He Was the Man Who `Invented' Free Love. but for His String of Mistresses His Theories Would Mean Only Cruelty; TO HIS DISCIPLES JUNG WAS A PIONEER OF SEXUAL LIBERATION, TO HIS LOVERS HE WAS A COLD, CALCULATING TYRANT

Daily Mail (London), June 29, 1996 | Go to article overview

He Was the Man Who `Invented' Free Love. but for His String of Mistresses His Theories Would Mean Only Cruelty; TO HIS DISCIPLES JUNG WAS A PIONEER OF SEXUAL LIBERATION, TO HIS LOVERS HE WAS A COLD, CALCULATING TYRANT


Byline: Jane Kelly

FROM the outside, the pastor's house looked idyllic. Set in the Swiss countryside, above the Rhine Falls and looking across to the Alps, deer would come to the door to feed. The pastor's son would be taken to the lake to feed the birds.

The natural world was harmonious but within the house there were nightmares and conflict.

At night the two-year-old boy would hear his parents fighting in their bedroom. After the voices came the sound of violent passion and his mother's sobbing.

In the mornings he avoided her. One moment she was gentle and comforting, the next she was shouting and screaming at him. When he was three, she suddenly disappeared and the boy developed eczema all over his body.

Even when his mother returned to the family a few months later, he could not forget the trauma of her absence. From then on he was mistrustful of the word `love'. Later he heard whispers that she had been insane and committed for a time to the local asylum.

From this he deduced she was not trustworthy. He associated `woman' with unreliability and `father' with powerlessness. As he grew up he despised his father and entered into an antagonistic battle with his mother which only ended when she died.

As a result of his childhood, he came to believe that any man who had a dominating mother would become either a homosexual or a Don Juan, it was predetermined and therefore he had no moral responsibility for his actions.

These events in the life of any child would have been troubling, but in this case they formed the psyche of Carl Gustav Jung, the psychologist whose thinking was to have such influence on modern Western thought.

Sigmund Freud, the Austrian who effectively invented psychoanalysis and based his theories on the psycho-sexual problems of the middle classes, nominated Jung as his successor. Freud had first met his protege in 1907, when Jung called on him in Vienna. They talked for 13 hours non-stop and Freud decided that Jung, whom he called his `crown prince', would spread the new science of psychoanalysis.

But Jung was also interested in the unscientific, the obscure, the magical. He explored parapsychology and occult phenomena and their relationship with psychology. He first established the categories of introversion and extraversion, and the idea that people are divided into predetermined types.

Long after his death his ideas resonated strongly. Jung's thinking flowered in the culture of the Sixties with his his search for `the full attainment of selfhood'.

He became fashionable with hippies because of his worship of the natural world, his exploration of native Indian sand paintings and primitive symbols his interest in the religions of the East. But perhaps his greatest appeal to hippies was to be his espousal of free love.

Now a remarkable new biography by Oxford academic Frank McLynn, published this month, reveals that, in his private life, Jung was not a man that many people would admire or wish to emulate.

He was not only promiscuous, but cruel as well. He said Freud was wrong to make sex so important in his evaluation of human motivation. But, at the height of his fame, he kept five mistresses at the same time, almost all of them wealthy former patients.

The behaviour of the Swiss genius was unusual from an early age. While he was training as a doctor at the University of Basle, where he displayed a keen scientific brain, he regularly attended spiritualist gatherings with women and girls.

He visited a local lodging house, where a cousin of his mother's, Helene Preiswerk, aged 13, presided over seances. The hushed people seated around the table in semi-darkness held hands while the medium fell into her trance.

Helene was a working-class girl with the accent of her village. As she spoke her voice changed, she began to speak in high German while `possessed' by some male spirit. …

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