People sometimes mention during discussions, the fact that Carl Jung had issues with Sigmund Freud’s sexual theories, implying that Freud’s theories are somehow not valid, or at the very least, that we should not put too much weight on them. So in this post I want to briefly take a look at this.
One of the places where we can gain some more insight into this matter is from Carl Jung’s own book “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” (thanks to Rokas for pointing this out to me). In this book (online reference) Jung spends a whole chapter (chapter 5) on his thoughts on Freud’s sexual theories and his relationship with Freud. It’s a very interesting read and I recommend checking it out. For this post I want to highlight some of the relevant bits from that chapter, starting with the following:
My reading of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams showed me that the repression mechanism was at work here, and that the facts I had observed were consonant with his theory. Thus I was able to corroborate Freud’s line of argument. The situation was different when it came to the content of the repression. Here I could not agree with Freud. He considered the cause of the repression to be a sexual trauma. From my practice, however, I was familiar with numerous cases of neurosis in which the question of sexuality played a subordinate part, other factors standing in the foreground–for example, the problem of social adaptation, of oppression by tragic circumstances of life, prestige considerations, and so on. Later I presented such cases to Freud; but he would not grant that factors other than sexuality could be the cause. That was highly unsatisfactory to me.
In retrospect I can say that I alone logically pursued the two problems which most interested Freud: the problem of “archaic vestiges,” and that of sexuality. It is a widespread error to imagine that I do not see the value of sexuality. On the contrary, it plays a large part in my psychology as an essential–though not the sole–expression of psychic wholeness. But my main concern has been to investigate, over and above its personal significance and biological function, its spiritual aspect and its numinous meaning, and thus to explain what Freud was so fascinated by but was unable to grasp.
In 1906, in connection with this incident, I wrote a paper for the Munchner Medizinische Woohenschrift on Freud’s theory of the neuroses, which l had contributed a great deal to the understanding of obsessional neuroses. In response to this article, two German professors wrote to me, warning that if I remained on Freud’s side and continued to defend him, I would be endangering my academic career. I replied: “If what Freud says is the truth, I am with him. I don’t give a damn for a career if it has to be based on the premise of restricting research and concealing the truth.” And I went on defending Freud and his ideas. But on the basis of my own findings I was still unable to feel that all neuroses were caused by sexual repression or sexual traumata. In certain cases that was so, but not in others. Nevertheless, Freud had opened up a new path of investigation, and the shocked out- cries against him at the time seemed to me absurd.
It’s important to note here that Jung himself admits to the validity of Freud’s sexual theories, but the problem he had with them is that he just didn’t think that all neuroses had its roots in sexual repression. In fact, as Jung mentions, he went on to actually support Freud’s theories even at great risk to his own career. From Jung’s own words much later, it seems that he just lacked the experience to understand why Freud linked certain kinds of neuroses to sexual repression:
What [Freud] said about his sexual theory impressed me. Nevertheless, his words could not remove my hesitations and doubts. I tried to advance these reservations of mine on several occasions, but each time he would attribute them to my lack of experience. Freud was right; in those days I had not enough experience to support my objections.
Jung later admits again that he didn’t feel competent enough to argue with Freud about the validity of his sexual theories:
Above all, Freud’s attitude toward the spirit seemed to me highly questionable. Wherever, in a person or in a work of art, an expression of spirituality (in the intellectual, not the supernatural sense) came to light, he suspected it, and insinuated that it was repressed sexuality. Anything that could not be directly interpreted as sexuality he referred to as “psychosexuality.” I protested that this hypothesis, carried to its logical conclusion, would lead to an annihilating judgment upon culture. Culture would then appear as a mere farce, the morbid consequence of repressed sexuality. “Yes,” he assented, “so it is, and that is just a curse of fate against which we are powerless to contend.” I was by no means disposed to agree, Or to let it go at that, but still I did not feel competent to argue it out with him.
And pay attention to the bit in italics; that’s a truly fascinating quote. Culture as we know it today indeed is a mere farce, and indeed has its roots in repressed sexuality. When “civilization” was enforced on humankind thousands of years ago by the gods, it was founded upon the basis of sexual repression which had the purpose of dividing the human race at the fundamental level of the sexes, so that they would be easier to control, manipulate and enslave. It was the ultimate implementation of the “divide and conquer” strategy, as I discussed in the third part of my Understanding Women series, and will discuss in more details in the future.
Freud understood this very well, and this is why he treated his sexual theories with a high level of importance. He knew that understanding these theories was humankind’s only chance to break free from thousands of years of enslavement. And this becomes clear in the following quote from Jung’s book:
I can still recall vividly how Freud said to me, “My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark.” He said that to me with great emotion, the tone of a father saying, “And promise me this one thing, my dear son: that you will go to church every Sunday.” In some astonishment I asked him, “A bulwark–against what?” which he replied, “Against the black tide of mud”–and here hesitated for a moment, then added–“Of occultism.” First of all, it was the words “bulwark” and “dogma” that alarmed me; for a dogma, that is to say, an undisputable confession of faith is set up only when the aim is to suppress doubts once and for all. But that no longer has anything to do with scientific judgment; only with a personal power drive.
My conversation with Freud had shown me that he feared that the numinous light of his sexual insights might be extinguished by a “black tide of mud.” Thus a mythological situation had arisen: the struggle between light and darkness. That explains its numinosity, and why Freud immediately fell back on his dogma as a religious means of defense.
While I agree with Jung that dogmas are bad, he clearly lacked the knowledge and experience to understand why Freud was so passionate about his sexual theories. Freud being a very scientific and skeptical person would never actually promote dogmas. In this case I believe he used the words to emphasize that his theories would have to be promoted to all of humankind with strong urgency and dedication. That’s why he used the term “bulwark,” which means “defensive wall.” Because again, understanding Freud’s sexual theories, that is, understanding how our sexuality is actually used against us to frustrate and enslave us, is humankind’s only realistic line of defense against our enslavement, which currently has been going on for thousands of years already. It really is a struggle between light and darkness, as Jung mentioned.
And Freud knew this. He knew that culture, or what we today call “civilization,” is a farce. He knew it was founded upon sexual repression. And he knew the purpose of sexual repression — our enslavement. And he knew we were up against “a black tide of mud,” against occultism. It seems that Freud probably didn’t trust Jung enough to go into more depth on this, which also explains why Jung found it difficult to understand him. The knowledge of our sexuality and what it means to us, was deliberately being kept secret so that it could be used against us to enslave us. This is why I mentioned the following in the fourth part of my Understanding Women series:
It’s important to realize however, that although Freud may have discovered this knowledge by himself in the 20th century, this knowledge had to be known by others, mostly secret societies, for hundreds and even thousands of years. Not only that, but Freud may have discovered just a fraction of this knowledge. A lot of what we think we’re discovering today, and what we think is new to us, isn’t new at all. But this is a different subject.
And in the second and third part of my Understanding Women article series, I actually show how this knowledge is used against us. This is why the subject of our sexuality was always a taboo. Freud and others risked a great deal during their lifetimes to openly talk about our sexuality in the way they did. In his books, Dr. Wilhelm Reich, one of Freud’s best students, remarked how they faced great opposition and had to take great care to talk about sex in a very clinical manner, or else they would not be able to research the subject. And we know how much Reich himself risked in order to promote his theories about sexuality, which were founded upon Freud’s initial theories. Reich went where even Freud was too afraid to go with his research and eventually died in prison fighting for what he believed would benefit all of humankind. Reich succeeded in proving Freud’s theories about sexual repression and the libido via experiments, which he discussed in his book “The Function of the Orgasm.”
At this point I’m not sure whether Jung knew of Reich’s existence and whether he had the chance to review Reich’s work. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Jung didn’t know about Reich’s work, seeing as how Reich’s work was heavily censored for many years — at one point even collected and burned in what was one of the worst cases of censorship in the USA in recent years. This is how dangerous the understanding of our sexuality is to the elite who enslave us.
Sexuality is of the greatest importance as the expression of the chthonic spirit. Carl Jung
Had Jung known about Reich’s theories, he would have not only seen how Reich experimentally proved Freud’s sexual theories, but he would also see how it matched with his own theories about the chthonic spirit (the spirit of nature within us, our natural sexual instincts, the fundamental programming of life). Like I recently wrote, everything in life is about sex. The spirit of nature primarily expresses itself through our sexuality. Sexual energy (orgone energy as Reich called it) is fundamentally responsible for all of creation.
Finally, the following quote from Jung’s book is also interesting:
Much later, when I reflected upon Freud’s character, they revealed their significance. There was one characteristic of his that preoccupied me above all: his bitterness. It had struck me at our first encounter, but it remained inexplicable to me until I was able to see it in connection with his attitude toward sexuality. Although, for Freud, sexuality was undoubtedly a numinosum, his terminology and theory seemed to define it exclusively as a biological function. It was only the emotionality with which he spoke of it that revealed the deeper elements reverberating within him. Basically, he wanted to teach–or so at least it seemed to me–that, regarded from within, sexuality included spirituality and had an intrinsic meaning.
Yes, sexuality does include spirituality, and in fact everything in the whole universe. Again, all of life is rooted in sex. That’s why Freud regarded the sexual desires as the primary motivating forces of human life, and why Reich regarded sexual energy as responsible for all life in the universe.
Now imagine that you knew all of this back then. Imagine also, that you could see the great potential for our lives if all of humankind would have this knowledge, truly understand what it means, and live accordingly. How might you have felt unnecessarily struggling with your life in those days, while you knew that humankind could have lived in paradise already? How might you have felt — knowing that you were doing your best to enlighten humankind with this knowledge — facing great opposition from the very people you were trying to set free? The answer is: bitter. You would have felt bitter.
So it’s no surprise to me that Freud felt bitter, as Jung mentioned. Even I have felt bitter for much of my life, and perhaps this explains the serious expression I have on my face most of the time, resembling the one Freud has in the photo at the beginning of this post. In the crazy, fucked up world that we live in today — which is ironically regarded as the height of human “civilization” — it’s impossible not to feel bitter once you wake up and truly understand what’s going on. If we really want to build a better future for all of humankind on this planet, we’ll first have to free ourselves from sexual repression. Like Freud said:
My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. Sigmund Freud
Don’t worry Dr. Freud; I got this.