A picture of the author at the front Door of C.G. Jung's House. 2008, Kusnacht, Switzerland.
In 2015, I had the good fortune to have been granted a close reading of the Countway Library of Medicine Manuscript (CLM) at Harvard’s Medical School.[i] This important text includes a chapter on Théodore Flournoy and William James, which was unfortunately excluded from Jung’s semi-autobiographical memoir, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961). I had first read about it in the works of the James scholar, Eugene Taylor, and also in several works by Sonu Shamdasani, and the biography by Dierdre Bair. All of these works alerted me to its significance for a proper understanding of Jung, and by happenstance, I was granted a glimpse of the text. The CLM is to my mind, a remarkably rare document that needs to be closely studied in order to mine its significance for present and future directions in analytical psychology, particularly if one considers what came directly before it in MDR, and what came after it: the chapters on “Sigmund Freud” and “Confrontation with the Unconscious.” I must have read MDR four or five times before I began hearing about it by Taylor, Shamdasani, and Bair. So, it had piqued my curiosity. It certainly changed my understanding of Jung’s psychology, his personality development and his vocation as the founder of Analytical Psychology (Jung 1989) in an unexpected way. It helped me see how it was Flournoy and James who helped Jung find his grounding and self-confidence during a time of great insecurity and perplexity in his life. Above all, it helped me humanize my vision of Jung and his work and revision his life from the perspective of his character and his calling. In a dialogue with his soul in the Red Book (2009), for instance, she spurred him on to become the founder of a “new religion and its proclamation” (Jung RB 211). James of course had written the first transatlantic text on religious experience and religion was a subject that he had spoken about with James during his two meetings with him. From James Jung had learned to respect religious experience as necessary part of an individual’s Self-path towards healing. After reading the text a few times and meditating deeply upon it, I began to understand Jung’s dependencies and vulnerabilities in a new light and a new vision of Jung that grew out of my studies of everything Jung wrote about James (Herrmann 2020) eventually helped free me to comprehend his project in depth-psychology and spirituality in a relational context that might be applied practically to the process of individuation as it pertains to anyone. What arose out of my scrutiny of this relatively short document is a hypothesis that Flournoy and James had helped Jung see where Freud’s limits lay in a way that has been, with the exception of Taylor and Shamdasani’s works, almost completely overlooked. Their leading me to the CLM led me to see clearly that it was these two individuals, James and Flournoy, who led Jung to put his finger on crucial points in Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis that eventually freed him to see Freud’s one-sidedness.
[i] Frances A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University, Rare Books (hereafter, CLM). Collection # H MS C29. Permission to paraphrase portions of the manuscript, or brief quotes from the section “Théodore Flournoy and William James” was granted to me by Public Services Librarian on November 1, 2019. The James section begins on CLM, p. 197 and is only two single spaced pages long. CLM Rare Books Phone #: (617) 432-2170).