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Goldberg, J.J. (1981). A Jungian Critique of Harry Slochower's Paper. Am. Imago, 38(1):41-55.

(1981). American Imago, 38(1):41-55

A Jungian Critique of Harry Slochower's Paper Related Papers

Jonathan J. Goldberg, Ph.D.

It was a pleasure for me to be asked to serve as discussant for this provocative paper. Contributions to dialogue among psychoanalysts with very different assumptions and preconceptions about the psyche can only be of value, even at those times when they serve mainly to highlight what may be unbridgeable differences in interpretation. There is no reason for us to agree where we do not agree, but there is every reason to compare our points of focus. Ever since the publication of the Freud-Jung letters a few years ago, there has been a new wave of interest in the analysis of the Freud-Jung relationship; Dr. Slochower's essay belongs to this overall genre. The fascination of this material is rather obvious, since it serves as a kind of laboratory for studying aspects of the father-son and son-father relationship where father and son are the two psychoanalytic giants. So the availability of these letters is like having possession of an Ur-text, of the original stuff.

A basic relationship like that of father-son is lived and acted out between persons without ultimately being personal. That distinction between personal and non-personal is at the heart of Jung's idea of the archetypal, and failure to observe this distinction always represents the attempt to reduce the archetypal to the personal, which is like trying to put a substance in a container that is too small for it. Dr. Slochower's paper falls into just this category. Its way of using personal life data is bound not to work, not on account of specific errors of fact or interpretation but because its reductionism leaves out too much that is relevant and therefore must make too much of what remains.

Recently the researches of Levinson and his collaborators were published under the title The Seasons of a Man's Life.

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