The development of science, which is so extraordinarily characteristic for the West, owes its origin in a great measure to the experimental attitude of mind in alchemy.
Alchemy is founded on the conviction of the spontaneity of the spirit and of inspiration, and strives, in untiring speculative meditation, to explore the unbound spirit of nature and to give it expression.
The methods, which I described in my earlier lectures, attempt to imprint a predetermined form on the soul, working from outside inwards; whereas alchemy endeavours to assist a psychical potentiality, hidden in unconscious nature, to develop and unfold to the greatest possible extent, in that it removes, working from inside outwards, the obstacles in the path of the hidden soul striving towards the light.
“Hab et omnia in se, quo indiget” (it has everything which it needs in itself) was the principle on which this art or philosophy worked. Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, 8 Nov 1940.