Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

Swiss Psychiatrist, Influential Thinker, and Founder of Analytical Psychology

"A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them."

"Among all my patients... over thirty-five... 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 had given to their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook."

"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."

"I have often seen individuals who simply outgrow a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and strong life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it."

"I would rather be whole than good."

"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 be better changed in ourselves."

"In every adult there lurks a child - an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole."

"Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also."

"Our unconscious existence is the real one and our conscious world a kind of illusion, an apparent reality constructed for a specific purpose like a dream which seems a reality as long as we are in it."

"Personality is the supreme realization of the innate individuality of a particular living being. Personality is an act of the greatest courage in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, and the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom of personal decision."

"That which we do not confront in ourselves we will meet as fate."

"The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises."

"The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not?... Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interest on futilities."

"The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it."

"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely."

"The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong."

"The psyche is not of today. Its ancestry goes back many millions of years. Individual consciousness is only the flower and fruit of a season, sprung from the perennial root beneath the earth."

"There is no coming to consciousness without pain."

"This spectacle of old age would be unendurable if we did not know that our psyche reaches into a region held captive neither by change in time nor by limitation of place. In that form of being our birth is a death and our death is a birth. The scales of the whole hang balanced."

"We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life."

"You can exert no influence if you are not susceptible to influence."

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."

"A man can hope for satisfaction and fulfillment only in what he does not yet possess; he cannot find pleasured in something of which he already has too much."

"[Paraphrase] The function of religion is to protect us from an experience of God."

"All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all ego-hood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so childish, grotesque, and immoral... Death is psychologically as important as birth... Shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose."

"Healing comes only from that which leads the patient beyond himself and beyond his entanglements with ego."

"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."

"I simply believe that some part of the human Self or Soul is not subject to the laws of space and time."

"I want to be freed neither from human beings, nor from myself, nor from nature; for all these appear to me the greatest of miracles."

"Psychic reality exists in its original oneness, and awaits man's advance to a level of consciousness where he no longer believes in the one part and denies the other, but recognizes both as constituent elements of one psyche."

"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 psychological problem is ultimately a matter of religion."

"Seldom, or perhaps never, does a marriage develop into an individual relationship smoothly and without crises; there is no coming to consciousness without pain."

"The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche, opening into the cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness may extend."

"The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens into the primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was a conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach."

"The function of religion is to protect us from an experience of God. [paraphrased]"

"The soul is for the most part outside the body."

"There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection. To round itself out, life calls not for perfection but for completeness; and for this the 'thorn in the flesh' is needed, the suffering of defects without which there is no progress and no ascent."

"We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions."

"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."

"Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other."

"[Life’s great problems] can never be solved but only outgrown."

"Among all my patients in the second half of life – that is to say, over thirty-five – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life."

"As any change must begin somewhere, it is the single individual who will experience it and carry it through. The change must indeed begin with an individual; it might be any one of us. Nobody can afford to look round and wait for somebody else to do what he is loath to do himself."

"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."

"Everything living strives for wholeness."

"Everything that is unconscious in ourselves we discover in our neighbor, and treat him accordingly… What we combat in him is usually our inferior side."

"Christian civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree: it is all veneer, but the inner man has remained untouched, and therefore unchanged. His soul is out of key with his external beliefs; in his soul the Christian has not kept pace with external developments. Yes, everything is to e found outside – in image and in word, in Church and Bible – but never inside. Inside reign the archaic gods, supreme as of old."

"As far we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."