Carl Jung on “Common Sense” – Anthology

When the fire has burnt all that should be burnt, the balanced people of common sense naturally settle down and control the fiery ones because they are a nuisance. Yet the fire remains alive in certain people, eg. Meister Eckhart whose teaching lay dormant for six hundred years. Around Eckhart grew up a group of Brethren of the Free Spirit who lived licentiously. The problem we face is: “Is analytical psychology in the same boat?” “Are the second generation like the Brethren of the Free Spirit?” If so, it is the open way to Hell, and analytical psychology has come too soon and it will have to wait for a century or two. ~Carl Jung, The Cornwall Seminar, Page 20.

[The dream voice] “utters an authoritative declaration or command, either of astonishing common sense or of profound philosophic import. It is nearly always a final statement, usually coming toward the end of a dream, and it is, as a rule, so clear and convincing that the dreamer finds no argument against it. It has, indeed, so much the character of indisputable truth that it can hardly be understood as anything except a final and trenchant summing up of a long process of unconscious deliberation and weighing of arguments.” ~Carl Jung; CW 11, Page 45.

The change of character brought about by the up rush 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. ~Carl Jung, CW 74, Para 25

Fantasy is the maternally creative side of the masculine mind. When all is said and done, we can never rise above fantasy. It is true that there are unprofitable, futile, morbid, and unsatisfying fantasies whose sterile nature is immediately recognized by every person endowed with common sense; but the faulty performance proves nothing against the normal performance. All the works of man have their origin in creative imagination. What right, then, have we to disparage fantasy? In the normal course of things, fantasy does not easily go astray; it is too deep for that and too closely bound up with the tap-root of human and animal instinct. It has a surprising way of always coming out right in the end. The creative activity of imagination frees man from his bondage to the “nothing but” and raises him to the status of one who plays. As Schiller says, man is completely human only when he is at play. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 98

I know nothing of a “super-reality.” Reality contains everything I can know, for everything that acts upon me is real and actual. If it does not act upon me, then I notice nothing and can, therefore, know nothing about it. Hence I can make statements only about real things, but not about things that are unreal, or surreal, or subreal. Unless, of course, it should occur to someone to limit the concept of reality in such a way that the attribute “real” applied only to a particular segment of the world’s reality. This restriction to the so-called material or concrete reality of objects perceived by the senses is a product of a particular way of thinking—the thinking that underlies “sound common sense” and our ordinary use of language. It operates on the celebrated principle “Nihil est in intellectu quod non antea fuerit in sensu,” regardless of the fact that there are very many things in the mind which did not derive from the data of the senses. According to this view, everything is “real” which comes, or seems to come, directly or indirectly from the world revealed by the senses. This limited picture of the world is a reflection of the one-sidedness of Western man. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 742

The spirit of the age will not let itself be trifled with. It is a religion, or, better, a creed which has absolutely no connection with reason, but whose significance lies in the unpleasant fact that it is taken as the absolute measure of all truth and is supposed always to have common sense upon its side. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 652

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