What is “illusion”? By what criterion do we judge something to be an illusion? Does anything exist for the psyche that we are entitled to call illusion? What we are pleased to call illusion may be for the psyche an extremely important life-factor, something as indispensable as oxygen for the body—a psychic actuality of overwhelming significance. Presumably the psyche does not trouble itself about our categories of reality; for it, everything that world is real. The investigator of the psyche must not confuse it with his consciousness, else he veils from his sight the object of his investigation. On the contrary, to recognize it at all, he must learn to see how different it is from consciousness. Nothing is more probable than that what we call illusion is very real for the psyche—for which reason we cannot take psychic reality to be commensurable with conscious reality. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 111

The spiritual climax is reached at the moment when life ends. Human life, therefore, is the vehicle of the highest perfection it is possible to attain; it alone generates the karma that makes it possible for the dead man to abide in the perpetual light of the Voidness without clinging to any object, and thus to rest on the hub of the wheel of rebirth, freed from all illusion of genesis and decay. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 856.

A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 335.

I understand the resistance better in the case of philosophers, since psychology saws off the branch they are sitting on by wickedly robbing them of the illusion that they represent the absolute spirit. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 388-389.

Hence, unless we prefer to be made fools of by our illusions, we shall, by carefully analyzing every fascination, extract from it a portion of our own personality, like a quintessence, and slowly come to recognize that we meet ourselves time an d again in a thousand disguises on the path of life. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Page 316.

As I see it, the psyche is a world in which the ego is contained. Maybe there are fishes who believe that they contain the sea. We must rid ourselves of this habitual illusion of ours if we wish to consider metaphysical assertions from the standpoint of psychology. ~Carl Jung, CW 13Para 51.

“Transference” consists in the illusion of its uniqueness, when seen from the collective and conventional standpoint. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 475

Who would have thought that the alchemists, popularly supposed to be searching for gold, were really promising themselves freedom from illusion, exaggerated emotion, passion, excess and all possible vices ~Carl Jung, ETH, Lecture XIII, Page 108.

…the serpent is the hypostatic, underlying materia (the essence of matter), which sinks into the water, or is as it were in the water, and, through illusion, it deceives the senses. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Page 219.

In Buddhism, this return to Nirvana is connected with a complete annihilation of the ego, which, like the world, is only illusion…In Taoism, on the other hand, the goal is to preserve in a transfigured form, the idea of the person, the “traces” left by experience. ~Secret of the Golden Flower, Page 18.

We think of maya as illusion, deception, but it is also building material, illusion which becomes real. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Page 116.

The ego changes all the time, it has every kind of illusion, but the Self is as it is, there is nothing we can alter in it. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, Pages 175.
Active imagination is the intentional activating of a function which otherwise remains passive. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, Pages 175.

It is curious that the East has such a negative attitude to suffering, that it regards it merely as an illusion to be overcome, whereas to us it is the path par excellence to Christ, to the Self. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 194.

The idea of a normal man, perfectly healthy, is in itself an illusion. All mankind is liable to illness for we are not our own masters. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27Jan1939, Pages 65.

Here is a piece of the superior wisdom of the East. The Yogin realizes that all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Devatas with which he has filled the heavens are Maya illusion just as the world itself is Maya. All this plurality is illusion. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3Feb1939, Page 74.

It is not that the things do not exist but that our perception of them is nothing but illusion. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3Feb1939, Page 75.

…the serpent is the hypostatic, underlying materia (the essence of matter), which sinks into the water, or is as it were in the water, and, through illusion, it deceives the senses. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Alchemy, Page 219.

The idea of a normal man, perfectly healthy, is in itself an illusion. All mankind is liable to illness for we are not our own masters. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27 Jan 1939

“Tathagata” literally translated means the “thus going-one.” This passage describes the effect we shall undergo in order to be liberated from our illusions. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 385-386.

But all of them share the same illusion that the goal is somewhere to be found in outward things and conditions, without realizing that psychologically they already carry it within them and always have. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 503-504

Today we have lost to a great extent this sense of the immanence of thought, as one might put it, and have instead the illusion of making our thoughts ourselves. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 82

Thus, when I said that God is a complex, I meant to say: whatever He is, he is at least a very tangible complex. You can say, He is an illusion, but He is at least a psychological fact. I surely never intended to say: He is nothing else but a complex. . . . ~Carl Jung to Victor White, 5Oct1945

But we must see where we stand, otherwise we are immoral illusionists. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 64-66

It is just an illusion when you think the right thought in your head means a reality; it is a reality as far as a thought reality reaches; the thought itself is real, but it has not become a reality in space. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 202

Every true and deep love is a sacrifice. The lover sacrifices all other possibilities, or rather, the illusion that such possibilities exist. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 231

When, towards middle life, the last gleam of childhood illusion fades—this it must be owned is true only of an almost ideal life, for many go as children to their graves—then the archetype of the mature man or woman emerges from the parental imago: an image of man as woman has known him from the beginning of time, and an image of woman that man carries within him eternally. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 74

We would do well to harbour no illusions in this respect: no understanding by means of words and no imitation can replace actual experience. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 482

Assimilation of the shadow gives a man body, so to speak; the animal sphere of instinct, as well as the primitive or archaic psyche, emerge into the zone of consciousness and can no longer be repressed by fictions and illusions. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 452

The united personality will never quite lose the painful sense of innate discord. Complete redemption from the sufferings of this world is and must remain an illusion. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 400

With her cunning play of illusions the soul lures into life the inertness of matter that does not want to live. She makes us believe incredible things, that life may be lived. ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Pages 26-27

I have not the faintest idea what “psyche” is in itself, yet, when I come to think and speak of it, I must speak of my abstractions, concepts, views, figures, knowing that they are our specific illusions. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 56-57

The ego is an illusion which ends with death but the karma remains, it is given another ego in the next illusion. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, Vol. 3, Page 17

Yet if we make ourselves conscious of these projections, it may easily act as an impediment to our relations with others, for there is then no bridge of illusion across which love and hate can stream off so relievingly, and no way of disposing so simply and satisfactorily of all those alleged virtues that are intended to edify and improve others. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 517

Not for a moment dare we succumb to the illusion that an archetype can be finally explained and disposed of. Even the best attempts at explanation are only more or less successful translations into another metaphorical language. (Indeed, language itself is only an image.) The most we can do is to dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress. And whatever explanation or interpretation does to it, we do to our own souls as well, with corresponding results for our own well-being. The archetype—let us never forget this—is a psychic organ present in all of us. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 271

Being that has soul is living being. Soul is the living thing in man, that which lives of itself and causes life. Therefore God breathed into Adam a living breath, that he might live. With her cunning play of illusions the soul lures into life the inertness of matter that does not want to live. She makes us believe incredible things, that life may be lived. She is full of snares and traps, in order that man should fall, should reach the earth, entangle himself there, and stay caught, so that life should be lived; as Eve in the garden of Eden could not rest content until she had convinced Adam of the goodness of the forbidden apple. Were it not for the leaping and twinkling of the soul, man would rot away in his greatest passion, idleness. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 56

The thing that cures a neurosis must be as convincing as the neurosis, and since the latter is only too real, the helpful experience must be equally real. It must be a very real illusion, i£ you want to put it pessimistically. But what is the difference between a real illusion and a healing religious experience? It is merely a difference of words. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 167

What can a man say about woman, his own opposite? I mean of course something sensible, that is outside the sexual programme, free of resentment, illusion, and theory. Where is the man to be found capable of such superiority? Woman always stands just where the man’s shadow falls, so that he is only too liable to confuse the two. Then, when he tries to repair this misunderstanding, he overvalues her and believes her the most desirable thing in the world, ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 236

As long as a woman is content to be a jemme a homme, she has no feminine individuality. She is empty and merely glitters—a welcome vessel for masculine projections. Woman as a personality, however, is a very different thing here illusion no longer works. So that when the question of personality arises, which is as a rule the painful fact of the second half of life, the childish form of the self disappears too. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 355

When animus and anima meet, the animus draws his sword of power and the anima ejects her poison of illusion and seduction. The outcome need not always be negative, since the two are equally likely to fall in love (a special instance of love at first sight). ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 90

Every mother and every beloved is forced to become the carrier and embodiment of this omnipresent and ageless image, which corresponds to the deepest reality in a man. It belongs to him, this perilous image of Woman; she stands for the loyalty which in the interests of life he must sometimes forgo; she is the much needed compensation for the risks, struggles, sacrifices that all end in disappointment; she is the solace for all the bitterness of life. And, at the same time, she is the great illusionist, the seductress, who draws him into life with her Maya—and not only into life’s reasonable and useful aspects, but into its frightful paradoxes and ambivalences where good and evil, success and ruin, hope and despair, counterbalance one another. Because she is his greatest danger she demands from a man his greatest, and if he has it in him she will receive it. ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 24

The persona, the ideal picture of a man as he should be, is inwardly compensated by feminine weakness, and as the individual outwardly plays the strong man, so he becomes inwardly a woman, i.e., the anima, for it is the anima that reacts to the persona. But because the inner world is dark and invisible to the extraverted consciousness, and because a man is all the less capable of conceiving his weaknesses the more he is identified with the persona, the persona’s counterpart, the anima, remains completely in the dark and is at once projected, so that our hero comes under the heel of his wife’s slipper. If this results in a considerable increase of her power, she will acquit herself none too well. She becomes inferior, thus providing her husband with the welcome proof that it is not he, the hero, who is inferior in private, but his wife. In return the wife can cherish the illusion, so attractive to many, that at least she has married a hero, unperturbed by her own uselessness. This little game of illusion is often taken to be the whole meaning of life. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 309

Never in any circumstances should one indulge in the unscientific illusion that one’s own subjective prejudice is a universal and fundamental psychological truth. No true science can spring from this, only a faith whose shadow is intolerance and fanaticism. Contradictory views are necessary for the evolution of any science, only they must not be set up in rigid opposition to each other but should strive for the earliest possible synthesis. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 639

Bondage and possession are synonymous. Always, therefore, there is something in the psyche that takes possession and limits or suppresses our moral freedom. In order to hide this undeniable but exceedingly unpleasant fact from ourselves and at the same time pay lip-service to freedom, we have got accustomed to saying apotropaically, “have such and such a desire or habit or feeling of resentment,” instead of the more veracious “Such and such a desire or habit or feeling of resentment has me” The latter formulation would certainly rob us even of the illusion of freedom. But I ask myself whether this would not be better in the end than fuddling ourselves with words. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 143

The people who fancy they are sure of themselves are the ones who are truly unsure. Our whole life is unsure, so a feeling of unsureness is much nearer to the truth than the illusion and bluff of sureness. In the long run it is the better adapted man who triumphs, not the wrongly self-confident, who is at the mercy of dangers from without and within. ~Carl Jung, CW 10. Para 18

To strive for perfection is a high ideal. But I say: “Fulfil something you are able to fulfil rather than run after what you will never achieve.” Nobody is perfect. Remember the saying: “None is good but God alone” [Luke 18:19], nobody can be. It is an illusion.

Only an exceedingly naive and unconscious person could imagine that he is in a position to avoid sin. Psychology can no longer afford childish illusions of this kind; it must ensue the truth and declare that unconsciousness is not only no excuse but is actually one of the most heinous sins. Human law may exempt it from punishment, but Nature avenges herself more mercilessly, for it is nothing to her whether a man is conscious of his sin or not. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 676

A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 391

The foremost of all illusions is that anything can ever satisfy anybody. That illusion stands behind all that is unendurable in life and in front of all progress, and it is one of the most difficult things to overcome. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 905

East, on the other hand, took spirit for its own, and by explaining away matter as mere illusion—Maya—continued to dream in Asiatic filth and misery. But since there is only one earth and one mankind. East and West cannot rend humanity into two different halves. Psychic reality still 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. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 682

To find happiness in the spirit one must be possessed of a “spirit” to find happiness in. A life of ease and security has convinced everyone of all the material joys, and has even compelled the spirit to devise new and better ways to material welfare, but it has never produced spirit. Probably only suffering, disillusion, and self-denial do that. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 6

Too many still look outwards, some believing in the illusion of victory and of victorious power, others in treaties and laws, and others again in the overthrow of the existing order. But still too few look inwards, to their own selves, and still too few ask themselves whether the ends of human society might not best be served if each man tried to abolish the old order in himself, and to practise in his own person and in his own inward state those precepts and victories which he preaches at every street-corner, instead of always expecting these things of his fellow men. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 5

Religions are psychotherapeutic systems in the truest sense of the word, and on the grandest scale. They express the whole range of the psychic problem in mighty images; they are the avowal and recognition of the soul, and at the same time the revelation of the soul’s nature. From this universal foundation no human soul is cut off; only the individual consciousness that has lost its connection with the psychic totality remains caught in the illusion that the soul is a small circumscribed area, a fit subject for “scientific” theorizing. The loss of this great relationship is the prime evil of neurosis. ~Carl Jung, CW 10 Para 367

The materialistic error was probably unavoidable at first. Since the throne of God could not be discovered among the galactic systems, the inference was that God had never existed. The second unavoidable error is psychologism: if God is anything, he must be an illusion derived from certain motives—from will to power, for instance, or from repressed sexuality. These arguments are not new. Much the same thing was said by the Christian missionaries who overthrew the idols of heathen gods. But whereas the early missionaries were conscious of serving a new God by combatting the old ones, modern iconoclasts are unconscious of the one in whose name they are destroying old values. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 142

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 splendour to the world and to mankind. He has pistis and peace. Where is the criterion by which you could say that such a life is not legitimate, that such an experience is not valid, and that such pistis is mere illusion? Is there, as a matter of fact, any better truth about the ultimate things than the one that helps you to live? ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 167

It is only when the veil of Maya, of illusion, is rent for us that we can begin to recognize the Golden Thread. ~Carl Jung, E Harding, Conversations with Jung, Page 10

And just as it is impossible to individuate without relatedness, so it is impossible to have real relationships without individuation. For otherwise illusion comes in continually, and you don’t know where you are. ~E Harding, Conversations with Jung, Page 11

The East, on the other hand, took spirit for its own, and by explaining away matter as mere illusion—Maya—continued to dream in Asiatic filth and misery. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 682

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