Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement. 1917.
I judged that the association with Vienna was no recommendation, but rather an obstacle for the new movement. A place like Zürich, in the heart of Europe, where an academic teacher had opened his institution to psychoanalysis, seemed to me much more promising. Moreover, I assumed that my own person was a second obstacle. The estimate put upon my personality was utterly confused by the favor or dislike from different factions. I was either compared to Darwin and Kepler or reviled as a paralytic. I, therefore, desired to push into the background not only the city whence psychoanalysis emanated, but also my own personality. Furthermore, I was no longer young, I saw a long road before me and I felt oppressed by the idea that it had fallen to my lot to become a leader in my advanced age. Yet I felt that there must be a leader. I knew only too well what mistakes lay in wait for him who would undertake the practice of psychoanalysis, and hoped that many of these might be avoided if we had an authority who was prepared to guide and admonish. Such authority naturally devolved upon me in view of the indisputable advantage of fifteen years’ experience. It was now my desire to transfer this authority to a younger man who would, quite naturally, take my place on my death. I felt that this person could be only C. G. Jung, for Bleuler was of my own age. In favor of Jung was his conspicuous talents, the contributions he had already made to analysis, his independent position, and the impression of energy which his personality always made. He also seemed prepared to enter into friendly relations with me, and to give up, for my sake, certain race-prejudices which he had so far permitted himself to indulge. I had no notion then that in spite of the advantages enumerated, this was a very unfortunate choice; that it concerned a person who, incapable of tolerating the authority of another, was still less fitted to be himself an authority, one whose energy was devoted to the unscrupulous pursuit of his own interests.
The formation of an official organization I considered necessary because I feared the abuses to which psychoanalysis would be subjected, once it should achieve popularity. I felt that there should be a place that could give the dictum: “With all this nonsense, analysis has nothing to do; this is not psychoanalysis.” It was decided that at the meeting of the local groups which together formed the international organization, instruction should be given how psychoanalysis should be practised, that physicians should be trained there and that the local society should, in a way, stand sponsor for them. It also appeared to me desirable that the adherents of psychoanalysis should meet for friendly intercourse and mutual support, inasmuch as official science had pronounced its great ban and boycott against physicians and institutions practising psychoanalysis.
This and nothing else I wished to attain by the founding of the “International Psychoanalytic Association.” Perhaps it was more than could possibly be attained. Just as my opponents learned that it was not possible to stem the new movement, so I had to learn, by experience, that it would not permit itself to be led along the particular path which I had laid out for it. The motion made by Ferenczi at Nuremberg was seconded. Jung was elected president, and Riklin was chosen as secretary. It was also decided to publish a corresponding journal through which the central association was “to foster and further the science of psychoanalysis as founded by Freud both as pure psychology, as well as in its application to medicine and the mental sciences, and to promote assistance among the members in all their efforts to acquire and to spread psychoanalytic knowledge.” The members of the Vienna group alone firmly opposed the projects with a passionate excitement. Adler expressed his fear that “a censorship and limitation of scientific freedom” was intended. The Viennese finally gave in, after having gained their point that Zürich should not be raised to the center of the association, but that the center should be the home city of the president, who was to be elected for two years.
At this congress three local groups were constituted: one in Berlin under the chairmanship of Abraham, one in Zürich, whose chairman became the president of the central association, and one in Vienna, the chairmanship of which I relinquished to Adler. A fourth group, in Budapest, could not be formed until later. On account of illness Bleuler had been absent from the congress. Later be evinced considerable hesitation about entering the association and although he let himself be persuaded to do so by my personal representations, he resigned a short time afterwards owing to disagreements at Zürich. This severed the connection between the Zürich group and the Burghölzli institution.
Another result of the Nuremberg Congress was the founding of the Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, which caused a reconciliation between Adler and Stekel. It had originally been intended as an opposing tendency and was to win back for Vienna the hegemony threatened by the election of Jung. But when the two founders of the journal, under pressure of the difficulty of finding a publisher, assured me of their friendly intentions and as guarantee of their attitude gave me the right to veto, I accepted the editorship and worked vigorously for this new organ, the first number of which appeared in September, 1910.
I will not continue the history of the Psychoanalytic Congress. The third one took place at Weimar, September, 1911, and even surpassed the previous ones in spirit and scientific interest. J. J. Putnam, who was present at this meeting, later expressed in America his satisfaction and his respect for the “mental attitude” of those present and quoted words which I was supposed to have used in reference to the latter: “They have learned to endure a bit of truth.” As a matter of fact any one who has attended scientific congresses must have received a lasting impression in favor of the Psychoanalytic Association. I myself had presided over two former congresses. I thought it best to give every lecturer ample time for his paper and left the discussions of these lectures to take place later as a sort of private exchange of ideas. Jung, who presided over the Weimar meeting, reëstablished the discussions after each lecture, which had not, however, proved disturbing at that time.
Two years later, in September, 1913, quite another picture was presented by the congress at Münich which is still vividly recalled by those who were present. It was presided over by Jung in an unamiable and incorrect fashion: the lecturers were limited as to time, and the discussion dwarfed the lectures. Through a malicious mood of chance the evil genius of Hoche had taken up his residence in the same house in which the analysts held their meetings. Hoche could easily have convinced himself that his characterization of these psychoanalysts, as a sect, blindly and meekly following their leader, was true ad absurdum. The fatiguing and unedifying proceedings ended in the reëlection of Jung as president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, which fact Jung accepted, although two fifths of those present refused him their support. We took leave from one another without feeling the need to meet again!
About the time of this third Congress the condition of the International Psychoanalytic Association was as follows: The local groups at Vienna, Berlin, and Zürich had constituted themselves already at the congress at Nuremberg in 1910. In May, 1911, a group, under the chairmanship of Dr. L. Seif, was added at Münich. In the same year the first American local group was formed under the chairmanship of A. A. Brill under the name of “The New York Psychoanalytic Society.” At the Weimar Congress, the founding of a second American group was authorized. This came into existence during the next year as “The American Psychoanalytic Association.” It included members from Canada and all America; Putnam was elected president, and Ernest Jones was made secretary. Just before the congress at Münich in 1913, a local group was founded at Budapest under the leadership of S. Ferenczi. Soon afterwards Jones, who settled in London, founded the first English group. The number of members of the eight groups then in existence could not, of course, furnish any standard for the computation of the non-organized students and adherents of psychoanalysis.
The development of the periodical literature of psychoanalysis is also worthy of a brief mention. The first periodical publications serving the interests of analysis were the Schriften zur angewandten Seelenkunden which have appeared irregularly since 1907 and have reached the fifteenth volume. They published writings by Freud, Riklin, Jung, Abraham, Rank, Sadger, Pfister, M. Graf, Jones, Storfer and Hug-Hellmuth. The founding of the Imago, to be mentioned later, has somewhat lowered the value of this form of publication. After the meeting at Salzburg, 1908 the Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen was founded, which appeared under Jung’s editorship for five years, and it has now reappeared under new editorship and under the slightly changed title of Jahrbuch der Psychoanalyse. It no longer wishes to be as in former years, merely an archive for collecting works of psychoanalytic merit, but it wishes to justify its editorial task by taking due notice of all occurrences and all endeavors in the field of psychoanalysis. As mentioned before Das Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse started by Adler and Stekel after the founding of the “International Association” (Nuremberg, 1910) went through in a short time a very varied career. Already in the tenth issue of the first volume there was an announcement that in view of scientific difference of opinion with the editors, Dr. Adler had decided voluntarily to withdraw his collaboration. This placed the entire editorship in the hands of Dr. Stekel (summer of 1911). At the Weimar congress the Zentralblatt was raised to the official organ of the “International Association” and by raising the annual dues it was made accessible to all members. Beginning with the third number of the second year (winter 1912) Stekel alone became responsible for the contents of the journal. His behavior, which is difficult to explain in public, forced me to sever all my connections with this journal and to give psychoanalysis in all haste a new organ, the International Journal for Medical Psychoanalysis (Internationale Zeitschrift für Ärztliche Psychoanalyse). With the help of almost all my collaborators and the new publisher, H. Heller, the first number of this new journal was able to appear in January, 1913, to take the place of the Zentralblatt as the official organ of the “International Psychoanalytic Association.”
Meanwhile Dr. Hanns Sachs and Dr. Otto Rank founded early in 1912 a new journal, Imago (published by Heller), whose only aim is the application of psychoanalysis to mental sciences. Imago has now reached the middle of its third year, and enjoys the increasing interest of readers who are not medically interested in psychoanalysis.
Apart from these four periodical publications (Schriften z. Angew. Seelenkunde, Jahrbuch, Intern. Zeitschrift, and Imago) other German and foreign journals have contributed works that can claim a place in psychoanalytic literature. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published by Morton Prince, as a rule, contains many good analytical contributions. In the winter of 1913 Dr. White and Dr. Jelliffe started a journal exclusively devoted to psychoanalysis, T
I am now obliged to speak of two secessions which have taken place among the followers of psychoanalysis. The first of these took place in the interval between the founding of the association in 1910 and the congress at Weimar, 1911, the second took place after this, and came to light in Münich in 1913. The disappointment which they caused me might have been avoided if more attention had been paid to the mechanisms of those who undergo analytical treatment. I was well aware that any one might take flight on first approach to the unlovely truths of analysis; I myself had always asserted that any one’s understanding may be suspended by one’s own repressions (through the resistances which sustain them) so that in his relation to psychoanalysis he cannot get beyond a certain point. But I had not expected that any one who had mastered analysis to a certain depth could renounce this understanding and lose it. And yet daily experience with patients had shown that the total rejection of all knowledge gained through analysis may be brought about by any deeper stratum of particularly strong resistance. Even if we succeed through laborious work in causing such a patient to grasp parts of analytic knowledge and handle these as his own possessions, it may well happen that under the domination of the next resistance he will throw to the winds all he has learned and will defend himself as in his first days of treatment. I had to learn that this can happen among psychoanalysts just as among patients during treatment.
It is no enviable task to write the history of these two secessions, partly because I am not impelled to it by strong personal motives—I had not expected gratitude nor am I to any active degree revengeful—and partly because I know that I hereby lay myself open to the invectives of opponents manifesting but little consideration, and at the same time I regale the enemies of psychoanalysis with the long wished-for spectacle of seeing the psychoanalysts tearing each other to pieces. I had to exercise much control to keep myself from fighting with the opponents of psychoanalysis, and now I feel constrained to take up the fight with former followers or such as still wish to be called so. I have no choice; to keep silent would be comfortable or cowardly, but it would hurt the subject more than the frank uncovering of the existing evils. Any one who has followed the growth of scientific movements will know that quite similar disturbances and dissensions took place in all of them. It may be that elsewhere they are more carefully concealed. However, psychoanalysis, which denies many conventional ideals, is also more honest in these things.
Another very palpable inconvenience lies in the fact that I cannot altogether avoid going into an analytic elucidation. Analysis is not, however, suitable for polemical use; it always presupposes the consent of the one analyzed and the situation of a superior and subordinate. Therefore he who wishes to use analysis with polemic intent must offer no objection if the person so analyzed will, in his turn, use analysis against him, and if the discussion merges into a state in which the awakening of a conviction in an impartial third party is entirely excluded. I shall, therefore, make here the smallest possible use of analysis, thereby limiting my indiscretion and aggression against my opponents, and I will also add that I base no scientific criticism on this means. I have nothing to do with the possible substance of truths in the theories to be rejected nor am I seeking to refute the same. This task may be left to other able workers in the field of psychoanalysis, and some of it has already been done. I only desire to show that these theories deny the basic principles of analysis—I will show in what points—and for this reason should not be known under this name. I shall, therefore, use analysis only to make clear how these deviations from analysis could take place among analysts. At the parting places I am, of course, obliged to defend the just rights of psychoanalysis with purely critical remarks.
Psychoanalysis has found as its first task the explanation of the neuroses; it has taken the two facts of resistance and transference as starting points, and by bearing in mind the third fact of amnesia in the theories of repression, it has given justification to the sexual motive forces of the neuroses and of the unconscious. Psychoanalysis has never claimed to give a perfect theory of the human psychic life, but has only demanded that its discoveries should be used for the completion and correction of knowledge we have gained elsewhere. But Alfred Adler’s theory goes far beyond this goal. It pretends to explain with one stroke the behavior and character of men as well as their neurotic and psychotic maladies. As a matter of fact, Adler’s theory is more adequate to any other field than to that of the neuroses, which he still puts in the first place because of the history of its origin. I had the opportunity of studying Dr. Adler many years and have never denied him the testimonial of having a superior mind, especially endowed speculatively. As proof of the “persecution” which he claims to have suffered at my hands, I can only say that after the formation of the Association I handed over to him the leadership of the Vienna group. It was only after urgent requests from all the members of the society that I could be prevailed upon to resume the presidency at the scientific proceedings. When I had recognized Dr. Adler’s slight talent for the estimation of the unconscious material, I expected that he would know how to discover the connections between psychoanalysis and psychology and the biological bases of the impulses, a discovery to which he was entitled, in a certain sense, through his valuable studies about the inferiority of organs. He really did bring out some thing, but his work makes the impression as if—to speak in his own jargon—it were intended to prove that psychoanalysis was wrong in everything and that the significance of the sexual impelling forces could only be due to gullibility about the assertions of neurotics. Of the personal motive of his work I may also speak publicly, since he himself revealed it in the presence of a small circle of members of the Vienna group. “Do you believe,” he remarked, “that it is such a great pleasure for me to stand in your shadow my whole life?” To be sure I see nothing objectionable in the fact that a younger man should frankly admit an ambition which one might, in any case, suspect as one of the incentives of his work. But even under the domination of such a motive a man should know how to avoid being “unfair” as designated by the English with their fine social tact. We Germans have only a much coarser word at our disposal to convey this idea. How little Adler has succeeded in not being unfair is shown by the great number of mean outbursts of anger which distort his writings, and by the feeling of an ungovernable mania for priority which pervades his work. At the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society we once heard him claim for himself the priority for the viewpoints of the “unity of the neuroses” and the “dynamic conception” of the same. This was a great surprise for me as I had always believed that I had represented these two principles before I had ever known Adler.
This striving of Adler for a place in the sun has brought about, however, one result, which must be considered beneficial to psychoanalysis. When I was obliged to bring about Adler’s resignation from the editorial staff of the Zentralblatt, after the appearance of his irreconcilable scientific antagonisms, Adler also left the Vienna group and founded a new society to which he first gave the tasteful name “Society for Free Psychoanalysis.” But the outside public, unacquainted with analysis, is evidently as little skilled in recognizing the difference between the views of two psychoanalysts, as are Europeans in recognizing the tints between two Chinese faces. The “free” psychoanalysis remained in the shadow of the “official” and “orthodox” one, and was treated only as an appendage of the latter. Then Adler took the step for which we are thankful. He severed all connection with psychoanalysis and named his teachings “The Individual Psychology.” There is much space on God’s earth, and any one who can is surely justified in tumbling about upon it uninhibited; but it is not desirable to continue living under one roof when people no longer understand one another and no longer get on together. Adler’s “Individual Psychology” is now one of the many psychological movements opposed to psychoanalysis, and its further development lies outside our interests.
Adler’s theory was, from the very beginning, a “system,” which psychoanalysis was careful not to become. It is also an excellent example of a “secondary elaboration” as seen, for example, in the process which the waking thought produces in dream material. In this case instead of dream material there is the material newly acquired from the viewpoint of the ego and brought under the familiar categories of the same. It is then translated, changed, and as thoroughly misunderstood as happens in the case of dream-formation. Adler’s theory is thus characterized less by what it asserts than by what it denies. It consequently consists of three elements of quite dissimilar value; first, good contributions to the psychology of the ego, which are superfluous but admissible; secondly, translations of analytical facts into the new jargon, and, thirdly, distortions and perversions of these facts when they do not fit into the ego presuppositions. The elements of the first kind have never been ignored by psychoanalysis, although it owed no special attention to them. Psychoanalysis had a greater interest in showing that all ego strivings are mixed with libidinous components. Adler’s theory emphasizes the counterpart to it; namely, that all libidinous feeling contains an admixture of egotism. This would have been a palpable gain if Adler had not made use of this assertion to deny, every time, the libidinous feelings in favor of the impelling ego components. His theory thus does exactly what all patients do, and what our conscious thinking always does, it rationalizes, as Jones would say, in order to conceal the unconscious motives. Adler is so consistent in this, that he considers the object of evincing domination over the woman, to be on the top, as the mainspring of the sexual act. I do not know if he has upheld this monstrous idea in his writings.
Psychoanalysis early recognized that every neurotic symptom owes the possibility of its existence to some compromise. It must, therefore, also put to some good account the demands of the ego which manages the repression, it must offer it some advantages by finding for it some useful employment, otherwise it would suffer the same fate as the originally defended impulses. The term “morbid gain” expresses this state of affairs. One might even have been justified in differentiating the primary gain for the ego which must have been active at the origin, from a “secondary” gain which appears in connection with other intentions of the ego, when the symptom is about to assert itself. It has also long been known to analysis that the withdrawal of this morbid gain, or the cessation of the same in consequence of some real change, is one of the mechanisms in the cure of the symptom. On these relationships which can be verified and understood without difficulty, Adler’s theory puts the greatest emphasis. It entirely overlooks the fact that innumerable times the ego makes a virtue out of necessity in submitting to the most undesired symptom forced upon it, because of the use it can make of it, e.g., when the ego accepts anxiety as a means of security. Here the ego plays the absurd part of the Pierot in the circus, who, through his gestures, wishes to convey to the spectators the impression that all changes in the menage are taking place at his command. But only the youngest among the spectators believe him.
For the second part of Adler’s theory psychoanalysis must stand security as for its own possessions. For it is nothing but psychoanalytic knowledge which the author had from all the sources opened to him during ten years of our joint work, but which he later marked as his own after changing the nomenclature. For instance, I myself consider “security” a better word than “protective measure,” which I used; but cannot find in it any new meaning. Similarly one will find in Adler’s statements a great many long-known features if one will replace the expressions “feigned” (fingiert) fictive and fiction, by the original words “to fancy” and “phantasy.” This identity would be emphasized by psychoanalysis, even if the author had not for many years participated in our common work.
The third part of Adler’s theory, which consists in giving new interpretations to, and in distorting the disagreeable facts of psychoanalysis, contains that which definitely severs the actual “Individual Psychology” from psychoanalysis. As is known the principle of Adler’s system states that it is the object of the self-assertion of the individual, his “will to power” in the form of the “masculine protest,” to manifest itself domineeringly in the conduct of life, in character formation and in the neurosis. This “masculine protest,” the Adlerism motor, is nothing else, however, than the repression set free from its psychological mechanism, and what is more, it is sexualized and thus hardly in keeping with the vaunted expulsion of sexuality from its place in the psychic life. The “masculine protest” certainly exists, but in constituting it as the motor of the psychic life, observation has only played the part of the springboard which one leaves in order to uplift one’s self. Let us consider one of the most fundamental situations of the infantile desire; namely, the observation of the sexual act between adults by the child. When the life-history of such persons is later subjected to analysis by a physician, it is found that at this moment the minor spectator was seized by two feelings; one, in the case of a boy, to put himself in the place of the active man, and the other, the opposing feeling, to identify himself with the suffering woman. Both strivings conjointly exhaust the pleasure that might have resulted from this situation. Only the first feeling can come under the head of the “masculine protest” if this idea is to retain any meaning at all. The second feeling, whose fate Adler either ignores or does not know, is really the one which assumes greater significance in the later neurosis. Adler has placed himself so entirely into the jealous confinement of the ego, that he only accounts for such emotional feelings as are agreeable to the ego and furthered by it; but the case of the neurosis, which opposes these strivings, lies beyond his horizon.
Adler’s most serious deviations from the reality of observation and his deepest confusion of ideas have arisen in his attempt to correlate the basic principle of his theory with the psychic life of the child, an attempt which has become inevitable in psychoanalysis. The biological, social, and physiological meaning of “masculine” and “feminine” have here become mixed into a hopeless composition. It is quite impossible, and it can easily be disproved by observation, that the masculine or feminine child builds its plan of life on any original undervaluation of the feminine sex; nor is it conceivable that a child can take as the guiding line the wish: “I will be a real man.” In the beginning no child has even an inkling of the significance of the difference in sex, more likely it starts with the assumption that both sexes possess the same (male) genital. It does not begin its sexual investigation with the problem of sex differentiation and is far from entertaining the social undervaluation of the woman. There are women in whose neurosis the wish to be a man never played any part. So far as the “masculine protest” is concerned, it can easily be traced back to a disturbance of the original narcissism caused by the threat of castration; that is, to the first hindrance of sexual activity. All dispute as to the psychogenesis of the neuroses must ultimately be decided in the sphere of the childhood neuroses. The careful analysis of a neurosis of the early years of childhood puts an end to all mistakes in regard to the etiology of the neuroses, and all doubts as to the part played by the sexual impulses. That is why Adler in his criticism of Jung’s “Conflicts of the Child’s Mind” was obliged to resort to the imputation that the material of the case surely must have followed a uniform new tendency “from the father.”
I will not linger any longer over the biological side of Adler’s theory, and will not examine whether the palpable inferiority of organs or the subjective feeling of the same (one often cannot tell which) can possibly be the basis of Adler’s system. Only permit me to remark that this would make the neurosis a by-product of the general stunting, while observation teaches that an excessively large number of hideous, misshapen, crippled, and wretched creatures have failed to react to their deficiencies by developing a neurosis. Nor will I consider the interesting information that the sense of inferiority goes back to infantile feelings. It shows us in what disguise the doctrine of infantilism, so much emphasized in psychoanalysis, returns in Adler’s Individual Psychology. On the other hand, I am obliged to emphasize how all psychological acquisitions of psychoanalysis have been disregarded by Adler. In his book “The Nervous Character,” the unconscious still appears as a psychological peculiarity, but without any relation to his system. Later, he declared, quite logically, that it was a matter of indifference to him whether any conception be conscious or unconscious. For the principle of repressions, Adler never evinced any understanding. While reviewing a lecture before the Vienna Society in 1911, he said: “On the strength of a case I wish to point out that the patient had never repressed his libido, against which he continually tried to secure himself.” Soon thereafter at a discussion in Vienna Adler said: “If you ask whence comes the repression, you are told: from culture. But if you ask whence comes culture, the reply is: from the repression. So you see it is only a question of a play on words.” A small fragment of the sagacity used by Adler to defend his “nervous character” might have sufficed to show him the way out of this pettifogging argument. There is nothing mysterious about it, except that culture depends upon the acts of repression of former generations, and that each new generation is required to retain this culture by carrying out the same repressions. I have heard of a child that considered itself fooled and began to cry, because to the question: “Where do eggs come from?” it received the answer, “Eggs come from hens,” and to the further question: “Where do the hens come from?” the information was “From the eggs,” and yet this was not a play upon words. The child had been told what was true.
Just as deplorable and devoid of substance is all that Adler has said about the dream—that shibboleth of psychoanalysis. At first he considered the dream as a turning from the masculine to the feminine line, which simply means translating the theory of wish-fulfillment in dreams into the language of the “masculine protest.” Later he found that the essence of the dream lies in the fact that it enables man to realize unconsciously what is denied him consciously. Adler should also be credited with the priority of confounding the dream with the latent dream-thoughts, on the cognition of which rests his idea of “prospective tendency.” Maeder followed him in this, later on. In doing so he readily overlooks the fact that every interpretation of the dream which really tells nothing comprehensible in its manifest appearance rests upon the same dream-interpretation, whose assumptions and conclusions he is disputing. Concerning resistance Adler asserts that it serves to strengthen the patient against the physician. This is certainly correct. It means as much as saying that it serves the resistance. But whence this resistance originates, and how it happens that its phenomena serve the patient’s interest, these questions, as if of no interest for the ego, are not further discussed by Adler. The detailed mechanisms of symptoms and phenomena, the motivation of the variety of diseases and morbid manifestations, find no consideration at all with Adler, since everything is equally subservient to the “masculine protest,” to the self-assertion, and to the exaltation of the personality. The system is finished, at the expense of an extraordinary labor of new interpretation, yet it has not contributed a single new observation. I believe that I have succeeded in showing that his system has nothing whatever in common with psychoanalysis.
The picture which one derives from Adler’s system is founded entirely upon the impulse of aggression. It has no place at all for love. One might wonder that such a cheerless aspect of life should have received any notice whatever; but we must not forget that humanity, oppressed by its sexual needs, is prepared to accept anything, if only the “overcoming of sexuality” is held out as bait.
The secession of Adler’s faction was finished before the Congress at Weimar which took place in 1911, while the one of the Swiss School began after this date. Strangely enough, the first indications of it were found in some remarks by Riklin in popular articles printed in Swiss literature, from which the general public learned, even before Riklin’s closest colleagues, that psychoanalysis had succeeded in overcoming some regretable mistakes which discredited it. In 1912 Jung boasted, in a letter to me from America, that his modifications of psychoanalysis had overcome the resistances to it in many persons, who hitherto wanted to know nothing about it. I replied that this was nothing to boast about, that the more he sacrificed of the hard-won truths of psychoanalysis, the less resistances he would encounter. This modification for the introduction of which the Swiss are so proud, again was nothing more or less than the theoretical suppression of the sexual factor. I admit that from the very beginning I have regarded this “progress” as a too-far-reaching adaptation to the demands of actuality.
These two retrogressive movements, tending away from psychoanalysis, which I will now compare, also resemble each other in the fact that they are seeking to obtain a favorable opinion by means of certain lofty points of view, as sub specie æternitatis. In the case of Adler, this rôle is played by the relativity of all knowledge, and by the rights of the personality to construe artificially any piece of knowledge to suit the individual; while Jung insists on the cultural historical rights of youth to throw off any fetters that tyrannical old age with ossified views would forge for it. These arguments require some repudiation. The relativity of all our knowledge is a consideration which maybe used as an argument against any other science besides psychoanalysis. This idea originates from well-known reactionary streams of the present day inimical to science, and wishes to give the appearance of a superiority to which we are not entitled. Not one of us can guess what may be the ultimate judgment of mankind about our theoretical efforts. There are examples to show that what was rejected by the next three generations was corrected by the fourth and its recognition thus brought about. There is nothing else for the individual to do than to defend, with all his strength, his conviction based on experience after he has carefully listened to his own criticisms and has given some attention to the criticisms of his opponents. Let him be content to conduct his affair honestly and not assume the office of judge, which is reserved for a remote future. To accentuate personal arbitrariness in scientific matters is bad; it evidently wishes to deny to psychoanalysis the value of a science, which, to be sure, Adler has already depreciated by the aforementioned remark. Any one who highly regards scientific thinking will rather seek for means and methods by which to restrict, if possible, the factor of personal and artificial arbitrariness wherever it still plays too large a part. Besides one must remember that all agitation in defending is out of place. Adler does not take these arguments seriously. They are only for use against his opponents, but they respect his own theories. They have not prevented Adler’s adherents from celebrating him as the Messiah, for whose appearance waiting humanity had been prepared by so many forerunners. The Messiah is surely no longer anything relative.
Jung’s argument ad captandam benevolentiam rests on the all-too-optimistic assumption that the progress of humanity, of civilization, and of knowledge has always continued in an unbroken line, as if there had never been any epigones, reactions, and restorations after every revolution, as if there had never been races who, because of a retrogression, had to renounce the gain of former generations. The approach to the standpoint of the masses, the giving up of an innovation that has proved unpopular, all these make it altogether unlikely that Jung’s correction of psychoanalysis could lay claim to being a liberating act of youth. Finally it is no: the years of the doer that decide it, but the character of the deed.
Of the two movements we have here considered, that headed by Adler is undoubtedly the more important. Though radically false, it is, nevertheless, characterized by consistency and coherence and it is still founded on the theory of the impulse. On the other hand, Jung’s modification has lessened the connection between the phenomena and the impulses: besides, as its critics (Abraham, Ferenczi, Jones) have already pointed out, it is so unintelligible, muddled, and confused, that it is not easy to take any attitude towards it. Wherever one touches it, one must be prepared to be told that one has misunderstood it, and it is impossible to know how one can arrive at a correct understanding of it. It represents itself in a peculiarly vacillating manner, since at one time it calls itself “a quite tame deviation, not worthy of the row which has arisen about it” (Jung), yet, at another time, it calls itself a new salvation with which a new epoch shall begin for psychoanalysis, in fact, a new aspect of the universe for everything else.
When one thinks of the disagreements between the individual private and public expressions of Jung’s utterances one is obliged to ask to what extent this is due to his own lack of clearness and lack of sincerity. Yet, it must be admitted that the representatives of the new theory find themselves in a difficult position. They are now disputing things which they themselves formerly defended and what is more, this dispute is not based on new observations which might have taught them something fresh, but rather on a different interpretation which causes them to see things in a different light from that in which they saw them before. It is for this reason that they will not give up their connection with psychoanalysis as the representatives of which they first became known in the world. They prefer to proclaim that psychoanalysis has changed. At the Congress of Münich I was obliged to clear up this confusion and did so by declaring that I could not recognize the innovation of the Swiss School as a legitimate continuation and further development of the Psychoanalysis which had originated with me. Outside critics (like Furtmüller) had already recognized this state of affairs and Abraham says, quite rightly, that Jung is in full retreat away from psychoanalysis. I am naturally entirely willing to admit that any one has the right to think and to write what he wishes, but he has not the right to make it out to be something different from what it really is.
Just as Adler’s researches brought something new into psychoanalysis, a piece of the ego-psychology, and paid only too dearly for this gift by repudiating all the fundamental analytic principles, in the same way Jung and his adherents have based their fight against psychoanalysis upon a new contribution to the same. They have traced in detail (what Pfister did before them) how the material of the sexual ideas originating in the family complex and in the incestuous object selection can be used to represent the highest ethical and religious interests of mankind, that is, they have explained a remarkable case of sublimation of the erotic impelling forces and the transformation of the same into strivings that can no longer be called erotic. All this harmonized very well with the assumptions of psychoanalysis, and would have agreed very well with the conception that in the dream and in the neurosis one sees the regressive elucidations of these and all other sublimations. But the world would have exclaimed that ethics and religion had been sexualized. I cannot help assuming “finally” that the investigators found themselves quite unequal to the storm they had to face. Perhaps the storm began to rage in their own bosoms. The previous theological history of so many of the Swiss workers is as important in their attitude to psychoanalysis as is the socialistic record of Adler for the development of his “psychology.” One is reminded of Mark Twain’s famous story about the fate of his watch and to the speculative remark with which he closed it: “And he used to wonder what became of all the unsuccessful tinkers, and gunsmiths, and shoemakers, and blacksmiths; but nobody could ever tell him.”
I will encroach upon the realm of parables and will assume that in a certain society there lived a parvenu who boasted of descent from a very noble family not locally known. But it so happened that it was proved to him that his parents were living somewhere in the neighborhood and were very simple people, indeed. Only one way out remained to him and he seized upon it. He could no longer deny his parents, but he asserted that they were very aristocratic by origin but much come down in the world, and secured for them at some obliging office a document showing their descent. It seems to me that the Swiss workers had been obliged to act in a similar manner. If ethics and religion could not be sexualized, but must be regarded as something “higher” from the very beginning, and as their origin from the family and Œdipus complexes seemed undeniable, then there was only one way out; namely, that these complexes themselves, from the beginning, could not have the significance which they appeared to express, but must have that higher “anagogic” sense (to use Silberer’s nomenclature) with which they adapt themselves for proper use in the abstract streams of thought of ethics and religious mysticism.
I am quite prepared to be told once more that I have misunderstood the contents and object of the theory of the New-Zürich School, but here wish to protest against being held responsible for those contradictions to my theories that have arisen as a result of the publications of this school The burden of responsibility rests on them, not on me. In no other way can I make comprehensible to myself the ensemble of Jung’s innovations or grasp them in their associations. All the changes which Jung has perpetrated upon psychoanalysis originated in the intention of setting aside all that is objectionable in the family complexes, in order that these objectionable features may not be found again in religion and ethics. The sexual libido was replaced by an abstract idea, of which it may be said that it remained equally mysterious and incomprehensible alike to fools and to the wise. The Œdipus-complex, we are told, has only a “symbolical” sense, the mother therein representing the unattainable which must be renounced in the interests of cultural development. The father who is killed in the Œdipus myth represents the “inner” father from w hose influence we must free ourselves in order to become independent. No doubt other portions of the material of sexual conceptions will, in time, receive similarly new interpretations. In place of the conflict between erotic strivings adverse to the ego and the self-assertion, we are given the conflict between the “life-task” and the “psychic-laziness.” The neurotic guilty conscience corresponds with the reproach of not having put to good account one’s life-task. Thus a new religio-ethical system was founded which, exactly like Adler’s, was obliged to give new interpretations, to distort or set aside the actual results of analysis. As a matter of fact they have caught a few cultural higher notes from the symphony of the world’s by-gones, but once again have failed to hear the powerful melody of the impulses.
In order to hold this system together it was necessary to draw away entirely from the observations and technique of psychoanalysis. Now and then the enthusiasm for the higher cause even permits a total disregard for scientific logic, as for instance, when Jung maintains that the Œdipus complex is not “specific” enough for the etiology of the neuroses, and ascribed this specificity to laziness, that is, to the most universal quality of animate and inanimate bodies! Moreover, it is to be remarked that the “Œdipus complex” only represents a capacity on which the psychic forces of the individual measure themselves, and is not in itself a force, like the “psychic laziness.” The study of the individual man has shown and always will show that the sexual complexes are alive in him in their original sense. That is why the study of the individual was pushed back by Jung and replaced by the judgment of the essential facts from the study of the races. As the study of the early childhood of every man exposed one to the danger of striking against the original and undisguised meaning of these misinterpreted complexes, it was, therefore, thought best to make it a rule to tarry as little as possible at this past and to place the greatest emphasis on the return to the conflict. Here, moreover, the essential things are not at all the incidental and personal, but rather the general, that is to say, the “non-fulfilment of the life-task.” Nevertheless, we know that the actual conflict of the neurotic becomes comprehensible and solvable only if it can be traced back into the patient’s past history, only by following along the way that his libido took when his malady began.
How the New Zürich therapy has shaped itself under such tendencies I can convey by means of reports of a patient who was himself obliged to experience it.
“Not the slightest effort was made to consider the past or the transferences. Whenever I thought that the latter were touched, they were explained as a mere symbol of the libido. The moral instructions were very beautiful and I followed them faithfully, but I did not advance one step. This was more distressing to me than to the physician, but how could I help it?—Instead of freeing me analytically, each session made new and tremendous demands on me, on the fulfilment of which the overcoming of the neurosis was supposed to depend. Some of these demands were: inner concentration by means of introversion, religious meditation, living together with my wife in loving devotion, etc. It was almost beyond my power, since it really amounted to a radical transformation of the whole spiritual man. I left the analysis as a poor sinner with the strongest feelings of contrition and the very best resolutions, but at the same time with the deepest discouragement. All that this physician recommended any pastor would have advised, but where was I to get the strength?”
It is true that the patient had also heard that an analysis of the past and of the transference should precede the process. He, however, was told that he had enough of it. But as it had not helped him, it seems to me that it is just to conclude that the patient had not had enough of this first sort of analysis. Not in any case has the superimposed treatment which no longer has the slightest claim to call itself psychoanalysis, helped. It is a matter of wonder that the men of Zürich had need to make the long detour via Vienna to reach Bern, so close to them, where Dubois cures neuroses by ethical encouragement in the most indulgent fashion.
The utter disagreement of this new movement with psychoanalysis naturally shows itself also in its attitude towards repression, which is hardly mentioned any more in the writings of Jung; in the utter misconstruction of the dream which Adler, ignoring the dream-psychology, confuses with the latent dream-thoughts, and also in the lack of understanding of the unconscious. In fact this disagreement can be seen in all the essential points of psychoanalysis. When Jung tells us that the incest-complex is only “symbolic,” that it has “no real existence,” that the savage feels no desire towards the old hag but prefers a young and pretty woman, then one is tempted to assume in order to dispose of apparent contradiction that “symbolic” and “no real existence” only signify what is designated as “existing unconsciously.”
If one maintains that the dream is something different from the latent dream-thoughts, which it elaborates, one will not wonder that the patients dream of those things with which their mind has been filled during the treatment, whether it be the “life-task” or being “above” or “below.” Certainly the dreams of those analyzed are guidable in a similar manner as dreams can be influenced by the application of experimental stimuli. One may determine a part of the material that occurs in the dream, but this changes nothing in the nature and mechanism of the dream. Nor do I believe that the so-called “biographical” dream occurs outside of the analysis. On the other hand, if we analyze dreams that occurred before the treatment began, or if attention is paid to what the dreamer adds to the stimuli supplied to him during the treatment, or if we avoid giving him any such task, then we can convince ourselves how far the dream is from offering tentative solutions of the life-task. For the dream is only another form of thinking; the understanding of this form can never be gained from the content of its thoughts, only the consideration of the dream-work will lead to it.
The effective refutation of Jung’s misconceptions of psychoanalysis and his deviations from it is not difficult. Any analysis carried out in accordance with the rules, especially any analysis of a child, strengthens the convictions on which the theory of psychoanalysis rests, and repudiates the new interpretations of Adler’s and Jung’s systems. Jung himself, before he became enlightened, carried out such an analysis of a child and published it. It remains to be seen if he will undertake a new interpretation of this case with the help of another “uniform new tendency of the facts,” to give Adler’s expression used in this connection.
The opinion that the sexual representation of “higher” ideas in the dream and in the neurosis is nothing but an archaic manner of expression, is naturally irreconcilable with the fact that these sexual complexes prove to be in the neurosis the carriers of those quantities of libido which have been withdrawn from the real life. If it were only a question of sexual jargon, nothing could thereby be altered in the economy of the libido itself. Jung himself admits this in his “Darstellung der psychoanalytischen Theorie,” and formulates, as a therapeutic task, that the libido investing the complexes should be withdrawn from them. But this can never be accomplished by rejecting the complexes and forcing them towards sublimation, but only by the most exhaustive occupation with them, and by making them fully conscious. The first bit of reality with which the patient has to deal is his malady itself. Any effort to spare him this task points to an incapacity of the physician to help him in overcoming his resistances, or to a fear on the part of the physician as to the results of this work.
I would like to say in conclusion that Jung, by his “modifications” has furnished psychoanalysis with a counterpart to the famous knife of Lichtenberg He has changed the hilt, has inserted into it a new blade, and because the same trademark is engraved on it he requires of us that we regard the instrument as the former one.
On the contrary, I believe I have shown that the new theory which desires to substitute psychoanalysis signifies an abandonment of analysis and a secession from it. Some may be inclined to fear that this defection may be more unfortunate for the fate of psychoanalysis than any other because it emanates from persons who once played so great a part in the psychoanalytic movement and did so much to further it. I do not share this apprehension.
Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea. They become powerless when they oppose it. Psychoanalysis will be able to bear this loss and will gain new adherents for those lost.
I can only conclude with the wish that the fates may prepare easy ascension for those who found their sojourn in the underworld of psychoanalysis uncomfortable. May it be vouchsafed to the others to bring to a happy conclusion their works in the deep.