Was Freud Afraid of the Occult?

During a visit to Vienna in 1909, Jung had a conversation with Freud about the new study of parapsychology. Freud dismissed the whole subject as nonsense, something Jung, who had had ample experience of it, could not accept. As the conversation grew heated, Jung, who wanted to keep relations with Freud cordial, found it difficult to hold back his feelings. After all, he had been chosen by Freud to inherit his throne, and he had great respect, even love for his mentor. But Jung also had his own genius and ambitions and found it difficult to toe the party line. Now, as he looked at Freud he felt his diaphragm glow, as if it was becoming red-hot. Suddenly a loud bang exploded in Freud’s bookcase, and both men jumped up, afraid it would fall on them. Jung said to Freud “There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorisation phenomenon,” Jung’s long-winded circumlocution for a poltergeist or “noisy spirit.” Freud retorted “Bosh!” Jung shook his head and predicted that another bang would soon follow. When it did, Freud looked at Jung “aghast,” and from that moment on was mistrustful of him. Jung said the way Freud looked at him it was “as if I had done something against him.”

Not long after this, again in Vienna, Jung again visited Freud, and he later recalled a peculiar conversation they had, during which Freud asked Jung to promise that he would never abandon the sexual theory of the origin of neurosis. Freud told Jung that they must make “a dogma of it, an unshakeable bulwark.” Jung said that Freud spoke in the tones in which a father would ask his son to promise that he would go to church every Sunday. When Jung asked Freud why they had to affirm the sexual theory so vigorously, and against what they had to make it a bulwark, Freud replied “against the black tide of mud of occultism.” By this time Jung knew that he could never assert the sexual theory with the same finality as Freud did. He already had reservations about it but had kept them to himself. This request to collaborate with him on erecting a dogma was a sign that these reservations would soon have to come out. As we know, they did.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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