The foreword to The Psychology of Dementia Praecox pays homage to the psychiatric master of the age, Freud — though at the time there were relatively few who acknowledged Freud’s achievement. Jung declared that those who disdained Freud’s theorizing without seriously trying to see through his conceptual lenses were as bad as the seventeenth-century scoffers who had refused to look through Galileo’s telescope. Having studied Freud with the attention he deserves, Jung places himself inestimably in the great man’s debt — with caveats. Important as sexuality is, for Jung it is not as important as Freud makes it out to be — and for Freud there is nothing more important. Despite Jung’s respect, even reverence, the fissure that separates the two minds is apparent already in Dementia Praecox, and in time it will become an impassable chasm.
Jung sent Freud a copy of his monograph. Freud’s response has been lost, but in Jung’s following letter he alludes to Freud’s apparent displeasure: Jung had reprimanded Freud for failing to distinguish clearly between the origins of hysteria and those of dementia praecox. But Freud and Jung had been corresponding with mutual esteem for several months by then — Jung had sent him his major word-association paper, and Freud had answered admiringly — and this new difference of opinion did not derail their relationship. Indeed, Freud quickly put to rest Jung’s fears that he had crossed him: “In reality I regard your essay on D. pr. as the richest and most significant contribution to my labors that has ever come to my attention, and among my students in Vienna, who have the perhaps questionable advantage over you of personal contact with me, I know of only one who might be regarded as your equal in understanding, and of none who is able and willing to do so much for the cause as you.”
Comrades-in-arms, with Freud the superior officer by agreement, the two thinkers fought to advance their revolutionary understanding of the human psyche. Personal warmth stemmed from the two men’s intellectual fellowship: as is often the case with embattled intellectuals, shared ideas drew them ever closer. Freud gushed that Jung’s letter of introduction had been the voice of salvation, breaking in upon a solitude that seemed like doom. Jung wrote back, from the First International Congress of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Psychology in Amsterdam, that hearing from his mentor reminded him he “was fighting not only for an important discovery but for a great and honorable man as well.” Surrounded by sickening dolts and scoundrels, who knew nothing of Freud’s theory but arrogantly trashed it nevertheless, Jung did what he could to defend truth and honor. He closed the letter with “a long cherished and constantly repressed wish: I would dearly like to have a photograph of you, not as you used to look but as you did when I first got to know you.” It was a desire that he had felt again and again. Freud obliged, with a formal portrait of himself, seated with his arms folded sternly and his trademark cigar between his fingers. Sometimes, one trusts, a cigar is only a smoke.