"As a rule the individual is so unconscious that he altogether fails to see his own potentials for decision. Instead he is constantly and anxiously looking around for external rules and regulations which can guide him in his perplexity. Aside from general human inadequacy, a good deal of the blame for this rests with education, which promulgates the old generalisations and says nothing about the secrets of private experience. Thus, every effort is made to teach idealistic beliefs or conduct which people know in their charts they can never live up to, and such ideals are preached by officials who know that they themselves have never lived up to these high standards and never will. What is more, nobody ever questions the value of this kind of teaching."
Memories, Dreams and Reflections, by Carl Jung
Jung & Occultism
"Light on the nature of alchemy began to come to me only after I had read the text of the Golden Flower, the book of Chinese alchemy. I was stirred by the desire to become more closely acquainted with the alchemical texts. Occasionally I would look at the pictures, and each time I would think, "Good Lord, what nonsense! This stuff is impossible to understand." But it persistently intrigued me, and I made up my mind to go into it more thoroughly. I soon found it provocative and exciting. To be sure, the texts still seemed to me blatant nonsense, but here and there would be passages that seemed significant to me, and occasionally I even found a few sentences which I thought I could understand. Finally I realised that the alchemists were talking in symbols. "Why this is fantastic," I thought. "I simply must learn to decipher all this." By now I was completely fascinated, and buried myself in the texts as often as I had the time."
Extract from "Memories, Dreams and Reflections" by Carl Jung.
Concerning the Unconscious
The unconscious is the unwritten history of mankind from time unrecorded.
"A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity" (1942). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.280
“The unconscious mind of man sees correctly even when conscious reason is blind and impotent.”
Answer to Job (1952). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.608
“Nobody can say where man ends. That is the beauty of it. The unconscious of man can reach God knows where. There we are going to make discoveries.”
Four Filmed Interviews with Richard I. Evans" (1957). Conversations with Carl Jung.
"Myth is the natural and indispensable intermediate stage between unconscious and conscious cognition. True, the unconscious knows more than the conscious does; but it is knowledge of a special sort, knowledge in eternity, usually without reference to the here and now, not couched in the language of the intellect. Only when we let its statements amplify themselves does it come within the range of our understanding; only then does a new aspect become perceptible to us. This process is convincingly repeated in every successful dream analysis. That is why it is so important not to have any preconceived, doctrinal opinions about statements made by dreams. As soon as a certain "monotony of interpretation" strikes us, we know that our approach has become doctrinaire and hence sterile."
"The unconscious is the only available source of religious experience. This in certainly not to say that what we call the unconscious is identical with God or is set up in his place. It is simply the medium from which religious experience seems to flow. As to what the further cause of such experience might be, the answer to this lies beyond the range of human knowledge. Knowledge of God is a transcendental problem."
The Undiscovered Self - C Jung
“The conscious mind allows itself to be trained like a parrot, but the unconscious does not-which is why St. Augustine thanked God for not making him responsible for his dreams. The unconscious is an autonomous psychic entity; any efforts to drill it are only apparently successful, and moreover harmful to consciousness. It is and remains beyond the reach of subjective arbitrary control, a realm where nature and her secrets can be neither improved upon nor perverted, where we can listen but may not meddle.”
Psychology and Alchemy (1944). CW 12: P.51
“The world comes into being when man discovers it. But he only discovers it when he sacrifices his containment in the primal mother, the original state of unconsciousness.”
Symbols of Transformation. (1952). CW 5: P.652
“Empirical psychology loved, until recently, to explain the "unconscious" as mere absence of consciousness-the term itself indicates as much-just as shadow is an absence of light. Today accurate observation of unconscious processes has recognized, with all other ages before us, that the unconscious possesses a creative autonomy such as a mere shadow could never be endowed with.”
"Psychology and Religion" (1938). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.14
“Rationalism and superstition are complementary. It is a psychological rule that the brighter the light, the blacker the shadow; in other words, the more rationalistic we are in our conscious minds, the more alive becomes the spectral world of the unconscious.”
Spuk: Irrglaube oder Wahrglaube? (Zurich 1950) Foreword by C. G. Jung. In CW 18: P. 10
“Anyone who penetrates into the unconscious with purely biological assumptions will become stuck in the instinctual sphere and be unable to advance beyond it, for he will be pulled back again and again into physical existence.”
The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Psychological commentary (1935) by C.G. Jung in CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.843
“We know that the mask of the unconscious is not rigid -it reflects the face we turn towards it. Hostility lends it a threatening aspect, friendliness softens its features.”
Psychology and Alchemy (1944). CW 12: P.29
“The unconscious is not a demoniacal monster, but a natural entity which, as far as moral sense, aesthetic taste, and intellectual judgment go, is completely neutral. It only becomes dangerous when our conscious attitude to it is hopelessly wrong. To the degree that we repress it, its danger increases.”
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.329
“In the unconscious is everything that has been rejected by consciousness, and the more Christian one's consciousness is, the more heathenishly does the unconscious behave, if in the rejected heathenism there are values which are important for life.”
"An Answer to Job" (1952). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.713
“Any attempt to determine the nature of the unconscious state runs up against the same difficulties as atomic physics: the very act of observation alters the object observed. Consequently, there is at present no way of objectively determining the real nature of the unconscious.”
Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955). CW 14 P.88
“Since the gods are without doubt personifications of psychic forces, to assert their metaphysical existence is as much an intellectual presumption as the opinion that they could ever be invented. Not that "psychic forces" have anything to do with the conscious mind, fond as we are of playing with the idea that consciousness and psyche are identical. This is only another piece of intellectual presumption. "Psychic forces" have far more to do with the realm of the unconscious. 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 that dark realm is regarded either as coming from outside and therefore as real, or else as an 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.”
"Wotan" (1936). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.387
“Before the bar of nature and fate, unconsciousness is never accepted as an excuse; on the contrary there are very severe penalties for it.”
"Answer to Job" (1952). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.608
“The unconscious is the only available source of religious experience. This in certainly not to say that what we call the unconscious is identical with God or is set up in his place. It is simply the medium from which religious experience seems to flow. As to what the further cause of such experience might be, the answer to this lies beyond the range of human knowledge. Knowledge of God is a transcendental problem.”
"The Undiscovered Self" (1957). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.565
“The unconscious is the unknown at any given moment, so it is not surprising that dreams add to the conscious psychological situation of the moment all those aspects which are essential for a totally different point of view. It is evident that this function of dreams amounts to a psychological adjustment, a compensation absolutely necessary for properly balanced action. In a conscious process of reflection it is essential that, so far as possible, we should realize all the aspects and consequences of a problem in order to find the right solution. This process is continued automatically in the more or less unconscious state of sleep, where, as experience seems to show, all those aspects occur to the dreamer (at least by way of allusion) that during the day were insufficiently appreciated or even totally ignored in other words, were comparatively unconscious.”
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structures and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.469
“Every period has its bias, its particular prejudice, and its psychic malaise. An epoch is like an individual; it has its own limitations of conscious outlook, and therefore requires a compensatory adjustment. This is effected by the collective unconscious when a poet or seer lends expression to the unspoken desire of his times and shows the way, by word or deed, to its fulfilment-regardless whether this blind collective need results in good or evil, in the salvation of an epoch or its destruction.”
"Psychology and Literature" (1930). In CW 15: The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature. P.153
Jung On Loneliness
"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. The loneliness began with the experiences of my early dreams, and reached its climax at the time at the time when I was working on the
If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely. But loneliness is not necessarily inimical to companionship, for no one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely person, and companionship thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others.
I have had much trouble in living with my ideas. There was a daemon in me, and in the end its presence proved decisive; it overpowered me. I could never stop at anything once attained. I had to hasten on, to catch up with my vision. Since my contemparies, understandably, could not perceive my vision, they saw only a fool rushing ahead.
I have offended many people, for as soon as I saw that they did not understand me, that was the end of the matter so far as I was concerned: I had to move on. I had no patience with people. I had to obey an inner law which was imposed on me and left me no freedom of choice. Of course, I did not always obey it. How can anyone live without inconsistency?
For some people I was continually present and close to them so long as they were related to my inner world; but then it might happen that I was no longer with them, because there was nothing left which would link me to them. I had to learn painfully that people continued to exist even when they had nothing more to say to me. Many excited in me a feeling of living humanity, but only when they appeared within the magic circle of psychology; next moment, when the spotlight cast its beam elsewhere, there was nothing to be seen. I was able to become intensely interested in people; but as soon as I had seen through them, the magic was gone. In this way I made many enemies.
A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daemon. Perhaps I might say: I need people to a higher degree than others, and at the same time much less.
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 only know that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation of something I do not know. In spite of all uncertainties, I feel solidity underlying all existence and continuity in my mode of being.
When Lao-tzu says: "All are clear, I alone am clouded," he is expressing what I now feel in advanced old age. Lao-tzu is the example of a man with superior insight who has seen and experienced worth and worthlessness, and who at the end of his life desires to return into his own being, into the eternal unknowable meaning.
Extract from "Memories, Dreams and Reflections" by Carl Jung
One of Jung’s Visions
"Suddenly it was as though the ground literally gave way beneath my feet, and I plunged down into the dark depths. I could not fend off a feeling of panic. But then, abruptly, at not too great a depth, I landed on my feet in a soft, sticky mass. I felt great relief, although I was apparently in complete darkness. After a while my eyes grew accustomed to the gloom, which was rather like a deep twilight. Before me was the entrance to a dark cave, in which stood a dwarf with a leathery skin, as if he were mummified. I squeezed past him through the narrow entrance and waded knee deep through icy water to the other end of the cave where, on a projecting rock, I saw a glowing red crystal. I grasped the stone, I lifted it, and discovered a hollow underneath. At first I could make out nothing, but then I saw there was running water. In it a corpse floated by, a youth with blonde hair and a wound in the head. He was followed by a gigantic black scarab and then by a red, newborn sun, rising up out of the depths of the water. Dazzled by the light, I wanted to replace the stone upon the opening, but then a fluid welled out. It was blood. A thick jet of it leaped up, and I felt nauseated. It seemed to me that the blood continued to spurt for an unendurably long time. At last it ceased, and the vision came to an end."
Extract: "Memories, Dreams and Reflections" by Carl Jung
* Soon after Jung had this vision the 1st World War broke out in 1914.
Jung’s Near Death Experience
At the beginning of 1944 I broke my foot, and this misadventure was followed by a heart attack. In a state of unconsciousness I experienced deliriums and visions which must have begun when I hung on the edge of death. The images were so tremendous that I myself concluded that i was close to death. My nurse afterwards told me, "It was as if you were surrounded by a bright glow." That was a phenomena she had sometimes observed in the dying she added. I had reached the outermost limit, and do not know whether I was in a dream or an ecstasy. At any rate, extremely strange things begun to happen to me.
It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents. Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines
shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light. In many places the globe seemed coloured, or spotted dark green like oxydised silver. Far away to the left lay a broad expanse - the redish-yellow desert of Arabia; it was as though the silver of the earth had there assumed a reddish-gold hue. Then came the red sea, and far, far back - as if in the upper left of the map - I could just make out a bit of the Mediterranean. My gaze was directed chiefly towards that. Everything else appeared indistinct. I could also see the snow-covered Himalayas, but in that direction it was foggy or cloudy. I did not look to the right at all. I knew that I was on the point of departing from the earth.
Later I discovered how high in space one would have to be to have so extensive a view - approximately a thousand miles! The sight of the earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.
After contemplating it for a while, I turned round. I had been standing with my back to the Indian Ocean, as it were, and my face to the north. Then it seemed to me that I made a turn to the south. Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.
I had seen similar stones on the coast of the Gulf of Bengal. They were blocks of tawny granite, and some of them had been hollowed out into temples. My stone was one such gigantic block. An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently meditating in a lotus posture upon a stone bench. We wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning lamps, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames. I had once actually seen this when I visited the Temple of the Holy Tooth at Kandy in Ceylon; the gate had been framed by several rows of burning oil lamps of this sort.
As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was being stripped from me - an extremely painful process. Nevertheless,
something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. "I am this bundle of what has been, and what has been accomplished."
This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness. There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence. Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a fait accompli, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away or been taken away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything.
Something else engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand - this too was a certainty - what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me?
What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all these questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There I would learn why everything had been thus and not otherwise. There I would meet the people who knew the answer to my question about what had been before and what would come after.
While I was thinking over these matters, something happened that caught my attention. From below, from the direction of Europe, an image floated up. It was my doctor, Dr. H - or, rather, his likeness - framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: "Aha, this is my doctor, of course, the one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form, as a basileus of Kos. In life he was an avatar of this basileus, the temporal embodiment of the primal form, which has existed from the beginning. Now he is appearing in that primal form."
Presumably I too was in my primal form, though this was something that I did not observe but simply took for granted. As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us. Dr. H. had been delegated by the earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave the earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased.
I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and i was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged.
Disappointed, I thought, "Now I must return to the `box system' again." For it seemed to me as if behind the horizon of the cosmos a three-dimensional world had been artificially built up, in which each person sat by himself in a little box. And now I should have to convince myself all over again that this was important! Life and the whole world struck me as a prison, and it bothered me beyond measure that I should again be finding all that quite in order. I had been glad to shed it all, and now it had come about that I - along with everyone else - would again be hung up in a box by a thread.
Memories, Dreams and Reflections - Carl Jung