Saturday, 30 November 2013

angels always speak german

Spielrein: professor Freud claims that the sexual drive arises from a simple urge towards pleasure. if he's right, the question is why is this urge so often successfully repressed?
Jung: you used to have a theory involving the impulse towards destruction and self-destruction, losing oneself.
Spielrein: well, suppose we think of sexuality as fusion, losing oneself, as you say, but losing oneself in the other. in other words, destroying one's own individuality. and wouldn't the ego, in self-defense, automatically resist that impulse?
Jung: you mean for selfish not for social reasons?
Spielrein: yes. I'm saying, that perhaps true sexuality demands the destruction of the ego.
Jung: in other words, the opposite of what Freud proposes.

Spielrein @ 6 min: my father thinks my mother doesn't love him. and he's right, she doesn't.
Jung: how do you know?
Spielrein: my angel told me.
Jung: what angel?
Spielrein: an inner voice. he used to tell me I was an exceptional person. for some reason he always spoke in german.
Jung: angels always speak german. it's traditional.
Spielrein: he gave me the power to know what people are going to say before they open their mouths.
Jung: useful ability for a doctor. you hope to be a doctor some day, don't you?
Spielrein: I'll never be a doctor.
Jung: why not?

Freud @ 24 min: I don't think you have any notion of the true strengths and depths of the opposition to our work. there's the whole medical establishment, of course, baying to send Freud to the auto-da-fé. but that's nothing compared to what happens when our ideas begin to trickle through in whatever garbled form they're relayed to the public. the denials, the frenzy, the incoherent rage.
Jung: but might that not be caused by your insistence on the exclusively sexual interpretation of the clinical material?
Sigmund Freud: all I'm doing is pointing out what experience indicates to me must be the truth. and I can assure you that in a hundred years' time our work will still be rejected. Columbus you know had no idea what country he'd discovered. like him, I'm in the dark. all I know is I've set foot on the shore and the country exists.

Jung @ 29 min: I shall have to be extremely careful.
Spielrein: what do you mean? why?
Jung: he's so persuasive, he's so convincing. he makes you feel you should abandon your own ideas and simply follow in his wake. his followers in Vienna are all deeply unimpressive. a crowd of bohemians and degenerates just picking up his crumbs from his table.
Spielrein: well, perhaps he's reached a stage where obedience is more important to him than originality.
Jung: hmm. I tried to tackle him about his obsession with sexuality, his insistence in interpreting every symptom in sexual terms. but he's completely inflexible.
Spielrein: in my case, of course, he'd have been right.
Jung: yes, as you would expect him to be in many cases. possibly even in the majority of cases. but there must be more than one hinge into the universe.

Spielrein @ 30 min: do you like Wagner?
Jung: the music and the man, yes.
Spielrein: I'm very interested in the myth of Siegfried. the idea that something pure and heroic can come... can perhaps only come from a sin. even as sin as dark as incest.

Spielrein @ 31 min: can I ask you something?
Jung: of course.
Spielrein: do you think there's any possibility I could ever be a psychiatrist?
Jung: I know you could. I hear nothing but good reports on your work at the university. you're exactly the kind of person we need.
Spielrein: insane, you mean? [they both laugh]
Jung: yes. we sane doctors have serious limitations.

Freud [letter to Jung] @ 31 min: dear friend, I feel I can, at last, permit myself this informal mode of address as I ask you to grant me a very particular favor. Dr Otto Gross, a most brilliant but erratic character is urgently in need of your medical help. I consider him, apart from yourself, the only man capable of making a major contribution to our field. whatever you do, don't let him out before october, when I should be able to take him over from you. And remember his father's warning, made when Otto was only a very small child: watch out for him, he bites.

Jung @ 34 min: so you're not a believer in monogamy?
Gross: for a neurotic like myself I can't possibly imagine a more stressful concept.
Jung: and you don't find it necessary or desirable to exercise some restraint as a contribution, say, to the smooth functioning of civilization.
Gross: what, and make myself ill?
Jung: I should have thought that some form of sexual repression would have to be practiced in any rational society.
Gross: no wonder the hospitals are bulging at the seams. tell me, do you find the best way to enhance your popularity with your patients is to tell them whatever it is they most want to hear?
Jung: what does it matter whether we're popular with them or not?
Gross: well, I don't know. suppose you want to fuck them. if there is one thing I've learned in my short life it's this: never repress anything. [music] 
Gross: so you've never slept with any of your patients?
Jung: of course not. I have to steer through the temptations of transference and counter-transference and that's an essential stage of the process.
Gross: when transference occurs, when the patient becomes fixated on me I explain to her that this is merely a symbol of her wretched monogamous habits. I assure her that it's fine to want to sleep with me, but only if, at the same time she acknowledges to herself that she wants to sleep with a great many other people.
Jung: suppose she doesn't.
Gross: then it's my job to convince her that it's part of the illness. that's what people are like. if we don't tell them the truth, who will?
Jung: you think Freud's right? you think all neurosis is of exclusively sexual origin?
Gross: I think Freud's obsession with sex probably has a great deal to do with the fact that he never gets any.
Jung: you could be right.
Gross: it seems to me a measure of the true perversity of the human race, that one of its very few reliably pleasurable activities should be the subject of so much hysteria and repression.
Jung: but not to repress yourself is to unleash all kinds of dangerous and destructive forces.
Gross: our job is to make our patients capable of freedom.
Jung: I've heard it said that you helped one of your patients to kill herself.
Gross: she was resolutely suicidal. I just explained how she could do it without botching it. then I asked her if she didn't prefer the idea of becoming my lover. she opted for both.
Jung: that can't be what we want for our patients.
Gross: freedom is freedom.

Gross @ 40 min: I can't understand what you're waiting for. just take her to some secluded spot and thrash her to within an inch of her life. that's clearly what she wants. how can you deny her such a simple pleasure?
Jung: pleasure is never simple, as you very well know.
Gross: it is. of course it is. until we decide to complicate it. what my father calls maturity. what I call surrender.
Jung: surrender, for me, would be to give in to these urges.
Gross: then surrender. it doesn't matter what you call it as long as you don't let the experience escape. that's my prescription.
Jung: I'm supposed to be treating you.
Gross: and it's been most effective.

Jung @ 45 min: if I say something, will you promise not to take it the wrong way?
Spielrein: what?
Jung: don't you think we ought to stop now? I'm married. obviously I'm being deceitful. is it right for us to perpetuate this deceit?
Spielrein: do you want to stop?
Jung: of course I don't.
Spielrein: when you make love to your wife, how is it? describe it to me?
Jung: when you live under the same roof with someone, it becomes habit. you know, it's always very tender.
Spielrein: then this is another thing. another thing in another country. with me I want you to be ferocious. I want you to punish me.

Freud @ 48 min: pity. I should never have sent Dr Gross to you. I blame myself.
Jung: no, I'm very grateful you did. all those provocative discussions helped crystallise a lot of my thinking.
Freud: hmm. did he really send you his hotel bill?
Jung: only for a couple of nights.
Freud: he's an addict. I can see that now. he can only end by doing great harm to our movement. you realise this makes you undisputed crown prince, don't you? my son and heir?
Jung: I'm not sure I deserve such an accolade.
Freud: don't say another word.

Freud @ 50 min: you mustn't think I have a closed mind. I have absolutely no objection to your studying telepathy or parapsychology to your heart's content. but I would make the point that our own field is so embattled, that it can only be dangerous to stray into any kind of mysticism. don't you see? we have to stay within the most rigorously scientific confines. [he looks at Jung who seems agitated] are you all right?
Jung: yes... but I can't agree with you. why should we draw some arbitrary line and rule out whole areas of investigation?
Freud: precisely because the world is full of enemies looking for any way they can to discredit us. and the moment they see us abandon the firm ground of sexual theory to wallow in the black mud of superstition, they will pounce! as far as I'm concerned, even to raise these subjects is professional suicide.

Spielrein @ 52 min: there's a poem by Lermontov keeps going round my head about a prisoner who finally achieves some happiness when he succeeds in releasing a bird from its cage.
Jung: why do you think this is preoccupying you?
Spielrein: I think it means that when I become a doctor, what I want more than anything, is to give people back their freedom. the way you gave me mine.

Jung @ 59 min [letter]: I have never shown such friendship to a patient. nor have I ever been made to suffer so much in return. I am hoping you will agree to act as a kind of go-between and avert a disaster. your famous saying is carved in block letters on my heart: "whatever you do, give up any idea of trying to cure them."
Freud [letter]: experiences like this, however painful, are necessary and inevitable. without them, how can we know life?

Spielrein @ 1 h 10 min: I somehow imagined you'd have found another admirer by now.
Carl Jung: no. you were the juwel of great price. shall we say this time next tuesday? and I'll start gently ripping you to shreds... [next tuesday then] explain this analogy you make between the sex instinct and the death instinct.
Spielrein: professor Freud claims that the sexual drive arises from a simple urge towards pleasure. if he's right, the question is why is this urge so often successfully repressed?
Jung: you used to have a theory involving the impulse towards destruction and self-destruction, losing oneself.
Spielrein: well, suppose we think of sexuality as fusion, losing oneself, as you say, but losing oneself in the other. in other words, destroying one's own individuality. and wouldn't the ego, in self-defense, automatically resist that impulse?
Jung: you mean for selfish not for social reasons?
Spielrein: yes. I'm saying, that perhaps true sexuality demands the destruction of the ego.
Jung: in other words, the opposite of what Freud proposes.

Freud @ 1 h 13 min: you know your paper led to one of the more stimulating discussions we've ever had at our psychoanalysis society. do you really think the sexual drive is a demonic and destructive force?
Spielrein: yes, at the same time as being a creative force. in the sense that it can produce out of the destruction of two individualities a new being, but the individual must always overcome resistance because of the self-annihilating nature of the sexual act.
Freud: hmm. I've fought against the idea for some time, but I suppose there must be some kind of indissoluble link between sex and death. I don't feel the relationship between the two is quite the way you have portrayed it, but I'm most grateful to you for animating the subject in such a stimulating way. the only slight shark was your introduction at the very end of your paper of the name of Christ.
Spielrein: are you completely opposed to any kind of religious dimension in our field?
Sigmund Freud: in general, I don't care if a man believes in Rama, Marx or Aphrodite, as long as he keeps it out of the consulting room.
Spielrein: is that what's at the bottom of your dispute with Dr Jung?
Sigmund Freud: I have no dispute with Dr Jung. I was simply mistaken about him. I thought he was going to be able to carry our work forward after I was gone. I didn't bargain for all that second-rate mysticism and self-aggrandising shamanism. nor did I realize he could be so brutal and sanctimonious.
Spielrein: he's... he's trying to find some way forward, so we don't just have to tell our patients this is why you are the way you are. he... he wants to be able to say 'we can show you what it is you might want to become.'
Freud: playing God, in other words. we have no right to do that. the world is at it is. understanding and accepting that is the way to psychic health. what good can we do if our aim is simply to replace one delusion with another?
Spielrein: well, I agree with you.
Freud: hmm. I've noticed that in the crucial areas of dispute between Dr Jung and myself you tend to favour me.
Spielrein: I thought you had no dispute with him.

Jung @ 1 h 19 min [letter]: if I may say so, dear professor, you make the mistake of treating your friends like patients. this enables you to reduce them into the level of children, so that their only choice is to become obsequious nonentities, or bullying enforces of the parting line, while you sit on the mountain top, the infallible father figure, and nobody dares to pluck you by the beard and say: 'think about your behavior, and then decide which one of us is the neurotic.' I speak as a friend.

Freud replies: your letter cannot be answered. your claim that I treat my friends like patients is self-evidently untrue. as to which of us is the neurotic, I thought on this we agreed that a little neurosis was nothing whatever to be ashamed of. but a man like you, who behaves quite abnormally and then stands there shouting at the top of his voice how normal he is, does give considerable cause for concern. for a long time now, our relationship has been hanging by a thread, and a thread moreover, mostly consisting of past disappointments. we have nothing to lose by cutting it.

Jung replies: you will be the best judge of what this moment means to you. the rest is silence.

Spielrein @ 1 h 25 min: are you alright?
Jung: yes. I haven't been sleeping very well. I keep having this apocalyptic dream. a terrible flood from the north sea to the Alps. houses washed away, thousands of floating corpses. eventually it comes crashing into the lake in a great tidal wave. and by this time the water, roaring down like some avalanche, it's turned to blood. the blood of Europe.
Spielrein: what do you think it means?
Jung: I've no idea. unless it's about to happen.

Spielrein [referring to Freud]: I spoke to him last week. I can't believe there's nothing to be done.
Carl Jung: there's nothing to be done. the day he refused to discuss a dream with me on the grounds that it might risk his authority, I should have known. after that, for me, he had no authority. it was a blow when I discovered you'd chosen his side.
Spielrein: it's not a question of sides. I have to work in the direction my instinct tells my intelligence is the right one. don't forget, you cured me with his method.
Jung: what he'll never accept is that what we understand has got us no where. we have to go into uncharted territory. we have to GO BACK to the sources of everything we believe. I don't want to just open a door and show the patient his illness, squatting there like a toad. I want to try and find a way to help the patient reinvent himself. to send him off on a journey at the end of which is waiting the person he was always intended to be.
Spielrein: it's no good making yourself ill in the process.
Jung: only the wounded physician can hope to heal [...] my love for you was the most important thing in my life. for better or worse, it made me understand who I am. 

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