our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


Libido: Jung v Freud

Haven't read this stuff since forever, but just found a footnote where Jung differentiates his own take vs. Freud's on this very critical -- and I think cosmos defining -- concept. I find that it's been so internalized that it's only within this broad understanding that things make sense. To me, anyway. How very much it's shaped my life, and certainly my take on Eros.  

Here's the footnote, which begins just below pars. 77, page 52, in CW7, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology:  

From the foregoing it will become clear to the reader that the term "libido" coined by Freud and very suitable for practical usage, is used by me in a much wider sense. Libido for me means psychic energy, which is equivalent to the intensity with which psychic contents are charged. Freud, in accordance with his theoretical assumptions, identifies libido with Eros and tries to distinguish it from psychic energy in general. Thus he says ("Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" [orig. 1908], p. 217): "We have defined the concept of libido as a quantitatively variable force which could serve as a measure of processes and transformations occurring in the field of sexual excitation. We distinguish this libido in respect of its special origin from the energy which must be supposed to underlie mental processes in general." Elsewhere Freud remarks that in respect of the destructive instinct he lacks "a term analogous to libido." Since the so-called destructive instinct is a also a phenomenon of energy, it seems to me simpler to define libido as an inclusive term of psychic intensities, and consequently as sheer psychic energy. Cf. my Symbols of Transformation, pars. 190ff; also "On Psychic Energy," pars. 4ff.
Below, a post I'd written from a few years ago on Negative Capability / Moon's Favors: 

left: Rossetti's St. Cecilia (go read; he got it)

I don't mean to be invidious--but Purgation: Is that not a centerpiece of Freudian theory? A closed system of forces/energies playing off one another. It always seemed so mechanical, venting and repressing. What is its relationship to eternity, to our experience and intuition of the mystery we came out of -- and go back into? I don't feel it. Jung seems a living system, the unconscious a creative matrix, not a receptacle of repressed content. It is that from which we develop. Libido as something akin to an expanded and historical (if you go to the source) Eros is a reading readily compatible with Jung. Jung writes:
"...the term "libido," introduced by Freud, is not without a sexual connotation, an exclusively sexual definition of this concept is one sided and must therefore be rejected. Appetite and compulsion are the specific features of all impulses and automatisms. No more than sexual metaphors of common speech can the corresponding analogies in instinctual processes, and the symptoms and dreams to which they give rise, be taken literally. *The sexual theory of psychic automatisms is an untenable prejudice.* [that's their beef, yes?] The very fact that it is impossible to derive the whole mass from a single instinct forbids a one-sided definition of libido. I use this term in the general sense in which it was understood by the classical authors. [...] We can say, then, that the concept of libido in psychology has functionally the same significance as the concept of energy in physics since the time of Robert Mayer. (See my "On Psychic Energy,"** CW5, SYMBOLS OF TRANSFORMATION [** in cgj CW8]
And with energy, we're back to ambivalence (in the literal sense; energy gradients, as in physics and biology), back to Eros: the force that moves the sun and all the stars. Fascination (and look at that word, the meaning it carries: [Latin; fascinum, an evil spell, a phallic-shaped amulet.] It's what I was saying in the intro to Alice's book: words carry meaning beyond memory, hypostasis rather than mere understanding) is a psychopomp, mediator between mortal and immortal, the conscious and the unconscious. Is its movement not libido? It says that to me. I never felt Freud going all the way with this meaning. The Full Monty that encompasses all things. Freud pulled back from that. Fell off his chair. Jung wrote of Freud, and to a great extent it's applicable to the present:
The historical conditions which preceded Freud were such that they made a phenomenon like himself necessary, and it is precisely the fundamental tenet of his teaching-namely, the repression of sexuality-that is most clearly conditioned in this historical sense. Like his greater contemporary Nietzsche, Freud stands at the end of the Victorian era, which was never given such an appropriate name on the Continent despite the fact that it was just as characteristic of the Germanic and Protestant countries as of the Anglo-Saxon. The Victorian era was an age of repression, of a convulsive attempt to keep anaemic ideals artificially alive in a framework of bourgeois respectability by con­stant moralizings. These ideals were the last offshoots of the col­lective religious ideas of the Middle Ages, and shortly before had been severely shaken by the French Enlightenment and the ensuing revolution. Hand in hand with this, ancient truths in the political field had become hollow and threatened to collapse. It was still too soon for the final overthrow, and consequently all through the nineteenth century frantic efforts were made to prevent the Christian Middle Ages from disappearing altogether. Political revolutions were stamped out, experiments in moral freedom were thwarted by middle-class public opinion, and the critical philosophy of the late eighteenth century reached its end in a renewed, systematic attempt to capture the world in a unified network of thought on the medieval model. But in the course of the nineteenth century enlightenment slowly broke through, particularly in the form of scientific materialism and rationalism. This is the matrix out of which Freud grew, and its mental characteristics have shaped him along foreordained lines. He has a passion for explaining everything rationally, exactly as in the eighteenth century; one of his favourite maxims is Voltaire's "Ecrasez l'infame." With a certain satisfaction he invariably points out the flaw in the crystal; all complex psychic phenom­ena like art, philosophy, and religion fall under his suspicion and appear as "nothing but" repressions of the sexual instinct. Sigmund Freud in his Historical Setting CGJUNG CW 15