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BY: Joseph Bottum
Carl Jung is back. Well, in a minor way. In the sense of, like, never having entirely disappeared since his death in 1961. Jung is the little train engine of psychology: still in service, still hauling freight and passengers on a narrow-gauge railroad off somewhere in the distance. Never the main line, but maybe for that reason never an abandoned line, either. And every 10 years or so, something causes readers to notice that Jung somehow endures, chugging along as he always has.
Nothing - Time - 1960s - Sigmund - Freud
That is not nothing. There was a time, as late as the 1960s, when Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Jung were powerful names to throw around in literary criticism, social analysis, and cultural examination. That triumvirate of founders of psychoanalysis disagreed wildly and bitterly among themselves, but no one doubted that they had found something profound about the human psyche. The psychoanalytic method, we were taught to think, was a key that had unlocked the doors of self-understanding.
These days, Freud is mentioned mostly as cautionary tale. He may have seemed a revolutionary figure, once upon a time; dozens of books were written about the masters of suspicion—Darwin, Marx, and Freud—who smashed the stuffy religious hypocrisy of the 19th century. But now Freud is gestured at by the cognoscenti only in the mode of negation: a reactionary figure whose outdated ideas about such things as **** envy, the Oedipus Complex, and polymorphous perversity held back the sexual revolution that set us all free to express guiltlessly whatever sexual desires we seem to feel.
Freud - Truth - Alfred - Adler - Figure
At least Freud still gets mentioned. In truth, Alfred Adler may be the figure with the largest direct impact on the contemporary practice of clinical psychology—beginning with our modern rejection of "psychoanalysis" in favor a more populist "counseling" (for which one can be...
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