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Some Jungian Analysis

February 2024
3min read


Carl Jung, who went to the same places that Freud did, ate much of the same food, met many of the same people, and was equally overwhelmed by the bustle and size of the country, reached different conclusions about America. He liked it and returned frequently during his life. In 1909 he recorded his American journey in letters to his wife, Emma.

New York 31 August 1909

My Dearest ,

When did I write last? I think it was yesterday. Time here is so frightfully filled up. Yesterday Freud and I spent several hours walking in Central Park and talked at length about the sociological problems of psychoanalysis. He is as clever as ever and extremely touchy; he does not like other sorts of ideas to come up, and, I might add, he is usually right. … But one can’t really go very deep into anything here, because the general hustle and bustle is so overwhelming. Those few quiet hours in the park did me good, though. Afterwards we went to [A. A.] Brill’s for supper. He has a nice, uncomplicated wife (an American). The meal was remarkable for the unbelievable, wildly imaginative dishes! Picture a salad made of apples, head lettuce, celery root, nuts, etc., etc. But otherwise the meal was good. Afterwards, between 10 and 12 P.M. , we drove down to Chinatown, the most dangerous part of New York, accompanied by three sturdy rascals. The Chinese all wear dark blue clothing and have their hair in long braids. We went into a Chinese temple, located in a frightful den called a joss house. Around every corner a murder might be taking place. Then we went into a Chinese teahouse, where we had really excellent tea, and along with it they served us rice and an incredible dish with chopped meat, apparently smothered in earthworms and onions. It looked ghastly. But the worms turned out to be Chinese potato, whereupon I tasted some, and it was not at all bad .

By the way, the hoodlums who were lounging around looked more dangerous than the Chinese. In Chinatown there are 9,000 Chinese but only 28 women. To make up for that there are swarms of white prostitutes, who have just been cleared out by the police. Next we went to a real Apache music hall, a rather gloomy place. A singer performed, and the audience showed its appreciation by throwing money on the floor at his feet. Everything most odd and terribly discomfiting, but interesting. I should mention that Dr. Brill’s wife was along for the whole expedition, like the good American she is. We finally got tobedat midnight .…

Clark University Worcester, Massachusetts Wednesday, September 8,1909

The people here are all exceedingly amiable and on a decent cultural level. We are beautifully taken care of at the Halls’ and daily recovering from the exertions of New York. My stomach is almost back to normal now. … Yesterday Freud began the lectures and received great applause. We are gaming ground here, and our following is growing slowly but surely. In fact we are the men of the hour here. It is very good to be able to spread oneself in this way once in a while. I can feel that my libido is gulping it in with vast enjoyment . …

Putnam’s Camp, Keene Valley, N.Y. 16 September 1909, 8:30 A.M.

You would be absolutely amazed if you could see where I have ended up this time in this land of truly boundless opportunities. I am sitting in a large one-room wooden cabin looking into a massive fireplace of rough brick with mighty logs on the hearth. The walls are crowded with china, books, and the like. Around the cabin runs a covered porch, and when you step out the first thing that meets your eye is a sea of trees—beech, fir, pine, cedar, everything slightly eerie in the gently rustling rain. Through the trees you can glimpse a mountainous landscape, all of it forested. The cabin stands on a slope, and somewhat farther down you can see about ten other wooden cabins. Over here the women live, and over there the men; that is the kitchen, there you see the dining hall, and cows and horses are grazing among the buildings. I must explain that two Putnam families live here … complete with servants. If you follow the nearby brook uphill, you soon enter a forest which you presently discover to be a northern primeval forest. The ground consists of huge glacial boulders covered by a thick layer of soft moss and fern, strewn with a wild tangle of branches and great rotting tree trunks out of which young trees sprout. … You crawl over and under huge tree trunks, crash through decaying wood into deep holes; deer tracks cross the path; woodpeckers have hammered holes as big as a man’s head into the trees .…

My last letter to you was written in the railway station at Lake Placid, at the end of the line. From there we continued on to here, traveling for more than five hours in a curious two-horse conveyance over deeply rutted roads.… In what seemed like a completely desolate area we saw metal boxes nailed to trees so the mailman could drop off letters for the farmers. Then came the little wooden shack by the road which housed the “store,” carrying every conceivable line of merchandise, then the “hotel,” where for lunch we were served “brown bread” and “corn on the cob” with salted butter and crisp bacon. Then a dusty diligence drawn by four horses rattles by; on either side the legs of Yankees poke out. So this is a piece of the “wild West,” but with mountains.
… In the evening a fire is lit in the fireplace, because the nights are cold here. The Putnams have a harmonium; we sang German folksongs to it! They are terribly nice people. The hospitality is downright Indian. Except for train tickets I hardly need money. … Freud assumes a philosophical smile as he forges through this richly varied world. I trot along and enjoy it. If I took with me everything that I could, I would still not be finished in two months. It is good to leave while the going is still so great
.…

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