Saturday, June 6, 2009


I'm currently writing a paper for a class I've been taking on the history of psychoanalysis. Most of our time in class has been spend considering Freud's thought and legacy but my paper concerns a few of his followers - Reich and Jung in particular.

I've read so much about these two thinkers in the last couple of weeks I'm having a hard time keeping it all straight. But there is one especially humorous anecdote that is impossible to forget.

Jung was really interested in schizophrenics because he felt they provided special insight into the workings of the unconscious. Accordingly, he worked with a lot of schizophrenic patients - talking with them, etc... The patients would often share with Jung their hallucinations and he would jot them down hoping to discover cosmic unity down the road. One such hallucination was especially important for his concept of the collective unconscious. Jung explains, "I once came across the following hallucination in a schizophrenic patient: he told me he could see an erect phallus on the sun. When he moved his head from side to side, he said, the sun's phallus moved with it, and that was where the wind came from" (Symbols of Transformation, p. 101).

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