Saturday, 29 January 2011

VICTORIAN CONSCIOUSNESS: DOES THE UNCONSCIOUS SPEAK III

JUNG ENCOUNTERS THE UNCONSCIOUS OR OTHER ENTITIES






So, after Jung had established that the UNCONSCIOUS does speak. It is time to consider HOW it spoke to him. In fact, was it MERELY the Unconscious that had communicated with Jung in various stages of his life or were OTHER ENTITIES breaking in on his consciousness?

I shall show that Jung experienced a number of phenomenal manifestations. These could either be the visitations of Ethereal Beings or  Projections of the Unconscious. If the latter, then the Unconscious was a mighty force indeed. Anyway, we shall see what went on.







 HAMLET AND HIS FATHER’S GHOST.


As you will see from the above picture the idea of GHOSTLY VISITATIONS had soaked into the Collective Unconscious. Shakespeare incorporated the GHOST OF HAMLET’S FATHER in his play, ‘Hamlet’. Charles Dickens who died just five years before Jung was born incorporated the visitations of GHOSTS in his story, ‘A Christmas Carol’.  





THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT IN  CHARLES DICKENS' 'A CHRISTMAS CAROL'

Throughout the world  there is an ingrained belief that the dead are alive somewhere else. In short, whether such entities exist or not, the hunch that they might inhabit some sort of realm beyond the normal senses, had soaked itself well and truly into the Universal Psyche.

So let us turn to Jung’s encounter with the Unconscious.

Jung attended Spiritualist Seances from a very early age. Quite simply because his mother and her side of the family seemed addicted to Spiritualism.
Later, Jung wrote his Doctoral Thesis on the topic, ‘On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena’. This thesis reported a number of Seances, which Jung himself had arranged. But in this Dissertation  he attempts to distance himself from the proceedings by writing his Medical Thesis as if it was a study of  a woman, Helen Preiswerk.  She was in fact his cousin. As far as I can deduce these arranged séances took place around the 1890s, although his Thesis makes out that they took place much later.
Jung had a motive in concealing his participation in the proceedings, and the fact that Helen Preiswerk was his cousin. He felt that to do so would reduce the scientific credibility of his Doctoral Thesis. It was only years later in his autobiography, ‘Memories, Dreams, and Reflections’ – published in 1963 after his death – did he admit his own involvement with the family séances.
The Medium performing these séances was the woman mentioned, the cousin of Jung. But what apparently could she do?
At the Seances Helen, like most mediums, entered the trance state and on one occasion fell to the floor breathing deeply. She then began to speak in the voice of a person whose voice she had never heard. The ‘entity’ described himself as, ‘Old Samuel Preiswerk.’ On another occasion she channelled a warning directed at one of her sisters who was pregnant. The sister was told that she would lose her child; in August the baby was born prematurely and was dead.
In other séances Helen produced further voices, one of which, strangely enough claimed to be a spirit named Ivenes. This ‘spirit’ also identified herself as the real Helen Preiswerk. This personality was  apparently more mature, confident, and intelligent than Helen.
From the standpoint of my previous ‘Multiple Personality Posts' or considering the massive structure of the Unconscious it seemed to imply that buried beneath the immature and unremarkable teenager a more accomplished personality ‘lived’. Years later Helen did become a highly successful dressmaker in France. Unfortunately, she died when she was about thirty years old.
Whether to protect his scientific reputation or becase he actually doubted that Helen was being contacted by supernatural entities Jung declared that Helen’s ‘spirits’ were part of her Unconscious, that they were elements within her psyche, that would emerge as her later personality unfolded. Whatever the case, one can clearly discern the various INFLUENCES of the Victorian Consciousness; SPIRITUALISM  was one such influence.

One could multiply examples of Jung’s contact with Spiritualism. However, it is time to examine what Jung actually pinned down as his contact with the UNCONSCIOUS. Even so we shall have to make an observation regarding events in his old age.

Whilst visiting Freud in Vienna in 1909, the conversation turned on the subject of the Paranormal and Parapsychology. Freud immediately dismissed the whole thing as absolute nonsense. But Freud was in for a shock.

Jung disagreed. Then, whilst sitting across from Freud, Jung felt a strange sensation in his diaphragm. Within seconds of this sensation a loud bang came from Freud’s bookcase. Jung immediately declared that it was a result of the Unconscious ‘exteriorising’ its energy. Freud dismissed the notion and declared it to be nothing more than the wood drying out. Jung at once declared that the bang would occur again. It did so. Freud was flabbergasted and it seems from that moment there was a deterioration in their friendship.

But this is not the only instance of Jung’s contact with his Unconscious and its incredible level of power. On another occasion whilst asleep in a hotel room, Jung awoke in the middle of the night with a strange pain in his head. It was later reported to him that a patient of his, had shot himself in the head at the precise time that Jung awoke and in the same area of the head where Jung had felt the pain.

Even earlier than this, when Jung had begun to study at home for his Medical Degree, he was  reading in  another room when he heard a loud noise, like pistol shots, coming from the dining room. He discovered that a family heirloom, an old walnut table, had split down the middle. Apparently the fracture had nothing to do with the weather. For it was a hot, humid day rather than a cold winter’s day when such things tend to happen.

The idea that somehow the Unconscious – either of Jung or someone else – had been at work in connection with this incident, was apparently confirmed a few weeks later. Jung arrived home and discovered  the whole family in distress.

Apparently a similar incident had occurred. However,  this incident made it obvious  that the weather and the ageing of the wooden furniture were not responsible.

On this occasion a noise  was emitted from a solid nineteenth century cupboard. Because the women were too frightened to investigate the cause, Jung looked for it himself. He discovered in one of the cupboards a bread knife with the blade neatly broken in a number of places. Jung took the knife to a cutler who declared that the knife MUST have been broken deliberately. No one in the house was guilty of damaging either the furniture or the knife.
But there is more. Some of which seemed to fall between two stools, whether they were projections of the Unconscious or from some other ‘Supernatural Source’. From time to time Jung hinted that his house was  haunted.  Apparently, his elder daughter reported seeing a white ethereal figure passing through the room. Quite independent of her sister’s observation, his second daughter told Jung that twice the same night, the blanket from her bed had been thrown to the floor.
The strange occurrences carried on. In fact,  that same afternoon the front doorbell rang continuously.  When the matter was checked there was no one in sight. However, the bell could be seen moving in and out.  No explanation of any sort was ever given. It seems that the incident frightened Jung and the others in the house so much that he called out , "For God's sake, what madness is this?"  Apparently a number of voices responded, ,"We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought."
I make one final comment regarding Jung’s strange encounters.
 


THE TOWER JUNG BUILT AT BOLLINGEN, THE SCENE OF HIS ENCOUNTERS WITH THE UNCONSCIOUS OR PERHAPS ‘OTHER WORLDLY ENTITIES’.


Jung began in 1922 to build  a Tower, in Bollingen on the shore of Lake Zurich. It was built in stages over thirty years and was somehow Jung’s attempt to explore the construction of the psyche. Here for the remaining years of his life he did much of his writing.
But the point I wish to draw out is the examples of strange phenomena he encountered whilst engaged on this project. For instance, he records in his book,  Memories, Dreams and Reflections’  his numerous paranormal experiences.  One such took place in the winter of 1924. At this time Jung spent  long periods alone in the Tower. He  states that he felt ghostly presences, heard an orchestra playing music, saw a group of young peasants dancing around the Tower.  None of these experiences were grounded in normal reality.

So, I think enough has been said.

CONCLUSION

In this series of Postings I have tried to:

1. Saturate the reader in the Victorian Consciousness to generate a feeling for my later exploration of the Victorian Novel.
2. Tried to bring out that the Victorian Consciousness was a definite way of looking at the world.
3. Tried to show that the Victorians were grappling with the ideas of whether some sort of ethereal or Spiritual dimension exits which ‘breaks into’ the normal dimension of reality from time to time.
4. Attempted to bring out that whilst many Victorians were preoccupied with toying with or attempting to contact the ‘other reality’  the work of Freud and Jung was filling in the missing gap. That is they turned to the Nature of the Human mind itself in an attempt to explain the manifestations of this ‘other reality.

I Hope You have enjoyed the series of Blogs. For a while in future Postings I shall turn to an exploration of the Victorian Novels and start with Bulwer Lytton’s A Strange Story’ . This can be downloaded free from  ‘The Guttenburg Project’.  If it seems too tedious to read such a long novel, simply follow my Posting and you will get the idea.

KS (UK)

Any Comments?

Picture Credits Wikimedia Commons






Thursday, 27 January 2011

VICTORIAN CONSCIOUSNESS: DOES THE UNCONSCIOUS SPEAK II



FREUD AND JUNG BOTH SAID, "YES IT DOES!"



It is time to turn to the other member of the psychiatric duo. We direct our attention now to Jung. The same question arises, “Does the Unconscious Speak?” The same proposition is considered namely, the components of the Victorian Consciousness  impacting on the Mind of Jung.

Therefore, in my view he is also a TRANSITIONAL VICTORIAN, striding both worlds like Freud.

OK, let us get some background. Who was this man, and what were his contributions to unravelling the secrets of the mind.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) was born in Switzerland and died in the same country aged 85. He made several unique contributions to psychology including Dream Analysis, and Analytical Psychology, He is credited with the idea that by nature the psyche of man is RELIGIOUS and must be explored along these lines.
As far as our topic concerning the Unconscious is concerned we need to look at Jung’s ideas on INDIVIDUATION. But that is not all. He formulated ideas concerning ARCHETYPES, THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS, and many, many more. In fact his ideas and investigations were enormous. I can only isolate three main themes: 1. The idea of the Collective Unconscious 2. The basic difference between his ideas and those of Freud 3. His experience of the Victorian Paranormal.

Yes, he certainly believed that THE UNCONSCIOUS SPEAKS and set out to demonstrate that idea.
 

HERE IS JUNG IN  AROUND 1909 THREE YEARS AFTER MEETING FREUD











Before delving into the main theme, let us get a hold on his background.
In 1895 Jung studied Medicine at the University of Basel. In 1900 he worked under Eugen Bleuler (April 30, 1857 – July 15, 1939). Bleuler  was a Swiss Psychiatrist and contributed in large measure to the understanding of severe mental conditions. In fact, the term ‘schizophrenia’ was first used by him. At the time Jung met him Bleuler had begun to work with hypnotic techniques and concluded that certain complex mental activities could be unconscious, but could nevertheless produce pathological physical and mental symptoms.



EUGEN BLEULER WHO  KICK-STARTED JUNG

 This meeting with Bleuler was the kick- start that Jung needed. He came to realise that pathological conditions of the Human Mind interested him more than any other branch of Medicine. Accordingly his Doctoral Dissertation, published in 1903, was entitled, On the Psychology  and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena.  This hints at the Victorian Preoccupations, which I have discussed in other Posts.

Three years later Jung Published Studies in Word Association . He was clearly groping towards the idea that the Unconscious Mind would communicate, or speak if fed with a stimulus. The technique was to feed a word to the patient to motivate him to reply spontaneously without thinking.  Jung sent a copy of the book to Sigmund Freud in 1906 and a friendship between the two men resulted, which lasted for six years

Jung continued to probe and formulate his ideas concerning the Unconscious more and more. In 1912 Jung published, ‘the Psychology of the Unconscious

 




FREUD AND OTHER ANALYSTS IN 1909. NOTICE JUNG AMONG THE ‘JOLLY’ TEAM AND SIGNIFICANTLY FREUD IS NOT  IN THE CENTRE OF THE GROUP

As a result of this book the friendship between himself and Freud was severed.

Why was this? 


For one thing their views of the Unconscious were completely opposite. Freud believed that the Unconscious was nothing more than a VAST REPOSITORY of Instincts, animalistic drives, traumatic experiences (child abuse etc), repressed anti-social tendencies and so on – nothing positively creative here. All of which was concealed from the Conscious Mind. To clinch it, Freud believed that the Sex Drive underpinned it all, and that repression caused these drives to surface in the form of Mental and Physical illness. Yes, the Unconscious was certainly speaking.

This was far too dogmatic and narrow a view for Jung to stomach. His view was that the Human Mind has at least, not one, but two components. One of which is THE PERSONAL UNCONSCIOUS. In brief, the PERSONAL UNCONSCIOUS includes anything, which is not presently conscious, but can be brought forward. It includes contents, which had at one time been conscious but had disappeared from surface consciousness because of forgetfulness or repression. Therefore, according to Jung, the PERSONAL UNCONSCIOUS includes both memories that are easily brought to mind and those that have been removed from consciousness for some reason. This region is not necessarily negative, nor driven exclusively by the sexual impulse.

In his stride now, Jung went beyond Freud and formulated the existence of a second, far deeper form of the Unconscious lying at the base of the personal one. He termed this THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS. This was a factor causing the final rupture between them. Freud always considered himself the Master and could not take contradiction of any sort, especially from Jung, whom he considered to be his Disciple.




FREUD AND HIS SUPPORTERS IN 1922. TWO THINGS ARE SIGNIFICANT: JUNG IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PICTURE AND FREUD HAS MOVED TO CENTRE STAGE

How then, according to Jung, was the COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS CONSTRUCTED?

The contents of the COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS are composed of all the drives, including CREATIVE impulses, which the ENTIRE Human race shares. It is like a vast pool including even memory patterns derived from one’s ancestors. Such is part of the structure of the Human Body and Brain of EVERY PERSON on earth. Thus, if a person could learn to get the Collective Unconscious to speak he could produce work of an overwhelming CREATIVE sort, either by drawing ideas from within or dipping into the Universal Pool of Consciousness.

Within the Collective Unconscious ‘live’ the ARCHETYPES. What are the Archetypes?

The notion of the ARCHETYPE is not easy to define. Even Jung was not truly precise, but the understanding of Archetypes can be sensed. In short, it relates to some sort of INHERITED framework, common to all mankind. Archetypes express themselves in symbols or patterns, or ideas common to every race on earth. So the best I can do is to give some sort of rough definition.

Archetypes seem to be so common throughout the world that they seem to be an integral part of what Humans are, or have inherited psychically. They include the  following:

The ANIMA, that is the masculine side of the Female Nature or the Essential characteristics of the Male. It has many facets among them the notion of the Hunter and the Adventurer.

 




TARZAN THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE ADVENTURER OR HUNTER  THE ANIMA ARCHETYPE







The ANIMUS, relates to either the feminine side of the Male Nature or the dominant characteristic of a Woman. Obviously all of these facets are complex. I can only isolate one or two.









HELEN OF TROY AN ARCHETYPE SYMBOLISING DESIRABLE FEMININE BEAUTY AND THE CAPABILITY TO ACHIEVE WORLDLY SUCCESS










Another archetype is that of THE MOTHER.  There are many characteristics of this Archetype such as  Maiden, Mother and Crone. The Maiden, or Virgin, suggests independent women who are often unmarried. The Mother relates to fertility, nurturing and growth. The last stage, the Crone, is the archetypal expression of the “wise old woman” ; she might even be a witch.









THE VIRGIN MARY PERSONIFYING THE CARING, AFFECTIONATE AND PROTECTIVE NATURE OF THE MOTHER ARCHETYPE





Moving to the  TRICKSTER, this Archetype is also complex. It can be characteristic of a clown, a rebel against conformity, craftiness and so on. The Trickster is a favourite image in Fairy Tales such as Brer Rabbit and Reynard the Fox



 





REYNARD THE FOX IN THE CHILDREN’S STORY OF THE SAME TITLE DEPICTS THE TRICKSTER WHO USES HIS WITS TO TRIUMPH OVER BRUTE STRENGTH.






A key archetype is the  SHADOW. The Shadow designates any part of ourselves that we reject, and so do not permit to manifest itself, particularly in our dealings with others. Often individuals project onto others those attributes we most dislike in ourselves
 




THE SHADOW ARCHETYPE REPRESENTING THINGS WE DISLIKE ABOUT OURSELVES AND THEREFORE  PROJECT ONTO OTHERS.





The OLD MAN is an Archetype usually represented as a kind, wise, older father- figure. He is a person who uses his knowledge and experience to guide and assist others. Interestingly, the ‘absent minded professor’ is incorporated into this Archetype.

 





THE ARCHETYPE OF THE WISE OLD MAN, REMBRANDT’S PICTURE OF THE PHILOSOPHER IN HIS STUDY

Having outlined the ideas behind the world of Archetypes, I am sure you are now able to identify the various archetypes used in Fairy Tales and Myths . This is too big a topic to go into now, but I will go more deeply into this  theme in a later blog.

So, if you want to get the best out of Jung’s Archetypes, carefully do three things:
1. Look at YOURSELF and see how many Archetypal Features you can find.
2. Look at people you know and see which Archetypes they appear to correspond to.
3. Read some Fairy Tales, and study one or two Famous Paintings and see how many archetypes you can identify.

Remember this. All of these Archetypal Forms and the various forms of Art in which they appear are UNIVERSAL and are noticeable in Cultures all over the world.

For me, Jung’s notion of the Archetypes as part of the Unconscious was a Master-stroke.

But what has this to do with, ‘Does the Unconscious Speak?. I am sure you have guessed. The Archetypes often appear in DREAMS, or in HALLUCINATIONS. I could say much, much more on this, for it is so rich. But I shall return to it eventually and dig into in depth. 
To complete this section on the Unconscious Mind according to Jung we need to turn to his beliefs concerning INDIVIDUATION.

It seems to be true to say that the core of Jung’s work on the unconscious was his idea regarding INDIVIDUATION.

Individuation is a process which attempts to INTEGRATE  the whole personality. In short it is an attempt to UNITE the ORDINARY CONSCIOUSNESS, THE PERSONAL UNCONSCIOUS, and THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS. This is done by DREAM ANALYSIS  or In FREE ASSOCIATION.  In so doing, any mental (or perhaps physical) illness a patient may have will, hopefully be cured. Remember it is all about getting an understanding of WHAT THE UNCONSCIOUS IS TRYING TO SAY.

Let us get to the ideas behind these two techniques.

Jung believed that the psyche is a self-regulating interconnected organism. In the Dream State whatever deficiencies are experienced in ordinary Consciousness, somehow the Dream State will compensate for them.

According to Jung there are two basic approaches to analysing the contents of a dream. They are the OBJECTIVE and the SUBJECTIVE APPROACH. In the objective approach, every person in the dream refers to individual characters as in a play. Thus mother is mother, father is the father and so on.  In the subjective approach, every person in the dream represents an aspect of the dreamer. Thus, if the dreamer is being assaulted on the street, the dreamer will perhaps be led to recognize his own aggressive impulses.

Archetypes, Jung believed, often manifest themselves in dreams. The Unconscious, according to Jung, is trying to point out some aspect of the self, which is hidden from the Conscious Mind. For example, a woman who continually dreams of a Maiden, may well be receiving messages about her own sexual morality. He believed that the more attention one paid to the contents of the dream, including the Archetypes that manifest, the more one is able to integrate them into the personality and become WHOLE.

FREE ASSOCIATION is another attempt to draw out the Unconscious and get it to speak. Thus, there is so much hidden in the Unconscious that people need to learn about themselves. This is possible if the Unconscious can be drawn out. For example there may well be reasons for various phobias that people have and of course many other things, all of which are hidden from the Conscious mind. So using FREE ASSOCIATION maybe the root cause can be uncovered, dealt with, and the patient becomes whole.

But how is it done?

FREE ASSOCIATION is a technique wherein there is no planned agenda or any attempt to construct a logical conversation on the part of the Analyst or the Patient. The patient is allowed to say ANYTHING that comes into his head and even LEAP from one idea to another in a disconnected way. After a sufficient number of sessions, what might appear to be rambling verbal garbage, may well reveal an underlying theme, give a deeper insight into the patients psyche and result in complete integration and healing.

I think we can safely break off here. I hope I have shown HOW the Unconscious speaks, if only we learn to listen.
In my next posting I intend to finish off the idea by discussing Jung’s encounter with the Unconscious and other entities.

I hope you have enjoyed the Posting.

Any Comments?

KS (UK)

Picture credits Wikimedia Commons.


















Monday, 24 January 2011

THE VICTORIAN CONSCIOUSNESS: DOES THE UNCONSCIOUS SPEAK? I

DOES THE UNCONSCIOUS SPEAK?






 According to the Psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud ( 1856-1939) and his former colleague Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), the answer to that question would be yes!

However, the nature of the Unconscious Mind (Jung often called it the subconscious, but this is not a technical thesis) was different for each one.

Jung saw it more like this





ALADDIN CALLS UP THE GENIE WHO GRANTS HIS EVERY WISH

This is from a Tale of the Arabian Nights. It is one of many versions. So, to Jung the Unconscious could be quite a benevolent source of inspiration as we shall see.







Freud’s view of the Unconscious mind was much darker. He saw it like this.







PANDORA OPENS THE BOX AND RELEASES EVIL INTO THE WORLD



This tale of Pandora and the Box is derived from Classical Greece. Once the forbidden box was opened the evils of the world were released. Prior to that, the human state was imagined to be paradisical. 

To Freud, then the Unconscious Mind was a repository of base instincts and drives as we shall discuss.









Both Freud and Jung realised that to draw out the Unconscious Mind, to understand what it was releasing, what it was trying to say, certain techniques were necessary. These are represented by this picture.


 






THE SORCERER USES A WAND AND A CIRCLE OF FIRE TO INVOKE THE 

              GENIE


                                         


We shall see the techniques which the two analysts used to call up and understand the Unconscious Mind.



Now let us get to grips with the idea and see how it relates to the  Victorian Consciousness. At the same time we need to see what seems to constitute the ‘Unconscious’, how does it speak, and what techniques were devised by Freud and Jung to understand, and draw out its utterances.   






First off, what has this to do with the Victorian Consciousness? 

The Victorian era is generally reckoned to span the years of Victoria’s reign from the years 1837-1901. Clearly the life and work of Freud and Jung begins WITHIN the period but carries on AFTER the Victorian era. As a result what I wish to say is that the FORMATIVE INFLUENCES of the Victoria period crept into their work and LINGERED long after the Victorian era was over. In fact as we shall see Jung, at least, perpetuated the Victorian influences derived from Spiritualism.

Leaving Freud and Jung aside for a moment, it seems to me that the Victorian Consciousness was trying to get to grips with several notions concerning the Human Mind and somehow those who tried to fathom it  seemed in a quandary. For example: was MESMERISM a force that existed all around us and that somehow we could draw upon it; what about TABLE TURNING, AND SPIRITUALISM were these phenomena coming from OUTSIDE or where they being produced by some aspect of THE HUMAN MIND?

I would suggest that Freud and LATER Jung attempted to turn INWARDS and explore the capacity of the Human Mind. It would seem, as we shall see, that Freud’s contention was that one area of the Human Mind resembled a vast reservoir, which, he termed the UNCONSCIOUS. The Human Mind, and what it PROJECTED was all that mattered. At least, that was what Freud wished to think. The evidence is, as we shall note, that he was much more ambivalent towards, so called ‘occult phenomena.’ On the other hand Jung was convinced that there was something in the phenomena, that perhaps the projections of the Human Mind were not the complete answer.

But this is anticipating the discussion. I shall broaden this out as we go along. I repeat, the FORMATIVE INFLUENCES of the Victoria period crept into the work of Freud and Jung and LINGERED long after the Victorian era was over.

Let us have some background on Freud to begin with. Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Freiburg, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic)

When he was 4, the family moved to Vienna, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In its day, Vienna was one of the foremost cultural, scientific, and medical centers of Europe.
Freud was an exceptionally bright boy and he attended the humanistic high school (or gymnasium) from 1866 to 1873. Whilst at the gymnasium  he studied Greek and Latin, mathematics, history, and the natural sciences. Freud eventually qualified to enter the University of Vienna at the age of 17.
Freud, having always been interested in research, was thus attracted to the laboratory and anatomical studies. He was fortunate that Vienna had become the world capital of medicine. So, in 1880 Freud received his Medical Doctorate.


FREUD IN  1905 A SUCCESSFUL MAN

So, what? What has this to do with Freud’s researches into the Human mind?
We need to appreciate that PSYCHIATRY in the days when Freud was training was not so much concerned with the Mind. It was rather a study of the BEHAVIOUR AND MANNERISMS of the patient in order to reveal a possible PHYSIOLOGICAL disorder of the brain. No suggestion at all of anything deeper than that.
However, in 1885  Freud received a grant to pursue  his neurological (relating to the nervous system) studies abroad. So, in that year he spent four months at the Salpêtrière clinic in Paris. Here he came under the influence of Jean Martin Charcot. At that time Charcot used Hypnosis as a means of uncovering what he believed to be MENTAL rather than Physical causes of disease. He introduced the notion that behaviour such as Back Arching, paralysis of Muscles and constant facial Ticks were symptoms of what he called HYSTERIA. In some cases, it was true, certain physical symptoms were evidence of psychological trauma. Certainly, in the case of ‘Back Arching’, Charcot made a grave error. It is a symptom of Diabetes. However, Freud was mightily impressed with Charcot’s work and his ideas.
It is a short step from this to formulating a theory of The Mind. This was Freud’s ultimate step.
I am going to suggest, however, that he was influenced more by the Victorian COMPONENTS of Consciousness, (which I have discussed at length in other posts), than he realized, or at least admitted.
So, what does Freud do next?
Freud returned to Vienna, established himself in the private practice and began devoting his efforts to the treatment of hysterical patients. To aid his uncovering the root of ‘hysteria’ he utilized, Charcot’s hypnotic technique. At this time enter, Freud’s old colleague and mentor, Joseph Breuer. This meeting was highly significant for Bauer described in detail a woman whom he had treated for ‘hysteria’ and successfully cured her. He did so by  tracing her symptoms back to certain emotionally distressing experiences at her father’s deathbed. Freud built on these notions and developed the idea that strong emotional, traumatic, experiences can be REPRESSED, that is THE MIND will act to exclude these experiences from conscious memory


FREUD’S SOFA ON WHICH HIS PATIENTS WOULD REVEAL ALL
However, THE UNCONSCIOUS WOULD SPEAK. It would speak in many ways as we shall see. In the instance under review it spoke in terms of physical symptoms.
From his association with Breuer, the pair went on to publish Studies in Hysteria (1895) At this time Freud coined the word, ‘Psychoanalysis’ to describe his work.
It was now apparent that Freud believed that the ‘Unconscious’ could speak. But wait, let us see how Freud came to construct the Human Mind.
Slowly, Freud groped towards an understanding of the mind. But one thing he was certain of was THAT THE UNCONSCIOUS, the deeper levels of the mind SPEAK. But how? Freud surmised that this might be through dreams  (shades of Charlotte Bronte and Thomas Hardy here). But the problem with dreams, was how does one understand the language? Nevertheless Freud embarked upon a detailed study of his own dreams.
 

THE KNIGHTS DREAM.  HOW WOULD ONE INTERPRET THESE SYMBOLS?

As a result in 1901 he published a major scientific book. It was entitled , ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’.  He concluded that  each person’s dreams serve as a tool to understand the UNCONSCIOUS  mental processes that determine the behaviour of the individual.
Eventually, Freud discontinued the use of Hypnosis and developed the technique of FREE ASSOCIATION. He believed that if he could sufficiently relax his patient and then let them talk at length on ANYTHING that passed through the mind the UNCONSCIOUS WOULD SPEAK. The thoughts that the person uttered need not be connected in any way. In fact the less inhibited, the more likely would be the channel from the Unconscious.
Just briefly then, before we look at Freud and the Victorian occult, this is how he eventually saw the construction of the Mind. It was divided into two main parts: the Conscious Mind and the Unconscious Mind.
The CONSCIOUS MIND contains everything of which we are aware. It includes things which we can talk about rationally or memories which we can recall with ease. On the other hand, The  UNCONSCIOUS MIND is quite different. Here in this vast reservoir lurk feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories. These are out of reach of our conscious awareness. Here lie all the primitive instincts and anxieties. Here lie memories of traumatic events that are concealed from the Conscious Mind. But Freud posited two things: THE UNCONSCIOUS FORCES THESE COMPONENTS into Consciousness one way or another, by for example, Dreams or Illness, or Neurotic Behaviour. Secondly, the Unconscious continues to influence everything we DO and everything we ARE even though we are unaware of it.
I earlier referred to Freud and Jung as TRANSITIONAL Victorians for a definite reason. They had a foot in both camps. On the one hand,as we shall now see, Freud was saturated in Victorian assumptions regarding the Occult, and on the other hand, he was attempting to discard such and step into what he saw as a more Modern World.
Ernest Jones, a disciple of Freud and who was later to write a biography of his Master, argued that Freud was a man in conflict. He had a deep desire to believe in Occult Phenomena. But this desire was at war bias towards disbelief.
There is no doubt about it Freud was deeply influenced by the Victorian assumptions, which I have discussed at length in earlier Postings. So much so that  he he became involved in the paranormal in 1905, joined the Society for Psychical Research, and published a paper on it in 1932. Don’t forget, what his views were is not my main focus. The focus is that the VICTORIAN PARANORMAL ASSUMPTIONS entered his psyche and played a significant part in his life. Furthermore, with his daughter Anna and Ferenczi, he engaged in  Telepathic or Thought Transmission experiments. But that is not all. Guess what, THEY ALSO ENGAGED IN TABLE TURNING investigations. If such was of no concern, if it had not percolated Freud’s Mind, surely he would never have devoted so much time to it.


FREUD AND HIS DAUGHTER ANNA

Nor was Freud free of Superstition and its Supernatural links, no matter how much he might rail against the occult and in later years give it a naturalistic explanation with reference to THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND. One such instance of his superstitious nature relates to the date of his death. Freud calculated from his telephone number that it was signifying the date at which he would die. In fact he went through endless calculations to arrive at the date, as if it was somehow preternaturally determined.
Again and again, Freud could not leave the Victorian preoccupations alone. He became almost obsessed with investigating Fortune tellers and specifically those whose prophecies had failed. Any reader who is familiar with Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre  will see the presence of superstition in ‘The Red Room’ incident and the Fortune Telling escapade in Mr Rochester’s house.
I think enough has been said on Freud and in his case the ATTEMPT TO GET THE UNCONSCIOUS TO SPEAK. Also I think we can be fairly clear that Freud was influenced by the Victorian assumptions whether he struggled against them or not.
I shall pick up this theme in the next posting when I look at Jung.
I hope you have enjoyed the blog.
Any Comments?
KS (UK)
Picture Sources Wikimedia Commons