C.G. Jung – Quotes
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.
Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.
As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.
Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.
The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.
Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.
Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.
The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.
We cannot change anything unless we accept it.
The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.
There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.
The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is.
The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.
An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears.
Every human life contains a potential, if that potential is not fulfilled, then that life was wasted…
About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times.
Shame is a soul eating emotion.
It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.
Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.
Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.
It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves. The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.
We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.
There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion
Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.
Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day.
Deep down, below the surface of the average man’s conscience, he hears a voice whispering, “There is something not right,” no matter how much his rightness is supported by public opinion or moral code.
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
…anyone who attempts to do both, to adjust to his group and at the same time pursue his individual goal, becomes neurotic.
Without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
Every Mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother and every mother extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter.
Sensation tell us a thing is.
Thinking tell us what it is this thing is.
Feeling tells us what this thing is to us.
What you resist, persists
Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.
Nobody, as long as he moves among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.
The true leader is always led.
Words are animals, alive with a will of their own
I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole.
When an inner situation is not made conscious it appears outside as fate.
What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me; and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I, myself, am the enemy who must be loved — what then?
The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance. Thus we demand that the world grant us recognition for qualities which we regard as personal possessions: our talent or our beauty. The more a man lays stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life. He feels limited because he has limited aims, and the result is envy and jealousy. If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.
I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.
A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.
You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.
With a truly tragic delusion these theologians fail to see that it is not a matter of proving the existence of the light, but of blind people who do not know that their eyes could see. It is high time we realized that it is pointless to praise the light and preach it if nobody can see it. It is much more needful to teach people the art of seeing.
I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions – not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation or something I do not know.
If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool
Midlife is the time to let go of an overdominant ego and to contemplate the deeper significance of human existence.
We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born.
My whole being was seeking for something still unknown which might confer meaning upon the banality of life.
Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to be able to go on living.
The bigger the crowd, the more negligible the individual.
The sight of a child…will arouse certain longings in adult, civilized persons — longings which relate to the unfulfilled desires and needs of those parts of the personality which have been blotted out of the total picture in favor of the adapted persona.
It is my mind, with its store of images, that gives the world color and sound; and that supremely real and rational certainty which I can “experience” is, in its most simple form, an exceedingly complicated structure of mental images. Thus there is, in a certain sense, nothing that is directly experienced except the mind itself. Everything is mediated through the mind, translated, filtered, allegorized, twisted, even falsified by it. We are . . . enveloped in a cloud of changing and endlessly shifting images.
The gods have become our diseases.
The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith.
No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.
Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them.
Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.
It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Faith, hope, love, and insight are the highest achievements of human effort. They are found-given-by experience.
How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole
I am looking forward enormously to getting back to the sea again, where the overstimulated psyche can recover in the presence of that infinite peace and spaciousness.
I am no longer alone with myself, and I can only artificially recall the scary and beautiful feeling of solitude. This is the shadow side of the fortune of love.
We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of grater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our [forebears] sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Neitzche called the spirit of gravity. (p.236), Memories, Dreams, Reflections
There is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.
The girl dreams she is dangerously ill. Suddenly birds come out of her skin and cover her completely … Swarms of gnats obscure the sun, the moon, and all the stars except one. That one start falls upon the dreamer.,
We are not what happened to us,
we are what we wish to become.
The fact that a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing…He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths…There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices. “You are no different from anybody else,” they will chorus or, “there’s no such thing,” and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as “morbid”…He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. “His own law!” everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is the law…The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization–absolute and unconditional–of its own particular law…To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being…he has failed to realize his own life’s meaning.
The undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche; classical Chinese philosophy names this interior way “Tao,” and likens it to a flow of water that moves irresistibly towards its goal. To rest in Tao means fulfillment, wholeness, one’s destination reached, one’s mission done; the beginning, end, and perfect realization of the meaning of existence innate in all things.
Explore daily the will of God.
In such doubtful matters, where you have to work as a pioneer, you must be able to put some trust in your intuition and follow your feeling even at the risk of going wrong.
Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense— he is “collective man”— one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.
Every man carries within himself the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, a hereditary factor of primordial origin.
Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
If we feel our way into the human secrets of the sick person, the madness also reveals its system, and we recognize in the mental illness merely an exceptional reaction to emotional problems which are not strange to us.
–“The Content of the Psychoses, The Psychogenesis of Mental Disease
For two personalities to meet is like mixing two chemical substances: if there is any combination at all, both are transformed.
Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering
Observance of customs and laws can very easily be a cloak for a lie so subtle that our fellow human beings are unable to detect it. It may help us to escape all criticism, we may even be able to deceive ourselves in the belief of our obvious righteousness. But deep down, below the surface of the average man’s conscience, he hears a voice whispering, ‘There is something not right,’ no matter how much his rightness is supported by public opinion or by the moral code.
We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.
Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one’s own being.
The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends.
Sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality.
The Wrong we have Done, Thought, or Intended Will wreak its Vengeance on
The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.
The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self. You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself. Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation.
In each of us there is another whom we do not know.
Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.
I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life – that is to say, over 35 – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.
Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life…If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature…Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.
Somewhere, right at the bottom of one’s own being, one generally does know where one should go and what one should do. But there are times when the clown we call I behaves in such a distracting fashion that the inner voice cannot make its presence felt.
Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.
I deliberately and consciously give preference to a dramatic, mythological way of thinking and speaking, because this is not only more expressive but also more exact than an abstract scientific terminology, which is wont to toy with the notion that its theoretic formulations may one fine day be resolved into algebraic equations.
A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.
What we do not make conscious emerges later as fate.
I am an orphan, alone: nevertheless I am found everywhere. I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and old man at one and the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal for everyone, yet I am not touched by the cycle of aeons.
There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in theyear’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
But what will he do when he sees only too clearly why his patient is ill; when he sees that it arises from his having no love, but only sexuality; no faith, because he is afraid to grope in the dark; no hope, because he is disillusioned by the world and by life; and no understanding, because he has failed to read the meaning of his own existence?, Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside of the province of reason.
That which compels us to create a substitute for ourselves is not the external lack of objects, but our incapacity to lovingly include a thing outside of ourselves, Symbols of Transformation
Creative power is mightier than its possessor.
Every individual needs revolution, inner division, overthrow of the existing order, and renewal, but not by forcing them upon his neighbors under the hypocritical cloak of Christian love or the sense of social responsibility or any of the other beautiful euphemisms for unconscious urges to personal power.
The sure path can only lead to death.
Nature has no use for the plea that one ‘did not know’.
For better to come, good must stand aside.
Find out what a person fears most and that is where he will develop next.
The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.
We often dream about people from whom we receive a letter by the next post. I have ascertained on several occasions that at the moment when the dream occurred the letter was already lying in the post-office of the addressee.
I have always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way.
Neurosis is the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.
Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity.
Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force
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We have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions.
His retreat into himself is not a final renunciation of the world, but a search for quietude, where alone it is possible for him to make his contribution to the life of the community.
In each of us there is another whom we do not know.
…the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.
It seems to be very hard for people to live with riddles or to let them live, although one would think that life is so full of riddles as it is that a few more things we cannot answer would make no difference. But perhaps it is just this that is so unendurable, that there are irrational things in our own psyche which upset the conscious mind in its illusory certainties by confronting it with the riddle of its existence.
Out of evil, much good has come to me. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality – taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be – by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before.
I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume and attitude towards them.
So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me.
What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to way I thought it ought to. an ex patient of C. G. Jung (Alchemical Studies, pg 47)
When you are up against a wall, put down roots like a tree, until clarity comes from deeper sources to see over that wall and grow.
I am not what happens to me. I choose who I become.
The sad truth is that man’s real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites – day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail against the other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a battleground. It always has been and always will be; and if it were not so, existence would come to an end.
Your vision will become clear only when you look into yor heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden source in individuals.
The time is a critical one, for it marks the beginning of the second half of life, when a metanoia, a mental transformation, not infrequently occurs.
(on being 36 yrs old), Symbols of Transformation
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves
The years… when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything was then.
God has fallen out of containment in religion and into human hearts—God is incarnating. Our whole unconscious is in an uproar from the God Who wants to know and to be known.
One of the most difficult tasks men can perform, however much others may despise it, is the invention of good games.
We should know what our convictions are, and stand for them. Upon one’s own philosophy, conscious or unconscious, depends one’s ultimate interpretation of facts. Therefore it is wise to be as clear as possible about one’s subjective principles. As the man is, so will be his ultimate truth.
How difficult it is to reach anything approaching a moderate and relatively calm point of view in the midst of one’s emotions.
A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror. As a rule, a beautiful woman is a terrible disappointment.
Aquel que no ha pasado a traves del infierno de sus pasiones, no las ha superado nunca…
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul.
tags: awareness, honesty, humility, innerpeace, peace
Heaven has become for us the cosmic space of the physicists… But ‘the heart glows,’ and a secret unrest gnaws at the roots of our being.
Everyone is in love with his own ideas
Image is psyche.
I don’t aspire to be a good man. I aspire to be a whole man.
Our mania for rational explanations obviously has its roots in our fear of metaphysics, for the two were always hostile brothers. Hence, anything unexpected that approaches us from the dark realm is regarded either as coming from outside and, therefore, as real, or else as a hallucination and, therefore, not true. The idea that anything could be real or true which does not come from outside has hardly begun to dawn on contemporary man.
The serious problems in life…are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly.
Nobody can fall so low unless he has a great depth.
If such a thing can happen to a man, it challenges his best and highest on the other side; that is to say, this depth corresponds to a potential height, and the blackest darkness to a hidden light.
Intuition (is) perception via the unconscious
A true symbol appears only when there is a need to express what thought cannot think or what is only divined or felt.
When religion stops talking about animals it will be all downhill.
Neurosis is the natural by-product of pain avoidance.
I have gradually learned to be cautious even in disbelief
…it seemed to me I was living in an insane asylum of my own making. I wnt about with all these fantastic figures: centaurs, nymphs, satyrs, gods and goddesses, as though they were patients and I was analyzing them. I read a Greek or Negro myth as if a lunatic were telling me his anamnesis.
The change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces is amazing. A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there. As a matter of fact, we are constantly living on the edge of a volcano, and there is, so far as we know, no way of protecting ourselves from a possible outburst that will destroy everybody within reach. It is certainly a good thing to preach reason and common sense, but what if you have a lunatic asylum for an audience or a crowd in a collective frenzy? There is not much difference between them because the madman and the mob are both moved by impersonal, overwhelming forces.
The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.
We do not know whether Hitler is going to found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like Mohammad. The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with wild god. That can be the historic future.
Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.
All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination.
It is under all circumstances an advantage to be in full possession of one’s personality, otherwise the repressed elements will only crop up as a hindrance elsewhere, not just at some unimportant point, but at the very spot where we are most sensitive. If people can be educated to see the shadow-side of their nature clearly, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy and a little more self-knowledge can only have good results in respect for our neighbor; for we are all too prone to transfer to our fellows the injustice and violence we inflict upon our own natures.
The psychopathology of the masses is rooted in the psychology of the individual, Essays on Contemporary Events, 1936-46
tags: psychology, psychopathology
Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them. It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche. Through him the distinction was clarified between myself and the object of my thought. He confronted me in an objective manner, and I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend, things which may even be directed against me.
It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going. Not consciously, of course—for consciously he is engaged in bewailing and cursing a faithless world that recedes further and further into the distance. Rather, it is an unconscious factor which spins the illusions that veil his world. And what is being spun is a cocoon, which in the end will completely envelop him.
… we are so full of apprehensions, fears, that we don’t know exactly to what it points… a great change of our psychoglocal attitude is imminent, that is certain…because we need more understanding of human nature because …the only real danger that exists is man himself… and we know nothing of man – his psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil…
I have never since entirely freed myself of the impression that this life is a segment of existence which is enacted in a three-dimensional boxlike universe especially set up for it.
The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results.
The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.
To make what fate intends for me my own intention
When you succeed in awakening the Kundalini, so that it starts to move out of its mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is totally different from our world. It is the world of eternity.
The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone, with a content known to its possessor, but of a mystery, a matter or circumstance which is secret, i.e., known only through vague hints but essentially unknown. The real nature of matter was unknown to the alchemist: he knew it only in hints. In seeking to explore it he projected the unconscious into the darkness of matter in order to illuminate it. In order to explain the mystery of matter he projected yet another mystery – his own psychic background -into what was to be explained: Obscurum per obscurius, ignotum per ignotius! This procedure was not, of course, intentional; it was an involuntary occurrence.
Naturally, society has an indisputable right to protect itself against arrant subjectivisms, but, in so far as society is itself composed of de-individualized human beings, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes – it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hand of a single madman.
The creative mind plays with the object it loves.
Finché non prenderai coscienza l’inconscio governerà la tua vita.
E tu lo chiamerai destino.
Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.
But, if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself.
Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.
If the demand for self-knowledge is willed by fate and is refused, this negative attitude may end in real death. The demand would not have come to this person had he still been able to strike out on some promising by-path. But he is caught in a blind alley from which only self-knowledge can extricate him. If he refuses this then no other way is left open to him. Usually he is not conscious of his situation, either, and the more unconscious he is the more he is at the mercy of unforeseen dangers: he cannot get out of the way of a car quickly enough, in climbing a mountain he misses his foothold somewhere, out skiing he thinks he can negotiate a tricky slope, and in an illness he suddenly loses the courage to live. The unconscious has a thousand ways of snuffing out a meaningless existence with surprising swiftness.
As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.
After all, there was nothing preposterous and world-shaking in the idea that there might be events which overstepped the limited categories of space, time, and causality. Animals were known to sense beforehand storms and earthquakes. There were dreams which foresaw the death of certain persons, clocks which stopped at the moment of death, glasses which shattered at the critical moment. All these things had been taken for granted in the world of my childhood. And now I was apparently the only person who had ever heard of them. In all earnestness I asked myself what kind of world I had stumbled into. Plainly, the urban world knew nothing about the country world, the real world of mountains, woods and rivers, of animals and ‘God’s thoughts’ (plants and crystals). I found this explanation comforting. At all events, it bolstered my self-esteem.
The doctor is effective only when he himself is affected. Only the wounded physician heals
Man cannot stand a meaningless life.
Is it worth the lion’s while to terrify the mouse?
The statistical method shows the facts in the light of the ideal average but does not give us a picture of their empirical reality. While reflecting an indisputable aspect of reality, it can falsify the actual truth in a most misleading way. This is particularly true of theories which are based on statistics. The distinctive thing about real facts, however, is their individuality. Not to put too fine a point on it, once could say that the real picture consists of nothing but exceptions to the rule, and that, in consequence, absolute reality has predominantly the character of irregularity.
Not the criticism of individual contemporaries will decide the truth or falsity of these discoveries, but future generations. There are things that are not yet true today, perhaps we dare not find them true, but tomorrow they may be. So every man whose fate it is to go his individual way must proceed with hopefulness and watchfulness, ever conscious of his loneliness and its dangers.
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being
A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.
I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God.
My own understanding is the sole treasure I possess, and the greatest. Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.
There is no other way open to us ; we
are forced to resort to decisions and solutions where we formerly trusted ourselves to natural happenings. Every problem, therefore, brings the possibility of a widening of consciousness-but also the necessity of
saying good-bye to childlike unconsciousness and trust in nature.
The infantile dream-state of the mass man is so unrealistic that he never thinks to ask who is paying for this paradise. The balancing of accounts is left to a higher political or social authority, which welcomes the task, for its power is thereby increased; and the more power it has, the weaker and more helpless the individual becomes.
One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.
For the alchemist the one primarily in need of redemption is not man, but the deity who is lost and sleeping in matter. Only as a secondary consideration does he hope that some benefit may accrue to himself from the transformed substance as the panacea, the medicina catholica, just as it may to the imperfect bodies, the base or “sick” metals, etc. His attention is not directed to his own salvation through God’s grace, but to the liberation of God from the darkness of matter.
Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.
I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once and cannot add up the sum.
Instead of the concrete individual, you have the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality. The moral responsibility of the individual is then inevitably replaced by the policy of the State (raison d’etat). Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in the individual development but in the policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside and consists in the execution of an abstract idea which ultimately tends to attract all life to itself. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed, and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses. The rulers, in their turn, are just as much social units as the ruled, and are distinguished only by the fact they are specialized mouthpieces of State doctrine. They do not need to be personalities capable of judgment, but thoroughgoing specialists who are unusable outside their line of business. State policy decides what shall be taught and studied.
The dictator State has one great advantage over bourgeois reason: along with the individual it swallows up his religious forces. The State takes the place of God; that is why, seen from this angle, the socialist dictatorships are religions and State slavery is a form of worship. But the religious function cannot be dislocated and falsified in this way without giving rise to secret doubts, which are immediately repressed so as to avoid conflict with the prevail trend towards mass-mindedness. […] The policy of the State is exalted to a creed, the leader or party boss becomes a demigod beyond good and evil, and his votaries are honoured as heroes, martyrs, apostles, missionaries. There is only one truth and beside it no other. It is sacrosanct and above criticism. Anyone who thinks differently is a heretic, who, as we know from history, is threatened with all manner of unpleasant things. Only the party boss, who holds the political power in his hands, can interpret the State doctrine authentically, and he does so just as suits him.
Bass bands, flags, banners, parades, and monster demonstrations are no different in principle from ecclesiastical processions, cannonades, and fireworks to scare off demons. Only, the suggestive parade of State power engenders a collective feeling of security which, unlike religious demonstrations, give the individual no protection against his inner demonism. Hence he will cling all the more to the power of the State, i.e., to the mass, thus delivering himself up to it psychically as well as morally and putting the finishing touch to his social depotentiation. The State, like the Church, demands enthusiasm, self-sacrifice, and love, and if religion requires or presupposes the fear of God, then the dictator State takes good care to provide the necessary terror.
Funnily enough, self-criticism is an idea much in vogue in Marxist countries, but there it is subordinated to ideological considerations and must serve the State, and not truth and justice in men’s dealing with one another. The mass State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa.
One of the main functions of organized religion is to protect people against a direct experience of God.
In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask those who have tried to introduce a new idea!
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.
The secret is that only that which can destroy itself is truly alive.
The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.
The man who promises everything is sure to fulfil nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.
Freedom of will is the ability to do gladly that which I must do.
There is no coming to conciousness without pain, Die Psychologie der Übertragung
The book [Joyce’s “Ulysses”] can just as well be read backwards, for it has no back and no front, no top and no bottom. Everything could easily have happened before, or might have happened afterwards. You can read any of the conversations just as pleasurably backwards, for you don’t miss the point of the gags. Every sentence is a gag, but taken together they make no point. You can also stop in the middle of a sentence–the first half still makes sense enough to live by itself, or at least seems to. The whole work has the character of a worm cut in half, that can grow a new head or a new tail as required.
The study of medicine consists on the one hand in storing up in the mind an enormous number of facts, which are simply memorized without any real knowledge of their foundations, and on the other hand in learning practical skills, which have to be acquired on the principle Don’t think, act! Thus it is that, of all the professionals, the medical man has the least opportunity of developing the function of thinking.
We can keep from a child all knowledge of earlier myths, but we cannot take from him the need for mythology.
That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate
A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful. The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology. If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone.
The ideas of the moral order and of God belong to the ineradicable substrate of the human soul.
It is only the things we don’t understand that have any meaning. Man woke up in a world he did not understand, and that is why he tries to interpret it.
Scientific education is based in the main on statistical truths and abstract knowledge and therefore imparts an unrealistic, rational picture of the world, in which the individual, as a merely marginal phenomenon, plays no role. The individual, however, as an irrational datum, is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal or normal man to whom the scientific statements refer.
Psychological or spiritual development always requires a greater capacity for anxiety and ambiguity.
Words like Society and State are so concretized that they are almost personified. In the opinion of the man in the street, the State, far more than any king in history, is the inexhaustible giver of all good; the State is invoked, made responsible, grumbled at, and so on and so forth. Society is elevated to the rank of a supreme ethical principle; indeed, it is even credited with positively creative capacities.
Happiness and contentment, equability of mind and meaningfulness of life – these can be experienced only by the individual and not by a State, which, on the one hand, is nothing but a convention agreed to by independent individuals, and on the other, continually threatens to paralyse and suppress the individual.
What is not brought to consciousness, comes to us as fate.
The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…. They can never be solved, but only outgrown…. This ‘outgrowing’, as I formerly called it, on further experience was seen to consist in a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through this widening of view, the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life-tendency.
Not your thinking, but your being, is distinctiveness. Therefore not after difference, ye think it, must ye strive; but after YOUR OWN BEING. At bottom, therefore, there is only one striving, namely, the striving after your own being.