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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 20 (1978) 1, 152 - 174

Korte bijdrage

Over de betekenis van de briefwisseling tussen Freud en Jung voor de studie van de geschiedenis der ideeën

P.J. van der Leeuw

In the introduction the importante of this correspondence as a historical document is described. Retrospectively, we see 1 the origin and the beginning of the psychoanalytical movement; in other words the development of psychoanalysis as a social phenomenon;
2 the reaction of a scientific-psychiatric community to a revolutionary and to a scientific revolution;
3 the confrontation of a genius (via his person and his work) with a community and the problems that result both for him and for them, with regard to co-operation and personal relationships;
4 the struggle of the genius for the preservation, development and growth of his work.
Following this introduction three aspects of the letters are discussed:
I — Freud and his attitude to his work.
II — Freud the revolutionary and the scientific revolution.
III — Freud and his relations with other people, especially his co-workers, individually and as a group.
Ad 1— The man of genius and his attitude towards his creation. In fact the struggle for the reservation, continuation and growth of Freud's work play a dominant role in this correspondence. The relationship to his workwas stronger than any human relationship. In the biographical literature on Freud, the authors emphasize too onesided and too strongly the aspect of the transference in his relationship to Jung. It is stated that the misunderstanding of Freud's relationship to his co-workers is caused by the underestmation of the strength of this bond between the man of genius and his creation.
Freud's problem regarding his own inner world of feelings and phantasies of greatness was the opposite of that of other people. He had more trouble in acknowledging his own greatness than the Jack thereof.
Ad II — The issue was decided when Freud realized that Jung had rejected the revolutionary character of his work. Jung could not tolerate the revolutionary. From this correspondence it is apparent that the personalities involved in the initial phase were of vital importance to the further development of this kind of scientific revolution. A comparison between Jung and Abraham clearly demonstrates this point of view. Jung's historical importance is that he represents the traditional world in the scientific world. In other words: Jung as a person is of lesser importance, as are also his personal relations with Freud. Jung had a funtion in the laws of nature that govern the revolutionary process. As to Freud, the break with Jung was the inevitable consequente of an intrapsychic process. Ad 111 — For his co-workers, the difficulty lays in achieving an identification with 'the Cause' and a mature relationship with Freud. The author was shocked when reading this correspondence in connection with Jung's Autobiography, he realized the pressure under which Jung must have lived during his relationship with Freud and thereafter. We understand to some extent what it means for anyone to associate with a genius. We realize how resilient a person must be to endure this for a long time.