In Balanced Achievement’s Quote 20 series, we explore 20 inspirational quotes about a particular topic or 20 memorable quotes said by a historically significant individual. In this article, we turn our attention to one of history’s most iconic psychiatrists by looking at 20 Carl Jung quotes.
In a day and age when the field of psychology was still in its infancy, the vast majority of individuals studying human nature heedlessly accepted the ideas of Sigmund Freud as truth. That was until the renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, whom Freud had groomed as his Psychoanalysis protege for six years, began conceptualizing theories that directly contradicted those of his mentor. Whereas Freud looked upon human behavior and the unconscious mind with a most cynical eye, Jung, who establish the Analytical psychology school of thought in 1912, came to view people from a more hopeful lens.
Thanks to revolutionary theories about the extraversion–introversion personality trait and the four basic functions of the mind, Carl Jung was able to leave a professional legacy that can be matched by few prominent psychological figures. In addition to these most notable contributions, he also greatly shaped the study of religion as it relates to human nature, and his views on spirituality, internal struggle, consciousness and the ego are still widely celebrated today. As you’ll discover in the following 20 Carl Jung quotes, which illuminate his thinking on these latter concepts, the man who ranks as the 23rd most influential psychologist of the 20th century had anything but a traditional set of beliefs:
“Without consciousness there would, practically speaking, be no world, for the world exists as such only in so far as it is consciously reflected and considered by a psyche. Consciousness is a precondition of being.”
“You must go in quest of yourself, and you will find yourself again only in the simple and forgotten things.”
“The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several million human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.”
“No matter what the world thinks about religious experience, the one who has it possesses a great treasure, a thing that has become for him a source of life, meaning, and beauty, and that has given a new splendor to the world and to mankind.”
“Freedom stretches only as far as the limits of our consciousness.”
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness’s of other people. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
“Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.”
“The unconscious wants to flow into consciousness in order to reach the light, but at the same time it continually thwarts itself, because it would rather remain unconscious. That is to say, God wants to become man, but not quite.”
“The experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.”
“Remember that the only God man comes in contact with is his own God, called Spirit, Soul and Mind, or Consciousness, and these three are one.”
“Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world.”
“The more veiled becomes the outside world, steadily losing in color, tone and passions, the more urgently the inner world calls us.”
“The unconscious is not just evil by nature, it is also the source of the highest good: not only dark but also light, not only bestial, semihuman, and demonic but superhuman, spiritual, and, in the classical sense of the word, ‘divine.’”
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”
“If our religion is based on salvation, our chief emotions will be fear and trembling. If our religion is based on wonder, our chief emotion will be gratitude.”
“The only thing that really matters now is whether man can climb up to a higher moral level, to a higher plane of consciousness, in order to be equal to the superhuman powers which the fallen angels have played into his hands. But he can make no progress until he becomes very much better acquainted with his own nature.”
“In the history of the collective as in the history of the individual, everything depends on the development of consciousness.”
“I cannot define for you what God is. I can only say that my work has proved empirically that the pattern of God exists in every man and that this pattern has at its disposal the greatest of all his energies for transformation and transfiguration of his natural being. Not only the meaning of his life but his renewal and his institutions depend on his conscious relationship with this pattern of his collective unconscious.
“Healing comes only from that which leads the patient beyond himself and beyond his entanglements with ego.”
“If people can be educated to see the lowly side of their own natures, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and to love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy and a little more tolerance towards oneself 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.”