Rabbi Akiba, the great Tannai, according to the legend, was a herdsman until the age of forty; only from that age on did he devote himself to study.
I was forty-four when I left my medical (psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic) practice in the land of Israel and came to America to devote myself to research and writing. Thus I was in some respects four years behind Rabbi Akiba when I started in an entirely new field.
It took me ten years and more to finish and publish two researchesone on historical cosmology, Worlds in Collision, the other a reconstruction of ancient history, Ages in Chaos, though it had taken me only weeks or months to conceive these works, make books of them. It is true that in the same period I conceived seven or eight books more, but time did not permit me to transform all of them into books. And now that I know from experience how much time an idea needs to become printed word, with all the necessary documentation, I do not hope to be so fortunate as to publish all my conceived works or ideas. They multiply quicker than it is possible to carry them out; and therefore chances are that many of them, especially those in the area of psychoanalysis, will remain uncompleted and unpublished. And if there are any sound ideas in all these reveries of a medical man who turned his back on psychoanalysis for history and the natural sciences, they are doomed to die with me unless I make them the common property of the interested public.
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I knew the originators of the modern learning of the unconscious mind, and some of them from near quarters.
Eugen Bleuler, the recognized Dean of Psychiatry of the early part of this century, wrote in July 1930 a remarkable Preface to my Energetik der Psychein that essay I delineated the ways for research to make the blind see and the deaf hear. In the same paper, at the time (1929) when there was in print only one study on electroencephalography by Carl Berger of Jena, I postulated that if the electroencephalogram should be applied to epileptics, disturbed brainwaves, resulting from electrical discharges, would be observedBerger, however, upon learning of my idea, answered that I was wrong: in an epileptic all waves discontinued, as he had found out in the meantime.
I knew Sigmund Freud; he corresponded with me, subscribed to the preface of Bleuler, claiming similar, almost identical ideas; he printed several of my analytical papers in Imago and Psychoanalytische Bewegung, and spent time with me on his seventy-seventh birthday, tête-à-tête in a suburb of Vienna. I re-analyzed (Psychoanalytic Review, 1941) his own dreams spread among the dreams of his patients, as found in The Interpretation of Dreams.
I re-interpreted also the very detailed analysis (of an Opera donna) by Wilhelm Stekel, with which he opened his multivolume opus on neuroses, and he let me read it to the circle of his followersso magnanimous was he. Stekel could grasp a personality with a frightfully uncanny intuition. Freud, by contrast, was a slow thinker and often erred in recognizing human character, as his biographer, Ernst Jones admitshence his difficulties with most of the first generation of his student-followers.
Wilhelm Stekel and Paul Federn were his very first student-adherents, both since 1904. I met Federn in 1933; at that time he was the President of the International Psychoanalytic Associationand initiated a friendship that endured to his last day.
I also knew Carl Jung, though only from one visit at his home in the summer of 1930; today among his adherents there is a school near Zürich where my work is much studied, the origin of archetypes never having been explained by him; and the collective human mind never carried the idea to its meaningful significance.
Alfred Adler who, unlike the mystical Jung, was dominated by social ideas in psychology, held in the spring of 1933 a month-long seminar in his apartment, and I participated, frequenting also several of his therepeutic stations for juveniles.
Thus I knew, in various degrees of intimacy, all the founders. Not two of them were of the same mold. They had sparks of genius in them, but in most cases they disagreed among themselves both in theory and in practice.
Practicing psychoanalysis in Palestine under the British Mandate, I believe to have helped many, but was left with little time for writing. A handful of my papers were published in the 1930s and early 1940s in journals such as Imago and Psychoanalytic Review. But many more did not find their way into print then and are presented here for the first time.