Jung and Freud

I’ve been a Jung groupie since I was a teenager, and I’m reading the new biography of Jung (Jung: A Biography, published by Little, Brown) by Deirdre Bair, which is excellent and notable for its nonjudgmental, objective look at Jung’s life. I am blown away by the account of Jung’s first meeting with Freud, which took place on March 3, 1907. Jung arrived for lunch at 1, and the two talked nonstop (mostly Jung, apparently) until 2 AM. This account really points up differences between the two men:

Jung wanted to know what Freud thought about parapsychological phenomena and precognitions…. Freud never offered a sustained account [of the conversation], but in Jung’s version, he “absolutely” rejected both, which caused Jung to accuse him of “materialistic bias” and to persist stubbornly in describing his own personal experiences. When he told of the knife that shattered [a large knife lying in a drawer in Jung's house had once spontaneously shattered into pieces in the presence of his psychic cousin], Freud “expressed such a flat positivism” that Jung found it difficult “not to respond in a way that would have been a bit too biting.”…

Suddenly, there occurred such a noise from the glass-fronted bookcase in front of which they were sitting that they both jumped, fearing it would fall on them. “Now this is a so-called catalytic exteriorization phenomenon,” Jung insisted. “Oh, no, that is complete nonsense,” Freud replied. To prove his point, Jung insisted that there would be another noise, and immediately there was “an indescribably terrible noise in the cabinet!”

“Freud looked at me with horror then,” Jung remembered. “This raised a distrust of me in him, for you see, something like that isn’t possible, something like that doesn’t exist in his worldview. Consequently, for him, I had to be absolutely out of kilter somewhere….” They never spoke of this incident again and the conversation moved to other subjects chosen by Freud.

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