz transferred the family seat from Mainz to Mannheim), especially at the time of the memorable premiere of Schiller's Die Rauberin in 1782. In his early career Jung was inclined to credit the rumour, and Freud, whether ironically or not, refers to Goethe as `your ancestor' in correspondence with Jung. The idea of Goethe as Jung's great-grandfather looks like a classic instance of the common fantasy of having celebrated forebears famously analysed by Freud as the `family Romance'. At the end of his life Jung advanced a more sober explanation for the role of Goethe in the history of his family in terms of a possible `transference' to Goethe.

What is known for certain is that Jung's great inspiration, his grandfather Carl Gustav, was born in 1794 and converted to Protestantism in his student years. Carl Gustav attended Heidelberg University where he studied medicine though his first love was poetry. His combative personality and taste for radical causes were almost his undoing, for at twenty-three, with his career barely started, he was arrested and spent a year without trial in the Hansvogtei prison. His political activities led him to befriend genuine revolutionaries, one of whom assassinated the Russian privy councillor Kotzebue; in the ensuing hue and cry a hammer and an axe were found in Carl Jung's rooms and he was held as an accessory. Once released, ruined and embittered, he made his way to Paris where he met the famous naturalist and traveller Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt took him under his wing, found him a job in the Department of Surgery at the Hotel-Dieu and spotted him as a potential recruit for the Berne academy. When Berne showed no interest, Humboldt presented his protege's credentials to the new medical school at Basel, and secured a post for him. Jung left for Switzerland in 1820, took out Swiss nationality and made his career in Switzerland thereafter, becoming professor of medicine at Basel University in 1822.

Like his grandson, Carl Gustav was autocratic and pranksterish. Anticipating Gerard de Nerval with his lobster, he had a small pig as a pet which he took on walks as if it were a dog. A strong personality, active, brilliant, witty, voluble and a great organizer, Carl Gustav senior transformed the Basel medical faculty. Before he arrived the faculty had been in a bad way: for many years the anatomist and botanist Johann Jakob Burckhardt had been the only teacher, and between 1806 and 1814 not a single degree had been awarded. Greatly interested in psychiatry -- Carl Gustav tried unsuccessfully to endow a chair in the subject at Basel -- he founded an institute for psychologically disturbed and retarded children and spent much of his free time with his charges until his death in 1864. Eventually Rector of Basel University, he was an ardent Freemason, became Grand Master of the Swiss Lodge, published numerous scientific papers and wrote plays. He made great friends with the German theologian Wilhelm de Wette (1780-1849), like himself a political refugee, who had been dismissed as professor of theology at Berlin University for his radical sympathies. It was the German Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1766-1834) who brought the two men together and it was through Schleiermacher's influence that he was appointed to the chair at Basel in 1822.

Like all the Jungs, Carl Gustav had a turbulent married life. His first wife died after bearing him three children, whereupon Carl Gustav decided he wanted to marry the daughter of Basel's mayor. When the mayor turned down his suit for his daughter's hand, Carl Gustav decided that to `spite' the stuffed-shirt dignitary he would marry the first attractive woman he met. He stormed into a tavern and proposed to the waitress there -- an exploit that won him notoriety in the university. The hapless waitress died after bearing him two children. Since the mayor's daughter was still unmarried, Carl Gustav decided to try his luck once more, and this time Mayor Frey accepted him. Sophie in turn bore eight children, all of whom remembered their father as a domestic tyrant. The youngest son born to this third marriage was Paul Jung, who was to be the great psychologist's father.

Jung's maternal grandfather was also an astonishing character. Samuel Preiswerk (1799-1871) was a pastor and a Zionist avant la lettre, obsessed with Jewish history and culture. Convinced that Hebrew was the language spoken in Heaven, he gave his children Jewish names and achieved such eminence in Hebrew studies that he was appointed to a lectureship in the subject; his greatest source of satisfaction was the knowledge that he would now be able to read celestial newspapers. At first his career was erratic: he taught Hebrew and Old Testament theology in Geneva, was then recalled to Basel as pastor of St Leonhard's church and finally got tenure at the university there. Preiswerk, who first came to Basel in 1833, married twice: his first wife Magdalene produced just one child before dying, but his second, Augusta Faber, a Wurttemberg clergyman's daughter, bore him no fewer than thirteen. An occultist and spiritualist, he insisted that his wife stand behind him during his sermons to ward off evil spirits. She took less satisfaction from his dealings with the spirits at home, for Preiswerk liked to set out a chair in his study for his first wife's ghost to sit in; during her weekly visit they would have long conversations. The living wife took less kindly to this and, since she was herself clairvoyant and possessed of the second sight, a battle of the psyches was fought out in the Preiswerk household.

Jung's parents Paul and Emilie were both the youngest in families of thirteen children -- a fact the superstitious and numerological Carl Gustav junior did not fail to invest with significance. Paul Jung promised great things in his youth and was a brilliant student of oriental languages (principally Arabic) at Gottingen University, but he was a depressive and found himself in his thirties an obscure pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church Evangelical in a backwater in Canton Thurgau. Quiet and unassuming in public, he was quarrelsome and bad-tempered in private, and the marriage with Emilie Preiswerk did not prosper, especially as his dreamy, scholarly nature clashed with her `uncanny' personality -- clearly she had inherited a double dose as a `psychic' from her Preiswerk parents. Their root problem was sexual. Some have speculated that Paul was somewhat lacking in virility, or that Emilie was terrified of sex; possibly both factors were at play, but it was not a happy marriage.

Carl Gustav, who was born on 26 July 1875, was Paul and Emilie's first surviving child. Emilie had given birth to a boy, Paul, in 1873 but he lived just a few days. Sometimes the shadow of such an earlier sibling can affect the surviving child, as the `first Vincent' did in the case of Vincent Van Gogh, but the deeply introspective Jung never alludes to his ill-fated predecessor. Carl Gustav was born at Kesswil on the southern edge of Lake Constance, but when he was six months old his father moved to a new vicarage at Laufen castle, above the Rhine Falls. Jung had no memory of Lake Constance but he always adored lakes and wanted to live near one.

Jung's earliest memories were of sensuous experiences: the taste and smell of leaves, the sun dappling the leaves, his aunt pointing out the Alps in the distant sunset, their peaks glowing red. Pressed for his very first impressions, he recalled lying in a pram but there was no mention of his parents. This is significant, as Freud pointed out: `in every psychoanalytic investigation of a life history, it usually happens that the first recollection to which the patient gives precedence, with which he introduces the story of his life, proves to be the most important, the very one that holds the key to the secret pages of his mind.' It has been argued that Jung's first impressions connote a problem with parental bonding and attachment and suggest a mental universe where the natural world represents security and the interpersonal one insecurity. Even when he does later remember his mother, it is her dress rather than her face or voice he remembers -- and this is perhaps a clue to his later obsession with the way women dressed.

Even an infant is aware if there is something amiss with parents, and Jung's childish intuition was not wrong. In 1878 his parents separated temporarily and his mother spent some time in a mental hospital. The trauma for the three year old, who developed eczema and went to live with his aunt, was profound. From then on he always felt mistrustful when the word `love' was spoken and associated `woman' with innate unreliability. `Father', on the other hand, meant reliability and powerlessness. Psoriasis and eczema are well-known psychogenic complaints, and his mother's apparent splitting of personality or `dissociation' may have been the reason why he always feared schizophrenia in himself.

His feelings about women received a stimulus from two other sources. He remembered his dark-haired maid with the affection most young boys feel for their mother and was later to declare that the maid was an important influence in forming his image of the feminine; and he liked his father's constant companion, the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Bertha Schenk (later to be his mother-in-law) who often took him out for walks; soon to marry into the rich Rauschenbach industrialist family, she was so friendly with Paul Jung as to raise suspicions that the two might be lovers.

At around the age of four Jung developed a morbid fascination with death and corpses: he was fascinated by the dead body of a four-year-old boy found near the Rhine Falls and, clearly -- Jungians would say -- at the unconscious level, wished he was that boy. Accident proneness was much in evidence. Firstly he fell downstairs, then he fell against the leg of a stove, scarring himself so badly that the wound was still visible in his senior year at Gymnasium. It is a familiar idea that accident-prone children tend to have problems with their mother and 'self-destruct' because of rage against the nurturer who has failed them. The preoccupation with the corpses also fits the scenario of rage against the mother.

More serious than the falls was an accident on the Rhine bridge at Neuhausen when the child Carl Gustav had one leg under the railing and was about to slip through when the maid caught him. Jung himself attributed these untoward events to an unconscious suicidal urge or a kind of fatal resistance to life in this world. But while still alive and an international figure he explained his `corpse preoccupation' as simply a means of trying to accommodate to the idea of death. Yet it is of passing interest that it was the maid, not his mother, who saved him.

The death-wish was not the only pathological symptom in the child. He thought he could hear things walking in the house at dead of night and fancied he saw ghosts and other emanations emerging from his mother's room. There was much talk of drowning in the family -- the distant roar of the Rhine Falls was always audible -- and there were frequent funerals attended by black-coated clergymen. Jung's state of mind at the age of four led the psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott to conclude that he was suffering from childhood schizophrenia, triggered by a breakdown at three caused by his parents' separation.

Even when his mother returned from mental hospital in Basel, she was no help to him. He remembered his mother as sometimes happy but more often subject to fits of depression. He soon learned to perceive her as two different people, with an uncanny, terrifying second personality. Outwardly she was submissive, but her unconscious occasionally burst through to reveal a deep character of power and resolution. The second personality emerged but rarely, yet each time it did the experience for Jung was unexpected and frightening. There can be little doubt that the dark side of his personality, `typical of psychosis and psychotic character,' was exacerbated by his mother.

The morbid atmosphere in the nursery was typical of many Victorian childhoods but his neurotic mother added a `superplus' of anxiety, especially when she taught him prayers like the following:

Spread out thy wings, Lord Jesus mild,
and take to thee thy chick, thy child.
`If Satan would devour it,
No harm shall overpower it,'
So let the angels sing!

Jung later commented drily, with a mordant wit worthy of Bertrand Russell that Jesus appeared to be a winged creature who `took' little children (`chicks') reluctantly like bitter medicine. That was hard enough to understand, but the difficulty was compounded by the further notion that Jesus ate them anyway, even though he did not like the taste, simply to prevent Satan from getting them.

Not surprisingly, Jung began to associate Jesus with gloomy black men in frock coats, busying themselves with black boxes. A further association of ideas was between Jesus and Jesuits (even though Sir Richard Burton warned, `si cum Jesuitis, non cum Jesu itis'). Anti-popery was a strong strain in the Revd Paul Jung's household, and the young Carl Gustav had heard many blood-curdling stories of the nefarious practices of the Society of Jesus. This was probably simply the reflex action of Protestant communities feeling themselves beleaguered by powerful Catholic neighbours. It is difficult at this distance to recapture the peculiar terror that the word `Jesuit' aroused in the minds of Swiss Protestants in the nineteenth century. In popular belief and mythology the Society of Jesus elicited similar reactions to those evoked by Communism in, say, the USA of the mid-1950s: it was regarded as an international conspiracy by depraved individuals (`the evil empire'), with agents at work everywhere to win power for a foreign ruler (in this case, the Pope). Ruthless, amoral, implacable, fiendishly cunning, served by fanatics and zealots, the Society of Jesus was supposedly responsible for most of the evil in the world.

At the time of Jung's birth about three-fifths of Switzerland was Protestant, but there was an abiding fear among them, based on Catholicism's well-known hostility to birth control, that they could be `swamped'. The Swiss confederation came under pressure to expel the Jesuits from Switzerland, and the agitation reached its height at about the time of Bismarck's Kulturkampf in Germany, which did end there with the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1875. At the same time the Jesuits played into the hands of their Swiss enemies by making a virtue of necessity and switching resources from Germany to Switzerland, where they campaigned against civil marriage and propagandized for papal infallibility. As a further complication, Swiss Catholicism in the 1870s was split between ultramontanes, who accepted the 1870 dogma of papal infallibility, and the `Old Catholics' who refused to countenance it.

The obvious result of the Jesuit phobia in the Jung household was that young Carl was traumatized by his first sight of a Catholic priest in a cassock walking down the road past his house and fled upstairs in a paralysis of fear. The fact that the priest wore a `frock' also reinforced Jung's feelings of horror about the breakdown of the `natural' order, which was why in later life he always reacted so violently to the sight of women in trousers.

In 1879 his father was transferred to a new parish at Klein-Huningen, now a suburb of Basel but then a small village on the Rhine inhabited by fishermen and peasants. Basel itself, the capital of the half-canton Basel Stadt, was then a small town with a population of 74,247 (according to the 1888 census), of which 50,326 were Protestant. Paul Jung's role as clergyman may sound modest to twentieth-century ears, but the social status of a Swiss pastor was considerably higher one hundred years ago. Two factors are salient. In the first place, in the nineteenth century the presbytery (Pfarrhaus) contained an important section of the intellectual elite. It was a social caste of the best and brightest, perhaps comparable with the contemporary Oxbridge elite trained for service in the British Empire Only the most gifted students were selected for theological training in German, Swiss and Austrian universities, and for the most part the German cultural intelligentsia came from the ranks of its pastors. They served as Protestantism's shock troops in the war against popery, barbarism, paganism and occultism and as a mandarin class were fully integrated into the wider German elite. Organic solidarity was often enhanced by intermarriage among the sons and daughters of ministers, so that it would not have been altogether surprising if the young Carl Jung had thought that most of Basel was composed of clergymen and their families. On the other hand, from an early age, consciousness of belonging to an elite would have been inculcated into the boy, and some commentators trace back Jung's later `elitism' to this fount.

Secondly, a Protestant pastor occupied an important specific elite position by virtue of his role in the commune. In a country beset by physical obstacles, the federal government was a remote, almost metaphysical entity, and `the authorities' on all big issues meant the cantons. But on most questions of everyday life and ephemeral administration -- the only level on which most people would rub up against `government' -- the local administrative unit or `commune' was all-important. In the twenty-two Swiss cantons there were about 3,000 communes, some administering an area as large as a town, some a tiny cluster of houses in a hamlet. The more sparsely populated a canton, the greater the number of communes: hence in Canton Geneva there were just forty-four communes, but in mountainous Graubunden there were 205.

Communes, which often owned some land and water in common, were absurdly parochial, to the point where outsiders, even from a neighbouring canton, had to pay a differential tax to switch abode from one commune to another. The commune was Swiss localism at its apogee. Whereas the nineteenth-century Englishman was first an Englishman, then a Londoner and only thirdly, say, an inhabitant of Paddington, in Switzerland the order of priorities was reversed. In the commune of Klein-Huningen, Paul Jung, as pastor, acted as ex officio president of a small council of four men (including a mayor): among the council's tasks would be the provision of primary education and the hiring of schoolteachers.

There were more children of Carl Jung's own age in Klein-Huningen, but the mere fact of his father being a minister increased his isolation. Whereas a schoolmaster could be integrated into the life of the villagers and often advised them or wrote letters for them, a pastor was regarded as a creature apart and stood outside the mainstream life of the peasants. While his parents continued to quarrel, the lonely Carl Gustav played games on his own, especially with bricks and toy soldiers, or sketched naval battles.

It was just before he went to school that he had one of the most significant dreams of his life; although Jung claimed this occurred when he was aged three or four, clinical evidence points to five or six as the more likely time.

In the dream Jung was in a meadow near Laufen castle and discovered an underground passageway. He descended and in a subterranean chamber found a kind of altar or king's throne on which stood what he thought at first was a tree trunk, some twelve to fifteen feet high and about two feet thick. The object was made of skin and naked flesh, with a rounded head and a single eye on the very top of the head. Later he would recognize the object as a ritual phallus. He was awoken by his mother's voice, as it were from outside, crying out, `That is the maneater!'

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Carl Gustav Jung 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jung did his own shadow work so probably he knew most of the seamy underside of himself nearly as well as this author, who seems to be on triumphant terms with it. This may be the first biography by a man who hasn't yet done his own shadow work.